Stories about Mother

Mother and the Plumber

Friday, September 11th, 2009

I’m sitting outside on the patio under a leafy tree at my favorite coffee shop, talking with Alan.

Alan is an architect who has been helping my brother Jim with his restaurant project. Alan has long gray/blonde hair that hangs in a messy horse’s tail down his back. He flicks the hot ash from his Camel cigarette and says, “When Jim was at my house one day, the water in the kitchen faucet turned on by itself and I said, ‘What the heck?’

“Then,” he continues, “awhile later another faucet downstairs turns on and starts a flood and again I said, ‘What the heck? Are there spirits around here trying to tell us something?'”

Alan pauses and sucks his white Camel like a doobie.

“I thought, ‘Does this mean this whole project with Jim’s new restaurant is big money down the drain?'”

“Hmmm,” I say.

Jim and Alan, after a year of trying to get a loan and borrowing money from friends and family to build a new restaurant, have been denied. The banks tease but they just won’t loan. Jim is caught up in the collapse of the economy. He’s now at home with the cotton blankets pulled over his head, in the musky dark and in despair.

Alan breathes some smoke and I breathe some smokey air.

We are both silent. Because of his illness and the economy, my brother Art may lose his jewelry shop which is right next door to the coffee shop and the coffee shop itself is teetering on the edge of extinction.

When I go home, I tell my ex, Bill, about Jim.

Bill says, “Sometimes I wake up in the night and I wonder who I am. I wonder where I am. Am I back in my childhood or am I forward in time somewhere? Am I on another planet? It takes me awhile to remember who I am and what part of my life I’m in. It’s hard to get re-oriented, but once I do, I’m OK.” (more…)

MOTHER HAS A PLAN

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Polly calls.

“We have to do something! Mother got up this morning and there was a big rat swimming around and around in her toilet bowl and she couldn’t get him out and then she did get him out with the toilet brush and then her dog grabbed him and ate him and Mom says that somehow the toilet seat got dismantled and torn up and she feels really bad about the rat getting eaten, he was trying so hard to survive.”

Polly sucks air and goes on. “She has lost her blood pressure pills for three days now and that’s very dangerous and you can’t find anything in that place it’s such a mess and there are vast dangling cobwebs on her windows, have you seen them, her housekeeper is no good but Mom won’t fire her because she likes her and Becky has ripped up all the rugs digging for squirrels under the house and we need to replace the floors with vinyl, Mom agrees and Mom just keeps eating that same crock pot soup that cooks all the time and she never dumps it and starts over and you have to do something and right now, Venus.”

I say, “I’m not coming over there and clean that house. I am not cleaning up all the blood and guts from all the dismembered field creatures that her cat brings in. I am not. ”

I know my abilities and housecleaning is not one of them.

Polly jags off onto another topic about how she, Polly, fired her website person and she is now doing the site herself and how she was talking to so and so this famous person and her grandkids are always over at her place and she can’t get anything done and she keeps jigging and jagging from topic to topic and I can’t stand it. Trying to follow her mind makes me feel crazy and I finally  yell, “Shut up! Shut up!”

“Arrgh?” she says.

“What’s wrong with you, are you ADD?!!  You never stay with one line of thought. I can’t stand it,” I say and I am not kind about it.

And later that day the results from the CAT scan our mother had a week or so, come in. (more…)

Blood In The Wheelbarrow!

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

“I never saw so much blood!” my almost 87 year old mother is telling me. “I was finally feeling good again after 7 months of being sick from that flu shot. I felt so good, I went out to plant my garden and the next thing I remember is being on the ground. I think my ankle gave way.”

I bend forward from my chair to look at the offending ankle. It’s puffed up but it looks good in comparison to some of the rest of her.

Mom and I are sitting on her deck having a cup of tea. One side of her left arm is purple and green and red and the left side of her face is swollen into a large square shape. The skin is mottled purple and red around her mouth, chin and neck. Mom assures me that there is more damage that isn’t showing.

“I bled all over everything!” she says. “Go and look!”

I get up from my garden chair and obediently trot down the deck’s steps to the part of the garden my mom points to. I notice blood splots all along the concrete path.

Mom has parked her wheelbarrow up against a low bricked area. Yep. There’s blood all over the bricks and blood all inside the wheelbarrow. There’s blood on the petunias still in their trays. Yikes. (more…)


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