My mother recently moved back to her home after a brief stint as an inmate of an assisted living facility. She tolerated it at first due to a painful habit of mistaking morning as night and from jumping to the floor without a net.
"Everybody is old or nuts," she said. "And the food is crap."
The Mimster was right on all three accounts. Sharp, I tell you, sharp. You can't fool an old fooler. She says she'll be just fine now that she is back at home.
Anyway, she now has a very sweet dog for company who could possibly apply for canine Social Security next week. Two peas in a pod. But, they feed on each other's bad hearing and paranoia; Mom calls 911 in the middle of the night just sure someone has a key to her house. She hears keys rattling at the front door lock and Micah barked!
More likely, Micah barked because skinny old ladies' feet hurt when they crunch down on your sleeping unsuspecting arthritic ass. I don't have a good explanation for the rattling keys, but Halloween stuff is already out at Wal-mart. Nevermind her front glass storm door has a broken latch that allows the cheap metal frame to pop and shimmy a bit in the wind. Besides, she has an alarm system that gets set every night. Nevermind important meds or paying bills, she never forgets to set that alarm at night. Okay, that's one good habit.
We took her to dinner on Sunday evening after replacing her three year old "like new" car battery that has slumbered under the hood of a 2000 Buick in the garage for nearly two years. We drove the Buick to the catfish place Mom requested to see how it ran. Later she called us at home...."Hey, ya'll forgot to give me my car keys back". I checked with Kman, and my purse. No extra keys. She called again and left a voice message on my cell phone: "Those keys YOU forgot to give back to me have my house and garage key on the ring." Accusation hangs heavy in her words.
I returned her call and emphatically told her, "No, we don't have your keys! I'll come over and help you look for them." Another 20 minutes pass, my cell phone rings. "Nevermind, the keys are NOW on the mantle".
Yeah, like I teleported the damn things just to confuse her.
I was hoping we could put off the driving issue, but nooooo. She went around the block late yesterday afternoon to "charge up" the alternator (uh huh) and kept circling it for a couple of rounds. Didn't recognize the corner house - someone went and painted it brown while she was incarcerated and didn't tell her. No white house at the corner, then, hey, not my street! And, she says she'll be just fine now that she is back at home.
When she was in the assisted living pokey, she ate a lot of fruit; often ordered the fruit and cottage cheese plate instead of whatever mystery meat was on the menu. I was constantly on the alert to keep her supplied in grapes, watermelon, and peaches. Most telephone calls were to request more fruit.
This evening after work, I dropped in the local grocer's to get her requested gallon of milk. I also got some waffle syrup to replace the bottle of sugar-free syrup she had in her pantry. It had been there so long, maple tree roots were sprouting from the pull top dispenser. I asked her why she had bought sugar-free instead of regular.
"Oh, it was on sale and I figured I could use the lower calories, but it's too nasty to eat." From a woman who weighs 110 pounds soaking wet with army boots, and still insists she'll be just fine now that she is back at home.
When I brought the groceries in, I announced aloud the contents of each sack as I removed them. Along with the REAL maple syrup, I bought some red grapes and some nectarines - expecting some response like, "Oh good! Those look really fresh".
"Thanks, but don't buy any more fruit," she admonished.
"No more fruit," I say as more statement than question.
"Nah, no more. I ate so much fruit when I was in that place, I don't think I want anymore for a while."
The original fruitcake woman now only wants her cake, thank you very much.
Deciding it would be much easier on her and myself if she used disposable plates, cups and untensils, I loaded up on these items at my local Sams when Mom moved back home. Not particularly green but hey...she is saving water.
I noticed this evening her kitchen sink was full of said plastic ware. I started picking it up and stuffing it into her trash bag. "Hey, don't throw those away! They're still good. I'll wash them up in a minute, just leave them."
As I walk away from the kitchen she stalls my intended leave and wants me to watch the rest of Law and Order. I sit on the sofa next to her easy chair. She says she saw on TV where you can buy a DVD of House at Wal-Mart. "Now, is it the new season of House, or is it the old shows?"
"Mom, the new season won't start until mid-September, so the DVD is of the old shows." "Oh, well", she says with a shrug, "I like all of them, so maybe I'll get it anyway."
She mentions that she doesn't care for the short balding intern doctor with the big nose on House; she thinks he was funnier when he was on Monk. I told her that was two different actors, but she ignores me and points out that she just watched the exact same Law and Order plot on Criminal Intent just last night. I don't doubt her, about this she is probably spot on. She says sometimes the shows change up their endings. She has seen this episode of Law and Order a couple of times, but this time the ending has changed. "They do that you know," she says, "to keep it different."
To be fair, Mom does seem to be much happier in her own home, though I am fearful of all sorts of mishaps. So far, so good, but how long this fairly successful semi-independence will last is anyone's guess. My brother didn't think it was a good idea to let her leave the assisted living center, but I could tell the Mimster (grandkids call her "Mimi") was sad, and the happy face she put on was just that...put on.
Kman often speaks of how his aunt forced his grandfather to leave his country home where he lived contentedly alone and move into town to a nursing home. Papa argued that he had neighbors who stopped by and brought him groceries and visited. The eldest daughter who lived up in the far northeast explained to her siblings that the situation was dangerous, he wasn't eating right for his blood sugar and he might fall. Her wishes prevailed and Papa saw his old home for the last time as his grown children drove him up the dirt lane to town. The old man was heartbroken, and died within a year of the move. What did it matter if Papa died at home? He was in his 90's, had been fiercely independent all his life, and was of the generation where a man who lost his dignity was lower than a snake in the grass.
I will no doubt have a bigger load of both work and worry now that the assisted living arrangment for Mom has ceased, but...
She'll be just fine now that she is back at home, doncha know.