My mother has been here for, let me see, it feels like 427 days, but it might be less. It’s hard to tell because it’s hard to think with her constant interruptions to ask me if I need some peace and quiet to finish whatever I was working on before she interrupted me.
My mother has been both a total pain in the butt … and a sweet old thing who deserves some of my respect. What irritates me fairly regularly is that she has the memory of a goldfish and so when I explain for the millionth time that I am locked in my basement office working on something, she looks at me as if this is the most stunning news she has heard in years and how that would explain the locked door she had to knock on for a while to get my attention.
My mother has theoretically been under the care of my girls for some of her visit. OK, yes, I too have spent time with her and have not avoided her since she arrived. Last night, for example, we had a long chat and she produced the photos I have included here as well as other ones that have provided great delight to my girls and humilation to me. If these photos are ever stolen, I will pay handsomely for their return. (Click on the photos to see a larger version and clearer comments. But don’t save them and offer to sell them back to me because it will cost me a lot of money.)
As I was saying, my girls have been spending time with their grandma. Their grandfather, my runaway wife’s father, died last year from cancer that was initially untreated because he kept telling everyone he was “fine” until it was too late to do anything about it (a salutary lesson for those who put off seeing doctors). We were in England getting our Green Cards and they saw him in the nursing home when he was very ill. They know that one day this grandma will be gone too; she has already survived two battles with breast cancer. Typical teens have no interest in their wrinkly grandparents but the recent experience of mine makes them more willing to go for walks with her, endure her wandering conversation, and help her find her glasses that she loses at least 10 times per day.
My mother is an embarrassment to me not just in terms of photos that she could be using for blackmail purposes. She keeps helping me. Yes, imagine that — how cruel! But seriously, she comes from a time where she can’t help herself. She cleans any bathroom she decides isn’t up to her standards. She does some of my ironing for me. She cooks whenever she can sneak into the kitchen before me (Charlotte and I have been watching a show recently called Masterchef and she and I have been experimenting with different ways of cooking chicken and making side dishes, so it’s a battle to cook dinner first at the moment). She even goes into my yard (garden) and pulls weeds. Why am I complaining about this? Because I’m an idiot, what’s why. Obviously what I should be doing is repainting her bedroom suite and calling up the airlines to extend her stay for another month or two.
The experience with my mother shifts into top gear this Monday. Her husband arrives to join her for the last two weeks of her visit. He is a kind man and perfect for her: he is just as quietly silly as she is. Only God knows how they ever organize anything or keep track of their possessions. With both of them here, getting lost in the house and losing all their things every day … save me. (But if you could wait until after my mum has got around to ironing last night’s washing, that would be handy. Thank you.)