Fight And Never Lose

Night One: the doughnutting.

My tiny town has a menorah lighting ceremony ceremony next to its Christmas tree and one reasonably naked busker. My union president, walking briskly toward me on the main drag, urged me, “Go get a doughnut!”

Not many people know this about me: I don’t eat doughnuts. It’s not that I’ve joined the Doughnut Temperance League (meetings Tuesday nights at the Best Buy near the feed store), it’s that I have no metabolism and the fastest way to double in size is eat a doughnut or six. I don’t really miss the doughnuts I don’t eat.  So when I was encouraged to get a doughnut, that is exactly what I did not do.

“Ta,” you say, “this is fascinating and all – everything about you is! – but what does it have to do with – for example – me?” I haven’t got the faintest idea, really. At the moment, I’m sitting at a desk, waiting for someone to finish a task so I can resume doing a very large job where I work at the unnamed university. Waiting is a skill. I do not have it! It is taking a great deal of effort on my part not to skitter across this room, loom over the working someone and bellow, “ARE YOU FINISHED? BECAUSE MY MIND IS WANDERING AND I AM TALKING ABOUT DOUGHNUTS.” You can see where that might be a workplace no-no. And I am so hoping my new supervisor won’t have HR on speed dial.

 

 

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Alabama’s Trying For None

In about another 11 days, the daylight hours will begin to be longer and the nighttime will begin to feel shorter and that’s important because right now, 6 p.m. feels like the middle of the night. That was kind of groovy when I lived the vampire lifestyle, dressed in black all the time and super-pale from the lack of daylight-enhanced Vitamin D coursing through me, but times change. I changed. I want freaking sunlight.

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Last week, friend of Poor Impulse Control Paulie Gonzalez renewed the domain name for another year. Thanks, Paulie! I’ll send a decent bottle of wine the new address in the wilds of Asbury Park.

In other news, Panky is a little too smart and quirky for the adults in his new school, so I’m thinking he should hang out with other supersmart kids this summer. Panky’s had a rough go for the last few years with a couple of schools going so far as to try illegally tossing him out. Education policy in the U.S. has gone crazy, and kids need us to do better. For my part, I can’t do much, but I can find some money to send that kid to a place where he’ll meet other smart and quirky kids just like him, I hope. And they will make robots who I also hope will not use us for spare parts.

I’m winding up my year in fiber arts projects and stitching as fast as my fingers can manage. Do not think I am ignoring you because I am not! Until I am genius enough to be able to crochet and blog at the same time, I will continue to have conflicts. Do I blog? Do I stitch a thing? I feel exqueezed! But I am here, and I will be here, for PIC’s fourteenth year.

 

 

 

 

 

Smiling Faces Tell Lies

Hurricane Mom strikes again!

With my mother out of the hospital, no one is sure our family life is structurally sound.

The mental health system in the United States is a terrible failure. Mom has been released from a second institution, again unmedicated, driver license intact, refusing outpatient therapy. She does not believe in her diagnosis. Yesterday, Mom appeared at my door and told me she’d just come from her best friend’s house where her best friend came home from visiting her husband after brain surgery and found Mom arranging flowers in her dining room. Mom is not a violent person, but that scared me, and I imagine scared her best friend.

I spent an hour talking to Mom. She brought me things she could have just dropped into recycling but didn’t, clothes she no longer wanted but that I would never wear, clean Ball jars. She filled the air with words, but couldn’t get to a point. She wanted me to do something, but couldn’t tell me what it was. I was relieved when I walked her to the door, but on the porch, she saw my neighbor’s very young son and turned back. She said she’d approached the little boy and my neighbor told Mom to stop talking to the little boy. Mom said she then walked into my backyard and visited with the chickens for a while before ringing my doorbell. My heart sank. Mom could be anywhere and in contact with anyone.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I have an appointment tomorrow morning for bloodwork, and my doctor wants me to see a cardiologist. I don’t think I have a heart problem. I think I have a someone else’s problem problem.

Took Me Years To Write

Yesterday, my mother went back to the hospital. She’d been out of the hospital and on a rampage for two weeks. The house is a shambles. My stepdad has been bunking in hotels. The family is exhausted and angry.

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For the last two weeks, my mother tore about in the house, packing my stepdad’s stuff. She’s decided it’s over between them after 43 years. She says he’s cruel and after 43 years we know he’s not. It’s part of her mental illness in which we are all her enemies.

Yesterday, Lena, a social worker from the county, talked her way into Mom’s house while my sister Anya and I were sitting in the living room. Lena and I had made an appointment, which enraged my mother. Lena’s questions enraged my mother. Anything we said enraged my mother. Lena’s taking me aside to talk enraged my mother. Mom demanded Lena talk in Mom’s presence, but Lena and I walked away. Mom came after us  and told us we were doing the exact thing she’d told us not to do.

“Mom,” I said, “she has procedures.” Mom slammed the door. Lena initially told me she did not see enough evidence that Mom was either suicidal or homicidal. She consulted with her supervisor and told me Mom was going to the hospital, we could drive her or the police could take her. I was devastated. We went inside so Lena could deliver the news, which went very badly.

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Lena had spent hours with us and had to leave, but she gave Mom a deadline: she would let Anya and I drive Mom to the hospital, but in 45 minutes, she would call the facility, and if Mom wasn’t there, Lena would call the police. Mom was fully enraged by then and would not hear a word I said when I suggested she pack a bag.

Lena rang me from outside to say it had been determined that Mom had violated a court order, so the police would have to be involved. It was awful news but came as a relief to Anya and me that I wouldn’t have to drive her to Somerville across some of my least favorite highways while Mom said terrible things to us. Things happened quickly after that: a police officer arrived, then another, then an ambulance, then the ambulance left on another call. Meanwhile, Mom ran around frantically, packing a bag she eventually had to leave behind anyway. When she finally got into the police car and they drove away, Anya called her dad, who was waiting around the corner. This is what we have been reduced to by my mother’s mental illness: we talk all day every day about one person’s problems and spend all our time and energy coping with them.

By the time I got home from this 3 pm appointment with Lena, it was three hours later. My husband Pete had rearranged our bedroom. My cats weren’t sure I was sufficiently worshipful. I talked about what had happened for over an hour before we made dinner. My brother called and shouted for half an hour because he’s been so upset with Mom for weeks and feels powerless in California.

This morning, I woke up early and at 7 am, a social worker called to say Mom was being transferred back to the facility she was released from two weeks ago. I begged her to find a closer hospital. She promised to try. It’s been two hours. I am waiting.

orchid abode