Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

And The Title Of This Post Is...

Seriously--I don't know.  I can't come up with a title, but I've got a few rolling around in my head right now:
"Major Drag"
"I Saw Myself In Another Woman's Eyes, and I Ain't Pretty"
"More Burnout?  Sure! Don't Mind If I Do!"

Dad, you're NOT allowed to read this post, so exit out here.  Har de har har.


It's one of those days.

The snow won't stop fucking snowing.  The kids won't stop fighting.  I'm so tired half my brain keeps trying to budget in a nap for the day while the other half says; "nope.  Sleeping at night is more important."  And, The Man now has to go away on business trips from time to time.  Let me tell you, gentle souls who are reading this, he didn't look particularly heart-broken to be leaving FIGHTY ANGST HOUSE today either  I mean, sure, there was the perfunctory; "I'm really gonna miss you guys," but there was an unmistakable twinkle in his eye.  And why not?  You can only say: "STOP FIGHTING YOU TWO!"  so many times.

Oh, and there's that fucking bastard ALS, who is like that dirtbag tenant you just can't evict.

Yeah.  ALS.  The past two weeks, I've been running in all directions at once.  I SUDDENLY woke up.  I SUDDENLY realised that I can't be in DENIAL or LA LA LAND any longer.  All the other kind people who were keeping my dad company, and making those hours go by, well I just let them.  I kept myself willfully and willingly in the dark.  It's like things went down like this:

Doctor:  "Yes.  You have ALS."
Dad:  "Doctor said it's ALS."
Me:  "Good luck with that, Dad.  Sorry for your luck.  I'll see ya!"

But then one day, all of a sudden (or so I imagine anyway), my dad couldn't go to the washroom a) without assistance, and b) without a breathing machine.

And it all hit me like a ton of bricks.

So I got my BIG GIRL BATHING SUIT on, and I dove in, and I started paddling and flapping my arms and legs like mad:  "DON'T WORRY DADDY! I'M A-COMIN'!  I'M A COMIN' TA SAVE YA, DADDY!"

And suddenly I was THERE, and I was learning who this lady was, and who that guy was, and I'm handing out my cell phone number to EVERYONE, and I'm putting MY NAME down as the contact person, and I'm upstairs on the phone with the technical lady pushing buttons on the incredibly scary new-fangled, computerized breathing machine my dad has up in his bedroom, and I'm unhooking the hose of my dad's breathing mask from the main machine to the portable machine, so he can get to the washroom, and all the while my brain is SHRIEKING; 'HURRY UP!!!!  MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! EVERY SECOND YOU TAKE HE'S STRUGGLING TO BREATHE!!!"  and I'm hooking that thing up with lightly shaking hands.  But by god, I did it.

And I'm realising something:  a lot, and I mean A LOT of people are idiots and flakes.  In fact, I see myself wading through a veritable sludge of idiots and flakes--people who would rather laugh with great open mouths than accomplish anything useful.

Details?  Oh yeah, the details.  In the past two weeks, I can't stop thinking of details. There are so many details.  Details pile up in my head.  Details spill out.  Details are here there and everywhere.  Holy crap there are so many details I need to think of. For example...a Personal Support Worker (PSW) comes Monday Wednesday and Friday at this time for two hours, then this time for one hour, and then one more time for one hour.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, a PSW comes in the morning and one hour only in the afternoon.  On Saturdays and Sundays they only come for one hour.  OH wait...there are more hours in the day...Dad's alone for those hours.  WHO'S FILLING IN THOSE HOURS?!?    How do I get more help?  How is this going to be enough?  How do I keep my dad out of a damn care facility?  How do I keep my dad at HOME?!?

So details?  Hell yeah, I got em.'  But nevermind.  Today the BOY wanted chocolate, and I wanted hair colour.  I'm walking around with too much white exposed at the temples, and dark roots.  You know the drill:  if you want to colour your hair, you don't wash it that day.  Well, let's go to the drug store.  And the fighting between the kids as they get on their boots, hats, coats and mitts?  RE-DIC (that's my new expression I invented for RIDICULOUS.  You like?). I mean, seriously stoopid.

Somehow we make it to the store.  I tried to plead with The Boy to just get started brushing the snow off the car windows while I got my boots on, but this elicited some AUTISTIC OUTRAGE.  WHY DO I HAVE TO HELP!?!  Fine.  Forget it.  We get to the store.  We get the chocolate.  We go to the hair colour aisle.  And, my colour is not there.  It's not there.  I need C13, and it's not there.  I'm walking around with this dopey hat over my lank hair, major bags under my eyes, and I can't stop staring at that section of the boxes of chemical dyes that will somehow transform me from tired karen into RADIANT KAREN.  In the meantime, the kids are not patient.  They're fighting, they're whining.  They're knocking stuff off the aisles by accident.

I just wanted that damn hair colour.  That's all I really wanted.  C13--beige blonde or whatever the fuck it's called.  I liked it last time.  I don't even have to experiment with anything else.  So, I try to plead with the kids to allow me (see the problem here?) to go to another store to look for some hair colour, but The Boy has more Autistic OUTRAGE.

So THEN, as we're headed to the cashier, the girl knocks over this 4 foot sign, and I've had it.  The line on my forehead gets SUPER DEEP.  I'm whining now at her to BEEEEE CAREFUL!!!!  and this woman--this immaculate, perfectly put together, neat as a pin, well-dressed, hair like a roots-less, glossy blonde helmet says in this calm, kindly voice; "Aw, it's not HER fault. Her coat caught the edge of it."

I saw myself.  Exhausted, angry, frustrated, struggling, impatient ogre mom, freaking at her kid for a little accident, and I can't say; "hey lady, I was awake from 1 til 4 the other night thinking about how I'm going to get enough care to keep my dad at home for the rest of his poor life, and all my kids do is fight anyway, and I extra can't take it today, and I just wanted some fucking C13 haircolour, okay?  That's all I wanted in life today."

Yeah, I saw myself alright--she wasn't very pretty. And now she has to have roots for at least another day.



  1. Oh boy. Yes, sometimes life kicks you in the nuts, even though you don't have nuts. I mean, just a lot going on.

    I know that paying attention to your grooming will make you feel better - it helps me - but the situation with your Dad has reverberations beyond managing your daily life. It's a big thing to lose a parent, and so many of us experience losing them bit by bit to dementia. This is so hard. Bless you for picking up responsibility and thinking hard about how to help. Maybe he'd like you to bring the crew and watch a movie or a ballgame with him?

    Do you have someone old and wise to talk to, or failing that, a therapist? ;) This is a good moment to give yourself some extra help. And there are all sorts of organizations about caregiving. As I recall, AARP has some good stuff on it. This is not going to be an easy trip. So fasten your seat belt.
    Grandma Jeanne

  2. Karen! It is really, really good to have you back. Do I have any great words of wisdom to offer about how to help your dad, and stay sane in the process? I do not. It sounds horrifically difficult, for him mostly, but of course for you too.
    And the kids, oh I think any parent knows all about those days where they just bicker and fret and fight from dawn till dusk. I have definitely been that frustrated, exhausted, angry mum too. But neither you nor I are ogres; we're just mums trying our best under pressure, at the end of our tethers, with horrible roots that need sorting out!
    Keep blogging, you know what a great way it is to offload, rant, articulate, and laugh, not to mention get support.
    Been missing you, love! xxx

  3. I. Have. No. Advice. Nope.
    So what am I doing here? Telling you that you are awesome!!! You write like a she-devil wading through muck and crap and sordidness, and I thank you because you are so damned good. Really freaking good at it. I'm not enjoying your pain, no sirree, but YOUR venting could be MY venting about other things, but I don't express it as well as you do. So let 'er rip. And in the back of my mind, I still hear you singing that jaw-droppingly beautiful version of the Christmas song you did once, so I know that part of you is in there. I'm sure she'll pop up for a look around when you bury those dang roots.


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