Chaos Attraction

Family Matters

2012-09-21, 3:33 p.m.

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Late last night, Mom suggested that since Pam would be here all day, perhaps we could go somewhere today. The answer to this was, of course, ďNo.Ē Canít say I am surprised.

I came out today to find everyone semi-in-tears around the dinner table as Pam argued with Aunt Babs about how she needs to move in with her. Which of course means that Pam has to give up her friends, her life, and probably her cat since Aunt Babs refuses to have the cat. I gather Pam is fine with giving up her apartment, at least. It is super depressing.
In this family, this is what women do. The way to prove that you are really a woman (and a good one) is that you give up your whole life to be a caregiver. Iíve had to live with Momís sterling example of near-perfection at caregiving and self-sacrifice for most of my life, I know I canít do what she does, and yet at some point in the not-so-far future, Iíll be forced to sacrifice myself for my mother entirely. No one else is gonna do it, just like in Pamís situation. In Pamís case, there really isnít any other option once you rule out ďjust wait for an accident to happenĒ and ďMother refuses to go into a home and have a stranger move in.Ē Sheís stuck, she has to (her siblings canít or wonít). You donít really get a choice that doesnít mean youíre not an asshole.
I sometimes think I need to get out while I can so I can have a few years before the eldercare kicks in--found out last night Mom has cateracts and impending glaucoma, ďbut not bad enough to treat yet.Ē Iíd be forcd to move back and move in and drive her everywhere (oh dear fucking god), but Iíd get a few years of youth still left before I have to be a Real Woman and sacrifice all that I am to be a caregiver.
And sometimes I think hell, I might as well stay, if I canít get away for good, whatís the point of uprooting at all?
Fun thoughts on a supposed vacation.

In other news, Pam took Mom and I to Tudor's Biscuit World. I had wanted to go there because their sign said "Spicy Chicken Hillbilly." I at first found "Spicy Chicken Hillbilly" to be hilarious (still do), but i eventually found out given the listing of the words that "Hillbilly" must be a separate dish. I wanted to see what it was, but they didn't have anything indicated on the menu as "Hillbilly." And after we left, I saw a guy changing "hillbilly" to "BLT" on the sign. Sigh. Well, at least I got pictures of the sign before they changed it.
Now, I am told (mostly from Pam) that West Virginia has a hillbilly reputation. (I did tell Pam that we do have plenty of rednecks in California, especially if you go to Clear Lake. Hell, my hometown is covered in spit and tobacco from the country boys there.) If you ever met my relatives, this would be hard to believe since they are more on the side of prim and proper. However, Tudor's was the one place where I saw (a) this one poor woman missing her front teeth, (b) an ICP fan walking around with his pregnant girlfriend, and (c) a guy wearing a T-shirt advertising the Paris Shooting Club. Make of that what you will.

Aunt Babs is all, "I don't want Pam to give up her life." Mom got all teary-eyed and sappy and "She's not giving up her life, she's changing her life."
....Yeah, that's what I'll have to deal with. Pam is all, "You'll have to do this someday too." No way out.

This afternoon's excitement featured Aunt Babs trying driving around the block just to see if she could. Pam and Mom went in the car. I refused, given the potential for drama, but watched from the stoop. She drives just fine, apparently, but Pam's argument is how she is going to handle a walker and getting stuff at the store. After that, there was a phone call from Paul's brother. Mom got on the phone with him and the guy said we could visit. Pam was all, "I wouldn't believe it unless he shows up on your doorstep."

This was followed by the sacred listening to of the record(!) of the days that Aunt Babs was on The Price Is Right. Yes, it was so long ago that they had no video of it. Back in the day, most of the kids got to stay home and watch the show for the 3 days she was on (except Bill, whose teacher said she'd flunk him if he missed a test). She won a model boat, big diamond earrings, and a giant furniture chest that got moved a lot because Uncle Bill got transferred a lot. It was very odd. Pam kept saying things like, "It was a different time," and "You don't even sound like you, Mother. You sound COUNTRY!" (Pam is kinda obsessed with that.) Not to mention, "I bet us kids REALLY wanted you to win the washing machine."

As for the record, Day 1 was Aunt Babs' anniversary and on day 2, she comments that Uncle Bill didn't have to give her anything for it. The host was all, "You're a very nice woman." One prize offered was "Mexican TV dinners." Speaking as a Californian, I don't even. One of the price items was a "gigantic wine barrel!" and Aunt Babs was afraid to bid on this one since she was a minister's wife. "Should I bid my high?" she giggles on the record. She said $10, the wine was several hundred. What Aunt Babs won was called a "china breakfront." (Again, what?) She bid $800, then $1200, then stopped. That was the first and only thing she won all day, but since it retailed for $1250, she made the most all day and was a 2-day champion.

Another Pam story: on a cruise she was on, there was some macho dude who insisted on dining in his muscle shirt. He looked at all of the silverware, was all, "Why is there all this silverware?", gathered it all up and dumped it in the middle of the table. He grabbed a knife and fork and said, "This is all I need. Where's the dinner?" Pam was all, "So much for fine dining on this cruise."

And another: "He said my esophagus was unremarkable. Am I supposed to think that's a compliment? I'm pretty remarkable, so my esophagus should be remarkable!"

And another: "I wanted to elope on April 30 so my mother couldn't do anything about it, because that's what she did. I couldn't find a guy to do it, though."


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