Last night, my very picky eater came up with what she thought was a perfectly brilliant idea:
"Mommy, can I please pack a lunch for Thanksgiving dinner? I could bring a Lunchable!"
Oh yes. Yes she did.
So, let me get this straight. She wants to bring a Lunchable, with cheese, crackers and TURKEY to Thanksgiving dinner at my SIL's, where dinner will include -- TURKEY. DD's response to that was that she liked her turkey cold, and cut into small squares. With a side of preservatives please, I guess.
I completely shut that idea down, though I could see she was a bit upset about it. When I thought about the completely normal dinner we'd planned, and compared it to the list of things that DD will eat at the present time, my guess is that she would likely eat nothing, or perhaps a bite of a roll and a few pieces of corn (she only likes freeze dried corn, which will not be served). And, stubborn child that she is, she would rather starve than eat something that she doesn't like. (We are actually trying to bribe her into trying new things by getting her a Webkinz every time she tries ten new foods. So far, she's tried two new things and has hated them both. Even with a prize like a Webkinz, very near and dear to her heart, she just hates trying new food.) Frankly, I'm kind of p*ssed about this whole picky eater thing, because I would really like my restaurant choices to expand to those that don't serve chicken fingers.
I softened a bit at the end of the day after asking some other moms (who had done the same thing, but on the sly). I told DD that after she ate a few pieces of regular turkey tomorrow, she could eat a packed lunch. She wasn't happy with that, but too bad. She used to love regular turkey when she was 1-2 years old and now has decided that it is one of the hated foods. I refuse to do what my mom did, which was to make me sit at the dinner table until I ate my dinner or bedtime came, whichever was first. I don't want to make food a battleground, because I worry that DD will take away some unhealthy eating ideas if I do that. (Like I have, perhaps from all that food detention I served. I didn't eat meat loaf or squash voluntarily until I was in my 30's as a result, and I still refuse to eat Spanish rice or stuffed peppers, because? No. Just no. They are evil.) We've talked with her doctor about the limited food repertoire, and she is not concerned, so I try not to be concerned.
Ugh. My daughter. The one with the lunch sack. At Thanksgiving.
(And everything is fine with the cycle. The nurse said that it is really hard to screw up a pill cycle. Even for me.)
Me. I cannot believe what a freaking bonehead I am sometimes.
I have been very stressed lately. Work has been horrendously busy; our staffing is down 40% (but I am thankful to have a job). The cuts were due to transfers and not layoffs, thank goodness. One voluntary (a promotion!) and one not voluntary (transferred to another department that was short-staffed).
Most of that work has gone to me. I really do try to limit my day to eight hours, given that I have a two-three hour commute. Frankly, it's not close to possible lately. Even though I work through lunch, there have been a lot of nights lately that I've missed dinner with DD because I needed to work later than normal. Now, I realize that is a way of life for a lot of people, but I probably make 50% the salary that I could if I worked somewhere else. The trade-off for the reduced salary is the eight hour day, the opportunity to really take vacations, and weekends off. And, in addition to the increased workload, we are changing buildings. I'm delighted, because the new place is much nicer, but it's just more stress, particularly when your office looks like a nuclear testing site. (To be clear, I am not complaining -- I will take the increased workload and the reduced salary -- I like what I do, I like my boss, and I like his boss. How many people have that?)
Now to the bonehead part. I am in the middle of another cycle and am currently on my pill month. I started Lupron two days ago. Everything was on track this weekend. But, when I checked my pills last night as I usually do (to make sure that I've actually remembered to take the pill because I'm paranoid), there was no pill for today. WTF? The only thing that I can think happened, but I don't know for sure, is that I took an extra pill Sunday night for some reason, and then took another without thinking Monday morning. I did this once before (my brain has not been engaged in the mundane lately, because I'm always thinking about something else -- see second paragraph), but at least that time I caught it and just didn't take another pill the next morning. (It really wasn't that big of a deal. I normally take the pill between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning, and I took the extra pill at 1:00 in the morning, so it was early but not too early. Of course, that happened on this cycle too.)
Like I said, I don't know for sure, but given that I'm fairly positive that everything was OK before Sunday.
Is it even possible that I could be so stupid? Seriously. I am one of the most compliant patients you could meet when it comes to medications. I know that it is important to take them when you are supposed to, and to finish the bottle. Duh.
Now I have to share my idiocy with the clinic this morning. I'm sure they've heard it all before, but honestly, what could be easier than to punch out a pill each day when the days are marked for you? I have no idea if this is significant. We have two frozen embryos left, and frankly, I would rather just stop and start over if I've screwed things up.
I've mentioned before that I spend my Sundays with my father going through my mother's things. (And yes, Sunday afternoons are my only block of free time, so my own house is falling down around our ears from neglect, because DH can't do everything.) Many people are shocked to find out that I'm still there, doing the same thing, every Sunday. Since my brother and I started talking again, he joins me on Sundays (rather than avoiding me by going on Saturdays), and he brings a child or two, all of whom seem to have grown much too quickly into very well-mannered and extremely helpful young people
So, why are we still doing it? Well, honestly, my mom was a hoarder. There is a series running now on A & E (I think), called "Hoarders." Holy cow. That's my mom, folks. You wouldn't have known if if you came to visit (provided she had some notice), because she could make the house appear to be clean, or at least the bathroom and the living/dining room would look clean. You wouldn't be permitted in any other room, not even the kitchen. Towards the end, though, she didn't even put up a pretense. There was literally stuff all over.
I always knew that she was messy. Not messy in the sense that there was rotting food around, but messy in terms of too much stuff, too much clutter, and not enough purging. She loved buying things, especially knick knacks, holiday decorations, and clothes. She never threw anything away. She said she did, but I do find that hard to believe. We have removed several thousand pounds of newspapers, and a thousand pounds or so of magazines. Unread magazines. Newspapers that were twenty years old (actually, some were over fifty years old). Junk mail that she couldn't part with. Clothing. Fabric. Ceramics. Unused Christmas presents. Packages and packages of cheap toilet paper (seriously?) and paper towels. Every piece of furniture they every owned. Stuff, stuff, stuff. If you can imagine it, she had it.
For fifty years, my parents lived together in a 1500 square foot, three bedroom house, with a full basement, and a full attic (though the ceilings in the attic angle, the floor space is the same as the footprint of the house). Do the math -- that's 4500 square feet of STUFF. I had to start cleaning one of the bedrooms by literally standing outside of the door and sorting through things. The inside of the room was piled as high as I am tall, and you could not go inside (or even open the door very far). I thought that there was a bed underneath all those things, but there wasn't. It was just an empty room filled with stuff on top of stuff. (Now I know why my mother couldn't retrieve things, like, say, baby and childhood pictures for my wedding video, because she wouldn't have known where to start.)
Her old room was the same way, except that there was a bed in there. She and my father started sleeping together again in the third bedroom, and I have a sneaking suspicion that she moved out of the bedroom she had been using because there wasn't any room for her any longer (I'm only half kidding). There was stuff all over the floor of the living room, dining room, and kitchen. I took out several garbage bags of things from their only bathroom (she liked to save articles from the newspapers she read, and there were literally so many little pieces of paper in there that I don't think she could have managed to even one more sliver of paper in any of the drawers or cabinets).
Now, we're working on the basement and the attic at the same time. My brother and his kids bring things down from the attic, filling in the spaces that I manage to empty in the basement, leading to my own depressed feelings that this project will never end. And, do recall that my mother made me promise to go through everything. I stupidly agreed, never realizing the magnitude of my commitment. Yet, even if I hadn't made the promise, I would probably do it anyway, because she indiscriminately stuffed things in boxes and bags. For example, I found $750 of almost fully matured bonds stuck in a bag of old newspapers. I've found priceless photos in the same manner. I've described this as treasures among the trash, and it really is.
There are so many things that can be used by others. My father lets my brother and I have anything we want. And still, so much left. So, I have been taking containers of stuff home with me, suitable for the Salvation Army, and writing lists about what is inside, estimating the values, and delivering it. I am literally at the Salvation Army two to three times per week, and I am familiar with the nearest Salvation Army donation site that is closest to my daily stops. And, I usually spend part of the small amount of time I have in the evenings typing up these lists so that I can staple the donation slip to it and hand it over to my father for him to use when doing his income taxes. If he had his way, he would have just delivered it to a charity or thrown things out wholesale. I just can't do that. Reduce, reuse, recycle. I'm not a tree hugger, but I can't countenance the waste, either of the things my mother saved, or the little bit of money that my father might be able to recover in charitable contributions on his taxes by documenting what he's donating.
The whole thing is exhausting. And endless.
I sometimes think of it as the "Depression-era" sickness, though the
"Hoarders" program has made me realize that it affects all ages. I
have to believe that it is quite common, because we learned that after
a neighbor two houses down from my father died, his wife had to bring
in a dumpster, not only for all the things he'd saved over the years,
but also for all the things that he'd retrieved out of other people's
trash (he also wouldn't buy her anything new, forcing her, for example, to use one of those wringer-washing machines that you see in museums). A high school friend told me that her father had filled up her
childhood home from top to bottom, then moved and filled a second home
from top to bottom. (Understandably, she has been dreading how the family is going to manage after he passes on.) And, my father has a friend
whose sister has the same issues.
My brother thinks my mother was "crazy" because of this. Crazy, to me, means someone who has broken with reality and sees or believes things that have no basis in fact. I have concluded that my mother had a form of neurosis, an obsessive/compulsive disorder that would have been treatable had she sought treatment (she would have been livid, I think, if I had known the depth of what was going on and suggested she get help). It became so much worse in the ten years before she died, and at that point, I wasn't looking into her bedrooms, basement, or attic to see what she was storing. But she wasn't crazy.
As for me, I am slightly guilty of hoarding, but I have a few saviors. A 750 GB internal hard drive. A 1 TB external hard drive. And Carbonite. My little scraps of paper are saved digitally. Though you wouldn't know that from looking around my house lately. Because holy cow, I just can't find the time to straighten out my own life at the moment. And that would be because I'm still trying to straighten out my mother's life, over two years after she died.
Am I angry that this has happened? Yes, but I know, at some level,
that she couldn't help herself. But the resentment seeps in anyway,
because damn it, my life is on hold while we do this. And, it seems as
if every moment of my time is allocated to someone else -- my husband,
my child, my father.