Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Friday, April 14, 2006

Over The River And Through The Woods

I have this grandmother. She's my father's mother and quite frankly, a real pain in the ass. I guess I love her, but I honestly don't like her very much. I would feel bad about that, but since she really hasn't given much of a damn about me throughout my life, I'm not losing any sleep over it. She used to live with my uncle, another member of my family that I guess I loved, but didn't really like very much. I use the past tense because my uncle died in October. Since then, it's been a bit of a struggle to figure out how to handle things with my grandmother. She's not capable of living alone, and none of us have been in a position to live with her. And of course, things only got worse when she fell, not long after my uncle's funeral, and broke her pelvis.

I have made three trips to New Jersey since my uncle's death to help care for my grandmother. I have done this more for my other uncle's sake (I actually do like him) than for my grandmother's. My other uncle (MOU, for short) has borne the brunt of the responsibility for caring for Grandma since her injury. There are many reasons for that, but the easiest to explain is proximity. He lives in Massachusetts, whereas my parents and brother and I are all here in Arizona. This has not been easy on any of us, but it has been especially difficult for him, so when he called me to ask if I could come help out, I didn't hesitate to say yes because I knew how hard this was on him.

In retrospect, this was probably not the best idea.

See, Grandma is not a nice person. She is critical and self-absorbed. She is mean-spirited and unrelentingly negative. She is a master manipulator and only interested in you insofar as you are useful to her. And that only scratches the surface. From the moment my plane touched down in New Jersey until the moment my plane took off again, I was expected to wait on Grandma hand and foot. Every need was to be anticipated, and every desire attended to. I learned the routine quickly. It was easier that way. But for every second I spent in her company, I could feel a bit of my soul dying. Particularly since, in addition to all of those aforementioned nasty personality traits, the woman watches pro wrestling and believes every melodramatic moment of it is real. WRESTLING, people. She is truly the anti-Christ. And now? It's that time again.

I'm leaving for New Jersey on Tuesday. MOU and Grandma are purchasing a townhouse so that they can move in together, and MOU needs assistance packing up their belongings. I've agreed to help, again, more for my uncle's sake than anything else. But at least this time, I have a few more things working for me. Number one, I'm bringing Mama Jo along with me. I've traveled with Turtle by myself for the last couple of trips, but for this one, Mama Jo insisted that we travel together. She, thankfully, has recognized how much of a toll these little visits have been taking on me and decided that I needed an ally if I was to head out there again. Number two, having come home deeply depressed the last few times, and recognizing the marital issues that have arisen between Oscar and myself since I started doing this, I am heading up there this time around with a distinct lack of patience for Grandma's bullshit. It may have taken me a while, but I've finally realized that I don't even let Oscar treat me the way Grandma treats me, so why I have let her get away with it is completely beyond me. I'm not letting it happen again. And number three, this time around, I have a Boyfriend who lives in New York. We've bandied about the idea of getting together while I'm in the neighborhood. I don't really expect that it will happen. But just having the possibility lightens the load a little bit.

I still don't expect this will be easy. Particularly since....wait for it....I will not have internet access for the entire time I am gone. MOU somehow got the bright idea to save money by canceling the internet service to Grandma's house. At the time, he didn't realize he'd be spending as much time there as he did. Dumbass. So in addition to being in the presence of a woman whose sole goal in life is to make everyone around her as miserable as she is, I will be away from my precious internet community for 8+ days. No updating my blog. No reading everyone else's updates. Nothing. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. I'm still packing my laptop, though. I figure if nothing else, I can write as things come up, and have a wealth of stories to tell you upon my return. It's a small consolation, but it's all I've got.


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