Sunday, May 5, 2013
For 15 years I have done my Mom and Dad's accounting and managing three apartment buildings. My sister had my parents house to sell and manage but I have felt for years that I had more to do. But, I also like to control everything so I felt okay being in charge of the money and I am a people person so dealing with tenants was easy for me. My sister doesn't like confrontation so our assigned duties were okay but in recent years, I have become weary. My sister and her husband have made suggestions and I have felt like they were not as satisfied with my management as they could be and would do everything differently. I befriend the tenants and am sympathetic to their needs. My sister, not so much. She sees it more as a business and isn't into the personal touch like me. Finally, the thoughts of getting out started to percolate. I would love to sell the buildings, they are not in favor of it so the logical transition would be for them to manage all of them and my mom's finances as well. I feel my life is taking another direction and since I am by myself and have no backup, I decided it was time to let them do it all. That is when the trouble started. They started mentioning their plans for management and it goes totally against my basic instincts. They are for no interactions with the tenants and if it causes vacancies, so be it. They want to make more money and I am sure it is possible but changes are needed. I have always felt a building full at a lower price was better than constant move in and move outs as rents are raised yearly. They have three daughters who rent and because their rents are always raised each year that is the way they want to go. We have been fighting for weeks as I see a different side of my sister which I totally don't identify with or understand. We both came from the same parents but our sensibilities are so different. Our lifestyles totally different and personalities as well. She is extremely private and I am totally the opposite. She can be in a class and not talk to anyone and I will talk to everyone. I love peoples' stories, she could care less, unless they are her few close friends. I make friends by asking questions and making the effort to know them. She finds people who share too much to hard to be around. I realize I love my life and even though we are so different, she is family and I want it work better as sisters. Also, my sister and I have never been social friends and ours is totally a family relationship. We talk frequently because of my Mom but if she were not alive, there really wouldn't be reasons to talk in my mind. I am close to her daughters but that is a separate relationship and they live out of Los Angeles. They are grown and on their own so as they move to get their masters and permanent jobs, we connect through email or texting. It all culminated in a major reorganization last night, so much that when they came to pick up boxes of crap that I have stored for my parents and the buildings, even Jacked remarked when he came to the living room, "that was awkward Grammie." He picked up on the feud without knowing a thing. My sister and I were cordial but right now I am ready to walk away from everything. They won't buy me out and they won't sell so I am between a rock and a hard place. My dad fought with his own brother when I was small and we ended up being cut off from that side of the family. It worked for us as my dad's parents and sister sided with my dad so really his brother was cut off from everyone in his family. It bothered my dad for his whole life that his brother cheated, in a business they shared, they my dad financed for the brother to even become a partner years before and that it was so egregious to my dad that they never amends made. My sister and I were taught to never let this happen and as the last few weeks have unfolded, I go to a place where I see this happening in real time to us. I don't want, on many levels, this to happen to my sister and myself. But how does one save themselves when values clash and vision differ? Also, not wanting to involve any other family members. When I woke up this morning, I wrote my sister that I am calm now and will just let them do it their way and if it doesn't work, we will work on some other options. I even told Jack I was feeling great this morning and was no longer upset with my sister. He was pleased and only mentioned it to his mom when we came home which was not so great as she tends to support my sister more than me. But that is founded on the fact that I am the mother-in-law and my sister is just a fun Aunt to her and the family. Right now we are in a moratorium. I will give them time to manage and I will take the time to travel and do what I love best, relaxing and doing my own things. And hope that when the dust,grime and all my clean cabinets and drawers are filled with better projects for, we will be better friends and sisters again. Some of the above has been written and thought about in degrees the last few months. Also, mortality has been a big issue for me with my Mom becoming more and more disabled and my recent good friend finding cancer at 42. I am saddened all the time lately by these issues and they have tempered my usually happy engaged self. As night becomes day, things always look better and I feel now that my house is rid of the apartment business and all the check books except my own, my life will travel a better course. Most of these feelings I have kept inside telling bits and pieces in my blog and to a few women friends who I use to vent and now to my facebook family who have shared their stories of sadness, family, tragedy and joy with me. Thanks for giving me an avenue to just be me and speak my mind.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
I don't know if it is because my Mom is totally disabled and somewhat demented and says she wants to live to be 100 or my good friend having surgery for breast cancer or having lost my best friend 15 years ago to cancer or seeing people my age getting old, but I am thinking about death and dying so much more than usual. Mostly mine, though. It seems to follow me in all my activities and at night when I lay down I wonder if I will wake up in the morning not that I would know if I didn't. When my grand kids sleep over we go over what to do if they can't get me up in the morning or in case I should become unresponsive during the time I am awake. Living by myself for the last 24 years I have not thought about this until this last year or so. My trainer also reminded me that this October I turn 65 (young in today's world) but clearly it warrants my brain to think about it all. I am in good health, take medicines to stay that way. I work out 4 times a week not all that much cardio but with balance and weights and some cardio. My diet I would say is the least best part of me. I love sweets and when I was told a few years ago that I was pre-diabetic, I cut back and started eating better for the almost 75% of my life but that 25 could kill me. Heart disease is rampant in my family, cancer nowhere. I have taken anti-depressives for over 20 years (very small does) as it has kept me out of global hopelessness which was my main issue. I worried for the world and the future of my kids and future grandkids. I could see a movie that was disastrous and fall apart emotionally. For the last 20 years I have been depression free except for a few months when I decided to up the dosage (to a more therapeutic one which has now held me for years. It is not depression I feel but a real feeling of my demise. There are no indicators on which this is based. Just getting older and even though I have too much energy for most people my age or younger and have always felt younger than my age, now I am feeling closer to my age in so many ways. I am lucky that I have no real aches, or pains as lingering pain can be dreadful, according to my friends who have it and have to think about it everyday. I wake up feeling grateful and go to sleep feeling grateful but feeling my fate is already predestined. But then I look to my mother who has lived double the years of her father who was stricken at 32 with a heart attack and lived until 42. She is a walking medical success story where drugs have prevented her dying from a heart attack. And consequently my medicine, I can only assume is doing the same for me. As I think about the years left and believe me I try not to, I wonder what is in my future. I have a plan to never get like my Mom even if I have to move to Oregon where compassionate death is available. I try and really stay in the moment and try and breathe and think about my breath and all the goodness in my life. I am blessed with great kids, great grandkids and a loving sister and nieces. I live up the street from my older son and his family and while now it still seems that they need me more than I need them, I know the day will come when they will be helping me. Do any of you reading this have these thoughts and if so what to you do to sweep them away?
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
My Mom turns 86 this March, if she makes it. She it totally disabled and has full time caregivers in her own place. You might remember another blog when I talked about moving her out of our family home and putting her in a rented apartment. She is going downhill and the dilemma is what do my sister and I do to help her in the process of dying. She can no longer see and cataract surgery is out of the question, so she only listens with her eyes in a blurry state. She seems to hear what she wants and ignores you, if not interested. She requests that my sister and I leave her alone when we visit, after 2 minutes. She wants to sleep and not be bothered. As my sister said to her doctor today, short of suffocating her what can we do? Kidding on the side of reality but not really considering it. He was shocked, as we all are, that my Mom is still living. Her doctor father had a heart attack at 32 and was dead at 42. He was told to go home and rest and wait to die. Instead he exercised and drank red wine. It kept him alive for 10 years, although he was unable to work. My mom was 19 when he died and she lived with a sick father for most of her life, that she remembered. She assumed she would die at 42 as well, but with modern medicine she didn't. She had a heart attack years ago and angioplasty years ago. Medicines have kept her going far past the time she imaged. About 10 years ago when my Dad died at the age of 77 my mom was already starting her downward decent. She had a business which she was no longer capable of running, so my sister and I closed it. For awhile she cared with what was going on as we liquidated her antique jewelry business but, after the death of my father she felt life was no longer viable. She signed a DNR but we never talked about what she wanted if she became incapacitated. On one hand she wanted to always live to be 100 but assuming she was in good health. Well, she isn't and it won't get better. She has many issues relating to enlarged ventricles with unknown etiology. When I go there she doesn't have any affect and will only talk when she feels like it which is almost never. Her eyelids are turning inside out on the lower lids and she is not a candidate for eye surgery. She can't eat unless fed now and she is placed on a toilet twice a week and given drugs to make her have a bowel movement. She is a wreck but outwardly she looks pretty damn good for 86. She was always a fashionista and has definitely been under the knife in her earlier days. The face, other than the eyes, still looks damn good. In fact, the only time she goes out is to have her nails done, hair colored and eyebrows waxed. Mostly, the caregivers take her out twice a week for lunch and the above accoutrements. Recently however she is getting very angry at her caregivers who have treated her so well and complains they are hurting her. The sad part is that it has become very difficult to clean her and brush her teeth and keep her from getting bedsores. Amazingly, she has never had one that has broken the skin. The caregivers take such great care of my Mom and we want them to stay until the end. The end will come but don't know when. She eats still when fed and since she is not moving at all and is totally unable to walk or move herself in the bed, her life has no quality. But, since it is not written down, my sister and I struggle with what to do. She is taking lots of meds which clearly keeps her alive. The doctor has finally offered, when we asked, to let us take her off of everything except one drug (to prevent edema) and gave us one new one for agitation and anger. We started today and it seems to help and can be used as needed. For pain he is willing to give us medication but it is highly constipating and that is not a good thing. She is not ready for hospice as she is still hungry in the morning and we have told her if she has had enough she can stop eating and we won't encourage the caregivers to offer food. All are very tough decisions which could be so much easier to make if when she was well and had told us what she wanted. She always wanted to be young at heart and I thinks she truly felt she would not grow old. Her generation lived in denial and lived their life in fantasy about death. I have lived the opposite preparing for my eventual death. My wishes are written out in very clear terms and my kids know what to do. I have felt like this from about 19 when I knew I wanted no extraordinary means to keep me alive under ever situation I could think of. I have backup people who will help me when I decide enough is enough. The problem is realizing when enough is enough. I hope I have covered everything as I would never live like my mother and either would she if she fully recognized what she is living. Dementia and Alzheimer's fools the person into believing they are doing things they are no longer capable of doing. For a long time she felt she could walk went she couldn't and felt she was still driving places herself when she had a driver. Then she thought she was actually preparing a Kardashian wedding. It is so sad to see my Mom like this. She was a powerful women most of her life, she ran her own business for 40 years and encouraged my sister and I to be our best selves. She changed from a 50's wife to her own person. She was always the best dressed in the room and worked so hard for my sister and I to be fashion forward and it so didn't work. She loved us the best she could and sometimes it worked and others it didn't. But both of us believe she should die with dignity and we are trying our best to give her last time on this earth a positive sendoff. Today she asked what was wrong with her and my sister explained she was older and her body and mind were not responding and that she was slowing down. She said she just wanted to go to sleep implying forever. We told her she is in charge now and doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want to do. We advised the caregivers to stop brushing her teeth if she doesn't want it and not dress her everyday to go out anymore if she doesn't want either. Abide by any wishes she has about everything. Just clean her only. So far today was a good day after she had her anti aggressive medicine. When she woke up she told my sister hello which was her first words of loveliness in a long time. We are trying our best.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
I was a doer my whole life, a fixer if you will. I always was ready to help anywhere and anyone. Only backfired twice in my life that I remember. Most often it enriched my life. I worked hard, played hard and journeyed far. I loved my life. Now, I still love my life day to day but I have become lazy with just about everything. I can lay in my bed for hours reading and writing. I can watch Tivo'd shows and not think about getting dressed or showering. My neighbors see me more in jammies than in regular clothes. I must state, I am not depressed. I know that feeling well, but with great meds that hasn't been my issue in almost 20 years. No, this is a new state of being for me. I can run around and get so much time in a short time and then retreat to my room and my bed. I have no unfinished projects ever, as I am a doer and on the ADD/OCD side (which has always made me productive and extremely organized). That seems to be some of the issue. I am too organized. I want some chaos in my life, some drama (I gave that up years ago, too) and some madness. I know, for all you who suffer from things I want, you will see this as mad and crazy. I used to try and get my house messy, I tried to not finish projects but it was not in my DNA. I have had a rich and great life and it is still rich and great but just with a lot more free time and try and I might I can't seem to fill the days with projects or exciting adventures. Sure I go out and have friends galore. I can keep busy but not inclined to do so as I once was. I don't want to think of myself as aging out of all that my life has been yet, I see myself far more at ease with nothing going on and that it so not me. I have seen it creep in slowly and now become a part of my life. I fight it but not as much as I used to. I seem to have to force myself out by myself. Never used to be that way. When I worked full-time, I had a housekeeper and now after 20 years I couldn't see her not being in my home one day a week. She is part of the family and I know she loves coming here because there is no mess and just dusting to do for the most part and changing sheets. My house is pretty damn clean and organized. I have gone from leaving when she comes to letting her clean around me as I lay around doing my writing and reading and other activities. I am luck to have a very talented painting teacher who motivates me at least once a month or more and that works for the two hours she is here in my studio but I never venture out on my own just to paint. I have become lazy. If people knew me years ago lazy would have never entered their minds. I worked out (still do for two half hours a week). I walked to everything I could (but now drive). I never ate sensibly and still don't. I go places by myself as I did before but, not as much. I want and desire to change it up but have no ideas as to what I can do. I need projects, I need goals, I need suggestions. Does anyone need their house organized or garage cleaned? I am a great organizer, doer and fixer. I will travel to you. So here I sit on a beautiful Saturday in Los Angeles, in my jammies, writing. I did walk over to my neighbors for homemade waffles but in my jammies and bathrobe. I am planning on showering and going to my grandson's basketball game at 6 pm and then to Apple Pan for dinner with him and my son but, that's it. To all my friends who need help in anything, call me and give me a project. The bad part is I have also learned the ability to say NO!!!
Friday, December 21, 2012
First the killings of innocent children, then the NRA coming out for security people with guns at schools, then the fiscal cliff and finally all those stories about coulda, woulda, shoulda for the last day of the world. I can't live in regret or sorrow or sadness without doing something. I read others stories and it is all about what they wish they could do in their lifetime. i say stop writing about it and tackle one thing a day. If you don't return calls do, if you don't return emails do, if you normally don't give, do and if you don't extend a reach to others, do. Stop focusing on all that you wish you could do and start focusing on what you do or can do. Money makes it easier to give but there are so many opportunities that cost nothing. Clean your closet and give to a charity. Clean out your pantry and kitchen and donate. Write a letter to a friend you have been missing. Visit someone in a nursing home. Take you talent to a hospital. Sing and dance you way through life where it is most needed. I am sorry but it is the time to stop writing and start doing. Invite someone to your home for an afternoon of tea or wine. Join a charity, work for good, sign petitions but don't wallow in all the things you wish you had done. Get it done. Put down those pens and papers and stories and make someone else your story. There should be no regrets if you truly think of others. Wake up each day with a smile and a wish to make someone else's life easier. Concentrate on goodness, concentrate on helping others and most of all spread love. It doesn't always work as some are mired in their sorrow, or selfishness or ability not to step out of their misery but for those who can or want to or will, you can offer a hand, a handout or a loving smile. Please extend your reach today. You would be surprised how far it can go.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The holidays are upon us and my head has been spinning since October. And the culmination of the imagined spinning has morphed into real spinning (benign positional vertigo). It all started in August when I decided to end a 12 year relationship (I know you have heard this story from me before but, it was working this time). I went off to Provincetown without this person in my life. I painted, I walked, I rode a bike and barely was this person in my vision. I put out to the universe I was ready for something/someone new in my life. Well, I guess I wasn't specific enough to say exactly what I wanted. I went to one of the gayest cities in America hoping to I don't know fall for a gay man? I have always picked unavailable men but have always had hope they would change their ways and become my "person". But falling for a gay man was never in my field of vision. I have many men in my life as friends whether they be former boyfriends, gay men, or just friends, from the beginning. But I have never been attracted to them other than as what they presented to me in my life. But, my latest foray has sent me far a field from someone "hopefully" attainable. I met someone who is 100% unattainable except for friendship. There is no chance or hope that this man will ever be what I really can have and want in my wheelhouse for a boyfriend. His qualities are ones of honesty, enthusiasm and love of shoes. We text a lot and I get photos of shoes, his dog, his Thanksgiving tablecloth he made himself and lots of other musings. We have become the best of friends and really do care about each other, that I am sure of. But as far as my needs and wants for a boyfriend, this one is a no brainer. However, he has shown me in a very short time what I do want in a straight man. I want the qualities of a gay man (with a very well developed female side), one who engages in conversations on all topics, one who is attentive, one who you know is there for you and one who appreciates your kindness and enthusiasm for life. I want someone who can handle their life and has it relatively together and is AVAILABLE. I learned from a gay male friend that a vision board is what I need to make. Since I no longer get magazines (saving our planet) except People and Oprah (soon to end) my visions are limited to the popular people and favorites things that are over the top in indulgence and expense. I will scout the internet and find photos of what is important to me. I am now convinced I can share my life with a man. I wasn't so sure before my latest adventure. It is time to let someone in. I think picking a gay man to fall in love with is the ultimate expression to me that I have to pick in a different direction. As for the 12 year relationship that I left behind that changed a little as well. My birthday was a day for emails and texts and calls and one was from him. We texted and talked and have become phone buddies again. Have not seen him since I have returned. Of course my new friend has become a constant in my life. He is a texter which I have learned to enjoy. They come at all hours of the day and night and reminds me I have found a very valuable new relationship. Platonic as can be but much richer in ways I never could have envisioned. So in a way my thought of someone new in my life materialized just not in the form I expected. Life constantly puts out challenges to test our visions, our loves, likes and our friendships both old and new. I have been flying as high as a kite the last 8 weeks and have been remiss in writing to my faithful readers but after a query from one of them about why I haven't written I felt my friends were calling me back in the fold. I am coming off the clouds and landing back on terra firma.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Last day and night in Provincetown. I am packing, cleaning and doing laundry (nice to come home with everything clean). I am sad to be leaving this lovely paradise on the outer cape. It has shown me a wonderful time with new friends and a deeper appreciation for the changing of the leaves and weather patterns. I have survived a Hurricane, a Nor'easter and some cold windy weather. But I have also been witness to the sea full time. I need the ocean in my life. I soaked enough into my soul to last for awhile. Tomorrow leaving on a small plane to Boston where 5 hours await me in the lounge. It is glorious today with some wind and beautiful blue skies. First and foremost, I must talk about the food in a whaling and fishing town. It is so fresh and amazing and the lobster still seems like it is alive as it was two seconds before they serve it to you. Tanks of live lobsters fill tanks here and are picked according to the weight you want. To know that they came in fresh that morning made them even better. The clam chowders and lobster bisque are creamy and some even had sherry to their bisque's. Loved that extra feature, The old fashion oyster crackers come with all the soups and they taste just like I remember them and are much better than saltine crackers. I had some fabulous meals and enjoyed some yummy desserts as well as evidenced by my photos along the way. The people I have met have universally been lovely other than the queen next door. But to his credit he did apologize and I never saw him again. The men and women, servers, bar tenders and those owners I talked to all love their town and will tell some amazing stories to one who just asks the right questions. They tell you how they landed in the outer cape and why they love it so. Life is slower and calmer and the essence of the big city not anywhere around. As you walk town I waved to people I had met and I felt like I belonged. I love the townies as they are called. Most are from somewhere else but I did meet a very few natives to that area. The events that took place speak for themselves in my many blogs from here. Again, everyone had fun and were so pleasant to a stranger in their midst. We laughed at the groups, the comics, the Halloween get ups and sang your hearts out with Bobby at the piano. A permanent smile was always on the people too. They walked around happy. Nothing got in their way of their joy. And of course, being off season, it was more quiet and back to the space that the townies love. A quiet breeze, a little sun and the sea kept my soul nourished. My daily walks to the beach and harbor were moments of reflection and I would not trade one day of my trip. I originally thought 6 weeks might be a little long but, it went by so fast it is hard to believe it is time to leave. And I leave with my soul full, my dreams in tact and the smell of the sea forever with me. Thanks for taking the journey with me and all your wonderful comments. It truly was an adventure of a lifetime. And a special shout out to my new BFF Anthony who really showed me why he gave up a big career after 30 years in NYC and moved to the Cape to take the job of Tourist Director and before that Chief of Operations at the Pilgrim Monument. I learned to see the love in his eyes for Provincetown and it enhanced my love of the town as well.