Monday, August 23, 2010

A dream I lost today

I was really down today because the condo I had been planning to buy on the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon was sold. Condos that were similar, though not as perfect, were still on the market but for a lot more money. I wanted my 180 degree view of the river and the marina below, near the biking and walking trails littered with wildflowers and tall grasses that led to Cottonwood Cove, a beach laden with water soaked logs for climbing and smooth stones for skipping.

I had pictured myself waking up in the morning and taking my bike from the closet to ride out my door and along the river path, where you can grab a handful of Brown eyed Susans or those wild faintly pink roses that grow with abandon in my hometown. I want to be able to roll out of bed in the morning and pull on some sweats and a t-shirt and slide the canoe from the top of the car into the water for a morning paddle. Maybe we'll even have a small skiff or sailboat moored in the marina below that I could take for a spin. I want to read the paper from the deck of my home and breath in the smell of river air and rain over the eggs my lover has made for me. I want to love my partner in that room with the 180 degree view of the water and the mountains, knowing we are finally in the place we are meant to be, living as we should.

I'm not interested in retiring, oh no. I will still engage in life. I picture myself taking the tram into town to work and back or to shop and back or to the doctor's office and back. I long to *not* drive my car for a year, and have it not be a burden, because I don't need to.

You must agree that the life I envision appears divine? So, you can see why I slumped around most of the rest of the day based on this feeling of loss for a place I had never lived in and a life I had never had. But, I'm a regrouper. My heart skipped a beat and a smile spread over my face when I started looking at other properties in Bellingham and Whidby Island, WA, and one in particular that I loved on the banks of a meandering creek in Salida, CO. I convinced myself that the specific locale wasn't what I needed, it was a home with a particular aesthetic, and that aesthetic had a lot to do with water, and living near an informed town center, and of course the west. Don't forget the west. Don't forget freedom. This has a lot to do with freedom.

I guess that all of this would make sense if the plans I made were based in any way in reality, but they aren't, and I know it. This is all a part of a game I play with myself lately called "transporting myself anywhere but here," or "living the life I am entitled to but can't," or "walking and swimming just outside your door in a temperate climate."

Or I would be happy, if only...children, my spouse, grandchildren, my mother and my job were transported somewhere else and some of them were something that they're not.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That day is just never going to come

I'd like to live at the beach

I went over to mom's house this morning to see how she was feeling. She lives in my backyard, so it's just a short walk.

She has had a bladder infection that just won't go away, despite being put on a low dose of antibiotics for months, and despite being prescribed another type of antibiotic in a stronger dose last week. She was allergic to the second antibiotic, which caused spasms in her bladder. The pain made her panic, which very nearly meant an ER visit, but we managed to get her into see her doctor on short notice. So, now she's on a third antibiotic that I hope is ridding her body of this latest nasty UTI, and some sort of pain medication that seems to be easing the symptoms a bit. Of all of the physical problems she has, these urinary tract infections are the worst.

yadayadayada. I know. Now you're bored. I'm bored in the telling.


I arrived at her house when she was in mid-conversation with her caregiving company. I could tell that it was them because her conversation was peppered with "4 hours" and "she didn't tell me she couldn't come on Wednesdays" and "how much do you pay her?" When I arrive in the middle of these things I feel like I maybe shouldn't listen, even though I am the "responsible party" (how I'm hating that). They were trying to explain something to her, and she was trying to come to some decision, but she wound herself into such a whirl of frustration that she became visibly upset, and physically aphasic, and finally spit out, "never mind then!" and hung up the phone.

I think I physically cringed when she finally looked at me because I was scared and because I knew how the visit was going to go, which was not well. And it didn't. Go well. After an uncomfortable conversation, with me trying to brace myself against her anger, my visit with my mother ended with her parting shots: "You should have thought of that when you took my car away," and, "You are making my life miserable."

I turned around and walked home and called her caregiving company to complain about things that were making her upset, even though I know nothing is going to make her happy, at least not anything I've had a hand in creating. And boy was I was involved in getting her a caregiver-- pretty much to the exclusion of everyone else because I thought (and think) she needs it. I also thought she'd get used to it. Now, however, I don't think she will ever get used to it. It's been nearly 3 months and she seems just as mad as she was in the beginning, maybe madder.

After awhile, she called to apologize, sort of, and then launched into a begging chant, "Can't I just drive the car to the store, please, please?

I said something weak back to her, like, "you know I can't let you do that," or something equally lame.

After that, I simply placed the phone in the cradle.

Explaining or restating my explanations just makes her mad. I'm pretty sure that I should be mad back and that maybe we should have a good old fight like we used to have when I was a teenager (there is so much about *this* that feels like *that*). However, as far as my feelings go, I'm sad but not angry. She's a 89 year old woman with dementia, and the dementia is making her upset. A lot.

This maybe the more interesting part:

And all I can think of is-- When will the time come that my life is "my own?"

After mulling this over for the last five hours, I have come to the conclusion that that day will never come. I know this for sure for a bazillion reasons related to my sad overburdened with dependents life situation. Even so, I can't help but ponder "my other life," as in, "the life I'm supposed to be having but can't."

I'll let you in on a little secret: My main pathetic source of entertainment lately is planning the life I could have if I was only responsible for myself. I'm not only a daydreamer. Sometimes, I put these plans into action, like a month ago when I tried to have a contractor draw up plans for a spa-pool for our backyard. I could just envision myself lazing around in a Grecian shaped pool, with a fountain or two, while my family fixed me a mouthwatering dinner. Ah, denial. 

That didn't go over well, despite my big push to try to make it a reality. I thought that if I showed my family how much I really needed something fun in my life at home, that they would understand. They were unimpressed, and, well, it will never happen, as we recently put an offer on a house for our son.

I did buy myself a treadmill for our bedroom, against the advice of my cohabitants. *That* was liberating. And I gave away our huge Thomasville Entertainment Center (located in our bedroom at the site the treadmill now occupies) to one of the treadmill moving guys. (A treadmill is such a symbol of a 9-5, button-down, boring life. Don't you think?) Anyway, giving that thing away made me feel euphoric.

So, I guess I've had one little triumph. "Yay!" for creating my own space, and having fun, and bucking convention.

Now I think I'll go and pick up food to make dinner.
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