I am a bad granddaughter

I still have three of my four grandparents living, all into their 80s.  And one of them, my maternal grandmother, is the most negative person you’ve ever met.  She hates everything.  She doesn’t like anything.  But the entire world has to stop so that she can get what she wants when she wants.   It’s a huge catch 22 and it’s irritating as all hell.

And tomorrow I’m on duty.

She likes bottled water.  Claims the tap water (which was rated very high and tastes just fine) makes her sick.  Fine, that’s her preference.  But she complains about the fact that she has no water for SIX WEEKS and then gets upset that I haven’t offered to get it for her.  But the process of getting water is more than that.  It means she expects to be treated to lunch, must be taken shopping, then taken to Costco where I can lift the bottles into the cart and then take them upstairs to her apartment.

I know it’s little and trivial, but it is something I’m not looking forward to doing tomorrow.  Mainly because I cannot handle a day of snide talking and hateful attitudes.  I have worked very hard to cut out that kind of negativity among my friends and the people I hang out with, only it’s not possible to do that with family.  I wish it were sometimes, but it makes me a horrible granddaughter.

Wish me luck in the AM!

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Generation Gap

I had half a post put together for tonight with Olympic moments, but didn’t get to finish it.  So I guess that will have to wait until after the closing ceremonies.  The reason it didn’t get finished is tonight, after choir, I had an impromptu meeting that took an hour and then I had to drive to Midlothian and work on my parents virus-infected computer for two hours.  I am now exhausted.

While I am thrilled that my mother/step-father and grandmother have email and love to use it, I think that someone needs to invent the fisher-price equivalent of computers for seniors.  Every thing that pops up, they click on.  Every thing they see, they install.  Which means I have to spend hours trying to clean up the system.  Tonight I didn’t even finish.  After over two hours I said sayonara and took off to come home, because I am beat!

Night all!

Roller Coaster Day!

You ever have a morning when you wake up and you really don’t want to get out of bed because you’re afraid the day isn’t going to get better?

That was me this morning.  I didn’t fall asleep until 5am, so I was exhausted when I woke up at 10.  But then surprise! I got asked to lunch by a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months and we had a delightful few hours checking up.  Then I went to the gym and swam not one but TWO miles.  Yay me.  (Side note: I realize it’s Purim, but it really is just plain EVIL to be selling Hamantaschen in the main hall.  Pastries in the gym? SO difficult to pass by!)  Then I met a former coworker and good friend for drinks, with plans to pick up another friend for our weekly TV night later.

But then the phone rang.  It was my someone who rarely calls me.  And as I had seen I had one missed call from him earlier this evening, I answered and asked if I could call back since I was still with my friend, but there was something in his voice that made me pause.  Something was not right.  Something was very, very wrong.  And he wanted me on the phone even if he couldn’t talk about it.  So I made my hasty apologies to my very understanding friend and spent the next hour on the phone.  My heart is now breaking for him, as I don’t know what I can do to help other than be here, and he is out of town.

I still picked up my friend, and still went to TV night (yay Lost!) but my head wasn’t there so much as it was with him.  And yes, it was a roller coaster day.  I guess at the end of the day all I can say is I love you, and if you need to call again I’m here.

Fat Tuesday Eve

Let’s make something clear.

I am not a Catholic.

This is something that my mother tries to force down my throat every year around this time, when I start talking about what I might give up for Lent.  “You’re not Catholic!” she says.  “You were raised Baptist! You’re not supposed to give up anything!”

I was in college when I first encountered people close to me that observed Lent.  Sheltered as I was, I had a lot of questions.  It was a few years, but after much deliberation I started giving up things for Lent as well.  At first it was the more popular sacrifices: chocolate, alcohol, salt, swearing.  Not too difficult, seeing as how I don’t go to chocolate first, don’t drink much (I was the permanent Designated Driver in college), I don’t add salt to my food, and at the time I was on a righteous kick so I rarely swore.  Plus there was always Sunday, which as a feast day was the day where you could indulge.  I made up for the prior week with mimosas and horrid food at brunch! 🙂

As I grew older, there were years where I halfheartedly made Lenten sacrifices.  Candy.  (Don’t really eat it.)  Sex.  (Wasn’t having it anyway.)  Smoking.  (Never smoked in my life.) Going out and partying.  (Never partied–I was working three jobs, so when I had free time all I wanted to do was sleep.)  Then, about five years ago, I finally got serious.  What is the point of sacrificing something if it wasn’t something that was difficult?  Continue reading

The Curse of Family Blessings

Longevity runs in my family.  It is something that I know I should be thankful for, although I didn’t see it that way all the time when I was a kid.  I grew up with all four of my grandparents living and within an hour’s drive of my childhood home.  I even had three great-grandparents on my father’s side, with the great-grandmothers passing away when I was 13 (she was 100 1/2) and 20 (she was 88).  After my parents divorced, we spent a lot of time with my mother’s parents who lived on the opposite side of town.  I saw my father’s parents, who live in Charlottesville, several times a year as well.  It was the status quo.  I was in college before I truly recognized that some people are not as fortunate–a friend of mine had spent the summer with his grandmother in California and had a miserable time because it was the first time he’d seen her in ten years.  I thought that was odd.  Didn’t everyone have a close family that got on each other’s nerves like we did?  And not just grandparents–there was a whole slew of great-aunts and great-uncles as well that were surrogate grandparents as well. Continue reading

When health care gets personal

Two things have happened in the last week that make me wonder how we got here.  I’m sitting here, typing away, and retyping every few keystrokes as my persistent, hacking cough overwhelms me and causes me to type on the wrong keys while I quickly try and cover my mouth.  Sounds attractive, right? Yet I can’t go to the doctor.  I am unemployed, and while I have health insurance it’s not the greatest plan in the world.  I only get to go to the doctor three times a year before I start paying out the wazoo for my visits.  I’ve already been to the dentist, have to have an annual checkup later in the year, which leaves me exactly one doctor’s visit to use at my discretion–in the next 48 weeks.

So is my hacking cough bad enough to go to the doctor now?  What if I get appendicitis? What if I break my wrist?  Then I’m up a creek later in the year because I don’t have the finances to cover a visit.  Sure, I could go to someplace like the Fan Free Clinic, which is a cause I support financially when I am able.  Or I could go to a Doc-in-a-Box where they are required to give you a prescription regardless of condition when you walk in, thereby incurring additional costs that I can’t cover.  It’s a vicious circle.

How did we get here?  Continue reading

Who knew that John’s Hopkins was in the Ghetto?

Two weeks ago today at this time I was in the backseat of a car, trying desperately not to get carsick, on my way to John’s Hopkins Hospital with my mother and younger brother.  My mom had finally gotten word that a skilled pediatric oncologist who specializes in tumor development was available to see her.  This is the only guy that we know of who has seen multiple cases of her disease, and he is a forerunner in the race to find a way to shrink or eliminate the microphages/tumors growing throughout the body of ECD sufferers.

This is a good thing.  We had waited for this appointment since around the first of the year, and I had been trying to convince  my mother to go for it seems like ages.  While I totally appreciate her perspective of not wanting to be a guinea pig or on display for a classroom, this guy merely wanted a consultation.  He got copies of her tests for the last ten years and then just gave a cursory physical (listen to the chest wall, the heart, look at eyes and ears, etc.).  When word had come a scant week before that he was available we made the arrangements to go quickly, my brother took some time off work, I found a dogsitter, and on a train we rode the day before.

It’s interesting, traveling with your parents as an adult. Continue reading