Saturday, November 27, 2010

on cracking up and going to pieces

We are "this close" to having my mother-in-law's place completely empty. Just a couple more things to pick up and some cleaning that we're paying someone else to do. That feels a little silly, to pay someone to clean a small empty place, but not so much so that I'm insisting on doing it myself. Between Maya's birthday and Sylvia's funeral and Thanksgiving, my ass is worn out.

It's been more emotional for me than I expected it to be in her place with her things, and I'll be glad when it's done. I did have a good laugh today though. We had an estate type sale and there was a surprisingly good turnout considering this is a huge retail weekend. After the last of the chairs was sold there was nowhere to sit but on a little TV stand. It stood up okay to my weight, but when Austin sat on my lap, our combined weight was too much. It buckled and broke all to pieces. My pants got terribly torn in the process (which was very upsetting to me because I don't ever have enough clothes) and I got a nasty bruise on my side. But the sight of that fake wood piece of crap flat on the floor cracked me up for some reason. I kept telling Austin, "Daddy's going to kill me." And then I would laugh some more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

nobody said it would be easy

Thank all that is good in the universe that we only have to do that once a year. We had a nice day. It was a lot of work, but you know, good. We had a teeny bit of family drama right there at the end and well... shit, it will pass, but... shit.

And turkey drippings are without a doubt the most slippery thing I have ever spilled on my kitchen floor. I am so ready for this month to be over.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

The pies are cooling.
The cornbread is baked.
The turkeys are thawed.
The floor is mopped.

Where's the vodka?

Monday, November 22, 2010

one more thing

I hate to be all death death death, funeral funeral funeral, but I have to write this out before I forget.

By way of using the same funeral home for my mother-in-law as we did for my father-in-law, we ended up with the same limo driver for both funerals. A lovely older black gentleman from Louisiana named Morris. Austin didn't ride in the limo last time because he was only 2 and he was a little turd, but this time he and I joined the folks in the limo. Austin really liked the limo and Morris too. He called Morris sir and kept saying to me that he needed "to talk to sir." Then he would turn his face toward the front of the car and holler "Sir! Sir!" Morris either didn't hear him or knew better than to engage a chatty 4 year old. But the whole scene made me and the other adults in the car giggle. I was so grateful to Austin for that, just as I was 2 years ago when we burried my father-in-law. Sadness and loss are so much more tolerable when you have a goofy little kid to entertain you and keep you up.

Austin also insisted on taking a turn at the mic in church. I managed to keep him in the pew until all the scheduled speakers had finished (including me) other than a few moments when he stood with my mom and held her hand while she did the intro. But by the end I figured he'd earned it, so I let him go up to the microphone while everyone was filing out. He babbled some mostly unintelligable stuff and I was just grateful that he didn't say any curse words -- 'cause god knows, he knows 'em all.

Anyway, after the graveside bit we headed back for the reception and we were trying to explain to Morris to drop us off at the first house, and then go up to the second house (my parents') and join us for food. Then Morris said "show me where the second house is so I know for next time." To which we all responded "NEXT time?! No next time, thank you," and cracked up.

spare me over for another year

He stops mid-song to share something. That just makes it for me.

tired but enjoying it in spite of myself

I was going to write something about Thanksgiving, but it would probably end up word-for-word the same as the one I wrote last year because that's just how we do it.

So, some housekeeping and catch-up instead.

Lori had a court hearing the same day that my mother-in-law died in surgery. Yet another continuance. This time at the request of the defence. Things will pick up again in January. If they actually finish this time (and that's a BIG if) and if they do it as quickly as they can, best case scenario, everything will be done in time for the second anniversary of her arrest (and her son's death). I have my doubts.

I still need to download the pictures we took the day of my mother-in-law's funeral last week. But you may have to take my word for it that the kids looked beautiful. My mom made Austin a pinstriped vest and pants to match that he wore with a black dress shirt. Maya wore a very cute dark grey Calvin Klein dress. Dan wore jeans to his own mother's funeral (which was held at a church and a national/military cemetary). That's my husband, god love him.

We still have houseguests, and it's been fun visiting with Dan's oldest sister, her daughter and a friend of hers, but my house is full to bursting and my bank account has run dry from feeding the extra bodies, two of whom really like to eat. But we sit up late nights playing cards and laughing our asses off, so that makes up for it.

And just 33 days 'til Christmas! Ha!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

it's done

As Ms. Chapman says in the song below, the bucket is kicked, the body is gone.

There's still so much to do following my mother-in-law's death. Unfortunately for him, most of that burden falls on Dan. Her apartment must be emptied, her belongings given, sold and donated as appropriate. Family from out of state will begin to go home tomorrow and will all be gone by next Tuesday. Thanksgiving may be hard for him. Christmas will be without a doubt.

Yesterday at the funeral, I saw my brother-in-law for the first time since he had some very serious health problems this year. I held onto him and told him it was so good to see him. No pretext (from me) about wishing it were under better circumstances, it was just really, really good to have him there -- alive.

Tracy Chapman - Say Hallelujah

I posted this video a few months back, but it's just too good not to post now. I love the tempo and need something like this as antidote for sadness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Family for Ever

The lovely Ms. Petit Fleur invited me to post about family today in honor of Maggie May's soon-to-be-born baby girl, Ever.

Family. That was the prompt, right? Write something about family. Well, if there is anything I know right now, it's family. I'm up to my damn eyeballs in family. God help me.

My oldest child's birthday was yesterday. She is now 14. I can't possibly be old enough to have a 14 year old child, can I? I feel like I was just 19 yesterday. On second thought, after yesterday, I do feel that old. We celebrated her birth with cupcakes and ice cream and friends and music and well, what could be better than that?

Two days from now, we will bury her grandmother, my mother-in-law, who died a week ago today. A birthday and a funeral, like little bookends. The only big event missing from this week is a wedding. A good friend of mine recently got divorced... does that count?

Is it just me, or is a post that was supposed to be about Family turned into a post about Life? I suppose they are inseparable for many of us. And for me, that's a pretty damn good thing. I know there are people out there who have no one. No parents or kids or siblings or cousins. I know these people exist. And I can honestly say I cannot even begin to imagine what that life must be like, for better or worse. (Freedom sounds pretty good sometimes.) But I have NEVER felt like I am on my own. Even if I hadn't created this little family in my house, I always have my mom and grandparents to lean on... as long as they are alive, I don't doubt that. When they're gone... well I really just can't think about that.

And you know what? I know that Ever will have that same foundation, that same safety net. With Maggie May and Mr. Curry and Lola and Ian and Dakota. That Ever is a super lucky girl.

Let's all help them say "hello baby!"


You can help offset the cost of early parenthood by contributing an amount comfortable for you to the BABY LOVE 4-EVER MATERNITY FUND:

The Currys are registered at BABIESRUS. Their registry can be accessed by name: Maggie Ethridge or Registry #: 46171571

And stop by these sites for Ever's Virtual Baby Shower!

Flux Capacitor (The Ever Mama)
The Moon Worn as if it had been a Shell
The Chocolate Chip Waffle
Bless Our Hearts
Petit Fleur's Adventures (The Hostess of this here shindig)

This bit stolen from Ms. Moon:

And oh- even if you can't donate (and that is okay! I promise!) go to Maggie's place and leave your comments, your good wishes, your welcome to Ever Elizabeth. That may be the most important part of all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When my time comes

The funeral biz is such a racket. A thousand bucks here, 350 there...

Don't get me wrong. She (my mother-in-law) deserves whatever her son and daughters want to give her in send-off. It's just... good Lord... expensive and maudlin and NOT FOR ME.

So, in the spirit of honoring me in my death, this is what I want:

I want to be cremated*. They have to put your body in something to cremate it, but for crying out loud, make it something on the reasonable end of the price scale. I don't care too much for the $200 cardboard box or the $600 Ikea style fake wood one (actually, it's not that bad, but Dan said NO), the $900 pine one will do just fine. More than fine. Anything more expensive than that will be grounds for a haunting.

Sprinkle my ashes at the place I call home. If for some unforeseeable reason it is no longer my home in the legal or title kinda way, TRESPASS YOUR ASS THERE AND DO IT ANYWAY.

If there must be a get-together of some kind, THERE MUST BE MUSIC and THERE MUST BE FOOD. Alcohol is recommended, but optional. If it helps you to pray, go right ahead. Remember to hug each other and tell people you love them. If there will be little kids there, get a jumper or something so they won't be bored.

That'll do.

* To be completely honest, and perhaps disgusting, I would really rather lay down in a field and be returned to the earth the old-fashioned, ecologically useful kind of way. But I'm pretty sure modern society and my family might frown on such an approach.

Monday, November 8, 2010

she didn't make it

My husband's mother died tonight. She spent about 9 hours in surgery before her heart gave out. I don't know what else to say right now. Dan and his sisters are just beginning to process it and her oldest granddaughter is a wreck.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

the air today

There's such a good breeze today that I didn't even realize the ceiling fans weren't running (they're always running -- I can't stand still air).

It's been miserably hot here for November. The AC was set to come on autmatically still -- it had been forgotten about since summer -- and it actually came on a couple days this week when the temperature outside got into the upper 90s.

My mother-in-law is still awaiting surgery. For a bit yesterday they talked about not doing it at all. As badly as her heart needs to be fixed, her lungs may or may not be quite strong enough for the physical stress of such a surgery. But as of now they are saying maybe Monday... we'll see. Her 78th birthday is two weeks from today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Everything is Free

I'm taking the easy way out here the last few days and just posting some music I like. Doesn't Gillian Welch have a lovely voice?

Not much to report regarding my mother-in-law's impending open-heart surgery, just waiting. It was going to happen Wednesday, then Thursday, and is now supposed to happen Friday.


A conversation with Austin while listening to the radio --

me: Austin, do you hear this song?

him: [listening] Yes.

me: It's The Beatles.

him: [pause, smirk] I'm going to turn it off.

me: Oh no you're not!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Avett Brothers - Shame

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Zee Avi - Anchor

Family is a Sexually Transmitted Disease

My mother-in-law is in the hospital and will probably be having a triple bypass in the next 24 hours or so. She had gone in for a angiogram and the blockage etc. they saw was cause for considerable concern.

It goes without saying (doesn't it? I hope.) that even though this woman has driven me crazy over the years... she's... you know... family. She raised the man I chose to spend my life with. Damn, this family stuff is hard sometimes.

(The title is someting an aunt of mine used to say.)

Monday, November 1, 2010