Steve Hutchison (foomf) wrote,
Steve Hutchison

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Mele Kalikimaka

Christmas musings.

It's been way too long since I visited Mom. She's in Dallas, Oregon, which is about a two hour drive, at best, and her house is filled with the lovely (gag) reek of burned tobacco. Penny has gotten so sensitive to the stuff that the last two times she was in a heavy-smoking house (Vicky's and Mom's, respectively) she had an asthma attack so severe that we had to take her to urgency care for a nebulizer treatment. To add insult to injury, they wanted to take us to dinner on Mom's birthday in November, but Penny's knees have been so completely intolerable that we couldn't do it - dinner at the Spirit Mountain casino buffet - but we just got her a wheelchair (rental) so she can go out to the gym and stuff, so things should be better. So we went to lunch with Mom on Tuesday.

So we also saw Grandma.
A bit of background on my Grandma. She's 92. She thinks she's 82. She's deaf, and will not spring for a hearing aid. She's become QUITE set in her ways, and they don't necessarily have anything to do with reality. And, she lives with my mom.
She's become increasingly paranoid and moody over the years, and she KNOWS that they'll throw her out on the streets if she doesn't help with housework etc. even though the help involves things like running four or five loads of laundry even if there isn't anything dirty - she'll empty the linen closet and re-wash it.

She has always been irrational about her great-grandchildren.
My brother Allen's second wife lives in Portland with HER mother - and there's a family which makes mine seem heavenly bliss by comparison. Shelley can be found in the dictionary cross-filed under "Slut" and "Bitch". She's got two daughters by Allen and a son she claims is Allen's but we know better. She's been using the child support money for her DAUGHTERS to pay for the son's incarceration in a reform school in Mexico, and she thinks this is OK. (Oddly, Shelley's sister is a good friend of ours from the Teddy Bear club and we never knew this.)
Shelley also lives with her mother, who has strung her along with the belief that when she dies Shelley will inherit the house. (Right. Sure she will. The old bat has played her brother and Shelley off against each other for years.)

The younger daughter was living with Allen and his girlfriend for a while but that came to an abrupt end when she continued to shoplift, and get caught, and when Allen blew it by forgetting her (the girlfriend's) birthday after having made plans to do things.
She returned to Portland to live with a friend (she's 14 and her grandmother has assaulted her repeatedly, so she won't live with Shelley.)
The older daughter (16) was sent by Shelley to live with Allen. Allen is a long-haul truck driver and is away from home for more than four days in a row, and this girl is not just untrustworthy, she's got no common sense, and Allen lives in a very bad neighborhood - a trailer park full of whores - and so it's not exactly the kind of place for her to be staying. So, she was living with Mom.

Thing is, Grandma decided that she hated the interloper. She went into constant bitch mode, haranguing her for everything she did - even when it was something Grandma had told her to do just a half hour before. And she never stopped.
So. After three months of this, Mom decided that it was doing no good for either her grand-daughter or her mother to have the girl living with them, and called the slut mother to come down from Portland and fetch her when the school term ended. And, when Slut arrived to pick up the girl the first thing she said was that she'd just drop her off at Allen's place, so Mom had to advise her that if she did Mom would turn her in for child endangerment (which really should've been done years ago when Slut's mother was assaulting the younger daughter.)

Eventually Mom had to tell her to shut her (adjective) mouth and get the hell out of her house, she could wait outside for the girl to take her things to the car.
Anyway. It's over, and she's back with her mother. And Grandma has shut up.

So. We met Mom for lunch on the 23rd, halfway between, at the Hotel Oregon which is a McMenamin's project - they restore old historic buildings and turn them into brew-pub/inn/theatre/etc - and Mom brought Grandma! I don't know why, as her darling boy George, my uncle (who is her pride, joy, and utter bliss) is visiting for Christmas. Anyway. George didn't show up for the lunch. The lunch was good. The family gossip was ... well, partly what I just said. And then afterwards, as I'm wheeling Penny back past their car, Grandma takes us aside and says how glad she is to hear that we share her opinion of the grand-daughter. uhm. No. At no point did we say any such thing. And Grandma's too deaf to hear it if we had.

Anyway. Senility is so much fun.

Sunday was the Festival of Lessons and Carols. Penny was able to go, which is great - she barely remembers Christmas last year, as it was two days after she finished the last internal radiation treatment, and I was working at Norm Thompson again. This year I was ushering every service. So. Lessons and Carols, and Brad and Linda took us to the Red Robin for a kvetch fest that lasted until midnight. Rar, closing down Red Robin on a Sunday Night.

Tuesday, as mentioned, we went to lunch with Mom.
Wednesday, Christmas Eve - I had to do three things. Feed the cat next door, get my weekly shot, and go to church in time to usher at the 4pm children's pageant.
I left just before 2pm. Feeding the cat and the lizard took 5 minutes. Getting to the clinic took 20 minutes. It was closed. Kaiser decided to shut everything down except for emergency care at their two remaining hospitals, and the urgency care at two locations. So I had to find my way to the urgency care. There were 10 people in line. There were two lines. You had to go through both. I was there before 3pm, and it took until 5:30 before I got out. Yeah, I missed the pageant, but having warned the people who ran things that all I was going to do was find and recruit parents to do that work anyway, I was happy to find that they had done so.

Then, 10pm, off to the 11pm service, and even though I got there by 10:30 there were still people already there ... insane. People seem to think they have to get there really really early.

All went well. We had incense, choir, bells... the 'full bells and smells' routine. It was gorgeous. I got home by 1AM, and we stayed awake a bit longer, eating candy (since I've been on Atkins, we agreed that there was a single day allowed, and then it's back to strict for me.)

Today is Christmas. We have been watching the 24-hour marathon of 'A Christmas Story' and opening presents. Not a huge haul as we're both broke-ish, but the Roast Beast came out gorgeous, and we're about to run out to 'StoryBook Lane' - a 90 year old traditional kitschy lights display run by friends. And then, tomorrow, it's Boxing Day with Brad and Linda. That'll be great fun. We plan to watch goofy stuff. We're giving Brad our unused turntable so he can dub a bunch of records to CD. Maybe we'll get the same thing done to ours.

Happy Christmas to all.

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