There’s not enough wine in this world to get me through this weekend without wanting to kill people. Yesterday morning I took my parents shopping, first for a new mattress, then to order some chairs for their new living room in the assisted living place and then to Target. Of course just getting them out of the house and into the car is always an adventure but we managed it and made our way to Illini Mattress. If you live in Champaign/Urbana and want a mattress? Go to Illini Mattress. I can not begin to tell you how lovely the man that helped us was (I’ve got his card in my wallet—Ed something I believe). He was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable but even more importantly he was incredibly kind and gentle with my parents–helping my mother in and out of her wheelchair and softly steering them (my mother’s not a big decision maker) to a good choice and even walking my father out and helping him in the car as I dealt with my Mom. Experiences like that mean more than I can say.
Then we headed off to look at chairs—-they picked what they wanted easily enough but going through fabrics began to take its toll on Mom. So I asked if we could borrow the fabric samples and then headed to Target. I had thought that might be too much for them but my mother wanted to do it. They were getting worn out by this time so I dropped them off in front of the store and went and parked. I suspected my mother’s blood sugar was getting low so we went into the little food area of Target. I got them plopped at a table and stood in line to order lemonade and a snack. Of course after I paid for it and got over to the drink area I found it was DIET lemonade—not what a diabetic with low blood sugar needed. So I looked at the long line, sighed and hopefully filled one of the cups up with pop. In the meantime my father’s coffee cup had a whole in it and that had to be replaced. Then I took the pop over and explained the situation to my mother—-I was hoping she’d just drink the pop but she looked somewhat appalled by it and stared at me blankly. So I sighed and trudged back over and waited in line until I could return my empty cup to the clerk and ask for juice. Then of course there was a long conversation how to refund and ring this up. Now I’ve worked retail—I try to be sympathetic but in the mean time I just needed to get some carbohydrates into my mother. Finally I made it back and gave her a bottle of full sugar lemonade they had found. I won’t even go into how irritated I got when she didn’t believe me when I read her the label of the bottle and told her how many carbohydrates there were. Why do I let that bother me? I know that I know how to read a label…..sigh.
After that little respite I got my father a cart to push and I pushed my mother in her wheelchair. We were quite a procession. We went to look at sheets and towels and I truly thought I would murder her. My father was getting exhausted and practically hanging across the cart and she (again…not known for quick decisions) kept going back and forth about sheets. I started to lose it and I know I sounded like a bitch when I started announcing in a loud voice (she needs hearing aids so I have to yell) "you have to either make a decision or we’ll do this another time" and then Dad started grumbling behind us. I wanted to just leave them both there. Finally some decisions were made and after a painful interlude with towels and shower curtains I suggested that we’d done enough for one day and they gratefully agreed.
It was only four hours but it felt like a lifetime.
Today Owen and I picked up Dad for church and went to our regular spot in the first pew. The first pew is reserved for ‘the impaired’ and has a sign noting this. We sit there because Dad can receive communion without having to get up and walk which is getting more difficult for him. Oftentimes the pew behind is it is reserved for another purpose and there’s a small sign they put on the back of it noting this. So I noticed the second pew was reserved but didn’t think twice about it as it often is. The priest et al proceeded in followed by parents with a baby for baptism. The mother starts telling me we have to move—that it’s reserved. I point to the sign and the reserved pew behind us and tell her he needs to be there so he can receive communion. She’s holding her white draped baby as though it’s more important than the whole damn congregation. Her husband tells her they can sit in the second pew and they do but there’s much muttering and staring. So I see some empty spots in the first pew on the other side and attempt to tell my slightly deaf 82 year old father with Alzheimer’s AND my 5 year old that we have to move because the fucking baby needs a good view. It’s not as though the baptism takes place while they are in the pew. After a LOT of huh?s and what?s I get my dad and Owen across the aisle. Of course we are now sitting with Owen on the inside instead of on the aisle and evidently this is a problem. Owen is incredibly well behaved in church and normally I feel downright smug I’m so proud of him but today there was much kicking of the kneeler and whining about sitting on the aisle. But he wouldn’t go sit on the aisle next to Grandpa—he wanted me to sit next to him and there was no way we could do this at that point. I threatened him with no doughnuts after mass and then threatened to take him out. Of course how I could have managed to explain that to my father and have him move to let us out was beyond me so it was a somewhat empty threat. So why did this all make me so furious that I sat in that pew throughout mass with tears rolling down my face? I have no idea. But it did.
After mass someone from the evil baby’s family came over and apologized and told me she really hadn’t wanted us to have to move and I smiled politely because she was being kind but I hated that whole family and their little white draped baby.
As were sitting in the parish hall having doughnuts Owen sighed and said, "Wasn’t church great Mom?" Uh, sure Owen. Great. I think I’m just so overwhelmed with how much I have to do this week and somewhat amazed by how totally passive my parents are about this all that the slightest thing pushes me over the edge. Right now I need to go back to the furniture store with the fabric samples and back to Target to get the sheets I TOLD my mother to get yesterday.
This is why you’re supposed to have families that live in the same town—extended or otherwise. I just need to have someone else–other than my husband—-take over for a couple of days. I called Ernie from my parents’ driveway to ask him to try to get a babysitter so he could run errands with me. No luck. I hope no one cuts me off in traffic or in the line at Target….things could get ugly…..