Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Preparing for life with Bill & Mary

Me & Buffy
This is the first day of my blog about my experience with my life with elderly parents living in my home.  My journey began in 2009 and continues to surprise me on a daily basis.  It is NOT what I expected when I agreed to have them sell their home in Ohio and move to Atlanta.  When I would think of them being here, my thoughts were filled with lunches out with Mom, shopping at Macy's, taking them to the neighborhood pool and to the library.  I was excited for my parents to be here with their grandchildren and the prospect of having a three generational household.  My husband was equally excited because he always enjoyed my parents company. What we got was quite different from our expectations.

In June of 2007, my husband, Steve and I decided to put our home in Conyers up for sale and move to another area of Atlanta since both of our children had graduated from high school and we no longer needed to stay in the county.  My son, Alex, was working in Conyers and commuting to school and decided to move out to live with a friend.  My daughter, Taylor, was also commuting to school, but she was moving with us.  We began our quest within a small radius and eventually ended up in North Atlanta.  In November, my father was ill and my mother called to ask if I would come help her in Ohio while he was in the hospital.  I stayed until the end of December.  During that time, my mother hinted at the idea of them moving to live with us.  I was fine with it and knew Steve would be, as well.  In February of 2008, she called to say they were putting the Bexley house for sale in preparation of coming to Atlanta.  Steve and I had yet to find a suitable house and realized that we would no longer look for our "dream" home.  We were looking for a house to accommodate my parents and our family.  We found the house on Easter Day and within weeks we had an offer accepted and a contract on our old house.  By June we were moved and thus began the waiting game for when my parents would be here.  The decision to sell might have been easy for my parents, but getting their house on the market?  Not an simple task.

My mother has never been one to do things the conventional way.  For instance, cooking.  You know how meatloaf recipes call for bread crumbs to help bind the meat?  Well, my mom would do that, but she wouldn't bother using crumbs.  Nope, she'd just tear up bread slices and stick them into the mixture.  What was left was something that resembled one of those spiked mines in the ocean during World War II!  A big hunk of meat with these pieces of browned (or burned) bread chunks sticking out of it.  The spaghetti she made was weird, too.  She would just throw the pasta in the water without oil and we would have to literally tear it apart after cooking or cut it like it was a pasta "roast" with a can of tomato sauce poured on it like gravy.  The piece de resistance had to be her Tuna Noodle Casserole.  She'd get the ingredients mixed okay, but then she'd throw potato chips in it without crushing them!  Eating that shit was dangerous!  At any moment, you could bite down and instead of chewing casserole, you'd get a shard of potato chip stuck deep into the roof of your mouth.  I'd end up with so many cuts by the time dinner was over that to this day all you have to do is mention Tuna Noodle Casserole and the roof of my mouth begins to bleed as if I had stigmata!
Her approach to getting their house on the market was a bit like her approach to cooking. .She was not going to held to a customary way of doing it.  Her view of how things should be done was her guide, whether it was the most efficient or expedient way was irrelevant.  In the process of doing this she managed to get rid of virtually ALL the pictures of her 4 children, but kept worthless knick-knacks.  How little I knew about her many eccentricities, but would soon learn!  Anyway, I kept telling her to get the house on the market as soon as possible, but there is no budging Mary Beth.  So we waited and waited and waited.  When it was finally done, it was June and we waited another 10 months before it was sold and they were finally here.  We had no idea just how changed life would be once they were finally here.

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