Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Excerpts about Mom from Grandma's Letters

I went back through the old letters from Grandma that my cousin Michelle lent me.  I copied down all the excerpts about my mother starting with her strange behavior, which I remember kicking up in 2002 shortly after my uncle's death, but which Grandma didn't start writing about until my mother stopped talking or eating for spans of time in 2004.  No drugs are mentioned by name.  Here's what she said:

Aug 24, 2004
Annie [my mom] still isn't doing very well.  What I can't get used to is that she doesn't talk to me. We can spend the whole day together, & she won't say 10 words all day. I know there are a lot of things bothering her, but I have never seen her like this. I guess part of it is a let down from all the years Chrissy [myself] was in school, & now that she is graduated she is making a life for herself miles away. Part of it is Paul [my dad, Annie's husband]. Part of it is physical, & part of it may be menopause. Beats me.

Since I had a full abdominal hysterectomy in '74, I don't know what she is going through. And I said at the time it was a shame, since I had planned to be a flaming bitch!

sept. 4, 2004
Annie isn't any better. She forces herself to take me out shopping on tues., but we can spend all day together & she doesn't say ten words. I can't get used to that.

sept 11, 2004
Annie isn't any better. In the "better late than never" category, now Paul and Chrissy have decided to be very concerned. Last Tues. morning she called and just said "I can't make it today."  I knew last week that she was just forcing herself to take me out. This time she admitted defeat, & stayed home. When Paul found out about it he called me, full of concern. I wished I'd had the nerve to tell him that he could help the situation if he would quit calling her a stupid, fat bitch, & pointing out to her that she has no friends. But I knew that would just cause more trouble, so I bit my tongue. I've done a lot of that in the 33 years they have been married. 

Then thurs. night Chrissy called, which is the first time that has happened since she went away to New York, in 2000. She had called & got the same one word comments from Annie that I have been getting for weeks.  Paul had told me that she sleeps 20 hours a day & that she has stopped eating. Chrissy is "worried sick."

I really think Annie is overmedicated, I know she is very bitter that she doesn't have a good relationship with either of her children, & there has been a real let down, since Chrissy graduated college & decided to live on the East coast. She is menopausal, & Paul can be as mean as a snake. All of these factors are a part of Annie's depression.

The same night Chrissy called, Grandpa insisted that I call Annie. When I was talking to her he said, "Do you need to be detoxed?" loud enough for her to hear it. I think it startled her & she seemed better after that. Asked how his appointment with the doctor went, & that is the first time she has initiated a conversation in weeks. Fri she took me to the grocery store & she did seem a little more like herself. 

sept 30, 2004
Don't want to jinx it, but I think Annie is starting to turn the corner. She talks more & even initiates topics of conversation. Still not going to church, but I take improvement where I can see it. We don't "do lunch" but the last three Tues. we have stopped at Wendy's for Jr. Frosties. The first week she only ate about half, the next week she ate two thirds, and this week she ate it all. Also she made it clear through Wal-Mart without breaking into a sweat. Keep praying for her.

Don't know how Chrissy is doing, since communications between her & Annie have broken down. [I'll have to look up my old emails to see what was going on at this time.  I can't remember "communications" ever "breaking down," just occasional respites from her calling to say I'm a bitch.]

oct 6, 2004
Annie and I went out shopping yesterday. She ate all of her frosty & was fairly talkative. I notice a difference in how she drives. She used to do it so naturally, like it was second nature. Now she grips the steering wheel tightly. Spends a lot more concentration before she backs out of a parking space, & seems tentative in a way. We come back out of Mason on a narrow stretch of road. End up to turn onto I-71 at Unity. Yesterday as we were getting ready to go off to the right, the car behind us came whipping around, on our right side, & could easily have caused a bad wreck! I made a remark about it & she said he didn't like the way she was driving. That surprised me & I said well, what was there not to like, she was driving in a perfectly straight line. She said she guessed she wasn't going fast enough to suit him, that he had been riding her tail-end ever since we turned onto that stretch.

Chrissy must think she is better -- she called whining & complaining about her job! She has an office now, but says they expect her to get way too many things done, & if they don't get her some help, she may have to quit this job. Our mantra has always been "don't quit your job unless you have another one lined up!"  

oct 13, 2004
Annie is doing better. She's talking more. Got her hair cut. 

dec 29, 2004
Annie seems some better. Yesterday was the first time in months that she wanted to eat an actual lunch. For many weeks we settled for a stop at Wendy's on the way into Mason. She would get a Jr. Frosty, I added a jr. cheeseburger to mine. Then when it got cold, we would go to Chilli's for plain water & a bowl of broccoli/cheese soup. Yesterday she suggested 91st Street Bar & grill for potato skins & stuffed mushrooms!

jan 5, 2005
I do think Annie is a little better. Last week she suggested we eat at 91st St bar & grill. Yesterday she said we should have just gone to Patrikio's to start with. We know they have good enchiladas, but knew we were under a time constraint because of the weather, & Patrikio's is over in KY. She has been in touch with the two people from her class at Cincy CC that she spent a lot of time with. I will know she is better when she comes back to church, she hasn't been to church since the first of July. Did you know she has lost 70 lbs?

jan 26, 2005
Praise God, I feel like Annie is finally coming back to normal!! Her appetite is back, & she is talking to me again. Starting to take care of some problems & take an interest in the world. Her main concern right now, is that she is losing her hair -- by the handfuls! Chrissy lost the gas cap off her car when she was home for Thanksgiving. I tried not to nag her about getting a replacement, but knew it needed to be done. Yesterday she finally bought a new cap. Grandpa had told me to pick up another bottle of "Heet" when she handed it to me, she asked what it was for. When I told her it would take any moisture out of the gas tank, she said maybe she better get some too. She also bought a gallon jug of windshield fluid. 

Feb 9, 2005
By the time we left walmart the snow had started. We started home, by way of KFC for grandpa's chicken dinner. Our problem was that we go by one of the mason high schools. Normally we are by there before all the nuts, in their pick me up trucks & soup up new cars, are turned loose. But because of the snow they dismissed early. We watched a pick up truck go tearing out of the parking lot, headed east, same as us. Because the road was slick, & he was going way too fast, we saw him fishtail. He went in a complete circle & was headed right for us! Annie jumped a curb to try & avoid a direct hit, but he still managed to smack her back fender hard enough to put blue paint, from his truck onto the fender.

He never offered to get out of the truck & his passenger sure didn't want to roll his window down, but finally did. The driver was giving Annie "I'm so sorry! Lost my traction! My tires aren't very good!" She let him leave, said afterwards she was thinking what if it had been Dante. Then she found out my elbow had been split open, & was bleeding. But the worst of it was when she started to drive away. I told her it sounded like the front tire on my side was blown out. And it was.

Annie bought a wig last friday. She doesn't like it much, but it looks good, & I think she will get used to it. [I had no idea my mother ever bought a wig.] Right now it makes her feel like she has a hat on.

April 6, 2005
Annie had a hit & run virus on Saturday. She threw up, & passed out , then threw up some more. Felt like death on a cracker the rest of the weekend, but is fine now.

Annie even feels well enough that she is going to have our party, at her house, on April 25th, which is a real break through. She is getting used to her wig, but still hates it.

sept 22, 2005
Annie has given up on the idea that she will ever have grandchildren. She asked Lea [my cousin, Annie's niece] if she could be an "honorary grandma" to her baby & Lea said she can. She wants to give her a baby shower in Oct, but hasn't gotten a list from Lea about who to invite. Now when we go shopping, she wants to buy everything she sees.

oct 12, 2005
Chrissy & Annie got into it (poor Michael got the brunt of it when Chrissy got off the phone). Annie made the mistake of telling Chrissy I won't allow her to call Chrissy "a little bitch" which has really always upset me. So I asked her to call her a "snotty little knothole" instead. It is from an old TV show, Barney Miller.  

oct 19, 2005
Chrissy & Annie have butted heads again, so I doubt she and Michael will be coming here for Thanksgiving.  [I looked October 2005 up in my old emails and saw one from Michael to me describing how my mother had called him in the pre-dawn hours to pressure him to come to Thanksgiving and -- because he knew I had already said I wasn't going -- he told her he couldn't get the time off from work.  I had only taken time off work and traveled all the way to my parents' home for Thanksgiving the previous year because my mother had lied and convinced me my dad was dying, but maybe Grandma didn't know.]

And that's the last of the letters.  My mother was so much worse in 2006, but I guess this was around the time my Grandma stopped writing letters.  By 2008, my mother had moved in with her parents.  Grandma died the next year.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

I Want to Understand

I read a book recently called Dreamland by Sam Quinones.  It's about the opiate epidemic in the US and how it came to be, from medical journal articles to pharmaceutical companies to pill mills and the Mexican dealers selling black tar heroin in small towns.  I don't know if my mother is/was on opiates.  But I assume so based on their being the norm at the time and the side effects I saw.

I've started reading a book about benzodiazepine use and addiction because benzos seem likely to have been prescribed to my mother too, based on her complaints and again what was common to prescribe.

I want to understand what happened with my mother.  The more I read, the more I feel unsure.  How much of her behavior was because of how she is?  And how much was because of what she was taking?  How can I find out what she was taking?  Even if I reached out to her and asked, I don't think she'd necessarily tell me.  And if she's as sedated as Dante said she was the last time he visited, who knows if she'd even remember what she has taken, or what she used to take, if she replied at all.

The only place I think I might be able to find a record of what my mother was taking is maybe in my grandmother's letters to my cousin.  But I haven't looked at them since the time I read through them for genealogical information and realized my grandmother -- the sanest, kindest, highest functioning person in my extended family -- habitually talked about me behind my back.  She judged me for not being concerned enough about my mother because I didn't come to her with my worries or tears.  I cried regularly about my mother, just not to her.  I remember sitting in my dorm room after my mom really went off the deep end, spending hours Googling her symptoms and behaviors and trying to figure out what was wrong with her.  I spent too much time on WebMD and the Mayo Clinic website because I thought it was a disease.  I feel so stupid.

It was years before I realized it was the pills, and even now as I read about opioids and benzodiazepines, I'm just now realizing just how much can be explained by the pills.  Example:  I thought when I didn't hear from my mother for days or weeks at a time (glorious breaks from her calling to yell at me, apropos of nothing) that she was going through a deep depression.  But she was probably just on pain pills.  She was probably mostly asleep.  The muscle weakness my mother insisted was some sort of progressive illness like multiple sclerosis and the doctors and I explained away as muscle atrophy from her refusal to get up and walk -- a common side effect of extended benzodiazepine use.  I should probably just do a search for most commonly prescribed pills in 2003 if I want to know what she started taking when she went well and truly off the deep end.  She had gone to the doctor to treat her sadness at the death of her brother.  I had asked her to just grieve instead -- told her her feelings were normal and wouldn't benefit from antidepressants -- but she took whatever that doctor gave her anyway.  This was six or seven years after the first time I saw her high on Soma (Carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant and non-benzodiazepine hypnotic).

I feel like an idiot.  I didn't understand anything about drugs.  I remember hearing about celebrities developing addictions to pain pills after surgery or injuries, but I didn't understand what that even meant or what that addiction looked like.  I didn't understand what being high on pills looked like.  When it came to what being high looked like, I had only seen caricatures of stoners in comedies on TV.   It seems from my grandmother's letters that everyone realized my mother was addicted to drugs but me, and I feel like an idiot.  When I was a freshman in high school, my mother had explained her behavior away with menopause (on the rare occasion she admitted it wasn't just me who was acting differently), and I was desperate to figure out what had happened that made her this way and how to prevent it taking hold of me too, since I had inherited half her DNA and assumed all of this was just happening to her and would do the same to me.  I had never seen my mother partake in so much as a glass of wine, and she was adamantly against any form of drugs.  Except the ones billed as medicine.  Then her adage of "little do good, lot do better" seemed to come into play.  Even when it came to Tylenol, she urged me to take more than the amount indicated on the bottle if the pain was "really bad," and she took god knows how many Tylenol herself everyday for as long as I can remember.  I wonder what her liver looks like.

I don't think my mother had any idea what she was getting herself into when she started with the Soma.  This all started in 1995 or 1996, around the same time doctors decided pain was "the fifth vital sign," no one should endure pain ever and, if you are in pain, you should drug yourself out of it.  Oxycontin was new to the market and a hot, highly prescribed "non-addictive" opioid (spoiler alert:  it's highly addictive and has killed a lot of people). 

The good news is I don't have to worry about inheriting any of my mother's madness, even come menopause.  The other good news is I understand more about pharmaceuticals now than at least 85% of the US population.  And I know not to take anything a doctor prescribes until I've thoroughly vetted it online and, even then, not if I can do without.  If I ever take morphine, it'll be because death is imminent because I don't want to have to try to STOP being addicted to it.  Had I been a high school athlete or gotten into a car accident that left me in pain, I probably would've been prescribed opiates and quite possibly ended up a situation like my mother's.  It happened a lot to other people at that time and for years afterward.  The only reason it didn't happen to me was luck.  But now I know at least.  Now I have information.  And I guess it's good my mother ended up in a nursing home after her last suicide attempt and her refusal to take care of herself (and our family's collective refusal to take care of  her anymore) because she might have died of an overdose by now if she were left to her own devices and dosing schedule.

My mother is the case study I teach my daughter.  They still do DARE or some variation on it in her school, but it doesn't go into enough detail if you ask me.  The "just say no" tagline implies a hit of pot and an oxycodone are equivalent, and if a kid comes to see that something like pot doesn't actually destroy their life, they might just assume the other one won't either.  Lack of nuanced understanding is dangerous when it comes to what we put in our bodies.  My mother's insistence that alcohol and sex are evil while indulging in prescription drugs and junk food multiple times a day is a good example of how black and white thinking fails us.

I wonder what she would be like if she weren't on the drugs.  I mean, she fit the criteria for borderline personality disorder before any of that.  But she started taking hypnotics and god knows what else when I was in eighth or ninth grade.  What would her non-drugged behavior even look like to adult me?  I don't know.  I don't trust my childhood memory and childhood interpretation of what she was like before the drugs.  She wasn't all bad by any means.  Sometimes she was great, and I loved her so much.  Would she still have drained my bank account?  Would she still have tried to turn my grandparents against me?  Would she still have tried to turn me against my dad?  Yes.  That started before the drugs.  Telling me he wasn't my "real" father and that I couldn't talk about it to anyone was earlier.  Telling me he'd never wanted me and had wanted to beat her into miscarrying me was earlier.  Telling me she'd let me decide if she should divorce him and that we'd be poor and have to find somewhere else to live was earlier.

I don't know what she'd be like now if not for the pills, but I trust this particular scenario has played out as well as it could for me.  Sometimes, since reading Dreamland, I think about reaching out to her.  I hadn't realized until that book just how much the deck was stacked against her NOT becoming an addict.  But I don't want her to have my phone number, and I don't want the nursing home to start demanding money from me (I'd never pay them, so it would just be frustrating for both of us).  I'd like to check in on her and see how she's doing and what she's doing, but I don't want to interact with her.  I'm not sure if it would be worse to let things go and maybe have some regrets when she dies, or to take the chance of appearing on her radar and what backlash that could prompt.  I wonder what drugs she's on now.  I wonder how she feels, or if she feels much of anything at all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Free Sperm Donor!

FFS.  Ran across this today in one of the free sperm donor groups where I lurk.  While this one is comically gross, it isn't necessarily un-representative of the genre of sperm donor posts. 

In case you're new, "NI" stands for "natural insemination" a.k.a. sexual intercourse.  This particular gentleman only does NI (a.k.a. you must pay for his sperm by having sex with him).  Some of the group members will only do NI, while others merely prefer it.  (To be fair, a few don't advertise sex at all.) 

I just needed to share this somewhere and there's nowhere really appropriate I can think of.  It was too ridiculous to keep to myself. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

I Found Out Who Bought the Hoard House

I found out who bought my childhood home.  The county finally uploaded the sale paperwork to their database, and I looked up the guy who bought it.  He is a registered sex offender (child pornography) who was previously in prison but is currently out on parole.  When you Google his name, the first hits are all about his crimes and subsequent sentencing.  It seems fitting.  He sounds like an appropriate owner for the home that is still the setting for most of my nightmares. 

It would feel weirder if a family with young children lived there.  That wouldn't feel good. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

How I Want My Sperm Donor Father Informed of My Death

This is part two of my "When I Die" instructions.  Part one is here.  I had an idea recently.  I'm not sure if I actually want this done or not, but in case I decide in this plan's favor, here are the detailed instructions.  If I die before I can decide, I leave the decision making up to my BFF Jerry and her superior sense of mischief.

I have some feelings about the fact that my biological father will probably never speak to me in my lifetime.  I wrote to him, and he wrote back asking me never to contact him again, and that's where we are.  Probably forever.  Other donor conceived people have explained how they wore down their biological families with patience and kindness and regularly scheduled holiday cards, but I can't fathom having the guts to reach out to him a second time after he expressly asked me never to contact him again.

If I die before he does, I would like a large box (large enough I could fit inside it if I wrapped my arms around my knees and ducked my head) shipped to him.  Ideally at the hospital where he works, signature required.  It should be filled with helium balloons so that they rise up out of the box unexpectedly when it is opened.  There should also be an expensive, high end note card in an envelope at the bottom of the box.  The note should read as follows:


If you are reading this card, it means I am dead. 
Since news of my existence did not seem to bring you any pleasure, hopefully news of my newly minted lack of existence brings you some relief. 
I complied with with your wish never to hear from me again in the hope I might someday hear from you.  You went my entire life without speaking to me.  

Congratulations!  You did it!

Each balloon should also contain at least two tablespoons of glitter so that, if someone pops them (ideally in a fit of rage or shame), they get an extra surprise.

The note card should probably also have my name followed by the parenthetical "(your biological daughter)" on it somewhere just in case he doesn't know who it's from.

VA Hospital

I picked up a couple lists of donation requests from the library.  One was for the local VA, just little things patients might need like basic clothing and toiletries.  I’m going to buy some things to drop off next week.  It reminds me of my dad and all the time he spent living in the VA hospital, and I like the feeling that memory gives me.

I’ve been crying.  I don’t miss him I don’t think.  I don’t think I’m necessarily mourning him.  I’m sad about what his life might have been and the things he might have enjoyed but never tried.  

When my husband and I chose our new hometown and bought our house, we intentionally chose a location with a good VA hospital nearby that has a spinal cord injury unit.  My dad’s hometown VA didn’t have a spinal cord injury unit.  When I was growing up, because he was paraplegic, he had to leave the state every time he needed surgery.  Even in later years when a new VA SCI unit opened in our state, it was a four hour drive away.  That’s why he died in a hospital four hours away from home and anyone he knew.  So we chose an area with a good VA hospital with an SCI unit.  We moved halfway across the country.  We bought a house with a ground floor bedroom and bathroom that were meant to be his, right off of the living room and the bright, open kitchen and the giant deck he could’ve rolled out onto.  We have a three car garage that was meant to hold his van.  The local gym is wheelchair friendly, and I had imagined us going there together when he first started doing physical therapy at the VA and told me how much he liked it.  The gym has an indoor pool with a wheelchair lift, which I have never seen anywhere else before but knew such things existed because he had talked about how great it would be to have a pool with a lift when he first moved into the VA hospital and started expressing what I saw as hope about fifteen years ago. 

I thought we would have holidays together at my house.  I always imagined Christmas.  I was going to buy him one of those electric fireplace space heaters so he could keep his room as hot as he wanted all winter long.  I was going to cook him such good and healthy meals his diabetes would be under control.  The idea was that he could live with me because he was bed bound and needed full-time care, he could go to the nearby VA hospital for appointments and surgeries, and he could either continue living with me or move back to his own home if he ever got well enough to live alone again.  I wasn't trying to hold him hostage.  I just wanted him to stop threatening to let himself die of neglect in our old hoard house instead of staying in the nursing home because it wasn't the only option beyond living in the nursing home.  He could live with me.  And he seemed okay with that.  He was in on the plan before we ever moved.  The plan was why we moved here.

And once we moved and bought the house, he didn’t want any of it.  He wanted to stay in the hospital, occasionally shifting back home for a few weeks at a time until he had to be hospitalized again, shipped back across the state and then released to the nursing home to convalesce, where he spent most of the last years of his life lying in bed naked, watching basic cable and complaining about the food.  I wonder if he ever planned to move in with me. 

I believe I could’ve done a good job taking care of him.  Maybe I never could’ve made him happy.  It was just so wonderful seeing him hopeful in those first years after he moved into the hospital and away from my mother.  It gave me hope too.  I see now that it was probably the novelty of a new location and being away from my mom that brightened him up, but I thought it was a whole new him.  I thought maybe he'd had a depression that started to lift after moving away from Mom and the house, like I had.  

My husband and I have money.  More even than my parents, who collected more in disability payments than anyone else in the family could earn.  We have a comfortable home that is pretty well kept if I do say so myself and feels like a high-end hotel compared to the dilapidated house where I grew up and where my dad wanted to live.  We have access to pretty much anything we could want or need.  I thought it was going to be good with him here.

So, anyway, I’m going to buy some undershirts and underwear and toothpaste and things from Walmart to donate to the local VA hospital.  Is it ridiculous that the thought of the VA hospital makes me feel comfortable and homey in a way memories of my childhood home do not?  The hospital was where I had some of the best times with my dad.  That was where I saw him happiest.  Things were happening and changing when he was there, and it was usually the holidays when I was there.  I bought him gifts to make him comfortable, like a laptop and the mp3 player I filled with his favorite jazz albums, the accessories along with his cell phone that he stopped bringing to the hospital during his multi-week stays because he’d rather have been bored and cut off from everyone than take the chance they might be stolen.  I never understood that.  I was trying to make his day-to-day life more livable no matter the circumstances.  What's the point in saving everything for when you're not in the hospital when you spend all your time in the hospital?  I brought him his favorite restaurant foods to eat, and his face would light up.  Whenever I gave him something, a laugh would escape as he’d express delight and then say thank you, like he was so happy at what you’d brought him that he couldn’t just smile, he had to laugh.  He was always so good at receiving gifts.

Maybe I wouldn’t have wanted to visit him at the VA hospital all the time if he’d lived here.  Maybe I would’ve resented him for being so close I could visit every day when I have a daughter and husband who need me.  If he'd lived with me, he probably would've made our home less comfortable like he did my childhood home.  I remember not wanting to come home at all when I felt good because he was so often irritable or angry or yelling and I couldn't seem to make myself small enough in that house to feel like I was existing in space of my own.  But I wish he could’ve been happy longer.  I wish we could’ve spent happy times together living in the same part of the country.  I wish we could've celebrated holidays together without his being in the hospital and my being in a Holiday Inn.  I wish I could’ve been there when he died.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Selling the Hoard House

Sometime this summer, about a year after our dad had died and stopped paying the mortgage, Dante was evicted.  The bank had foreclosed and reclaimed our childhood home last spring, and now they were finally putting it on the market.    

A few weeks ago I saw photos of it online.  It’s surreal and familiar at the same time.  I haven’t been inside that house in nearly a decade, but so many of my bad dreams are still set there that, displayed with its natural horror movie lighting, it’s like seeing photos from my nightmares.  All the coverings and Styrofoam insulation my mother kept over the windows and sliding glass door have been removed, but it still looks dark inside.  Most of the walls are dark wood paneling like people put in their basements in the 1970s, and the floor of my bedroom was a white roll-out plastic of faux tiles.  I had forgotten how absurd that looked.  The only photo of my childhood bedroom is blurry.  There are still stickers on the windows of Dante’s and my bedrooms notifying firefighters that children are inside.  

My dad’s bedroom floor used to be white and blue roll-out faux tiles, I think, but now it’s a sort of brownish grey so I’m not sure.  There are horizontal scratches along the length of his bedroom wall from 40 years of running into it and chipping away at the door frame with his wheelchair.

The front entry way has been stripped of its 45-year-old, peeling wallpaper.  I’m not sure when the wallpaper was removed, but the walls are tan underneath and covered in white strips that I assume are either leftover wallpaper glue or spackle.  There is a dark shape at the edge of the photo of the main bathroom that I think must be a giant hole in the shower wall.  It’s where tiles ought to be.  There was gold velveteen wallpaper in the bathroom when I lived there, some of which had turned green and hard from Dante scrubbing it with blue toothpaste before I was born.  The walls are painted a violently bright blue now like my grandmother’s bathroom used to be.  I’m not sure which looked worse.  

The master bathroom still has its original 1974 blue and white wallpaper.  There are brown blobs of water damage on the walls and ceiling and a mystery hole in the wall the size of a small pipe.

The kitchen and laundry room are still a dingy, dirty yellow with gingham wallpaper.  The major appliances are all gone, I assume because they were no longer working and possibly molding from the inside out.  Some of the cabinet doors in the kitchen are missing.  I cannot fathom why.

The basement has been dried out and is the first thing in the house to look bright and professionally tended in a long time.  It looks like the basement bathroom, where my dad had his roll-in shower, has been removed completely.  The shower -- and I think there was a toilet – must’ve been in pretty bad shape to warrant removing them completely.  I’ve never used that bathroom myself.  No one but my dad had ever used it.  That’s how bad it was.

The last time I was in that house, a lot of the light switches didn’t work, but you can’t tell that from pictures.  My dad had described the electrical as “going bad,” as though it were the vegetables perpetually rotting in the refrigerator, or something else that can’t be fixed.  I can only imagine it’s gotten worse from another decade of neglect.  I wonder how much of the plumbing still works and how much of the electrical will have to be rewired.  I’m suspicious of the holes in the bathroom walls.  I wonder what the person buying the house plans to do with it.

Someone is buying the house.  After a little over a month on the market, an offer is pending.  I did not expect this to happen.  First, I could’ve bought that house in cash and paid my mother and Dante to watch while I had it razed.  I wanted to film them.  I hoped they would cry.  I wouldn’t actually do any of this because I'm neither that rich nor that crazy, but I did crunch enough numbers to know it was well within my financial means because that is the kind of person I am.  I was entertaining the idea of touring the place one last time under the guise of being a potential buyer when I’m in town for my best friend’s wedding next month, though I probably wouldn’t have just because the last time I went in that house my nasal cavity was lined with black for two days from breathing the dust and mold.  But now an offer is pending.  

I can’t wait until the buyer information becomes public.  I want to know who bought it and what they plan to do with it.  I want to know what they paid.  The listing says, “Some improvements may require special financing such as 203K or home improvement loan.”  I think this is their way of saying you can’t afford to fix this house yourself.  Part of me hopes the buyer is my mother and she’s offered to pay one million dollars.  I think those crazy days are behind her though.