I was referring back to my old emails while writing the story of The Great Clean Out of '06 (or The Time My Mother Scammed the Poorest People We Knew), but I think this email might be better in its original form. A few of the things I said at the time make me cringe in the rereading (e.g., repeatedly calling my mother a terrible person; calling the Gardner family "trashy" -- they remind me of Kenny's family from South Park, but still, it was unkind), but I prefer to keep it honest than to edit it to make myself sound better. The first bullet points might sound familiar from other posts.
It really relaxes my head to list off what is pissing me off about my mom, but I can understand how listening to someone complain can get old really fast (believe me -- I know), so feel free to skip the numbered section of this email. Please note though that there is a shitload of crazy in there and you might find some of it interesting and/or amusing. There aren't actually 57 reasons. I just liked how it sounded.
1. She called me repeatedly starting at 6am yesterday to tell me she wanted to fax me something. I discovered later that she had started calling my cell phone at 5:30am. She told me today that she had called about six other people before that because she couldn't find my phone number. When each asked why she had called at such an ungodly hour, she got increasingly angrier. I finally got her off the phone with less than an hour before I had to be at work. The all-important fax was the name of a hotel in Cleveland, a wedding price list for the chapel in Cincy, and something that looked like spam and said something about 'girlfriends' on it.
2. She called me tonight for her daily venting and to ask me to wire her $2000. She said the car that was formerly mine -- which my brother ruined the engine on and then she tried unsuccessfully to give away -- was in the shop and wouldn't be leaving until she had $2k. She said she hadn't planned on taking the $2k that my father had very carefully set aside in a money market account to pay their property tax, but if I wouldn't give her money, she'd be forced to use it. Either she doesn't have access to the money market account, or my dad is completely unaware that she does and will probably have a breakdown when he finds out. I hope for the former.
Money she spent today: her $2300 bed was delivered, and she had several scans run on her brain. Tomorrow she is having an MRI, and she is having people come by to talk about installing automatic handicapped doors on the house.
Do you know the Gardners (i.e., the very nice Tim Gardner's mostly -- not all, but mostly -- trashy family)? Otherwise known to me as the poorest family in Cincy? Well, my mom owes them money. She told the youngest children and their boyfriends that she would pay them each $100 and all the candy they could eat to clean out her basement but that she would have to give them IOUs and pay them later (she mentioned this part after they arrived). She also said she'd pay them to get my brother's car out of the shop. Apparently their father called and yelled at her because his children had to put gas in the car to get it to her, and so far, they have made negative money. She also offered the pregnant teenager Mikaela and her boyfriend a $1000 IOU to go to Queens and drive back the $3000 van she is still hell-bent on buying. Mikaela backed out because she is in her 3rd trimester and recently learned that she isn't supposed to be flying. My mother is a terrible person.
By the way, I didn't give her the money. I told her truthfully that I don't have that much money in my checking account. There is no reason for her to ever know that I have a high-yield savings account and an 18-month CD because she is never ever getting her hands on them.
3. She announced in church last Sunday that she needed help cleaning out her house and that she would pay people by giving them bags of candy and praying for them (I'm serious). She was angry and resentful that people who were "supposed to be [her] friends" didn't chip in, and even "the Mormons," some new-ish neighbors who had once said, "If there is anything we can do..." didn't help (apparently "if there is anything we can do..." now constitutes some sort of binding verbal agreement). Only two people came, a couple from church who we've known for decades who are around my parents age, maybe a little older. When they asked if there was anything they should bring, she asked for Rubbermaid storage containers. She told the woman how she wished she could scrub out the bathtub but that her fingers just weren't strong enough. The woman scrubbed the bathtub clean for her. I don't think it had been scrubbed since the mid-'90s.
4. After she bitched about having to wait until tomorrow for the scans of her brain and after I denied her request for $2000, she told me she had no idea if my dad had had his surgery today or not. She hadn't called the hospital to find out. She said she had tried the hospital in Cincinnati and expected them to transfer her to the hospital in Cleveland but they hadn't. Not sure why she didn't call the number she has for another division of that hospital in Cleveland, but apparently she gave up quickly. That's when I told her that I had actually bothered to look up the hospital's phone number and talk to my dad's nurse, who said he was recovering in his room and doing fine. My mother seemed genuinely shocked, though I'm not sure about which part.
5. She tells the same stories ("complaints" might be a more accurate term) every time she calls me. I think she tells everyone the same thing and actually forgets who she's told her shit to each day. That, or she just doesn't care. That's fairly likely, actually. She is such a terrible person. I really can't stand her.
6. She has decided that as soon as my dad gets out of the hospital she will give him an ultimatum that either he treat her "like a human being" or she is divorcing him. She said she has a terminal illness and life is too short to spend it unhappy. What a lovely lesson to learn after wasting all of your youth, beauty, and money. I am thankful for her sometimes. Watching someone close to you make such catastrophic mistakes helps prevent you making so many of them, and sweet jesus, she covered a lot of them for me. I honestly believe that, while I might not be a better person for having known her, I behave better for having dealt with her.
Okay, I'm finished with my list for today. The good news, in addition to the fact that my dad's surgery went smoothly, is that I've been researching Ohio divorce law and Ohio is an "equitable-distribution" state. This means, among other things, that upon divorce, the debts are divided up as fairly as possible to whomever created them. My dad would still have tens of thousands of dollars worth of marital debt -- debt they earned jointly, like the mortgage -- but it would most likely free him from her mounting hospital bills. The only thing really working against him is the fact that he is their sole source of income and a judge might determine that he stands a better chance of paying it off. However, if he sues for divorce and cites the financial insanity -- and other insanity -- as cause, he might be able to get rid of those debts and of her, though I'm sure he'd have to pay alimony out of his significantly lighter check. Also, there is a 90% chance (probably better) that he would get the house and would then be able to stop her from calling more and more people to do more and more expensive things to it. Then I'd only have one parent spiraling out of control, and as long as she doesn't come knocking on my door (hell, if the pizza delivery guy can't find it, why should she be able to?), she can do whatever she damn well pleases. Michael and I will move to Arizona where the schools are good, the property taxes are reasonable, and the weather is fine, and my dad can sell everything he owns and get a little house not too far away in the desert, the only place it seems he has ever been happy.
I am so looking forward to our Cleveland adventure. Do you have any ideas for where we should eat? The CDs I ordered for my dad arrived yesterday, so I now have some 15 CDs worth of jazz to upload onto his new mp3 player. Plus, I consequently have a new $200 jazz collection. Which is actually not bad. I used to hate the stuff, but I think it must have seeped into my brain as a child because so much of it is familiar to me now, and hearing it is really soothing. "Willow Weep For Me" and "Misty" always make me think of my dad because they are the two songs he played on his guitar every damn day for as long as I can remember. I actually like them now, I guess because I hadn't heard them in so long.
It'll be good to see him, and I know there's a selfish reason behind it, but I love giving him gifts. He's so good at receiving gifts, and I love that I know he'll really like this one and that maybe he won't be so sad or so lonely because he'll have something pretty and familiar to listen to and he'll know that it came from someone who loves him and wants him to get well. I'd better head to bed since it's getting really late. Be thinking of fun ways to spend our evening together. There should definitely be mischief involved at one point or another, though I'm not sure how so. I hope to talk to you soon, my best and favorite friend. -- C
P.S. #7) She got upset when I told her after 11pm that I needed to go get ready for bed because I have work in the morning. Michael says I should set the fax to call her in the middle of the day and wake her up and see how she likes it (ha!). -- C