Hi Dr. Marvin,
This is just me Ann. We're writing here and this will most likely end up in our blog, but it's 1:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon - we just took our afternoon medicine and trying not to obsess so much. We've been here before, basically, we went with Rich and the Realtor yesterday and we found a place that both Rich and I would like ... two things though ... we would still have to be preapproved and we would need to get permission from the Condo association to put a chair lift out on the main staircase. There would be just one other family using the stairs - not sure their age and status. Basically, then I'm not sure if we are close to something or not ... just know that Rich and I've agreed on a house and would like to make an offer. Just gotta wait to see the approval part and if we can put in the stair lift.
I will show you the link to the pictures ...
Isn't it a beaut! There are only two bedrooms, but because the living room (fireplace) is so big that we'd be able to use the family room for our sewing room. It would be sooooo perfect. it is situated so that on one side of the kitchen table area is the family room and on the other is the living room. You can see that there is a dining room area in the living room too so I think we'd do very good in entertaining :) AND, the window treatments are included too - there's also a laundry room :) There's a couple very big what ifs though.
I figured our computer area would have to be in the family room too. AND, Rich said we wouldn't get to put up all the shelves again ... We're dealing though. I was less sure when he said he wanted to use space in there for his office (desk) too. He can be pretty noisy on the phone ... we're still going to plug that he uses the dining room table for his business work - so there's some space from the telephone. The arrangement works out really well because Rich's mother could be in the kitchen/breakfast area, but I wouldn't have to pay strict attention to her ... I could be on the computer or sewing "near enough to her, but also can have my ear phones on. Give some sense of companionship without being directly connected - close enough :) On the other hand ... since she likes the harder chairs - OR her wheel chair she can easily be in the dining or kitchen area and be semi-attached to anyone in the LR. She likes to be at the table. There is also a closed-in balcony that could suit as her space to smoke - directly off the kitchen. We would get a heater and a fan that would help by sucking up the air. Hopefully that would assist her from chain smoking. It would have to be worked out. I'm pretty straight forward here ... you smoke in the REGULAR house? I take away the cigarettes until we get a commitment back to using the balcony. Rich has in mind we can control the drinking so that it gets paced out like between 4-6 hours, but again we're way ahead of the horse here. Just there is a lot of open communication talking about the what ifs of having a home and having his mother there.
I think one of the big things on my mind is that unlike Rich's brother, I would like to see Bud keeping the house. It's still a 50-50 place between him and Rich's Mom. That way as some of the anger dies down ... he could come and pick her up for dates and sleep-overs without the day to day struggle of being on each others last nerves. That would give me and Rich some break too while hopefully making his mother's marriage more stable. Maybe they would find more of the good times then the bad if they didn't have to take care of each other's major physical and mental problems. I'm pretty sure that she would take down a bit with someone consistently caring for her.
There still would be a lot of days go by that we would have to talk about her and us getting along - and the differences in Rich and our relationship. I think the key factor to having her stay is a couple fold. There is the part obviously that it allows us a better chance at getting a place, but also there is the strong connection between Rich and his mother and his needs to care for her, and then there is the part and there's another part about the anger I carried thoughout my life with my mother not accepting my father's mother to live with us so that instead she had to be placed in a home.
Maybe I didn't tell you that part official. On Christmas Eve we had gone over there with Rich and his brother was there. Bud did finally come home, but not until Friday - two days ago. What it meant was that we had a peaceful night without any anger and aggression between the old folks. I really believe without the alcohol that Rich's mother can be sweet - much moreso than Bud. I'm not thinking at all though that she's clear from the problems between them. She can get stuck in time and space, and on certain ideas and then there are the problems when she's mostly interested in herself. I would hope that if we were living together and she'd notice me preoccupied otherwise that she wouldn't take on some more interest in us and our life because she'd want to talk ... I am also thinking that I still like a past idea we had and that when she got to the points of storytelling that we get on the computer and write as she talks to get down some of her stories. It had struck me in one of my psychology courses that when people get old they sometimes lose their sense of being a worthwhile contributor in life ... and that I had thought before she remembered enough stories (her version) that they would be worthwhile taking down. In a sense we could create her own blog. I'm thinking she's much more likely to do something like that then my Grandmother. I really believe in the value of peoples life and think that everyone tells their own story.
That kind of thinking has put me in a more positive space, but in general we're feeling a lot more hopeful that it would work out with her around. I think the biggest loss naturally would be in sharing Rich, but over the last five years I haven't minded when Rich engage with his mother - I think it's touching, though I've never been on one of the late nights where she's going off because of anger and heavy drinking. I think I left off there before. We had been at his mother's Christmas Eve and the question of her living with us came up again. I think Mark was out of the room, but his daughter - Rich's niece - Crystal stopped over with her son (7 years) to give Rich's mother a shot ... I was thinking it was a vitamin, but she's learning to be a specialist in drawing blood. But, anyway the question came up again of Rich's mom living with us and she said again no ... and then she said she couldn't live on the third floor, and then Rich and us turned the conversation that we would get something different that would accommodate all of us. Then as simple as anything she said ... Oh, that be ok she would live with us then. I had encouraged the conversation to include Crystal and the thought was ... would it be better for her to live with strangers in a nursing home or in a house that Rich and us would by ... At that time Mark came back in and with the whole little group it became of course ... it be ok and naturally she would live with us as if it had been a done deal conversation for years. I think she'd just reached such a boiling point and that maybe it helped a lot with Bud being out so long in that she got more used to the steadier care between Rich and his brother and her. Her needs were being me, she was having regular conversations - drinking on a lower steady basis and getting meals and such better taken care of. Not all the nastiness of Bud - pressing on her did wonderful things for her. I think that's what Rich and I could do for her.
AND, of course the part - that as much as i hate the way Bud treats her, I really believe without having him go through her drunken spells - having an out from the arguments and being able to still maintain their home that it would work out better for them. I think after 35 years of marriage they really are the best people for each other ... just gotta give them some quality time so they can appreciate each other when they are together. I really like the date idea - you installed with Rich and me and hope that would work out for them too ... I can't believe either has that many years, but it would be an ideal quality of life if they could enjoy these years together. I think that Bud's kids - between the five of them would be able to give Bud some days to day support and we'd do that for Rich's Mom and then just they could have the special times - without so much to agonize over or to feel trapped with each other's bad stuff. Rich says that he thinks his mother's life will be extended once she gets in a regular environment where people seem to like each other and aren't so negative.
In all actuality I'm looking more forward than backward. It seems that so much of the agony over these last years is that we couldn't do much to help the situation, but now we would be in the position to do that. Of course Rich teases me for not being able to hang around naked, and he says we'd have to get dressed everyday. Those are some bothersome areas, but might be more likely knowing we have a household. I think things would have to be taken care of enough so that we could have drop in guests with Bud, his kids, Mark - Rich's brother and his kids, plus we'd always want open our kids stopping by - and maybe some day Rich's kids. There is enough room in this environment that it could happen ... Somehow I'm thinking of having to keep a neater place will be good for all of us. Somethings I would have to help more with ... like I think both Rich's mother and Bud share making of her bed. When he's around she has him doing little things for her. I would have to get used to some of that while saying also that my life doesn't stop just because you had a new thought. I think we'd get used to setting up our environments so that ... coffee would happen on time, we would eat our meals in the kitchen/breakfast area, and there'd be normal routines, with drinking, laundering, showering, and going to bed.
One of the things that Rich noted was that when it came to his mother, that we would have to defer to his judgment because ultimately he has the most responsibility for her. For the most part we agree, but we don't stop having a mind just because Rich isn't asking for our opinion. For example, as much as I hate the smoking - we let her know that she could smoke outside (garage, etc), but not in the house. Rich wanted to take away cigarette's altogether, but I didn't think that was fair. Just in the common area we all live - NO SMOKES. We figure that we'd be strong to say if she didn't follow the rules, we would take them away - AND put up with the arguing. Maybe we'd just hide them out on the balcony. She'd have to cope. And then we'd have to cope when the negatives around it came up.
I've lived a whole live though thinking that it would have been the right thing for my mother to do during my grandmother's last years - would be to let her live with us. We always liked my Dad's mom. I think it almost caused a divorce at that point because my mother and father held such contradictory positions. We all visited her once a week in the nursing home. I think the quality and life line of Rich's mom would go down hill living in a nursing home, and I think Rich would never forgive himself for her level of being cared for. He'd have to use all his time with her listening to her complain. That's what had happened last time she was in a home for rehab.
Can you tell we have a lot to talk about? Rich left about 4 hours ago - it's 2:30 PM now and he won't be home until around 7 PM. We got up with him and helped him wrap Jon and Chris' family's gifts and then he had to shop for a few things and he left for his mothers. He just called a few moments ago to say he had left there. He said that people still weren't talking to one another. Lots of anger and hurt there. He also said that the boys had been having problems and that Jon had tried to back out because he overslept - take in mind it was already 2 pm? But, then he still wanted his dad to go out to Algonquin and bring him to his friends from high school - they do a four day sleep-over party in Chicago. Yeah ok? Then he asked his dad to bring him to Best buy so he could get a phone ... about then we were asking rich - umm where does Jon give in? What's he doing to help himself? It is frustrating with him because he's going the same way as Chris ... he still hasn't been over here and most likely won't ... not with me here. To Rich's benefit he earned points with us yesterday. While at the Realtor's he had talked to Chris and said he was going out with his Aunt, Uncle and Cousin last night - in Chicago. Chris was like - hey I want in on that too. We got to hear Rich said fine - but that his family (meaning us) would be there too. Chris decided he didn't want to come ... like fine so be it! Blah Humbug!
Anyway that is where Rich is now .. he's on his way to celebrate official Christmas with his two sons and Chris family. Rich is really happy because along with getting his Grandson his first "Rich underware haul" he also got him a Cubs piggy bank. That was a very nicely thought out gift. He said he's going to recommend that only paper money go in there ... so I think that gives him a grandfather thing to do as in filling up the piggy bank when he is there. Nice guy!
Plus, he didn't ask me to stay home so his son could bud into our plans. WooHOO.. As to that it was a nice night - about 3 hours. We met them at the Cheese-factory downtown Chicago. It was a treat for us and we enjoyed the female company ... Rich's cousin Vicki and her Mom (Rich's Mom's sister) were on our end of the table. I'm sure you have been there before it gets very crowded, but we only had to wait a half hour for seats. Rich was in the middle and sitting closer to his uncle (met these guys at Jillian's wedding) and his cousins' husband Floyd. These two are always taking in foreign exchange students for a semester at a time... They are both soccer enthusiasts - Floyd used to coach - so that they usually take in boys who play soccer one of the current was from German and the other Rome. We had enough conversation, but was really ready to leave when it was time we all finally got up. We don't know each other personally just keep general track ... both Vickie and Diane are on FB so we see each other there. AND, Vicki since we've gotten to know them has taken up quilting so there is that connection which is very fun.
Anyway that was that ... we did have something very good (appetizer) in Fried mac and cheese which turned out to be a crispy-coated ball with mac and cheese inside - there were four and was perfect to leave me room for a caramel cheese cake! Nice! Parking was really close so we lucked out there - though I think it cost Rich $20 ... that is never fun.
I think that Rich's Aunt Diane was really almost startled to think that we'd let Rich's mother live with us. They were the two who wouldn't speak to each other at Jillian's wedding ... I'll always remember them sitting back to back 3 feet from each other and both refusing to turn around to look or talk to the other. Eh? There problem, right? Pretty sure you'd say that. :)
I think we've taken on a lot of ideas from Rich in trying to help his mother ... We CERTAINLY don't have his patience, but it's been kinda fun the last few days ... he has been much more free to talk to us about her and has let down some of his defenses. Mostly, I think he keeps remembering to tell me things that will help me to cope with her ... and to pre-warn me that this and that is happening. I think it is good coaching and psychologically speaking thinking Rich is reaching new plains in trusting that I will be able to cope with his mother and that we'll be able to handle enough of our personality problems so that we can be acceptable to his mother. Some of the things he says are a little surprisingly. Like one of the things he wanted to warn me of was that his mother was sooner than later going to say ... you seem to be able to do things - why aren't you working. We haven't come up with a pat answer from that.
I suppose I could think of that a second. The first word comes to my mind is my ability to cope with stress. That might be worked into conversation with her in her trying not to add to Ann's stress. There are the physical things that made working very hard, but I think mostly it was the emotional stuff. We have never been able and it got worse in being able to hear Sr. Theresa's disgust in us. I think that is something impressive of Rich's mother. I haven't been there for the drinking bouts - middle of the night, but she's never conveyed disgust with us. We worry about our invisibility and being just on call to her wishes, but I believe between you and me we can learn to put up healthy boundaries so she is encouraged to try more for herself and we have separate times together. Maybe we will learn to say things like we can help each other, but she's got to give me 10-15 minutes to get to it. I'm not going to be a housemaiden. Basically, when I'm in my own house we'll be living our life too - we're not just here to serve.
Serving had been a big deal growing up and in our first starting to figure out what had happened to us at home growing up. We felt we were not a real person, but someone to serve others, up to including the abuses. Certainly that was't for my own well-being. It was for their's and they're not having to come to grip with their own hostility issues. Boy thinking now you are probably going to have you hands full with these new changes and learning to be around others more especially other than Rich. I don't know what kind of pressures he's going to have to figure out either ... living with two of the women he loves most. Only thing better than that would be if Rich's daughter stayed with the Three of us. Hehehe AND she had a baby girl! THAT be dealing with a lot of women for Rich! Ok, she's not pregnant just saying :)
Whoops there was a break hear ... I think we stopped to look at the other place or something like that and then got lost between dinner, football and a darn nice nap. We're talking to Linda now and Rich should be home within about 10 minutes ... I guess we'll pick up from here later ... Hoping for good things to come :)