Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hiatus Update

Ring bologna, with heart-shaped
mustard, from Super Bowl Sunday.

It's been a few weeks since I posted. It has been hard not to give in to the blogging urge. But I have so many things to do, that I am sticking (mostly) to my plan not to blog in February. I have been reading other people's blogs - I couldn't stand not knowing how everyone is doing. I really miss blogging! It keeps me feeling like I am making forward progress.

My mom is back in her home for the moment, and we've gone round-and-round about what the next step should be. My first urge was to move us all into a bigger house, and just make her come live with us. But after looking at a lot of rentals, we can't find anything we can afford that is big enough. We pay $600 to rent a 3BR house, and it's hard to find even the same thing at the same price. Anything we can afford is in a noticeably worse neighborhood, anything in a decent neighborhood jumps right up to $1000 for 4BR. We live in a city, and urban landlords know they can get good money from larger families with public housing vouchers. There is a decent house with 3BR/1.5BA plus a finished basement that could be a bedroom for the girls, with a big yard and a garden shed - but it's $950. As DH heads toward grad school, this is not the time to sign up for higher rent. I could buy a house for that (as if we could get credit).

So, we are back to the fact that Mom already lives in a 4 bedroom house now. We need to figure out how to make it shareable. It will be harder, but it's what we can all afford. If you've been reading here, you might recall that my mother is a compulsive hoarder. There are no cats or garbage bags, but her house is filled to the brim with stuff that will be hard for her to let go. I'm talking every room up to 5-6' high, with little paths. She sleeps curled up on a love seat. Isn't that sad? Changing it will be a physically and emotionally wrenching process for everyone.

My current plan is to find a large storage space. DH has been renting one for $200/month. He sold a house to move in with us, and has a whole house worth of stuff stored closer to Philly, where the storage prices are higher. He has resisted moving it up here, because he hoped we would move back to Philly when he finished his bachelor's degree. That just didn't happen in this economy, and now he has the opportunity of a year-long paid graduate fellowship. So, it's time to get a truck and a bunch of friends to move that stuff up here. It will save him $1200 a year! I am looking for a large enough space that I can also start emptying part of my Mom's house.

I hope that once we get some momentum with storing and donating things, Mom will find it easier, and we will be able to get some repair work and painting done in her house. It's a terrible thing to know that your mom lives in a house full of non-working appliances. We look like we are neglecting her, but she insists on staying - it's part of her compulsive disorder. Now that her decision-making skills are eroding, she will have to be forced. I just keep thinking that a year from now, she might be living in a functional house, doing fun things with family, without the burden of utility bills or unmanageable chores. If she doesn't have a nervous breakdown in the process. (Or maybe I will!)

There is one big fly in the ointment. My thyroid medication isn't working as well as it did when I started it 3 years ago. I am constantly exhausted, falling asleep in my car in front of the house or in a chair every afternoon. My joints ache and I'm often cold, and when I get a chill I feel immobilized by it - not good in February! I need my medication dosage increased - but my doctor is a clinic practitioner that doesn't know how to read thyroid tests. I've gotten a copy of my test results and am trying to get into a different clinic. The stupid medication is only $4 a month - it's not like I am asking for narcotics, dammit. I need all my energy right now! I have another call in to the doctor tomorrow.

I know that I owe emails to a dozen supportive friends and fellow bloggers. My desk is overflowing with things that demand my attention - if I could just stay awake. I will catch up as soon as I can. I am hoping to have rented a storage space and planned the storage move by the end of the month, and then set up a work schedule with Mom.

I did get some good stuff done: freezer inventory, a 3-month stock-up of the bath closet, and we have been doing well at cooking from our pantry. I even cleaned the oven, after a quiche bubbled over and left the kitchen smelling like brimstone.

I just wanted to let everyone know I am still chugging along, and I hope to be back soon.


Marie said...

It was so good to hear from you. I wish you the best!

fullfreezer said...

Glad to hear you are still plugging along. The thyroid stuff shouldn't be that difficult to find out. I'm on the same stuff. All you need to know is what is considered 'normal' and bump the dose until your blood levels get there. My Doc is fabulous- she lets me run at the high side of normal so I have a bit more energy.
Good luck with your Mom. I've worked with compulsive hoarders before in my job. It's tough. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts.

livinginalocalzone said...

So glad to hear from you! You've been in my thoughts. Hang in there. Working through family dynamics is rough, I hear you. Storage space is a good idea, that was it might be easier than a full clearing, just knowing that the stuff is still *there*. Good luck figuring out the thyroid. I am sending you positive thoughts

eunice said...

just wanted to send good thoughts and wishes your way. you definitely deserve them and wish i could offer something more a fabulous house on acres of land for all your gardening needs...or whatever you wish.