Did I Mention the Car Crash?
It’s been about half a month since my last blog post. Are you ready to catch up? Good.
My mom went into the hospital on July 2 after falling in the middle of the night the previous day (my brother discovered her on the floor.) I flew out on July 3. They told us a kidney stone caused an infection, which is why she fell, and, oh by the way, there’s this nodule on her lung she should check out. It took forever to get the biopsy set up, so while I was dealing with kidney stone removal and doctor visits to stablize her diabetes, my kids flew out to stay with us. That’s when the washing machine backed up and it took me four days before I could get a plumber out there to snake the lines. Mom was ready to downsize her house, but couldn’t decide if she wanted to stay in New Jersey or move in with me in Texas, so we just focused on clearing out her closets.
Once my mom got diagnosed with Stage 3d lung cancer, I went into Type A personality overdrive. In the span of 2 weeks here’s what happened: She decided to move in with me in Texas. We put her house on the market. I put my insomnia to good use and painted every night from 10 p.m. until sunrise, slept for about 4 hours, and then painted again when my brother came home from work. While removing the wall paper in the kitchen, the metal scraper accidentally touched the outlet and sparks came out.
The next day the chandelier sparked and I smelled burning wood. Oh great, I almost burned down my mom’s house! The electrician came out and said the dimmer surged after my wall paper fiasco and that was what caused the burning smell. While he was fixing that, the plumber fixed the washer and I got estimates to fix a dark patch in the floor. Did I mention I ripped out the wall-to-wall carpet in the entire house?
Well, while doing that I discovered the dark patch which needed to be repaired and also noticed a lot of ladybugs on the floor in that same bedroom. At first I was like, “Ladybugs! That’s good luck!” and then I was like, “Ladybugs are beetles. I better get that taken care of.” We called the exterminator, who is also our deacon, so before spraying for bugs he gave us Holy Communion. And we had a new roof installed. We dealt with social security, medicare, Aetna and an insurance broker to transfer her medical insurance to Texas. Also, Rylee lost two teeth.
The hardwood guy who fixed the floor only did patches, he didn’t clean or stain it, so I had to get another guy to come out for that and a third guy to do the downstairs carpet and vinyl. Did I mention the car crash? While driving back from paying my credit card bill (because regular life didn’t stop) I had an important decision to make. Do I turn right and go to Wawa’s for a box of chocolate chip cookies, or do I turn left and go to Home Depot to get more paint? This is one of those instances when I should have picked the cookies! On the way to Home Depot I stopped at the red light and some woman behind me rear-ended me. The damage wasn’t bad, but bad enough to have to get the car fixed, and who the hell has time for that?
Also, I got out of the car to check the damage, and my mom’s car is an old lady car that automatically locks when you close the door, and the keys were still inside, so I locked myself out, causing a traffic jam. I called my brother for a spare key, but he didn’t know where it was because we had to move all the upstairs furniture downstairs for the hardwood floor guy to work, and all the downstairs furniture upstairs for the carpet guy to install carpet and no one knew where anything was. So the police broke me out. Yay! But then the carpet guys ripped out the phone and cable lines from the wall, so we had no phone, internet or television until I could get the Comcast guy out on a Sunday. (Ask me how easy it is to get the cable guy to come out on a Sunday…) So I had to research movers using my smart phone and then boxed everything up with my mother and brother.
During all this, I have to give HUGE PROPS to my three best friends: Jenny Dambec and her parents John and Joann Tyne who took the kids swimming and let me cry on their shoulders,
Meghan Montague for taking the kids to her house and the park and the movies so I could paint,
and Deirdre Ryan and her mom Enid Martin, who let the kids take over their home.
They took turns babysitting the kids so we could get things packed, painted, and diagnosed and there is no way on earth it could have been done without their help. THANK YOU!!!!
The movers came and took away boxes and furniture and my mom was slightly shell shocked. By the day before the realtor was coming with the photographer and I was just burned out beyond belief. I decided to just go to bed early that night – 10 p.m. At midnight my son, Henry, wakes me up with this: “Mommy, I’m itchy.” He was covered in poison ivy from his waist down. Of course. So I put ointment on him and then I’m just awake, so I polish all the floors and clean the bathrooms until my brother comes at 6 a.m. We decide to paint the front exterior of the house because the paint was chipping.
I get on the roof and scrap off the old paint while Dennis paints the lower level. I help him finish up, make my mother and the kids breakfast and then go to bed for 2 hours. I wake up to discover that Dennis got dizzy on the roof from his blood pressure medication and spilled white paint all over the new roof. The photographer would be there in an hour. I called back the roofer to switch out the shingles. But the was done and it looked good, especially considering it was done in 15 days. When the car came to pick us and our 8 suitcases up yesterday to take us from the airport, we said goodbye, but it wasn’t much of a Hallmark moment.
My mom refused to take her walker (which she hadn’t needed in two weeks, but still…) and didn’t want to take a last photo. She just wanted to leave. My son was having a meltdown about having to sit in his booster seat. We get to the airport at the curbside check in and while mom was holding Henry’s hand my daughter, Rylee, unexpectedly switched directions with her suitcase and mom tripped over it, falling on the concrete. Jesus Christ, get me out of this state and back to Texas! She could stand and walk, but was very sore and shaken and her elbow got scrapped. They came with a wheelchair and the upside is that we got ahead of everyone at security and got to get on the plane first. Yay! When we got off the plane they came with a wheelchair again and Rylee had one suitcase and I had the other bags and then noticed my son was not next to me. “WHERE’S MY SON!?!” I shouted. “Little red-haired boy?” asked a passenger. “Yes!” “He’s talking to the pilot, asking how the buttons work.” Of course. But after much craziness – WE. ARE. HOME. Thank God.
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