Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Truth is SO Much Stranger Than Val’s Convoluted Tales

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one. Seriously. I know I’m like a broken record lately. You don’t even have to comment. What can be left to say? I know how hard it is to politely pretend that Val has not gone off the deep end and is currently sinking like a granite boulder to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Just bear with me. You don’t have to encourage me. I will continue with these stories until there are no more such stories to tell. Consider it my therapy, and each of you my therapist. Which is not, by the way, pronounced “the rapist” as one of my colleague’s students read from a textbook long ago, and Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery making a mockery of Jeopardy might have you believe.

I have been feeling a bit downhearted the last couple of days. Yesterday on the way to school, I told The Pony I felt a great sadness. Poor Pony. He said, “It must be something I’ve done.” No, sweet Pony. It’s not you. It’s me. I assured him that it had nothing to do with him. I was just missing his grandma. To which he said, “Aww.” Because even though he doesn’t really care about helping people, his mom is an exception.

After school, we went by Mom’s house to turn on different lights and adjust the shades. No need for people to think the house is abandoned. The Pony ran in as usual to do the work, while I sat in the driveway in T-Hoe. Sad. Because that’s how I used to drop things off for Mom. I felt like she could come walking out to the yard any minute, and stand beside the driveway and talk to me. Her regular self. Not her cane-walking self after her seizure. I really miss her, you know. Sweatpants with the hole in the knee and all.

Last night The Pony went upstairs for his shower routine before I came out of my dark basement lair. I was lonely. I sat down in the recliner about 9:30 and started watching a DVR of Cutthroat Kitchen. The contestants were making a tuna melt, and one lady bid over $19,000 of her $25,000 on the very first item, a glob of cooking utensils all connected in a blob by their handles melted together. I was still feeling sad. I really wanted to call Mom and talk about that show. And about the day I’d had at school. But…well…Mom is no longer available. So I got to talking to her a little bit anyway. It’s just that we no longer need a phone, and she doesn’t really respond.

This morning I got up at 4:50, the regular time, and I was still sad. I used to call her every morning at 6:00, you know, to start the day. If I didn’t call by 6:05, she was ringing me. I packed lunches and was ready for the shower by 5:15 as usual. As I waited for the shower to warm up, I let out a few tears, talked again to Mom, but quietly, you know, because Hick needs his beauty rest, not that he could hear me through the door with the shower going and his breather pumping out cold germy air.

I just told Mom how much I miss her. That I know she’s fine, and I’m fine, but kind of sad lately. And I did what I know I should not do, and blatantly asked for something impossible. “Mom, if it’s not too much trouble, could you give me some kind of sign that everything’s going to be okay? Nothing big. Just a little sign that I’ll know is from you.” Then I looked at the bathroom rug, you know, to see if maybe there was a ladybug there again. But there wasn’t. So I told myself, “Stupid. It doesn’t work like that.” But I looked all around the walls, too, just in case. You never know. But there was nothing. I got in the shower. Cried a little bit, you know, feeling sorry for myself. This is going to take a while.

By 5:30 I was out and ready for my chair nap. I made sure Hick got up, and The Pony. I watched a little morning news, just to check the weather. Huh. No snow in the forecast. Looks like I’m going to have to work every day until the end of the school year! Then I put the TV on TBS, because at 6:00, after laying in the La-Z-Boy trying to sleep, with those infernal fleabags barking on the porch, and Hick thumping around in the bathroom on the other side of the wall, I watch Married With Children. That show is almost as good as Seinfeld. They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Of course Hick came out of the bathroom at 5:50 this morning, so I barely caught five winks. I tried to catch a few more elusive ZZZs, all snug under my afghan, in the dark of not-yet-sunrise daylight saving time. Those dogs started in again as Hick went up the driveway at 6:00. I had hoped to snooze until 6:10, because without my call to Mom these days, that’s when I start to get ready. But with the racket, I gave up. I clicked on the TV.

Wait a minute! Since when did Peg Bundy have a bindi? (Okay, I didn’t know the name of it then and had to look it up as I wrote this). Yep. Right there in the middle of her forehead was a dot. I turned on the light.
It was a ladybug.

Thanks, Mom.


  1. I feel your sadness, and you need to express it. You've been a trooper through this, but you do need to grieve.

    And yes, I believe the ladybugs are a sign.

  2. I hope your mom keeps sending those precious ladybugs!!

  3. How sweet. I can only imagine what you're going through because you and your mom were so close. I know there are still sad times ahead for you, that's normal, but I hope the sad feelings are softened by all the fun, slaw-hunting adventures you two shared. Take care.

  4. I know how badly you ache, but be assured, your mom hears. Keep talking, girl. Those little ladies are gifts. HUGS

  5. It WILL get easier. I still miss my mom, but after two years, it's not nearly as bad as the first.

  6. joeh,
    That's ladybug #4. The Pony's laptop screen, the bathroom rug, my T-Hoe headrest, and now Peg Bundy's forehead. Not that I'm keeping count...

    I was elated. Such joy in a tiny insect. I don't ask for much, yet I ask for the unaskable.

    I pulled into her driveway when it was covered with sleet and snow. Because I could!

    Surely you exaggerate. I am merely great.

    Thank you. I keep putting the ladybugs out of the house. This one, like the one The Pony tried to put out of T-Hoe, did not want to let go of the Puffs. It took three tries to let it go.

    Yes, this is the year of firsts without. Next week, I'm approaching my second bill-paying Friday without the option of taking my slaw-loving co-pilot.

  7. She heard you! I was never close to my mother and she kept my dad at a distance from me. I can't say that I didn't mourn her and I did write some letters to her after she passed and I shed quite a few tears, but I know that when my dad leaves me it will be so hard. I feel like I have given a delayed sentence and I count my blessings every day. I made slaw last week and thought of your mom. When I tried to explain it to He Who is a dimwit, he just knitted his brow and looked confused.

  8. Kathy,
    Guys can't concentrate when they're only feeding on slaw. I'm sure He Who could have discussed the topic like a philosopher if he was chowing down on some ribs wrapped in bacon stuffed in a rump roast.

    Enjoy your dad while you can. I don't regret one minute I spent driving to visit Mom after work every day I that I could.

  9. Val--Both my parents are gone. Enjoy the talks you have with your mom. Be grateful you were able to be there for her. She's obviously keeping an eye on you.

    1. Yes, I have a feeling Mom would still do anything she can for me. Just like when she was safely ensconced in the nursing home for rehab, yet when I told her I had a really hectic day coming up, she would say, "Is there anything I can do?" And that offer was more than enough.