Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rules to follow when staying with your parents

Rule #1 Don’t expect the key you’ve been given for the Olds 88 to actually open the locked doors. Only the key fob buttons are capable of unlocking the doors.

I had the PERFECT morning planned. Couldn’t fall asleep last night until about 1:00AM and then woke up at 5:30AM with an amazing amount of energy. Drove down to Lake Harriet to run. It was glorious. Fish were jumping, the sun was still rising and it smelled fishy, but I loved every minute of it. I brought my camera and took a few shots before my run, but found much better shots after going around the whole lake. As soon as I got back to the car, I pulled out the key I had pulled off the ring and put in my secret agent running shorts pocket, and attempted to enter the car. No go. The key would not open any of the doors or the trunk. I had to walk up about 5 blocks to my favorite ice cream shop and ask to use the phone. They were less than helpful. I called my dad to get one of my old high school buddie’s number and it was disconnected. After several snide looks, and a lecture about the phone being a business phone, I walked across the street to a bakery where they were EXTREMELY helpful and even fed me. I finally got a hold of my friend who had to pick me up, then drive me to my parents to get the other key and then drive me back to my car. By this time, my free time was gone. No morning coffee with my Internet at the funky coffee shop. No driving around the lake to get the better shots. No, I just drove around finding another key for the Olds and even got scolded by my parents for breaking Rule #1 (“Carol – WHY did you do that?” “I don’t know, Mom, I guess I just didn’t want to hold the bulky keys while I ran.” DUHHH!!!) I know I sound like I’m really mean to my mom. I’m not. I just didn’t appreciate the “talking to” I received. It was almost as bad as the one I got last night when I arrived home MUCH later than they expected. “We didn’t know where you were…what if something happened to you???” Basically, I have felt like a teenager since last night. I can’t seem to do anything right and I’ve become defensive and as crabby as they are. I need to take a deep breath, re-group and remember why I’m here. Or I just need to go get a drink.

Rule #2 Don’t assume that the recipe cards that are laid out on the kitchen counter are actually desired meals.

As I told Rachel this afternoon on the phone as we were planning my first “Meet Another Blogger” date, I am a taker, by nature, not a giver. I will give when necessary, but then I want to be acknowledged. For example, I made a double recipe of a goulash-type dish I had as a kid a million times because my mom had laid the card out on the counter. It is ground beef-based and fairly simple. I separated it out into individual meals and froze it for them. I then baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I had to find the recipe in her box, but she had mentioned last night about ten times that these were her favorites. After I baked and boxed up the cookies, I started dinner using another one of the recipe cards on the counter. Sweet and sour meatballs – again another ground beef meal. I made a double batch which took awhile and while one of the batches was simmering, I went into my mom’s room to check on her. It was then that I was told that she doesn’t really like ground beef or desserts (specifically chocolate). Oh. OK. I didn’t mention that this was more cooking or baking than I had ever done in my WHOLE life because we were too busy re-hashing how stupid I was to separate the key from the key fob this morning when I went running.

Rule #3 When people tell you that you’re in charge, they’re probably in a delusional state and don’t mean it.

Over the last few weeks, my parents have been REALLY nice to me on the phone. They looked to me as a problem solver. I have helped solve several of their arguments (remember I mentioned they bicker quite a bit), I promised to cook and run errands when they came, I offered to help my mom with her physical therapy, etc. Well, now that I’ve been here for almost 48 hours things have changed. My problem solving ways are not as attractive as they used to be. Last week, my mother told me that I was to be completely in charge of their impending move this fall. I was to come in – sort and organize – and then disappear into the night apparently. Things haven’t gone too well on that front. My parents seem to be overwhelmed. I recognized it immediately. They are spinning in place and it is making all of us VERY dizzy. The picture sorting project is still in progress and that is all we have accomplished. I’ll mention potential project areas to each of them and I’m not getting too much of a response. I guess glazed-over-eyes that eventually look away from me and then de-muting the TV could be considered a response of some sort.

Rule #4 Never, ever, EVER listen to “Fox TV News with Brit Hume” in the same room with my father.

I was cooking and couldn’t leave the room. My dad is a man of MANY words who doesn’t really enjoy debating with anyone who doesn’t completely agree with him. It was not pretty.

I’m back in the funky coffee shop tonight. I told my parents that I needed some space. I was accused of spending too much time on the computer. I tried to defend it, but decided that I’m going to stop talking and do more listening. I need to remember why I’m here. My parents are in a terrible predicament. My mom is holding her own, but still very sick. It’s been such a long battle. She has a much better attitude than I would have after this long. I need to focus. I also need to get drunk. Maybe tomorrow I can do that.

No comments: