Not long ago, I told my mother and my sister, DNOS, that I preferred to be kept in the dark about the various implosions that occur in the family – especially if I haven’t the power to do anything about them. After all, I live in another country. It’s a 24 hour drive if I push it and can take nearly as long if I fly given the absolutely appalling state of current day air travel. My knowing, therefore, is essentially the same as my not knowing because there is precisely jack-squat I can do for them.
When we were in the Okanagan last week, my dad’s older sister – who is 88 years old – suffered a mild heart attack. DNOS called and I always know something is up when she calls me at any time other than evening or god awful early on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Week day mid-morning? Something has happened.
Of course, there was nothing I could do. Auntie is old. Her health has been precarious this last year. She is 88. Even in my dad’s family, where relatives can easily live to see 100, 88 is still pretty fucking old. So, while I attempted to impose order onto my MIL’s decamping from her condo, I worried about Auntie; about Mom, who doesn’t do stress well at all anymore; and about DNOS, who doesn’t do stress all that well herself of late.
And it was fine. Auntie is home and hooked up to Lifeline and recovering nicely.
After the whole near death experience with Baby earlier in the summer, I had an opportunity to be home and let interested parties know that unless someone was dead or near enough that it’s a certainty – don’t call me. I don’t need the stress for one thing, but mostly, nobody listens to a word I say when the shite is flying off the fan anyway. Even though, a lot of the time, my advice is spot on.
Oh, I am sure they listen, you think.
No. If the Auntie incident wasn’t proof – and I let that go because Auntie is DNOS’s godmother and they are close – today would convince you, my skeptical reader.
We went into the city to see Mick and run a few errands. A trip like this is a half day-ish affair. Driving is just a side-effect of living in the part of Canada that we do, so when DNOS didn’t find me at home, she immediately falls back on my cell. Nevermind that it’s a piece of crap that is off due to battery life issues more than it’s on or that I just as often don’t have it on me. So when it went off as we drove home, I already knew that something was likely amiss.
“What’s up?” I ask after being greeted by DNOS on the other end of the transmission.
She always greets me cordially before launching into the true nature of her call. Something that I almost find worthy of a chuckle.
“Lawnmower Man is harassing Mom for money. He’s just out of jail and has been calling her since last night, telling her if she doesn’t help them out he will be forced to pack Baby up and dump her on Mom’s doorstep.”
Apparently for OWI number four. He’s a hopeless alcoholic*, which makes it ironic that Baby, given the hysteria she had over our father’s drinking problem, would tangle herself up with a guy who makes Dad look like a teetotaler by comparison.
“I want Mom to call the police, but she won’t.”
DNOS’s voice was a bit quavering and as she goes on to tell me she even called Baby to try to put a stop to the harassment, I know it’s serious. Both of our younger siblings are effectively “dead” to her. She wouldn’t call either one to warn them of the coming Apocalypse.
“So you want me to talk to her?” I asked.
“Yes, I called Baby and now LawnMower Man has my number!”
I hear a voice in the background and she continues,
“BIL says it’s not a big deal because we have guns.”
I relayed that bit to Rob after and he laughed. Rob would love to be similarly equipped but we’re Canadians.
Promising her I would call mother as soon as I got home, she hung up only to call me back and let me know that Mom had decided to go to the police station. She wanted to go there rather than have a patrol car come to the house. She didn’t want the neighbors to know. I don’t know why. The neighbors have long thought we were mere millimeters from white trash anyway.
A trip to the cop shop and a few more back and forth long distance convo’s later and all is fine.
LawnMower Man is on work release, so he is technically still in custody. Mom has reluctantly agreed to change the locks on her doors though not until after the holiday weekend because it will cost too much to have the locksmith up today. This after I went on at her last spring for installing new doors and locks and giving that idiot baby sister of mine another key in the first place. See what I mean about “no one listens to me”?
Since the drunk in question is incarcerated when not milking cows, Mom feels secure enough to sleep in her own home for the time being. DNOS was content with this as well. Problem probably solved.
But not really because I had to know about it in the first place! However, I got to be worked up into a frenzy about it and they will ignore the other things I suggested should be done to keep this from happening again – until the next time it happens. And it will. Baby has a lifetime history of trusting anyone but her own family. She won’t walk about this relationship.
“Next life time,” I told Rob, “It’s orphaned and childless for us.”
“Next marriage, ” he replied, “I’m going to do a better job of screening applicants.”
“I did warn you,” I reminded him.
He nodded, “Indeed, and there will be no more marriages. Two wives with colorful family is enough for me.”
*Just to make it a completely interesting weekend, Rob’s homeless niece and her drunkard/drug abusing other of some significance are house/animal sitting for Edie and Silver. I shudder at the possibility for ugly fallout that might cause, but Edie and Mick are determined to give their cousin every chance even at risk to themselves.
5 thoughts on “Need to Know”
there but for the grace of the FSM go i… i have clearly not cornered the trailer park market in the blogosphere.
for what it’s worth, i usually let all calls from my Ridiculously Self-Absorbed sister, S, go to voicemail. She will always tip her hand about what her ‘drama du jour’ is, and i can at least prepare my mind before returning the call. When my niece, DQ, calls, however, i usually pick up… she (at least) rings me up for real emergencies, and uses text messaging or facebook for the mundane.
orphaned and childless. oh, yeah. where do i sign up?
Caller ID, sigh. A luxury item in this household. I am hoping that when we upgrade the cell phones we can have that again – though it doesn’t help me at home. The landline is ID-less.
I do understand my sister’s need to have someone to share the burden with but neither she nor my mother listen to a word I say. Mom using the caller id to screen out Baby and Lawnmower man – or even have his number blocked – is something I have brought up so many times under similar scenarios that I can’t even remember the first incident that prompted it. I do know that douchebag has used the phone to harass Mom since even before Dad died and that’s going on three years now.
I don’t really wish away my siblings and children but lately, I wish they were more self-sufficient in a crisis than they are at times.