This may be long. I really should know better by now, but I keep stupidly thinking that the family situation will improve. Not the case, although there were some nice moments, but not nearly enough to make this Christmas a good one.
Started out on Tuesday, fog in the area, but the weather guy said it'd burn off by 10 a.m. Fine. I'd been told I had to leave early by Mom as they (she and my brother) were planning on going to a specific church for a priest they love. Leaving at 2 pm for a 4 pm service. Yep, 2 hours early. So I was on the road for real by 8:30 a.m. packing all the presents the night before in the car. Fog wasn't great, but doable on the highways - big old divided highways. No burning off by 10 a.m., fog advisory extended. Great. When I get into the non-divided highway portion where it's in BFE, I can barely see road signs. There are driveways, cross roads (county roads that intersect with this US highway). I was like this is bad, they can go along to the service, I'm not going to be a traffic statistic to meet their deadline. I wanted to pull over into some small town/village's church parking lot, but I couldn't see the drive. I went on about 5 to 6 miles where I knew there was a small truck plaza/gas station/mini mart. I could not see the traffic light at the actual intersection. Made it into the lot, where off to the side state police were doing paperwork for a fender bender. Called Mom and promptly was yelled at - I told you this was a bad travel day! You need to take more time off, you let those people walk all over you (office folks). I tried to explain that I cannot take every holiday off, just because she wants it so! The bad travel stuff was news readers saying it was going to be a busy travel day - which there were so few cars on the road where I was anyhow. Traffic or busy roads wasn't the problem. So I waited it out, with nothing improving much. I decided to get to the next town, 11 miles away, which wasn't awful driving, then made it to Mom's. She was all happy happy.
We go to church and the priest is in really bad health. Bad. It was a travesty to have him be the sole priest. Mom loved it. It was all wonderful. I was stopped by some teenager do-gooder asking me had I taken communion. What the hell skippy? I told him I had to go, be gone. It was very weird. Mom and brother are out by the car when I made it through the crowd. Mom all of a sudden starts to go down into a sitting position - very slow motion - where I blocked her from going any further backward, but she just sat on a curb, saying oh I just lost my balance. WTH. It was like she was going to sit in a chair. She was ok. Brother made a joke out of it and she was laughing (had I laughed, the tears would have started). Rest of the night was blah.
Brother is basically anti-gift, but caved to Mom because waterworks and pouting won out. So he'd gotten me a gift cards and he had one bag for Mom. I'm like gotta be electronics (I peeked and saw a charger). Sure enough, a cell phone. This is #3 from him - all of the other ones were 'stupid' along with the iPhone I got her - you guessed it, 'stupid'. I was like good luck chuck. I also got her two tables (Amazon) and they were 'stupid'. She bought herself a laptop and it sits gathering dust. I've not shown her enough. I have nothing left to show her; it's dumbed down to enter a pin, click on an icon to get to the internet, and all of her favorites are saved as favorites. She's a technophobe.
So I had gotten her a ton of stuff -- sheets, beauty items, clothing items, one gadget for the kitchen she wanted. She'd also said she would've preferred the new air fryers that have the racks that look like a small oven. It was on sale, so I ordered it. HUGE MISTAKE.
We opened the big box later, and she asked me so can I fry eggs in it? She thought it was part griddle? She has a collection of small appliances she has never used. I may have used some once or twice. All are scattered around her dining room. For the air fryer, I thought it could go on an auxiliary cart with a butcher block top, but there is no outlet available. I then said she needed to donate some of the small appliances as they are dust catchers. Yeah icy stare. Then I said why don't we store away your Kitchen Aid mixer (not used in over 5 years). Yeah, no. I then said well this was a mistake, stupid, stupid me and boxed it back up. She just saw it was good looking food coming out of it on the demo and had zero clue how it worked.
Today I was up earlier, having the kitchen floor, guest bath cleaned, and some laundry done before Mom was up. She'd told me oh she'd been up earlier, with pain (arthritis), and again telling me I don't know what pain is (I have a chronic back injury but that's not painful). I kept up the cleaning, then Mom says I need to go to the store to get over the counter pain pills. Ok, so you want me to go? Nope she wants to look at stuff. I told her I wanted to leave no later than 3 pm. As I'm finally done with cleaning, and ready to step into the shower, couldn't I go check her mail? Mail is in one of those group mailboxes outside. She is obsessed with mail. Obsessed.
She has 7 people on her Christmas card list from whom she'd not received a card yet; one was from me. Brother got my card - same city, so that was validation I did send it out. I go to mailbox and should've said nope, no mail. Stupidly, I brought it into her house One was my card, one from an ex-neighbor kid (she was always close with her), and my cousin. Ka-BOOM.
Ex-neighbor kid (who is now well over 40 with kids in high school), said she'd stopped sending out holiday cards, but she'd continue to send to Mom. Ok, nice of her. Mom was close to tears saying I bet they're in debt! She is so jealous of this woman - her husband is a CFO, she's a teacher, just got a big new house, trip for anniversary, kids doing well. Her mantra - I bet they're in debt! She'll have to work the rest of her life! This woman loves teaching. Mom cannot understand that one bit. Her goal was to be a housewife, so that should be every woman's dream goal.
Cousin had said offhand, years ago, oh maybe I'll visit. Mom took that as oh she's coming to visit. Nah, it was a throwaway comment to appease her. Cousin wrote she's going on an long trip to the far east. So Mom does what she does - she pouted. Might as well forget me like everyone else! I said c'mon we're either going or not going. Venom then directed at me.
We get back from the trip, then I start packing up. It's almost 3. Oh can we eat? Sure. Leftovers it is. I continue to pack up and hurry around. I re-arranged the leftovers into more manageable containers, washing the old ones. She gives me the death stare at the washed containers sitting in the drying tray. Oh you want me to put them away? Well I cannot reach. (She reached up to use the container to make the Jello concoction - so not true). Then I hear what did you do with the instructions for xxxx - one of her appliances that has never been used - never used. I didn't move the papers. You had to, you had to......nope, they were in a drawer and I know she put them there. I finally leave and I forgot the box with the damned air fryer. Then she called me again, saying you forgot your bags. WTH. It was ONE gift bag where I'd put stuff for my brother (bought for her to give to him, and I put in gift bag for her). You said you'd take care of it! Nope, never said that at all. I drove back and forth between the box and the bag4 to 5 miles each time. Then on the BFE stretch, a group of about 6 to 8 deer ran in front of me, which I barely missed. I cannot tell you how glad I am that the holidays are over.
Epilogue: Mom is not answering my calls (I call to let her know I made it home). I am sure she is pouting; the last trip back to get the bag, she said what did you really get me for Christmas? I said well, you said you wanted that air fryer, but you really didn't. Not my problem, plus I had plenty of other stuff for her. I'm sure it all pales in comparison to the new wonder cell phone. She's only using it to play solitaire, plus to read news/weather updates from a local station. I give it two to three months max before that one is, yes, stupid. Thanks for letting me vent.
I think next holiday I will be ill. Something that will not allow me to travel.