People are a constant disappointment

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have an in-home daycare. I advertise myself as being flexible, but this means sometimes I get taken advantage of (JFC when did I start ending all of my sentences with prepositions?). I come from a feminist perspective where I try to support mothers in all of their decisions, whether I agree with them or not (obviously unless they endanger the child). As a former social worker I am well aware of psychosocial stressors the families might be facing and how that impacts the children’s care. I’m really good at my job, most of the time, and I think I provide a really unique perspective that supports families in a way that traditional day care does not. That all being said, I’m getting real sick of these fuckers cancelling days on me, but then when I ask for a day off or an early pick up so I can go to the fucking doctor it’s suddenly fucking impossible for them to take time off (and in today’s instance, I asked for a pick up an hour ahead of the typical schedule and provided them with at least a 2 week notice).

This is the story of my fucking life. I give and give and give willingly to others but when I ask for something in return I get nothing. I hate to sound like some fucking martyr, but I’m sick of this pattern. I’m so fucking burnt out with this job that I loved. And even though we have a lot more help with my MIL these days, I’m so burnt out being a caregiver. I can’t stop fantasizing about her moving out to a nursing home.

This week my MIL had another surprise guest. But it wasn’t a surprise to her, just me. I’ve told family and friends to please contact me as a courtesy about visits, but they don’t give a fuck. Everyone just does whatever the fuck they want. Well maybe it’s time I start doing whatever the fuck I want too. Being thoughtful and compassionate towards everyone and it’s gotten me nowhere. So, everyone can just fuck off.


I live with a fucking idiot

My MIL has a caregiver 5 days a week now, and goes to daycare twice a week. You’d think she’d be occupied and not causing trouble, but she still manages to do stupid shit. Her main caregiver Z has been with us over a year now and I love her. In my mind Z is untouchable, even when she does something “wrong” I can’t blame her, because she tolerates MIL 3-5 days a week. Yesterday MIL asked me about cookie cutters and I assumed, like a normal and sane person, that she was making cookies. But nope, not MIL. Instead she made plastic “wind chimes” by melting plastic beads in the cookie cutters on a cookie sheet. Maybe this sounds like a cute idea, but WTAF?! Maybe tell me you are melting fucking plastic in my house, on my cookie sheet (without any foil lining it) and my cookie cutters! Thank fucking goodness she didn’t use any of my old cookie cutters I inherited from my mother. I just told MIL and Z that she can’t use any other cookie cutters- only the ones she already used (read ruined) and only that baking sheet. She asked if I could just wash the plastic off the cookie cutters – and this is how this blog post gets its title. A motherfucking idiot I tell you. Dumber than a bag of plastic beads.

I’m back

Ugh Facebook is driving me fucking crazy and I keep wanting to tell people what I really think and then realize it’s not the time or the place….so I’m back. And I’m here to process and vent. And I just published 3 old drafts without reading them, because, fuck it.

Enter, mama bear (this is from summer 2015)

I’ve written so infrequently in the past year that it’s hard to know where to start.  So let’s do it chronologically!

My MIL had total knee replacement surgery on her right knee in early July.  We actually had the house to ourselves for that entire month! It was not all fun and games though. Her first day at the hospital went great, but it was a Friday, and the care over the weekend was less than mediocre.  The hospital staff seemed totally unprepared to deal with a heavier-set woman with Parkinson’s.  It seemed that they deemed her too much work and made her use a bedpan instead of getting her up to use a commode. This infuriated us on so many levels.  First of all, the day of her surgery they had her get up and walk to the bathroom- yes it took extra help, but it was important to her recovery.  Second of all, this hospital has it in their mission statement to respect the dignity of the person (I know this because I used to work for this hospital system).  How forcing a normally ambulatory person to use a bedpan instead of taking the time and resources to get them to the bathroom (or at the very least a commode) is promoting dignity is beyond me.  And although MIL is a complete pain in the ass at home, she is a meek and passive patient, completely unable to advocate for herself.  And finally, if you are unaware of how hospitals are staffed, it’s based not only the census of the hospital but on clinical need.  Her doctors and nurses should have insisted that the hospital provided an extra staff person for MIL so that she would have been getting out of bed during her stay there.  Care over the weekends should not be much different than care during the week.  So instead of us having a quiet and relaxing weekend will she was supposedly was getting 24/hour care, we were anxious and concerned.  Hubby decided to spend the day there all of Sundayso that he could advocate for her, and then needed up taking more time off that week to make sure things were going smoothly.  The entire thing pissed me off and resulted in me becoming like a mama bear.

I have to tell you, it was a total mind fuck to go from being annoyed and homicidal towards this woman and suddenly having an outpouring of empathy and compassion and a desire to protect her.  So when she got transferred to a rehab facility mama bear was in full swing.  Things at rehab generally went pretty well.  One minor irritant was that MIL developed some incontinence problems (possibly related to them keeping the catheter in her for too long.) coupled with requiring assistance to get into the bathroom.  MIL really fought the staff on wearing a diaper, even though it was meant only to make cleaning up after an accident easier.  So this meant I had to come and pick up her fucking laundry every couple of days because she was pissing herself 3 times a day.  Eventually the staff demanded that she wear a diaper and a hospital gown until the problem subsided.  I felt both bad for her and resentful that she couldn’t follow their simple instructions to begin with so that I could get a fucking break from her. Ugh.  (Side note- this issue is fully resolved now, she is fully continent.)

Our major problem with the rehab facility was the social worker.  I promise you, I tried.  I really tried not to be “that person.”  When I was a social worker we used to dread working with family members that were in the field.  But she was terrible.  Usually in a hospital setting a social worker communicates with people family, keeps everyone on thetreatment team on the same page, and coordinates discharge plans. I don’t know what this fucking lady’s job or role was, because she never told me.  And that is the first thing you should do when you call the family.  Everytime I talked to her I got attitude, she acted like she didn’t want to talk to me, and when I tried to educate her on my MIL’s cognitive issues she seemed to have no interest in the information.  I tried to explain that MIL has impaired memory and that it would be best to discuss treatment and aftercare with my husband and I as she doesn’t really make decisions on her own.  I tried to explain that MIL is a poor historian and provides inaccurate information and that her judgement is very impaired.  It all seemed to fall on deaf ears. Eventually the social worker started talking about MIL not being able to be left on her own, but would not give me any clear information on what that meant.  And then they started talking about discharging her, and we couldn’t fathom how she could be discharged if she needed 24-hour care.  It was confusing even with my own clinical background.   We ended up having the scramble to set up an in home caregiver.  I think we realized after the fact that the staff at the rehab facility had no idea what MIL’s baseline was, despite our multiple attempts to give them that information- and this resulted in them thinking she was worse off than she actually was.  I had actually been starting to panic and worry that MIL was really in bad shape, but by the time we got her home I realized she was actually doing pretty well.

Once at home we had MIL all set up with in home care- a visiting nurse, physical therapists, and a  caregiver.  One of our main concerns was obviously fall prevention – mostly because she was put on a blood thinner post-op.  We had to do a lot of educating her on the importance of someone being with her (literally with in arms length) in case she lost her balance (something that happened regularly before surgery).  She didn’t require overnight care but we instructed her to call or text us to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.  Of course she refused to listen.  I still can’t believe she never fell.  I don’t generally believe in miracles, but this really was one.   MIL balked at the cost of the private caregivers.  We told her if she fell and hurt her knee that Medicare wouldn’t pay for a new one (since she clearly had no fear of bleeding out in the bathroom overnight we decided to use her cheapness against Germany).

I never finished this post but publishing it anyway!

Easter (2016)

I’ve been really trying to be a better person. And generally, it’s working.  I’ve been more patient and more compassionate.  My Hulk-like rage has disapated, which explains why I haven’t been blogging at all.  MIL continues to annoy and irritate me, and I continue to work through it knowing that she really can’t help it.  I’m awaiting the results of neuropsychology testing that will tell us the degree of cognitive impairment.  I am eager to have my suspicions confirmed that she has developed Parkinson’s dementia and that her impulsivity (of both behavior and speech), poor judgement, confusion and forgetfulness are manifestations of this disease. And once it has been named and documented that it will be clear that she needs more than hubby and I can provide.  Not that I anticipate that she will be placed in a nursing home; I know she will remain with us for years to come.  Instead, I await a professional recommendation that she needs to hire a caregiver.  I await word that we have done enough, and that we can’t be expected to take on more than what we have already done.  And I need this, because, as usual, MIL and her family continue to have unrealistic expectations of what we should be doing.  I’ve stopped asking for help.  It’s as pointless as asking MIL to change her behavior.  All it does is waste more time and energy on things that clearly will never change.

This brings us to Easter. Usually my husband’s uncle and aunt host a potluck at their house.  This was the initial plan.  I was already pissed that they had to use Facebook to invite everyone instead of an email.  Literally everyday for several weeks the MIL would ask me “how do I get to the Easter message again?” For the love of all that is holy, why does no one listen to me when I tell them MIL cannot use technology and that it creates more work for us!? Then, there was the sign up for dishes.  Those other motherfuckers decided to pick the vegetable tray and salad to prepare- the two simplest dishes! Instead they requested a “pretzel salad” whatever the fuck that is.  Of course, it turns out to besomethings my MIL made in the past.  So then she spent the next week obsessing about the damn pretzel salad and finding the recipe.  No one understands.  I can’t find the words to explain how my MIL obsessions affect my daily life.  Just imagine that my MIL is a toddler obsessed with finding a toy and extrapolate from there.  So she finally finds the recipe and it of course calls for things we don’t have on hand, and it sounds like a somewhat complicated recipe for someone who has a difficult time following directions. Great. Just fucking great. Not only do I need to do the shopping for both of our recipes, but I’m probably going to have to help her make hers.  And in the meantime MIL has decided to make some dumbass dessert even though the family said “no desserts.”

So imagine my excitement when on the Monday before Easter the family announces that they want to eat out instead! I see this a major win (although I had started looking forward to passive-aggressively punishing the family by making a food they don’t like as my veggie side dish).  My other thought is that I won’t have to fix a plate for MIL as usual, and that this will be a short lived celebration.  But I was all wrong.  There was no winning Easter for me.

My MIL makes every car ride painful. She tries to sing along to every song on the radio, and it just bothers us.  This time she preferred to focus on how it looked like hubby was driving the wrong way, even though we have driven the same way several times a year for the past 3 1/2 years she has lived with us.  And then she focused on not understanding how her new phone works (which is a flip phone very similar to her last one).  And despite being told that I can’t hear her from the back seat and hubby needs to focus on driving she drones on and on. We finally make it there, and despite reservations need to wait a good 30 minutes to be seated.

So we make it our seats, which are basically two tables parallel to each other. The kids in the group sit down first at one table, and my MIL sits at the other.  I immediately go for the kids table, thinking that my MIL’s nieces and nephews are going to sit next to her,  but no.  They all go for the kids table as well.  The youngest kid in the group is fucking 6-years-old and none of them require mommy and daddy sitting next to them,  but what the fuck do I know. I actually stood there glaring and said, “so nobody is going to sit next to aunt J?” And the only response I got was my husband motioning me to sit down at the table with MIL, telling me with his pleading eyes not to cause a scene. So I sat, and I bit my tongue (and as my mom used to say, I’ve been biting my tongue so much I’m surprised it’s not a bloody stump.).  And of course it’s a buffet, and no one makes any attempts to help MIL.  So instead of a few hours off from caregiving, hubby and I are back to catering to MIL and bringing her whatever she would like.  And we can’t even be mad at her.

I just want to know what the fuck is wrong with people? I’m sick and tired of being the compassionate on  ready to help whomever when everyone else sits by focused on themselves.  Whether it’s my brother-in-law telling me how he has to go workout to deal with his stress, and I remind him I barely get time to myself, much less to go to the gym .  Or if an in-law cousin talking about how she doesn’t have time to help because she has her own side business baking (not a financial necessity but a hobby)…….like I’m supposed to feel bad that she is so “busy.”  Must’ be nice to have the time and energy to pursue hobbies.  Fuck them all.  I’m so done with this family.

What you should know before you get before back surgery…. (summer 2016)

1) If you are a person who likes to shave anything below the neck, be prepared, shaving is going to be a problem.  I should have gotten my legs waxed.  For fuck’s sake, it’s summer in the Midwest.  And even though I spent the majority of my college years hairy as fuck and refusing the shave, I’ve outgrown the idea that my protest fur does anything to change fascist beauty standards.  So now, 3 weeks out, I’m stuck in cargos and gym pants until I have been given the okay to bend and twist.

2) Invest in a grabber.  You might feel like an old person, but when you have dropped a pill or a pretzel on the floor for the millionth time and you are in an opiate induced fog, you are going to fucking love that thing.

3) Keep the clothes you are going to wear in a laundry basket at waist height so you do not have to deal with opening and closing drawers (which is difficult to do without bending and twisting).

4) Do a lot of squats before surgery, you are going to need these muscles strengthened! The first time you go to the bathroom after surgery the nurse is going to instruct you how to properly sit on the potty, which is surprisingly hard to do without bending.  Furthermore,as you feel better, you are going to start learning to squat to pick up those dropped pills and pretzels off the floor.

5) Have a lot of sex before surgery.  Yeah, I know, you have back problems, and it can be painful, but fuck it.  Have you ever tried to have sex with bending, twisting, lifting, or putting some amount of pressure on your spinal column? No? Because it’s fucking impossible.  Even in missionary with your partner on top and fully supporting their own weight puts some pressure on the hips.  And you are going to feel it.

6) Invest in a sex swing.  Yes, they exist, they are safe, and affordable, and they can even fit in a closet doorway.  Yes, we have one. And yes, it saved our partnership when I thought I was never going to be interested in sex again.  Need something more specific? I don’t need to move my hips.  I am fully supported by my partner and he is able to swing me back and forth, and he reports it is also easier on his back.

7) If you are prone to yeast infections start taking probiotics before surgery, or at least eat yogurt with live active cultures.  And make sure you have enough for after the first week of surgery.  They are going to give you antibiotics, and if you are anything like me, you are going to be fighting a raging yeast infection, and you can’t even shower the first 3 days.  Good luck cleaning your vulva when you aren’t supposed to bend and twist.


It’s been over 2 months since I blogged.  Things have been going pretty well.  But the past few days my patience has been wearing thin.  Tuesday would have been my mom’s 73rd birthday.  I tend to not give a lot of credence to the idea of “anniversary reactions,” but every once in awhile her birthday or death date seem to trigger me. 

I’m not sure why now, 6 years after her death, I suddenly feel so heartbroken.  Maybe it’s that I feel so distant from my family, so forgotten by my brothers, that I crave the person that not only created us, but kept us together.  Maybe it’s that I’m the caregiver to a woman who keeps trying to (s)mother me even though she is the one that needs (s)mothering.  Maybe it’s that it’s Fall, her favorite time of year.  Or it could be my upcoming trip to Yellowstone, one of the places she had wished to see.  Or it could be that every time I go to share a photo of her and I on Facebook I realize that we hardly have any photos together.  

Maybe it’s just that I have too much time on my hands.  And I seem to be spending a lot of time reflecting on the things she did wrong as a parent.  The way she shut me down and out when I came out as bisexual.  How I wanted to force an apology from her when she was on her deathbed- to ask her if she regretted the way she treated me.  To ask her if she realized how much I wanted to kill myself at the age of 22 because I could never be good enough for her.  I wanted to ask her if I had ended up marrying a woman if she would have been just as excited at my wedding….If we would have still had a relationship as mother and daughter….had it been a woman I married would I still have been the one sitting at her side as she was dying?  

And I wonder how I would have turned out had all of my childhood interests been supported.  Had she bought me the Matchbox cars or the Star Wars toys I desired.  But my interests were steered towards all things “girly.” I was only allowed to play with the Legos when my boy cousins were over.  It’s not that I didn’t like the “girl” toys; I loved my dolls.  It’s that I also wanted the toys my cousins played with, but they wouldn’t buy them for me.  My mom always told me I could be anything I wanted, yet the real message I was given was that certain things were really just for boys.  My dad encouraged my love of science, yet, that love was not nurtured enough to push me towards a STEM career.  It was a constant theme in our relationship that they tried to mold me into someone that I just wasn’t.  And that led me to a lifelong belief that I just was never good enough.  I wasn’t girly enough.  I wasn’t traditional enough.  I didn’t conform enough (I hear the refrain, “you just always have to be different, don’t you?”).  I was “selfish” for being bisexual.  And I was going to hell for being an atheist, which made them very very sad.  And when I complained they weren’t supportive enough, their response was that I shouldn’t let their disappointment in me hurt me, and then they would reassure me that they did in fact love me, just as I am.  Fuck them.  They were the selfish ones. They may have done a lot of things right, but they sure as hell got many things wrong, especially making their issues into mine. 

The only thing I do know right now is that my heart hurts.  I still can’t believe she’s gone.  All the good and bad things she has missed in 6+ years.  It’s so unfair.  I should have stepped in sooner.  I should have called her doctor and pushed more tests.  And I guess that’s why I’m such a control freak with my pain-in-the-ass MIL- I don’t want my husband to feel this turmoil.  I don’t want him to blame himself, or me.  I want us to be able to say that we really did do our best, even when it was hard, even when the last thing on earth we wanted to do was to be a caregiver, we still did it.  Because that’s what good “parents” do.