It’s coming up on 7pm as I write this. We’re finally down to 24C/75F, from reaching 32C/90F earlier. All the thunderstorms we’re getting warnings about are going around us. We haven’t even been getting a smattering of rain.
The house is getting ridiculously hot and muggy. Even the cats are feeling it.
They moved before I could get a picture of Cheddar and Ginger, sleeping with their foreheads pressed against each other. My room is one of the coolest in the house, but not by much. The upstairs has been getting so hot, my younger daughter woke up this morning feeling sick from the heat. Cold showers and baths help, but only so much.
I called my mother last night and arranged for her to come out to the farm, now that the grass is cut and she can actually get around in her walker. She’s been talking about wanting to see the new roof she paid for. When I actually called to arrange it, though, suddenly she was hemming and hawing, as if trying to find some excuse not to. I guess she would have preferred to have my sister bring her out for an unplanned visit again, instead, like that last couple of times she came out here. Then she can get mad at me for being in my work clothes, or interrupt any work I was doing so I would have to drop it to tend to her, then complain because the work wasn’t getting done…
She did finally agree to come out, so we arranged for me to come to her place after church, and have lunch at a restaurant before coming to the farm. She started insisting I not to bring food from the Chinese restaurant like I did last time, so said we could go to a different restaurant and she was good with that. She has gone from really liking the Chinese restaurant, to not wanting food from there anymore, and I’m at a loss as to what’s going on. I did try asking her, and she made a comment about seeing a lot of cats running around lately…
My guess is, one of her neighbours made a disparaging remark or joke about Chinese food and cats, and she now thinks they are serving cat meat. And now she’s suddenly noticing cats running around outside her building which, in her mind, confirms it (though you’d think seeing a lot of cats around would mean the exact opposite, but this is my mother, we’re talking about here! 😄)
I left a bit early so I could pick up some drinks and a snack we could have outside while she was here. While driving out, I passed a farm with a full dugout right near the road. It was full of cows, just standing in the water, trying to cool down!
When I got to her place, she already had the table set and microwaved Costco perogies and kielbasa for us to have for lunch. When I mentioned I thought we were going to a particular restaurant, she just said, “to heck with [restaurant]”.
Aside from not wanting to eat her supply of food, my mother’s cooking habits have always been very hit and miss, and today was more miss than hit. There’s a reason we tend to take my mother out or bring food in when we visit her!
After a bit of a visit, we headed off to the farm.
Just from how conversation went before we left, I knew there would be issues, but then, there pretty much always are. An odd one was when she suddenly started saying, “we can take that road!” indicating in the direction of a road we just passed, and then a driveway that looked like it rarely gets used. I was totally confused when she kept insisting we could take a different road to get to the farm. At this point, we were driving through a set of curves about half way between her town and the farm. It wasn’t until she added, “so we don’t have to drive by [our vandal]” that I figured out which road she meant.
I told her, we’re still driving through the curves. We’re nowhere near the turnoff to the farm. Plus, I don’t take that road. It’s not kept up as well, and is hard on her car. On top of that, I don’t think our vandal even recognizes my mother’s car. When we finally did reach the road she meant, she did recognize it, but it was very confusing for her to suddenly suggest a different route, never mind getting our location so mixed up!
Once at the farm, I made sure to drive right into the yard and park in the shade. I got her walker out and she settled under a tree. She had insisted we bring along two ice cream buckets of vegetable peelings, etc. for the compost pile. For “Mother Earth” she now says. She also brought along a couple of plant pots; one with some flowers that were blooming, and one with a couple of little trees she removed from her own little garden plot, insisting that I need to plant them somewhere here on the farm. One is a maple, the other an elm. I don’t know what kind of elm, which makes me very hesitant about planting it.
After I got things settled, my mother started walking around the house. For someone who wanted to see the new roof, she showed zero interested in going anywhere where she could actually see it.
The next while was… challenging.
Let’s see what she came up with…
Quite a few times, she would ask “what’s that?” or “why is that there?” while being very vague on her directions. When I didn’t understand she was indicating the box beds in the west yard, she then declared that those had nothing planted in them this year. Once I figured out what she was talking about, I told her that they had carrots, corn and spinach in them. She couldn’t see them from the house, therefore there was nothing there.
While sitting in the shade in view of the main garden area, knowing she wouldn’t be up to going any closer, I described to her what was in each of the beds, and what was in the grow bags. I could tell she wasn’t really listening to me when she suddenly asked “Is that garlic?” I told her (again), yes, and that we lost a lot of them over the winter; there was far less than we planted. She then said that I needed to give her some. I told her they’re not ready yet. That’s okay, she told me. She eats the greens.
Some of the soft neck garlic was coming up in clusters instead of single bulbs, so I went ahead and thinned a couple of those and gave them to her.
Over the next while, I was told I should have weeded around the raspberries (the self seeded ones in her old flower bed) and loosened the soil around them, and I should have cut down that dead apple tree, and I should not have cut the suckers away from the (now very healthy looking) chokecherry tree, and I should remember what those still small flowers she planted there more than a decade ago are called, and I was laughed at for growing potatoes in grow bags. Then as we moved to another area, she squeezed her walker in between the pile of bricks that used to be the chimney and a stack of wood, rather than going around where there was more room, and I was told they were in the way and I needed to move them… even though I just told her we were going to move them once we figured out where we wanted to use them. Nope. I must move them out of her way for purely aesthetic reasons. I tried to show her the potatoes that are doing so well in the old kitchen garden, but she was only interested in her invasive Periwinkles. Had zero interest in anything we were actually growing. Moving on, why is that fence there? I’d told her a few times about it being there to protect the tulips and the new apple tree from the deer. What tulips? They were done blooming, so I guess they no longer existed. Then she saw some white flowers that are blooming. What are those? I have no idea, Mom. You planted them!
Then she made her way to the fire pit area, where the trays of transplants now live. We no longer take them indoors. I was then chastised for having so many tomatoes, and they need to be planted right now, and everything should be planted, and what are those big things over there? And I should sell my extra tomatoes because they are very healthy looking, and I could make some money from them. Don’t the girls help you with the garden? Then she got mad when I showed her the tiny strawberries I started from seed, because there’s not fruit there! They don’t have fruit! They’re not going to have fruit! I finally said, “next year!” and suddenly she was mollified.
And on it went.
Finally, we settled in the shade of the south yard, and I set up a bench to use as a table, and we had our drinks and a snack.
Judgement joined us, staying nearby and rolling in the cool grass!
I was chastised for the cranberry juice (I chose it because it’s what she buys for herself), but when I went to add Ginger Ale to make a punch, she was suddenly happy. Juice bad. Ginger Ale, good. She then refused to eat the blueberry mini strudels I brought, because she really avoids sugar now.
As we sat and chatted, she then got quiet before saying, “I guess the girls don’t want to see me.” I’d already told her that my older daughter was in bed after working last night, my husband was in bed because the heat makes his pain so much worse, and my younger daughter was doing laundry (she was also sick from the heat and trying to cool down with cold baths and showers, but I wasn’t going to get into that). Ah, but they don’t know! If they came to see me, I would give them money!
I reminded her of what I said before, but she dismissed it, of course.
Shortly after, I got a message from my younger daughter, letting me know she was almost done and about to come out, soon.
I told my mother this.
Suddenly, she was ready to leave.
We had been hearing thunder for a while, and the wind had picked up, and my mother kept saying the rain was coming closer. It wasn’t, but weather does what it does. I started to put some things away, then turned around to find her putting herslef into the car. She wasn’t going to wait for my daughter!
I kept putting things away, though, taking enough time that my daughter could make it out. She then suggested she come along with us for the drive, which I happily accepted. The back seats on my mother’s car are laid down so we can put her walker in without having to fold it, so while my daughter went to open the gate, I quickly moved things around and got a seat up for her.
The conversation during the drive was only slightly uncomfortable, with my mother asking my daughter odd questions, then switching to Polish to tell me I need to have the girls help me put transplants in the garden, so they know how to do it.
They, of course, know full well how to put in a garden.
Once at my mother’s place, we stayed for a brief visit, until my mother suddenly veered into a racist rant, and my daughter suggested it was time to leave!
Which we did.
We stopped to get gas first, and I picked up some fried chicken for my daughter, as she had been too sick to have breakfast. We then parked the car with the AC going to eat. That gave me a chance to decompress by filling her in on how the visit went.
The whole thing left me feeling more tired than the 8 or so hours working outside in the heat, yesterday, did!
My husband and daughters all question why my brother and I haven’t just cut my mother off completely by now. Which we won’t do, because that would be wrong. Plus, my being here helps my brother out. He’d be the target of all her venom and bizarre behaviour, otherwise. She doesn’t really do it with our sister anymore, for some reason. But my goodness, it does get hard to “Honour thy father and thy mother” at times!
Well, it is what it is, and there’s not much we can do about it. Chances are, it’s going to get worse as she gets older, too. Or, I should say, keep getting worse.
We will handle it. That’s all we can do!
I am sure glad to get this over with, though, and I hope she won’t find another reason to want to come out here. Quite a difference from when we first moved here, and she still owned the property, when she told me that now that we were taking care of the farm for her, she never wanted to go back here again! Now when she doesn’t own it anymore, she still wants to use it to try and control me and my brother.
Ah, well. Such is life in our corner of the world.