To torture a metaphor.
The theme for this week is “enough, already.” Mom went shopping on Saturday, after we got our hair done. To her credit, we did not repeat the situation where I told her to call me, she said “oh, just come back at x time— I’ll be done then,” and I came back and she was another 45 minutes, and then set me up to shame me to strangers. I don’t normally go off when angry, but as I possibly wrote about, I was sure she was going to get my rage all wrong, and if we were going to fight about something, I wanted it to be about the thing I was actually mad about.
This time, I came back when instructed and she was on line. Excellent start. I unloaded her cart for her, the clerk and I dealt with her bags. We sorted her problematic gift card. I loaded the bags into the cart and unloaded the perishables when we got home (I’ve taken to abandoning the non-perishable things. I don’t know when I consented to doing all of the putting away of the groceries she buys, but this is my little rebellion against that.)
The clerk said about 17 times where she’d put some clothing items mom bought. The clerk said it to both of us (though had a bad habit of talking to me and not Mom). The other day, Mom came to me and said that she couldn’t find them. I pointed them out in one of the bags still sitting there, days later, with non-perishable items in it. She said “oh, what a nightmare! I was so terrified that they hadn’t made it home.”
I think I’ve written that I tend toward understatement, partially in reaction to her tendency to hyperbole. There’s no reason to get whipped into a frenzy about… most things. These things weren’t a life or death situation. I think she overstates because the drama is more interesting than my approach. But I think that the reason I have the energy to work a full day, running errands over my lunch hour, then come home, get a meal in the oven, reseed and water part of the lawn, feed us both, then go to choir for 1.5 hours only to come home, put away the purchases from my errand run, wash a sinkful of dishes, dismantle and disinfect the pet fountain, and feed the animals is largely because I don’t whip myself into frenzies over things that turn out to be easily resolved. And possibly the reason she hides dishes in the oven (which makes me crazy) instead of putting them in the sink or heaven forbid, dealing with them in a way that doesn’t make them a problem for me later is because she’s so busy frenzy-whipping. Because it’s more interesting.
When she left my brother and returned to my home state, she assumed that I would do her taxes, because my brother had done them. I’ve always hated it. They’re much harder than my taxes, and, y’know, not actually my problem. This year, her state return is wonky. Last year, there was an obscure rule that made her taxes hard. When I did her taxes a couple of weeks ago, she said “finally! I’ve been fretting over this since January!” In that moment, the amount of taken for granted I felt got pretty epic. I hadn’t done her taxes because I had done mine, and been working round the clock for work, and had done major landscaping work on the house, and on and on. Let’s not act like I did them at the last minute, or after having been repeatedly reminded, or in between slacking and being a drain on her. I resolved to myself to remind her that her taxes aren’t actually my responsibility. Today, she asked if they were done. I told her that I need to mail her wonky state return and she may need to sign it, since the efile didn’t go through, but that, if they continue to be as challenging as they’ve been for the last two years, she’s going to need to pay someone else to do it.
She took it reasonably well. I don’t know why it takes me so long to speak up, but I like how, once I say it, I don’t have to keep chewing on it. I wonder how she’ll take “please don’t put dirty dishes in the oven.” I wonder how other people will take my speaking my mind, after all this time.