Dispatches from the East Kootenays – the ‘miracles can exist’ edition

  • Well we did an early birthday party for my sister yesterday. She was thrilled. She said to me this morning that the party made her feel very special after she had been so mean to me. I just about fell over.
  • We had a great dinner last night. Most of it was from locally sourced MR food. We had Hopcott tenderloin steak that we brought frozen in the cooler and Chilliwack corn that was fabulous. My mother had balked at me bringing the steak saying that she had M&M filets wrapped in bacon. Well once you have had a Hopcott steak there is no going back to M&M’s subpar beef. I am not quite sure how they kill a filet mignon but they manage. I am guessing most people like them because they are slightly better than the blade steak you buy at the grocery store. I managed to BBQ them perfectly medium rare for everyone. We had nice baking potatoes with bacon bits, sour cream, cheese and green onions. Deb also picked up a nice cake for her.
  • I think my brother-in-law has Stockholm Syndrome. He commented that my mother wasn’t so bad now that he has gotten to know her personality. Well, considering it has been 10 years – he is a slow learner! Yesterday he was quite sick because he basically had sugar for breakfast. He is an insulin dependent type 2 diabetic. This morning I made him a protein breakfast, which seemed to work much better for him.
  • I have convinced yet another person to try the NeilMed Sinus Rinse bottle. George[1] seems to have a lot of problems with his nasal passages. He does live with a smoker which I am sure does not help the situation.
  • Speaking of George, I have never seen anyone take so many naps. He napped twice yesterday afternoon and told me he couldn’t sleep last night because he was overtired!! He is not very self-aware. Even after brunch today, he went back to bed for a bit.
  • Tonight we are going to Helna’s for dinner. It is the only restaurant in Radium where you are not likely to get food poisoning. It is mostly a schnitzel restaurant. It is quite good but I can’t eat the large portions they serve. I just checked the menu and they even have a veggie section for Deb!

[1] My brother-in-law.

Interesting Birthday Gift

My mother and sister insisted on giving me my birthday gifts while we were there last week. I really did not want to do that because it always sets my sister off that we always celebrate my birthday and never hers. This is largely due to the time of year we normally go which is close to my birthday.

Here is a picture of what I got?

What is it?

It comes in different sizes…

Several different sizes and shapes

Would you believe it’s a fan! It is actually a great fan. And it should be! The price is outrageous! This fan is approximately 10 times more expensive than a regular tabletop fan!

No buffeting?

It’s claim to fame is that the air is not ‘buffeted’ as it is with regular fans. One thing that can be said is that it is much safer for children and pets.

It is made by Dyson and costs $350!

Not my world

I really dislike coming to my mother’s. There are the obvious reasons – the ones I talk about all the time. But there is more to it than that. When I am here I miss my world. Here everything is shallow beyond belief. My mother and sister had a conversation about the size of their asses for over 20 minutes the other day. They push my buttons by bringing up all of their right-wing political views. I am learning to be quiet. They don’t have the education to understand the complexities of political discourse. They just simply repeat what the Harpie says. They can’t stop and think about why it is a bad thing that we are bombing Libya. As far as my mother is concerned if NATO says we do it and we need new fighter jets to continue bombing Middle Eastern countries then that is what we do. I get so frustrated. Then they laugh when I don’t participate.

I am not used to being laughed at. In my world people treat me with respect (as much as possible) because I treat them with respect. I try my best to be a kind, thoughtful person. I never want to hurt anyone else. Yet here the goal is to hurt or insult me. My mother was on me again about my weight. She keeps saying ‘calories in, calories out.’ However, with PCOS and ZERO hormones it is not that simple. I eat less than she does and she still blames me. I am so very tired of this game.

The purpose of this visit was to attend a meeting about how she wants to structure our inheritance into trusts. She had been acting all coy that she didn’t know what the meeting was about but I had figured it out. I was much more in my element during a professional business meeting. The people in this meeting treated me exactly like I am used to in my world. They asked questions about what I did for work and they kept telling me that my questions were excellent. My mother did well in the meeting because she has been in business. My sister, on the other hand, was a fish out of water. I am sure the nuances went over her head.

Last, there is my physical comfort. The furniture in the main part of my mother’s house is horrid. The TV is positioned so only one person can see it. She does not like to sit downstairs where the big TV and comfier furniture lives. The shower for the guests is in a very deep bathtub, which means I have to be careful, getting in and out. Then there is the smoke. The god-forsaken fucking smoke that is killing her quickly. She won’t stop. She knows how badly it affects Deb and me. We can’t breathe. We wake up with seared lungs even though we are on another floor. I really don’t understand why she can’t just put on the patch for a couple of days. The smoke is insidious and really represents what is completely wrong here.

I want to come home. Thankfully we fly out tomorrow and then we are attending an event as soon as we get off the plane. We miss our dogs. She wants us to move back here but she has no idea what she is asking us to give up. We have friends and a life in the lower mainland. I like where we live. I love my job. Both of us need medical care and we have no idea how we would find it here in Alberta. The medical system in AB is much more clogged than the BC system. Plus we are both ‘complicated’ patients so it will be difficult to find a doctor that would take us on. I still have friends in Calgary and it would be nice to be here so see them more often.

The other reason I don’t see a move here is that I don’t think there is any point. I think my mother is close to giving up and once her will is re-done she will be finished. I think she will make it through the summer but I don’t anticipate she will make it through next winter. It is simply just too hard for her. Her oxygen saturation levels were in the 70s at the COPD doctor’s appointment the other day. She does not want an oxygen machine in the house as she doesn’t want tubes on the floor. She will take aesthetics over health. She is also not going to quit smoking. Even though she says she doesn’t like it and it tastes bad she simply cannot quit. This is sad as she is severely shortening her life with this decision. Then again, I think she has given up completely and wants to go.

Being here is so difficult for me on many levels. It triggers me and sends me back to my childhood where I felt completely disempowered. I walked on eggshells lest I set off either my mother or my sister. I prefer my world and I can’t wait until I can get back to it.

The Twilight Zone

I swear every time I speak to my mother lately I am treated to a revisionist history of recent events. History is something I know a little bit about – after all, I have two degrees in history. One of the things that I am good at discerning is the difference between fact and interpretation. I find it fascinating that two different people can witness the same things yet have two completely different interpretations.

My sister is a maniac. She has singlehandedly ruined Christmas and my birthday celebration in 2010. She picks a fight by bringing up stuff from our childhood and continues to escalate until she is pretty much frothing at the mouth and doing some weird herky-jerky dance.[1] In June after my birthday celebration, she actually pushed me. The woman is not stable. At the time of these events, my mother clearly sees what happened. She even said to George – ‘can’t you control your wife?’

As time goes on my mother forgets what actually happened and starts to go with the ‘spin’ my sister puts on it. So now, Kathy’s behavior is justified because of certain ‘reasons’, which seems to make it all just fine. The first reason thrown at me today was that Kathy was annoyed because she wanted to cook Christmas dinner. Now, if someone had told me this that would have been helpful. I had arranged with my mother that Deb and I would do the meals so that she and Kathy could have a break. This had been arranged ahead of time and even included my mother bringing a waffle iron to Calgary from her other house.

The next reason thrown at me was that Kathy has dyslexia and everyone has called her stupid her entire life and she is not. Ok, granted, Kathy is not stupid. But if you try to have a conversation with her and like ask a question to understand what she is trying to say she blows up. So, while she may not be stupid, she cannot express her ideas in a cogent way. I talk to lots of people who can’t express themselves easily. I am very patient and will work to understand them.

The third problem is apparently I have no empathy. I just about died. I have oodles of empathy. I have so much empathy that I often don’t know where others end and I begin. I have to work at not going overboard with empathy! I couldn’t believe that my mother could say that to me. Honestly, I think the problem is that I have too much empathy for them.

Then she tells me that I should be more diplomatic with my sister – somewhat akin to trying to be diplomatic with let’s say Gadaffi. She tells me that with all my education and work experience I should know how to handle my sister. The truth is there is a reason my sister does not work – she can’t handle it. When she did try to work, she was usually fired within a year. After my mother’s second attempt to make Kathy a productive human being when she put her through legal secretary school, Kathy got a job and made a mistake that cost the company she was working for over $50,000. She went to waitressing after that where at least if she screwed up, she could comp someone’s meal.

Then she comes out with this gem: “Kathy yells but you cry like a little baby and then Deb comes and rescues her little baby.” I said yes, I cry, I always have. That is how I react to these kinds of unprovoked attacks. I make no excuses for not handling it well; there is no yelling and screaming in my day-to-day life unless it is on the television. Deb and I don’t argue that way. We are both very considerate when we argue to make sure it does not escalate. I don’t believe that anything good comes from losing control and saying mean things to the person, you are supposed to love the most in the world. So, ya, I cry when someone yells at me.

I get that my mother just wants us to get along. I have told her I am happy to do that and that it is up to Kathy. She tells me that Kathy wants to have a relationship with me and tells me I should phone her. I do not intend to put myself in the position where my sister is going to yell at me.

My loyalty is to my mother plain and simple. In my mind, I have a duty to do what I can for her as she ages. Care for aging parents was something instilled in me from the time I can remember. My mother and grandmother looked after my great-grandmother. My mother and us kids looked after my grandmother and now we are looking after my mother. It is just the way it is done in my family.

[1] Take for example Christmas. She got upset because she decided we weren’t passing the food in the correct way. So she got up and demonstrated, while yelling and screaming and waving her arms clock-wise and counter-clockwise, how the food should and should not be passed. Her hair, which is not her best attribute, was flying wildly and I am sure that my mother and Kathy’s husband George both got a spit-bath.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘batten down the hatches’ edition

  • So apparently the wind is going to blow hard, very, very hard tomorrow. They are predicting 110 km/hr. Much higher than what took down the trees in Stanley Park down a couple of years ago. I worry about our trees given the big branch that blew down a couple of weeks ago.
  • I get this email from my mother. Apparently my sister is concerned because the Archie Digest subscription we got her for Christmas had not yet arrived and this was something to be concerned about. My sister, in her passive aggressive way, could not pick up the phone and call me or heaven forbid enter this century and send me an email. No, she has to bring it up to my mother. What a life-threatening problem! Omg! No Archie Digest!!!


Me and Sawyer
Velcro Chicken Boy


  • I blog usually while I am eating dinner. And this is how I do it. Now, if I thought for a minute that Sawyer was expressing his undying love and devotion to me, I would be touched. But I know he is not. He is eyeing the chicken on the other side of me and waiting for his share. It certainly makes blogging more difficult.
  • Do you all remember back in August when I was a victim of credit card fraud. The plan was they were going to send me an affidavit, I was going to sign it and send it back. After 3 weeks they were supposed to refund the charges. Well, this never happened. I started calling and leaving messages for my fraud investigator ‘Antony’ at extension 4332. Well Antony never answered his phone and he never returned any of my 5 messages. So finally I go through customer service to talk to a live person in security. I got to talk to ‘Nick’ on Monday and he assured me that the charges would be refunded immediately as they had ascertained that I had not made the purchases. He had no clue why it had taken so long for the charges to be refunded.
  • Oh how the mighty have fallen! I just saw a commercial Poise incontinence pads. Kind of brings a new meaning to Whoops!

Some Decisions

This last trip to see my family has been a real eye opener in many ways. I have decided to not blog about all of the things said, the insults that flew and the hurt feelings. I will save that for my counselor. What I did realize though is that they do not see me the way the rest of the world does. In my real life no one would talk to me the way they do or say things they say. Both my mother and my sister are miserable in their own lives and they seek to make me miserable as well.

My mother is looking back on her life now and she has realized that her two biological children are complete fuck ups. My brother has been disowned from the family for over 25 years. He has been to prison and he has never been able to refrain from involving himself in criminal activities. He only contacts the family when and if he wants something. I could go on and on about things he has done but there is no point.

My sister is also a complete fuck up. She has never worked for any length of time. Plus she is stupid. I mean really stupid unlike my brother. My sister has never accomplished anything in her life and I doubt she ever will.

Given that I now know they do not see me the way the rest of the world does means that I can endure these visits, knowing that what they see is not the truth. They cannot stand that I have friends, a partner who loves me along with a successful career. I also succeeded at school, earning 2 degrees. My mother believes that my sister is very jealous of my life. My sister lives a miserable life. She is stuck caregiving a man in his late 60s instead of living the life of someone 43. Even if Kathy were not in this situation she would be in some other, equally horrible situation. My sister has never been independent and would have no idea how to survive on her own. She is the ultimate ‘failure to launch.’

My mother and sister are so shallow it is hard to believe. Everything comes down to weight and appearance. They believe I am a failure in that department. My mother in particular was positive that I would never be successful in any career. Instead she thought I would be relegated to a position that was out of sight of the public. It is sad that she is unable to value other things about me.

I was briefly considering talking to Deb about the possibility of moving back to Calgary just so I could look after my mother as her health continues to deteriorate. I have decided though that it would be a disaster on all fronts. It is not safe for me to be in their vicinity for any length of time. I must be able to protect Deb and myself. These short trips are bad enough. Living in the same city she would be so demanding I am not sure we could take it. Instead, I will do some quick trips back to help take her to see her specialist where it will be all business. I am so done.

Tomorrow you can read all about the good part of my Christmas!

Dispatches from he’ll

Things are going ok as long as I do not engage with my sister who apparently knows everything. She just killed the brand new Cuisinart knives by cutting on glass. I told her glass kills knives. I had to leave the room as I could not stand the sound of a knife being murdered. Right now she is continually trying to get me going but I am ducking and breathing in and out. The smoke is an issue too.

It is so hard for me here. No one really wants to hear what I say. They don’t believe things I say. I just checked the turkey and it is done according to my meat thermometer. Then they all argue with me. I am not used to being treated like this and it upsets me. Maybe I need more clonazepam and Baileys.

That’s it for today. It is really hard to get any privacy and I have visions of my sister ripping my iPad out of my hands to read what I wrote.

Oops. Just about got caught by the brother in law.

Happy Long Weekend – for Me!!!

I worked at home today after sleeping until noon. I was able to finally get the grant I have been trying finish done. It has been a very hectic, eventful week. I did learn some interesting things that will definitely help me as I go forward. My stress level is finally going down.

I am going on a cruise with my mother to Alaska in June. I have always wanted to go on a cruise and she really can’t travel without assistance anymore. We have never spent this amount of time together. I am sure it will go well. She will be ok as I don’t go off the deep end like my sister does. Apparently, my sister, who is a saint right now in my mother’s view, has brought up all the Christmas decorations and bought her groceries. Maybe she is calmer now. Who knows?

I am hoping to play Civilization V all weekend. I have it downloaded on my main computer but I am still trying to get it on my laptop so I have it in the living room.

Clearly this blog entry is going nowhere. I will stop now.


I need to rant and one of the good things about having is a blog is that you can rant all you want. So here I go:

  • I was just about taken out by a freaking RV this morning. It crossed into my lane like it didn’t even see me. I am not sure what the fuck is going on if it is the lines on the highway (which are ever-changing) or drivers not paying attention. Then, later, the RV changes lanes again and doesn’t signal. I vote for bad driver in this case.
  • Coming home I got stuck behind some stupid Intrepid who was toodling along way below the expected limit on the back way. I have to admit that I do have a bias against people who do not live down here. Driving on weekends people do 50 and 60 km/h whereas the locals do a minimum of 80 km/h all the time. Some people do like a 100 km/h. Now, slow people are to be expected. You wait until you can pass them and then you get way from them. Well this driver was driving over the centre line so that it was impossible for me to see around so that I could pass. Finally, when I was almost home, I was able to get by – frustration level through the roof!!!
  • When I got home I called my mother. She had seen my sister today ostensibly to make up after the big fight from last week. My sister is an asshole is all I have to say. First of all she tells my mother that she should stop taking trazodone. Her doctor prescribed it to help her sleep. My sister has decided it is making my mother ‘depressed.‘ She decided that my mother is not talking as much and that is why they had a fight. Huh? Give your head a fucking shake. Oh and she thinks I am pushing pills on my mother. Umm, I don’t have a medical license. I never made a suggestion as to what she should take. This is the med that her doctor prescribed. It gets worse! My mother has quit smoking (mostly) after 50 years. She has emphysema. What does my brainiac sister do? She gives my mother cigarettes! Talk about sabotage. My mother didn’t smoke them because she does not want people to see or to know that she is smoking. I encouraged her to discuss it with her quit smoking support group on quitnet. I am so angry at my sister. I wish there was some way I could have an effect on her but she disregards everything I have to say. Personally, I think my sister needs money and that is why she is ranting at my mother. Every issue she brought up had to do with money. My mother refuses to see this. I challenged my mother to ask my sister why she would give her cigarettes. She has emphysema and she needs not to smoke.