Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pulling an Grandma is Now Pulling a Mom

Once upon a time, a daughter went to her parents house weekly to help them out with household chores and errands.  On such occasions, the mother would occasionally buy said daughter (me), as well as herself and the father an instant lottery ticket.

Enough of that, this is no fairy tale.  My mom has picked up right where Grandma left off on the instant lottery bandwagon.  Grandma loved gambling of any kind.  Generally speaking, I think it's a waste of money but if someone wants to buy me a ticket then sure, I'll do the scratchy scratchy.   On one of these occasions, mom decided to splurge and bought three $5 instant tickets... one for her, one for dad and one for me.  As is usually the case, I forgot about the ticket right after I threw it in my purse.

Several days later my mom calls me and asks me if I scratched my ticket.  She sounds weird, mysterious and kind of shifty.   I told her I forgot about it and then I said, "you sound weird, what...are you pulling a Grandma and thinking you won $150,000?"  She says, "yes."   Oh boy, here we go again.  My Grandma was notorious for thinking she won the lottery.  I cannot tell you how many times she's called me, convinced she was the next instant millionaire.  But in her defense, she wasn't so great with the reading and writing, having only completed school to the third grade.  So she often misinterpreted how to play or what the gist of the ticket was.  Mom has no such excuse.

She asks me to get my ticket and then proceeds to tell me that on the back is an extra game and it is there that she believes she hit the jackpot.  It's set up like a slot machine and you match oranges or cherries, etc.  Or if you have a dollar sign, one of these $, you win the amount shown.  She says she has a dollar sign and the prize amount shown is $150,000.  "Are you sure?" I say several times.  She assures me that is what she has.  I had a dollar sign on my ticket, with a prize of $3 so I told her I would go cash it in and ask some questions then get back to her.  So she waits on pins and needles and I go to the grocery store and chat up the lottery counter lady.  She assures me that if mom does indeed have the dollar sign and the $150,000 prize listed, then she is a winner and she tells me how we go about redeeming the ticket.

Leaving the store, I call mom and tell her the good news.   It looks like she's a winner!   I am working that day so I told her I would finish up my job and then come over and we'll get the redemption process underway.  She's excited.  I'm excited and start planning my trip to Italy!   I go home on Cloud 9 thinking about all my exciting plans that can finally come to fruition.  And as I'm just finishing up my job, she calls and says, "I don't think I won."  So I say, "What changed?  You either have the dollar sign or you don't."  Mom informs me that she's looked at it again and again and now it's looking more like an icon of an actual dollar than a dollar sign.  Big diff there mom.  The plane that was taking off for Sicily in my head just turned back around and landed in Akron and threw me off.  So I tell her, hold onto the ticket and when I come for my regular weekly visit, I'll look at it.  So that is where we leave it for the next couple days.

Wednesday rolls around, Wednesday traditionally being Mom day, and I head over.  When I get there I ask right away to see the ticket.  What I saw was not a dollar sign, nor was it a dollar icon.  It was an unscratched area.   Mom hates to wear her glasses.  I don't know why this is, but she does.  It's a constant battle every week with me yelling at her to put on her damn glasses so she can actually see what she's buying.  It's pretty much a given to me at this point that she did not have her glasses on when she attempted to scratch off this ticket and basically missed the whole area except for one tiny little corner.  You could not tell what was under there, it was hardly scratched off at all.  So how she thought it was a dollar sign, a dollar icon or anything else for that matter is beyond me.  I am trying to keep my cool but my fury is starting to take over.  She had me running to stores to find out how to cash this non ticket in, a ticket that wasn't mistaken for a winner, she never scratched the fucking thing!   So I scratch it, and it's not a dollar sign.  It's not a dollar symbol.  It's a fucking orange!!!   Not even close to either thing she thought it was. 

Do you think this convinced her that she should wear her glasses when she's trying to read something?  It hasn't!  It's still an on going weekly battle. Oy give me strength.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


My anger at times overwhelms me.  And right now it is.  My anger at being the one who has to field 5 am phone calls and go to the hospital.   Does that sound selfish?  Because it feels selfish.  Does it sound ungrateful?  Because it feels ungrateful.  My anger grows as my dad's health, which is poor and will only get worse as his and my mom's need to have me do anything and everything I can for them grows.  I feel like shit for being angry.  I feel guilty.  But the anger grows.  I can't stop it.  And I shut down because I know if I don't my anger will explode forth and unleash a lot that can never be taken back.  Things like, "if you had listened to the doctors and followed their instructions, some of this wouldn't be happening!"  Things like, "I can't be everywhere and I can't be everything to everyone."   Things like, "Call someone else next time, I'm trying to live a life here too ya know?"  And the sheer fact that these things are in my head sends me though massive cycles of guilt. 

In one moment I think that I should just suck it up and deal because the alternative is so much worse.  And then I think, is it?  Is it really worse?  I'm not saying I want my dad to die.  But he is going to, eventually.  One of these times when he is taken to the hospital yet again, it's going to be the last time.  Isn't it better to just close your eyes and not wake up than to continue this game of what the hell can go wrong next?  Guilt.  Selfish.  I'm the worst person, the worst daughter in the world because I do think these things.  And I don't think them because he was never there for me, ever my whole life.  I don't think them because we had no relationship at all until I was in my 30's.  I don't think them because he spent my childhood drunk and never spoke to me at all.  I think them because I'm angry. 

I'm so fucking angry.  And I'm tired.   I never thought I would be this tired in my life.   But sleep doesn't come.  Guilt eats away at me and I lie awake and let it consume me.  Guilt for these feelings, guilt for other feelings, guilt because I want to leave.  I want to run away.  Start fresh.  Have a new life.  I want it.  I can taste it.  And I'm trapped by my guilt.  I'm stuck in place.  All I can do is dream and wish.  Wish I was anywhere but here.  Wish I had the guts to leave it all behind.  Wish I had the drive and means to make my own wishes come true.  Instead, I'm here.  Angry.  Tired.  Tearful.