Good morning, y’all. My recording device is killer. I can’t make it any plainer. Mulva is one smart cookie for getting it for me. I would never be able to get everything from my head onto the computer in the time frame allotted to me here at TackyToo. At some point, the frustration would overwhelm a poor soul like me.
When we left off yesterday, I had just visited Mom in The Facility in preparation for her move to a long term assisted living center. On the way to the condo, I decide I have enough time to address another issue before meeting up with Jackson. I’m not usually one for diverting from a plan, but I felt this one was warranted. I decided to head to West Asheville to visit the number two witch in the coven, my aunt Edna. As always, she greets me profusely. Edna is not alone, she has in her company a young man in his early twenties named Chris Coe. Chris is the famous cleaner extraordinaire I’ve been hearing so much about. Edna has just fixed Chris a snack and he retires to the kitchen, within earshot, to eat.
I launch right into Edna, basically addressing the thirty emails a day I’m receiving that concern the condo, and not Mom’s condition. I point out that the only questions about Mom’s condition revolve around the psychiatrist’s report and “how crazy is Mom?”. Edna kind of just looks away. I try a different angle.
“Look, I know everybody is scared of Charlotte, I get it”, I start, “but this is the chance to get Mom someplace nice that will be able to take care of her right up to the end”. “What’s the problem”, I ask, “why am I getting all of this crazy crap from Charlotte?”
Edna hems and haws and mutters that they do need the garbage key so they can clean up the condo and not have to carry the garbage back home with them.
“Jesus”, I retort, “I told you I’ve already done that”. “All of the expired food, all of the expired medicines, the whole refrigerator, is clean”, I say, “Jackson and I will vacuum after we get the furniture moved and clean the bathrooms.”
“Well, I was thinking Chris could come over and clean, he’s real thorough like Grandma Lowe was”, Edna replies.
Of course my brain hears, “I’d like to throw the pool boy some work and have your Mom pay for it”. Instead, my mouth says, “Does he help you all on a regular basis?”
Edna replies that he helps her and Charlotte on a regular basis. I take the opportunity to say, “maybe he can help you get the upstairs apartment ready for rental”.
“That apartment is not going to rent furnished”, she objects, “people want to bring their own furniture to a place in that price range”.
“Fine”, I reply, “tell perspective tenants that it will come either way, first deposit determines whether the apartment is furnished or not.” I can tell by the look in her eyes that my solution is not what they were shooting for.
“The apartment will not show as well with that furniture in it”, she goes on, “we should clean it out first.” I am completely satisfied with my solution and stick to my guns. Edna tries another avenue of attack.
“We were hoping you’d take one of the bedroom sets from the apartment for your Mom to use at Mountain View”, she states.
Ah, the use of the word, “we”, now we’ve got a conspiracy. The heat rises in my ears and in my whispering yell I respond, “I’ve just about goddamn had it with this furniture moving business. Are you all so retarded that you can’t see that the best chance for having Mom accept the move to Mountain View is if she is surrounded by her favorite things?”
Chris Coe has now moved into the room. I speculate if he is thinking of laying hands on an old man. At that point, I hope so. I keep him in the corner of my eye while I continue on with Edna.
“I don’t know what kind of bull crap you and Charlotte are conjuring up, I hope it’s all Charlotte, but in case it’s not, let me state in front of a witness, if you all don’t like what I’m doing I can have the ambulance bring her right back here to that empty apartment you want to give her the furniture from.” I continue, “if that happens, I’m done, and I suspect Jackson and Maggie will be done as well”. “If you and Charlotte want to control everything, fine, you won’t see me again until the autopsy.”
Well, Edna is gulping now like a bullfrog on a warm Summer’s night.
“No, no, no, that’s not what I’m saying at all”, she replies, “it’s just that your Mom has made promises to Charlotte, and she’s been so mean to Charlotte, and Charlotte has been so hurt by how your Mom has treated her”.
“And what, now is the time for Charlotte to be compensated?”, I continue on, “have you all lost sight of the fact that Mom is still above ground?” “Mom nearly died, but she didn’t, and the law says you can’t inherit until she’s dead, no matter how inconvenient that is for Charlotte”.
“I just think Charlotte is so tired of being cold all Winter over there in that basement apartment, she doesn’t think that the condo should go to waste”, Edna says. Well that opens up two topics for me.
“Mom told me today that I could sell the condo if I needed the money to pay her way at Mountain View”, I say. Edna’s eyes pop open like the eyes on a “Sleepy Time” baby doll. Edna sputters for a response and I give her a second before I save her.
“I think it’s way to early to be making that decision”, I say, “we don’t know how much cognition Mom is going to regain.” I continue on, “I just want the condo to be exactly like Mom left it, if she does come back home. It’s going to be very sad for everybody if it looks like the buzzards have picked it over”.
Edna recovers a bit and says, “I keep telling Charlotte she just needs to calm down, but she just can’t, she gets so cold over there in that basement”.
“Well, she can move out if she’s so unhappy”, I say, “she should be able to afford a warm apartment in a complex some where”. “That brings me to another point, now that I’m thinking about it”, I plunge on, ” I don’t know that Charlotte can afford to live in the condo anyway.” “There’s a host of fees and assorted other things that are included in her rent here that are out of pocket at the condo”. “It would be real sad to let Charlotte move in to find out she can’t afford it”.
Edna seems confused as the dickens by this twist of the conversation, and can only respond with, “she can afford it”.
“Well, I’d like to be sure that she can make it in the condo on her own without assistance from Mom before I’d entertain the idea of her moving in.”, I say, “Besides, we may be just speculating anyway, Mom could be back home in ninety days”.
“I think we should wait at least ninety days before making any new arrangements”, I continue, “Mom’s doctor tells me that the next ninety days will be real important in figuring out how far back Mom’s going to come.”
Lights flutter behind Edna’s eyes and she asks,” what did the doctor tell you was wrong with your Mom?”
“You mean besides the dehydration, bladder infection near death experience she had?”, I retort, “Or are you after her mental diagnosis?”
“Well, I guess I keep hearing about a psychiatrist exam and I’m curious what they said”, she continues, “Hannah always said to never let anyone evaluate her but Dr.Vinny Boomba over in Hendersonville, he’s the only psychiatrist your Mom trusts”.
It is an interesting bit of news that Mom has a psychiatrist, always thought she needed one, just never heard she was seeing one. For a person who could wax eloquently at great length describing her exploits in the bathroom, Mom was silent about mental issues. Interesting news. “What do you think is wrong?”, I ask.
“Dementia”, she says.
“Severe”, I reply, “but if her cognition comes back and she gets better physically, she may be ok for home health care at the condo”,”we just really need to get through the next ninety days to see”. Edna seems to understand.
“I need to talk about the property,”, I say.
“I don’t want to be involved anymore”, she responds.
“Will you watch it until I can get a management company to look at it?”, I ask. She says, “yes”, but then goes on to relate, yet again, the apartment is going to be hard to rent, particularly furnished. I ask if I can see what we’re talking about and we head next door to inspect the site. The apartment is two bedrooms with a spacious living room, small office, and a small kitchen and bath. I can easily see how two students at AB Tech might think $400 a month a piece was a great deal. I can also see two students needing the furniture. I sense something is out of sync, but Jesus, what wasn’t out of sync in this situation? We head back to Edna’s. I ask if Edna will be available to walk the management company through, or should I ask Maggie to step in. Edna is happy to not involve Maggie and I say fine. I relate again that the first deposit check determines whether the unit is furnished or unfurnished and Edna is reminded of something.
“Lucinda would like that front bedroom set and I’d like the daybed from the office if you’re just going to put them in storage”, she states.
“Anything else?”, I ask.
“Well, maybe”, she replies, “I haven’t asked Lauren or any of her kids if they need anything”, she replies, “they’ve all been real good about helping your Mom over the years”.
“Ok, fine”, I reply, “if you can get $800 for the apartment unfurnished, I’m happy to have relatives pick it over and give the rest to the Salvation Army.”
What a relief to have people just being honest with each other. Edna wants to reward all of her progeny with the spoils of Mom’s hard work. Maybe Edna feels that their gratitude will be her reward. Who knows? I say my goodbyes and feel like I’ve nailed down some of my issues, confirmed some of my suspicions, and opened up some new items. I head over to the condo to meet up with Jackson before our visit with Mom. I need to do at least a partial brain dump to someone with good sense before I become crippled myself. The Golden Girls suffer from some sort of symbiotic psychosis, and I am poorly equipped to unravel their ball of twine. No wonder Freud had a cocaine problem.