Thermostats & Baggage

The day started with a call at work from Dad. Apparently Mom left a message that filled the answering machine about a problem that she was having with the heat at the house. He asked if I would call her and let her know what kine of thermostat to get, etc. So… I called Mom. It took me about 3 minutes to figure out what the problem was, but the 3 minutes was broken up into 15 min. segments over the 30 minute call. I mentioned before that I didn’t want to do technical support for Mom, and this should give you an idea of why.

Mom got cold last night, and bumped the thermostat up to 75. It continued to blow cold air, so eventually she just shut it off. It was about 40 degrees in the house this morning – since it was about 35 outside. The thermostat has separate settings for heat/cool/off, and fan settings of on/auto. It had been set to cool and on. bumping the temperature made sure that the AC wasn’t cooling the house, but without setting it to heat, it will never heat the house. I called Dad back and let him know that Mom had a service call for tomorrow morning, but that there wasn’t a real problem. He didn’t mind too much, as that thermostat is over 40 years old, and replacing it wouldn’t be a bad thing anyway. Mom figured it out, and left me a voicemail later that afternoon.

I got another call from Mom tonight, going over the same old stuff, and letting me know that she would really appreciate seeing the kids and that she didn’t understand why she couldn’t see them, and they could have at least thanked her for the circus tickets, etc. Anyway, the call went well, because Mom got mad and hung up on me.

I got a call from Dad a little while later, and he asked me to reconsider not letting the kids see Mom. He doesn’t want her to go ballistic before her trip, etc, etc. I told him that I didn’t think so, but that I would at least think it over.

I went over to Mom, and spent about 5 minutes (again spread out over an hour and a half) picking out what luggage she should take on her trip. She IS planning on seeing her shrink tomorrow for her regular appointment – can’t wait to hear what comes out of that. And I will be taking her to the airport so that I can walk her at least TO the security desk. Mom only started getting bat at a few points tonight – and I have learned how to spot them relatively early. And since she is so scatterbrained it isn’t hard to wave something shiny to attract her attention. I guess I’ve become a manipulative b@st@rd, but I learned it from her…. At least I haven’t started ‘guilt tripping’ her yet.

And I think I have an idea of how I can explain to Dad why she can’t see the kids. Even during her conversations that are ‘normal’, she still says stuff that is really toxic. Dad and I have developed a filter that cuts out most of what Mom says, and we interpret ‘bad’ only to mean that the volume or hysterical level goes to a level that we don’t filter out. I listened to one of those ‘normal’ conversations with Mom when she was at the cabin – where she said that it’s too bad that Dad wasn’t killed in Vietnam, or didn’t die of cancer. Mom wasn’t screaming or hysterical when she said it, so Dad’s filter (and mine too) would easily have just flushed that out. The kids don’t have that filter, and it is apparent that some of the stuff Mom has said has affected them.

Anyway – I’m not sure how tomorrow will go, and if I will be able to continue to distract mom away from subjects that upset her. I only have to be able to keep it up for 36 more hours, and then she becomes the problem of the airline. And if she makes it, my Aunt.

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~ by namegoeshere on May 15, 2007.