Did you miss me? Of course not! But for those following the Saga, I’ve been unable to get to the computer or to the desk to do much writing, even on a journal entry, because for the past couple of weeks we’ve had a Mission:Organization effort going here at Casa el Dumpo. It wasn’t a concerted effort by a huge HGTV show crew, but just me. That made it take lots longer.
I took everything out of the kitchen cabinets and organized them. We took the island out of the kitchen and reassembled it on the other side of the breakfast bar. (It wasn’t a built-in, but something I wanted to keep.) I slipcovered the breakfast room chairs. It still doesn’t look as if I did much of anything.
Then I started the Herculean task of cleaning out the closets. Lots worse than the Aegean stables, and I didn’t have a river to divert (we’re in the second year of a drought, and there’s a nationwide heat wave anyhow.) I had clothes in every size. I decided we should only have things that we do wear or actually could wear in the closets. You can well imagine the chaos. It was worse because on the VLCD* I’m on, you run out of energy and have to rest a lot.
(* Vewwy Low Calorie Diet. It seems to be working somewhat.)
As I wrote to Dennis:
“I’ve spent all week . . . all day every day, just about . . . working on unjunking all the closets. I had clothes from every era, size, etc. Stuff I got on sale or mail-ordered, then folded or hung up but never really wore because [choose one] it didn’t really fit right / it wasn’t becoming/ it made me look the size of a double-wide trailer/ the color made me turn pumpkin-orange/ it was just too matronly/ it was over-the-top in pattern and would put people temporarily blind when they looked my direction/ it was blah and looked like a nearsighted little old biddy had sewn it with loving hands at home/ I never could really find shoes or whatever to go with it/ I wore it once and got a stain right on the boob area, but kept thinking I would sew a patch over the stain, so kept the item/ it was something I bought a size or two too small so I could have “incentive” to lose weight/ it was so out of style by the time I ever tried it on again that it would’ve been embarrassing/ I forgot I even had it because there was so much stuff. My left index finger is going OWOWOW at the first joint because of carrying all those hangers back and forth, putting together a cheapie shelving unit and hauling it into the closet, hauling all that stuff out and sorting it to be tossed, folded, or re-hung up.
“Hubby had a bunch of his dad’s clothes that we brought home right after his dad passed away, and I thought at the time that it would be nice if he wore them because they were hardly worn at all–some of them almost new, bought before his dad got sick–but of course you know perfectly well that he would NEVER TOUCH THEM and they were just taking up 1/2 of one side of the closet and they were depressing to look at. I just stuffed them all into a couple of lawn bags and am trying to make myself give them away. My crazy/alcoholic uncle could probably wear some of them, but if he found out where they came from, they’d go into the trash . . . it’s a shame, but that’s the usual dilemma. But anyhow I did make room for the stuff hubs actually wears, which was hanging on these hooks over the doors to the second and third bedrooms and to the bathroom. (Y’know those hooks that go over the door, meant to hold a few things . . . were always holding whatever I had just washed that he’d wear again, jeans and Dockers and golf shirts and a couple of cloth shirts, recycling through the same 25 or 30 things. They never made it to the closet.) I kept all the ties and a few hankies and a couple of gimme caps of his dad’s, and we’ll put those somewhere else, out of the normal clothes storage area.
“Mama tried to/wanted to be happy about this plan to clean/organize, but she’s an old-school perfectionist, so whenever she would amble back here to “check on me” (several times I was all red-faced and I did need to take a break!), she’d just get all upset. “How can anyone live like this…” “You’re the worst slob in the world…” And so forth. Then she’d try to dust some other area by running her hand over it, then blowing the dust out into the air so that we’d have to breathe it in. I kept saying that I had to start at the back room/closet and work my way out, and that I would handle that NEXT, and please don’t get sidetracked off what I am doing, because that leads to just bits and pieces and nothing ever gets finished and suddenly the day is over. She got kind of crazy a couple of times and really went into some hurtful personal attacks–partly because she’s got a stomach problem from taking those antibiotics, and because she’s still not quite well from being sick, and partly because I have just been the whipping boy for 40+ years and she doesn’t even realize she is saying it. In fact, when I said that “When you say I don’t deserve to have a house and don’t deserve to live and should die in filth, that hurts my feelings, and now that I don’t have the outlet of stuffing my mouth with whatever is lying around in the fridge, it is very upsetting,” she said that she never said that. I believe she really does forget the stuff she says. It would destroy her perfect internal self-image to admit that she DOES say those things in anger, so she can’t remember it. She says, “You make things up and you always have.” Now, why would I make up something that just made me upset and made me cry later when she finally left the room? (You don’t want to cry in front of this type of person–if they know they’ve gotten to you, then they dig deeper, and they say it’s crocodile tears that you are using to manipulate them.) At least she finally stopped telling everyone that I was demon-possessed a few years ago. (She used to say that when I was a teenager if I ever expressed any kind of anger, even mildly or mild disagreement, and would tell her friends/my friends/her family that I was making this or that up . . . and she really believed it all. It’s just that she could not see anything from a different perspective than her own internal one, which whitewashed some things and hid others, so the way she saw it, everyone but her was completely delusional. However, she quit saying that after we had those health scares. I think that really put the fear of God into her, in a sense.)
“How could it take a whole freaking week to sort out these closets?!?! And then last week I did the kitchen, and I didn’t really get it completely finished. I have to rest so often with this diet. It’s supposed to be 900 calories, five mini-meals and one “lean and green,” but I’m sure I have eaten slightly more some days. I divide the salad-and-protein thing into lunch and dinner. You get 2-1/2 cups of lettuce and other green veggies and 6 oz of chicken or other protein, and so I divide that. Then you get the mini-meal stuff, meaning the shakes or the soup or the “chili” or a powerbar-type thing, five times a day, about every two to three hours. It works well, but if you are working hard, you use up that food energy faster than a cat outrunnin’ a skunk.
“And with this, there’s no cooking, or hardly any. NO hours and hours of chopping and weighing and so forth, as in most other diets. When I finally get near some kind of reasonable weight zone, we’ll have a bit of that again, but for now it’s mostly just figuring out how to keep the other two fed.”
I forgot to mention that over the past couple of months, hubby and Mama have taken turns having bronchitis and needing to be waited on. They’re finally over it, but they still want to be waited on!
But I did get a chance to send some song lyrics to a friend (in fact, the same guy!) whose granddaughter just signed with Warner and will be making her first CD soon. I also e-mailed one of my fantasy novels (with approval) to the Macmillan First Novel project in the UK. I figure that my writing is more like the stuff that comes out of the UK than it is like the stuff that gets published here, so it’s worth a shot.
Otherwise, though, it’s just one thing after another. I hooked up my old turntable to the computer so I could convert some of Mama’s old albums to CD. She’s balking because she thinks she won’t be able to use a CD player, but she’s wrong. Wait until she hears the stuff with the pops and static taken out. I’m doing that during “rest” (ha) periods.
Tomorrow is the sort-of-biweekly meeting of our new critique group, too (Pook’s Peeps, which is a name that means something to the people who created the group.) I’m looking forward to seeing all of them, because we missed the last meeting. However, I haven’t written any more on the “Ranch” romance, so I’m giving them the opening of “Camille.” Never hurts to get more input on an opening.
Now, if only my mother will restrain her hypochondria and allow me to attend the noontime session without having an asthma attack just before I leave, or getting the barfs, or something similar. (One time she went with me, but she complained later that it was too boring and doesn’t want to go again. She spilled her coffee on my new purse that time, but it didn’t stain, and I didn’t like the purse anyway.) If she’d try to enjoy going to Borders–maybe walk around, go sit in the cafe and engage some strangers in her endless conversation, read a book for free–maybe she’d be happier. But what she wants is for me to stay home so she can pace around nagging, complaining, and berating me about the condition of the house and telling me how pointless and stupid it is to write song lyrics (let alone let anyone else read them) and novels (let alone send the damn things out). Her ideal daughter, in her mind, would be a Successful Person with an Immaculate Executive Home and a Life. Too bad she didn’t raise me to be that person.
When she was raising me, her values were different (or so she thought–what she thought she wanted turned out not to be as useful to her as she later needed it to be.) She basically raised me to be a bohemian artist type who lives the life of the mind and doesn’t measure success by the standard measures. She didn’t MEAN to, but that’s what she ended up with. Now she wishes she’d raised a Junior Leaguer like my shallowest cousin. But you know what . . . I don’t think it would have worked. I think I would still have turned out a worthless, useless, lazy slob. The collar’s gotta match the cuffs.
I *told* her to have another kid. (I always wanted a sister.) Maybe that one would have turned out all Stepford and stuff. So this is her OWN fault!
On the other hand, with our luck the other kid would have turned out even worse and we’d have had to clean up after him or her and/or carry the handbasket. . . .
Third day of 105 temps outside and water restrictions. I hate summer.