Friday, January 9, 2009

It's Time To Clean House!

Since my laptop had been down, I took that time to do some things around the house that needed to be done.  A lot of little things, but I have started tackling one big project.

My grandma’s room.

My grandma used to live with my uncle.  She would argue that because her home is in Kentucky, but she hasn’t spent more than a week there in probably 10 years.

When my uncle’s MS started affecting his mobility, she started staying with him to help out.  She could make dinner and take him things if he couldn’t get around.  She also felt needed.  She felt she could help with my cousins too.  They were already on a bad path then and they’re behavior reflected it, she thought she could help.

My grandma has never been the type to take anyone’s crap.  Where my uncle coddled my cousins all their lives because he was overcompensating for their mother’s absence, my grandma would knock the shit out of them if necessary.  They learned pretty quickly they could get away with anything with their dad, but not as much with my mom (or the rest of us, though they are particularly frightened of my step-dad who is 6’4) and especially with grandma.

My cousin one time threatened to call the police because my grandma was threatening to hit him with her cane.  Let me clarify that my grandma is not abusive, she never laid a hand on my sister or me, and she never did more than crack them on the butt if they got out of line.  But with us, a threat was all it took.  With them, not so much.  When he threatened to call the police, my grandmother, who was already in her late 70’s or early 80’s, took him by the throat and had him against the wall. 

You’ve got to love that.

She stayed with my uncle for the most part for a few years, but she had a room at my mom’s.  My mom also used that room for storage.  Whatever she didn’t know what to do with, she put in grandma’s room.  After all, grandma only stayed with her when she needed a break from my uncle’s family.

Two or three years ago, she started staying with my mom more often than at my uncle’s.  

August 2007 when my uncle had his accident, I brought her home from my uncle’s and she hasn’t gone back.  She needed someone to take care of her during that time.  My uncle nearly died 3 times and my cousins were big time trouble.  An elderly woman, no matter how strong, needs to be taken care of during a time like that.  I waited on her hand and foot and sat with her while she cried. 

My uncle made it and we moved him closer to my family.  My grandma wanted to go stay with him, mostly out of obligation, but we wouldn’t let her.  For one, the place isn’t big enough for all of them.  For two, it’s wood floors and she would slip.  For three, she needs to rest and be the one taken care of now.

Since then, my mom has been saying we have to clean grandma’s room out.  When I tell you it is packed, I mean it.  It’s a big room, but there is only a path for her to get to and from her bed with her walker. 

I have wanted to work on it for a year.  I actually started to last year and my mom shut me down.  She said she needed to be there to go through the things in the room.  So I stopped.  A year later, it still hasn’t been done.

I intended to do it this past fall.  When I went in for my ductogram and biopsy, I had convinced myself I wouldn’t need the biopsy.  I had intended on starting on her room that Wednesday.  Needless to say, I had the biopsy and couldn’t do anything for over a week.

The main reason I wanted to get her room started at that point was because the heat vent was completely blocked by all the boxes and things piled up in there and it is so cold in her room.  I knew it was going to be a cold winter, so I wanted to free that area up.  She has a heated mattress pad and a heated blanket, but she can’t lay in bed all the time. 

After the biopsy, it was mid-November and my parents went to Mexico, then a friend had her baby and it was my brother-in-law’s birthday and then Thanksgiving….  You get the idea. 

I decided last week that this had to get done now because a) I have the time and b) it’s going to be really cold here this week.  Thursday the high is going to be 0 and the low is going to be -10 and that is the temperature, not the wind chill.

Friday, I went in her room, moved her bed, and started cleaning.  Moving things around and actually cleaning.  I had to dust the walls and shelves and then wash them down.  So much dust and cobwebs.  My mom came down a couple of hours later and started her moaning and groaning.  I scolded my mother.  I scolded her for letting her mother live in that mess (which is an understatement).  I scolded her for yelling at me for doing this.  I scolded her for being so negative. 

It’s not an option, this has to be done. 

I had made the decision to do it whether anyone wanted me to or not before I started.  

Here’s something you probably don’t know about me.  While I am normally very agreeable and passive, once I’ve made my mind up about something, you won’t change it.  You won’t do anything but cause me to dig my heels in further.  I inherited my stubborn gene from my grandma. 

Since Friday, I got the right half of her room completely cleaned and the heat vent cleared.  The left half will be tackled during the week. 

I also wanted it clean because I realize that at her age, she may not be with us for very much longer.  If she were to pass away in her room, I certainly would not want anyone seeing that mess, but also, I don’t know how people would fit in there to get her out.

Another reason for doing this is that my grandma will be 90 in April.  We are planning to throw her a party.  People will come from out of town for this and will come by the house while they are here.  If she cannot come out of her room that day for arthritis, they can go see her there, but not the way it was.  Nobody would fit nor would we want anyone to see that mess.  I know she would be mortified too.

With just half the room cleaned up, she keeps saying how big the room seems, even her TV.  As I said, it’s a big room.  It used to be my sister’s room and it still has the gray paint on the walls and some of the wall hangings my sister put up.  My sister moved out 9 years ago when she got married.  I took down those wall hangings and am putting up my grandma’s.  I can’t paint it, especially not now that it’s cold, but I can at least brighten it up with some pictures and decorations on the walls.


I want her to be more at ease and relaxed, especially at her age.  So far, so good.

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