home. dec 25th - 28th.

i can't remember which day i started uploading mixes to 8tracks, or why.

i think i started it on thursday. so that i could link to it on friday. we'll go with that version of the story...

day five, a friday.

stayed up late, woke up at the usual time.

i've not been to bed before midnight since i got here. and i've been waking up consistently at 7, but refusing to get up until 8. until today. because friday night i was up until after 3, so i woke up at 8, got up at 9.

i'm beginning to grow concerned that the half dose isn't working. because the smaller problem is that my sleep is wacky. no big deal, because i'm on vacation.

the bigger issue is this thing i've been doing with playlists.

that is why i've been up so late the last few days. it went from something that i'd half assed a while ago, when kit told me about it. but then i decided to revamp my dating site page to see what happens, and instead of listing out all of the bands i like, i just linked to my playlists that were posted.

and it's a bit like the chicken or the egg. did i have extra time to spend on it? did i want it on the site first? did i do it first, and then put it on the site after?

i don't know. but it's become a bit of an obsession. i've been leaving the house without things the past few days, simply because i'm so focused on starting the upload before i leave. friday, it was my phone and jose and my cigarettes. today, it was jose again.

part of what is happening, also, is that i am getting some pretty incredible feedback on 8tracks, so it is perpetuating my habit. i'm proud of my playlists. if there was a way i could quit my job, and make movie soundtracks all day, or just be a radio dj all day, i would. it's something i think i'm good at.

it's one thing when your sister, and your friends, tell you that your playlists are awesome. or thank you for getting them into some band they'd never heard of.

it's another when total strangers like your playlists, comment on them, and start following you. it's totally going to my head. in two days, i've gotten 11 emails from 8tracks, telling me about the interest.

but the problem is, even when i'm on vacation, i can't stop with the projects. and this one is different, only because it runs in the background, while i do other things.

yesterday was an epic last minute shopping day.

we had to wake up early to go to the navy base with grandpa. my shopping trip was nearly spoiled, because i didn't find anything i needed to find there. but i did get a kickass six pack of beer from charlottesville virginia. so it was fine.

that was when i realized i forgot jose, and my phone.

after that, we had a lunch break. and then we went to my most favorite place - the outlet malls. a tourist trap that's crowded always. but i couldn't breathe yesterday, guiltily smoking on tourists, fighting my way through the crowd. thankfully, the glass of cold duck grandpa and i had soothed my nerves.

we immediately lose each other every time we go. and i got halfway through the trip before remembering i had my work phone to touch base.

i'd somehow talked brownies into this, which i probably shouldn't subject people outside of my family to. we literally laughed the entire trip. it was so much fun. only the lack of jose brought me down, at all the missed photo ops. it was really devastating. so many missed photos.

but i did find some sweaters, skirts, and pants, on deep discount. i now own things from banana republic (holy shit! i'm fancy!!), and have a pair of brown work shoes, and black snow boots, to go with all of my fancy clothes.

and less selfishly, took care of all but one present (aubree's - the most important one, naturally) by the end of the trip.

aubree's hard, because there are two things i intended to get for her for xmas. one, a snowboard gear bag, because she needs one before the snow starts to fall in phila, if that ever happens. and two, i wanted to get her a tattoo when i get my half sleeve. but she doesn't know what she wants, so she isn't getting one.

she's handled. but i have nothing for her to unwrap, and that makes me pretty sad.

we came home, brownies went home, and we hung out while mom started feeling worse as the day wore on.

i edited my dating site profile, and posted a boatload of mixes online.

watched a fringe, and forced myself to sleep around 3 am. but i felt like i could have stayed up all night. kindof like tonight.

day six, christmas eve, a saturday.

mom is sick. it's the worst. she has the flu or something like it. so normally, mom is frantically preparing - wrapping, cooking, cleaning, setting up for church. and i'll admit i was relieved to get out of my once-a-year-church obligation.

but the cost was cleaning the house for company tomorrow (xmas), wrapping all the gifts while mimi and aubree cooked, doing the laundry, and eating the bounty of mom's kitchen at xmas.

we visited all grandparents today, but mine were cut short. due to sleeping in later, waking up slower, and taking my time at the house before leaving.

nice grandparents visit was cut short to go to the mean ones. and it was a doozy of a day over there. we stayed a while, because we haven't been going. long enough to witness a grandma meltdown/argument with dad. and long enough to see grandpa in one of his weird little funks.

he does this thing where he stands up and sits down. he has one of those old people recliners, that raise and lower with a remote. so he'll sit, and then recline the chair. and then raise it and stand up. in succession, several times. he must have done it ten times in few minutes.

we have to joke about it, or we'd cry. i joked that he was doing his daily calisthenics. and when he finished lunch (well, not really, but when he stopped eating chili), he wanted all of the desserts. and when aubree went to put on the neck drape to cut his hair, he flipped.

he didn't want a haircut. and he certainly didn't want her to cut it. he bitched about looking like he went through a sawmill. and dad fought with him about it for a few minutes before giving up. it was bad. he normally loves haircuts, so even aubree was caught off guard.

and that led to a broader discussion/argument, where grandpa said he can take care of himself, and can handle his business, and will go to the barber shop for a haircut. he fought the neck drape, and that argument became a fight about showering. because he swears he does and can shower on his own (he's not a goddamned cripple).

but he can't. of course he can't. his nurse bathes him a few times a week, but he doesn't shower. it's awful. and trying to tell him otherwise, and explaining that he does need help and he can't take care of himself without help was only met with more opposition, and more arguing.

it really sucked. and then dad resigned. and then grandma made a bunch of points about how she deals with this all day every day, and how she wishes dad had to deal with it, and live with it.

which started her crying, when dad said that he'd tried to tell her to leave him years ago, because this would be his problem now, not hers. and once she argued that, through tears, she got on some tangent about some lady she knew who left her husband and got married three more times. and then came back to more tears, because no one would want her now.

it was really fucking upsetting. and depressing. everyone hates these aspects of their lives. and there's no winning.

all dad could do was tell her that, in a month, he will be in a home. and won't be her problem anymore.


we left there, shopped a little more. psych out presents for mom. and more baking supplies for mom. and came home.

queue baking, cleaning, wrapping extravaganza.

i'm beat. and thanks to a beer consumed quickly for the effect, a little swirly.

earlier tonight, in my mix-induced idiocy, i put a beer on the carpet next to me. i was keeping an eye on my laptop. it was touching my beer, on the floor. and when my brother came in, the dogs went to the door, the first didn't clear the beer when it tried to jump the laptop.

so the beer spilled directly onto my keyboard.

i flipped. i'm still not over it. but we turned it over and dried it. and then vacuumed out the keys. and now i'm typing with sticky keys that need to be cleaned. gone are the apple days of having a keyboard that is easily popped out for cleaning.

gidget made a mess of things, and i'm not forgiving her anytime soon. or myself, for that matter. lest i forget that it was me, not her, who put the beer next to the laptop.

three mixes posted later, it still wasn't worth it. i'm just glad i didn't fry the thing. i'd have been royally fucked. i'll take it back to best buy for a geek squad scrubdown. and try not to fuck the guy who fixes it, in an expression of gratitude.

day seven, christmas day, a sunday.

saying as i was up until 3, and woke up to loud church on the tv at 8, i'll think that my lethargy today is the fault of sleep deprivation.

but it's probably closely related to eating all day long. as i said a little while ago, you can't start eating if you never stopped. i think i ate more in one day than i've eaten the whole time i've been home. unbelievable...

christmas started off sweetly. we all had matching pajamas, it was cute. and we got cleaned up and started all the food, then did family present unwrapping. the iphone surprise was awesome. dad's surprise was also awesome. and my little pile of presents from mom and dad were a little odd, but nice. the steve jobs biography. meh. i'm sure it will be awesome, but i would never have picked it. and the big present that everyone was so excited for me to open felt a little like an excessive present. a $100 soda maker.

while it's true that i drink a shit ton of seltzer, and they got the pack of flavoring that makes all different flavors of soda, aubree was super excited about it.

honestly, i'd rather spend the money on new clothes, but i'll keep it. because i'll use the shit out of it.

the only problem is that they grabbed the display box, so when i went to use it today to fix some flat ginger ale at lunch, the machine wasn't in the box. just the bottle and the charger.

but that just means another trip to the outlet malls. i missed the gap outlet the other day, knowing i'd go back with xmas money in hand.

i need to do my books, and see if i can even spend any of it. i'd planned on another $75 from mom and dad, which goes a long way there, but got the soda maker instead.

it was awesome to buy gifts for everyone. after years of not being home, and then switching to buying something for everyone last year, and doing it right this year, it was awesome.

spending days with mimi, talking and hanging out. and getting 85 mom hugs before she got sick. and shopping with dad and brownies.

it's been really good to be home. i'm pretty excited for the next week of my vacation. nina arrives tomorrow night, and i'll have four whole days with her, which i've been looking forward to since i said goodbye to her in august.

it's going to be awesome. i can't wait.

it will be a welcome change, to spend time with kids. because i've had my fill of sick old people. really, just grandpa. today was the worst i'd seen him. it was good to see mimi interacting with him, because she's so great at it. dementia is fucked up.

the later in the day it is, the worse he is. and yesterday was the hardest yet, because it was the latest in the day i've seen him.

everyone was over for christmas until maybe 2 or 3. but grandma decided she didn't want to drive home, so she made mimi drive them home. which meant aubree had to go pick her up and bring her back. so i tagged along.

it was supposed to be a quick extrication. we joked on the way out of our house that we'd go get her in an hour and a half. the plan was to get the presents unloaded and head back. we left a good 15-20 after mimi, and when we pulled in, grandpa was just getting out of the car. not a good sign.

we unloaded their presents, and aubree got sucked into helping grandma set up outlook on her computer. the last visit, grandma had a virus on her computer, so i'd spent that visit reformatting her hard drive for her. she won't stop opening those fucking forwarded emails, so every trip to see her involves this process. yet she refuses to listen.

so we ended up stuck over there for well over an hour and a half. during which time, grandpa took to his repetitive standing and sitting routine. walking in from the car, he put in that he was too tired to walk to his chair from the front door, but 30 minutes later, he stood up and said he wanted to go for a walk. knowing he'd not be into it a few minutes in, i tried to dissuade him, but he started to get adamant about it, so we took him for a walk. just into the parking lot outside their house, he wanted to turn around, and mimi said no.

'you wanted to go for a walk, so we're walking.'

if he could remember, that would teach him.

before the walk, and during, and upon returning, he was stuck on the house being a shit hole, and said he didn't remember signing a deed. and that he wanted to go to their house in virginia.

it's a common theme, which requires explaining that he wanted to sell the house in virginia, and did, and wanted to move here (in his own defense, he didn't, but was too sick at that point to be so far away from the family). and he wanted his old car, of course, which he had also sold. didn't remember that either.

he stayed stuck on the deed to the shit hole for well over 45 minutes. repeating and repeating.

he'd eaten so much food at our house, and as soon as he got in, put in that he was hungry again. but didn't want to walk 10 feet into the kitchen to eat.

then he started screaming that he needs help, 'help me, help me! i need help!'

over and over and over.

mimi was awesome.

'you're not allowed to yell. we can hear you. what do you need?'

'i need help!'

'we can hear you. what do you need help with?'

he couldn't say what he needed help with, but continued to repeat himself, regardless.

all the while, grandma is yelling over him, because she wouldn't put in her hearing aids, to be able to hear herself or us. it was obnoxious.

she's so jealous of all the attention he gets. but doesn't see it as him being fucked and helpless. i mean, i had to find his socks and put them on his feet, because he can't do it himself. mimi had to take him to the bathroom, after he told her he didn't have to go when he walked past the bathroom. he sat down and then decided he did have to go.

but all that attention, like tending to a child, makes her crazy. because, as i said before, she thinks he is faking.

and then he did what he does every day, that i have only seen once. this time it went on for an hour...

he can't see well. one eye does not have vision (his left). grandma has a la-z-boy chair to his left. but when he gets rowdy at night, she won't sit in it, because he's loud. so he can't see her, when she sits further left.

so he starts yelling 'roberta!' and 'where's mom?' (they never know if he means her, or his mother who's been dead for 20 years)

and he doesn't stop yelling, because he can't see her. and she won't move to where he can see her, to stop it.

it was rotten. he wouldn't stop yelling. mimi kept standing directly in front of him, saying, 'you're not allowed to yell. she's right there on the couch. do you see her?'

and he couldn't see her.

late at night, when they are alone, he'll occasionally escape the house. or fall out of bed. or just start yelling 'help me! help me! i need help!' the fire department busted in the door one night, because someone heard him, and grandma wouldn't get out of bed to quiet him down. they've shown up on more than one occasion.

it blows. everyone wants to put him out of his misery. he asks daily to be put out of his misery. kevorkian was right. no one should have to live like this.

and for the record, if i ever get to be like that, i WILL put myself out of my own misery. dirt nap via morphine overdose for me, please.

consider this to be my living will...

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