Friday, February 19, 2010

The Perfect Storm

It's late, I'm tired, but babysitting my printer as it painfully processes what will eventually (hopefully) amount to somewhere around 200 auction ID cards for tomorrow - excuse me - now officially tonight's auction. After all these months of meetings and planning, it is finally almost here. Are we ready? Probably not. Almost certainly not. But, we're in it, ready or not.

Actually, some of it is not our fault. I have learned through this process that artists are notoriously last minute. We tried to set a deadline for submissions so we could take stock of what we had, price it, prep it and decide how to display it. We'll have art walking in tonight, hopefully before the auction actually begins at 7:00 PM. And every artist or friend of an artist has pretty much confirmed that this is just pretty much the way that they roll. And even the things that were in our control that we could have done better have to be viewed out of the lense of our extreme inexperience. Enthusiasm, in the end, prevailed over knowing what in the world we were doing.

However, then there is the headache. It began last Sunday at around noon. It has not decided to quit yet, although it dulled down to a distant rumble today, only to perk up if I moved too sharply or suddenly. Now, in the witching hour, it is threatening to erupt once more, and I have two more sheets to print of the front page of this card. If I can just get there, I would feel okay about taking the head off to its pillow. Instead it looks as though I'll be re-starting the computer for the fourth time to try and clear the perpetually canceling print job that stalled when the paper jammed, which I have no idea why that keeps happening other than it's card stock and the printer sucks. Here is a lesson for life: if a sweet young man at Best Buy asks if you if you are interested in a $25.00 color printer/scanner, the answer is no.

I can't decide if the headache is an actual illness (I spent the first half of the week extremely cold and achy at all times), allergies, stress, menopause or some perfect storm of all of the above. I am concluding it may be the latter. It's not the auction that has me particularly stressed out, although as the week wore on and my head continued to interfere with my work on auction issues, that got added to the pile of things I'm stressed about. No, I would have to say it's more Mother related stress.

Of all weeks for her to pick to raise her level of - I struggle for the right word here - whackiness is the one I want, but it seems overly mean spirited given her condition. Whatever word I use, she ramped it up this week of all weeks. I spent the week receiving calls and e-mails from everyone about her. She is clearly trying to run away from home. She's been trying to fund her relocation by having her broker send her a large check directly to the nursing home. And I do mean large. She used the cover story that Marissa is coming from college and needs tuition money (keep in mind that my daughter goes to school six miles up the same road the nursing home is on). She made it clear that they were not to tell me. However, since I have legal rights on the account just as she does, they had to. So they did. Now they are caught in the push-pull between having to respond to both of us ethically and legally. She has not taken no for an answer, and called late in the week angry that she had not gotten it. Yesterday she rolled herself up to the receptionist, a sweet woman who went to school at Montana State University while my dad was there teaching ROTC, and asked her to make her plane reservations to fly back to Pittsburgh. A resident had stopped me a few days before and told me in a hushed voice that "Your mother is very upset. She wants to leave here." They are all fit to be tied. The woman I pay to essentially act like a sister to me and visit mother when I can't, tell me what she's up to and be another set of eyes on the situation (which sometimes I'm glad I have and sometimes think is just an expensive way to not feel so alone) told me yesterday that the staff is worried that her mental state is deteriorating, but because she is so stubborn, it is making her extremely hard to handle. When I see her, she is all sweetness and light and never says a word about it. That probably worries me the most because it indicates that she is clever enough to pull her punches and is fully aware of whom she is talking to. Of course, it's this very thing about her personality that made her hard to diagnose in the first place. She is not unintelligent, she is ill. After a lot of soul searching, I called an attorney, and am having to go forward to have her rights taken away from her. Essentially, that will put her in my custody. Having just come from raising two troubled teens, I will now have a rebellious elder in my legal custody. I tried to talk them into appointing someone else, but there is no one else in the end analysis. It's on me. And I have to do this. If I don't, she's likely to bankrupt herself at the least, but potentially make decisions that are counter productive to her well being. Of course, she will hate me with all the force of her personality, and she will be harder to handle for everyone involved. I would rather do just about anything than what I know I have to. Just writing these words makes my head throb. So I think I literally have the Mother of all Migraines.

And, naturally, this could not wait until I get past the art auction. Kelsey passed away eight months ago tonight. This is what I should be focused on. I have to say, it seems like a lifetime has gone by since that awful night. So much has happened, a lot of it very terrible, but not all of it. I have met some wonderful people who have reached out to me in my grief or have come to me as part of the auction. If this event comes off even a little bit successfully, then we created something amazing out of our loss. And of course I never lack for things to write about! For all of that, I would roll back the clock if I could and fight to change all our fates. I know I can't, so this is all I know to do. Push forward. A day at a time.

Anyway, I am off to cut the auction ID cards now that the printer has finally surrendered and done its job. I will let you know how the auction goes.

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