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Spokane, WA
This profile photo is my mom and me at the beach--she is 26 and I am about 18 months. LOVE the joy!! I am a mom of three and a teacher; being a teacher means I have to go back and cut the f-bombs. There were a few. Because Alzheimer's sucks badly. This blog, for nine years now--skipping a few while I was too cheap to buy my domain name-- helps me un-peel and process the endless layers of sad woven with weird and--impossibly--comedy.

Monday, June 24, 2013

This Lamp: And that's All I Need

          Last Friday morning, the first day of summer, was the pre-appointed time that the executor of my grandparents' estate decided the heirs would meet to come though their rightful piles of potential belongings. I went in place of my mother, and my mother''s guardian. And, really? How could she have known the back story for all that crap? Which were the treasures? Which was the trash? (WOW I am now picturing a Dr. Seuss book about grandchildren going through old shit in a house.."What about this vial of volcanic ash?")
ANYWAY
          Everyone in the extended family had been nervous about how my mom's youngest brother would react to both families and strangers touching all the STUFF from what has really been just HIS house for three years. He has historically been sort of like a really tall, loud old toddler. Some tantrums sometimes, particularly during times of grief..which is mostly all he's experienced (he took care of both parents with cancer and his uncle..and care taking is excrutiating.)
The point is, there was a policeman at the "distribution of property."A lot of that had to do with the fact that there were 5 guns up for grabs.
         Here's how it actually went down:
Here's the the allegedly stolen cat that caused a rift
between my mom and her parents for years. It's all hers now.
In the background, the cop's Honda.
         He scowled when he first saw me, but seemed to mellow out when I sat down on that ugly couch and asked where the chocolates were. (the wooden candy dish was filled with lug nuts, bolts and an allen wrench) He did start to get angry about the idea of handing over his washer and dryer (rightly so), so I went and searched for my mom's bronzed baby bootie. I'd say initially it helped to have the cop there to diffuse a potential "situation", but once my other uncle got there and we started talking awkwardly about which of Great-grandpa's watercolor paintings we wanted, and made sarcastic comments about the large organ, and I spilled an old planter full of dirt (that hadn't housed a plant for probably five years) and he grumbled, "Hey don't mess up my house'" everyone kind of loosened up. Among my booty-I never actually found the bronzed bootie-There were some great rhinestone and plastic vintage clip-on pretty things that most grandma's have, and even a long coat with a real fur collar, as well as a 1950's Viewmaster with images of black bears eating from peoples' car windows in Yellowstone Park.

         And that damn long-necked ceramic black cat. This was a bone of contention for years..my grandparents accused my mother of stealing the cat, which was allegedly hers as a child ..and I don't know at which point the fucking thing shattered and was badly glued back together,
SO worth fighting over. WTF?
but by God it was proudly displayed in the living room. "You have to give this to Lynn," he told me conspiratorially at quite possibly the pinnacle of our awkward junk-distribution bonding session.
The heirlooms: Teapots, photos, desert bowls,
a real fur collar & a pretty powerful old rifle.
Once we'd gone though several of the boxed-up old photos--(all of which were painstakingly stored by my great aunt, who spent hours inventorying all of this stuff) many of them Polaroids, thus originals and the only in existence-it was very sweet. He explained that the photo of me literally taking a shit in the woods (it may have been just a wiz) as a three-year-old (with a toilet seat!) was taken at Flathead Lake. We declared on yellow legal pads what we'd taken and then- we all went to lunch together for the first time EVER. My magnanimous uncle even paid the tab. The two brothers will, after all, plus my mom, each be inheriting about a third of a million dollars, which to people who lived among only the belongings found in that house, is a fortune.
        It will pay to get my mom in a nice place closer to me..but she still won't have occasion to wear her newly inherited jewels, or the fur collar coat. (She wouldn't be caught dead in real fur, Alzheimer's or not) For her end table, I procured this milk bottle glass lamp (and matching vase filled with dusty silk roses) and of course quoted "The Jerk" after doing so. You'll be pleased to know that at no time did I have my pants around my ankles. (Although I did get teary when I discovered my grandma's "Cub Scouts Den Mother" pendant, because I was one, too)

(What follows is my favorite clip, which I was making reference to when I selected the sweet piece. Does everyone do that when they come into an old lamp? How couldn't they? Click this link to watch. Sorry there's probably a :30 spot before hand)  And this LAMP 


(Reluctant) Guardian In Training

          I have completed the Online Guardianship Training on the Washington Superior Court website. I do not really want to be a guardian to my mother now that I know what it really entails. It's up there with "understanding the stock market" and "getting really good at creating tax returns" on the NOT AT ALL ON MY BUCKET List.

         There is a concern among my extended family that my mother's current court-appointed guardian will somehow make off with a sum of what appears to be only great wealth to come out of the Cole family..and (the majority of the inheritance is money that my mom's Uncle Gordon squirreled away into more than a dozen off-shore bank and investment accounts while he wore two suits and watched a black and white TV from his rent-controlled apartment in the Queen Anne section of Seattle for 40 years)  but now that I know how heavily monitored a guardian is required to be with finances (hence my resistance to it) I just don't care. 
          So I'm working on my the family/daughter obligation part and I..nope, still nothing.
I will meet with the actual guardian this week, and I will probably go through the whole training. Maybe the ghost of Florence Nightingale will visit me as I doze off during one of the court training videos and I will wake a with a clear sense of direction. I have one month.

Dichotomy of a home town



March 3, 2013 entry

I'm driving back from Missoula. It's weird because there are some familiar, comfortable things about it like the M and Higgins Street and Farmer's Market and The Liquid Planet but my old hometown memories are inexorably tied to a morose depressed feeling that is Lynn and my childhood with her; a simultaneous loathing of that childhood sadness and new grief that she is no longer anything except a big old ugly toddler in a wheelchair. AHH! I can't  write about it or describe it or quantify it even though I'm attempting to do all three right now... 
Here's a Bad secret:
I have often not liked her, and always loved her; have been ashamed of her and ache to talk to her again. And all that crazy dichotomy is unfortunately tied to Missoula, and my childhood home and Worden's market and the fucking Top Hat Bar where she used to dance to bad bands. 
The Top Hat has expanded and is now rebranding itself, offering great food and becoming a venue for live comedy which is poetic, really, (at least to me) because tragedy plus time equals comedy.
I've noticed as I plan the trip to Disneyland in two months; looking for things to do during the one day we are in one of our favorite places in the world, that Pacific Grove, too, holds a tiny sense of melancholy because of all the happy memories of our young lives there. But Hell with that. I got married there. It's MY place. Nope, it's both.
See, that's me, with mom and grandma and toddler Chris. Asilomar State Beach, late 1976

Thoughtful young me

Thoughtful young me

Seventies chicks

Seventies chicks
Me and my mom Lynn, 1973

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