Saturday, October 10, 2015

In which Primo and I negotiate bedtime

Primo: When I get home, we'll get busy, right?

Me: Your flight doesn't arrive until 9:45 p.m.! We won't be home before 10:30!

Primo: But I will have been gone over two weeks! You need to sacrifice!

Me: Not that much.

Primo: Sweetie!

Me: OK. But only if it is the first thing we do. I am not waiting for you to unpack and then go upstairs and get on the computer. Remember me? The one with the job? The job that is letting you spend all this time with your dad?

Primo: Oh yeah. And I am having so much fun.

Me: If you promise --

Primo: You should wait for me!

Me: Here's a big difference between you and me: I enforce boundaries. I will not accept unacceptable behavior.

Primo: But you should!

Me: I will stay up late because of your plane. I will not stay up late so you can unpack, as you could unpack just as easily on Thursday morning.

Primo: I guess you have a point.

Me: Or you could look at it this way: do you really want to delay getting into bed with your wife after being gone so long?

Primo: You know, when you put it that way...

Comments du jour: I am a narcissistic, disrespectful, selfish, deranged junkie - excuse me while I toss my imitrex and birth control pills

Oh you guys - I have to share these with you. I think Doris is reading my blog and commenting from heaven. Or it could be Sly. Sly thinks I am disrespectful.

I have to assume both comments come from the same person.

After this post, there was this:

I have been reading your blog, and you sound like a drama queen with no respect for elders. You are a bit deranged, and on too many drugs. I'd say you are narcissistic.

And in response to this post,

You are a mean , self centered person with no respect for elders. It is a nice gesture for his parents to send you gifts. Also, the fact that you want them to pay for your plane tickets to visit his own parents shows how selfish you are. No wonder you only have 78 readers.

In which Primo wants me to try to repair the relationship with his dad and I do not want to because I do not like Sly

OK you guys. I don't know if I am the biggest bitch in the world or if I am in the right or what.

Primo wants me to try to have a good relationship with Sly.

I thought that once Doris was dead - and I thought this because Primo and I talked about it before Doris died - that Primo would more or less shake the dust from his feet and not darken Sly's door again.

That is not the sentiment now.

I am hoping it is just because Primo is now in his sixth week (with only two very short two-day breaks) of taking care of Sly (and of Doris). Every day, he drives to the hospital and back to Sly's house, which is 75 miles. He is the one talking to the doctors. He is the one who has arranged - thus far - Doris' funeral. He is the one keeping all Sly's relatives informed and talking to Ted when Ted calls asking for a list of all the drugs Sly is taking. He is the one feeding the cats at Sly's and cleaning their box and outside their box (they have bad habits). He is the only one doing this and he has no friends down there and no support, except for Stephanie, who helped him sort through some of Doris' clothes yesterday.

He is exhausted and cranky and I hope it's the exhaustion talking.

But when he called yesterday and said he thought things would just get worse and I agreed, I didn't meant, "They will get worse and you will have to be the one to fix them."

I meant, "Yes, your father's health will probably not improve and he will have to do something he does not want to do, which is either hire help or move to assisted living."

And then I made the stupid mistake of saying, "At least your dad won't whine so much about the holidays. He's the super atheist, so why should he care about Christmas? He's the one who doesn't want to be around other people."

And then Primo moaned and said, "And what am I going to do about THE HOLIDAYS?"

I said, "The same as we always have, which is what we decided when we got married, which is that we spend them at home."

"Yeah, because YOU don't like being around my parents."

I was stung. "It's not like you have wanted to go there, either!"

"Yeah, but then I feel like I have to anyhow, so I end up going near the holidays."

"Well, at least your dad has two other sons."


"So he can spend them with Jack!"

"You don't even like my dad!"

"No, but it's because he doesn't like me and has never been nice to me."

"Today, Ted [remember Ted flew in yesterday or the day before] was saying something nice about you to my dad and my dad said something mean about you."


"I have to hear it from him all the time, how I made such a big mistake in my second marriage."

I want to say, "Then why don't you say, 'Dad, shut the heck up or I am walking out of this room, not to return,'" but I do not.

"I want you to try to have a good relationship with him," he said.

"OK. What would I have to do?"

"I don't know!"

"I didn't mean that sarcastically. I mean it sincerely. What exactly do I need to do for your father to like me?"

"I don't know!"

And hence the problem. The problem, I think, is that Sly does not like me. Since the beginning, he and Doris saw me as competition for Primo's love. I don't think there was one instant where I did something that was so offensive.

At least, I don't think there was one instant where I did something that was so offensive that a RATIONAL PERSON would be offended.

Primo continues. "And he is in complete denial of reality. Now he's talking about buying a condo."

"At least that would solve the yard problem, but it doesn't solve anything else."

"And he doesn't want to go to rehab. He wants to go home. He says he misses his cats."

"I can understand that. And he gets to choose. But he doesn't get to require you to be his caretaker."

"I think our summer is going to be ruined," Primo sighed.

Yeah, me too.

We got off the phone. I thought about it. I thought about what a jerk bully sly is. And then I looked at some cancer survival stats.

I messaged Primo. I will do this because I love him. I will write a fawning letter to Sly telling him I want a good relationship (which is actually true: I would love to have a father in law whom I like and with whom I get along!). I will ask him what I need to do. I will put the ball in his court.

If you want I will write to your dad to ask what we can do to repair our relationship
I will make a sincere effort to have a good relationship with him. Xxxooo
If it means we go there for thanksgiving or Christmas then I will do that
11 hours ago

Friday, October 9, 2015

In which it looks like my brother is going to break up with Nicole, the girlfriend we met a few months ago and LOVED and my heart is breaking

I know I can't expect my brother to marry Nicole just because I like her so much and my sister and my brother in law like her so much and Primo likes her so much.

I can't. Right?

And whomever my brother would marry would be lovely by definition so it's not like she is his only chance to find someone great.

But I really, really like her.

She is neat.

You guys. Would it be wrong for me to introduce her to a college friend who lives in Austin? I would introduce them under the guise of professional connections. My friend is an engineer but his hobby is parks and wildlife and outdoors and all the stuff Nicole does as a job. J has even written a book about flooding in Texas and it was published. (Sooooo proud of my friends!)

J and Nicole have a lot in common - both from old Texas families, strong interest in Texas history and culture. And both really great people. Is it wrong for me to try to figure out a way to

1. Get my friend J matched up again (he was divorced years ago - you never know what goes on in someone else's marriage and I really liked his ex, but I knew him first and felt like I had to choose, so he is still my friend and I don't know what's going on with her).

2. Get to keep Nicole as a friend?

I have already asked my brother if I could introduce the two of them. Professionally. On LinkedIn.

Maybe a friend of Nicole's is thinking the same thing about my brother - that she likes him so much and wants to be friends with him and hey, Nic! Why don't I set up Greg up with Jane?


In which I am feeling like I didn't try hard enough with Doris but then I find an old email she had sent Primo

Is it natural to question your relationship with a person after the person has died? I didn't have questions after my dad died, but I loved my dad.

Doris, I did not love. Doris, I did not even like. I pitied her. I wanted better for her. I wanted her to have a better life than she had with Sly. I wanted her to be happy. I thought if she was happy, she might like me.

I sort of tried to make her like me. Well, not really. I didn't care if she liked me. I tried to give her the minimum she needed so she and Sly would not be nasty to Primo.

Should I have tried harder? Is there anything I could have done? I have been thinking about that over the past week.

And then, while working on the manuscript for my Golddigger book - which I think stinks and will probably never see the light of day, I found this old email from Doris to Primo. (Did they really think Primo would never share information with me?)

I'm sorry . . . that you noticed the chill in my last message. Sometimes I get the feeling that your dad and I have gotten placed rather low on the totem pole of your priorities. I promise to open my mind and heart to your future wife and look for areas of mutual interest. Neither dad nor I recall any instances when we were rude or unwelcoming to the Gold Digger.

If you have any examples of our behaviors that were offensive, PLEASE tell us. I simply wasn't yet comfortable in giving her hugs*, and we saw her as, frankly, rudely detached, spending time in the living room on your computer, with us sitting there,**  and both of you putting your heads privately together, even though we were present, and whispering, much the way you and Isabel used to do,***  

as if you were enjoying some private joke that we weren't supposed to know about.

After reading this note and after remembering that one of the reasons Sly and Doris did not like me was because of how I eat bacon, I am thinking that there was not much I could have done, other than surrender and say, "All of Primo's love should go to you. I'm out."

* Not that I wanted them to hug me, but the first time my mom met Primo, it was at a family reunion of my mom and her siblings. She saw me and saw Primo next to me. She ran up to him, threw her arms around him, said, "You must be Primo! I have so been looking forward to meeting you! Come over here and tell me all about yourself!"

** They were reading the paper or doing crossword puzzles or otherwise showing no interest in me whatsoever.

***  At the one and only visit Isabel made to Sly and Doris’ – after that, she refused to have anything to do with them. Isabel and I have more in common than we loved the same man.

Various and sundry stuff but no new sex stuff thank goodness

1. Primo and Stephanie are going to sort through Doris' clothes.

"Do you have permission from your dad to get rid of them?" I asked.

"He wants us to separate them into two groups: to sell and to donate."

"Is there much of a market in Florida for ten years out of style, winter clothes for a 5'10", 119-lb woman?" I asked.

"Probably not," Primo answered.

2. Ted flew down yesterday to help out. Primo said he was really nice and that he said nice things about me.

"He doesn't even know me," I said.

"He didn't know that my mom had written to you that you had to earn their acceptance," Primo said.

"They didn't write that to Ted's wife?" I asked.

"Apparently not. They love her."

"Not that I really care, because I don't need your dad's approval, but what does she have that I don't?" I asked.

"Well, she is a liberal," Primo said.

"Yeah, that is the most important quality about a person," I answered.

3. Me: Hey - should I send a card to your dad at home or at the hospital?

Primo: You were supposed to send him a get-well card a long time ago!

Me: I know. I forgot.

Primo: It's because you don't like my dad. You are always right on top of this sort of thing with other people. You always get condolence notes out and you take food.

Me: Well. I don't like your dad. But that's not why I haven't sent a card. [Although it is part of it - I am sucking it up and Doing the Right Thing, but I do not want to.] I just forgot.

Primo: You don't like my dad. But he is not all bad. He loves his kitties.

Me: Well, there is that.

4. Talking to my dad's cousin Greg and his wife, Dolly, telling them about Doris and how Primo has had to find a funeral home and make all the arrangements. Dolly and Greg are in their late 60s and are very healthy and very active.

Me: Have you guys made your funeral arrangements?

Dolly [shocked]: Of course we have! Why would we burden our children with that kind of decision at such a stressful time? I have even picked the music and who is supposed to sing!

5. I thought I had gained seven pounds in one week. I have been stress eating - Primo has been stress losing weight ("I can fit into my  shorts from 20 years ago!" he said.) I should not gain weight over a mean person like Sly.

6. I have been blabbing way too much to complete strangers about the situation. They don't care! I don't need to be the crazy lady who confides in the clerk at the garden shop! What is wrong with me?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

In which a friend offers to do something and Primo goes all engineer, jumping straight to the ultra-fine details instead of looking at the big picture

Me: Kathy messaged this morning. She was so sorry to hear about your mom. She asked if there was anything she could d--

Primo: People can't do anything when they are far away! They always ask that, but what can they do?

Me: SO ANYWAY. I told her that your dad is in the hospital and that you are driving 75 miles each way every day to see him there. She suggested having a meal delive--

Primo: To where? To the hospital? My dad isn't even on solids yet!

Me: SO LISTEN. The WHOLE POINT of this story is that we have a friend who is SO LOVELY that she is trying to figure out how to ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. Yes, she is far away. But she loves you and cares about you and wants to somehow make this easier for you. She can't tell us that she will come over and cut the grass or stop at the store or bring us a lasagna. She is really thinking hard about what she can actually do.

Primo: Oh. You're right.

Me: We are lucky to have her as a friend.

Primo: Yes. That was really nice of her.

Me: Which was my point.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

In which I do not want to take my paid funeral leave to go to Doris' funeral

I get three days of funeral leave from work, but I don't want to take it because I am the Worst Person Ever.

1. I have a lot going on at work.

2. The weather here is finally nice.

3. I cannot bear the idea of three days with Ted and Sly.

4. I have to go. I have to. Primo is my husband and I love him and this is one of the things you do when you love someone - you support him in hard times.

5. Flying is a pain in the neck.

6. This will cost us money.

7. Someone will be stuck cooking for everyone in that house and I am guessing it will be me, although at least that will give me something to do.

8. I have to go.

9. The only person I like in Primo's family - Stephanie - won't be staying at the house because she lives 15 minutes away.

10. Maybe I can stay with Stephanie.

11. I do not want to spend time with Ted and Sly.

12. I have to go.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Warning - this post contains sexually explicit content that may be disturbing to you and may create images of Sly and Doris in your mind that you will not be able to erase

I have debated for a day about whether to post this story.

1. It did happen. It is true.
2. I don't care what consenting adults do in bed. I don't judge. Well. I do. But it doesn't matter. It's none of my business. For all you guys know, Primo dresses up as a cub scout and I throw butter beans at him. Judge if you will. But we will keep doing it.
3. In my world, my friends and I do not share information about what goes on in bed. Maybe we are prudes. Maybe we are uptight. I don't know. I just know that it is Not Done in my sphere to discuss details of one's sex life.
4. But this seems so crass. But it happened! And I want you to be on my side in thinking that Sly and Doris Are Wrong and I Am Right and this data point will probably engender support for Team Golddigger.

So here goes.

Primo: My dad is a little bit out of it.

Me: Yes.

Primo: He was reminiscing about my mom.

Me: It's hard for him.

Primo: And he was telling me about - about sexual practices they enjoyed.

Me: What?

Primo: That they --

Me: Me! No! What do you mean he was telling you about his sex life with YOUR MOTHER?

Primo: You know what he's like.

Me: Your family.

Primo: He told me that--

Me: Wait! I don't want to hear this.

Primo: OK.

Me [prurient and also thinking how bad can it be?]: Oh whatever.

Primo: It was - a practice where the woman straps on an obje-

Me: STOP!!!!

Primo: OK.

Me: There is not enough bleach on this earth to wash that image from my mind.

[I shudder as I try not to contemplate. Don't think about a pink elephant. Don't.]

Me: What. On. Earth? Why? Why did your father feel compelled to share this with you?

Primo: I think he thinks I am naive and boring and he wants to improve my sex life.

Me: Our sex life is none. of. his. business.

Primo: I know.

Me: Not to mention we did not need any help, thank you.

Primo: I know.

Me: You are a hottie. Period.

Primo: Thank you, sweetie.

Me: Please ask your dad when he gets home, even if he doesn't get rid of most of the junk in the house, that he at least discards all the sex toys so we do not find them after he is dead.

Primo: Sweetie. They are old. They probably were not doing this any more. They probably don't even have these things any more.

Me: Your parents moved a paper bag full of old newspapers from their old house 1,500 miles to the new house. Not even special newspapers. Just newspapers. Probably the recycling. You think they were going to throw away their sex toys?

oh man
I wish I could un-know this
I think it is not unusual for people to do things you might think of as unnatural and gross.
I actually don't care what they do
Some people would probably tell us to go beyond our plain-vanilla sex life.
I just don't want them to tell me about it
I especially do not want to know about what parents do in the bedroom
I know, sweetie.
Our sex life works fine for me -- when we get around to it. smile emoticon

Monday, October 5, 2015

In which we realize that Sly drinks A LOT

Primo: My dad keeps having these heart problems. They keep changing his meds. He's not sleeping well. He's really agitated.

Me: I'm sorry sweetie. That has to be hard for you to see.

Primo: Jack and I had dinner with a friend of his last night. The friend said my dad might be going through withdrawal.

Me: Oh! Of course!

Primo: It makes perfect sense, except it's been five days since the surgery and so five days since he's had a drink.

Me: I don't know how this works.

Primo: But the friend said it can take that long.

Me: With as much as your dad drinks, I'm not surprised that he would have some kind of withdrawal reaction.

Family tree

Sly is married to Doris. He left his first wife and abandoned the two sons he had with her, Ted and Jack, when Ted and Jack were very little boys. Ted and Jack are Primo's half brothers. They did not grow up together.

Sly and Doris had Primo and Nancy. Nancy died of a heroin overdose over a decade ago.

Ted is married to Ted'sWife. They have one son, Ted'sSon, who is mildly disabled.

Jack was married to Stephanie, but they divorced after Primo and I got married. Jack and Stephanie have three children, Michael, Maria, and Pia. I love love love Stephanie and my NUMBER ONE NIECES AND NEPHEW. They are amazing.

Primo was married to Isabel before he met me. He has two stepdaughters from his marriage to Isabel. THEY ARE LOVELY. They are married to wonderful men.

Everything in this blog is true. I have not made up anything, including that Sly hates me because of how I eat bacon. I wish I had the imagination to create a story like that.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

In which Primo and I are suspicious that Sly wants Maria to stay with him not for company but so he won't have to pay a stranger to be in his house

Primo: My dad doesn't want to go to rehab. He wants to go home.

Me: I guess he could do that if he hires help. It's his money.

Primo: He says Maria [Primo's niece] could stay with him.

Me: Well, sure. If she wants to. For company.

Primo: He says she could spend the night.

Me: As long as he doesn't expect her to do anything but keep him company.

Primo: I know.

Me: It is completely unreasonable for him to think his 22-year-old granddaughter would empty his urine bottle or take care of even nastier issues.

Primo: MAYBE she could make his supper. Or serve him something that's already been made.

Me: Maybe.

Primo: I need to talk to Jack [Maria's father] so he can set dad straight on this.

Me: He is not going to take advantage of that sweet girl.

Because you want to know what obnoxious thing Ted said and/or did today, right?

From Primo to Ted, in response to Ted's demand that Primo get him a list of the drugs Sly is taking:

I will not include anywhere near this level of detail in a general email to the group. I reviewed the list of people receiving the daily emails and am comfortable with it.

The cardiology team has been trying different drugs, and the best explanation the doctor could offer a layperson was that Dad's heart is "sensitive." [GD: WHAAAATTTT? Hardly!]

Here is a medication list that I got from the nurses today.
  • tramadol, 100 mg PO (may be discontinued) 2x/day, since day after surgery 
  • metoprolol, 15 mg = 15 ml IV slow push (hold for systolic BP < 100, HR < 60), 4 hour interval - For abnormally fast heart rate
  • digoxin (Lanoxin), 0.25 mg = 1 ml IV slow push, 6 hour interval (started 5/27; stop after 2 doses) - For atrial fibrillation
  • tamsulosin (Flomax), 0.4 mg = 1 caplet PO, QHS [Primo note: One of Dad's regular meds]
  • levothyroxine (Synthroid), 100 mcg = 1 tablet PO daily [Primo note: One of Dad's regular meds]
  • levofloxacin (Levaquin), 250 mg = 50 ml, IVPB, 24 hour interval (started 5/26) - Antibiotic
  • febuxostat (Uloric), 40 mg = 1 tablet PO daily [Primo note: One of Dad's regular meds]

The drugs listed above were on a printed sheet with details; the ones listed below were added in notes written by the nurse.

  • pantoprazole (Protonix), 40 mg daily - For short-term treatment of gastroesophageal reflux
  • amiodarone - For arrhythmias that are otherwise difficult to treat with medication 
  • heparin - Anticoagulant 
  • Normal saline - Started today because NG discharge is reduced and there is some concern about dehydration
Let me know if you want even more information.  :)

From Ted to Primo:

Unfortunately, I have personal experience of too many of the drugs below. It’s safe to assume that they are fully aware of his other prescription regimens, I trust (e.g., Uloric).

If I were to write back to Ted, here is what I would say:

Dear Ted, 

Thank you for letting me know we should tell the medical professionals treating Sly that he is already taking some drugs! They never asked because they are THE STUPIDEST DOCTORS AND NURSES IN THE WORLD. And also because no doctors ever ask what medication a person is taking. And because old people are never taking any drugs anyhow.

You have opened my eyes to the very bad decision Sly made in choosing Mayo. I wish we could have a do-over, but perhaps you, who has filmed brain surgeries, can come down here to straighten the docs out.

I am so so lucky you are on the case. Sly will probably die if you don't get here soon.


PS Remind me again what your major was - French, was it? Or was it sociology?