Friday, August 24, 2012

A Major Vent & An Art Showing.

The good news is that by my doctor's appointment next Wednesday I am at the weight that he wanted me to be at for that appointment. I've lost ten pounds. I still have about twenty to go to reach the Doctor's goal weight of one hundred eighty five pounds. That is where the doctor wants me to be my next April. But we don't always get what we want.

The bad news is that I am about to send my sister packing. I've about had it with her "everything has to be done my way and if you don't do it my way everyone will pay hell" attitude. I honestly don't think she knows how cruel some of the things she does and some of the notes she leaves are to Mom, the caregiver, and myself. She isn't a selfish person. If it were for her there would be no homeless animals or people. I also sincerely appreciate her help with Mom and the willingness of her and her husband to move up here and help with Mom. It was to hard doing the care alone. I just think she is clueless about how her behavior comes across to other people. More than once I have and Mom has had to smooth things over with the caregiver after one of her notes so she wouldn't quit. I am so ticked at the note I got yesterday that I was seriously considering shoving it up her nether regions. I think when I am at Mom's I deserve the same respect from her that I give her when she is at Mom's. She will at times upset Mom's because she will do over everything Mom does. Any where from where Mom puts her walker (Mom puts it where she can reach it. Sis moves to where she can't reach it because it is neater) to what kind of sandwich bags Mom uses.

The neat thing brings us to Mom's paintings. I really think Mom should start painting again. I think that for two reasons. I love Mom's paintings. Mom really wants to start painting again to give her something to do. She gets bored sitting around the house alone. Sister doesn't want Mom to paint because she thinks it well smell up and mess up Mom's house. We could put the painting equipment in Mom's bedroom and open up a window or two to buffer the smell. And its Mom's house so if she wants to mess it up so be it.

I took pictures of Mom's paintings and have posted them here. What do you think of her paintings? Most of them were painted when she was in her eighties. Do you think I should encourage mom to start painting again and risk a blowup? What probably will happen is I will put up the things mom needs to paint, they will be taken down, I will put them up again, they will be taken down and so on. Truthfully, I am not sure I am up to that type of confrontation. I'm also afraid I will lose my sister's support with Mom. That worry has kept the old tongue with holes in it from biting it. What do you think? Your opinion matters.


This is the picture that I have in my house. When I was in business and had my own office I displayed it there. I had some really expensive paintings in my office. I never got any comments about the expensive painting but I got numerous ones about this one. Who painted that? Where did you buy that and so on.

This is a painting that my Mom and my Uncle Frank painted together. Since they were both in their eighties I call it Brother & Sister Moses.

South Dakota:

A farm in the Mid-West

We owned a Cabin near Klamath Falls, Oregon. It was off of Hwy. 140 near Rocky Point Junction. This is near there.

This on the Willamette Pass. It is on a road between Klamath Falls and Eugene, Oregon. This Salt Creek Falls.

This isn't really a painting but a creation that involves a canvas, paint, and unusual materials.

Northern California:

From her mind:

From her mind part 2:

From her mind part 3:

Dad on a fishing trip.


Pat said...

I absolutely think you should encourage your mom to start painting again. She should be encouraged to do anything she might enjoy, with an eye to what might only tend to frustrate her now. Painting would ba a lovely thing for her to do. If she no longer sees well enough to do representational, she should get into abstracts. If sister interferes, she should be put in her place. Firmly. How would she like sitting around the house all day with nothing to do?

I think all the paintings are lovely and it would be a shame for her to lose out on doing them in the interests of a clean house.

OTOH, I do understand your fear of losing the help in caregiving, so as much as you might like to just punch her out, best approach sis with care and lean on the 'sympathy for poor mom's probable boredom' approach.

Lots of good wishes and vibes for success at this!

Lady DR said...

Well, blast, I thought the issues with Sis and Mom had sorta settled down and been ironed out over the last few months. Sigh. Sounds like you've a very fine line to walk. One, keep the caregiver happy. Two, keep Sis on board to help, as you can't do it all yourself. Three, somehow get Sis to understand there are more important things than a neat house, where your mother's health and happiness are concerned. Does Sis not understand it's important Mom be able to reach her walker, as a means of independence, for example?

If your mother evinces any interest in painting, I agree she should get back to it. So what if it smells up the house? That's what open windows and air fresheners are about, be they sprays or the Renuzit things or whatever. And the smell of oil paints and turpentine aren't all bad. While I've no idea of the size of your mom's house, surely there's a corner in a room that can be set up for her painting, maybe hidden by a folding screen, although I see nothing wrong with having the tools for a creative hobby as part of a room's decor. I mean, it's not like she's going to be routinely entertaining the Queen of England or the President's wife, right?

Your mom's paintings are delightful and I can see why clients would be drawn to them and you enjoy them in your house. Your point and Pat's comment about "how would you feel, sitting around with nothing to interest you?" are good points to raise with Sis, if you can find a way to do it. I think the bottom line is to ascertain whether Mom wants to paint and, if so, find a creative way to allow her to do so. Maybe enlist Sis's help -- "Mom wants to paint. Where do you think she'll have the best light and how can we set up a mini-studio for her to play in?" Since I don't know Sis, I've no idea if this would work, but if Mom wants to paint, I say, let her have at. You might mention how many compliments her paintings have received and how important and meaningful they'll be to kids, grandkids and maybe great grandkids in the future.

Meantime, great news on the weight loss! And it's eight months until April, so if you can lose 2-1/2 lbs a month, you're there!

William J. said...

Hi DR & Pat

Before I post to you individually I have to give you one of those instances where the caregiver almost quit so you know whatwe are dealing with.

What Mom has for breakfast almost every morning is a peanut butter sandwich, a bowl of Cherios with a banana and cool whip on it, and a cup of coffee. Before the mind moved up here the caregiver and I were using these brown bowls for the Cherios conconction. Mom liked the brown bowl because it was larger and she didn't have to worry about the milk spilling over.

One day I came over and there was a note that "these are not cereal bowls they are salad bowls and you are not to use them for cereal." Not only was there a note on the table in the cubboard there were labels "cereal bowl" "salad bowl" I took the labels down and tore up the note before the caregiver got there because I thought it was pretty rude and kind of stupid.

A few days went by and it wasn't a day I was at Mom's. The same note and the same labels were there when the caregiver got there. Of course she was hurt and crying. I went over and smoothed things over. But we no longer use the brown bowl for cereal.

As to yesterday. Mom has painful hands that makes it hard to her grip things (she started medication for it yesterday) so she can't open up sandwich bags with a zipper on it. She has to use scissors to cut the bags open. Sister makes Mom's peanut butter sandwiches ahead for a week either because she doesn't think we can make the right kind of sandwich or she is trying to help. I prefer to think the second but I wonder. Mom asked me to go over and get sandwich bags without a zipper. I did.

After running some errands yesterday I came home and on Mom's kitchen was a grocery bag. On the outside was a note and on the inside was the sandwich bag. "These are the wrong sandwich bags take them back and get the right ones."

I tore up the note and put the bags back into the drawer where they belonged because they were what Mom wanted.

I would have never left her a note like that or made an issue of it by putting a grocery bag on the table. If I thought she did the wrong thing I wouldn't have said a word and just went and got the right thing. I think I desere that same amount of respect.

There is no way she will even listen if I mention that Mom's wants to paint, it won't get past the I don't want her to paint because things have to be done her way or there is an explosion.

I will admit after some blow ups that up until yesterday she was excellent about staying away when I was at Mom's and not bossing me around or correcting my ways (remember I cared for Mom and dad for years before they moved up here and there were reasons I was doing things the way the elder care class and the doctors told me. All that has been changed. Now things are done pretty much the way she wants.)


William J. said...

Hi Pat

Mom wants to paint and has told sis that several times. She gets met with the same resitance. I really want mom to paint because I think it would be good for both her hands and her mind. And for me. You are right about apporaching the situation with care. I honestly wish I could have the kind of conversation about Mom's boredom and desire to paint with my sister but it will never happen.

Mom sees well enough to paint and has glasses.

And if Mom's starts to paint someone will have to put someone else in her place and then just stand back and wait for an explosion and to be ignored for a week. Sis does sit around the house a lot with her husband at work. The only reason she gets out is I told her to take Mom's car the days I am there and Mom and I will use my car. I am happy to do that. But she doesn't see past herself.

In some ways it would be easier if it were just me but I know I am not healthy enough to do it so I am willing to stand back and watch everything I do done over.


William J. said...


The issues had settled down because Mom and I just bite are tongues because frankly we are both kind of afraid of her. We just kind of come to the conclusion that it isn't good for our health to react. But when it reaches cruel levels then it is time for me to say something. I really couldn't vent anywhere else so I vented here.

Nope sis doesn't understand why mom wants her walker where she puts it. It needs to be somewhere else and that's it.

Mom has stated on many occasions both to me and my sister. I say great. The other says no way. It just doesn't matter that it is Mom's house. Mom's house is plenty big enough to find an area to paint.

I honestly wouldn't get far enough in the conversation to point out the boredom etc.

Mom has given my sister several painters, sister doesn't even hang them in her house which is quite hurtful to Mom so the compliments I get really wouldn't have an impact. I posted some of Mom's paintings on Facebook the other day and got a ton of comments. I called Mom to tell her. While we on the phone sis came in and when mom told her about all the compliments she got on her paintings the subject was immediately changed.

Everyone close to me thinks 185 is to low but I really want to give it a shot.


Lady DR said...

Having never been in your situation, I haven't a clue what you can do, Bill. It's very difficult to change people, other than ourselves, but you and Mom doing all the changing isn't a good thing for either of you. Because the sibs were so far away, it was all long distance advice, suggestions and comments and even some of those hurt, so I can only imagine how you feel, being face to face with it on a daily basis. I'm sending lots of prayers and positive vibes. The bowl and bags are petty issues, but important for your mom's well being. The painting is a bigger issue, for your mom's physical/mental/emotional health. HUGS!

William J. said...


The bowl and the bags are petty issues to you and I but not her. They become a major issue to me when there is an explosion about them and the caregiver almost quits because that effects my life dramatically. Also there is an explosion that puts mom's health at risk. So I don't see them as a petty issue.

And if she reacts that way to what bowl or what bag she wants to use can you imagine how she would react to us putting the painting supplies up?


cd0103 said...

Oh being a caregiver of any sort is hard. I had it easy because my husband is an only child and when his Dad lived with us, no one to interfere. Most of the point of you Mom staying at home is to keep her independence, right? (And just asking-- is this new behavior or was your sister always a controller)?

Love you Mom's paintings. Can I commission something?

William J. said...

Wow Connie

Hello there, it is good to see you here.

Yes she has always been that controlling and so has Mom. I am in the middle between two controlling women.

Dumb question. What does it mean to commission a painting?