Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GIVE ME A "K"

I realize the aging process isn't easy for anyone. Who isn't what they were 20 or 30 years ago? I think what I fear most about aging is the possibility of becoming like my mother. Although her general health is good, she refuses to do anything. She expects everyone to do everything for her and when asked to do simple things, she just doesn't do them unless she's nagged into it. She takes no responsibility for anything nor does she participate in anything unless I make her participate.

Everyone shrugs their shoulders and looks quizzically to me for answers. Why is Rosalie the way she is? To date that seems to be one of life's unsolved mysteries! Answers? I've got a few for anyone who really wants an answer. The aging process is as hard or maybe even harder on the people who care for the elderly. Yes, I love my mother. It's why I'm here, but most days I feel like I'm being punished. Some days, I feel almost tortured! So is this my atonement with the universe?

Isn't being a good daughter enough or does this rite of passage and role reversal come with a price tag filled only with sadness and frustration? I believe my mother wants to have some major health problem and won't be satisfied until she does. I believe my mother thinks everything should be on her terms and takes things for granted. Regardless of what I say or do and believe me I have said and done everything humanly possible, it makes no difference.

I know there will come a day when I no longer have a mother. When I look towards that time, my heart is filled with regret because what should be a time for her and I to have a strong, loving relationship instead is more like a Custer's last stand. Each step forward always comes with two steps backwards. Maybe if I were 2 or 3 people I could stay completely on top of everything, but I turned in my Wonder Woman boots several years ago.

A simple trip to have a pedicure and manicure yesterday turned into another grim reminder of just how resistant she is towards anything I suggest or ask her to do. I helped her take her shoes off and rolled up her pants legs before she got into the chair to have her pedicure. While rolling her pants legs up I got a well placed slap in the face. Oh, it's wasn't one that might rattle my teeth, but it stung enough to make me brutally aware of her intentions to do nothing.

To make it easy for her I placed a bottle of body lotion on the end table next to where she sits many months ago. The bottle is sitting right next to the telephone and practically stares her in the face screaming, "PLEASE USE ME". I've tried to talk to her and tell her that her skin is dry and needs lotion on it daily. I've emphasized without it, her skin will eventually start to break down and get sores where the dry, flaky skin is. I've learned to assume nothing with her because unless I nag her to do even a small task like that, she won't do it. Needless to say, when I rolled up her pant legs staring at me was the skin of a reptilian creature.

Making a list of daily activities for her is out of the question because she has informed me that is an insult to her. So here I sit bitching about it on my blog...ain't life grand?

Gratitude statement: I'm grateful for the week I'll be away on a cruise to the Virgin Islands in December.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

GIVE ME A "C"


In the past, my impulsivity has gotten me into trouble. I'd like to think I've changed somewhat or at least, mellowed with age, but last Sunday while on my way to go grocery shopping, my poor impulse control reared its ugly head. There in front of the Walmart parking lot were two ladies in a pickup truck selling shih tzu puppies.

I'm by nature a cat person. Five furry felines call my house home. Yes, I have the potential to become that crazy old cat woman, but last Sunday on a whim, I bought a 3 month old puppy. I immediately named her Fenway. What else does a Red Sox fan name her dog? Believe it or not, she's starting to act like a cat. Resistance is futile the cats keep telling her and because she's outnumbered, I expect anyday now she'll learn how to purr!

Gratitude statement: I'm grateful for the strong sense of love and compassion I developed towards all animals as a child.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

GIVE ME A "U"

In the process of doing some much needed remodeling and repair work in my house, I discovered that Murphy's Laws are alive and well and have taken up residence in each of my projects.
1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.
2. Everything takes longer than you think.
3. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

It all started in the downstairs bathroom which originally was only going to be a simple job of replacing a couple of tiles that had cracked when my father had fallen on them. The box of extra tiles that had been stored in the garage were old, discolored and warped, but to save money I said, "do the best you can with what we have on hand." Silly woman! The job turned into a brand new tile floor, a paint job to match the tile and some plumbing which required removing the cabinets to get to the wall behind the shower. My downstairs shower had no more than a trickle of water pressure. After the toilet seat is replaced and a few other small details, the bathroom will be a thing of beauty!


Next, I came up with the brilliant idea of turning the den into the dining room. The den was virtually wasted space that no one used and I envisioned holidays meals with the entire family sitting around the dining room table in that room. What this visionary didn't count on was what seemed like a fairly simple job to level the floor where I thought the foundation had settled turning into the job from hell. The whole concrete slab is having to be busted up and the fill dirt underneath that has washed away (thanks to the lovely Florida torrential downpours) over 70 years since the house was first built has to be replaced (Of course, houses aren't built like that nowadays...thanks goodness!). Then a new concrete floor needs to be poured. Finally a self leveling mixture is used on top of everything with the finishing touch being either a hardwood floor or ceramic floor tiles to complete the job before moving onto the next room. What I've learned is that anything is possible with enough time and money! And what's a little rebar and concrete rubble in the grand scheme of things?

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for the patience I seem to always have and that my house isn't located over one of Florida's many sinkholes.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

GIVE ME AN "F"

Over the past month or so I've tried very hard to focus my mind on other things other than my pain in my right arm. I've played poker, posted new entries on my blog, removed wallpaper and painted the bathroom and participated in life as normally as I possibly can. I've been to the doctor twice. The first time I was told I had tendonitis obviously, from all the tennis I play and was given Motrin to take for 10 days. Okay, when that didn't do the trick, I reluctantly went back. This time I was given an order for a x-ray of my left thumb (I have a small lump at the base of my thumb)and an order for physical therapy. The pain had increased and radiates through my entire arm and goes into my shoulder blade causing muscle spasms. I really need to give up playing tennis! I was also given a prescription for steroids to take.

Anyone with diabetes knows that steroids and diabetes does not mix well. After getting the Rx filled, I've decided not to take the steroids. In the past, the benefits gained from taking steroids haven't been enough to merit struggling with the elevated blood sugar it causes. I did, however have the x-ray done and attempted to have physical therapy set up only to find out that my insurance doesn't cover physical therapy. Why doesn't this surprise me?

I'm not too upset over the physical therapy issue because each time I exert my arm, it only ends up hurting worse. I have found that if I move my head slightly to left and rest my arm on top of my head, the pain goes away. Perhaps I can duck tape my head and arm in that position and then all I'll have is just the normal pain I suffer from daily. Experimenting with repositioning my head and arm leads me to believe that the true problem comes from my neck and/or back. And since I refuse to have anymore surgery to that area of my body, the name of the game is grin and bear it! That game I'm much better at than playing tennis!

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for being able to grin and bear it rather than letting out the primal scream I feel slowly brewing.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

ANCHORS AWAY


When I first moved to Pensacola many years ago, I didn’t know anyone. Being friendless and starting over is a hard path to walk especially for a young social butterfly. Quickly, I learned the path apparently meant for me was one leading to the beach because living in Maine all those years made beach going and suntans a novelty item and one I never got the hang of doing. When I discovered my lily white skin could turn brown, I immediately had a new mission.

The beach closest to where I lived was on Pensacola NAS (Naval Air Station), so that’s where I headed most days. One would think that with me going to the beach on base and all those stories about sailors and single, young girls, I would have been approached a lot. No, I wasn’t ugly! I was tall, thin, tanned, had long dark hair and wore next to nothing for a swimsuit. The lifeguard would rate the different ones I wore with his favorite being the black one, but not even the lifeguard with what little bit he flirted with me, ever actually engaged me in a conversation. I often wondered what was wrong with me. Why did I seem so unapproachable?

Each day my ritual was pretty much the same. I had a "spot" I called my own and each day I would lazily soak up the rays with my body covered with baby oil. Because I wanted no tan lines on my back, I would unfasten my top when I would lie on my stomach. I couldn’t go topless for fear of the MP’s or else I most likely would have shed my top altogether. What I didn’t know, was that my activities were being very closely scrutinized by a group of sailors who were also regulars on the beach. As I lie basking in the sun, they watched and plotted on how to get me to stand up without my top. Boys will be boys!

One rather hot day while drifting in and out of sleep while I lie there pondering the complexities of life, all of a sudden I was drenched with ice water. This group of "rocket scientists" came up with the plan to throw an ice chest filled with ice water on me in hopes that it would make me jump up. Guess what? Their plan didn’t work! Curses foiled again! For some reason the second I was hit with that water, I froze. I know they must have thought I was dead. I lay there smiling to myself feeling flattered that anyone would go through so much trouble to see my bare breasts.

About a minute later after lying there motionless, I turned my head towards them. They were standing there dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say or do. I smiled and said to them, "If you wanted me to stand up, all you needed to do was ask me to stand up!" That thought apparently never even entered into the grand scheme of things. At that point, I stood up slowly and faced them. The lifeguard nearly fell off his chair laughing at the incident and the group of sailors stood there with their mouths hanging open. I know I could have been arrested, but trust me, the look on their faces was worth the consequences I would have had to pay. The sad part is I think I intimidated them because none of them ever dared to speak to me. What a bitch they must have thought I was for beating them at their own game!

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for the HUGE brass balls I developed at a young age.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Monday, November 08, 2010

THE GARDEN PATH


Without ever stopping to actually smell the roses, the attitude I formed at an early age blossomed when I was old enough to start being interested in the opposite sex. We all know a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet and every rose has its thorns! BUT instead of picking roses carefully, I always seemed to like the ones with the most thorns. It wasn't until I was somewhere around 40 something that I even questioned the sanity in my picking the same rose, however from different gardens over and over again with the same result. As I look back over all my "shouldn'ts", "couldn'ts" and "wouldn'ts", one American Beauty remains at the top of the list. He, I so affectionately call "The Anti-Christ" while others called him "Salmonella".

I could probably dismiss my error in judgment where he is concerned as being the result of abruptly stopping my use of illegal drugs after 16 years of being high every day and being in a weakened state of mind, BUT I know that wouldn't be a true assessment as to why I became involved with someone who took pleasure in hurting people and in teaching people lessons. I think it could be more easily summed up in having to do with my wanting to punish myself and me never feeling as though I deserved to have a real shot at happiness. What better way to insure those things than to hook up with someone who is cruel and abusive? Someone who would teach me all those lessons I needed to learn and more...

One might be quick to pat anyone on the back for quitting drugs, but modifying a behavior doesn't modify the reason the addiction was present in the first place. Most people in this situation simply trade addictions over time to fill the void. In my case, I traded drugs for work and the creme da la creme of abusive relationships. Salvatore (said with an Italian accent) and The Driftwood Inn became my new drugs of choice for a fun-filled five years.

Gratitude statement: I'm grateful for the fear (rosaphobia) I developed of abusive people and situations because it's a fear I can rely on to act as a compass to show me where not to go.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

SUFFERING IN SILENCE

Mildred sat alone in the bathroom crying. Mildred sat alone in the bathroom wondering why she was so confused and why what had seemed so logical hadn't worked. Some where in her twisted adolescent thoughts she knew her prepubescent body needed to be protected. Why didn't the can of silicone her mother had bought to make things water repellent work as a repellent on her?

Mildred sat in the bathroom crying because the silicone had irritated her genital area instead of protecting it. She sat with her head cradled in her arms on the cold rim of the cast iron claw-footed tub. She sat where no one heard her sobbing.

I want to go back and hold that child and tell her it's okay to come out of that cold, drafty bathroom. It's okay to cry out loud. It's okay to find someone who will listen...someone who will believe her. I want to free her from a lifetime of being self destructive. I want to cradle her until the pain is gone and all that remains is the bright future she should have had.

Mildred sat alone in the bathroom crying...

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful that now as an adult I can connect with the child within and give her the comfort she still needs.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

MILDRED IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS

I don’t know when "it" happened or how "it" happened. All I know is that "it" did happen sometime long ago in the life of Mildred Ratched. As far back as I can remember, I felt different. Not the kind of different that gets a person labeled as someone too freaky or too psycho and must be avoided, but different in the sense that I knew and understood myself from a very early age and what path in life was mine. Some things I knew about myself were hard to accept and others seemed almost like a bad dream or some chaotic prophecy waiting to be fulfilled. Some might say I walked right into "it" without reservation. While others might speculate that mine was a path chosen for me by some higher power. Whatever the real reason for all the how’s, the why’s and the when’s paled in comparison to the experience, insights and education I gained along the way. Afterall isn’t it said that it’s not really the destination that’s important but how one gets there?

Of course, "it" all must have started on some dark and stormy night, but weren’t they all dark and stormy nights during that period? That inner instinct that made me eventually flee was like a compass. Although my actions may have seemed erratic and my course without any direction, that facade slowly crumbled away to reveal that all steps forward were aimed at a definite and precise slow self-destruction. I never blamed others for my plight even when "it" was obvious that the avalanche started when I was young. Perhaps the “it” was a product of being a member of a dysfunctional family. Perhaps starting life with the attitude "if the people who are supposed love me cause me this much pain, what's the rest of the world going to do to me?" was the culprit or perhaps there are just some people who are meant to suffer in silence. Whatever the "it" was, one thing for certain...I did "it" well.

They tell me I was a shy child and wouldn’t talk to anyone, but my family before age 5. I don’t remember that, but wish I could. I was told that I blossomed once I started school. When I discovered I had a voice, I got dubbed as being "chatty" or "gabby" and then turned sarcastic with a witty twist...just enough to get a well timed laugh at the most inappropriate moments. Every class needs a clown, doesn’t it? Most of my early behaviors were aimed to see what reaction I could get. I remember times when I sailed smoothly through everything and then later wondered if I was clever or if others were just blind or stupid or perhaps apathetic. I always took everything one step past its limit...just because I could. In my youth, before "it" got too out of control, I would defy rules. For example, if a person skipped school for one day, I would skip school for 3 weeks. Why? I suppose it was a combination of things, but the why isn’t important now. The why stopped being important as soon as things got complicated and reality set in.

When you play, you pay! One payday came abruptly when I merrily gallivanted home during one of my periods of not feeling like I wanted or needed to attend school. Waiting to greet me were my mother and the truancy office, Mrs. Thibodeau sitting at the kitchen table. They obviously had been chatting about "what to do with Mildred". In those days, it seemed like that was such a hot topic and one in which many people had brainstormed for a viable solution. Often times, I felt as if I was a disease with no cure. I was examined, prodded, probed, quizzed and carefully scrutinized. Times of remission did occur, but those periods got shorter and less frequent.

As soon as I entered the house through the kitchen door, I was asked to take a seat and was properly interrogated for answers to those same questions I was asked so frequently.

How?

Why?

When?

And let’s not forget “where?”

"Not today, ladies!", I thought as I drifted into deep thought contemplating the swirls in the Formica tabletop. The acid I had dropped a few hours earlier gave a surreal feeling to the reality of being interrogated. As the acid peaked, all I really wanted was a serene place to listen to some music. Tune in! Turn on! Drop out! My wish was granted when I was sent to my room to await my penance. Interrogation dismissed! Onward to the "safe place" I had found and I was never asked what was so terribly wrong in my life and why I was hell-bent on destroying myself. I don't think anyone wanted to know the answer to that question. "It" remained unseen, unheard and unspoken.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful that I eventually realized being different was not a bad thing to be.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.