Family Update

My help cameth!

Though MM and I had initially taken some rough measurements of available wall and floor space in my new digs, the drawings she had extracted using those measurements were rudimentary at best and incomplete/lacking in some important details at worst, though they did suffice to enable layout of the very minimal furniture (bed, chest of drawers, TV) that served me in the very beginning, immediately after move-in. They were also just correct enough to confirm that the chofa she helped me select could be configured to fit into the open living room space, pre-shelves and tables.

As much as I hate to confirm the accuracy of some historical stereotypes, in this case it turned out to be true that the guys took the same measurements as MM and I had previously, but with much more exactitude and foresight for placing my new furniture in an optimum configuration. Perhaps that is based on especially T’s experience as a hobby woodworker (witness the game/dining table he’d just built and installed for the kids) who repeated on this occasion an appropriate adage I’ve heard before. “Measure twice, cut once”, though in this case it was more like measure once, then enter the measurements into some software, then play with the layout and then place furniture once.

MM’s sketch – much better than anything I could do

See what can be done with the right equipment, software and skill set!

The net result was a very quick and efficient furniture shuffle on the second day of MM’s in-laws’ visit that yielded what might just be the best use of the space and furniture I currently possess. An extra bonus of this higher level and semi-hands-off design process netted me the use of one of my “new” tables and lamps at my bedside and one set of the “new” shelves as additional pseudo-drawer space, thus enabling me to complete the unpacking and organization of my clothes and freeing one of the four folding chairs I’d moved with me from use as a nightstand so it could now be employed in the use for which it was intended!

divorce Family

Old ladies need help!

An earlier post The Road to Kalamazoo for Daughter #1 just briefly mentions in passing the fact that Mini-Me’s in-laws live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Also noted in the same paragraph is the fact that this had enabled a convenient arrangement for combined family get-togethers when MY family (idiot ex and me) lived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (Not surprisingly, the fact that this friendly roundup is no longer feasible is just one of the many issues that still sticks in my craw post-divorce.) I could go on and on about how wonderful T and K are and have been since the moment I met them. I really wanted to grow a strong bond of friendship between the former us and the former and current them pre-divorce. I still want to do this though the previous us is now down to only me. This still slightly painful though continuously less difficult process is still ongoing and, in some ways, made easier through their observations and real-time experiences with my alcoholic serial monogamist idiot ex-husband to which they’ve been subjected since the kids’ wedding three years ago. They were even privy to the new and probably uncomfortable (as Mini-Me told me it was for her last Thanksgiving) experience of meeting my “replacement” aka (Wife) #4!

Next to the kitchen, and there’s no delicate way to make this point, the bathroom is the next most important room in the life of a foodaholic. Most of what goes in the mouth must come out at the other end of the body. IDK if alcohol is a laxative (I’m pondering the possible effect on what was grossly and way too easily expelled from the asshole of the idiot ex in his bathroom). Coffee used to have that benefit for me but, as I’ve noticed, for babies and old people (mostly the Devil Child and Mom and me), some of us have the opposite problem.

I have been taking fiber and stool softeners regularly since my first (right) hip replacement surgery, after I learned that a BM was required before I could be released from the hospital! This output is monitored by caregivers for both babies and old people. In my family this info was liberally shared, generally as a kvetch, a complaint and an excuse for otherwise inexcusable behavior. I didn’t move the toilet plunger I’d invested in for and hidden from Mom while I lived in her house. I thought I’d learned what worked in these situations (plugged toilets) from personal experience and observation of idiot-ex on those occasions when I couldn’t do it myself and had to wake him up! Mom had avoided upgrading hers by calling on her more than very helpful neighbor, “Saint Joe,” to accomplish this task which was always his pleasure (to be helpful, not gross!).

After searching high and low over an expanded list of brick-and-mortar sources (Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menard’s – another new favorite) I invested in what I thought would be an economical and efficient set of both bowl brush and plunger. In the “end”, though, both have turned out to be mostly useless. Hard water requires extra scrubbing to remove (or at least diminish since I clean only when I feel “moved”) toilet and bathtub rings, so I don’t use the brush from the set which also included what I thought was the ultra-deluxe kind of plunger, the one with the knob on the end. To this day, I don’t know if it’s me in my weakened and female state or the equipment, but the damn thing has never worked, as I just explained to my apartment maintenance guy. That right there is reason enough for me never to own my own home ever again!

So, when MM’s wonderful in-laws came to deliver the game/dining table that T had hand made for the dining room in the kids’ new home, I ended up surreptitiously and almost though not quite unconsciously recruiting them to help me settle in here. Here’s how it went.

The elder Mights arrived at the home of the younger Mights (MM + EG + 2 of my 3 grandcats) late on Saturday. I’d followed their progress just a bit by checking on their expected arrival time so as not to arrive at MM’s place too early or at the same time. When I did make that short trek between her house and mine, the new larger table had just been set up and the older smaller table had already been carried down to the basement. Here is where the story starts to get deep!

By deep, I mean unfortunately into the subject of clogged toilets. More specifically, my clogged toilet, a condition which only seems to occur on weekends when the apartment maintenance crew is not available! Such was the case that particular Saturday afternoon. While chatting with the family, the tears started to well in my eyes as I realized how helpful they all were to each other, even from a distance. The fact that I am now basically on my own and more or less isolated from this immediate familial assistance, which was possibly the first and last thing I’d come to appreciate from my idiot ex, is really the largest issue for me these days. (I’d never expected to have to handle Mom’s estate or my living space pretty much by myself, but here I was and am!)

Being the simpatico types that they are, T and K wanted to know why I was teary. I explained to them my specific toilet plight within my general new woe-is-me I’m all by myself current living situation. Of course, T offered to immediately go from the kids’ house to my apartment and rectify the situation right then and there. To add to my shame and embarrassment over the clogged toilet, I confessed that I thought my plumbing skills were so poor that my inability to clear the clog with the new special (though cheap) plunger I’d bought in anticipation of being able to do it myself may have been faulty or, probably more correctly, my skills were lacking. I had intended to borrow the kids’ plunger on the chance that I may not have been at fault, but only my own faulty plunger!

I continued to “pooh-pooh” (pardon the pun) the offer to clear the clog for me, hoping I could do it myself later. The conversation then moved on to the method I’d used to furnish my place. Using the very rudimentary measurements MM and I had previously taken, along with her attempt at a manual layout of each room using those measurements, I had pictured the possibility of having something like a real dining room, or at least a semi-separated dining area, between the kitchen counter and the living area in the more or less great (at least it’s the largest) open single room in my apartment. Based on that, I’d turned down the kids’ offer to give me their old dining room table because it was too small to really dine at.

However, as the pre-dinner hour passed, wiser heads prevailed to the point where Tom and my son-in-law convinced me that they were sincere and able and would have the time to take the table and the plunger and accompany me to see if I could use the former and if they could fix the latter. I could and they did. And then they did even more than that!