This might come off as a stream of consciousness exercise, but I'm trying to get things together in my head.
Grandma is broke. Her accounts are pretty much drained dry from paying "Bea" to watch her. We've been paying her $10 an hour under the table. The last check, which bounced and led us to this revelation, was for almost $400.
So, our options stand thusly:
1. Somehow we convince Bea to accept less money.
2. Mom works six days a week, the 3-11 shift so that when I'm getting home, she's just leaving. She would schedule herself off every Wednesday (or whatever day is before the truck arrives at her store).
3. We somehow convince Grandma to go to a day-care program.
4. She goes in a home.
5. We win the fucking Powerball and never have to worry about how to pay for a thing.
1. This is Bea's livelihood. She will neither want to work for less nor will she be convinced to leave early to save some money.
2. Mom and I will be totally burned out. (And this is different from now, how?) Also, if Mom is actually offered the regional manager position she'll have to turn it down.
3. Grandma refuses to go and they don't even start until 7 or 8 AM anyway.
4. Grandma would hate Mom for putting her away. Also, Grandma never put the house in anyone else's name (Mom and I don't give a rat's ass about whose) so if she goes into a home it'll be taken to pay for the care. Theoretically, we could live here until she died, but after her death the state would give us first refusal. There's also the fact that, while she needs help with certain things, she's not bad enough yet to need other things. Assisted Living is too independent for her, but she's not yet in need of a true nursing home.
5. Well, except for the fact that I have no way of intuiting the numbers, I see no problem with this solution.
Mom thinks TAFH jumped the gun with the whole "Grandma can't be alone" thing. I thought it was a doctor who said this, but Mom says it was one of TAFH's proclamations. There have definitely been times Grandma was well enough to be on her own and definitely times when she's been unsteady, so who knows? If it's the case that TAFH/whoever jumped the gun, then we could have held off having a constant companion for a little while and the money would have lasted a bit longer.
Mom and I really didn't think she'd last this long. I know that sounds horrible to admit, but we never thought the situation would end up like this. The way it looks, Mom's going to turn down her dream job (if it's offered to her) and work six days a week. Neither of us will have another night out again, unless one of the relatives is kind enough to offer to to watch her on a day neither of us will really have the luxury of taking advantage of. If Mom's day off is during the week, I can't go out because my work starts at 4AM. If her day off is on a weekend, we might have a chance.
One of the things that's really bugging me, though, is that it means putting off college once again. I really thought I could manage to enroll for this Spring. This means we'll have to take on not just more of the bills (which I really don't have a problem with) but all of the bills. I'm going to keep my layaway for my new mattress. I have to. I can't sleep on this one very well with all of the springs poking me. Mom is not going to be able to start a new computer payment, so yet again, I get shafted that way. She has a nice laptop, I get to use it on occasion and have to use the dinosaur as my computer. (How petty that sounds, not sorry one bit.) I'm going to stop the iPod layaway at Wal*Mart. Mom doesn't really need a 30gb iPod when she hardly listens to music outside the car.
We're going to start looking at apartments, just in case, but I really think the only choice is going to be option 2 and just hope that my stupid relatives see that we're burning ourselves out and actually help us like they fucking said they would when we took on this responsibility.
Did we make a major mistake agreeing to help her out when we moved back here? There have been a couple of times that she would most likely have died if one of us wasn't here. But is the life she has now really a blessing? Yes, she has enjoyed seeing the great-grandkids and my cousin's wedding (which came after one of the more serious incidents that I caught), but her life is simply this: she sleeps on a bed downstairs after having been told she can no longer go upstairs in her own house. When she wakes up after 10AM or so, she moves to the couch in the living room and sleeps there all day as she watches a little TV. Sometimes she sits on the porch. She argues with Mom and I about everything she eats.
Speaking of, I will now no longer give her bread. After a bit of heated conversation today she has decided she never wants bread again. So, from now on, I won't make her sandwiches (Shit! Now what do I feed her?) and any hot dogs she gets will be sans bun. If one of the relatives makes her something with bread, I will kindly inform them she doesn't like it. If she argues and says she wants the bread from the relative, then so be it and I will again serve her bread, reminding her ever more that she can't refuse it from only me. Yes, I will be a bitch about it. :)
You know, reading this back I feel like I am one of the most selfish people around. I know it porobably sounds like I hate my grandmother. But I don't. She is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She is intelligent and smart. She did more when faced with major adversity than obviously I am capable of. When my grandfather died she finished raising three kids (my oldest aunt was already in college) by herself. The youngest was six years old. Until the last couple of years, she was involved in her church in every way she could be. She was an amazing card shark whom you dreaded/adored playing Rummy with. She used to joke and laugh.
I just feel like I lost my real grandmother a few years ago when she started going downhill. She doesn't joke anymore. She doesn't play cards or sing with the choir. She doesn't go anywhere. She just sleeps. She just exists. And Mom and I have an existence that revolves around her existence. So, yes, I am selfish. I want my real grandmother back. I want to be able to go back to college and actually make something of myself and my life. I want to date. I want to have more than one or two friends again. I just want everybody to be happy. Is that really so much to ask?