Ooops! I left out a detail or two: one day I’m in Costa Rica living the high life, the next, I’m in Lexington, Kentucky, land of fast horses and fine women. Lexington is 18 miles west of Winchester where I was born and raised. For the most part. We moved around some while mom was in her marriage phase. But we started off in Winchester, took a hiatus, then returned to graduate high school when Mom re-married Dad (marriage three of four).

My immediate family now lives in Lexington where the action is: my two brothers and sister and, for now, Mom. Dad passed away in ’87. Jal and the boys and I came for Thanksgiving this year, our first with the family in about four years. It’s always a good time. My family knows how to party. It’s genetic. In high school, if you missed a Richardson party, you missed one helluva good time.

One of the brothers has the annual pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday night oyster roast at which everyone I ever knew growing up makes an appearance. The other brother has the Thursday dinner with every comfort food imaginable. My sister and I don’t cook… we eat and clean up. It’s been a fun time here: I’m catching up with high school girlfriends, looking at old photos, having some good laughs!

On Monday, we go to Naples to visit Jal’s mom, then to Key West for 10 days. Then home to Costa Rica where we’ve hired guards to stay in our house while we are gone.

As much as we were looking forward to this trip, we did not want to leave Costa Rica. There’s anxiety about leaving our house. The guards come highly recommended and we are confident everything will be fine. But if you’ve lived in Costa Rica, you harbor nagging little doubts. We don’t want anything bad to happen to mar our love for our new home. And we’re looking forward to a little nesting. But there will be plenty of time for that, si?

We are staying with Mom here, freezing our tushies, making Big Decisions. Mom is definitely coming to live with us in Costa Rica. She and I will drive each other crazy, we are exactly alike in our neuroses… but I’ll just have to get over it. It will be a growth experience, right? Right.

She is more neurotic than me, by the way. I’m not bragging, just stating facts so you know the whole story. I hope she doesn’t read this.

This is the best option. Mom is 76 and working 30+ hours a week as a cook at a Whole Foods restaurant/grocery to supplement her $560/month SS. My brother, the rich criminal defense lawyer, sends her $300/month. Jal and I send her $250/month and pay her phone bill. She spends every penny on rent and utilities. Then there’s food, gas, prescriptions (there are several and she’s healthy), her dogs and movies.

She takes care of herself, walks everyday, has a good attitude. She used to live in Mexico in an RV on the beach in her 60’s. She had a facelift there so she looks Marvelous to boot. She hiked the Himalayas at 70 and waved to the Dalai Lama. She’s a kick. The boys LOVE her which warms the cockles of my cold little heart. We’ll be a help to each other, she and I. She doesn’t drink, is not a clothes horse, drives a car with 200,000
miles on it, is devoted to animal rescue and turning the corner on global warming. She, like us, would like to live a simpler life.

She’s not strong enough to take care of this two-bedroom apartment, particularly with a job. She’s way too old to be working 30+ hours a week to pay her bills.

I’m more than a little pissed about the fact that my siblings see her as she has always been: Mom, completely capable of taking care of every little thing, including taking care of them when needed. They don’t see, won’t see, that she is now the person who needs and wants to be on the receiving end some of the time. She’s not helpless, but she’s not 51 either. 

I can’t do anything about them. They are "busy" mom says graciously. I say that’s no excuse, they have their heads, um, in the sand because it’s easier. When was the last time one of them came over and cleaned her house? Offered to paint her cabinets? Wash her windows? Wash her car? Fill her tank? She needs the monetary help, yes, but she needs physical help, too. I hope they DO read this. But they won’t. And they have the nerve to be mad at me for "taking her away"… don’t get me started. Really.

Anyway, that’s where I am and what I’m doing. Meddling, alienating my siblings, catching up, eating good food and freezing. With a little bit of shopping thrown in here and there. Much more to say and do. Don’t worry: I’ll keep you posted!!! Pura vida, happy holidays…. Love, S.

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