It’s 5:18am here. Mom arrives with most of her worldly possessions, including her 90lb dog Mango, on the 12:45pm plane into San Juan Santamaria International Airport.

I am not panicked about picking up her dog this time. Mostly because Hal* is doing it (poor guy). And because BRINGING your dog as opposed to SHIPPING your dog is a horse of another color entirely.

Personally, I think it’s because SHIPPING is cargo which means another set of bureaucrats in another building. It’s the “Another Building” that is key here: another building of bureaucrats IS another world here, actually a separate planet revolving around another sun. The inhabitants make up their own rules and play it any way they want. Just my hellish experience talking here.

But, when you bring your dog, it’s a bed of roses by all accounts. Your beloved pet is waiting for you in baggage con sus maletas [cone soos ma-LAY-tas, with your suitcases]. If it’s any different, I don’t wanna know. If Hal tries to tell me, I will cover my ears and sing Alouette. All I want to know is mom is here with her stuff and her dog.

Why I’m so anxious to have my mother live with me is a mystery. Truly. I am stumped. We are two peas in a pod which is not a good thing when it comes to your mother. Hal and I are two peas in a pod in some ways, complementary in others. It’s lovely. But Mom and I are two peas in a pod in ALL ways. Only she’s more, because she’s been at it longer. Like, she’s more controlling than I am. She’s better at pretending she’s not controlling which will REALLY get my goat. We actually have fights about who’s more controlling. Sick.

She’s totally dramatic about everything. Don’t you hate people like that? I just don’t have time for dramatic people. They are high maintenance. Hal thanks his lucky stars he found calm, centered me. Anyway. This house is MY stage.

The worst part will be seeing me in my face all the time. My baby sister, Taze, who is now 46, laughingly told me, “You know how one day you look in the mirror and you see your mother looking back at you? How horrible that is? Well, one day I had a more horrifying experience. I was washing my face and as I lifted my head from the sink to the mirror, I saw YOU looking back.” She had a good laugh over that. Haha.

Think about poor Hal. Living with two of me. It will be especially icky because he will get to see how totally nuts I’m going to be in just twenty-five short years. Not that he’ll be around to see it. Men in his family die young. His father is the record holder at 69. Thirteen years to go.

We live in a great big house, but still not a lot of privacy. Sound travels. I’m not talking about sex here. I can’t talk about my sex life on my blog. I have both, but it’s none of your business. Yet. Maybe I’ll warm up to you.

I certainly can’t talk about my Mother and my Sex Life in the same post. Eeeyou.

I’m talking about watching TV at night after everyone is in bed, flipping through the channels, no one talking during any of my programs. One of my favorite times of the day. My most favorite time is right now, early in the morning. The earlier the better: sometimes I get up at 4:30am. Everyone is asleep except me. It’s very quiet and I’m writing to you. Talking about whatever I want (except my sex life.) (Not that I want to talk about it.) Creating this road map of our new life in Costa Rica. Which now includes my mom.

Or WILL include my mom. She was supposed to arrive last night, but her plane leaving LEX was delayed three hours which meant she’d have to sleep on chairs at ATL and precious Mango would have to sleep in the crate in cargo. That was never going to fly, more due to Mango’s discomfort than Mom’s.

So they are on the 8am plane out of LEX this morning. Which I now see is delayed an hour and a half meaning she’ll miss her 10:45am out of ATL and have to wait 8 hours to catch the next flight to SJO.

Hey, Delta, your screw-ups are making her life a living hell. She’s 76 years old traveling with her dog in cargo… Fortunately, if I know my mom, she is now making YOUR lives a living hell over this, demanding that she be allowed to get her dog out until the plane takes off tonight. [I just talked to my brother who just talked to Mom in Atlanta and this is exactly what happened. Poor Delta.] Just get your shit together and get my mom here. I don’t care if she’ll soon be making my life a living hell, I want her here TODAY.

There are the good things about her living with us. How about we focus on those? Mo and Ryan can’t WAIT to have her here. As grandmas go, she’s great. She takes their side (which I find annoying). She sees only the good in them. But then, she’s never lived with them. Bwahaha. She will take them everywhere: hiking, camping, surfing. Everywhere.

She can cook like nobody’s business. She loves the kitchen, loves shopping for food, planning meals, chopping stuff up. When I was growing up in Winchester, population like 3,000 in 1960, all the normal mothers served up fried chicken or lamb fries or a Hot Brown, all with mashed potatoes, mostly cooked by their black housekeeper.

We had black housekeepers, too. They would stare in wonder at mom making leg ‘o lamb with roasted potatoes and an actual salad. Nobody ate salads in other Winchester homes! Why did we have to be so odd???? When people came to our house for dinner, they would pick and stare. I remember a friend asking what is that? Artichokes aside, if it was green on your plate in KY, nobody knew what to do with it.

Remember Adele Davis? Yeah, me too. Mom read Let’s Get Well when I was a child. For the next couple of years, we had liver and eggs for breakfast with 36 vitamins each and sometimes an unbelievably disgusting green drink with Brewer’s Yeast in it. All our friends were starting their day with Frosted Flakes and Yoo-hoo. See? Life dealt me a cruel blow.

On the other hand, almost all those normal kids are still in Winchester. I’m in fabulous Costa Rica and just as odd as they come. At least compared to my classmates. There is some comfort in that. And, in Key West, I was considered completely normal.

The plan du jour is for Mom to live with us for a year or so, then we find an apartment close-by. Maybe we’ll find a property with a house and an apartment – that would be perfect. She is definitely not interested in living with us forever. She is too independent. I like that about her. But at some point your mom has to live with you if she’s still alive, right? Or be in a nursing home. Mom is not nursing home material. I wrote to Dr. Phil about this topic. He needs to do a show about parents moving in with you.

Up until last Friday, Mom was working full-time on her feet all day in a kitchen at a health-food restaurant to supplement her $500/month S.S. Even with my rich lawyer brother and me (I used to be a rich REALTOR®) sending her a goodly sum every month, she had to work to pay bills. This is just not right. Here she can do what she wants. She’s earned that. As long as she remembers that I’m the boss. Oh God.

The truth is we are so excited. It’s all good, it’s all done, a whole new chapter.

The other day, after I threatened to pack up his stuff and place it on the gravel road out front for insubordination, Mo said, “Hey, you’re 51 and your gonna be living with your mother.” I didn’t say anything. I just watched his face change as he realized that when he’s 51, I’ll only be 87 with at least 10 years to go. Living with him.


Listening to: Mandy Patinkin, Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.

*I’ve decided life is too short to have to remember to type in a pseudonym. I keep typing in Hal then remembering his secret name, Xavier, then having to go back and type that in. He’s Hal. I’m staying Saratica for now. You know me, I like a stage name.

The Mommy Chronicles: I | II | III | IV

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