Thursday, July 05, 2007

My mother is from another planet: example #4987

My mother is out of hospital and I've just spoken to her on the phone. The following two snippets from our conversation proved that she is already back to her old self:

Mum: "I just got my electricity bill for last month, and it's twice what I had budgeted for. I have no idea how I'll pay it."

Me: "Wow, why was it so high?"

Mum: "I don't know. It was cold, I guess, so I used a lot of heating. I have some good money news, though! Your father paid for the dog licence renewal, so I have the money I was saving for that still in my account, and once I'm feeling a bit better I'm going to use it to treat myself to dinner at a nice restaurant and to have a facial."

Me: "So it's enough to cover the power bill and a day out?"

Mum: "No. This is money for me to spend on myself. I'm sick! And everyone has to have fun sometimes... [Sigh]... I have no idea how I'll cover the power bill."


Mum: "Have you spoken to your brother lately? I think there's something wrong with him. He's tired all the time. He should see a doctor."

Me: "Well, maybe it's just stress. Stress can make people really tired."

Mum: "Stress? Why is he stressed?"

Me: "He did just change jobs. And then there's the family stuff."

Mum: "What family stuff? What do you mean?"

Me: "It's only last year that you and Dad split up. Now you have cancer. Grandma is dying. That's enough stress for anyone!"

Mum: "Hmmm... When you put it like that, I suppose it might have affected him. I never thought that all these things might be hard on you guys as well... Do you really think these things might be upsetting him?"


EA said...

Good grief Charlie Brown!!

Anonymous said...

aaarrghhhhh. is she asking you for money? because it sounds like she's asking you for money.

and on the second one...maybe it's good she realizes that this might just have some small effect on you all?

shrinkykitten said...

Totally like my mother! My gradnmother died the day before my stats final, and my mom called me that night to tell me. I was upset about it and it made it hard to take my final. When I told my mom this she said, "Well, I had no idea it would have any effect on you." What? She has similar thoughts about my father's death. I think she gets so absorbed in her own experiencing of things (or lack of experiencing) she has no idea that others have feelings too.

shrinkykitten said...

ps. brazen hussy needs unix help, so I sent her to you! :)

StyleyGeek said...

I'm not a Unix person, only Linux. (The nice new flavours of Linux where you can do everything without using the command line). But Geekman might be able to help...

StyleyGeek said...

Anastasia, I don't know if she is asking me for money or not. It does sound like it, but every time we talk she tells me about all the things she can't afford, so maybe she's asking every time. She's not going to get it, though. I would LOVE a facial and a night out, but I can't afford it because I spend my money on things like bills. So I'm damned if I'm paying her bills so that she can have stuff I can't.

*Ahem* That said, I have a kind of rule that when I visit, I pay for just about everything: certainly any extra expenses due to my visiting, but also groceries, petrol, miscellaneous bills, etc. I do that so I can feel slightly less guilty about not helping her out on a more regular basis. I also justify not doing so by telling myself that if I did, she would just increase her expenses to subsume the extra money (which is exactly what she did when Grandad and Grandma started giving her $100 a month a little while ago: she said, "Oh good, now I can go back to getting my hair cut at the expensive salon I like, instead of the place in the mall.")

Oh, and Shrinky, yes, I think my mother has the same absorption problem. I think maybe she thinks that the sole reason I ask about Grandma every time I call is because I am interested in how SHE (i.e. Mum) is coping with it. E.g. I say, "How's Grandma doing?" and Mum answers, "Not too well, so I'm really finding it hard, especially since I can't talk to her on the phone any more, but I'm going up to visit this weekend, so that will help me deal with it, I think."

a Shi said...

I think your brother is a picture of mental good health considering...
On that count you're... from a different family...

Bardiac said...

I know some people who are way like that with debt and such; it seems that they get so overwhelmed owing money (or with other social problems) that they don't make the connections I keep thinking they should make. And for some reason, I'm always sort of surprised and dismayed that they do it (again and again).

It's interesting, though, that, like you (it seems), their kids are rather practical and creative about taking care of stuff like that.

StyleyGeek said...

Although I resented it at the time, I actually think my parents did me a big favour moneywise. As soon as I went off to university as an undergrad, they stopped helping me out with money entirely. When I came back in the summer, I had to pay them rent. Three years of living on $6000 a year and wondering where my next meal was coming from forced me to learn how to be practical and creative with money! (Fortunately my university fees were covered by scholarships.)

(The irony was, I wasn't eligible for the student allowance benefit (free money!) or for any other sort of financial assistance, because up until the age of 25 in NZ, whether you meet the criteria for such things is calculated based on your parents' income.)

Anyway, it wasn't fun, and I wouldn't do it to my kids, but at least it taught me some valuable lessons.

liz said...