Monday, February 25, 2008

And the Walls Came Down

In Biblical times, cities built walls to keep the enemy out. Take a look at Buck’s photos to get the idea of how strong the walls were and how they were used. The Bible has stories of the Israelites rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem upon their return to the city after being enslaved by Babylon. The Israelites worked on the walls day and night often with tools in one hand and a sword in the other. Walls were important for defense.

I’m not going to say that the move this weekend was easy. It went smoothly in the physical sense. My brothers and sister were great to work with. My cousin Patti, who was my best friend growing up and maid of honor in my wedding, came to help. We all worked hard and had lots of laughs. Yes, there were some tears. My sister, Kathy, broke down when she saw Dad’s shoe-shine kit. I understood perfectly - Dad used to shine his shoes and us kid’s shoes getting us ready for church or school. It was a kit he had made himself. There were some things Mom wanted to throw out, but we could not part with - like the rocker that is older than all us siblings. There were no serious fights over any of the stuff. I did tease Kathy (the baby) that she could not have anything that Mom and Dad acquired before she was born, and that they had not bought much after she was born. At one point Kathy and I were digging through a drawer with all sorts of junk and lots of loose dominoes. I found the boxes for the dominoes and told Kathy that we should check to see if there were full sets - if not, we should throw them out. I collected white dominoes while she collected black. I found all but one domino for my set. With double meaning she said, “Looks like you are one domino short of a full set.” We both laughed until we had tears. Then I pointed out that she was several dominoes short of a full box, and we laughed some more.

The “not so easy part” was the decision making - what was to be kept, what was to be thrown out, what went in the garage sale, etc. It was also hard on Mom to get going, she just couldn’t seem to get started and make decisions. Although she was excited about her new house, and knows this to be a good move, the whole job of moving, the getting started, was just overwhelming. She had been sick recently and was still not up to par. Being the donkey that I am, I just start working and keep at it until the job is done. My sister is much the same, and we dove in. We started packing things to be moved and stacking “garage sale” items in the living room. We threw out anything that we thought was just garbage. My brothers and Toby were great and just jumped in too. Toby pointed out that it was obvious that my Dad had put in lots of time on my brothers because they looked around for what needed to be done and they did it without lots of questions or standing around.

Sometimes Mom did not agree with our decisions - several times we “discussed” decisions - sometimes she dug in the trash for something we had thrown out. Sometimes her decisions seemed just stubborn and unreasonable. It got where no one wanted to ask her if they could have something or keep something or throw something out for fear of making her mad. Example: my brother wanted an old stove that had set outside for years. It had no sentimental value to us, but he said he had a friend named Buck (look closely at the photo) who restores old stoves and would love to have the stove. My brother was afraid to ask Mom for the stove because she had been so obstinate on some of her decisions. We had one of those “you ask her, no, you ask her” moments. Craig finally asked her and she said no, she wanted that stove. I pointed out the reasons why Craig wanted it and how someone could make this a nice, useful stove again. Her answer, “I painted that stove twice.” I kept my mouth shut, but my thoughts were, “What the hell does that mean?” which was pretty much the way I was feeling about most of her decisions. When I start cussing, it is a sure sign that my walls are crumbling.

Sunday afternoon my walls were pretty much down. We finished moving things from the old house and went through the store house. Then we headed to the new house. While we unpacking at the new house, Toby asked if I was hungry, did I want something to eat, and I nearly broke down. Was I hungry? Should I stop and go eat? Should I stay and help Mom put away things in the new house? It seemed every decision I was making was wrong and I was just making Mom mad. She seemed so needy and yet she seemed so angry. So I stopped and went to eat with Toby. I cussed and repented. Then I decided that it was time for me to go home and let Mom fix her own house for a while. I will go back next weekend for the garage sale and help again. We all need to rest. She needs to adjustment. And I need to rebuild my walls.


Inquiries said...

Moving someone else is hard. When we moved my Grandparents from Texas to here it was very hard. Everyones patience runs short. I almost really lost it once. I was loading my Grandmother's pots into the back of the truck and she said don't fall on my pot and break it. That made me a bit mad.

Buck said...

She seemed so needy and yet she seemed so angry.

I think you hit it there, Lou. Dealing with mixed emotions ain't easy, and I can see where mixed emotions would be VERY prevalent here. All y'all did good from what I read, though. "Mission accomplished," in other words. Now it's time for everyone to rest and re-fuel.

I'll bet it's VERY good to be home!

(Thanks for the shout-out, too!)

Bag Blog said...

Buck, although I mentioned you, I forgot to link it. Sorry, I will fix that. You are right about mixed emotions. I called my sister today and we discussed the whole move. I told her that I thought she did great as did my brothers.

Ashley, maybe you should have come and "moved my mom." That would have been helpful.

Dawn said...

Well that was quite the experience! I'm thankful for the rests that come for you in between the hard spots!

Mrs. Bear said...

Lou there is just to much emotion going on and there is no way to remove this paticular emotion. I would say that if you got through the weekend and didn't fall down crying or try and kill someone you all did a great job. Just the pictures make me cry. Kinda a end to and era. It just spells stress....

Anonymous said...


You and Toby were amazing last weekend in all that you did for Mom and “The Move.” Plus, it was really fun being around you two, as always, with your great senses of humor (weird to write that as plural!) and love and care for everyone. Kathy & Craig & Pete were great too, and such good company. And what good folks are Patty & Uncle Paul and Bonnie Wells for their help? My little drop-in-for-a-day pales compared to all that you & Toby and Pete, Debbie, Kathy and Craig T do all the time. I’m so grateful for all of yall.

I did want to submit one “item to the editor for correction” on the story about the “Buck’s” wood stove, because I know that Mom is also a reader of this blog which has become such a wonderful community for both new on-line friends, family, and good old friends of our family’s. I didn’t feel like Mom was unreasonable about the stove. In fact, I didn’t really “want” it and I tried to say that. I think there may have been some confusion because I think you walked up after the conversation started as we were standing outside the house next to the stove. Toby was reading the name “Buck’s” and I think we began to wonder what we were supposed to do with the stove. I suggested that maybe I could take it in my pick-up to my ex-law partner in Austin whose name is Buck -- maybe he’d want to put it in with the landscaping around his law office. I said I didn’t know if he’d want it but if he didn’t I could just hall it to the dump. In asking Mom, I think you or someone was doing some of the talking for me, but I tried to say that I didn’t care one way or the other -- I was just offering the service of hauling it off if she didn’t want it -- and maybe I had someone who “might” (or might not) want it -- so no big deal either way to me. As I recall, Mom was just asked if she had plans for the stove, and she just replied that she was planning on putting it on her new patio, that she’d painted it a couple times and it wasn’t functional and she planned on using sort of like she was at the old house for decoration. I was fine with that, because I didn’t even know if my law buddy could use it.

That said, I can appreciate the feelings that were going on for you and Mom throughout your patient care and helping her over the last several years of Dad being sick and now with this move and all of the reminders and “symbols” in the form of hundreds of things that you had to help Mom decide about. You are amazing.


Bag Blog said...

I understood perfectly that someone was willing to haul off a piece of junk for whatever reasons. Like the four extra phone books besides the several she already has, I just thought it would be better not to junk up the new house too. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. But I have an old smoker and several pieces of farm equipment that are not being used - I think they would look great in front of a law office in Austin. Anyone willing to haul them off is welcome to them.

Anonymous said...

I love you, Sister. I am sorry if this is embarrassing to you. I am just concerned about you publicly relating things about Mom that are unflattering and using a conversation between her and me as an example and doing so when you know Mom reads your blog. And also concerned that in using an example involving me where you are mistaken about my point of view you may cause Mom to think that I felt the same way about the situation as you -- which I don't. I know you understand that someone wanted to haul something off. But the larger point you made, of course, was that I (and others) shared your feeling that Mom was being difficult. You are wrong that I felt that way. The important thing is that I don't want your misunderstanding of my point of view to be publicly used to hurt her feelings. Ordinarily, I wouldn't use the blog forum to say so, but given comments about others in the past, it seems like this concern needed to be expressed. Using a public blog to express one's opinions about a lot of things seems okay and a good thing to me. I just think we need to be careful and sensitive about using it as a forum to make critical personal comments when the subjects are reading your blog. And careful about speaking for someone else.

Bear said...

Well son of a bitch hell,