The mall is a dangerous place 

I went to the mall today, the first time in months. I know that it isn’t good for me, I see stuff I want and things I think I need. I am usually broke or my money is already allotted for bills, either way I can’t spend it. 

I did buy something, a blue cotton rug for my room. I got it on sale at Dillard’s for $7. I went looking to see what kind of clothes are in the stores, not so much to buy but just to look. Then if I liked anything I saw to look for similar stuff at the thrifts. Or so I told myself. 

I didn’t make it beyond housewares. I had lunch before in the food court and it quickly and violently disagreed with me. I was in the bathroom a long time and all I wanted after was to take my clammy, queasy self home. Window shopping be darned.

It is the back to school season and though I haven’t been to school in years I still want new clothes. 

It’s also looking at my clothes, my jeans in particular and realizing they need to be replaced.  The hems of several pairs are fraying and they look worn, not in the intentional sense just old. 

I look like the Before in a makeover. 

I don’t want cheap trendy clothes or uncomfortable clothes or shoes. But I want updated versions of the stuff I have. A couple of pairs of jeans or pants, some new tops and dresses or skirts I can wear to Mass. My real quest is for dress shoes, low heeled but not geriatric. 

Though I never made it downstairs I did see some Pendleton luggage I really wanted. Though I have one 25 in. suitcase already, don’t plan to go anywhere and probably won’t need them, I was thinking how cool they looked. I even told myself they would be easy to find on the luggage carousel and I’d look good pulling them through an airport. They were on sale and it’s not likely I’d find all the pieces together again like this.  I could have bought the biggest suitcase or two of the smaller ones or I could pay my car insurance this month. I walked away before I started to think about it. Feeling lousy helped. So whatever made me sick today, I owe you. 

Maybe I don’t need car insurance. 

But I still need clothes. I like window shopping, it’s usually safe. I rarely buy anything. I am used to thrift store prices and freak out from sticker shock. Frankly most clothes, aside from underwear, are okay to buy used. When I worked at Lane Bryant I saw clothes sent to the dry cleaners to remove stains and even funk before they were put back on the floor. The idea that new clothes were pristine vanished. The main downside with thrift stores is a top, dress or pants will come in only one size or color, and if it is too small, big, long, short or a color I don’t like, too bad.  But I might consider something different because it’s less than $5 and if it doesn’t work I can donate it back. 

Even though the mall on the weekend is crowded, more hectic and prone to bad overhead music, I’m thinking about going back tomorrow.  I will avoid housewares, luggage, all stores and departments but women’s clothes. And the food court.

Advertisements

ANTICIPATION 

I am in a strange state of anticipation. It’s not a good place, anticipating something I want or to earn. Rather I am waiting, monitoring, the health of my mother-in-law and dad. Both are elderly, unhealthy and I am preparing myself for the inevitable. In other words, I am waiting for them to die.

I am not a vulture, ready to inherit money or their possessions. It’s likely I may have to contribute financially, especially for my mother-in-law who has no savings. What my dad leaves will be mostly memories and a lot of junk (sorry, dad) in the garage. I’m not rubbing my hands together in greedy anticipation. There will be stories, memories and pictures, those we will share and carry with us. I know this because I’ve been through this before. With Jerry and before with other relatives, I know what to expect and I want to be prepared, as much as it is possible to prepare.

I don’t mention this, of course. I look at my sisters and wonder what it will do to them when our dad goes. They were young when our mom died and it affected them for years after; they missed her when they graduated and got married, and when my nephew was born. Our dad was able to be there for those occasions at least y u how much longer? I know they think about this too.

028

We all had lunch today with our dad; my sisters, their husbands, my nephew and me. It’s a rare thing for us all to be together but they made the effort because we all know our dad has one operating artery and there is nothing else the doctors can do but give him pills. He goes to his cardiologist on a monthly basis. He eats bacon and pork rinds without being scolded. While we were eating he casually mentioned the pastor he wants to do his funeral, he’s already asked him. I just swallowed some Diet Coke and choked a little. I know he’s made his arrangements, a military funeral and burial. I know, we all know, the funeral home handling the arrangements. He did this because he’s trying to be helpful, to make it easier on us when the time comes. My grandpa, my mom’s dad, did the same thing. Truly it did help but there are still details and hard moments, it isn’t easy. Grief is a layered business.

My mother-in-law is a contrast. She’s not planned for anything. Honestly I don’t blame her, denial is a pleasant place. She’s in Florida (God’s Waiting Room, she once called it) I talked to her and she was groggy on painkillers. She has heart problems too, but raises the stakes with a large blood clot in her left leg. She had surgery on her leg, the clot was bigger than they thought and now she’s recovering in a rehab facility. My brother-in-law is helpless and frankly useless. I ask him how she is, what the doctors said, what about her meds and treatment and he says she’s not good but that’s all the info he has. He’s never had to deal with stuff like this, I know he loves his mom but he isn’t a good advocate. Jerry did all that for them both, he was the steady and responsible one, taking care of them both from an early age. He’s not here now and neither of them seems to know how to cope, Ruth because she’s sick and weak and Mike because he never learned. Most of my info comes from Bear, who takes his dad’s role as protector seriously even when he’s 10,000 miles away. I dread getting a phone call from Bear about his grandma. I hope that when the time comes she isn’t hurting or alone and I hope someone is with my brother-in-law too. I am concerned that I may have to go to Florida, she once told us she was paying on a funeral plan with a funeral home but not sure she kept making payments and I don’t know its name.

family10 (2)

I don’t look forward to making arrangements, calling people, deciding whether to put it on Facebook (probably will for my dad), finding something to wear and dealing with the condolences, among other things. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again but I know better.

Bear messaged me and said he is thinking of visiting soon. His wife’s Visa is still being processed and they don’t know when it will be ready. He says he might come anyway. He says he misses Fall but we both know the real reason; he wants to see them both and say goodbye.