Mom and I didn't like each other. We tolerated each other because, well, I think we had to for some unwritten reason.
Mom didn't like that I was so close to Dad, who had divorced her when I was in Junior High School. I was always very close to my father. She went so far as to one time state that "That relationship is unnatural!"
In the summer of 2007, my youngest sister Grace, by far, my mother's favorite child (Parents everywhere please admit you have a favorite child, at least to yourselves!) went to see my mom on her way back home from a vacation trip. Grace called me when she got home and said, "We have to go and help her. That house is a wreck and it's too much for her to handle any more." So ok, we planned Labor Day weekend we would light out for the 400 mile round trip visit to go help Mom clean house. We had 4 days and it was a 4 room cabin. How bad could it be?!
Sweet Baby Jesus!! What a mess!
It was beyond clutter. It was truly filth. I have never had to deal with such a state of disarray in my entire life. To make matters worse, she didn't, couldn't, wouldn't see it until her precious special "baby" pretty much rubbed her nose in it. We finally got through to her and started in, but it was a daunting task and we actually only got two of the four rooms cleaned in four days. FOUR DAYS.
Mom wasn't well physically at that point either, although just how seriously ill she really was wouldn't become evident for another couple of months. Her back was giving her no end of grief and we tried like hell to do all the heavy lifting and real grunt work. We told her over and over, "Just sit down there and be the Director".
We both worked our asses off and then slept on the ground in a tent at night. Yeah, there was no room in the cabin for guests at all. We also bought all the groceries while we were there and cooked and cleaned up on a day to day basis.
The last day we were there, Grace had taken off to dump yet another load of garbage (load 15 or something, remember two rooms?) and I was in the kitchen washing more dishes. Mom came into the kitchen and was idly fussing with something.
I sure wish Grace didn't have to leave today.", she said. "She's such a hard worker."
Somehow I didn't scream.