The weather in my part of the world has been throwing us some nasty curves this winter season. Temperatures well below normal, crippling ice storms and snowfall amounts approaching dramatic levels.
The good news is I know my mother is safe and being cared for in the assisted living facility where she now lives. Staff members who are not permanent residents are provided room and board at the facility during the storms, which not only ensures their safety, but guarantees a full staff level. And the facility has full generator backup in case of power losses and maintains a full larder in the kitchen.
The not-so-good news is I have been unable to visit my mother on a regular basis. So I keep in touch with her by phone. And I have stocked her pantry, so I am confident she has all the personal care items she needs. The kicker has been that monstrous mound of dirty laundry invading her closet.
In previous posts, I have referenced my mother’s recent inability to keep up with laundry duty. And how I had decided to take over the task myself. At least until it becomes a routine event for my mother to have someone else do it for her. Then I can arrange for the facility’s housekeeping staff to take over.
On the morning of our first weather-clear day, I armed myself with two heavy-duty industrial-sized black plastic bags and prepared to do battle. Now I know I need to mentally prepare my mother for any changes in her daily routine, but I also knew that if I gave her too much warning that I was coming to pickup her laundry, she would fight me tooth and nail.
So, I called her before I left and blatantly lied by telling her I was on my way. Because I would rather have a heated argument over the phone than a shouting match in her room. I told her that I was going to pickup her laundry, take it to my house to do, then bring it back that afternoon.
And I got the reaction I thought I would. She was madder than a soaked hen. She didn’t want me to do her laundry for her. She could do it herself. And no…I was wrong…she had plenty of clean bed linens. To prove her point, she told me to hold the phone while she looked in the cupboard where her clean sheets are kept. And she found what I knew she would: two pillowcases. No sheets.
That discovery changed her tune a bit. Nothing like physical evidence to prove a point. So I crossed the two fingers on my right hand hidden behind my back and made a bogus deal with her. I will do her laundry this time, since there was so much to do, and she could take over going forward. That appeased her. For the moment.
When I got to her room, I pulled the plastic bags from my coat pocket and opened her closet. She asked me what were the bags for? I told her: dirty laundry. She was surprised. In the half-hour since I had spoken to her on the phone, she had forgotten I was going to pickup her laundry. Which meant we had to reenact the entire verbal battle. Including a peek into the linen cupboard for another look at those two lonely pillowcases.
My only disappointment is that I was not able to grab her dirty laundry without any fanfare. Because both of those heavy-duty industrial-sized black plastic bags were filled to capacity with four sets of bed linens, more than a dozen towels, at least 14 pairs of underwear and other assorted items. Instead, I found myself caught red-handed, clutching two monstrous laundry bags. Simply because I had to prepare her for what I needed to do.
Hey…no worries. The laundry beast has been tamed. It no longer invades her closet. And hopefully I will now be able to quickly and quietly grab her dirty laundry each time I go for a visit, returning it on my next visit.
Sure beats the red-handed gig. Any day.