Life at my house is never, ever calm, simple, or normal. Yesterday, my daughter, J (the one with bipolar), was home while I was helping my other daughter, S, move to her new apartment in another city. We had to move the final big load, but she doesn’t actually move for 5 more days. J still lives with me due to the anxiety and bipolar (problems with money), so she was keeping the dogs and cleaning house for me. “The dogs” are my two loves and S’s two darlings. They are great dogs, but together are a handful if not watched closely.
The first phone call I got from J was while I was still in the truck on the way to the other city. She felt great, had been outside playing with the dogs, it would be a great day. Her plans were to go grocery shopping, then clean the entire house and wash clothes. She was also going to cook supper for me because she knew I would be tired. Translation: she was a little manic. J spent the past week depressed because of her sister’s move. It wasn’t the move that bothered her so much as the fact that her younger sister was going somewhere with her life, and J felt stuck. The ‘super moon’ didn’t help either, because the full moon always affects her negatively. We talked, I wasn’t too alarmed because she was only a little manic and that is better than the depressed state any day.
An hour and a half later, she called again. I was still in the truck, about an hour from my destination. The irritability kicked in hard. The dogs were a “pain in the ass”. She took a “five-minute shower” and they destroyed the house. The dogs pooped in the house and ate a marker. She couldn’t get anything done and she felt terrible. Translation: She didn’t like being responsible for the dogs, didn’t watch them closely, and they got into stuff. She also didn’t let them out enough, so they pooped. They ate the marker that she left on the table where they could reach it. She felt frazzled and mad. I calmed her down as much as I could, and thanked her for helping.
While bringing in a box of dishes (why do two young women have so many dishes?), my phone rang. I chose not to answer. This may sound harsh, but there are times when it is best that I don’t answer because I cannot be the calm, reasonable mom that she needs. I want to scream at her and tell her to grow up already and deal with it, but I can’t do that because I know (trust me) from experience that she truly cannot. So I ignored the phone. I ignored it again when it rang ten minutes later. I did not ignore it the third time. Either something was wrong, or she was in major freak-out mode.
It was both. J was washing clothes and the washing machine flooded the laundry room. The machine was full of water, soap, and clothes. I told her to just empty the machine and mop up the water; I would deal with it when I got back home. She was crying and ranting about how everything bad always happened to her. Her life sucked, she would never be able to move out, and she had no clean clothes to wear. Meanwhile, it was MY washing machine that was now broken, and MY laundry room that was now flooded. I finally calmed her down and we hung up.
The phone rang again. I answered. She was crying. She couldn’t get the washing machine to empty the water. The wet clothes were so heavy, but she got them out. When would I be home? I told her how to work the sump pump that we have in the garage and how to hook it to a water hose. We hung up. She called back. She couldn’t connect the pump to the hose. I talked her through it, and we hung up.
It took several hours to unload the truck and the enclosed trailer, then we had lunch. We left the apartment and began the 4 hour drive back home. I sent J a text to let her know I was on the way. Her reply: “Thanks for the head’s up.” I made it almost home before the phone rang.
“What are you bringing home for supper? I’m hungry.” J asked.
“I thought you were cooking for me.” I responded.
“That was before I knew these dogs were going to terrorize me all day and the washing machine stressed me out and it has been a horrible day.”
“Oh. Didn’t you go grocery shopping? We can make something when I get home.”
So, after moving S’s stuff across the state, dealing with J and her incessant phone calls and problems, I went home to a still wet laundry room, a box of wet clothes on the back porch, dogs and dog toys everywhere, and a half-cleaned kitchen. (She got some of it done before the irritability hit). I walked in the door, and every person in my house looked at me and asked, “What’s for dinner?”
And that, my friends, is when I screamed.