I know, it’s been ages since I wrote. Then all of a sudden you get 2 posts! Life gets in the way, and with a husband, two kids, a full time job, kids activities, the holidays and all the PEOPLE-ING, this introvert is spent. That being said,a few weeks ago was Christmas, which means more chaos, money, and stress than usual. So, it’s been a little hectic, to say the least. Especially because in true fashion, I gave myself extra jobs, one of which being to try to be less of an asshole, and to teach my kids how not to be assholes.
I THOUGHT I was ahead of the game this year. I started shopping in November, got the kids’ main gifts ordered and ready, and was trucking along. After all, I had shows or trips planned every weekend through December, so I knew I had to plan ahead. I could not procrastinate. (Yeah, right). Things were going seemingly on schedule. Then about 3-4 days before Christmas I got a call from a young woman I had met last year. When I met her last year, I met her through facebook. She had posted on a local tag sale facebook page that she and her long term boyfriend had both lost their jobs right before Christmas. She was struggling to put together a Christmas for her kids, and asked if anyone had any gently used toys they could donate. I saw the post and my usually cold little heart cracked a little. I rounded up some toys, got a gift card from a store so she could pick out an item or two, and took them to her. A few days later, my husband and I picked up one of the kids’ big Santa wishes, and we were able to give her son a bike. She was beyond grateful and thanked us profusely. For me, seeing a picture of her kids opening their presents and knowing those parents had one less stress, if just for a moment? Well, that’s what made MY Christmas special. We became facebook friends, and while I didn’t see her in person again, I did see that they both got jobs after the holiday. The kids were growing up, they were getting back on their feet. It made me happy. Then, a few weeks ago, right before Christmas, I saw on facebook she was hospitalized for over a week.
When she messaged me a few days before Christmas this year, she did so to ask if I knew of any organizations who would still accept families in need of toys etc for Christmas. I didn’t know any, but as a mom, her question pierced my heart. I told her to leave it with me. I would see what I could find out. I also found out she and the kids were currently in a women’s shelter after losing their apartment. That made my heart break more. She had worked so hard, come so far, only to have it slip away. I got to work.
In a couple of days, between friends, family, some strangers, and ourselves, we were able to provide toys and needed items for the kids, gift cards for the grocery store and walmart, and some cash. I had jumped into coordination mode, and thanks to the generosity of others, we made some magic happen. The relief on her face was so evident, that after we hugged and I left, I cried for quite a while. I saw pics later of her Christmas morning, The kids had smiling faces, but I think my smile may have been even bigger for knowing that perhaps I had lightened another mom’s load just a little bit.
They say giving is often better than receiving, and I was on a high from the above. Mainly because I try hard to show the kids about doing kind acts. This is what moms are supposed to do, right? So I jumped into my second round of kindness, only it didn’t go as planned. In fact, it went completely the opposite way.
So, I love Facebook. Let me rephrase, I love Facebook, yet I think Facebook is the killer of person to person socializing. Maybe it’s because I am an introvert, but I love being able to keep up with friends and family from anywhere. Anywho, I was on Facebook one day, and saw a post on our town’s women’s page from a woman who had had a medical issue and been rushed to the hospital. She was in her 60’s, and said she had no friends or family. Now being the cynical person I am, I thought “nobody? perhaps she is a tiny bit of an asshole”. Now I know that sounds harsh. It is. But if you’re 90 and you have nobody, I assume everyone you had died off at some point. But 60’s seems too young for that. She mentioned she had 2 cats, and that she was worried about them. Her neighbor was feeding them, but hated cats. She also mentioned she was worried about the litter boxes, as she had been hospitalized for a couple of days and therefore the boxes must be in pretty bad shape. There was talk that she may have a tumor. Cancer was mentioned.
Part of me felt like….something about this makes me feel like maybe I shouldn’t get involved. But Cancer. Cancer will get me every time. Every Time. I figured I could go change a litter box. It would ease her worry. I could show kindness. So I volunteered.
Off I go. I get the key from the neighbor. Before I go into the house, the neighbor asks me to call the woman. She wants to tell me a few things. So, I call. I learn the boxes are in the basement and that there are boxes of latex gloves, liners, and litter there. I think, great. Annnndddd that’s when she tells me she is not so good with the boxes. She plans to get better at it. She tells me she has physical limitations and that there is YEARS WORTH OF USED KITTY LITTER IN GARBAGE BAGS IN THE BASEMENT. She also tells me that if she hasn’t changed the boxes in a bit the cats will go on the floor, but that there is a broom and dustpans to clean it up. If you could have seen my face.
But I’m locked in. I said I would do it, right? So I tell her not to worry, and I hang up and enter the house.
The first thing I notice is that the basement light does not work. Now, I went there the day after Christmas, and my husband had gotten me an Apple watch. My phone was suffering from Apple’s battery issue, and as soon as I tried to turn on the flashlight, it died. I find myself then going “hey siri, turn on a flashlight!” Nothing. I am trying to get some sort of beacon of light to shine from this Apple watch and I have nothing. I haven’t learned how to work it yet. I glance into the basement darkness. I feel like I am descending into murder. Unsuccessful at finding any light source, I brave it down the stairs. I make it to the bottom, find another light that goes to an adjacent room, and flick the switch.
Behold, a turd minefield awaited. Turds, everywhere. The room had turd mines all over the floor. The litter boxes had pee above the litter they were so soaked. This wasn’t a case of the boxes not being cleaned for 5 days. These boxes hadn’t been cleaned in a month and a half (as evidenced by the sticky note detailing the date I later noticed in the kitchen.) Hork.
Part of me went “Oh hell NAW!”
And part of me said “you gave your word you would do it, now just do it”.
So I cleaned it all. I cleaned the turds, I cleaned the floor. I cleaned the boxes, and made everything nice. I found one of the cats and coaxed it out of hiding and petted it for a while. Then I went home and wanted to light myself on fire.
Now somehow, some way, and I’m not sure how, I got roped into daily cat duty. There was a small group of women from town who banded together and worked magic. I took over most of the cat duties, with another lady checking in once or twice to assist. I shoveled her drive and deck in a snowstorm. I got all the garbage bags of used listter removed from the house. Another lady started a gofund me and raised enough money to fix the ill woman’s furnace and fill her oil tank (she had been living without heat for some time and it was BRUTALLY cold out.) She had the furnace fixed and the house now had heat. Another woman who has a cleaning agency came in and cleaned the house. These women worked MAGIC, all while this woman was in the hospital. One lady started a meal train, where people in town would sign up to cook and bring meals to the woman (we’ll call her Sue) when she came home from hospital. I was so happy. My kids thought all this was so awesome and we were all warm and fuzzy from watching all the random acts of kindness!
And then, it turned. Oh, did it turn.
A late night FB post by Sue, (the ill woman) about the meal train. Saying she really ate fresh fish and veggies, all this fancy stuff, and that if people were going to cook meals they should cater specifically to her tastes otherwise it wasn’t really giving freely. The post was so…..demanding and full of expectation. I blinked. I read it twice. The line where she mentions she doesn’t eat a lot of pasta, I almost choked on. Her garbage can was in her pantry and I had seen shelves of pasta in there where tossing out used paper towels etc. I was shocked by the entitlement. Was this due to her meds? Nope, apparently it wasn’t. This was her. I found out later she is a bit of a “give an inch and she expects a mile” type of person. People were furious at her posts. The help dwindled and offers to help started to drop off immediately. The meal train? Well, thanks to the recipient, it DERAILED. I was still going to the house daily, often multiple times, looking after her cats. The woman then messaged me saying “what a shame the cats aren’t up to date on their shots, or you could bring them to visit me in the hospital every day! They also need their nails trimmed, here’s the name of my vet.”
I had to politely tell her no. The cats were clearly frightened and while they would come out for me, would not appreciate being put in carriers and hoisted around town. Not only that but I didn’t have the funds to pay her vet bill.
The issue I faced, however, was that my surgery was looming and I needed to find a replacement. I had to leave the situation, and even though this woman was quickly alienating people, I didn’t want her cats to suffer. There was a small group of the women who were in a chat about the cats. All were in rescue but me. I told them we needed to find a replacement. One posted on her rescue page looking for someone to volunteer, and two people did. One seemed nice, although other people were iffy, and the other one seemed off to me. There was a third person and the “off” woman went above and beyond to tell us all we should not pick the 3rd person as she was “too eager to get in the house” and too controlling. The fact is, I needed someone, so I agreed to meet the two women at the house and show them in. I showed them where the small group of us that had been in the house hid the key, I showed them the food donations, where the litter was, the cats’ favorite hiding spaces were. The “off” one was rushing me saying she had to get home. I left feeling even more uncomfortable about her. I preferred the other woman. Before they left, I told them women I would stop by over the weekend, to check the cats, say goodbye to them (I had grown very fond of the cats) and see if any shoveling needed to be done (a storm was coming). Everyone was fine with this.
Fast forward two days, and I messaged them I was planning to head over to the house at some point that day. The off one replies that it’s fine, however I need to be “escorted” into the house now that they have taken over. I was told by the other that they didn’t want a hassle if anyone were to “steal” anything. They told me they had made copies of the key, took the original, and had removed it, so i would need an escort in the house to enter it. Really? Funny that I hadn’t needed an escort to go in and look after the cats for weeks. Funny that I hadn’t needed an escort to clean boxes of piss and a minefield of turds (while wearing my favorite boots, may I add!) out of the basement. I also hadn’t needed an escort to remove 15 -20 bags of used cat litter out of the house. Yet suddenly, here we were. I told them I was offended by the implication and that I suddenly needed an “escort” when I had looked after the house and cats for weeks. For me, it wasn’t about getting into the house, as honestly, I couldn’t care less. It was about the principle of the matter and being treated like I was shady. My response of being offended must have triggered her, because I got a long response that included phrases that she had taken over and “was in charge” now, and then it took a very accusatory turn where she indicated I might have ill intentions. I was left pretty much like this:
Annnnd, I told her to eff off. To which she responded she was “calling the police” on me. Really? It’s a sentiment, not a crime. Sure, it’s not my prettiest of words, but to know me is to know I have a mouth like a sailor. So after she sent me nasty messages back and then taunted me about going in for a hysterectomy, she blocked me. Turns out, the next day, she posts on the town page acting like she has been doing all the work all along. That’s when people who know me, who knew all the work I had done, completely under the radar, went ballistic. (My friends are awesome, just sayin’) I was getting screen shots (since she blocked me I couldn’t see the original post) but what I also got was some really awesome messages from women around town, who learned I had been helping under the radar and thought it was nice. I got to meet some new people, so that was pretty cool.
Turns out, the “off” woman ended up starting a bunch of trouble on the town page and getting blocked. Apparently she has a bit of a dark side herself. She is now Sue’s bestie, although if I’m honest I think she has an underlying motive in all of this. I wish Sue all the best. Yes, she can be demanding, entitled, and she’s a little different, but I worry about what this woman’s intentions to her may be. I still hope she is ok and will be alright. I miss her kitties. They were sweet and gentle.
When all this went down, I had to explain to the kids a bit of what happened and that I wouldn’t be going to the house. They had come with me a few times and had coaxed the cats out of hiding and played with them. The cats took to them right away and vice versa. I am not sure the cats had seen children before. They were bummed. They knew the work I had done, and that my message to them was to do kind things for other, to help out other people if they could, and all those good mom messages. Their end take of the experience? “being kind isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be”.
So…….that didn’t work out quite as planned.