Only read on if you're feeling strong and have time on your hands.
As one or two of you know, my parents decided when they came to visit us last year that they want to move up here. I'm an only child and they feel they'd like to be nearer to us. However, this isn't quite as straightforward as just moving and buying a new home. My parents live in rented accommodation due to being messed around my the Development Corporation some years ago, and also because of my father's sense of pride. He's 20 years older than Mother (83 and 63 - possibly explains why hubby is 15 years older than me), and his old-fashioned beliefs and feelings wouldn't let him have a new mortgage put in Mother's name; it couldn't go in his as he would have retired before it finished. I'm going back quite a few years (or I should say decades), and things were different then re: mortgages, etc. and the sad thing is he deeply regrets it, and has done for many years. However, Father is also of the generation and upbringing when men didn't talk about their feelings. He was in the navy in the WW2, and it wasn't until hubby got him to open up one New Year's Eve that Mother found out about his experiences. As a result of this they are at the mercy of the Authorities when it comes to moving.
Last week we had news that a property was available and they were being offered it and could we go and view it. We did. We took lots of pictures and I drew up floor plans (architect I am not), so that they could really get a feel for it. They clearly can't fly up here just to look at something that might not be okay, so really it is in our hands - which is stressful enough by itself. The stress increased when they admitted, after we'd sent the pictures and floor plans, that actually they hadn't talked about the move, not really, and suddenly now it was a reality, apprehension set in. Which I could quite understand, after all until this point it had really been 'a game', and until reality happens we can't really know how we're going to feel. I guess I should have realised that they wouldn't have really spoken about it, but Mother had assured me before that they had done so and were both happy, both knew what they'd be giving up, etc. etc.
On Saturday they decided to take the property. So then it comes down to us to sort out carpets and decorating. There are no carpets or any floor covering at all - except for in the bathroom. The place, whilst being structurally sound and with rooms of good size, is a decorating nightmare, wallpaper coming off in all the rooms, one room painted in squares of all the primary colours, another room utterly garish. A brand new kitchen had been put in, but no repair work carried out on the walls where the old one had been, etc. Had they arrived and walked into the place, Mother would have been in tears and they would both want to do nothing more than turn around and go straight back to where they had come from.
Most decor is liveable with, if you can do it bit by bit, but this really isn't, not given everything else. And it's not as though they could do the decorating, had it merely been emulsion then Mother could have done it bit by bit, but there is also paper on the ceilings that is coming off; two rooms are going to have to be totally stripped, as the wallpaper isn't merely coming off, it's been torn off in places, so it's uneven. The multi-coloured room has to be lined with paper before it can be painted, in order to actually be able to cover the squares up. Mother suffers from arthritis, she couldn't do that kind of decorating. Hubby has ME and I'm, as you know, disabled and on two crutches or in a wheelchair, we can't do it either. However, we do know someone (he's actually in charge of the carpet department from where we'll get the carpets), who does decorating in his spare time, he did bits for us, and he is more than reasonable in price and does a good job. So we arrange that and the carpets, and gave him the green light yesterday.
Now when they first spoke about moving I told them roughly what it would cost to move - we had after all done it ourselves, so we did have some idea - I repeated this six times on Monday (I jest not). And yes, I knew I was being slightly pessimistic, but better to do that than under-estimate, but I was also being realistic. The cost of decorating and carpeting actually turned out to be several hundred less than I'd expected, carpet sales are sometimes very well timed. So when Mother's reaction to what I thought would be greeted with 'oh, that's good', was utter shock, I was hard pushed not to be angry, after all they knew that they'd be spending on actually moving where did they think I was getting the rest of my estimate from?
We'd also gone out looking for a vehicle to take the wheelchair yesterday, so it was a long day, a longish drive, a cold and damp one, and my hip and back had chose that day to be more painful than usual. But still despite their apparent shock (because it turns out that Mother hadn't told Father my estimation of costs), they were still determined to do it, and looking at various ways of financing it. Unfortunately we can't help them (and to be honest they wouldn't expect us to); we're looking at finding ways to finance this car, if we go for it.
So we were all set for a busy few weeks, because anything that needs doing at this end will mean us doing it. Plus, my parents haven't moved for over thirty years, and to be honest and understandably so really don't know what to expect - and it's not as though they're moving only a few miles, or even in the same town (or county). So this will mean five or six phone calls a day (on average of 30 minutes per call) for one reason or another, hence the reason my time is going to be severely eaten into. Moving, as we well remember, is stressful; this move, despite it not being ours will actually be more stressful than our own move was.
However, just to add to the 'fun' hubby spoke to Mother this morning, and came off the phone to say that actually it is clear that despite what Mother has been saying to me, once again my parents haven't really talked this through, and suddenly the whole thing could be off again. The decorator has started, because we are talking about a quick move, within a month at the most, so if they do pull out they do know they'll owe him some money. Hubby has basically told them that they really must decide by tomorrow morning and stick to it.
And we haven't even got to how they are going to do the move. Friends of theirs have said that they'll do it, but clearly this also hasn't been thought through.
Me: You do realise that it's a good nine hour drive at a steady 70 (which the van won't do), don't you?
Me: How is the van going to be unloaded when it gets up here?
Me: You know that you and Father couldn't sit in your car for over nine hours (their car couldn't do a steady 70), even if your friend drives you up (they'd never do the drive themselves). Therefore you, Father and C are going have to stay overnight somewhere. A too probably.
Me: So have you taken these other costs into account?
Mother: :: Silence::
(A really good telephone conversation, as you can see).
Mother: A has driven to Scotland and back in a day before now.
Me: To where?
Me: We're a good three and a half hours on from Edinburgh.
Me: Did A have a van load of furniture that needed unloading?
Me: Do you now see why the cheapest removal firm have quoted a three day move? One to load, the other two to drive up and unload?
Mother: Er, yes, I suppose so.
Now one of our neighbours popped round today and asked about the proposed moved and has said that as long as it was a weekend getting people to unload wouldn't be a problem. Fine, but I know my parents; they couldn't settle for just a 'thank you so much' and lots of cups of tea, they'd insist on giving these people something, not necessarily money, but even bottles of something cost.
Now if I had to place money on it, I believe they will still go ahead with the move. I think that J finally did what I failed to do in approximately twenty phone conversations over about four days to do: he has finally jolted them into reality. My parents are dear people, kind, generous, giving, loving, would do anything for anybody and expect nothing in return, are not unintelligent people, and I love them dearly, they may irritate me at times, but I do care about them. However, for some reason they seem at times (the most inconvenient times) not to live in reality. Normally whatever J and I say is taken as gospel and 'fact' (which in itself can get irritating at times), so why Mother choose now of all times to refuse to accept my estimation of the costs, I know not. She did listen, something she doesn't always do, she must have done I did tell her half a dozen times to make sure it got through, so I can only assume it's as J said, she didn't like what I'd said, so just choose to ignore it.
So therein the reason for my being beyond stressed. I know how badly its getting to me for several reasons, one, I can't get warm (and it isn't that cold); two, my lips are dreadfully sore and chapped; three, I overwrote one of my stories the other day - something I never do (fortunately I actually had a hard copy, an extremely rare occurrence, about 1:1,000 ratio); four, I'm ultra irritated (poor Tansy); five, I have a perpetual headache; six, my pain is worse than usual; seven, my nausea is back with a vengeance; eight, my eyes are really sore and my vision odd at times.
So just as I'd got back on track, was back to being in email contact, felt on top of everything, this hits. At the moment I am honestly not certain which will be the less stressful, them telling us tomorrow that they are coming, or them telling us tomorrow that they've changed their mind. The reason for this is that putting aside an amount of embarrassment associated with having to cancel the decorating and carpeting and telling people they've changed their minds, Mother will spend the next weeks and months going on and on about it and how upset they are that they haven't moved. I know that if they don't move they'll regret it. Sadly, I also have a horrible sinking feeling that if they do move they'll also, if not regret it, then suddenly discover what they've given up. Again, the latter is probably normal, you don't have 50+ year friendships, or live in the same town for 83 years and not miss the people and not have an amount of regret.
So all in all I'm not entirely certain which way is up. I have commitments too, they might not be anything life threatening or life changing or life affecting, but I do have them. I know that in many ways I'm more uptight and stressed about this than some people would be, but that too is one of the affects of being in pain for every waking moment, not to mention the frustration I (and J, I know) feel because we really can do so little to help them, physically or financially that is. I feel like a very bad daughter. I know that might be illogical, I know that I can only do what I can do, but emotions and feelings are not always logical. Knowing something is not always the same as being able to do anything about it.
I also know that in the grand scheme of things this is nothing really. There are people on my f-list who have far more problems and reasons to be worried and stressed and depressed than I do, far more. And if I sound as though I've over-reacting and whining over this relatively minor thing, I do apologise most sincerely to you, and hope that you don't think any less of me.