Judgy Neighbors

It’s been a crazy week. Trying to get to the root of my friend with dementia’s personality change, while not overstepping the boundaries of friendship and the acknowledgement that I am not family.

So, I took her for a haircut. And paid for it since she’s hidden her wallet and can’t remember where her debit card and ID are stashed. While I will get reimbursed, eventually, from her family in Canada, it still takes a lot of diplomacy to not want to shake the life out of her relatives who neither understand the intricacies and expenses of managing her long term care needs as her dementia progresses, and who aren’t here to handle paying for things my friend can no longer pay for directly due to the tricks her mind is playing on her to increase her paranoia as she loses more and more of her personality.

Anyway, I told you all that to expand on my spoon theory posts as I work to meet all my commitments while battling exhaustion.

Spring’s normal warmer weather is making me happily more active, but it’s also increasing my exhaustion as I try and do more in the better weather.

So, after a surprise call from one of my many cousins this morning, I was exhausted, chilled to the bone (despite an ambient temperature outdoors of 75 degrees or so) and went back to bed to try and warm up.

My plans to try and clean my friend’s assisted living apartment had to be cancelled as it was no longer safe to drive and my energy “spoons” had been used up for the moment.

Into this comes the well meaning but busy body Mah Jongg hostess, Gladys Kravitz, who decided to drop by unannounced to discuss the skipping of our next Mah Jongg playing session.

Greeting Gladys after being roused from bed

Needless to say, it was quite ballsy of Glamorous Gladys to give me the head to toe hairy eyeball after dropping by without notice and waking me up. Clearly, Gladys was put off that it was 1:30 in the afternoon, I was still in my PJs, and hadn’t yet gotten dressed or groomed to start my day…

Glamorous Gladys

What was really shocking, though, was to hear her wonder aloud as she left my home as to when or if I was in the process of cleaning or moving… not a kind nor a helpful comment when someone is not my intimate and is more of a friendly acquaintance.

The view from my driveway door.

While she has a right to her opinion, I was shocked that she said it out loud !

Yes, my driveway contains items which need to be sorted through and disposed of, but if I’m not asking her to pick up my mess, then she should keep her mouth shut !

Just be kind, ok? You don’t get to decide someone else’s priorities for how they sort through getting rid of or rehoming the treasures of a lifetime.

Meanwhile, I’m grateful she didn’t notice the other work in progress areas in my yard…

Gardening is more fun than cleanup
Oh-oh, the gardening bin is not put away
Don’t even look on the porch or in the side yard if you don’t want to see work in process…

2 thoughts on “Neighbors

  1. I am sorry you had to deal with her, especially when your defenses were a bit low. But you have done one thing at least which is to reassure me I didn’t turn into Oscar the Grouch over the last year and a bit. I have friends and acquaintances that I’ve gotten to know since I moved up here. In two cases recently one or another of them has given what I call ‘the backhanded compliment’. They (like your Gladys) seem to be trying to be concerned and/or helpful, but what they are doing is being rude and nosy. Emphasis on rude. I got quite upset by the last one and the result for me is that I won’t (probably) open the door the next time they come around. Same for answering the phone. Screw the person who doesn’t understand chronic illness nor is compassionate enough to just mind their own business. Again I compliment you on being so kind and patient. Gladys would have gotten the bum’s rush from me and a rude remark in return most likely. Such as “How does the state of my house concern YOU?” Sometimes being sharp with such rhinoceroses 😉 is the only way. That or hitting them over the head with a brick. Good on you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly, we have an 82 year old smoker (who still smokes) who thinks her version of COPD is the only version (she’s the better player, harshly correcting us students as we learn Mah Jongg at Gladys house). We’ve had a skirmish or two during Mah Jongg lessons as she chides me for not doing enough to stay active and fight my version of the disease (you have to take up dancing ! I’ve danced all my life with these girls, and I credit dancing for keeping me healthy despite the diagnosis !) so losing my cool is not a solution as she is ignorant and complacent, as I don’t want to get on the wrong side of the clique and find myself ostracized at what amounts to Summer camp living for old people.

    Trying to explain to someone the differences in our endurance reality, and the fact that she smokes so much I couldn’t breathe my best in our last round of games because the smoke emanates off her like a bitter perfume, is always hard because I want to be matter of fact and not confrontational. It’s hard, but I’m trying.

    It was my bad for answering the door, as I know better, but especially when roused from a nap.

    I’m sorry your well meaning neighbors are getting on your nerves, too. If Gladys talks to me directly, versus sotto voce, she’ll be told that the pile is the drive way is a quarter of the size it was at this time last year. That accident which totaled my car did a number on my back and ability to move in cold weather, so it takes as long as it takes to get things done when the weather and hotter temperatures permit.

    Given time, I’m sure we will both tend to our clutter at our own pace.


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