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27 January 2003 @ 05:07 pm
We all knew it was coming  
The ultimatum arrived today.

Well, actually, it was received today. She leaves notes, rather than threaten me to my face, so it's hard to say when it actually, technically arrived.

Today when I got home from work (over 90 minutes late), I found a note on my door from my grandmother.

"Joel, this room needs to be cleaned or find another place to live."

Honestly, this wouldn't bother me if the room were in the middle of a thoroughfare. When I lived downstairs in the middle of the hallway that everyone passed by, it made total sense. But now that I live upstairs (she's not supposed to climb stairs) at the end of the hall with nothing else past me, or even as far as me, where she has absolutely no reason to ever see or show my room at all, it bothers me. Yes, it's reasonable for her to want her house clean. Yes, she's been telling me to clean my room for months. Hell, for as long as I've lived here. But really, who does it hurt? If no one but myself and people I specifically invite (all of whom already know how I live) has absolutely no reason to ever know the state of my living quarters, why force conditions on me, other than because she can?

I'm bitching with no justification. But that's what LJ's for, right?
Kurt Onstadspeedball on January 27th, 2003 08:07 pm (UTC)
That sucks...
You have complete justification for this bitching, in my opinion. There's no reason for her to complain, since she should never see your room, according to her doctor's orders...Is there anyone you can talk to in your family that may be able to convince her of that?

Idtechnomonkey on January 27th, 2003 08:09 pm (UTC)
Yes it does.
You mean people that will listen to me whine about not wanting to clean my room? The only person who can convince her of much of anything is my father, who agrees with her.
some guy: push (balance)self on January 27th, 2003 11:59 pm (UTC)
Habit and routine make my life possible.
Her need to complain is offset by her obligation to house others for free. But in the absence of either, arrangements are made; compromises agreed upon. Whether the rules are reasonable or not means nothing. Only that they were never followed.

It might help to think of her less as a cranky old woman on a power trip - that's a cliche few people ever embody. As a rule, if the behaviour you attribute to a person isn't something you'd do under the same circumstances, you're probably interpreting it wrong.

She's a helpless old woman. There's no power to thirst for, no glory in controlling the grandkids. The doctor's order to stay downstairs was not about drawing borders to devide territory - Normal human behavior frequently leaves this woman with broken ribs. She has to forge a new routine, for that reason and because her mind is steadily dying.

When she knowingly risks injury to climb those stairs and examine the room, it must be important to her.

Likewise with the notes - There's a certain commitment to writing things down. She can't pretend she never said it. But her Alzheimers turns every conversation into a (fleeting) source of frustration and embarassment. It's not that she's avoiding confrontation so much as that she wants to avoid having the same confrontation five or six times in a row. If it's at all important, it should happen on paper.

She keeps to herself; doesn't want to be noticed. Doing things "because she can" is about demanding attention. And she's certainly entitled to some, but we know that's not what she's after.

This feels more like a "because nothing else worked" act of desperation.

If I had to guess, it's either because a rare source of human contact disrespects her in her own home, or because she feels that tidiness is the one value she's still capable of passing on before she dies. Or it could be as simple as "the cleaning person complains every week because they can't do anything with that room."

But in the end, it doesn't matter.

He's got an end of the bargain to live up to. Failing that, he's in default.

Put another way, the situation does suck, and he's got every right to complain about it to anyone who'll listen (as opposed to filing a complaint in hopes of changing things - he may have a valid complaint, but he has no claim). If it makes him feel better, I fully encourage that. But when that's out of his system, he needs to either commit to living within the rules he agreed to, or find a way to take himself out of the equation. And that latter option can't be allowed to get in the way of paying off debts. Think of it as prison if it helps - you just have to wait it out until the decisions that put you there no longer control you.
Master Thomas: eyetommyomega on January 28th, 2003 04:07 pm (UTC)
Whoo, what a doozy
Okay, there's so many points I could pick apart with that last post but I don't want to try to starting anything (more than I already have), other than to say I understand the point.

I used to go through this very point before I moved out of my parents' house (whom I will not visit unless I benefit somehow; my anger towards them is, bitter and petty, but present nonetheless). My room had little traffic from me because I worked 40 hours a week and went to school for 18, and no traffic from guests because it was a part of the house my parents considered private. I was allowed one meal a day, and a room free from utility bills (not that I was around to generate any significant costs), in exchange for a few chores around the place in the few hours I was actually home. Not a bad deal, until my privacy was consistently violated. I even had to place a lock on my door (which was still not enough security for me; supposedly a spare key for "emergencies" translated to "whenever I feel like snooping") to no avail. Something that started from "your room's not clean" to eventually developing into "what is this class you're taking? I don't care that you're the only one paying for your school, no son of mine is going to take anything having to do with drama"." But I digress.

So on one hand, it does seem weird that someone would go out of their way, at the risk of their own health, to make sure the room is cleaned as was requested. That the request was made in the first place seems odd--at first.

BUT if that's the terms of your free rent, though, it's relatively a minor condition that you'd have to live with unless it's a problem that develops into other things. And there's only one way to see if any progress in cleaning is being made--first hand. To her, an ultimatum seems to be the only way to get the point across, at least in her mind, or to at least get the job done.

Strange as it sounds, a maid service may not be so bad, though I'd have to shop around and see what the costs are for a single room.