Makers Gonna Make

AMAZING Friends & My Mom’s New Start

Posted on Aug 27, 2015 in Rambles |

I started writing this post an hour ago entitled “This year can SUCK IT”.  I still stand by that statement, but I feel like my rambles deserve two posts.  So first, the saga of my mom’s horrible, no good, very bad summer that is starting to turn around thanks to some truly generous and AMAZING people I’m so glad to count as friends.  This is going to be long & very personal, so strap in.


My mom & I when I was home from college, probably 2000.

I’ll start by saying this: my mom has not had an easy life.  And we’ve not had an easy relationship.  After my parents divorced when I was 9, my younger brother and I lived with her, as most children of divorce do.  When I was about 10 or 11, we moved into a new house with her boyfriend – who started beating her almost as soon as we all moved in together.  In this time, her drinking turned into full on alcoholism, my brother and I left to hiding in our room, or going to the neighbors to call 911.  Cut to when I was about 12, my dad took custody of us and we lived with him from then on.  My mom went from shelters, to living with my grandma for years, to living with another boyfriend, to homeless, to meeting my step-dad and getting married.  There were times when I was in high school that I literally didn’t know where my mom was, and hadn’t heard from her in weeks.  I get my worst traits (depression, anxiety, OCD, etc) from her and some of my best (caring, giving, friendly, outgoing, etc).

My mom has been married to Al since 1997.  In the last 10 years, they blew through my mom’s inheritance, were forced to move to Lodi (2 hrs from where I live), their health has both gone down hill, blew through his workman’s comp settlement that took almost 10 years to even get, and then come to last November, moved in with my cousin in Stockton when her long-time boyfriend moved out. In the last couple of years, Al’s started to rapidly show signs of some kind of dementia or Alzheimer’s – we don’t know for sure because he wouldn’t go to a doctor.  He wouldn’t listen to my mom, accused her of really weird paranoid stuff that she was definitely not doing (like hiding a boyfriend in the closet of their spare room), and last year some 4-5 months before they moved, an argument they had over some of this paranoid stuff resulted in Al choking my mom & getting arrested.  Eventually she dropped the charges because he went to court – but tried to walk there with his cane along the side of the freeway instead of driving and was picked up by the cops like an hour into his walk.


Mom & Al in 1999-ish?

My mom doesn’t have good luck with relationships, obviously.  She stayed with him at that point because she felt bad – it was clear he needed someone to try to take care of him, make him food, etc.  Besides, she had never filed for any disability or Social Security or anything because years ago, when she looked into it, they determined that the amount she’d get was less than the amount his would be reduced by, so it wasn’t worth it.  She has manic depression, the alcoholism, COPD, and more, and pretty much can’t work reliably.  Because of his weird paranoia he’d never give my mom money for basic stuff, so she kept them fed by going to Salvation Army and the food bank to get them food while he’d buy cat litter & food for his growing menagerie and crap from Publisher’s Clearing House.

So, the start of the bad summer.  On Memorial Day weekend, Al left to go to Reno without telling her.  He got up Saturday morning, grabbed his coat & keys, and left the house – since he said nothing to Mom, she assumed he was going to the store or something.  He called from Reno that night and seemed disoriented, and said he was coming home.  He called Sunday at some point from Colorado!  Apparently, he must have gotten onto I-80 going East instead of West, and Mom said he had a bad habit of getting behind a car and just following them and not really paying attention to where he’s supposed to be going.  Tuesday morning, Mom got a call from the Sheriff’s Department in Sweetwater County, Wyoming.  He had been picked up in Wyoming going the wrong way on the freeway (i.e. driving East in the West bound lane).  After a medical hold, my offering to pay to get his truck out of impound, his daughter’s hostility and refusal to include my mom in the plan, his daughter’s step-dad went to retrieve him, leaving his truck in WY.  They pretty much refused to bring the truck back, which was paid off, and left my mom with no form of transportation.  Then when they came to get his stuff, they couldn’t be civil and just screamed at my mom to the point where the police were called and told them not to come back and told my mom not to let them into the house.  So Al is now living with them, and they’re very hostile and combative, and has no contact with my mom.

Out to dinner just before Christmas 2013

Out to dinner just before Christmas 2013

This has left my mom with nothing at 60 years old.  His pension and Social Security was their sole income.  She has made the most lemonade out of this lemon that she can – getting herself some food stamps, some temporary aid, and filing for disability and her own Social Security, but that won’t start for 6-8 months.  She is trying to find a lawyer that will help her to file for divorce and alimony but with no money, it’s an uphill battle too.  Now, even though I said she was living with my cousin, I later came to find out that my cousin was not paying ANY of the rent – Al was paying 100% of it, along with some other bills.  So this left them in arrears with the landlady, who tried for awhile to go after Al since it’s his name on the revised lease, with apparently no luck.

They have finally been served eviction papers and must vacate the house by August 31st.  My mom has enough money to rent a storage shed and moving truck to get the stuff moved, but then will have nowhere to go.  She lives 90 minutes away from me, and has no car, and I don’t have anywhere for her to stay.  Not knowing what else to do, not having the kind of money she needs to get somewhere to stay until her Social Security kicks in, I rolled the dice and started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise some money to help her at least rent a room or something, and heck maybe even get a beater used car, to get her through to when the main benefits will kick in and she’ll be able to get some permanent housing.

I have some AMAZING friends.  With a LOT of help from friends in my affiliate marketing industry and some long time friends I’ve known forever, they’ve donated $1200 for my mom’s fresh start.  She found a low-cost storage shed and has enough on her credit card that she’d paid it off through October and enough to rent a U-Haul to get her stuff into the shed.  A friend of hers north of Lodi is going to help her this week, and then has graciously offered to let her stay with her until she can find a room or some low-income housing to rent on her own.

She called me Monday to give me an update, and that’s when I told her about the money.  She’s so grateful, as am I, and can sleep a little easier knowing that I’ll be coming out this weekend with that money for her to extend the storage shed a bit, give her friend some gas money for helping her out, and will have a bit more seed to try to find that temporary room for rent until her Social Security kicks in.  I know I’ll sleep a little easier too knowing that she at least has somewhere to go, even if it’s temporarily, at the end of the month.

So, this post serves a few purposes.  One, for me to get this all off my brain and out there.  Two, for me to say a huge THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to the folks who’ve donated to help my mom with her new start.  Three, for me to apologize to anyone I’ve been distant from this summer while this has been weighing on me.  Four, to ask that you share the GoFundMe campaign as I’d still like to raise enough money to get my mom a used car so she has some kind of transportation.

Thanks.  I hope I haven’t taken up too much of your time.