Those of you who were reading over the summer got to hear about my adventures with Ken and my mom as we worked together to pack some of my step-dad's stuff into boxes. Or more accurately: Ken did most of the work, while I concentrated on distracting my mom, because she couldn't be witness to the process without getting emotionally triggered by every piece of his crap that came to light on its way into the boxes.
We cleared out the whole 2nd floor and half of the first floor by Hallowe'en. It took a long time because Ken could only be in the house for 2 hours at a time, even with allergy medication, because he's allergic to cats. Even though we worked on it every Sunday, progress was painfully slow.
Why, you might ask, were we packing for my step-dad? Why wasn't he doing it himself? Because if he doesn't want to do something, he doesn't do it. Full stop, end of story. He's good at two things: making money, and playing golf. And if you have enough money that you're willing to throw at your problems, you can usually find someone to do the dirty work for you. Lucky for him that he has cash to spare.
It kind of makes sense that he wants other people to do everything for him. Outside of his line of work, his incompetence is frightening. Even when he is motivated to do something, he screws it up in ways that defy imagining. Sometimes he seems to verge on "idiot savant" territory. Yes, it's that bad.
My mom is sick to death of my step-dad's habit of sloughing off responsibility. For 27 years she did all the dirty work in the house, organized his life for him, and picked through the recycling bin every week to pull out the imortant mail he invariably threw in there due to sheer carelessness.
She decided that he should take some responsibility for shipping his crap to California. When he was in town this past week she told him he should arrange for a courier to come by and pick up the boxes. Not only that, but she was washing her hands of the whole problem. It was his job to do everything, including sit around and wait for the courier to do the pickup.
When I heard that she was putting this all on him, I cringed inwardly. I knew exactly what would happen. And lo, it came to pass, just as I had predicted.
When the courier arrived, the boxes had not been brought up from the basement into the front hall. Not only that, but none of them was labelled with an address, and several of them weren't even sealed. He thought that all he had to do was make one phone call, and the courier would spirit all the boxes out of the basement, directly to California, without him lifting a finger.
My mom was there and told me what happened at the pick-up. The driver got angry and said that he was on a schedule; he didn't have time to wait for my step-dad to prepare the boxes. My step-dad insisted that he could do it all quick-quick if the guy would just wait a minute. Then he shoved a marker into my mom's hand and told her that she'd better go downstairs and start labelling boxes. Nice tactic, eh? He's still sloughing stuff off onto her.
Meanwhile, the courier was standing with the front door open, and one of my mom's Never-Allowed-Outside cats escaped. So of course my mom freaked out and went chasing after the cat in the snow. The courier threw up his hands in disgust and left. The boxes are still in the basement, innocent of all plans regarding their removal.
Even hearing my mom tell the story makes my stomach churn. It's too much of a reminder of what it was like to live in the house with the two of them for 15 years. Every simple thing became a fiasco. The two of them always at odds with each other. She was always pushing for him to do things which he would simply not do. Her disappointment and anger were constant. His lack of caring was equally consistent.
I'm having flashbacks to the misery of my childhood. And the kicker is, the only way I'm going to get any closure on this situation is to go back and take care of things myself. She won't do it on principle, and he won't do it because he doesn't want to. So I'll end up doing it. When that whole house is packed up and clean, maybe I'll get some peace.