A pool of contention 

My grandmother’s party in mid September had come and gone. I started growing really concerned about my mom at this point. Her pain from her self diagnosed “sciatica” was becoming severely unmanageable. I ended up having to buy her a cane because she was unable to walk. I was at her home on a daily basis now to help her and check up on her.
The summer was now over and it was time to close her pool. The pool was always a bone of contention. When my dad passed away back in 2006 he had a talk with my brother where he told my brother he was going to have to take over and be the “man” of the house, which included doing things like mowing the lawn, helping my mom with the property and opening and closing the pool. My dad specifically said even when he moved out one day he still had to bear this responsibility . My brother actually lived up to it until 2007 when he moved out. Once he moved out his shit became more important and he was always too busy to help my mom. When my mom asked him for help it was like pulling teeth. It got even worse when Satan came into the picture. My mom would have to book him a month in advance to open the pool. 
Him and Satan opened my mom’s pool the year prior. He came after work one day when my mom wasn’t home and him and Satan took the cover off. That year the cover had collected an unusual amount of leaves and debris. My mom tried to clean off as much as she could but she cautioned my brother to be very careful when removing the cover. When she came home it was dark and so it wasn’t until the next day that she looked out the back door and saw that the water in the pool was completely black. She was doing everything she could to try and clear the water but a week or two had passed and it was still black and murky. Her filter ended up getting clogged and it cost her $300 to repair. She asked my brother if they had dropped the debris from the cover in the pool but he said they didn’t. There’s no way the water got that dirty any other way. Finally after three weeks the water started to clear. My mom walked out one morning and looked in the pool and discovered that there was a large flower pot sitting at the bottom of the pool! All the dirt from the pot is what clouded up the whole pool. That and the debris from the cover. There was no way in hell for that flower pot to end up in that pool unless someone purposely pushed it in from across the deck. It was too heavy for an animal to get it. My mom confronted my brother and he denied knowing anything about it. He probably didn’t. His wife probably pushed it in there to get back at my mom. That’s the kind of person she is. The same person who threatened to leave his ex-fiancé’s dining set on her car, at her job. She’s psychotic. 
I was so run down by September, trying to help care for my mom and my own family that when it came time for the pool to be closed I sort of was an asshole about it. My husband and I needed a break. We needed to do some stuff around our own house that we had been neglecting. From the time my mom got home from the hospital at the end of August, to mid September, my brother and his wife hadn’t done a god damn thing to help. They only wanted to help when she was in the hospital and they had an audience to impress,  and even then they “helped” by going through her mail (????). They came to her house exactly three times and even then it was for an hour or less a clip. I told my mom to ask him to do the pool. He and Satan had no problems asking my mom to watch their one year old, back in July, when she was having all the breathing problems. She was in no shape to be chasing an active toddler around. I hadn’t asked her to watch my son in over six months. One time they invited her to their house under the guise of hanging out and once she got there they plopped her in the living room with the baby and they both went off to do their chores around the house. She was totally duped. 
I know this sounds fucked up and maybe a bit childish but it bothered me that my mom, a) walked on eggshells for them b) was so blind to how shitty they treated her and how they only used her when it was convenient for them, that I couldn’t help but grow a little resentful towards my brother, because it was like he was the golden child. I even had a little resentment towards my mom too for it. She created that monster. It was always ok with my mom when he was too busy to help but when I said I couldn’t do something, she’d get all angry with me and give me an attitude. It was like I was expected to help. Both of them were far too dependent on me. My mom knew I’d always give in and do whatever it was she needed and my brother knew that if he didn’t do things, I would. That was my fault. 

My husband was getting annoyed with the double standard as well and so this time I put my foot down. For weeks I was telling her to ask my brother because we all know how Satan runs his life and has every minute of every day scheduled, months in advance. I even told her I’d help him if Satan couldn’t for some reason. Of course though she waited until a few days before and asks him…….and of course there was an excuse. That Saturday he was headed to Connecticut or Boston or somewhere to watch his stepdaughters regatta race (insert eyeroll emoji 🙄 here), however on Sunday he was going to be home alone with his daughter because Satan was going somewhere with her girlfriends (what else is new). Again, i reminded my mom that would help, if need be,  but I forgot, he’s not allowed to come to my mom’s house alone, silly me. He even had plans for the next weekend and so it was starting to look more and more  like me and my husband once again would be coming to the rescue. 

I have to note here that at this point in time, it was becoming clear that my mom’s health was starting to rapidly decline. I mean you aren’t kept in a hospital for a month for nothing. While my mom was still capable of caring for herself, it was becoming increasingly difficult. I already spent a lot of time with my mom as it was. We talked to one another at least twice a day but most likely more. I would FaceTime her for hours so she could see my son when I wasn’t able to be there.  Even during the calm spans, when her health was stabilized, I made it a point to physically be there. She probably would’ve been ‘ok’ without as much help but everything she did was a struggle, and I just couldn’t sit there and watch her struggle when I’m fully able bodied. I would’ve helped her the same amount regardless of whether or not my brother pitched in but it would’ve been nice to have a break every once in a while, maybe to even have support from him. 
That Sunday while he was alone with the baby, it was the perfect time to for him to come by with her and spend some alone time with grandma, so they could actually  bond. It was really hard to bond with the baby when Satan was around because she’s so neurotic. The whole time she’s barking out orders to my brother to stop the baby from touching things, or to get her bottle or change her diaper, etc. When you try to bond with the baby she always seems to find a way to interrupt it. It’s bizarre. I will get more into this aspect in a later post but Satan’s whole interaction and the dynamic of her and the baby was the most unnatural mother /child relationship I’ve ever observed. 
Anyway, the point here is that, and I guess it was the problem all along, is I cannot for the life of me fathom why my brother didn’t turn around and tell his wife to give him the space and time he needed  to spend with his sick mother. His ex never stopped him from doing so. . In three years my mom had only been alone with my brother a total of three times. That’s not normal. As a wife, I can tell you right now that I do not hover over my husband and he doesn’t do it to me. Since him and I moved in together almost a decade ago, he knew that I went to see my mom at least once a week, usually on a Sunday. He didn’t have to come with me every time. In fact, he stayed home way more than he tagged along. It is completely normal and in fact healthy to be in a relationship and still have your own life. Narcissists and their borderline,  cluster B counterparts don’t seem to understand this concept. My brother just completely lost his balls when he met Satan and I think he’s going to have a lot to be sorry about one day. 
I felt really bad putting my foot down with my mother over closing the pool  and so as I always did, I wrote to her and gave her a really good explanation of why my husband and I were being so stubborn on this one. It was nothing personal against her and I made sure she knew that. She understood but she was also being a pain in the ass about it. My brother was offering to come by on a weekday after work and do it, but my mom refused saying that it would get too dark out. I found it crazy that my brother couldn’t sacrifice a few hours of a Saturday or Sunday for her. He must’ve felt some guilt (which I wasn’t sure he was capable of feeling anymore) for putting her off for two weeks because he did come by one night after work and move around of her patio furniture to safeguard it from the winter weather. 

Two more weeks passed by and finally my brother (and by my brother I mean Satan)  had managed to clear an hour or two off his schedule. My mom called me that Friday night and told me he was coming the next day in the afternoon, and that he was going to need help, and so I agreed to come too. I woke up that morning and it was pouring rain. I put on some workout pants and a waterproof jacket and reluctantly headed over there. I knew if we didn’t just get it done that day, I’d be hearing about this pool well into October,  and so for the first time in years my brother and I worked together to do something. I have to admit, it was kind of nice spending that time with him. It was the first time in three years that we had been together like that. At first it was awkward but after a while it felt like nothing had been wrong,  like we didn’t skip a beat. 
We finished up closing the pool and my brother came inside and talked for about ten minutes and of course he had to go running home for Satan. That was the last time I hung out with him. The next few weeks were going to change everything. 
(To be continued in my next post) 

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