My family is certifiably insane. Truly. I love them. And they love to ask me to do them favors.
There is no interaction with my family that is not filled with drama (yes, I used a double negative. What are you going to do about it?).
Today, my mother called. Sigh. She is on vacation and she called to tell me where she keeps all her important documents. I could lie and say that I couldn’t understand her because of the rubbish cell phone connection. It was a rubbish cell phone connection but that’s not why I have no idea where she’s hidden her paperwork. The truth is, once I start hearing the crazy, a very important safety mechanism in my brain kicks in. Once I hear the crazy, my brain only processes a tiny percentage of what’s being said.
Really, when I hear my 70 year old mother start telling me to look in this cabinet for such and such paperwork and go to this room for some other paperwork, it’s in my best interest to just zone out.
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t tune out the most disturbing part of her speech. My mother tells me, in complete seriousness, the following:
If something should happen to us (her and my stepfather), since you don’t have keys, you should break into our house and immediately change the locks.
She went on to explain that my stepdad’s family has been written out of their wills. So why am I breaking into my mother’s house? Well because my mother is so paranoid that someone might steal from her, that no one, including any of her children, have a key to her house.
And then why am I changing the locks? Well, because she believes that my stepdad’s family will break in.
Let’s recap. My mother calls me to tell me that if her and her husband die on vacation, I should immediately go to her house and break in. And the next thing I should do, again immediately, change the locks. I need to be sure to perform these actions before my stepdad’s family are notified of his death.
That’s messed up for so many reasons.
I try not to get into disagreements with my mother. It is useless to try and reason with a completely irrational person. I couldn’t stop myself from asking one question though, because I want to know why I need to change the locks on my mother’s house? So I asked: Does my stepdad’s family have a set of keys?
My mom assured me that no, my stepdad’s family does not have keys. But they are sure to break in if they know that my mother and stepdad have passed. I didn’t go for the obvious follow up: if my stepdad’s family is going to break into the house anyway, why would it matter that I’ve put my own locks on the house? I have many super powers, but the power to install locks that are burglar-proof (or merely crazy-stepdad-relative-proof) is not one of them.
The conversation was very telling though. Even in death, my mother is most concerned that no one should get her stuff. Little does she know that my siblings and I don’t want her stuff. I don’t want her old magazines or her 6 crappy cars (or however many are in that driveway. Sell them all and just have two good ones). I don’t want her costume jewelry or her china or her 5 ancient, barely functioning computers or her linens or whatever other things are stacked to the ceiling in every room of that house. If my stepdad’s family is stupid enough to clean out some of the ridiculous, worthless stuff that her and my stepdad have amassed, they’re doing us a favor.
My mother is so well-known for her massive amounts of garbage that it was the neighborhood joke. See, before she moved to her current house, the neighbors joked that they were going to sell tickets to watch my mom try to move all her junk. They would try to guess how many movers and trucks would be needed to complete her move.
Years ago, my siblings and I decided that when mom passes, we are just burning her house down. There’s nothing worth having to pour through my mom’s junk. So, we’ll set that house on fire and drink some beers while we watch it burn. It’ll be a good time. Well, at least until the cops show up.