Ding, Dong, Rachel’s Gone! The Rachel Files: Weeks 12-14

English: George Clooney at the 2009 Venice Fil...

Sorry George. I wouldn’t even live with someone like you until I recover from my last roommate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I drove my temporary roommate, Rachel, to the airport at 5:45 this morning, to visit her ailing mother in another state. She’ll return in three weeks, but plans on moving somewhere else then. The separation has taken much longer than I hoped, but it’s finally happening!

I will miss her help walking my dog, doing dishes, and assisting with housework (except when she was overzealous). But I will not miss her clogging up my plumbing (which happened again during this most recent time period), and the general weirdness that goes with her condition. I will also not miss finding her used floss on my living room floor, and, I hate to say it, she was starting to ruin my furniture with her bulk.

On the way to the airport, she apologized for her “inconsiderate and inconsistent” behavior. I tried not to discount her statement (because it’s true!) but I didn’t want her to leave feeling bad. I told her it was a learning experience for me and my son. It helped open our eyes to the challenges that some people face.

After I took Rachel’s suitcase to the ticket counter, I gave her a hug and wished her a good trip. I’m so glad she found a way to make her trip happen. I hope it will be a good experience for her, and that it will provide some closure for her with her mother.

I figure three months is a very respectable amount of time to share one’s home on a volunteer basis. My son and I are looking forward to having our home back to ourselves. I think it’s given us a new appreciation for one another, and, as I mentioned in previous entries, the experience totally cured me of the half-empty nest feelings I was having when my oldest son moved out.

Now I am likely to enjoy and guard my privacy much too fiercely. One of my girlfriends asked me if I would let George Clooney live with me if he wanted. I replied, “Not even George Clooney.” Sorry guys! (Smirk)

The Rachel Files: Weeks 8-9, anger management and the electrical poltergeist

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Angry Talk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rachel indirectly asked me the other day if I was angry with her. Her question was perfectly reasonable, given the plumbing issue, the food issue, and her general invasion of my personal space. My answer surprised me. No, I’m not angry. In this case, anger would serve no purpose. It would be like being angry at the wind for blowing. It’s not like Rachel is doing any of these behaviors on purpose – they are a consequence of her condition. Being angry at her isn’t going to change her behavior or make her condition go away. It would only make our living situation even more uncomfortable.

On the other hand, if I discovered she WAS doing her actions on purpose, I would be angry. But I really don’t think that’s the case. I may vent to friends and co-workers (and this blog) about her issues, but I don’t hold any lingering grudges. It is what it is.

Last week, I returned from my second trip during her stay to find the house in good order, except for a few electrical things that Rachel had no control over. For instance, I arrived home at midnight to the annoying low-battery beep of a smoke detector. Rachel spends most of her time downstairs, and the smoke detector was upstairs, so she didn’t hear it very well. And what sounds she did hear, she mistook for the chirping of our guinea pig.

After one false start figuring out which of the seven detectors it could be, I changed the battery so that I could fall into bed and sleep uninterrupted. My trip occurred during the changeover in daylight savings time, so before finally closing my eyes, I needed to adjust the time on my digital clock. Right after I did so, the clock’s numeral display mysteriously disappeared. Granted, the device was seven years old, but I was beginning to feel jinxed – like my return was draining the life out of all things electrical.

The next day was no better. The display on my home thermostat started blinking “low battery.” I made a special trip to the store to get a pack of double-As, but alas, they were low on power, too. The thermostat won’t work without power, and I was too busy for another trip to the store, so we suffered through a cold day until I could get another pack. This time, I made sure to get the kind that can hold a charge for ten years. We now have heat again – a handy thing when outside temps are only 20 degrees F.

Anyway, this post finds Rachel still living with me. She has not had any luck finding another place. And it’s not like I can really be mad about that either, since her moving is dependent on the willingness of others. She’s been advertising and soliciting other people. It’s just that nothing has worked yet. Rachel was getting stressed about it, but I assured her I understood she was doing what she could. And it’s not like I’m going to throw her out into the frigid outdoors on a certain date.

But I long to have my house back to myself, especially with the Holidays approaching, and I know my son does, too. We’ll just have to muddle through a while longer, deal with issues as they arise, and go with the flow.

Anyone want a roommate? (Grin)

The Rachel Files: Weeks 4-6 and the black eye

Black eye (orbicular bruise). Crop and Rotatio...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, I did not give her the black eye!

As I mentioned in my previous post about my temporary roommate, Rachel had apparently been making inroads into my son’s snacks even though we talked about separation of our food. Now, I don’t mind so much when someone messes with me. But when my son approached me, shaking an empty package of cashews with a look of sad hunger in his eyes, I decided the woman had to go.

We had another small summit meeting (similar to the one we had about her excessive toilet paper use) and discussed the importance of keeping to our own food. It went well, but the mother lion in me was stirred, so I decided to take a few days to figure out how to tell Rachel that I could not keep her for the full time until a housing unit opens up. We had never set a specific amount of time for her stay, but I had been hoping to do that for her.

I do want to say that it has been great having Rachel walk my dog during the day, and hearing her tips about cooking and cleaning. She is a pleasant person on a difficult journey. But she is crossing lines that are too hard for me (and my son) to adjust to, especially since I have a choice in the matter.

While I was considering how to tell her she had to find another place to stay, Rachel, who has more serious mental health issues than I realized at first, started taking new medications that pretty much zonked her out and upset her balance. One morning, at 2:30 a.m., I heard a crash downstairs where she stays. Because she sometimes does things at odd hours, I didn’t think much of it. Plus, it sounded like something had just fallen off a shelf. I was too sleepy to get up and investigate. It wasn’t until the next day when I came home from work in the evening that I discovered the cause of the sound. Apparently, Rachel had fainted in the bathroom and fallen flat on her face on the linoleum. When I entered, she sat on the couch with a bag of ice on her eye, which sported a HUGE shiner.

I felt bad A) For not caring enough to investigate the crash, B) That this terrible thing happened to her, C) That she didn’t let me know about it in a timely manner so I could get her some help. And I’m sure she wasn’t too comfortable, either! I asked her if she had a doctor she should be calling, and offered to take her someplace, but she assured me she had it covered. Although I wasn’t so sure, I was in the middle of moving my elderly parents to an assisted living home, so I took her word for it.

In her medicated befuddlement over the next few days, Rachel was also leaving burners and lights on. I had a work trip coming up where I would be gone for four days. Guess how confident I felt leaving her home alone for that long? Thankfully, she was open to the idea of having a network of people check on her and go out to lunch with her, which we put into place before I left.

That seemed to go well. My house suffered in my absence, however. More on that in the next installment!