Recently, we have been living with my mother. We began building a new house last fall and had to finally pull the plug to sell the house we were living in to avoid an extended period of paying two mortgage payments. As of the first of October, our home is still not complete so we moved in with my mother.
It has been a fairly stress-free transition as we have an upstairs suite to ourselves in her condo. We are thankful to her for putting up with us this long. She has not complained about the extra laundry, dirty dishes in the dishwasher and general invasion to her space with overcrowding of extra clothes and boxes to her upstairs closet and storage room.
She has rather enjoyed having our company since she has lived alone in her condo for around six years. She has also been happy to have our Cavalier, Delilah, around since she lost her beloved Sheltie two years ago. She has enjoyed taking her on walks and is slowly beginning to spoil her as she has made room for her on her sofa and has discovered her napping on her bed.
Although we have taxed her going to and from her condo to check on our building project each day, she remains a great encourager with a constant cheerful disposition and positive outlook on life. We have laughed together and at each other. Here are a few of the comical things that have happened during our stay so far:
I have discovered old items in her pantry and refrigerator and have tried to gently encourage their removal. From her “old-school” and thrifty generation, she resists throwing away things but at the risk of her poisoning herself, I have insisted when the expiration date is way over due.
One evening, I was trying to prepare something edible from items on hand. I decided upon a potato salad. The mayo was “safe” but I wanted to add some pickles. I discovered a jar of dills. When I opened it up, the pickles were a muted shade of green. When I checked the expiration, lo and behold I discovered a faint date from 2008! Out they went! Another jar of pickle relish was dated 2014. I threw them out also. I decided to do without pickles for my dish.
We have had several sightings of clothing articles hanging from odd and unusual places. One day I came home and found my husband’s shirt hanging on the back deck from a plant hook. At other times I have found my bras hanging on door handles in the laundry room. I have reminded her to please not embarrass me by hanging any undergarments on the back porch. She does not like to tax her dryer so she often removes things from it before they are completely dry. She misses the days when people used clothes lines but it is not allowed in her condo development so she has had to adapt.
As mentioned before, my mother loves animals. She has especially developed a love for squirrels. She saves stale bread and peanuts to place on the railings of her deck so that she can watch them dine from her kitchen window. They have become very tame as they don’t run away when we come in or out of the back door. They seem rather pesky to me as they gnaw on the deck floor when she forgets to put food out.
Last week we had an interesting experience. We drove up in the driveway and discovered a baby squirrel on the pavement moving slowly as if injured. Mom quickly ran to examine him. She prodded him off the pavement into the vine-covered bed along the driveway. She brought a neighbor by to look at it. It was not moving but was still alive several hours later. Near nightfall, the squirrel was still in the same spot. Mom decided she wanted to try to rescue him. She got a box and pair of gloves out of the garage. Wearing the gloves, she picked him up. He scared us by making a loud squeal. I was afraid he might bite her. He had blood coming from his mouth and appeared pretty lethargic.
I did not think he would make it through the night.
We decided to fill the box with newspapers and food. We placed it on the deck in a protected corner near her back door. We covered the squirrel with an upside down basket so that he could breathe but could not get out. He was safe from predators overnight up on the deck. We had done our good deed and prayed for the best.
The next morning when I bounded down the stairs to check on the squirrel, Mom greeted me. She had already checked on little squirrel. Miraculously, he had survived through the night and had regained strength. He jumped out of the box when she opened it. He followed her and tried to come inside the condo. She was tempted to keep him for a pet but decided it would be better to let him go. She was encouraged that God had nudged her to save the little creature, she obeyed and he survived and thrived.
Whenever I see squirrels now at her feeding station, I look carefully for wistful signs that one particular youngster has come to visit “Mother Squirrel.”