Saturday, March 17, 2012

Two Families equals extra fun and drama

Orlando's Titi from Oroville called him the other night. She has been wanting to buy us some new kitchen gadget to celebrate our engagement. We don't need another kitchen gadget ,although I lust after plenty of fun things as I peruse the aisles of Sur le Table. I pointed out to him we do need some sauce pans - 2 and 3 quart cooking pots. I have a decent one from my old  Revereware set but the two he uses are beginning to lose a non-stick coating and I don't want that to wind up in our food. I won't cook with them. Once he got over being offended about that ,he admitted to his Aunt that they were the greater need at present.

He was on the phone with her and they were looking on line at possible ideas for long lasting quality cooking pots. " Circulon!! " I called out as I got up and headed to the bedroom to put away some laundry and reflect a bit  on his Aunt. She was Orlando's favorite Aunt and consequently became one of my favorite people. In 1989, when Orlando traveled to the West Coast he chose to go further North instead to the Mecca of San Francisco like I did. It was this particular Aunt that took him in to her family. He had recently come out of the closet and it had done a real number on his Mother, but his Aunt welcomed him with loving arms. Aunt Irene, (as we will call her for the purpose of of this story), was very much a child of the 60s and despite a strong conservative Puerto Rican up bringing she was very open and loving. She fell in love with "Dan"who came from an wealthy, but emotionally unavailable family. Dan couldn't help but be drawn to Irene's boistrous, loving nature and together they raised three interesting, engaging, lovely women.  Orlando is close to his cousins.

The phone call currently taking place in the living room was the first we had heard from Irene since Christmas. Early in November of last year, Irene was having health complications and the youngest daughter was greatly unsatisfied with how her father and her middle sister were handling her Mother's care. Irene had back surgery and had contracted a MRSA infection. She also had diabetes which made all of this a deadly situation. "Sara" the youngest daughter did not think that her Dad could handle her Mother's care. According to Sara, he couldn't handle the sight of blood and would "take off" when it came to making hard core health decisions. In addition, there was "Margaret" Sara's enigmatic thirty-something, middle sister who lived at home with Dan and Irene, since dropping out of college. Margaret at the moment had A) fallen head over heels in love for the first time in her life and B) was on the brink of moving out on her own. Normally Margaret could be relied on to care for her Mother but years and years of being the family cook and maid had taken their toll and well...Margaret had had enough and was ready to take flight. It appeared that Margaret was finally finding herself. Its just that her timing sucked. Sara was beside herself. She lived in Oregon and was a research lab physician of sorts. She was taking a lot of time off to attend to this situation at home. She called Orlando at her wits end not knowing what to do which caused him to pay a visit to Oroville for  one Saturday. Oakland to Oroville is about three hours by car. Then we went up the next two weekends together. The final result was a discussion bringing Orlando's Mom from Puerto Rico, who was retired, to stay and help with Irene's care. Lando's Mother used to care quite a bit for her baby sister when she was very young would be like old times. It seemed like a natural solution!

That went well for about a week . Christmas was rapidly approaching. Sara taught Orlando's Mom everything to do for her mother so she could head back to Oregon knowing she would be in good hands. Orlando and I went up for one more visit so he could see his Mom. The household seemed a little tense to me and Dan's reticence for caring for his wife was non-existent as far as I could see. He even gave her an insulin injection in front of me. Orlando's Mom seemed bored and uncomfortable but Orlando told me that is just the expression on her face naturally. We headed back to Oakland and I was gearing up for a HUGE Christmas dinner involving all these people and my brother and his fiance and our friends, except his family would never come.

(To be Continued)

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