You know what? Let's do this in the contrived form of an imaginary interviewer asking me questions, because it's all so hard to explain, and, God, I'm exhausted at the very thought of writing a blog post.
Q. You moved home? Where have you been living if you weren't at home?
A. We moved to my father-in-law's house in Washington DC in October of 2011, shortly after my mother-in-law passed away from lung cancer. (Which sucked, fyi.) My father-in-law is in his nineties and needs a little help.
Q. Did you like living in DC?
A. Meh. It was okay. It was only 15 minutes from our house in Maryland, so it's not like it was culture shock or anything. It was inconvenient that we had to hide our cars all the time because the police gave us tickets for not getting DC plates. It's hard to find a good hiding place for three tons of metal. On the flip side, we liked being right across from Rock Creek Park.
Q. What was it like living with a 90-something-year-old Jewish man?
A. Equal parts hilarious, depressing, and really fucking annoying. We missed our own house so much. And we missed our life. You feel me?
Q. So why did you move there in the first place? You must have known it would be hard. Are you and Josh the kind of people who don't think things through?
A. Possibly. And we were reeling from the death of Josh's mother, who was the heart of the family. My father-in-law's doctor spoke to us and said, "He can't be alone. He'll die. He won't eat. He can't be alone." So we were all, "WAAAAAH! WE'LL MOVE IN! WAAAAH!"
Is that what you meant by not thinking things through?
Q. Yes, that's what I meant. Hang on a sec. I am perusing your archives. I just read this entry.
And in that entry, you said, "We are here for the duration. A year? 6 months? 5 years? It doesn't matter."
But here you are moving out after a measly 20 months! ARE YOU QUITTERS?
A. Evidently. Here's the thing: We had no idea it would be so hard. We underestimated the toll it would take on us. We fought a lot. I cried a lot. We both gained weight. I went to work early and stayed late. (Which is nothing new but I think I took it to the next level.) In short, we were miserable about 50% of the time.
Q. Yeah, but don't you feel kind of like an asshole, anyway?
A. Definitely. Because we thought we could do it. We wanted to do it. We wanted to be unselfish, good people who take care of their elders. As it turns out, we are very ordinary people and slightly self-centered. Just like everyone else. It was HAAAAARD. Oh, and did I mention that during this same time period my father died and one of my kids got married? And I changed schools? Hmmm?
Q. Oh, I see. You're a big whiner, too.
A. Shut it.
Q. What will your father-in-law do now?
A. Continue being a stubborn old man. He has known for 3 months that we were moving out on July 1st. Josh and his sister have taken him to visit assisted living communities and had many conversations (high-decibel) about what should happen next. He won't (or can't) make a decision and rejects all sensible alternatives. It's frustrating, as many of you know. We (Josh, his sister, me) will continue to make sure that he eats by having him over for dinner. Josh's sister takes him to doctor appointments. We'll help him as much as we can. But at the end of the day we will be able to go home to our own house.
This elder care business is hard, y'all.
Okay. That's all I have for right now. But if you need me, I'll be here in my little yellow house, artfully arranging my coffee cups in any damn cabinet I want.