Archive for money

Post #69 The brooding Nana vs. the world of it’s all fine…

Posted in Family, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

For those who wish to read about my crackhead brother who stole Nana’s life savings, go to:

Otherwise, for my regulars..I have an update on Nana and her hoarding and spending spree mentioned in the previous post:

The day after returning from vacation, I brought Nana’s morning meds to her, and she said, “Would you mail this to Cathy, please?” Handing me an envelope addressed to the infamous Cousin Cathy*, she continued, “It has a check in it for $25.” And her tone was so casual – as if the subject of giving money to the chronically unemployed Cathy hasn’t been a constant point of contention between us.

“Nana, you KNOW you CANNOT afford to give anyone any money.”

“I discussed it with Reverend Jim.”

“Reverend Jim is a good man, but he’s not managing your money. I am, at YOUR request. If you give Cathy money, you’ll run short on your bills and prescriptions, and I’ll have to pay for them and your groceries. And you won’t be able to get your hair done or -”

“Then, I won’t get my hair done.”

“I am not washing your hair for you. I don’t have time.”

Her scowl deepened, and she said, “And cancel my appointment with Dr. Raines tomorrow.”

“You can’t cancel again. They’ll charge you $25 because I’ve already rescheduled that appointment twice, and you need to go. You need to get your teeth fixed.”

So, we can STOP hearing about her broken teeth and how hard it is to chew everything, and so she can eat a larger repertoire of meat other than chicken that has been bludgeoned into a brie-ish pancake with a meat hammer or frozen Salisbury steaks.

Nana sighed. “But it’ll cost me money to see Dr. Raines, won’t it?”

“Yes, $15, but I budgeted for that. What I didn’t budget for was you spending almost $200 while I was gone.”

“Well, it wasn’t on me.”

“It doesn’t matter WHAT you spent it on. I gave you $80 out of your account, because you didn’t want to use your debit card. Instead, you spent $40 on two gift cards for Cathy -”

Nana scowled,

“Yes, Sarah** told me about the Walmart cards.”

Nana brightened momentarily asking, “What about Ben***? Did he send me anything?”

“Yes, and you spent every dime of that $150, that was earmarked for your BILLS and your prescriptions, not to buy Cathy clothes at the Thrift Store.”

“Just $12 for pants and a blouse.”

“Yes, I know,” I said acidly, “Cathy needs to buy her own damned clothes, and the rest of the charges were to Burger King and Golden Corral, and I don’t remember where else. But the point is, I’ve already put over $6,000 on my credit card in the last year from two trips to Georgia to clean out your house and to buy your prescriptions and your health insurance and everything else when you run short, and I can’t afford to-”

“I know all that.”

“Then, why in God’s name are you asking me to send Cathy money?”

She just looked at me, eyes blaring wide. “She has nothing to eat.”

“Bullshit. She’s going to spend it on cigarettes and beer and-”

“She doesn’t drink, and she wouldn’t do that!”

“How do you know? Are you going to be there when she goes shopping?!”

And remember…Cathy lives in West Virginia about 200 miles from me and Nana in Ohio.

Nana’s pale face blanches, and her chin starts to quiver, but not in sorrow over the truth finally seeping into her brain…no, in anger at me. “She’ll buy food with it. I trust her!”

“Well, you shouldn’t. You trusted Danny, and look how THAT turned out.”

“She’s not Danny. She’s a good Christian.”

I nodded my head. “Uh, uh, and Danny said he found God right before he emptied your bank account.”

A stalemate of stares ensues between us, and I end it with, “This,” I said, shaking the envelope at her, “is the last time you give Cathy any money as long as I’m managing your finances.” I stood up and moved toward the door of Nana’s room. “If Cathy needs money, she can get a damned job!” I yelled. “And if you give her any money, you can just pack your shit and move in with her because I am so DONE,” I shouted, slamming the door behind me.

I sat staring at the envelope to Cathy for the longest time. I REALLY had to fight the urge to rip it open, tear up that check and use those gift cards to buy Depends for Nana (and those frickin’ things are expensive!) and her medication, and that fucking PREGO spaghetti sauce she likes instead of my homemade sauce (yes, from scratch…go figure) and her fucking “sweets” she requires daily like Krispie Kreme donuts, and I could enumerate quite a few items for the $65 she wanted me to throw away on the leech known as Cousin Cathy.

But I didn’t. I typed a note to Cathy explaining that Nana is flat-busted broke, and this is the LAST time she’ll receive money from Nana Maude, and to PLEASE stop blathering about her financial problems since it only upsets my Grandmother knowing she CAN’T help her. And I made no mention that I think she’s a worthless, lazy liar. I then put Nana’s envelope in a bigger, brown envelope and slipped my note inside and mailed it to Cathy.

I was rather flat-toned, bordering on surly for the next day or so with Nana, but every time I walked into Nana’s room, she was all sunshine and smiles. I couldn’t tell if it was an act, or in her schizophrenic/alzheimer-ish way, she didn’t remember our verbal altercation.

However, whenever my husband talked to her, she was quiet and her voice took on this moaning quality as if she were suffering from the flu or something. He didn’t go for her ruse though and ask her what was wrong. He just feigned not noticing.

Then, when Charlie told her that dinner was ready a mere 6 hours after our confrontation, she said, “Do you want me to stay in here and eat?” And she’d been in her room ALL day…

Yeah, as if she weren’t welcome at the dinner table… 🙂 …she joined us, and was very chatty as usual as if she hadn’t a care in the world.

Funny thing…two days later, Cathy called saying she’d gotten the gift cards and everything, but she had to go to the Post Office to get the package because they were holding it for POSTAGE DUE! She had to pay $1.06 for her ill-gotten gain. When Nana told me, I CACKLED with laughter.

“What’s so funny?” Nana asked, rather confused.

“Nothing. I’ve gotta finish a project that’s due in a couple of hours.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I took Cathy’s package to the Post Office and weighed it, and the postal meter said it would cost $.74 cents. I stuck two stamps on it and tossed it in the outgoing mailbox!

After that, things were calm until…I found out what she said to Sarah when they went grocery shopping…

STAY tuned, boys and girls, if you wanna hear about the INSULTS she levied against me and Charlie (you know, the husband)…

Over and out from the fires of GERIATRIC HELL…

TenaciousBITCH and company…

* Cathy’s backstory and her conniving aplenty are mentioned in

**Sarah is my mother-in-law who takes care of Nana when I’m out of town.

*** Ben is my older brother who lives in California, who has helped out a lot since Nana moved in with us.


Blog #43 – The kindest man who ever lived…

Posted in Family, nonfiction, parenting, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

On December 19, 2009, the kindest man who ever lived, my father, became yet another victim of cancer and departed this world. Therefore, in honor of his passing, I’m going to share a story about an incredible event in Dad’s childhood that he relayed to me when I was five years old.

Dad grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. When he was ten, his mother, Grandma Gracie, and dad, Grandpa James, his sister, Jenna, and brother, Thomas, and he were living in a very small apartment in a low-rent suburb near downtown.

Unfortunately, Grandpa James, whom the kids called Pop, was an alcoholic who frequently spent every dime he made on bourbon and beer. Naturally, Dad’s family lived on less than a shoestring budget, and they often didn’t have enough to eat. Some days, oatmeal for breakfast was their only meal.

Like most women in the 40s, Grandma Gracie didn’t work outside the house. There weren’t exactly a slew of jobs for women back then, anyway, except working for the phone company, or, perhaps, as a beautician. But Gracie did occasionally her sell fancy birthday cakes and pies to the people at St. Patrick’s Church. .

Anyway…when Dad was nine and a half, he had a paper route. He’d get up at 5:30 a.m., and deliver newspapers on his bike for two hours every day.. And sometimes in the winter, when it was 10 or 12 degrees outside, his hands would shake and turn a pale blue from the cold, despite wearing two pairs of gloves. Once in awhile, a neighbor would take pity on him and invite him in just to sit and defrost for a few minutes by their cast iron stove or something.

For all his toil, he received $5 every two weeks! Can you imagine a ten-year-old these days waking before dawn, working that hard, often in blizzard conditions, for such a pittance? I think not…

And what did Dad, whose name was Jonathan, by the way, do with his hard-earned cash? Unlike most kids, Dad was very frugal. He bought a new pair of shoes and a new pair of jeans when his got too many holes in them for Gracie to repair. Aside from that, he saved almost dollar of his first year’s salary to buy Christmas presents and to buy himself a new bike. His Schwinn was a hand-me-down from Thomas, and it was rather old and rusty.

Since Grandpa James was known to go tear up the house searching for Dad and Grandma Gracie’s hard-earned money to fund his booze habit, my Dad hid his money in a sock, which he stuffed inside a slit he’d cut on the underside of his mattress. Not much chance Grandpa James would find it there.

He’d found his future bike in the window of Higbees downtown, a window his family passed every Sunday going to and from church. He’d poured over the Sears catalog, browsed the local dime store, and Higbee’s as well, trying to find the PERFECT items for his family.

He decided on perfume for his mother, a pretty scarf for his sister, a model airplane for Thomas and a shiny silver cigarette lighter for his father. Yes, even something for his Pop who would’ve guzzled away all Dad’s wealth if the old drunk had found it.

Dad was so excited about his Christmas treasures and his new ten-speed that he couldn’t sleep the night before his last payday before Christmas. Whereupon he’d have enough cash to buy everything on his list.

However, that morning after collecting that magical paycheck, he was hurriedly wolfing down his oatmeal when an unexpected visitor came knocking.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Smith, but I can’t wait any longer. I hate to do this so close to Christmas, but I need $160, or I’ll, I’ll have to evict you.” said Mr. Petrovksy, the tall, gaunt landlord with the bushy, gray mustache. “Is Mr. Smith at home?”

“No, he’s at work.”

“I see. Well…” Mr. Petrovsky began but hesitated when my Dad, little Jonathan, appeared at Grandma Gracie’s side.

“And he doesn’t get paid until next week,” Gracie said, panic rising in her voice. “Can’t you wait a few more days? I’ve only got a couple of dollars, but you’re-”

“I’m afraid not, Ma’am,” Mr. Petrovsky said sadly. “You’re already two months behind-”

“But you can’t throw us out in the street? My three children, Mr. Petrovsky,” Gracie said, glancing down at my Dad. “Where are we supposed to go?”

“Mr. Petrovsky, would you accept $150, or maybe $148? Would that be enough until next week?” My dad asked.

With a look of wide-eyed shock, Mr. Petrovsky smiled. It was obvious, he didn’t know how to respond. “Um, yes, it would. But this is none of your concern, Jonathan.”

“Hold on,” Dad replied, “Please,” and Dad ZIPPED into the hallway toward his and Thomas’s room as fast as his long, skinny legs could propel him.

“What’s he doing, Mrs. Smith?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can you telephone your husband at work, Mrs. Smith?”

“No, I-” Grandma began when my Dad appeared beside his mother again with a wide, euphoric smile on his face. “Here, Mr. Petrovsky,” Dad said, handing the landlord a ratty-looking sock.

Mr. Petrovsky face darkened, a glimmer of sadness in his dark eyes, “I’m sorry, son, but your dirty sock isn’t much in the way of currency. I-”

“No, no, look inside, please, that’s where I hide my money from Pop, so he won’t use it to buy liquor,” Dad said.

An embarrassed glow appeared on Grandma Gracie’s pale face. “Jonathan!” Gracie snapped. “Your father doesn’t, doesn’t do that,” She stammered as she watched Mr. Petrovsky dump a large bundle of cash out of the sock and into his hand.

Grandma Gracie gasped, “Where’d you get all that money, Jonathan?”

“From my paper route. I was going to buy a new bike and…but, please, Mr. Petrovsky, is that enough? I don’t want to be victed. That means we’ll have to move, right?”

Mr. Petrovsky eyes were drawn wide in surprise, and he merely stared at the boy. “Yes, it’s one hundred forty eight and…” his voice trailed off as he counted the change.

“Sorry that some of it is in quarters and dimes, but I spent a little here and there on candy,” Dad said grinning.

Mr. Petrovsky guffawed loudly as he ruffled Dad’s dark hair for a moment. “Well, you deserve all the candy you can afford, little man.”

Grandma Gracie stood staring open-mouthed at her son for a moment.  “But, Jonathan, I can’t. We can’t-that’s your money.”

“No, mother, it’s his money now,” my ten-year-old father replied gesturing to the landlord. “Excuse me, sir, I have to get my books and get to school now.”

Mr. Petrovsky winked at Dad, and dad disappeared into the house.

“Mr. Petrovsky, I -” Gracie asked, teary-eyed, and seemingly unable to finish her thoughts.

Ptrovsky nodded, shoving the wad of bills into his pocket, then handed her back the sock and said, “That’s some boy you’ve got there. You should be very proud.”

“I am, very proud. Thank you, Mr. Petrovsky,” Grandma Gracie said as a plume of tears washed down from her lashes. “I’ll talk to my husband and make sure you have the rest by the end of the week. You’ll stop by on Friday, then?”

Mr. Petrovsky nodded, but Gracie knew by the look in his eye, they wouldn’t see the landlord until next month, that Mr. Petrovsky understood the miracle that had just occurred when a 10-year-old boy saved his family from the streets. And Mr. Petrovsky didn’t feel the need to be greedy by demanding the remaining $10 – ever.

“Have a good day, now, and Merry Christmas!” Mr. Petrovsky called out as he started down the icy sidewalk toward his house across the street.

“Merry Christmas to you too, Mr. Petrovsky,” Grandma Gracie said.

Dad was completely unaware that he’d done the most important thing on earth, something he did until the day he died. He took care of his family, and there wasn’t a bike or scarf or model airplane anywhere in the world worth more than that…

And Merry Christmas to you all and with that GOOD NIGHT…

All the best,