Yesterday had been building for months.
Back around August, my mother started having some leg pain. I don't precisely remember when, but I know she'd started using a cane near September 15th, since she had it when they picked up the puppy.
It steadily got worse, to the point where my mother was barely able to get out of bed, if she could at all, for quite awhile. Stress all around, which is fair enough. Can't get out of bed or walk? And in pain? I'd be on the verge of tears every day myself. And the stress was transferred to my dad, since he had to take care of a lot of stuff, and the dog, which he never wanted to do. But someone had to. I did what I could, when I could, but still, a lot fell on his shoulders. He's been working a crap job where they're dicking him around a bit, doing a graveyard shift of sorts, and getting not much sleep for a few days a week. Cue more stress.
My dad is a pretty organised guy. He has his plan to do things. When he goes out for errands, he wants to go A, then B, then home, as quickly as possible. Or if he's around the house, he has his routines and wants to get them over with and relax, or do some work. Ever since whatever happened to my mom happened, well those have gone out the window. He's been hardly able to do any work around the house, because he's rushing around everywhere trying to do his stuff, when he's not trying to get some sleep, and doing her stuff as well. Aaaand the dog. So every time my mother asks for yet another thing for him to do, or to pick up when he's out, well it's kinda understandable to Mister Neutral here that he's feeling a bit short and grumpy.
Now, picture what happens in this scenario if something should go wrong. Something gets misplaced. Something doesn't get done. Both parties pretty much blame the other, and yelling ensues. And damnit, if I hear "I'M NOT YELLING! I'LL SHOW YOU YELLING!" one more time, I don't think I can hold back the laughter.
It started off pretty small, as these things do. But let's see, it's been three months now. Fortunately, my mother is finally walking, and almost normally again to boot. But still, it's been three months of sniping at each other, and yesterday, the proverbial S hit the figurative F.
To be fair, my dad does deserve some of what he's wrought. He has been screwing up, and part of it is his age. The dude is 70. Part of it is heaping "Can you do one more thing?" upon "And also..." and he forgets things. Heck, I've done it when I get a string of requests. But my mom has leapt past the snarky when appropriate stage and just started jumping on every little thing my dad says or does. Often when we're alone, my mother says, "Do you see what I mean about your father?" And I dilligently point out that after 40 years, they've become VERY good at pissing each other off, and there is plenty of blame to go around, and they're both in the wrong at times.
Anyways, yesterday. We made fudge while my dad was out. My mom left the dishes in the sink, and was going to get to them shortly. She had left the two big mixing bowls with fudgey gooey remnants in them sitting on the counter. My dad comes home, and rather innocently, and rightly points out, "You should have soaked those bowls instead of letting them sit." Heck, I almost pointed out the same thing 10, 15 minutes earlier. There was no malice behind the statement, no sarcasm or snark, just a simple, "Hey, that's fudge, that shoulda been soaked."
But my mom goes from zero to pissed in point three seconds. "Don't tell me what to do! Just leave the dishes alone, I'll clean them!!"
I just hunker down in the bunker of WoW as the yells shoot back and forth behind my head. Now, if he'd come in and said, and he has before, "Why are all these dishes in the sink?! I have stuff to do and they're in my way!!" it might have been a different story, IMO, but what he said was pretty damned calm for him. That's probably what she heard in her head, as if she was expecting it. I saw the dishes in the sink and knew he'd be home soon and that's what *I* expected him to say. I was surprised at what he did say.
It went downhill from there. My mom wanted the K-Mart ad for today when we go out, she couldn't find it, blames my dad for taking it when he went out and losing it. Oh wait no, it was just in a different spot on the table. Did she apologise? No. Meanwhile, my dad's losing it, yelling, barely able to form sentences and about to break down into tears himself, because HE knows he's getting blamed for everything left and right , can never seem to do anything to her satisfaction, and he's pretty sure he didn't take the ad. Although I suspect he knows his mental faculties are not what they once were, so add on paranoia of senility atop everything else. There's only so much blame a person can take that isn't actually their fault before going boom.
As that storm begins to calm, dad can't find a coupon he was looking for. They both think they know where the other put it, it can't be found, and there is more yelling. Accusations, threats...I think we've all seen similar scenes. It wasn't exactly pretty. It sounds petty, but it was for a hefty discount from an expensive store, and kinda the straw that broke the back after the long day. Dad pushes a few certain buttons that REALLY piss off my mom and make things worse...
I'd been waiting for yesterday to come for quite awhile, and when it came, wow. And of course, last night my mom is on the phone talking to a friend, and she's telling her...well, not the whole story. I noticed a few edits to events, that made my dad sound even worse, and my mother clearly the victim, as we are all wont to do when telling a story, to build up our own roles. Being my mother's best friend, she gives advice to help out, which kinda involves more yelling at my dad, and having him checked for being senile and hard of hearing. While there's some of that, giving such advice based on not having the whole story isn't really cool.
Oh yeah, that coupon? I just found it buried in my mom's HUGE pile of papers and stuff. Let's see what happens when I pull it out later.