Not Quite Nellie Part 3
or Why I'm Ugly Crying Alone in an Airport
There is pasta waiting for me just around the corner, and I am so very hungry. I hadn't eaten since 8 am, and it is now 6:30. It had been a VERY long, exhausting weekend, and I really could use some comfort food.
But I can't make it there.
I am sitting in my wheel chair, being just pushed next to garbage cans and left without the offer to get food or use the bathroom. They usually ask.
The bathroom is a looong way away, but it's a flat surface so I can probably make it with only moderate pain.
First I have to jerry rig this darn wheel chair, though. It's the type where you have to squeeze a bar to get it to move, and my hands are killing me. So, I tie my purse around the bar, keeping it up. Then I put Jaynelle's computer and my bag up on the seat- and just like that I had a makeshift walker! I stumbled a few times, but I made it to the bathroom.
On my way back I checked out the restaurants near me. It was all spicy and/or greasy food. My stomach couldn't handle that right now. Nor could it handle the chips and soda at the little store.
I looked in my phone and found a list of SeaTac airport restaurants, and decided pasta with white sauce and veggies sounded like it would be ok to eat. I came up with a couple back up restaurants, all in the same area. It was just around the corner, too! One problem...the damn ramp!
Just when I was feeling helpless, I saw a guy walking by with a food bag- they had delivery! I set to work in finding this glorious site!
They only delivered hamburgers and tacos...
So, desperate, I called the wheel chair people. They said they would send someone.
I stared at that ramp for 10 minutes, feeling so helpless and pathetic. IT WAS JUST RIGHT THERE!!!
I saw a wheel chair transporter come up to me. He walked right past, and I was confused. I heard him talking on his radio, just a few steps behind me. They asked him to take me to the restaurant area. He paused a moment, then said he would rather go on break instead.
I started crying. I just needed to be pushed up a damn ramp! I could probably walk from there! I felt fat, ugly, and worthless. I imagined him behind me, making a face at the fat lady, then going on break instead. I wasn't worth the effort. I cried harder, choking back sobs. I was happy not many people looked over, but also sad they didn't offer to help. I felt so alone.
I called the wheel chair people and they sent someone over another 10 minutes later. They offered to take me to McDonald's, but I wanted to puke just thinking of it. I showed them the restaurant I wanted, and she spoke loudly on the walkie talkie for 5 minutes. It was so embarrassing. I tried to ask her just to push me up the ramp and would go there myself. She ignored me. They insisted it was closed, and I asked "ALL the restaurants there are!?". She went back to the loud conversation. The fat lady in the wheel chair needed pasta. Of course she did.
She's probably fat because of the pasta after all. Maybe if she stopped eating carbs she wouldn't be in a wheel chair.
I couldn't stop the tears. My mask was soaking wet.
I told them (there were more now, by the way) to forget it. I'd just stay hungry. I needed water though.
The lady took me back for water. $3 for a bottle. Insane.
She put me back by the garbage cans, where I belonged. I sighed, and went to open my water bottle...
...except my hands wouldn't work enough to open it.
I lost it. I sobbed and choked on my tears. I wanted to scream, and never stop screaming. It was so fucking frustrating!
When I finally calmed down enough to speak I asked the lady next to me to open it. Boy, did it look easy.
I sipped my water, shaking from pain and emotion. I stared at that evil damn ramp, keeping pasta away. My blood sugar was low, too. I considered a greasy burger, but I knew I couldn't stomach one. No one wants to be on a plane with severe intestinal distress.
I ate my last fun sized almond snickers, knowing it would be not great on my stomach...but it was something anyway.
I sat with my water, remembering the last 48 hours... (oh yeah, reader...I went there! it's flashback time!)
I lay in bed, unable to sleep despite the fact that I had just finished an intense 14 hour work day while trying to juggle my sister's illness from another state. Actually, I'm sure that's why I COULDNT sleep (like any Kenney ever needed an excuse to not sleep).
I had to be up early to fly to Boise and figure out how to pack up and vacate a 3 bedroom house in under 24 hours, plus find a temporary home for 2 dogs. It wasn't easy, to say the least. We had all been scrambling for days to try to push these twin boulders up hills, but it went about as well as you'd expect.
I sat and watched my phone tick away the seconds until it was 8 am in Boise so I could start calling moving companies and dog boarding places. Fun stuff.
It distracts me from how many mistakes I made the day before, and how tired I was, so it was a welcomed.
My husband hears me and comes in cautious, knowing I am not at all well. He has to test the waters. I conscript him into making calls while I fly around the apartment, throwing things into other things. I help where I can, shouting at Jack any info he needs. What a trooper, my husband.
My dad agreed to take me to the airport, so that was one problem solved! Jack was too sick to take me, so I thought I would need a Lyft! Boy, I hate spending money... all money, not just mine.
Before 8 am my time I have a moving company that will pack, move, AND store my sisters things, if we needed to. I also had a person who would watch the dogs... though he wanted $90 a day, plus food costs.
Yes, that is more than I make a month.
I called that plan B.
I hopped on the plane, spent 27 minutes in SLC, and was finally in the pleasant company of my niece, prepared to handle a very unpleasant situation.
We swung by my hotel, then went right out to Jaynelle's house. Kelsie told me that the landlord refused to give us the entire month to move her things out, and I thought that was total bullshit because the asshole wanted to be PAID for the entire month. We had to be out by 1 pm the next day.
Kelsie's and my first order of business was to pack her mother's suitcases with enough clothes and toiletries she would need for the foreseeable future. While we did this, we (mostly Kelsie) was furiously working on the phone to find a better place for the dogs, and someone who would store some furniture and sell it the following weekend.
We both agreed it was important to keep some, but not all, of the items in the house. Jaynelle was very attached to her things. I understood that. But we couldn't possibly keep everything, after all. Could we? We needed money to pay for all this more than she needed a crappy desk and 6 monitors, after all. Right?
Anyway, Jaynelle needed things, the dogs needed a home, and we needed car keys from my sis so we could pack her car with the necessities.
Plans were made, plans fell through, promises were made and broken... but it was absolutely time for dinner. I drove to Olive Garden with Kelsie, but it was stupid Saturday night and all the white people needed their weekly Carbo load. So we went to Wingers. It was full and loud, but they did have a table by the bar for us.
needed their weekly Carbo load. So we went to Wingers. It was full and load, but they did have a table by the bar for us.
A couple of burgers, a great conversation, and a phone call to Jaynelle later, we had a solid-ish plan for our busy Sunday. We decided the rest of the packing was tomorrows problem. We grabbed the dogs and went to Intermountain hospital. Kelsie tells me the place looks bleak and depressing, and she's not wrong. Neither of us want our beloved relative in this horrible place. We walk in to get the keys to the car, and the nurse tells us she is doing well and eating. She's eating and even socializing. She has a migraine, but other than that is ok. Maybe this sad place is actually doing her some good after all? It makes me happy to think that something good is coming out of this nightmare.
Kelsie drops me off at the hotel, and I busy myself with being busy. I call jack and dad calls me, I get them updated before I head to the immediate family group chat to let everyone else know. I ask for contributions to the money we are spending. Its...a crap ton of money, mostly shouldered by dad. I thought that my family could at least help with the money, since we are here doing the work? Well, I thought wrong.
As I start to try to relax using my handy dandy fan app, I get a slew of texts. My other sister isn't happy with me. I'm doing everything wrong, making bad choices. She wants me to sell everything, but there's just no way to do that.. not enough time.. I try to tell her we are doing the best we can, but I guess that was rude of me because she was very insulted and told me so. I didn't know what to do. I try to explain but I just make it worse.
The only thing I can do when I make my sisters upset is to tell them I am stupid, bad at everything, and agree they are better. They like that most of the time. It is no skin off of my nose to do this since I know, deep down, that I AM garbage. I always have been. My only use is to take care of everyone, and when I fail at my one job I need to do what I can to make them happy. Right?
It didn't work this time. She was beyond pissed at me. I tried to call her, thinking it was just her misunderstanding me. I tend to be straightforward and blunt when I'm tired texting.
It's no use. I'm not allowed to talk to her until I can be "nice".
But I don't know how I could be nicer. I don't know what I did that upset her. I know it's that she's just upset, and taking it out on me...but I still need to fix it. I only make things worse, so I give up. I'm so weary, physically, mentally, emotionally...I just can't.
I still try though. I just can't stop. I have a problem.
I finally get to sleep, hours later. I wake up way too early, at 5. I go back to work, trying to find a better, cheaper plan. Kelsie has actually succeeded where I failed, though, and she found a place for the pups to stay that doesn't cost an arm and a leg! $150 for the month, which Kelsie and I will share.
I give my younger sister one more chance to help. I figured it was the movers that made her mad? They were very expensive, after all. Short notice Sunday movers are just always expensive. Right?
So I said maybe pitch in for the dogs? We found a great price, after all. Surely Katie couldn't fault us there?
She told me she sent money to dad and to leave her alone.
I asked her why she would do that when we are the ones here? She ignored me.
Dad told me she sent him 19x what I asked for. I was bewildered. He was bewildered. Kelsie was shocked (kids 'young adults' don't know how to be bewildered, after all).
But, we had no time for that. It was moving day. We had from 9 to 1 to move and pack everything. No small feat. The movers were there early, and got to work. The slumlord showed up soon after, hand out for money. I gave him what Jaynelle owed- 1 month rent. It would have been 2 months if he had let us actually have the house for the month he wanted payment for, but he didn't, so I didn't.
He pouted. A grown ass man pouting.
I did my best to ignore him and got to work.
We stuffed the car with everything Jaynelle could possibly need for a week or so, then quickly packed the rest. We couldn't clean because there was no water. The landlord had turned it off. He said he would turn it on but then didn't. His loss I guess. Well, ours too because we couldn't pee...
The guys were great. The gal packing up the kitchen was slow, but sweet and doing her best with all the kitchen crazy. It was a lot.
The landlord never left. He stalked around, glaring and trying to but in. He kept insisting we leave the washer and dryer. Like hell we were going to do that. They were worth twice a months rent for that place!
He kept telling us to take things, and I was like yeah, I know.
He kept trying to tell us what Jaynelle needed, but we had read the correspondence between Jaynelle and him and know he didn't really care as much as he said he did.
Then he showed the house while we were packing. Classy guy.
My sister, even in her depression and other issues, still kept a tidy house. It went pretty well, all things considered. The landlord took breaks in harassing us to do actual work, fixing up the house. Even after the washer and dryer were loaded he complained about it. Seriously guy...
Kelsie had to go, and we were saying goodbye. The landlord decided it as more important we watch cops across the street. He interrupted us several times, even after I said "just a minute please". Dumb jerk.
Kelsie, in all her amazing glory, remembered my suit case and everything. Seriously she was my rock, and did so well. Impressive in one so young! I felt that twinge of sadness though. What must she have suffered to be so good at taking care of her mom? I knew exactly what, though. I did the same thing when I was her age.
All I could do was be here to support and help her. Besides, she seems to be a lot more stable than I was.
I was alone with the movers and creepy landlord. I was also in use so much pain. Time was running short and we weren't done!
We had pretty much everything out. The landlord was obsessed with the tanks, and it was super annoying. I was running crazy late leaving, and finally asked the mover to help me get the car out (they were blocking the driveway. They were awesome and helped a great deal. They promised to finish up quickly and leave. I hated to leave the creeper there, but what could I do?
I drove as fast as I could to Intermountain with a SUV load of necessities for Jaynelle, plus a lamp the movers begged me to take too (a large and beautiful lamp they were worried about breaking). I parked in the back, and walked around the big building. The back smelled very strongly of feces. I hated that Jaynelle was here.
After my long exhausting trek I finally made it. I had her phone, keys, pills, laptop, and purse. They called the nurse.
She came and said she couldn't take any of it. I pretty much insisted on the pills and purse, then promised to take the laptop with me.
They then mentioned she had no clothes and asked for some. I said sure, but I looked hesitant at the long walk. They said they could find her something in the donation, but that was silly. I had her clothes after all. She deserves to be comfortable. The nurse told me she was wearing donation underwear and that was all I needed to hear. I went and grabbed the clothes bit then drove the car back. Too damn tired.
I double checked to make sure there was at least some of every type of clothes in there. I knew there was, since I thought this might happen while I was packing...bit it doesn't hurt to check. There was even a hat! I grabbed a snuggy blanket poncho thing and a coat. I knew she would want those. It was getting cold.
I told them where the car was, then asked if I could stay till my Lyft came. I only had 30 minutes till my flight left! AAAHHH!
I shoved the laptop bad in my suitcase, along with the paperwork I found so I could maybe get her car payments up to date. My head was spinning. I hurt everywhere. There was just so much.
I hopped into the car, and listened to Muslim prayer music. It was actually pretty nice.
I'm still worried about Katie being mad at me. I know it's not about me. But I've been conditioned to make her problems my problems...so I try. And I fail.
I made it there and to the counter. I had like 10 minutes until the flight left. They promised
they would get me there and they DID. AMAZING wheel chair pushing skills! I could never have hobbled there in time. I mean, I almost fell over going through the machine dealie, but it was ok.
Jaynelles computer ended up in in my lap, and my suitcase was checked. I wasn't thinking about how I needed that suitcase to walk... I also realized, as I have that computer case up into the suitcase rack, that my sisters phone was in there. That was going to be a problem, but I couldn't worry about that right now.
Then I got to Seattle, and cried over a ramp.
I'm now waiting to take off in a cold dark plane. I'm seated in an aisle, somewhere in the middle. I make small talk with the stewardess seated next to me, and the young lady who sat next to me by accident. I try to help a priest, but he gave me a polite no. I wonder for the millionth time why I have such a pathological need to help others and be kind. The guy who hit me in the knee with his bag while I sat in a wheel chair has no problem being selfish. Why do I?
I turn the light on above me so I can read, making sure it's ok with my neighbor. I'm painfully aware that I'm the only one lit from above while everyone else is staring down, lit from below. There's poetry there, some sort of deeper meaning, I think...then am immediately embarrassed by the implication that I am somehow lit from "above" while no one else is. Am I early that conceited? How can I be conceited when I think I am literally nothing? Maybe I just don't want to stand out, make waves, be different.
I think about how I think too much.
Time to read instead.
Anxious People by Frederik Backman comes out and I pick up where I left off. I read to page 99, and have to hold back tears again. How does this man from halfway across the world know me better than my family does? He's pegged me almost exactly. I feel both seen, and very lonely.
It made me think of everything I have ever done for the people I love. My friends, my family...I have taken literal blows for them. There is nothing I wouldn't do for the people in my life. But...what have they done for me?
When I was a child, I was left alone to care for my sisters while my mom neglected us. My little sister probably has no idea that I protected her from pedophiles and starvation and illness. My older sister simply doesn't care that I did the same for her. I even took care of my mom when she was around...but that was my purpose according to her so...
When Lori was beating and berating me, my older sister joined in, helping her make my life a living hell. Still, I took several emotional bullets for Jaynelle, because I love her. I took many bullets from Katie, too, protecting her for as long as I could. She responded by blaming me for leaving her. I really do feel bad about that, but I couldn't take any more from her. Still, Katie will never forgive me for no longer taking punches for her.
While I was starving to death on the streets, they completely ignored me. Well, not my mom...she actively made my situation worse. Only my dad tried to help from time to time.
When I was a single mother, did anyone reach out to help? No. They just dumped bills and responsibilities on me. My dad tried to help, but that's it. Actually, he helped a lot. More than my daughter's father did by a long shot.
So...only my dad ever tried to help me. Everyone else just expected me to care for them and never reciprocated.
I have tried to treat my sisters especially well. They were abused, after all. I knew they were. I saw it. I tried to care for them as best as a 3 to 14 year old could. I didn't want them to suffer. Family takes care of family, after all.
Except wasn't I abused, too? Didn't I suffer right along with them? Wasn't I family to them? Why did they not feel the same connection to me as I did to them? The same responsibility? The same concern for their welfare?
They never actually did. All they want from me is someone to kick when they are upset and still love and do things for them.
To them I was garbage. They like it when I say that. They like it when I am making myself small so they can be big. They walk on me and seem taller.
I can't tell you how much that hurts.
So I will sit on this dark plane, no more tears left to cry, and wonder of I will have the internal resources necessary for the storm that will come when my sister gets released from the hospital.
I know I don't, but that has never mattered before, has it?
About the author
Hello there. I write things. Sometimes good things. Mostly, I write to find myself. If I can entertain you in the process, then that's just the derivative icing on the proverbial cake!