Thursday, November 13, 2014

Back home - gardening blues

I'm back home in Melbourne. Its been about a week since I got back.

I just had a good check out of the backyard garden - and wtf - happened there? A botched landscaping job was attempted. The lawn is dug out. There is an ill-advised pebble garden path laid out. How the heck is anyone going to whipper snip that? And using pesticide has its own problems because the lavenders are next to it. Why the fuck do I get this sort of problems when I return? Always!!!!

But I should first tell you something about Asian families.

We tend to stay together under the same roof. We also tend to respect our parents and hold them in high esteem. They in turn provided a lot of financial and material support for their children. Problems arise when boundaries go over. Parents expect too much from their kids or kids take advantage of their parent's goodwill. Usually its the latter. Think of the famous book about "the Giving Tree".

In my case I've spent the last 20 odd years trying to do my best to please my mum. Ever since dad passed away she has been like a ship without an anchor. She frequently gives conflicting instructions and often does things which are totally illogical. When warned about it, she has self-esteem issues, and gets stubborn and invariably persists in doing the wrong choices. The way the family structure is I feel obliged to bail her out each time she screws up. In fact she expects me to. And no, she won't tolerate criticism.

On a very small matter, we have a large garden. Its about 1,000 square feet. The size of an apartment in total. That seems a lot - but if you manage it well, do regular weeding etc.. its easy to manage.

The problem is my mum keeps sacking the gardeners for a variety of reasons. Or if a gardener is sick or unwell she refuses to get another gardener to take over the chores.

In the past she used to do a lot of gardening. But one of her friends discouraged her and the idea had born a harvest of lazy fruit every year. All she does now is watch TV.

Gardening is quite fun once you get into it. But you have to pace yourself. Do 10 minutes here - 20 the next - keep clear of the sun -  work when its not so hot. Mum doesn't do any of this. She would get in - spent the whole day working hard at it - get sunburn - heat exhaustion. And burn herself out. And then spend the next 364 days complaining about it.

OK. Well if you don't want to do it - hire a gardener. If he's not good - hire another one.

No. She expects me to hire the gardener. Then spend her time bitching about how horrible he is and what an idiot I was to hire him. Then get me to sack him. Then she says she will hire her own gardener and promptly do fuck all.

Time and tide waits for no man. And neither does the garden. The weeds grow. The weeds have seeds. More weeds. The garden becomes a jungle and a horror to look at. No one will want to touch it then. Its something my mum doesn't seem to appreciate - sadly.

I don't understand why she prefers to spend her time in bitterness and rage, ranting and complaining, rather than getting on and fixing the problem before it gets insurmountable.

I should have abandoned her decades ago. Gone and lived elsewhere. And hung up on her each time she came with some fucked up problem of her own making.

But I love her.

And she seems determined to test my patience. I suspect she wants to know whether I really love her - so she makes stupid decisions and expects me to bail her out. And in a sub conscious way of thinking test my love for her. There was this time she lost $6million dollars on the stockmarket. I sold my two Melbourne apartments to help bail her out. But it didn't stop her.

Eventually of course I'll crack.

Then her fears about me will be vindicated and she can join her sad brothers and sisters to complain about how worthless her son is.

Its all pretty fucked up thinking. But who can understand the depths and madness of the human mind?

What I need to do now is to try and set up boundaries. Things between me and mum are OK for the moment. She seems very happy and pleased to see me. And she does small things like bringing out my favorite biscuits for me.

I also need to be careful I don't end up like her. So I try and keep active, be sociable and work hard at being happy and not depressed.


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