On the Mom front, a few interesting discussions and some research have occurred over the last few weeks:
First, while my brother was visiting, for some reason, we got on the subject of how laughable my mother's cooking abilities are. We came up with a very short list of things she used to regularly fix us: frozen pot pies, homemade chili (!), cheeseburgers, hot dogs and canned baked beans, fried pork roll, kielbasa, cube steak (forever chewing), Jell-o pudding (priding herself on the fact that it was not the instant kind she makes, but the kind you have to cook on the stove), spaghetti and meatballs... the list pretty much petered out after that. I cannot remember her once ever baking anything. Our birthday cakes were always made by my grandmother.
Second, my supervisor asked me the other day if I had ever watched the show Hoarders as she had caught an episode of it the previous night. I hesitated when I answered, no I had not. I have, of course, heard of the show, but I have not attempted to summon the guts to watch it. She started to tell me about it and it was all I could do to bite my tongue and not respond with, "Oh, I know exactly what you mean without having seen the show. My mom is a hoarder." I just kind of nodded and acted surprised when needed. Once she started talking about how she couldn't understand how their family members allow them to hoard like that, I had to turn my back and pretend that I was absorbed in something else. A crazy person can't stop being crazy just because you ask them to. Hoarders will find a way to hoard no matter what until they are receptive to the psychological help they need to break the compulsion.
Third, shortly after I graduated from high school, my mom told me one day that our landlords were selling our house and that we were being forced to move. Even though I was clicking my heels in joy, I knew her story sounded phony and I had a feeling that what had really happened was that they had found out how awful the state of the house was and evicted us. I never had any proof of my theory though and never felt compelled to look into until now. I remember my mother had gone to court to ask for additional time to move (I think the landlords didn't give us the legally allotted time, but I could be wrong) and I went to the county court's website to see if they had civil court records available online. They do, but only until 2008. I made a mental note to visit the courthouse the next time I'm in Pennsylvania and considered it the end of the line. I was talking to my roommate about it and she mentioned looking up the records for the house itself to see the last sale date. Ingenious idea! I found the house quickly and discovered that the last date the house sold was in 1988; however, that doesn't mean that I'm completely right. Maybe the landlords decided not to sell it after all when we were moved out. Overall, though, my theory still looks good. Hopefully the next time I'm in PA (probably in September when my nephew is born), I'll have a spare couple of hours to investigate.