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She lives alone. She has bad health. I feel obligated to speak with her daily just because I don't want her to be found dead some day and have people asking "why didn't you ever check on her?"

She's difficult, set in her ways, does things I tell her not to, she's unappreciative, spoiled and demanding.I really don't like to talk to her every day. It's like wanting to slam your hand in the door.

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Actually, I am 62 and would LOVE a ride on mower, but El Cheapo won't hear of it. And you better go buy some incandescent bulbs and lots of them because they are no longer being made. The Green Movement wants us all to have the CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs, which contain mercury and don't light up in the cold. They burn out about as fast as I can spit. You want a Green Movement? Go step in goose poop!
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I can't help laughing as I read the comments.

Maggie, next time your Mom's SO says he's terrible, tell him you're glad he's not any worse than he was yesterday! Pam's suggestion is also a good one. Let him know w/o saying you're not going to listen to his whining.

You could also say something to the effect that you're so glad he's safe as you've just listened to the news about Syria or the Israel-Hamas conflict and at least he has a nice safe home to be in and isn't dodging missiles or other incomings.

Sandra, I REALLY laughed at your mother driving a tractor and buying 100 light bulbs. Just don't let her see the little LED flashlights - for some reason they seem to be attractive to seniors as well.

I think Maggie's response re the tomatoes is spot on.

Pam also calls it right. Your mother is jerking your chain. She knows which buttons to push. So change those buttons around and don't respond when she criticizes you.

For the tomatoes, you could tell her you actually planted them for the animals and birds, that she can sit in her home and watch them munching on the tomatoes as entertainment...something to that effect.

"Redirect" is I think the appropriate term. Make a noncommittal comment that neither acknowledges or challenges her complaint, then rechannel it to another direction.

Sometimes you just have to beat them at their own game.
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Sandra, you are being played like a fiddle. Call her every other day. My husband would always call his mother on Sunday at 9:30am knowing she was leaving for church any minute and the call would be short. LOL.
Maggie, if John feels terrible, cheerfully tell him you did not see him listed in the obituaries. Send him a few cookies or some pie. Sugar mellows them out. My father loved Mexican Wedding Balls, I would give him a double batch in a cookie tin. When the tin was empty, he would return it as a hint.
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You're taking care of your gram at your house? You, my dear, are a saint.

My advice would be to stop calling her so frequently. We aren't supposed to be abused for our angel wings. We should hear trumpets. ;) Why feel guilty? We can't fix everything that's broken. You're doing your share.

"Just let 'em rot on the vine, mom. I don't have time. I won't plant any next year," would be my answer to her question. She needs some tough love. Time she got some. ;) ;)
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Thanks Maggie. She's too cheap for the button too. But she'll spend money on gas for the big farm tractor so she can mow the lawn(at age 81) or 100 light bulbs "on sale".

She can dial, she can drive, she has no friends and no hobbies and doesn't want any. I put her in a garden of tomatoes and she complains they are too close together and that she has to water them. And when am I going to pick them?? I'm taking care of her mother at my house who is 99. Hmmm...when am I going to pick them? Good question. She says she doesn't need me to do anything for her but every time we talk on the phone which was every day until she got mad, she gives me some new task to do for her. Long distance.
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Does your mom have some sort of Life Alert system? If not, maybe you could convince her to get one. Some of them even recognize a fall with NO action necessary on the wearer's part.

I have an cantankerous old man I watch out for. He won't spend the money on a button, cheap thing that he is. (He's worth over a million dollars, by the way.) He's my mom's significant other, for 47 years. Lived with her for 12. Now she lives with me, and he lives in her house. I sure don't call him every day.

"Hi, John, how are you?"

"Terrible."

Now, I try like heck not to ASK him that anymore. THAT helps.

I'm not sure I would ascribe her not calling YOU to some kind of nefarious motive. Mom got so she NEVER called me. It was because she just didn't think of it or couldn't dial the phone.

Call her every other day.
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