Monday, June 29, 2009

Watch Out !


If you see a truck like this come barreling down the road toward you, I'd advise you jump off the sidewalk quickly.

My husband is taking my car to the repair shop to have the oil changed before our big road trip this week. He's also having them look at my brakes which are vibrating funny. Fingers crossed it isn't anything serious since there is no money to pay for it.

In the meantime, I'm driving his truck. Today is a court day which means I'm wearing a skirt suit and heels. Sure is interesting trying to climb in and out of this truck without flashing the world.

I want to know why I get the oddest looks. Hasn't anyone ever seen a chick drive a truck before? I pull up to the drive through to get coffee and people stare. I pull up to the stoplight and they stare harder. Of course the stoplight part could be due to the fact that they didn't think I was going to stop. This truck has a lot more "get up and go" than my car. I looked down and was doing 85 on the interestate. Oops. It felt like I was only doing 60. It also takes a lot longer and more pressure to stop this big thing. Which leaves me slamming on the brakes and yelling "stop" quite often.

I never thought I could drive a truck. Not after my childhood experiences in a truck. But I've re-claimed the power here. This truck is bigger, faster, heavier and has a big huge middle seat cupholder divider. That's my "cone of safety." So while I hate having to manhandle this vehicle (mostly because it prevents me from sipping my starbucks except at stoplights), there is something to be said for the power I feel driving it.

Beep Beep! Away I go. Watch out!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Whac-A-Mole


Anyone ever played Whac-a-mole? Some people say that it is a good way to release tension and stress. Little mole pops up – BANG! You whac it with a mallet. Bang. Bang. Bang. (If you are interested in playing, check this site out.)

I wish I could see it as a stress releaser. I see it as trying to keep everything in my life from popping up at once. “Mommy, I need you,” and I have to be the mom who assists my daughter in wiping herself. “Honey, I need you,” and I have to go show my husband where something is located. “This is a call from ABC Collections,” and I have to explain why I haven’t paid the medical bills yet. Then I have to call the medical insurance company again and go through that mess. All while trying not to lose my sanity or disappear entirely into the Land of Numb.

I spend my day whacking away at one issue after another. Bang! I get one taken care of and another pops up. I keep waiting for the game to be over but it hasn’t ended yet.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recovering


I survived Mom's visit. I'm recovering now. It went okay. She had a great time playing with Bugaboo. Munchkin was whiny and a bit mouthy. It's a stage she is going through, and we're working on it. But it didn't sit well with mom. I felt like a rubber band stretched between doing the "mom" role and correcting Munchkin versus the "cheerleader" wanting to say, "you give it to her. Say all the things I never said," versus the "oh my gosh, she is rocking the boat" versus the "Mom will not see me as a good mother now. Whatever will I do?" versus the "honor munchkin's right to feel like she feels" versus "correcting any disrespect by Munchkin." Needless to say my head hurts from all that boing-ing around. Munchkin thinks my mom has a "mean face." That struck me, because mom doesn't smile a lot. So she does look kind of fierce and stern. Interesting that Munchkin picked up on it.
Mom remarked to me that "munchkin seems to think she is in charge." I don't think it's that - Munchkin is just very bossy lately. My Husband got into a bad habit of doing things for her when our morning routine changed and we needed to get out the door quick. Easier to dress her, brush her teeth, comb her hair, than insist she do it herself. Only now Munchkin is demanding, "you bring me my shoes." At one point she made a very smart-alec remark to Mom and my Mom said, "hey" in a stern voice. Munchkin ran and hid, which is what she does when I say something to her. I let Munchkin have her space, and then went and talked with her about her tone and needing to be respectful. Munchkin just snuggled up and said, "she is mean Mommy. She doesn't like me." She wouldn't elaborate as to why she felt that way. I told her it was fine for her to feel that way, but she did need to not talk back. If she felt something was wrong, she could come talk to me and I would handle it.
If Munchkin had acted the way she did and no one was visiting, she'd have spent the day in her room alone. But I didn't want to do that when Mom visits so infrequently. On the other hand, I don't want her getting away with back-talk. Then too, I think my daughter is confused. When I picked her up yesterday, she was super excited about seeing Grandma. When we pulled in the driveway, she jumped out and ran over, pointing at her fishing pole. Grandma said, "hi, can I have a kiss and hug?" Munchkin just pointed. She wanted Grandma to ask about it. Grandma thought she was being ignored and so ignored her back and came over and focused on Bugaboo. That started things off on the wrong foot.
Munchkin is very protective of Bugaboo. She likes to help out anyway. But when others are around, she really wants to help out. So when Mom tried to feed Bugaboo a bottle, play with him, rock him or anything, Munchkin wanted to do it instead. Mom then said "no I'm having a turn." I know that if I let Munchkin hold him, he fusses about 1 minute later, and she is done. I often let her start helping with the diaper changes or bottle. She gets bored quick and then I can finish up.
Munchkin really likes imagination games. They are not my favorite but I play along sometimes. We went outside and she wanted to play pretend school or house. She wanted to be my baby and have Bugaboo be Grandma's baby. My mom does not engage in imagination games. Mom prefers board games, but does not tolerate cheating. And since my husband thinks it is great fun to cheat and get away with it, teaching Munchkin not to cheat is a lost cause.
Mom wants to talk to me and catch up. Which is great, but Munchkin isn't able to be patient for too too long. She does say "excuse me" and wait a minute. But that's about the extent of it. Husband and I have worked on making her wait a little bit longer - at first we stopped when she said excuse me, then at the end of a sentence, then at the end of a thought. Mom just kept talking and talking. Husband and I have the ability to talk in between playing with Munchkin. Mom isn't used to multi-tasking like that. So Munchkin got impatient and felt ignored.
At night, I was reading with Munchkin and had her read a bit to me. She turned and said "Grandma can't see the picture." Husband said, "why is that?" Mom said, "she's being mean. She's been mean to me all day." I wasn't sure how to take that. Munchkin was being irritable. But who is to say she can't be like that sometimes. I want her to be able to express herself but in a respectful manner. And my own emotions get all entangled where Mom is concerned so I'm not sure where to draw that line.
I was really glad to see Mom go. I was exhausted. Bugaboo took a really long nap yesterday evening. I went to VBS. Did not take mom. She didn't really want to go, and I think she wanted some time with Bugaboo without Munchkin trying to be all in the middle. So Husband stayed home and did some yard work. Mom took Bugaboo in the stroller to the end of the street and back. He fell asleep and slept a long time. So he was up almost all night. I'm exhausted. But the sleep issue is another long post and vent.
When Grandma left, Munchkin ran and got in the car. Our routine is to see who can get in and buckled up faster. It's me and Bugaboo versus her. She looked a bit sad and said "I don't want Grandma to leave." I asked if she wanted to give a hug and she said, "Have grandma come here." So I relayed that to Mom, who walked over. Munchkin was playing at hiding her face. She wanted Mom to tickle her or play back. But Mom took it as rejection. So she said, "you don't have to hug or kiss me, but I'll give you one." All the way to school, Munchkin was saying, "I want Grandma to stay."
I see in Munchkin such a mix of feelings and emotions. I know I have the same mix in me.
So it's recovery mode now. Trying to find that delicate balance between processing thoughts and emotions, but keeping from being overwhelmed versus stuffing them and never dealing with them. It's a very jittery day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

She Just Doesn't Get it

I chatted with my Sister last night. We discussed my mother's upcoming visit. Mom's days off are Wed-Thurs. And the whole world must revolve around her days off. It is impossible for her to do anything on days she works - second shift I might note. It is absolutely incomprehensible for her to drive 1 hour to meet up with me on a morning she has to be at work at 2 pm. She absolutely can not stay overnight if she has to work the next day, even though she could leave by 8 am and be home by 11 to go into work at 2 pm. She thinks she is the only person her age to have a full-time job. When she gets home, she is so tired she must lie down. It's impossible for her to have to grocery shop, run any other errands, cook dinner or do laundry except on her days off................can I have some cheese to go with her whining? If my sister or I point out that we manage to work full-time, raise our children, involve them in activities and keep our houses relatively up, as well as find time to visit each other (an 8 1/2 hour drive) several times a year, well that's just all well and good because......we're young. Yep she'll pull the age card, because that trumps all.

But I digress. There is no court this week due to a clerk's conference. So I arranged several months ago to adjust my schedule and leave early Wed and come in late Thursday. That way Mom can come up here Wed - Thurs on her days off. At the time we arranged this, I did not know that Vacation Bible School was this week. So now the plan is that Mom will visit with me, my 5 year old and the Baby at home. Then Munchkin will go to Bible school. Either, Husband will stay home with my mother and Bugaboo while I go over and teach my part. Or I'll take Mom with me. Either way, she'll get a bit of time with Bugaboo without Munchkin. My daughter wears her out. Heaven forbid my daughter want to do something active or act like a typical 5 year old.

My Sister says I should take Mom to VBS with me. That night's lesson goes over Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and the plan of salvation. Would be good for Mom to hear. But part of me would feel really hypocritical having her there while a part of me is hoping she continues to feel guilty over her actions and inactions. Why would I want her to feel forgiven? I know I'm "supposed to" but I don't.

My Sister mentioned a conversation she had recently with Mom. My cousin is separating (again) from her husband. She bought her son (age 6) a new bedroom set. She is sending the boy to a relative's house while she moves out and sets up the new bed in her new apartment. My mom thought that was horrible. She said that the boy needed closure and needed to see the bedroom be taken apart and then participate in setting it up in his new house. How horrible that he would go away to stay with his grandparents and then come home to a new place to live, and only to visit his old place?

(birds chirping)

My sister said she just sat there. What we both would have wanted to say was, "Hey mom, remember when you and dad split? You and your new "friend" that we always knew as Dad's friend - the one you all of a sudden kissed goodbye the night dad moved out - yeah, you two drove us up to Grandma and Grandpa's house. We stayed there 2 weeks. When we came back, we were taken to a new apartment where we shared a room for the first time, shared an apartment with 3 new children (his kids) and your new boyfriend (soon to be known as Toilet). The cat and dog were gone (killed) because the apartment didn't allow pets. Oh yeah, we did get to visit our old house, which was now completely empty."

Guess she forgot about that.

She really doesn't get it. She is clueless. If Sister or I mentioned this, she'd first try to point out how the situations couldn't possibly be as similar as we were making it. Then she'd proclaim innocence and turn it into poor pitiful her.

So, Mom's visit is this week. I find myself in the same spot - wanting to see her, feeling like I have to let her come, dreading her being here, bitching about her before and after, and hating every moment of her visit. One of these days I'll figure out how to get off this crazy circle and do something about it. Right now, I just can't. Sometimes surviving the status quo is easier.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Land of Numb



I know that Cornnut at Picture of Experience is a first time host for the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, scheduled for release this Friday. The theme is about parents - in keeping with the upcoming Father's Day and recent passing of Mother's Day. I had intentions of submitting. After all, I should be able to write a book about fathers right now, right? ..............wrong......


So I sit down at my computer. Crack knuckles. Stretch neck from side to side. Nothing immediately comes to mind. I re-read my recent blog posts. Full of lots of factual stuff. Not a lot of feelings and emotions. So what are my emotions? How do I feel about all this? ........wait......nothing comes........wait some more.....nothing.


Stretch again. Fingers to keys. I'll type. Just free-think and type what comes. Again a hint of something...I reach, search, open my mind.......tingling in fingers........snap. It's the end. I've fallen off the pier into the water and I'm drowning in the sea of panic and emotions. I look around around and there is the life preserver, in the form of a return to the Land of Numb. I reach, grasp and hold on tight, pulled into safety. The tentacles of the murky Water of Emotions attempt to wrap themselves more firmly around me. I reach harder...and.....Victory as I'm pulled safely ashore the sands of Numb. Home again - it's my Land of Numb.

(if you want to read what I had to say about fathers before my trip to the Land of Numb, scroll through the last several posts).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hiding in my Shell


I'm hiding --- mostly from my feelings. What is it about death that brings out family? My father's adopted son (guess he's my step-brother?) emailed us back. I'll call him "Alex" for convenience. Alex is full of praises about dad. It's not that I want to take that away from him, but I really don't need to hear him gush about how good of a man he was.
Why are they wanting contact now? They claim it was their mother who kept them away. Well, their mother is still in the picture.
My uncle called my sister and chatted with her about 1 hour. Sister said he is very braggity - just like dad was. Kept making excuses about the house dad grew up in. I'm tired of the excuses - I grew up in an abusive house too, but I'm not rolling over. I'm rising up and moving on.
The whole family, most of whom we've not heard anything about since Nana's funeral, is calling, emailing and writing. Wanting to stay in touch and for us to come visit. Blah Blah Blah.
My uncle claims to have no idea about the House of Horrors, the fact that Sister was kicked out with no where to go and ended up with an ex-girlfriend of dad's for her senior year in high school, or about anything else. So do we explain it? Does it look like we're making excuses? Or just clarifying the facts? They want to apologize for dad and talk about him as if he were a saint. I get it - the man is dead. But still, I'm not going to accept blame and be the "bad guy" just so we don't speak ill of the dead. I'm not going out of my way to criticize, but I'll not let the truth lie dormant either.
And I'm super tired of the ...."oh you don't see much of your mother, either" refrain. Yes, I have two shitty parents. It is possible. Why do you assume that because I have poor (or no) relationship with either parent, that it is my fault? I can hear their thoughts - "oh it must be something wrong with her. She doesn't speak with either parent."
All the thoughts and feeling swirling around are super confusing.
I'm also caught up in what Sister wants. I still struggle with the fact that I left her in the House of Horrors when I escaped to school. So I try to stand by her side and support her now. That's not a bad thing except when I ignore my own feelings. She's not sure what to do with all this either. Part of us wants to tell everyone "too late. You missed out. Go away again." Part of us feels like we need to reach out. Then again, I know it's akin to ripping the scab off a wound. The wound has healed somewhat. Now we're opening it up again. Saying, "come into my life." Not sure this isn't just the guilt of losing a brother. They will probably disappear again - only to pop back up when another relative dies.
Maybe I'll win the lottery and can move myself and Sister and our families to a desserted island where we don't have to interact with anyone.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hiding -- Overwhelmed

I just finished making my To Do Lists. Those that know me well would not be surprised. After all, I'm the Queen of "to do" lists. What is surprising is how long my list is; and that this is the first list I've had in months; and just how much thought I've had to put into remembering all I need to do.

I have this handy dandy (hot pink) blackberry. It has this nice voice notes and memo feature. It typically goes with me everywhere. I had this idea that I could keep notes on it and jot things down to jog my memory. But it's not happening.

The bills are piling up. I just got the medical mess straight from bills relating to my having Bugaboo versus Bugaboo's hospitalization at 6 weeks old. Now I have the nightmare of my kidney issues - part on old insurance and part on new, versus Munchkin's broken foot. You can't just go to the doctor and get one bill. You've got the doctor, x-ray lab, x-ray tech, anesthesiologist, hospital, etc etc. Throw in the fact that the kids' bills come sometimes in their names and sometimes in mine, and I get a headache. Normally I've got an eye for detail. I used to enjoy getting to the bottom of things. Now, I can't wade through it. I look and give up.

I was the queen of organization too. My house was very organized. Not so much anymore. I used to joke that I should get a job as a professional organizer. However, anyone seeing my house now would never hire me. There is stuff everywhere. Not just clutter that gets left out from kids' playing. But junk everywhere. And even when we pick up the house, there is no where to put it. Gone are the days of labelled containers and bins.

I don't know what happened. I don't know where the organized, efficient part of me went. But I really want (and need) it back.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some Laughs

I need some laughs. So here's an update in pictures.

We have had rain off and on for two weeks. Rain brings bugs. Icky bugs. Including spiders.





The Baby is good. The dog loves him. Especially now that he eats puffs. Unfortunately, he still doesn't sleep well at night.







Bugaboo loves the dog too. Especially grabbing fur.



We call pacifiers "boppies" - they are invaluable. We must have a million but can usually only find one.



Allergies stink. 'Nough said.




We're working on teaching Munchkin the difference between lying and telling a story. Since Daddy is a "tall-tale teller" she thinks it's funny to stretch the truth ALL the time.


Baby still doesn't sleep - makes mornings rough.



And this one is for all my blogging buddies!













































Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Adding Branches to the Family Tree


My sister met with my two aunts and then spoke with them after the funeral. Turns out there are a lot of convoluted stories and who knows what the truth is. I report here what I think to be the truth.

Only one uncle (maybe 2) have seen dad since 2003, at my Nana's funeral when things went haywire.

Rita is supposedly "sick" from a horse parasite (they live on a horse farm) and that is why she is so sickly and skinny. We all know it's the drugs. But the parasite story helps explain her being so skinny and sick looking.

Apparently
, Dad had a series of strokes. He was working out of state - about 6-8 hours way from his house. Rita had been trying to reconcile with her mother. Rita's mom passed away unexpectedly. We guess dad was driving back to be with her when he suffered a series of small strokes. Rita eventually took him to the hospital where he had a massive stroke and died. I looked up Rita's mother's obituary. She has many siblings mentioned. I only knew of the existence of two.

Apparently, Rita
was so distraught that she couldn't plan the funeral. Dad had been a member of a volunteer fire department for years, even serving as captain a few years. So the fire dept did the planning for her. Not sure who wrote the obituary but I think she had a lot to do with it.

The story of the "will" was not true. I know enough about that area of the law to know that wills are not read until after the service. So either it was my dad's wishes we not attend - or Rita's.
My aunts said we should have come anyway. Then we all could have gotten kicked out together. They are pissed at Rita. And pissed at my other uncle who flew out from Calif. That Uncle didn't even fly out for nana's funeral. My aunts reported that they had never met any of the four children except the youngest and that it was awkward to meet the other children under these circumstances.

None of Rita's children talk to her or have contact with her. Or at least not the boys. The daughter was not seen all weekend. The youngest came to the first night receiving only because he was close with my father. The oldest two came to the service only because they wanted to speak with my aunts. They explained that their mother is crazy. They had no contact with her. Rita's desire was to plan the service and only contact the extended family when it was over. The kids demanded otherwise and refused to have anything to do with anything unless she notified family. After two days she finally gave in. So that explains the delays. Rita insisted we (sister and I) not be notified.

At the service, Rita stood alone. No one was comforting her. The aunts suggested the kids go over and they said, "hell no, she'll have a new man moved in soon - I give her less than 2 weeks." The kids were never told what happened to Sister and I. They only knew that they came home one day and we and our stuff were gone. They were forbidden to mention us. They gave my aunts their contact information. They wanted to get together to talk. My sister and I finally decided to email them. We think they wrote some of the comments on the obituary page that were negative toward Rita. We have heard back from one of the boys. He says that "dysfunctional doesn't even begin to describe things." He also said that Dad was the "glue that held things together." I can see that. He did try to hold our family together a long time. I don't know why the glue didn't extend to Sister and I though.

Sister and I plan to have our own service in July. We may get together with these "new" family members. Dad may have legally adopted them so I guess that makes them siblings. Step-siblings at any rate. They've not done anything to us and we think it might be healing to share some pictures and good memories, the few that they are.

I plan to keep tabs on any estate that is open. My grandfather titled the lake property in dad's name only, intending it to be passed through the siblings. I'm pretty sure dad wouldn't have seen Rita to have anything but good intentions. I want to make sure the lake property stays in our family - not Rita's. And if the will happens to leave things to his "children" - well, I'll insist on a share. Rita can call me money hungry, but it's Dad's fault I have the massive private school loans with super high interest rates that are hanging over my head and making life miserable.

People continue to make harsh comments on the obituary internet page. It was up to 14 at one point. Things like "where are the REAL kid" and "Rita sure is showing her true colors." Then they all got deleted. More got put up and deleted again. Sister and I do not know who is writing them.

I attended my mentor's funeral on the same day and at the same time my father was being buried. Talk about a surreal experience. Some of the tears shed, were related to the service I was missing. But I'm glad I made the choice I did. When I went through the receiving line, my mentor's wife and children both commented about how much he had enjoyed working with me and the praise he had for my work. That made me feel so good. And provide some healing in my heart.

I think more closure will come in July. We shall see. I'm thankful to all my blogging buddies for your support.