Life Goes On…

It has been, literally, years and miles since I have posted in here. Took me a while to find it, too. But, like old friends, this blog has called to me. Or maybe, more like, an old therapist. That’s why I began posting on here before after all, to reflect, clear my head and vent. Isn’t that why we all do? We certainly aren’t going to gain any fame through these diatribes and expletives…though we may hope, somewhere in the back of our mind, to at least reach a few people who give an actual shit. (Thanks Barb! :D) Please forgive me, any of you who actually read this. Life, I have learned, has a way of following you no matter where I go. What the hell is this woman talking about? you may ask. Fair question. It is this: No matter where you go there you are. No matter if you leave one horrible, intolerable situation for a new destination, if you have not been able to relinquish the past….and your own part in it….it has a way of following you. Perhaps not with as great of intensity as before…things do change, of course, but those lessons you don’t learn seem to keep coming up, even when the faces change.
Our lives are broken up into Acts of a Play. You finalize one scene and a new one begins. With each step, you learn. if you do’nt learn, you repeat the last steps, go through the last dance, only the players change. that, I think, is the core irony of life. An irony, yet, it is not beyond our control. Even when we stoop to the darkest depths, we are still controlling the scenes, even when we think we are out of control, the one guiding force in all our lives paths comes down to one thing: choice. It is the choices we make, the beliefs we choose to feed our energies into that guide the next scene.
I knew this, yet I failed to heed that knowledge. So here I find myself, playing somewhat familiar parts in this movie of my own life, different scene, new characters with a haunting similarity to the past.
I have a friend, Judy May. I am using her name without permission, yet, I think she wouldn’t mind. She is an author of the book Healing Your Heart (9.99 on amazon.com. It will change your life. Not kidding here. If you read this, buy it. you know my heart and if you have actually read my drivel I know you are searching so buy it.). I am her gardener and she is one of the most spiritual mentors I have ever had. She has stage four cancer and may be leaving us soon. Part of me, the selfish human part, has yet to firmly accept this possibility. She is my mentor, my friend. She has helped me in ways I never imagined. i don’t want her to go. She has fought this battle for four years now. As I write this, she and her husband have flown to her home state to say good-by to her mother and father. The Avastin didn’t work. The chemo didn’t work. There are non-aggressive yet cancerous spots on her lungs. The doctor’s told her they could try radiation and she politely declined. So she has some time. Time to say good-bye to her family and loved ones. Time to tell me what she wants for her garden if she never sees another spring. Time to live every day as if it were her last. It is as tragic as it is fortunate. How many of us have met with the untimely deaths of friends or relatives and find ourselves saying, “What a tragedy! It was so sudden!” and all we can wish for is more time. Well, I see what my friend is going through and I can tell you, having that time is no fucking picnic either. She is at peace, has made peace with all her past events and relationships. Yet, it is the realization that there are limited tomorrows that grieves her and her husband. And her gardener.
Sometimes, I carry this black cloud over me. it is those times, when I am on my knees weeding her flower beds that Judy will come out and sit with me.
“What is the Universe trying to tell you?” she will ask.
“That I am meant to be a nun!” I will reply. Remarks like this never faze her. This is what makes her so awesome.
“Why do you feel like you should be a nun?” she will ask. With that one question, that one simple, innocuous question, I suddenly have to look at Why I am feeling like this and What is patterning my believe system. Lack of feeling worthy, anger, old beliefs that were instilled in childhood. there I will be, my masons-trowel-turned-garden-trowel picking out, one section at a time, the chickweed, the dandelion, the purslain out of this soul, leaving room for the beautiful plants to grow and Judy pulls at my quack grass and miners lettuce and wild geranium, tugging, prodding, encouraging: What belief do you hold at the core of your personal Earth that is making you feel like you are not worthy to grow?
I am in a relationship now that Judy tells me is not the one that will help me grow. I know this because I can feel that too. She tells me: Ask the Universe what you need to do to be able to move on from this bad place you are in. Ironically, all I can thing about is this blog. Tucked out here in the middle of a sea of voices. I feel a little lost at the moment. It has been so long since I have written ANYTHING, even a journal entry, that it feels like I am sitting on a rock near the sea, and, as this new expression begins to unfold the waves are rising to hurricane level with the waves crashing around me, trying their damnedest to sweep me off that rock. It all comes back to chouce. My choice to write, or my choice to keep silent. Well, anyone who knows me knows I have always found keeping my mouth shut a challenge. So, after a few years and a few thousand miles, here I am. And the journey has been interesting. But the lessons, well, those I am still learning. It is here where I will put them down to see. For myself, yes. And anyone else who wants to walk this rocky path….

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Published in: on August 8, 2012 at 6:56 am  Comments (3)  
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Homeless with Kids: A Step Up

It has been a very long time since my last post. In that time my world has once again, permanently, shifted.

 On August 19th, ten years to the day when GM and I first made our relationship ‘official’, I took our children, left the mountain, and moved into a homeless shelter in a town over 30 miles away.

I did this with one days notice to GM and the kids. The kids were thrilled Mommy had found them a place to stay. A ‘repartment’ as Nunkee calls it. GM told me it was the stupidest idea he had ever heard, me taking the kids and leaving a ‘perfectly good’ house. Frankly, I had more than my fair share of it. So had the kids. I had promised them I would get them in town before school started.

 At first, Butterfly was angry and sad to be leaving her friends in our home town. But my choices were very limited, and my temporary job assignment was coming to an end soon. I knew I had to act. Besides, I had promised my kids we wouldn’t be out there another winter.

 I could have moved in to the shelter the day I went to talk to them. I had put my application in for low income housing. Three to four months or longer (a couple people had lived in the low income housing in my hometown 11 and 13 YEARS) waiting list every place I inquired. The shelter was the last resort. It just so happened they had a vacancy. I asked to have one more day to let my kids know and get a chance to say goodbye to their Dad. They agreed to hold the spot for us.

 Bird had his suitcase packed ten minutes after I told them. Of course, I had to empty all the toys out of it and repack it with clothes, which really bummed him out. Clothes are very low on the priority list when you are 8.

 The girls (except Butterfly) were excited to be on the journey. I was grateful and a bit appalled. I never wanted to live in a ‘Homeless Shelter’. We weren’t transients, after all!

 Or were we?

 For the past two years, we had been living in substandard housing that wouldn’t even pass inspection for a workshop much less a residence. In the winter we were forced to crowd into my elderly mother’s cramped residence and take over her living space when the snow kept us out or anytime I was ill or injured, be it the flu or that car wreck.

 No running water. No electricity. Winter nights spent sleeping with my feet out from under the blankets so the numbing cold would wake me every two hours to feed wood to that piece of crap, rusting-from-the-inside-out woodstove when the fire was going out. Waking because my children would have gotten too cold in that thinly insulated camp trailer with the paper thin walls, even with the mounds and mounds of blankets I kept piled on them. Sometimes I would get so tired doing this night after night as GM slept soundly through the night beside me that my body and mind, in sheer exhaustion, would stay asleep even as the last ember died and the cold crept into the cabin through all the air leaks around the tops of the wall, up from the gap in the floor between trailer and addition and through the spaces between the spray foam insulation in the kids end of that camp trailer. I would awake, multiple hours later to numb feet and a dead fire. I would be up for the rest of the night trying to get it warm enough in there.

 Where we had been living was no home. It was no better than a glorified hobo camp.

 Things with GM were just deteriorating. He hadn’t thrown any of his customary hissy-fit, object smashing temper tantrums since that chilly December night I had left him standing on that back road, fifteen miles from town and at least two miles to the highway. But the verbal arguments grew worse and his negative attitude and reactions to the kids was escalating. The man-child, instead of taking responsibility for his actions, owning up and doing what he needed to make changes in himself, became more and more condemning and blaming of not only me but our kids as well. He constantly spoke to them as if he were angry with them and he couldn’t stand them. Not so much in his words, though there was that, but how he spoke to them. In a tone of voice like he hated them. Then he acted like they were the ones being hateful to him.

 About two weeks before we left we were at my Mom’s house. I was taking a long time getting out to the car but he had also made the kids go out there and sit. Suddenly, from inside I am hearing GM screaming at Bird at the top of his lungs.

“DON’T YOU EVER HIT YOUR SISTER LIKE THAT AGAIN! YOU DON“T GET TO HIT THEM EVERYTIME YOU GET PISSED OFF…etc”, with Bird yelling and then three very loud whack noises as GM proceeded to spank Bird while screaming at him not to hit.

 The neighbors called the cops. We had a nice little talk with one of our local detectives. Two days later I get a call from Department of Family Services. I didn’t see what happened, but I heard it and I could feel his rage through the walls of my mother’s house.

 For a few weeks, possibly as long as a month before that incident I had told GM I wanted off the mountain before school started. That we needed to separate because we weren’t working out or more importantly, working for the best interest of our children. That I was done wintering out there.

 When we met in the office of the DFS with GM’s new friend the caseworker, I told her we would be separating. That this was the final straw. She asked GM if he was aware of this and GM looked at her and said,

“This is the first I have heard of it!”

 I looked at him, stunned. “I have been talking about this for WEEKS, GM!” I said, “I told you we (the kids and I) weren’t wintering out there again.”

 Later that night we had yet another huge argument. This time I had ‘thrown him to the wolves’ in there. I was ‘childish’, ‘immature’, and all the usual crap. It was all me, not him and how dare I blame him for everything and not take the blame myself. I was ‘acting like’ I was ‘a saint, and could do no wrong’ while ‘everything he’ did, didn’t do, screwed up, whatever was over exaggerated and part of my ‘overreacting drama.’

 I think I decided once and for all at that moment that I really don’t like this man.

 I am DONE with being accused of wanting to just ‘lay blame/guilt/whatever’ .

DONE with putting my own apathy ahead of my kids most vital and basic needs.

DONE with being accused of being a control freak because I make the family decisions because he doesn’t, can’t or won’t.

DONE with being told how badly I handle money when he won’t take responsibility for it.

DONE with being the disciplinarian when the kids get out of line because he doesn’t have the courage to do it.

DONE with being with a man who puts a higher priority, more time, thought and effort on his medieval reenactment dress-up group activities than he does with finding a happy balance within his own family.

DONE with being the one who has to deal with anything difficult or unpleasant simply because he grabs onto the excuse ‘I can’t because…’ and hangs onto it so tightly he has convinced himself he is just as helpless in this world as his parents told everyone he was growing up.

“GM can’t take care of himself! After all, he got shot over 24 years ago, spent a month in the hospital and maybe could have died!”

 Just done. Not just me, either. The kids were done too. They aren’t done loving their father, but they don’t want to go to his house with him.

 Oh, and that’s my fault too because I spend hours ‘every day‘, apparently, ‘spewing vitriol’ into their heads and brainwashing them to not like being treated like total sub-humans by their father.

 I am done listening to my babies cry when I say we have to go home. They like our tiny one bedroom ‘repartment’ with its full bath and tiny little camp trailer sized sink in the kitchen. You can turn on the tap and water comes out! That’s pretty amazing. The kitchen sink is no bigger than the one in my 15ft camp trailer, but when you turn the faucet on water actually comes out and it‘s not because we hauled if from twelve miles away!

 There is electricity and a combo DVD/VHS player and when we moved in someone had left the original Freaky Friday movie with Jody Foster on VHS there. My kids have memorized the dialogue they’ve watched it so many times.

 Computer time to write is few and far between with the kids coming with me to the library. This night was given to me because my car got a flat tire and we ended up having to stay in Mom’s town at her house. I will post what and when I can.

 I want to write so much more. About the people we have met, the things I have learned. The reason I know why I came here. The blessings that have begun to come into our lives and the positive direction it is all flowing.

 This is a small part. But it is the beginning chapter of a new life for my kids and I. There is no turning back.

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 6:34 am  Comments (4)  
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After the Fall. Again.

I lost my new job the same day I finally dropped my classes at the college.  Then I dropped my optimism. 

This is where Faith gets tested. My belief says “Everything Happens For A Reason”. My brain says, “What The Hell Could The Reason Be For This To Happen?” 

I still get mad. Then I shake it off and get puzzled. Then I try and move forward anyway. I have to. It’s not about me. I have kids that need a better life. 

I am writing this to the drone of my father-in-laws voice going on about the constitution and how “THEY” will be killing off people by putting poison in medicines. 

Then I have to throw in my own paranoid theories about how television has brainwashed our culture into essentially being shiftless lazy consumerist bastards who want everything handed to us. The fact I can type this and keep my own thought processes rolling, throw in a few conspiracy theories to egg him on and still type makes me wonder how sane I am today. 

Welcome to Montana, folks. This is what we do. Oh. Wait. This is what a lot of people do. Sit around and theorize about what the evil all powerful “THEY” are doing to us next…and stay sitting on our asses talking about it instead of going out there and trying to find out the truth or do something to change the state of our nation and better our country and our lives. Waiting for Superman. 

Now we have moved on to how jet trails aren’t really the reaction of hot airplane exhaust with cold upper atmospheric air but really ground up aluminum sprayed out of airplanes and used to kill people. 

*sigh* 

I have learned, over a period of a few short months that when a person goes through a serious period of personal change that they can ‘outgrow’ the people around them. 

When you take account of where you are in your life, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, and decide you are sorely lacking in one or more of these areas, then decide you need to change them, and begin those changes you don’t look back. Well, you don’t if you have set foot on that path then fallen off once before, seen the wreckage you have made of your life so far and have the very real awakening that if YOU don’t make the change then NOTHING will change. 

It started last year. I was, once again, at the bottom of a huge depression. I was probably stoned. That’s usually when I would have the biggest ‘insights’. I was sitting on the hillside, staring down the hill at this monstrosity of an ‘addition’ that GM was building us to live in. It hit me like a ton of bricks. 

If something doesn’t change drastically, then this IS as good as it gets. As good as it will ever get. You are going to have to be the one to initiate the changes because you know your husband won’t do it. 

I know he doesn’t have evil in his heart. His intentions are not evil. But I also know he has an unwillingness to go through what he considers ‘unpleasantries’ in order to do what it takes to make a real and decent life for his family. Instead, we live in a modern poverty lifestyle nightmare. 

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to live an unconventional lifestyle. However, the lifestyle I pictured included us working together to clean up the garbage and scrap iron on our property, build our organic garden, dig the root cellar, plot where we would have the orchard and build the house. I thought we would work TOGETHER. I thought, since I was the one with the YEARS of hands on landscaping, gardening, plant knowledge composting that when I spoke of the kind of soil and water system we would need that my husband would listen, understand and support me. 

I was a fucking idiot. 

“”It would be ‘too hard’ to find a way to get the junk car bodies in to the scrap yard (they will come to you, I called to check). 

“That scrap iron isn’t ‘ours’.” (Scuse me? The land was GIVEN to us? OURS. To do what we wanted? Your Dad is on oxygen and can’t walk down the street much less haul his ass up here to load scrap. Fine! Sell the scrap, give your Dad half the money, we keep the other half for labor costs for clean up! Your thieving, lying, manipulative mother gets NOTHING btw.) 

“My car doesn’t have the room to haul the garbage to the fucking dump. Besides, all they do is go bury it into the ground somewhere else!” (Can I even believe I am HAVING this argument with you? You want me to grow a garden on a garbage heap because you are TOO FUCKING LAZY to put the garbage in your car because you don’t want you car (the car with all the garbage, cans, old food wrappers dirt and filth piled on the floorboards) to SMELL?) 

“Well my GRANDPA didn’t have to have a garden planted that way, he planted it this way.” 

“Well my GRANDPA didn’t have running water and he had hot water (thanks to the cookstove with a hot water heating tank on it!), he had water for his garden (thanks to the nearby freshwater source!).” 

“Well my GRANDPA had a root cellar and HE didn’t have to can this way or that way or….” 

Anymore my response is “YOUR GRANDPA IS FUCKING DEAD, HAS BEEN FOR OVER TEN YEARS AND WHAT HE DID HAS NO BEARING WHAT-SO-FUCKING-EVER ON HOW WE NEED TO LIVE AND SUPPORT OUR CHILDREN RIGHT NOW!!!!!” 

I think, in some totally screwed up way, if my husband can hang on to all this shit about how his Grandpa lived his life (without my husband ever working the dirt beside him to learn), then he doesn’t have to do any of it today because in his own belief system my ideas and ways aren’t “the RIGHT way to do it.” 

In the end, he only uses it as a complete excuse to not deal with any of it at all. My husband has a lot of excuses why he ‘can’t’ do things. Like provide for his family. Fix his failing marriage. Work with his wife on issues instead of assume I am telling him every problem in the world is his fault. He has a ‘right’ to be angry and scream incoherently if I am telling him it’s all his fault, you see. It’s easier for him that way. He doesn’t have to work to fix anything. 

I have been stupid for the past ten years. Well, eight because two of them I wasn’t with him. Unfortunately he was still too tied into my life. 

I have been too sucked into his constant negativity. Until I began working on making real deep and lasting positive changes in my life, I did not fully understand the slow poison I was living with every single day. 

It is true that you are the sum of the five grown people you hang out with the most. My dilemma is, I pretty much had no social life outside of my husband until last October. This means that my attitude and personal growth ability had been influenced by the person I have hung out with the most. 

Now though, I am hanging out with more people. People who want to grow in life. Who want to make good lives for their families and themselves. People who want to serve others and not be self serving. People who don’t believe in excuses. People who believe in doing what it takes and doing ALL it takes to get their families taken care of. 

My husband puts more time, effort and thought into making himself wooden boxes to take with him to his middle ages reenactment group events than he does into planning on how he is going to support his kids. He would tell you that he is ‘improving his carpentry skills’ by getting ‘practice’ building these things, but he is already floundering and sabotaging himself with the project dresser he was supposed to build for a woman and make some profit on. His shop instructor fell suddenly ill and is in the hospital so now my husband is saying he won’t be able to build it instead of trying to find a way he can. Always, every day, several times a day I listen to why or how he CAN’T do even the simplest of things. Frankly, my ears hurt. So I am not going to listen anymore. I am calling him on it every time and I am finding a way out for my kids and I. I made a mistake AGAIN in going back with him. He came to counseling with me twice and I thought we were on a path together. As soon as I was under the same roof with him again, it all went away. 

We are supposed to be celebrating our two year wedding anniversary this month. I realized today there has not been a single time in the past two years I have not regretted that day as the worst mistake I have ever made in my life. I knew it the week after we were married. Hell, I probably knew it two weeks before. 

I have let people know I am looking to trade everything I own for a 24 foot self contained camp trailer. That way I can own a place for my kids and I to live until I put more work into the retail aspect of my business and have more than the modest income I have from it now. I have to step it up. My kids need me. My kids need a home. 

I think I am going to go outside for awhile. I think I see an airplane. With a jet trail. I think I will go inhale deeply as it flies overhead. Who knows. If it doesn’t kill me maybe it will give me super powers or something. I could use a couple right now. 

Published in: on May 8, 2010 at 2:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Hippy Cats and Advice From the Elderly

I was trying to vacuum my Mother’s living room area. My children , just by their existence and whatever they are made up of, seem to shed bits of , well, stuff all over my Mother’s living room at a rate somewhat akin to a nervous cat with mange. I am not sure if it comes off their clothes or just them. I tell them take their shoes off at the door. They manage to shuck their shoes, coats and backpacks in a sort of haphazard line the fifteen feet between the front door and living room couch which is in front of the God of the Living Room; the television. I remind them, sometimes (very) loudly to put them on the chair.

Now, my Mother has never enjoyed housecleaning. She stacks things on tables, often times to the point of overflowing. She’s a WWII era kid.

“I save it because I never know when I may need it.” WHich is often followed by, “I’ll be damned if I can remember where I put it, but I am sure it will turn up!” then the lesson, “I remember when I had those burlap sacks in the attic for twenty years n when K cleaned out the attic she threw them away and I needed them for storing onions the very next week!”

Mom likes a clean kitchen but floors have never been her strong suit. I am the same way. I just kind of forget. It’s there, under my feet, but unless there is something sticky or crunchy I will probably ignore it.

Maybe my Mom does this too. Maybe it just that she is 79. Yet, if this is the case she has been 79 for about 38 years. Although I do remember her wringing out the rag mop and mopping the floor every couple of weeks or so when I was a kid.  The chair barriers would go up between living room and kitchen and there was hell to pay if you walked on that floor before it was dry, even in sock feet.

It’s the same for vacuuming. As she has gotten older and her back has gotten worse it just hasn’t been a huge priority. Her eyes are getting bad now as well, so she can’t see the grime as well. Her give-a-shitter is also breaking more and more, and I don’t blame her. My children and I are here every day and that is twenty-nine days too many in a month.

So, to keep a somewhat shaky hand on the rug and floor debris, either I vacuum her living room or force my children to do it.

I hate her vacuum. It is a CMS 1000, a brand they don’t even make anymore. It was one of the first bagless vacuums. It’s an upright, weighs approximately 14 tons and could suck the hair right off a dog. It’s little catch lock is also mostly broken so you go to put it into it’s upright position and it falls down dead. Hard.

Doing any sort of task in front of my Mother is a lot like wearing a huge sign that reads “NEVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE. POSSES NO COMMON SENSE. PLEASE DIRECT MY EVERY MOVEMENT.”

“Be sure you get that cord out of the way! The vacuum will eat holes in the cord and you’ll get electrocuted.”

“Yeah, Mom. I know about cords and vacuums.”

“I flip the end of the rug up and then you can vacuum the stuff that gets pushed underneath.”

I press my lips together. I remind myself I am a respectful person.

I break out the extensions to work on getting the dirt out of the large gaps between the floor boards. It was a house slapped together in the 50s up in the Canyon when they built the Hungry Horse Dam. It was moved down the valley after the dam workers no longer needed it. Years ago when we first pulled up the old nasty rug, there were strips of calking filling in the gaps. The caulking is gone now, but the floor dirt finds them.

Mom begins scooting herself around in her chair.

“Here, you want me to hold my feet up so you can vacuum under them?”

“No, thanks, I’m good, I’ll get back to that spot.”

It drives her nuts I know, that I do not do things in a methodical organized manner. I go back and forth, a patch here, a patch there, until something else catches my attention.

Like those monstrous dust varmints under the gas heater. They are bigger than bunnies, more like dust badgers. I have to use the hose without the floor sweep because the dust badgers choke the opening closed in their fight to remain free. Hairballs are not my thing. I can handle spiders crawling on me. Just do not make me touch any form of hair gobbets.

My Mom launches into a tale I remember from my childhood. This is odd because I was there, I remember it, and she is telling me my own history as if it is new. Only she is screwing up the details.

“When I had that old Filter Queen vacuum G had a white cat named Meth. He was deaf. He liked to lay under that vacuum when I used it. It must have felt like a huge purr.”

“Snowball was the deaf cat, Mom” I correct, “Meth was the one she got from the guy who fed him hits of acid. He’s the cat that had the flashback, freaked out and tried to run out of the house through the closed glass window. Glass everywhere.”

“I thought that was Coke.”

“Nope. Coke was the one that ate chocolate then threw it up all over my new sneakers.”

Take a guess at what my sisters’ hobbies were in high school. Between the years of 1974 and 1979 I don’t think there was an animal that lived in our house that wasn’t named after some controlled substance. Up until that moment, vacuuming my Mother’s rug I didn’t really think of the fact that all the cats were named after drugs. Those were just their names. Sad thing was, back then, my parents didn’t know they were named after drugs either. I am sure they thought Coke was named after the soda, being a cola-colored calico. Snowball was white, so I am sure that seemed innocent enough. Meth, well, they probably thought he was named after some hippy love musician. I remember the day G and her party friends painted the pot plant on the ceiling in her upstairs bedroom. It’s still there…a commemorative piece in memory of some really wild party.

The drug culture took my parent’s house by storm when I was little. I remember watching my eldest sister K freaking out and screaming her head off in the middle of the living room floor as Dad sat on her to keep her down and our local doctor and family friend injected her with some sedative to knock her out. I was three or four. She was sixteen or seventeen.

My sister G took me up the North Fork with a bunch of friends of hers and I got out of the car to sit by the front fender and cry because the pot smoke got too thick and I thought she would drop dead because Mom always said they were killing themselves. I was four, she was fourteen. She told me it was ok that there was nothing wrong with it and later that day she taught me to hitch-hike when we were walking through town.

“Stick your thumb out like this! No! Other hand! Yeah, like that. Now let’s turn around and walk backwards! Wait for a car. Here comes one! Put your thumb out! No! Other hand! Yeah! Alright, they’re stopping! Let’s go!”

I think it was some friend of hers, the guy in the truck that stopped. I didn’t know. I just thought it was cool to stick your thumb out and have a ride. I thought my sister was awesome. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

“Are you going to vacuum there under the piano?” Mom’s voice broke in. These are the times it is hardest to love her. My Mother believes I am a failure and a complete screw up and she can’t even trust that I will do the simplest tasks right. Or she is just a rabid control freak.

In my inner cartoon world of the visions of what if, I reach over with the vacuum extension and with a ‘floop!‘ suck her up out of her rocking chair, right inside the swirling dust tornado in the bagless canister.

“Shhh!” I tell her.

This is also why I have never, EVER tried hallucinogens.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 5:22 am  Comments (1)  
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Love, Respect, and a Hardy “Screw You!”

My tolerance for humanity ebbs and flows with my moon cycle. This goes double for my tolerance and patience with my children and husband. It’s trickier now, though, since my hysterectomy a year ago. In 2008 B.H (Before Hysterectomy), I took notice of the mood changes in a way only a Mom working full time and running after five children could. The world was well and good for half the month until the people in my home turned into the most aggravating anger inspiring creatures on the planet. Then I would cry, eat chocolate, bleed like a pack mule and they would all become civilized human beings again. For about two to three weeks. Repeat.

It wasn’t until 2009 A.H. (if I have to translate stop reading now), and after a time of adjustments and healing, I realized my new and surprisingly annoying predicament. They only took my uterus, and left those little golf ball sized hormone and egg producers known as ovaries. This means that I still cycle through my moon phases, but with a BIG catch. No grand finale.

Before, there was a slow slide into the general irritables which culminated in those wonderful thoughts of murder and mayhem the true female monthlies, finalized by the gory monthly fact of life.

Now, I got no finale. It’s like an aborted sneeze. All the AHHHH with no CHOO!

To make up for this percieved slight, my hormones have doubled their effort of looking for a vent. Mostly they try and find it through holes my sanity.

Recently, and in my attempts at being a more respectful person to those around me, especially my husband, I have tried this month, to keep an eye on that cycle and give him fair warning as to when it was heading into dangerous waters. Those waters start as a slightly alarming mist and turn over the course of two weeks into a torrential downpour of doom.

Tonight was no exception. I tried to explain that it was in part hormones, and in part real feelings that needed to be addressed. To cap it off, in an attempt to find out what I would look like if I wasn’t huge, I have started on a body system plan that includes those foods like broccoli (which are nothing more than mutated, bastardized cabbage Frankenstein’s). I am trying to avoid the word ‘diet’ because as only Garfield could understand, “DIET id ‘DIE’ with a T!“

Of course, tonight GM was craving macaroni and cheese. The way I was raised, the recipe was simple. After you boil the noodles you add 1/4 of butter and 1/4 cup of milk to the sauce. After all, mac and cheese cannot be mac and cheese without the full flavor. I once read the directions on some misguided, healthy style box that called for 1/3 cup of skim milk and ONE tablespoon of margarine! As if! I guffawed, did it right and gained four pounds by the end of that meal alone.

So, in an effort to jump on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon and live long enough to be a real pain in the ass to my future grandchildren, I am making changes. Which sucks when you have to make something as yummy and mac and cheese for the rest of the horde while you get to discover the joys of instant brown rice for the first time in your life.

Perhaps it was the hormones. Perhaps it was the new meal plan. Perhaps it was the fact my kids fought constantly and loudly while GM kind of sat there with a bored look on his face doing very little to jump in and save the day and my mother, since we were at her house, ran away to hide in her bedroom, wishing she had joined a convent instead of walking down that damned aisle.

When it was 8:00 pm and I was snarling at Butterfly to get the food served up for the kids as GM hovered in the background, ever the passive voyeur, I was still working on my own lower calorie version of supper. I got to that temperamental state where my boiler was overheating, I was beginning to blow valves and I wondered if I could murder my husband and bury him in Mom’s compost heap because his apathetic attitude and actions were pissing me off THAT MUCH. We had some verbal fencing exchange and when “Oh fuck YOU!” flew out of my mouth I turned off the burner under my food and left the house.

Bird followed me outside, no doubt wondering if I was leaving for good, at which I yelled at him to get BACK in the house.

My children freak if Mom walks away. I am their safety net. I will never completely figure out, perhaps not until they are older, why they are so much more scared of their father than they are of me. Is it his capacity, in the past, to do violence on his environment that keeps this fear in them? The fact they can feel his rage battering at their sprits like a war hammer on those dwindling occasions it is unleashed. (though since I left him on the road that night, we have not seen anything close to that level of explosion come off of him). They fear him but they have no respect for him and don’t listen to him when he tells them to do something.

I have been working on the principles I have learned from a book called Love and Respect.   Written by some guy with the last name of Eggerich or something silmilar with the word ‘egg’ in it. This was recommended reading for me and GM from the couple he and I have counseled with. There is a good message in there, but I hate the guys writing style. Every other page he had these letters from women about how much his seminars had helped and yada yada. It struck me as too much “see how right I am”, though I don’t think that was the author’s intent. There was a lot of Biblical reference and scriptural quotes in there as well. Scripture seems to take a long time to pontificate a subject the Native peoples lived for centuries; Walk in a good way. I have little patience for scripture, rebellious heathen that I am. Give me a sweat lodge ceremony any day.  Too bad more medicine men and women didn’t write more couples counseling books…

The Love and Respect book basically speaks of a wife’s need for love and a husbands need for respect. The pink vs. blue difference. It has been very hard for me to act in a respectful way toward my husband in order to nurture his ability to grow. I have been trying very hard in the past weeks to do that. He has been trying in his own way to make adjustments. Like coming in to do the dishes tonight while I was still trying to make my own dinner and Butterfly was giving the younger sibs way too much macaroni and not enough green beans and pork chops. But I snapped. The jobs weren’t right. Butterfly should have been doing the dishes, not riding herd on the sibs. She was doing the parental job while my husband did the eleven year old girl job.

I am learning to voice what I need and do it in a good way, not a cutting way. My hormones make my tongue have edges and I am spoiling for a fight so I took off on a walk through the town after I told him what I wrote just above. I left the house and walked. I had no destination in mind just away.

Dark. My favorite time. Quieter time. Lesser people time. People turn on their lights and leave their curtains wide open not able to think outside the circle of their own electric lights and solid walls. It’s like free cable. Not a lot of activity, a lot of people sitting in front of televisions or at the dining room tables. I stare in fascination as I walk by, trying out the passive voyeur style myself.

I walked and overflowed with anger and tears tried to follow but nothing came out. I hadn’t drunk water since that morning. I had no moisture to give. Walked past Norby’s and wondered if he had forgotten me again with that damned brain tumor growing. Put off going to see him again in my selfish anger. Wondered if I would ever see him again. Felt my body breaking a weak, dehydrated sweat and went to the grocery store for a bottle of water. I had my cd player stuffed into the shoulder strap of my sports bra under my shirt, ipods costing too much on my budget. I had my recently acquired Mumford and Sons Sigh No More cd playing on continuous replay. I could block out the store’s canned music and surf through on a wave of my own choosing. Large bottle of Montaqua and four Lindt truffles. Diet be damned.  Paused in the check-out line to tease the guy in front of me…a guy whose brother I dated in high school. He got carded by the 20 something cashier for the cigarettes he was buying. He’s in his 40s but looks a lot older. We laughed and bantered and reminisced about the 70s when we could go into the stores to buy cigarettes for our folks and older siblings at age ten and they wouldn’t bat an eye. Three of us plus the cashier laughing and I noticed when I walked out that there was a long line of people behind us at that checkout. They were all smiling.

Unintentional gift shared. My heart was too stingy when I walked in to want to share a communal moment with anyone. Somewhere kindness and laughter slipped in, otter-like to offer a piece of healing. Four Lindt chocolate truffles, one for the spirits, three for me. Water to rehydrate.

Walked home to find Bunny outside in the dark, by Mom’s car, Copper beside her. I heard her before I saw her because I walked in through the alley. She was singing, in her high, clear, five year old voice. The ‘I Love You’ lyrics she stole from Barney, but turned to her own tune and mixed with other words. She was singing a come home soon song for me. For herself. Her prayer song. Worried where Mommy might be and wanting to see her home. She turned when Copper noticed me. I spoke to her about not going outside at night in case of strangers. I spoke this as I realized these were the same quiet streets that had whispered for me to come out in the night when I was a child. Relatively secure area, two and a half small town blocks from the police station. Copper would have protected her. But I am a Mom and can’t bear the thought of anything happening to my babies. I told her what a beautiful song she was singing. We held hands on the way into Grammy’s house together.

GM and I spoke a bit. I was firm, but tried to steer away from accusations about his need to step up and be the disciplinarian of the family.   What I wanted to say to him would have incited a war.  Being the disciplinarian is a job he really doesn’t want. Doesn’t want to be the ‘bad guy’. Knows and hates the fact his kids have no respect for him, but is so hung up on his idea that discipline means being the bad guy he can’t see it is his own inconsistencies and lack of action bringing out his kids contempt. I try to be firm but loving in what I say. I don’t take pass offs or excuses and manage it in a mostly respectful attitude while letting him know I am upset.

We part in relative peace, hugging even. I still feeling like kicking him hard in tender areas, but I realize it does our unity no good to voice or act this out. 

He takes the kids with him to stay at his sister’s house with his father while his sister and family are out of town. I stay at Mom’s with Butterfly because she is being picked up for ski lessons tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the first Saturday of this month. Sweat lodge time. I will leave in the morning after seeing Butterfly off. Tomorrow will be a day for healing.

I did not bleed off my anger. I can’t do that anymore. I can only let it leave on the otter-tail of laughter, or the bitter seep of tears. I try my very best to walk in a good way. Tomorrow I will pray humbly for calmness, careful words and good wisdom. Tonight I will pray for guidance in my dreams, and for an open and receptive heart. For a way to use that pent up energy to let it come out of me in acts of love and kindness instead of anger.

Tonight I go to a sleep that will not be awakened at 5 a.m. to the piping voice arguments that only children who are morning people can come up with. Tomorrow I will get to hug them and tell them how much I love them.

Well, until they turn into those annoying anger inspiring people…but they’ll only be that way for about four more days…

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 10:15 pm  Comments (4)  
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Wait ’til You’re a Teenager, Missy

It was gearing up to be a Girls Day Out with my littlest girls Bunny, 5 and Nunkee, 2. I had to go to JC Penney’s and pay off my bill so I decided to take them on a rare outing in THE MALL.

I am not a mall rat. There have been times when, accompanied by a fellow cynic I would go in to the bookstore or people watching, to gawk in fascination at people who actually seemed to like being there.

I am not a shopper. But I needed pants and there is one store in town where I can by plus sized clothing that does not make me look like I have gone couch hunting, shot it and am wearing it’s horrible print hide. Most of what Kalispell, Montana offers for plus sized clothing makes me think of what very large day-gin drinking women named Beulah would wear while playing bingo and smoking menthol ultra-lights. Not a pretty sight.

I wanted to get my little girlies something from the bling store so we went to Claire’s. I was thinking, if I bought them something for themselves, perhaps I could shop for pants in Maurice’s in relative peace while the distracted themselves. They did fairly well not touching everything in sight or unloading the racks. After trying on several crowns, being told “NO!” to the sunglasses approximately 45 times and wiggling and whining while I bought some fancy lip gloss for their older sister, we made it out with two knew sets of fairy wings and identical lip-gloss cell phones.

As my little fairies and I trooped down the hall to Maurice’s and walked in, my dear five year old piped up at the top of her lungs, “IS THIS THE STORE WHERE WE’RE GOIN’ TO BUY YOU SOME FAT LADY PANTS, MOM?”

Way to call it like you see it, Bunny. You little shit.

Bunny then proceeds to walk to the nearest plus sized rack and say, in her best unbelieving voice, “Here Mom, these are HUGE!”

I think I was sputtering by this time. Bunny was bouncing from rack to rack remarking on the various HUGE sized pants while Nunkee, meanwhile is remembering there was a shoe display here before and has proceeded to attempt the mad dash to the display yelling “WANNA TRY ON A CLAPPY SHOES!”. After corralling Nunkee and mostly shushing Bunny I grabbed a shirt off a rack in a desperate attempt to distract Bunny’s mouth.

“What do you think about this shirt, Bunny? How would this look on me?” She eyed it with careful consideration for about two seconds.

“Pretty hideous!” the little pink fairy informed me.

Girl, when you are in high school, we are going to go shopping together.

And you can be dammed sure I’m gonna be wearing a bog ol’ pair of pink fairy wings when we do!

Seriously, I couldn’t really be mad at her. She was five and trying her best to be helpful. She is a living lesson as to why I need to watch what comes out of my mouth.

I did find pants that fit well. One of the guys in my Soils class was kind enough to let me know I needed to remove the foot long size sticker off the back of the damned leg after class the next day.

Clothes: a constant source of embarrassment. Then again, the alternative? Almost makes that couch print look possible. Almost.

Published in: on February 26, 2010 at 6:05 am  Comments (1)  
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Brain Popcorn

I don’t have my thumb drive on me so I am just going to post this out here, to float in cyberspace on the WordPress server or wherever it is that these things go. I worked at a computer tech at a place called Stream for a very short time. I know some of the mechanics of the how’s and whys of internet magic, but mostly my give-a-shitter stops there.

I wish I had more time to post. To write at all. At a time when it wasn’t dark and I wasn’t tired and it could be this still and quiet and my thoughts didn’t feel jumbled and disjointed. I have to sneak my writing sessions in. I recognize though, they are important and somehow, someway I have to make time for it. Like therapy only without some over-papered trained listener telling you maybe you should take and antidepressant instead of just grow the hell up an learn accountability.

I have to wonder if these written words are the future archaic histories, or just another seed in a field of grass. Technology can bring such amazing an daunting changes. Everyone has a voice in cyberspace. Way back when I first discovered what a chat room was I wrote some poetry and posted it out here somewhere. I can’t remember much about what I wrote other than I titled them after wine colors and was trying to capture with words those butterfly feelings swirling around the temporary tryst I had with this smoking hot soccer player. I don’t think we ever drank wine though, just a lot of hard cider and some really decent weed. He was the first and only man that ever referred to me as a lady and used the word to mean someone of grace and class. Which surprised the hell out of me, especially since I was mostly my self around him. Must have been the weed.

Now what takes up my days and a good deal of my cranial capacity are parenting and being a student, fledgling independent business owner, and trying to find time for my self maintenance.

Today I decided to try out the Light Mountain Natural Henna hair dye (auburn!) that I bought sometime before Christmas. I have, at he ripe ol’ age of 38 been getting more and more silver streaks in my hair. The one thing I do like about them is that they are growing out a little ziggy, like lightning bolts. This makes me hope that when I finally wear the full-mantel honor of official Crone that I will have this lightning bolt mass of frizzy silver hair standing out from my head. I will have an absolute heyday with that on Halloween…one that I may very well carry though the year long.

But today it just sucked seeing that so I decided to mix it up and damn the strand test.

Henna, I learned, is time consuming. No metals allowed unless you color preference is the same shade of green as Frankenstein’s face. Boiled water in glass or plastic only, mixed with a wooden spoon. Smells a little like alfalfa during haying season. Looks exactly like cow slop. The exact same texture and consistency I would come home wearing bits of after my shift at the dairy. Spatter pattern and all. By the time I got done combing the goop through the parts of my hair where I wanted it…not an easy task, mind you, I looked as if I had taken those dairy scrapings, enthusiastically coated my hair and it looked as if Bessy had only been able to make it as far as the bathroom sink before cutting loose in a manner only a cow can do.

The directions said to place a plastic cap on and apply steady heat to it while timing it for intervals, blah blah blah….

Of course, during this whole time my sweet little angels were ‘playing’ with each other by finding whatever most aggravating thing they could do to the nearest sibling and doing it repeatedly. At high volume. While Mommy dearest snarled dire threats in between applying layers of organic cow-like material to her head then coifing herself in cellophane.

By then it was nearing dinner so I just left of the whole heating part until about five or ten minutes before my husband called to tell me I had to drive into town to pick him up from his class because he couldn’t reach his mom. I rinsed it out quickly, not wanting to drive to Kalispell wearing cow spa hair treatment in public.

In the past it has been my folly with chemical hair dyes to horrible things to my hair then go to the local cosmetology school to aid in their practical instruction by having them figure out how to fix it for cheap. I was delighted to see later that most of the gray is actually covered up nicely, in fact, it blends right in with my natural color so it is very subtle. At least from what I can see in the front. Haven’t looked in the back, but why ruin a good thing, right? I am sure someone will let me know if it looks weird and until then I am blissful in my ignorance.

Yesterday as I was waiting with Bunny and Nunkee in the car while GM went in to a store, my girls proceeded to partake of their favorite backseat past time; paper shredding. I don’t know whether it is from sheer boredom or the fact that we are in that damned car so much they are nesting. The paper of choice that day happened to be the fine white tissue paper that had been stuffed in the toes of their brand new sneakers we had just purchased moments before. It was with great pride that Nunkee announced from the back seat,

“I rowin’ a smoke!!” to which I turned around in my seat to find her chubby yet nimble two year old fingers doing a busy impersonation of Daddy rolling a cigarette. She then took her now more slightly rounded six inch stogie and proceeded to ‘smoke’ it.

I wanted to scream. Told GM about it when he got back in the car. He doesn’t smoke in the house…smokes in the car with the window rolled down only when we are either driving or I am not in the vehicle to remind him that TODAY is a good day to quit.

Made me remember my early days and how I loved the smell of a pack of cigarettes…until they lit the damned stinking things up. Even as a smoker years ago I hated second hand smoke. I could only tell Nunkee that cigarettes were yucky, they’d make her sick. Then I just prayer for a couple things. Like that she would never start smoking. Or present that demonstration at daycare. I can hear the story in the making for my future grandkids now:

“Then there was this time your Mommy was busted for rolling fatties behind the toy kitchen at preschool and she was only two years old!”

Yes. I would tell them that story.

Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 7:50 am  Comments (5)  
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A Moment Brought to Halt

I read about his death in the paper last week and it didn’t really sink in until I saw the pictures on his sister’s Facebook page that, yes, that really was the boy I had a crush on for a while back in junior high, yes, that was the grown man who had been my friend in our early teen years.

I have been thinking about him off an on all day.  It is odd…in her pictures I stopped recognizing my old friend after a certain age.  I didn’t know the grown-up him…the him that was a man.  I knew the boy-becoming-man…the one I would flirt with, crushed on silently because he was the one who dated my junior high best friend.  I did not  know the man who grew up, fell in love and became a father of five.  I did not know the man who died, but I remember the sweet boy he was.  I remember he was kind.  He was never one to call names, at least not that I ever heard.  He was what, in my mind, at that extremely confusing and stressful time of life, I got to think of as one of the ‘safe’ people to be around.  One of the ones who wouldn’t hurt you out of the cruel spite so often associated with that age.

I don’t know if he ever really knew I had a crush on him.  I was pretty busy then, crafting a hardened shell of image; Tough Girl.  Don’t mess with me, ‘cuz I’ll kick your ass!  I scared most boys.  Or they thought I was too fat or ugly…maybe all three, who knows.

This boy never made me feel afraid at a time of life when everything terrified me and every cruel word or deed spoken to me struck so deeply and stuck so long that it became part of what formed me.  He was kind.  Mouthy and rude sometimes, like the rest of us testing our curse word vocabulary and every other boundary we could.   Never mean or malicious.  He was part of a group of us that gathered together in that mosh pit of junior high, hung around the art building, laughing at stupid shit and grabbing each others asses in that hormone-fueled place between childhood and adult games.  I still have the picture of us all at our eighth grade graduation.  Thrown into the swirling food chain of high school we eventually lost touch completely.  Me, retreating into safe dark places where I could be invisible, with occasional outbursts of (so I though) necessary violence, and he…well, he went his own way.  We may have said ‘hey’ a few times in high school but we were trying on the faces of our grown-up-selves-to-come and we didn’t have time for that silly junior high shit…or friendships, anymore.

It is strange how, in that some-when place within our minds, where we hold each other ageless,  pieces of us  never leave and we hold fast that place of memory.  It makes time start up again, with a stomach dropping jolt, when death sears a slap into our brains through the vehicle of the weekly obituaries and  we remember what we have forgotten life goes on,memories change, paths diverge, people grow up, move on, love, live…and die.

I realized there was a gap in my knowing.  A very wide gap between who I knew and who he was.  Did the kind boy grow up to be a kind man?  Did he keep his sense of humor?  Was he happy in his living?

It was surprising, that, once I took out that dusty treasure box in my heart where long-ago memory lies and opened it, there was still a little piece of love tucked away  that had his name on it.  Love of his friendship, love of his kindness as I knew it.  Love now dusted over with a layer of true sorrow that he only walked with us 39 years.  That he leaves behind a partner and five children as well as an extended family.

He and I were born a year apart on the same day.   My birthday was his birthday first.  I had forgotten that.  I never will again.

I know the man he became walks in a good way the spirit world.

I know the boy he was. He is laughing in my some-when.

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 1:24 am  Comments (2)  
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New Circles and Changing Habits

After another lengthy silence….it seems strange, writing on here again after my last post.  In the pages that are read life stops but in reality it never takes a break.

After GM and I separated, the kids and I moved in with my 79 year old mother in her tiny two bedroom house.  To say the situation was stressful does not begin to cover it.  I love my mother, yet my mother never really did want children, she did it because that’s what you did after you got married.  I was a late life “oops” that, at her age of 41 left her reeling anew, especially in light of all the hell-bent for partying my two older sisters did.

I didn’t realize what or how I used to cope with living in a house where you were considered to be mostly a pest, until I was again in that situation.  I never realized, until a few weeks ago, that I try to walk silently in that house, and for someone with a very much less than slight frame, manage it quite well.

My mother is not one of the most observant personalities to start with and age hasn’t helped that.  Until the night I stealthed past her in the kitchen to get something as she sat mesmerized by a game of computer solitaire I never realized how hard I tried growing up to make myself invisible.

Meantime, GM and I had been in daily contact.  He was angry after the separation and tried for a week or so to make it all my fault.  I refused to take it.  I have my part, but I am not all at fault.  Oh, I know I provoke him.  I do it on purpose when I allow his comments or accusations to get the better of me.  I feel the razor sharp double edge of my tongue as the sheath comes off and we go to war.

I never went into marriage with the idea that is things went bad we could just get a divorce.  Perhaps some of my parent’s morals rubbed off on me.  However, I refuse to live in a miserable marriage.

My mother put a time limit on school nights for GM to be out of her house.  This was full within her right.  My mother and I had a conversation.  Her stance was “her house, her rules”.  I agreed as far as GM was concerned.  I spoke with her about, yes, it was her house and we needed to live in respect in accordance with this.  There was a major problem, however.  My mother, beyond telling me GM needed to be out by 8 pm on school nights, never really stated what these “rules” were.  I didn’t ask for specifics but went about making sure the dishes were always done, the house got picked up as often as I could organize it, laundry didn’t pile up and I did any and all cleaning projects that came about or were mentioned.  For the most part, my mother took Flexeril and laid in her room with a back ache.  My mother chooses to deal with things by ignoring them until they explode.  Out of sheer stubbornness I didn’t ask her what she wanted.  Also out of sheer business in trying to take care of my kids and keep them from going stir-crazy in a tiny house I knew my mother really didn’t want up living in with her.

It soon became apparent over the weeks that part of what my mother considered under the jurisdiction of “her house, her rules” also meant how I chose to go about raising, disciplining and holding accountable my own children.  Time and again I was told she wasn’t helping with my kids at all.  Not that I expected her too.  I know better.  Why would my mother want to help me raise my own kids when she had resented so much raising her own?  I told her time and again I didn’t want her to try and help with my kids.  I didn’t want her cooking meals.  I told her not to, repeatedly.  As soon as she would try and start a dinner one hand would go to the small of her back and by the time anything was on the table if I was busy elsewhere she would be clutching her spine and rocking back and forth and often abandon the table to go lay on her hot pack.

I told her not to make meals because it put her in too much pain and she snapped at me that it was going to hurt no matter what she did.  So I made sure either myself, or, if I was doing other things, my eldest daughter was starting dinner or breakfast.

According to my mother this put far too much responsibility on my 11 1/2 year old.

I remember too clearly my early years where no responsibilities were assigned to me other than the occasional, “clean your room if you want to have a friend over”.  It wasn’t until I was fifteen that my mother suddenly decided that I needed rules and chores.

Do you have any idea how much additional strife that caused in our family?  You have a kid who has gotten a free ride with no expectations so far and literally, in the course of one week try to impose massive changes on that person and on the whole household for that matter, then wonder why there is constant conflict.

So I decided, that, as a sanity saver for myself, and to keep from doing my children a disservice, they would learn young what it meant to participate in household chores.  It is still a struggle, but my kids know that if they make a mess, they get to clean it up.  If there are dishes or dirty laundry, they get to help or do it.  My eleven year old gets a lot more responsibility because of her age, but the others are coming along as well.

GM and I started counseling.  We are working on repairing things…communicating in ways without anger.  We have both been told to be accountable in ways .  I was told to watch my own negative talk.  He was told to step up as the main disciplinarian instead of letting me do it all.  I recently got a (very) part time job as a tax preparer so I will have a small amount of income at least until the tax season picks up.  We still need another car.  The one we have is absolute oil chugging no muffler piece of crap.  At least we can all ride in it.

Two weeks ago, my mother finally had her blowup.  It was on a Sunday.  Day of rest.  She had gone to church and the kids and I were at her house.  My youngest, Nunkee was being a crabby brat.  So I let the three oldest watch televisions while I laid down with her around 10 am.  I woke up at noon and went out.  The kids said my mother had been but had left the house and when Butterfly asked her where she was going she told her, “I have no idea!”.  My mother’s way of letting us all know she was mad.  I guessed it was because I had dared take a nap with my youngest while the other kids were awake.  For some reason, this makes her angry, if I take a nap.  Other times it doesn’t bother her.  I never know where I stand with this woman.

She came home in the afternoon and didn’t speak to me.  I didn’t bother to initiate conversation because, even though I know she won’t, I feel that is she has an issue she should be grown up about it and come talk to me.  This is my stubborn “go-to-hell” attitude she attributes to the taint of my father’s genes.

Bird took a bath and told me he tried draining his toy on a towel on the stool.  I told him to wipe up the water.  I was actually watching a television program, something I rarely do.  I hadn’t gone into the bathroom yet.

My mother came out of her room to use the bathroom.  The first words she spoke to me that day were screamed, “YOU GET IN HERE AND CLEAN UP THIS GODDAMNED MESS!”

To which I diplomatically and respectfully replied, “Excuse me! WHO THE FUCK WERE YOU JUST TALKING TO LIKE THAT?” and world war three was on.  She was talking to me and I needed to clean up my skids mess,  be responsible for going in right after they used the bathroom to make sure there were no messes, it was my job to clean up his mess because he is just a (7 year old!) kid, etc. etc.  It was ugly.  My son freaked out and hid his head under the pillow on the couch while wailing miserably.  My mother and I exchanged volleys of venom and mutual disrespect and I told her the kids and I would be out of her house that week.  I also used a lot of f-bombs and hatred and was generally a huge asshole.

The irony is, if one of us had chosen to be the more mature one and treated the other respectfully, the whole situation could have been avoided.  The ugly and stubborn truth about me is that I have never respected my mother because I have judged her actions over her words and decided her hypocrisy wasn’t something I would ever respect in her.  I am sure it shows.  I know she has an idea that I don’t respect her even though I try not to show it.  Likewise, she does not respect me.  Realistically, it is better for us to live far, far apart.  My mother wants her peace and quiet.  She doesn’t really want her grandkids around as much as they are.  She does it out of a resentful sense of obligation while at the same time letting me know we are a bother to her and her routine.

I hope to  NEVER make my children feel like unwanted bothers in my life EVER.

So for two days we didn’t speak to each other unless absolutely necessary.  We have never apologized to each other even yet.  And two days later there was another blow up.  This time, I had it out with my eldest sister who called from Oregon.  K and I have actually talked to each other in depth maybe twice in the last ten years.  Once was a fairly recent conversation when I told her about splitting up with GM and the circumstances surrounding it.

K called late two days later.  I couldn’t help overhearing Mom getting more and more upset on the phone.  I finally picked up the extension.  Whether that was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do I don’t know.  I know I am sick of my mother getting angry at me and running to my eldest sister to cry and complain instead of to me.  We had it out about this once before when I was informed by my oldest sister that I was ‘abusing’ my mother because the kids and I were coming to her house to do laundry and bath and we were sometimes staying later than what my mother thought was appropriate for my kids.  I found out my mother had an issue with this through my oldest sister who lives out of state instead of from the woman whose house we were coming into.

Believe me.  It is easy for me to overstep boundaries.  Especially when I have to read someone’s mind or hear it third party to know what those boundaries are.  Frankly, it drives me batshit crazy, but I know it is at least half my fault because, being a selfish bastard, I don’t really want to know what the boundaries are if it involves how she thinks I should be raising my kids.  I am, after all, the result of that parenting and I struggle with it on a daily basis. (Especially that selfish bastard part.)  I really don’t like that, and I am working on changing it…mostly with my kids…I figure my mother and I aren’t really a priority on account of our established pattern.  I figure there still may be hope for me and mine.  I could be totally wrong, but whatever.  This stage of life only allows me so much in the stress capacity….)

So, I picked up that extension to hear my sister speaking of how much I make my kids suffer…and well, enter world war three.

The thing that my sister doesn’t see, doesn’t even want to see is that I am actually, at this stage of life going through a personal development stage that is forcing me to face not only fears but responsibility and accountability issues.  I am holding myself accountable to certain outside mentors.  I know I am where I am at because of all the choices I have made in the past.  There is no one to ‘blame’ but myself.

I also know I am working hard on changing those things while also having to deal with the reality of where I am at.  I don’t need someone coming in with a high and mighty, better-than-though judgmental attitude telling me what they think I need to do.

Oh, my sister informed me I had to move out of my mother’s house.  To which I replied I had already told mom I was moving out and would be out by Friday.

Mom didn’t say anything on the other line.  I didn’t expect her too.  I apologized for busting in on her conversation later but she said she didn’t mind.  I don’t know if that is true or not.  I never really know what is real with my mother.  At this point in life I don’t think I really care to know.  I know she will say one thing and mean another.  I know that she is my mother and there is that maternal love bond there…but as a person, I can’t stand her.  I know the feeling is mutual.

Reality is, it was not a domestic enough situation to warrant going in to a safe house.  The homeless shelters here in this small community are in another town and that would have meant uprooting my kids from their schools since I have no vehicle.

There is a two bedroom trailer of my mother-in-laws on the mountain.  I told GM to ask her how much she wants for it.  The kids and I are moving in there.

I told our counselors I will give it six months to see if GM is really willing to step up and commit to his share of responsibility and accountability.  My negative side doesn’t hold out much hope.  Financial reality states this is where I am at the moment.  Believe it or not, I am too poor for Section 8 housing assistance even if the wait list wasn’t two years out.  I don’t make enough money to qualify for low income housing.  Ironic, isn’t it?

So right now, I am holding on to one thing.  There is one hope for me, for my kids, and hopefully for my husband, and it is through the mentors I have, and in learning self sufficiency and personal development.  I am learning to never give up.  I know that the Great Spirit makes everything happen for a reason and what better way to motivate me to better my situation than by putting me in one that challenges me every single day.

There are days I wonder if I will succeed.  Then I realize I have no choice.  It is for my children that I must succeed.

A very dear, wonderful and generous friend of mine has offered to pay for daycare expenses for Nunkee so she can be out of the neglectful and sickness inducing environment of my mother in laws house.  The daycare provider will cut us a break on Bunny’s attendance cost so soon I hope to be able to have Bunny there as well.    One day I will be able to pay this forward tenfold.

There are days yet, where frustration sets in and nothing seems like it is getting better.  I am learning more about respect for my husband, for crediting him with his small steps like disciplining the kids without screaming at them.  There are steps being taken.  Impatience often wishes they were bigger.  I wish I had refrained from making such a mess of my life so far.  So much time wasted and so far to catch up.  Separate on the same mountain.  That is the way it has to be for now.  The past cannot be changed.  Tomorrow is coming and I have to keep my head up and walk in a good way.  So my children can have a good lead to follow.

As of January 15th I quit smoking pot.  In order for me to make the steps necessary to change for the better, I have to give this up.  I still believe it has its place as a medicine, but like any medicine, it is easy to misuse.

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 9:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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Pick a Straw

Things happen in our lives and it is not until later, when we can look back that the pieces fit in the puzzle.  Sometimes the pieces never fit.

My husband has never been a man that has hit me with his fists, but slain me with his anger.  I have never been a wife who would show mercy in a verbal argument once I chose to make the leap into that all consuming pit of anger magma.

In the long run, it all comes down to the choices we make.  Where emotion is concerned, choices can be either crystal clear or completely obscured depending upon the emotion.

Domestic situations can be life threateningly violent with physical and emotional abuse.  They can also be soul threateningly violent with anger, guilt, and emotional attacks.  My marriage has been the latter.

There comes a time when choices are made or not made.  By not making a choice, we are choosing inaction.  Many people choose not to make a choice because they can then lie to themselves or others and say they never had a choice.  They were victims.  Life was too big and it smashed them down and took everything.

People can choose to be helpless.  They can choose time and again to let life knock them on their asses and scream at the heavens that “Everything is out to get me!”

By choosing this point of view you are, in effect, cutting off one of your own hands.  By choosing not to challenge our ways of thinking we hamstring our own growth.  By choosing not to stand up for what is right or better for ourselves or our children, we prick our own arteries until our ability to live a productive and positive life is bled out of us.

Last Friday night, on December 11th I got my first bruise from my husband when he yanked my cell phone out of my hand after I told him I was going to call the cops on him.  It was the second time he had slammed on the brakes to stop the car in the middle of a pitch black deserted road while screaming at me.  My three youngest were in the car, in hysterics, screaming that he was going to wreck the car and they wanted to walk.  My seven year old son had bailed out of the car and ran to a field where the fence stopped him.

I tried to get my anger under control and stop yelling back.  Especially once I realized how it was making the kids relive the night of the wreck. GM chose to allow his rage to consume him so much that nothing else mattered to him but expressing his anger at me.  I was to blame for everything.  I forced him to do things he didn’t want to do.  I was not a responsible person or parent.  It was the kids fault he was mad because they were fighting.

When he got out of the car and I refused to let him in he tried to kick the driver’s side window in with my face inches behind it.

I turned to comfort my children and held my seven years olds tear streaked face in my hands.

“Please call the cops, Mommy! Please call the cops Mommy!”

I saw my choice reflected in terrified crying hazel eyes.

I gave GM two chances more than I should to either calm down and drive or get in.  He rained blows on the car.

So, with no glasses, my vision seeing only in the murky pool of headlights in front of the car and velvet black fuzz all around I made my choice for my kids.  I drove ten miles to my Mom’s doing 15 miles an hour and left him on the road.

He made his choice and I made mine.  There will be no reconciliation unless he has some serious miracles happen.

He made his choice.

I made mine.

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm  Comments (6)  
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