A Good Day

Another Monday, another week beginning.  The second week of school, the first week of September, less than two weeks before Steve and I’s fourth “anniversary.”  It felt like fall this morning, the air cool and damp, the leaves just beginning to fade from green to gold.  A good day.

It was an eventful weekend in many respects.  First, we had our AA Speaker Meeting on Friday night, and it was an exceptionally good meeting.  The woman who spoke told just the right amount of pre-AA stories, enough to give us a clear idea of where she came from, without turning it into an endless litany of drunk stories.  She focused most on what she is like now, what her life is like, and those are the good kinds.  After the meeting, I talked to a woman about becoming my sponsor, and she gave me different things to work on until we can meet next weekend.  I haven’t had a sponsor in the traditional sense for a couple of years; instead, I have a small network of people whom I can call, and vice versa, when things get dicey (and yes, I actually use that network quite frequently).  However, when push comes to shove, it isn’t enough, and when I feel like I have lately, it means it is time to sit down and work the steps (again).  One of the things I need to really concentrate on right now is re-learning how to keep my own peace and serenity despite what outward circumstances are, and for me, the best way to do this is to get right back down to basics and start from the beginning yet again.  I used to think, when I first got sober, that I would be able to zip through the steps and be done, that it would only take one time and I would magically be cured of the necessity for doing them again.  However, as my life changes, as different things happen, I have found that the only thing that really stays the same is that I will have to do the work over and over and over again.  I don’t want to drink again, and I don’t want to be crazy all the time, and this is a proven remedy for me.

Also on Friday, Steve and I talked about the money situation, and we both resolved to do what we need to do in order to prevent either of us from having to take on a second job.  It isn’t easy for either of us to get used to this sharing of things, including money, and harder yet to talk about it.  I mean, he contributes to the household expenses, part of him moving in, but we each have our own bills and pay them and neither of us questions what the other does with his/her money beyond the basic necessities.  We have talked about the recent developments, of course, but hadn’t really explored the options in depth.  So we talked, and we both agreed that our time at home in the evenings is really important-for all of us-and that we really need to be committed to honoring that.  We talked about different budgeting strategies, agreed that for the time being we needed to simply pool the resources and get all the bills paid and what is left-precious little-is simply what is left.  Being aware that living even more frugally is a short-term venture helps; this isn’t going to last forever, though things will be stretched pretty thin for a time.  Funny, too.  We talked about this and are on the same page as to what is truly important, and then on Saturday I found out that a child support payment was posted to my account.  My personal belief in God tells me that because we as a couple verbalized that our time as a family is the most important aspect of the situation, He made sure that we will will be provided for (and I know that a lot of you don’t believe in that, and I respect that).  Of course, it is money that is owed me; I just find the timing especially Divine.  So things will still be tight, but not as tight as they were going to be, so that is good (and by the way, am I the only one seeing the irony in the fact that I will be using child support to help pay the bills that I wouldn’t have to pay were it not for the ex?).

Saturday, we didn’t do much.  It was Steve’s Saturday to work, so the kids and I cleaned and did yard work and folded laundry.  Eli had a friend over, too, so after we were done with chores, they set up his Rock Band game in the living room and treated me (I do say that tongue-in-cheek, thank you for asking!) to a lovely concert.  This friend has the works; two guitars, a drum set, and a microphone, and we have a killer surround-sound system that they love; I just had to laugh at them all.  Even Owen was getting into the act.  After that, B. went home and Eli went to another friend’s house and the rest of us napped.  I tell you, that was the best nap I have had in a long time.  amazing how much better I sleep when the most immediate problems are if not solved then at least whittled down to a manageable size.  After our nap, we had the family b-day party (that was supposed to be on Friday), and it was okay.  Rarely do I walk away from one thinking, “Wow, THAT was FUN!” but yeah, it was okay.  The pizza was great, anyway, and the kids had a great time; that is enough for me.

Yesterday was bittersweet; we finally took my dog in to be put down.  Yes, it was a Sunday, but Steve knows the vet and he agreed to do it on a Sunday to save us $$.  In fact, he did it for free, we just had to, um, dispose of the body. It was so hard.  She hadn’t eaten anything other than some rice and warm milk for three days, and was skin and bones, but also very cheerful.  We had to carry her to the car, and all the while she was trying to wag her tail and was whining; she loved car rides, so was as excited as she could get.  She tired to stand up to look out the back window and promptly fell back down, which made me really sad to watch.  Still, she wagged and licked up until the moment that she went, and that made me happy for her.  We took her out to Steve’s parents’ house and buried her there.  So, I am sad, and already I miss her, but also I feel glad for her; it was very, very quick, she was already pretty far gone, and it was very gentle.  I would ask it be like that for everyone.

We took a couple of hours, Steve and I, and went fishing yesterday evening.  Didn’t catch a blessed thing, but for me it never really IS about catching the fish.  Don’t get me wrong, I really love the feeling of a fish on the line, but I like most the simple act of casting and reeling, the way the water smells and the lack of any noise but the birds and the water.  It brings me back to myself, calms me when life is stormy, and I really needed that bit of peace.  And I don’t know whether it was the fresh air or the lessening of my anxiety or the fact that I am taking action toward personal healing or a combination of all of the above, but I slept like the dead last night.

So I begin the week feeling better than I have in quite some time.  Like I said, a good day.  And really, sometimes a good day is simply a blessing to sit back and be grateful for; sometimes it is enough.

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Friday Fragments-Pass/Fail Edition

Friday

Welcome to another edition of Friday Fragments, hosted by Mrs.4444 over at Half Past Kissin’ Time.  I have found several blogs to add to my reader by participating, and I hope you will all take the time to visit one or two others.  You won’t be sorry. Or if you are, don’t blame me!

Pass: We all made it through the grueling first week of school with minimal problems.  I was only late for work once due to the new routine, and that was because I got pulled over a couple of days ago.  Didn’t get a ticket, because I have big breasts  an in with with cops here.

Fail: The one job I applied for isn’t going to work out, so I am back to the streets looking.  Tomorrow I will hit the pavement in hopes of finding a part-time position somewhere.  Seems that few places are hiring part-time employees, and for obvious reasons I can’t take a full-time job.  I am starting to feel seriously panicked because I don’t have enough to pay the rent and also the two collector’s bills.  One will be taken out of my check, of course, and if I don’t pay the other, it will also be taken out of my check.  So come on, part-time job!

Fail: We were supposed to have the sentencing hearing on Monday, but it has been postponed again.  The Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, S. was also not at all nice to me; I was trying to explain how frustrating it is and how angry I am that this has dragged on for so long, and that even in the end (whenever that might be-we are realistically looking at the beginning of NEXT FUCKING YEAR) he is only going to get a slap on the hand, and she said, “You know, you didn’t have to agree to the plea deal.  YOU are the one who didn’t want Hannah to have to testify,” implying of course that my anger and upset is unwarranted because it is my fault.  I can’t even go into how I feel about this without crying, and once I start crying I am not going to stop, so I am taking deep breaths every second so that I don’t fall apart.  That isn’t an option.  Suffice it to say that I am just-done.

Pass: Steve’s cell phone did not even come into the bedroom last night.  I still didn’t sleep well, but at least I didn’t almost get to sleep only to be rudely interrupted.

Pass/Fail: This one could go either way.  We have a family birthday party for Steve’s brother tonight.  We are all meeting at a local pizza joint, which means free food (PASS), but the price means spending the better part of the evening with a few people who make me want to claw my eyes out (not all of them; I really genuinely love parts of Steve’s family) and missing the Friday AA meeting.

Potential Pass: Rumor has it that Child Support Services had found my ex and has also been able to put in a support order because he is getting Work Comp payments.  He is also supposedly getting close to settling on this work-related accident he had that supposedly left him unable to work (I say supposedly because even though I know he was in a pretty bad wreck, I don’t know if he really can’t work or is just looking for a way to get a bunch of money that he doesn’t deserve.  Past history says the latter, but if he truly WAS disabled then it is a different situation).  IF this all really happens, I should start getting some regular child support payments and also a lump sum to pay all his back child support.  Now, whether this really happens or not remains to be seen, so of course I am not counting on jack shit; once I have $$ in hand, I will believe it.

Pass: Hannah’s new boyfriend is as pleasant as pleasant can be.  He doesn’t get jealous or upset when she lives her life and he isn’t her first priority, and doesn’t put his life on hold for her.  They both have plans over the weekend so they are going to, get this, go to church together on Sunday.  Really, how cool is that?

Fail: Chy is still missing.

I somehow don’t think I am going to be in the running for the best fragments this week, but someone will; don’t miss out on the snippets of deliciousness waiting over at Mrs.4444’s place.

I hate cell phones and chy is still missing

Many of you know that I don’t own a cell phone; what you may NOT know is that I hate them.  I hate the fact that they make one easily accessible at any time, day or night, because for some reason people seem to have a hard time finding the “off” button on them.  Really.  Having dinner in a restaraunt?  Let me show you how little consideration I have for you or anyone else in the restaraunt by answering this phone and carrying on a conversation while everyone around me is trying to enjoy a night out.  Now,  I am not saying they are never useful tools, but the things that drive me crazy are how they are used to inflate the ego and take the place of EVER having to have actual interaction with another human being and how what you have to say is so almighty important that you just have to answer this call while driving 85 MPH while also having a small snack.  Or yak yak yak while you are supposed to be writing out the check for your groceries (you know, the check which you should have already had mostly filled out before you ever GOT to the cashier), which holds everyone up.

I don’t like cell phones in general but I am more annoyed than usual because for the first time in a long time, we were not only in bed by 10:00 last night but also ASLEEP by not much after.  The kind of lovely, deep sleep that when you begin to feel it stealing over you is just damn near orgasmic.  The kind where you just know you are going to wake up with big old eye boogers and drool on the pillow, and you look forward to it.  And then at 10:40, some friend of Steve’s decided it was a reasonable time to start texting. I heard the LOUD ring signifying an incoming text and I bolted straight up out of bed and smacked Steve awake because if you don’t answer it, it keeps ringing periodically until you actually do something about it.  And it wasn’t a text saying “I ran out of gas and broke my leg so I can’t actually get out of the car and walk to the gas station and you are the only person I could think of who might actually be persuaded to come out and get me.”  No, no,  it was a dirty joke.  And not even one so funny that you were dying to tell someone so had to while it was fresh in your mind because you are an idiot and won’t remember the punchline in the morning so you have to say it right this minute and share the deliciousness.  It was a stupid, lame-ass, crude dirty joke.

And then I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I have a deep love/hate relationship with sleep, because it is such a dicey thing for me.  I love to sleep, love the feeling of falling into bed and letting my bones kind of sink into the mattress, but like I said, it’s dicey.  Probably better than half the time, it takes me a really long time to fall asleep, and God help me if I have to wake up because then it is nearly impossible to get BACK to sleep.  Last night was like that, and really, my mind in the middle of the night is just not a safe place to be.  Really.

About the cell phone thing, though, one of the things I like about Hannah’s school is that not only are cell phones not allowed in the classroom, they are prohibited from being on the property at all.  They have a phone in the office which is available if students need to call their parents, and they say that no one else is important enough to need called in the middle of a school day.  Phones can be left in cars, but if a student has to go out to their car for something, they have to be escorted to said vehicle with a teacher AND they can’t make a phone call or text.  If a student is caught with a cell phone, it is confiscated and also looked through, including any text messages.  There was a cop at the school yesterday who was talking about sexting, and he reminded the kids that it is a crime in Idaho to be caught sexting-whether the message is a verbal one OR a visual one. 

I don’t know how I feel about the whole criminal aspect of it, but he also reminded the kids that they are worth so much more than to cheapen themselves by engaging in such demeaning behavior, and that is what I like.  I am pretty liberal, most of you know, and while I don’t like the whole sexting thing at all and think it is, well, just kind of silly, I am not going to get all up-in-arms about adults doing it.  I mean, I don’t like porn at all as a general rule, for myself, but I really don’t care about what you do in the privacy of your own home.  Consenting adults and all that.  But it bothers me a lot that kids think that sending naked or suggestive pictures via their phones or think if it as foreplay is both normal and okay.  With this kind of cavalier and thoughtless attitude toward sex, it’s no wonder we need a daycare at the school, you know?

I kind of went off there; perhaps it is the lack of sleep this morning making me sound like a crotchety old woman.  Next thing you know I will be gumming peanuts to death while grumbling, “You think this is music?  This isn’t music…now back in my day.” 

Yeah.  Shaking my head at myself again.

***As most of you know, my friend Jesz’ daughter is missing.  She has posted an update on this site if you want to take a minute and go over to offer support for her.  We love you, Jesz!***

Please Help Find This Girl!

And all of this other life stuff pales in comparison….

Jesz

 

See that sweet and beautiful little girl?  Gone.  Her non-custodial father kidnapped her,  and her mom asked me to post about it today in hopes that someone might be able to help locate her, give her advice, help her find a lawyer who will help, whatever.  Please.  Take a minute or ten and go over to the website Jesz has up and read the information she has there.  Read her story and take a long look at those pictures.  The site is called Find Chy.

I know this woman; she is someone I call a friend.  And having been in a position before where my ex-husband has made kidnap threats and threatened to harm Sam and hearing the same story, that it is a civil matter and not a criminal matter, I know that because she was trying to help her daughters maintain a relationship with their father, she is being punished in the worst possible way.   Her daughters are, too, by being ripped from each other and Chy from her mom and everything she calls home.

 I want to tell her, Jesz, this is not your fault.  It doesn’t matter what the courts or the cops or whomever, you did not cause this to happen.  You were doing what you thought was best for your girls by making sure they could have that relationship with their dad, and he is the one who has done this horrible thing.  I know it doesn’t help get through any of this, but this?  is not.your.fault.

If any of you feel the desire to help, please post her site on your own blogs.  Pray for them all, that her mom and step-dad will be given strength as they go through this horrible time.  Pray that Chy will be safe, that she will hold in her heart a picture of her mama in her heart and be immune to the various lies her dad might be telling her.  If you have any advice for Jesz, if you are a secret family law attorney under your blogging veil and know some strategies that the rest of us don’t, let her know.  Above all, keep them close in your thoughts and your hearts and know that this is a family in crisis.  None of the bullshit, none of the dramatics, just a mom who doesn’t know where one of her babies is.  Help Find Chy.

Um…

The topic of our AA meeting last night was honesty, and one of the members said something that has stuck with me through the night and on into this morning.  He said that honesty is just honesty; if people don’t like it, it is their issue, not yours.  Does that mean we walk around telling people what assholes we think they are?  Not usually, not if we want to have a job or friends.  But really, how many times a day am I less than honest?  Is simply not saying something being dishonest?  Maybe not to you, if I am simply being quiet so as to avoid hurting your feelings, but am I being honest inside myself, where it really matters?  Um, no. 

It was funny that the topic was brought up last night, because yesterday two different (but related) things came up where I had to really just be honest with myself and in order to do that, I had to be honest with two other people.  See, a person I know in AA gave another person my work email address without my permission.  Person #2 is someone I used to know a really long time ago, a person who was not good for me to be around so I was almost glad when she went back out and disappeared from my life (because I couldn’t be honest with her in the first place and  tell her that I really didn’t choose to be friends with her).  Person #1 is simply someone I know in AA; we used to be on the service committees together, we both held offices at the same time, which is why she even had the email address to begin with.  So Person #2 asked Person #1 for the address, and she gave it to her.  Which for several reasons is simply not okay. 

So I had to email Person #1 and tell her, “I am not happy that you gave person #2 my email address without my permission; there are reasons why I don’t have my personal information on the AA call sheet any longer, and it should go without saying that an email address is personal information.”  Her response was that she thought that Person #2 and I were friends so she thought it would be okay, but she still shouldn’t have done it and she was sorry.  Issue resolved.

I also had to email Person#2, though, and tell her that I really don’t want to be friends with her and could she please just stay the hell away from me because being around her or talking with her makes me feel like I am being sucked down into a whirling vortex of despair and that I really am trying to cut ties with people who made me think that throwing myself out of a car going 90 MPH seems a reasonable alternative to trying to fake a friendship with them and she is one of those people….only without actually saying that…and what I ended up saying was “I am puzzled as to why you would contact me after all this time; I hadn’t thought we were particularly friends.  Glad to hear you are clean, hope your life continues to improve.”  And HER response? “I always knewyou thought you were too good for me you bitch,” followed then by,” I always thought you were my best friend!”  The two phrases seem very incongruent, don’t they?

But the thing is, the point I am getting at, is why is it truly so hard to be honest?  And to SAY what you think/feel all of the time?  Because it is.  I have tried to be diplomatic and kind by simply keeping my mouth shut on someone else’s blog, but that backfired because I got **several** emails from the blogger asking me what I thought, so I told her, and you all know the rest of that story.  Sometimes I write things here that are less than positive but always honest, and you all know how that works sometimes.  And what I am starting to believe more and more is that people in general just don’t want honesty.  We all know that when someone asks, “Hey, how are you?”  they really don’t want to know; they want to hear you say, “Fine, how are you?” and then both parties can walk merrily away feeling like they have reached out to someone. 

I don’t believe that anyone hasn’t been where I am; feeling stuck and as if life doesn’t change.  I don’t believe that I am the only one who feels sometimes like it is all so fucking pointless as to boggle the mind, I know for a fact that I am not the only person in the world who has financial problems.  Why are we not talking about it?  Why is it so shameful these days to write when things are less than stellar?   Why are we-especially we women bloggers-still working so hard to pretend to be doing better than we really are?  I don’t get it.  Keeping things inside me got me drunk.  Pretending everything was fine when it clearly wasn’t got me drunk.  Not feeling like I could be honest about who I really and truly was, warts and all, got me drunk.  So I took my little break because I was being a pussy and nursing some wounded feelings, but I am done with that now, and am moving on.

Honesty.  In the same breath that I tell you that I feel stuck and so sad I can’t breathe, or am terrified about how things are going to work themselves out, I can also tell you that the way the earth smelled after the rain on Sunday made me feel utterly and completely joyful; both are equally true.  I can tell you that the kids are driving me crazy and I had a bad mom moment where I unleashed the Ugly Mom Voice and hated myself for letting her out, and then turn around and tell you that nothing-nothing- compares to having their arms around me, and again, one is no less true than the other.

So here it is again, my life, in all it’s messy, horrible wonderful crazy beautiful glory.  It’s the only one I have, right?  The only one that is truly mine, and I promise to use it as well as I possibly can.

Back Into the Swing of Things-Without the Right Kind of coffee

So begins another school year; I hope this morning is not indicative of how the entire year is going to be!  We none of us slept very well for a variety of reasons, everyone was up too early and tempers were short.  Nerves are the culprit for everyone, I think; it’s a new year full of new possibilities for all of them, but there is no doubt that there is fear and uncertainty involved with anything new.  I have high hopes for all three of the older kids this year, and more importantly, they seem to have high hopes as well.  For this moment, though, I will simply be grateful if none of the three end up in tears at any time this first day; that will mean it was a successful first day.

As for me, well.  Life goes on.  I am interviewing for a second job later this week, so we’ll see how that goes.  I slept on the couch last night, which in part is why I am starting this week off less rested that usual; Steve and I have some pretty big things to work through, and while I think this is normal relationship stuff, that doesn’t make it any easier.  I am also taking my dog in to be put down, my hopes of being able to give her a peaceful death in the comfort of home no longer practical or, honestly, fair to her. We went to Costco yesterday and found out they are no longer carrying my kind of coffee (Columbian, in case anyone is interested), so I had to choose from New Guinea coffee and Guatemalan coffee.  I picked the Guatemalan as it is closer to Columbia plus is grown and roasted by small farmers, but really, I liked my Columbian coffee just fine.  A minor thing, sure, but still, I love my coffee.

At this point, I know nothing and am trying to accept not knowing.  I got up this morning, which is no small thing, and I imagine I will keep just getting up in the morning and doing what is in front of me.  That is all I know how to do at this point, really, and I have to believe that it will be enough, and that I will soon know the direction in which I need to turn.

So.  I am around again, for whatever that is worth.  Life does go on, right?

A Hiatus of Sorts

I am not going to be around for a little while, just so you all know.  In writing, publishing, and subsequently deleting the post I had up this morning, I realized that it is all pretty much pointless to keep going over and over and over the same things all of the time.  Yes, I have a good life-thank you to those who pointed that out to me; I have never claimed otherwise, and I won’t now.  Having a good life does not preclude things being shitty sometimes, however, and this is one of those times. Having 25% of your checks taken even when you thought you have gotten them ALL taken care of?  That’s a big deal, by the way, a very big deal.  $390.00 less a month, PRE-taxes, is a big deal.  Please forgive me not for being upset about it, but blogging about it.  Please forgive me for feeling stuck.  We all go through it-maybe I am just more vocal about it than most.  And honestly, the only reason I even SAID anything about that is because this is almost exactly where I was last year; I was expressing my very personal feelings about the unending sameness of my life.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Anyway, due to the BlogHer ads contract, I can’t be gone for long.  A few days, anyway.  You know how to contact me should the need arise.