A Wal-Mart Rant and School Starting

You all remember how much I hate Wal-Mart, right?  Well, the saga of Sam’s glasses continues…we ordered them three weeks ago, and blah blah blah, discontinued so we have to order them from another location, why don’t you get a new set of frames instead….so I called them again this morning to find out if they had gotten there yet, and the woman with whom I spoke said, “No, they aren’t here, and we don’t even know if they ARE coming…so we just have to wait.”  I said, “No, we don’t have to just sit and wait, I was  told three weeks ago that it would take two weeks and now you are telling me you don’t even know if they are coming?”  She was, predictably, snotty about it, and said, “Well why don’t you just buy him a different set of frames?  You will have to pay for the frames, but we can offer to grind the lenses to fit them at no coast.”  Um, no.  “Why would I buy a new set of frames when the ones we have are less than a year old AND are still under warranty?(sound familiar?)”  “Well, that is the only way he is going to get them fixed.”  I finally asked to speak to the manager, and the girl was really bitchy in saying, “I just don’t think that should be necessary.”  Clearly she has no idea with whom she is dealing; I insisted that it was, in fact, necessary, so she put me on hold for almost 10 minutes (was she thinking I was going to just give up?) before getting the manager.

Long story short, not only are the frames actually there, but they have been there since SATURDAY.  I shouldn’t be surprised, yet I am.  The manager was very nice, and I felt like she listened to me and commiserated, so I felt slightly better.  I went through with her the problems we had getting his glasses in the first place, then detailed when I ordered the new frames and the fact that every time I have called or gone in, the story has been different, and how frustrated it has been for me.  I also told her that the woman with whom I spoke today was very quick to throw her co-worker under the bus in order to escape taking responsibility (“Oh, I don’t remember talking to you at all,” she said, when there are only TWO Hispanic girls who work there, she being one of them.  And for the record, I have talked to both of them, more than once!), and that I would be a lot more understanding had she just admitted to having dropped the ball and saying, “Oh my gosh, I am so sorry, I forgot to put the order in, and just now I didn’t even go into the back to check to see if they were here.”  Whether or not she was just giving me the party line, I don’t know.  Maybe.  BUT: the frames are here, we can go get the lenses put in tonight, and Sam will no longer be walking around with JB Weld on the stem.  ALSO, the manager offered me a $25 Wal-Mart Gift card as well, which hey, I can sure use.  Granted, I hate Wal-Mart and don’t like to spend my money there, but I do have school supplies to buy, so you can bet I will use it. 

Speaking of school supplies, mine will be starting school on Monday, and now that Hannah is going to the Alternative school, I will once again have three different kids in three different schools.  Plus, of course, having to take Owen to daycare as well.  I dread having to get everyone back into the school routine, myself included.  Since I have to make three different stops, we have to leave no later than 7:15, which means I am going to have to start getting up earlier as well.  It will be fine once we all get used to it, of course, but I anticipate the first week or so being rough.  I will also have to try to get the Little Boys in bed earlier, which just isn’t going to be any fun at all.  Especially in Owen’s case, as he has become a little bit of a demon about bedtime lately. 

Still, I like this time of year; I like the weather, I love the smell of new school supplies, I really quite enjoy the feeling of possibility that comes along with the beginning of a new year.  This is my New Year, really, the beginning of school.  When I was a child, it really was; I looked forward to this time of year even more than I did Christmas, and ever since then, this is the time of year when I take stock of things, how my life has changed and what I want it to look like through the coming year, where I examine how far I have come and pinpoint areas for improvement.  Just like New Year’s, only without the pressure.

I have several different things I want to write about, too, along the above lines, and a couple of posts percolating about different issues, and it just feels really nice to be able to feel this sense of what the future might hold for all of us this year.

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Random Weekend Recap

I was going to post about religion yesterday, it being Sunday and all, but I just had too much going on to really sit down and write; this is the trouble, I have all these words floating around in my head and I was so glad to get the Internet at home and all of that, but when do I blog?  At work.  I know I need to set aside time every night to write, be it on the blog or in general, but I haven’t been able to make that a priority lately.  One more thing to try to figure out.  One really interesting thing I read in my AA meditations last week was how important it is to have time for yourself, and while I know that, the meditation was the first really practical suggestion I have found recently.  It said, “Tell your family that after 8:00 pm, you are no longer on duty.”  It went on to talk about how that doesn’t mean I ignore my family after 8:00, but that the time to go over homework assignments, sign papers for school, go over the schedule for the next day, whatever, is over with at 8:00 pm.  The benefits are on the surface just for ME, but that when family members get used to it, they will benefit as well.  So, with school starting up next week, I think I will try this and let you know how it goes.

I digress.  The reason I was going to talk about religion yesterday was because we all went to a church BBQ on Saturday, and it got me thinking.  This is a church where Sam goes to Sunday School every week, they have a bus that provides transportation and it picks him up every Sunday.  The people are really very nice, it isn’t a weird thing at all, and they DON’T come knocking at the door weekly or push us all to come (unlike the Other Church I have written about, where they just drop by without notice.  I had another visitor yesterday, and it just annoyed the shit out of me.  Then I was thinking, “Damn it, if we had just gotten home from Boise three minutes later, she would have come by and we’d have still been gone!”).  Anyway, Sam has been going there for several months, so we thought maybe it would be good to go check it out.  There were quite a few people there that Steve knew (and he even got up and played a few games of basketball with them!), and a couple I knew, and everyone was really, really nice; it was a good time. The thing that made me think is that this is a church where the women always wear dresses, even in their day-to-day lives, and they all have really long hair that they wear up in these very elaborate and beautiful coils, and based on those two things alone, I would be reluctant to “join.”  I am terrible with my hair, for one thing; it NEVER looks good, and if a pre-requisite of membership is being able to have my hair look like that, they would totally kick me out.  But really, this is what I don’t understand about church: why are there all these rules, who came UP with these rules, what purpose do they serve, and does God really give a shit?  Am I any less a believer because I wear slacks to work and to the grocery store?  Am I less a Christian because my hair is short and never curled?  I really just don’t understand that concept at all.  Unfortunately, I am not yet courageous enough to come right out and ask, so I was left pondering it the entire time.  Also, no one wears wedding rings.  To me, a wedding ring is very important; when I had one, I wore it, all of the time.  But at this church, not one person wore a ring, which just seemed strange.  I wonder if there will ever be a place where I fit in, church-wise. 

After the BBQ, we all went to the fair to see the hypnotist, which was hilarious in the extreme.  We walked around the fair, too, and Owen and Sam both got to ride on the mechanical bull.  Very cool, actually, despite how hick-ish that sounds (oh, wait, that’s right, we ARE hicks!).  I felt blessed; it was the weekend before payday so there was no money to do anything that wasn’t free (we had to save what little we had to make it to Boise and back yesterday), but not one of the kids asked for a single thing.  And weren’t pissy about it at all.  We walked around and looked at things, and the little boys were completely content to look at all of the animals and just wander (though admittedly Owen was slightly disappointed; he had it in his head that there would be hippos there).

Then, yesterday, we went to get Eli from Boise (three weekends in a row we have made that drive!), which was excellent.  I was glad we got the school stuff straightened out before having to talk to Hannah and Eli’s dad about it; much easier once it is a fait accompli.  He really doesn’t CARE, mind you, he just wants to feel like he has a say, which I get.  So even though it always ends up being the best decision for whichever kid about whom we are speaking, sometimes it takes a struggle to get to that point.  This time, it was a done deal, and I very bluntly said, “Whether this is where any of us WANT her or not, it is the only real chance she is going to have at graduating.”  “Cool,” he says, “that sounds great.”  My petty enjoyment of the day was forcing his wife to engage in a conversation with me.  She doesn’t like me one bit, and hasn’t ever since Hannah decided she wanted to come back home and I had to tell her, “Look; whether you like it or not, I am the mother and K. is the father and this is our decision, not yours.”  Consequently, she will go out of her way to avoid having to talk to me.  So I went out of my way to include her in the conversation and ask her about her job and yes, watch her squirm.  Like I said, petty-but damn it, he and I have been divorced for 16 years now;  why does it have to be such a big deal that we are still part of one another’s lives?  We have two kids together, for God’s sake, and if she thinks I somehow have the hooks in him after all these years, well, she needs to examine HER issues.  Whatever; good times.

So we got Eli back, and it was hilarious on the way home.  We were all trying to talk to him, of course, so Owen would grab him and say, “I not happy now.”  “Why?” Eli would ask, and Owen would answer, ” Cause you not talking to me!”  Or he would interrupt and say, “Talk to me now, Eli!”  Very, very funny.  The trip home went well, and we are all just happy to be under the same roof again.  I am sure the lovely, cozy feeling will last about two and a half more days, but for now, it IS lovely.

Now, then, we start another week and gear up for school starting next week.  It feels like fall is here, with the air cooling down already and the air beginning to show that peculiar autumn light.  This?  Is my favorite time of year.

Friday Fragments 08/14/09

Friday

Welcome to Friday Fragments!  Mrs.4444 came up with this great idea to post all of those little, well, fragments of things that have happened during the week that just don’t have enough ooomph to make it into a post on their own.  After you read mine thoroughly and soak in the inanity of my post, go check out hers.  Really, there are some gems in there that you would be sorry to miss.

***The enormity of Steve being at the meeting with us yesterday is not lost on me.  Even more huge is the fact that he is the one who set up the meeting, as he knows Mr. K personally.  He talked to him first as well and filled him in on most of what has been going on, so we didn’t have to spend that hour talking about what led us to the Alternative School.  I am still sorting through my various feelings about all of this, because it is new.  Very new.

***Speaking of the alternative school, Ms. Moon made a comment yesterday about the diversity of the kids at the school two of her kids went to-and alternative school, with basically the people who don’t “fit in” at the regular school.  Unfortunately, the only people who really go to this one are the kids who are in trouble of some sort.  Mostly in trouble with the law, but also in other ways (like Hannah) as well.  They have an on-site daycare for young moms, for example, and security cameras in every classroom that are reviewed by Mr. K and Law Enforcement weekly.  I wish we HAD some real diversity here; the kids saw a lesbian couple and a flamboyant cross-dresser in the airport, and I thought Sam’s eyes were going to explode; not because he thinks it is bad, but simply because anyone here who embodies anything different learns to hide it well around here, so he had never SEEN anyone like that.  Isn’t that horrible that in this day and age, people still have to live a lie in towns like this?

***Eli has been gone for a month, and we get to go pick him up on Sunday.  I have missed him, and can’t wait to see him.  However, last time he went away for any length of time, he grew four inches and filled out a little and came back with a beard; I shudder to think how much he has changed in the last month.  15 year old boys change much more rapidly and MUCH more noticeably than 15 year old girls, I think.

***And speaking of Eli, Owen is also impatient to get him home.  He also has no real concept of time yet.  So I told him, “Four more days!” and he was all like, “okay, I am going to go get my shirt on!”  There have been tears every night because it isn’t time to go get him yet.

***The neighborhood boys, including Sam, have become little entrepreneurs, picking peaches off the neighbors tree (I HOPE with permission!) and selling them on the street corner.  Surprisingly, they have earned about $10 between them so far.  One woman had to come back and exchange one peach for another because she found one in her back that already had a bite taken out of it; guess whose kid did that?

***I have GOT to stop seeing/reading posts about babies and childbirth and new babies and breastfeeding….because it makes my ovaries hurt.  I am done; Steve has made it clear that he does not want anymore, and since I already have four, of course it would be selfish of me to throw him down and get his sperm one way or another  insist on having another, plus there are lots of other reasons to not have more…but my god, the cuteness!  The joy!  Sigh….

***I am getting really, really tired of people referring to rape as “inappropriate sexual conduct.”  Come ON; rape is rape, and to call it something else, ESPECIALLY something as seemingly innocuous as “inappropriate sexual conduct” somehow diminishes what a horrible transgression it truly is.  Sheesh…when are we going to stop sugar-coating everything?

There you have it, snippets of things that have been rattling around my head this week.  Now go forth and conquer some of the other people on Mrs. 4444’s link list; you never know what you might find!

Is That a Light I See?

We have just come from talking to the principal of the Alternative High School, Hannah and Steve and I, and for the first time in a long time, I have a really good feeling. We were in with him for just not quite an hour, he answered every question that any of us had, and was very, very encouraging.  Of course Hannah’s success depends upon HER, whether it is here or somewhere else, and he did acknowledge that openly.  In fact, he told Hannah, “If you fail here, it is because failing is a choice you have made.  We are all here to help you succeed, but whether you DO succeed is up to you.” 

So many things that are good about this…one is the sheer size, or lack thereof.  The average number of students in the entire high school is 150; this breaks down to between 15-18 students per classroom-as opposed to between 38-42 in the high school.  There are less than half as many kids in the entire school than there are in Hannah’s graduating class at the high school.  They have two classes a day, for two and a half hours, and they ONLY take two classes per quarter.  No trying to remember if it is an A day or a B day, no shuffling to five different classrooms, none of that.  During first period they get a ten minute break, and then lunchtime falls during the second period, so it isn’t as if they are sitting still all that time, either.  If she does what she is supposed to do, there should be little or no homework-because part of the reason for the longer class sessions is to allow them to do the assignments with the teacher right there to answer questions and provide hands-on help.  Oh-and a big one (because this is one of my biggest pet peeves about so called public education!) is that there are NO FEES.  At all.  No registration fees, no small classroom fees, no lab or computer fees…nothing.  None. 

Every teacher there-and I think he said he has 12 0r 13-is there because they want to be, not because they got demoted to working with the troubled kids.  Two of them, himself and the vice-principal, have extensive backgrounds in therapy/counseling, and they both took their jobs because they wanted to see what they could do to help BEFORE these kids got sent to Juvenile Detention Centers or Residential Behavioral Treatment Centers.  And isn’t that what I have been looking for?  Someone to help intervene before Hannah ended up there?

They don’t offer counseling/therapy per se, where one of them meets with Hannah once week for an hour…but they DO have an open door policy in terms of if Hannah needs to talk to someone or something comes up that she can’t handle emotionally, they are there.  Mr. K said that typically, the new kids don’t talk to anyone for the first six weeks; they watch to see how the adults handle different situations, they listen to what is said and not said, and he said that they (the adults) have to work really hard to gain the kids’ trust, and THEN the kids start feeling comfortable enough to talk.  They address violence in and outside the classrooms, from fighting and bullying to sexual assault and molestation and rape-date rape and otherwise.  So things WILL come up, he said, and since all of the teachers have worked with kids in that setting for years, they are all alert to trouble signs-and can intervene.  He advocated at this point to just let her be for the next 6 weeks.  Let her adjust, let her watch them and vice versa, and then we can explore other resources in terms of therapy.  For some reason, that made sense to me.  She is going to be watched and monitored, she is going to be SAFE, and as much as I want to push to therapy issue because I think she HAS to, the way he phrased it made sense.  Let her breathe, basically.  Lift some of the weight OFF her shoulders right now and let her get her bearings back, and then we’ll see what next step we need to take.  And it was very much a WE kind of a thing.

One thing I really like, too, is that he allowed Hannah to be part of it all, and then told her, “Okay, Hannah.  Your mom and Steve both took time off of work to come in here with you and ask every right question there is.  I now know all that you have been through, I know what things your mom and Steve have done to help you. Subsequently, I know that if you come to me and tell me how your mom just couldn’t take time off work or “forgot” to sign something or didn’t even look at your report card, then you are lying to me, and I won’t fall for it.”  I swear I could hear her gulp.  Accountability!

So-there was more I wanted to say, but right now I am just feeling really grateful.  I know this isn’t the miracle cure, I know that just because I feel good about it doesn’t mean it is going to change everything overnight, or even at all.  Hannah is the key, and it remains to be seen whether she decides she want to succeed or not.  However, this feels like the best opportunity we have been given yet.  I balked about sending her there, I really did, simply because of the stigma associated with it, because of the fact that most of the kids are there on probation of some sort, and I didn’t want her to associate with them.  BUT: After talking to Mr.K,  I really think this could be a good place for her.  Strict, sure-but she needs it.  Understanding and compassion, absolutely, but no pity, and what happened to her is no excuse for failing life

So I am breathing today, too.  I pray for this to be a beginning.  For it be a good place for Hannah, where she can learn and grow and heal at her own pace, and without making choices that will alter her life irrevocably.  Let this be a way to help me finally be able to give my other three kids what THEY need, too, because they have been put to the side too many times over the last year.  It has been necessary, sure, but they need more of me, too.

Breathing.  Praying.  Grateful.

The Word of The Day-Defeatism

I was home from work yesterday with a sick Owen, a sick Hannah, and a sick me.  Ugh.  I have come to the conclusion that one bathroom isn’t nearly enough when you have three people ill; especially when toilet in said bathroom decides it doesn’t want to work right any longer.  Can anyone say G.R.O.S.S.?  I had to do laundry all day as well, because of course Owen had to throw up in the middle of the night in our bed.  Twice.  And then as I was lugging him out to the living room, he also threw up all down the closet door and onto the clothes folded up on the floor.  Thankfully, we are all on the mend today, and for that I am grateful.

Sam and I stayed up last night to watch the meteor shower, which was a bust.  We saw two, and that was it.  Still, I enjoyed snuggling with him on the grass outside, looking up at the stars.  He said, “I sure like you, mom,” and that made me happy.  So much time and energy has been focused on other things lately-with good reason, I know, but still-that it was really nice to have that little bit of time with just him.

Just got off the phone with the prosecutor, and am pissed all over again.  No, they aren’t going to set up a status hearing, we will just find out on the Friday before the sentencing OR the Monday Of sentencing whether or not it is going to happen.  Yes, he will probably ask for an extension, and yes, he will probably get it.  I don’t understand any of this;  I feel like I have been very cognizant and as understanding as possible of the whole legal aspect of this, but I still don’t understand why CF gets what he wants, period.  Today was the first time that the Prosecutor was condescending to me; he said, “You need to understand that there is a difference between legal closure and emotional closure, and you and your daughter are just going to have to deal with that.”  FUCK.YOU.  is what I wanted to say.  I know well that they aren’t the same thing, thankyouverymuch.  It doesn’t help, however, for her to KNOW that he just gets to keep asking for more time and gets it, every single time, and in the meantime he lives a free life.  Ankle monitor or not, this man is FREE.   Also, tell me how I am supposed to help my daughter “deal with that” when every avenue I have tried for help so far is a dead fucking end?

I talked to my friend J. at great length yesterday, and she confirmed my suspicion that the reason Hannah’s counselor cut her off has to do with money.  The counselor dropped the ball and did not send in a referral request (which J. knows for a fact, as she is the one who has to SIGN them as Hannah’s Primary Care Provider), and without that referral, Medicaid said, “ok, we aren’t going to pay for any more mental health visits.”  Why the counselor didn’t just follow through with it when she remembered instead of dropping Hannah, I don’t know; and of course she is on vacation now.  I talked to my caseworker at Medicaid and SHE said that once Hannah has exhausted all of her allotted visits (which she has), without that referral and a diagnosis (which would have been given by the psychiatrist that we were also supposed to see, but THAT didn’t happen either) I have to go through Children’s Mental Health Services and apply for services through them.  Income based, so I shouldn’t have to pay, but the waiting list?  3-6 months.  Months.  Can you fucking believe this shit?

On a slightly more positive note, Steve and I are going in to talk to the principal of the Alternative High School tomorrow, to talk about what has happened with Hannah, where she stand academically, and what our options are.  Steve has already spoken to Mr. C and he (Mr. C) thinks that if any school can help, they are the one (small student-to-teacher ratio, several counselors on staff, himself included, etc…).  He may also have other resources that are not readily available to the general public.  So-we shall see. 

I have an attitude of defeatism today, which can also be defined as “resigned pessimism.”  I don’t often feel quite this beaten down, but lately it feels like I am constantly being hit with something else.  I am tired, you guys.  Just-tired of the justice system which isn’t just, tired of all of the bullshit hoops that we have to jump through to even find the right person to talk to, tired of not being able to lavish  the time and attention on my other kids, time they deserve and need just as much as Hannah does.  And no, I am not giving up, not by a long shot.  But damn it, this is so fucking hard, and I am so tired, and I just feel…done.

A Double-Post Day!

Okay.  Breathing now, the statement finished.  A rough draft anyway, and I will go home tonight and re-read, fix here and there, but for all intents and purposes, done.  I feel both relieved and ill, euphoric and depressed, raging and terribly, terribly sad.  Still, once I hit the send button, it will be out of my hands.

It is out of my hands anyway; I know that.  And of everything, this is maybe the hardest; from day one, this has been out of my hands.  I am the mom!  I have always been able to protect and comfort my kids, have always been able to fix the things that were broken!  Yes-except for those times I can’t. 

I wanted to tell you all thank you.  That I love you, that I love those who keep coming back.  You move me to tears almost every day, from the things you say on your own blogs to the things you say here, and even more for the things you don’t say.

I have changed the password for all my protected posts; I will email those of you who were privy to it prior to today, and for those who haven’t been, you know what to do.  There are reasons for this, but mainly because the new one reflects more accurately my life and those words I need to protect.  If you know you have the PW and I didn’t get you an email out, let me know, please.   I had a list, and then I lost it, and so I tried to remember and…well.  I might have missed a few of you.

Still breathing….and thank you.