family


epilogue

Image by Redfishingboat.com via Flickr

So N1 is home. At least I think he is. He hasn’t checked in with anyone. Not me or CB or our mother. I guess that is typical of a teen but he owed a bit more to his uncle than that considering what CB has lost in the interim.

He is not well. Things are not falling into place. I think the final straw was when xSIL expected him to spend Thanksgiving with her sister and brother-in-law, the people who fired him and are evicting him in seventeen days. He didn’t know until the meal was practically on the table. A meal he cooked. He went back to his apartment and waited until they’d eaten and left before he returned, and I can’t say I blamed him. That would be way too much sucking up for me to stomach and I am inclined toward a cooler head than my brother.

Things have gone down and down the hill some more since then.

Yesterday he called DNOS, who took his call inadvertently. She was polite, as only she can be, and short. He was offended, but when he told me about it, I reminded him that she has not forgiven him and he shouldn’t have expected much. Her staying on the line even was something of an olive branch for her, a brittle one, but a branch.

“He’d been drinking,” she told him.

I tried to call him last night. Left two messages and another this morning before he called me back. I wasn’t feeling well. I hadn’t slept much, worrying about him. When I heard his voice, I could see why DNOS thought he’d been drinking but it sounded more like Ativan than wine to me. It’s a bit sad that I can tell the difference between the demon drink and the overly medicated, but there you go.

“I’m going to fight this,” he said. “They’re threatening my family and my finances and it’s wrong. I am going to occupy my own home.”

CB is quite taken with the Occupy movement and the notion of the 99%. I guess that is my fault for posting so much about it on Facebook and putting ideas into his head. Frankly, I don’t think that it’s every really been different from it is now in terms of where the wealth and power were concentrated. It’s just that since WWII, the 99% has been bought off with the idea of upward mobility and the notion that anyone can live the good, or at least the better, life. They blinded us with stuff and made it easy for us to acquire, but they can’t do that anymore and people are awake again to the fact that life mostly is hard work, sacrifice and it can really suck. They knew that back in the day. That’s why unions came into being and some decent politicians figured out ways to pass laws to protect workers and put curbs on corporations and banks. I have real doubts that anyone will do anything like that for the 99% again.

He was calmer and less interested in trying to come up with a way out of his dilemma today than he was when I spoke to him two days ago. He sounded defeated and a bit off.

“I was on the internet last night, looking up those other CB’s*. I don’t know who they think they are, taking my identity. I’m CB. They aren’t me,” he said.

He talked a bit about DNOS,

“She didn’t want to take time to talk with me. But whatever. She sounded good. Like she is in a good place in life. I wish her the best and I really do love her.”

Then he talked about fighting and occupying again and how he lived a good life and wasn’t worried about what would happen. If it all ended, he was okay with that. It occurred to me at this point that he might be saying goodbye and I became a little more convinced of this when it was he who ended our conversation by wishing me a good day.

“You have a good guy,” he said. “I’m glad you found someone again. He seems like he has it all together. I’m happy for you. You have a good day now. I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said. “I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Sure.”

And that was it. I don’t know if I will hear from him again.

*CB can be a bit delusional when he’s in this mode. People write him off as a drunk with anger management issues, but they did that with Will during that year before he was diagnosed with his illness. It’s easy to mistake real mental issues for substance abuse problems because people tend to turn to alcohol when they begin experiencing symptoms in an attempt to “medicate” themselves. I don’t think they realize that they are doing it and I don’t think those around them do either. I am perhaps more sensitive to this than others given my history, but I also spent more than my fair share of my teaching career working with kids who suffered from mental health issues – some quite severe. You don’t easily forget when you’ve known people who are not right in thought due to illness.


Master Yoda - origami.

Origami Yoda via Wikipedia

Yoda was right. You do or you do not. It’s not a shady issue. Succeed and be rewarded. Fail and suffer the fall-out.

It reminds me a bit of that old saying “no good deed goes unpunished”, which stems perhaps from the idea that good deeds often depend on the favored to achieve success and it’s never a good idea to gamble too much on anything that’s so far outside your own sphere of influence.

DNOS is chuckling like Mrs. Santa tonight because N1 is heading back to Iowa this weekend. It’s been a costly gamble. And not just monetarily. But it’s time to admit defeat and send the troops home to regroup.

I’ve lost yet another day in damage control and I am mightily weary. I have a life and commitments of my own that need my attention and resources. Yet I find that I can’t work up any real emotion over it aside from a heavy sigh. I am not disappointed because I am beyond that where family is concerned. They are who they are. I am not surprised when events end up the same time and again.

But I am not inclined to be sorry either. True. It is do or do not, but you can’t “do” anything until you are willing to “try” something. In some cases, anything.

As I was walk/running at the track today, it occurred to me why I have never won the lottery. If I had that kind of obscene money, I would use it to help people avoid learning the lessons they were born to study and master. I couldn’t help but use my good fortune to give others the opportunity to realize success of their own. Being happy,and really without any serious needs or even wants, for the first time in my life these last few years, I just want everyone to know that same feeling.

Destiny, however, has seen fit to put me in a position that makes it impossible for me to do anything but spot people toward their goals thus forcing them to do the rest of the work themselves. And it’s for the best. You don’t learn anything when life just hands you things, or when people in your life hand you things without requiring anything from you by way of effort. A little help is okay but I think there is also some quaint old saying about the universe helping those more who are willing to also assist their progress with personal sacrifice and hard work. I might be paraphrasing a bit, but I am sure you understand.

Rob, and my mother, both think that I should pat myself on the back for at least doing something because there are those who do nothing and then sit back and nod sagely when precisely nothing else happens. CB, I think, has earned a pat or two himself even with his implosion taken into account. He has less than I do in terms of resources and yet he offered all he had and then some and gained little from it.

But still I think Yoda was on to something. There is no try when try is all you have to offer. If you aren’t willing or don’t believe that something meaningful can result, it’s better not to bother.


Monday Monday

Image by soonerpa via Flickr

And it’s totally wrong. A Sunday should never feel like the beginning of the week even if technically it is.

The phone rang at eight this morning. I’ll give CB props from not calling an hour earlier when his pothead downstairs neighbor woke him with that phlegm soaked hack that makes smokers of any ilk so endearing. Off-hand I can’t recall too many other sounds as unsettling and gag-reflex triggering as someone whose lungs have been used to filter all manner of toxic substance, so while I sympathize with little brother, he could have waited until lunch.

Sunday is the only day of the week I really sleep in. Saturday is soccer practice, and I have to be up by 8:30 at the latest – which still feels like sleeping in after a week of getting up at quarter to seven. I look forward to banking zzzz’s on Sunday. Rob and I even treat ourselves to a longer dvd on Saturday night because Dee has long since been trained to fend for herself on a weekend morning and Sunday just shouldn’t be a “should” or “have to” day.

So I am up, barely, and listening to CB’s recitation of a list of things that are currently causing him stress. I will grant him the right to feel stressed. Losing his apartment and job when he has kids to take care of and in one of the worst job markets of our lives is no joke.

It could have waited another hour … or two. Just saying.

Calming people down and on my feet damage control/spin seems to be my prime directive for the moment. I am good at it. No doubt about that. Twenty years as a public school teacher trained me well. It gets old though. Reminds me of the scene in Jesus Christ Superstar where Christ is being swarmed by the lepers, who are symbolic of the needy and the not able to think for themselves, and he finally breaks down and screams at them, “Heal yourselves!”

Probably I am just feeling that sleep deprivation but working miracles is difficult enough when I am within hug distance but across the phone lines, the degree of difficulty ratchets up.

He did apologize. Admitted that he was overwhelmed and slipped up. I appreciated his honesty and owning it. Not everyone will.

Things are slightly more under control. I have N1 fact-finding this week and with luck by mid-week, there will be solid information on which to formulate Plan … uh … might be D or E by now.

DNOS continues to chuckle and offer warnings so dire I have to hold the phone a full arm’s length from my ear to avoid hearing loss, but I am not willing to write this venture off. N1 is stepping up every time he is asked and CB and xSIL appear to be on the same page – more or less. We’ll call that good.

Tomorrow is actual Monday. The neighbor will rev up the yellow bus in her backyard at some point after 6 AM. Rob’s alarm will go off at 6:30 and by the time mine goes off at 6:45, we might be able to open our eyes to face another week.


Anonymous Woman

Anonymous via Wikipedia

Now that many, many members of my family – immediate, extended and rarely interacted with – are reading my blog, writing about what is going on in my life boils down to a choice between discretion and kiss my ass, go write your own blog if you are feeling misunderstood.

Things in Cali are a mixed bag. After literally weeks of N1 not buying into the idea that he was there to explore new horizons and possibilities (key words that really mean “go to college and get a job”), he finally fell in love with The Bay Area and began making concrete plans. Naturally this was a good time for CB and xSIL to have one of their cyclical love/hate, emphasis on “hate”, fests.

Anyone who’s ever seen them together, even at the best of times, says the same thing about them.

“They just cannot be in the same room together.”

But most meant it in a way that implies that these two don’t have feelings for each other and shouldn’t have hooked up in the first place. What strikes me about them – always has – is how little they know of each other or want to know. They have their ideals and are locked in a struggle to cajole the potential out of each other rather than just except the other one for who he or she is.

They’ll never be happy.

What set off the latest row is a long time in the making and precedes N1’s arrival on the scene, but his moving in probably sped things up because it prompted CB to make a serious attempt and finally giving up drinking for good.

xSIL will have none of it and true to their volatile relationship, she decided the best way to punish him was to get him fired and evicted.

She can do that? It does sound a bit Machiavellian, but her brother-in-law owns the apartment complex CB works at and lives in. Her sister rules the BIL like he was her prison bitch. It’s no wonder they don’t have kids because that guy has no balls. Oh, and did I mention that she is the complex’s manager?

I am never certain that xSIL realizes how her periodically blowing CB out of the water is like cutting off her own nose to spite her face, but as of early this afternoon, CB had abandoned sobriety, refused to discuss his wagon tumble with me when I called, and caused N1 to flee to the public library.

All N1’s plans are upended. CB has no job. The BIL knows perfectly well what’s up but refused to discuss it with CB. He got a 30 day eviction notice, and so he and N1 are out on the streets in 25 days.

“CB says he’s not leaving,” N1 told me. “He says they can throw him out.”

And haul him off to jail too , I thought, because that’s the one thing xSIL hasn’t resorted to – yet. But if I know her at all, she will.  She works for the county at the court-house as an interpreter.  She’s sweet-talked this and that law enforcement officer into doing her dirty work for her before, and I warned N1 to not cross her because she’d gleefully toss him under the correctional facility bus too*.

I try to be nice to xSIL, which DNOS feels is a waste of one’s precious life force, but I don’t dislike her.  xSIL is who she is. Just as CB is who he is. The fact that I accept who they are, however, doesn’t mean that I approve of the stupid and destructive things they sometimes do. They have kids. Acting like extras on Teen Mom or Jersey Shore is a luxury that grown ups with responsibilities, and little lives dependent on them, can’t afford.

I have zero idea how this will play out. My main concern at the moment is N1. He is still seventeen. He has no driver’s license. He can’t sign a lease to rent a place of his own, but even if he could, he hasn’t got more than a $100 in the bank.

Even if I could talk him into leaving – he won’t by the way, he wants to go to school in January and he’s been offered a job at a car dealership when he turns 18 in February – there is the question of purchasing a ticket without computer access and getting him to the airport now that xSIL has banned CB from using her car.

I’m a little annoyed with both CB for deciding to have a breakdown right now instead of manning up a bit, sticking with AA, and with xSIL for putting these events in motion without thinking the consequences through for all parties involved. If I have to fly to San Francisco to straighten things out for N1, I will cross the “annoyed” line and land squarely in “hell hath no fury” territory, but I am hopeful it won’t come to that.

Why?

Because N1 sounded okay today when I spoke to him. We talked about the steps he needs to take and I think there is an outside chance he might be able to do what he needs to in order to get things lined up. Yeah, there is December to deal with and we’ll cross that bridge then, but perhaps CB will rally and xSIL will calm down. Nothing really is out of the realm of possibility.

It’s sad because I spent over an hour talking with CB yesterday morning and he was upset but seemed focused on taking steps to get himself employed and housed again. His daughters and N1 were his motivation. As I have said before, whatever else his faults, he loves his kids and his family.

DNOS will chortle. She thought the whole idea of N1 going out to stay with CB was a disaster movie in the making, and Mom is going to have a small fit when she discovers what has occurred.  She was making plans to go out there, but a bulldozer won’t push her in the direction of California now.

It’s 10:17 P.M. MT and there haven’t been any frantic Facebook messages or phone calls. Of course, if they are in jail, it will be a while before I hear about it. That’s not pessimism. I am a realist. I look and hope for the best but am always aware that just about anything can head to hell equipped with a sturdy hand-basket at any moment.

I’ll keep you posted.

*My family is trailer park in Arkansas effed up sometimes and I can’t even use the “maybe I’m adopted” excuse – because we all are. There is no excuse.


Photographed by Kenneth Chan. youngjediboy@hot...

Image via Wikipedia

Except for the sleeping until nearly noon, it was a farm wife on the little prairie day. Rob rescued our pitiful potato crop on Friday and they needed to be turned into delicious meals before they rotted.

I began the process yesterday afternoon with stock pot full of potato soup. I outdid myself. It was soup for which to die. However, I put barely a dent in the potato stash and so determined to make another pot today for the freezer and turn the rest into delicious breadstuffs.

It’s not fun. Gardening, harvesting or transforming. I am left with little doubt as to why women abandoned the kitchen and cooking in droves as soon as technology, cultural norms and the fast food industry made it possible for them to do so. I am fortunate that I have a husband who doesn’t believe that all things drudgery is women’s work. I experimented with a new soup recipe yesterday and found a way to turned mashed potatoes into tasty buns today, and he dug in, peeled and diced while I made everything else “so”. We are a team like that. Slightly awesome to behold if I do say so.

Before we started, a trip to town was necessary. Hard as it is for me to wrap my mind around, we don’t have enough Tupperware for freezing.

“Canadian Tire or Walmart?” I asked.

Unless we make for the edges of the city or the city itself, our shopping venues are quite limited in The Fort, which is the one thing I don’t like about it. I have no idea why the town council thinks young families would want to settle a place with overpriced, poorly constructed home and zero convenience and ease of shopping when they could find better, cheaper options closer to the heart of the city? But I digress and will leave the puzzlement of the town’s management for another day.

“I guess we should patronize Canadian businesses,” he said and so Canadian Tire it was.

Known generally as Crappy Tire, it has its niche in automotive parts and sporting goods, but it’s no Target.

I haven’t been in since the remodel, which consists of mainly rearranging where is what – something that doesn’t endear a store to me in the slightest. They did nothing about the faded worn feel of the place or to fix the fact that even with a dozen easy to access employees walking around, no one has the any idea what you are talking about when you ask them questions and fewer of them know where specific stock is housed without needing to contact a supervisor.

Tupperware, a new bread maker and Christmas decorations later, we were on our way to tea, slushies and home. Seldom do we indulge in the North America Sunday consuming rituals, so it’s a novelty when we do.

I am not done with the wifery. There is bread to make tomorrow. I am okay with baking. It’s not the worst thing about being a homemaker. That would be cleaning. Not the daily tidy up, but the deep sanitizing/dusting stuff. Baking does shoot your day to shit however, but the oven time part does facilitate writing pretty well.

The day ends with Rob on his knees grouting. The kitchen is about three steps away from done done, which makes this Prairie wife’s day.

 

 

* Just five more days of this mom blog contest thing. I’m precariously perched in the 6th spot and honestly, to get the maximum mileage out of being linked in the list – I need to be in the top five. When the site promotes the list, it only shows the top five and you have to click-through to see the others, which I am guessing doesn’t happen a lot. So to get to the fifth spot – I need more votes. 25 or so to catch or just overtake her. If you care to help out, click here. Remember you can vote daily and more than once if you have a smart phone and a work computer. Thanks!