Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grasping at straws

I'm trying to write a new post, but time/family duties and other thoughts keep invading. What I've got is obviously written at more than one time. I just can't seem to finish the original thread now that the new thread has taken shape. Maybe I'll just have to leave it for a while and see if I can remember some of those other things that pop up when I'm nowhere near a computer. What do you do when so many thoughts are running around that you can't get a good hold on any one of them?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My marriage is not my parents'

One day, I found myself complaining about the lack of participation on my husband's part to my mother. She empathized saying she should have made my father do more when we were little because when he was finally around, none of us took it well. I realized that what I was saying may have seemed to be a judgment on their relationship, but it's not. While my husband and father share some traits that are the ones that made me say "I'll never marry a man like my father," and some that make them endearing in the same way, there are some key differences.

For instance, when my father decides to improve the house, he just goes and does it. There aren't years between the plan and the action and years between the start and finish. Dad doesn't always pick things my mother likes and sometimes doesn't get her input at all, but he does the tasks. Dad is also big into what I call "family spirit" when work allows. He likes hosting everyone, grilling, doing things as a family whether it be a day at the park or dragging my mother along on his jobs. Dad is in entrepreneurial construction. He started out as a handyman, then built restaurants, then homes for the restaurateurs and now does commercial roofing. He works hard in all weather. Even during the times he was trying things to get himself out of construction, he was always working. Hubs has a white collar job, that is to say, if he were employed it would be a white collar job. When in his 20's he did surveying and some construction, but for as long as I've known him, his job has mostly entailed sitting in front of a computer. And that difference is key to my expectations. Especially while Hubs is unemployed. He changed a poopy diaper at the hospital while my father never changed one until my daughter was over 2 - the first one EVER. Hubs does dishes, sometimes, and occasionally washes hair, reads stories, snuggles in bed, gets up in the middle of the night, brushes teeth or folds laundry. My dad played with us and took us places, maybe read a story or 2, but mostly he took care of the repairs/maintenance to the house and yard and recovered from his physically hard work. He wasn't tired because he stayed up late playing computer games, watching t.v., or because he had trouble sleeping due to lack of physical activity.

My expectations for my white collar, unemployed husband are vastly different from what they would be if he had a physically demanding job. It's not just that though. We are very different people from my parents and from his parents. We have different strengths and weaknesses; different quirks and needs and wants. Sure there are some similarities, but the sum of our personalities makes us quite different. We may repeat some of their mistakes, but I think we've learned from plenty too - leaving us to make our own.

Edited to add that Mama Kat and I are thinking on the same topic lines again this week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Need Atlanta Drivers

If you follow me on twitter you may have seen a couple of tweets over the last month or so complaining about the drivers I encounter. Believe me I see something really stupid every day. Going straight from the left turn lane, turning right from the straight lane, turning left from the far right lane: crossing the near right lane, the turn lane and the 2 left lanes (the ones that go the other way). And all that was by 1 driver on my less than 2 miles to the preschool.
But now, I need drivers - good ones that is. Well not me, but Anissa Mayhew. I'm sure that all the people who volunteered to travel to help her out had the best of intentions, but they also all canceled at the same time. The family seems reticent about revealing this (I understand that I don't like to ask for help either, even when I'm not being stubborn, because it is a little guilt inducing) but this is the internet age after all so the word is getting out. If you live in the Atlanta area, specifically near Decatur, where therapy is, or more to the south side (I don't know if the Mayhews have revealed their town so I won't either but I know one of their neighbors - again internet magic) and would be available to add some drive time to your week, please let me know or Lori, who is the one who let me know they needed some drivers. Anissa needs to arrive in Decatur by 8:30am and be picked up at 2:00pm. It's about an hour drive each way. Let's see if we can help fill in the blanks in their schedule.
Also, if you're in ATL or know someone in ATL, please pass it on.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

To tell or not to tell

I wanted to get that last post off the top, but the circumstances that brought it to mind in the first place are still at play in my life. My mother-in-law passed away 2 weeks ago, which is why I had to be in the same place as my in-laws.

Mainly what I'm thinking about now is telling my children. The days after she died were not the right time to tell them. We were informed the morning of my birthday and AT(6) was quite excited about being part of the dinner preparations at home that night, then GR(4) was to get her weekend alone at my parents' starting the next afternoon and AT was going to her first spend the night and that Sunday, we were gathering at my parents' to have our usual celebration of my mother's and my birthdays (random interjection - I cannot figure out the proper grammar for that sentence.) Until that Sunday afternoon, when I discovered through the obituaries that the funeral was late in the week, we had thought we'd need to leave on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. It was a series of rushed, hectic and upsetting days. The children did not go with us and the time spent not telling them hasn't seemed quite right, but it also doesn't seem necessary as she hasn't been part of their lives in a long time. I initially wrote out the time line of her living with us, but basically she was in our house for the better part of 3 years including the first year and a half of AT's life. AT remembers her - I don't know how but she does - but by the time I was pregnant with my 3rd child(AK, 2.5) she had succumbed to senility and didn't understand who my husband was, didn't understand that she had a grown man as a child. So other than knowing the name "Granny" and seeing some pictures, she hasn't been part of their lives.

We know we can't shelter them from death forever, but being young we're not sure it's necessary to confront them with it now. Especially AT, who broke down sobbing last year when I read Charlotte's Web because it made her think of Hubs' father's mortality (he lives close to us) and she so far wants nothing further to do with the book. I think we are prepared with the words to tell them, but we're not sure we even should. What would you do, or did you do?

Monday, March 8, 2010

I was blind-sided

and am still reeling from it. Though I am linking up with Mama Kat, I had intended to tell some of this story anyway since I had to spend several hours with the antagonist last weekend. I wasn't sure how I was going to get into the story though, as there is so much of it, some of which is too raw and my husband wouldn't want me to share it all.
So, I'll tell the part that is the most mine to tell.

During the summer of 2003, my husband and his brother were in the process of moving their parents out of their home. Their parents were quite angry with each other at this time. Mother stayed with us for 3 months and then was spending the summer with Brother. During this time, Hubs was looking for a house for Father to move into as none of us were prepared to have him live with us and he didn't want to anyway. Hubs found a suitable place, told Brother the plan, including to say, "We're going to get him so he can see the house for himself and if he likes it, buy it. We're just going to get a few items: bed, chair etc so he can move in. He said that other than "his" things, he didn't care what Mother took." However, Big Brother felt it would be better for their whole family to drive 2 days so they could show up unexpected in the middle of everything. Lots of fighting between the parents ensued, lots of ugly things were said by Brother, selfish, money grubbing, mean, and untrue things. We were all shocked by the monetary demands he put towards his parents and by his reaction upon their refusal. Reactions which eventually came over a period of time, which revealed his true nature. These were bad enough, but the thing that blindsided me was the behavior of his wife.
While Hubs was trying to mediate between Brother and Father in the living room, I was in the dining room with Mother helping her sort items that she wanted to have at each of her son's house. Sister-In-Law comes in from the back, where presumably she was with her 2 kids. She comes up to me asking me all kinds of questions about the real estate in a threatening tone. There are no answers to her questions because she was coming at it from the idea that we'd already sold that house, bought another, and were packing up everything in this one to take with us. Despite what we'd told her, despite the short amount of time that had passed and despite the fact that there was only the smallest u-haul tow trailer behind our car. She became more and more irate, hissing hate at me and began to thrust her finger at me. Then she began to advance, poking her finger into my chest. I was effectively pushed into a corner and I didn't know what she would do next. Just then my husband entered the room, stuck his arm between us and then inserted his body in the space as she continued to advance. "You need to step back and get away from my wife," he said. She shouted some reply but I don't know what it was, "You need to get away from my wife" he said louder. She began to back away and then shouted, "Get away from me, don't you touch me. Don't you dare put your hands on me!" she was backing out of the room as she said this and then she heaved herself against the hallway wall. Then ran to a bedroom and slammed the door. Meanwhile my husband was still standing in front of me, so close we were touching. Her husband bustled her into their car, came and asked me if I was OK and they left. I was far from OK. No one had ever treated me that way, not even the middle school bullies, but certainly not someone I considered family. I was incredibly upset and developed a migraine almost the instant their car pulled out of the driveway and about a half hour later I began to vomit. About every 15 minutes for the next 6 hours, I vomited. Somewhere in there, after the 12th time, yes I kept track, I called my OB. I was just at the end of my first trimester of my first pregnancy. She told me to go to the ER. I continued the 6 hour heave even on meds, I took 2 bags of IV fluid and more meds. My baby and I were both on monitors. I described the various pains I was experiencing and saw the OB on staff. After about 9 hours I was discharged and went to Hub's Aunt's house to sleep a bit before having to make the 5 hour drive back because we had a deadline on the house the next morning. While we were there Brother called and informed us that SIL demanded an apology from my husband and I. Yes, from me too. He was informed, "That's not gonna happen" and things have continued to get worse over the years. At the time, I was able to remain calm because the pains I was experiencing were not the hard belly / back pain I was told to expect with labor and I knew I needed to try to not add anymore stressy body chemistry to my little baby. It wasn't until it was actually time to deliver the baby when I experienced my body's own version of labor that I realized I had been having contractions that summer.

I think back to that day and am thankful I didn't know I had been having contractions, though some of the things that happened in my haze at the hospital made more sense. I'm more than thankful that nothing came of it and my girl was born close to her due date, after another unexpected "visit" from Brother at our house. I've never personally experienced such greed, hate, and self-righteousness as I have during that evening nearly 7 years ago, nor did I think I'd still be dealing with my feelings about it after all these years. It makes me feel a little sick as I sit here telling my story knowing that it's still far from over.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm back

but hopefully, you didn't know I was gone - one of the cardinal rules of posting your life online: never let people know when your house is empty. In a way, I'm not sure it matters since the only reader who knows exactly where I live, can tell if anyone is home with a glance out her window, but I promised Hubs a long time ago I wouldn't reveal such information while I was, as he says, "Bloggity, bloggity, blah-blahing."
I know I will need to make a post about the circumstances surrounding our trip because it lays on me heavily, but for now I'll just try to catch up with my reading and visiting all you lovelies that visited me while I was away!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Goodbye cruel world,

Goodbye forever. Twas not meant to end this way, I thought our love would carry us through the good times and the bad. You tended to me ever so gently, took great pride in learning my secrets, did not discard me when irreparable blemishes besmirched my fair complexion and visited me often. But now it is time to part as I am lost to a world few really understand. Thank you for our many years together.
Love,
The Little Laptop

Dear Readers,
Fortunately LL was found before he had succumbed fully to the viruses and marauding trojans who had stealthily begun to take over his brain. We are doing everything we can to save him, but fear some of his vital components may be lost to us. Oh, Photoshop, we loved thee best of all, yet, were foolish in our placement of your hard copies while cleaning up from the flooded basement all those months ago. Our occasional friend, Hubs' Computer, will have to suffice for now, LL, but I will long for the days when it was just the 2 of us.
I thank you, Readers, for standing by me during this difficult time and perhaps during a prolonged absence.
Sincerely,
Cranky Sarah

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Following from The Bitchin' Wives Club

1. Families can really suck, especially in-laws

2. Families can be really great, even in-laws

3. I could take hugs and kisses all day, being the jungle gym, not so much

4. I like to make lists

5. I can rarely keep up with a list on a piece of paper

6. My middle child, GR, had the following conversation with her grandmother during a GR only weekend.

GR: I want to stay at your house for 2 more days, maybe 3, or how about 100
Granma: I love having you but your mommy would miss you too much
GR: Well then you'll have to detract her so she won't notice I'm gone
Granma: Why don't you want to go home?
GR: Because AK's mad at me or AT's mad at me or Daddy's mad at me or Mommy's mad at me
Granma: Why are they mad at you, you're so sweet
GR: Because I'm only sweet when I'm at your house

7. I really like my FSIL, but find it hard to believe my baby brother is at that stage of life, even though I got married when I was 4 years younger than he is now

8. FSIL has a life very similar to the one my 18 year old self thought I'd have at her age - even same career

9. I wouldn't trade the life I do have for anything - struggles, tiffs and crappy in-laws included - because losing the bad would change some of the good

10. I don't know if you noticed, but I have in-laws on the brain today. Just thought I'd point that out

11. I peek in at DWS every now and then, but I think they've succeeded in their goal to up viewership, I think even Hubs will watch this crazy cast

12. Thank you! I just don't think I say it enough