Platitude of Gratitude – November 5

I came in today to find that I’d misunderstood instructions from my boss.  She had hoped to pick up over the weekend some printouts she’d asked me to make.  Unfortunately, she was on vacation out of town Thursday and Friday and I thought that included the weekend so when I ran out of time Friday I figured I’d be able to finish it up this morning before she arrived.  I get in around 7:30 even though I don’t officially start work till 8.  Well no real harm done but it always frustrates me when I screw up.  On top of that Hubs and I argued last night, leaving us both out of sorts and making it darn near impossible to sleep.  Waking up in the middle of the night with a migraine and no BeKoool headache patches available was no fun either.  Cool wash cloths just aren’t the same.  So it truly is a MONDAY and I wasn’t feeling all that grateful :(.

But I skimmed through the Grateful book and felt better.  Here you go to start your week off with a smile.  Thanks for stopping by.

“Finding a man who is not threatened or intimidated by my bluntness.”  Tina Orlando, Metuchen, NJ

“The chance to really look at my daughter and see her for the woman she is, not the child I remember.  I did a good job raising her, but I never saw that or took credit for any of it until I sat back and respected her as an individual.”  Maggie Root, Thomaston, CT

“I am grateful for just being me.”  Onnissia, Los Angeles, CA

Happy Monday everyone!

Pour Me

TGIF!  No really, T. G. I. F.!!  It’s Friday!!  I should be exulting in two whole days away from the office.  Sleeping in!  Two days when I can do what I want, when I want.  Riiiight.

I usually love the weekend, hey I’m normal, sort of.  Shut up.  This weekend not so much.  I’d almost be glad if I could get some overtime and have to work.  What?  I said almost

Tonight my sister-in-law flies in late from North Carolina.  This visit has been in the works for some time so it isn’t a surprise.  I love my sister-in-law, truly.  I love her best from a distance, but I can deal for two or three days.  The downside of this weekend is that her dad, my father-in-law is in the hospital and he’s not doing well. 

M planned this weekend as a regular visit with the west coast family, but it’s turning into a “say good-bye to daddy” visit.  Which will translate to a weepy, mega-emotional weekend for everyone.  Sigh.

I’m not trying to minimize the grief I’m certain M is beginning to experience.  I’m dreading the emotional exhaustion I’m going to be experiencing when the weekend is over.  It takes a LOT of energy to support loved ones who are hurting.  And I want to be supportive, especially for Hubs.  He knows his Dad isn’t going to last much longer and it’s eating him up.  Dad is just so tired of fighting and hurting and getting hit with the next thing before he recovers from the last.  (He was recently in a nursing home after falling and fracturing his shoulder; while there he developed MRSA and is now hospitalized while they try to treat that bastard.  All this on top of pancreatic cancer.) 

In addition to being as supportive as I can, I’m grieving too.  As I mentioned in Dad’s birthday post, he’s the only real dad I’ve ever known.  It’s difficult to see the lovely, funny man I’ve known for more than 14 years begin to fail so dramatically.  I miss the guy who could fire back a snarky comment before I’d finished my sentence.  I see the grumpy, hurting husk he’s becoming and I sob inside, screaming silently, NO!  He survived prostate cancer for heaven’s sake!  And a heart valve replacement.  And MRSA multiple times before.   

On top of everything they say he had a mild stroke in the last few days.  And the super duper drugs he’s on don’t seem to be working yet.  Hubs wonders whether Dad is holding on until he sees his oldest daughter this weekend.  I wonder the same thing.  And what we’re going to do if that’s true. 

It’s going to be a long, long weekend.  Pour me a tall one.  Repeatedly.

The Vineyard

Barbara Delinsky is one of my favorite authors.  I recently finished The Vineyard.  It tells a parallel story of Olivia Jones and Natalie Seebring, women from two very different generations but each are strong in their own way. 

Olivia Jones is a single mother of a dyslexic child, struggling to provide for her daughter not only the material necessities, but also the best possible education.  At the same time she’s searching for her own mother who left when Olivia was old enough to be on her own.  Olivia badly wants a family and even daydreams about discovering she’s the long lost [granddaughter, cousin, niece] of the Seebring family.

Natalie Seebring on the other hand is completely sure of who she is and where she fits in her family.  Having grown up in the Depression era she understands the value of hard work and has made the family vineyard her life’s work.  She also understands sacrifice, having given up the man she loved to marry a man whose family money would bolster the vineyard. 

Ms. Delinsky weaves their stories together along with a taste of the bittersweet, some laughter and blossoming love.  The historical snippets felt genuine and moved me while the descriptions of the vineyard and its management were interesting – I DO love my wine!  I’d highly recommend this book!  

Somebunny to love

The other morning I was in line waiting for the 6:26 train to arrive and I was facing the parking lot across the tracks where my car is parked.  As I was looking in that direction movement caught my eye and I spotted a bunny!  He* was poised as though he knew I was watching him.  Having lived on the farm for umpteen years I’m no stranger to seeing wildlife but the last thing I expected to see at the train station was a bunny!  While I watched he hopped back and forth and eventually became hidden by some shrubbery around the base of a tree.  I found myself hoping he had a safe place to sleep and wondering if he had enough to eat.  That made me wonder what food he’d like if I could come up with the bucks to provide some. 

Whoa, what just happened?  I’m not usually inclined to nanny-moments but there I was thinking I needed to make sure that bunny had food.  On the one hand that makes me compassionate and caring; those are good things.  On the other hand though, that could make the bunny dependent on handouts when he obviously survives just fine on his own.  Once he starts relying on others to feed him what happens when the food doesn’t show up? 

This must be part of the mommy complex I’m starting to identify in myself.  There’s a deep need to take care of everyone; to make everyone happy.  I couldn’t do it when I was a “mommy” with young children (who, let’s face it, are usually pretty easy to make happy) so I don’t know why I think I should be able to do it now. 

Hubs’ folks want to see us this weekend.  This request was sort of tentative, no date or time was mentioned specifically.  In fact, Mom told Hubs they were going to try to talk SIL into bringing them down to meet us for a meal so we wouldn’t have to drive so far this time.  Thoughtful right?  But we’re struggling to keep gas in the car to get me to work this week so my first inclination is to bow out even knowing that if we could get there they’d probably  slip us some cash on the sly to help out.  Nice parents but I don’t like that I’m still needing help from family.  I’m not a bunny who needs someone to feed me.  At least I shouldn’t be.  I’m fifty-umcoughsplutter years old and I should be self-sufficient.  Forget that Hubs can’t work and we just lost the farm and we’re still in debt to the blasted I.R.S. 

Then, a couple days ago my best friend invited us to a going away potluck dinner for a couple who are mutual friends.  We haven’t seen these friends in a really long time and I so wanted to go!  But again, there’s the gas issue.  I told her I’d check with Hubs but I was pretty sure we didn’t have the gas.  She shot back an email saying she’d pony up some gas money (we’d done that for her so she could visit us last year so I don’t feel so bad taking money from her) and R & E would really love to see us since it had been over a year AND they’re getting ready to move out of state.  Nothing like the old guilt is there?  And did I mention I really, really wanted to go? 

Now I have a dilemma.  Do I blow off the terminally ill father in law to go see the friends?  Hubs has guilt issues of his own, heck he’s Jewish, of course he has guilt issues.  So I’m texting like mad all the way home last night trying to get the meeting with the folks moved up earlier in the day on Saturday so we can meet the friends, who’ve agreed to push back dinner.  Now you have to realize meeting the folks is half an hour to forty-five minutes northeast of us.  The friends are over an hour west of us.  It’s doable in a day but would be exhausting.  And there I am, trying to make everyone happy.

I didn’t bring up the weekend with Hubs until I was ready to go to bed.  Then I let him know how I’d tried to rearrange things so we could see both his family and our friends but that it didn’t work out.  The bottom line?  I made the decision to go to our friends and he could like it or not.  As I pointed out, I don’t ask for much and I really want this.  Now I get to call Mom and Dad to explain why we won’t be there Saturday.  But heck, I’m not Jewish.  Their guilt trips won’t work on me…much.  So much for making everyone happy huh? 

*Shut up.  I know it could have been a girl bunny.  I chose to use the male pronoun to avoid the whole awkward he(she) mess.  Deal with it. 

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my father-in-law’s 84th birthday.  Sadly, it’s also probably his last. 

I’ve known Dad for 15 years but he’s the only father I’ve ever had.  He treated my daughters and I as family from the beginning.  There are a book’s worth of family stories which feature Dad’s exploits.  Like the time he faced down a local gangster who was stalking my mother-in-law (the guy actually threatened to stab her if she didn’t stop seeing Dad!).  Or the time he loaned Mom his car, shocking everyone who knew him.  No. One. Ever. Drove. His. Car. EVER.

This is one of my favorite stories: 

Once upon a time Dad was engaged to the ideal woman, according to his parents.  She had class, was attractive and her family money didn’t hurt any.  Wedding plans were underway – the date chosen, a venue selected and invitations ordered.  Dad’s fiancée addressed and stamped all the invitations and gave them to Dad to mail.  I don’t recall ever hearing how long he carried them around, but eventually they were deposited appropriately – in the trash.  Making Dad available when he met Mom! 

One more – this one involved me personally.  Hubs and I married in June 1998, after which we flew to North Carolina where the in-laws lived at the time and where we would catch a flight the next day to the Bahamas for our honeymoon.  Tragically, Hubs had been fighting a gout attack throughout the wedding and we were unable to continue on to the Bahamas.  We spent the week of our honeymoon with my in-laws. 

I know, right?  But it was okay.  Really.  Actually, it was better than okay.  It was healing. 

One day Dad and I went out on our own running errands.  Riding in the car alone with him my old terrors came bubbling to the surface.  I’d only met this man twice counting the wedding and here I was trapped in a car with him.  He may have been around the age my grandfather was when he abused me, but I believe it was being alone with him in the car that had my anxiety building.  I’m good at hiding what I’m feeling (except from Hubs) so Dad never knew how close I was to panicking, which is for the best.  His behavior never changed.  He continued to be the loving if sarcastic father figure he’d been at both our earlier meetings.  We chatted about Chapel Hill and his and Mom’s move there from Nevada.  Gradually I felt myself relax and never again have I felt any sort of anxiety with him.  The experience helped me recognize that not every older man is inclined to get touchy feely.  See?  Healing!

I’m looking forward to sharing this last birthday with him.  But damn, I’m going to miss him.  

It’s Not My Fault

I don’t know when it became clear to me that everything was my fault but I’ve lived nearly my whole life believing it to one degree or another.  Looking back, I can see a few instances where it was indeed my fault – I was responsibile for behavior that was mine and mine alone.  However, somewhere along the way “I’m sorry” became such a mantra for me I began to believe everything was really my fault.  It was my fault my step-father beat my brother when he didn’t do his yard work – I can’t see that nexus today, but at 15 or 16 you’d better believe I knew it was my fault.  And of course when a fire destroyed our house and my baby brother was lost I took on the blame for that as well: “I should have put him to sleep in the playpen in the living room!”  ( I almost did because the living room was warmer.)  Seventeen is a hard enough age without the weight of such guilt on one’s shoulders. 

Today my guilt is still a companion, though not as constant or opaque.  It frequently becomes quite transparent, allowing me to see through its veil to the truth – it really isn’t my fault.  This understanding  is new enough to me that at times I still have trouble accepting it.  I am not responsible for everything!  How arrogant would I be if I believed that I was?  It isn’t my fault I got to the parking space before the guy who tried to cut me off to get it!  It isn’t my fault the IT department didn’t set up the overhead projector and tie it into the boss’s laptop after I requested they do so.  It’s not my fault I didn’t hear a neighbor calling for help after falling early one morning.  (That one was hard to accept; I should have heard him!)

I’m not sure where this post is going except I needed to acknowledge if only to myself, that I am not always at fault.  It’s important because a LOT of the time it is my fault.  I’m the one who put the diesel in the Suburban that took gasoline.  The lemon motor home was mostly on me.  I backed into our new-to-us pickup truck in the dark.  It was me who broke the 100+ year old wine glass etched with Hubs’ family crest. 

 Gee, after re-reading this it’s quite clear that it IS my fault.  Sigh.

No one called me!!

Wednesday evening I found out that my sister (from another mother, actually my bestest bff ever) had a stroke on Tuesday AND NO ONE CALLED ME! @$%*&!@!&#*#@&!#?&$#(&!!!!!!

Breathe Bubbe breathe!

Okay, I’m better now. Hubs and I planned to visit P on Saturday; we haven’t seen her or E (her significant other) since the daughter’s wedding a couple of months ago. That’s one of the sucky parts of moving an hour away and working all the damn time! Anyway, I called P last night to find out what time they were expecting us and after a few minutes of chit chat she casually mentions she’s just home from the hospital. Since her SO has terminal cancer I misheard and thought he had been in the hospital so she had to repeat what she said.

Me: What?

P: I just got home from the hospital. I had a mild stroke.

Me: WHAT!?

P: Yesterday the side of my face felt numb, like when the dentist shoots you up with Novocain. So I went to the urgent care. They called an ambulance and sent me to the hospital.

Me: WHAT!!!

P: It’s okay, they said I had a mild stroke. Probably because I haven’t been taking my meds.

Me: WHAT!!!??

P: R & E (a different E, not her SO) were there with me.  I’m fine.

Me: And no one called ME!?

P: That was probably my fault. M (her daughter in another state) kept calling because she was so worried and there wasn’t anything you could do and I didn’t want to worry you guys.

Me: WTF!? (pause to breathe)

Me: So tell me P, were you not taking your meds because you couldn’t afford them?

P: Yeah, but I have them now; they gave me some at the hospital.

Me: (banging head on table) If you run out of meds again and can’t afford them YOU CALL ME!

P: Yes ma’am.

Me: I mean it P!

P: Yes ma’am.

Me: Promise me!

P: I promise.

And how was your Wednesday?

UPDATE:  Earlier today on my break I got onto the Facebook for the first time in yeesh, I don’t know, weeks?  And promptly discovered my biological half sister is in the hospital with some kind of stones!  AND NO ONE CALLED ME!  So my bff sister and my half sister both hospitalized within days of each other.  And the really weird part?  BOTH their names are P!  Seriously.  You can’t make this shit up.