Thursday, December 28, 2006

Burdens

All of us walk around thinking about the burdens we carry, the things we must do, the things that others depend on us for. My usual focus is taking care of the house. It gets me so mad that the entire burden of keeping this home livable is on me. No one else cares if the Equal packet sits on the floor for days on end. And if I didn't pick it up and put it in the compactor or the recycling, dang, there it would still be sitting.

Suddenly, it occurs to me, well...maybe not suddenly, maybe it has been creeping up on me, the focus I have had is probably just a distraction. If we walked around thinking about what the real burden is, we would be so overwhelmed, we would probably be paralyzed.

We have a different kind of household, with children and grandchildren, and it is a constant struggle to try to be fair and to not pick favorites, to not show preference to the cutest, or the smartest, or the most needy, to not differentiate between my offspring and someone else's offspring, to not look at some of the residents as being someone else's burden. So far, this particular part of my life has been pretty successful. The kids and the grands pretty much feel as though they are on equal footing, except for an occasional occurrence when some of the grands realize they don't have an actual parent rooting for them. So it is a difficult situation for them also. And they share in the success.

Today, the youngest, five, Ben, was out on the lawn with a neighbor child. This neighbor boy, Cody, six, and a head taller, has caused a lot of problems for us, and we frankly do not like his style. We do not let Ben play with him without supervision. Grandpa was sitting outside watching them and came into the house for a minute. Mom, Fran, looks out the window and sees Ben beating the stuffing out of Cody. Ben was made to immediately come into the house.

As we were preparing to leave to run errands, we put Ben into the car with us, and the discussion that started when he entered the house continued. Fran tells him he will not be allowed to play with Cody anymore. Fran does not ever want him to play with Cody, but we try to work out compromises so Ben does not become an asocial hermit.

Fran comments on how Cody affects Ben's behavior and Ben tries to explain that they were playing, that Cody beat Ben and then Cody told Ben to beat on him. Fran actually slips into "Momese", a language she tries to avoid, and says, "If he told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?" So the discussion segues into the fact that in our family we do not think beating people up is a way to play. I say that Cody's family is different from ours, and that they think it is alright to play that rough, but in our family we try not to be that mean. (We CERTAINLY do not bring up the subject of Cousin Terry's broken hand...) Fran, Ben and I talk a little about how some families are different, and not every one's family thinks the same things are important. Then Ben says, "I think Cody's family should have a grandma living there. Then it would be alright because grandma's know everything." I make a vague "hmmm" noise, and Fran and I are speechless for a few short seconds, and I think, but in retrospect, am not too sure, that Fran said, "There!"

The discussion then went far afield to avoid pitfalls and discomfort. This is totally the type of thing that I cannot even think of. How much of an effect am I having on this child and what will it mean in his life? To just go on and keep up the same old routine is so necessary, but perhaps it will stay in my mind enough to make me a bit wiser and keep me from jumping the gun so much in the future.

I so much have the reputation of putting foot into mouth. Christmas day Louie was being SO nice. I couldn't understand it, and it is kind of pitiful that it was SO noticeable. I so much wanted to say, "You are being so nice. Do you have a brain tumor?" But I didn't say it! I just quietly enjoyed Louie's being so nice.

Maybe we are all growing up together.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Life and Living

I am having a really difficult time with getting my mind comfortable with the concepts of life and death. We went to the funeral of my husband's aunt, who was 88 and had a wonderful, colorful and very useful life. She had some of the worst things imaginable happen directly to her, but she left a very competent, and lovely daughter who is a credit to her in every respect, and she has three of the greatest grandkids you could imagine, one noteworthy accomplishment after another, and nice kids besides.
And Aunt Theresa, herself, was vibrant, adorable, and a very helpful friend to many people. So her death means she is just over. But I can't see that. We all think of her and refer to her all the time, and will always continue to do so. So everyone is crying when they say goodby. Why? Because they are going to miss seeing her in the flesh, when she is full of aches and confusion?

Of course, all I could think of is my mom, and how this birthday is most probably her last, and Mother's Day was probably her last. And I won't have a mother next mother's day. But she is so tired and uncomfortable, and bringing such confusion and pain to my dad. And every time I see her invaded and assaulted form, I want to cry because I remember that she was so beautiful. She was not so great on giving advice and stepping up to bring aid to those in need, but she did the best job she could of being the daughter and the sister and the wife and the mother, and the grandmother. And when she is gone, I will blubber like a baby, even though I know it is time for her to rest and have peace and quiet and not have to worry about going to the bathroom anymore.

I am totally comfortable now with the idea that we have to let her go. Two years ago that was what she wanted, and maybe we should not have put her through the last few years. And I admit it was totally selfish. But still I cannot imagine going over to their place and her not being there. And I feel bad that when I tell her stuff she has to do, and how it has to be, she is a little pissed off at me, and looks at me like she knows she just has to take it. And isn't it a fine how do you do that now she can't throw a lamp at me if I mouth off or defy her. And it is me sending her to her room.

I am really mixed up but I don't have to stop and try to figure it out, something which I always did ad nauseum. I am finally able to just do it and move forward. So many times in my life I should have done that for such a lot of really stupid occasions, and, now I can, and, man, this is making me so sad.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Moral Crisis

I recently had a bad experience with a car dealer. It is pitiful that at my age I do expect people to behave honestly and morally, especially when I have contracts with them involving large sums of money. I have already in my life been gulled and cheated, hornswoggled and lied to enough times that you would think it would sink in. But it hasn't and it won't.

Like the time the bricks began to fall of the front of my house and I gave a local contractor huge sums of money to fix it. He messed it up real bad, using the wrong color mortar among other things. I refused to give him the other half of his money until he fixed it. He said he would send someone out to fix it. I said, "Okay, as long as they don't show up with a volkswagen and a shovel." Guess what...the volkswagen was blue. And a few days later, to add the insult to the injury, one of the sub contractors came by and threatened my life.

So this car dealer just lied to me and lied to the regional office, and I am just about at the point where I am tired of pursuing the issue. Which is probably what they intend to happen. But I am always so dismayed when this happens. And now, being so much older, I do not mourn for the lack of morality in my personal dealings, but worry so about what the world will be like for the future. What will the truth even seem to be when my four year old grandson is an adult? If he learns what the truth is, what good will it do him to pursue it?

And all these people that talk about looking to the Lord for guidance and the right answers, and they turn around and lie to me out of the other side of their mouth. What is the moral benchmark nowadays? Where is our touchstone? Do we have to make it up as we go along as so many of the younger generation seem to be doing? What is a crook? What is a lie? What is a moral guideline? When our children learn from their own parents to be irresponsible and unaccountable, what will they have in their conscience to guide their children?

People guilty of the most miserable of moral transgression walk around garnering respect among us every day. And people that did nothing are called on the carpet by liars with positions of trust and made to pay in ways they can not afford, morally, physically, financially. It is all so bogus, such a house of cards.

This crap about Iran and Iraq and the oil. A letter was going around on the internet saying what we would do when we pulled out of Iraq and stopped selling our Alaska oil to the Japanese. It was supposed to be sarcastic and a sort of ironic parody. But it was so grounded in how illogical it is that the obvious and most practical solutions to these huge problems are considered ridiculous, and that is all because of politics and political lobbyists. Which, if you have not noticed, is my answer for every problem you can think of.

I always thought that I was wrong in not pursuing my goals of being a diagnostic social worker in the school system or a respected writer But I guess I should have been a political lobbyist. But then I wouldn't be writing this, would I?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Old News

I realize, upon reviewing my blog, that I have not even touched on stuff that was so important it was making me crazy. I guess simply writing it down helps me resolve stuff.

Billy is still continuing at Bradley cousnseling and he has had an appointment and blood tests and stuff with Dr. Sarma at Rosalind Franklin University. He has diagnosed Billy with ADHD. I suppose that, as it was with Lisa, the symptoms do not show unless he is stressed in one way or another. I don't see it, but it is fine with me since it will give him extra services at school. I tried him on Concerta last fall with no apparent effect, but whatever. I am so glad that Lisa is carrying the ball on this one. I was talking to her on the phone two nights ago and, in the background, he was sobbing like a one year old. As soon as he realized his mom was talking to me it stopped just like turning off a radio. It is amazing the way he can produce the tears on demand and even make him self vomit from it. I sometimes get a bit scared when watching Law and Order and they start talking about behavior disordered kids. But, what do I know?

The last we heard about Bill's dad, the case was still being continued and he had not been sentenced. Bob's mom said, "His life is in that woman's hands." I don't think they have a very good understanding of the nature of his crime. Since Billy and Lisa moved out, we don't speak to them much.

Lisa has a nice little house about four miles from here. Her boyfriend is there almost always, so the twins are hardly ever there. Nor do they ask to be. They will not be there when Jody is there. He must think he died and went to heaven. He has no income and she drives him everywhere and is feeding him with the food stamps that should be buying food for the twins. Whatever. It is nothing short of a miracle that she got this housing when she did. We were unaware that she was on this list which is called Low Rent Housing. I think our town has to have a certain number of units for government reasons and the town probably has few candidates. It was a bolt from the blue at exactly the right time. I was SO worried about feeling guilty for putting them out, but I feel so much relief, the relief is the only thing I feel guilty about. And, not very much...

Cassie has been nagging me about getting Baptized and I promised her I would call the church about it. I have been putting this off for a long time. So yesterday I told her that I actually headed toward the phone to make the call and something distracted me. But I was getting closer to actually doing it. So today I actually took the phone and the phonebook and sat down to have the conversation, and, lo and behold, the church is not listed. Why would that be? It has been a long time since the handyman was murdered there, so why would they be secretive about their number? I hope it is not a sign from above about taking this step. Kind of weird.

Fran was on dean's list last semester and is doing well this semester. The Steven thing goes back and forth. Should she make a decision when she feels like she cannot make a diecision? Meanwhile, school is getting a little old for her. This is her second year. The first one went so fast. I hope she is able to continue, but it will get so complicated next year with clinical practice and Ben. For some reason, probably cuz I know she can handle it, this is not a source of worry for me.

My career in laying tile is moving slowly along. I am getting less messy about it, but not actually "better". I need a deadline. We have two new doors installed and that project needs a little financial boost. No furniture in the living room since I gave my couches to Lisa when she moved out. Little bit of a problem with Louie on that subject. Will probably need psychiatric intervention to get passed it.

So Spring is on the way and my folks seem to be doing very well. My tulips and daffodils are showing already. I am interested in seeing the results of Lindenhurst's big daffodil anniversary project. I certainly did my part. Every time I feel this hopeful and good, some horrible disaster pops up. I cannot help but have a tiny apprehensive feeling. Sunshine helps that.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Truth in Small Doses

So far 2006 has been a real scream. I spent a long time in Florida. I came home with a whole new perspective on irony, devotion, loyalty, love, duty and probably a bunch of other stuff.

In one respect, I have lost patience for so much stuff. I think it is just that I have broadened my personal definition of bull, and I just don't want to deal with it or the people that purvey it. Two little girls in Chicago have recently been killed by stray bullets. This is very very tragic of course. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child at so early an age. Well, maybe I can. But, on the very page where a person is editorializing about the tragedy, (and, by the way, spending more time emphasizing the tragedy is actually the lack of gun control, and not the loss of the young lives...) in the adjoining column, is a story about three children that were killed in a house fire which involved too few smoke alarms and someone that was a cigarette smoker. Those two elements seem much easier to legislate about and control, personally or otherwise. The editorial did not touch on that at all.

Maybe my views on this are colored by the fact that my father was a police officer for many years, until he retired. But I just do not get why people think that laws are going to influence whether or not criminals will carry or use guns. Criminal::no respect for law. DUH...

Here are a few basic truths that I think I will have to write the Tribune about...

Almost any one reading this knows my references, so you know you HAVE to believe this is actual fact based on my colorful and long life experience:

Tailgating is WRONG unless you are having a picnic in a parking lot.

Hydrogen fuel makes more sense, scientifically and practically, than HYBRID cars. Send that money to a lobbyist.

Gun control will NEVER have any affect on criminals and their choice of weapons. Guess what? It is already illegal to CARRY an unregistered weapon. Hey, do ya think criminals are registering those guns?

Well, I truly do not know why it is so important to expound on these few subjects right now. But I think it has something to do with worrying about recurring cancers and beautiful lives coming to an ending place. Distorts my perspective I guess.

I am so glad to be back here.