What was I thinking?

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I've been visiting this blog for some time now. Jenn is going through a divorce and has such a refreshing way of looking at the world that I find myself drawn to her blog every day.

Anyway, just when we were grousing at home about the rubber check my ex sent my son last year for Christmas, Jenn posted this and I wanted to share it with you.

I'm feelin' kinda Grinchy....

...and for the moment, it doesn't have anything to do with The Idiot. I'm going to take a break from him for a moment and spend a little time talking about my father.

My parents got divorced when I was 7 - a long time ago. My dad took that as his permission to go ahead and forget his original family (us - me and my brother and sister) and have a new one.

Ok...I'll acknowledge it probably wasn't that simple and he probably tells a different story.

But since he doesn't tell it to me, I can only surmise that he's 'assy' as my sister says. He lives about 25 miles away from me and he's seen his only familial grand-daughter exactly 4 times. It's not a priority for him. Which makes me like him even less.

ANYhoo...I got my Christmas gift from him today - in the mail. It was mailed directly from the company off the internet. On the mailing label was my first name and my daughter's first name - as if it were one name. Also on the mailing label was the message 'Merry Christmas From Dad, (enter his wife's name), (enter his son's name)

Already, his thoughtfulness is noted.

BUT - it gets better. I open the box and it contains 8 pears. For which my gratitude will never end...you know...since you can't buy pears at the grocery store.

I know...you're thinking...no way! But it gets BETTER! Enclosed in the box is a pamphlet. I'll just type the first paragraph for you -


These Maverick Royal Riveria Pears didn't make it into the final round of judging in our beautiful fruit contest - but what a treat to eat! Some have been dappled by the sun or dinged by a summer hailstorm. And some just aren't very pear-shaped. In one way or another, each of them has gained some degree of "character" during the growing season.

My dad sent me rejected pears. Every one of them is bruised to some extent, one is leaking something, and a couple are turning into pear-raisins they're so old. Last year, at least his mail-order gift included cheese and some tea. It truly gets better and better.

I'm clearly his favorite though, because he didn't send anything to my brother or sister. (That fact is worse to me than the fact that he sent me rotten pears.) When I talked to my brother he had to get off the phone to 'shop' for our father's gift in his fridge. He was pretty sure there was something wrapped in old aluminum foil that would be perfect. My sister just guffawed.

As my good friend said - my father's thoughtfulness is utterly astonishing.

At least there's some humor to be found - I chuckle whenever I think about it.

And we thought a rubber check was bad...

After the holidays, I'll have time to sit and finish the epic saga. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Let it suffice to say that I've gotten a "get out of jail" card for my father and will be going down to bust him out of the VA Center tomorrow. He and his wife and her daughter will stay with us from tomorrow through Monday. I'll be sure and stock up on the wine tonight. I checked my Prozac prescription and I have ample to get me through.

With this, I'll likely be signing off until after Christmas -- Tuesday at the earliest.

My (our) best to all. Be safe. Be warm. Be forgiving. Give something of yourself.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Saddle Sore

Since last Monday, I've put more than 1,000 on my car -- and my ass. And I'm tired. And I'm behind at work. And I'm behind in my Christmas preparations.

My father is doing well -- more on that later.

Need to catch up, then I'll be back.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Make up your mind!

Now they think my father did actually have a stroke. They're supposed to have taken him in for doppler tests today to determine if there are any blockages in the carotid arter(ies). If there are, he must decide whether he wants them to surgically clean them, which would mean having to go to Buffalo for the surgery (110 miles from where he lives). He hated that hospital when he was there last month for his hernia surgery. I think the odds are good that he'll refuse the surgery just because he hated the hospital.

I spoke with Li last night (my "stepmother") and she said he was pretty damned nasty all day long. Of course, they told him that it was likely that he wasn't going to see much improvement in his condition other than what has manifested itself thus far. Which means that he'll be confined to a wheelchair or, at best, a walker. This is a man who, in his entire life, refused to be strapped down to any one or any thing. Always go, go, go, go, go -- and always on his terms.

Monday he was begging for help in quitting smoking, Tuesday he was screaming and cursing at everyone that he wanted to go outside for a smoke. I guess he figures if he's going to be an invalid, he might as well not worry about smoking if it wasn't going to net him what he wants. Mobility. Independence. Freedom.

My prediction for 2006 is that we'll be burying my father. For Li's sake, I'm hoping it'll be after February -- that's when she gets her green card. Otherwise, I'm afraid she might have to go back to Brazil. She doesn't want that, nor do we as we've all gotten quite attached to her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


After an exhausting day yesterday, it appears that my father may not have had a stroke, in that they found no bleeding in the brain after doing CAT scans.

It's possible that his right carotid artery may be the culprit (causing disruption of blood flow to the brain, or causing bits of plaque to break off and float around, etc.) causing TIA's (mini-strokes). We believe (my aunt and I) that he's had several mini-strokes recently as he'll be walking along and all of a sudden just be on the floor, completely oblivious as to how he got there. They're apparently going to schedule him for doppler imaging of that carotid. He's in the VA Hospital down in Bath -- it's supposed to be pretty good there, but I was a bit concerned that while we were there (9:00 AM until 2:30) nobody came in to take vitals, follow up, talk to him (or the family) or do anything other than deliver a food tray. Getting information was like trying to get Clinton to admit to BJs in the White House.

It appears that they'll keep him for "a few days" but beyond that, and what I stated previously, we're pretty much in the dark regarding what they'll do long-term, or even short-term once (if) they do the doppler.

Until then, it's day by day. This is the last week of classes and next week is finals week so I'm expecting to be busier than a one-armed paper hanger...

Sunday, December 11, 2005


My nephew called tonight. My father had a stroke.

His entire left side went numb and paralyzed. Apparently he was alert through it and knew what was going on. He knew enough to be scared, and had his wife call for help. She called the only person she knew to call -- my Aunt Wanda. Wanda arrived in short time, took charge, and took no lip. When he objected to 911 being called, Wanda basically told him to shut the hell up, stayed on with the 911 dispatch, and sent him off in an ambulance.

Apparently he's alert, has use of all his left side except for his left leg. He's had several bypasses done on that leg so that's no huge surprise to me.

Taking tomorrow (Monday) off, and going down to pick up my aunt, stick by my stepmother, visit my father, and generally see what use I can be. Don't know what this week will shape up to look like so, if I don't check in anytime soon, it'll probably be because it's not good news.

Send some positive vibes my father's way. Long story but let it suffice to say that I'm not nuts at all about the thought of losing a father I've only known for less than 20 years -- and the only parent who pays any attention to me -- well, I'm a bit bummed.

More as it becomes available.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Can you pass 8th grade math?

You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!
Remember, guys. Just because you HAVE one, doesn't mean
you have to BE one.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Humpity hump hump

Get your mind out of the gutter!

It's hump day -- middle of the week. I'm feeling amazingly well. I've slept well recently, with no indicators of limb movements or other maladies that have kept me from getting a restful sleep (or, as Lindsay Wagner says on the sleep number bed commercial, a "recuperative" sleep).

We got the Christmas tree out and set it up Monday night, but didn't decorate. Lisa is one of those anal types that has to spread out the branches, each and every one, so that it looks real and full. Whatever blows your skirt up, honey.

We rearranged the family room, giving it what we feel is a more "homey" look. That night after we rearranged, we saw Joe sitting on the couch for the first time since...since...since I can't remember when. We plan to have this the main staging area for people on Christmas day. There will be two couches, a recliner and an overstuffed armchair in there (the room is 15x22), as well as the Christmas tree and the television. Everything is set up around the fireplace in the center of the outside wall, and we're planning on having a fire burning on Christmas day. It should be quite festive and cozy, I think.

The second couch and recliner will come from the upstairs living room, where we'll have two six foot tables set up for dinner for 15 people. We bought "stuff" to decorate the dinner tables with -- confetti, Santa & Mrs. Claus salt & pepper shakers, minature sleds to put in the center to hold butter, salt & pepper, napkins, etc. Once upon a time I couldn't have cared less about this sort of thing but, with Lisa's childlike pleasure of all things Christmas, you can't help but get into it yourself. I told her the other night that I haven't enjoyed Christmas so much since the kids learned the big bad secret.

Saturday night is her company Christmas party. I'm extremely flattered that everyone at work, including her boss, insisted that I make my party meatballs -- extremely flattered, but they're so much work! It's not the work itself that bothers me, it's the time it takes away from other things I really need to get done. What the heck, I don't do anything constructive between midnight and 6:00 AM, right?

Joe's on a 13 hour day today. Seven hours installing Christmas lights at private residences and six hours cutting, baling, and loading Christmas trees into peoples' cars. He's making $10/hour these days so it doesn't upset him terribly that he's working so many hours. It's only another two weeks before he'll be laid off for the season anyway, until sometime in late February or early March. Gotta make what you can when you can...

It's snowing. They're calling for 2-4 inches this evening and overnight. Lightweight stuff around here, but there are parts of the country where this would literally paralyze a city and shut it right down. I remember going to Fort Meade, MD one year in January to evaluate a training system and, the morning after we'd arrived, it had snowed just a couple of inches, but everything was shut down tighter than a drum. Traffic was at a dead stop and the sound of wheels spinning on pavement filled the air. Around here, 2-4 inches is just nothing to fret about other than whether the kid gets the driveway shoveled so it doesn't melt and then freeze again. An hour and a half south of us, however, where my oldest daughter lives, is under a winter storm watch/warning, with accumulations of 7 inches overnight possible. That's not even enough to shut down schools but it's enough to mess up traffic for the long-distance commuters. This storm is expected to dump a serious load of snow on the southern tier of NY, most of PA, WV and MD, and the northern parts of VA. New York and PA will stay open for business, but WV, MD, and VA will likely close right down.

Now, if you live in an area where it snows a lot, you're probably thinking "Stupid southerners, scared of a little snow," but it's not even that. Those areas typically don't have snow removal equipment because, with the little bit that it does snow, it doesn't warrant or justify the expenditure of funds to purchase that snow removal equipment. If the roads aren't maintained during a snowfall, they're dangerous and it's just easier to shut them down than to have to respond to the bazillions of fender benders that would result.

In Colorado, they don't plow the roads when it snows. They merely salt and gravel the roads -- I don't get why they do that, but they do. It's stupid and dangerous and the trucks that salt/gravel the roads have PLOWS on the front side! Must just be for show... hehe

Even after I sent the paperwork for my ex-husband's bankruptcy filing to the Child Support Enforcement Unit in Albany, I see from my online account that it didn't affect the withholding from his pay one bit. The sucker's still coughing up $750/month to pay the support and arrears, as well as whatever it costs to provide Joe with a single person health insurance policy. Had he just talked to me when he just up and quit paying, I'd have worked something out with him. But no, he had to just take a "fuck you" attitude and dare me to come after him. Back then, he was paying $560.30 a month for support and health insurance. It's almost double that now because of his arrogance. Merry Christmas, asshole... Perhaps he'll send Joe a pre-paid gift card or cash this year, instead of a rubber check like he did last year. Whatta schmuck. No, I'm not bitter or anything....

I haven't been to Curves in two weeks now. Thanksgiving got in the way, and then I had a visit from my little red-headed cousin who hasn't visited in almost 6 months. And it was the visit from hell, requiring me to stay home from work one day, sucking down Advil to slow down the bleeding, and keeping my feet up. She stayed for 10 days. Bitch. I've gained back a pound and a half, but I'm not too worried about that. Call it menstrual weight gain, call it inactivity, whatever, but I'm sure I'll drop it right back off. I'll start going back to Curves on Monday, at least 3 times a week.

I've had some unsettling dreams the past few nights. Not nightmares, just unsettling dreams about my mother and my long-deceased grandparents. Not sure what that means, and maybe it just doesn't mean anything more than that they've been on my mind (consciously or subconsciously) this holiday season. It might just be an after-effect of Michelle (my oldest) telling me about an encounter she had with my estranged sister and her son.

My mother will be 72 in February. It's been almost 12 years since I last spoke to her, when she up and moved to Florida without so much as a goodbye, up yours, or anything else. The last time I saw her, she didn't recognize me (it'd been a couple of years since I'd seen her). What mother doesn't know her own offspring that she raised? There has always been dysfunction there and, for the bulk of my adulthood, I let it eat a hole through me. It was always me that called, wrote, or visited. It was like the post office, phone company, and highways only went in one direction. When she left in 1994, I cried, I raged against her, I wailed, I mourned, and then I let go of her. I guess the reason these recent dreams have gotten me so unsettled is that they may just mean that I've not let go of her in the way I think I had. Perhaps there will always be a little girl inside of me that still wants her mom in her life. I don't know, but I'm not going to waste any more of my life grieving over what could have been or what still could be.

Tonight I think we're going to have some leftover spaghetti for dinner, then we'll work on decorating the tree and, of course, Lisa will start putting decorations all over the house. I'm rather looking forward to it, and fully intend to go out to the wood shed and get a load of wood so that we can have a fire going while we decorate. Maybe I'll cast off my "humbug" dislike of Christmas music and even put some of that on while we work.

*EGAD* I'm out of wine! Better shut down and stop off at the liquor store on my way home -- can't have a decorating plan that doesn't involve wine, right?

Best to all! Hunker down, stay warm, drive safely, and watch for deer!