Saturday, May 31, 2008

Child-Abusing Religious Nutters

Seems like there's no getting away from them, anywhere you go

Sex predators operate with ease among the ultra-orthodox communities because female victims often keep quiet, knowing that to speak out will damage their prospects of finding a husband. "The families all want their girls to have a AAA marriage to a religious scholar from a good family, and nobody's going to marry a girl who gets raped," says Ragen. In Bnei Brak, a predominately Haredi city near Tel Aviv, social worker Doron Agasi says one young Haredi man told him that he had molested more than a hundred girls. Agasi, director of the Shlom Banaich Fellowship, the only organization in Israel that treats pedophiles and their victims, convinced the young man to confess to the police. But, says Agasi, the authorities refused to bring charges because none of the parents of the alleged victims had filed complaints. Agasi says the rapist is now roaming free. Click Here to Read More..

The Threshold of Adversity

Quick reference:
Wally's my son.
Doug is his father (my ex)
Carl is my husband now.
That's all you get.
In the midst of all the current drama with Doug & Wally, I've gained an even sharper insight into Doug.

Of the three of us, Wally for certain has come closest to experiencing true adversity. He had to live in his car for a couple of weeks. He was injured in a car wreck and hospitalized with salmonella some years back. And, most obviously, he's experienced the divorce of his parents. Add to that his level of stress at age 18 and I'd definitely give him the highest score for true adversity.

Neither Doug nor I had parents who divorced. However, I lived through 22 years of violence and alcoholic chaos in my formative years and have struggled monetarily.

For a very long time, I was convinced that my childhood was the definition of "dysfunctional." I've gradually come to understand that it wasn't a perfect existence, but by and large, my parents were decent folks with redeeming qualities, and things could have been a great deal worse. My parents shielded me from a lot of common realities of life, the main one being money. As the cliche goes, we were poor, but I didn't know it. At least not until maybe the last couple of years of high school.

Doug had two parents who were absolutely nuts about each other. They were kind toward Doug and his brother Frank -- not indulgent, but certainly not hostile or malicious. Those people just didn't know the meaning of, well, mean. It wasn't in their nature. But at worst, they included Frank, the first-born, in their little circle, and when Doug came along it was sort of a "been there/done that" experience for them. Or to put it a different way, Frank was The Heir. Doug was The Spare. It wasn't glaringly apparent to the casual observer, but Doug was treated as a fairly limp second to Frank. I witnessed this a few times myself, in the way his parents reacted when there was a dilemma. Anything Frank suggested was greeted with smiles and receptive attitudes, while Doug's ideas were looked upon with skepticism. As Doug tells it, Frank got into a bit of trouble in his teens and the parents remained determinedly oblivious to all of it ... only to become belatedly suspicious once Doug reached that age, and begin scrutinizing everything he did, even when he was a young Mr. Clean. Both brothers were pretty bright, but as different as two people could be. Frank was a hippie; Doug was a yuppie, right from the get-go. Frank was, and still is, quite non-materialistic. Doug, however, was IMO hard-wired to lust after money and to take the Scarlett O'Hara attitude that money is the only thing you can depend upon in this world.

Side note: I've been keeping a running list of traits held in common by Doug and my mother -- there are over a dozen of them, and this "money is the only thing that matters in this world" is yet another sentiment that they seem to have shared.

So Doug grew up with the sneaking suspicion that he wasn't loved much for himself. He was the odd man out, physically, in his family, looking like some of his mother's relatives, but not much like his mother, father or brother. He would often bitterly recount how his parents would leave him to get to and from sporting events on his own, either by bus or on foot if he didn't have bus fare, in the dead of winter. His mother had a falling-out with her mother and sisters. Not a violent one, just a decision to avoid each other as much as possible. Doug thought this, too, was some sort of psychic nightmare.

But in truth, he didn't understand real adversity. The family was never anywhere near poor. I applaud Doug and his parents for having what appears to be a natural, Depression-era sense of thrift and money-management. My parents did not have this. I've had to learn it very much the hard way, and have to admit that rather than graduating from The School of Hard Knocks, I've been left back a few times. Right now I'm still in the Remedial program.

I take it somewhat in stride when the money falls short. Since the divorce, I haven't lived in anything approaching an upscale environment. Possibly the last place we lived would be termed lower-middle class, while this neighborhood and others over the last 13 years would be "upper-lower class," with a more intense police presence and an aura of seediness.

The thing about Doug that led to this current battle is, he's been whining his head off about money, and I hear echoes of the guy I was married to for 13 years -- wailing about his idea of poverty, all the while I very much doubt he's ever seen dollar figures in red in his personal ledger. And then I shared my e-mail back to him with the same people he originally wrote to, and he's just outraged. He has enlisted Wally in his efforts to condemn my "bad manners."

In my experience, bad manners take the form of rocks thrown through windows.

Doug just doesn't get it. His threshold of adversity is so low, it's laughable.

Wally is showing tendencies toward ruthlessness, but at least I understand where it comes from. His aforementioned experience with true adversity has brought him out of it with no intentions of living his life on the edge of disaster, and preferring not to have anyone around him (such as his mama) that would tolerate living in such a state.

Adding Carl into the mix, as much adversity as Wally has seen, Carl beats him by many a mile. As I've written here more than once, his family was truly poor. Single mom, six kids, one bathroom, clothes donated or patched (with duct tape in the case of their shoes).

As for me, I don't know whether I'm "complacent," as Doug describes me, or just sufficiently at peace with my place in the world not to frantically fight to attain higher ground. Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Planned Catastrophe

Yes, it did indeed hit the fan, last night and then today. Wally was the most obvious victim, and Doug laid it on as thick as he could. He is reveling in dumping all the crap there ever was between him and me onto our son. And Wally is falling right for it. I encouraged him to step back and not be sucked into this, but he is very confused and upset right now and feels he should be in it, since this distinguishes him as an adult rather than "a little kid who has to be protected."

So, why do I call this a "planned catastrophe?" Because I thought carefully about what I was going to say and how, beforehand, and then anticipated what the fallout would be. Though I'm not happy that all my dire predictions came true, it's certainly an improvement over my previous patterns of striking out in a disorganized, unprepared fashion and then being truly astonished at the backlash. None of this has taken me by any sort of surprise. I think that's why I can be so calm about all of this. And why there were so many bad moments for me in years past. Click Here to Read More..

On the Offensive

Doug and I are sparring again. This time I am not backing down. I have told both him and Wally that it is no use pressing me for money, since such a commodity is virtually non-existent for me at this time. It should get better gradually over the summer, but no one knows my situation better than I do, and I've been up-front about it.

Doug sent a letter to various parties, outlining his "need for help" in supporting Wally, and after consulting with a friend who has a lot of expertise in communication, as well as a son the same age as Wally, I sent back an e-mail (and copied the other parties he sent the first one to), explaining how my lack of funds is at least partly a result of some actions on his part and Wally's. I had sat on this e-mail for awhile, knowing that to send it would not increase his level of favorable regard toward me, and finally let it fly after getting a couple of "I-want, gimme gimme" e-mails from Wally.

This too shall pass, but realistically, I foresee a period of some estrangement from my son on the horizon. It won't be forever, but it hurts. Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Burnout: I Has It.

Well, this morning I got "scolded" by the lady from the foundation that's working with our neighborhood association.

She doesn't know it yet, and it may take awhile (if ever) before she finds out, but that was NOT the right approach.

There's an event coming up in a few days that someone else planned, and someone decided that I would be in charge of.

I have never planned an event like this, so there was no way I was going to assume the leadership of it. It's become clearer and clearer over the last few months that I got in WAY over my head without even realizing, back in January when I consented to be on this committee. I AM the committee. And now I'm being told that in order not to be on the committee any more, I have to go and find some other people to be on the committee..

I have only lived in this neighborhood for 2 years (exactly two years, as of today). I have a passing acquaintance with the people who come to the meetings and events, but that's quite different from those who grew up here and see a lot of each other. I don't mind getting involved, but there are limits, and I have reached mine. I am not going door to door, especially in order to ASK people to do work that I am unwilling to do. I don't feel like I know these folks well enough. Throwing me into the deep end of the pool and expecting Diana Nyad to emerge just isn't going to happen. I'm fine with taking the minutes of the meetings, making a few phone calls, filling out forms, stuff like that, but no more. And I will not be scolded and told I'm "not doing enough" when I do a lot more than many people in this group. For one thing, I remember what frickin day it is and show up at meetings. I know how to use "reply all" so that when person A sends me an e-mail with a cc: to person B, they both get my response. This is better than a lot of people do. Over the last month or two, I've hosted several members of the committee at my workplace; I've met 3 different times with the group doing this event (though a bunch of them never showed for the first meeting). The pattern I see is, the second I do something that isn't quite up to par (like not reminding everyone of the executive committee meeting), I hear it loud and clear that I fucked up. And despite my presence at the planning sessions, my inability to attend the actual event (which takes place mid-day) has me in the doghouse again.

I work full-time. I cannot do the kind of community work that SAHM's do. It just isn't going to happen.

I took this position purely from a sense of obligation. They sent me on a nice weekend outing with a large group;I feel I contributed very nicely, and thought it would be a decent gesture to agree to this position. But I think (nearly) everyone would agree that I have been fulfilling my obligation as well as possible and should not be asked to do more. Especially if I'm going to get scolded.

I do my best work for those who pay me. My job comes first; the church comes (a distant) second. And this group is something I do in my "spare time," whatever that is.

I am so tempted right now to dash off an indignant e-mail, but I've decided to respond with silence. It will be as if I never got that phone call. Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Proof That I Am a Good Person

Today, after taking care of the cell phone thang, I proceeded to the local big-box and splurged. Got Carl a little fan for his bedside table that will hopefully make enough noise to drown out the barking of the beagle next door (we're such wimps, not wanting to confront his owner, our neighbor, with whom we're on good terms). The rest of it went toward miscellaneous cosmetics, Band-Aids and OTC remedies for pain and heartburn. About half of what I bought was generic or store-brand, but there were a few things more on the "premium," or name-brand side, and it felt good to indulge that way.

I didn't spend a penny on this little spree (other than petrol)! I whipped out my rather fat collection of gift cards that I've accumulated since December, and covered the whole thing, with $1.60 to spare. At least two of these were from the neighborhood association; one or two were from work, and one was a Christmas gift.

Sometimes I feel showered with gifts... Click Here to Read More..


Wally came up with a good idea for me a few days ago, and I (like to) think that if I weren't already so stressed out, I might have figured this out for myself eventually.

But one of my lingering money problems has now eased. I took out a cell phone account for him in early '07, but within 8 months he had lost the phone and switched over to Doug's account. Before he could do that, he ran up an enormous bill for the month, for which I was stuck. Not being able to afford the outlay to cancel his 2-year contract, I just slogged along, paying the damn thing month by month and being quite vexed by the situation.

Wally (probably by way of Doug, but my willingness to give credit extends only as far as Wally) suggested that, since my number, unlike his, was not under a contract, I could just cancel it and transfer my number to the one he was using. Doing this was only as complicated as a brief phone call to the provider and a quick trip to the local brick & mortar to have them switch out the SIM card. I now have a few added bonuses: More minutes, unlimited text messaging (like I really need that) and a phone number with a local area code. There are a few people from our former city who liked calling me on the cell because it wasn't long-distance, but they are simply going to have to suffer :)

I've also been enjoying a bank balance that's (barely) sufficient for me to start putting money back into savings again, something I haven't been able to do for a very long time. So things are looking up.

There's also some "stuff" brewing with Doug, but that's for another post.
Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Quit Liking Dentists When They Quit Giving Me Nitrous

This is the truth. Dr. K, my childhood dentist, was a hack and a crook, but at least I had something to look forward to when I went for a visit.

[by the way, if dentist stories aren't your cup of mouthwash, you might want to go read a different blog, K?]

Dr. E., the guy I go to now, is acceptable. He is very liberal with the Novocaine and can tell when I'm trying to be stoic. When I had the root canal he gave me over half a dozen shots.

I was never afraid of dentists growing up. Dr. K used to say I was "a wonderful patient."

But in spite of all the dough my parents (who couldn't really afford it) spent on my teeth, I am still falling victim to maladies of the mouth.

I had my first root canal when I was about 23-24. I've had several others since then. The guy I saw today (because Dr. E was not available) said I have "a lot of crowns."

One of them came out yesterday while I was eating something chewy. I tried putting it back in, as Dr. G once recommended, but it really hurt in there. Everything hurt. Air coming in, hot liquids, cold liquids, tongue, you name it. I was not a happy camper yesterday, especially when Dr. E's office said they had no openings. What, they don't know what an "emergency" is? Anyway, they gave me the number for their "other" location, and they said I could come in today.

I didn't have to wait *too* long, but I could tell the place was in a fair amount of chaos. It doesn't do any good to think the dental office needs more employees. That won't help anything. All they do is get in each other's way. This particular crew was composed of loud talkin' young ladies. Lots of them.

Dental offices are a lot more stripped-down than they used to be when I was a kid. Remember the spit sink? I haven't seen one of those in years. Did people stop salivating and forget to tell me?

OK, so the assistant came in, checked my teeth (making me flinch when the air hit), took the crown I gave her and said she was going to sanitize it. Then the dentist, Dr. W, came in. He reminded me of Marcus Welby. But Welby was an MD, not a DDS, and I've decided I like my dentists younger. I prefer quick reflexes, sharp eyes and steady hands.

But anyway. Dr. W gave me the bad news - the reason I was having so much pain after the crown fell out is that there isn't much of my original tooth left. This means that if the crown won't stay in long-term, my next options would be either an implant or a partial. Lovely.

So while I was mulling that over (and freezing - the A/C must have been set at about 64 degrees), he came back in with my crown liberally cemented and said "Ready?" Then he very quickly put the crown in place.

Not quick enough. That SOB hurt! I let out a loud, long yell; I couldn't help it. He apologized and gave me the cotton roll to bite on until the cement cured. It wasn't too long a wait.

Then the assistant came back in and took the cotton out. Right away, I knew there was a problem. She tried to brush it off as "just some cement left -- I'll get it."

Nope. It wasn't cement.

It was the crown. It wasn't fitting flush the way it had before.

This is very typical of my experience with the dentist. Every time I've had to get a crown I go through this. They place it and it feels like I'm biting down on a BB. I tell them; they go get their stupid little piece of black carbon paper, tell me to "bite down, now tap-tap-tap and grind back and forth and side to side." Then they examine their stupid little piece of paper and tell me it "looks fine."

So I grit my teeth some more (for a different reason this time) and tell them "But I can feel it!!" Generally, they give in grudgingly; they all think I'm some sort of flaky dental hypochondriac who gets her jollies by making the poor dears work oh so hard. I've been told previously that I have a "funky little bite." Whatever the hell that means. Sorry, dahlinks, but it's MY bite and I'm the one who has to live with it.

Not to mention -- the damn thing fit fine before!

Today, however, I really wanted to get out of there and get back to work. I was cold, tired and very hungry. Dr. Welby came back in and said because the crown had been out of place for over 24 hours there's a "period of adjustment" and it should start to feel normal in a couple of hours.

That was 7 hours ago. There is no difference. I've had dinner but had to chew very carefully.

I'm going to have to go back, and I'm going to have to make them work. It will probably take about 10 tries before they get it ground/filed down to where I can't feel it.

We're all going to have SO much fun!

[much later: The tooth did get back into line by itself, but it took DAYS, not "a couple of hours."] Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Continung Saga of Wally's Car

After several months of paralysis, I decided on a course of action regarding Wally's car.

I mentioned this in my long posts about Wally in Feb and March, but there's this car sitting in the parking lot of a gas station many hundreds of miles away from where I live - I think it has a tarp over it but can't recall. All 4 tires are flat, and one of the windows doesn't work.

It's the car I bought for him about a year ago, which has been sitting at that gas station for about 6 or 7 months now. When I say "bought," I mean I signed the agreement to pay for it in installments.

The warranty coverage ends at the close of this month and I don't have the funds to renew it, even for 3 months. I've sent the gas station guy a certified letter informing him that I will pay only the repair charges that I previously agreed to, which come to $250 ($150 of which I've already paid). All he had to do was call the warranty company -- an (800) number, for Pete's sake. But he never did. Why, I have no idea. Perhaps he was holding out for the other $100. The guy who sold me the car thinks he's holding out so he can slap somebody with a mechanic's lien. Frankly my dear, I don't give a shite. The only thing I can afford to do right now is keep making those little bitty weekly payments until I get it done, and that should take less than 4 months. Then I'll get the title, and I don't know what will come next. But at least I'm doing something. If the moron wants to take me to small claims court somewhere down the line, I sez, Bring it On!!!

In other car news, Carl got a mailing from AARP, describing their auto club coverage, which is a lot cheaper than Triple-A. My AAA expires at the end of this month also and I think I'll make the switch. My warehouse club membership expires also. I really have to renew that.
Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The No-Mooch Zone

Took the evening off from church meetings because I would have felt awkward. There were 2 meetings scheduled back to back, starting immediately after work. This has been a problem for me, since it leaves little or no time for any kind of dinner. However, recently people have been bringing food. One person works in a hospitality capacity so he usually brings something good. Another person often brings decent wine.

I started worrying about this as soon as people started talking about it. I know what my finances are, and they didn't allow for much culinary creativity. Me, I can subsist on Spam with no difficulty, but this ain't a Spam crowd. I didn't even think I'd have time to stop somewhere ... all in all, I just felt completely unequipped to join in with the food-bringing and it just bothered the hell out of me to think I'd be taking advantage of someone else's hospitality without contributing.

So this morning I just decided to absent myself from the proceedings altogether. I don't think I've missed a single monthly meeting since last July, and I don't play any vital role. I just enjoy the people and the chance to see the inner workings of things.

I'd be getting home just about now, normally, and I could certainly use the extra sleep. So all in all, no regrets. There's always next month. Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Down, down, then a little up

Went to the church after work to try and straighten out a task that will be my responsibility after the turn of the fiscal year in a couple of months. So far, I've been assisting and trying to learn it, but my memory fails me when a whole month goes by. They were having a dinner there, and then I was scheduled for a show rehearsal afterward. So my time to devote to this task was very limited.

My favorite [not] combination: Pressure and frustration. I simply couldn't remember how to do the damn task, despite all my notes. I just couldn't figure out how to start! So there I am at the desk, slogging away, people stopping by to say hi and "whatcha doin?" and then the person who did this job 2-3 years ago and considers himself an expert (on this and many, many other things) showed up with a big grin on his face and I thought, oh, shit, I'm never gonna get it done now. Sure enough, he said "Oh, great, the computer's on, I need to check something." And I'm trying to tell him, in a nice way, that I have to be here right now, it's the only chance I'll have to TRY and get this procedure down, and he sat right down in my chair, looked at what I'd done so far and basically told me I was doing it wrong. YES, DEAR, I FUCKING KNOW THAT. All I wanted was for him to get his skinny ass out of there and leave me to my private failure. Finally, I think he got the hint, but by then it was just too late. I sent my "partner" a quick e-mail to tell him I'd gotten absolutely nowhere, sorry, maybe we can try this again tomorrow night...

Then I never really got to eat dinner because the main course wasn't ready. They put some food out; the kids got first crack, which is fine because once you get them settled at a table to eat, they are out of the way, but time was tick-tick-ticking by and I only had until 7. All the other people in the show had dinner elsewhere; I was the only one who was still unfed. Pressure, frustration and hunger. Great combo. Finally I just took the bun with lettuce, tomato, a little onion and a few slabs of cheddar and ate it meatless. It held me, at least, but I had PAID for that dinner and kind of thought maybe I could steal a bit of my money back out of the basket. But by the time we got done at 9-ish, the food was long gone and so was the money, so maybe at the next dinner I'll only throw in half.

However, show rehearsal went well and was quite enjoyable. It lifted my spirits almost to the point that I could laugh at everything that had led up to it.

And I did get a nap after work so that helped.

I life feels like a garment that was sewed together in haste by an unskilled laborer and pulls at the seams...
Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Fading away

No, not me. I'm talking about two entities that are being pre-mourned by conservative pundits.

The first is persons of European descent (i.e. white people).

Pat Buchanan says:

"Recent reports suggest God has another end in store for us.

An Augusta, Ga., group, The National Policy Institute, has meshed the figures on fertility rates with the continents and races on Planet Earth -- to visualize what the world will look like in 2060.

In 1950, whites were 28 percent of world population and Africans 9 percent, a ratio of three-to-one. In 2060, the ratio will remain the same. But the colors will be reversed. People of African ancestry will be 25 percent of the world's population. People of European descent will have fallen to 9.8 percent.

More arresting is that the white population is shrinking not only in relative but in real terms. Two hundred million white people, one in every six on earth -- a number equal to the entire population of France, Britain, Holland and Germany -- will vanish by 2060.

The Caucasian race is going the way of the Mohicans.

Sixty-two percent of Americans told Pew we should do more to protect our way of life. Three-fourths of Americans wanted more restrictions on immigration. Yet all three presidential candidates voted amnesty for the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens.

Hopefully, the peoples of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, who are about to inherit the earth as we pass away, will treat us better than our ancestors treated them in the five centuries that Western Man ruled the world.

Otherwise, we all go out with a bang.


Yo, Pat, I love the "we" and "us." How do your conservative fellows Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and Larry Elder like that "we?" Don't yo u think they, too, are concerned about preserving "The American Way of Life?"

I love the USA; I do believe English should be our official language, and I do believe that people should go through established legal channels to become citizens. I am also concerned that Islam is morphing into a horrible, primitive, murderous belief system, when it didn't start out that way. I think if the PM (you know who I mean) came back, he'd look at his descendants and give them a Cosby-esque talking-to. It's class and worldview that concern me, not the color of people's skin.

What strikes me most about this little screed is that Buchanan takes it for granted that this "fading away" of the white race is a terrible thing -- because it pertains to the group that HE identifies with! Can you imagine if black people or Asian people were facing a similar crisis of numbers -- would Buchanan be lamenting their existence? Well, maybe... "Where ever will we find people to run our convenience stores???"

Then you've got good ol' Dr. Dobson, writing this in 2003:

It is with great concern that I share with you our considered belief that the institution of marriage is about to descend into a state of turmoil unlike any other in human history. The homosexual activist movement, which has achieved virtually every goal and objective it set out to accomplish more than 50 years ago, is poised to administer a devastating and potentially fatal blow to the traditional family. And sadly, there is hardly a politician who has the courage to utter a word of alarm or protest in response. Indeed, there are very few Christians in positions of responsibility who are willing to use their influence to help combat it.

Researchers have been warning about this looming cultural storm for the past decade. The most prominent among them, sociologists David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead at Rutgers University, conducted a longitudinal study of the family between 1960 and 1999, and concluded that the institution of marriage appeared to be dying.There is accumulating evidence now that they were right. A handful of power-obsessed judges is determined to impose the homosexual agenda on the nation and thereby change forever the legal definition of marriage.

The dire ramifications of what is happening in the United States and other western nations cannot be overstated. For millennia, traditional marriage has been celebrated by every culture on earth as the cornerstone of society. But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, no-fault divorce laws, radical feminism and a sweeping sexual revolution combined here in the United States to rip open the fabric of the family. They left it shaken and wounded. It was a growing apprehension about this situation that led me to resign from my academic position in 1977 and start a fledgling new organization called Focus on the Family. In the 26 years since, we have been working tirelessly to bolster and preserve traditional marriage and parenthood. There have been times of hope and times of despair during this struggle, but overall, the family has been steadily losing ground. Now, the institution of marriage is on the ropes and western civilization itself appears to hang in the balance.


Dobson goes on at considerable length, describing how Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium have all made gay marriage legal. He says "...the legal acceptance of homosexual marriage was little more than a pipe dream just a few years ago, but it has become a tidal wave that is sweeping around the globe."

Maybe there's a reason for this, Jimbo!! Maybe people are starting to wise up; they realize it's all we can do to keep ourselves going, and our own lives on track, without staying up even later to try getting laws passed that would keep a certain group of people on a lower social tier.

If Dobson were a divorced man, or someone who had personally experienced some of the issues that gay or unmarried people do every day, he might not be so quick to throw around the we's and us's. Being a white male heterosexual married man works for him. And so he assumes that the structure with which he is most familiar and comfortable should work for everyone.

Click Here to Read More..

I am a liar

In yesterday's post I said I had "no idea" what the problem is, and of course that's a dirty lie. I know perfectly well what the problem is.

Every time Carl or Wally gets some emotional twitch they go and make some drastic change in their lives that ends up COSTING ME MONEY!!!

  • 1999: Carl and I visit NYC. Carl's never been there; he is in awe and sees muchos opportunidades for employment in his field. Conclusion: We have to move to NY ASAP. Sure, sez me. I always wanted to live there anyway. So I quit a nice, secure, good-paying job and sell the condo that I could actually afford, and pack up like a Gypsy and move to NYC. Get an apartment that costs me a ridiculous amount per month, take a job I hate, and meanwhile, Carl never gets off the ground with this dream job he thinks he'll get. He can never see past the short-term. The extremely short-term. As in, somebody pisses him off today, and he's outa there. At least that's what he did in NY. I suppose that would have been a good time to break off the marriage altogether, but having just been through a divorce a few years before, I couldn't get my head around doing that again.
  • Similar impulse a year later. Carl is miserable at work, as am I. The only one of us who was happy was Wally. But Carl gets upset because someone makes a disparaging remark about the place we moved from. He misses his family - the one that makes him miserable. At any rate, we buy a house "back home" and move there a year after moving to NYC. I didn't have a job; I didn't even have the reasonably nice car I'd sold before moving to NY. I finally found a used one I could barely afford and it lasted three and a half years before finally dying. I was so despondent during the first month or two, I began to think about killing myself.
  • On 9/11 I was at least working. It was a temp job but permanent hire was a certainty. But I was very preoccupied. Wonder why? So I applied myself very little to my job, even after getting the permanent gig. My performance was truly crappy and I got fired. It was the first time in my life that had ever happened. Not the first time I'd left a job with less than favorable reviews, but certainly the first time I'd been flat-out fired. That led to more than a year of temp work, and it wasn't always steady. Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, later in the year I ditched religion and things started looking up the tiniest bit. I got a long-term temp job that did me pretty well. But it wasn't the answer to everything. The depression started to lift just enough to get me out there on the job hunt again. Finally - a good break, and that led to the job I had from '03 to '06. Great benefits (even though I had to ultimately take Carl off my coverage because the minute I got insurance coverage he started having his phantom stomach and chest pains that no doctor could ever find a diagnosis for).
  • Since I've known Carl, he's worked for: OHH, S&S, TB, RHG, TMG, CPRV, PH, a couple of other places in NYC, back to RHG, GC, BSP, CCD and now CB. That's at least 14 different jobs, and we've only been together for 10 years. My track record isn't great either: JRA when we met, then BHRV, BHRNP, CPUN, temp jobs, PST, PH and the place where I am now.
  • Together, we've lived in 4 different places. If it weren't for Carl, most likely I'd have stayed in the condo and might even still be there, who knows? The BHRV job might or might not have lasted. I can't blame Carl - entirely - for my less than stellar work ethic over the years. But without some of the strife between him & Wally, and the money worries, I might possibly have been less preoccupied and scattered, and may have done a better job. Thank the ordered universe I've finally gotten it together to the point where I'm not late for work all the time and have the ability to assess the consequences of an action before I commit to it.
  • But it's still difficult to buckle down and move ahead because of all these constant changes that cost me money.
  • As for Wally, I can't blame him directly for a lot of that. Much of the situation we're in right now is because of Doug. Doug, who kicked Wally out when he could have hung in for another year or two until Wally finished high school. But no, he sent Wally back to Carl and me, just as things were going pretty well. Then he cuts off the child support, which I don't have the time or energy to go after. And at about the same time, Carl gets another of his "let's move to a better place" impulses, and as usual, I go along. I don't regret moving to this town. It's much better suited to me; I feel like I've flourished, at least socially. I like the job I do and the company I work for. But bottom line, we should be doing better, rather than struggling. We wouldn't be struggling so much if Carl had just behaved like a grownup. He was making good money and all he had to do was ignore the owner and the manager of the company. He knows he had a good thing going and was better off there, but doesn't want to admit it yet. True, the place could go under; they were in trouble with regard to taxes and other issues, but other than a late paycheck once in awhile, that didn't affect Carl directly. Week to week, he made GOOD money. True, the place he's at now has benefits. But here's the thing: Carl NEVER stays in one place long enough to make insurance a reality. He's had insurance twice and either dropped the coverage or quit the job shortly after getting it. If he dies, I'll have to go to his family to afford the funeral. If something happens to me, Carl and Wally will be substantially enriched. Of course, Wally would blow the money immediately; Carl would save it but not find any way to invest or supplement it.
Enough bitching (for now, anyway...). I have decided, while writing this, that I am going to do one thing. I'm going to hand Carl the bill for the carpeting at the old house, the carpeting we bought to make the house sellable, and tell him I want him to take care of it, and I don't care how he does it. I just want it done. Maybe it will spur him to do something about his income. Click Here to Read More..

Friday, May 02, 2008

Burnout? Fatigue? Depression? Whaaaaat?

I have no idea what the problem is, so don't even ask. All I know is, I feel less buoyant than I did a year ago. Last year was such a GOOD year, and almost as soon as this one started, I felt things going downhill.

Mainly it's the money (or lack thereof). I have been so drained, so sapped, mainly by Wally, since last Memorial Day. It's been one thing after another.

Now Carl has this new job, and OF COURSE he's making much less money. I haven't yet heard him say he regrets changing jobs. I know the last place was awful. He's faced with a choice: Endure interpersonal strife and a feeling of being beaten about the head daily while still making more money than ever in his life, vs. working in a place where co-workers help each other out, treat each other with respect, and the corporation has a structure ... all the while making much less money (and getting fewer breaks, which leaves him feeling very exhausted at day's end). At least he understands the dilemma. He always asks me, "Would you be mad at me if I got a different job?" I always say no. It's his life. Just as I wouldn't want him to be overbearing with me about my life choices. And he isn't -- he puts up with my never-ending whirwind of social activities. I know he wishes I'd go back to the way things used to be, where I'd get off work at 3:30, get home by 4, change into pajamas and just sit around until it was time for bed.

I still get such a kick out of this small city we live in. I love how you can walk into a restaurant or store and see people you actually know. I love how you can turn on the TV and see people you know on the news. I can't say why exactly, but it's so different from other places I've lived.

But -- this year, I find myself getting little flurries in my stomach whenever a new situation comes up. I'm seeing the negative in things a lot more. Last year I bought 3 new pairs of shoes all at the same time, something I'd never done before. I bought capris, tops, jewelry and makeup. Now I look forward with dread to going shopping. I guess because the money is so tight. And I owe so many people!

And I do worry about this neighborhood. There's been an increase in crime. We've been hit something like 4 separate times, just property crime but still. Too many druggies with guns around here.

Church is great, but I'm starting to see what one of the guys was saying about burnout. A year ago, no way.

I'm needing to buy myself a weekly-format calendar instead of the little monthly one I have now.

Underneath it all is money - that sense of doom, like the whole house of cards is going to come tumbling down.

I know there's a remedy for it, and it's ENTIRELY about attitude. Yes, my claim to fame on this blog is having a bad one, and I play it up for laughs, really. However, in the last couple of years, I've learned ways to really banish negativity and force through a positive affirming mindset. And it really does work. Even when I work on it for a minute at a time, I see instant results.

This too shall pass. Things will be good again, and meanwhile, I can build on what I know. Click Here to Read More..