Thursday, January 29, 2009

Update on My Girl

I wanted to give you all at least an update on Hannah. I just called and she is doing okay. God, it is so much more complicated than that, so many different layers to that one simple word, "okay." In this case, what that means is that she is where she needs to be, and she is safe. I had a meeting, actually WE had a short therapy session yesterday before I headed home, with her and her therapist and myself, to go over what led to her being admitted to the BHC, what our short term goals are as well as a few long-term ones. It was-I don't know. GOOD is not the right word, but necessary anyway, and terribly difficult.

At this point, the whole situation is very much on a day-to-day basis. When they tell me she had a good night, that means something entirely different than a good night for one of us, and that concept is hard to get my mind around. She is still being very closely watched, considered still at high-risk for a suicide attempt, so for the moment, a good night means she didn't. The general consensus is that the poor sweet girl has been hanging on by her fingernails for a very long time, and she just couldn't do it any longer. It has been (and these are not her words, but mine, based on the conversations I have had with the billions and three-it seems that way anyway-people with whom I have spoken the last 48 hours) all she has been able to do to get up and get dressed and maintain. Here, she doesn't have to do that any longer. They are at the moment focusing on the most basic things: sleeping, eating correctly, and personal hygiene. That's it. She has no option BUT to eat, though of course she isn't required to eat everything. After observing her the first night and talking to me about her sleeping patterns at home, the decision was made (and I agreed) to put her on a mood stabilizer/sleeping aid combo, and last night she took that for the first time. She HAS to get up every morning and take a shower. There is a lot of structure and very little free time, and I think that is good as well.

There are a thousand things I want to write about, need to write about, but I just can't right now. There are balls in the air and a level of uncertainty that I am not comfortable with but HAVE to be this way. My daughter is a very long way away and I can't be with her or see her, and I hate that-but she is requiring at this point a level of care that I cannot provide for her, even if you removed the other kids and the job from the equation. She needs 24 hour monitoring, 24 hour care, and I just am not equipped to do that for her. I understand all of that, I truly do, and there is much to be grateful for even in the midst of this-I can't even write about that right now.

I will say that I have made a lot of painful decisions in my life thus far. I have been through some tough stuff, as have my kids. To date, the most difficult, painful thing I have ever experienced has been this: I had to pry her arms from around my neck and forcefully push her toward these people who will help her stay alive when she so badly does not want to. I had to listen to her cry and beg me to please not leave her there, and I had to turn around and walk out. I think of that, and I just can't write anything else.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend Recap

I have to laugh at something: I have noticed that I have a couple of people who read my blog who are not only very conservative Christians but are ALSO completely Anti-Obama (and I am not talking about YOU, Steph, I love you!); while I appreciate the readers and think it is cool that they obviously find something about my blog compelling enough to keep reading, it just makes me laugh. So if this sounds like you, I am dying to know: are you simply waiting for my blog to burst into flames, do I need to be glad I am moving so you won't be able to bomb my house, or are you simply here because you find me interesting? Do tell!

I had a very unexpected invite over the weekend; Steve wanted to Go Away With Me! We went to a Bed and Breakfast Inn by Lava Hot Springs. Stopped and ate at Red Lobster on the way, then checked in to the Moose Hollow Bed and Breakfast before heading to the hot pools at Lava. First things first here: you all know that Steve has been a dick, and while you might not know all the details, you know by now that he is often "confused." In all these years together, be it "official" or not, he does this. he says or does something really, really mean, and instead of saying that he is wrong or that he said something in the heat of the moment, instead of God Forbid APOLOGIZING, he does something unexpectedly and out of the blue nice and thoughtful and loving. He doesn't apologize, he never will, but this is his way of doing so. I talked to a friend of mine about this and her suggestion was next time something like this happens-which it inevitably will-I could try to help him verbalize the meaning behind it, but at the same time accept this about him. That makes sense to me, and might help next time something similar occurs. I could bore you all to tears with the different little things that I never, EVER write about, but I won't do that. What I will say is that while we all know what he **should** do, that shouldn't be taken into account. I "should" do a lot of things that I don't, nor do I plan on EVER doing. So. In the spirit of the invitation, I went, and we had a lovely time. The B&B was-odd, to say the least, and I don't know that I would ever stay there again, but the rest was lovely. A note to anyone who might want to stay here: make the coffee in your room, don't drink it in the dining room, unless you like coffee the color of tea. If you do not like to eat right first thing upon awakening, get up early-because they will NOT let you leave without eating. And if you want to get "busy," do NOT reserve the Sunrise Room; the headboard bangs against the wall. LOUDLY.

Also on Sunday, we stopped at Costco and picked up some things (diapers and coffee, as you all know, and mundane stuff like laundry soap and toilet paper. Not very exciting, but I felt better getting home and mentally calculating how much I saved in the long term by buying there. Really, it is considerable; I figured in one month's time, I will have saved just over $70.00. Not bad at all.

I did splurge by stopping at Starbucks and indulging in a triple shot grande white chocolate mocha, EXTRA HOT, along with a pumpkin scone. Heaven. I don't care who you are, Starbucks coffee IS better. We then went to Lowe's, where I found two rugs-one for the kitchen (with, of all things, coffee varieties on it in varying shades of brown. Gorgeous!) and one for the little boys' room-it looks like a race track. It was very, very exciting to pick out these two brand new things for the house, things I LOVE.

Today, my friend Janet came by at lunch and we went to the local thrift store, where we found these things: a rocking recliner in beige, a mattress and box spring set (with frame) for ME, a brand-new set of bunk beds for the little boys (one of the older kids will have the set we have, which has a full bed on the bottom), and the loveliest old farm table for the kitchen. It has black legs and a brown top, all wooden, and I love it. It caught my eye immediately, and I thought "oh, it matches the rug perfectly!" When we were putting all the "sold" tags on them, Janet wrote out the check and handed me the receipt, saying, "Happy new house!" I just, predictably, cried with how blessed I truly am.

Not everything is well and good here, though. I got a call from the school informing me that Hannah is failing her classes. ALL.OF.THEM. We are talking FAILING. Zeros in more than one. I have a meeting at the school at 7:15 in the morning, because they want to transfer her to the local Alternative School, which just doesn't seem like a reasonable solution to me. Why in God's name, unless she is a discipline problem (not), would they want to throw her amongst a group of kids that I try desperately to keep her away from? Anyway, I know that part of the problem this year has had to do with the whole CSG incident and then the CF incident; it still isn't an excuse for Hannah to simply fuck of school, and I am holding her responsible for silly little things like not turning in HOMEwork, but with hope the school is willing to be a bit more lenient. I will let you all know what happens tomorrow; I have a couple of things to propose, to with hope they will be more willing to explore other options as opposed to just throwing her out.

All in all, I feel really good today. I think-I don't know if I would call it "grace," but something is happening and I just feel very calm. Not that things don't still suck in some respects-we still have problems and worries and fears, of course (don't we all?) but today I feel strong enough to face them and deal with them by simply taking the next step. I am wearing a necklace* that says "Courage" and a bracelet* that says "Strength," and maybe that is making the difference.

*Both of these items were given to me for Christmas by Mr. Lady, but she bought them from Nicole Lorentz; go check out her Etsy shop, you will be amazed at the talent this woman has.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Friday

Well. IHA called and my inspection is set up for next Thursday; she is already familiar with the home and doesn't anticipate any problems, was almost as equally excited for us as WE are, and get this: I am going to be paying $11.00 less a month than I am currently paying for, let's face it, a dive. The utilities are a little bit more expensive there, but there is natural gas heat (which we have here in our office, and it runs less than $100/month for this big place), so they will probably be pretty close to the same. I will be paying more in actual gasoline as I will be "commuting," (come on. In Idaho, 10 miles IS commuting, thank you very much), but I think that I am going to be okay from a financial standpoint as well. Not great, but I think we will get by all right, which is a huge load off my mind. Huge.

I got the power and gas turned on, and with neither of them did I need to have a deposit, which is most excellent. This is how far I have come, in that when we moved here five years ago I had to put down a deposit for EVERYTHING, so I gave myself a little pat on the back. Tonight, we are headed back over there to see it again in the full light, and Jacquie is going to come with and we can measure the a "housewarming" gift, she is going to make curtains for me, which is awesome. Her husband Jim is pitching in and we should be able to get fabric and rods for all the windows and a new comforter for my bed. How wonderful is that? April told me on the phone last night (after making fun of me for having a sack of potatoes on the kitchen table!) that as much as she loves me, SHE wouldn't do that for me, so it is especially thoughtful and sweet. She is also going to help me find some decent used furniture, stuff like that. I did sign up for FreeCycle as well, and with hope I will find just what I am looking for at just the right time.

So that is where things are right now, moving forward. I feel a huge wight off my shoulders about the housing issue, on a lot of different levels, and what I have loved the most is that last night, all of the kids were so excited and HAPPY that it was the best, most fun-filled night we have in awhile. Every time I would try to ignore them I mean try to READ, one of them would pop up with,"Mom. Guess what? We're moving!" or "Mom. I get my own room." And by time I finally got them to be quiet and go to bed, we were all laughing like maniacs. I got to talk to April on the phone last night as well, and that was lovely as always. All in all, I am feeling better about things in general. It isn't, as usual, as if anything outward has CHANGED so much; I mean, there is still a lot of shit going on, and that isn't going to go away for awhile-but this one big thing, this one really GREAT thing, has happened, and I am at least to the point where I can genuinely be happy about it instead of letting the rest of it drag me down.

On that note, I have some decorating websites to look at, so if you will excuse me.....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A House! A House! We Got A House!

It is a good thing I took the extra time to do something with my hair today. I mean, it is getting kind of long, and I got a gift certificate for Christmas for a cut and style, but I don't know what I want to do with it. So I have been trying all of these different things-pulling it back in a ponytail with a sideways part (it looked really nice like that when my sister got married, by the way, I had on bright red lipstick and a retro-looking dress; I looked very glam), using a clip, straightening it, using my diffuser to make it curlier...and the other day when I straightened it, the bangs wouldn't cooperate so I just pulled them back. I looked in the mirror and thought, "Oh, God, crack whore." Only not skinny. And with all my teeth. Anyway....

Today, my new landlord came in to the office to go over my lease, which is why I was glad my hair looked nice. I mean, nothing says "Hey, Rent to Me!" like the Crack Whore Look, but still. See, we looked at the house last night (keep in mind that this is NOT the same owner who thought I was going to let Owen shit everywhere; this is a different one, different house AND owner), and I called him to let him know we would take it. I was feeling under the slightest bit of pressure, as there were other people there looking at it as well, so I thought I better call and let him know that we were interested, even if we weren't 100% sure. So he came by the office to go over the lease and fill out the paperwork for the Idaho Housing Authority (which I very promptly faxed in), and I was glad that he could see me in my "professional mode." He didn't know a couple of the salient details about the construction year and such of the house, so I put on my "Insurance Agent Extraordinaire" voice (can also be confused at times with those 1-976 numbers) and called the Assessor's office for him...very cool. It is one thing to KNOW I have four kids and two dogs, it would be another thing entirely for him to meet me at my house and witness the chaos firsthand. I have the Crack Whore Look, and the Professional Look, but there is also the Slatternly Housewife Look; bandanna and curlers in my hair, a polka-dotted housecoat, with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. No, I am glad he came here instead. We went over the stuff, I paid my deposit, he gave me the keys. That was it. He still has to have the house inspected, and I have to be there for that as well, at which point everything is Official and Final, but for all intents and purposes, the house is mine.

I will say that I don't LOVE the house, but I don't HATE it, either. Actually, I love the upstairs; two bedrooms up, a small living room, all with hardwood floors and windows that are perfectly situated for maximum light. In the room that will be mine, the sun will shine in and wake me up in the summer, which makes me very, very happy. The bathroom is small, but then so is the one we have now, and this one is nice. The kitchen is small (do you see a pattern here?), but with new linoleum and counter tops, and again, LOTS of light. I can have houseplants again!

The downstairs is more, "Meh." It is a basement with concrete floors, with two finished bedrooms also with concrete floors. Both bedrooms are painted some hideous dark blue color (but the landlord said he would take the $$ for paint off my share of the rent is we wanted to change it), but they DO have two high windows in each. Also, the rest of the basement is open, with those high windows, so it isn't like a dungeon or anything. My thought was that the upstairs-due to the size-would be the TV Free Zone; I could make it cozy and quiet with bookshelves and chairs and reading lamps, and then the downstairs could be the TV/game/play room. I think it will be fine with some throw or area rugs and a divider between the laundry area and the main room, even homey.

So. All the paperwork is complete, I am just waiting for the inspection to be scheduled and final approval made. This house has apparently been on the IHA program before, so the Landlord is familiar with the process and felt confident in going ahead and taking the deposit and giving me the keys. Keys, guys. Keys to the really nice, solid, NEW door with double-paned safety glass. Keys to the shiny, sturdy new deadbolt. Keys.

So there you are; there is some damn fine news, and while I try to not get TOO excited in case things go tits-up, this feels good to me. Thanks for all your good vibes and Karma and prayers or whatever. I am sure you will all get sick of hearing about this, but again, damn.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On Being a Grown Up

I hate being a grown-up sometimes. Or rather, I like being one, I just hate FEELING like one. I had to order new tires yesterday (or rather, Steve ordered them because he can get them at cost AND put them on for me) and the total was very nearly $700. I about had a heart attack, really. The last time I had to get new tires was when Eli was a baby, and I was given them as a birthday present. Don't get me wrong, I haven't been driving the same car on bald tires all this time, I just haven't owned a car long enough to have to get new tires in that long. Which is the subject of another post for another time. The rational, ADULT part of me is all, "Well, they are going to last probably four years, I DO drive kids around a lot and don't want to take the chance, it does snow and get icy so I really should have good tires, I should just be grateful I have the funds with which to do this...." and the other part of me is all like, "Dude, what the fuck? $700 for TIRES? You have GOT to be kidding me!" Whatever; they have been ordered, and with luck Steve will put them on for me on Saturday. He might be a real dick sometimes and get all "This is confusing!" but he does take good care of the car. (see, that comment right there was an indication of me being more gentle and compassionate. Note that, would you?)


Why, oh why, does this happen every time? I am going to Costco this weekend; this trip has been planned for two weeks (it isn't in the same town so I have to wait until I need a lot of things in order to justify the expense of driving to said town, 45 miles away). I have an ongoing list on the fridge, and three days before I go, I run out of both diapers AND coffee beans. Neither of which we can go without. So tonight, I have to go to the store and spend $10.99 (with coupon, I might add) for a small package of diapers and about $5.00 for enough coffee beans to get me through until Saturday. That isn't because I use SO many beans (though I do use a lot), it is because they are $11.00 a pound here. $11.34 for THREE pounds at Costco. Anyway, I try to plan it so that we don't run out of these things and have to buy them elsewhere, because the price is so high for some items, but last month and this month both, we ran out before the slated trip. Maybe it is time to get totally serious about potty training Owen, because damn. And believe me, if it ever gets to the point in this economy where I have to choose between diapers and coffee, the poor boy will be thrust into his undies without further ado. Just sayin'.


I have been searching diligently for a four bedroom house, as the deadline in is 6 weeks and I have still not found one. There was one in the paper about 10 days ago, and I called on it-perfect location, as it is just a block from where we currently live. Newly remodeled, 4 bed/2 bath and an office, just really, really nice. We would have had to get rid of the dogs, but okay, we can deal. Then I get to talking in depth to this guy, and I changed my mind in a hurry. "Are you married?" No, of course, and his tone of voice immediately became cooler. No biggie, really, I have lived here awhile I know that it isn't the "done" thing to be a single and not looking mom. He made a couple of comments about his previous renters not being very "reverent," which is a very, very Mormon thing to say, so I knew that his judgement was clouded by that. Again, no biggie. The two things that got to me enough that I mentally said "fuck it" were that he was very, very condescending when asking, "So since you are going to getting this subsidy, I am assuming you will be able to afford the rent?" and then when he asked if all my kids were potty trained. "So your kids are all toilet-trainer, right?" and honestly, I laughed; it was just such an odd question, and I kind of thought he was joking. "Well, obviously my older three are, but the 2 year old isn't." He did not think I was amusing, and said very stiffly, "I would have a problem with an untrained child in the house." Like what, I am going to let Owen just shit all over the floor at will? Anyway, I was very polite and kind, and did go look at the house-it is beautiful, but not worth the potential hassles with Mr. Reverent.

There is another 4 bedroom that I am going to call on today, but it is in another town. A close one, I wouldn't need to find a new job or anything, but there are issues involved in moving to a different town, even one only 8 miles away. I have blogged about those issued before, so I won't get into it right now, but regardless, I am still going to call on it. If this one isn't "The One," we are going to have to start seriously considering a three bedroom one. Not ideal, but certainly better than we have a the moment.


I heard three Valentine's Day commercials on the radio yesterday. What the fuck is up with that? This is why I love my Sirius (and I am having issues with my receiver and am without it for a day or so), because I hate commercials so badly. Talk about a huge amount of hype for one day; Christmas is bad enough, but at least then the advertising is geared toward the majority. I think I will come up with a new ad campaign for those of who don't have partners. Something along the lines of, "Don't feel about about not getting a diamond this year; he is already cheating on her and the marriage will last 6 months, and he will be paying on the ring she throws in the rover in a fit of rage for years to come!" Maybe something a little more catchy, but you get the idea.

I got nothing else today; seems to be a little bit lame-o to be writing anything so mundane after yesterdays historic event, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes, We Did-But Don't Stop Now!

Like most everyone in our country today, I watched Barack Hussein Obama give his Inauguration Speech, the crowd a wonderfully compelling mixture of different race and economic status and every possible difference we use to keep ourselves apart from one another. There were a million people huddled together in the cold to watch our 44th President take office. While I was not there physically, I sat here at my computer and cried as he made his speech, feeling part of something far, far greater than myself. I helped make this happen; I helped in some small way to get this man where he is today, and that is a huge feeling of accomplishment. We should all feel proud, on so many different levels.

I don't pretend to be any kind of a political expert, nor do I pretend to have all of the answers. While I hate to say that this election was all about race, I can't deny my own shame when President Obama talked about how less than 60 years ago his father could not be seated in a restaurant. I was not there, but perhaps my relatives were, fighting a war against race that I simply cannot even begin to understand. So to say that race has not been a factor would be to turn a blind eye to how far we as a nation have come, and I don't want to do that, either. The odds were stacked against Obama from Day One, because of his race, his name, his relative obscurity, and yet there he was today in front of our nation, accepting it's highest office. What an amazing blessing to be part of this, to be part of the beginning of something so huge. Regardless of political party affiliations, this is a moment in time where we should all simply stop and revel in how great a nation we truly are.

Obama's call to service touched me deeply, and I will tell you this: I will be one of those who work until my hands are raw in support of this man. I will strive harder to better teach my children about service-not service to the government, or even this man in particular, but service to fellow Americans. To their neighbors, to their friends. I will set a better example of what it means to be part of the human race, not just in our country but in every country in this world. I will soften my heart toward others, I will be more generous and understanding, yet underneath I will keep handy this steel cord that has kept me going for so long; I have needed it in the past, and God help me, I will need it again. We will all need it in the days to come, of that I am sure, and what I will do instead of using it to keep my own spine straight and my eyes looking ahead, but I will temper it until it is fluid enough to be spread amongst my friends, my fellow Americans.

We live in such a blessed world, and I for one am going to work harder than ever before to stop forgetting that. I am going to make an attempt every day to foster this feeling of unity, even if the best I can do at some point in time is smile at a stranger. I am going to stop selling myself short, because in doing so I sell you short, too. We are all part of this, whether we want to be or not, and I would ask you to simply look in your hearts and give this man a chance. If you can't do that, give me a chance; give every single mother you know a chance to tell her kids, "This could be you." Give every struggling, working0two0jobs-and-still-not-making-it man a chance. Give yourselves a chance to learn and grow right along with the rest of the country. While Obama is certainly not the Messiah, he is, I think, our greatest chance to become a nation we are once again proud of.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Monday

My first post for the Rocky Mountain Moms Blog is up; you can check it out here if you are so inclined. And please leave a comment if you read it, because I have this terrible paranoia that if they don't think anyone is interested, they will boot me off as a contributor and I will feel horribly ashamed and embarrassed that I wasn't good enough. Oh. Did I say that out loud? Perhaps I still have one or two self-esteem issues to work on...

It is Monday now, another foggy day in which the trees and grass are white with the frost, looking beautiful in their bareness rather than simply stark. When I was younger, I used to hate to fog; it scared me by muffling and disguising the world with which I was familiar. Now, as an adult, I love it; the way it blurs everything and makes it seem softer than it truly is, the way the lights of the houses shine out like beacons, is a comfort to me.

We had a pleasant weekend, albeit a quiet one, which seems to be par for the course for us lately. I am still having a hard time shaking this cough and stuffy head, clear back from when I had bronchitis forever ago, so I walk around feeling tired and half-deaf from congestion. Therefore, the quiet hasn't been just nice, but necessary. I did go to AA on Friday and it was better than it has been, less uncomfortable, and for that I was grateful. Although some lines have been drawn with regards to the CF factor, it was as if the single mindedness of purpose was more evident, which made it much easier to be there. In the meantime, I have been immersing myself in AA literature and talking at length to a few close friends in the program, and all of that serves to keep me sober for another day.

I had to go get my taxes done on Saturday, which used to be really exciting (refund!) but has become instead just one more thing to be done. I still get a refund, of course, but there are always so many things to be taken care of that it doesn't have the same zip it used to. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that it is there; I will have enough that I will be okay until the rest of the garnishment is paid, which is just barely over $1000 now; THAT is huge, the ONE really big thing that has fucked with my finances for the last year. There are also mundane, not-fun things to be done like get new tires, go get my eyes checked (the last time I had an exam was before I got pregnant with Owen, so going on 4 years now...a necessity this year, as I am really beginning to have problems seeing things. I choose to think it is because my glasses are old, NOT that I am getting older! Just sayin.'), etc...However, what is good is that I will be able to get those things taken care of, so even though I won't get to go on a wild spending spree, I will be able to breathe a little easier, and that is a wonderful feeling.

There is one thing I AM going to splurge on, though: I have one free night's stay at a Best Western Hotel coming (I tell you, those reward programs actually do pay off eventually), and I am going to take that, and pay for one, and take a weekend off. For myself. Alone. No kids, no animals, no Steve (a given), just-ALONE. I am not going to go anywhere new or fancy or exciting, just the next town over (45 miles away), but I am going to browse through the used bookstores and drink coffee at my favorite little place and take long walks along the canyon and Every year I vow I am going to do this, and I never have yet. Last year I did go to Seattle, and that was wonderful and much needed and a huge blessing, but I wasn't alone, and I long to be. Some might say it is a foolish use of resources, and perhaps they would be right, but for me, right now, it feels necessary.

Nothing else much happened over the weekend; as I said, I am still not feeling well, so I slept a lot, read, did things around the house. The kids were all especially nice this weekend, too, maybe because the older two were either gone or had friends over the whole weekend so were less inclined to torment Sam, I don't know. Sam took Owen outside for a while on Saturday which was good for both of them, and then I took Sam grocery shopping with me. He craves attention SO much, and misbehaves to GET attention (SOME generalizations are true, I have found out), so I have been really trying to spend more time with him one-on-one. Grocery shopping seems like such a strange way to do it, but it works. He feels like he is getting to do something fun, he gets to feel like he is contributing (I ask his advice on certain things, or ask him to help me figure out which is cheaper, or which heads of garlic look the freshest), and he really is a big help. It is one of those small things that seems to make a really big difference.

And now, back to work. The town is quiet, with the banks and post office and city offices all closed for Martin Luther King Day. The private school is closed as well, but the public schools are open, as are we. People must be laboring under the assumption that our office is closed as well, because there have been very few phone calls today, and you know, that is just fine with me. Tomorrow will, I am sure, make up for today. I have phone calsl to make tomorrow to offices that are closed today, work that had to be done but can't be done today, and tomorrow I will spend a lot of time trying to catch up on things I should be doing today. No matter; it will all get done in time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Knowledge is Power-Even if it Sucks

I am feeling better today in that I am not so damned discouraged at the moment. For one thing, I was able to talk to S. from the prosecutor's office yesterday afternoon, and that helped. Not that it changed anything, but at least I know more what is going on. The reason they postponed the trial was because the defense wasn't ready (read: CF isn't yet ready to be assfucked by the general prison population), and the next available court opening was the one we got. For those of you who think living in a small town means a lower crime rate, think again. Also, the prosecutor is not backing down, but instead is going to use this time to try to make CF's prior conviction admissible in the trail itself as opposed to waiting for sentencing. S. was going to talk to the prosecutor about whether or not Hannah should be "allowed" to keep going to counseling, which is still fucked up in my mind, but at least she is aware and will, with hope, make the P. aware that Hannah is not, in fact, doing very well. None of us are, really, and I think it is important that he knows that.

Several of you had good suggestions yesterday for Hannah, and I want to tell you thank you. Hannah and I had already discussed her writing down all that she could remember, shortly after it happened, not so much so she would be clear on details (keep in mind that we initially thought it was going to be over far sooner than it is) but so she could have way to process everything. Writing for me is therapy in many ways, and my hope was that it would be for her as well. So we do have that, or rather she does, in her journal. Also, her initial interview was videotaped, and my guess is that she will have the opportunity to review that as well before she goes on the stand.

It isn't that anything has changed, and I don't feel anywhere near PEACEFUL and "okay" with everything exactly the way it is, but I do feel better, and that is no small thing. I do know that when I have the bad days, they will end and there are good days ahead, and that is also no small thing. It is a matter of time, always, before things DO change; maybe not in terms of the outside world or the things that happen, but inside, where it really matters. I am grateful to be able to see that, to be less sure that every dark, despairing day is going to last forever. Instead, it is more a matter of riding it out until it lessens.

There are also, as always, other things going on in my life which are wholly good. Like the fact that I got accepted as a contributor to the Rocky Mountain Moms Blog, which is just too coll for words. Now if I can just figure out what to write, we'll be in business. I also got my BlogHer ads up and running, and while it isn't going to make a dent so far as additional income goes, I still feel like one of the popular girls in school. Minus the blond hair and nice rack and cheerleader costume, that is. I have been writing, writing, writing, and hope to have my first article sent to the people whom I have coerced into being readers by next life moves forward, whether there are days when I really feel stuck.

I have to sound like a total Mommy blogger here for a second, too. Owen has been so, so delicious the last few days that had I unlimited income, I would beg Steve on my hands and knees to have sex with me just long enough to give me another baby. He is funny, and suddenly dressing himself (oddly, but still by himself), and saying all of these crazy things like "I tell mommy on you!" when he is angry, or better yet, running into the kitchen or laundry room, plopping down on the floor and crossing his arms saying, "I be MAD." And then he turns around and says the sweetest things in the world, like our morning/evening conversations at daycare. "You come pick up me? In you car? And go home?" Yes, of course, mommy will always come pick you up in her car and take you home. "Mommy! You pick me up! In you car! We go home!" Yes, Owen, and why do I pick you up? "You yuv me." So you see, even when I am in the depths of despair, I really have it quite good, don't I?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Still Waiting

Sigh....still waiting for that elusive grace....

And in the meantime, we got served new subpoenas last night and the trial date has been postponed until April 8-9. I don't know why yet, because it is only 8:30 here and the Prosecutor's office doesn't open until 9:00. I did leave a message but they don't return calls in a timely manner so I am not expecting any kind of an answer today.

This really messes things up. As afraid and upset as we have been about the upcoming trial, at least we knew it would be over for the most part at that time. It would be a bit of resolution, anyway, which is no small thing. Now, we have three more months of living like this, feeling sick and afraid and anxious, while CF gets to roam around free with not a care in the world. Three more months for the details to become less fresh in Hannah's mind, which improves their chances of getting him off. Three more months of living in some curious state of limbo, unable to ignore this huge, hulking thing hovering over us, yet having no choice but to keep moving forward as best as we can.

This also mean three more months of no help for Hannah, as the counselor will not get into any of the "real" work until after the trial. She and I already discussed this when we were there last week, which I posted about, but she really can't even talk to Hannah about "The Incident" because she can be accused of tainting Hannah's testimony. It fucking sucks ass hard that as a parent, I have to choose: I have to decide whether or not I am going to get Hannah the help she needs, which is obviously THE top priority, or whether I am going to make sure that son of a bitch gets what he deserves. I can see now why so many times these kinds of cases get dropped; it isn't due to lack of evidence, it is maybe because the parents get too tired of their kids hurting. When Hannah and I got our papers last night, she just went into her room and sobbed for a really long time; " I just want my life back," she said. "I am tired of being afraid!" Me too, baby, me too.

Oh. And get this. Remember how the preliminary hearing was on Hannah's birthday? The first day of the trial is on Eli's.

I am just too tired and discouraged today to get angry, to rail against how unjust this all is, to go off about how the criminals have more rights and freedoms than the victims do. It is there, but it once-removed, and I just can't get up the motivation to even give a fuck at this point, because like I said yesterday, it isn't going to change anything.

Of course, it doesn't help anything that there is all of this other personal shit going on at home, either. Suddenly not having a support person in Steve has made it worse, and there are things going on other people's lives as well, so I am just feeling very much alone in this right now. I went to the AA meeting on Monday but of course I can't TALK about this...and I really don't feel comfortable there right now anyway. Too many people know both CF and I, and I feel like I am walking on eggshells all of the time. Still, I make myself go, if only so that I have people who will hold me accountable for my actions, and honestly, so my recovery will at least be something CF can't take from me. I feel very lonely and isolated, which is not a good place for an alcoholic to be.

Seems like grace is taking a long time to show up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Waiting for Grace

I find it ironic that The Geekhiker left a comment on may last post asking when I sleep, or something to that effect. I did not sleep well at all last night, at first unable to get to sleep and then what sleep I had was broken up by strange, vivid dreams that I can't quite remember this morning. I don't know if the entire house was picking up on my restlessness or vice versa, but it did not seem like there was a time through the night when all of us were asleep at the same time. Sam was having a nightmare, crying loudly in his sleep; he did not wake up, but he woke Hannah up, who could not go back to sleep until the dogs stopped pacing, at which point Owen got up and decided it was time to play, which woke Eli up and made him went the night.

It has not been the best series of days, and I feel yet another depression coming on. I guess it is progress in that at least I can be aware that it is coming and take certain steps to batten down the hatches, so to speak, but there seems to be nothing I can do to STOP it from coming. I even know what is causing it, but I can't change that either. I cannot change the way that it keeps coming back to the fact that nothing really changes. There are the same problems with Steve where HE gets confused and therefore has decided that instead of trying to figure out why he is confused, he totally cuts off all meaningful contact. There are the same problems with money, the same problems with mothers pitting themselves against one another, the same problems in that we single mothers are being dragged through the press and the cause of all crime in the nation....and I am right back to where I was a few months ago wondering why I even keep trying to make a difference. Why I keep trying so hard to just love people, to be present, to try to love them where they are instead of where I want them to be.

One of the many books I have been reading is about this Universal Unitarian minister (not one of the books I was reading before, I am done with all but one of them and have begun a new batch), and I have to say that what they believe follows along pretty much what I believe, or vice versa. Which is comforting in that there is actually name for it other than "liberal tree hugging man hating lesbian bitch who is going to hell because she believes that gay marriage is okey-dokey and there is no reason why a woman shouldn't be able to have an abortion." For one thing, it sounds much nicer, and rolls off the tongue much more smoothly. Anyway, one of the main things that this particular minister believes is what I believe, that when we die, we just die. Maybe we are wrong and there is this wonderful afterlife full of partying at Jebus' feet, or maybe we are reincarnated, or maybe there really is a heaven and a hell and limbo and all of that. But for me, I just think we get buried and we rot in the ground. That's it. What that has to do with my depression is that I am 37 years old, and I am going to rot and the bugs are going to eat my eyes out and what will I have to show for it? Because nothing.fucking.changes.

*****I just realized something when I came in to fix a spelling error I noticed. I am not, in fact, 37, I am only 36. I am not sure if that makes me feel better because I am younger than I thought, or worse because I am clearly losing my mind. Whatever.*****

I don't know. I am just in a pissy mood, I don't know what direction I am supposed to take now, and I can't even see the next fucking step. I am not good at waiting, and I am tired of feeling like I have no SAY in what happens. Not in the sense of being a victim, I don't mean that-I have options, always, but I am just tired of feeling like it has to be so fucking HARD all of the time. So-that is where I am at again today. If I keep getting up in the mornings, keep showing up and doing the work, grace will arrive. It always does. But for now, I am just confused and sad and I don't even have the energy to be angry.

Friday, January 9, 2009

On a Lighter Note: A Meme

I got tagged by The Girl over at A Girl and Her Blog again to do another one of those 7 odd/random things memes, and I tell you, I am starting to get seriously concerned that some of you people really think I am quite odd, that I have enough little quirks and eccentricities to keep finding more. I might have to start digging really deep to find the ones I have been burying, and bring them out in all their glory. And if not, I think I have enough newer readers that they might now know some of the earlier ones so....without further ado....

1. I hate both Reese Witherspoon and Cameron Diaz SO much that unless every single person I know tells me a movie they are in is good, I won't watch a movie with either of them in it. I think I must be the only person in the world who thought that Cameron Diaz looked better as an ogre than she did a princess, too.

2. I brush my teeth in the shower every morning. For some reason, I feel odd if I brush them in the sink BEFORE I take a shower, but it bothers me to brush them in the sink before bed. Maybe I am odder than I thought.

3. There is nothing "anti-bacterial" in my home other than bleach (IS that anti-bacterial?), and I don't generally clean with bleach because it gives me a terrible headache. Therefore, if you have germ issues, my home would probably totally freak you out.

4. I bought a new vacuum about 6 months ago and I have never once used it. Now, that does NOT mean that my floor hasn't been vacuumed in that long (I have four kids and two dogs, it gets vacuumed every day at least once!), it just means that *I* have not actually vacuumed once. See, I liked my OLD vacuum. I liked it a lot. But it died, and I haven't been able to bring myself to use the new one. Even though it is EXACTLY the same as the old one, even down to the same color (oh my god, I AM crazy, aren't I?).

5. I love the smell of honey, and adore the Burt's Bees product line (all of it), but I really don't care for the TASTE of honey. I like two things: peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole grain bread, and honey on hot cornbread slathered with butter. That's it. It is one of those things that I always THINK I like, but don't.

6. I really do not like Danielle Steel. Not only are 90% of her books the SAME, I don't think she is even a very good WRITER. I like a romance every now and again, mindless entertainment and all, but if I am going to read a book like that, it won't be one that is so banal and boring that I am busy critiquing her grammar and usage of the word "And" to start a long, meaningless, fragmented run-on-sentence. On second thought, given this particular paragraph, I could maybe give her a run for her money.

7. I rarely have less than three books actively being read at any given time, all of which are usually totally different from one another. Currently on the table are The Green Mile by Stephen King, The Drama of the Gifted Child by someone whose name I can't remember, and Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experiences by Sharon Salzberg.

So there you are. I can't really think of anyone to tag at the moment, but if you would like to do it, please feel free. And thanks again to The Girl for tagging me; I needed something a little lighter than yesterday and this fit the bill perfectly.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In Which I Confess my Fears

Funny, not long after I posted yesterday, the woman from the Prosecutor's office called. It isn't the same woman I got mad at before (I think SHE is actually in the background begging this woman, S. to pleeeeeze call me so she doesn't have to deal with the over dramatic whiny bitch, but hey, it works for me!). Anyway-S. called to let me know what was going on. I was right in that the hearing on the 12th is one I don't attend (and actually, Jacquie was right); in fact, I CAN'T, as it is a closed hearing between just the attorneys and the judge to find out whether or not it is going to trial. So S. said that after that hearing, the prosecutor will call me and set up a time for us to go in and start going over what will happen at the trial. Apparently this pre-trial hearing is where the defense attorney starts to deal, and S. said that the prosecuting attorney at this point has no intention of agreeing to a lesser plea. Therefore, since CF has nothing to lose at this point, we can expect to go all the way to trial.

I don't know how I feel about this. Obviously we had hoped to avoid a trial, but at the same time apparently the prosecutor thinks he has a solid enough case to take it all the way. That should make me feel better, but it somehow doesn't. I was talking to a woman from AA on Monday, someone I thought was a friend/safe person to talk to, and she flatly refused to believe it. She stopped just shy of calling Hannah a liar, but that was the intimation, and I KNOW that there are people who will think that. There will be others who operate under the assumption that since he did not actually achieve penetration-with fingers or otherwise-that it isn't that big a deal; we have already been exposed to a little bit of that as well. The thought of people like that being on the jury makes me feel ill, it really does. Actually, the reality that ANYONE can take this lightly makes me ill, and then to imagine them on the jury-frightening.

I know that anything can happen in the next three weeks. I know that just because the prosecutor isn't willing to deal at this point doesn't mean he won't agree to a plea-bargain closer to trial. I know that there is much negotiating done that I am not aware of, and I also know that I can't have it both ways. I can't get any kind of justice for Hannah without being willing to go all the way to the bitter end, and I also can't say that I am opposed to negotiations and plea bargains if that means Hannah doesn't have to stand in front of him and testify. It is a shitty situation either way you look at it, really.

And I am scared. I am terrified for Hannah, of course,-you all know that. So putting that aside for just a minute, can I talk about the fact that I am scared on my own behalf? I WILL have to testify, and I am afraid that I will simply come across as just another stupid, vulnerable single mom who got duped. Worse, one who had an idea of what was going on or what might happen but chose to ignore it because he did so much for us. I am afraid of sitting up there in the little witness box and having the defense attorney-who is, in case I haven't mentioned before, very sleazy-try to take the faith and trust I had in this person and turn it into something really, really ugly. I am afraid that he will make it sound as if I should have been suspicious all along because WHY would someone do such nice things for someone all of the time if there wasn't some ulterior motive? Which implies of course that we are not worthy of people being nice to us and loving us for who we are, but because they want something from us. It also implies that I was if not a willing participant, I did nothing to stop it, which amounts to the same thing. These are things I fear becasue they are questions I have been asking MYSELF, so if I am questioning myself, what will the defense attorney do? I am just afraid all the way around, and if I, a relatively smart, strong, aware woman, am this afraid, can anyone even begin to imagine how Hannah must feel? In some ways, though, she is better off in that she is innocent; not just innocent of wrong-doing on ANY level, but also innocent in her ideas of what may or may not happen in court. She might very well get clobbered and shattered on the stand, but at that point there will be (I hope) a lot of people there to hold her up, whereas right now it might be better for her to remain a little bit naive. Not in the sense that we aren't going to prepare her as best as we CAN, but in the sense of not really grasping how awful it can get until she is in the midst. If this DOES go to trial, she needs to not be too scared to testify.

I am aware that part of my fear comes from a far deeper place than this; part of it comes from still, in many ways, my childhood, where I lived in fear all of the time. Fear and loathing of my abusers, yet willing to do anything to stay on their good side, even if that meant doing things I knew were wrong. Helplessness and lack of control not just over my own body but my mind and soul. It is this old fear and self-hatred and yes, shame, that keeps me awake at night, and makes me afraid to confront this man on any level. However: and this is a big "however," I also know, just like I am telling Hannah, is that the only way-the ONLY way-to get through this is to walk through the fear, have faith that it is going to be okay (whatever "okay" ultimately looks like for us), and we will get through. What is that schmaltzy saying, "courage is fear that has said it's prayers?" Well. Pray, then, for courage. For strength. For peace.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Snippets of Updates

My kids started back up to school yesterday after being home for eighteen days. Yes, eighteen, which seems utterly ridiculous to me. I mean, come on; mine have a hard time focusing after a three-day-weekend, so I can't imagine them slipping right back in to the routine. I, on the other hand, fairly leaped out of bed at 5:45 yesterday morning-despite having been able to sleep in an hour later over the long vacation-in order to get the kids up and in the shower and out the door. If I had been able to shove them out the door forcibly, I would have. Besides the fact that they go back to school all befuddled and lost (again), but believe me, after that much "together" time, they are really driving each other (read: ME) in.fucking.sane.

Sam was the only one of the three to actually be excited to go back. You see, he got his new glasses the day after Christmas and he is so thrilled to be able to finally SEE. He is a little bit worried about being made fun of, "four eyes" and all, but I truly do think that for him, being able to see clearly is so new to him that even if he IS teased, it isn't going to bother him much. It was funny, the other day his third best friend in the world came over to play, and as soon as he saw Sam he started laughing. Ok, that part isn't funny. What was funny was that Sam just cocked his eyebrow and said, "Um, dude, YOU wear glasses, too!" Maybe you had to be there, but it was hilarious.

Hannah had, finally, her first counseling session last night. With the holidays, and then the fact that the counselor had the audacity to go on vacation, made it so there was a long delay, but last night the woman W. said that for trial purposes, later is actually better. That way, the defense cannot accuse the therapist of tainting testimony or leading the witness. How fucked up is that, that we have all of these kids who are really hurting, yet we do have to think strategy? She was telling me that in some cases, the kids go without any kind of treatment for years, at which point they are irrevocably damaged. It is a terrible, terrible thing. She was also adamant about me using the words "sexually abused" as opposed to molested; she said that it diminishes the enormity if what happened. I hadn't thought about that, obviously, but it makes perfect sense. When talking about this with the few people here who know about it, I stumble over the words and attempt to downplay it, even if I am not aware that I am doing it. God save us all from the curse of feeling like things HAVE to appear better than they really are!

I obviously went in to talk to her for a few minutes before Hannah went in, and that was really good. It was amazingly easy to be completely frank with her, which is clearly a quality you WANT in a therapist, so I was relieved about that. I told her that because of my own history of extended childhood abuse, I was completely incapable of helping Hannah from this point on; "I got her here," I said, "and now she is in your hands." Probably predictably, I started crying-might be hard to believe, but it has only been in the last year that I have told ANYONE about even a fraction of the things that happened, so it was really difficult for me to do so in an unemotional manner. She was very, very kind, though, and said that I was going to be surprised at how much healing would be available to ME through this process, and also that she would be there to help me learn how to help Hannah. That seemed very comforting to me, and I felt a lot less in the dark and fumbling than I did prior to talking to her.

And Hannah really liked her, feeling the same sense of instant connection as I did. She slept better last night, and just seems a little calmer inside herself today. Not that it is over by any means-in SO many ways, the journey for her is just beginning-but in that now there is help available and she will learn how to be okay. I am glad for her; I am grateful to see a bit more peace in her eyes, grateful to not have heard her rustling around in her bed all night, tossing and turning and getting up and down. Yes, it is one night, but with luck and hard work, it will turn into two nights in a row, and maybe eventually she will sleep unbroken as a rule rather than an exception.

I haven't heard anything new in terms of court stuff; I know there is a preliminary hearing of some sort on the 12th, I believe it might be a status hearing but am waiting for a call back from the Prosecutor's office to find out for sure. If that is what it is, I don't believe it is one I am supposed to attend. The trial is set for the 28th of this month, which is a little scary in that it is three weeks away and we are totally in the dark. When I talk to the Prosecutor, I plan on asking him what exactly is going on behind the scenes, and why I have not been kept apprised of the different steps being taken. As it is, no one has even contacted us since the preliminary hearing, so I am feeling stonewalled and frustrated. I am trying heard to simply breathe, as my friend C. always tells me to do, and not call them up and pitch a fit. After all, it does no one any good for me to lose my temper, and in the long run just makes me feel like shit. So if I haven't heard anything by this afternoon, I will call and be as reasonable and kind and yet firm as I know how to be-and I will keep breathing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Recap of 2008

I have put off writing a New Year's post for several reasons. One is that I so don't do the whole resolution thing, and another is that I really haven't had much to SAY. Or maybe the quietness I have been feeling inside has translated to a distinctly quiet voice, or perhaps I have been taking a much-needed break from the whole online world lately, or hell, maybe I have just been feeling lazy. Whatever the case may be, I am back with a vengeance today, ready to get back into the blog as well as this next chapter of my life. I don't believe in fresh starts, but I DO believe in new beginnings, using lessons learned, and basically doing better today than I did yesterday-or last year, as the case may be.

So to recap the last year, for myself if not for you, I will sit back and remember how much things have changed in the last year with regards to Steve. On New Year's Day last year, he broke up with me, and then there was a period of time where I experienced a lot of heartbreak and pain and absolute fury. This year, on the same day, we were driving home from Boise with all of the kids after having spent the evening going to a wedding as a family. There are still issues in this "relationship," obviously, but for my own part I am coming to accept that even though it makes no sense to anyone else, even though it certainly doesn't follow what "tradition" says it should look like, it still has validity. Yes, I am still a single mom. Yes, I am in love with a man who drinks alcoholically. Yes, he does things that cause me pain and anger. Do those things negate the progress that has been made? No, I don't think so. Am I missing out on Something Wonderful by continuing to maintain what we have at the moment? I don't think so. So yes, this is a good thing. And it has to do with me making different decisions about my life and where I want it to go; it has to do with me taking back my own power and making conscious decisions-DAILY-about what is or isn't good for me. And I reserve the right to change my mind at any given time about those same things.

There has been a lessening of the bitterness in general, a softening in my heart somewhere. You see, I am a single mom because I choose to be. I could convince Steve to marry me if I really set my mind and my heart to it, I suppose-but that would mean taking on an active alcoholic embroiled in current legal issues, financial issues, emotional issues, and that is not a choice I am willing to make. I am also not willing to lose myself and my identity in order to get and keep any man, much less Steve. I could easily find someone and make myself over into the kind of person I think he wants me to be, but I have been there and found that the price is too high. So today I can look at my life and instead of feeling as if I am a victim of circumstance, instead of feeling like I am single because of thing done to me, I can be aware that I am making choices every single say to provide a better life for myself, for my kids, and right now, the better choice is to stay where I am and just be grateful. That isn't such a bad place to be.

Also in the last year, we have had the Crazy Stalker Guy, problems with Eli, and the ongoing situation with CF (court in 7 days!); I have also had to deal with crippling financial setbacks, and yet here I am in January breathing a sigh of relief. This is what I have learned: that we are stronger a family than I gave us credit for, and that I am FAR stronger a woman than I previously even imagined I could be. We have gone through the mill in more ways than one, and have been battered around a little bit more by life, but you know what? We are all still standing, maybe even a little bit straighter. I did not do this on my own, I know, and I won't claim to. But I will claim to have been kicked in the metaphorical balls and have gotten up, still wheezing and holding onto those vulnerable parts, still breathing. Again, not such a bad place to be.

I have learned how to cry unashamedly in the last year, as well as laugh like hell when it hurt too badly to cry one more tear. I have learned to heal old wounds in myself while mothering a vulnerable, shattered daughter, I have learned how to be the man of the house when confronted with an angry, looming teenaged boy. I have learned better how to follow through on consequences, and have learned when to praise instead of pick apart. I have become willing to let my life unfold as it will, and I have learned to live it and be as happy as I can, because this is the only one I have.

I face this new year with courage; courage to take off the shelf these dusty, unused dreams and put them to good use. Courage to dream again, to let die the ingrained belief that I simply do not deserve the world. I face the year now with the courage to love whom I love with no explanations or justifications, to buy pillows without needing permission, to simply be who I am. And the courage to rest at night know that it is enough.

Happy, happy new year to all of you. Thanks for coming along for the ride!