Wednesday, January 28, 2009

you can have it all

I was not productive at work today... but I'm loving the semester break. This morning I snuck out to go and get my passport photo taken. It took the photographer about ten attempts to get a shot of me that met the stupid requirements. The whole thing took almost an hour and by the time I got back it was almost time for lunch. So after about an hour of nothingness, I went out to eat with a couple of girls from work. The afternoon was almost as productive. The good part was that I managed to get some work done on my course and get my participation in the online discussion all caught up.

After work I had a doctor's appointment and Little J was brave enough to actually stay home by herself for an hour while I went. This is something we've been working on with her, trying to rebuild her confidence that was so damaged by the scary things C used to tell her. I am pleased that she's getting more independent and self-assured. In some ways I wonder if parenting someone else's child is easier than parenting your own... because I can be excited for her when she takes steps away from me. Maybe if she was my baby I wouldn't want her to take those steps. Actually, I think I would though. Just that I'd miss her more each time she took another one. Which I do now. On second thought, maybe it's not so different after all.

Two more days until the weekend.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

I still feel bad about my engagement ring. Shawn picked another one for me. I thought he would try to find me the same one again, but instead he found something new and different. It's far too beautiful for a girl who wears jeans every day... but I love it nonetheless. Now we have to do paperwork for the insurance people so I can actually have the ring. Right now it's still just an idea.


The fact that the head of the English department at my school A) does not enjoy creative writing, and B) thinks that Nora Roberts is a good author, bothers me more than it should. I don't suppose these facts detract from her ability as an English teacher, but it just doesn't make sense. How can she teach To Kill A Mockingbird and King Lear, but choose on her own time to read High Noon? Shawn says I'm a literary snob which is hardly fair considering how many non-classic writers I love. But you can't take seriously the word of a man who reads "graphic novels" anyway.


There are three women who've supported me throughout the last seven months that Little J has been living here. One was a crack addict herself, who started out as a nurse, got arrested, lost her job, went to jail... and then started her life over again. Another is a recovering alcoholic who lost her husband to alcoholism and decided to get straight after alcohol killed him. The other is a mother of two boys who had to leave her meth addicted husband in spite of loving him to keep her children safe. These three women have been a backbone for me when I've felt like a puddle of insecurity over what's going on. They've taught me to think before reacting, to trust my instincts even ahead of my lawyer, and to indulge in self care. I know I will always be grateful to them for dragging me along this path.


My paper is due on Saturday and I've got three more days to write. I don't want to spend any more time writing but I feel sure there are still aspects of it that need fixing. (Why do they teach us to use MLA formatting in high school and undergraduate school, but then switch to APA in grad school?)


Monday, January 26, 2009

conversations with my neighbour's pit bull

I'm going to Arizona for spring break!


Today I have a cold. My eyes are so red and watery I think I looked all day like I'd just smoked an eighth in the parking lot. Except no smile to go with the eyes.


Today Little J asked me if I loved her more now or more when she first arrived here in the summer. I asked her what she meant. She said that she figured I might love her less now that she's more comfortable here because as her comfort increases, so does her inclination toward mouthiness. I told her I love her more every day.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

awake and dreaming

Yawn. I was working on my paper until nearly 10:30 tonight. A riotous way to spend a Saturday night, I know. The school is literally ten minutes from home, though, which makes it easier to hang out there and get work done in the library. When I try to accomplish anything at home, I have a hard time.


to compensate for his ordinary shoes

Last week I did something extraordinarily stupid.

I made dinner (that's not the stupid part) which involved cutting vegetables over the sink. When dinner was made, I turned on the garburator to get rid of the vegetable peelings and stems, and heard a horrible grinding sound. Instead of reacting quickly, I sort of sauntered over to the garburator and had a peek inside. I couldn't see anything so I let it keep going, thinking the noise might resolve itself. It did not, so I turned it off and waited for Shawn to come home from work so he could look at it.

Later that evening, I realized my engagement ring was gone.


So today we went out to look at engagement rings. I feel stupid about replacing an engagement ring in the first place, already being married and whatnot, but it's also a real waste to pay homeowner's insurance for things like that and then not make a claim when you lose (or destroy) something expensive.

So we looked at rings. The annoying thing is that we haven't been able to find a ring that is worth the same as the first one was. There are a lot of rings that are worth less, and a lot of rings worth more, but there seems to be a big gap in the price range we're looking for. Shawn is of the opinion that we should go ahead and get a more expensive one, letting the insurance company pay the portion up to the value of the other ring, with us paying the difference.

I'm struggling with this because part of me is still just wanting back my old ring, exactly the same. It's not that I'm not a little greedy and can't appreciate the upgrade... but I'm just not sure.

Shawn picked out my first engagement ring the old-fashioned way, without me there. Maybe I should get him to pick the new one this way too. I feel weird choosing my own engagement ring for a wedding that happened more than six years ago.


Friday, January 23, 2009

As if real life isn't exciting enough

Last night I dreamed I was vacuuming.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

she makes the sign of the teaspoon

C has entered another treatment centre. This is round 5.

I used to dream of her recovery, of being a happy family in which I could support her efforts with Little J while she became self-actualized and put her demons to rest. Now her half-assed attempts at recovery make me nervous because I fear her ability to charm people into believing her in the short term. I fear her getting just sober enough to convince a judge to send her daughter back in for another round of abuse and neglect.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

birdwatching days

For the love of god.

Yesterday we took Little J to visit her mother. The supervisor drove them to a coffee shop where, Little J reported, her mother seemed out of it, was slurring, and had trouble keeping her eyes open.

Following this, they decided to go to the mall because Little J had a gift certificate left over from Christmas that she wanted to spend. When they arrived at the mall, they stepped out of the car and C began digging madly in her purse. Assuming she was looking for a cigarette, the supervisor told C that she and Little J would meet her inside the mall at the "Old Navy" which was just inside the main door.

So, off they went, supervisor and Little J, and began to shop. Little J tried on clothes while the supervisor watched the door for C to appear. Forty minutes later, Little J had found a couple of pairs of pajamas, paid for them and was ready to go. And C still hadn't turned up.

The went outside and looked for her by the doors. She wasn't there.

They went to the car. She wasn't there.

They drove around the parking lot and she was nowhere to be found.

Idiot was so stoned she'd wandered off somewhere and gotten lost.

Finally, with time pressing in on them, the supervisor had to leave C lost somewhere in the parking lot and bring Little J back to the meeting spot for us to pick her up. The supervisor called C's boyfriend to tell him what had happened and he went off to try and find her.

Apparently he was successful because when Little J called the house a couple of hours later to check, her mother was there. He put her on the phone but she was so overdosed she was making absolutely no sense, slurring and mumbling and saying things that were completely nonsensical.

Little J: What happened to you?

C: I wasshhh........ couldn't.........I some can see... what did you do about... looked on the.... awwssshhhhhssss....

Little J: WHAT??

C: I can try to find the... aaahwahassss... on the computer it was so ....... feel about that...aawssshhhhhhh...

Little J: Mum, what are you talking about??

C: mmmhh...... can........gggurrrr.....

Little J: I'm hanging up now. Bye.

It was sickening. After the phone call I expected Little J to be upset and went to her, prepared to comfort her. I asked if she was okay. She said very nonchalantly that she was fine. I said, "Are you sure?" She said, "Oh yeah, she used to do that at home all the time. That's normal."



Saturday, January 17, 2009

part of something

Something that makes me laugh is when the puppies start howling for no reason. I guess one of them thinks there's a reason, so he starts the noise, but then the others just chime in because they feel compelled to participate just to be good friends and not because they actually know what they're howling about.

The funniest thing is that Little Puppy, who has special privileges, is often in another room entirely when the howling starts and she will chime in too, even though she can't even have the slightest clue what the cacophony is about. She knows it's bad too. She howls with her pointy little nose in the air and watches me out of the corner of her eye while she does, waiting to see if I'm going to tell her to stop.

Sometimes I do. But mostly it's so funny that I don't.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

where will they stop

Tonight a woman from work called me for technical help with registering for our online booking system for substitute teachers.

Shawn (looking skeptical): In the land of the blind, the one-eyed woman is Queen.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

video game King and Princess

J: I don't have enough money.

S: You have to start with muggings.

J: I was about to buy a crowbar last night when you made me go to bed.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

pacific underwater

A few days without answering the phone does wonders. Shawn has been taking the calls and acting as the messenger for a few days now and it takes enormous pressure off. I'm so lucky he's willing to step in when needed. I wouldn't blame him if he didn't want to.

I have felt my mental health recharging like health recharges in Shawn's video games. Each hour that passes peacefully restores another health point. I feel better now. Not well enough to start answering the phone again, but well enough not to wonder what it feels like to smoke crack.

Okay that's an exaggeration. But that's the idea. Well enough not to be stupid. Well enough to do my homework and to laugh and to think about other things.


And so, in that vein, this post isn't about The Drama.

It's about tiles. We went to a tiling course at Home Depot this afternoon so we could learn about what is entailed in tiling a room. We've been considering doing our own tiling in the kitchen instead of hiring something. It's SO expensive to hire someone. And I actually LIKE doing those kinds of things myself anyway. Seriously.

We haven't decided if we're brave enough to do it ourselves for sure. But we're thinking about it.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Quack quack quack

C is now accusing us of alienation. She claims she has a lawyer who assures her that we are in the wrong. Apparently he can make sure custody is returned to her and/or that more visitation will take place (even though her daughter says she doesn't want it). She also says she is going to stop her daughter from going to visit her grandparents over spring break even though she previously agreed (and signed a court order) that this would take place. I think it's all nonsense. I don't really believe she can do these things.

So, considering that I disbelieve her, I'm unsure why it is that I let it bother me in the least. But it does. It makes me angry and it makes me sick. I told her that from now on I was not going to pick up the phone when she called and that IF her daughter wants to talk to her, she will call her. I can't stand talking to her anymore. I really can't. She's the most venomous toxic person I have ever known and I need to have nothing to do with her unless it is absolutely necessary. I simply refuse to have my own mental health compromised by this person.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

crime scene do not cross

Little J told us that C used to hold séances in which she tried to summon spirits and demons to kill my parents. She did this in front of Little J and had her write down notes and transcribes letters she composed to the spirits. The laughable part is that she apparently was particularly fond of imploring for help from the spirit of "Sweeny Todd"; apparently she missed the fact that the story was a work of fiction. What it is that my parents did to deserve C's attempts at black magic is a mystery. Perhaps it was that they gave her money every month to help support her daughter? Or maybe that they took her shopping so she would have clothes to wear and groceries to eat? Maybe, and more likely, it was that they dared to have an upper limit on what they were willing to give.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

dogma eats dogma

Today we finished painting the family room, the second coat it's been needing for several weeks since we finally did the first one. It's amazing how much of a difference paint can make.


Tomorrow we have to interview a woman to facilitate the supervised visitation between Little J and her mother and I'm not looking forward to that, particularly. Something about it makes me feel icky. I don't like the idea of the supervised visits... and I don't like the fact that they're so very necessary. Little J, tonight, didn't even want to speak to her mother when she called and made an excuse to get off the phone immediately. Their relationship is in trouble and I don't know if I should even care. In some ways I feel compelled to try and help them resuscitate their bond... and in other ways I think it would be healthiest for Little J to let it go. I'm past the point of caring what's best for C anymore. She has chosen drugs over all of us.

A funny thing I've noticed since our family drama began is that people always assume that C is going to come out of her drug-induced irrationality and turn around completely. They all say things about how we just have to support and love her through it, how she'll undoubtedly come around in time and realise all we've done to help her by supporting her daughter, taking in her pets, and taking on her primary responsibilities. They all nod sagely and assure us that time will change things.

They don't know her.

They don't know addiction.

They don't know anything.

These are people who watch Intervention too often or maybe Dr. Phil and have unrealistic ideas about what this kind of situation looks like. The chances of recovery are honestly very slim. And even if recovery is embarked upon, the chances of relapse are enormous. The likelihood that C is going to come to understand and appreciate what we've done is very slight. The chance that she'll ever be a mother to Little J again are almost nil.

The reality is that we're most likely in this for the long haul. No amount of birth control could have prevented us from having this child.

The good thing is that she's worth it.