Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I want a Dad...

Yesterday, while driving home from day care, T says:
Mama, do we have a dad in our family? (Which he knows we don't because we've talked about this before...)
Me: No, we don't have a dad, but you have a donor-dad.
T: Well, I want a dad that lives with us. Can Uncle R be my dad then?
Me: He isn't really your dad, but you can pretend if you want. (Not, not, not the role model I'd pick out though!)
T: But how can we get a dad that lives with us?
Me: Well, I'll work on it T.
T: What about that man we see on the corner all the time (a homeless man with matted hair/beard, coated with 5-10 years of dirt and weather, thread-bare clothes, barely there duct taped shoes and seriously mentally ill)
Me: Um. No. That man is very sick and he doesn't like to talk to people. He wouldn't make a good dad.
T: We can just ask at the houses here (as he points out to the neighborhood we are driving through). We'll just ask if they have a mom and if they don't they can be my dad.

(It took me a while to figure out his point of view--if a man doesn't have a mom, then I can be the mom and then that man can be the dad in our little family).

Me: Everyone has a mom, T. When you are born, that's your mom that gave birth to you. You gotta ask if a man is single or married. Then, maybe he might want to be married to me and then he can be your dad. (Trying to keep it simple!)
T: Oh. (pensive moment) OK. I'll ask if they're single or married.

Yikes. Now, I've done it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Catching my breath

Wow, I feel like I'm still digging out from the piles of "stuff" that goes on while I was away on vacation. I didn't have access to a computer so I just let that pile up too. I haven't even seen any of the pictures. But don't have high hopes. My camera was acting up. I'll post when I get to it. I went to Kauai with my 13 year old niece M (my sister's youngest child). Kauai is SUCH a nice place! The first day was just traveling and getting our selves situated in the resort (Grand Hyatt is NICE in Poipu). The next day we went horseback riding for 3 hours and then had lunch and swam in a waterfall fed natural pond. It was SO cool! Then we found some good beaches for snorkeling. After that we drove down back the coast in our Red Mustang convertible car to our posh resort to have a nice dinner at a recommended restaurant. As we were ordering, I looked up to see M with tears in her eyes in obvious distress. Shocked, I asked, "What's wrong??" She said nothing and just shook her head. Finally said, "I miss my mom." I was floored and flabbergasted. I felt the day was near perfect and after the FIRST day she wants her MOM! What was I going to do with the next 5 days (some of which didn't have much penciled in besides just sight seeing and making it up as we go along)? I tried to reassure her and told her she could call her mom (since that damned cell phone was attached to her hand, it wouldn't be too hard to do!) and maybe feel better. After she ordered her dinner, ate about half of it, she asked to leave and go back to the room--again in tears (we were still on the resort). I let her go, but I felt like someone had socked me in the stomach and abandoned me. I know, I know. It's not all about me....but I was at a loss of how to fix this so that the rest of the week would go well. When I arrived back at our room she was still in tears talking to her mom on the phone. The next day, I called my sister and asked what was going on. We were both surprised she was homesick since she seemed so ready emotionally and excited about the trip. I didn't want to rock anything, so the next day we just hung out at the pool side and lounged around all day. At the end of the day we had a lovely massage at the resorts spa center. It was NICE, but EXPENSIVE!!! OMG. $200 each for a 50 minute massage??! I had sticker shock chest pangs at least once a day while on Kauai. I knew it was going to cost a bit and I was ready for that, but now that I was dealing with a girl that hardly spoke to me, slept in the car when possible and kept asking when we could go back to the hotel....I wasn't in the mood to splurge. I ended up canceling the helicopter ride...$400 I didn't want to part with. At the end of everyday, I spoke with T and he was so cool about my being gone. He stayed with my parents and told me all about his adventures day by day. But by the end of the week he said, "I'm tired of being here. Can we go home now?" He's made it clear that he wants to go to Hawaii next year with me. Hands down-I'm ready for that! I spent my entire birthday (pretty much) traveling back home. And no one gave me a birthday freebie. And I asked, more than a few times, with undaunted hope that someone would take pity or help me celebrate just a little. Not even a water--which cost a whopping $2 for 12 oz. Do I sound cheap and bitter? I'm not...not really. I think. Besides, birthdays at my age don't really count anymore. Never mind how old I really am...I lie so often I've sort of forgotten.
I got back really late and T was already asleep. I snuggled up next to him (we sleep in a Queen sized bed when at my parent's place) and in the morning he said, "Mama! You're home! Yay!!" And big hugs and kisses. Every day since he's said to me "I'm so happy you're home. I love you more than infinity." And his smile is SO cute with that missing front tooth. Man, I wished I could have taken him to Kauai with me. Would have been more fun...for me. But it would have changed the focus away from the activities we could have done with M. Actually, M's recollection was pretty nice. My experience and hers are WAY different. Good thing. I overheard her talk to her mom and friends and she went on and on about the boat ride, the dolphins, swimming with turtles, the hotel, the plane...etc. Excellent. I'm really glad she had a great time. That's what I was hoping for. But I kinda wanted to feel like she liked me too, and acted a little happy that it was ME that was there with her. Oh well. 13 years old. I can remember being in Europe at 13 and not interested AT ALL in anything except dreaming about what my sister and I were going to be for Halloween that year. I'm sure we frustrated my parents too.
Also, on July 1 my brother moved in with me, as you all know. It's not disastrous but not my own private happy home either. Now, I've got clutter and boxes and less space than I used to have to put it all in. I'm planning on a garage sale in a couple weeks. I needed to do it anyway...lots of baby stuff to sell, but now it's really necessary with all my brother's things around. My thought is that he can stay 6 months to a year and then move on. We are not really compatible, but I'm finding he's an excellent cook. So that's one positive. And he payed me the rent (3 weeks late, but at least I have it). He has been unemployed for over a year and I don't see him looking for work yet. Those unemployment checks don't go on forever, do they? So I've got to help him create a resume and get his butt out the door to find work. Any work. For goodness sakes. Plus the last couple of employees won't we giving him a letter of recommendation--left on bad terms. It's going to be tough, but still doable. I've got to hand down the law and make sure he knows what I'm thinking for expectations. Some of the things he's said make me believe he thinks this is a long term arrangement. NOT! Like I needed more to deal with. See why I feel like there's a big weight on my shoulders? And not the kind where if I did a few squats my bum would start to improve. And that's another thing....Plus, not much going on with Lots to sift through, no dates yet. And I'm not giving the time I should to write back some of the blokes who've written.
I hope you all are living happy uncomplicated lives. Let me know, so I can live vicariously.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another little milestone

It's been dangling in the middle of T's smile for more than a week. His right front tooth. It's all he has been doing...wiggling and touching and moving it backward and forward. Trying to freak me out with, "Look now Mama!" as he bends it at a 90 degree angle.

Then yesterday afternoon, I asked him if he wanted some help. He had seemed sort of irritated for the past two days and I just couldn't figure out why he was behaving so badly. Kinda like he was over-tired and couldn't tolerate much. A lot of whining. I'd given my offer of help before but he always said, "No thanks." But this time he said OK.

So I took a piece of dental floss and tied it around the tooth. I was pretty scared that it might be better attached than it appeared and when I yanked, it would cause a lot of pain and be a bloody mess---with tears and drama all over the place. We took a picture before the "procedure".....

Then we both wrapped our fingers around the string and yanked together. To both our delight, the tooth came out easily and there wasn't even a drop of blood. T said "Wow, it didn't hurt a bit!" Then, of course, more pictures of his brand new style of smile...

What a doll! I thought I couldn't love that smile any more than I did, but it just got waaaay cuter!

Immediately the cloud that he'd been carrying around disappeared and he was such a happy boy! Maybe that tooth was getting the best of him. And then, there was the tooth fairy's visit to look forward to! He's been really excited about collecting and having lots of money. (Good boy T!) He LOVES to add more in his Piggy Bank (a can with Winne the Pooh printed on it with a slot at the top). I almost thought it wouldn't be fun to use that bank since once it goes in, you can't see it any more. And there's no way to open it. You have to use a can opener to get it open and eventually see what you've collected. But he loves it.

The tooth fairy came just as he'd hoped and she was so impressed with the awesome way he's taken care of it that she gave him a paper dollar bill AND a GOLD COIN dollar with a picture of Hiawatha on it. Plus, his Oma gave him a dollar for his bravery in yanking the took out in the first place. He was very happy to stare at it for a while and it went, into the Pooh bank.

I'm sooo glad it came out before I left on my trip. It's bad enough to leave without him, but it I'd have missed that milestone, I would have had even more heart ache.

Tuesday, I leave for my week long adventure with my 13 year old niece to Kaua'i. It's gonna be a blast.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


T just loves having R around the house. He mimics him a lot. R says he has a head ache and wants to lay down for a while.....10 minutes later, T says with a sigh, "I have a ed-egg. I'm going to lay down." (Which lasts for about 3 minutes.) R opens a can of coke (just before dinner) and T wants a can too. Of course I told him no--we don't drink soda much and especially not before dinner. Now, T wants to sleep in as long as possible in the morning (he tries but just can't manage it), just like uncle R. I think it's cute, but because I know the influence my brother is and will have on T, I am wary of how my brother behaves and what it will teach T. Nothing good so far.
Which brings me to the sick feeling I've developed in my stomach.
I was very clear with my brother with my initial offering to stay at my home: No drinking or drugs. I know it was a big deal for him. After all, it's quite normal for him to drink beer daily--excessively on weekends, and smoke pot nearly if not every day. I don't drink alcohol but can understand the attraction to having some at social gatherings. But I DON'T condone smoking pot or use of any other recreational drugs. ESPECIALLY when it happens in my own home as I raise my 6 year old boy. And that's what happened.
I came home at the usual time, plunked down my things and looked for R. He loves to BBQ, so I figured he was fixing something for dinner. (He hasn't looked for a job at all since he moved in over a week ago, so I knew he was languishing around the house somewhere. I opened up the back door and there he was, caught in the act of inhaling. Deeply. I was speechless and just stared at him. I told him I was very clear with him on this point and it was unacceptable. T wasn't home--he was at Tae Kwon Do with my mom, thank goodness. I had such a sick feeling in my stomach. Now R was totally moved in and quite comfortable in his new digs and I'm living a nightmare in the making. After a bit, I found my voice and told him again of our agreement. I don't want to have to keep sneaking around to see if I can catch him in the act again--violating the rules. I told him that if he cannot abide by my wishes, he has to be honest with me, and he must find another place to live. I know he has very few choices. I'm pretty sure, had he had any choices, my home wouldn't have made the top 5 on that list. But here he is, due to a string of bad choices he's made. In my view, to get out of this hole he's dug for himself: job one is get off the pot, stop drinking and find a F***king job. That should help work on the self esteem--which obviously is suffering. Then lose some weight (he's about 60-70 lbs overweight), get a reliable car that you might be able to take a girl on a date with. And then find a date. Just DO SOMETHING. Sheesh. And while you're at it, GROW UP and get comfortable with the fact that you're a 40-something year old man, not a teenager anymore. I think the marijuana-bathed brain has not allowed him to realize what's happened to him in the last 25 years.
How do I get all this across to him without sounding like his mother? I wanted to keep our relationship on as even a level as possible, but he sure is making it hard. I'm the oldest in our family, so I tend to be the over achiever and a little on the bossy side. But I have a choice here. And I chose to live without anyone under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It's my house and my rules.
I wonder what's going to happen next.
What a mistake I made. I hope he proves me wrong.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A little snippy

I'm getting a little snippy over this situation with my brother having moved in. I live in a small house, with stuff I've collected over the last 14 or so was feeling just right for me and T. Actually just a little tight, but liveable. But with all this extra STUFF around plus all's just too much.
I thought I was dealing well with the changes...

Keeping our voices down in the morning so R can continue to sleep in
Shifting my things around to accomodate R's stuff
Working out who is going to pay for food, clean the house, make dinners
And generally getting used to someone else having a vote on what we watch on TV, etc. His taste is NOT mine--drag racing and deep sea fishing, not my cuppa tea.

But when he started shifting things around in his room and removing the torch lamp into my room (that I have no real need for or space for but lived happily in the corner of my former extra bedroom) and the Globe that sat on the dresser and the book shelf with all T's books and toys--that I said will be moved into the "Club House" in the backyard (once it's finished), it felt a little too much to deal with. Add to that the fact that I have not yet had any payment (it was due July 1st) and I feel like I've make too many concessions without any given on his part.
I later apologized for my snippy-ness and reminded him that this is a huge adjustment for me and he's just going to have to remember that when he thinks it's OK to initiate any changes in my house.
I hope I don't soon regret this decision to help him out.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cozy just got cozy-er

On July 1st my brother moved in with us. He had been renting a room from a friend of his with his on-again-off-again wife and their son, but it had been contentious with the wife and had gotten to the point where it was best he leave. It had been decided he'd leave last Christmas and originally he was going to move back in with our parents. But that was a bad idea from the start. Dad and my brother are so alike (and neither will admit that) that they do NOT get along. And then the Christmas blow out happened and that was that. The blow out between dad and my brother would have happened sooner or later, anyway. My brother (I'll call him R) tried to make things OK between his renter and wife, but it didn't last more than a few months and again he was looking for another room to rent. At Christmas, seeing the futility of the arrangement to go back home, I'd offered my extra room for him. The #1 rule, though, was NO drinking or drugs. He is a regular beer drinker and pot smoker---not acceptable in my house, and something he should give up if he has any hope of getting his health back and his life in order. And as a result of his depressing life situation, he's gained a LOT of weight. So dropping those bad habits will help him get back to a healthy state. At least that's MY plan!
So far, it's been pretty easy. He stays out of our way and is, by nature, a very neat and orderly person. But the STUFF he came with is more than I'd imagined. So many boxes of crap (in my opinion) for a guy that lives in one room. He admits it's more than he wants and has said he'll go through it and throw out what he doesn't want/need.
So now I've got a torn up back yard, a tarp down to keep the dust and dirt down with tons of boxes and junk stacked on top. Very attractive. And more than I can deal with. It makes me feel uneasy. I like organization and minimal clutter.
I have put out a message to a couple of friends with small boys to come over and help themselves to all the boxes of clothes and toys in my garage. I have to make room in there. My car is finding itself with less and less room around the perimeter of its usual parking spot.
T LOVES having R here. He likes having a guy around, I think. R hasn't really played with T yet, but R is a great fisherman and T will likely be going fishing with him. That would be nice. And T asked me if Uncle R could come and watch him at Tae Kwon Do so he could "pretend" to be his dad. I could think of quite a few others that would be better role models, but I didn't want to douse his dream. So I just kept it neutral with a "We'll see how things go....."
Now, I have to find the happy medium between being the older sister with lots of advice to hand down (and I've held my tongue on more than a few occasions--trying to remember he didn't ask for advice!) and being more business-like the renter/rentee interaction.
He hasn't payed his dues this month yet, and I asked him what day he'd like to make as "rent due". He said, "whatever you say." So I said, "OK, then the first of the month." And being the 6th today--I'm still wondering where the check is. I"m only charging $400. He used to pay $600/month. I wanted to charge enough to cover the extra expenses his living here will incur, but also make it easier to deal with the loss of privacy and space that I have to accept. I've been living alone for the past 14 years and it's a big adjustment for me. It's my intention to (secretly) put all his rent into a separate account, use the funds when needed but save the majority for him so that when he leaves he'll have a nest-egg to spend on his new place--or a newer car, whatever he'll need to get that leg-up I'm hoping he'll get while staying here. I will I have to be more bold but it's hard to ask for money when I know he has so little of it. (He's been unemployed for more than 1 year--getting unemployment money all this time.) Again, lots more advice I could hand down--and probably will sooner or later.
We'll see how this goes. I see it as a stepping stone to getting R to a place where he has more choices. My plan is that he stays here 6 months to a year and then moves on to his own place--not another room off some friend. For gosh sakes, a man of 42 years old ought to have some place of his own by then, doncha think?