Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings to all!

Hey everyone, this brokenhearted mom visited my blog today - please take a moment to "welcome" her to our blogging community and show some support!! We all know how much it can mean!

(hoping the linkie works!)

To those who celebrate it, a blessed and Merry Christmas to you!!! To those who do not, Happy Holidays!! I wish each and every one of you dear people many moments of peace, and joy, and a sense of realization of our many blessings, over the next few days. Thanks for sharing your lives with me!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Wait

Court websites show my daughter and the boyfriend each pled "not guilty" yesterday. It's a process I do not understand, but apparently they are given an offer (example: 2 years digging ditches) in exchange for a guilty plea, and avoidance of a trial. They don't like the offer? They plead "not guilty" and everyone goes back to their respective corners to hang around and think a bit. I'm sure it's more involved and serious than that, but I don't understand it, and it makes no sense that they can plead not guilty considering their condition when brought in for violating probation. Wouldn't a simple drug test have solved that beyond the shadow of a doubt?

Normally it's a bit of time before they meet in the center of the ring again. Then they get a slightly better offer and the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty again. Last night, the website showed she would be in court again on 12-31, he would be there again 12-23. They call it pre-trial, but it translates to "next better offer opportunity".

This morning, for some inexplicable reason, the web site shows they are both in superior court, different court rooms. I guess "next better offer" came sooner than they thought.

The last I heard from her was Sunday night, in which she told me if going to prison meant a shorter time away, she was going to prison. She has no idea what prison is really like. She thinks it has carpeted two person cells, classes to take, television and an exercise area. She has no idea that short-term inmates never get out of the A-yard, a pit that is filthy, crowded, and where if you don't know the rules and how to survive, you can easily miss getting fed for several days, you can get hurt badly, and you can't make calls, have money posted to your books etc, for up to eight weeks.

She also mentioned several times that "they were so close to having everything they wanted, a life together, etc" and that "she should just be dead, and she wished she was dead, it would be easier on everyone." I have no idea if the death wishes are genuine or attention-seeking.

I tried to remain calm on the phone. I only really got emotional once, when I told her I really didn't want to lose her. Other than that, I tried to encourage her to marshall all the stubbornness and drive and determination I know she has, that we've seen in her all her life, that made us nick-name her Spunky, and use it to get to the life she wanted.

I told her finally, "until you want sobriety even more than I as your mother want it for you, and until you want sobriety for yourself MORE than you want Boyfriend in your life..... it's probably not going to work." I tried to explain to her again, that until they are each WHOLE persons, healthy and able to stand on their own two feet, they don't stand a chance at succeeding together.

Until she is sober and wants a sober, healthy, honorable life more than she wants to be with anyone ELSE, she's not ready to be with any one else.

I told her I adore her boyfriend. I think they have something special. But I think they went for it all too soon, before they were strong enough to be together. She seemed to understand what I was trying to convey.

I only said those things AFTER she asked for my opinion, and I told her that ultimately, it's ALL UP TO HER. My opinion doesn't mean anything. It's her opinion, her goals, her desires for her own life that matter.

All I can do is wait, pray and love her from out here.

The next visiting day is Christmas. My husband is flatly refusing to go, ever, as usual, even if she's going to be transferred to a prison and even though he only works part-time and has more free time than anyone in this house. My oldest daughter has said she will visit "some" but she doesn't have it in her to go every week this time. I understand that from her, as she has school, a nanny job, and enough homework to choke a horse... I'm not going to concern myself with his decision, just my own. I think I will go, but likely not every week. I'm working way more than full time and I'm tired. Going Christmas day will kill me. Staying at home will kill me too.

I am so tired. I'm so grateful she's alive. But I am having a hard time digging up my "hope" today.

"One day at a time", is best done "an hour at a time" today. I am setting a timer and focusing on work for an hour and then taking a few minutes break to take out dogs, watch them cavort in the backyard, cry, stomp my foot, and then it's back to the timer for another hour of work! Works for me! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

That was fast....

“The sword of justice is swift and sharp….”

That’s a phrase that came to mind just now as I hung up from the collect call from my daughter.

Yep. They got both of them, at Boyfriend’s place.

Both probation officers, hers and his (who are friends and well acquainted with each of the cases) apparently showed up and arrested my daughter and her boyfriend for two violations: being together and under the influence. (She had lost the right to be with her boyfriend when they tested dirty at Thanksgiving, and they were back to only being able to see each other at meetings, which they were not obeying.)

Seems she missed her appointment with her officer this past Tuesday. Seems the officer found out she was not at the sober home.

Seems like she gets a nice chance to be safe, and do some thinking. From what she said, she will be in court Friday or Monday and she’ll find out then what is going to happen to her as far as additional jail time, discharge to a program, whatever.

I’m soooooo grateful.

Edited after subsequent phone call from her probation officer: I received a call and was told that she had been arrested. Further, her officer shared that "the narcotics agents who brought them in said it was very very bad." These were seasoned officers and they told her probation officer that they did not think the two of them had another weekend in them. They were that close to killing themselves with the amounts/kinds of things that were found there at the scene.

This may have saved both their lives. I honestly hope they keep them a good long while so some lessons sink in. I am so grateful to these police officers and probation officers!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

She's not done....

DD1 and I went out shopping tonight, to one of our favorite places: Ikea. (I’ve always said Ikea stands for I Kan Even Afford it.) We were big spenders (not!). I got a bunch of pot holders for 50 cents apiece, and dish towels for 49 cents. I even splurged and got extras to give my “adopted” son and his significant other (who also is DD1’s BFF). We wandered around in the store for almost two hours.

It’s fun to dream about how we will furnish our “someday” houses, DD1 when she moves out on her own after finishing her second degree, and me when I get to that retirement home/farmette in the mountains. It helped to take our mind off DD2 for a few hours.

We left there and grabbed some huge steaming bowls of ramen noodles and various add-ons at a little Japanese place nearby. That put us within a few blocks of DD2’s sober home.

So DD1 and I stopped by to “give her a hug and say hi.” Or that was the excuse we used, anyway. To be honest, we were simply being nosy. I wanted to know if she was living there, and if she even remotely appeared to be okay.

She was not there. She hasn’t been there since the time the rent was paid for this week, last Friday night. The girls at the home said they think she is staying with the boyfriend. Apparently her stuff is safe there, and she can come back, but I think she has to test clean to do so. I’m not sure. There were more details than I could take in, really. The reality is, she’s “out there”, and she’s “not done.”

The girls at the house voiced so much concern. It was really kind of sweet. They said they miss her and love her and wish she’d come back. They said they were “sorry I had to find out like this.” I assured them I was 98% sure what was going on, days ago. I could “hear it” in her voice.

One of the girls cried and that made me sad too. She said she has a hard time seeing the pain that other moms go through because it shows her what she did to her mom. I tried to encourage her, and actually all of them – and I reminded them I pray for everyone in the house every single day… More hugs and I was out the door and gone. It was only five quick minutes, but it confirmed what we’ve feared for days.

It hit my DH really hard. I think he’d been hoping it was all a misunderstanding, that we were interpreting things incorrectly.

DD1, my oldest daughter, seems okay. Resigned, sad, but okay. She did ask at one point, almost in a ‘thinking out loud’ manner, “Are we going to have another sad Christmas this year, like last year?” I knew exactly what she meant.

Last year, we waited around all day for DD2 to show up. She kept calling and stating she was sick but would be there soon. I told her to just rest and we'd see her another time - I'm not stupid. I knew that "sick" meant "dopesick" and "being there soon" meant "being there after she got her next fix." By the time she did arrive at 6 pm, her dad had already gotten depressed and gone to bed (he got up briefly) and DD1 had gone to her best friend’s house to get away from it all.

DD2 showed up with a using buddy, opened her few presents (we had given her a few inexpensive shirts and some socks, that sort of thing.... we didn’t want to give her any sort of gift she could have sold for drugs), watched while her friend ate some left overs that I offered both of them, and then she hugged us, and left. She was so, so loaded. I was so upset and emotionally exhausted from the whole mess that I also went straight to bed after she left.

Nope, this year will not be like that!

The three of us have vowed that if DD2 is sober enough to chose to join us, she is welcome. She only needs to let us know that she'd like to join in.

But regardless, we three who remain in this house will go to the candlelight service at church that my husband loves so much. We will relax, watch movies, eat way too many snacks and enjoy each other’s company. We will open gifts on Christmas morning and enjoy seeing the delight each of us derives from both the giving and the receiving. In the afternoon, a big group of DD1’s friends are going to see the new movie Sherlock Holmes and then spend the evening together playing board games and hanging out, etc. When she leaves to go join her friends, DH and I will settle down for an afternoon and evening of relaxation. (He gave me a list of movies he was interested in adding to his collection, and I got several of them for him for Christmas, so we will have things to watch and we will enjoy the time.)

Will it be the Christmas I had hoped for? No. But we will make it the best one we can! And we will continue to pray for our daughter and to HOPE.

It's all we can do. We've tried everything else we could possibly do, in the last decade. This is all we have left. Love, prayer and hope.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cookie hints for any who are interested...

(Sidney asked how these are done...) The technique on the cookies which appear painted is a bit like what you will see here:

(not sure that I can get a link to work tonight....Sigh.)

Okay, in a nutshell, these are FUN. Bake your favorite cut-out sugar cookie in plain simple shapes like circle, star, bell, etc.

Make a batch of regular old generic royal icing, but, after it is properly made, dilute the batch with a tiny bit (teaspoon?) of water. Royal icing has to be able to hold a peak to be properly made, but then I dilute with that one teaspoon of water and it is a bit more runny.....

It flattens when laid on a cookie. It becomes a smooth, white base.

I get icing in colors from a craft store or Wilton store, etc, that are in squeeze tubes. (If you are really a glutton for punishment, dye a bit of the royal icing with strong food coloring, and put in a decorating bag with a tiny hole tip.... but I usually am lazy and buy the squeeze colors.)

(DD1 getting fancy!)

Ice ONE cookie, and only one cookie, at a time with the royal icing. (They get hard fast and you need it to be wet)

Click on picture - hopefully my drawings will give you an idea of what I'm talking about with the direction of the toothpicks!

Immediately pipe onto the cookie some colored lines or dots. For Example, for a round cookie, start with icing a small red circular line in the middle of the cookie, come out about 1/4-1/2 inch and place another circle, etc. Then take a clean toothpick, start in center and gently pull it through the icing to the edge of the cookie. WIPE IT OFF. Repeat in another location, like spokes on a wheel.

If you go out to the edge with one swipe and in to the center with the next, you get a more swirled look.

Pulling the toothpick through a dot creates a heart. Pulling the toothpick through a short straight line creates a pair of teardrops or leaves.

If you put a series of red dots on the white icing, in the shape of a candycane, and then take the toothpick and travel around the imaginary edge of the candycane, grazing the red dots all the way around - you get a gorgeous candycane that is swirled in the traditional way.

It's addictive, in a good way. We make these cookies every year, for the sheer fun of dragging the toothpicks through the colors and making new designs!

Stepping out of her way....

Just a quick update. She hasn't been to work yet this week. I don't know who paid rent last week. Not even sure if she's still living in the sober home.

We didn't call her all weekend. I finally called yesterday and I kept it superficial, just asking how she was, and whether she was over the "bug" she had last week. (She did not work Friday either, she said.) She says she is over the "bug" but later dropped a few bits of information that paint a less-than-optimal picture. She was in Boyfriend's car. He had not been to work either. She sounded tired, and teary.

My DH called her today. She was again, in car with Boyfriend, and they were on the way to her Probation appointment where, she informed her dad, she would test clean. Again, she sounded teary and it was obvious to him that something is wrong.

I'm going to focus on getting my work done, getting upstairs to my sewing room, and I'm going to remember to say a quick prayer each time I think of her, and then forcibly focus on something else. We've been down this road enough times to know it is useless to try to intervene and probably even delays her inevitable arrival at the consequences.

I cannot keep her alive. I cannot keep her sober. I cannot make her want sobriety for herself. And wanting it for herself is the only way she stands a chance of success at sobriety.

We're getting out of her way. We will not stand between her and whatever she must learn on this leg of her journey. It is between her, her probation officer, her sober home (if she is even living there), and God. We will, however, NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!!

And to close on a happier note, DH delivered all the cookies to my physician clients yesterday. Here are a few pictures that might make your mouth water!

The picture second from the bottom, is one of the two tables we had set up to pack plates up into bags DH would line up in the car to deliver. The bottom picture is one of the smaller sized plates we filled.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I knew it!

I knew it.

I knew we needed to say “no”. My husband said that you guys would reinforce that.

And you did.

Every single one of you who commented!

I’ve heard nothing since her dad told her “no”. That of course, remains a static buzz in my awareness….. just a gnawing sensation that all is not entirely well between me and my daughter.

But, I am going to walk in faith today that we’ve done the right thing. I’m not going to worry about tomorrow. Except that tomorrow, I’m going to do the same thing: walk in faith that we’ve done the right thing.

Basic “one day at a time” stuff. (and my arms are up!)

I plan to email her later in the week as usual, to see if she wants to catch the Lifelines meeting Friday night at The Crossing Church. Maybe she will respond.

And if not, I’m going to keep on walking.

This may not work out the way I would like for it to, but that's just how it goes sometimes! In the meantime, I’m going to set that example of healthy living and healthy boundaries that everyone suggests. You guys have the distance from my situation that allows you to see it clearly. So I take your input very seriously.

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement. I will keep praying for mine and yours.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Boundary enforcement sucks.

Since she relapsed, she has moved back to her previous sober home.

She had stayed out of work for a week (I’m not sure it was necessary for her to do that, but I will grant you, having seen him, that he was in no shape to work that week). They came by and I could not believe his appearance. He had a huge scab on his neck and several on the back of his hands. He looked tired. She looked perfectly normal to me, except for the tears.

He paid for this past week for her at the sober home, and she went back to work. I believe he is back to work also. He tested clean for his job, if that is the case. Otherwise, he’d have been fired by his dad. On the spot.

He has to move to a new place this weekend. He had been housesitting in a place his sponsor owned, until the short sale could take place. His time there is up and he’s looking for a sober home. Actually, they hope to talk their P.O.s into a couples sober home. The rent would be cheaper and they would like to be able to support each other in a sober environment.

More information about the relapse has surfaced. They made the mistake of having a drink. It was all down hill from there. Apparently, they were on a good one…. And it was a real mess.

An email from my daughter stated “we just built a lot of wreckage in ONE F&#KING NIGHT. So it sucks. We just cry alot. And its hard. He might have to do jail time - we don’t know yet. We are going to ask our POs if we can do a couples sober living. It is kind of a compromise. They will probably say no but we will see.”

We’ve tried to be positive and supportive emotionally. We said she could not come and stay with us at all (as we had previously stated she could, when she was sober). She says she is clean now, and I’m sure that is between she and her P.O. If she’s not, someone other than myself can be concerned about it.

Yesterday she asked if we could loan her the rent for the sober home this Friday. For seven days. The following Friday she would pay us the week we loaned her, and pay the sober home for two additional weeks, thereby putting herself one week ahead.

There is a piece of paper in her files here somewhere, that used to hang proudly on the pantry door. She paid off a car we sold her and she paid off different debts, early in this decade of addiction, by having her father pay a bill to avoid interest and then she made regular payments to him. Over the stint of sobriety last lasted almost two years, she paid off the $5,000 used car, and then started on several thousands more of debt. When she relapsed that time, probably five years ago, there was a fair amount left on that tab. She had made great strides on her debts, but we have not seen any more of that money.

From that point on, we didn’t loan. We gave. And only when she was freshly out of jail. We paid sober home fees until she could get a job and her first check, and each time, we considered it a gift.

I did recently loan her money, two months ago. I bought tickets for a concert she wanted to take him to, for his birthday, and two weeks later when she got paid, she paid me back the $40.00. However, she was 8+ months clean at that time.

At best, right now, she has about 10 days clean.

My husband and I talked about it. My heart wanted to say yes and loan her the money. I had told her I thought the answer would be “No”, but that I would talk to her dad about it, and not attempt to sway his decision.

He said “No.” I did not try to change his mind. My heart is aching. I am really having a hard time with this one. Her dad said, “it sounds like consequences to me.”

(At one point he also humorously pointed out that he thought my blogging friends would say to step back and let her find her way through this. That’ll teach me to share posts and comments from other bloggers, right!? Just kidding!)

As much as I want to loan her the money, I feel like she can at least explore other options.

An advance on her paycheck? It’s a small company and her boss is not only a former drug user, he has full knowledge of what is going on with her, and he has been giving commissions early this month, to those who want them for Christmas shopping. She is not on commission, but since this is money for work she has already done and will be on her next check, perhaps he could advance the money.

A loan from someone else?

She says she’ll have to go to a homeless shelter. I wonder why she can’t go to the sober home owner and ask for one week’s grace, and then promise to pay three weeks with her next check, just like she had planned to, if we had made her the loan. It’s a business, and I know the homeowner probably has been burned in the past.

But she could lose a week and possibly gain three?

Or she can lose a week and possibly never get my daughter back there again? If she leaves she has also voiced trying to get into a studio apartment of her own, alone. Bad idea, from previous experience. The sober home has open beds right now, so it's not like its a bad gamble. Girls are not in line at the door.


I don’t know if we are doing the right thing or not. I have no way of knowing if she is really working as much as she says she is, or if she would make good on a loan.

I just know that I’m so very very tired, and so very very sad. If I loaned her the money, I’d be doing it for me. Because for one more week, she’d be housed, and in the best possible situation to try to continue fighting for her sobriety.

I know that bottom line, if my not loaning her the money, and her having to move to a homeless shelter for a week is used as an excuse for her to relapse, then I guess she’s not “done”.

If she decides to give up and use, then she doesn’t want sobriety more than anything. She wants sobriety if it’s not too much work.

The problem I have with all of this today, is that my daughter is broken. And it's never EVER going to go away. And I’d take having her in my life, BROKEN, over not having her at all. I can still see glimpses of her in there.

The mom I know in Alanon who lost her daughter this past year? She regrets the stand she took. Yet, another mom (I have met two more in my Alanon/Naranon Parents group who lost a child in the past year or two and are now going through this again with another child) is sad but okay with the decisions she’s making. This is such a crapshoot.

Main Entry: crap·shoot
Pronunciation: \ˈkrap-ˌshüt\
Function: noun
Date: 1971
: something (as a business venture) that has an unpredictable outcome

I had to look that up to make sure I was using the word correctly! Sounds like a good description of life!

I just went and re-read Madison's post (Its-not-that-we-wont) two more times! It helps!

I will sincerely try to make a more positive post soon.... I'm pretty much a messy pile of raw emotions right now, and that's probably augmented by things like hormonal imbalances and the "joyous" holiday season.... But THIS TOO SHALL PASS!
I will work on my attitude and my gratitudes.

And as always, we have HOPE!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Color us confoozled...

She had ten months. She can get ten months (and more) again. It is up to her!!

I am obviously sad, but this time, just kind of blah. She had everything she could have wanted.

She was clean. She had probation's permission to live with Boyfriend in January. He was almost done with probation (his officer is unaware of his slip and he "hopefully will not test for him before his system clears"). Boyfriend makes extremely good money with the job he has. Buying her a new pair of jeans was not going to be an issue! She had our blessing on staying with us some this month and was looking forward to Christmas. She and her sister were talking (at Thanksgiving meal) about buying matching jammies and hanging out together Christmas Eve, like in years past.
What the heck happened? I have no clue. It's up to her to figure it out. I can't do it for her.

She did call today and she is going back to Agape House later this week, for a while. Not a free or even inexpensive place, but, normally a good house. There is one young lady I know of who may be there, who is "Trouble" (but hey, my daughter has that same middle name!) so, we'll see.

Correction: She'll see.... it is not my issue to stew over. It's truly up to her.

I'm going to go decorate some cookies and then DD2 has an NCIS disk from Netflix - we will watch one episode tonight when we are on our last bit of awareness and then turn in early!

I'm actually pretty okay right now. Teary but okay. It's weird. I'm maybe getting the "detach with love" thing. Maybe I'm just numb. I will obviously be devastated if anything goes wrong, but nothing will be gained by my handwringing in the meantime. I didn't cause, can't fix and can't cure it. So be it!

She knows she is loved. I joked a little with her about that when she called today - "Hey, you are loved and I'm not mad - here's proof - I was ordering your Christmas present when you called to tell me you relapsed, and after we hung up, I blew my nose and finished placing my order! So there, chickadee - you are loved." She laughed at that. Then she resorted to begging to come home. No dice. I stressed to her that we love her, we want her in our lives, we want to be a part of her life, but one of our boundaries is that she cannot live with us when she has been using (or using recently). I ended the call nicely and that was that.

She has to do it. No one else can.

I had a lot of people expressing caring and concern for us today, and I want to let them know we're still standing..... Well, we're wobbling a bit, but we're standing! Thanks for all the prayers and comments. I let DH read them and he seemed strengthened by them also.

"And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!!"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


What was that about "no rough patches here"?

I just got off the phone with my daughter.... she relapsed Saturday. (In retrospect it may have been before then.) She says she has been clean several days now.

She was supposed to stay with us several days each week, this month, and then move into a place with her boyfriend when he got off probation later this month or early January.

Apparently he relapsed too, but says he's clean now, that it was just one slip. I hope he is telling the truth because he is risking his license and thereby, his job, if he is using.

We've told her she cannot stay here, since she relapsed. This may seem heartless to her, but as I explained to Boyfriend, we have been told on multiple occasions by multiple different advisers and counselors and program folks, NOT to provide her that kind of cushion. Helping her when she is clean is one thing. But based on having brought her home after "slips" many times in the past ten years, and having it not work out at all, we are not going to repeat that particular scenario.

A lot about her story doesn't make sense. She says she has no money for a sober home. I told her and Boyfriend that I know many sober homes will take you with nothing, and then you can pay when your next check is available. There are places, and she probably knows about them, where she can go and have shelter until she can figure out what she is going to do.

My heart wants to solve this. But I should not do so.

I will be dead and gone one day (probably sooner rather than later, at this rate!) and she will have to be able to figure these things out for herself.

I just don't get it. She was looking forward to getting a place with him, she was happy, I thought.

If she's not done, I guess she just has to go back out there and play that game some more. She's looking at prison if she doesn't get this figured out soon. For several years.

I continue to hope that it won't come to that.

Once again, I am left with not much except tears, fear that she will overdose, fear that she will die....

and hope. She is still breathing. There is still Hope.

I love her so much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Checking in....

Just an update to say things are okay… I know when I don’t see someone post for a while, my radar goes off and I’m thinking “hmmmm, hope they’re not hitting a rough patch….”

No rough patches here, right now. We’re up to our ears in alligators cookies. DH continues the Great Cookie Adventure (for our clients and to take to friends and neighbors) and as much as we like to say that it’s His Project, it ends up being a family affair. Some days I make dough before he gets home from his part-time job, and then while I continue to work in the afternoons, he cranks up the Christmas music and mass produces dozens of Spritz and gingerbread boys. They are his specialties.

I make a lot of other types of cookies to add to it, and in the end, we have a pretty awesome selection that we package up on plates and he makes his rounds, delivering them.

Sounds idyllic. Should be idyllic. But I’m one of those who inexplicably gets very depressed at this time of year, so for me, it’s a very stressful time. But I guess there is no point in whining about it. He feels it is important to do for the clients.

I’m of the opinion that stellar customer service all year long, always turning in accurate, quality transcription with lightening-fast turnaround time, should be enough….and I’ve not had one complaint this year from any of our clients (and about ten written compliments). But that’s just me.

I know he enjoys the process and he enjoys giving the cookies out to friends, etc. Why rain on his parade? He mentioned to one of our daughters recently that “this is how I keep Grandma alive.” (He uses his late mother’s recipes. I miss her. She was a huge part of our more recent holiday celebrations.)

The indoor decorations are up. The outside stuff I’ll put up on Thanksgiving day. Our Thanksgiving will be quiet. It’s really a meal just for DH. The girls are vegetarian; I’m nearly vegetarian. The girls also have other homes to visit (best friends/significant others, etc), so I am cooking somewhat in advance, and DH will have a quiet day reading his newspapers and magazines and watching the news. I will hang a few last Christmas things outside, and I hope to get some time in my sewing room. If anyone drops by, there will be food available… but we probably will not be doing a big “sit-down at a groaning table” type thing.

DD2 mentioned she will be a part of a 40-family-member gathering at the Boyfriend’s grandma’s house on Thanksgiving, for a late lunch. I’m making a vegan silk chocolate pie she likes, so she can nibble on dessert later when they are at our house.

I have memories that I cherish of “groaning tables” at my grandparents’. One of my greatest sadnesses is that my daughters never knew anything like that while growing up. I grew up within a few miles of all my family, on both sides. My daughters have grown up at least half a continent away from their extended family. I tried to make things as traditional and fun as I could, with just the four of us, and the occasional visiting grandparents, but my memories of holidays and my daughters’ memories are so different. We immersed ourselves in church seasonal functions in the past, to get as close to the “family” atmosphere as we could within our church family, but it’s just not the same.

I think that is another huge portion of my sadness at this time of year. I miss my beloved Nana.

Then too, in the last ten years, there have been several holiday seasons like last year’s. A loaded daughter living on the streets just dampens things a bit. This year I am so very grateful that DD2 is sober. We’re in what I call the honeymoon period, where she is sober, she is on probation, she doesn’t want to go back to jail, and she’s willing. Willingness. It’s a big part of any success.

I am just rolling with it this year. We’ve scaled things down a bit, and I’m doing a lot in advance. I will do everything in my power to make a peaceful and happy celebration possible. The rest is up to others. Either way, I’m going to have as nice a time as possible.

Moving on! DD2 will be staying with us a few nights a week during the month of December. Her P.O. has given her until December 1 to find a new living situation, since her roommate’s husband is still actively using, and that puts DD2 in a bad environment. She is going to just move all her stuff to the Boyfriend’s place this week, and Probation asked me if she could stay with us several nights a week, while he is on the road with his job. She has a ride to work in the morning and will take the bus over an hour home. Weeknights that he is home, and all weekends, she will stay with him. This saves her one interim move, because Probation has decreed that as soon as Boyfriend is formally off probation (first week in January), they can just live together full time. They are really excited about simplifying things, combining expenses, and being able to spend more time together.

Whether I think that is premature, or whether I think that it may drive him bonkers (having DD2 and his teenaged daughter living with him)… not really my business to be thinking about!

1. We have so much. We have our home, our health, a full freezer (mostly turkeys! Just kidding!).

2. DD2 is sober and working at the moment. She’ll have a year clean on January 9, 2010.

3. DD1 is about halfway through her paralegal studies and doing an awesome job. She has a degree in History which proved pretty useless in the workforce, so she is reinventing herself. She should be done next fall. She will be moving out late summer or fall, into a place of her own.

4. This sad time of year will pass! The trick for me is to remind myself that the weepy mood is something I can recognize and deal with. The holidays are not holidays – they are a lot of work. But I can remove myself from exposure to the commercialism (incessant ads on TV, craziness at the mall, etc) and to focus more on my precious family, my gratitudes, and the “reason for the season” which so often gets lost in the glitter and noise of the season!

I may be scarce at posting over the next couple of weeks, but will try to check in with my dear blogging friends often! You’ll recognize me when I drop by; I’m the one who’ll be leaving dustings of flour and colored sugar sprinkles all over your comments sections!

May the true joy of this season warm our hearts in quiet, peaceful moments!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ten Honest Things about me

Bless you, Chicmama for thinking of me with this award…


I am not exactly sure how I qualified for it, but I appreciate it, and hey, maybe I can get someone to cook my dinner tonight! Queen of All Things has a very nice ring to it!

And thank you,
Tall Kay!

Thank you for thinking of me with this award/challenge! In no particular order, here are my Ten Honest Things about me.

1. When I was about nine or ten, I was cane-pole fishing at my grand daddy’s pond when my dad’s calm voice from somewhere behind me said, “honey, be very still and do not move.” Now normally that phrase was reserved for some sort of awesome wildlife near me that my dad wanted to show me (think Bambi!), or for some sort of impending “danger” like a bee crawling on my shirt. Something in my dad’s tone told me it was the latter, and I dutifully froze….. He went on to say, “there is a snake between your feet, and I’m going to get Ray to bring down the gun and I’ll kill it.” You might think I was scared, but my dad was an awesome shot and I had enough sensible outdoor training in me by that age to know I was fine, as long as I did not do something stupid…. Like run, screaming for the hills! Dad bellowed up in the direction of the farmhouse, “Ray, bring me the rifle NOW…..SNAKE” And my older cousin jumped up from whatever he was doing, and snagged the rifle from its shelf holder, and cheerfully jogged down to the pond, literally loading it as he ran. He slowed at Dad’s hand signal, approached at a snail’s pace, and I heard Dad say softly, “Okay, honey, I’m going to shoot it now.” And he did. Right between my feet, and the snake I had not dared to even bend over and look down at, shot forward into the pond, and floated, dead, in front of me. It was a water moccasin. Dad used my pole to fish it out of the water and we trooped up to show it to my mom and grandparents. Dad lost no time at all using it as an object lesson, reinforcing to my sister and I the need to sometimes do as he said, without questioning, and later we’ll probably find out why!

2. I hate the news. My husband is a news watcher. We’re working on it. Right now, he continues to watch one station, record another, watch it later, and all the while throw unbecoming comments at the TV as if the newscaster, or better yet, the folks in the news story, could hear and take heed of his opinion. And right now, I tend to close my office door and work, or put on my headphones and continue sewing, enjoying my music!

3. I hate politics (a continuation of “I hate the news”). I have come to the conclusion (and I really don’t care if this is a prime example of sticking my head in the sand) that I can only change my own behavior/goals, etc. No matter how upset I get about things “out there in the world”, I am totally used up and depleted each day by simply running my business, taking care of my house, and taking care of my husband/me personally. I have nothing left to try to change the world with. So I focus instead on trying to be the best person I can be, and maybe make a positive difference in the lives around me, in my family and in my work. I have no idea if that makes sense.

4. I love to sew clothing, purses, and especially QUILTS. I joke about cutting up perfectly good fabric, and sewing it back together again. But it isn't really a joke to me. I know that for many people it is an artistic expression of their creativity. For me, it is more basic. I explained it once to a friend like this: I know that I will be gone someday, likely sooner than I'd prefer. I want to leave behind something for those who have meant the most to me. A quilt is, just while sitting over a chair, or hanging on a wall, a thing of beauty that warms a room and the heart of the person it was made for. But take it off the wall, or pick it up from the chair, and it becomes even more. It is utilitarian, yes, in that it provides physical warmth for the body of that person. But it is, at its best, a tangible demonstration of the fact that this person I made it for MATTERED to me. It becomes a hug to wrap them up when my arms are no longer here to do so. Someday when my mind goes, even if my body lingers on, and I can't remember who the president is, or the day of the week, or even your name.... if I have made you a quilt, please wrap yourself in it regularly, and know that you were loved, treasured, and that I made the quilt for you with my whole heart. That I picked fabrics I knew you would like, and I thought of you, as I stitched and pieced and quilted... You matter to me. You are LOVED!

5. I am still pursuing The Dream. Semi-retirement to some acreage in Tennessee or maybe even near my sister in South Carolina. Part time employment only. Chickens, a garden, and a humongous quilting/craft room. And a stellar sound system that will drown out the news my husband will be watching in the den! We were supposed to be headed in the direction of The Dream in June, 2008. The stinky economy has delayed that a bit.
But we will get there!

6. I have a sister I have not seen face-to-face in twenty-some years. We talk almost daily, on the phone, on instant messenger, sometimes with our web cams. She lives on one coast and I live on another. I don’t know how the years got away from us. We share a lot of the same dreams and goals, and the quilting addiction, too! I positively adore her…. I’m so grateful she is in my life. (I’m kinda really fond of her husband and kids too!)

7. I have a hard time taking care of myself in a healthy fashion, with a diet appropriate for my diabetes and weight issues, and exercise, also helpful for lowering my blood sugar. This boils down to nothing except laziness. If I got up earlier every morning and walked for two miles, I would reap huge benefits. I know this. But I don’t act on it.

8. I want a pick up truck. My next car will be my last one, I think, and I want a pick up truck. (We drive cars forever – two we have now have 100,000 and 165,000 miles on them). And I want a cowboy hat to wear when I’m driving it to pick up the chicken feed, down at the feed store…. Yes, I am an odd duck.

9. I’ve worked for myself for the last 30 years. I started off as a babysitter, keeping kids in my home to bring in income and provide my little ones with some playmates. We followed a school-like schedule, and I taught them to read, count, do simple crafts, etc. They’d leave at 5 pm and I did medical transcription at night. Later, my girls went off to school and I was an independent contractor doing transcription for other transcription services for quite a while. I then bought my own dictation system, got some accounts of my own, hired some independent contractors like myself, and became a medical transcription service corporation. I type/hire/proof/assign work, DH does the books/taxes (when he’s not working at his regular part time job). It has worked for me/us. It’s a pain in the derriere. It was great when the kids were young and I could type when I wasn’t being a mom, cook, chauffeur, room mom, chaperone, Brownie mom, team snack mom, VBS helper, etc. But now, I am tired, and voice recognition is killing me. I look forward to the next chapter in my life. With a little luck, I will wind down about the same time that the older doctors who don’t want to learn how to use voice recognition technology wind down! We’ll all totter off to our respective retirements together!

10. I have hot water tonight and I’m grateful. Way to wind up a list, right? The Boyfriend and I were working on the front porch this weekend, while DD2 resurrected an old computer we had replaced so that she can hopefully use it for school next semester.…. At 4PM Saturday I grabbed something from the garage and all was well. At 4:30 PM I went back for something else, and found that the water heater had committed suicide rather spectacularly by exploding all over the garage floor. Swimming was necessary. The Boyfriend and I quickly worked up a second verbal contract and hastily shook on it, and then started mopping up. He would continue the porch work (contract #1), AFTER he installed a water heater the next day (contract #2). He made extra money; we got the job done by a guy we love!! Dishes were done that night by heating water on the stove. Worked like a charm (although my daughter thought I was nuts). But I am looking forward to a nice hot shower tonight. I can’t complain: the water heater lasted 16 years (at one time with five of us here!) and I got the new one at Home Depot with 10% off during a sale, 6 months interest free payment time, and DH found out we qualify for two rebates from gas company and city! Life is good!

Okay… I know I’m supposed to pass these along individually. But I’ve been unavoidably away from my computer this weekend (see swimming in the garage, painting the front porch pillars, etc) and I have not visited all my favorite blogs to see who else might have received which award, so I’m going to take the lazy way out and head for the shower. (My husband would probably appreciate that happening fairly soon – it was a long two days of working on this porch, and I really NEED the shower!)

If you would like to do the “Ten Honest Things about Me” list, please grab the picture of the Honest Scrap Award and make a list!! It’s fun!

I’ll catch up with y'all soon as I can! Wishing us all a peaceful week!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grateful for the status quo, and a codependent slip!

Things are relatively quiet and drama free…..and I’m grateful.

(In fact, it's been downright quiet for two days, and I'm codependently "wary"..... but I'm working on it!)

DD2 is working. She recently posted on her Facebook page that she had over three hundred days of sobriety. I’m beyond words grateful for that too.

The “no-contact order” has been lifted, and now she and the Boyfriend can see each other all the time, except they are not supposed to spend the night at each other’s place yet. However, that particular restriction should be lifted eventually and they hope to move in together.

I personally would love it if they would work on being complete within themselves, healthy, steady in their program, financially independent, etc*, before they moved in together. But it ain’t none of my business!

* Might be a good idea to be all those things, and for the Boyfriend to be settled into his “newish” role of proactive parent, as his daughter is moving in with him in January – she’s 16 going on 35, and already started down The Destructive Path, having recently been kicked out of school for possession of pot. Apparently the ex-wife threw up her hands and said something to the effect of “you try handling her!” I guess there are various ways to look at that situation, and the one I like is the one he voiced to me: “it will be harder for her to pull anything on me; I’ve already done everything she’s trying to get away with.”

We all went out to dinner the other night. That’s something I usually do not enjoy all that much. (rubs my frugal nature the wrong way!) My favorite restaurant is my own kitchen, stocked with good ingredients and with friends/family in there with me, cooking up a storm and then sharing the feast on our back patio! However, this was Boyfriend’s birthday, and we had a great meal and enjoyed each other’s company, and I am grateful for the evening and the memory made.

We’re focusing more on us these days (DH and I). We’re having a quiet Thanksgiving and an equally quiet Christmas. I reminded the girls (and Boyfriend) the other day that “I’m not the kind of mom that gets insulted if you don’t spend a significant quantity of the holiday with me.” If they can/want to come by and hang out, cool. If they want to hang out with other friends/family, equally cool.

My husband and I will have a good time either way! He’s begun the Great Hunt of 2009 – in which he bags as many turkeys as he can (on sale or free with purchases of staples we will use anyway), and stocks our freezer. We will probably score about eight of them before he tires of the game…. And that translates into him having a turkey once or twice a month for quite a while. He’d eat “thanksgiving” three times a day, if he could. Such a simple thing, but it makes him smile.

I’m sewing as much as I can, and that makes ME smile. I’m also working in the backyard to try to make it prettier. The old body isn’t what it used to be, so it’s slow going, with digging, composting, and planting, but it’s rewarding.

So as you can see, it’s just nice and quiet around here. You can understand, I’m sure, why I’m very grateful and wouldn’t have it any other way!

And a P.S.: I hate to tell this story because what I did was JUST PLAIN DUMB. Seriously, I can see the heads shaking and hear the "tsk, tsk, tsk!, from everyone and it's justified!! Just keepin' it real here, my friends. I fell flat on my face a few days ago with the enabling thing. DD2 called and mentioned she was, in fact, staying over at the Boyfriend's because the roommate's husband was again loaded and in fact so loaded he asked DD2 to connect for him. I was so blown away by the fact that he asked her to buy drugs for him (it was in a text message on his phone, no less!), and also by the proximity of an active addict in the home where she is renting a room, that I commenced "spinning" right along with her and found myself nodding my head and said "yes" when she said, "if my p.o. calls, I told her I was staying with you, okay? Love you, bye!"

I sat there after I hung up, all relieved that she was staying with the Boyfriend and likely safer, and then later realized I had agreed to lie to probation.

*bangs head on desk, repeatedly*

See, when I "spin", I don't think very sanely. I had a relatively sleepless night worrying that in fact, the p.o. would call, or worse, send an officer to see if she was here. This could have happened. It did not. And the next morning, I called DD2 and said "that's the last time I do that! it was wrong of me and I won't do it again." She thought I was being silly and over-reactive, but I told her, "I was being dishonest and I will not knowingly do that. And I certainly won't do it in THAT fashion again!" If she wants to cover her butt for probation, it will have to be done by her, with someone else's assistance.

It's a process, I know. We have slip-and-falls. But every now and then, I MAKE A TOTALLY BONE-HEADED MOVE!

And I'll learn from it and move on!

(note to self: No decisions or answers to questions while spinning!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

An old rhyme that came to mind

I was reading Lou's post of 10-31-09 ("This Is What It Is" is the title - sorry, I tried four times to imbed a link and Blogger is not liking me tonight!)

Anyway, it was about the impact of one child's addiction on his mother, and her five foot imaginary circle.... her comfort zone, and I think that mother was maybe alluding to being afraid to trust him, his current sobriety, whatever....

Lou ended with the comment:
"The wariness has penetrated all that I believed in about being a mother. It is here to stay."

I've never known if there was an author for the following little rhyme, and I can't recall what incident caused someone to share this with me, but it has stuck with me since I was very young. I've thought of it more than once, in the years of dealing with DD2's addiction, when we'd work at building up trust, only to have it broken down again....

Friendship is like good china,
beautiful, costly and rare,
when broken, not easily mended,
for the crack is always there.

I've found variations of this all over the internet, but no author. For me, my own version substitutes "trust" for "friendship".

(but still, we have hope!)

Still toeing our line....

We're still holding our own around here. DD2 has stopped asking for rent. She made a pointed comment last week about how she and Boyfriend had to sell cans and bottles to make her rent.... but since we routinely collect DH's soda cans and our plastic bottles around here and trot down to the recycle center and sell them every three months, I didn't think that was a terrible hardship for her. Yes, I'm feeling a little snarky today.

However, rent has been paid. Phone has been covered for another month. She has been eating. She has been bussing to work. And none of it at our expense. I am grateful that she seems to be getting the message and is not calling us for money at this time. The conversations were not always pleasant last week, but we got through it.

One concern is a staph infection she has. Right before she moved out of her sober home, a girl moved in, with a staph infection. (This girl had antibiotic impregnated cotton gauze in several gaping wounds on her legs!)

DD2 mentioned to the owner that that was highly contagious and the story is, the owner insisted "oh its not Staph, its just an infection." Well, this girl was in the same 4-girl bedroom/bathroom with DD2. DD2 has a huge staph infection on her leg now, likely the result of showering with the same soap bottles, or brushing up against damp towels or shower walls or something in the bathroom, and getting the infection in the scrapes on her legs from shaving. She presses hard when shaving and usually gets cut.

When she moved to her current living situation, she had a few bumps on her legs that looked like infected mosquito bites, and I thought they had the potention to be Staph. I mentioned this to her and she freaked and told me about the girl at the house. I gave her some triple antibiotic cream and alcohol and mentioned she could use hot compresses and if any of them opened, to be sure and clean them carefully and slather with the antibiotic cream, but that my foremost suggestion was that she get to a free clinic and get seen. I was pretty sure it could be Staph.

DD2 being the totally compliant type (not!), did none of the above. So she's now been to the emergency room twice, and probably still is not done with this, since she has no money for antibiotics to continue the IV antibiotics they gave her in the ER. They cultured and gave it a name and my worst fears were proved: MRSA (methicillin-resistent staphylococcus aureus). It's nasty stuff. Now she's got the antibiotic impregnated cotton packing and drains going.

I have been begging her strongly suggesting to her that she get on the county health care program (MSI?) as they suggested to her in jail. I've "played that tape" since the day she got out.

She just doesn't get it. She's had every excuse in the book. No bus fare, no money to give a friend to drive her, no time while she was working previous job, no way to do it while unemployed, and now, no time on this new job to do it. MSI would cover her expenses and retroactively (said two sources, but I am not sure about this) cover her previous hospitalizations for this infection. It takes a while to get it, but then it covers some previous treatments. She has to go to some office in the hospital and fill out paperwork. I have even offered to take time off and come down and take her to that particular appointment.

Codependent? Probably. Maybe necessary since she hasn't got the brains/maturity to see the benefit? Possibly.

But she's not been willing. So we're not coughing up $150 for antibiotics.

That is very hard for me. I want to "fix" her infection because I know from working in the field, that this is serious stuff.

Deep sigh and letting go!


- She's sober! She's working! She's looking forward to us possibly taking her and Boyfriend out to dinner next weekend, down in their neck of the woods. We think we should make the effort to visit them, instead of having them come up here all the time.

- My mom and dad are out gallavanting around in their small town, enjoying good health, good friends, and good clean air. They love their little ranching community and they are loved by the folks there. Daddy still pitches bales of hay around, and he'll be 80 next year! I'm so grateful!

- I had a better month, financially! Small improvement in the bottom line - Yay!

- I'm done with the billing process for my company for this past month - and this means I can go upstairs and sew a bit later this afternoon with a clean conscience! I do love me some sewing time!

Unrelated: I had a stroke of brilliance this morning. I am going to refuse to get exhausted and stressed out this Christmas. I plan to decorate for Christmas over the next two weekends. Heck, the stores start early - why can't I? If it were up to me, Christmas would be very quiet, very sparsely decorated, and lots of emphasis on just spending time with my family.... but DH is a real Christmas nut....

He bakes cookies for my clients and delivers them every year, the week before Christmas. He walks into all the physicians' offices that I transcribe for, wearing a Santa hat instead of his FedEx hat and hands out plates of cookies.... they love him for it!

Is he a Sweetheart, or what??!!

He started baking last week and I think that's what prompted me to consider spacing this out a bit and doing things early, and maybe not being too tired to enjoy the actual Christmas celebrations..... for the first time in 30 years.

Yeah, I'm a slow learner!

I'm off to find the Christmas boxes.... told my oldest daughter, "I'm going to play God this afternoon and build a tree!" (then I'm going to go sew!)

I'm nuts....AND a slow learner!

But I'm a grateful nutty slow learner! (Shutting up now!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

The answer is still no

The requests resumed today... Bless his heart, my DH fielded the phone call this time. She asked to speak to her Dad because she is convinced that I am the one preventing her from being able to come home. When she's not asking to come home, she's asking to borrow rent money until the next job's first check.

Unfortunately the answers are still the same. We can not rescue her right now. We are trying not to say things that are putting her down, like the fact that we truly hold no hope that she'd be able to pay it back. Perhaps she could. The point is, we don't think we should loan the money or bring her home. Period. We couch it with sympathy and comments about my low business volume right now and DH's low number of hours at his job.... Maybe we shouldn't try to make the truth land so gently, but I'm still trying to encourage and be empathetic, while still saying "no."

To my knowledge (I was in my office working and did not follow his side of the conversation), he was able to carry out the conversation without it becoming a screaming match. I think it ended relatively calmly. He said she was still possibly coming by tomorrow to hang out with her sister and bake cookies with DH while the boyfriend and his brother do some construction work at boyfriend's sponsor's home nearby.

It was a huge help for him to take the call today. They phone-tagged back and forth a few times until they could get together on the line, but he eventually connected with her and I know it was not easy for him. I just can't do it all the time. I have a hard time thinking and answering her when my heart is breaking and sometimes he thinks I should have answered differently, etc. It was really nice today for him to just step into the midst of the fray and attempt to calmly answer her in a positive fashion while holding to what we think is best for us.

I had him read a few responses on another mom's blog later, and the comments really reinforced what we have been trying to believe and hold on to. This sucks, but it is best for us, and in the long run, best for our daughter.

May we all enjoy some peace and rest this weekend. :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It would be funny if it wasn't

The "I'm never going to ask for anything from you again" lasted less than 18 hours.

Details are not necessary; just that I declined her request. She is not happy. She vocalized that to me and has made a note of being sad, depressed and discouraged, on her my-space, etc.

I'm not happy either. I wished her good luck and was encouraging about two job interviews she had today. (The job she thought she got last week has apparently not materialized, for whatever reason, despite supposedly being told she would start this week.) I sent an email this morning reiterating my crossed fingers, prayers and hopes for a great outcome....

Silence. On a day when normally I would get a call telling me all about the position, bubbling with excitement if she liked and wanted the position, or sharing the let-down if it didn't pan out.

I'm finding it helps me shut up the codependent yahoos in my cranium, if I remind myself that I would think that any other mom in this situation should just back off, let her be, let her do what she's going to do, trust God (which I'm not good at), and hope, hope, hope. So that's what I'm doing. But it sucks. I hate that every time things get quiet after any sort of disagreement, I agonize and think the worst. Though the vast majority of the time, it is well-founded, it's still Stinking Thinking!

I'm off to an Alanon/Naranon meeting. And I need it - because, you know, I already checked the jail site.... How sick am I??!!

Hope – noun
1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best


Monday, October 19, 2009


More than one of us has likened living with an addict in the family, with living with a spinning storm. Sometimes the spinning starts off with a bit of a breeze, before it builds to a full-fledged tornado. Sometimes it seems like it comes out of nowhere. Category 5, from the get-go.

I never know when it is going to hit. None of us do. And for all my efforts to NOT focus on my addict, and to focus instead on my own life, my own growth, my own work and my own interests……

I still get sucked up into the chaos.

Things had been going fairly well. She had worked her way up to paying her own rent, and we were all rebuilding healthy relationships. I was keeping my two-cents worth of opinions out of the conversations and telling her frequently, that I had faith in both her ability to continue to do well and grow, and that I had faith that God would help her and guide her on her own journey. She moved in with the friend whose husband was supposedly off at rehab out of state and when the idea surfaced that he might not stay at rehab and might return home after detox, I shushed the codependent voices in my head, went on my merry way, and dealt with My Stuff. The front yard work that continues. My daily employment, running my company, etc.

We had an utterly peaceful weekend while she visited the boyfriend’s grandma for her 80th birthday – everyone apparently (including grandma) went to the casino and tried to see how long they could play on $20.00. She actually won some money, and called us to gleefully announce she stopped after winning and held onto the win. I thought that was prudent, since she has rent due….And her new job is …. to put it as positively as possible…. “iffy.”

Her prudence may have only lasted until she saw “some of the cutest clothes.”

Not my problem.

I was working today when she called out of the blue demanding to move home.

Seems the husband is back. And the husband is loaded (heroin). And he has told my daughter this, but not his wife.

She was frantically telling me how she can’t tell the wife, she can’t be around the husband, she can’t go back to her sober home (oh, and by the way Mom, four girls relapsed there last week), and she can’t find a new sober home with a bed. I had to ask her to repeat herself a couple times, because she was speaking so darn fast.

(The codependent yahoos in my head were laughing maniacally at me by this time.)

I don’t understand why she can’t tell the wife. I don’t understand why she can’t have someone anonymously call the sober home owner and ask that everyone be tested (so she could go back). I don’t understand anything…..but then, I’m not supposed to. It’s not my business.

For the next hour or two, we had various conversations and various periods of time between conversations, where she begged, pleaded, spewed venom, and finally informed me she was never going to ask us for anything ever again. Because all she gets for her efforts is “no”.

Let’s see, Dearest Daughter #2: In the last seven or so months, we’ve paid a month of sober home charges while you fought your case, lost and went back to jail. You did your time, and then we paid another month while you again job searched, landed a job, and waited the two weeks it takes to actually receive the first check. We’ve bought groceries, and later as you became more independent, shared the occasional treat we picked up while we were out shopping for ourselves. We’ve driven you around town on job hunts at least four separate days in the last seven months. So yeah…. Probably $1,800+ and lots of time and encouragement cheerfully given over two 4-6 week periods, on either side of a 120 day jail term. But all we ever say is “no.”

Just shoot me now. I held my ground. She is not coming home. I don’t think her boyfriend understands (though that is not his business, I guess) but he did accept what we were saying and was trying to encourage her, that “everything will be okay and everything will work out. It will just be a lot harder, is all.”

(Hearing him say THAT to her while he was also talking to me on the phone made me feel shitty.)

We’re not her answer. I know that. We are enforcing our healthy boundary. I know that. Bringing her home would only end in disaster, she would not grow, we would be enabling her to not have to learn how to do this on her own, she has stolen from us repeatedly while she relapsed repeatedly here (probably in part due to the frustration of trying to live with us)….. yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it.

It all still sucks. I miss my daughter….. the one hidden in there amongst the addiction and the bipolar mania and the struggle to stay clean. Knowing we held to our boundaries is not much of a comfort.

The storm passed as quickly as it came. The calls stopped after she called one last time to tell me she had a promising interview for yet another job, if this current one indeed is not going to work out…. She gave me her address so I can forward a few letters, and told me she loved me, and then silence. As if nothing was wrong. As if she had not shredded my heart for the past two hours. The mania had shifted… She was calmer.

The aftermath of the storm for us is deafening silence. I sat there trying to eat dinner…numb, almost shell-shocked. I had made a recipe especially for my husband…. I’m trying to work on strengthening my relationship with him too, and I had planned on spending time with him over this special dinner all day…

We ate. Silently. The spinning leaves almost a vacuum when it stops.

I am so tired. My brain hurts.

But dammit, I am going to end this day being grateful.

I’m grateful that DH and I agree on the boundary and support each other in enforcing it. That’s a huge improvement for us.

I’m grateful that the storm passed and DD2 is for the moment focused on taking a few more positive steps on her journey, under her own steam.

I’m grateful I didn’t burn the parmesan chicken in the middle of all of the chaos. (DH is grateful for that also…. He loves that recipe.)

I’m extremely grateful that, for sure and certain, I’m winning the fight on this cold/flu thing…. I should be back to “normal” in another day or two. (and under their breath my family says “whatever that is!”)


Thursday, October 15, 2009

All is well....

Just poking my head up to say that indeed, all is well. Well, maybe not me.... I'm definitely bumbling around with a textbook case of the Cruds (my dad's term for a nasty cold/flu combo).

After four years of fending off every cold germ I met, one got through my fortress of vitamins, herbal supplements and positive thinking ("I don't believe in colds, I don't believe in colds"...) but outside of that, things are calm.

Calm is good.

I'll bullet this, and keep it short, cos I've finished my work and I'm headed back to horizontal to cough for a while rest a bit.

  • DD2 moved out of her sober home last Sunday, and into an apartment with a young lady in program who is four years clean. Seems this young lady just asked her husband to leave after he relapsed for the umpteenth time, and he's out of state somewhere in a rehab, I think, and she could use help with making her rent. DD2 could use cheaper rent. Works for now, they think! Probation is cool with it (probably because it will free up some $$ for DD2 to begin making probation payments!). DD2 loves her new room.

  • She immediately began pounding the pavement in the new area (over an hour by bus from her previous job) and yesterday she called me to tell me she had a great interview for a full time position in a auto body parts supply type store. She wanted it bad. Walkable distance from new apartment. Heavy on web design and computer inventory and stuff she's great at.

  • Today she called to say that the interviewer did NOT call her back as he had promised he would, yesterday afternoon. She and her roommate had decided she would call him and be proactive. If she didn't get it, she was allowed to crawl back in bed and cry for five minutes and then she had to get up and go job hunt some more! However, she got it! She starts this afternoon for a few hours and full time on Monday.

  • I heard that the husband may come back to the apartment at some point after rehab....but I chose not to dwell on the fact that that would put a recently relapsed close friend under the same roof with 9-months-clean DD2. I firmly told the voices of the codependant yahoos in my head that that was none of my business. Period.

  • Besides, the new apartment is right across the street from a great AA/NA meeting spot. (Take that, voices! It's up to her!)

My husband just asked if there was any possibility I was going to cough up a lung.....if I hadn't already. Unbeknownst to him, I'm actually much better today.... But I sound bad enough to get some sympathy.... So I'm going to take it!! Yes dear, I'd love it if you did the dishes and fed the herd (5 dogs)!!

Off to get more tea and relax a bit, hopefully. Stay healthy!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I'm going to try to shorten my posts.... I know I have rambled lately... It's like my brain was just overfilled and I had to spill it out somewhere and I probably really wrote too much!

Anyway, I took a few minutes to just savor the quiet this morning.... I am grateful for that quiet, and also grateful that:

- My work seems to be picking up just a little. This means financial relief may be on the way!

- The weather here seems to have passed from Blast Furnace to SoCal Wonderful, and not a moment too soon, in my personal opinion! (I am NOT a fan of heat.)

- My daughter seems to have listened to the boyfriend, and is "sucking it up" (her words) and went to work yesterday.

- I am grateful for my blogging friends and the wisdom dispensed here in this community.

- I am grateful for the opportunity to be supportive to my daughter next week in her job search. A few areas she wishes to apply at are a bit scattered and we will meet for coffee and I'll be her wheels and her cheerleader for that one morning's concentrated job search efforts, and drop her at her current job afterwards.

- I am grateful that the yardwork we are having to be done, has been contracted with someone in recovery. This, to me, is a God Thing! When we first were told that the yard wasn't up to snuff by the homeowners' association (unsightly dead lawn due to large tree whose roots hit clay and came up and killed entire lawn), I was hoping to give the job to one of the boyfriend's sober friends (8 years clean). It's tough in this economy and we've made the choice several times to give home improvement jobs to some of the guys in recovery that we know and are trying to encourage. Unfortunately, the friend's current job wasn't going to be completed in time for us to satisfy the homeowners' association deadline.... This is a huge job involving removal of the big tree and complete resculpturing of the yard, a retaining wall, etc. So we took bids from other contractors. The gentleman we contracted with, has since revealed to me that he is 20 years clean (drugs and alcohol), and his crew is also in recovery. I was stunned when he told me that, and he told me he just felt led to speak to me about it. He now reminds me daily that he is praying for my daughter.

Yay! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

An email and an answer to Madison's question...

First, I got an email late last night. I had sent DD2 an email in the evening, with a verse that Debby had posted that I found encouraging... My daughter answered a bit later, reiterating her apologies and answering a question I posed, stating she wanted to go to Lifelines meeting at The Crossing if possible on Friday. :) That's been our little visit time each week, and I am encouraged she wishes to go, if she gets off work in time. I have no idea if she will really go to work today. But that is her decision to make and it will be her consequences to deal with if she does not.

Madison's question:

Is it too harsh to suggest that she should be working a minimum of full time, following the court order to not see the boyfriend and paying back the courts for the costs of her behavior?

I agree Madison…. I really do. :)

A little background. After two solid weeks of job hunting daily, she got her current part time job. $8.00/hour X 30 hours a week - $240.00 a week. After taxes, she is taking home approximately $200. Rent for sober home is $160.00 a week.

She finds out later this week if she gets any sort of commission bonus – that’s supposedly about $50-$100 if she qualifies, but she has been told that no one has qualified so far this session.

After paying rent, she has $40.00 a week to use for bus passes ($3.00 to $4.00 a day depending on whether she changes buses to get to destination), $1 every time she uses house washer or house dryer (sheets/towels weekly and at least one load of clothing weekly equals $4.00 or more weekly), etc. She’s been buying her own food (we fill in with silly stuff occasionally – last week we didn’t have anything she needed on hand, the week before I gave her a jar of peanut butter and a box of rice, a block of tofu and 2 avocados….. not impressive, but she asked for and enjoyed them).

I guess my point is, with $40.00 left each week after paying rent for the probation-approved sober home, they would have her subtract $25.00 to set aside for a $100.00 probation payment, which would leave her $15.00 for food, laundry and bus passes. I haven’t tried to eat on less than $10.00 a week in a long time. I’m not sure how healthy that would be.

I agree she should get a full time position. She wants that desperately because that would enable her to be more financially secure AND off evenings for meetings. She doesn’t feel she is getting to enough meetings. And not just to see the boyfriend, as he isn’t around for her meetings during the week because he normally drives from 1 AM to 9 or 10 AM (big trucks) and by the time he is off and available, she is working, and by the time she gets off work (1PM to 8 PM with mandatory 1 hour break) he is in bed across the county, sleeping so he can get up to drive again at 1 AM.

She has looked for a part time job to fill in on weekends, but right now, she’s been unable to find a second job for only Saturday and/or Sunday. Those darn teenagers with no felony records seem to have snatched them up. :)

She wants a full time job. One of the ways people are avoiding paying benefits around here is to only hire part timers. Finding a felony-friendly full time job is challenging, to say the least. Again, that’s her consequences rearing their heads.

She is putting her resume out there, and until this week she had been pounding the pavement. When she is on a manic “up” cycle, that pavement pounding works well for her. I hope she will resume the job hunt and continue working this job she doesn’t like, at the same time, and find something with better hours that will allow her to work and go to meetings. Right now, if she takes bus to meetings in the mornings, there’s not any time left for job hunting before she walks to work. If she tries to get a late meeting after work, she better have a private ride, because the bus may get her home after curfew. Her customary meetings start at 7 or 7:30 nightly…before she gets off at 8 and walks home.

(Rent for sober home was $175 a week, but she was able to negotiate a lower price after finding out some other girls were paying less, and the owner was charging more because “your parents were paying, you weren’t.” She got really angry about that, but waited until she was calm and then spoke with the owner and negotiated the lower price. She has been paying rent herself, and paying the lower rate, for several weeks. I cannot tell you how much that pissed me off, but I kept my mouth shut.)

I agree she should pay probation (though maybe not $100 a month right now….I at least feel she should pay something).

I think she should follow the probation officer’s ban on seeing the boyfriend other than meetings, church, and meals before or after same. If she chooses to see him more often on the weekend, that’s on her.

I am hoping and praying she finds a better job – it would help her on many levels. She is really a good worker (when clean). She worked for one fancy car company here as a temp receptionist/cashier for over a year, and then they were going to make her a full-time employee until they found out about her record. The entire company signed a petition to get the owner to lift his objection to her record, since she had a year of excellent work record with them. It didn’t work, but she kept that petition to remind herself that she can do a good job!

I will say, however, I think Probation should be setting an example. Don’t say you are going to lift the ban if she tests clean, has a job, is living in a sober home, and has her court card for meeting attendance signed appropriately, if you don’t mean it. And don’t promise that if you don’t mean it, three visits in a row.

What is Probation teaching there, other than the fact that they can break promises and she just has to take it? Is that some sort of lesson in how much authority sucks? I honestly don’t understand why boyfriend’s probation officer told his mother that my daughter’s probation officer (they work together) is "just playing games with her and on a power trip, and that in her personal opinion, they should be able to be together and support each other."

But as always, this comes back to those pesky consequences rearing their heads.

Anyway, thank you all for your comments. I started to say, you have no idea how much they help me, but then again, I bet you do know how much the support of this blogging community helps each of us!