Friday, May 6, 2011

The chinks in the armor ....

That's what we used to call it when my husband went to start a new job (in his former life) in his marketing career. He was wined, dined, treated like royalty until he accepted the job offer, moved, unpacked, introduced, welcomed, put to work, and then the situation would start to fall apart. He'd start coming home from work saying "Lions 3, Christians 0." And talking about the chinks in the armor starting to show.

Edited to add: I apologise now for the length of this. I got a tad rambly very extremely longwinded. Also, I'm sorry it's been so long since I've updated.

All in all, I think things are going well. I think chinks have shown up here and there, but overall, we're intact and doing very well!

She's passing both college classes, with a B and a high C right now.

She is working.

She probably is not taking her medications. The bottle never seems to go down.

She is seeing parole and psych at parole.

LeBoyfriend is working hard at odd jobs, construction jobs, and has recently started a part time job driving a cement truck which will grow to full time very quickly. He is attending a Bible study each week and has a good support group.

They have missed a few times of going to the Lifelines meeting on Friday night. She didn't want to have to speak on birthday night, for one of the meetings, so talked him out of it. She has never enjoyed chip-taking if speaking was involved (for the yearly birthdays, etc). I would have like to have seen/heard it, and she was fine with me being there, just didn't want to do it. I bowed out early to make sure my presence was not weighing on her at all, and she still didn't want to go, when it came down to it. They spent time with his family, enjoying his sister's family and kids, instead.

They continue to go to church Sunday AM and spend Sunday with his family. Saturdays they spend with us. He is doing odd jobs for us also.

Husband left water running to fill a ginormous dog bowl upstairs (bowl so big it hung out over edge of cabinet) and then forgot about it when he came downstairs for something. Forty-five minutes later he's down here watching the Eternal TV News and starts screaming, "I think we have a leak, I think we have a leak!" LeBoyfriend happened to be here and within seconds he was barking orders that we were scurrying to carry out. "Babe, I need the (insert random tool name here) from my truck", etc, etc. Carpet ripped out, padding ripped out, and holes poked in ceilings and buckets in place…..

Once the immediate crisis was past, LeBoyfriend had quite a few hours work with us last week! For a time, communication through the upstairs bathroom and the kitchen took place through a gaping hole. I haven't stopped smiling (privately) to myself yet. Husband never screws up. It's not something he allows himself and he does his best to make sure no one else screws up around him (constant reminders and unsolicited advice, etc). But this time he pulled a doozy. He has yet to acknowledge that he screwed up. But the rest of us are relieved to see a bit of humanity in him. Not humility. But humanity.

Never the less, I have simply mopped up, acted normal and I'm very grateful that it was not any worse than it was. (LeBoyfriend's hourly wage ain't cheap and I refuse to take advantage of the relationship - he gets paid!)

She got a car. $970 and 175,000 miles on it, a few leaks and a few quirks, but she now has "her freedom". After she unlocks the door on the passenger side each morning and reaches over and opens the driver's door from inside - she's good to go!! And the bullet hole in the left rear panel is extra ventilation, right!?!

Seriously, it's a really cute car (even has a little spoiler on the back) and it suits her. I bought her a sticker (she picked) that says "Faith, hope, love" to go on the back window. It will take all three to keep it on the road, but she's proud of it, and I'm proud of her!

Getting the car was a big issue with her dad. He wasn't opposed to her having a car, just not his, and not yet. She scrimped, saved, chased down ads on Craig's List, and LeBoyfriend checked out the ones she found and loaned her a bit of money so she'd have enough to get the one they finally decided on.

Her dad admitted to me that he is afraid she will use it to get heroin. I am afraid she will get heroin from a fellow employee, or someone who meets her at the gym after I have dropped her off, or in the parking lot after a meeting. Having the car doesn't make it any more likely, I don't think. Easier maybe? But if she's not done, then she's not done. And she needs to find that out, make her decisions, and learn what she has to learn. We can't continue to try to come between her and her lessons. That's my opinion, anyway. Her dad says we still have an obligation to try to fix this. Ummm. No.

The honeymoon period is certainly over, but thankfully, I can't point to anything that is wrong. She is cranky at times, but she is starving herself and has lost 25 pounds with a stringent diet and a LOT of exercise. That would make me cranky.

So would being chased down the street in her jammies by a mad man who found her at the end of the driveway smoking when she thought he was in the shower. Oopsie!

She is a bit edgy. Le Boyfriend has noticed. The edginess started when the meds were changed a few months ago. Seems to be getting worse as fewer pills disappear from her bottle. But it is her unmedicated, bipolar "normal", that I think I am seeing/hearing.

She is paying her bills to us, and she has gotten car insurance and is paying for her cell phone, gas, etc.

Her father is often cranky also. That is his modus operandi, or whatever the word is. He actually used the words "cranky and morose" to describe his feelings in the one family therapy group we attended back in the days of the first rehab. He is sometimes the spitting image of his own father. It can sometimes be a sad image, hunched over the newspaper or the news show, frowning, muttering. I wish that he could be happier. I can't fix that either. Damn.

He and DD2 clash now and again. He's still harping on the cigs. And he told her the car was going to be a problem, as far as parking around here.... We have six cars here now, for 3.1 drivers.

He wasn't willing to let her drive one of his "ever again", so duh, she got one of her own. I work at home and never go anywhere so I am the 0.1 driver. I kind of like having to only deal with three other people on the job: Me, Myself and I. We usually agree on things like naps and breaks.

I guess it's a guy thing, but his "problem" could be alleviated if he would get rid of some of his cars. Two are never (hardly ever) driven, except around the block to recharge the battery. Otherwise he pats them lovingly, pays for the insurance and registration, and that's it (a big 2006 Chevy van and an old VW Vanagon). In all fairness we have occasionally used the Chevy van to bring home long boards for fencing, or bags of dirt…. But we could have rented a van when necessary and been money ahead…. That car payment was steep, for several years! Oh well, he has his Flee Van in case we have to flee because of terrorism or earthquake, five dogs in crates and maybe me and the kids in crates too - who knows!?!

The other two cars, he takes turns driving to work. They are beaters with high miles and refuse to die. Four cars, for he and I. Our oldest daughter bought a car she is paying off that is hers and hers alone. So DD2 bought herself this beater. And SHE is causing a problem with the parking around here?

I have made it clear to the girls that when it's just me and their dad, life is very okay for me. They worry when he's cranky and morose, and they tend to forget the flowers he brings me, the little surprises from time to time that he leaves in their rooms, the "you're beautiful" he directs at me at the oddest times (like when I'm covered with sweat and mud from the garden), etc. He and I can live quite contentedly and happily here, and (importantly) we don't push each other's buttons. So I don't need to hear about what a pain he can be.

I certainly can be a witch with a capital "B".

But, I can keep my promises to have and to hold, and I truly am content with my life and with him, as long as he's the only one I have to deal with. But add them to the mix, 24/7, and there come the arguments. His mouth gets into gear before his brain, hurtful and unnecessary triggering things are said, and they're off in another skirmish.

And when it gets right down to it, at the ages of 28 and 30, they should not be here. But with the economy and housing/rental prices in O.C., and the job market? It is what it is.

She's really doing very well, all things considered. I am oh-so-proud of her and I pray her efforts continue. I pray, pray, pray that we are able to hold on until December when she and LeBoyfriend are off parole, because that is when they want to get a place together. One of my friends is downsizing in July and has suggested to them that they get a small storage unit by then, cos she will be giving them a lot of nice things like pots, pans, tables, shelves, etc. They are THRILLED!

I've been working very hard on my garden. With gas prices so high, it's no wonder produce prices are at an all time high too. I don't really enjoy the gardening as far as the digging, spiders, etc. I have dropped hints that This Mama would love a Baby Rototiller for Mother's day, or Flag Day, or the third Friday after the full moon. I'm thinking those Mantis tillers are just my speed! (well, all but the price! although it's less than one month's payment on a Chevy Van.... heh heh!)

But I really really like picking my dinner 30 minutes before I cook it, and knowing it is pesticide-free, and after the cost of seeds, amazingly inexpensive! I'm trying to balance a couple hours in garden digging, with a couple hours in my quilting/sewing room, both after a full day's work, every single day, in the home office and half days on the weekends.

Actually, the problematic car is a bit of a good thing to me. I was pretty tired of the increased driving, though I counted it a blessing to have the opportunity!

I told her before she came home from prison, repeatedly, that I did not think we were the right place for her. As much as I love her, and oh I love her so much!, we are not the healthiest place for her.

I say this each time, and then I get behind the majority vote and try my best to be supportive and encouraging. More often than not, I end up trying to restate hurtful things that are said, in a less hurtful way. "He really means that there will be times when all the cars are too much for the parking space we have, and garbage day is one of those times" I chirp, when he blurts out "I told you that your car was going to be a problem."

Hi, my name is Joy and I am still working on my codependency issues!

My prayers continue for all our children and loved ones…..

P.S. Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms!