Apparently…Cancer

25 03 2013

I’m finding it a little interesting that my maternal grandmother is in the hospital with cancer and nobody from that side of my family has told me formally.  I’ve gotten all of my information off of facebook thus far through the status updates that my cousins have put up, but there has been no actual message from my mom or anybody else.  In a way, it makes sense and I guess it is fair.  I don’t actually know anybody from that side of my family after all.

My mom has sort of drifted in and out of my life in far less dramatic ways and with much less frequency than my dad has and we don’t talk all that often, and while many of my cousins and my two brothers have added me on facebook, I NEVER speak to any of them.  I don’t speak to most people, in fact, and it isn’t an effort on my part to avoid any of them.  I just don’t interact with them, and I generally have nothing to say.  As far as my grandmother goes, I’ve met the woman once in my memory – not too long after my 21st birthday.  My mom was living in town at the time and my grandmother came to visit her and my other cousin who lives nearby.  I spent a couple of hours visiting and listening to the two women talk and banter and that was it.  All she wrote, you could say.

Given how little I know about the woman, except the stories my mom told me about her general ill health (multiple heart attacks, multiple by-pass surgeries) I feel like it would be strange of me to ask after her, and even more strange for me to offer my condolences.  I’m her granddaughter after all.  Her youngest child’s oldest.  Shouldn’t I be sharing in their grief?  Shouldn’t I be wringing my hands with them, wondering if she’ll be released from the hospital soon?

Really, I should send my mom a message, just a short one, to ask how things are going.  It’s not like I have to comment on some stranger’s wall about a woman they’ve never seen me interact with in any way, though that is how I feel about it right at this moment.  I feel like the wall flower at the party.  I’ve been in the corner so long they’ve all forgotten I was there, and I don’t want to make ripples much less waves by reminding them of me.  Thankfully, in this internet age, that is not how things work. I can ask after her more privately, and not feel a spectacle. I can send my worries and my sorrows to my mom and not feel awkward, because I do know her and I love her and I’m sure this is hard on her.

I wonder how Mother’s Day will go over this year?

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Possibilities…

16 03 2013

I like to imagine winning the lottery sometimes. Or just a millions dollars.  I’m not all that greedy.  But i like to think about what I would do, and I’m sure for the majority what I would do would be pretty boring.  I wouldn’t set off to travel the globe calling no place home and having no ties (but believe me I would totally pay to take the massive world wide cruise I’ve head about because cruising is freakin’ wonderful!) and writing my memoirs, because who the hell would ready my memoirs?

Okay, maybe Oprah and a bunch of lonely, drama starved housewives, but there are far more interesting, far more twisted life stories out there and I would just feel a pretender amongst them.

Regardless, I think the first thing I would do would be to finish my living room while my grandmother was off on a short vacation (that I would have paid for of course).  You see she has a serious case of the DIY bug, and our house is constantly under construction in some form or another.  We play musical bedrooms, re-purpose rooms, knock down walls, put new ones up, and typically run out of money about 3/4’s of the way through.  Right now, that mostly finished room is the living room that is sitting in what was once our car port.  It’s a nice room. Kind of small, kind of dark, and there is still some mudding and sheetrock-ing that needs to be done (not to mention the floors and the paint and the finishing touches on the electrical), and I would really, really feel good about myself if I could throw some money at it, and a weekend or two, and get it spic and span for my grandmother without her having to lift a finger (and risk throwing out her back again in the process). Given that we are a DIY heavy household, that wouldn’t be all that hard.  It would mean paying my dad for his labor, no doubt, but he is generally okay with being paid in cigarettes and Monster cans.  It could be done even without the million or the lottery money, but I am a poor community-college student, trying to pay down my own debts.  It would take a while to work up the cash.

But if I had seemingly unlimited funds?  Oh the things I could do.  Not only could I finish the living room, I could furnish it.  However, you all must know that that is not where this would end.

Oh, heeeeelllllllll no.

Because I have noticed something.  Something about my family.  Okay…. something about my dad and his mom.  He keeps moving back in. Now, here is the situation, so that it is clear what I mean by that.  I live with my grandmother, almost always have (there was that one year, but that is a story for another time), and my dad?  Well, he comes and goes.  But he is never gone for long.  Don’t get me wrong, he hasn’t been moving in and out for the entirety of my life.  There were a few years there when he was settled when I was young, and a few more a little later, and a few more after that.  But it doesn’t ever last for long, and eventually he moves back in.  And the problem that I am working towards, the one that I would employ a  lot of this fictional money to fix, is this:  Eventually my grandma will die, and then where will he go?

You might say, “Not your problem!  He’s a grown man and he can fend for himself.  He has skills, he knows how to employ them and given a good shove, he probably will.”  And you would be absolutely right.  But, you see, I just can’t.  I am aware of that aspect of myself, I will not live in denial.  I come from a line of women and men who just can’t let their family or friends take life’s punches alone.  We take in strays, we very nearly run a boarding house actually for those down on their luck, need a hand to hold for a while, wading through transitional periods, and have no where else to go.  We deal with them sleeping on our couches, eating our food, smoking our weed and cigarettes, not helping with the housework, and never shutting up and giving us a moment’s peace, on top of being a drain on our limited finances.  We’ve had them steal from us, we’ve chased them to state boarders to get our stuff back, we’ve let a lot of our missing tools go with a shake of our heads and a mutter about so-and-so, but when the next one wanders by telling us of their woes, sometimes never looking for a hand-out, legitimately planning to do this that or the other to help themselves, we make an offer.  You don’t want to do that, don’t put yourself through that, you shouldn’t have to live that way.  And then there is another body on our couch.

So I know that I can’t and, when the time finally comes, won’t be able to turn my dad away when he is finally, again, down on his luck.  But I don’t want him living with me while I’m trying to live my life, probably raising a family.  I don’t want him in the guest room for five or ten years, bringing his girlfriends over to stay for a few days or weeks or months.  I don’t want him borrowing my car because he sold his when he had no other options and then buying up a junker that runs and just needs some TCL before it’s a great car again.  I don’t want to be my grandmother.

Here’s what I am willing to do – I’ll put his ass to work.  Aside from a back that troubles him sometimes and his worsening eye sight, my dad is in great physical condition for his age, so I am not afraid to hand him physical labor.  If I won the lottery or had a million dollars I would buy up a few properties, rent them out, and give him the job of property manager/maintenance-man.  I would deduct his rent from his salary and let him live one of the houses if he needed to.  I’ll manage it with or without the lottery.  It will just take longer.

My dad isn’t the only one though.  I have friends.  Well meaning, motivated friends who really just need a leg up in the world to get their lives in shape.  Maybe I’m an idealist and it would all backfire on me.  Maybe my friends would just end up with a few failed businesses and owing me thousands that they would never be able to pay back, but I would help them anyway.  I would fund ariannaoftheblack’s doggie daycare.  I would buy the property (I totally picked it out already) and waive their rent for the first year or two, and give them some start-up cash.  I would buy nightly her mobile weld-shop equipment and give her some start-up cash too.  I would probably rent houses to both of them.

I would put a large sum into savings, an IRA, I would get a CPA to invest it for me.  I would do all the things you’re supposed to do with your money to ensure that you have enough to retire comfortably.  I would ask for  a demotion at work, dropping to 20 hours a week, taking a pay-cut just so I could spend more time at my community college learning things I want to learn and not things I need for a degree, so that I could travel and not feel like I were abandoning my co-workers to chaos.

I probably wouldn’t move out immediately, but I would tell my grandma to evict the couple living in our mother-in-law’s apartment and let me move in.  I would take some semblance of autonomy, and pay rent, but not leave her alone which I know she fears.  At least until my boyfriend asks me to move in with him somewhere.  That, I’m sure, she would find acceptable and be happy about.

I would pay off my debts (which aren’t much) and my car.  I would try to convince my boyfriend to let me pay off his debts (which are less than mine) and to let me pay something towards the car he is so lovingly struggling to keep running.  I would take him traveling with me ❤

I would take my whole family and him on a series of cruises and vacations.  I would pay for my sisters and my brother to go with us, though they live half way across the country.  I would ask them where they wanted to go and make it happen.  I would give them all money for college.  I would invite my boyfriends family to go too sometimes, and pay for the bulk of it.  I would take a lot of pictures.  I would give my dad a nice camera with which to take pictures.  I would forget the cameras in a suitcase, and spend all of my time interacting with the people I love, forgetting to take the pictures.





15 03 2013

Thought Catalog

1. Regardless of his height, he is comfortable with the way he looks around you. You don’t have to date a guy who is taller than most, but he can’t be someone who is threatened to be seen with you.

2. He genuinely makes you laugh (because he is funny, not because you think he is attractive and want to flatter him), and not a self-conscious little giggle, either. He makes you belly laugh and choke on your own laughter and tear up with laughter and laugh so hard you think you’re going to pee yourself.

3. He loves your laugh, even your “ugly” laugh.

4. He remembers little things about you, even things that other people might consider unimportant or too minor. He knows what your favorite dish at the Thai place is. He knows what movie you two watched on your first date. He knows the blanket you…

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Sometimes…

11 03 2013

Sometimes I wonder what it is I am doing.  And yes, I mean the big questions. What am I doing with my life? What am I doing to advance myself? How can I possibly get where I want to get and where exactly is that?  Why don’t I have a map?   Was I in the wrong line when they were giving those out? And why can’t I just stick with something for more than half the course?  I’m a community college major-hopper, and I can’t seem to break that cycle, partially because I don’t ever know what type of job I want.  I don’t want to work with my hands very much – I simply don’t have the drive for it.  But I hate the idea of being behind a desk doing paperwork, except for those weeks when I would rather do mindless paperwork than anything more tangibly productive.  I don’t want to devote another 10 years to school to become a geologist (which I did consider heavily), wracking up the student loans for a job in hydrology or petrology or leafing through geologic maps (no matter how much I enjoy them) and writing reports on god knows what.  I don’t want to be a teacher, of English or Geology or Geography (the only thing I have a degree in).  I enjoy map making, but dislike analysis that requires me to use my brain actively.  In fact, that seems to be the root of my problem and it’s been weighing on my self-image.  I want things to be easy ( I know, who doesn’t, right?).  I want to get it right, at least mostly, within my first one or two tries and if I don’t, my drive disappears and I am lost again.  I am at this point in college where they want me to be working on these huge projects.  Semester-long, self-directed, analytics-based projects that are so open-ended that I don’t know where to begin.  In these projects the instructions are so vague that I feel like I’ve been sent out to an open field, empty in all directions, and in order to build something, but not told what. They give me a list of materials that I can have with a mere request that is longer than I am tall.  Call it choice fatigue, but I can’t handle that very well.  And somehow these days I feel like that’s all there is to life.  It sound pretty damned accurate to me (aside from the ease of attaining materials) because I’m standing here looking into the future and I see nothing yet.  I have my boyfriend beside me, I can hold his hand and I can see that he is building something and I have something half built myself, but I can’t stand to look at it.  I could wear this job I have now like a skin for the next 10 or 20 years if I wanted.  I could put my heart and soul into it and I might do well and in some ways I might thrive, but there would be a chain around my heart.  It’s already there.  Most days I think of it as the aching loss of my childhood and the freedoms that went with it, and I sigh and put it out of mind.  But other days…  Other days I think that there must be a life for me that doesn’t feel like that, and I get wrapped up in the wish to find it, to build something that I will enjoy and be proud of in my big open field.  And then the drive fades away and the average returns because at some point I realized that there was some reason that I wasn’t good enough.  It won’t work quickly enough, or I don’t want to put in that much effort and so I let it all go.  And for a little while that chain around my heart aches a little bit more acutely and I am a little closer to crying, always, than ever before.