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All posts for the month October, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Drive

Published October 30, 2016 by dividinguplife

Rather than sit around on another Sunday while my husband went to work, I decided to do something productive and met up with my old coworker and her friend for a donations drive that was being held. Our state was hit extremely hardly by Hurricane Matthew, and some of our coastal towns, and even 100 miles inland were affected hard. Even Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel was here the day after the storm and remarked that he had never seen flooding of this magnitude come so far inland when the Hurricane’s eye didn’t even make landfall. Some of the more financially poor towns on our coast – those people lost everything. 

We spent our morning sorting out donations – health and beauty supplies, animal food, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies, hundreds of boxes of clothes, toys, shoes, and other misc. items. We filled a few hundred backpacks with school supplies, tooth brushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, hair brushes, shampoo, and body wash. Since I am an avid coupon shopper, I was able to pull from my stock pile and donate my own things, plus clothes my daughter has grown out of. We spent about four hours out there, in the blistering sun. Surprisingly it was rather warm (about 80 degrees). I was smart enough to wear tights and knee-high boots – I guess I underestimated the amount of donations coming in plus the temperature. 

But I did wear a sleeveless dress, which is something I have never been too fond of doing because I’m self-conscious about my arms being so big. 

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It was nice to wear a dress and keep the thoughts in the back of my mind to a dull roar. 

By the end of the morning, my boots came off, my hair was up in a freighting bun full of frizz and loathing under the ruthless sun. My old boss wanted to take a selfie, and being the tallest one of the bunch, I always have to stand in the back and bend down. 

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But, it was rewarding and it was nice to know I did something that will help other people.  

Adulting

Published October 29, 2016 by dividinguplife

I was supposed to meet my dad at his work yesterday for lunch, but work ran over by an hour, and I had to reschedule. For the past four and a half years, I have let my job dictate my personal life, and it’s getting kind of old. I’m torn between my love and knowledge of the work I do, and wishing that things were more fair. I think my boss forgets that just because it’s his business, and he puts the majority of his life into it, he shouldn’t expect the same of his staff. The request for a day and a half off, that I put in a few months ago, went ignored until it was too late. I wanted to go with my daughter and her step-mom to a concert one state away. I figured if I put in the request a few months in advance, it would be enough time to work out our clinic schedule. I got a text from our manager (the boss’s wife who is never there), that she had lost my email, and which day did I want again?? I told her it was too late for me to buy tickets now, so never mind. They don’t care. While the boss is super nice most of the time, he is extremely unaccommodating. If I left this job, I wouldn’t take a new job in the same field, but it’s going to be difficult to find another job in a different field, making what I make now …. even though what I make is low compared to what others make in my field. 

A patient showed up and screamed at my coworker just as we were closing. Our doctor just laughs it off, even though my coworker was sobbing. He doesn’t seem to think that it should affect us when they go ballistic on us – mostly because they don’t do it to him. He’s the doctor, he’s the all-knowing God of eyeballs. We are just brainless vision monkeys out to do his bidding. We are the verbal punching bags when they don’t get their way. This job is breaking her morale, but she is stuck in the same boat that I am. We are both sinking together. 

Home life is going just fine, though. Even though we are constantly living paycheck to paycheck (and sometimes we don’t even make it until the next paycheck before we have to overdraft our account just to make it until payday), my husband and I maintain a happiness that I have never experienced with anyone else before. I read so many blogs of women that have been married for over ten years, and suddenly they are facing infidelity committed by their husbands, and they really had no idea that their perfect marriage was a lie. Things like that constantly worry me. Sometimes my doubt creeps in at the most random of times, and my imagination kicks into overdrive. When my husbands phone makes a noise, my brain tells me that it must be some woman texting him. Someone he would be happier with. I mean, if these women didn’t see it coming, who says I will?? Plus I have been a victim of infidelity from the men of my past – several times. It’s difficult to push away the thoughts that you just aren’t good enough. 

Despite my insecurities, my husband makes sure to tell me weekly “Thanks for marrying me, man.” …. he tells me he loves me every day. Some days he’s more touchy than others, but most often he doesn’t like to touch. I knew and understood that about him before we ever got married. Some days it’s hard, because I crave the physical connection, but mostly I understand his need for personal space almost 100% of his time. Still, I can’t help but to long for cuddling in the middle of the night, or to sit together on the couch while he rubs my feet or something like that. It just isn’t him, and it never has been. We are alike in many ways, but so much different in other ways. The relationship my husband and I have is mostly a fantastic mental connection. I’ve had it the other way, and I can say for certain that I prefer him over anything else. 

My weight loss is stagnant right now, but then again I haven’t really been trying very hard. I’m still mindful of what I put in my mouth, but that’s the extent of it. An awesome blogger buddy that I read, put up pictures of these photo layers of herself, and she told me how to do it. 

The silhouette photo is the ‘before weight loss’ photo. The layer on top is the current layer, so that if you look close enough you can see the outline of the inches that were there prior to the weight loss. 

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I thought that was nifty. Now that I’m aware of this app, I can make more of an effort to take pictures standing in the same spot, wearing the same thing to get a more accurate photo. 

And now it’s time for a weekend of relaxing and trying to figure out how much money we aren’t going to have once I pay all of these bills. 

Our First Father-Daughter Lunch

Published October 14, 2016 by dividinguplife

I took the week to cool off from my dad’s comments about not wanting financial help for his cancer treatments. Mine and my half-sisters thwarted efforts left me feeling like an asshole. It was like further proof that I didn’t know my dad at all. Like, if he would have been apart of my life, I would have known that things like this made him uncomfortable. 

Since my boss is Muslim, we get off of work on Friday’s at 12:30 so he can attend Mosque. It works out for us, because half-day Friday’s are awesome. So after work I drove down the road and met my Dad at the Ale House for lunch. 

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I wish I had a picture of him when he was healthy, before Stage 4 Cancer invaded his body without his permission. Even though I don’t have a relationship with my dad, the memories I do have of him are of a healthy, vibrant, larger than life man. This man still has the same smile, the same personality, the same dreams – but he’s dying. He told me that without treatment, he has less than a year to live. He is choosing the Holistic Treatment route. He firmly believes this is his best chance to beat the tumor that is growing on his liver. Chemo and Radiation are 100% not an option. The tumor was taken from his colon and lymph nodes, and only half from his liver. The other half is too dangerous to remove without it first shrinking. 

We talked about little things, unimportant things. I told him the story of the time that I got Grams (his mom) to smoke a bowl for the first time. She has Crohn’s disease. I read that weed helps with the pain from Crohn’s. I tried weed for the first time that year (at 29 years old) and only smoked it for a year ….. and one night she came to sit on the couch while I was packing a bowl. I asked her if she wanted to try it, and she said yes. Which shocked me, because my grams hasn’t ever so much as smoked a cigarette in her life. But she hit that bowl with a professionalism that I was proud of. And then she slept for two days. And she had no pain. She never smoked it again, and I stopped soon after, but it is something I will always remember. Sharing this story with my dad, and hearing him laugh a real laugh, was priceless. 

He apologized to me for his absence in my life. To be fair to him, he did sign his rights over to my step-dad so that he could legally adopt me. As far as anyone is concerned, legally he is nothing to me. His name was removed from my birth certificate, and my step-dad’s was put on there as if he were the one that had been in the delivery room. When he turned out to be a piece of shit, it just all kind of seemed like this was done for nothing. My dad said that he has done nothing but make excuses in his head to justify his lack of involvement in my life, and that there was no excuse. He was 17, he was scared, he had nothing, he wasn’t ready for that kind of responsibility. My mom told him she was on birth control. He didn’t want to have to deal with my mother (who he refers to as Satan’s right-hand man – and I agree), and then by the time I was older, and he figured out he’d fucked up, he said he was too scared to try to start a relationship with me. 

I told him I was fine. He apologized for the childhood that I had; being subjected to the horrors of my mother and her drug abuse and choosing men over me. I regaled him with tales of my mother giving me fake cancer to get hundreds of thousands of dollars for my fake treatment, out of a friend of hers that had moved out of state. I told him about how I busted her scheme, called her friend, and told him I was a perfectly healthy 14 year old, and that I had a brother, and that my mom had been married before, divorced, and was currently living with another man. Those checks stopped quickly, and so did their friendship. My dad sat there looking amazed and confused. To me, this is the life I had. While I know it wasn’t normal – it was the one that I knew. Telling these stories is as simple to me as breathing. He told me my wedding band set was pretty. I told him that it wasn’t real, and I refused to wear real jewelry ever since my mom’s boyfriend pawned all of my rings (I had one to two for every finger) for drug money when I was 16 (Including the expensive diamond cluster engagement ring that belonged to my great-grandmother). I vowed from then on that I would never again wear expensive jewelry – or any jewelry for that matter, that had any value. He looked sad for me, but I didn’t want him to be sad for me. I reminded him that despite it all, I always had Grams. She was always there for me. Besides her being my family, it’s the main reason that she lives with me and I will take care of her until she dies. She saved me from my mother more times than I can even count, and so I will make sure she never goes into a nursing home. 

I told him about my job, and my frustrations with my denied pay-raise, my inability to be able to take normal vacation time, and how we aren’t really allowed to get sick without suffering some form of punishment with extra work and cute comments from my boss. I found it so incredibly easy to talk to him. It felt like we hadn’t missed a day. We’ve missed an entire lifetime, and the gap closed in an instant over one lunch. We haven’t ventured into the territory of the fact that he is very much a grandfather to a 12 year old at the age of 49; I figured I’d save that for another lunch meeting. 

Since his surgery, I suppose using the bathroom is rather difficult for him. He abruptly stood up and declared he had to go to the bathroom. I gave him a hug and he told me he loved me. I walked out to my car feeling like a huge weight had been lifted from me. I connected with my father. We had lunch like normal people. We shared stories of our childhood. We sat the same way; our right hand in a fist, covering our chin and our lower lip. Looking at him was like looking at myself. 

I could never be glad that he’s dying. I’d trade another 31 years of non-communication if it meant that he weren’t sick and he could continue to go on with his life ignoring me. But, it doesn’t work like that. He has a terminal illness, and that illness has brought realization on him, and has made him reach out to make amends. I feel that I at least owe it to him to give him peace-of-mind that when he leaves this world, he will be free of guilt. I pray that God is lenient on him in judgement. After all, he was a decent dad to my half-sister, and he did what he thought was right for him and for myself when I was four years old. He had eight years of freedom before my half-sister was born. I guess by then he was ready to be a dad. 

And no matter what, I will always be his daughter. 

31 Years later and your dying dad shows up

Published October 1, 2016 by dividinguplife

Work kicked my ass this week. My coworker nearly had another meltdown because of the work stressors. She’s been there two years to my four years, and she hasn’t quite gotten that complaints only lead to more work as a cute form of punishment from the boss man so that we understand exactly who runs shit around there. I keep my mouth closed and just keep pushing forward. 

My dad had another scan to see what’s going on with the cancer. His doctor is refusing to remove the remainder of the tumor on my dad’s liver, unless he agrees to get chemo beforehand. He isn’t going to do it, and I applaud his stance from the beginning – he isn’t letting anyone bully him into taking a treatment that he simply doesn’t believe in. After watching chemo kill my patient last year, I can’t say that I blame him. 

I sent him a text the other night to ask him how the doctors appointment went. He said he is going to take a holistic approach to it. “Raiding God’s Medicine Cabinet” he called it. I told him that he was young (49) and otherwise healthy, that he would be fine. He then text me and said that he’d like to have a father/daughter talk soon, that there was much to say. I told him we would meet up whenever, to just let me know. I haven’t told my husband or my grandmother that he asked me to speak with him. For some reason I just can’t bring myself to do it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m convinced that he won’t follow through with it, just as he has followed through with nothing else in my 31 years of living, or if it’s because I want to keep it to myself for the simple reason that my father is reaching out to me for the first time in my life. I have a feeling it’s the former rather than the latter, or maybe a little bit of both. 

If he’s looking for some kind of forgiveness, there is none to give. He signed his rights over to my step-dad when I was five, so that I could be legally adopted. The hellish nightmare that turned out to be, is not his fault. I don’t think there is any explanation he could give to explain why he was in my half-sisters life and never in mine. I don’t know whether or not to broach the question if she is really his kid. We are all adults now, and I honestly don’t know if that has ever crossed his mind. I don’t want to stir a shit-pot for no reason. 

I talked to my grandpa tonight. And by grandpa, I mean the man that took on that role in my life from infancy (my grandmothers old boyfriend/domestic partner) as my grandfather pretty much pulled the same shit on me as my father did, and he vanished from my life with no reason or explanation. I had forgotten how much laughter he can bring to my life, as I haven’t really talked to him much over the years – not since he and my grandmother parted ways and I had to watch it destroy her. I was catching up with him tonight because my grandpa asked how my dad was doing, and my grandmother said she couldn’t talk about it and passed the phone with me. After some small talk and updates, I asked him how his children were doing and so forth. Eventually it led to tales of his childhood that had me howling with laughter. I told him a little about my dad sending me a text (so I guess now that I mention it, I have told someone – just not anyone who lives in this house) and he said “Man, that ship sank a long time ago…” which led him to say something about how he never knew his father. That was something I never knew. When I mentioned that, he said it was something that he didn’t like to really talk about. It made my heart cry, because I understood that he was sharing something with me that was painful to him, to help ease a subject that is painful for me at the moment. I quickly moved on to funnier things, and he regaled me with tales of his mother dating a man that “had more than a few screws loose”, who would help on the newspaper route his mom did every morning. The boyfriend would sit in the back seat, and his mother would have him roll up the newspapers and stuff them in the bag. One morning she said “paper ….” expecting the boyfriend to hand it to her. When he didn’t she got more forceful – “Damnit Walter, give me the fucking paper!” and she turned around to see poor Walter dead in the backseat. Grandpa said “Walter had enough of her shit, he checked out. Mom finished her route though. That she did.” and he screamed with laughter, which made me laugh even harder. It was nice. I miss listening to his stories. He is such a funny man. I can also tell that he is aging. It makes me sad that one day he will be gone. He was there for me as a male figure when all other men abandoned me as a child. 

My dad just text me a minute ago and asked me if I would come to dinner with him and my half-sister for her birthday on Tuesday. I don’t want to. My half-sister and I are friends on Facebook. We comment on things – but that’s about where it stops. I don’t know how I feel about attending her birthday in which he will be there, when he hasn’t attended a birthday of mine since I was 4 years old. I told him I’d have to see what my work schedule looked like. He said he needed me to be there. *Sighs* Why now? Because he’s probably dying???  I’m continuing to text him. I told him I will try really hard to make it. It just makes me sad. Why do I have to go to her birthday dinner when he has never even tried to have one of those for me? I mean, is that petty, jealous shit?? 

And what’s even more awesome is that my half-sister is drop-dead fucking beautiful. I mean, stunning. Perfect body, beautiful face and hair. Makeup applied with an expert hand. I’m this 31 year old fat ass trying to lose weight for the hundredth time in my life. I feel so insignificant compared to her. It’s like, he dumped me off and chose her because she’s the beautiful one. I’m the ugly duckling that people wipe their feet on. I’m the one that takes care of family members when they are too sick to look after themselves anymore. I’m the girl in the shadows that people realize is there when they need something, need someone taken care of, need it all cleaned up. 

I just text him and told him that I needed some time to work through my feelings on everything, especially the importance of my half-sisters birthday being stressed here, and no thought given to mine all of these years. I know me. I will mentally and emotionally shut down right there at the dinner table. My mind will start going a hundred miles an hour, and it will turn on me and tell me I’m not good enough, and the broken family I have is the one I deserve. It will lead to a downward spiral that I’m not ready to go down right now.