Family

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Horrible People

Published August 18, 2017 by dividinguplife

I found out the other night that my mother-in-law told someone that I was a horrible person and she wishes that my husband never married me. I’ve been so thrown off by the whole thing that I have had quite a few sleepless nights over it. I can’t figure out why she would say that. I also know her well enough to know that if I confront her with this, she will deny that she ever said it. 

I’m the horrible person that cosigned on a car for her, and then she let it get repossessed after my brother-in-law wrecked it and then “fixed it” himself with the insurance money. She claimed the car was a “piece of shit” and the fun part is, she wasn’t going to tell me that she was returning the car. When my husband and I were over there one day, we noticed the car sitting in the driveway without tags on it. I finally questioned her about it and it was as nonchalant as it could be. As if she were going to the grocery store. Not adding a severe dent into my credit. I can’t afford another car payment – taking on the car for myself wasn’t an option. Plus, I don’t know what kind of damage my BIL did that he didn’t properly fix. Still, I didn’t say anything. I’ve known these people my entire life, and I didn’t want to cause problems between them and my husband. 

This is also a woman that has purposely set two of her houses on fire to collect the insurance money. She did them both within a few years of each other and got a nice little payout. 

And I can’t, for the life of me figure out what I have done to be deemed a “horrible person.” 

I think it’s because my husband doesn’t go to their house very much. He can’t stand to be around his brother, who is drunk as soon as he hits the door in the afternoon. 

Most recently he has started dating his ex-brother-in-law’s wife. She left her husband and took refuge at his house with him and his mom. My brother-in-law is a very predictable man-whore. He’s an alcoholic, a loner, and a momma’s boy. She shelters him and makes excuses for his drinking, claiming he “doesn’t drink that much”. This new addition to his life also drinks and smokes pot like he does, and so it seems they are a match made in alcoholic hell. Neither myself nor my husband want to be around any of that. I guess it’s easier to make me the bad guy in this scenario.

I am also still friendly with my BIL’s ex-wife. She and I had our problems in the past. We had a lot of problems, actually. When she and BIL were married, she accused me interfering with their marriage, and her mother blamed me for the reason behind their split. None of which I had anything to do with. My past with BIL is what always seems to get in the way of everything. Somehow my thirteen year old self is attached to my thirty-two year old self, and nobody realizes that the past is the past. The only person that doesn’t blame me for anything in my past involving my BIL is my husband. 

Still, it’s difficult to know that the family I grew up loving so much as my own family, thinks so poorly of me – and for reasons that I don’t understand and probably never will. It doesn’t seem to hurt my husbands feelings too much to not be over there around them, but I feel like eventually he’s going to have to “choose sides” per se, and when he chooses mine, they will further blame me for whatever issue they have. 

 

As far as the estate things go – I’m pretty relieved at what we found out. Because my step-dad adopted me when I was five, any legal right to be the daughter of my biological dad ended at that point. My half-sister is the sole heir of my dad’s house and all of his belongings. She’s also first in line for Estate Administrator. With that comes the responsibility of making sure all of his debt is paid. Also, she is now responsible for my dad’s mortgage since she has inherited his house. It’s up to her to sell it, break even or take a loss on the cost. She can do nothing and let the state have it. Or she can live in it and make his mortgage payment. This responsibility going to a 23 year old girl that has never had a full-time job and doesn’t even know how to file her own taxes. Now I have to figure out a way to sit her down and explain all of this in a way that her Vyvance induced state can handle.

My husband and I plan to take a cruise in February with some of the money my dad left for me. We never did get a honeymoon, and very rarely have time to take for ourselves. We also want to take a trip somewhere in the states that we’ve never been – just a weekend getaway at a nice hotel. He’s always wanted to go to Vegas. I would like to go to Key West.  Either way, as long as we’re together, it doesn’t matter. 

Estate Drama

Published August 6, 2017 by dividinguplife

Last night I slept for nine hours. That’s the first time I have slept that long in over two weeks. I’d like to say that everything is going smoothly, but because my dad didn’t finish his will, I fear that the fun is just starting. 

What does this mean for me?

Well, involved in this entire legal process – it’s a mess. The two main players in this game, are myself and my half-sister. My half-sister is sadly a pawn being used by her mother and her grandmother. Her mother is the ex-wife of my dad. She was still on the deed of the house. She moved very quickly to get his name removed from the deed, so now it’s her house. All of the things inside of the house are still considered part of my dad’s estate. I’m not sure if they know that or not. 

They also don’t yet know that my dad’s will was unfinished. They are currently searching for it via my dad’s former attorney who was currently working on the equitable distribution of assets for his ex-wife.

I am very close with my dad’s girlfriend. She has most everything needed in regard to his fiances and bills that are owed. Knowing that my dad doesn’t have a will has enabled me to go ahead and set up and appointment with a probate officers downtown to apply for Estate Administrator. Unfortunately there isn’t an available appointment for three weeks. But, once my half-sister finds out that there is no will, her grandmother will start the same process. Thankfully I’m on top of it faster than them. 

My half-sister is letting people fill her head with shit. People that don’t even know what’s going on. Before my dad died, my half-sister went to his girlfriends house crying because she didn’t’ have the money to pay for her cell phone bill. My dad’s girlfriend paid for it with my dad’s debit card, because that’s what he would have wanted her to do. When the locks were changed on my dad’s house (by my half-sister) this week, they took some of his mail which showed her cellphone bill being paid with his account while he was in hospice. Now she thinks that his girlfriend has been running around town with his debit card, spending his money. Dad’s girlfriend was advised by an attorney to hang on to his personal effects (keys, credit and debit card) and not give them to anyone because it’s a liability. When my half-sister asked for those things, she was told that she couldn’t have them, and that set her off. She just doesn’t understand that my dad’s girlfriend is the only one concerned about doing everything fairly and legally. 

My dad also wrote three rather large checks to his girlfriend 12 days before he died. One was for living expenses, one was for me, and one for his memorial and for his girlfriend to get a car. The checks cleared into his girlfriends account well before he died …. but an attorney-friend of hers told her that those checks could still be considered part of his estate if my half-sisters side of the family obtained estate administrator and questioned those checks. So, we’re scared to spend any of that money, and she’s scared to give me my check from my dad in case we get sued. 

Tomorrow I have to go downtown on my lunch break and try to get my original birth certificate. I have my birth certificate, but it’s from when my step-dad adopted me, so my dad’s name isn’t on that one. I have to pray that he did actually sign my original birth certificate. My mom says he did. My step-dad says he doesn’t think he did. If that doesn’t exist, then I will have to do a DNA test via my grandma and my biological grandfather that has dementia and I haven’t seen in twenty years. I have to be able to prove that he’s my father if I’m to apply for Estate Administrator. 

I’m exhausted. I’m not the kind of person that likes to be social, I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t like people being mad at me. I know that once my half-sister finds out I’m going for Estate Administrator, she is going to feel really betrayed. I’m doing it because she doesn’t know how to think for herself. She lets her grandmother control everything in her life. Her grandmother is  class A bitch. She’s manipulative, she hated my father, she hates me, she hates everyone … probably even herself. If my half-sister were to get Estate Administrator, her grandmother would be the one filing my dad’s taxes, paying his bills, and controlling everything. This shit isn’t her business, but she would make it that way. 

Today is the first day in two weeks I haven’t done anything except go to the grocery store, and sit around the house. He’s only been gone a week, and it feels like he’s been gone for so much longer. 

It’s going to be a long road. 

The Heat is On

Published July 17, 2017 by dividinguplife

Last weekend our AC went out. It happened to go out when it was 97 degrees outside. Humidity in North Carolina is atrocious. You can’t breathe outside. I called our landlord three times last Sunday, telling them my grandmother lives with me and has asthma. It did no good. By the time my husband figured out what the problem was, all of the stores were closed, so we had to wait until Monday morning for someone to come out. Saturday night it got up to 78 in the house (I keep the house at 70-71), and Saturday night the house got up to 86 degrees. I slept in the sunroom on Sunday night because it’s closed in with sliding glass doors that are screened, and we have a futon bed out there.

I thought I would be sad sleeping alone in the sunroom last Sunday, because I don’t like sleeping away from my husband. But, I realized that it was no different sleeping out there, than sleeping upstairs with him. We go to bed at different times (him much later than me), we stay on our side of the bed, we have our own comforters. It’s no secret that my husband does no cuddle, so there is no coming to bed to spoon. So, it made me sad to realize that sleeping away from him for the night didn’t bother me because it was no different than both of us sleeping in the bedroom. 

But, I knew this was how he was, going into our marriage. I discovered his lack of physical affection not long after we started dating almost five years ago. It’s still lonely a lot of the time – because we talk all of the time, and laugh and get along – but the physical aspect of our marriage is missing and will always be missing. I try not to complain, because he’s such an amazing guy, but I can’t help how it makes me feel sometimes.

Last night I had a dream about The Abuser. We were in a mall that was getting awfully close to closing time. I remember the food court was dark and it was just all-around eerie. Then suddenly we were in a field full of beautiful purple flowers, and I kissed him and said “I love you” and this his wife opened up some door to somewhere and saw us standing together.

I woke up feeling guilty, even though I can’t control my dreams of him, or what happens. Usually when I dream of him, it’s of his softer side (yes, abusers have softer sides) It may be because yesterday I got a text message from a number I didn’t recognize saying that they didn’t recognize my number and wanted to know who it was. I replied back with my name and asked them who they were. It was The Abuser’s wife. Apparently I wasn’t in the phone under my name. Maybe a different name? I don’t know. I can’t get away from her. I was just like “Oh, okay” and that was the end of it. But she bugs me so much, I just wish she’d walk off the edge of the earth with her homewreckin’ self. After nine years, I should be over what she did, but I don’t think you ever get over it.

We went to pick up my step-children on Saturday. We thought we would have them for three weeks, but my husbands ex-wife is a bitch and only sent enough medicine for my step-son for two weeks, knowing that we would have to give them back if he doesn’t have his medication. That was a bummer. We had a lot of plans for three weeks (originally we were supposed to have them for seven weeks, but she enrolled them in summer sports on purpose.) Now, we are going to take the kids to a water park on Saturday, but that’s about all of the time we will have to do something with them since I work during the week and my husband works until seven at night. 

Women like these two remind me of why I don’t get along with women.

 

The Curse of July 4th

Published July 4, 2017 by dividinguplife

I used to enjoy July 4th for a multitude of reasons. I love the summer, I love fireworks and how they light up the night sky in a beautiful display of color. As I got older, I loved that I had the day off of work to do nothing – which is exactly what I’m doing today. 

But last night, as I sat in the sunroom with the windows open, and listened to the crickets and cicada’s singing their nightly song, I realized just how cursed July 4th has become for me. Not all memories are bad, but the residual leftovers are sad.

 

July 4th, 2004

My daughter was a month old. My husband at the time (her father) and I were on a trial separation. Probably from the lack of sleep in a colic baby, probably because I was nineteen and had no business being married in the first place. Probably because neither of us had yet to grasp the idea that parenting meant we had to grow up.  The night before, my ex-husband had gone out with his friends while I sat at home with our daughter. This night would be my night to go out and do what I wanted. I was staying with my mother for this period of  time, while my ex-husband and I tried to figure out what our next steps would be. 

Naturally, I ended up at my current husbands house. My need to see Blue Eyes (Now, my brother-in-law) fueled my desire to reclaim some of my freedom. It was at a time that I still drank when I had a free weekend (and before the legal age to do so). Blue Eyes had just moved back to this state from his home state, and I hadn’t seen much of them for six years. I was convinced that he was the love of my life and that I would find a way to make him see me. I wasn’t a scared thirteen year old anymore. 

The party became a neighborhood party. Somewhere inside my mom was getting drunk off her ass, which would later having her clinging to the toilet, wishing for death. I stayed outside in eye-proximity to Blue Eyes, watching him with a fondness that I had always had for him, but staying aloof because I knew that being clingy would just push him away. Playing hard to get really was the answer to this puzzling game of men and women. The more he drank, the more his eyes found mine in a sea of people. I tried to act like I didn’t see him or notice him in the least, but my heart pounded in my chest every time I could feel him looking at me. 

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Eventually he pulled out a huge tarp that covered most of the backyard. He poured Dawn Dish Detergent all over it, sprayed it down with the water hose, and made a neighborhood slip-n-slide. Clothes were shed, there were naked drunk people running all over the yard. Blue Eyes launched himself down the slide, a free bird of balls and biceps. He threw himself on the tarp with so much speed that he kept going once the tarp ended, which resulted in a white ass in the air, face-first in the bushes that lined the woods. 

Meanwhile, my current husband had shut himself in his room to game on the computer with his friends. That is how he spent his time. Eventually it got late. The cops were called for disturbing the peace, and Blue Eyes walked around with a towel wrapped around his waste. The neighborhood dispersed and went to their respective houses. Blue Eyes and myself sat on the front porch, while he massaged my feet, and I half-slid out of the chair. We were both past the point of drunk, but I had his attention. At some point my current husband came outside and looked at me and told me that I needed to go home. Blue Eyes told him to take his ass back inside to his room and to mind his own business. This was back in the days of my not being able to really tolerate my husband very much. I never understood his hostility towards me. It kind of hurt my feelings that he wouldn’t want me around. 

Eventually, Blue Eyes and I crawled our way into the living room and made it to the couch where we collapsed and tried to keep the room from spinning. Some time passed, but I remember becoming coherent because his proximity had lessened. Then he was over me, and his mouth was on mine. His lean body was pressed into me. I told him that I wanted him and heard him groan under his breath. He told me he would take my ass into his bedroom if I didn’t watch what I said. I told him I dared him to.

I don’t remember getting to his room, but I remember clothes being shed, and his ceiling fan being on high, because as he approached me, the air was blowing my hair in my face. He brushed his hand across face to move the hair, and his mouth claimed mine again. 

I remember parts and bits of having sex. I remember falling asleep afterward to “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees playing on his computer. I remember waking up at some ungodly hour of the morning and stumbling around to drive home. I remembering thinking that this was the start of something I’d always wanted. 

I wouldn’t see him again for another six years. 

 

July 4th, 2005

It took me an entire year to get over the fact that Blue Eyes and his family moved away again, without saying goodbye. This was the second time they had done this to me, and I was just as devastated at nineteen as I had been at thirteen. At the end of that July their house had caught fire, and they decided to return to their home state, ten hours away from me. 

My ex-husband and I had split up for good after we realized that we couldn’t make our marriage work, no matter how hard we tried. I was finally owning up to the fact that being a mother meant my kid came first. He hadn’t quite gotten there yet. I moved out and into my own place with our daughter. He got her every other weekend if he could manage, or if he didn’t have plans to go riding with friends on his motorcycle. (Now, he’s a fantastic father. It didn’t take him very long to get his shit together and figure it out.)

I signed up for match.com and put my profile picture out there. The night of July 3rd I received an e-mail that piqued my interest. This man was recently separated. His wife packed all of her things and moved out while he was at work, leaving him devastated. He liked my picture. I replied back explaining things about myself, and also told him that I was a bigger girl – to not be fooled by how photogenic I was in my picture. He said he didn’t care about that. We agreed to meet in the Circuit City parking lot the next day since we were both spending the 4th of July alone. I was still heart-broken over Blue Eyes leaving again, but I had a determination to move on from him hurting me again. 

I arrived first, and waited a short time for him. He looked angry and awkward. I could tell that when he pulled up, he wasn’t very impressed with what he saw. My heart deflated. I was going to have a difficult time finding someone to love me. Still, he got out of the car and we talked for a bit, then I got into his car and we went to Subway and had lunch. We went back to his house and sat there in awkward silence for a bit, and then he drove me to my car and that was it. I knew I would never see him again. That night while I was at the store, my phone rang, and it was him. He asked me if I wanted to come back over. He was lonely and he enjoyed talking to me. I agreed and thanked my lucky stars that someone was interested in me. This is the man that I refer to affectionately as The Abuser 

Today would have been our 12 year anniversary. I spent last night digging through old pictures on photobucket. His login crept into my mind – and I’m sure he hasn’t even used photobucket in ten years. But I tried logging in, and I was able to. Immediately I was overwhelmed with pictures of us. 

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There are days (like today) that it still hurts. I don’t miss his abuse, and I don’t miss him. I don’t regret my marriage to my husband in the least. But I will always feel like a failure with this one. I don’t know if it’s residual emotional abuse from him. I don’t know if it’s my overachieving ways that my ego is still bruised from not being enough for someone. I don’t know if maybe it’s because he was the first person I loved in my adult life that had such a pull over me, that I will always think about him. 

He beat the shit out of me for three years, and then he cheated on me and threw me out on the streets. He never loved me. He moved on to marry someone else and have a child with her. Someone that treats him exactly how he treated me. He had it good with me and didn’t realize it until he had thrown me away.

I find myself wondering if he even remembers what day this is. If I was enough to cause him to remember this day for the rest of his life, like I do. 

 

July 4th, 2015

On June 25th, 2015 I was sitting in my living room, scrolling through Facebook when a picture of my uncle popped up on my wall, from my Aunt’s boyfriend. All it said was “Please pray for Dennis, he has been in a serious accident.” My face paled and I immediately sent a text to my Aunt. I was confused as to why nobody had reached out to me. My aunt was in a daze when she answered the phone. They were up at the hospital. She apologized for not calling me, but said she couldn’t even think straight. I rushed up to the hospital that night to sit with the family.

I returned nearly every day for the next week. He was in critical condition. His brain was swelling, but he was responsive to commands. He could move his hands when asked, and make a peace sign when prompted. His eyes were still swollen shut, but he knew we were there. His fifteen year old daughter, my cousin, stayed glued to his side. She was about to be sixteen. She said she didn’t care if she had her sixteenth birthday party in the hospital as long as she could celebrate it with him. They were inseparable. 

My Uncle had a craniotomy done to allow his brain to swell comfortably. Shortly after that he was brain dead. I went in to see him one last time before they pulled the plug on his life support. His hands and legs were still doing involuntary twitching, giving us false hope that he would recover. The nurse explained that it was just his body’s response, but that there was nothing going on in his brain. When we pulled the plug, he would be dead. 

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His organs went on to save six people. Everything had changed the moment that seventeen year old didn’t check his blind-spot and sent my Uncle careening into a telephone pole. Our lives were affected. He left behind two kids, and a grandson that was a month away from birth. He was 45 years old. A survivor of cancer, a business owner, an incredible human being. 

That night, my husband and I took his kids downtown to see the fireworks. I stood there in awe and shock, wondering if any of this was actually real. I prayed that my Uncle had a better view of the fireworks from Heaven. I prayed that he would always be around us. I prayed that his children would recover from losing a man that was so incredible. 

 

Today, I’m staying home. I’m not going anywhere, I’m not doing anything. The memories of years past are enough to make me want to shut myself away from everything. My husband is working until five. I have no desire to celebrate this stupid day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter My Father Will Never Read

Published June 19, 2017 by dividinguplife

Dear Dad,

I find it ironic that your cancer is what pushed us together as the end draws near. How much time do we have left? Three months? Six? More? Less? Every time I see you, your face has become more hollow. You can’t even sit in a chair comfortably anymore, because there’s no meat there. You are a walking skeleton that pushes away any help extended towards you. By “growing closer” I mean that I have seen you more in the past year than I have in my thirty-one years of life. How many times has it been since last July? Five or six, maybe. Five or six times we have been in the same room together, laughing at the same things. Five or six times in a year, which is more than I ever saw you before. 

There’s no time left. Not when you shut us all out. How can their be dignity in dying alone? Whenever I ask you if you need anything, you tell me that you have everything you need – and yet there is nobody there to help you. When you eat, you throw up. When you take your medication, you become constipated. You refused chemo and radiation, and then when it got bad, you wanted it … but it was too late. Why are you so stubborn? 

The other day I had chest pain from a pulled muscle. Rather than bothering my husband, I drove myself to the emergency room to be checked out. I laughed to myself because I had just jumped on your ass about going to the emergency room without letting anyone know. it made me sad to realize that I am so much like you, and yet I am just learning these small things that genetically, yet uniquely match us together. 

I know that I like to write, like you do. I know that I’m stubborn and very introverted, like you are. 

But I also know I am unlike you in so many ways. Unlike you and my mom, actually. I never abandoned my daughter. My grandmother (your own mom) lives with me and has for almost five years, because you wouldn’t let her live with you. I wouldn’t have it any other way, either. I’ve dedicated my life to healthcare so that I can have a small role in helping others. I’m not selfish in the love that I give to other people. 

I forgave you years ago, though the pain has always lie dormant in the recesses of my heart. Your explanation of your abandonment was sufficient enough for you to have the forgiveness you needed before you passing, but a small part of me will never understand why I wasn’t good enough for you to want. You say you love me, and yet I feel nothing from you. What’s worse is that I feel nothing towards you. I feel sadness that you’re dying. I feel sadness that we have a small amount of time left, and yet you still won’t let me in. I feel even more abandoned than before. We have opportunity to spend every minute together that we can, and you still don’t want to. Why? 

My handsome, introverted, selfish, stubborn father. How you have molded and shaped the person I am today just by simply not being there for me. I became stronger because of it. I learned what not to do. I learned that sometimes someone needs the forgiveness you aren’t sure you can give – but you give it anyway. Selflessness thinks of the other person, always. That’s what I have done. When you die, you will be able to go knowing that I don’t blame you for the choices you made in regard to me. You will die knowing that I will be okay, and that I will take care of your mother until she dies. When you die, you will leave behind a lot of unanswered questions because of your refusal to open up to any of us. 

And somehow, we will all still be less, because of your absence. 

 

-C 

30 Years of Packing

Published June 2, 2017 by dividinguplife

For the past week I’ve been helping my grandpa pack up his house. A house I have grown up in. I spent almost every weekend at his house for fifteen plus years. This is the grandpa that isn’t my blood, but is more important than that. Not to mention he helped me out with an attorney when I had my surprise court date for shit I didn’t even know I was in trouble for.

He has three kids and countless grandchildren. Not one of them have offered to help him pack his house. We have three weeks left to get it done, though he hopes to be out sooner. It’s a house that has lived in for over thirty years. I’ve spent about eleven hours this week packing, and have gotten about fifty boxes done. What’s left? Everything that he has shoved into drawers, closets, and his attic. *sighs* …. but what can you do? He has nobody else that will help him. He’s in his mid-seventies, so our days consist of me pulling everything out and him telling me stories about all of it. Most of them I remember anyway, because I was a child when most of this stuff was bought. I know the stories, but I enjoy listening to them anyway. I’m enjoying spending time with him. 

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My grandpa and my daughter about five years ago. She’s taller than him, now. 

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I used to stand at that kitchen sink on a step-stool beside my grandma and help her wash dishes. 

My grandma and my grandpa lived together for twenty-five years. They never married for whatever reason. But they were together before I was born. So, naturally when my own paternal grandfather flaked out of my life, it didn’t really matter to me because I already had this man. Clothes, diapers, formula … you name it. He was there. He always has been. Even when he decided ten years ago that he wanted to live alone, which meant my grandma had to move out, he has stuck by both of our sides. 

Now he’s moving away, about an hour and a half … which isn’t that far, but right now he’s only twenty minutes away. 

My daughter turns 13 on Sunday. I feel old as hell. I’ll be 32 next month, so I know I’m young. But I really can’t figure out where the time went. She was a baby. I don’t remember a lot about the past 13 years – they’ve gone by in a blur. She will have a learners permit in two years, a license in three. She will be a damn adult in five years. What in the hell is this?

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Not many people will admit shit like this – but I do ….. I never wanted to have children. I don’t know if I was scared that I would give my kids the same life that I was given, or if it was just because I didn’t want to be responsible for another human life. Whatever the reason was, when I ended up pregnant at 18, I was excited and scared all at the same time. Admittedly, I could have been a much better mom than I was in the beginning. I never neglected her, I never beat her … but there were days that I would find myself so mad at my own damn self for having a child because God forbid I couldn’t sleep in. Or because daycare cost so much. My dreams of college went out the window. I had to work full-time because I had no family support to speak of. My own family was 50 shades of fucked up and neglect. 

But I tell you something – at this moment, having her was the best decision I ever made. She made me grow up, she has shown me what unconditional love really means. She makes me laugh, she makes me proud with her stellar grades. I love those rare moments when she opens up to me about a person she likes at school, or when one of the girls at her school is acting like a bitch and she wants to complain about it. I love when we are going somewhere and she takes over the radio and plays her crap music (though some of it isn’t half bad). I’m loving the parenting thing now that she’s more independent. But now that I’m older I wish I could go back and enjoy her baby years more than I did. I can’t get those back. They’re gone. And I don’t want anymore kids. 

Time is so fleeting. Life is so short. 

Stamp of Approval

Published April 7, 2017 by dividinguplife

Yesterday morning, my boss did cataract surgery on my grandmother (the second eye), and my grandpa met us up there so that I could go to the office and then meet them there for post-op care. When I say grandpa, I mean the man that bought me all kinds of stuff when I was a baby (diapers and formula, clothes and toys) not the one that abandoned me on my birthday and never came back.

I think my grandpa taking care of me was the first reality check that blood isn’t always thicker than water. In fact, in my life, I have learned that it rarely is. Sometimes even the water evaporates. Sometimes the realization that you can only depend on yourself comes crashing down on you like a ten ton weight. 

My grandpa is the one that just helped me out of my legal troubles when that surprise court date circa 2009 popped up on me when I went to get my pistol permit. Facing the chance that I’d be hauled off to jail for something that I didn’t know existed in the first place, my grandpa gave me five hundred bucks, no questions asked so I could get a lawyer. He has done more for me not being my blood, than most of my family that is blood, has ever done for me. 

We had breakfast in the hospital cafeteria yesterday morning. It was nice to just sit down and spend time with him and hang out. My grandpa is a cool guy. 100% Portuguese with a temper to match it. He has worked in the carpet business his entire life. I remember being a kid and staying the night at his house on the weekends with my grams, and he’d be on the phone first thing in the morning screaming at his installers because they were idiots. 

Yesterday he brought my grams over to the office so I could check her vision and her eye pressure before she went home. Last night while I was cooking dinner, he was on the phone with my Grams and made a comment about how smart I am. It was very nice to hear that coming from him. I mean, he only saw me do something that is about a fifth of my entire job, and it was enough to impress a man that isn’t impressed very easily. 

When people hear that I’m in Ophthalmic Technician, they never really care to grasp what it is that I do. Or they just shrug and assume I sit on my ass all day and do … what? I’m not sure. Very few people actually understand the level of patient care and the intricacies involved in my line of work. I work with eyeballs all day. I literally have my fingers on and around a persons eyeball. I do the testing (about six different machines for different parts of the eye and different potential diseases), I set up the surgeries, I monitor the billing, the appeals, the denials. Not only that, I’m also the sounding board for elderly people that don’t have anyone else to talk to. I ask them how their eyes are feeling, and twenty minutes later we are talking about their arthritis and how much they miss their spouse that has been dead for fifteen years. By the time we get out of the exam room, I know how them and their spouse met, how long they were married, how their spouse died, and how they have been doing since their spouse died. These patients become more than patients. When they die, a piece of me goes with them. Even now, years later, there are quite a few patients that I think back on, that have passed. I’ve been to numerous funeral’s where the family recognized me and I grieved with them. In the Glaucoma specialty, we see our patients four to six times a year. We get to know them. They aren’t just another chart number. I become invested in them. 

After five years and almost three thousand patients, even now when my boss comes up to me and says something like “You remember that patient that had an ahmed tube shunt that went from Count Fingers to 20/30 and we were able to remove her from her drops?” and I’ll be like “Yeah, it was such-and-such” …. like you remember their names. It’s important. They say you are supposed to separate yourself emotionally from your patients, but I can’t. I find that to be cold and insensitive. 

Tonight my husband laughed at me because when I vacuum, I kind of lasso the cord around my hand and then hang it on the hook, rather than wrap the cord around the two hooks all proper-like. My husband is a lot neater than I am. I cook and I clean, but I’m just not as detailed with it like he is. He hangs all of his clothes in the closet. I throw mine on the top shelf of the closet. It doesn’t bother him, he just laughs at me. 

When I was growing up, my mom was a neat-freak. I mean like an OCD nazi neat-freak. She would clean everything until it shined, and then bitch at you if anything got messed up. If I tried to clean up after myself, she was convinced that it wasn’t clean enough and she would clean it again, all the while screaming at me about what a slob I was. By the time I was sixteen, I just didn’t care anymore. After I moved out at seventeen and was on my own, I realized that if I left a sock on the floor, the entire world wasn’t going to come crashing down on my head. Seeing small clusters of chaos in my world brings me comfort. It reminds me that life can move forward without everything being so fucking perfect all of the time. I’ve done well enough in my life living by this rule. It’s just another thing my mom fucked up in my head. One more thing to add to a long list of reasons that I wish I would have been adopted.