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Archive for the ‘forever part deux’ Category

OK…who haven’t I hit, yet?  Martian!

Martian, Martian, Martian.  heh  He and I have a kind of quietly building relationship.  Since Bell hasn’t been around, Martian has blossomed.  Before, the poor boy couldn’t get two words out before Bell would correct him or talk over him.  Now, Martian is turning into a man.  He and Bell had been taking driving lessons from Uncle Dave, but with Bell gone, he got all the driving time.  Now, he has a permit and a girlfriend!  Apparently, there was even a tawdry catfight over him between his girlfriend and her sister.  Go, Martian.  lol  When he finally admitted that she was indeed his girlfriend, we HAD to give him a hard time, but I just told him, “Boy, you were the only one who didn’t know she was your girlfriend.”  

Back in the summer when the near-divorce bad happened, I was shocked when Tina came and told me that Martian had said that he ‘hoped we would get a divorce.’  It really hurt me.  I understand it.  He and I had been getting closer (he’d even line up for a hug when they’d get ready to leave), and, suddenly, I was gone and their whole world was on quicksand again.  It did hurt though.  Everything is good with me and him again.  A few times, he’s even done something for me that I know must be related to his relationship with his mother.  He’s known for a while now that she’s leaving, and when I found out that he knew, I kept an eye on him.  I didn’t want him bottling anything up.  But, I don’t think I’ve seen the boy smile as much as he has these last couple of months.  Several times before, I had reminded him that he was welcome to come live with us, and he’d get this wistful look and say, “Nah, they need me over there.”  See what I mean about Mull twisting him up?  When he comes here for his regular Wednesday, he’s always perky and happy.  He’s always joking half the night even while he’s plugged into the net playing kissy face with his girl.  He and Paladin make a pit stop for donuts on the way in to school Thursday morning; it’s their own little ritual and Paladin really looks forward to it.  When you get right down to it, so much of family life is just that: ritual.

Well, that’s all the kids done.  As for the adults, there have been a few changes.  Paladin’s Dad and his wife both retired and moved into the deserts of Oregon; they’re snowed under with a second mortgage until they can sell their old place which is REALLY NICE, if anyone knows anybody around the Dallas/Salem area of Oregon that needs a new home for 65% of its value and in a great school district!  They don’t seem too worried about the second mortgage but it scares me!  Besides, I’d love for them to come down here.  I think if we ever get them here, they’ll never leave.  🙂

Not much else has changed in the immediate family.  Brian’s brother is being chased by child support enforcement and they’ve pulled his driver’s license.  So, I figure before long he’s gonna be back in the pokey. 

The Brothers are good and the current mystery is that Dave has him a gal… at least, we think it’s a gal… He keeps disappearing and suddenly he’s carrying condoms.  We’re all for it.  He never really got over his ex-wife cheating on him.  Maybe this will snap him back into the Land of the Hopeful.  Hopefully, Dave hasn’t picked another skank or if he has, he’ll keep it light.  Dave’s a romantic and life can crush the romantic. 

 Tina’s going to church now and the Brothers are giving her a hard time about it.  She needs it though.  It lets her breath for a while each week.  She also takes the Borrowed Girls and since our Aunt Sally is there (and we’ve known pretty much the entire congregation our whole lives), it gives the girls a real sense of community.  It’s good for all of them.

Mom is…Mom.  Hard headed as ever.  She is still getting regular blood transfusions because of her blood disorder.  Fortunately, one of her nurses, Mikey, suspected that her adrenal gland wasn’t producing the hormone to tell her bone marrow to make red blood cells.  Tina told this theory to half a dozen doctors and they didn’t listen.  New Doctor does though, and he believes they’re right.  Unfortunately, the therapy for it is too rough for Mom because of the renal failure.  For now, it’s every few months in the hospital for a few days of special blood typing and transfusions. 

Dad is now Papaw Mississippi.  lol  That’s what Indie calls him.  If you’re on my Facebook and have checked out the videos, you’ve seen that we’ve been to see Dad a few times in the last few months.  He and Gold-digger have split again, but it probably won’t last.  In the meantime, the kids get to play on Papaw’s hay bales and unfinished floor joists.  It’s heaven for kids.  🙂 

Paladin and I can’t tell you the good stuff for us right now because it’s tied into the bad stuff.  But, soon I hope.  Sooner if you’re on my Facebook, because I’m headed over there to send an email to my blog peeps about the “bad news” that I don’t want posted in the public eye.

Oh, but I can tell you that we also spent the summer remodeling.  Here’s the link and here.  The video doesn’t do it justice, but it did significantly add to the stress we were going through.  It’s been wow-ing my supervisor, aka Chelsea, and she’s dying for Tina and I to come redo her place.  It’s something I’m really looking forward to and I’m also ready to get on with the changes here.  We’re planning on redoing the outbuilding as a handicap accessible studio apartment which will better suit Brian, and give us back our Master suite.  My mind spins with daydreams of putting in even more french doors on that side of the house…mmm…complete with a secret shade garden just for Paladin and I.  Ahhh…someday.  It’s all little by little here.  Every day is trying to get just a few more things accomplished.  We’re good, but I think when you are juggling what we do, it’s just ALWAYS going to be like wading through water.  I’m praying for peace to come by March.  We’ll still be watching out for teenagers and shuffling through parent meetings and outings, but I kind of like it that way.

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Where was I?  Ahh…

The next big issue with Mull heading out to the great beyond is Bell. 

Bell turned 17 and lost her EVAH LOVIN” MIND!!!!!!!  You would not even believe.  Most of the worst of it started with a rather big thing that happened between Paladin and I.  We very nearly split up in July and I mean it came within a hair of divorce, but again, that’s another story for the Epic Bad News Catch-up blog post.  For several weeks, we were either fully-separated or we were separated-while-the-kids-were-here.  Finally, after several weeks, we decided to try a tentative visit with both me and the kids here.  I had insisted on some new rules which would allow for some adult time, for some part of our life that wouldn’t have to be centered on anything but the two of us.  The kids were also starting school the coming week and would be staying that week with us.  Paladin had made it clear to Martian and Bell that come Sunday night it would be lights out at 10pm, since school was starting Tuesday.  They seemingly had no problem with that. 

 Then came Sunday night.  I had been making a practise of hanging back and letting Paladin do the parenting (part of the situation was that I was essentially doing ALL of the parenting) and largely limiting my time and interactions with the kids (I still wasn’t certain I was here to stay to be honest…really big things had gone down…so big that it ended up changing our marital and family dynamic).  So, when Mad Men came on, he sent Bell and Martian off to Martian’s room with the laptop and Bell’s boyfriend, Sanjaya.  It was all good (well…goodish…we’d been interrupted by kids about 6 times in 10 minutes) until Sanjaya left and I decided that it was impossible to make heads or tails of the storyline in the living room.  Irked, I headed off to our room.  Paladin came behind me and I have no idea why but he brought the telephone.  Paladin was apologizing to me for the kids interrupting what was supposed to be 1 hour a week of adult time, and I was trying to shut him up so I could watch the tv.  Then the phone rang, it was Sanjaya, who’d been gone all of 3 minutes.  Paladin picked up and told him and Bell that it was too late for phone calls since Bell was supposed to be in bed in a few minutes.  I honestly don’t know exactly what happened next because Paladin left the room and all I could hear was arguing between him and Bell as I turned the tv up so I could hear the show.  A few minutes after Mad Men went off, I came out of the bathroom to find Paladin getting dressed.  He then announced that “she’s going back to her mothers and she isn’t ever coming back.”  I was shocked really because Paladin pretty much dances on a string for those kids.  I stopped him and asked what was going on.  Apparently, Bell had not agreed with his no phone call thing (she usually would take the phone to her room and stay up half the night with Sanjaya) and said she wanted to go back to Mull’s.  She had pulled this on Paladin before while we were separated and he begged her not to go.  It was Bell’s usual modus operandi:  anytime you are told to do something by an authority figure, question them, use anything you have against them, and wear them down until they give in.  Problem was Paladin had finally caught on to her (she’d pulled something similar with me over the summer).  I told Paladin, “You cannot do that; she’s your child; you have to give her someway to come back home.”  He agreed and went outside.  Everything was quiet out there and I was starving.  I ventured out to heat something on the stove really quick.  I was silent and so was Bell and Martian.  Bell had gathered Martian to help her clear out her entire room and was making a big show of it with several trips out to the front gate with her things.  Reminded me of Cindy Brady packing to run away from home.  I figured Paladin would cave; he’s BIG on caving especially where Bell was concerned.  To my surprise, he didn’t cave and still hasn’t. 

 When things had come up with Bell before, I had often said to him that he needed to stop letting her do whatever she wanted and behave however she pleased because as the first kid goes…so go the rest.  As if the universe were agreeing with me, the VERY NEXT DAY, Savvy decided to pull a fast one.  Paladin had told them to stay outside for a while in the cooler morning air to get some of the energy out of them.  Savvy was haunting the front door and popping her head in every 10 mins. wanting inside.  Finally Paladin told her that if she did it once more she’d spend an extra hour out there.  He went into the backyard to carry some wood off with Martian, and you guessed it, here comes Savvy in the door.  As the only adult in the house, I told her to go back outside and when she argued, I told her I had heard everything her Daddy said and that now it’d be another hour.  Savvy apparently hadn’t figured out that I was 9 once.  I closed the door and saw her make a beeline for the backyard to talk Paladin into letting her inside.  I called out the backdoor, but he just waved at me.  A few seconds later, here he comes strolling in with Savvy who quickly informed me, “DAD said we could come in now.”  I really can’t talk about the Epic Bad that had happened before but this got right at the heart of it and my place in this family.  Paladin sent them to their room and then I told him what Savvy had pulled.  At first, he just didn’t care, but I was ready to say “enough” to the whole situation marriage and all at that point.  I think he finally understood that Bell was not the only child undermining both his authority and my place here.  He disappeared into the Borrowed Girl’s room.  Savvy did her modus operandi too:  a tantrum and yell that she wants to go back to Mull’s.  Savvy had never said that before to us, but we’d told Mull that we knew both Savvy and Indie had been pulling it on her.  We told Mull we’d back her up and not to let them get away with it, but uuggh, it’s Mull.  She doesn’t listen to us.  Well, Savvy picked the wrong time to say that.  Paladin had her dressed and thrown in the van in 2 seconds FLAT! 

The difference of course between Savvy and Bell is that Savvy was apologetic before she even got all the way to Mull’s.  Paladin instituted a “No coming to our home until you have formally apologized in detail in front of the entire family” policy, as well as, a mandatory number of weekend visits that they miss if they pull this mess.  Savvy has backslid one time since and that’s due to her having no skills to handle her ADD backed tantrums.  At Mull’s screaming and yelling and wearing her down works beautifully at any age.  😦  I’m working on drumming new skills into Savvy.  You can see her tantrums building from a mile away and it’s very hard to retrain her at 10.  Retraining Bell…that’s going to be up to Life.

Bell has refused to come back and doesn’t see that she disrespected her father in the least (her questions were waaay above anything she should be privy to).  In fact, she has decided that I’m the reason she isn’t coming back.  According to Martian, she “WILL NOT apologize to ME.”  Thing is I wasn’t expecting her to because, oh yeah, I wasn’t even there for the freakin’ fight girly!  But I doooo now.  Just for her dragging me into this business!  One of the things that had me sure Mull was ditching them was that Mull kept trying to force Bell and Paladin back together.  Lord above knows it kills Paladin.  Every time we talk about it, he shakes his head and says something about the rest of the kids ending up the same way.  Bell’s turning 18 about a month after Mull has said she intends to leave.  At first, Paladin wanted to force her to come live with us when Mull goes.  I didn’t see the point.  It would almost assure that the first month would be full of shouting matches and having to keep her on lock down which would only make things harder on everyone.  Finally, we’ve decided to let Bell do what she wants and hope that Life can show her the error of her ways quickly enough for us to pick up the pieces and set her on a better path.  For now, Bell seems to be planning to take over the rent payments on her mother’s falling down house and move in 3 or 4 roommates to pay for everything.  Pie in the sky.  I know.  But, try telling a 17 yr. old squat. 

Oh and yes, I did say RENT payments.  Idiot Mull got a great deal on that place over there.  A little 900 square foot brick house (about $2k of supplies would fix the floor joists) with hardwood floors and a new bathroom (which we believe was supplied by a charity group for BlindBoy) and four acres of land only cost them $40K and had a $250 a month mortgage according to our friend, the real estate agent.  That is a GREAT DEAL anywhere and in our area, land and homes are still selling well due to an influx of soldiers to Ft. Polk.  An acre will still net you around $15k here.  What does Mull do 6 months in?  She sells the place for $32k to a local shark/businessman.  In other words, she got the payoff and didn’t make a dime of the money they’d put in back and now she’s paying the shark RENT.  Bright.  Real bright. 

One of the off shoots of Mull’s impending exodus is that she seems to suddenly consider us her BFF’s.  Uhh no.  She’s called here a couple of times now frantic over Bell.  Sanjaya and Bell finally went splitsville and Sanjaya went off the rails a bit.  Paladin was trying to stay out of it, but I made him get involved because Sanjaya’s chaotic behavior (at one point he threatened suicide during a tirade at their house…thankfully, the kids were with us) had crossed the line to dangerous in my opinion.  He agreed and tried to get them to call the cops several times.  Funny thing is this all seems to have stopped once Paladin told Mull that Bell will always be his daughter and he will never turn his back on her. 

The other result of us as her new BFF’s…hold onto your hats gals…is that she and BlindBoy have asked us to be the parents of Flower should anything happen to them.  INSANE, right???  After years of telling the children that we suck, suddenly we’re the only people they can trust to raise their little boy or new-white-hope as I’m tempted to call him.  Mull seems bent on turning him into the new Blondie which makes sense because she also seems to have a bias toward boys.  Martian was the favored child for many years until he turned 7 (old enough to start pulling away in other words) and Blondie was born.  Don’t get me started on the knots she ties Martian in at times with her “poor mom” routines. 

Anyhow, the reason we’re now Flower’s new godparents is because Mull and BlindBoy went to visit his family in Texas at Thanksgiving.  It did not go well.  All we got was a vague word or two from Martian that BlindBoy’s family was making jokes at their expense.  I’d have to joke or strangle the both of them myself; the idea of dinner with them makes me shiver.  Their behavior was so horrifying to Mull (after Martian explained it to her…bodes well for the translator job, no?) that she does not want her child left with these people.  Paladin almost wet himself when she asked him.  He told her that he’d have to consult me.  As if I’d leave the kids’ orphaned baby brother out on the streets!  It ain’t the kid’s fault.  The next time Paladin was over there BlindBoy was also asking him eagerly if we’d take Flower and Paladin told him we would.  Next thing you know, BlindBoy is shoving Flower into Paladin’s arms.  Ok.  I can deal.  I’ve made it this far, ya know?  (**On a side note…apparently, Flower can’t have pacifiers because his mouth is so huge that he can fit the whole thing in quite easily…Mull breastfeeds you know…heh heh)

There are a few other things to catch up on and blessedly, they are completely happy for the most part.  But, they will have to wait because my mother has to be dealt with now.  Mom is finally nearing the last stages of renal failure before she will be forced to begin dialysis and she is refusing to have a dialysis port surgically implanted.  Her ex-doctor called me earlier because her kidney specialist is very upset about it and her current doctor hasn’t had any luck swaying her.  The new doctor is great and a great improvement to the other GP of the creepy dream post I had during my miscarriage.  That is one piece of news that I’m not sure how to categorize.  I have recently been able to confirm that it was a real miscarriage.  I don’t know what else to say about it really.  I’ve never allowed myself to call it that until now.  I just don’t know what to do with that information.

It’s all a lot of information I know.  If it makes your head spin, just think:  This is only the HIGHLIGHTS of the last year.  Some days, I wonder how I got here.  Other days, I can’t imagine not being here.

Pt. 3 is coming as soon as I can get back.

Love, Anna

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I still can’t talk about the “bad news” or, to be correct, the two different sets of “bad news” in the past week.  But I realize after rereading some of this blog that there are things that I can talk about…good things and the we’ll-see-things.  So at least I can catch up anyone who is interested to some extent.  I guess I can always save the background drama/bad stuff for some epic post someday.

Mull had baby seven in July.  Of course, I won’t give his name here.  I’ll call him Flower since he was given a German name which resembles the name of a nearby town (the town of Florein, LA…pronounced flor-een…although the German pronunciation and spelling of the baby’s name is different, most likely people here would use Florein).  Let’s just say, this name would get his ass kicked on the playground A LOT in this country.  For those of you interested in the math, hmmm…I haven’t actually done it, but I can guess that she got knocked up within DAYS of Paladin taking her off his Social Security.  Can anyone here say “deportation fears”?  Of course, that’s idiotic.  If Mull didn’t fear the government so much, she’d have taken care of her immigrant status in the correct way and known that she didn’t have to have another baby to stay here.  That’s all become a moot point though.

Almost immediately upon having Flower, Mull went all sweetness and light.  It was kind of like perpetually living in that moment in the Exorcist where Linda Blair’s head spins.  For a couple of months before Flower’s arrival, we’d been hearing from the kids that Mull was planning to return to Germany for a visit.  By the time Flower came along, I had a hunch that ol’ Mull was getting ready to either ditch or to pull a fast one and try to talk us into letting the kids go too (AS IF…once in Germany she would only have to follow German law on the subject…retirees get almost free flights to German military bases…we’d have haunted her into the ground and had the entire population of Germany ready to stone her).  For example, on Savvy’s 10th birthday we had a big surprise birthday bash complete with several of the girl’s from her class and Mull’s reaction was to PROFUSELY thank Paladin and she asked him to thank me several times.  I was sick to my stomach with worry after that. 

We had already decided to take advantage of Mull’s “turn around” and had decided to ask for more time with the kids.  As I had feared, Indie bore the brunt of the new arrival (at first).  BlindBoy spent much of Mull’s pregnancy reading to Indie and taking care of her.  Was he practising for his child?  Or was he just trying to take up Mull’s slack?  I don’t know.  I hope to God that he wasn’t just practising, but events since the baby’s birth do sort of point to that.  Indie took a back seat to Flower or “baby brudder” as she calls him.  Don’t get me wrong, Indie loves him to death, but she did start acting out almost immediately to the loss of Blind Boy’s attentions.  It broke my heart.  Eventually, the stories of Indie’s potty accidents grew to the point that we heard very vague things from the children like “poop all over the entire room”.  We were never able to get the full story and if you’ve been around here, you know that Indie was never fully potty trained and that Mull didn’t even try to get her trained until she was over 3 yrs. old (she was almost 4 when Flower arrived). 

 This poop room incident was just what we needed to get Mull to agree to let us keep Indie for a couple of days during the week, and Mull immediately agreed.  If you’ve been around here, you know my opinion is that Mull doesn’t really want Indie around anyhow and still wishes that Paladin had let her give Indie up for adoption.  At any rate, Indie spends 2 days a week extra with us.  She loves us taking her to school and picking her up.  Her potty problems were occuring here too at first.  We’d tell her it was time to go back to Mull’s and she’d immediately have an accident to get attention and make you take longer to take her back.  We’re still working on that one.  She’s perfect in school and with us, but if you say, “It’s time to get dressed to go back to Mom’s house” she’s wet within minutes.  We’re using bed-time-outs (send her to bed for 15 mins…as with Savvy, bed is the worst punishment for her which we’ve tried to tell Mull to no avail).  So, Indie’s getting better here.  It was heart breaking though.  She’d cry and beg to stay with us and not go back to Mull’s.  Now, when I put her in the car to go back, we have a ritual of kisses and I-love-you’s and she counts down the days of the week to Tuesday when she can come back home.

Indie coming to stay started the fire and within a week all of the kids but two (Bell and Blondie) were wanting to come and spend extra time with us.  The stupid thing is that a lot of the time Mull was thwarting us had to do with just this subject.    All we’ve ever wanted was calm discourse and more time with the kids.  Mull was always completely non-communicative though.  Before we knew it, not only was Mull letting them come, but other things started happening like:  Blondie was allowed to bring her glasses with her and Mull handed over Savvy’s hearing aid responsibilities to Paladin (we’re having them fixed and her hearing retested…$160 minimum…amazingly the military Tricare insurance barely covers children of retirees to recieve basic benefits in this area).  Mull was sucking up hard and heavy and I was getting more and more suspicious.  Finally, the dam broke.

Paladin came home one night slack-jawed and announced to me that Mull had said, “Would you take the kids if I went back to Germany?”  Uh duh.  The temptation to jump up and down was immense, but even now, I have a wary eye on her.  All signs do seem to point to her pulling up stakes though. 

So what’s the plan?  She plans to return to Germany with BlindBoy and Flower.  She’s also planning on getting a job as a translator there.  HA!  I’ve seen the teenagers have to explain English slang to her dozens of times and that’s the exact bent of this translator job.  Her only concern is that she be allowed to talk to them and that we not say anything bad about her.  Kind of pisses me off really.  DID I TELL THEM WHEN YOU SOLD THEIR TOYS FOR TOTS????  If I didn’t tell them that, why would I tell them anything bad about you now?  This is probably the best chance they could ever have at a happy normal future.  We have the room, the financial ability, and the loving family support to make sure that they grow up as happy and healthy as possible.  We have NEVER, not ONCE, said anything bad about their mother.  Like they need to be screwed up more than they already are. 

Apparently, Mull has decided life here is not for her.  Flower’s birth was a difficult one and if you remember, Baby Six’s pregnancy had a few issues too (although we never found out exactly what…they all closed ranks on it).  After the incident at work (oops…can’t remember if I’d told ya’ll that one, but I think I did…Indie and fancy shoes and suddenly Mommy’s job at the shoe store ends), Mull was desperate to get out of the trailer park and eventually she and BlindBoy managed to buy a place 5 miles down the road from us, but the floor is LITERALLY falling in on the place and it lost it’s luster for her quickly (it probably didn’t help that I’d told the kids that her 4 acres was big enough for that horse she’d been promising them for years heehee).  Mull has moved 3 times in 2 yrs.  She is an adult ADD if ever I saw one and I dated one for a couple of years!  She’s always looking for the next “great” thing that will make her life right, and her life has kind of gone as far as its going to go here without her making a huge change in who she is as a person.  No judgements there.  I honestly feel for her and it makes me worry about Savvy and Indie’s future as ADD’ers too.  My ONLY problem with Mull has been in her treatment of her kids and trying to cut them off from us.  Much like the adoption of Baby Six, this may be the best thing she could ever do for them…if it’s done right.  Unfortunately, there was incident a while back where the Borrowed Girl’s were driving her nuts and she exclaimed, “I’m going back to Germany and I’m never coming back.”  OUCH.  Hopefully, they won’t remember it by the time she leaves.  Paladin is worried that she won’t go through with it, but I’ve seen no indication that she won’t.  Her main worry is Blondie.

Blondie has been kicked out of Mull’s bed since Flower came along, and she’s been a little on edge because of it. I’ve always worried about Blondie most of all because of the severe attachment Mull fostered with her.  I knew eventually Blondie would out-grow it and that Mull would have to let go.  Unfortunately, because of all this, Blondie will never get to see Mull in her true light which is something all of us eventually have to come to terms with concerning our parents.  I’m worried that either Mull will forever be on a pedestal with Blondie desperately trying to find that mommy figure.  Or, that Blondie will take Mull’s leaving so hard that she will forever blame herself for her mother leaving.  In the last week or so, Mull has, at our prompting (some stuff came up with Savvy that made it necessary), begun to break it to Savvy and Blondie that mom is going back to Germany for longer than 2 weeks.  We don’t know yet if she’s telling them one of her somewhat-truths which she had already been laying the groundwork with on several occasions like:  I have to stay a long time in Germany to do the paperwork for Flower to be a German like you, or my health isn’t good because of Flower and I have to go back to Germany for healthcare.  She’s got a couple of others too, but those are the main contenders.  Since Mull told Blondie, Blondie refused to come here for her regular day of the week (we’d made Friday her day because we knew she basically wouldn’t want to be away from Mull more than once in 2 weeks).  It must have been a big scene because Mull called to tell Paladin that and was also repeating, “I will be able to talk to them when I’m gone right?”  Of course, you will.  It’s going to be hard enough for you to leave them.  We want them to be able to know that you care.  What could be worse for a child than to have their parent leave and never know what happened? 

I have to go to rehab now (saying that always makes that Amy Winehouse song go off in my head), but let’s just say, I’ve BARELY scratched the surface.

P.S.- Paladin says I should tell you that the rehab is for my shoulders.  Lest anyone think I’ve turned into a dope fiend.  lol

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Yesterday was Blondie’s 7th birthday.  The agreement says that we get her the entire day, but because of school and because I wanted her to have a chance to celebrate with her mother and siblings, we only took her from 5-8pm.  I guess you can’t tell from the blog, but I do things for Mull’s benefit more often than you might think even though it’s never acknowledged.  The truth is that Blondie would have been thrilled to have us take her to school and pick her up and have her birthday with just us.  In a very hateful, selfish way, I’m kind of sorry now that I didn’t, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Paladin and I had been working on a surprise for Blondie for a while, but we weren’t getting any call backs from a local horse riding ranch.  Then, at nearly the last minute on Wednesday evening, they finally called.  We’d been telling Blondie that we were going to take her to dinner at one of the 3 sit-down places here in town, but instead we managed to get a private riding lesson set up for last night.  We threw a burger kids meal at her, and tossed her in the car along with a new pink cowgirl hat.  Blondie just talked and talked as usual and most of it was about fire. 

It was a weird conversation actually.  She said something about us spending a lot of money (we’d stopped to get her a bottle of water at the store) and then it segued into, “I told Mom that you are paying for the window.”  It took me a second to remember that she was talking about a conversation we’d had with them about getting out of their bedroom at the trailer if there is a fire.  Their mother tells them that the window won’t open in their room, and we told them to break it if they had to get out.  When they told us ‘Mom would get mad’ about it (when isn’t she mad?), we told them not to worry about it and that we’d pay for the window.  It wasn’t the only weird conversation either.  On the way home, Blondie said, “You know some people get to stay with their Dad’s all the time” and then, “Some people’s Dad’s don’t even send them a card or see them.”  Paladin had brought her a card and a rose to Mull’s but her real presents and her Littlest Pet Shop cake are for tonight.  I’m not sure what’s trying to get out of Blondie’s head, yet.  Something is going on in there though.  It always makes me worry about her.

Anyhow, we got to the ranch and drove up and got out.  Blondie was excited to see all the animals: several dogs including a very randy St. Bernard that was repeatedly pile driving a tiny litte Australian shepard (I mean he KEPT at it) and a goat that kept rubbing up against Paladin and I to be petted when it wasn’t chasing after another of the dogs.  Man, I wish I’d had a video camera.  😦  Blondie was still completely clueless, however.  I finally explained to her that she was there to learn to REALLY ride a horse.  She lit up.  Daddy and I hung back and let the trainer take over from there.  That lady must have the patience of Job because Blondie didn’t stop talking the entire time.  She put Blondie through some exercises and had the kid working the horse with nothing but the reins in no time.  I wish we could afford to send all three of the little girls to one of their summer camps because they could really benefit from learning to work hard at taking care of the horses and from the riding.  With the straight riding lessons, they learn to curry the horse before riding and put away the tack, but they don’t get to feed and muck out stalls and get down to the bones of owning a horse. 

At any rate, Blondie LOVED it.  She kept asking if she could come back again, and I told her that she could, but she’d have to earn the money herself in the same way that Bell and Martian earn money by doing extra things around the house.  Sadly, she kept complaining that she was too little and shouldn’t have a job yet.  I tried to tell her otherwise, but it was like talking to a brick wall.  It’s yet another Mull thing; she can’t afford to bribe the little girls AND the teenagers.  Maybe I can get through to Blondie this weekend.  The regular classes are only $15 each and that’s not so horrible that we couldn’t let all three little ones go IF they work for the priviledge.  I’m doing my darnedest to instill a work ethic in these kids and it looks like I’m succeeding occasionally. 

Martian got an F on his last report card and he’d been warned that an F would mean no computer and no video games at our house (Mull could care less).  It’s been killing him.  lol  But, his grades are SO much better this semester that he might even manage a B Honor Roll.  That tells me that his and Bell’s D Honor Roll addiction is more about them not bothering to care how they do in school.  I’m definitely going to expect more from them in the future!  I knew they were too smart to be doing so poorly.  Bell is looking forward to spending the entire day with us on her birthday, and I plan to put the bug in her ear that we won’t feel right taking her out of school if she’s making D’s.  Yes, I am the evil stepmother.  🙂

I wish last night could just have been about Blondie, but alas…

While Blondie was out in the riding arena, Paladin told me that Mull was pooched out a bit and he’d asked her.  Yep, Mull is pregnant for the 7th time.  Who had February in the pool?  What does she do?  Does she freakin’ store the sperm inside her body for later use?  She had to have gotten pregnant IMMEDIATELY upon marrying Blind Boy.  I’m going to guess that she’s planning on either a home birth or showing up at an emergency room at the last minute.  She’s paranoid in the extreme about government intervention and there’s no way they can afford the medical care out of pocket.  Either way, we are laying down the law with her this time.  The minute she goes into labor the kids come here and none of that farming them out like she pulled last time.  We are warning her ahead of time about that and about the fact that we will NOT be lying to the children about her pregnancy.  We will be going over every stage of it with them and I’m thinking that I need to buy them one of the books about baby development.  I know it’s not really my place, but Mull’s already intimated to Paladin that she’s trying to hide this from them and I’m not going through 5 months of “if you drink too much water, you get fat”.  I STILL hear that every few weeks!

I don’t know who to feel sorry for at this point.  Apparently, the pregnancy did nothing to sway Blind Boy’s family since Mull must have known she was pregnant at Christmas and BB’s family STILL didn’t want anything to do with her which makes me wonder if Blind Boy was lamenting his father to Blondie (hence the “some kids don’t even get a card” talk).  I feel so sorry for Bell because here is yet another child for her to raise; I can always tell who is really doing the parenting at Mull’s because when the kids are with us they repeatedly slip up and call me by that person’s name.  Then I did the math and realized that Mull will be popping in August; so either this kid will show up close to my birthday or to Indie’s.  I think Indie is the one I feel sorriest for already.  When we call over there, we hear her desperately trying to get her mother’s attention and to be fair, Mull has paid slightly more attention to her than she used to due to a combination of things: Blondie is getting older and doesn’t need to be Mull’s shadow anymore and Indie has grown so much that she’s less a baby but still a toddler (i.e. less work for Mull to be around her).  Indie will once again be out of luck.  It makes me want to cry.

Paladin also makes me want to cry.  He didn’t mean to.  He was hyped up over just hearing about Mull’s pregnancy and while Blondie was in the riding arena, he started chatting about it.  I love him but he can be extremely clueless.  He should have gotten the clue when I wasn’t talking or looking at him or the look on my face, but he just kept going on and on.  “Wonder what she’ll name this one?  Maybe she’ll just give up and start numbering them.  Hey, this is lucky number seven!  I wonder how many more she’s planning on.  Let’s see she’s thirty fi…”  I stopped him dead there.  I already have the words “lucky number seven” burrowing into my brain.  I don’t need anyone doing the math on Mull’s age/pregnancy ratio. 

I was still numb though.  Right up until I typed this.  Now, I have tears dripping down my cheek.  That’s probably a good thing.  I was starting to think I wasn’t able to feel anymore.  The doctor wanting to biopsy cells didn’t even make me flinch.  Not even PMS had made me cry this week.  I guess I can feel when it hurts enough.  I just so want to leave.  I want to see the kids, but I don’t want the baby conversations.  I don’t want to have to explain the miracle of life when it’s housed in someone I wouldn’t let care for a cat.  I want to go someplace quiet and dark and sleep.

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I hate Vista

Paladin’s laptop is driving me insane.  There’s a reason I prefer a desktop pc.  It’s like sitting in front of a typewriter.  The laptop is not only Vista-screwy but the connection here at the hotel is iffy at times.  When it is good, I come to the realization that Paladin is a computer hog.  lol  He lives and breathes the newspaper and now he’s gotten into Facebook.  I don’t mind that much.  It’s just that at home there’s a computer for each of us and when he’s doing his thing I can be doing mine.  Here I’m stuck watching Maury Povich which truly must be a fate worse than death.  And those few moments when Paladin does go offline, I mostly spend trying to medicate him or rubbing his neck.  I don’t mind that bit though.  I don’t even mind his dvd choice of two seasons of Greatest American Hero.  Obviously, I’m whipped.

If you’ve got Facebook, you may have seen my “I married Chunk from the Goonies” comment.  I swear on a stack of Bibles that is precisely what he looked like for the first 2 days!  Only worse because he is also bloody and stapled.  I took pictures but this stupid laptop takes an act of God to get them from the camera to a file to a file that will actually open it.  Lovely.  Still, I paint a pretty picture, non?  I keep messing with him that he looks like Cher on the left side of his head.  The kicker is that because of the way they did the “facial re-animation” he looks happy all the time on that side.  I’m going to have to figure out his “angry face” all over again.  Now, the best he can do is “wryly bemused”.  lol  The cool part is that when he is drugged up we kiss and he tries to feel me up.  He gets all mushy because I’m here taking care of him.  To which, I usually reply, “What else would I do?”  Then there’s this flash across his face and I realize that he’s thinking of Mull and how she’d left him alone through the vast majority of his brain tumor treatment.  You know, they even LOST HIM for about a week when he was at Walter Reid and she just didn’t answer the phone or give a sh*t!  That’s just inhuman!  So, I definitely don’t mind him going mushy.  He gets this look on his face like “I can’t get any luckier than this” and it makes me melt.  All that would be even better if we hadn’t been surprised by a little factoid the day before the surgery:  NO SEX FOR 6 WEEKS!  How do they not mention this?  Uh, hello!  That’s a slightly important bit of info!  I know that we’re not exactly newlyweds since we’ve been together almost a year now, but it was important information to us.  The day before they dropped this bomb, Paladin had been talking about a day or two of *ahem* honeymooning.  That’s out now.

Pre-surgery, we actually got out for an hour or so to meet up with Tabitha.  Hi, Tabi!  *waving* It’s the first time I’ve met a blog friend.  And, you know what I realized after?  Totally forgot the camera!  Tres sucky!  I’m so going to take a camera next time.  And, we will be getting over to her place.  I’d have gone yesterday, but Paladin feels like crap and I hate to leave him alone that way. 

I have such cabin fever.  I talked myself out of dragging along my 100lb. sewing machine, and I have nothing constructive to do.  Paladin mentioned going out to see the sights, but I’m quite dubious about driving around here.  Although I braved the Saturday traffic to pick him up from Wilford Hall and I only almost got into an accident once!  I maintain it was the other lady’s fault.  Why would you sit in someone’s blindspot and leave just enough space between you and the car ahead of you as to give them the impression that the person behind you was letting them in?  I had a blinker on.  Didn’t you think that might mean I was moving over?  I think I quite literally scared the crap out of her.  It’s a good thing they shot Paladin up with Demerol right before we left.  lol  I’m not much on cities or on sightseeing.  I’m a lousy vacationer.  I’m not sure I know how it’s supposed to work.  My idea of time off is 2 days in a dark room with good cable & movies and lots of sleep.  But 2 days is about all I can take of that.  That’s as long as I can be a slug.  I wish I could rent a dog or a garden or something!  This thumb twiddling is getting to me.  The kicker is that we have appointments for every single day.  So, you lose about 4 hours out of each day between getting to the shuttle to Wilford Hall and then the appointment and then getting the shuttle back to BAMC.  So what do you really get a chance to do?  Keep in mind that we’re old and pretty much roll things up when the sun goes down.  Sad but true. 

Did I mention that?  The Ft. Hood shooter is right next door.  That’s a pain.  We carry stuff with us everywhere.  We’re old.  It’s a requirement.  And, now every time we move somebody wants to look at our bags.  I’m still wondering why they didn’t take him to Walter Reid. 

Eh, I’m rambling.  And now I’ve run out of time.  I’ve got to go wake up, Cher and get him ready for the next appointment.  Byes!

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Paladin is off at therapy.  I just realized that I haven’t been here in like 2 weeks.  Ya’ll need a quick catch up.  So here goes: 

* We’re doing a menage a therapist thing now.  That’s right.  It takes 3 of them for us.  lol  Nah, it’s not quite that dire.  Dr. Mark went on a rotation for 2 months and handed us off to Dr. Max and Dr. Randy.  Dr. Randy is just for Paladin.  That was good because a fair amount of our time in therapy was being spent as one on one time between Paladin and the docs.  He needed his own thing for a while to sort through everything he’s gone through since his illness began all those years ago and to build this new life and find a direction for himself after his forced medical-retirement.  I kind of wish I were there though.  Paladin has significant short term memory loss, and I’m not there to be his short term memory bank.  As for Paladin and I, there are still issues but they are no longer BIG fights.  Just small quiet ones.  That’s progress.  Right?  Eh…

* Brian’s truck broke down and we spent several days shuttling his brother, Manjina around to temp jobs.  Manjina finally got enough cash together and the truck is back on the road… for now.  Brian’s step-brother, Ralph Jr., wants the truck back and since the VA has now taken Brian’s entire $900+ check, it’s a matter of time before the crap hits the fan on that one.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it happens off our property.

* The last kids weekend was spent coloring pumpkins (we’ll carve them this Saturday) and then Sunday after church, we had a picnic/tea party.  They had fun and I took a bunch of video for Youtube (honeywine2000 is the username if you’re curious) to send to the grandparents.  Paladin’s Dad got very emotional over the video.  He is a sweet man.  He and Paladin are both big ol’ girls.  🙂

* Here’s another kick in the lady balls for those of us with no children.  Did you know that if you’re married to someone on Social Security disability you only get benefits if you have children with them or are 62 or older?  Isn’t that lovely?  Doesn’t that fall under some sort of discrimination?  Seriously?

* Then Tina called asking if I’d talked to our Dad recently.  I haven’t.  Heck, I barely get the time to scratch my own butt half the time.  Tina couldn’t get anyone on the phone for a couple of days and finally started calling around.  Where was Dad?  JAIL!  Why?  Apparently, he and Step-slag got into it and he threatened to off himself.  She had the cops take him away.  I guess there’s a backlog of some sort because he’s been in jail a week now in protective custody waiting to see the regional head-shrinker.  Tina called Uncle Jim who lost his mind over this.  I was even surprised at the names he was calling the Step-slag.  At any rate, the last I heard a few of my uncles were getting together to go break him out.  Tina, Uncle Jim, and I have all offered to put him up over here.  Step-slag isn’t answering at their place in Mississippi and for all we know, she’s jumped ship with the contents of the house.  I guess he’s taking too long to kick the bucket.  All those multiple insurance policies must be getting expensive to keep up.  So, I guess I’ll find out eventually what’s going on there. 

* We’re also busting our humps to get everything around here done in preparation for spending more than 2 weeks in San Antonio starting the middle of next week.  A lot of it is that little stuff you do to get ready for winter like build a dog house and take out the air conditioners and repair a broken window.  But, when you’re trying to get all of that done, keeping several medical appointments, taking care of the kids, and taking care of paper work (Paladin is still trying to get his TDY crap fixed…we decided to get an advance for the trip because they’re backed up on TDY payoffs to the point that if we’re lucky we’ll get our last 2 TDY payments sometime in 2010), it all gets to the point where you don’t know what you’re doing from one minute to the next.  I haven’t even thought about what to pack yet!  And then there was special paperwork.

Yep, it took us forever and a day, but we finally got wedding 2 done.  🙂  I think it was my favorite.  It was sweet and simple and something of an international affair at that!  We just headed up to Natchitoches to Front Street and had the parish Justice of the Peace meet us there.  Front Street has such great scenery and even though it was a wet morning, we got great pictures.  We even had a local photographer who is also the Cane River Heritage Area office manager pop out and take a few pics for us and she posted them online here.  Then an older gentleman popped out and took our picture telling us that he only spoke French.  Before I could use my extremely limited high school French to ask “French Canadian or France?”, he disappeared.  Then when we went into the Les Saison candy shop for our wedding dessert (handmade chocolate truffles…mmm…so good…I get at least one every time I go), we were congratulated by a gal from London.  We were a real sight, I guess, because people were stopping and waving.  I do love living in the South sometimes.  🙂  Everyone seemed so happy to see us everywhere we went.  I would have thought they’d be jaded seeing people taking wedding pictures all the time on Front Street.  It was truly lovely.  It made me wish I’d skipped the first wedding and just had this one.  We had lunch at The Landing and then before heading home, Tina and I went into the local Goodwill.  If we were a sight on Front Street, we must have been something else at the Goodwill!  lol  One lady stopped me and asked if I was buying my dress because she was putting on a bride of Christ passion play.  😀  I’ll say it again:  I love the South.  Just to put the cherry on top of such a Southern experience, I bought several pairs of tap shoes for my Borrowed Girls (they look just like plain mary janes and I was desperate to find them inexpensive dress shoes for the holidays).  On the way back, we stopped at the Nat’l. Guard Armory and Tina dropped off the last of the ex-husband’s things (he’d left some stuff including his paternal grandfather’s coins behind and I wanted to make sure he got them before they deploy in the next couple of months) and he told her that his maternal grandfather died back in May shortly after he’d moved out.  I feel really sorry for them.  I loved his grandfather.  I really did.  Then, after all of that, we stopped at Mom’s to drop Tina off.  I wish I’d had the camera running because Mom was so happy she was about to jump out of her skin.  She said, “So now I really CAN say that they’re my grandkids!”  I just told her that I thought she already was.   They’ve been calling her Grandma for months now.  It was just a really happy day.  And here’s the proof:

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My fancy shoes!

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Of course, if you’re on my Facebook, there should have been a link to all the photos over on Walmart’s site.  I won’t even lie and begin to promise to talk to everyone any time soon.  I’m hoping that with all the down time stuck in the hotel room in San Antonio that I can catch up for a while at least.  I’ll talk to you soon-ish though!  🙂

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Yeah, there is some crap going on between Paladin and I.  Yeah, I know.  Surprise.  Surprise.  But, we’ve come to terms.  I got him talking.  It’s weird.  This is a man who never shuts up (sorry, hon…but you know you can keep up a conversation!) if the topic is politics or scifi or travel or the state of the world in general, and I discovered yesterday on our 3 hr. drive to Baton Rouge that he’s been holding things in.  How did that happen? 

We’ve been talking for 3 days, actually.  It started a few nights ago when I tried to open up to him about why I haven’t been rushing to the altar (the legal altar anyhow).  My supervisor, Chelsea came out for a visit last week (we’ll call her that because she could pass for Chelsea Handler ANY day…so much so that I have to stop myself from calling her that in person).  Chelsea and I got to talking about fertility issues (she can’t have any more children) and baby mama drama (she has it worse than me…if Paladin had the gall to still be helping Mull out with every little mini-tragedy for 4 yrs, it would be more than over…it would be “look who just lost his last ball” over).  She was talking about having guardianship of her neice for the first year and a half of the child’s life only to have the baby’s mother come back and take her (it’s a story I’ve seen unfold in my own family more than once…apparently, an unfit ho means jack to CPS any where in any state…as long as there’s somebody there trying to protect them, CPS ignores it until the kid is in the emergency room).  Chelsea said to me, “She was our blessing.”  It’s a phrase I’ve heard before, but for some reason, it hit me.  It made me think about what my blessing was, about who was most important to me, and about who in my life got ALL of me.  Sadly, I could only answer, Pascal. 

Paladin and I have been working on trust issues where the kids and Mull are concerned for our entire relationship.  At first, I waited it out.  I thought that with time he’d trust me to be his main supporter, his cheerleader, his blessing.  Instead, I’m just on the list.  I’ll be kind and say that I’m on the list NEXT to the children, but in truth, I feel that I’m beneath them.  I hate to be religious about it, but there’s no religion in the world that tells people to place their children above their significant other.  At best, and Paladin has said this more than once, we are supposed to be partners who then care for those children.  That’s what’s been said between the two of us, but as my post earlier this week pointed out, when we make decisions, he’s going off and ignoring them.  After a lot of talking (and he’s been saying some of this stuff for a long time and it just finally clicked for me), he explained that when we come to a decision he’s treating me as a General:  we conclude what the goal is and then he gets on the ground and adapts to the actual situation.  In other words, what I thought were decisions that we were making together was just me giving him advice.  I thought they were conclusions but they were just ideas we were brainstorming.  I called him on it.  That’s not a partnership.  That is why I haven’t trusted him on this issue (the ONLY trust issue I have with him).  When I ask him why he doesn’t trust me, he has no answer; there’s nothing he can point to.  In his words, “It’s nothing you’ve done.”  Every time this came up previously, he has taken it as me attacking the kids, as me being jealous of the kids.  I can’t say that I’ve never felt a twinge of jealousy where they are concerned but the jealousy I’ve felt was never over him; it was over being jealous that they aren’t mine too. 

The reason I haven’t been in a rush to make things legal is because I’ve seen his face when the test was negative and it brought back so many horrible memories, so much pain.  So much pain.  At the same time, I want to hurry.  I want to strap myself into the gyno’s stirrups with break neck speed!  I have felt the uncertainty of passing time every-single-day for FIVE years now.  I know what I’m in for.  I know what I’m up against.  And, I know that he isn’t up against that.  For him, this child, our child would just be another in a line.  I know he would love that child but it wouldn’t be his only child.  In his eyes, each and every one of his children are special to him in some way.  But, I see it in them: they don’t FEEL special.  Each and every one of those kids is fighting to be singled out from the herd, to know that they are special.  That’s something our child would never have to face because they will have extended family and me proving to them that they are special (yeah, I’m the crazy dog lady and I wonder if Pascal can handle it too…shut up!), and I know that there would be so much turmoil because of that.  I know from what I’ve already seen (much of it over Pascal!) that Paladin would feel displaced and that his children would be jealous even if only subconsciously.  Some of that happens even in nuclear families, and I can deal with it but I’m also not going to deny that our circumstances will make that 10 times harder.  Yes, even with all of that, I know that the second I sign the insurance forms as Mrs. Paladin, the stopwatch will start.  I’ll know that at any moment I can start trying with a simple phone call for an appointment.  And, I feel like there is jack and sh*t I can do about it now.  For the next 100 days, we are booked with Paladin’s surgeries and the kids here for the holidays.  100 days.  It’s a lifetime to wait.  It’s going to up the hormone ante by zillions for me.  For the last year, every Auntie visit has been devoid of emotion, and now it won’t be. 

Yeah, everything in our life has been dictated by his medical issues and his kids.  I won’t lie and say there isn’t some resentment about that.  I hate using that word too.  Paladin has a chip on his shoulder about “resentment”.  No, hon, I don’t blame you for that.  I’ve let it be like that.  My mother was in ICU and I put you and the kids FIRST and I’ve felt nothing but horrible guilt over it ever since.  I wasn’t there when they told my sister that my mother would probably never walk again.  I don’t get to fix that.  I don’t get to change that.  I haven’t asked to be put first.  I’ve only asked to be a team.  Maybe that needs to change.  I want to start trying the day after we sign the papers.  There.  I finally admitted it.  I know what you’ll say is, “That’s fine; I want you to have this and I want this child too.”  The truth is that I feel responsible for making this family of ours work and this will change the precarious balance we have.  It will be harder and I can’t do it all alone.  You have to show me that you can do this and that this will be your highest priority too.  Yeah, I said it.  I’m demanding that us getting pregnant be the first thing on the list.  I’m not saying I want to cancel your surgeries or cancel Christmas.  I’m saying that you need to be there pushing for this as hard as I am.  It’s going to be ugly.  It’s going to be so very ugly.  You have no idea what you’re up against.  And, no, you won’t feel it the way I will, but I need you to man-up and be completely behind me or I won’t make it through trying again.  I just don’t think I can.  I need you with me 100% here.  More than you can even imagine.  Think of it as my own personal brain tumor.

When, Paladin finally started talking yesterday he went into his usual, “Let’s just end this.”  I’m trying to get him to see that wanting to throw everything away and hide is depression and it’s been his shadow for a very long time now.  I’ve talked to him about taking a therapy session for himself each week in addition to our therapy session together.  I hope he will go through with it.  He’s not dealt with his illness, with Mull hurting him so deeply, with the loss of his life as he knew it, with his forced retirement…I could go on and on.  Basically, the last few years of his life have been hanging around his neck, and he has blinded himself to that with everything he could find.  Now, I’m here to take up some of the day-to-day stuff and he can’t find enough desperately important things to keep him from having to face up to those years.  In some ways, the denial has gone as far as it can. 

As the day went into night and we drove back toward home, Paladin explained to me how worried he was that if something happened to him during his surgeries without us being married that everything could end up in Mull’s hands (the house mainly since her name is still on the mortgage…but in reality, there’s a divorce decree saying she doesn’t get the house…he doesn’t want me to have to fight her in court though).  I didn’t know that.  I didn’t know that was on his mind for the last few weeks.  He hadn’t been pushing me toward the altar and I hadn’t wanted to bring it up because of the fear of ttc’ing again.  For two people who talk constantly, we need to say a lot more.

 

P.S.- By the way, I promise the next post will actually be fun.  I found the greatest shopping in Baton Rouge and I cannot wait to talk about it!!!  And, I very much want to give out award gifties!  🙂

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