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Archive for the ‘Mull’ 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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And here I thought…

And here I thought yesterday was going to be so quiet.  That was until about noon.  Paladin went to check our bank account and noticed that the address on the account had been changed to a P.O Box.  At first, we thought the bank had mixed up our account with another customers and then I said, “Doesn’t Mull use a post office in Deridder?”  We had to rummage around to find her P.O. Box address (it was like pulling teeth when we got it back when she moved the kids to the trailer…the only reason we got it then was because she was trying not to give us her physical address…either way we never use it).  Lo and Behold…  YEP.  It was her address.  Paladin lost it when he found out it was her address on our accounts.  He jumped up and ran to the bank to find out WTF they let her do. 

Way back when we changed the bank accounts over to just me and him, the bank said that they couldn’t remove her from the savings account because it had been used to start the others.  It had something to do with them being a credit union.  I figured that they just couldn’t figure out how to do it without starting over from the beginning and didn’t want to be bothered.  Either way, they had assured us that there would be no way she could access any of the other accounts. 

When Paladin got to the bank yesterday, they spent an hour hemming and hawing in back rooms.  Then one of the bank employees in the mortgage section told him over the speaker phone that she had accidentally put Mull’s address on there.   Uh huh.  There are a few problems with that:

a) They didn’t have Mull’s address.  We had to search hard to find it here at the house.  When asked for her address, we always give people her physical address at the trailer park.  And, none of the divorce paperwork has either address on it (the mortgage lady had a copy).  So, Mortgage Lady, you guessed and happened to get the right address?  You didn’t have a phone listed for Mull either.  I’m not saying there’s no way in the world for you to get the address.  I’m saying that if you did you had to work very hard to “accidentally” change the address.

b) Why would you put down an address other than the location of the property?  Every single piece of paper has gone to this house and this house alone.  ALWAYS.  Even in the year that Paladin spent on base and Mull spent in her flophouse, the bank statements, bills and mail always came here. 

c) What reason did you have for changing it?  The only reason you had recently for going over the mortgage would be to send out tax statements.  We got the tax statement here at the house weeks ago.

In other words, the bank F’d up BIG TIME and they knew it.  The address had to have been changed at the bank itself.  If Mull had changed it online (sadly, she could have…because of Paladin’s memory issues I could never convince him to change the password), the banks records would have shown us changing the address.  One great thing about Paladin being on the roids is he is no longer the pussycat he used to be.  He gave the bank a good talking to and now there are extra controls on the accounts including a password that has to be given if you sneeze too hard in the place.  He wasn’t finished there either.  He called Mull up told her that he knew about her going into the bank and that the next time, she’d go to jail for it.  She didn’t even try to deny it.  He scared the crap out of her.

I’m glad because this FREAKED me out!  The idea that she could be looking at ANY of our records worries the hell out of me.  I’ve never trusted her farther than I could throw her.  And since she stole those shoes, she’s been going downhill quickly.  AGAIN.  I just didn’t realize how much until this happened. 

Mull had to have done this between Jan. 31st (the date our last statement was mailed) and Friday of last week.  Over last weekend, we sold our old van and Paladin put the cash from the sale into the savings via the ATM.  The ATM automatically put the money into the old savings account with Mull on it and on Monday Paladin had to log on and move it to our savings account.  I’m guessing that if she’d walked in and the bank said there was a few hundred dollars sitting there, Mull might have turned around and walked out with it.  Luckily, when we stopped using the account we left $5 in it and thanks to interest it’s up to all of $12 which I guess wasn’t enough for her to risk her neck. 

Mull really f’d herself over once again by doing this though.  We’ve guessed that she isn’t going to file her taxes this year.  Either she’s too afraid to get her W-2 from her employer because of the theft or she’s just too afraid to let anyone in the government know anything.  She tends to be paranoid in the extreme.  But since it doesn’t look like she’s going to file her taxes, we WERE going to offer to give her $400 of our tax return if she’d let us claim all five kids.  Now, there’s no way in hell we’d even offer.  Not to mention that if a single dime moves in our accounts, her butt is going to be sitting in the county lock-up before she can say boo!  I’ve suggested that Paladin stop her automatic bank draft for the child support and move to sending her the support in the form of a money order in the mail.  It might not make our account safer (in our statement it shows up as a draft from our bank acct. # to her bank acct. #…I don’t like the idea of her even knowing our bank acct. # at this point), but it would be an extra inconvenient step she’d have to take just to take care of her banking. 

It just really really worries me that she’s pulling something like this now.  I expected her to try something back when Paladin and I first moved in out here.  She had been using their AAFES credit card without him noticing right up until last January; I looked and happened to see a nearly $300 charge and she eventually copped to it because “the kids needed some things” (*cough* bullsh*t).  Since she handed over that credit card, she hadn’t done anything like this.  I’ve always been worried that she’d order things in Paladin’s name or open accounts with him as her co-signer.  This is the first time she’s done anything close to being outwardly illegal.  I guess she’s getting more desperate.  😦

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