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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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See that little Subscribe thing on the side.  It says Seek Therapy.  So we did. 

Paladin and I have fallen into a pattern of having a big blow-up argument every couple of weeks.  Sometimes its big things.  Sometimes its little things.  The problems come down to just a few things:

A) I can’t seem to find a space in this house that’s ours much less mine.  As I told Dr. Mark, I live with ghosts on a daily basis.  Sometimes I’m just sitting here in the living room and a ghost will go past of the kids & Mull playing in here in front of the tv, and sometimes its set off by an errant remark on Paladin’s part.  The other night we were playing around in the bathroom and I said something like, “Oh so you’ve done this before” and Paladin said, “Many times.”  Yeah, you know where my mind flashed.  😦  Those hit hard.  I’ve also come to realize that my nearly constant redecorating around here (did you notice the wood laminate flooring that we put in the living room like 2 days before the wedding?  we’re nuts…we obviously need therapy) has a lot to do with me trying to erase the past and make this house mine.  Recently, I pretty much gave up on that and during one of our bi-weekly arguments, one of us suggested that we build a new house out in the back forty (it is like 2 half-acre lots and we could rent our part of this house for enough to pay the entire mortgage).  Well within a couple of weeks, everybody around here put in some input on it until I was on the cusp of saying “Screw it.  I’ll live in the storage building!” 

Sunday, I went over the edge of said cusp.  We were having a good day.  We headed out to Mom’s with my second wedding dress (I should have pics of it tomorrow!  😀 ) On the way out, we started talking about sperm donors and future baby making plans.  During our stay at Mom’s the subject of the house came up and Tina made the perfectly rational suggestion that we pay off all of our small debts first.  On the way home, Paladin starts talking about it and the next thing you know he’s determined that in about 4 yrs we can start the build (he was factoring in more than just debts but I forget what it was).  FOUR YEARS.  FOUR YEARS OF GHOSTS.  I lost my mind a little bit, and went completely pouty.  I told him that was fine, but that in the meantime, I wanted to take over the outbuilding and make it my own project.  He flipped.  It scares the crap out of him when I want to get away.  He automatically envisioned me moving out there and locking the door behind me.  No amount of me saying, “There’s nothing to stop you coming too” or “I need some space” or other similar platitudes were reassuring him. 

It’s at these points in these arguments that I get that feeling of there being no resolution whatsoever.  There are a few things that Paladin and I can’t seem to come to an agreement on.  I get the scary “I’ll have to push everything down inside and ignore the problem” or “It’s time to start thinking about moving on” thoughts in my head.  It’s definitely a dread that comes over me.  Leaving isn’t something I want to do.  I just start to feel so drowned in everything that even alone looks better than being caught in this cycle of taking care of everything but me.  It’s an old bugaboo, but it has great staying power.

B) Second, there’s a lack of a future outlook for us as a couple, and the idea of building a house was part of that.  We haven’t set many goals in concrete really.  When I talk about looking at the future, Paladin goes a bit off because he still can’t wrap his brain around being retired.  In the meantime, I feel lost.  I need goals.  I just don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t know what I’m aiming for.  When I try to get Paladin to think about the future, he tends to retreat a bit.

C) One of the other things that we can’t seem to agree on is the state of our union.  Paladin wants to think of everything as “ours” from the dogs to the kids to the house.  That’s not how I feel nor is it the reality of the situation.  All of these things came with the Paladin package.  There is still very much a “yours” and “mine” thing going on here and most of that is coming from me although he gets into the act when we argue over the kids.  I’ve spent the last few months reading about blended families and from what I hear it takes around seven years for that to be resolved.  SEVEN YEARS.  That I can live with, but he can’t.  I sometimes…ok, often…feel like I’m a Mull substitute.  That I’m fulfilling the roll that she never could.  That I’m the wife he dreamed of all along and frankly, if they were our children and this house was full of the kids and dogs and us, it would be perfection for him.  I get that.  I SO get that.  It would be my dream too.  But, they aren’t my children and they have a mother and the vast majority of the time they come both with hugs and a crapfest of what new idiotic low Mull has hit.  It really hurts him that I don’t think of all of this as ours.  I can’t help it.  I just don’t.  As I said to Dr. Mark yesterday, how can I when the MP’s advise me not to even so much as hold their hands in public?  I can be a loving, guiding hand in their lives, but I cannot be their mother.  It breaks my heart too, Paladin.  It does.  I nearly cried during our counseling session yesterday describing how hard it is to have Indie run to me and then watch her own mother ignore her.  Worse yet, to know that our attempts to make a change in that situation have been met with nothing but “call CPS” only to have CPS cock-up the entire situation leaving us with no where left to turn and actually making life harder for those kids (remind me someday to tell you about the hell Mull put them through after the MP’s got involved).

Like I said, they’re old bugaboos, but deep and lasting ones.  And after our argument the other night, I went to my dark dread-filled “push it down or get out” place.  I tried to share my anxiety and genuine fear with Paladin, but when I do that, he freaks out because he’s as tired of this back and forth as I am.  Once again, I suggested therapy.  I don’t have all of the answers for us, and often when I do have a suggestion or comment on issues, he just doesn’t listen to me or it escalates the argument.  Even when he does resolve to try a new tactic, it’s forgotten because there’s no one there to hold him accountable but me which makes him feel like the argument is still going on.  We needed a mediator pure and simple. 

Paladin made the call Monday morning and we went in yesterday and will be going in about once a week.  It sure as heck can’t hurt.  I think we made the staff’s day.  A couple that comes in before they’re ready to chuck it?  Awesomeness.  They were all smiles.  Well, until Dr. Mark heard our situation.  You could read the “OMG” in his face.  If he’d been standing, he’d have staggered.  It’s pretty much the same look people give us when they realize all that’s gone on in our lives in the last few months.  Our life is insane.  We keep stumbling through trying to keep up and putting out fires as Paladin puts it.  We’ve both had it with that mentality, but the truth is that we’ll go on that way unless there is a mediator to keep us on track.  We are both feeling good about this.  I think Paladin has a bit of anxiety about it still because of Mull having gone to couples counseling with him as a stepping stone to leaving, but I know he’s trying to fight that anxiety.  I love him for that.  He made my entire day by making that phone call.  It proves to me how different he is from those that came before him.  I’m really hopeful that we can come together on some of these issues because we’re so right in every other way.

Oh, and Paladin has his version of this going up over on his site shortly.

Ok, enough of my drivel for today.  🙂  I’ll most likely load pics of the second dress tomorrow and a few of the bouquet, etc.  See ya!  🙂

 

P.S.- I said it was insane.  Look what was waiting in my inbox from Rachel who took the majority of the wedding pics:

“So I have the other photos but me being the idiot that I am I left them in Jersey on my in-laws hutch. I will get them to you as soon as we get to NJ. So sorry love you babe and the photos here came out great.”

They aren’t going to be back in Jersey for 3 weeks.  Tres Sucks!

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