Archive for the ‘What would you do?’ Category

Bad news

I haven’t posted in forever, and I guess this is really a “dead” blog now.  I think that makes me feel safer now.  I hadn’t posted in so long because I just couldn’t.  SO MUCH has gone on in the last year that I didn’t want certain people to find this and know what I was doing or thinking.  I’ve seen it all from the continued child neglect from Mull (which reach new heights) to bad medical news for both me and Paladin to amazingly good news (which I also couldn’t share because we didn’t want to rock the boat).  I’ve been daydreaming for months about coming back here with a series of posts to catch everyone up, but I still can’t “tell all” because of legalities which should be finishing up before March 1st.  I’ve hit highs and lows with regularity and I wish I had someone to tell it all.  I just can’t…couldn’t.  Today it’s killing me because I just got another piece of bad news and I still can’t tell it.  I can’t talk about it to Paladin because he freaks and, let’s face it, most men just can’t deal with emotion too well even when they want to.  My family is no good at this either because they just don’t know anything about the “problem” and can only say, “Don’t worry” or “Just hang in there.”  The good and bad stuff just keeps piling up back-to-back and there’s no one to talk to.  I hate that I lost that when I stopped blogging.  I hate bottling everything up.  It’s the thing I never wanted to have to do again.  Yet, here I am unable to say what’s hurting because I’m trying to preserve my family at the price of my heart.  Great.

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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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Had to

Her face was swelling already.  Tomorrow, her eye would be black much like her wrists, chest, and back.  The rivers of blood flowed out her lips and over her chin as the bedroom door opened and her four-year-old son tiptoed in, “Mommy, you’re hurt.”

That was what my cousin’s little boy saw the other night after her drunken, ex-Marine MP boyfriend threw her all over her bedroom.  I’m so angry right now that I don’t know how I’m going to be able to take care of the kids without crying this weekend, and I can’t even begin to think of the work that has to be done in the coming days.  In this day and age, that scene should never EVER happen. She and I have never been as close as Tina is with her, but this tore me up. I had to write this.

My cousin, Flaxen, has made a lot of poor choices in her life, and most of them have been of her own doing.  She became pregnant near the end of her first semester in college.  It was the first time she’d been away from a pretty over-protective mother (my aunt is a good mother…she went through almost ten miscarriages and still-births before she finally had her 4 kids…she tried to do everything for her kids and still does, but that means that most of them haven’t learned to stand on their own 2 feet…unfortunately, they’re proof that you can do everything right and it can still fall apart).  Flaxen was drinking and had/has pretty low self-esteem, and the guy she hooked up with was “hot” and had just joined the Army reserves.  They had a short-lived romance and Tina is pretty sure that Flaxen was actually trying to get pregnant at the time.  The minute the boy found out she was pregnant; he told her he was taking a flight to Bosnia to “meet up” with his unit (that’s not how deployments work).  He, of course, was just leaving her holding the ball.  She’s spent years arguing with this guy and frankly, still obsessing over him.  She convinced herself that there was a fairytale ending there.  There was never going to be.  She’s spent years trying to live on less than $500 a month in welfare or in his child support payments when he’d get around to paying them.  For a long time, I honestly thought she was just going to end up living in the system her whole life.

About a year ago, Flaxen made a 180.  She got a job in a preschool and made arrangements for her son, Turtle Boy, to stay there too.  She got her own place far enough away from her family that she could make a tentative start at taking hold of her life.  She not only made plans to go back to school, she went through with it.  I was skeptical at best, as usual.  I hoped it would stick.  It was the farthest she’d ever come.  Her issues still weighed on her and she struggled with them constantly.  Tina has spent untold hours with her on the phone helping her work through them and being a shoulder for her when her few friends would just lose interest.  Then this Marine showed up.

On the face of it, this guy was great.  He works at an after-school program with kids.  He was taking college courses to become a teacher.  He showed all the chivalry that most Marine’s live by.  He took care of his own 2 yr. old little boy, but he constantly fought with the child’s mother over custody to the point that she was arrested for hitting him in the parking lot of Flaxen’s apartment building.  All signs pointed toward a good guy caught in a bad situation.  I was impressed by everything I’d heard about him and their relationship, and if you’ve been here a while, you know that takes A LOT.

Not long before their visit in April, Flaxen let this guy move in with her and Turtle Boy.  She was still working and she started a business course at the community college.  Their two sons were joined at the hip.  It seemed that fairytale ending was finally in sight.

Since their visit here, things went downhill fast.  He stopped paying his share of the rent and utilities.  He borrowed money from her to buy his son diapers but spent $300 on a leather motorcycle vest.  The other night she called Tina because she’d discovered that while she was down here, he had started visiting porn sites and the activity had continued every second Flaxen wasn’t in the room (if he had 5 minutes alone, he didn’t check email…he found a porno).  Flaxen had finally decided that it was over.  She is completely non-confrontational, and was trying to find a way to tell him.

That horrible, fateful night she still hadn’t had the courage to tell him to leave.  Instead, when he came in drunk, she tentatively suggested that he go stay at his grandfather’s place until they could think things through.  He immediately lost it throwing her cellphone, her only means of communication with the outside world, across the room breaking it apart.  When she stood to get the phone, he slammed her into a wall and then a chest of drawers.  He threw her onto the bed and got on top of her holding her down.  He hit her across the face repeatedly.  She finally managed to get free of him when the bed broke apart in the struggle.  When her son came in, he was coming toward her and stopped.  Flaxen grabbed her 4 yr. old and her phone and told the ex-Marine that he could stay at the apartment that she’d leave.  She begged him to let her call her dad to pick her up while frantically trying to make her cellphone work with one hand and holding on to her little boy with the other.  When the guy wouldn’t let them leave the apartment, she convinced him that her phone was dead and that she’d have to use the girl across the hall’s phone.  When the other girl opened the door, this guy was standing there watching and warning Flaxen not to call the cops or to tell her family what happened.  Flaxen escaped into her neighbor’s apartment with her son in her arms; the two women got the door locked before he could break in.  The rest of the night was a blur of her mother and father coming and then the cops arresting him.

In these few hours, Flaxen has found out that this guy and his ex had so many issues because he hit her.  His family didn’t think he’d “do that to Flaxen” because he and Flaxen had been so happy, and because his ex had always been just as violent as the ex-Marine (hence, there were no previous battery charges against him…the two wouldn’t call the cops because they had both been hitting each other).  The cops pressed charges against the guy, a long list of them; Flaxen didn’t have to because her son was there during the commission of the crime.  There’s an automatic restraining order in place because of the charge of domestic battery.

I’m honestly scared for this girl turned woman.  This is such a pivotal moment for her.  She either has to stand on her own feet and hold on to this precious bit of progress her life has made, or she’s going to lose everything and fall back into her old life.  I’m sick to my stomach with worry that she’ll let this guy back in her life.

He WILL come knocking on your door begging you not to ruin his life by coming to court, Flaxen.  He WILL try to sway you in every way possible.  Even if you felt like you were just going through the motions for him by getting the job, the apartment, and going back to school, you still made the motions.  You moved forward.  You have a life.  He just shouldn’t be part of it anymore.

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