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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.  😦

Three

Paladin’s away and so I can play.  It’s this or endlessly Clustying “adenomas”.  My Facebook update a couple of days ago was really only the tip of the iceberg around here.  It’s been one long crapfest really. 

It all started last week when Paladin brought a bout of fast ravaging flu in from his CASA meeting.  By the next morning, he was lying on the sofa at death’s door and by 10pm that night it was starting to hit me.  The b**ch of that was that I was scheduled for a CT scan the next morning to rule out the herniated intestine.  This meant that I couldn’t take even a tiny Tylenol for the chills, fever, and puking.  We spent a solid week trying to recuperate and I completely lost my voice for most of it.  Thankfully, I could kind of squeek/talk by the time my supervisors showed up for 2 days of visits. 

During this bout of death, Manjina stuck his head in to mention that the little gal he’d had round the week before was selling BBQ plates.  I innocently said, “For work or charity?”  His answer, “For her high school.”  That was the straw that broke le camel’s back!  Well, that and a couple of home improvement style snafus he became entwined in.  Frankly, it’s time for him to go!  He showed up last September to watch Brian for 3 days (which I paid him to do) and never left.  Paladin hasn’t wanted him here from the beginning but Brian felt obligated to take him in.  This is the end.  I made it very clear to Brian this afternoon that he has a week to find somewhere else to perch.  I don’t think that’s going to be so easy.  Last week when the supervisor was here I told Manjina he’d have to get his things out of Brian’s place because Brain is supposed to live alone.  Instead of just sticking things in Martian’s room, he loaded up the truck and went back to his friend’s flop house.  I’m guessing they told him there was no room at the inn because he was back the next day.  Either way, we have kids to think about and I don’t need any pedophilic crap going on around here.  HELL NO.  I don’t care if that girl was 80.  High schoolers are off limits!  Somebody’s daddy is going to take exception one of these days and shoot his ass and good for them when they do!  Brian’s a little pissy about it, but I told him the same things he used to say to me about Manjina when Mr. Ralph let Manjina walk all over him.  He’s old enough to find his own way in the world and if he ends up on the street too bad.  I AIN’T HAVIN’ IT!

Course, that was just today. 

Last Wednesday was my fertility ultrasound.  I knew something was wrong when the tech’s face fell a little and she asked me if I was sure about the date of my last cycle.  I went home and shook it off.  The next day I got a call that it didn’t look good.  There’s a ovarian cyst on the left ovary and the endometrial lining is abnormally thick.  They’ve set up another ultrasound but they chose a date just days before my cycle.  That doesn’t sound right to me.  I would think they’d want to check it at the same time next month in order to determine if that’s normal for my cycles.  I was in a fog through Thursday and most of Friday crying at the drop of a hat.

Then Friday afternoon came.  Dr. Trexie, the Army surgeon, told me that I don’t have a herniated intestine.  It’s more likely to be a stomach fistula (the old stomach has reattached itself like an alien parasite) or an ulcer.  Depending on the severity of either choice, it means a revision of my gastric bypass.  Thankfully, Trexxie has a lot of experience with gastric bypass complications because his last duty station had a weight loss surgery clinic and his unit specialized in dealing with all their complication cases.  That actually sounds pretty good to me.  Hey if I can’t have babies, I can at least lose enough weight to look like Anna Nicole at her druggiest. 

Then Trexxie hit me with the word: vomit (victim of modern imaging technology).  They’ve found a nodule on my adrenal gland.  He assured me that chances are that it’s absolutely nothing to worry about.  I take GREAT issue with that!  Any tumor…that’s right Doc, call it a nodule if you want but we’re not stupid, we know what that word means…  Any tumor an inch and a half long on a gland that is only the size of a walnut must be having some impact on my health.  So its more tests to rule out cancer, but frankly I want it out either way.  I’ve spent as much time as I could spare looking into the fertility issues and the adrenal adenomas, and I’m wondering if one is impacting the other.  In the military system, they can miss things like that because you’ve got a P.A. working on the fertility test and an M.D. taking care of the adenoma.

So, Thursday I was hit with fertility problems.  By Friday, I might have cancer.  On Saturday morning, Mom was admitted to the hospital ICU for a blood disorder and Manjina had to be taken to the ER for kidney stones while Brian got a much milder version of the flu I’d had. 

All this with the kids here this weekend.  The one thing about kids is they don’t give you time to cry.  So when you’re teaching Indie to put her doll to bed, you have to turn away to wipe the tears.  I worked really hard to keep everything normal for them, but I ached from the strain of it to be honest.  The kids were good.  We took them out for Chinese on Saturday because I couldn’t face cooking and we wanted to prove to them that they could learn to like new things.  That and Paladin loves to show of his chopstick chops.  I was in a semi-coma all weekend but I managed to keep it to myself.  Nothing really bad about Mull for once except that she had obviously been counting change and we paid her support not 5 days before that  Not to mention that Blind Boy should have gotten paid too.  (she left stacks of change on her dashboard where Paladin would notice them…maybe she’d hoped he’d offer her money).  We have also gotten one call for one of her bills being overdue, but Paladin hung up on them before I could tell him to find out what it was about.  You never know if shes been using him for a co-signer without him knowing it. 

Yesterday, we got to see Mom for a few minutes in the ICU.  Her blood developed anti-bodies to some donor blood she had gotten.  She hasn’t had a transfusion in months, and there’s no way of knowing which transfusion was responsible.  Either way, we found out today that the surgeon working on her leg and shoulder has messed up her arm to the point that its never going to be right again (all he had to do to make it right was to splint it…instead he had it just in a sling).  This is the same doctor who constantly kept wanting to help get her into a nursing home and who sent her home too soon from the first leg surgery.  I told Tina that it’s time to call a lawyer.  Let the lawyer look into it and if it’s fishy then it’s time for a lawsuit.  If not, then no harm done. 

It was the weekend from hell.  😦  I don’t know what to do with myself really.  It will be weeks before the other tests are even scheduled because of back logs on base.  In the meantime all I can do is worry and fend off advances from Paladin.  His testosterone came back low last week and the doctor put him on testosterone replacement.  Last night he was doing push ups and crunches in the floor.  He’s constantly trying to hump my leg now.  The Brothers kept giving him a hard time about Roid Rage yesterday on the way home from the ICU.  I’m not sure if I can deal with the teenage version of Paladin constantly wanting to boink me right now. 

Then again, maybe that means all my other wishes will come true.  Mull will fall off a cliff.  The “nodule” will be completely responsible for my fertility issues and will be easily removed resulting in me becoming knocked up at the first hint of spermage.  Then I’ll lose another 100lbs with the revision and the doc in Houston will give me the body of a young Anna Nicole. 

Right now I just feel deep down numb.  There’s nothing to do about anything.  I can’t fix it.  And, I can’t make time move faster either.

Still alive?

In the past 2.5 months, I have been: traveling out of state for a total of 6 weeks to San Antonio/Mississippi/Houston (sorry, I didn’t catch you while we were in Houston Mama, but we literally were there for less than 20 hours total including drive time and appointment), had kids for a little more than 4 weeks, and for funsies there’s been approximately 40 different doctor appointments (me & Paladin combined) with an additional 8 appointments scheduled before February.  It’s taken the past 4 days of relative peace for me to get the house semi-livable (who knew taking down 15 large boxes of Christmas decorations would take so long?  any woman from the past century, that’s who).  I’ve been increasingly exhausted and dissatisfied with my current state of “life”.  Those quotation marks are deserved.  Cuz child this ain’t livin’ by a long shot.  This is EXISTING, pure and simple!

So why did I even bother to get online?  I’m going to be honest.  There have been a few days when I could get online for an hour or two but I haven’t blogged (though, I’ve kept up with you occasionally via the feeds in the Vista sidebar) or Facebooked or even checked email.  Those couple of hours amounted to me being in a semi-vegetative state in front of Youtube watching old BBC sitcoms and longing for the days when my hair got brushed.  I really wouldn’t even want to admit to how little my hair got brushed in the last 2.5 months.  A hair clip is so very forgiving.  I wouldn’t call my desire to curl up into a ball depression.  It’s more of the old Hollywood “check me into the hospital for exhaustion” type of thing but without the heroine addiction.  The last out of state visit was to Houston to see the reconstructive surgeon, and a major concern of his was that I would have a long recovery because he thinks that it’s possible Tricare will cover having my arm flab, thighs, and tummy done (we won’t talk about the giant ass and tits down to my navel left behind).  My thought when he mentioned the horrible, long, painful recovery?  I think visions of sugar plums ACTUALLY danced in my head.  Weeks in bed where I’m not having to do everything for the 14 living people (not counting the 4 legged people in fur coats) who depend on me on a nearly daily basis?  Had a little mini-orgasm just typing that.  I keep longing for normalcy but I’ve finally accepted that our schedule is not now and will not be normal indefinitely.  Paladin and I had a long talk on the way home from Mom’s the other night about how frazzled I am (that’s the perfect word that is).  He’s, of course, afraid that I’m regretting my life and am going to run away with Raoul as soon as my body is resculpted.  Ha!  As if I’d have the energy for that.  I’m still hoping for that me time.  Unfortunately, blogging stopped being that for me some time ago. 

I loved blogging.  I loved meeting new people and building a virtual community.  However, over time blogging became more and more of a committment.  It became another on my neverending lists of tasks to complete.  The two hours out of my day to keep up with blog friends and writing was the first casualty of my new life.  I understand completely the laments of other bloggers who hate to see their blog friends move on after sharing their misadventures of singlehood or infertility.  Those of us who get lost in the real world miss you as much as you miss us.  I’ve been avoiding blogging because I couldn’t see any way to have my cake and eat it without regret.  For a long time, I’ve debated shutting down the blog entirely.  I thought about just doing the Facebook thing, but I still hate FB and there are things that I don’t want some people on FB to know because frankly, they aren’t as close to me as ya’ll are/were.  For those of you with the job, the kids, and the community functions who still blog and keep up with everything: WTH?  I’d have to grow an extra arm out of my ass and a have a secondary brain implanted with it. 

So, we’ve established that I can’t blog anymore.  At least, I can’t blog the way I used to.  I can’t spare the hours out of my life to blog when I’m lucky to shave my pits once a week.  It’s a matter of priorities.  I need to be a priority and you need to be a priority for me too.  So, I’m going to try something that sounds absolutely exhausting: I’m going to post AT LEAST twice a month and Facebook AT LEAST twice a week.  I know.  Sounds like a total cop out, but if I find that there are weeks when I have time enough for me and time enough to blog: great!  If not, I won’t want to have myself horse-whipped for letting anyone down.  I’m not going to promise to read or reply to your every post, but I’m going to skim like my life depended on it.  I realize that some people will defriend me or whatever, but screw ’em.  Frankly, if no one wants to talk to me, that’s fine by me.  It won’t hurt my feelings a bit.  For God’s sake, if I’ve missed something vital like death, illness, or birth (and chances are that I have), don’t hesitate to point it out to me.  I’m used to sticking my foot in my mouth.  Otherwise, the best I can do is a heartfelt try these days.  If nothing else, you may enjoy lurking around to watch the train wreck!

So here’s an ultra-quick catch up on my last 2 to 3 months of life:

Paladin had facial reanimation and vocal chord implant surgeries which were largely successful.  However, one eye hasn’t closed properly, and we’re going to have to do something about it.  I don’t doubt that you’ll be seeing us again before you know it, Tabitha.

Mom’s leg is healed enough for her doctor to give her the ok to put weight on it.  Mom won’t go back to the rehab hospital though.  😦  Not even when little 3 yr. old Indie stood by her bed and said, “Gramma you gots to go to the hospital to walk.”  The old bitty looked that 3 yr. old right in the eye and told her, “No!”  I did get her to promise the little girls that she’d work on rehab at home though and I plan to hold it over her head BIG TIME!

Brian’s brother, Jon spent almost 2 weeks in ICU with pneumonia, but he’s back here and feeling ok enough to drag in some ho the other night.  Actually, I’m not sure she was old enough to be a ho.  She looked about 12.

My camera stopped taking video right in the freakin’ middle of Christmas!  It especially sucked since we had just put a swing up in the big oak tree out back.  Now, I’ve lost the looks of absolute joy on the little girl’s faces as they had their first swing of their very own.  😦  I hope I never forget the squeals and laughter which were enhanced by it swinging slightly crooked.  I looked out the backdoor the next day to find that Indie had pulled a yard chair up and was trying to jump onto the swing.  I caught her just in time!

Paladin is getting a surgery consult soon for a vasectomy reversal.  He’s been cautioned that it’s unlikely to be approved because of his age and his radiation therapy.  His thought on the subject?  “You know at your age we could have at least 5 more!”  Ummm…idiocy runs deeply in this one.

I have a surgery consult this week myself for a chronic herniated intestine (the intestines try to play peekaboo with the gap between the old stomach and the new stomach).  The lovely folks on base are drooling to play with my innards.  They gonna play hell!  I ain’t got enough stomach left to play around with.  So, we’ll see how that goes.  Next week, I get to do a fertility ultrasound.  Oh and they’re going to check my cataract.   That’s right.  I’m that freakin’ old.  My eye doctor told me I’ve got a cataract on my left eye and that in just a couple of years I’ll need bifocals.  How does one respond to that?  Just tell me!  How?

My cousin Flaxen, of the beaten up by her ex-Marine boyfriend in front of her 4 yr. old son post, not only dropped the charges against the man, but is now very much pregnant by him.  It’s getting uglier every day with the back and forth, but she’s still taking care of herself better than I expected.

My Dad was put in jail for over a week and put on suicide watch.  That’s notable, I think.  Doh, aka Golddigging Step-barf-mother, had apparently called the cops on him one night and it took more than a week for him to be seen by a psychologist who immediately cleared him and denied Doh’s claim of incompetence.  They split up, but it looks like he’s going back to her now.  Yeah, nothing like trying to put someone away as incompetent to show your love.

My friend Susan emailed me the other day that her baby girl has just been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and may have leukemia. 

Paladin has also joined CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused children) and I’ll have my Tuesday nights Paladin-less for a while.

As for the kids situation: 

I’ll start from the beginning.  As soon as Paladin and I were married we went in to the Social Security office and filed the paperwork with them.  This stopped Mull’s part of the SSI check.  The other day we found out that she has secretly married blind boy (why is it a secret from everyone including the little girls?  WHO KNOWS WITH HER! you’d think it would give them a better sense of security if anything).  Coincidentally, she “decided” to marry him the minute her SSI got cut off.  Then she found out the same way I did that she don’t get jack unless she has another baby with Blind Boy.  Guess who is planning to add to the brood?  Yeah, stellar plan Mull.

Mull is also desperately looking for a new place to live.  She moved into the trailer park about a year ago and we’re guessing that her lease is coming up.  The fly in that ointment?  She’s lost her job at the shoe store.  How is that a fly you ask?  At Thanksgiving Indie showed up in new shoes.  They were light up Sketchers Dora and from the shoe store where Mull works.  These were not cheap shoes.  Similar, non-Dora, non-light up Sketchers sell for $20 at the outlet store down the road and that is a rock bottom price for them.  Mull ain’t never in her life spent $20 on a pair of shoes for the little girls (for the older kids she will…because they know the difference and she can’t get away with that crap).  This was highly suspicious.  Next thing we know, Mull isn’t at work.  She hasn’t worked for a month.  No explanation for anyone, not even the kids.  I think you see where I’m going with this one.  I suspect that she either stole the shoes outright or mislabeled them and took them at a cheap price and got caught.  It’s that or she doesn’t work if she’s married.  What does this have to do with looking for a new place to live?  The German folks that run the trailer park know the ones who gave her the job at the shoe store.  It’s like I’ve said all along: give her time and she’ll out herself for the trash she is.

Speaking of just how trashy Mull is let this be the example:  Just before Christmas, the little girls came in telling us how Mull had taken them to a special store and got this little girl a new bike, and a computer thing, and new clothes all for Christmas.  Well, I was crestfallen.  The best we could do for Savvy and Blondie was used bikes that we fixed up and now one of them was going to get a new bike at home from some type of Toys for Tots program.  So, on Christmas, I braced for the inevitable, “I got a new bike at the trailer.”  I need not have worried.  The children never got their presents.  Mull bought the little girls checkers and a $3 Littlest pet shop game; she didn’t spend even $20 on each of the 3 little ones.  The teenagers got $100 guitar hero games and a used PSP.  😦 What happened to the bike and computer thing and new clothes?  We’re guessing she sold their Christmas presents.  Yeah, every time you think she can’t go lower…

Can I end on a happy note or what?

P.S.- Paladin says I shouldn’t end on a downer and that I didn’t tell you that the kids had a great Christmas here.  Actually, they had a great Christmas Eve (one present and a dinner) here, a great Christmas morning here (with actual jawdropping when they saw their used bikes), and a great Christmas day at Mom’s.  That’s a total of 2 giant stockings of candy.  Did I mention that I even managed to make stockings for all of us in the middle of doctor appointments?  They came out great too!  I hope I took a picture.  They were here so much that some of the many lessons I’ve been teaching them like knock before opening a door, close the door when you’re dressing, and saying “please” and “thank you” actually took hold.  I don’t expect them to still do them when they get back this weekend.  After the first 2 weeks of Mull being at home, they had all regressed a great deal.  Indie kept hiding under tables and Blondie just kept wanting to know when she could go back.  😦  I wish she’d get another job or leave them in a field.  Being raised by wolves would be better than having her around!  So much for Paladin’s non-downer.

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!

Wedding Day #2

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!  🙂

only you win EVERY TIME! 

Somewhere some shopping addicted soul just clicked on this blog and wanted to slap me.  I don’t blame them a bit.

The best part about visiting the neurosurgeon in Baton Rouge?  The gorgeous lean dark-haired, piercing-eyed doctor?  Well, no.  But that was close!  Daaaaannng…he were HOT.  And, no ring!  For a split second, I wondered how quickly and quietly my wedding ring could be slipped off and stowed in my pocket.  Hey, Paladin, at least, I wasn’t thinking of tossing it at you and jumping onto the doc’s lap.  Ok, for a minute.  Seriously.  He was HOT. 

The best part of visiting the neurosurgeon was that he was next to a shopping center!  A very chic, shopping center at that.  It was the kind of place where you go to look, and then go to Filene’s Basement to buy.  Is that just me?  I should have been born Jewish.  Clearly.  It was filled with boutiques ala Melrose Place, but it also had a few places that you could afford to buy at like Barnes & Noble, White House Black Market, and a cinema and lots of restaurant grills which I realize were also a mix of prices.  For someone who isn’t as penny pinching as me, it would just be normal.  But as Rose from the Golden Girls once put it, I can squeeze a nickel til the buffalo poops!  In general, I do not do full price.  Homey don’t play that.  So when I caught sight of a little place I call heaven, I thought, “I’ll look, but I won’t even THINK of buying unless they have a clearance section.”  Then the pearly gates opened…

Heaven also goes by the name: Charming Charlie’s.  How?  How did you Texas girls not tell me about this???  I would drive to it.  I don’t care that it’s three hours away!  It’s like It’s Fashion (a black girl version of Cato…in other words: Cool…owned by the same company as Cato), but just for accessories.  They have some clothes but nothing over a large.  The main focus is on accessories and I just cannot fully explain to you how awesome this place is.  I could have dropped $300 in 20 minutes flat, and I wouldn’t have been sorry!  The handbags were so very of the moment and most were only $35 and decent quality at that!  The jewelry stole my heart, though.  It’s mostly costume jewelry, but again, it’s good quality and cheap.  I got this for $10:

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The turquoise enamel is thick, the crystals on the edges of the petals are well set, and the faux pearl doesn’t look too “faux” if you get my drift.  Although all of their rings are on adjustable or elastic beaded bands, this is a piece that I can tell will last for many years to come.  In fact, pretty much every piece I handled had good quality construction and value.  In this day and age, that’s like finding $20 laying on the street.  I could have covered over half my Christmas list with less than $200, and everyone on it would have thought I’d spent double that.  The good news is there’s a shop in San Antonio, but it’s near the surely chic La Cantera Golf Course and I have no idea how to get to it.  Hmmm…dilemma.  Charming Charlie’s alone would have made the trip worth it, but then came Madeleine…

La Madeleine to be precise.  I’ll admit it.  I wasn’t impressed.  Not one bit.  I was very put off that la Madeleine turned out to be a cafeteria.  The food was good and because they had a 2 for $7.99 deal going, it was a good deal (as in cheap for that shishi shopping center).  I saw the desserts right up front and since a couple of the mini-tarts were only $1.59, I thought, “Well, I’ll try them.”  I had the rather sweet but vacant girl behind the counter box up a mini-creme brulee tart, a mini-fruit custard tart, and one slice of Sacher Torte ($3.99), and we went ahead and got our trays and had our lunch.  Like I said, I wasn’t impressed especially and I was a little put out that Miss Sweet but Vacant saw us standing there with menu’s for a very long time (the set up at the front door looked like you should wait to be seated) without saying, “Hi, can I help you?”  Instead she just watched us warily.  Finally, we just sat down assuming that the service was crap and someone would notice us seated in their station and say something.  Instead, I notice the ladies next to us had a cafeteria tray, asked her about it, and she explained that it was cafeteria style.  Like I said, Madeleine didn’t have me.  Then we headed out on the interstate and I opened the box.  I can’t say they are the finest, but they were VERY good pastries.  In the rural area we live in, that kind of thing isn’t lurking around every corner.  The raspberry glaze between the layers of chocolate torte made me exclaim; it made me groan in pleasure.  Uh yeah.  I’ll go again if I get a chance!  Besides, they had the best vegetarian choices in the area.

All in all, we had a fruitful day out on Thursday.  We talked and hopefully made just a little more headway in identifying our issues.  We had a nice lunch which turned into a fabulous evening of dessert.  And, I shopped!  I got my ring above and Christmas gifts for Bell and Martian:  a Victorian/goth choker & earring set and a wind-up summo wrestler game.  I’ll let you figure out which one got which gift.  When I came home with the summo wrestler game, I had to make sure it worked (it’s was only $5 on clearance) and Brian’s brother Jon and I started playing with it.  It could be addictive.  I had to make myself put it up.  It was awesome!

Know who else is awesome?  La Dishy!  She gave me this award, and it made my day.  It really did.  It kind of makes me want to make my own award.  Maybe I could use a sumo wrestler in it!  😀

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The only thing is that I got caught up in my own existence and now this lovely award has made its way to pretty much everybody over there on the side.  Hmmm…what to do.  I hate to repeat even if the ones receiving it are awesome enough to get it twice!  So, I’m going to do a total cop-out and tell anyone who hasn’t gotten it yet to have at it.  Just be sure to link back to Dishy and/or myself.  🙂

Say more

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!  🙂