Devine Memories 

December 23rd – the day my dads side does Christmas every year. I drive an hour. The house always smells so good: a huge prime rib, scalloped potatoes, great grandmothers jam cake, warm custard. The house is decorated with simple decorations of red and gold. The cherry table is covered with a white linen cloth this night. The tableware is fine white china featuring Santa and his sleigh. The red cloth napkins are folded with precision and placed into ceramic holders my grandmother made: They compliment the boughs of holly that hang from the brass chandelier. Tall red, hand-dipped candles inside crystal cylinders set the room a glow.  Across from the formal dining room is a den where the family gathers before and after dinner. On a cherry end table sits a nativity scene that my grandmother made. There were the usual Mary and Joseph, the manger and baby Jesus. Three Wisemen presenting their gifts, a camel lying in straw… a donkey covered with a blanket and a black sheep. A black sheep? What a perfect reflection of my grandmothers sense of humor.    

The 1950 style Christmas tree is tall and thin with branches like long, skinny finger that drip with hand blown glass and wood ornament jewelry. The deep red tree-skirt was covered in gifts; each one wrapped with military creases hugged with ribbons and bows: Hand made. All of it. Everyone was happy. My grandfather wore his Santa hat and sang carols. We gather around him while he reads the Christmas story from Luke. The entire house was picture perfect: A Norman Rockwell painting brought to life. This is the ghost of Christmas past. 

December 23rd- I drive 30 minutes.  A fried chicken, mini taco, sausage ball, veggie and cheese plate pot luck has replaced meals my grandmothers hands once made. The decorations are gone, the table setting too. The 1950’s faux tree has been replaced with a new fat, LED pre-lit spruce. Somehow the ornaments that once stood out are now lost in the full-figure branches. The red tree skirt is now covered with gifts that are in bags. My grandfather hides in his room to avoid the chaos; there is no singing. Whatever kid asks first gets to stutter and trip over their own tongue while they read the Christmas story. No one is listening. The only thing that’s the same is that nativity scene and it’s black sheep.   This is the ghost of Christmas present. 

December 23- I drive 10 minutes.  Holy wreaths with red ribbons are the only decorations I see. The trees are naked- branches bare. There are no ornaments.    “Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices..”  I sit and read aloud the Christmas story from Luke; everyone listens. Before I go I place a Santa hat atop his side, and a black sheep atop her side of the tombstone.  As I walk away I sing:  “O night. O night Devine.”  Everything is beautiful. 

This is the ghost of Christmas future. 

K.I.S.S.

I hate it.   I absolutely hate to be disrespected and I will not tolerate it from anyone.  How hard is it to treat others as you would want to be treated?    I don’t understand kids who refuse to listen. I don’t understand parents who don’t teach their kids to respect them and others.   Teachers, Law enforcement and many others are abused everyday, verbally as well as physically because kids have idiots for parents.   Where do bullies come from? Yep, idiot parents.   Kids who bully other kids, and kid who are disrespectful are the product of their environment and I think their parents (or whoever the hell is caring for them) should be held partly responsible.

All I ask my kids to do is get good grades and keep their areas clean— this includes their bathroom.  I demand them to respect other people, including each other.  When these few rules are not followed, I lose my shit.  They simply do not know how good they have it and when they take for granted all that is done for them, a swift reminder takes place.  

I’ve never spanked my youngest child, I’ve never had to.  Don’t get me wrong, she can be a total jerk sometimes and she is dealt with by warnings and taking things away from her that she holds dear.  My two oldest might had had a handful of swats to the butt when they were little—   95 times from a 100, they could be warned and that was that.  Sometimes they lost privileges which was worse than anything else.     As many stupid things I’ve done in my lifetime, I’ve never faltered in raising my children to be respectful, productive members of society.  I’m proud of them and the adults they are (or are becoming.)      

Everything nowadays has to be faster to be considered better-  fast food, fast internet connections, fast cars, fast ways to make money and the worst of all, forcing kids grown up faster because you’re a shitty parent and don’t want to take the time to let them be kids.   Fast. Fast. Fast.    A study I read said that most families share a meal together only a couple of times a month. Most families are so on the go that they just grab food out, usually separately.   And you wonder why juvenile obesity and diabetes is soaring in America???  #idiot   Want to keep people out of prison? Start when they are young and raise them right. 

You know what this world needs? To get back to “family.”   Everyone needs to slow the hell down and get their minds focused on what’s important in their household instead of what’s happening on social media; Cook and eat a sit-down dinner together at home! Talk. Listen. Learn.  Make your kids earn what they want and stop handing them what they want just to shut them up.  And for the love of all things holy, bring Jesus …or whatever god you believe in (for all you Christian haters out there,) and His teachings back into the home. 

Keep It Simple Stupid and your kids might actually turn out to be decent people.   Just sayin’. 

Day 145 – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

It has been 11 days since my last post- wow!! It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say, it’s that I’ve been that damn limited on time.  To begin with, I realized that I was a week behind in school.  Apparently new classes began on May 11th, the same day as the old ones ended!!  I assumed new classes began on the 18th, giving me a week off because that’s what usually happens. Yeah, yeah I know what the word assume means.. hahaha

My dad had his 61st birthday this past Friday.  When I look at him and when I see him do all the things he does in a day, I feel that 60 is the new 30. It gives me hope, hahaha  Now I know his body hurts and his energy level falls more rapidly than before but he never lets on. All dad’s are like a mix of Superman and Prince Charming to their little girls I guess. I know that my dad is my sanctuary, my safe place, my sanity – always has been.

My dad loves me unconditionally.  He is very good at showing love for his kids.  My dad also has this amazing ability punish his kids without saying a single word.  It’s not even a look really– it’s more like an invisible barrier that surrounds him and it oozes disappointment; all you can do is hang your head in shame. It’s 10 times worse than being grounded or spanked. hahaha

The funny thing about that is, my dad isn’t the type to spank or even scold.  I have never been grounded by him and I remember only one time being spanked when I was very young. He doesn’t have to do those things due to that damn oozing sphere of disappointment he wears when he looks at you. haha  I’m not like him in that sense.  I have never been able to hold my tongue when it comes to someone being disrespectful- my temper is hot!!  I am much better at 40 than I was at 20, or even 30.  But it’s also strange how growing older works. Where my patience has formed with my kids and even more so with my grand-kids (seems you get more tolerant with each generation) it has disintegrated where rude ass adults are concerned. I have zero problem with standing up for myself and those I’m close to. I am so sick of the drama that surrounds certain people in my life to the point that I refuse to live my last 40 years the same as the first. Because of that fact I have had no problem cutting loose those people who like to keep a stirring pot.  The older I get the more I realize that a happy life can only exist when you surround yourself with happy people.
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Day 129 – Single Gray Tote

I turned 40 almost a year ago and since then it’s like my body has decided to die. Currently I have a pinched …..something..located….somewhere in the back, neck, eyeball area of my body,  some sort of situation with my stomach/intestines and my right ovary hates me.
As I lie in a hot Epsom salt bath, doped on anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers I write this post.  (Lord hamercy)  My ceiling has seam-lines where whoever redid it, sucked.  It’s part of its character I supposed.  My house is 60+ years old, it has a LOT of character. Hahaha…
As bad as I feel today I will drag my loopy ass out of this tub and out of this house for a walk.  I know that if I don’t move around today that I’ll feel worse tomorrow. Ain’t nobody got time for worse!!!     New classes begin tomorrow.  It doesn’t end.  I think my courses need birth control.  Seriously. It’s like, I go to bed with 2 classes to go and when I wake up, there’s a whole litter.   Good grief.  Even with my dying body and shitty old house I’m happy.  The physical and emotional pains I feel.. they let me know I’m alive-  I was blessed with another day.   I do not think this is how my step-brother feels.

I had the not-so-pleasure of dealing with him this past Thursday.  Remember when I told you he was back in jail and how I was going to visit him so I could sever the ties? Well that never happened because he cancelled my visit.   When he called from jail I answered. He told me he was being released and had to get a ride up to Louisville to a halfway house.  Normally I would have told him to screw off; I don’t want the drama in my life, BUUUUT I couldn’t.  My dad and his mom were out of town for two weeks and I didn’t want him to rob their house (again) He has caused so much financial and emotional damage to our parents-   with them gone I had my chance to get rid of him.

I picked Earl up around noon.  While I waited for him, the jailer came out. I told the jailer straight up that I would take him where he needed to go, but if he tried to run or tried to give me any shit, I’d shoot him.  I wasn’t kidding. I wouldn’t have shot to kill but I would have shot to stop him.  He has caused too much grief in everyone’s life and he wasn’t about to cause it in mine. Before we left for Louisville I brought him to my house for a few hours while I waited for my partner in crime (Kayla) to get off work to ride with.   When she got off work, I loaded my gun and we headed out.

The trip was crazy. With interstates closed down and every town between here and there under construction, the would-be hour drive turned into two.  We ended up in a part of Louisville just past the security of the city lights.  The side street we turned down was dark and seemingly abandoned.  After passing the halfway house I did a u-turn and pulled over to the curb. Earl got out while kayla and I sat there with the car running and a loaded ruger. The allies were full of men as were the lower floors of the glass front buildings.  They were smoking and chatting it up-  they’d sometimes push carts with personal belongings across the dark, empty street.  Earl finally came back and took a single garbage bag of clothes with him.   I pulled out and didn’t look back.

The next day I had to remove two trashbags of clothes from the trunk.  They reeked of smoke and karosene. I took them to my basement and laundered them.  After folding them and placing them into a single tote I stopped.  I couldn’t believe how a 41 year old man’s entire life could fit into a single gray tote.  A man who began working at 15 so he could buy Nike Jordans. A man who graduated and had and good paying job at Hostess. A man who once had a wife and a daughter to come home to. A man who had a place to live and a car…he even had a dog. 
It was all gone and what was left was a single tote of jeans and tshirts,  few nice button downs, a belt, a hat and a pair of shoes caked with dried mud.  That’s all.
How does ones life end up in a single tote?
How do hard working, good people turn into drug addicted assholes?
I am truly heartbroken for the man Earl use to be, for his momma and for my dad.  It’s like Earl is dead, except he isn’t and I can’t mourn him properly.

That single gray tote downstairs bothers me.  I hate what it represents.
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Day 124 – Bye Felicia!!

All of my grandparents are still alive- which I find rare within my cohort.  My mother’s parents are in their low 80’s and my dad’s parents are in the lower 90’s.  All four of them have lived through some pretty amazing things.  They have seen so much growth and development, and way too many wars. None of my grandparents drink or smoke, but that is about the only thing they have in common.

My mom’s parents are hard-working blue collar folks. They each have held several jobs, doing whatever it took to care for 6 kids.  The list includes everything from law enforcement and X-ray tech to factory workers and maids.  They got the job done.  Not only did they raise their six kids, they have also raised most of their grand-kids at some point or another.  Out of 6 of their kids they only have 1 of which is a complete waste of human flesh.  I’d say that’s pretty good odds.   The other 5 left home and began their own lives.  I’m not saying any of them have done it perfectly, but at least they ventured out of the damn nest.

My uncle Leif is the piece of crap kid.  He’s like 50 and has never left home. Ok.. I think he left once or twice but if adding up the total time compared to his years on earth, it adds up to like a day.  He left home for a day. I feel like shouting, “Way to go out and grab life by the horns there, tiger. Go get em!”  (can you sense the sarcasm?)   Leif not only didn’t leave the comfort of mommy and daddy’s wittle wub nest, he brought home a wife and three kids to share it…. and all of them, just like true parasites, suck every drop of blood from my grandparents lives and fill the home with disease.

I took my momma over to my grandparents house so she could visit with her mom on Mother’s Day.  I hadn’t stepped foot in that house in over a year.. and before that it was several years. (We will talk about this in another blog but right now it’s way too early for all that drama and I don’t think I could get through it without a glass of wine or three) When I walked into the living room I almost fainted. My grandparents are not dirty people. I was taught very early that, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and I would have bet money that this teaching was written somewhere within the pages of the Bible, so you can imagine how taken aback I was when I was greeted with the over-whelming smell of baby vomit. My cousin (Leif’s damn kid) decided to move back home with her man and her two little kids. (she’s 25) The living room, (well it was the living room last time I was there) looked like a bomb was dropped in the middle of it; baby crap everywhere!!!!!  The house was very hot inside too which intensified the smell of the babies. My grandparents are clean but apparently not my cousin. Gross.

Lets back up a bit because I need to explain something to you about my mom’s parents –  they are both the grouchiest, mean-spirited people I’ve ever known. I’m not saying that to be hurtful; it’s the truth.  I have never.. not one time in my entire 40 years seen them be affectionate towards one another. I’ve never seen them hug or hold hands.. hell, I’ve never even heard them say a kind word about the other.  It has been a constant life of nagging, bitching, moaning and verbal abuse.   I seriously do not know how any of my aunts/uncles turned out to be decent people. (well, like I said, 5 outta 6 aint bad. hahaha) My grandmother is miserable. Leif and his maggot family have drained her body of everything good.  They have managed to turn her into a hateful old woman who wears blinders to the rest of us, who are good and treat her good. It’s almost as if she has been brainwashed to believe King Leif and his demon spawn are the only things that matter; they are to be cared for—even if it costs her the rest of her children & grandchildren.

That house is evil. It’s a cesspool of diseased minds. It is a prison in which my grandmother has been kept for 42 years, leaving only to work and return for more work. I am not kidding. I am not being dramatic or making shit up. Unless one of her other kids comes to get her to take her to a yard sale or a Goodwill, she doesn’t leave.  They never go to a movie or out to eat. They don’t take walks. She doesn’t visit friends or family.. they don’t attend birthday parties or other family gatherings. If it doesn’t happen within the confines of their house, it doesn’t happen at all.   Those walls hold her captive.  My grandfather is her warden and the rest of the brood are her cellmates.  There are very few visitors.

Yesterday I took a walk around the arboretum. For 2 miles I pondered and talked out loud about the shit-hole my grandmother lives in and by doing so I realized that she’s hateful because it’s the only thing she knows.  I swear every time I see Leif, I see my grandmothers happiness smeared across his lips like grease, left-over from the bite he just took out of her.

My grandparents live in a small house in the ghetto. Not kidding. It wasn’t a ghetto when they built, but over 42 years it has become one. It’s not a safe place. It’s filled with all kinds of riff-raft that two old people don’t need to be around. When you have mounted police patrolling the streets and 12 foot chain linked fences around properties, you’re not in a safe area.  They don’t move out because if they did, poor wittle Leify wouldn’t have place to live.

Living at home wouldn’t be a bad thing IF you were doing it to take care of your aging parents. IF you worked and provided food and other care and IF your loser kids didn’t live there too.  IF IF IF 

Oh by the way, Leif usually doesn’t have a job. IF he does, it last only for a short time. When he does work, he doesn’t help out with bills or food.  He wastes his money.  His wife is a carbon-copy of his piece-of-shittiness. She will steal you blind IF she isn’t whacked out on pills.  She doesn’t help clean and she doesn’t take care of her kids/grandkids when they are there.

This past week those two losers went on a vacation with the $4000 the got from doing odd jobs on someone’s house. They left their daughter and her stinky babies with two 80 year old people to care for. They didn’t leave a dime behind to help. SAY WHAT???   Oh hell naw…..  I know I’d throw all their crap out in the middle of the cul-de-sac and light it up.  I’d be like, “Bye Felicia!”  (hahaha I learned that phrase from my girls. They said it about someone and I was like, “Who’s Felicia?”  And one of them said, “Exactly!!” hahahaha)

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I hate Leif.  I hate his wife and his kids. Hate is a strong word but I mean it from the very heart of it’s definition.  He will burn in hell for what he has done to his parents and to the rest of us (again, that blog is coming) and lemme tell ya, as soon as I smell the smoke, I’m gonna come running with my lawn chair and marshmallows. It’s gonna be a damn good day.

Day 123 – Me. Myself and I.

My name is Brandy and It has been 12 days since my last entry.  Wow.

So much has been going on in the last few months that it has made it difficult to keep up on here, not that I have to keep up, that’s not exactly what I meant.  I made a New Years resolution to blog everyday, and for awhile, like most resolutions, I was doing great. Then like most resolutions made, they become less and less important, which kinda really sucks if you think about it.  A resolution is a promise you made to yourself… hell, if you cant keep a promise you make to yourself, you suck!  hahahaha.

I don’t suck, I just live a life that’s filled with a crap-ton of kids, a husband, 5 pets and college classes (that never seem to end).  My priorities are that of a housewife, momma, Nana, pet owner and full-time student sooo…  I don’t get a lot of, “me” time.  When I do have my own time to do whatever I want, the last thing I want to do is be stuck at a computer trying to remember everything I wanted to share weeks ago so instead I selfishly take long, hot baths complete with music and candles or I call friends to see who wants to grab a beer (or three).  I try to make it all about me, myself and I but I’ve forgotten how.

I’ve only been married for two years.  When I met my husband he was going through a bad divorce. There were a lot of legal issues to tend to where his children were concerned.  In the end he gained full custody and his ex-wife got slapped with a “no contact” order. (one that I find unfair) That was really tough on all of us in the beginning and it was a hellavuhn adjustment for me. I went from having two adult children (who had already left the house and began their own lives) and a 10 year old who was basically an only child to having three more kids, two of whom now lived with us full-time.  My youngest was usually with her dad every other weekend so I was use to having time to myself a couple of times a month.  Those weekends were spent doing whatever I wanted to do-  I spoiled myself with weekend getaways and spending a lot of time with pals, movies, eating out….  As soon as Scott and I were married, my ex moved across the country (when he was actually in the country) and his ex was kept away: I lost every second that belonged to just me.

There has been so much drama and chaos surrounding us for the last few years that I absolutely refuse to be part of any more. When there are holidays or other family get-together’s, I dread them. The days leading up to the gatherings, I get irritable. Again, it’s not that I don’t want to see family, I do, but then again, I really don’t.  I’d much rather go hang out with a friend, kick back on the back porch and drink iced tea…  something quiet and without kids and noise and chaos.  One thing that is a little double-standardy, (you liked that word didn’t you?) is that I like to have gatherings at my house.  I like to cook and bake and have lots of people over- I have a gift of hospitality and I enjoy using it buuuut (don’t you just hate this word?) at this point in my life, unless it’s a birthday party, I don’t like to hang out with a bunch of kids. It’s all I do and I am beyond burned out.

I did join a gym a month ago, it’s around the corner from the house; I can walk. I’m super excited about that!! Exercise is a great way to have “me” time because I can pop in my ear-buds and zone out. The kids have a membership too and that’s fine.  We can all go and do our own thing.  We all need to burn off extra energy and daily stress. Now if the damn gym would just open that would be great! UGH!! They’ve been building it all spring and it was supposed to open last month.  Until it opens I’ll just have to share my space and wait for bedtime.
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Today I will complete my very last assignment for biology- hoping to finish with a strong B.  My courses are usually 8 week intensives however biology was 16 weeks of microscopic things, plant sex and death.  Truthfully I have enjoyed biology but I am so over it.  This summer I would have competed my degree buuuut (there’s that word again) I had dropped a few classes due to life and work-overload.  Two of those dropped classes have been completed. (shout out to the spring semester!) I have this week off and then a new class begins. The new class is one that I was acing until I got bored with it and failed to complete 3 papers. I got bored because it was too much of the same thing. I had already done the assignments so why did I need to elaborate to my other classmates in an online discussion board?  I’m a black or white person, I don’t do shades of gray.  There’s no need for fluff so I didn’t choose to fluff and I got a D in the class.  Thankfully under the college re-take policy, I can re-do any class I want in order to improve my GPA. My GPA is good now but why not make it better? I really cannot stand to see a D on my grade card when everything around it is A/B; I’d be so pissed if it was one of my kids so yeah… my momma brain is holding me accountable.  Don’t you hate that???!

You know, the ONLY reason I am in college at 40 is to be able to say I did it. No other reason except to use it as bragging rights against my kids. I want to eliminate any excuse they can come up with for not completing college. They will never be able to say, “Well you didn’t go…blah blah blah”

Um.. yeeeeaaah I did and I have the $60K bill to prove it!

(So take that you little brats!!)  hahaha

Day 110- Full Circle

On Sunday evening September 9th, almost 25 years ago, I held my 5lb 9oz first child; my son Tate.   Last Sunday evening, in the same hospital, on the 19th, my son held his 5lb 3oz first born; his son Idris.

Idris wasn’t due for a few more weeks but his momma hadn’t been feeling well.  She had gone to the hospital the day before but they sent her home telling her she as having Braxton Hicks contractions and that she was dilated 1cm. No biggie.  The entire night she was sick and crampy-  the next day we text back and forth and something didn’t sound right to me.  I convinced Aisha to go back to the hospital once more just to be checked.  Even if it was nothing, who cares?  Maybe after being sick all night she was dehydrated and needed IV fluids.   So they head over.

After being checked, Aisha had dilated to 3cm and was fully effaced and that the water was bulging.  Tate text me to tell me they were going to watch her for a few hours and possible pop her water.

I was at home preparing for a birthday party for my youngest while all of this was going on.  As the morning progressed into the afternoon, I kept getting updates. Usually it takes forever to have a first child so I wasn’t worried I’d miss anything-  the hospital is literally across the road from the street I live on-  Aisha could start pushing and I’d be there before he was out haha

The house kept filling with family and friends and the birthday celebration carried on until its end.  I got the text that Aisha was fully dilated and I told the few folks sticking around that I was leaving, and that’s what I did.  Kayla (middle child) and I went over and sat…. and waited…. and waited some more.   Aisha had gone from 1cm to 9cm and stopped!!!   She had no urge to go forward. The doc gave her Pitocin and within an hour I received my first pix of baby Idris.

Aisha was a trooper. She popped that baby out quickly and she did it naturally.  I had my first naturally too and lemme tell ya.. that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done hahahaha

Idris was tiny- being a few weeks early, and with low birth-weight, he is considered a preemie.  He had a few minor complications with his breathing and they had to do some chest x-rays.  He was ok, had some water in his lungs.   Aisha, poor thing, she had some complications as well but they got her all patched up.  Both of these complications could have been bad- I’m thankful for answered prayers.
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To watch Tate with Idris… its a “wow” moment for sure.  My son has a son. I felt this way when Kayla had Rae.  It makes ya all weepy and … mushy inside. Emotions you can’t understand until you experience it for yourself.   Aisha told me that when the nurse came to get Idris and put him in the nursery to be watched because his breathing was labored, she felt like, “He might die or something.”  Yeah- I get that.  I welcomed her to mommy-hood and advised that this would be the first of MANY times she’d feel this.. these scary moments come and go for a parents entire lifetime. It doesn’t matter how old your kids get, they freak you out and scare you to death.

I love my kids. I love my grand-babies.  I love how my kids love my grand-babies.

It’s been something to see my kids having their babies in the same hospitals they were born in–  when life comes ’round full circle, it’s an amazing thing; a proud moment when a parent feels as though they have been successful.

I have great kids man, really, really good kids.  I have been blessed. May they be so lucky. hahahaha…  I plan on many pay-backs.  I cant wait to give Rae and Idris chocolate and Mt. Dew.. sake them up and send them home.

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Im just kidding. (insert evil grins here)

Day 88 – Sorry, I don’t speak BS

I haven’t logged into my laptop for a week.  Last time I did, I did so to post on WP about my brother and his addiction.  Since then I have been quite busy.  I haven’t even been able to think of anything to blog about either.  I stay pretty busy with the grand-baby a few days a week, homework and life in general.

Today I woke up early and tried to go back to sleep. After flipping about for an hour I decided to give up and drag out of the warm snuggle of the Tempurpedic.  Spring mornings are crisp here, the air in the house should have brought me to life but instead it tried to throw me back into my warm bed.  Truthfully I feel like a steamy pile of fresh dog dookie.    Everyone around me for the past two weeks has had some sort of cold and I have done my best (the germaphobe that I am) to avoid catching the crud.  I’ve washed my hands, Neti’ed the nose, aired out the house, used a lot of disinfectant, and since I couldn’t drink the hand sanitizer, I drank bourbon. (Same thing, right?)  Well this morning I woke up to a lifeless spirit and a nose full of snot. A nose that has had its turbinates removed and its septum straightened is a hollow canyon from tip to brain, it should NOT have snot stuffed anywhere inside. (man, that surgery would make a hellavuh funny blog- I better write myself a reminder for that one!!)

I scurried into the bathroom where hot water and steam would hopefully bring me to life and loosen this snot-ball in my face.   Nope, not a chance.  So I popped a 5mg Ritalin and chugged a cuppa and here I sit- NOT DOING HOMEWORK!!!   Good gravy.  I tried to do it but biology week 11 is about the responsiveness of life. I’m not responding to life right now therefore, I can’t learn about it.   After the first of many presentations I decided to call the detention center to see when visiting hours were so that I could go see my brother.  I was hoping for an Easter visit but apparently criminals aren’t privy to holiday visits. Truthfully I only wanted to visit that day because I would already be in town where he is incarcerated due to Easter plans with the family.  The lady gave my an 866 number to call to make a reservation to see him.

A reservation??? I don’t want to eat dinner with him or stay the night, I just wanted to pop in for like 5 minutes to tell him off.  Why on earth would I need to make a reservation to see Earl?  Is he that damn popular now?

I called the 866 number and the robot on the other end had me punching in numbers for English (which is a huge thorn in my side every time I am asked to chose 1 for our national language) to  find the inmate, to chose a day, to chose a time, to accept them all and to end the call.  I’m pretty sure that on my AT&T bill I will be changed for an international call after punching in all those damn numbers and I didn’t even get to talk to anyone!!!

After I hung up I sat for a moment- my heart as heavy as the lump sitting in my throat.  I’m not sad that Earl is in the pokey- I’m glad he is there and I hope he is staying for a damn long time.  More than anything I feel a sadness for my step-mother who, for another holiday, has to celebrate it without her only child.  I’m pissed at Earl for making the choices he has.  I’m angry that has lied to me once more about the reasons for his incarceration and my ONLY intention for seeing him is to tell him to his face how I feel.  I haven’t seen Earl in years.  As I said, I will communicate with him only by text where it can be documented.   Over the years, Earl has stolen from my son, my dad, his mom, my grandparents, his friends and Lord knows who else. To add all of the stolen money, irreplaceable goods and the pills he took from my 90 y.o. grandmother after her knee replacement and from his mom from her back surgery, the court fees, attorney fees, security system, and the bills my dad has had to pay for Earl have far exceeded $50k – –   this doesn’t include all of the money the state has to pay out in order to deal with his ass and we won’t even discuss the emotional damages he had casts upon his family.

I last text with Earl a week ago before he turned himself in for a parole violation.  He told me that it was due to non-disclosure.  He was about finished with court appointed classes when they found out that he was in a Suboxone clinic. (suboxone is used to treat opiate addiction)  The use of suboxone is a direct violation to his parole.    When Earl told me about having to turn himself in and why, I was skeptical. I didn’t baby him or feel sorry for him.  I was like, “Well you knew not to do it so– enjoy your 90 days.”    I found out a few days later that it wasn’t only the concealment of the suboxone clinic that got him into trouble. I knew I smelled bullshit.  Earl had also written a cold check and stolen from his landlord (a family member who allowed him to live in a trailer on her farm and help with the cows because he is a criminal and no one wants to rent to his ass) AND it gets better…. he had the nerve to drive to my dads house, open my dads mailbox and removed pain medication from his mothers mail-order pharmaceutical delivery. Yeah. They found the packing slip in the trailer after Earl went to jail. Can you spell F-E-D-E-R-A-L O-F-F-E-N-S-E????

So yeah, come April 15th at 10am, who is going to have a face-to-face with her dipshit, pill head brother for the last time?  This girl.

I’m done.
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Day 78 – Zero Tolerance

I was an only child until my dad married a woman who already had an 8 year old son– my age.    When I first met Earl I felt intimidated by him.  The more I was around him the more that intimidation grew until it was full-on hatred.   Jealousy consumed me to the point I began to dislike my dad, feeling that he had pushed me away in order to make his new wife and kid comfortable.   Those fuming emotions ignited by their new house, his own room but not one for me, his new Nike’s when I had Keds (before  they were in style), his $300 school trip to DC while I got to stay in seat, his new clothes when I wore hand-me-downs from my aunt who was a size 9 when I was a size 0.     Don’t get me wrong, my momma did what she could and I never went without- but to see Earl living the life I should have had …well, it pissed me off big time. 
Perhaps you wonder if my dad paid my momma child suppor. No, he didn’t.   Here’s the deal with that- I’m not my dads biological child.  My momma met my dad in junior high school when they in 9th grade then again when they were each 21 and I was a year old.   You see, my momma had me out of wedlock after her husband went overseas and didn’t return.       She married my dad when I was 18 months old and that’s the only dad I’ve ever known.  When he and my mom divorced, I was around 6, he still came to get me on weekends and stuff like that.  I was his daughter as far as he was concerned so when he remarried a couple of years later, it was a huge struggle for his new wife.  I can’t say that I blame her for being intimidated by me-  it’s a hard thing to understand and accept, especially back in 1982.  Times weren’t like they are now, where anything and everything goes. This is why Earl had all the new shiny stuff and I didn’t. No one’s fault, just the way it was.

As we grew older Earl and I went back and forth in liking/disliking each other. Again, we were the same age and unfortunately we were in the same school district. I hated going to school with Earl- and it was hard to explain how we were “siblings.” I remember one time we made up a lie about it saying that we were actually twins and because he was so much bigger, they took him out 3 months earlier in order to save my life-
Yeah, I don’t know what the hell we were smoking coming up with that whopper and I don’t know what kind of dumb kids we hung out with because no one knew we were lying. Hahahahaha

Earl and I ended up living together in our 20’s. I was already divorced and established in an apartment when he went through his divorce and needed a place to live. It worked out overall but this was the beginning of his downfall. Earl is not a good looking man. He wasn’t a good looking boy or a cute kid. I’m not being mean, it’s the truth. He wore glasses, he was zitty, kind of pudgy and he had a sour personality. Im really not sure he had more than a handful of friends. You wanna know why he was such a dorky sourpuss? His momma made him that way. His momma is a good women but her controlling ways made Earl a freaking wuss with a level 0 self-esteem. To prove my point, I was about 5 foot tall and weighed 90 lbs. Earl stood 6 foot tall and weighed 150 lbs and I use to beat his ass!! No joke. He’d mouth at me and throw some slurs about me being poor and I’d put his head on the ground and dare his ass to move. He didn’t move. Hahahahaha so funny. My dad would yell…”Brandy!!!” And I’d be like..”We’re just playing dad!!” all while eyeballing Earl in a way to dare him to even blink.
I was mean little kid.

As life goes, it moves on whether you’re ready for it to or not. I’ve always been the type to grab life by the horns and ride that bitch out in full force while Earl tucked life between his legs and cowered like a whipped pup. Earl turned to drug use as a way to cope with his pain. He tried to blame it on the painkillers he took after his back surgery but that’s a damn lie. His drug use began when we lived together. His drug use started with clubbing and alcohol then went to weed and then to pills.
Earl has stolen THOUSANDS of dollars worth of stuff from his mom and my dad- rare coins, collector bottles of Maker’s Mark, jewelry and my great-grandfathers pocket watch- not to mention the THOUSANDS of dollars my dad has spent on paying Earl’s back child support, his truck payments, his rehab bill. And that still doesn’t incluse the other THOUSANDS of dollars spent on my dad’s attorney fees, court fees and house alarm. Earl has taken everything from my dad except his last breath.

Over the past couple of months Earl has reached out to me. I accept his text messages but I do not allow him to call me. I want everything documented. I do not allow Earl to know where I live exactly and I have made it clear to him that I carry and to be around me is a violation of his parole.
Daily Earl sends me texts whining about the consequences of his actions and daily I find myself reminding him that he made the choices. I carry no sympathy and I refuse to sugarcoat where his whining is concerned. Whining is for freshly weaned puppies and that’s the only time it is acceptable and tolerable. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brother but he doesn’t need me to love him right now- he needs me to keep it real and tell it like it is. Tough love. That’s hard. Probably the hardest thing to pull off without feeling bad about it somewhat.

I just remind myself that life is tough and drug use is the wuss way to go about it. Drugs don’t just hurt the user, they hurt everyone around the user. I remind myself how much Earl has taken from my dad and his mom and
I do not allow him to manipulate me.

I miss the Earl I grew to love as my brother. I doubt I’ll ever see him again.

Day 75 – Frustration

Talking to walls has become all too common and the disrespect has finally brought out my inner Madea…  not kidding.  Today I found myself bent over and out of breath with one hand on my right thigh while I fanned my face with the left, sweat beading up on my forehead, praying for Lord Jesus to give me strength.  Then laughing like I was unstable.  That what kids do to you..they make you feel insane.

Lemme break it down for ya. My husband and I have been married for 2 year tomorrow but we’ve lived together for nearly 3.  He has three kids as do I.  My three are 25, 23 and 13 while his are 18, 16 and 14. 
My youngest two are 10 years apart basically making my baby an “only.”  For me, having my youngest two 10 years apart was a blessing.  I’ve been able to really enjoy the “baby,” you know?
Life wasn’t hard with 1 child in the house. (The other two are grown and moved out) There was no arguing or stinginess.  There was no drama, everything was orderly and life ran smoothly.   When I married my husband I knew it was going to be a transition for everyone especially for my “only” who had never had to share a single item in her life.  We went from our house where she had her own room into a decent sized townhouse where she’d have to share a room with two other girls.  All of her things were put into the garage because there was just not enough space. We coped. She adjusted well to my surprise.  It’s not easy to to go from an only to one of three.

From day one I have tried to treat all the girls the same and given the same expectations to them.  I kept it very simple…
1) go to school and get DECENT grades. Not perfect grades
2) keep your room/bathroom PICKED UP- not ocd perfect
3) put your dirty clothes in the basket and I WILL DO THEM
4) personal hygiene: basically take pride in yourself.

That’s all.

It took only a year of me busting my ass trying to make life easier for the girls before I went on strike. Hahahaha
The laundry I was doing didn’t get put away so I quit doing it for them.  The room I was trying to keep organized and straightened went to shit because I stopped cleaning it- – we won’t even discuss their hazmat level bathroom.
I stopped going to the grocery. I stopped cooking. I stopped mothering all of them which broke my heart.
After a few days of dads cooking, life went back to our normal.  There’s only so much you can do with salsa and meat. hahahahahaha

In year two, things went up and down like roller-coaster.  It seemed that as soon as life was going easy someone needed to stir shit up– always some sort of damn drama to contend with.  There were times the whole bunch of them made me feel like an outsider, like I was not needed, leaving me mentally exhausted.  I cried a lot and I have never been a crying type.

Year three got a lot better towards the middle.  The drama pretty much stopped but I’ll be damned if the disrespect still runs rampant in the house. You know those few expectations I had (have) well.. apparently those few things I want to be done are too hard for grown ass kids… I went upstairs today looking for Wilson, the cat, and I walked into the remnants of a level 4 hurricane.  So I did what any fed-up momma would do..I took a lot of photos and texted them to the messy party and my husband.  Then I went downstairs, grabbed a box of trashbags and came back up to clean their rooms/bathroom my way! Three trashbags FULL (and I’m talking those flex bags that stretch real good) later I could see the floors.    That’s why I was bent over fanning my sweaty face and praying for strength. It took me all of 5 minutes in a bit of rage to bag up all the crap they apparently saw as trash… you know, since it was just tossed about the rooms like garbage. 

My husband and I spoke about it all.
We also spoke to the kids about it all.
I explained my point of how it’s disrespectful to me to blow off my rules like they don’t matter.  I ask for very little and what I get back is less than that.  I tried to explain again about self pride.. respecting their space and their things.  Know what I got? Some whipped up tears and told that my expectations were too high. 😨  For the love of everything Holy it was all I could do to sit there and remain calm.
Later when talking to the oldest I hit the nail on it’s head when I said, “You aren’t lazy you just don’t want to do it..”   She agreed.
It’s soooo aggravating.
I really can’t understand what is so difficult about picking up YOUR shit.

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