Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Well Whatta You Know?

Been an odd sort of a day. First in my tax class several of the students brought in copies of the self-published romance novel/government conspiracy novel written by the wife of a rival tax office owner and read aloud from passages of it for our amusement. We were laughing and cutting up at the ridiculous dialogue and mistakes made by the author.

I do NaNoWriMo every year but I know that most of my output is crap, really crappy, so I don't go around self publishing bizarre novels. But I am amused at those that do and do it with utter sincerity. Sometimes I'll accidentally download a pretty terrible novel and realize it's someone that hasn't had it edited, can't spell and mangles their grammar even worse than I do. The last one I made the mistake of reading was about the Tudor era and had the main character, Lady Rocheford, speaking like a California Valley Girl from the mid-1980s. Nope, it wasn't meant to be comical either!

It's taught me one thing, if I ever decide to publish one of my crappy-slappy novels it would be best to hire a professional editor for the thing, or risk the hooting derision of the public. Don't be so in love with your characters and your words that you cannot bear the idea of anyone else changing them.

This evening Jim and I attended a local political event for one of the gentlemen running for Eric Cantor's vacated Congressional seat and I was in for my second big hooting laugh of the day. The candidate's wife is someone I used to go to church with, someone I used to know all too well, in fact, I'd written about her in my story of how I'd come to join and then leave The Creek of the Possum church. When I'd known her she'd been having a relationship with a man that wasn't her first or second husband and had told her current husband she'd gone with me to a Van Gogh exhibit in Washington one weekend. I knew nothing about the possible affair or that she'd used me as a cover for her weekend away. When the husband asked me how I'd enjoyed the Van Gogh exhibited I'd shrugged and not said much because I didn't have a clue what the heck he was talking about. She and her husband then kept splitting up and getting back together. Lots of not good things happened and the pastor asked her to leave the church. I haven't seen in her at all in the last fourteen years. I had heard she'd divorced and left her pile of children with her ex.

Saints alive! Quite a change! She had to know if we were still attending our old church. We said little to her beyond confirming that we'd left. Said nothing about the church split or the the Smith family. Got the heck out of Dodge and came home laughing at how funny life has turned out. Glad she got away.

Monday, October 20, 2014

In Only Seven Days

I'd only been gone a week to my mother's house and I've only been back a week now, but I'm fully back in my old rhythms.There was a huge pile of laundry awaiting me, the cat box was overflowing and the birdies let me know the second I came into the house that they needed me to attend to their cage, plus cuddle with them.

Jim, and my Siamese kitty Pedro, were the two neediest. Jim was so grateful I was home again that he immediately suggested we go out for steaks. On a Sunday night! Not something we would ever usually do.

The next morning I found that all the salads and meals I'd prepared and packed into the fridge, labeled and organized, were untouched. He didn't even eat the homemade yogurt I'd fixed with raspberries from our garden and he loves that stuff. I had to ask what he'd been living on and it turns out he'd been eating potato chips and peanut butter straight out of the jar.

When I was recounting this to a girlfriend last week she exclaimed, "What, is he twelve?" Well no, he's not twelve, exactly, but he is very boyish even at 63 and I love that about him. He'll giggle when I torture Siri on my IPhone, he doesn't mind doing fun crazy things like water balloon fights and go-carts and he *gets* me.

Having someone that understands you, really *gets* you is to me is more important than things like man that holds the door open for you, or makes a zillion dollars. To have that connection with another human being is just awesomely essential to me.

On the other hand he knows where all the buttons are and has more than a few times pushed a few of them, like almost exactly a week before I left on the trip. He came to bed around midnight after losing all of his fantasy football games (four). He woke me up and proceeded to try to pick a fight with me because of his angst. I turned over in the bed, told him I wasn't going to fight and went right back to sleep.

You can do that when you've reached many years and a deep knowledge of each other.

Jim's hobby is fantasy sports and I like to sometimes tease him that he sounds like a wounded howler monkey when he's watching sports. Just like I love to tease him when he watchs MMA that the only difference between MMA and gay porn is that the guys are wearing shorts and there's not a bottle of lube in the ring. Always makes him laugh.

Funny, on the trip I got together for lunch one day with one of my old friends and she said something about me having married an 'old man' and I had to laugh. Apparently none of my friends understood at the time that his being 9 years older than I wasn't a big deal, that our bond was deeper than it looked. She and I giggled over the fact that we'd both been married now for quite a long time with no divorces, old man or not.

But getting back to the after the trip. I was surprised how mostly clean the house was, besides the laundry and cat box. I just needed to sweep/mop/vacuum instead of do an entire house scrub. I'd been geared up to do a complete cleaning, dreading that part of returning home since I hate, hate, hate housework.

The other part of my week consisted of a class I'm taking and the great fall shoe hunt. Every fall I get a pair of fur lined house slippers, a pair of casual leather clogs and a pair of dressier winter shoes. And fall has arrived here, it's quite chilly. The problem with the shoes is that it usually takes me a number of days to get them because I have super high arches on my feet, which means my choices are very limited. It's always going to be something like a Dansko, or a Clarkes or some other foreign made too expensive shoe with high arch support because those arch support inserts you can buy do nothing for me. I have a set of custom made orthotics from my doctor but those are like walking on concrete. Huge waste of money.

But the best part was coming home to a huge, HUGE, H-U-G-E check in the mail from the federal government. The IRS finally settled with us over their claims I flubbed up the 2010 taxes. Yeah, the IRS is that far behind in examining returns. I did screw it up, but only because our broker neglected to send us all of the pages of our statement, so I had four pages of stocks not listed on our return. It's been a huge mess to straighten out and the IRS even lost our amended return the first time I mailed it.

Having this hanging over our heads for the last two years has been like walking around with a sword overhead, a sword that could fall at any moment. They withheld two years of tax refunds from us so it was like Christmas in in October!

I needed it to be resolved because it was just one part of the nasty stew of stress I've been dealing with the last four or five months. It takes some of the pressure off. Now if the rest of the situations would resolve life would be the best it's ever been.

Margaret and I have reconciled, we've laughed and talked about her various issues and the things I don't *get* about her and her husband's relationship. I did tell her I still didn't approve and some cautionary tales from my marriage to her father, how triggered I'd been by the old memories of his emotional abuse of me. I even told her I'd posted about it on my blog and been soundly spanked. She laughed even harder and told me she knew I would likely blog about it since I've been blogging on one site or another since 1998. She *gets* that I don't hold back, that I speak my mind and she's okay with that.

That class I'm taking? It's a tax preparer class. I don't intend to actually do taxes for anyone else, but I do plan on understanding the changes this year and making sure we never get in trouble with the IRS again. I'll use what I learn to do our taxes. Gotta get going as I have to be there shortly.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mothering Daughtering

In the last few weeks abuse allegations against a popular former QF family have been aired by one of their many daughters. I've been reading the daughter's blog and the reactions by many former homeschoolers to the news.

It's triggering, it's disturbing, to many people, including me. I don't know what to thing as I've had interactions with the father in the past at NLQ and sort of liked the guy. But... no one can deny that his child is in pain, the kind of deep soul-fracturing emotional pain that calls out for justice, for acknowledgement, for recognition.

Over the years in the survivors out of extreme Christianity movements I've seen similar things play out, grown children coming to confess the memories and pain of abuse that parents unknowingly inflicted on those children, thinking they were doing the absolute best for those kids.

What this family did after the accusations was akin to pouring high test gasoline on a smoldering campside fire, causing it to spiral out of control in an explosive fashion. They defended themselves in a pod cast and attacked the accuser. Instead of being concerned with the obvious pain and distress of their daughter and seeking to do what they needed to do to ease her pain they came out with guns blazing to destroy her, beat her down emotionally. Which strengthens in my mind her original allegations.

I don't know what the truth is in this situation, who's lying, who's truthful, but I do know one thing is so very true, the pain of the daughter is real. She needs support, encouragement, love and healing. That is what this family needs to be focused on right now, healing that pain, not defending themselves. Her pain is genuine. That matters.

No one is a perfect parent, just like no one is a perfect child. We all just try the best we can. While I'm sure those parents did lots of wrong things, we all do, I'm just as sure they did some things right. Only time will tell. I hope they all find a way to love each other, heal the abuse, forgive and move past this.

But I do find it interesting that some of the young mothers in the survivor movement talk about their mothering in the same intense obsession way that those of us that were in the movement as young mothers once did. They are convinced that theirs is the only right way to raise children, speaking with unbending conviction and lobbing stones at those that don't praise them or line up with their vision of motherhood.

Yeah, get back to me thirty years from now when your children are grown and tell me then how you did, if your methods worked out so well. If you've launched successful adults that support themselves and aren't serial killers then I might consider your methods as good. But not before then.

I've raised my kids, they are all fully supporting educated adults with good lives, with loves and careers and lives. Even my eldest daughter I sometimes struggle with. I consider that success, not if my child is wise or can read by two or sits quietly when I require it. The end product. Don't you dare lecture me on my methods when my end results have been good and you're still slogging along in early motherhood. Your ideas are meaningless at this point to me.

I've been a daughter, I've been a mother and none of it is easy. I've learned there is no one fool proof way to raise children. Each is different and each family is different.


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Dishwashing

Pedro doing his part to assure the dishes are clean
So yesterday my favorite plumber, the one that's hard to schedule with because he's always booked up weeks in advance, finally made it over and installed the new dishwasher that's been sitting in it's packing in the garage for two months now. He's just that good that he's worth the wait, unless it's a plumbing emergency.

I am back in love with the dishwasher! Our old one was such a piss poor excuse for the dishwasher that I finally started mostly handwashing our dishes. I hadn't used it in several years. Didn't realize what a constant chore handwashing is until I started being able to use the new dishwasher. It even does pots and pans~

Also we got a new  kitchen sink installed and they redid the crazy angled tangle of pipes that the original builder installed under the kitchen sink when the house was built. The plumber that originally plumbed the kitchen seemed like he was making it up as he went along, just using left over bits and pieces because no one puts those angles and tangles under a sink unless they are a) on drugs or b) trying to cut corners and save themselves a few pennies. We've been patching and repatching and tightening to keep all those strange angles from leaking until yesterday, when I asked our plumber to make it right. He did.

Which is pretty rare in this day and age. There are also some out there that need to make a few things right, like those that say they don't look at blogs yet the next day you see they've clearly used something from another blog yet not bothered to say, 'uh hey yeah, I found this at X blog' I'm having conversations right now with tptb about that issue and a few others.

It's really a pain in the derriere when those you've said nothing that wasn't positive to them or about them, and they suddenly decide to go all shitty on you without any warning.

But NLQ is not going to go away regardless of what rumors or lies or 'borrowing' that does go on. The whispering campaign isn't working and it might just backfire on those arrogant whisperers. We're replacing a few pipes, spiffying some things up and moving forward from a few past missteps.

Now I have a dishwasher to fill and run. Oddly enough when I ran it for the first time yesterday both Pedro and my other fur baby Kiki freaked out at the sound and refused to come into the back door while it was washing.