My Grandpa

On Monday I was making plans to take the kids to their dad for the summer. I had the basics down for months, I told Brad, I’d like him to come with me, so I could go visit family (I don’t visit my immediate family any more without him, because they are horrible to me, unless he’s there, and I didn’t think there was a way to avoid it). I’d said it for months. I got the flights booked Monday for all of us. Then he told me he had to work, he couldn’t get out of it. I was mad. He asked if we could push it until July, and I said no, I’d already made plans, and it something happened to my grandparents before then I’d hold it against him. I meant, if anything happened between June and July.

My 80 yr old grandfather was in El Paso, visiting my Aunt. He was building houses with my Aunt’s husband. Yesterday, my aunt messaged me. Grandpa was in the hospital, maybe a stroke. I told my kids he was fine. He wasn’t “sick”. He wasn’t hurt. I told my aunt to tell him to get better, because I was visiting him in June, and I didn’t want to go to freakin’ El Paso in JUNE.

A few hours later, I got another phone call. My grandpa was dead. It wasn’t a stroke, it was sepsis, which caused him to have a heart attack, which killed him.

My family isn’t really speaking to me. We haven’t spoken more than a few words in years. My husband is 2,000 miles away. My grandpa is dead. And, I just want to cry and get a hug. It looks like that won’t happen until Saturday.

Anyway, now they have to get him back to Indiana. My cousin flew to TX because she has power of attorney, but, I’m not sure when everything will happen. I just know I have a 700 mile drive coming up within the next week.

So, since I don’t really have anyone to talk to, I’ll say it all here. My Grandpa Bobby was the only stability I remember having, until I met Brad. When I was a baby, I got told he was Bob, and as babies do, I added the EE sound to the end, and he became Bobby. Once, I addressed a Christmas card to Bob LastName, and my husband saw it and said “who is that?” And, I said “Grandpa Bobby.” And, he said “Then why didn’t you write his name right?”My mom had me when she was 18, and we lived with my grandparents until she got married a year or so later.

I remember my grandpa being big and a little scary. I remember visiting and having to be quiet because he was sleeping, he worked 3rd back then, doing maintenance in factories. He’d come home so dirty my grandma wouldn’t use HER washing machine for his laundry. She went to the laundry mat. i remember getting yelled at when he was watching ALF, and told to be quiet and get out from in front of the TV.

Most of the rest of the grandkids got a very different grandpa, he’d retired and chilled out by the time most of the rest of them came along.

My grandpa was a soldier who was sent to fight in the Korean War. He didn’t graduate high school. He came home, he got married, he had 5 daughters, he was a police officer, a fireman, a farmer, a semi-truck driver and then a factory worker.

When I was 13 I ran away from home, and took my parents to court. It was a long process, that began with me talking to the police, and to CPS. I was put in foster care while we waited to see a judge. The woman at CPS told me that they usually try to keep the kid with family, but, runaways were always trouble, and nobody wanted to invite trouble into their lives. Who did I want to live with? I said I’d stay in foster care if nobody wanted me. They told me to pick a family member anyway. I said Grandpa Bobby. I cried so hard because nobody wanted me. The court date came, and the judge said “Well, your grandparents have offered to take you, if you will go. Will you go with them?” I nodded. And my giant, tough grandpa stood up in that courtroom and cried. My grandma told me later that they had been told I refused to go with them, I didn’t want anything to do with any of my family, and grandpa was afraid I was going away. When I said yes, he cried. That has ALWAYS stuck with me. No matter what, I knew he loved me.

When I got pregnant with my oldest son, I was about 8 months along and we were waiting to close on our house. And, didn’t have a place to live. Guess where I ended up? Grandpa’s. I always knew I had a place to go, no matter what. Now I don’t.

My Grandpa had the worst case of resting bitch face ever. And, several of us inherited it. I know I did. It resulted in everybody thinking he was always mad at them. I think I only ever saw him MAD a half dozen times in 32 years, but, he sure always looked like he was. He probably did 40 hrs a week of volunteer work every week since he retired. He mowed his 5 acre lawn twice a week.

My grandpa was the strongest, most dependable man I knew. I suppose the way he left was fitting. He worked and stayed busy… until he didn’t. He wasn’t stuck in a hospital bed, wasting away. That would have been terrible. I can’t even fathom that. He was doing what he loved up until the last few hours. And, that seems right.

My grandpa hated being late. If you told him you were having a party at 4pm, he’d show up at 2:30. But, by the same token, if you said it went until 6, he’d leave at 4:30pm. Whether leaving for something, or leaving something, we ALL have said a million times, “You don’t have to leave so early!”

So, I’ll say it once more, and it’s probably the most fitting time ever. Grandpa, you didn’t have to leave so early.

Life update-Things are good

I didn’t post about it, at the time. But, in June we got a letter saying we were being sued for a medical bill. The next day, we got an letter about filing for bankruptcy. I was very dismissive of it, and went to throw it away, and Brad stopped me. He said maybe we needed to think about it. Wait…what?

After some time, and back and forth, Brad told me how we had about $30k more in debt than I knew about. All the credit cards were maxed out, the min. payments were more than we could afford. We probably did need to file for bankruptcy, actually.

I was in shock. My nice life was ruined. How could he not tell me? How did this happen? I was furious, I was scared, I started to open my mouth to say something, and the words just wouldn’t come. Thanks MS. I literally could.not.say.a.word. I cried, and we didn’t speak for 3 days.

I’d been asking him, repeatedly, to let me help with the money stuff. Because, if something happened to him, I had no idea what our financial situation was, what bills we had, who I had to pay. I was brushed off time and again. Well, now I wasn’t going to give him a choice.

We sat down and laid out everything. Our bills alone came out to about $400 more than he brought home every months. That wasn’t counting food or gas or anything like that. So, we canceled cable. We rolled one cell phone into another plan. We had some tax return left we could put on a credit card. That helped some, little things had our bills down to exactly what Brad brought home. I turned off the A/C and opened the windows…in GA…in June. I hiked a lot in June. The kids were in Indiana, I was furious at Brad, and it was free. We changed his withholding, we paid off a credit card, we called and got some interest rates lowered.

I made him write down everything. Every dollar we owed, every asset we had. Up until then, he said he had a handle on things, but, he didn’t actually know how much we owed. Payments came do, and he clicked pay. We ate a lot of ramen and mac and cheese while the kids were gone. And, I told him we were going to have a big budget meeting every 3 months.

So, fast forward…we’re now 6 months in. We were able to pay off a small credit card right away, with left over tax return There were a couple instances of random money coming in…an overpayment to a dr coming back to us, a MS survey I took that paid, and, at some point my ex went to one of those unclaimed money websites and found the state owed him $3000…well, he owed me more than that. So, when we clicked to cash out, it came right to me. Another credit card got paid off. Those payments rolled into the next credit card payment.

At the last budget overview, I was able to cross a debt off the list and I told Brad “Next year, I want these 2 things paid off”. He said he didn’t know how that was going to happen, but,  if that was my goal, we’d work toward it.

Around June, Brad was also offered a “promotion”. But, his boss wouldn’t tell him pay, or responsibilities. The company had a history of doing this, Brad had gotten 3 “promotions” that never came with the pay raise he was promised, and meant he continued to do his old job while they piled on more responsibilities. So, Brad said he’d love the title, as soon as he knew pay and responsibility. For about a month, his boss pushed. Brad kept repeating himself. They then forced the job on another guy. Who hated every minute of it.

New boss comes, in late Sept. Other guy makes it clear he’s not going to keep the “promotion”. New Boss (Who is also the VP of one of the departments) goes to Brad, asks Brad where he sees himself in the company. Brad goes out on a limb and tells VP  “Actually, I want your job.” VP takes it well, is very encouraging. Brings up the promotion again. Brad lays out his terms, again. In late Oct Brad is told the job is his, he’ll get paperwork. We’re skeptical. He hears “you’ll get it tomorrow” for a few weeks. Things seem to be moving along, but, he still doesn’t know pay or responsibilities. He starts backing out of responsibilities for current position, to prep for new position. He picks the guys to replace him. (Yes, they had to promote TWO people to do the work he was doing. A fact that was causing a decent amount of stress for everyone).

The day after Thanksgiving Brad gets the paperwork. It outlines the new position, and his 20% pay raise!!!! He signs it and sends it back in. So, he has less work, he’s looking forward to the work he has to do now. He thinks it’s fun. And more money.

After I saw that, I said “Remember how I said I wanted to pay off those 2 debts next year and you said you weren’t sure how to manage that? I think you just did.”

All in all, in 6 months, we’ve paid down about $9000 in debt. We’ve still managed to have fun. It’s really opened up our communication, because Brad has tended not to tell me things because he’s afraid I’ll get mad. Well, this happened and it was a pretty big deal. And,I got mad. And…guess what? We were ok anyway.

His promotion also came with a requirement to be in CA for one work week a month. Which sucks. But, it’s great for the frequent flier miles account. And, that lets me fly the kids to IN to visit their dad, instead of having to drive them. If this had happened a few years ago, I don’t think we’d still be together, California weeks used to be really, really rough. But, we’ve grown a lot and now they are just annoying. I did tell him if he’s gonna be out there that much, I’d like to go out once or twice a year too. Especially since the plan is to live there in 10 yrs or so.

In other news, my MS is basically a non-issue anymore *knock on wood*. There are days I hurt a lot, or I’m tired. But, it’s been just over 2 yrs since the diagnosis and they told me to be prepared to be in the hospital a couple times a year. They told me the medicine I wanted wasn’t strong enough to prevent a relapse. They told me it was really bad…and, I’m fine.

My kids are doing well. They have adjusted well to the move, and the new schedule. They are getting used to flights to see their dad, and him driving down to surprise them. He’s getting married Jan 1. Because they wanted the kids there. I told him I’d fly them up for his wedding, but they picked a date the kids would already be there. They’ve been dating like, 2 months. But, the kids seem to like her, so, that’s nice (and a definite change of pace.).

I tried to change out my nose stud for a ring, and my nose is not happy about it. But, I really love how it looks, so, I’m spending far too much time using the saline solution trying to get it to heal up. img_5140

 

No, I don’t

Zoey is gone.

I came home from football practice last night, and there was a man on my front porch steps. I rolled down the window and he said “Can I have my dog back?”

He showed us pictures. Said a woman from his church saw me walking her and told him I took his dogs. Zoey (Allie) had been gone for almost a week at the point. She was happy to see him.

So, I opened the gate. He yelled for her to get in the truck and she ran to it.

He informed us she’ll live on a chain now because she runs off.

She has no shots.

She is not fixed.

I said we could keep her if he didn’t want her.

He said we don’t want her, she has fleas and chews up garbage.

I told him I knew she had fleas. I was taking her for a bath tomorrow, and 2 days ago I gave her flea and tick meds. I told him we had an appointment to have her microchipped tomorrow.

He took her.

She already had sores on her tummy from sleeping on concrete.

My kids are heart broken. img_3812

I Have a New Pet

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Trixie and our new baby, Zoey.

She followed my 11 yr old home. So, I posted on Next Door, I posted on Facebook. I shared on the local shelter pages. I walked her around the neighborhood, nobody recognized her. I went to the vet and they said she has no microchip. And, if I wanted her, the law says she’s mine.

It’s been a week. The posts were shared dozens of times. Not a peep from anyone.

I live in a very rural area, and the neighbors have all said people come out from Atlanta and dump dogs all the time. So, that is a possibility.

She’s a year old. The vet said she looks like a boxer-pit mix. She weighs 3 pounds more than Trixie, and they get along great.

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I wasn’t planning to have two dogs, but, I can’t just leave her at the shelter. She’s terrified, and I don’t think the shelter is going to improve that. She falls over and shakes if you come toward her too quick.

Anyway, in other news. Brad is back to traveling more. My kids are playing football this fall. Their first season of tackle. So far there have been 3 broken bones. Fortunately, not my kids. Thing 1 is a kicker, Thing 2 is a punter, and when they don’t need to kick they are line backers. img_2053

We’ve been in our house for just over a year. The kids have made lots of friends. I’ve made more friends here than I had in Indiana. I love the house. I love my neighbors. The area is a bit more rural than I wanted, but I love how much there is to do around here. Brad and I got kayaks, so we spent most of summer kayaking or hiking. Then, we got season passes to Six Flags and to the Water Park. So, the kids and I have been spending the last month or so doing that.

My MS has been pretty well controlled. My last MRI showed no activity. I have an appointment with the neurologist at the end of the month, we’ll see how that goes.

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So, that is my update for now. Things are good, I’m happier than ever.

I Was That Girl

We went to Disney World on Monday. I have a friend who works there, and he got us in free. And…it wasn’t worth it. He has a new fiance. They’ve been together for 6 months or so, getting married in 3 weeks because she’s pregnant. I spent the whole day hearing about her infertility, gestational diabetes,  lupus, cancer, PCOS, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and extreme social anxiety. None of which she’s been diagnosed with, but she researched them online and has all the symptoms. She’s 12 weeks pregnant, and was being pushed around on a wheelchair the whole time because she’s just “so big!”. Brad and I spent most the drive home trying to make ANY sense of anything she said.

Her and my friend also spent a large amount of time talking about not shopping at Target because of “everything going on”, abortion (I always pick Disney as a good place to have this conversation) God, judging others, etc. Brad and I said little, but certainly never agreed with them.

What finally did me in with her was when I was stumbling while I walked and she was like “well, I guess you can use the wheelchair” and I said no. She asked why, and I said because people like you judge. I don’t want to just be the fat girl who can’t walk. I don’t look broken, you can’t see basically dead spots in  my brain, and that my nerves are eaten all the hell. You got all pissy because you saw someone who didn’t look disabled come out of a handicapped bathroom stall, and I don’t feel like being judged today.

And with him…Disney has a policy not to let people over 14 wear Disney costumes. My friend went on the teacup ride with the boys, there were 6-8 girls on the ride. The girls were each dressed as a different princess. So, I watched as Belle, Jasmine, Alice, and Cinderella posed for their teacup selfie. I watched Ariel, Aurora, and Anna beg one of their mom’s to take one more photo. These girls were having a blast. They got out and Barb (the GF) says “they are too old for those costumes”. They were tall, I will give them that. But, they all looked very young. So, I said I thought she was wrong. She says maybe, but Belle is definitely older than the other girls. I say I’m not so sure, and even if she is, all her friends are dressed up, she wanted to too. So, phil (my friend) gets off the ride. He is made about these girls. He is going to report them, they are obviously older than 14. I’m still fairly certain they are 11-12. I tell him, if my 10 and 12 yr old walked through the front door holding any of these girls hands, I wouldn’t bat an eye. He’s going “look at them! They are not 12, they have boobs and hips and asses.” Now I’m mad. “Look up a little higher then! Their faces are kids’ faces! If you’d stop creeping at their boobs you’d see their faces and they can’t be older than 12.” and he’s still arguing with me. Brad is agreeing with me. Phil is like “12yr olds are not 5’7”. I’m almost shouting, yes they are! My 12 yr old has a 12 yr old female friend who makes me look like a 12 yr old. She’s closer to Brad’s height. And, she’s not the only friend who makes me look tiny when she’s here.

Phil finally says “they didn’t make 12 yr olds like that when I was 12”. And, I said “yes they did dumbass. Because I was that 12 yr old. I was the D cup who couldn’t fit her hips into anything smaller than a woman’s size 8. I had an hourglass figure at 12. And, I spent all of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades being told I wasn’t old enough to act/be treated like i was 16, but, if I did what my 12 yr old friends, who hadn’t hit puberty, did, I was inappropriate. And, it was bullshit.”

I didn’t say this, but I should have. And just because she makes your penis happy doesn’t mean she’s an adult, you are still responsible for yourself,so, your thoughts are on you. Don’t look at a 12 yr old you think is hot and say SHE’S the problem. When you would notice she is 12, if you just looked at her. As a person. You are the problem here. Because we looked over and saw a child playing dress up and having a fun day with friends and their moms, you looked over and saw boobs and said she was inappropriate. These little girls had on knee length dresses, they had no cleavage showing, they had on Converse high tops, and you looked over and sexualized them and saw adults where there were none because placing the blame on these little girls makes YOU feel better about yourself.

He finally threw up his hands and went “well, i guess I hit a sore spot, I just think the rules need to be enforced and 12 yr olds aren’t your height.” And, I stopped, because I was honestly furious. And…I’ve been this tall since I was 11, but short of calling my parents, I couldn’t prove it. And they’d be on Phil’s side anyway, because men can’t control themselves, so, women need to be modest and chaste.