Thursday, April 14, 2011

Slander......

Yesterday, I was accused of slander!

By my mother.

In my last blog post entitled UGH.....,
my mother takes issue with my recollection of the events of that evening.
Seems she thinks I'm a liar.
That's what she told me in the middle of McDonald's.

While I feel no need to recant or apologize for
my opinions, my feelings and my situation, on my blog,
I will be more than happy to clarify a few facts about the incident. 
So, for clarification purposes here goes.....


1.) According to my mother, my blog post was not a chronologically accurate review of the actions of the day and was therefore misleading.
I did not write it as a journalism/discovery/evidential piece.
I was trying to get the point across that I was once again in transition and I needed a quick way to respond to people asking questions.


As I've mentioned before, this blog is a way to answer people's questions succinctly
without having to retell and revisit how I got here.
(along with helping me process and practice my writing) 
My daily survival requires me to battle the depression monster, and the less times I have to look back and recount  dark days, the more ground I gain in moving out of the blackened pit.
So, in the interest of brevity and some literary license, I mentioned events that didn't occur on that day, but rather were precipitating events leading up to
me
losing my cool
A fact I did not ignore in my original post.

2.) According to my mother, she did not spank my child. She says she"swatted" him.  
My bad.

3.) My mother claims she did not scream obscenities at me, 
nor did she do it in front of my children. 
In retrospect, the children were out in the front yard playing. 
She claims that I was the one spouting obscenities at her. 
Shocked? Didn't think so.... especially those of you who know me and have come to anticipate  a precise and well-executed, if not vile,  f-bomb display now and again. 
Not proud of it, but I gave up sex for Lent, and my life is a pressure-cooker, 
so I've got to let off some steam somehow. 
Mea Culpa.

I know for a fact that I heard f-bombs and "fat ass" said to me in the midst of the conversation.
She disagrees. We agree to disagree. 
I clearly need to see someone about this condition where I hear words that were not said
in the midst of an argument with my mother.  
Its becoming a problem.
Hearing voices is one of the first signs of a nervous breakdown.

I figure mine will arrive with the Easter Bunny.

4.) The threats made by my mother involved her communicating her expectations 
regarding the conditions on which I was permitted to stay in her house,
ie: "This is my house. If you are living under my roof, you will behave accordingly." 
She did not make a threat of violence towards me
or my children's well being while we lived with her.
Just want everyone to know that I don't think my mother would cause me bodily harm.

5.) When I said that I took my children to their dad's house to be "safe," 
I was not implying that my parents' house wasn't safe. 
 I was implying that because I didn't know where I would be sleeping that night, 
my children would be safer with their dad instead of with me, 
especially with the high probability that I would be sleeping  
in my van. 
Any alluding to a lack of safety at my parent's house was  NOT intended or implied.

My mother believes I owe her an apology for slandering her on my blog. I don't.
My blog isn't about her, so contrary to what she might believe,
there is no intention to malign her.
But, its no skin off my back to give her an apology.
I am sorry she is hurt by my life, my writing,  and my pain.
I am saddened that the reason she hasn't been in contact with me for the past 2 weeks
 because she felt slandered.
I don't know what our relationship will look like in the future.

I'm 40 and finally learning that it is unhealthy
(and ammo for the devil)
to apologize for my feelings! 

To apologize for my behavior? MOST definitely!
My behavior isn't top notch these days.

Being judged by people who've never come close to
walking in my shoes just compounds the pain.
Especially when those people share my DNA.

I'm barely functioning these days.
My brain is scattered. foggy, like the synapses are misfiring...
like I've been on a 3 week bender... or what I imagine that to be like.

The kids and I took a much needed mental health/sick day today.
C was running a fever and didn't feel well.
I was thankful for a day to be still. To soak in the word. To be still.
To get my paperwork in order
and to do a little planning.
I'm not sleeping well, if at all... can't get my brain to shut down.
We all took 2 hour naps today.
It was wonderful!

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
-- Matthew 11:28


Saturday, April 2, 2011

UGH......

I'm so emotionally and physically exhausted I can hardly write!  Its been a long 72 hours!

On Thursday, I learned my friend Linda was dying. Later that day, things exploded with my parents. After my mother spanked my son and screamed obscenities at me in front of my kids, she lost her cool.
I lost my cool.
She made threats.
She didn't realize I read Love and Logic and when you make a threat to your child, you better back it up.
I'm 40 years old.
Control does not equal love. I'm not an addict or a gambler. Tough love isn't necessary.
Telling me when to go to bed, when to wake up, how to order my day, how to parent and taking the liberty of spanking my child are not hallmarks of a loving, healthy relationship.
She told me if I didn't like her rules (no matter how disrespectful they are) I could leave.
So, I left.
My parents didn't really want us in their home....
my kids and I and our grief are inconvenient.

I took the kids to their dad's house to be safe.
He offered me his couch. Confusing for all. I said no.
He was my friend... in my grief.
I was thankful.
The kids are safe.
I've been couch surfing.

On Friday, I got a job offer.
Its a PRN job, so I'm basically like a substitute. I have to plan to work and arrange for childcare, but I might get called off at the last minute.
But, its a job. I'll take it. I'm excited.

I woke up this morning to the news of Linda's death.
C. scored 2 goals in her 1st soccer game today.
Her dad and I aren't communicating well. I don't understand him.
He doesn't think he should be financially responsible for me.
He doesn't care that I'm living out of my van.
My van with 190k miles, no A/C and a hard shifting transmission.
He believes my parents are responsible for me now that he doesn't want to be.
Did I mention, I'm 40?

So, I took matters into my own hands and found an extended stay room fo only $25 per night.
I can get work done.
Taxes, filing, seasons changing, kids clothes swapped and sold
continued job searching, application paperwork for new job
balancing checkbook... .only $13 left.....

I'm spent....
Long day ahead tomorrow.
Saying goodbye to another friend.
He's been our pastor and friend for almost 20 years.
He was "let go." My church is imploding.
My family, my church - falling apart.
Tired of the grief. Tired of the losses.
Just plain tired.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good Days.... Bad Days......

Today was a good day! Yesterday was NOT! Funny how that works. The difference between the 2 = prayer!

Yesterday, my kids were using my parents' home like a gymnasium and driving us all nuts. They'd spent the weekend with their dad and his mother who was visiting. Grandma-ma baked and they ate nothing but sugar all weekend. Gotta love it when I get the consequences. NOT!

So, the kids were hopped up and the 3 adults screaming at them didn't help. We've moved into that comfortable place where my parents think they can discipline my children themselves, or rather undermine my discipline. Confusing at 40.... can't imagine how nuts it is when sugar has short-circuited a 4 year old brain.

All this, in addition to other weird family dynamics, the anticipation of the hand-off after soccer practice and my own attempts at climbing the crumbling walls of the pit of depression and yesterday chalked up to a BAD day.

Thankfully, I put the word out on Facebook and asked for prayers..... about an hour later, things had turned around. Kids had calmed down, the hand-off and soccer practice were uneventful and I got called for a job interview.... in addition to the fact that my brother and sister-in-law fed me dinner last night.....  but more than anything... I could feel, in that surreal, ethereal sense that something was different. My brothers and sisters in faith were dragging my weary soul to the well.... I felt it. I am thankful!

Today was Great.... Woke up today ready to take on the challenges of my crazy life. I spent some good time in fellowship with a chaos sister and some time in the word.  Ran errands and then spent a great afternoon with my kids.

We went to Wash Park, rode bikes, played on the playground, watched construction equipment repair the old boat house, made new friends, got ice cream at Bonnie Brae, then went to the mall and just happened to catch Gnomeo and Juliet with the AMC Theaters $5 Weekday flicks, spent an hour playing on the crazy play place, then went home exhausted!

In the meantime, I got a call about another job interview.

Mostly, it was a great day because I was with my kids... an no other agenda. I wasn't concerned about getting home to send off more resumes, look for jobs, clean house, fix dinner, etc.

Instead, my only agenda was to enjoy my kids and spring break!

Tomorrow, its MOPS in the morning, then we're off to Casa Bonita with the cousins for a Colorado tourist/gastrointestinal adventure!

Praying for another good day! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I behaved myself....

So, today I went and spoke with the old apartment complex. The person I needed to speak with was on vacation, so I had to share my concerns with some newbie leasing agent. Poor girl. I was very well behaved. I spoke kindly and didn't lose my cool. This was my major accomplishment for the day. I'll take it.

The fact that my mom came with me might have helped. Yes, I felt incredibly stupid. I'm 40 years old and my mommy came with me to give them a piece of her mind. Actually, it worked out quite well. I went in, stated my case and told them I was extremely unhappy with their analysis of the apartment. After I stated my case, my mom stepped in and stated something I'd completely forgotten. (Go Mom!)

Mom said that she remembered the leasing agent telling us they would be replacing the carpet before we moved in. The carpet was never replaced.

I then brought up the black mold stains in the carpet that were never completely cleaned up. Every person in the room stopped talking when I mentioned the mold.

I'm expecting a phone call from the property manager at the end of the week. We'll see what happens. I have no problem paying for the cleaning that I didn't do. I am not willing to pay for replacing flooring that was in disrepair when I moved in.

Its in God's hands now.

On an even more pathetic note....

I saw a re-posting of a job I applied for last summer. I never even got to interview for it, even though I knew people in the organization and had done the exact same job at another church. Not only had I done the exact same job elsewhere, I've also done the job of the people I would be assisting. Never before have I applied for a job where my experience so closely matched the job description, almost letter for letter.

I admit that I was surprised at the time that I didn't even get an interview.  Clearly my resume in and of itself indicated total qualification for the job. When I got the rejection email, I was stunned, but got over it and moved on.

So, the other day, after seeing the job re-posted, I emailed the HR person to ask if this was the same  position I'd previously applied for. 

Today, I got an email stating that yes, the position is open again, but that they've reviewed my application again, and Although we were impressed with your
background and experience, we feel we have other applicants who more closely
reflect the requirements for the position and needs of the department.


Um....  I wasn't re-applying! I was just inquiring. Sheesh..... nothing like getting rejected for a job that I didn't even apply for. Thanks.... needed that.

I'm resisting the urge to reply to the rejection with the following:  This is the same response you gave me when I initially applied for the job, and clearly, the person you thought 'more closely reflected the requirements and needs for the department' didn't work out..... so could you give me a chance?


I figure if they aren't interested in me, then I'm not going to lose any more sleep worrying about them... but hey, its their loss.







Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can't Catch A Break

So, today I got a lovely letter in the mail from the apartment complex we just moved out of. Admittedly, I didn't do a great job of cleaning the place after I moved out. If you've ever moved, you know that under the best circumstances (to a new house!) moving is a horrible, arduous task.

Now, take into consideration that I moved out of an apartment under the worst circumstances.

By the time I had to be out, he had already left, taking with him only his personal belongings and 3 pieces of furniture. He left everything else for me to deal with and clean up. (He did help me move some stuff one day.)

So, needless to say, dismantling a life I'd worked really hard to build, was not my favorite thing to do. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. Plus, I didn't ask for enough help. Possibly because I didn't want to drag anyone else through the muck and the mire of the whole mess.... but mostly because I felt the whole mess was his responsibility... why should I burden my friends and family with the mess that he made? It was easier to stew about it and be angry than to humble myself and admit I needed more help. Lesson learned. Moving on now.

My mom did help me clean the bathrooms, the patio, vacuum, etc. I cleaned the kitchen. In the midst of it all, I lost our access card for the complex amenities (-$40) and I totally forgot to clean out the fridge and freezer (-$40). I completely ran out of time to steam clean the carpets. (-$40), so I was expecting to get dinged on our deposit.....

But, this crazy lady a/k/a me,  about had a cow when I got the letter today saying that not only was I not getting my $1200 deposit back, but I still owed the complex an additional $200 for reimbursement of damages and cleaning!

Seems the complex thinks they need to charge me $900 for all new carpet and $250 for new vinyl flooring in the kitchen, in addition to cleaning charges for 2 bathrooms (my mom cleaned those, so I know these hookers are trying to pull a fast one!), the oven and the fridge!

I informed one of the leasing agents of holes in the kitchen vinyl 3 days after we moved in. He said he'd make a note of it.... (what do you want to bet that never happened?) 

I know that apartment like the back of my hand and there were 2 stains on the entire carpet. One in the dining room -  food related and would easily come out with a good steam cleaning. The other, in C's bedroom where the black mold issue they repeatedly ignored finally seeped into the carpet!

Yes, you heard me! Black Mold! 

These hookers better watch out, because they have just unleashed the beast! They clearly have no idea who they are messing with!

Last summer I noticed black mold under my kitchen sink. I cleared everything out only to discover that nothing was wet and that clearly the mold was coming from inside the wall. I called our beloved maintenance guy and he came over and cleaned it up. He told me that I was getting too much water behind my faucet and water leaked down behind it. I looked at him and said, there is no water under the sink. Its not coming from me.  He told me I was wrong.  Fast forward another 5 months and we move some furniture around in C's room only to discover what looks like old coke spilled all along the lower 1/4th of the wall, the baseboards and the carpet. I started to think C had snuck something into her room and spilled it, but then I realized that this putrid wall was the shared wall with the kitchen sink! Gear down, big shifter... mama is ticked.

Thankfully, Oscar, our trusty maintenance guy came over, tore up the wall and discovered a big crack in the main stack kitchen drain. Not only was the leaking moisture from our sink, but also all the drainage of the 2 kitchens in the apartments above us. Nice.

I was just thankful it was being taken care of and we'd be moving out soon, I didn't think much of it. Clearly, I should have.

I suspect the remaining mold stains on the carpet are part of the charges. No way in H-E-double hockey sticks am I paying to clean up their mess from their poorly constructed building! No way. No how!


 Windsor (the property management company) will be getting a visit from me in the near future. They should be scared. I will cause a scene if I have to. We lived in that complex for 18 months and had the following issues:
  • black mold in C's room resulting in her need to evacuate the room for 4 days
  • ceiling leakage in C's room (was kilz'd and repainted)
  • ceiling leakage in utility room (never dealt with) 
  • repeated bookkeeping errors (I slid on ice entering the complex and hit a pole.) My insurance company paid for the damages, but I repeatedly got threatening notices that I needed to pay it, even though it was taken care of...
  • lack of snow removal in our driveway during the last big storm, resulting in a 2 inch thick sheet of ice where both my kids and I slipped and  I tweaked my knee again. Left message with maintenance... no response.
The pole incident still ticks me off because when I hit the pole, I did more damage to my car than the pole. But, I stopped and went in and reported the damage anyway. Upon inspection, we discovered car parts at the scene that were not from my car and paint marks on the pole that were not the color of my car. Clearly, I was not the only car to have slid in this same spot. I was just the only one who had the decency to report it.

So, needless to say, for a complex with 34 buildings and 1500+ residents, this is no small mom and pop operation.. these are the pros... and this is how they do things? So not cool! They've pissed off the wrong girl. I'll make it known to everyone I know how horrible they are! Nothing like word-of-mouth publicity....


I'm trying really hard not to get stuck in a dark place where doing the right thing gets you screwed... because that's sooooo how I'm feeling these days. Taking the higher road isn't helping my cause here in any way shape or form. Just gets old getting kicked in the teeth repeatedly!

Thanks for letting me vent..... I can't afford not to get back some of this deposit... this is all I have for a new place (once I get a job!) I'll let you know how it goes... and hopefully you'll learn about it on this blog and not on the evening news!

Friday, March 18, 2011

One Day At A Time...

The realization that, with joint custody, I am no longer witness to over 50% of my children's lives pierces my heart to the core. This is not what I signed up for.  I did not put my kids in full time daycare to continue to work for this very reason. Ironic isn't it?

Between 1st grade for C., 3 morning a week preschool for J., and 3 nights a week at their dad's house, my time with my kids has diminished significantly. I am now one of several adults who has primary influence over my children. That is a sobering fact for any mom. So, I know I've got to make my time with them the most influential.

This is one of many sad realizations that sneak up on me late at night and catches my breathe in midair.  I remember talking myself out of a panic attack the first time I thought about my kids having to schlep their favorite belongings between 2 homes.

However, I've noticed that since the split in parenting duties, I'm much slower to anger, less easily frustrated with the kids.  I'm  more keenly aware of their emotional and physical needs. I spot sleepiness at 30 paces. I don't rebuke sassy talk with the same tone.

Instead of 24/7 togetherness, there is a bigger space between me and my children, a better understanding of emotional boundaries and their needs. I'm not enmeshed with my kids, simply because I am no longer in control of them 24/7.  These are realities I knew I'd face as a mom. I just expected to face them closer to age 16 and not so close to age 6.

My kids have experiences at this age (7 & 4) I don't ever know about. I see a new found confidence in both of them because they are successfully navigating this new adventure their on, to a certain extent.  (I've worked hard to spin this upheaval as an adventure, instead of a struggle.)  Gulp!  I also recognize a gentleness and peace in my children when they are with me that wasn't present before. This peace isn't present when they are around their dad, and it disappears completely when their dad and I are in the same room.

One of my greatest fears as a parent is not being available for my kids. Little did I realize how "unavailable" I'd been with them in recent months. Because the economy of time seemed rather liberal at that point, there was not the sense of intentionality there is now.

During the 4 months of "separated but living under the same roof," I was shell shocked and struggling to guard myself emotionally. Those 4 months were not my best parenting days, by any stretch. I didn't want to alienate my kids from their dad, but I certainly checked out from the wife/household executive role.

Now, while the kids are with their dad, I have time to process my emotions, out of sight from my kids. My parenting is not dictated by my emotional needs, as it tended to be during those 4 months. While I'm intentional about letting the kids know that I am hurt and saddened by our situation, I'm not a heaping mess of tear-filled, snotty nosed goo on the floor. I can articulate my feelings better because I've had a chance to properly contain them. I am better able to share feelings appropriately, because I feel its paramount for them to understand that our circumstance and how it happened are NOT OK... but that we are going to be OK. They can still love their dad, even if I'm saddened by him. Their relationship with him is not the same as mine with him, and its OK that they are different. WHAT he did is not OK, but he is still OK.

With some space between the 3 of us, I'm willing to fight the nutrition, bedtime, bath time, homework battles now that I have a few more emotional reserves. I am relatively emotionally safe and it shows in my parenting.


I am so very thankful for these unforeseen blessings - the beauty and growth in me and my kids that is coming out of the burned out debris of a marriage gone bad! Proof yet again that God is in charge, and none of this is catching him off guard.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chaos Sisters.... proof of God's continued provision

When life hands us lemons, if we look carefully, we'll see that God has already prepped the kitchen for us to make lemonade!

I'm a woman who is immensely blessed with lots of great girlfriends. I have friendships that date back to preschool. I use BFF far too often, but only because I can! I'm not bragging, but I'm one blessed chicka to have so many women to call Best Friends. Each is the Best for different reasons. A group of them are notoriously called 'The Chaos Sisters!"

Chaos Sisters: 4 Jesus following moms/girlfriends who are traveling together through some of life's more chaotic, messy seasons.

2 of us are in the midst of ending marriages. 2 of us are wrestling with cancer and its toll on our families. 2 of us are teachers. 2 of us come from alcoholic families. 2 of us are intimately acquainted with the frustrations of unemployment and the insanity of the country's loan modification nightmare. (Luke 10:1-3)

Between the 4 of us, we have 9 kids. Thankfully, our kids have been friends since before they could walk.

I do not think it the least bit coincidental that we all became friends the way we did, in the time we did. Only God knew that we each would need a friend who understands intimately the nature of our life's chaos.

These are sacred relationships.
The kind that only come along once or twice in a lifetime.
These are women I can text or call in the middle of the night, without a second thought.
These are women who are strong: in faith, in courage, in love, in laughter.
We can laugh at ourselves and our situations; and celebrate the fact that while today is chaotic, we each are loved and known by The One who calms the storm.
Because of this, we know we will triumph in the end.

My daughter even has her very own Chaos Sister. In addition to her friendships with the Chaos Kids, God gave her a new best bud for first grade.

The first day of school, she and I befriended a fellow student (M.) and her mom, (K.) Ironically, the mom and I recognized each other from our high school track team. Sure enough.... K was a single mom, living with her mother while looking for a job and reestablishing herself after her divorce.

The day we met, I was still married and had no clue what lay ahead.

I'm so thankful God knew and had already made preparations.

While Jesus talks repeatedly about going before us and preparing a place for us in Heaven, (John 14:1-3) I can't help but believe he's also preparing that way for us in the minutia of our lives here on earth. He knows what we need before we need it, often before we realize we need it! For this fact alone, today I am thankful!