• 25Jun

    It’s gotten worse. My mom hasn’t hit “bottom” but it’s worse.

    This month was the annual family reunion on my maternal grandfather’s side. They’re a bit odd, but it’s all the family my mom has left, and they are the cousins she grew up with. Nearly all of them live in other places now, so this reunion is the only time she sees them. This event was so important to my grandparents that they footed the entire bill for the whole thing for many years.

    She offered to drive my grandmother to the Saturday evening event out in the country. Another family member also needed a ride and my grandmother wanted to ask my mom if she can join them.

    But mom wouldn’t answer her phone. She has one of those stupid ring-back tones on it and it does several loops of “9 to 5″ and then goes to voicemail. I guess I should take comfort in that a) the phone is on and b) she’s not hitting the Ignore Call button. Anyway, it’s either that or that her phone was really far from her for hours at a time (not likely).

    She probably didn’t want to go. She didn’t want her cousins to ask about The Abuser. They might see how bad she looks or read more into the situation than she wants them to know. She’s also pissed that he was never invited. Other people bring their SOs, so if she wants him to go, it’s only up to her to invite him. Emil went when we were engaged.

    In the past, I couldn’t text her because, “I’m not typing on that little screen, and I’m not paying for someone else to send me a text.” Because $0 a month so her daughter could send her short messages would break the piggy bank. Right. (Yes, I offered to pay for it if it’s not included.) She had to go to a pretty significant effort to have text messages turned off. Oh, and if you try to text, you don’t get an error. She just never gets it. It’s like leaving a message for your junior high boyfriend.

    So, I texted her anyway, on the off chance that a setting changed and she’d get it. I kept trying to call. I got permission from my grandmother to tell her that I’m calling over & over because my grandmother needed to talk to her and can’t reach her. The text worked. She both got it and replied and called my grandmother! It’s 2015 and small miracles do happen. She said her phone was at her side at all times. Well, calls aren’t going through.

    She did call, again, with him there prompting her every word, to re-live her humiliation again. I told her (for the umpteeenth time) that I would not entertain this conversation. She used the word “sex” this time. I told her that yes, “that’s what ‘cheating’ means and I knew that” and that the conversation was over. After not having something else to talk about, we hung up.

    I immediately called The Abuser’s number. He, of course, didn’t answer. I let him a voicemail that started with “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” I told him that he either forgives her or he doesn’t and that making her relive humiliation over and over again was emotional abuse. I also told him that if it happens even just one more time that I will call the police. And I will.

    They need to break up; that much is abundantly clear. Neither of them is brave enough to do that.

    She skipped both reunion events, as it turned out (….bailing on my grandmother for the ride).

    Before the “sex” phone call, she was quite confused that Emil & I weren’t going to the reunion. We haven’t been in a decade or more…since my grandparents quit hosting it. It’s not a REunion for us since I’ve only ever known any of them one day a year. We never go. My mom is fully aware of the multitude of reasons I don’t go. She kept asking when we’d get there. I kept telling her we weren’t going. “Oh, I thought you were.” In this way, conversations with her are exhausting. This messed up cognition is why she needs to see a neurologist, but there aren’t any good ones in Paris. There aren’t even any who do what she needs.

    After the weekend of the reunion, I called her (mostly to ask her why she didn’t go). She asked if we made it home safely. “Um. We haven’t left the house today.” “Well, I just wanted to be sure you got home safe.” “Home from where?” Yep, she still thought we went to the thing. So she skipped what she thought was a chance to see her only child over a fight with her boyfriend, The Abuser.

    I really wish she could find the strength to fire him from their relationship and the comfort to live alone.

    When will this finally end?

    I’m going to try to call her and my grandmother today to tell them I’ll be unavailable for the week. If there is an update to things,

  • 05May

    We made the trip home, and it wasn’t easy, but my mom’s Will is done and secured in a place where more than one of us can get to it.

    I won’t go into all the details, but Thursday was one long, giant fight. We got there at ~3pm and she showed up at 3:30 or so. We had no time to prepare as we had planned, so when pushed to explain, we had to just jump right in. My method of a written letter might have shown how important this is, but we had to skip that part. But, Friday morning was a new day in more ways than one. She re-read the Will on last time (with the changes I made from Thursdays conversations) and then willingly went with us to the bank for the signature and storage.

    Next up: Health Care Directive and Powers of Attorney. These last three documents are all a lot easier than the Will. So I might even be able to take my templates, mail them to her, and have her go to the bank on her own. Maybe.

    whew!

     

  • 25Apr

    I’m just gonna leave these here. Both of these came across my Twitter feed this morning.

    7 reasons why being childfree isn’t selfish

    Would you help save the Earth by being childfree?

    #childfree

  • 07Apr

    The last of the rocks have been hauled and placed into the beds. It looks so much better back there, now.

    Next steps include planting some seeds, arranging some of the groups of larger stones, and a gutter for the patio cover (and eventually, a rain barrel).

  • 04Apr

    We needed to get away. After our best-laid plans to go to Paris for the “paperwork trip” failed, we made plans for another MicroVacay. (If a vacation is a few days, and a mini vacation is a weekend, then we consider a day trip without an overnight stay to be a micro vacation.) We went to Marble Falls where we found even more stuff to do than on our previous visits.


    our view

    bluebonnets were thick along the roadsides…

    …and out in the fields, too.

    Marble Falls has a dalmation-painted fire hydrant.




    99 bottles of beer on the wall.

    This was my dream car in ~1993. I even wanted this color.

    This view is atop a hill in Marble Falls next to a restaurant and event center.

    “Stonehenge”

    “Stonehenge II” down below.

    Moar! Blue! Bonnets!

    Desserts: sundae for E, key lime pie for L

    And, we did all of this in our new car (our 4th Mazda, zoom zoom!)! We went in for an oil change and they worked a miracle for us for a new one. We upgraded features for just a tiny bit more than we were already paying. Plus, we got a color this time (blue). The gray one just never worked right after its accident.

    I’m calling her Bonnie (and did pictures early) in hopes of warding off any bad luck we had with Stormy (who never really got a name and who never got photographed until that chick ran into us at the red light and did $8500 in damages).

    The drives were pretty. The patio enjoying was fabulous. The little shops/boutiques were wonderful. The walks/hikes were great. And we plan to go back in June for their adult soap-box derby.

  • 02Apr
    IMG_2965-0.JPG

    Last Sunday,, we took advantage of the gorgeous day to drive through part of the hill country. 

       

                  

    The views from atop a hill (near the build site of a $550+K home) were spectacular. Even the low lake looked pretty. The bright green young leaves gave the hills an interesting color pattern.

  • 01Apr

    For two years, we went with college kids to the Gila National Forest to do trail construction. We worked on the Continental Divide Trail which goes from Mexico to Canada. It was a great way to spend a few days of work advising students. We hauled a lot of flat rocks to build the trail. One year, the students gave us a flat rock they had all signed. And, the year we got married, they gave us a rock that says “Okay” on it. (Because in the cliff dwellings, places you aren’t supposed to go are marked with a rock that simply says “Don’t” and at a high altitude, we all found that hilarious.)

    These last ~2 weeks have felt like those trips. We saw an ad on Craigslist: a guy in our neighborhood was giving away rocks. The only catch is you had to come get them. These aren’t the flat rocks like we used for the trails, but are almost like river rocks. His large lot has them in corners of the front yard, across the front edge (super nice when guests visit and have rocks instead of grass when getting out of the car). They also run all the way down the left side, all the way across the back, and half way up the right side. In most places the rock beds are 12-15′ wide, but in some places they are closer to 20′. He’s been babysitting people right and left who will come take the rocks. He’s been kind enough to let us come multiple times since we don’t have a truck. Well, this week might be our last trip. The beds I planned and the “gap” past our patio are looking great.

    2015-04-01 09.25.54

    Tubs of rocks. We can fit four in the trunk. We hauled 7 of them on Tuesday.

    2015-04-01 12.49.20

    It’s a slow process. It takes me all 4-5 hours to unload all the rocks.

    2015-04-01 14.56.49

    The big side is almost done!

    2015-04-01 14.56.58

    From this angle, it looks almost finished.

    2015-04-01 14.57.18

    But up close, you can see there is much left to do. I think it will take one more trip.

    2015-04-01 14.57.49

    The little side is all done. The patch of discolored ones against the fence on the right are all “flat” rocks that will fit under the gate when it swings open.

    We’ve had tons of compliments from curious neighbors. I’ve gotten free rocks (the big stacked ones), free hyacinth seeds (which will climb the chimney), free tools (two sanders, a caulk gun, a vise, and even a croquet set), and met so many of our neighbors. We’re going to put a wisteria in the pot, since it’s “against the rules” to plant it in the ground.

    There will be more pics when it’s finished!

  • 31Mar

    Happy 14th Anniversary

    to us!

    I say it all the time and still mean it…every day really is better than the last.

    We celebrated a little on Saturday with a trip to Shoal Creek Saloon for crawfish (for me) and pork chops (for E). Tonight, we’re going to get more rocks and then for tacos and beer. yum!

  • 31Mar

  • 30Mar

    We found a “steal” of a deal on Craigslist. All the rocks you can carry if you’ll just come get them. They are perfect for our landscaping ideas for our tiny space of yard. The project already looks amazing and we have at least 3 more trips of rocks to go get. We weren’t planning on doing this one right now, but when the free rocks popped up, we just couldn’t pass it up. It’s been a lot of work, has burned a lot of calories, and has caused a few scrapes and bruises, but it’s going to be so worth it in the end.

    I’m terrible and never do before pics, but here is some of the progress during and the after pics.

    2015-03-26 15.43.18  2015-03-26 15.43.24

    during

    2015-03-26 17.23.45 2015-03-26 17.23.55

    after

    These “beds” are just inside our gate between the fence and the slab foundation. The rocks that were there were stepping stones seated into the concrete sludgey stuff left at the end of a concrete pour. They worked fine for ~20 years, but they were starting to break and become a trip hazard. They came up very easily. I wasn’t even planning on taking them up with this project, but it was so easy, I just couldn’t stop. I have also “outlined” two beds out back (past the fence, not in these pictures). Those have a tree and a birdbath. There are also groups of rocks. A large planter will hold hyacinth. And, we plan to get a wisteria to climb the chimney. Those two should bring in the butterflies and hummingbirds.

    So, then, after all our hard work, of course, Murphy has to come visit. There is a plumbing problem. For the second time since we’ve owned this house, it “rained” from the upstairs to the down. (And created a big puddle in the kitchen for the third time, we had a big puddle in the kitchen.) We have a toilet that hasn’t been flushing well, but draining the tub after a bath seems to be more than it could handle; the toilet “belched”. So, tonight, we will seek out a snake and see if we can learn to snake a drain. It’s a very busy week: we need to wrap up the rocks project so we can stop bothering the nice man who lets us come get them for free. We need to go home and deal with my mom and her stuff. We need to do our usual end-of-month stuff.

    So, we decided last night to skip the Luza trip to Dime Box again. Hopefully (still pending Emil’s co-worker’s dad’s condition/status), we’ll be coming back from Paris on that day and would have to get up super early (5:30am?) to leave my grandmother’s in time to make Dime Box by lunch. That’s not fair to us or her.

    Here. We. Go!