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Thursday, February 13, 2014

18 mos. later...

    How does one even begin to write in their blog after such a long hiatus?  I assume that 6 or 7 former followers are curious about how we're doing, whether I gained back the 82 lbs, where Jackson is, whether we lost the house, moved, etc.

  Upon reading through my most recent posts, I see that our lives really haven't changed all that much. The first thing you'll notice is that I punctuate and capitalize now- here's the buzzkill- my i pad does it for me. Sorry. 

  We still struggle financially and we still have the house, but at a much higher price but lower payment.
Kristin is still in California, loves it there and is still with Evan. He's in grad school, she's working at a job she loves and just earned a promotion and raise. She visited here after 18 mos. Away( for Christmas) and then again the following September. She's hoping to come again in June, we'll see. It's weird, and I miss her, but she'll be 25 in March so I guess all this is typical and I did my job and she worked hard and did hers.

  Doug, along with 3 of his friends and their toddler, finally moved out of here in November. Doug has a good job at Valvoline, he got his vehicle inspections license and a raise and lives with his amazing girlfriend Tiffany in an apartment in a nearby city. Tiffany is like a superhero. She makes him wanna be a better man. And he is! He's the happiest and calmest I have ever seen him since he was 3 years old.  So there's that. He turned 23 in December.

   Jackson is still living in the group home- month 21. He is never coming home. We tried reunification several times, but it just isn't going to work. The story is too long and painful to write, but the fact is he never attached to us and he never will. He does better for strangers. He lives in an Independent Living building where he's learning life skills, at his pace( which is STOP). He's a boxer and in an alternative school where he "earns" good grades. He's working with a vocational counselor in hopes that he'll eventually be able to get and hold a job, with supervision and assistance.  His IQ is now being reported at 63, he doesn't want to work, so the road to any level of independence will be long and arduous. We've known his IQ was that low for years, but schools and counselors disagreed. Suddenly his IQ is exactly where I suspected. But what do I know?  He wants to be with black people and refuses to even take ear buds out of his ears when he's here, he won't even speak, and he lit a fire last Christmas ( 2012) and smokes pot and steals our money & cell phones so he doesn't visit anymore. He says he's only here for the internet and hates us all, so we stopped contact after Christmas Day 2013.  On paper he'll be 18 in April. At that point he can choose to stay at the home or bolt and couch hop and be semi homeless. Every person he speaks with gets a different story, as far as what his plans are for April 26th, but we'll all find out in 72 days. Not that I'm counting. My love for him has been smashed and smashed down and buried to the very bottom of my heart. It ain't comin back up. I will have to see him in court in March, but I'm an empty shell.  Court is because of his DCYF case and the fact that we've been ruled neglectful and are abandoners. Yup.
But ya know what? My shrink "Dear John" says I'm doing everything right and I don't give a rats ass what anyone thinks anymore. I poured everything I had into that kid for 10 years and he chewed me up and spit me out until I had NOTHING. He doesn't want parents. He wants money and things. I was a therapeutic parent. I understand RAD, but I don't have to let it into my life if I don't want to. And I don't. Yogi feels the same way and we are moving on.

   Since November it's just been Kendyl, ShawnAlan and us in the house. It's oddly calm and quiet and we are all enjoying it immensely.  They love rainbow loom and school and the i pad minis they got for Christmas from my friend Forrest. They earn good grades and are sweet, neuro typical children who express love and empathy. Life is pretty good.

   I'm painting part time, -I'd paint full time but work is slow right now- Yogi  is still roofing and remodeling, even though he needs his heart valve replaced. He went out for a run and collapsed and had a mild heart attack in the street while I was on my Orlando trip last march, his arteries are great but he needs a valve. We are uninsured. Long story but he just can't do intense heart rate stuff until it's replaced. The recovery will be long, we not be able to collect, so we are waiting til he is crucial. Orlando is coming up again, I leave for my BETA(formerly ETAAM) trip 3 weeks from today. I can't wait! He better be ok while I'm gone. That was the scariest thing I've ever been through in my life. Trying to get back here to him.... Awful. I got the next flight out, Sandy rushed me to the airport,  I cried on both flights, and both times I was sandwiched between 2  older gentlemen and they were very kind. I was so lucky to have them. Doug and coreylee picked me up at the airport near midnight and Dropped me off at the hospital. I found my husband bloodied, covered in road rash with a few teeth missing, laying in the E.R. I can't believe it's been almost a year. Feels like yesterday. 

   All in all, we are all doing well. I should blog, maybe my funny will come back. I used to be funny. Where did it go? Maybe if I wrote daily, about daily events, my funny would return. I'll try it. 

We've had a seriously snowy winter here, kids are home again today. Gonna go make cookies or something. I'm up 25 pounds but I'm working hard to get it off again. ( but not with cookies). Stay tuned.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Operation Salvage Summer 2012

It seems like every year this happens. Summer begins, the kids play in the neighborhood, Yogi & i both  work hard, home improvement projects get underway-if possible- and before ya know it- summer is o.v.e.r. Every year, by mid August, I start panicking and we throw in some last minute weekend day trips & excursions to save it. Since my last post I've taken the kids to the lake Thursday through Sunday, Yogi came up mid-day Saturday, We took a family kayaking trip around the lake, we've taken them to Weirs Beach, Hampton Beach, finally took them to the giant outlet mall they just built here, -Kendyl LOVED that- did some shoe shopping, and we've done a few other small things . This weekend I hope to finally take the train ride and sleep at the lake house one last weekend before school really gets going, we stayed home this weekend, since we had a wedding to attend. That was fun too!  They go back to school this Thursday and Friday, but then have Monday off. I wish they'd just start school on Tuesday after labor day, and make our lives easier.
Money is tight. 
Our mortgage is 2 months overdue. As of the 7th, it'll be 3. We owe EVERYBODY. We just keep trying. But.. we realize we have to do fun things with the kids now & then too. It's so hard to balance. The mortgage company sent someone here to take a photo of our house this morning. That's a bad sign. Not giving up. The business is as busy as ever, but we just have so many expenses, especially now, with attorneys.
All 3 vehicles are street legal now, so, there's that.
ShawnAlan is all set up to start Kindergarten at Kendyl's public school. At least it's free. Not much else I like about the idea. I caved. He also ended up in afternoon session, which I did not want. My whole schedule will have to change for the year. No spin classes either. They could have bent for me, but they didn't, and I didn't really feel up to asking. 
Defeated much?
At our family therapy session on Wednesday, which was positive, we invited Jackson to go to the beach with us on Sunday. He was somewhat receptive, but I told him to think it over and call me on Saturday. In the meantime, the Mom of Jackson's friend *Bruce called me to tell she and  *Bruce had brought Jackson some breakfast at the group home and that the boys wanted to know if  *Bruce could come to the beach with us too. Now... during the session, Big Jim had reminded Jackson that these home visits are not to involve friends-just his family. 2 days later, he's got an adult(the Mom who he stole borrowed the business laptop from that night!) to call me and put me on the spot. She got my voice mail, because I was painting conference rooms in the basement at our local library in my tragic abundance of spare time. I felt we were damned if we did, damned if we didn't. Yogi gave an instant, resounding NO WAY. My knee jerk reaction was similar, but more...uh... colorful. I waited a few days to call her back, so we could think it over and not feel rushed. I also did not appreciate being set up, whether it was by Jack, *Bruce, or her. *Bruce is nice, but I knew Jackson would not speak one willing word to us, or his siblings, all day if we brought a posse member friend of his. The fact is, we haven't had ONE positive visit with Jackson, and until he can do things with us, he's not going to do things with them. Bring him breakfast all you want, but know that you mean NOTHING to him, and you won't be disappointed. K? K.  We're clear. When I returned her call on Friday night, I got her voice mail, told her no, and told her why. Jackson called me, himself, on Saturday to tell me he'd decided he wanted to go with us, and asked if  *Bruce could come. I reminded him of Big Jim's instructions, gave him a gentle "maybe down the road, at some point" and wondered if he'd decide not to go. He just said "Okay" and said he still wanted to come. Crisis averted.
In my opinion, the trip was, on a Jackonese scale, a B+. I need to go get ready to see Dear John now, But from 11 to 7, he was kind, slightly forthcoming with information, and gentle to his sister's feelings. He helped us carry stuff, answered a few questions, helped me find bathing suit bottoms on the boardwalk(i lost mine) and didn't try to escape. I even gave him some freedom to go up to the strip by himself  TWICE. He probably bought cigs. I'm ignoring that crap now. Whatever. Go up in flames, Kid! He hugged all of us goodbye and seemed regulated-but would not eat anything for dinner. No idea. But...I'm takin' it. CHECK!
After we got home, he called me. Wanted to come over today so he can dance. I told him I couldn't do it today, my to-do list was STUPID, but could go get him on Friday(he starts school tomorrow). We'll see how week one at his school goes-he hates it there.
Sorry this was boring. I got nothin'. I used up all my funny this week.
Later this week, I will try make time to give you my Beachfront People Watching Report, from memory. THAT IS SOME FUNNY SHIT.
Until then....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


2 weeks ago, when we went to court, we were told the case had been postponed as soon as we arrived. They had asked for the continuance last minute. Nobody felt ready, I guess. I FELT READY. My friend had driven in from 30 minutes away, just to sit with me, knit something purple and keep me sane with her presence. She also brought us a nice dinner for that evening and the most amazing lemon cake I EVER ate. She's pretty much the bomb. Ya know her? You can find her here. You'll like her. Anyway, she didn't get any knitting done, they sent us all home. It was irritating. The only other good part, was that we ran into Jackson and his therapist(Big Jim) in the parking lot, and had a pleasant conversation.  This was 4 days after I had a relatively normal-trust me- "relatively normal" is a good thing- conversation on the phone with Jackson, which I didn't blog about. So.. TWO positives in one week. We were on a roll.

We met with the prosecutor yesterday, so we'd feel prepared for court today. She told us that she'd taken Jackson's file home for the weekend, his lawyer had too, and the 2 lawyers met on Monday. She stated that his case was "keeping them both up at night". They were on the same page, as far as what Jackson really needed, and since he is not eligible for the CHINS petition, the only way to go was to talk him into pleading TRUE to one of the offenses, so he could stay at NCH and get the services he needs, and avoid a trial. (We found out later that his lawyer met with him yesterday and he agreed, mostly to avoid testifying or hearing/seeing me testify.) We left the prosecutor's office feeling heard. We were able to fill her in about prior events, how we parent, our backgrounds in foster care, where we wanted to go from here .. all that stuff. I felt okay.

We went back to court today. We were told that Jackson had agreed to plead true, we met with Jackson and his therapist, Jackson was shy but pleasant. He was dressed like a thug ass hood rat and his Afro looked like a rabid racoon's nest, but.. whatever. He doesn't like taking care of it, but hates having it short. I always did that for him.
At that point, Jackson met with his lawyer and signed everything. She brought the paperwork out to the lobby to us to sign, but not before making the fateful error of letting the following pile of shit pour thought out of her mouth:
"I must be honest, here, and admit that, as his attorney, My moral compass is causing me to have difficulty allowing such a kind young man to plead guilty to making threats that he would never really follow through with. He was just a typical teenager, angry and "spouting off".
"Well, Ma'am, I must be honest with you as well, and remind you of the fact that you met our son a mere 2 weeks ago, have met with him thrice, total, and have no idea what you are talking about right now.  You also might want to touch base with the 5 therapists who have treated him in the past 9 years who completely disagree with your opinion and will attest to his unstable mental state. I'm happy to sign a release of information authorization form for you. You also might want to eat a big giant slab of SHUT THE FUCK UP cake. Ok, Ok, I held onto that last part. Yogi was looking at me with his PLEASE DON'T TELL ANYBODY TO GO FUCK THEMSELVES TODAY, BABY! face. The man suffocates me, I swear.
Before she could so much as respond with a,  "Whaaaaa?" Yogi took me firmly by the hand, and  dragged me the fuck outta there before i spit in her coffee found us a nice little out-of-the-way conference room to hang out in and refresh our thoughts. Isn't he a gem?  I know. Then.... we waited.
and waited.
and waited.
and waited.
Jackson lay his head on the table and slept, while my adorable husband -who always has my back- chatted with Big Jim and me about the weather, the ever rising price of petroleum based roofing shingles and everything in between, while that bitches  that lawyer's words rolled around and around and around inside my skull. Finally, as the conversation became stale, we got word that it was our turn. 
We entered the court room, Judge KingKone smiled at us and the proceedings went as smoothly as possible. NCH had sent the judge a report of Jackson's behavior and progress at their facility, I had received one as well. They conveniently omitted the midnight ear piercing party, the pot and cig smoking, the refusal to do any chores whatsoever, his resistance to therapy, his extremely overly sexual nature etc. etc.. but he referred to it repeatedly and kept mentioning the glowing report he'd received. Yogi held my hand firmly while I tried not to throw up on his shoes interject. It was lovely. Like a wedding. But without the stench of... never mind. He closed by stating, on the record, that we will all meet again in 60 days, (Jackson's lawyer had fought it down from 90 to 60, to give Jackson something to look forward to and work towards. Isn't she darling?)and if all is going well at that time, Jackson will be sent home. To us. At our residence. Where we live. He even stated that if we/they saw fit to send him home sooner, to go ahead and file a motion and he would be happy to see us anytime.
In 13 weeks at NCH, Jackson has behaved and slept well. That's it. Hardly any therapy, only 2 home visits, only 2 family therapy sessions, no new diagnosis, no medications have been prescribed, no meeting with psych MD to even begin that process... nothing. What progress are they speaking of? He hasn't physically assaulted anyone and won a recent urban dance contest, so... He's HEALED? I find this bullshit information hard to swallow. I am not stupid. But I am, however, exhausted, powerless, emotionally defeated and broke. I miss my son but I also have to protect our other children FROM HIM. I have to protect MYSELF from him. He has learned many new things at NCH. Not all of them are positive things.
When I'm found dead, or Jackson is inadvertently killed or wounded by my husband or myself during an altercation, everyone will say, 
"I wish we'd known."
"Could we have done more?"
Sounds like mere drama, but I know better.
I'm his Mom.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One Year Ago Today

We took these photos at 7am, right before Kristin and Evan drove away to their new life together in northern California, where Evan grew up. We haven't seen either of them since. Some days that is hard for me to accept. Other days, I understand, and it's OK. A year is a long time, but she is very happy out there, with him, her cat Neena, and her great new career. We text back & forth, but that's all. Life sure is different. She's very independent, always was. I must have done something right. Right? But, I miss her.

keeping up

That pressure to give the kids a fun summer every year is a tough one. It's the busiest season for our business and it seems like every year, we struggle with emergency expenses. My truck, Butch, passed inspection, then broke down 2 days later. 2 trips to the garage, and $2500.00 later, she's running great. Our roofing truck, Stella, didn't even pass. She needs about $1500.00 worth of front end work, so she's parked while we think about what we want to/can do. For the time being, Yogi is only driving our 14 foot box truck, Gloria. She passed with flying colors. All 3 vehicles had to be registered as well, as both of our Birthdays are in June. Add all that to the $1800.00 we've handed our lawyer, the one we didn't really even need, and you've got poop soup. ShawnAlan's Birthday went pretty much unnoticed. We hung out up at my parent's lake house got him a cookie cake, and did some kayaking. My parents bought him a cool scooter. He noticed the lack of hoopla, in comparison to his friend's special days. Last week both youngest kids were sick with summer colds, sore throats and fevers. Ken is still getting over it. The last 3 weekends, in a row, have been stormy. We've had court, it seems, every Wednesday. The dogs both caught a skin infection at the swamp. I'm into that for 300$ already, and they both need one more shot. Our coon hound will need immunizations after that, and STILL needs to be neutered. Have I mentioned we are among the uninsured? The medical bills are mounting, especially mine, mostly simply because I have lady bits. Insured or not, that crap still needs to be.. um... analyzed LOL. I also suffer injuries now & then, and to keep doing what I do, they need treatment and care. The list just goes on and on and on and on. 
All. The. Time. 
I really thought we'd be in a much better financial place by 43&49. It just hasn't gone that way. I know we are not alone, and that helps my aching head, but not much. Seems everyone is struggling. My shrink seems to be doing pretty well. I should have gone to school for that shit.
Anyway, I'm always feeling some guilt about something. I hope the weather is decent this weekend so we/I can take the kids on the train ride we promised, or maybe go to a (sort of) local amusement park. Water park? whatever. Gotta do SOMETHING. We saw the ocean ONCE. On Mother's Day. While Jackson was MISSING. Fuckin' awesome. In Yogi's defense, he offered to take me to the ocean for my Birthday, I didn't want to, but I can't remember why, now. I think i was hurt.
Shawn's Montessori school closed for good in June, LONG STORY, so I need to register him for public school this week. I'm not thrilled about it, can you tell? It's only 2 hours a day-his other school was 4. After court tomorrow, (Tomorrow is Wednesday!)I'm taking the kids up to the lake for the remainder of the week, mostly so I can listen to Kendyl sob for her Daddy at night. He will come up mid day Saturday, most likely, then spend the rest of the weekend with us up there. 
On KoobFace, I read status updates about amazing summer vacations and cool day trips, and I feel guilty that we can't make those memories for them. WE do what we can. No idea if it's enough. 
Court tomorrow is another story... I will update you after it's over. It's been a long, crazy month, as far as that stuff goes, too. OY!
Xanax please!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


My sister Amy is a quilter. A gifted, mostly self taught, incredibly talented & creative quilter- and person. At times, she makes me want to repeatedly slam my neck hand in a car door, but.. that's a blog post for another day. That day will come, too. I mean it. 
When we were 5&6, she'd sew marble bags and Barbie clothes and sell them to the all the kids in our hood. Well.. in actuality, she gave her one-of-a-kind, American made goods away at first, but then, once the kids were hooked & drooling, she'd slam them with her jacked up prices and grin with her hand out while they cried & kicked the dirt at our door, in a childish attempt at the delicate art of peer negotiation. Alas, they were no match for Amy The Great. Defeated, the custodial parent would glare at my innocent, non confrontational Mother as they handed over the tear dampened, crumpled wads of Benjamins.  Looking back now, she was quite the little entrepreneur. Her business only grew over the years, she made some incredible stuff as she learned to cross stitch, knit, crochet and do some other crafts I can't pronounce or remember. In fact, by high school she was starting fashion trends! But... in adulthood she ended up falling hard for office management/accounting and now only quilts and sews for her own enjoyment. She often dreams about something she wants to make, wakes up, draws a picture of it, then gets up in the morning and begins the new project. The gift is still there, but she never wanted it to be a "have to". Never wanted it to be something she needed by a certain deadline, and I can totally understand that. "I'm not a trained chimp!" She's rides a motorcycle, enjoys genealogy/ancestry and  accounting, and is totally at peace about where all of it falls into place in her life. 

I have about 4 different blog posts I need to write, and, like my Sister, I often wake up with the overwhelming need to take notes at my bedside, so that I can get back to sleep and focus on my writing at a later, more convenient time. 
One theme rings true in all 4 post outlines: GIFTS.
What are my true gifts? Where can they take me? So far, I have always kept career talk OFF the bloggy table. Some of you know what I do & don't do, some of you don't. But I never discuss it on here. It's boring and doesn't belong here. I'm not a brain surgeon or a CIA agent, but.. I do things. 
I want to do new things. 
ME things. 
I just wanna be ME!
I love to write. I always have, for as long as I can remember.
I'd like to write, on a full time basis, and cash a paycheck now & then. When people keep telling me I'm good at something, I finally cave and believe it. But then I read other writing and think, "I'm not that good/that deep/that funny/that poignant/that clever/that timely". Self confidence doesn't exactly ooze from my pores- especially lately. My sense of self has certainly taken a hit. As Mothers, we spend our time helping our children uncover their gifts, and often ignore our own search for self. Don't you agree? In any case, between Dear John, Big Jim, my handsome spouse who believes in me with everything he is, a handful of friends & family members, and one very, very special guy in my life, who I hung out at a bar with last night -and who I love so much it hurts-he always tells me the truth and always has my back, I've decided to actively seek out my true gifts, do some research and see if I can financially profit from my "talents". I put that term in quotes because I'm still working on the Believing It part.
And, if that doesn't work out I'm totally going to clown college.