How to drink a bottle of wine in 24 hours

I am wiped out.

Last weekend I called my sister by every pet name I have for her, and hugged her maybe a dozen times before she and her husband closed up the pod and started their trek to South Carolina. They left their apartment early, and the house will (hopefully) be ready later this month. Meanwhile they spent last week working remotely in Tahoe and boarding in the afternoon; similarly will be this coming week in Napa. Then, next week will be couch surfing with her husband’s friend in S.C.

This week saw both my father’s and sister’s birthday. It also saw St. Valentines’s day. I happily spent the red-hued day at home; a neighbor took pity and gave my chocolate and wine later in the week.

Phone calls during the week staved off any direct interaction. I had a great Saturday with my quilt guild show and enjoyed speaking to many people. This little introvert survived! I had wanted to invite my grandmother, but at 86, she wasn’t going to wade through the pond-sized puddle in the parking lot.

Sunday was wonderful prior to heading to my parents’ home to celebrate Dad’s birthday. I attended TLM at my parish and was blessed to seek the intercession of Bl. Jacinta and Bl. Francisco Marto. Don’t forget to get your partial indulgence during this centennial of Fatima (1 pater, 1 credo, invoke OL of Fatima).

***

Mom and Dad have joined a camera photography class since mom received a DSLR for Christmas; they have an assignment due this week for an artistic portraiture. I googled this beforehand to get ideas and brought makeup accordingly. Brought the Spanish comb as she requested. I brought the two that she had gifted me. I show up with no makeup on other than some violet lipstick. (Later that evening Gramma liked the violet more than the black-plum hue I have).

I get in the door. Dad doesn’t hug me. I  don’t have time to say ‘happy birthday’. He says the barstools are set up for the lighting and he stood in for me (I arrived at 2pm instead of the suggested ASAP text that was sent while I was at the 9:30am Mass). I go upstairs and mom is complaining about my lipstick and refuses to use my makeup on me. I say “Okay”. I take off the lipstick, clarifying to her “it’s not gothic” and I laugh. Dad is standing in the doorway of the bathroom berating me for saying it’s not gothic. I said I get it. I said Okay multiple times. Mom throws another makeup wipe at me to “take it off” and I say “I have. I don’t have any makeup on”. She said “Get out. Leave. I don’t want you here”. I’m not about to leave as I’m here more for Dad’s bday than her damn photography class.

[This gives me a headache, just re-writing].

Mom left in one of her classic excuses. “I need to see Trudy. I’m going for a walk” and she left via the garage and apparently took the Chevy for a wake. WTF?!?

Dad starts blaming me. I said “I don’t need any grooming. I don’t need you to tell me how to be around her. I lived here for 27 years before moving out.”

He sputtered some nonsense, and I said that I did not need an education on how to act around my mother. That I know how this goes and that I did not need him pestering me on how to talk to her from the moment I walked into the door. He said that I should not even talk and that I am not to respond when he tells me what is going on since I am not aware. I clarified that I am well aware of what is going on and that I don’t need a play-by-play from him.

Eventually it devolves into me yelling at him at the top of my lungs (at 9am Monday I sounded like I had a severe cold); replete with cuss words. I said that I was “tired” several times. I said that I was tired of him constantly enabling her; excusing her crazy and trying to make us be at fault her for narcissism.

He said that he was always stood up for us. I explained that behind closed doors doesn’t count. I don’t need him to be a ball-less fuck and not say “don’t cuss our kids” or “don’t hit our daughters”. He didn’t have much to say other than he lives with her everyday and seemed to think it novel that we did as well.

He said he didn’t understand, then said that he viewed these issues to be a result of “chemo brain”, excusing her behavior on having gone through chemotherapy. I then laid out a litany of complaints starting from my earliest memories at 7yo; mom underwent chemotherapy in 2005, I was born in the mid-1980s. I stepped in close and met his eyes. I have to hand him credit for not flinching. And continued to lay it out. He said that he didn’t know. He looked surprised when I mentioned where he was in each instant. See, the things with kids and trauma, they don’t lie. Kids don’t think to lie about trauma because they don’t know the power trauma can wield against another person. I can’t lie about this crap. I explained that I had 2 panic attacks leading up to this this weekend.

He claimed to have no clue.

He disbelieved me when I detailed all the physical and emotional abuse before she had chemo. I said that she didn’t have chemo when she bit me when I was 7 or when she called me a bitch as I ate oatmeal while she read the horoscopes and yelled that I would the be the reason she and dad got a divorce; they’ll be married 36 years this June. Or when she threw Gramma Singer’s 1st Communion gift to me against the wall and he said that he wasn’t there. He stood in the doorway.

I said that what we needed as kids was for him to stand up to her and say don’t hit my kids and don’t cuss my kids out and he said he did it behind closed doors. I said that is not where it mattered. I told him that we needed to be protected and all he did is stand by and let her do shit and he tried to defend himself. I said he couldn’t do that anymore.

 

I want a good and serious career move. I hope it’s in the Alhambra/Pasadena/SGV area. I need space from the family. I don’t need the same 3k mile move that my sister got. But I do need my own space. My own home and eventually, when God wills it, my own Husband and family.

 

 

Sunshine

image

I was hoping to sit by the bank of windows, their light murky and scattered by years of grime. Ceiling tiles overhead have been removed to reveal years of dry, and maybe, wet rot. A spare classroom. Used for students who need extra testing time, the afterschool program’s space to complete homework, or on Wednesdays where I unglamorously provide mental health services to kids. Here I sit across the room next to the electrical outlet to charge the phone.

The sound of students reaches me: running in the halls, shoving each other in the cafeteria line, the dull thud of soccer balls.  I try not to think about who sits alone at lunch or who is bullying to the point of being sent to the principle’s office.

I want to sit against the window pane. Instead, I stare at the little table at which I do all my work covered by my lunch bag and coffee mug, the EBP model booklet, coloring pencils, collage materials &c. The vestiges of last cling to me: dry eyes and a headache, perhaps a resurgence of a pinched nerve; more likely holiday dread. My own, but also the kids whose heads swim with financial dreams their parents can’t meet; dreams of hover boards, happiness, fully attentive parents, family trips.

I’ll hold them, but Jesus, are you holding them too?

Substandard

Since my last post, my financial issues have continued to get worse. I continue to pay in excess of 360$ for car insurance. I learned this is due to my insurer coding the scrape I incurred from my then-new garage as an accident, instead of hitting stationary, inanimate non-vehicular object. No injuries, no bodily injury, no collision payout to a non-existing second party. Thank you, Farmer’s Insurance Exchange. You’ll be losing my business once I find someone to replace my policy at a slightly lower cost.

I’m looking at other positions in the mental health community. I have started to dislike my job very much. Since the company picnic for it’s community services sector, the supervisors have been embarrassed by how it was presented:

  • no hired entertainment: we had a theme, each team was to dress and act it out.
  • dessert were those little plastic cups of ice cream that usually come with a wooden spoon; except there was no spoon.
  • Vegetarians received a flattened sandwich from Subway (creepy, right?); meat-eaters got what looked like a kid’s meal with a thigh/leg/breast from KFC, with cole slaw or Mac & Cheese
  • There were $5 Starbucks gift cards for winning a water balloon toss, party hat made from the animal/long thin balloons

I don’t want cookies, or a water balloon toss. This company is an embarrassment to itself. On their career page they say “join one of California’s  largest and most awarded behavioral health companies” and boast of being selected as “Best Places to Work” in 2012 by L.A. Business Journal. How can you expect to be seen as awarded and best when you treat your own employees as children? How can you strive to be a local industry leader (they tell us this is their goal in staff meetings) when you treat your employees in a substandard manner? I have been with this company for four years, and I’m still paid below entry-level for a full-time, 401(k), health benefits position.  When I’m done paying rent, car insurance, car payment, student loans, internet, gas, gasoline, Water & Power, and my out of pocket therapist (nearly no therapist is covered by the insurance provided to us; I checked): there is  no money left for me to buy food. Let alone things like car batteries (I had to get a new one the previous week for $200, which led to me cancelling my therapy for two weeks), shoes (which have holes and are falling apart), birthday gifts for family members, Christmas gifts, co-pays on medication for migraines (I haven’t  been able to take medication for years due to this).

I’m embarrassed by my employer: treatment, lack of appropriate income/compensation, pressure to take PDL if we don’t meet productivity quotas, etc.  I can’t even talk about this with friends or family members whose own employers host parties and company picnics with catered food, provided entertainment, give a raise that’s worthy of being called a raise.