Gone

All the things I’ve ever done

Now fade away, into the sun

The wars we lost, the battles won

Those memories can’t be undone

RIP Dad Cat

1/26/1950-5/19/2018

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Death Wish

Just a form, no need to fear

Soon you will find comfort here…

I was a witness to my father’s death wish today; my shaking hands signed the witness line of his updated DNR. He was accepted into Hospice.

My mom had RB sign a DNR for her. Not that she’s expecting anything to happen, but if it does (like she’s in a car accident) she doesn’t “want to be a vegetable” or anything. Fair, but seriously shitty timing.

Another Day

Two minutes before this photo, BB’s beautiful smile was downturn, tears streaming down his red face because we wouldn’t let him watch Daniel Tiger before bed; two minutes after he got a time out for hitting Daddy (again) and erupted on the bathroom floor when he was asked to brush his teeth.  We also had moments of unbearable sweetness: trying to hug & kiss Papa through the phone when we Skyped, despite Papa’s new neck brace; huge, beaming smiles as he rode a tricycle for the first time; elated shrieks as he played hockey in the driveway with his Uncle Tommy, Buffalo Sabres music blasting out of RB’s phone.  

Toddlers are like us: complex creatures capable of wild mood swings and irrational rages, but they also possess the innate ability to be kind and joyfully break into song and dance for no particular reason.  RB is doing a great job at being a father; his patience truly is a virtue.

Winter Of the Ghost

I opened the bathroom door and stepped out, exhaling loudly.  “Bye Dad,” I said and waved again, heading towards the front door.  We had already said our goodbyes before I had to go to the bathroom again; unsure if it was something I ate or the new stomach bug that had been making rounds at work and daycare I had veered on the side of caution and used their facilities before our half hour journey home had begun.  

My father, a living ghost of the man he had been less than two years ago, turned to his left towards me in a mechanical movement and partially raised his right arm at a ninety degree angle as high as he could.  “Bye bye,” he responded and turned back towards the television set.  His movements reminded me of the Tin Man.  


That was the best he could do. 

Outside, RB and my mother were talking in the driveway.  My mother stood next to the open Jeep door with RB a couple feet away on the grass, cigarette smoke rising from his curled right hand.  As I came closer I could hear the conversation was about my father’s condition.  


I was welcomed into it right away by my mother: “So your idiot uncle (one of her brothers) called the other day and said, ‘I saw a picture of Casey and he really doesn’t look good.’”  I didn’t ask what picture.


BB was chattering happily to himself inside the car, loudly exuding pleasure at the fact he was able to twist and scrape off his right sneaker against the backseat he was still facing, despite his ever growing stature.  It had fallen lifelessly onto the seat next to him.


“I told him, ‘No shit, he’s dying.’”  

She added a shrug for emphasis and I looked down at my black sneakers.  There was a light coat of white powder around the toes, a remnant of the Easter Bunny’s ‘trail’ (baking soda) that I had very carefully spread around the first floor of the house at two thirty that morning in eager anticipation of BB waking up.  It seemed so long ago.  

“He said, ‘I don’t think it’s ALS,’” she continued.  “Well, after two years of doctor’s appointments and different tests and everything I’m not sure what else he thinks it could be.  They showed me that test that he got at the neurologists.  I saw it and there was nothing there.  He has no feeling at all, even in his tongue.  What else could it be?”    


The wind began to pick up again, negating the warmth that the delicious sunshine had sprinkled over us.  I shivered and rubbed my arms, glancing over at my coat in the backseat.  BB continued to talk to himself, and I noticed him again just as he successfully tugged off his right sock.  His ethereal face, still cherub shaped, blossomed full of joy.  


“He said he didn’t mean to be mean or offensive by saying that,” my mother continued.  Rick managed to flicked his cigarette butt into the street, against the wind, and it danced away.  We were supposed to get rain but it had managed to hold off all day; dark clouds were beginning to gather above us. “But I told him, ‘It is what it is.’”  She added another shrug of her wide, broad shoulders.      


It seemed like we had been deprived of the sun for so long, when in reality it was really just a few short months of darkness, in the scheme of things.  It was just another winter.  


It was what it was.    

A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes

It’s hard to focus with so much going on.  Our buddy bailed on us and we have no contractor to fix our old home, which may be falling apart faster than expected.  We’re only going to be able to do about half of the home repairs/updates we had planned on doing, but now for an extra $10,000-15,000 (ballpark).  Our financial situation is the same, just now scarier.  We’re nearing the end of month two of our budget experiment, and although we’ve made subtle changes that will hopefully result in some moderate savings eventually, overall we still suck and blow money on stupid shit.

My parents are coming home from their 3 month jaunt in Florida.  My father’s health is deteriorating and I continue to have unresolved guilt about our relationship over the years, especially when we blamed his medical issues on his drinking problem before his diagnosis.  I’m optimistic we can rebuild something, and he can develop a relationship with BB, before it’s too late, but I’m a realist too.

I rediscovered that media is one of my biggest inhibitors to being productive.  What is it about screen time that dilutes our desire to create, to be close to others?  I get on RB constantly about staying off his phone around BB during our time together, but after BB’s bedtime we’re both guilty of it.  Constantly.  Why are we not held to the same standard of protection as a toddler?  If I view technology as bad for my son, why is it okay that I allow it to dictate so much of my life?  I understand it’s a sign of the times but I dream of a future for BB where he’s not socially conditioned to mindlessly stare at a screen and have his imagination, creativity and interest in the world around him sucked out.

Despite my perpetual shortcomings I took a full day workshop on how to start my own business on Friday.  I feel scared, and already like my dream won’t be feasible, but I’ve been finding myself think of creative solutions instead of just becoming hopeless and brushing off my ideas like I usually do.

The future is still up for grabs.

 

 

 

Broke, baby! 

As I shared recently, the Groom and I are a few grand short on our tax return this year, with thousands of pending home improvement expenses.  Everybody said, “Oh, you spend so much in daycare!  You’ll get most of it back!” Or, “You have a baby, you get like $4,000 for him right off the bat!  It’s sooo great!”

Okay: Correct, wrong, correct, wrong, WRONG. 

 Completely our fault for listening to our friends without doing any research about tax law and just assuming other people with kids knew what the fuck they’re talking about.  Also my fault for counting on money we didn’t actually physically have.  My bad, I get it.  

We paid almost $11,000 in daycare last year, and three guesses how much we got credit for?  I’ll give you a hint:  My jaw got bruised when it fell out of my mouth and hit the table.  We got $3,000 credit for BB and based on our income we got…..  20% of that!  A whole $600!  Woohoo! 

So because of a screw up with the Groom’s taxes from work, all together our return will be comparable to what we got last year….  Even with spending over $10,000 extra on a necessity like childcare. It’s not like we’re going gambling, to concerts or doing anything fun with it: This money keeps our son healthy, safely cared for, and learning so he can be a productive member of society someday.  Fuck me, right?  

We’re short on our home repair fund by about $3,000 now.  So, after doing some searching on Pinterest and reading a few articles, here’s some stuff I’m trying to get some cash quick:

  • Coinstar:  The last time I went through our change cups and piggy banks was over two years ago, while we were wedding planning. 

  • We had to go to Wegmans this morning to pick up a couple things, so I took all the change we had in the house and used the machine there while BB and RB were shopping.  Even though it was a little awkward at first overall the process went very smoothly.  I was okay with using Coinstar because if you choose to put your money on a gift card there is NO FEE, otherwise they want to take 10.9% of your money as a fee!  I got a Home Depot “giftcard”, which we’ll use towards the new bathroom sink we found there.  Perfect!  If only I could find buckets of change like this more frequently…  

  • Selling books that have been sitting in “the Hoard” (office) collecting dust for years
  • Selling records I no longer want
  • Turning in our bottles when we do go to grocery stores besides Aldi.  This one isn’t going to make or break the bank, but every little bit should help, right? 
    • Consigning baby clothes at a HUGE quarterly sale in the area.  I registered for an account, which cost $10, but after getting a few emails I’m more confused about this than expected.  I’ll be writing about this separately, since I have been really interested in the idea of opening my own consignment store for the last year but have been stuck on finding time/motivation to get the ball rolling (here it is?).  

    The Great Budget Experiment

    One of my goals for 2017 has been to be able to effectively budget my money and get a better idea of how our household is really running.  This has been difficult to do since, until a couple days ago, I only had cooperation of half of our household (ME).  

    It was super frustrating not having RB on board, and this has been an ongoing point of contention for the last 2 years.  It began when I, a pregnant newlywed, discovered that my groom had thousands of dollars in undisclosed debt.  It’s something we’ve really struggled with and hasn’t gotten any better.  

    But hey, new year!  We’re planning on having our kitchen and dining rooms remodeled as well as adding a half bath downstairs, which would make potty training (coming in the foreseeable future) a million times easier.  Because of this (and my keen ability to get super shitty about all sorts of unpleasantries at midnight when he’s trying to fall asleep in an unpredictable, domesticated “airing of the grievances”) we actually had the talk.  He agreed to try to set a limit for his “miscellaneous expenses” during the week, throw more money onto his credit cards with the highest interest, and contribute more directly to our house account.  My contribution will also include more money to cover bills (I just paid my student loans off after over 15 years, woohoo!) and trying to maintain and navigate this “budget” thing, which has been difficult in part because RB doesn’t have online banking, and until last night didn’t pay much attention to how much he spent.  So if he pays for pizza, gas, or groceries I have no way to track it.  

    I can see you shaking your head, and I get it. 

     You’re asking, “Who the hell makes it to their 30s without having to budget their money?”  Or perhaps starting your sentence with, “What kind of privedeged asshole…” I see where you’re coming from, and I am embarrassed about it.  Honestly, the key word there was priveledge.  We’re both from middle class families who were poor back in the day, but we don’t remember much, if anything, about those days since we were little and our parents shielded us from it.  We’ve both had living wage jobs for the better part of a decade (longer for him, since he’s older) and we’re used to swiping our debit cards and not having to worry about it being declined at this point.  It’s a shitty excuse but it’s the truth.  

    So now, in my mid 30s and with a toddler, I’m trying to learn shit that I really should have figured out sooner.  We’ve also found ourselves shorted by about $3,000 on our tax return this year, which is where a good chunk of our home renovations were supposed to come from.  Surprise, bitch!  We’ve got about a month and a half to come up with some serious cash so we can move forward with our home improvement plans…..  If you don’t hate me yet for this post, wish us luck!  

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