Friday, December 28, 2007

Pet peeve for the day

I went to the funeral for my friend Anita's husband yesterday. It wasn't a "regular" funeral, he was cremated, so there wasn't a "viewing", but they still had a lot of photos of him, and then they had a service there at the funeral home.

My thought for the day is this: (and please forgive me if I sound persnickety!)
I get back to work, and someone comes up to me: "Did you go to the funeral?" "How was it?"
Then I go to sit down at my desk and my boss comes over: "I see you went to the funeral, how was it?"
Uh...."it was fun"? "it was great"? "Well, a lot of people were wearing black clothes, so it really wasn't all that fashionable"....? I mean, it seems so obvious to me, it was sad, I wish none of us had to go, my friend cried a lot, they did funeral-type stuff, etc. There were prayers and hymns, too. Probably a more appropriate way to phrase your interest in the funeral might be "How did Anita seem?" Now that I can answer. She seemed to be doing well, considering. She has a lot of brothers and sisters and they have all rallied around her. She's got good support. She'll be ok. I have been praying for her, as have many people.

LOL, now that I've got that off my chest....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays, everyone!

I hope that you got everything you wanted for Christmas, if you celebrate in that way!!! I usually love Christmas, and I love traditions and creating new traditions, it's my favorite time of year, even if there were no presents!

First of all, I need to preface this with the fact that I gave DH $60 to use specifically for Christmas shopping. To the best of my knowledge, he spent nearly all of that, except for a CD for DD, on himself (pop and cigs, etc.) Later he asked me for more, but I didn't have it, and I didn't figure it would go towards its intended purpose anyhow.

I had a nice Christmas, for the most part, but DH didn't have a great start. He got up and watched DD open her gifts, and then he opened the ones I gave him, then he realized that the CD he had gotten for DD was missing, and he couldn't find it anywhere, and he couldn't remember where he had put it. That stressed him out.

Then, he went to give me my "coupons"--that was what I had asked for, "coupons" for me to have him do various things for me, like take the trash down, etc....he gave me some for my birthday a few months ago, and I just loved them!!! Anyhow, he also couldn't remember where he had put the coupons. When that happened, he looked so upset, I thought he was going to cry. The memory problems are really cropping up lately, and they're really bothering him a lot.

I told him that was ok, he could just give them to me later....but I still don't have them....the presents I got were: a jigsaw puzzle from DD, hand lotion and $50 from DH's mom, and a $100 gift card from my mom--that's what she wanted to give to everyone on her "list", and since she is still able to decide how to spend her money, if someone helps her with it, I had gone out and bought them all for her. Everyone knows how tight money is for us, so it was nice that nobody bought stuff like pot holders or whatever (not that I don't like pot holders, I LOVE them, LOL), but the money helps so much!!!

I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't even get the coupons (and they don't cost anything) from DH, but I just re-read my post about lowering my expectations, and I'm trying to convince myself not to expect anything. I didn't expect much to begin with, but I guess right now, it's just too much. I do believe that he really did buy a CD for DD and that he really did make "coupons" for me, he was so upset that he couldn't remember where they were, if he was acting, well, he would've won an Oscar. So I just tried to empathize with him and told him it didn't matter.

Christmas day itself was nice, we drove with my mom to my brother's house about 90 miles away, and had a nice dinner, and my mom had a nice visit. She refused to use her walker, though, and she was rather unsteady on her feet, so that was kind of scarey, but everyone was impressed with how well she has recovered from her broken hip. I know that statistically, she isn't out of the woods yet, though.....

Well, hopefully you had fun for your holiday, too, and I very much hope you didn't have to work!!! I know that every hour I have off work is a blessing lately, so I hope you had lots of those kinds of blessings too!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My bright idea

Well, in the last few days, "That Guy" was nowhere to be found. Jim left to visit his "real" family for the holidays, and none too soon, as I have been getting more and more aggravated by his presence--I just hate having him always there on the couch....and although he does get things done around the house, he's been doing a lot less to help out lately. So I'm very glad he's gone, at least for a week or two....

I have a friend, Anita. I have worked with her for 17 years, and she and I were on a bowling team with both of our mothers for years before our moms had to stop bowling....anyhow, her husband passed away on Thursday night, of colon cancer. We knew he was dying, but we thought he would make it past the holidays, for sure. We thought wrong, though. I wish I knew better how to be a supportive friend without being overbearing, I know she's going through a tough time right now, and it pains me to think about what she must be feeling.

Anyhow, I was just waking up, pondering all the thoughts that come into your mind when someone close to you suffers a loss like this, and DH came into the room. I, still thinking that "That Guy" was taking a break, started to tell him about how I was sad for Anita, and thinking about her, and he told me that he needed cigarettes, and while I was at it, he needed pop, too, and gas.

I was still in a "Carol has a give-and-take normal marriage" mood, because that's how things have felt these last few days, but I was wrong there too.

I really couldn't afford to get him cigs or pop or gas, but I didn't want to be a jerk anyhow, so I said this: "I'll get you cigs and pop if you feed and water the ducks and chickens." Feeding and watering the ducks and chickens in the winter is a big pain because it's cold out and the water is always frozen, so you have to "pop" the ice out of the water bowls before you can fill them...then there's the actual toting of food and water-did I mention it's usually cold out in December in MN? Of course, "Ducking and clucking" is usually my job, they're my birds. But I thought I was being very reasonable. A slow person can "duck and cluck" in about a half hour.

Right away, he started trying to tell me I was being unreasonable. But I KNOW I wasn't being unreasonable. I let it drop for a while. Then he told me again that he needs cigs, and I asked him if he was going to duck and cluck. He said "I always get duck food from town when you need it." (The main reason I have him get duck food from town for me is because I can give him a 20 dollar bill, have him get the duck food (about $15) and he can keep the change--that way we both get something out of the deal. But I can get the duck food myself if it's that big of a chore....)

Anyhow, I let it drop again, and then I was getting ready to go to my mom's, and he asked me again for the cigs and pop....I asked him if he was going to duck and cluck....he said "I'm sorry, I just don't feel like it". I said, "I go to work every day even when I don't feel like it." And he didn't respond. At this point I knew I was dealing with "That Guy" and so I'd better not press the issue. So I went out and fed the ducks and chickens myself. I went back inside to change my shoes, and he had the nerve to ask me for cigs again!!!! I just looked at him, and he said "oh forget it." So I left.

Eventually I did buy him one pack of cigs before I left for work. But he's mad at me. And I'm having an "isn't marriage supposed to involve GIVE and take, and not just TAKE" moment....
Thank goodness Jim is gone, I can sleep on the couch when I get home!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Update on Chuck Wagon

It's pretty funny, and still full of irony--

Chuck (my DH's Sims character), is still depressed, but now has a job...but he doesn't pay his bills and the bill collectors are calling him! Apparently things are getting repossessed, too....and apparently on at least one occasion, Chuck was so tired that he fell asleep on his way to answer the telephone.....I don't know if Chuck can file for bankruptcy or not, LOL

I'm hoping it's a coincidence, but part of me is wondering if the reason Chuck seems so similar to DH is that DH is still making the same kind of decisions as he was before??? I hope not!!! I don't know enough about the game to know how much of it is random and how much is based on DH's actual choices. I guess there's not much I can do about it anyway, right?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


He did it!!! DH got all the bankruptcy forms filled out, and we went and met with the attorney today. It seems like it will be relatively painless to get those debts out of the way. Like I thought, he is able to file bankruptcy without me, so my credit will be intact. What a relief!!!

The money will still be extremely tight after the bankruptcy, thanks to the truck loan and the four wheeler (ATV) loan, which, since they are partly mine (due to the open-ended loan agreement from before--what had happened was, back in like 2002, we had to put in a new well. We got a joint loan from the credit union for that, and then, because I trusted DH completely, and he trusted me, we signed an open-ended loan agreement, where if we needed a loan, only one of us would have to sign for it...anyhow, when DH got the 4-wheeler, he got the loan at a different bank, and his truck loan was with a different bank too. But then he went to the credit union, and they, unbeknownst to him (or so he says) looked at my credit, and, without telling him that they only look at the "better" credit in a joint situation, told him that they could give him a better interest rate, so he moved both of those loans to the credit union, and suddenly I was on the hook for two loans I never signed up for. So my word to everyone, no matter how strong your marriage is at the time, don't ever sign one of those agreements!!! Anyhow, after the bankruptcy, since my name is still on those loans, I'll still be responsible for them...)--still leaves my budget about $400 a month more than what I'm currently bringing in, but I'm hoping we'll get enough of a tax refund where I can pay some things down...anyhow...I've been somehow managing for a year and a half, I guess I can go for a while longer, right? It all seems to work out eventually.....At least now, the bill collectors will stop calling, and I won't have to worry about a lien being put on the house or anything like that....and DH won't have to worry about if he gets a job, are they going to garnish his wages or whatever.....

He's been wearing his CPAP machine at night again. For the longest time he refused to wear it, now that he's wearing it, I am seeing big changes....a lot less mood swings, a lot more humor, a lot more like my old DH....so maybe the CPAP is part of what was missing???? I don't know, but I sure am not complaining!

And he's been trying to cut down a little on the pop, so that made me happy too....I came home last night to find that the case of pop that I had bought him two days earlier was only half gone!!! Maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel.....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The irony will make you laugh!

DH and Jim got a game for the computer (with Jim's money), "The Sims Deluxe Edition". It's kind of a role-playing game. You create a character, the computer gets you going, and then you kind of vicariously live a "different" life through this character. And the computer imposes the consequences of whatever actions you take, so things might not end up the way you thought they would. They installed it, and DH played it for several hours before I got home.

He told me about his character, which he named "Chuck Wagon" (rolling my eyes)....and then he told me this:

"He's always so depressed!!! I don't know what to do!!! All he does is sit on the couch and cry about how depressed he is. Then he complains about how he can't find a job because he's so depressed. But he really has to find a way to get motivated to find a job, so he can better his situation and get rid of the depression. But he can't, so he sits on the couch, eats cookies, and cries. Then he goes to the bathroom, and comes back and does it all over again!!! I am so frustrated and it's so boring!!!"

I started laughing out loud. He told me to shut up. I don't think he saw the parallel until I started laughing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Worried about my mom

If you remember, my mom (age 78) broke her hip at the end of October, she had the surgery, and she did great in rehab in the nursing home.

Unfortunately, now that she's back in her assisted living apartment, she seems to be having quite a bit more confusion than she did prior to her fall. One day she took the top and pump assembly out of her "Softsoap" bottle, apparently not knowing what it was for, and somehow got the entire assembly shoved into her toothpaste tube for a cap. She then brought the cap of her toothpaste to me along with the soap bottle and told me "I can't get the cap to go on."

Another day, she was putting away laundry, and she told me, "I just can't tell which ones are the big towels and which ones are the small ones right now."

And the pills. For two years she has lived in the assisted living apartment. For all of those two years, I have set her pills up in a set of three "day of the week" containers, one for morning, one for noon, and one for night time. Each container is a different color. She has almost never had any trouble taking them. And now since she has been back home, she can't do it. She wants to take all three sets at once, she wants to take the nighttime pills in the morning...we had to up her care level at the assisted living, because she now needs someone to coach her with the pill-taking.

This is new. And unfortunately pretty scary. I've known for a long time that hip fractures are really really bad news for elderly people, so it should really come as no surprise, but it still does. It seemed like things were going so well. She doesn't even use a walker now, except on long walks!

My brother spent a couple of days with her this past week and told me that she got up at 5:30am (early for her) and got extremely agitated because she couldn't figure out how to dress herself. Even in the nursing home, in the rehab, she was putting on sweaters and stuff....

So earlier this week I brought her to the doctor, he did blood work and a chest X ray and said she has a "possible" urinary tract infection, and a "possible" pneumonia. So she's been taking antibiotics, but they don't seem to be helping the confusion much.

We think she has had a type of dementia called "Posterior Cortical Atrophy" for about 6 or 7 years now, and it's rather uncommon, so I'm always unable to find out much information as to what to expect. I'm scared that there's something medical that I'm overlooking, this change was so sudden....and I'm scared that there's nothing at all to be done. I hate this. Another person I love with cognitive issues, and I didn't sign up for it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wonders never cease

DH up and finished the bankruptcy forms!!!!

So I paid his bad check, and now he won't go to jail (yet anyhow).

He also called the attorney and set up an appointment, but it turns out he has to reschedule because DD has an orthodontist appt. that day and it can't be rescheduled.

But it's progress, for sure!!! I got such a good feeling thinking about not having bill collectors calling all the time any more, I was amazed. I hope he can manage to follow through and get this over with.

Oh, and he didn't get off scott free with the check, either. It appears that once the Sheriff's department is involved, in order to stay out of jail, he is required to take a 4-hour class (presumably to ensure that he handles his money better in the future). So even though I paid the money part, he still has to go to the class. That made me feel a little better about "enabling" him, too.

You know, I really miss my old DH and the fun things we used to do when we had discretionary income, I hope someday I can have that again...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lower your expectations....

Well, first of all, what I decided to do about the bad check thing was this: I told DH that I would pay it for him, on the condition that he finishes filling out the bankruptcy forms completely. He seemed ok with this, and I felt that it was more than fair. He has until Tuesday to pay it before the warrant is issued, so we'll see what he actually does....I really very much don't want him to go to jail, but sometimes it's so hard to separate his bipolar behavior from his DH behavior, and I just wish there was some way I could get him to see things the way I do...I know though, that if he could see things like I do, then I guess he wouldn't be bipolar (or I would, LOL)!

The second thing is, I took DD to her therapist today, her therapist is aware of what is going on with DH. I like DD's therapist a lot. She asked me how I was doing (when DD was out of the room) and I kind of vented a little to her. And then she told me that the best advice she ever got was some advice given to her in regard to her own special needs adopted kids, the person told her simply to "lower your expectations". "If you lower your expectations, you won't end up disappointed."

And I know that's exactly what I need to do. It feels good even thinking about it. I know I will still be struggling with those times when my "normal" DH shows up and I start revising my expectations as if he was my "normal" husband again. I will need to remember that things seem to go up and down, and I should let myself be pleasantly surprised by the positive things he does, and not let myself start expecting those (like feeding the dogs, or getting out of bed).

For several months of all this, I had to tell myself, "I am a single mom". And that way, I just kind of mentally got rid of all my expectations towards DH. Then, when he started to make some progress, I think I was a little too quick to conclude that "things" were back to normal. He started to do things like laundry. So I stopped doing laundry, because that was always "his" job when he was well. Then, when I come home and see that he hasn't touched the laundry, in fact all he's done is lay in bed all day, I get upset. I need to stop expecting right now. It feels kind of like things are "in control."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The bad check quandary

Well, it was bound to happen....today DH got a call from the Sheriff's Department in our town, regarding a bad check that he had written. They told him that they've sent him a letter in the mail, and that he has "a little time" to clear things up and if he doesn't, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

He's pretty upset about it. My thoughts kind of go along the line of "well what did you think would happen?" But there I go again, griping.

I know he didn't think he "could get away with it", or something dumb like that, but I also have to wonder, why on earth he would be so shocked and upset by this development, since he wrote the check in May, and they've been trying to collect the funds from him since June? The original check was for $51.00. Now, with fees and stuff, it's $189.00.

The quandary that I speak of, well, it's mine. Even though at first blush, the problem seems to be DH's, I don't know what to do. I can dip into my Christmas money and pay it for him, which would bring him peace of mind and I wouldn't have to worry about feeling bad, etc....or I can let him deal with the consequences of his behavior(s) himself.

He has had so many opportunities to take care of these checks (yes, I know there will be more coming down the pipeline, and that's another aspect of the quandary). Even when he was working and off getting all the stupid tattoos and drinking and such, he did have the money to take care of this. And Jim's given him money that he's spent on pop that he "needs", and cigs that he "needs". In my non-mentally-ill book, it seems like he set his priorities and that was that. He made his bed, now he can lie in it, right?

Or not...he's been doing somewhat better in the last few weeks, he's no longer working, basically I am the only one who can save him, unless Jim has any money left....so what to do????

Unfortunately, I will probably elect to bail him out, because even through all my disgust and tough-love logic, I would still feel bad if he went to jail around Christmas or any time, because he was mentally ill and unable to foresee the consequences of his actions....

I hate this. I really do.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

In which Carol gets upset

Well, it's kind of a long story, but Jim came into some money he wasn't expecting to get, so all of a sudden he wasn't broke. And that wasn't a good thing for DH's spending.

DH and Jim have been spending money every day this week. They bought: A plow for the ATV, insulation and light fixtures for the duck house (even though I tried to explain that there is no need), insulated jeans for Jim, a new cordless phone, and then, apparently, Jim is getting tired of sleeping on our couch, so he bought a 2nd-hand hide-a-bed (in very nice condition), and while DH and Jim were at the 2nd-hand furniture place, they decided we also needed a new coffee table and new end tables. Can you believe all that???

Anyhow, I was starting to get annoyed by Tuesday, and they had only bought the plow and the new phone at that point. By the time the "new" furniture showed up, I was more than a little peeved. All the spending really really bothered me. I wanted to say "you know, if you want to spend money, I've got DH's truck payment and DH's ATV payment, and both of them are due, and we need those bills paid a lot more than we need new end tables"....but of course I didn't.

I felt really uncomfortable about the new "house" stuff, too. I felt like it was rather presumptious and pushy for Jim (or for Jim AND DH, for that matter) to up and buy stuff like that without talking to me about it at all. I really felt imposed on, and I felt like Jim was "moving in" for good, and, since I HATE company, that didn't sit well with me at all.

I do think, though, that Jim was picking up on my extreme discomfort. It would take a real numbskull not to. I was getting terse, and he was concerned that maybe I didn't like the new furniture. I didn't know how to explain it to him without offending him. So I tried to explain it to DH in private, and he said he understood. And I felt like he did. And I felt like my "real" DH was there with me all of a sudden. What a weird switcheroo.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Not the drama I expected...

Well, this morning was DH's first day at his new job. He was so excited!!!! It felt so good thinking that soon he would be bringing home a paycheck again, and it also felt so good to think to myself "he's at work." That's kind of hard to explain, it really was just a good feeling, kind of like maybe things are finally getting back to normal....

Anyhow, before bed last night, he packed a lunch, laid out the clothes he was going to wear, and planned on what time to leave, etc. This morning, he got right up at 5:00 (a miracle in itself), got dressed, I wished him luck, and he left for work.

At 6:45 am, I got DD up for school, then I laid down for a few more hours before I had to go pick up some prescriptions for my mom, and then go to work.

At 10:30am, I got a call. "Hello, is [DH] there?" "No, he's not, can I take a message?" "Yes, this is [John Doe] from [Widget Company], DH was supposed to start work here today? He never showed up."

I called DH's cell phone, no answer.

I immediately started to panic. Did he kill himself? (I didn't think so, he was so excited to work, he would've at least showed up first)....Did he fall asleep on the way to work and get in an accident? Did he have some kind of mental illness episode and if so, where on earth was he????

I didn't know what to do first. I was so scared!!!

I decided I would get dressed, wake up Jim, and see if maybe Jim had some idea as to what was going on.

I was only a couple of steps away from Jim when the phone rang, it was DH. I have never been so relieved in my life. Considering all the stuff that's gone on in the last year and a half, I cannot believe how worried I was!!!!

So what happened, you ask?
DH was supposed to meet [Mr. John Doe] at 7am at [Widget Company].
DH showed up at 7am and Mr. John Doe wasn't there, and none of the other employees were expecting him.
DH talked to the secretary, and discovered that Mr. John Doe had left a contract for him to sign, agreeing to $10,000 a year less than had been agreed to over the phone. DH didn't sign it, he wanted to talk to Mr. John Doe and find out what was up.
Since nobody was available to train him, DH sat down and started to work as best he could. In the first two hours, he fielded several calls from bill collectors, calling for Mr. John Doe. Somewhere in the context of that, he learned that the company was being sued and that all the employees had to be out of the building by January. He also learned that the last two payroll checks that the employees had received had bounced. So he walked out and went to his therapy appointment instead.
Apparently, Mr. John Doe finally showed up at 10:30am and, not seeing DH there, assumed he had not shown up. Hence the call to me. DH knew I would be sleeping, and he had no idea that he "hadn't shown up" for work, so he just waited to call me until later.

I told him he did the right thing (except, LOL, maybe, with the exception of the "not calling the wife" part)

He was commended in therapy, too, for not taking the crap and for making a wise decision, so even though usually something like this would lay him down really low, he wound up feeling pretty good about himself.

And the two hours he did spend "working" were enough to motivate him to want to go out tomorrow and apply for similar jobs with companies that were more stable.

What a weird day.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Spenders Anonymous

Sometimes there's just so much to write about, I just can't type fast enough, you know?

Last Saturday morning, before I found out about all the gun-pawning and all, DH went to his first Spenders Anonymous meeting. I really wasn't sure he was going to, especially after his flat-out refusal the previous week, but he did get up and go, and he went without me. He called me when he got there.

Anyhow, I think he was impressed. He said that there were several people there that had problems similar to his--not necessarily bipolar, but blind, uncontrollable, overspending. He said it made him think. It also made him feel bad because of all the people he has "screwed over" in the last couple of years. (Apparently it didn't help him draw a parallel from his recent spending behavior to that of others, or even to his past behavior, but I suppose that comes later).

When he got home, he said, "I have a lot of thinking to do." And he seemed sincere in that he wants to go back. So that is hopeful, isn't it???

Anyhow, so the meetings are on Saturday mornings, and its about an hour's drive to get there. Tomorrow "afternoon" is supposed to bring us a foot of snow. So I am hoping with all my heart and soul that it is not snowing tomorrow when it comes time for him to go--it's so important, I just NEED to know that he is working on the spending issues, you know?
If you were to ask me, and if you can't tell from my posts here, the biggest problem affecting our marriage is not necessarily the bipolar illness, it's the overspending. It seems like he is never happy with what he has, not even for a day. And he has to find SOMETHING to buy all the time. And a lot of forgiveness is going to have to happen. Both in our marriage and between DH and his friends, and DH and our community, too. The bipolar is small beans compared to all the spending issues, so if he could get that REALLY under control, I know our marriage would undoubtedly be stronger....

Something happy brings new worries

DH got a job. Apparently he interviewed for this job before the worst of the bipolar showed up, they hired someone else, that person didn't work out, so DH got the call. He is very excited.

It's a type of work he's done in the past, so he's confident that he can do a good job. Me? I'm very excited in one way, as this job, if it works out, could double our income. And it's so nice to see DH looking so excited and acting confident again.

But I'm terrified for about a zillion "overprotective wife" reasons:
1) What if his memory problems cause issues at his job?
2) How is he going to be able to go to all of his appointments? The new job is an hour and a half away from home...
3) What if he just "can't handle" it, and ends up losing this job, too? Will that put him "over the edge"? Will it make his illness worse? Will he try to kill himself?
4) What if he starts spending again?
5) He still hasn't filled out the bankruptcy forms--how is DH having an income going to affect that? And they will probably garnish his wages (whoever gets there first, I imagine...)

In short, I'm worried that while this is something potentially wonderful, if it doesn't turn out as planned, it could be worse than DH never having gotten a job in the first place. I hope that's not the case, of course, but I always try to "plan for the worst, hope for the best."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

He's still really down

Sometimes I just feel so defeated. I know that the choice(s) he has made are his, and I shouldn't feel so upset about that, but I'm really worried that he is going to alienate everyone that cares about him, and he isn't going to have a clue what happened--like Jason, who seems to be "not quite as eager to hang out" as he once was....after DH basically spent him dry, and then joked about it...

Let's see....he's stolen from me, lied to me....mooched huge amounts of money from every person who has mentioned they have access to some....spent the money his mom gave him for filing bankruptcy--and it didn't get spent on bankruptcy-- lied about that....he pawned his brother's deer rifle, and today I found out that he did pawn his own $1300 deer rifle (the one that I urged him not to pawn) too. I have said before that him not having that gun isn't that big of a deal to me; if he doesn't have any guns, then he will have a harder time shooting himself....but I know he won't get it back, and also, his mom had told him that she wanted to use the gun for collateral for the bankruptcy money that doesn't exist any more, to assure that he would pay her back. I just think that once everyone really starts to realize what is up, things are going to hit the fan, and more people besides Jason are going to throw their hands up and say "I can't do this any more".

And when I try to say anything about that to DH, I am the "bad guy". The "meanie" who won't give him any money. Even though I have a credit card (rolling my eyes)....I just wish I knew how to handle this better. He is so sure that he is making good decisions. So sure, that he is absolutely offended that I would even consider the possibility that his decisions aren't the best ones. I absolutely hate watching him do this. And it's so hard to not be able to just say to him, "Look. Most people can survive without pop." No matter how I word it, it turns out that he just can't. (survive).

Tonight I feel like it's all so hopeless. I wish he'd just get so mad at me for not giving him money that he'd go and move in with his mom or his brother or someone....I don't want a divorce, not really....I just want him to go away and be someone else's problem for a few days.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Well, I found out

And he's right, I'm not happy.

Remember that five bucks I wouldn't give him?

Well, apparently he "needed" pop so bad, he pawned his brother's deer rifle.

And then he blamed me. "You've been getting so mad when I ask you for money, I just wanted to be able to buy my own pop for once." "And I was almost out of gas too." I have absolutely no idea where all that gas went that I bought three days ago went. I don't go through that much gas on all my commuting, even allowing that his car doesn't get as good of mileage as mine. I really wonder what on earth he did with all that gas.

But his brother's gun???? Isn't that stealing??? Again???? I didn't point that out to him, but I thought it, loud and clear.

I asked him how on earth he was going to get it back. First he said his brother wouldn't notice, then he said that Jim was going to give him money when he gets his taxes back (which is going to be three months from now, or somewhere along those lines....)

Then I tried to gently explain to DH that he "needs" a lot of things that most people can live without. Of course everything I said, he had an excuse for, and I am a big meanie. Because I am the one who gets so mad. I really really really wanted to say "maybe you should ask Jim about these differing points of view", but I knew it would be unfair to get Jim involved. Jim has never said anything directly to me about DH's spending, but sometimes when DH asks for money for stupid stuff, Jim catches my eye and I know he sees it for what it is....

Then in this sobby voice, DH says "I'm trying to look for a job..." and I had to bite my tongue in order to not say, "all you had to do was call the casino lady. You turned that down. And you haven't exactly been pounding the pavement, either." In the last two weeks he has applied for exactly three jobs. One of them he for sure didn't get. One was the casino job that he didn't want. And one was supposed to call him today to let him know, but they didn't call back. He was so sure that he had that one, that he had already spent his entire first paycheck in his mind. And that's the extent of the job search. I didn't say anything, because I am sure that in his mind, he has been working super-hard to find a job and I'm just not being understanding enough.

So ultimately, DH is suicidal again, because I am mad about the spending, and I am mean and selfish.

I made him promise not to hurt himself. He really didn't want to promise that, but he did. I will call back in about 15 minutes for an update. (just to ease my mind).

I am finding, that I am falling into his guilt trip thing a lot less than I used to. My expectations are reasonable, I am pretty sure. If you are reading this, and you think I am not being reasonable, please comment or email me, because maybe I haven't considered everything, or maybe I'm being more selfish than I realize....but I don't think I am.

The suspense is killing me.

DH just called, he sounded really down. So I said, "What's wrong?" "Nothing."

"Did therapy go ok?" "Well, it was a little troubling".

"What happened?" "I'll tell you later when I'm alone."

"Is there anything else wrong?" "Not really."

"Not really???" "Well, there's something I need to tell you. You're not going to like it."

"What's going on?" "I'll tell you later when I'm alone." "It's nothing that directly affects you, and don't worry, I didn't steal anything from you." "But I'm afraid you're going to leave me."

But he wouldn't tell me what is going on. I hope it's just more drama and whatever it is, isn't that bad. I have no idea how worried I should be.

I'll keep you posted.

Scary economic stuff from the econ geek in me

The story below is one that I read couple of days ago, but the statements made in it, coming from mainstream media, make me want to share this with everyone, even though most people who know me just end up rolling their eyes and saying "Oh, there she goes again with all that financial mumbo-jumbo"....so if you're not interested in economic stuff, I'm very sorry!!!


New wave of mortgage failures could create a nightmare economic scenario
AP Business Writer
The Associated Press

NEW YORK - When Domenico Colombo saw that his monthly mortgage payment was about to balloon by 30 percent, he had a clear picture of how bad it could get.
His payment was scheduled to surge by an extra $1,500 in December. With his daughter headed to college next fall and tuition to be paid, he feared ending up like so many neighbors in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., who defaulted on their mortgages and whose homes are now in foreclosure and sporting "For Sale" signs.

Colombo did manage to renegotiate a new fixed interest rate loan with his bank, and now believes he'll be OK _ but the future is less certain for the rest of us.

In the months ahead, millions of other adjustable-rate mortgages like Colombo's will reset, giving them a higher interest rate as required by the loan agreements and leaving many homeowners unable to make their payments. Soaring mortgage default rates this year already have shaken major financial institutions and the fallout from more of them, some experts say, could spread from those already battered banks into the general economy.

The worst-case scenario is anyone's guess, but some believe it could become very bad.
"We haven't faced a downturn like this since the Depression," said Bill Gross, chief investment officer of PIMCO, the world's biggest bond fund. He's not suggesting anything like those terrible times _ but, as an expert on the global credit crisis, he speaks with authority.

"Its effect on consumption, its effect on future lending attitudes, could bring us close to the zero line in terms of economic growth," he said. "It does keep me up at night."

Some 2 million homeowners hold $600 billion of subprime adjustable-rate mortgage loans, known as ARMs, that are due to reset at higher amounts during the next eight months. Subprime loans are those made to people with poor credit. Not all these mortgages are in trouble, but homeowners who default or fall behind on payments could cause an economic shock of a type never seen before.

Some of the nation's leading economic minds lay out a scenario that is frightening. Not only would the next wave of the mortgage crisis force people out of their homes, it might also spiral throughout the economy.

The already severe housing slump would be exacerbated by even more empty homes on the market, causing prices to plunge by up to 40 percent in once-hot real estate spots such as California, Nevada and Florida. Builders like Chicago's Neumann Homes, which filed for bankruptcy protection this month, could go under. The top 10 global banks, which repackage loans into exotic securities such as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, could suffer far greater write-offs than the $75 billion already taken this year.

Massive job losses would curtail consumer spending that makes up two-thirds of the economy. The Labor Department estimates almost 100,000 financial services jobs related to credit and lending in the U.S. have already been lost, from local bank loan officers to traders dealing in mortgage-backed securities. Thousands of Americans who work in the housing industry could find themselves on the dole. And there's no telling how that would affect car dealers, retailers and others dependent on consumer paychecks.

Based on historical models, zero growth in the U.S. gross domestic product would take the current unemployment rate to 6.4 percent. That would wipe out about 3 million jobs from the economy, according to the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute.
By comparison, in the last big downturn between 2001-03 some 2 million jobs were lost, according to the Labor Department. The dot-com bust early this decade decimated the technology sector, while the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks hurt the transportation and allied industries. Economists said the country was officially in recession from March to November of 2001, but the aftermath stretched to 2003.

There is increasing evidence that another downturn has begun.
Borrowers who took out loans in the first six months of this year are already falling behind on their payments faster than those who took out loans in 2006, according to a report from Arlington, Va.-based investment bank Friedman, Billings Ramsey. That's making it even harder for would-be buyers to get new mortgages _ a frightening prospect for home builders with projects going begging on the market, and for homeowners desperate to unload property to avoid defaulting on their loans.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. homes in foreclosure is expected to keep soaring after more than doubling during the third quarter from a year earlier, to 446,726 homes nationwide, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac Inc. That's one foreclosure filing for every 196 households in the nation, a 34 percent jump from just three months earlier.

Such data suggests more Americans could lose their homes than ever before, and those in peril are people who never thought they'd welsh on a mortgage payment. They come from a broad swath _ teachers, pharmacists, and civil servants who were lured by enticing mortgage terms.
Some homebuyers gambled on interest-only loans. The mortgages, which allowed buyers to pay just interest at a low rate for two years, were too good to pass up. But with that initial term now expiring, many homeowners find they can't make the payments. The hopes that went along with those mortgages _ that they'd be able to refinance because the equity in their homes would appreciate _ have been dashed as home prices skidded across the country.

"It's been said a lot of people have been using their homes as ATM machines," said Thomas Lawler, a former official at mortgage lender Fannie Mae who is now a private housing and finance consultant. "The risk has a lot of tentacles."

This example illustrates the distress many homeowners are in or will find themselves in: A subprime adjustable-rate mortgage on a $400,000 home could have payments of about $2,200 a month, with borrowers paying 6.5 percent, interest only. When the teaser period expires, that payment becomes $4,000, with the homeowner paying 12 percent and now having to come up with principal as well as interest.

Minneapolis resident Chad Raskovich found himself in a such a situation. He hoped _ it turned out, in vain _ to gain more equity in his home and that a strong record of payments would enable him to secure a better loan later on.

"It's not just me, it's a lot of people I know. The housing market in the Twin Cities has dramatically changed for the worse in the years since I purchased my home. Now we're just looking for a solution," he said.

Colombo, who lives in the planned community of Weston just outside Ft. Lauderdale, said the reset on his home would have "destroyed' his financial situation. He went to Mortgage Repair Center, one of hundreds of debt counselors trying to bail out desperate homeowners, to work with his lender.

"But many people in my neighborhood didn't get help, and some have literally just walked away from their homes," said Colombo. "There are over 133,000 homes on the market in Broward-Miami-Dade counties, and some of them were actually abandoned. People in this situation don't like to talk about it, and end up getting hurt because they don't."

Many Americans are unaware that a borrower defaulting on a loan can have an impact on everyone else's well-being and that of the nation. After all, the amount of mortgages due to reset is just a fraction of the United States' $14 trillion economy.

But the series of plunges that Wall Street has suffered in past months prove that no one is immune when mortgages turn sour.

Today's financial system is interconnected: Mortgages are sold to investment firms, which then slice them up and package them as securities based on risk. Then hedge and pension funds buy up such investments.

When home prices kept rising, these were lucrative assets to own. But the ongoing collapse in housing prices has set off a chain reaction: Lenders are tightening their standards, borrowers are having a harder time refinancing loans and the securities that underpin them are in jeopardy.

This has resulted in more than $500 billion of potentially worthless paper on the balance sheets of the biggest global banks _ losses that could spill into the huge pension and mutual funds that also invest in these securities and that the average worker or investor expects to depend on.
There's more pain left for Wall Street: "We're nowhere close to the end of the collapse," said Mark Patterson, chairman and co-founder of MatlinPatterson Global Advisors, a hedge fund that specializes in distressed funds.

"I just assumed banks could stomach these kind of losses," said Wendy Talbot, an advertising executive when asked about the subprime crisis outside of a Charles Schwab branch in New York. "I guess you don't really pay attention to things until your forced to. ... You put out of your mind the worst things that can happen."

The subprime wreckage could dwarf the nation's last big banking crisis _ the failure of more than 1,000 savings and loans in the 1980s. The biggest difference is that problems with S&Ls were largely contained, and the government was able to rescue them through a $125 billion bailout.

But this situation is far more widespread, which some experts say makes it more difficult to rein in.

"What really makes this a doomsday scenario is where would you even start with a bailout?" housing consultant Lawler asked.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a key member of Senate finance and banking committees, said borrowers are the ones who need relief. The playbook to bail out the economy would not be applied to the banks and mortgage originators, but money could be funneled through non-profit organizations to homeowners that need help, he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"There is a worst-case scenario because housing is the linchpin of our economy, and more foreclosures make prices go down, that creates more foreclosures, and creates a vicious cycle," Schumer said. "You add that to the other weakness in the economy _ on one end is the home sector and the other is the financial sector _ and it could create a real problem."

He also believes Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke should do more to help the economy. Bernanke said in recent comments he has no direct plans to bail out the mortgage industry, but to instead offer relief through cheap interest rates and further liquidity injections into the banking system.

There's also been talk of letting government-backed lenders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages of as much as $1 million from lenders, pay the government a fee for guaranteeing them and then turn them into securities to be sold to investors. This would extend the government's support, and its exposure, to the mortgage market to help alleviate stress.
Either way, the impact of a fresh round of subprime losses remains of paramount concern to economists _ especially since there's little certainty about how it would ripple through the U.S. economy.

"We all know that more hits from these subprime loans are coming, but are having a devil of a time figuring out how it will happen or how to stop it," said Lawler, who was once chief economist for Fannie Mae.

"We've never been in this situation before."
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Giant Money-Sucking Machine!

I just re-read the post about me charging $137 at the convenience store...I forgot to add that DD's bio mom had asked DH to haul a TV for her, so I also gave DH the $20 in cash that I had in my pocket, so he could put gas in his truck (he has a car and a truck, because the truck really uses a lot of gas--and yes, I pay the insurance for both, plus my own car)--so Friday I gassed up his car, then Saturday I gave him $20 to gas up his truck....do you know...last night, DH was grabbing a can of pop out of one of his 12-packs that he had gotten that night, and he says "Oh. I've only got three cans left." I said, "YOU DRANK TWO ENTIRE TWELVE PACKS IN TWO DAYS?????" and he said "no, it was three days." Then he did the math and said "well, Jim had one can, I think....."

Then he looked at me and in the context of this same conversation, said (with three cans still available, along with two 2-liter bottles left over from Thanksgiving), "do you have five bucks? I'm going to need it for pop for tomorrow."

I thought he was kidding. It was so absurd, I honestly thought he was kidding. How on earth could he be serious???? But he was. He acted like I don't love him at all, when I said "NO!". I told him to take one of the 2-liters to therapy if he needed pop that bad. He said, "I can't go into therapy with a big bottle!", so then I said, "Well, maybe you should save your three cans until tomorrow then...?" He didn't answer and just did that "never mind" thing, you know, the one that makes a person feel guilty....?

I thought that was it. But then this morning when he was getting ready for therapy, once again, he said, "Can I have five bucks?" I got irritated and snapped at him "No!!! I don't have five bucks!!! I have given you all the money I had." And he got offended again and left.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Luxuries...and Carol makes some bad choices

Hi, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

What I did was brought all the food and such over to my mom's apartment and cooked it there, then I went over to the nursing home and wheeled her over for dinner. DH and Jim came too. It was a really nice day. I hope yours was spent with people you care about, too.

The day after Thanksgiving, that was another story. The cell phones got shut off because I hadn't paid the bill. In the grand scheme of my impossible budget, "cell phones" are the last bill that gets paid, and apparently during the last two months that bill did not get paid at all. Ok, I was the one who was supposed to pay that (who else?), but like I said, there is usually only a finite supply of money, and the cell phones were on the short end.

Realistically, in a normal family, cell phones are a huge LUXURY. People did without them for many years and I was one of those. I would not much miss my cell phone, for the most part. But our family isn't normal for a few reasons. The most important one is DH's fragile mental health. If he is suicidal, or otherwise having some kind of crisis, I feel that it is very important for me to be able to get a hold of him, no matter what. In fact, we even have a deal with each other, made in the therapist's office, that if I call DH's cell phone in a crisis, and am unable to reach him for 10 minutes, I am to call the police. I've only come close to doing that once since we've had the agreement, but it sure gives me peace of mind.

Another reason the cell phones are important is that I work 90 miles away from home, and a lot of my drive is rural and desolate. I feel like I am safer when I have a cell phone.

And lastly, DD has some behavior issues. On occasion, her behavior at school has escalated to her being out of control, and the school has called for advice.

Now granted, I think that for the most part, if we really had to, we could all live without the cell phones. It's not like we really use them all that much. I'm not a tech junkie or anything--the cell phones we have were bought "used" and are probably considered "obsolete" by any cell phone provider, but they do what we need them to do. So anyhow, I held off on paying the cell phone bill and the cell phones got shut off. My fault totally.

But it did really bother me, not having them, so I decided to do something that ultimately makes matters worse (I've been mentally kicking myself for this, but there's no paycheck in sight that could've paid the bill): I dug out a credit card that I hadn't used for over 2 years and used it to pay the bill. In the process of "digging out" the card, though, I made the mistake of telling DH what I was looking for, and that I couldn't remember where I had put the card. He said something like "If I find the card, will you take us out to eat?" and I was feeling kind of desperate, so I said "sure". So he told me where to look for the card and he was right.

So we (DH, Jim, and I) went out to eat. On the way back, DH asked me if there was any way I could "top off' his gas tank on his car, and buy him some cigarettes. I asked him how empty his tank was, and he said he had almost 3/4 of a tank, which meant that "topping it off" would probably cost about $10.00.
So we went to the gas station. I was going to buy DH and Jim each a pack of cigs. Then DH ordered a CARTON for each of them, and grabbed 2 12-packs of pop for each of them and said, in front of the checkout people, "You don't mind, do you?" The total, when it was all said and done? $137.00. At a convenience store!!!! And of course I did mind. Very much. I made up my mind then and there that I would do it for him this time, but never ever again. I was so angry. I said something to him like "You are really high-maintenance, you know that?" and that upset him. He got that cold sound in his voice and told me to "never talk to him like that again, it embarrassed him."

I determined, but didn't share with him, that based on the fact that I married him forever, it's probably fair for me to be expected to keep a roof over his head, make sure he has some food, and make sure there is some kind of heat. Beyond that, not my problem, right???? Beyond that, it's all luxuries. I am aware that there is a possibility that he could steal from me again, in an effort to have his "needs" met, but you know, sometimes I just wish he would decide I'm that "bully" that he always says I am, and that he no longer wants to live with me.....fat chance, I know, but that's how I feel pretty often....not very Christian of me, and certainly not very wifely either....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving....I won't be online again until Saturday. If you haven't figured it out yet, the Internet isn't in our family budget, so I only blog at my one job, where they don't mind if you spend a lot of time on the web as long as you get your work done.

Anyhow, since I am going to have some time off, you won't be hearing from me for the next few days. So stay out of trouble and eat hearty!

It's all about him (or maybe I'm wrong)

Today was another crazy day. I got home from work at 6:45 am, then I let the dogs out, woke up dd and got her on the bus, tumbled into bed at 7:30am. I had to get up at 10:30 though, because DD had an orthodontist appointment--she got braces today--and her orthodontist is an hour and a half away. So we drove there and back, got home around 3:30.

As soon as we got home, I tried to go back to bed, but the bill collectors kept calling and it bothers DH to take the phone off the hook, so I really didn't sleep much, although I did get some good snuggles with the kitties :-)

At 5:30 I had to get up again to go and pick up some of DD's prescriptions from the pharmacy. As soon as I got up, DH asked what we were going to have for dinner. "Mac-n-cheese and Spam", I said. He asked if I could make another Caesar salad, I said ok. Then he asked if I could make a double batch, but I didn't have enough ingredients, so I said no. So then he said, "We need paper napkins." "Oh--and we need light bulbs." I told him that I did not have money for those things and he got kind of offended. I got more offended than him, though, because it seems like he ALWAYS ALWAYS "needs" something.

So....I went to the pharmacy, then I had to stop by the nursing home to visit with my mom. She was really excited because one of the therapists had said that they are looking at my mom going home to her assisted living apartment "maybe next week." So my mom was all smiles, and that was fun. She told me that the therapist was going to bring her to her apartment tomorrow (the nursing home and the assisted living apartments are attached to each other) to see how she would do with things like getting out of bed and going to the bathroom. So right away I went "uh-oh...." and after bidding my mom ":adieu", I ran down to her apartment to make sure it was ok...changed the litter box, and cleaned up a hairball.

Then I ran home to make supper, knowing full well that DH wasn't going to be satisfied....

I started cooking...DD was showing off her new braces in the living room, and all of a sudden, DH came out into the kitchen. I guess I just assumed he was going to ask for something more, like homemade cheesecake for dessert or something (that's kind of a joke--I was already running really tight on time just making Mac-n-Cheese)....and he just looked at me and said "How can I help you?" For a second I wasn't sure if I'd heard him right. I stopped and looked at him, and then I realized he was serious. I was so surprised I just started to cry right there. I had no idea how wound up I was until that moment. DH clearly was surprised by my reaction, at first, too, but then I think he must've kind of realized that he hasn't "helped" for so very long....Having him offer to help meant so very much to me....he used to help me all the time, before the bipolar; but the bipolar has made him take me so much for granted sometimes I just forget what it's like to have willing help.

He probably won't remember much about it the next time I'm frazzled and not meeting his "needs", but I'll just take today and hold it close to my heart....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Busy, busy, busy!!!

Well, today, DH's friend Jim repaired the steps leading to our deck, cleaned the yard, put new rafters and loft floor in DH's shed, and took Molly McMutt outside to play. I got off work at 6am and went from there to WalMart, because a) 6am is a GREAT time to shop at WalMart, and b) WalMart is the cheapest place between work and home for me to buy dog food and fixin's for Thanksgiving dinner. Because I wasn't going to make it home in time to wake DD up for school at 6:50, I called DH and asked him if he would do it for me. "Sure. I'm already up." And he didn't even sound like he minded, which was unusual and very pleasant.

When I got home from WalMart, the first thing I had to do was let out 5 dogs. Two of them have to be on chains (Megan and Frosty) and then Molly can be out wherever...Sarah needs to be watched, because she will chase a car if one goes by...and Kirby is completely deaf and kind of blind, so I have to keep an eye on him too....then I started to unload the car, put everything perishable into the fridge, locked the door and went in to bed. I wasn't surprised that DH was sleeping, he sleeps a LOT. But as I closed the door, he woke up and said "Hi honey," and then he opened his eyes with surprise and told he that he hadn't woken DD up after all, he'd fallen back asleep. ARGH.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised....last year dd was tardy to school seven times because he "fell back asleep", even if I called him two or three times to remind him, to the point where he got mad at me, he'd still fall back asleep. But he hadn't done it yet this year, so I had been thinking that we were making "progress." I know I feel a lot better about things when I am there every morning to make sure things go like they're supposed to, but WalMart is 30 miles away from home, so I don't want to waste the gas going home and back, of course, and the store closest to our house has much higher prices...

I have to give DH credit, though, he did get out of bed and drive dd to school, where in the past I have had to do it...so I guess we still have progress, it'd just be nice if I could really really depend on him.

And now, here it is 3am, I'm at work. DH told me (like he has a zillion times) that he will call me to say "Hi". But I'm pretty sure he won't. That is something I've grieved since the bipolar started--he used to call me all the time to just say Hi and hear how I was doing--whether I was at work, or he was at work, or both...I would always be able to count on hearing his voice. But when the bipolar crept in, the phone calls were some of the first things to go. I still get my hopes up when he says he'll call. I've told him how much I look forward to his calls. But he usually "falls asleep" without calling me.

I know this is the bipolar illness, not my DH's true sentiments. Dave, on his "Blog for Supporters of Loved Ones with Bipolar Disorder", says:

"I find that by making a list of the good
things that happen with your loved one,
not only does it help you get through the
tough times but it also helps you remember
that bipolar disorder is not your loved one.

Remember the thing that you are angry at is
bipolar disorder NOT your loved one. I know that
sounds crazy so to speak and I will probably
get a whole lot of emails from people saying
that I am confusing bipolar disorder with
other disorders like dissociative identity
disorder. I am NOT.

This is just a technique to help you overcome
a very difficult time. Try thinking of your loved
one's bipolar disorder completely separate from
him/her and you will see how much easier your
life becomes."

Sometimes it feels like all I do is complain about DH's behaviors or lack thereof. And it does help to remind myself that I am really complaining about the bipolar illness, not my DH. My DH, in his healthy state, is not like this.
But sometimes it's so hard to keep that all straight.....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"That Guy" came over today :-(

Well, I've kind of skipped over a few events lately, I'll try to catch you up so you aren't stuck asking questions because I assumed you were all mind readers.....

Thursday was "free food" day, and I was able to convince DH to go with me and there was a LOT of food. Plus they gave away shampoo and cold medicine too. It will all really help a lot, and I think DH was rather impressed. Plus, I thought, it was a good way for him to help "provide" without spending money.

On Saturday, we were supposed to go to Spenders Anonymous, but DH wouldn't get out of bed. No matter how I tried. I was so angry!!! Just the night before, he had been talking about how much he thought it would help him and all that....but when it came right down to going, he just couldn't. I tried to be understanding.

Then we had a talk about how the organization that finds mentally ill people a job had found him a job at our local casino, doing janitorial work. And the benefits were going to be amazing. Way better than we've got through my work. The lady had said all he had to do was call her up and he would be hired. But he won't call her up because he doesn't want anyone to recognize him doing that kind of work. This is the bipolar logic again, because I just can't believe that DH, when in his right mind, would choose not to have a job, for fear of "being seen", but still I'm stretching every little penny, working 2 jobs and so on....anyhow, so he still isn't working and doesn't want a job where someone might see him.

Then last night, we went to a Keith Urban concert. I like Keith Urban, but there was no way I could have afforded tickets to go see him, but my friend at work had won a couple of them and she had already bought tickets, so we got free tickets to the concert. DH was complaining before we left about how he didn't have any cigs or chew or pop or gas for his car (we were driving my car to the concert) and could I please buy him some chew? So we got to the concert and paid for parking and I gave him all the money I had left, $9. Enought for chew AND generic cigs too.

So we got into the arena for the concert, and DH realized he needed a pill to calm down. I started looking for a drinking fountain for him, and he took off before I found one, and he came back with a regular 20 oz bottle of Coke. HE SPENT $4 ON A LITTLE BOTTLE OF COKE. I took a deep breath and just let it go, because I had given him the money, it was his to do whatever with. So we saw the concert and then headed home. Regarding what happened after the concert, well, that's another post, probably a long one.

Anyhow, today (mind you it is only the day after I gave him the $9), he told me that he has no money for cigs, no money for chew, no money for pop, and no gas. I told him that I gave him everything I had yesterday. He got all offended like, because "he wasn't asking for money". Then he decided that he was going to sell his $1300 gun at the pawn shop so that he could get money for cigs. That really bothered me, not because I like the gun or anything, if anything, I'd like it to be gone. But he might get a couple of hundred dollars at the pawn shop on a really good day. And with deer season over with, there probably won't be a really good day for quite a while. And with him not working and not wanting to work, I am not going to be able to help him get that gun back, and he is probably not going to have the money to get it back either. Anyhow, I tried to point out that the gun is too valuable to get rid of for some cigs and he got all mad because I'm wrong.

What I really wanted to say was "You need to cut down on your vices." "you need to smoke cheaper cigs and not gripe about it" "Maybe when someone gives you money, you should carefully consider what your needs are before you go and spend half of it on a bottle of pop." "Especially when water is free." But of course I didn't.

Jim was there too, and I could tell from the expression on his face that he was thinking the same things, but he didn't say anything either.

Anyhow, so DH was mad about not having his "needs" met, and DD didn't put her clean laundry away fast enough and DH cursed at her and made her cry. Then DH got even more angry and came out in the living room and told me he was going to go for a ride in his car (yes, the one that doesn't have any gas). I recommended that he take a Lorazepam to calm down and he told me he'd take it after the drive. So he stormed out of the house, and got in the car and drove off. He must've realized he was out of gas, though, because he came home almost right away and sat in the driveway sulking.

So then I was making supper. We had gotten some restaurant quality Alfredo sauce from the free food thing, so I was making fettuccine alfredo. He asked me what we were going to have for meat. I said there would be enough to fill us up without meat and he got upset at that and wanted me to use some chicken breasts. I told him that if we saved the chicken breasts, then we'd have another filling meal at a different time. He wasn't satisfied, of course. Then he asked what we were having with the fettuccine and I told him I was going to make a little salad. He didn't want that either and started making me feel like I don't love him because I'm not making a Caesar salad instead. So because I knew he was already really unreasonable, I made the stupid salad that he wanted, then when it came time to eat, he wasn't happy because I hadn't made enough salad. (Never mind the fact that there were lots of other foods on the table).

Then before I left for work he came out to the kitchen and told me he had taken a Lorazepam, and he felt better. And that he was sorry. I'm still kind of angry. I didn't get married to be treated like this!!! I just hate days like this, there's just no way you can argue with someone who's mentally ill, things that make sense to me don't make sense to him, and things that make sense to him are not very sensible. Is my frustration showing?

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Lord only gives us.....how much????

Apparently the Lord thinks I'm really Wonder Woman or something--just kidding, of course, I'm sure there's a reason for it all...but last night I stopped by my Mom's assisted living apartment to check on her cat (she is still in the nursing home recovering from her broken hip).

Anyhow, it looked to me like they had shampooed her carpet, which they've done before. But her fridge was pulled out from the wall, some of her furniture was moved, and there was an electric fan running in her hallway that wasn't hers. Then I noticed that the kitty litter box had been moved from its regular spot, and the plastic tablecloth that we keep under the litter box had been thrown into the bathtub. At this point I got concerned.

So I went and tracked down the night shift gal, and she told me that a pipe had broken and flooded my mom's apartment. I don't have a problem believing this, because her apartment is right next to the laundry room....apparently they had to "pump all the water out".

So, knowing that, I went back into the apartment and realized that on the floor of her closet were a number of cardboard boxes that were full of clothes and other things, and of course they were just soaked. Basically everything that was sitting on the floor in her bedroom, bathroom or closet was soaked. It was midnight and I was overwhelmed...a common feeling for me lately...

Anyhow, what I opted to do was empty the boxes, throw away anything that didn't look important or wearable, and now tonite I am going to do a ton of laundry and organizing, so that when my mom comes back to her apartment to visit her kitty, she won't be able to tell much has changed at all. I hope, anyhow.

Not a very good day for DH

DH called me at work (again on a Friday) and first asked me if there was any money in the house because he needed his Marlboros. I had bought him some generic smokes, I just can't see me, a non-smoker, spending $4.50 a pack for a pack-a-day habit that isn't even mine....anyhow, DH was upset because he had no cigs and no money. Actually, he did have cigs, they just weren't the kind he likes. Too bad for him, I say (but not to his face, that would make matters a LOT worse, LOL)....beggars can't be choosers....I wasn't much help, I told him "not a lot of people die from lack of cigs." That didn't make him too happy, LOL...

Then he called me a couple of hours later and told me that a) he had called Jason and Jason hadn't called back, b) his brother had invited a friend that we barely know to go hunting on our land, but his brother wasn't even going to be there and c) dd was being snotty.

To a non-bipolar person, these things seem so easy to handle: a) maybe Jason's busy, b) really rude, just say no... and c) send her to bed--it's her bedtime anyhow...

But to DH, these are end-of-the world crises. He can't tell his brother not to invite his friend to our land, because his brother will just guilt trip him and he'll feel bad. So he calls me and talks for a half hour about how awful it is instead (I say too bad, no reasonable person would be happy about this, especially since we aren't going to be home tomorrow!) So he mopes around and feels bad. And DD, well, kids are snotty sometimes. It's not the end of the world, and it doesn't mean she doesn't love him or whatever, she's just being a 14 year old. Send her to bed and you don't have to deal with her for the rest of the night and maybe she won't be so snotty tomorrow. But to DH he takes it personally, and not only that, but he gets way way more angry than her behavior merits. Thank goodness he doesn't take it out on her. Most of the time he calls me up to tell me how angry he is. And then he feels angry and depressed about it, because he's a terrible person (according to him). And the thing with Jason. Well, maybe Jason is sick of being used for money. I don't know. I don't think I would want to hang out with DH if I wasn't married to him, especially the way he constantly "needs" to spend money....he "needs" to spend money, but he can't do a damn thing about getting himself in a better money situation, so he'd better just get used to humble pie and learn how to do without like a normal person...sorry....but I'm so sick of him "needing" this and "needing" that...cigs, pop, ice cream, candy bars....these are NOT things that most people "NEED". So basically, these things were causing DH to feel miserable and angry and powerless.

Well, anyhow, we will be attending our very first "Spenders Anonymous" meeting tomorrow. I hope it's good. I am allowed to go the first meeting, then spouses aren't allowed unless they also have spending problems. It sounds like it's exactly what DH needs (more than pop or cigs). I will keep you posted on how this all goes....I am hoping that somehow DH will see that the spending and the "needing" is out of control....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tiny update on my brother in law

Remember my brother in law discovered his wife had been cheating on him for the duration of the 2 1/2 year marriage? He told us yesterday that he found pictures posted on the internet of his wife and the "other man" and, um, well, apparently they were rated XXX, if you know what I mean....

Can you believe that?????

Other than that, though, I think my brother in law is doing reasonably well, although he does seem to be spending a lot of money, I guess he has to do SOMETHING to get over it....I did instruct DH to mention the spending thing though, I don't know what DH's mom would do if another son ended up with huge debts and mental illness....

Another player in the bipolar game

Today DH went to see a neuropsychologist. The reason that he went dates back to the three weeks when he was hospitalized about a year and a half ago. At that time, they did some kind of scan, I think it was an MRI, of his brain, and were rather shocked by the fact that it appeared that the left temporal lobe of his brain was severely damaged. Nobody ever followed up on that possibility, though, until now. We've been so busy just trying to keep the bipolar under control, that we had pretty much forgotten about the brain damage thing.

Anyhow, so today he finally went in for some tests. Even though the actual test results won't be available for a couple of weeks, DH was shocked by his inability to answer some pretty simple questions, and his inability to think logically.

He told me that they asked him questions like "what is the difference between a cat and a dog?" and he said, "It was the strangest feeling. I knew the answer, but there were no words for it, and no way for me to explain it. I have never felt that way before. It was very strange."

He also described a test where there were two decks of cards. The person administering the test was to show him one card at a time, and when DH had figured out the pattern, they would put that deck away. He said that the girl who was administering the test seemed very surprised, as DH went through both decks completely and never saw a pattern at all.

Apparently the neuropsychologist mentioned that the tests that DH didn't do well on were all related to the left temporal lobe, so the connection has been made.

A lot of this is not news to me. I've known for at least a year and a half that there was something wrong with his thinking, but I thought it was the bipolar. I'm not sure if its good or bad that it could be a brain injury instead. I have a lot of questions: How is it that the symptoms seemed to get so bad all of a sudden? Is there some kind of therapy that can help retrain other parts of the brain to do things the left temporal lobe usually does? Is it going to get worse? I guess we'll find out in a couple of weeks. So is the bipolar something entirely different, or is it related to the brain damage? It seems like the added meds in the last couple of weeks have made a difference, so maybe its some of both.

And something else the doctor told DH: About a year and a half ago, DH was still functioning normally, and went to the eye doctor. He learned that the glaucoma test had come out "positive" and he was supposed to make an appointment to get rechecked and come up with a plan of action. But it wasn't too long after that that everything fell apart, and he never went. Today the Dr. told him that his left eye is getting progressively worse, and DH can expect that he will probably be blind in that eye within 2 years.

So, even though the glaucoma thing is very upsetting to me, DH is more concerned about the fact that he "flunked" at the neuropsychologist's. He keeps saying "I don't want to be disabled." I said to him "well, you haven't exactly been "abled" in the last few months", and he agreed with me and then we both talked about how things are better now than they were 6 months ago, so whether its the bipolar or the brain damage, we both know things could be worse.

I think for me it will be very helpful to know exactly what the brain damage means. It'll be easier for me to plan, easier for me to accept some things, like his problems with his memory. Instead of me getting disgusted by the fact that he can't remember anything from 5 minutes ago, knowing that there is a brain injury will make it easier for me to accept. To me, knowledge is power. And he's truly no worse off mentally or physically than he was yesterday, he just has more knowledge. I'll keep you updated on what we find out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A "counting my blessings" post

I was reading through my recent posts and I have been doing a lot of whining and a lot of "poor me". But I know that I have it good compared to many, and even though I sometimes feel like there is nothing to be happy about, well, I'm wrong. So this post is going to remind me that even when things get yucky, I still have things that many people would be grateful for.

1) I have my mom. I have learned so much from her, especially as she ages. I hope I can be as graceful as I get older. I love her so much. I am lucky, so very lucky, to still have her in my life.

2) I have my DH. Now for those of you who have read mostly of the problems that I have had while dealing with his illness, it might be surprising to hear that I am so incredibly grateful to have him in my life. But before the bipolar really took hold, I could not imagine a more perfect mate for me. He's kind, gentle, considerate, intelligent, creative, I could go on and on. And even though the bipolar gets me down, and I get angry and sad, my DH is still the same guy (unless he's "That Guy", of course). Even though on a lot of days all he wants to do is lay in bed and watch TV, I have someone to go home to. I have someone who is very special. And I know that a huge number of people would willingly go through the bipolar stuff, if they could have the 5 years of amazing, breathtaking love that we had before that. Not only that, but I can dream of the day when his meds are right, his therapy is right, and I get him back. All back. Of course, it may never happen. But I know there are a lot of widows out there who would love that chance to hope once more.

3) I have DD. I'm so proud of the young woman she is becoming. I know she still has many issues, and some of her actions are so upsetting to me. But she tries so hard, and really has a good heart, and even though she is a teenager now, she still wants to be like me, and I just want to teach her so much!!! I am very lucky to have seen an "incorrigible" child who could barely read or write, change into a "good student", a "reader", a child who has absolutely blossomed, to the amazement of all who knew her before...with love and attention.

4) Our house. We have a small house. Too small by almost any standard. Its run-down and not pretty by any means. But we have 15 acres of land too. And we are living a "lifestyle" that most people in the cities aren't able or aren't willing to live until retirement.

5) The animals. I love every one of our animals, from the chickens to the dogs, cats, goldfish....they bring me so much joy and laughter and they ask for so little.

6) The jobs I have. I have two jobs. Some people aren't even fortunate enough to have one. One job pays pretty good, and the other one, well, it's pretty easy and pays well for what I do.

7) My zest for learning. If I wasn't so eager to learn, I never would have learned how to live on so little. I was never taught how to be frugal. I was taught to live within my means, but I never learned any tricks as to how to do that easily. I'm still learning and I will til the day I die.

8) And I'm grateful for the troubles I've been through. And for the mistakes I've made. I know that sounds weird, but I would be so naive if I hadn't been forced not to be....I have wisdom that I never would have if I hadn't struggled....I can teach DD how to be a better manager of her money because of the mistakes I've made. I could make a salad out of things that grow in our yard, if I had to. I know the value of a good laying hen. So many things that I never would have learned if I hadn't had to. So I need to keep reminding myself that the "bad things" don't necessarily happen "to punish me or DH" or because we have "bad luck" or whatever, but more likely, to teach me things that I never would have learned otherwise. Even though I'm married to DH, I've never been as independent as I have been since he became ill. And that's something I never would have learned without the bipolar. So even the bad stuff is all about learning, and I need to hang on to that perspective!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Deja Vu all over again

About three months ago, I was going through my "change jar", pulling out all the "real silver" coins before I turned in the change to the bank. DD was very interested in what I was doing, and, as I think there are a lot of learning opportunities to be found by examining coins, I decided to show her the various foreign coins I have been collecting over the years. Some of them I have had since I was 8 or 9 years old, some of them showed up in the till when I was working at a convenience store, and some of them, I just don't know where they came from. But I have some coins from all over the world--England, Scotland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Israel...you get the picture.

One of my favorite coins of all was/is a coin from the Philippines. It is/was square, with four distinct sides. I've had it since I was about DD's age, and I really like that coin. I remember specifically showing her that one.

Well, yesterday Jim gave me some paper money from Egypt (they apparently no longer use coins there) and so I went to show him all my other coins.

And, you guessed it, the square one was gone. And boy am I angry. I know that she did not have a large window of opportunity to help herself. But I think she did have a chance, as I trusted her briefly (my bad).

I realized that I have no evidence. I doubt that DH took it, because if he was taking that money, he would've taken all of the coins, not just a "cool" one. He has never been interested in "cool" coins except in spending them. Nobody else except DD knew I had those coins. And, as with the gold dollars, the foreign coins were locked in our bedroom except for that brief time when I showed them to DD.

I keep trying to think of some other explanation. I don't want to believe that she would do that. But she has done it before--she was the first person to steal from me (before DH did), but I had thought that she had grown up since then.

I don't want to make false accusations. I really really want to be wrong about this. I have looked in all the places where I could have mistakenly put it, like the change jar, the bucket of gold dollars, etc., it's just not there. It's possible that I could have maybe dropped it or something, but in 20 years I have never lost it, I've always been very careful to keep those coins safe.

I also know that chances are, if confronted, DD will deny it, even if she's guilty. And since I don't have the coin as evidence, I'm not even sure if confronting her is the right thing to do. It is possible that the coin is somewhere in her room. We'll see.

Anyhow, I, figuring that there was no chance that I'd ever see that coin again, decided to find one on Ebay. While I was perusing Ebay, I saw some pictures of other coins and I realized that there are more coins missing than just the one I noticed right away. Now I'm beyond angry. But I'm in a parenting quandary, because I can't prove she took them. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. Right now it feels like I can't trust anyone at all. And it makes me want to cry.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stressed out

I have some very mixed feelings lately about our living situation. As you know, Jim is now staying with us for probably the next three months. That's specifically what I have the mixed feelings about.

Jim is a great guy. I like him a lot. He's polite and super-helpful. He eats whatever I cook and he is appreciative. He's done a LOT for us in the last few weeks. Probably the most important thing he's done is get DH off his duff and participating more in life. And for that, both DH and I are grateful. He also built our new chicken/duck digs and fixed Frosty's dog house and also fixed our deck, which was sinking into the ground like the Titanic. Just yesterday he started to gather firewood, he's got about 2 cords gathered now. That's wonderful, because I was thinking I was going to have to buy some to make it through the winter. I really appreciate everything he's done. He's stepped in to do a lot of the things that DH used to do, but isn't able to right now. I can't explain how grateful I am.

On the other hand, we have a 2-bedroom house. 2 baths. 7 (or is it 8) indoor cats, 5 dogs. Frosty used to live outside until the neighbors complained about her barking--that's another post....anyhow....

I absolutely hate having company. Even for a day or two. I hate the lack of privacy. I hate the fact that I can't talk about husband-wife stuff anyplace but our bedroom. (Not like we talk about anything risque, but sometimes I like to talk to DH without anyone else being there). Even when DH wasn't having problems with bipolar, I hated company. I really get stressed out. Now that DH is having problems with the bipolar, I get more stressed out than ever. I go into the bedroom, there's DH, as usual, lying on the bed, no room for me, watching TV. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, that's what our bedroom looks like. So no privacy there. And Jim is sleeping on the couch in the living room, no privacy there. And I used to really enjoy building up a hot fire and falling asleep on the couch, so that bugs me too. I could still fall asleep on the loveseat, but since Jim is sleeping in the same room, it kind of weirds me out.

The other bedroom is DD's. So when I need "alone time", there's absolutely no place to go. I walked in from work this morning and I was so angry about it all. I WANT MY HOUSE BACK. But then I feel bad, because Jim does so much, I don't want him to go, necessarily, I just want our house to grow a bedroom so that I can have some time to myself.

I'm kind of worried about how I'm going to make it through three months of this, holidays included.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thought-provoking article regarding housing and mortgages

I was afraid to do the math on this one, it seems so common-sense, but I'm nervous about finding out exactly how little I actually "own". I'll let you know when I actually work the numbers.


From The Wall Street Journal Online
If you look carefully at the staircase banister of the Elephant Hotel in Somers, N.Y., you will notice a small cameo embedded there. Legend has it that it was placed on the handrail by the building's 19th-century owner, Hachaliah Bailey, of Barnum and Bailey fame, as a subtle indication to all visitors that the building was paid for.

Paying off a mortgage was no small feat then, especially if you weren't a wealthy farmer and cattle merchant like Mr. Bailey. In fact, the word "mortgage" comes from French common law. Meaning "dead pledge," it was a fixed and absolute debt and put home ownership out of reach for most people. Though it was easier to accomplish here in the U.S. than in Europe -- Americans had homesteading programs and did not have to contend with noble landowners loath to relinquish their holdings -- only 46.5% of Americans owned their homes in 1900, and that number declined a bit during the Depression. Today, according to the Census Bureau, about 66% of us could put a cameo on our handrail.

These days, when people have sent that last payment to the bank they celebrate by going on a long-put-off vacation or, most commonly, throwing a mortgage-burning party. Having just bought our house in Somers (about six miles from the Elephant Hotel) this year, my husband and I are a long way from the cameo or any sort of celebration. How long? Well, I'm afraid I needed to pay better attention in high-school algebra to figure that out, because we have both a fixed-rate term mortgage and a variable-rate equity loan.

If your house costs X and it is Y square feet in size, what is your cost per square foot (F)? You make a downpayment of 10%. Your monthly mortgage payment is Z, but of that payment Q is interest. How much are you paying in principal (P)? And how many square feet do you actually own at the end of each payment?

It's enough to make me wake up in a cold sweat, especially during this volatile credit market when that Q number is all over the place. I never know what the bill will say when I open it.
I used to believe that since we made a 10% down payment at closing, we own 10% of the house outright -- for argument's sake, let's say that's the dining room. So, when we wrote and mailed the monthly check, I would take a moment to appreciate the roughly 1.6 more square feet of home that actually belonged to us -- say, a bit of the floor underneath the refrigerator.
But it's recently become clear that my theory has a few holes in it. Should we default on our mortgage (which please, nice people at Chase, take note, we have no intention of doing), we don't get to keep the dining room and 1.6 feet of kitchen. The bank will take the whole kitchen and caboodle.

It was something of a shock the first time I actually worked out the math. I knew we'd be paying interest; I just had no real conception that interest would constitute the vast majority of every payment we made. I was blithely figuring that with our regular payments and a few extra when we could afford them we'd have this mortgage thing done with well before our 30-year term. I have since been disabused of that notion.

But, for all the uncertainty about payments, we relish each of the additional square feet of home we seem to own each month. And, of course, we appreciate that the bank allows us to act as if we already own the place, letting us redecorate or make as much of a mess as we want to. The house with the white picket fence is a part of the American Dream for a reason -- having your own space, even bought in increments, is nothing short of bliss.

Thirty years from now, when we've mailed that last check and can safely occupy the last 1.6 square feet of the attic, I think we'll go a bit more dramatic than the banister cameo. The bank-note bonfire in the back yard is much more our speed.

Friday, November 9, 2007


I've mentioned a little bit about how I try to hide DH's illness. There are a million reasons for this, I'll try to explain some of them--if you are dealing with a mentally ill person, you might have some of the same thoughts and feelings.

First, DH wasn't always like this. Three years ago, he was a regular guy who went to work every day, did lots of chores around the house, fixed things, was very romantic, very responsible, very conscientious. So the part of me that hopes says "So what's to say that he won't be that way again???"

If that is the case, if he does recover back to the point of being a responsible human being again, I don't want people to judge him for what has been happening with his mental illness. Say, for example, the bills he has rung up in town. I know DH's therapist doesn't want me to "fix" them, but its really hard, because not only did DH "used to be" responsible, but I hope with all my heart that he will be again "someday", and I don't want people to think that he is anything but that. I mean, I don't want them to say to themselves, "there goes Carol's DH, he had some mental problems,". And have that color their opinions of him. Or when he doesn't follow through on things he used to do with great joy, I don't want people to say, "he's got some mental problems"--I'd much rather have them say "he didn't get around to it"....somehow in my mind, he can redeem himself for "not getting around to it", but he can't fix the "mental problems" stigma.

And along those lines, I'd also rather have them think that we are lazy (our lawn hasn't been cut all summer) than to tell people that "DH has been ill and I've been working 2 jobs and there just hasn't been time to do stuff like that".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not really very afraid of being known as the "woman with the mentally ill DH". (Being honest with myself, though, maybe I am a little.) There are a lot of times I really wish I could tell everyone that "my DH is having mental problems and I'm having a tough time handling it all, so please forgive me." It would be so nice to have someone say (or think) "well no wonder things don't seem quite right over there" or whatever. Or "do you need any help?" But it's just not right for me to do that, of course. I feel strongly that if the people in our town knew what was going on with DH, he would be labeled for life, and I would do anything to avoid that.

It's a very tough place to be in. If he had cancer, or a heart attack, people would be having benefits for him to help pay the bills and to show their support.

Come to think of it, you never do see "Benefit" posters that say something like this: "In October, John Doe was diagnosed with bipolar illness. He has been rendered unable to work and faces several months of therapy. The bills related to this illness are piling up, and his wife can't keep up. Please join us for a spaghetti dinner to help out." It's almost funny, isn't it?