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.