Monday, July 24, 2017

Direction? Totally Unknown -

I sit here pondering the time I had with H. on Saturday - and fret and worry over every part of the conversation.

What if he was just trying to see how I felt?  And trying to gauge 'will they ever accept her'?  And if he thinks we won't, will he decide 'her' over 'them'?  I honestly don't think he would - he stated he's already told her that will never happen - but still.  What if?

I did my best to emphatically confirm that ultimately, we want him to be happy - so if she makes him happy, then it's all good - but when I ask if he is happy and he says 'yes', I'm just not convinced.

I can totally see him hoping I would say 'it's water under the bridge' and 'I've already moved past it all'....but I just can't bring myself to do that.

I don't ever think there will be an easy, friendly, sincere relationship with her given the things that have happened lately - as hard as I might try, I just don't see it.

All this pondering as I enter into a super busy, hard week.  Sites are back this week - another school year is starting.  Geez, the time goes by so quickly - which is a good thing....and I love that about the job most of all.  It's just so overwhelming as another year crashes over the landscape...though I know all the things that will happen in the next few weeks like the back of my hand, it still feels very overwhelming.

I feel so tired.  And I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with sleep.




Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sundays are Posting Days

I had reservations in Reno for last night - a player appreciation event was enticing me to head up for the day yesterday.  But I also had a counseling appointment at 8:30AM in Hayward yesterday and I wasn't really looking forward to a long drive north.  It's fun and I love it - but I also love being home these days - with J. enjoying the quiet of a home with no kids.

I made arrangements to meet H. at the house yesterday because I wanted us to go to the bank and remove my name from his checking account.  Yes, there was a reason for that decision - seeing that R. had written two $300 checks on consecutive days which were deposited and then immediately withdrawn as cash sent my mind reeling into all kinds of unpleasant scenarios.  My thought was the only reason the bank is allowing that to happen - a check deposited with an immediate withdrawal - is because H.'s account is linked to our accounts.  No, he can't see any of our accounts - or access them in any way.  But the 'link' that is created means the bank assumes I would be also responsible for any insufficient funds situation that might occur - and I don't want that to be the case anymore.  H. texted around 11:30 that he wasn't feeling well.  Our backup plan was that I would go to the bank alone to close the account - because both parties have to be there to remove one of the names on an account but either party can close the account on their own.  I gave in and said 'how about I come to you around 4PM and we'll head to the Manteca branch and take care of it and then I'll bring you back 'home'.

I had the foresight to make an appointment online - and that turned out to be a very good thing because there were quite a few people waiting for a banker - and once they knew we had an appointment, we were helped immediately.  Thankfully, I also thought to grab H.'s passport before I left the house - because he has no current driver's license and he and R. haven't taken the time to get to the DMV and get him and identification card of some kind.

We were in and out of the bank in about 10 minutes - and had a little time before our appointment time and also after to spend some time talking.

H. seems to understand that R.'s actions towards us lately have been suspicious and inappropriate. He sees that things she's done and continues to do are showing a pretty extreme  level of 'control' towards him - and he agrees that her actions are inappropriate.  He was pretty direct with me - that he's told her 'if you can't figure out how to make things right with my parents, then we won't have a relationship because they are my parents and I'm not going to not be in contact with them'.  I asked him 'is she suggesting that you shouldn't be in contact?  Because sometimes, that's how it feels - that she's literally holding you hostage; possibly deleting communications so you don't know that we've reached out to you. (She hasn't done that particular action that we know of? but I wouldn't put it past her based on things she has done).  And we sure won't be reaching out to you much at the moment because we're at the point where we're not actually sure who's responding to us - so that's a problem.' He says she's not really suggesting 'no contact'?  But she also doesn't really think that the most recent issue which occurred is any big deal.  I paused carefully and said 'someone who feels the need to control someone else to that degree is a pretty big deal, H. .  Her behavior is not normal by any stretch of any parameters...and I just want to be sure you are aware of that.'  She also doesn't feel that we're supportive of him - and I asked him 'be specific.  In what way does she feel we aren't supporting you'?  He wasn't really able to answer but it appears to be because we are asserting that what she did this week is inexcusable and wrong on more levels than we should ever have to explain to the person who did it.

I told him that we will ALWAYS be supportive of him - however, we won't be supportive of someone in his life who is demonstrating an inability to take responsibility for the actions that have led to us having no interest in dealing with her.

H. said she intends to apologize - but he wants her to do that in person - and (his words) 'she doesn't make being in person a priority'.  A recent example of that:  when she dropped off her kids at her ex's place (very near my office), H. phoned - he was at the Starbucks 1/2 mile from our house - but they didn't stop by.  When we talked yesterday, I told him 'that pretty much broke my heart' and he said 'it broke mine, too'.  He said she had a list of things and places to go and do and she didn't want to stop by.  I said 'seriously, H.?  She had you wait for her at Starbucks instead of taking a few extra minutes for you to say Hi to your parents?  We haven't seen you in a week - and the last time we saw you, you were a wreck about a disagreement with her'.  He agreed.

So it's all a little uncertain and drama filled - but I feel better having talked to H. because he absolutely does seem clear - he acknowledges things are not going great and he also confirmed numerous times that he has absolutely no intention of continuing a relationship with her if she continues to do the things she's done and be how she's been about contact with his parents.  Period. End of story.

Then I flashback to last weekend when he was an absolute wreck at the thought of not being with her.
I reminded him that we'd like all her stuff out of the garage and house by the end of August.  And I said 'and you'll be packing up your stuff, too, right'?  He said 'why?  I don't need to'.  When I asked 'will you still be able to help us in October when we need someone here to be with Chloe for a few days (because the kennel owner is taking a vacation at the same time we are), he said 'absolutely!  I can't wait to be home'.

This is still home.  With her is 'with her' but not living with her.  Though we don't see him for weeks at a time but oh well.

This is still home to him.  And I'm OK with his transient, nomadic existence for now.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Time Whizzes By

B.'s second week home zipped by as quickly as the first.  J. is taking him to the airport as I write this - with a lump in my throat as big as the the state of Kentucky to which he returns.

It was a lovely visit and there's evidence of him all over the place - 12 empty beer bottles in the kitchen recycle bin (he had friends over last night which was lovely - more about them in a minute). An empty shoe box in the entry way from the new shoes he bought at the outlet mall in Livermore. We're on 'watch' status to find a missing baseball cap that will appear somewhere odd at some point in the next few days.

I worked M-T and 1/2 day Wednesday and then headed up to Sacramento area for an education finance workshop - an annual event that I've tried to tie in to a stay at Thunder Valley.  This year, I shook things up a bit by spending one night (before the conference) at Thunder Valley but then headed north after the workshop and spent a couple nights in Reno.  It was fun - though no big wins were had.  Although I stopped at Thunder Valley on the way home - 1/2 way between and a good place to take a break from freeway driving - used my freeplay and won $492 within the first 10 minutes on a machine.  I put some of that back - but I didn't come home from either place broke so that's a 'win' to me.

I went to Bistro Napa nightly for drinks and dinner - and both nights ended up in bed close to 7PM feeling like death.  Cotton candy martinis are delicious - and potent.  On the second night, I sat next to a couple who had relocated to Reno ten years ago from Danville, CA. .  They LOVE living there and say they would never, ever go back.  Reno has tons of things going on all year.  They've made lots of friends, are always busy and out and doing stuff.  I asked about the winters and she said 'well, this past winter was pretty bad - three solid weeks of snow in January - but you just work on indoor projects when you're snowed in'.  I thought 'I could sew; practice guitar and piano; read a gazillion great books and binge watch any series I want'.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

The boys were supposed to go shooting at 2PM as a 'B.'s last day' fun thing - but it didn't work out.  R. and H. had a huge blow up - and he was a wreck most of the afternoon.  The three of us (me, J. and B.) headed to the restaurant around 5ish and as we pulled in to the parking lot, we got a text from H. that said 'could you please pick me up'.  We were already in Manteca so we let him know we were on our way - and than sat in the apartment complex parking lot for 20 minutes waiting for him.  He joined us for dinner a teary-eyed mess.

When B. and J. went to the salad bar, I gently inquired 'so what's going on?' and he said 'I think we're breaking up'.  Then he excused himself to the bathroom and to go outside for a bit.

I'd love to reassure him that 'couples get in to arguments.  Conflict happens in any relationship.  The two of you will work through this'.  But I can't.  I just don't have it in me to encourage a relationship with her.  And here's the 'why' of that.

As a mom parenting two boys, I've always looked forward to the day I would gain a daughter or two. I pictured lots of fun things to have a young lady join in on and it was always seen as a 'win' to see my sons love someone and get to know that person and for J. and I to end up loving her, too.  But that's not how this is going.  B.'s friend R. brought his girlfriend S. with him last night and that contrast was just so shocking...S. is so fun and easy to talk to and the little bit of time we all spent chatting outside felt so natural and easy.  THAT is what I want for my boys.  THAT is what is supposed to happen when boys meet a girl they want to be with long-term.  But THAT is NOT what's happening with H. and R. .  I've come to feel that R. is working hard at isolating H. from his friends and family.  Sure, no transportation is a big part of that - he can't get himself to and from on his own, anywhere, at the moment - though maybe we should look into buses between here and Manteca - hold on, I need to write that down so I don't forget to look into that - but even taking the transportation issues out of the equation, there is no 'fun-loving, sweet lady' hanging out here. There's a non-communicative, soon-to-be-divorcee with two kids lurking about.  She does what H. does: shows up when it's convenient, doesn't announce she's here and leaves the same way - slinking out. Who does that?  Someone who was raised with no manners, that's who.  And that someone is with my son.  My emotionally and mentally extremely fragile son.

Maybe she doesn't feel welcome at the moment - because I am starting to question the things that have happened and are happening - but that's (likely) only making it harder on H. .  But I can't stop myself.  I want to grab him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him - tell him that all this drama is NOT normal - yes, conflicts happen in any relationship - but seriously?  All there is lately is conflict.  I do feel she doesn't want him to spend time with us - or communicate with us - and we do need to set some parameters around that at some point if the relationship continues.

Honestly, I seriously just want to change the locks and tell him 'if/when you need to be living somewhere else (because he swears he's not living there but he sure isn't here often lately), give us a call and we'll happily let you stay here'.  It's hard on him?  But easier on us.  OH - and please have R. come get the massive amount of her stuff that is currently residing in our garage....'cuz in 30 days if it's still here, we're taking it all to the hospice thrift shop'.

I won't...but I want to.

I wish she were someone I could be thrilled about being with my son - someone who boosts him up and helps him navigate all the things he's going through lately.  But she's got a lot of her own emotional stuff happening - and she doesn't seem equipped to help someone through the kind of issues H. is experiencing.

So that's where we're at.  OH - and he came home with us from the restaurant - begrudgingly - spinning a story about 'friends are going to meet me in Manteca and they'll bring me home' - but I knew that wasn't going to work.  And sure enough, though he rode home with us - he is not here this morning.  Having returned to Manteca, I guess?  So here goes another long range of days when he never communicates with me and rarely communicates with J. .

We are taking the Mariner back to the dealership tomorrow 'cuz the wrench light (check engine) went on while I was returning from Reno yesterday.  Chloe is also not well so J. will be taking her to the vet.  Turns out winning some 'big(ger) money' a couple weeks ago in Reno is going to be the best thing ever 'cuz we're going to have some serious 'outflow' for car and dog.  (And that's on top of the $1,044 we already spent on the car).

The entire admin team at work is going to a conference this week - but me.  I opted out because it felt like a non-instructional person attending again (I was blessed to attend last year) wasn't right - would rather use those funds to take another teacher vs. the CBO.  So I will be the only 'admin on duty' this week....not a big deal since the sites aren't back yet.

Missing B. and H. and the lump in my throat just sits there.


Sunday, July 09, 2017

Hotter Than Blazes (But Not as Hot as Phoenix)

I always have to add that caveat when I vent about the heat 'cuz a lot of my family lives in Phoenix and seriously?  It's over 110 and often approaching 120 there which makes our days of 100+ seem mild.  (I don't actually have to add that but love how sharing a story of my car warrants others asserting that 'now you know what it's like here.  Um, actually, I know what it's like there because a) I grew up there and b) it's hot here too.  Very similar summers here vs. Phoenix. ) Yesterday was 108 - which I know because I drove home my car that's been in the shop all week - and after $1000+ in repairs, it blew hot air the entire way home.  I'm so pissed at our local Ford dealership and tomorrow morning, they are going to get an earful.  I feel like they had an inexperienced person working on the car - did what the diagnostic machines said to do but doesn't understand the workings of AC?  'cuz it's now worse than when we dropped it off AND it's making a noise it's never made before when you push the recirculate button.

It's turning out to be even more of a a great thing that I had a good run in Reno - the car will dent our savings considerably.  And we're realizing that we need to take Chloe in for some dental work.  They had suggested it awhile back and we put it off - but she's not eating much and especially when it's her crunchy kibble.  We bought a couple cans of her prescription dog food and she will slowly eat that but her kibble stays in her bowl untouched.  Her energy is non-existent and while I thought it was the heat, I'm thinking she's just not feeling great.

R. did the nicest thing - she's been spending the night here with H. who is here to be sure he can spend time with B. .  I saw her walking in the side yard and asked H. 'what is she doing back there?'. He said 'you'll see'.  Around Mother's Day, she had asked J. what my favorite flower was and he replied 'carnations'.  We've been looking everywhere to add some carnation plants to our patio collection and haven't found any - but she did!  She went to the nursery closest to our house (which for some reason is the one place we didn't go) and got 4 beautiful, big carnation plants.  Sweetest thing!!

We had a wonderful surf & turf feast here on Friday evening - steak and lobster and cheese cake for dessert.  I fretted over not having 'sides' but I think there was plenty of food and there were few leftovers.  R. and H. were both here - but still no kids.  I bought way too many lobsters 'cuz I wasn't sure if they would join us - so we have leftover uncooked lobsters.  Tonight, we're going to cook the remaining lobsters (after butterflying them) and make lobster mac 'n cheese.  Yum!

J. and I spent some time outside and I purposefully stayed in the sun a bit to attempt some color.  I ended up having to get in the pool (which was 79 - LOW for me) and then sat in the shade with J. We planted the carnation plants - I know we shouldn't do that in the heat of the day but better then vs. waiting for cooler weather because they need to be out of the pots they are in and in larger planters.

The sun totally zapped me 'cuz now I am fighting a serious urge to sleep...which I think is going to win as I head upstairs to lay down for a bit.  Upon waking, we will need to get the lobsters going and start cooking the mac 'n cheese.

Oh!  and we're also saving the shells to use in making lobster bisque soup!  That will have to wait awhile - I'm going to ask J. to put the shells in the freezer 'cuz I'm not going to make that today.

B. went to San Francisco last night and spent time at the private bar in the Millenium Tower - his friend works there.  You can Google that building - yes, it's sinking - and a variety of very well known, wealthy people live there.  B. met a man who is one of the richest in the country - fascinating to hear about the people who frequent that bar.  Sadly, it's closing and his friend will be jobless - but he is planning to open a restaurant in Livermore - already has investors lined up and everything!

I'm only in the office M-T and 1/2 of Weds - they I head to Sacto overnight for a workshop on Thursday.  After the workshop, I'm officially off for the rest of the week and will be heading to Reno. Can't wait!  Will come home on Saturday and be here Sunday morning to see B. off -

Monday, July 03, 2017

Mother in Law (Not)

H. did come by briefly.  He assisted with the under the stove project - giving the space a final wipe, got into the far back corners that were hard for me to reach and wiped down all the sides.  The space is neat and clean and I kept only pans we use regularly.  Tossed a few things that weren't worth donating and donated some skillets.

I'm always sad and choked up when H. is here.  I told him that I consider him living with his girlfriend now - and then as he left, I remember that I should have also said 'and that's fine.  We just miss seeing you more'.  But I'm so choked up at all the uncertainty - his inability to transport himself anywhere often ends up feeling like he's more a hostage than a boyfriend.  He went up to his room for a bit and then took some stuff we gave them to his car (an old (used once) slushie machine and a huge bag of kettle corn that was a 2/1 deal at Costco) and then J. reminded him he hadn't brought his laundry down.  So he rushed upstairs to get that - as she waited out in the car.  Her kids were in the car - she had picked them up because tomorrow is her birthday and her ex agreed to let her have them for that day.

For me, not meeting her kids is a huge 'sign' to me that she's not serious about a committed relationship with H. .  Yes, I know there's all the nuances and stuff related to a divorce but oh well. She and H. have both indicated that her ex knows about their relationship - so if it's all out in the open, why not introduce them to your boyfriends parents?  When H. is over there and the kids are there, he says he sleeps on the couch.  Guess so.  Guess to maintain appearances....so perhaps that's why we haven't met them.  And he's picked up at the curb and kept on a short leash - from what we observe.

If she were super organized and on top of things and would help him with all the things he needs to do and transport him willingly to all the places he needs to be, it would be a fine thing.  He'd be supported by someone who is there for him and that's a lot of what love is.  But she's not.  And he's not.  One of his doctors called this morning with a cancellation - an appointment available at 7AM on Wednesday - and instead of writing down the info, relaying it to J. and then J. relaying it to H. , I said 'here's H.'s cell phone number - please contact him'.  I resisted the urge to say 'we are stepping off the H. roller coaster, thank you very much'.  But that's how it feels.

On a good note, I don't fret anymore when days go by and I haven't heard from him.  No point in fretting.  He lives with her.  Out of sight, out of mind.

I'd always dreamt that I'd be gaining daughters when my sons met their intended....but I've gained nothing like that.  I'm sure she senses my uncertainty about the relationship - and my concern about H. being involved with someone who's unwinding a marriage with two kids in tow.

It's all very complicated and messy and it hurts my heart - and I hurt for H. because I know he feels conflicted and 'torn'.  He said 'we should all sit down and talk about it'.  And I said 'I have no idea what to talk about - you live with her.  What is there to talk about'.

I don't know what to do.  It's just easier when he's not here vs. when he is.  In and out makes me miss him and feel sad -

Happy 4th

My entire office took today as a vacation day so Business has been officially closed for the four day weekend...however, the chiming of my phone reminds me that in a little more than 36 hours, I will be heading back to the office.  It's been a wonderful break and I've been basically vegging for a few days - the Game of Thrones marathon ensured a few days of little done.

I'm trying to make up for it a bit today - took every pot and pan out from under the stove (cupboard) and cleaned every inch of the space.  Hard to do because it's about 4 feet deep and to reach the back and corners, I've had to be down on my knees...which hurts like the dickens but oh well.

H. says he might be coming over but....nothing he plans is ever certain so I'm not holding my breath. I was hoping for his help in one more good wipe down...and then I can start putting things back.  I've run every pan we're keeping through the dishwasher and have a box ready for donation.  I'm in a cleaning/culling kind of mood and trying to take advantage of that while I have it!

Chloe has been unwell since returning from the puppy spa.  She won't eat her kibble.  I think she may have a tooth bothering her - she just ate two scrambled eggs but even those were consumed gingerly without a lot of gusto.  She's drinking and peeing and pooping so...we'll just keep an eye on her.  J. is going to pick up her Rx food in canned form to give her a couple days of easier eating.

I have a haircut in about 45 minutes not too far from the house - and next to Taco Bell - so it will be a 'no cooking' night for us.  We're sticking to a strict budget these days - determined to put a dent in our trip expenses in advance of dipping into saving at some point - so we're living off the land and writing down everything we spend.  It's amazing how that simple 'step' makes you rethink purchases before you make them.  But Taco Bell is happening 'cuz on 'Majah haircut' days, that's what we do.

I haven't had makeup on for over a week so perhaps I should give it a try.  Good practice for day after tomorrow when I will have to make myself presentable.


Sunday, July 02, 2017

Atlantis, We Love You!

Best few days EVER - and yes, that's partly due to Lady Luck.

We headed up to Reno on Saturday morning and made a stop at Thunder Valley enroute.  Enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Red Lantern - beautiful restaurant and delicious food - and all comped.  AND I hit a lot of great small jackpots and turned $40 into over $700 - so we headed up to Reno feeling pretty flush and excited.

It's always so much fun to win and even better to walk out the door with the cash in your purse.

The drive up was uneventful and we checked in.  The Richard Marx concert started at 8PM.  Right before the show, I won $1200 on a slot machine - and sort of wanted to keep playing.  But we went to the concert and had an absolutely wonderful time.  We even made it to the 'big screen' tweets before the show -

Richard was acoustic and alone and it was wonderful.  He's very witty and charming and easy on the eyes.  His music was very 'big' in the late 80's and early 90's when we were courting and falling in love so it was a nostalgic, wonderful night with my beloved.  So glad we went - and yes, I did have a tiny pouty moment when I wasn't sure I wanted to stop playing the machine that had just rewarded me nicely - but I'm so glad I got over it and gave in to enjoying the show.  It was a lot of fun!

The next morning, we enjoyed a great buffet breakfast (2 for 1!  And comped!) and then we drove east of Carson City (about 30 minutes from Reno) to drop off J. to play golf.  I headed back to the casino and immediately went to the machine I played the night before.  On the 2nd $100 I put in, this happened:



Super duper excited!  Asked for some in cash and the bulk in a check - which took forever.  Note to self:  don't ask for a check.  It took a long time and in that long time, I put $ back into the machine (also hitting a $361 minor while waiting so that helped).  I texted J. about the win and then had fun playing.

I meandered over to a favorite machine I've played before - and ended up way up - hit 2 line hits of $1,000 each - and left the machine with quite a bit more than I started.  The next day, I played the same machine again and hit another hand pay of $1,800!  Two hand pays in a couple days and lots of other wins that added up - and just like that!  Our impromptu trip to Europe in October is mostly paid for!

We drove back to Carson City and headed east to Dayton to look at homes.  Found some we really liked and the rep mentioned that she had a river front lot that was going to be released in the next week and sent us down to look at it - we loved it!  These homes are priced $200K less than the ones in Reno we looked at last year - and that includes the $90K premium for this particular lot.  We're trying to decide if we could purchase it as a 2nd home - it's actually doable from the financial perspective but practical perspective?  It doesn't make a lot of sense.  Not yet.  And in discussing the location, we both think we'd be happier being closer to a larger city.  Dayton is very small - drive through it and blink and you're past it - and while it appears to be where the next big growth might be south of Reno, we're still not convinced.

At the same time we were talking all this through, we hit a huge financial milestone that we celebrated with a high five!  And now it just seems like though we could make a 2nd home work, it's still probably best to wait.  There will still be plenty of building in 3-5 years when we are closer to being certain we are 'ready' - and the longer we wait, the more this house appreciates in value and the more we save.  Buying a 2nd home is feasible by acknowledging that we would only be saving for 'essentials' - like homeowner insurance and property taxes.  Trips?  Wouldn't happen.  We'd be house poor - and that's something we never want to be.

And....on the subject of trips.  Oops!  We did it again!  Booked a 15 night cruise in October, 2018, through the Panama Canal - saw it pop up on Facebook (we've been watching for them to open up next year) and called and booked it right away!

And to cap off a great week, B. is home!!  Arrived yesterday late afternoon - and promptly headed out to In & Out with a friend for dinner (their tradition).  He left early this morning for a couple days of tent camping with a big group of friends - he will return the morning of the 4th.

H. showed up briefly yesterday to say 'hi' to his brother and then he and R. headed back to her apartment.  I'm trying to adjust to never seeing him and at this point?  He lives with her.  They aren't calling it that because of her divorce situation (I think) but he's never home.  I'm learning to just expect we won't see him - and I think the next step is to stop urging him to do what needs doing and just text him a reminder and leave the two of them to it.  Though she's not any more motivated or timely about things than he is - so this will be interesting.  He hasn't moved any stuff there yet - and in fact, she still has quite a bit of stuff still here - but other than that?  He lives elsewhere.

I have a ton of things I want to get done but HBO has a Game of Thrones marathon on ALL WEEKEND LONG - Seasons 1 through 6 in one convenient 5 day period!  We've been saying we wanted to get back into it so this is the perfect way to do it!!

Direction? Totally Unknown -

I sit here pondering the time I had with H. on Saturday - and fret and worry over every part of the conversation. What if he was just tryi...