Keeping up with the Psychos

>> Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I know I fail as a blogger. I update this thing so sporadically that I'd be surprised if any of you are still with me. This is partially due to the fact that my life is crazy (whose isn't?) and partially due to the fact that once something becomes a chore that I have to do, I lose interest.
So when I tell myself "I really should blog", then I instantly do not want to.

Another thing is, this blog is a place for me to go through and sort out my thoughts. On days when I got for long walks with my Sweet Baboo, I sort my thoughts out while wandering through the nature conservation, so when I get back to the computer my thoughts are all sorted out. I blog in my head, if you want to know the truth.

Anyway, now that we've established the fact that I'm lazy and weird, we'll move on.

Right now I am feeling the pressure. I'm feeling the pressure of looking for a job, even though it is not imperative that I find one until next September--over a year from now.

I'm feeling the pressure of having parents who are really struggling, and having other relatives who seem to think that it's my responsibility to somehow pick up the pieces of their lives. And I just. can't. do it.
I have a VERY active son, our family has one car that The Hubbs usually has with him, I live two towns away from my mother. I cannot be over there every other day. Gas is expensive. I don't have the time, I don't have the energy, and even if I did, the house isn't the best place for my kiddo, to tell you the truth.

It's not baby proofed at all. I spend the entire time chasing him around, pulling him out of dangerous cabinets and stopping him from toppling over glass vases. My parents' house is that irritating open-concept, so the doorways to rooms are gaping and there's no way I baby gate could block it. Even the entrance to the stairs is that way--my kid is constantly booking it up the stairs, full of glee, while we huff and puff after him and try to stop him from falling down head first. The stairwell is to wide for a gate.

Those aren't the only problems, though. I hate to say this, it shames me to my core, but I just don't enjoy my mother's company any more. I would hate for her to find that out. I love her very much, and of course I always will, but she is just so down all the time.

Of course she's down. She's really sick, she's financially strapped and married to a husband who is working his BUTT off. But the problem isn't that he's working his butt off, the problem is that he's working his butt off at a pyramid scheme that is just not paying out what he's been promised. He is too stubborn and prideful to stop, but in the meantime they've missed a mortgage payment, his old job suffered massive cuts due to the collapse of the auto industry, and he is not making ends meet.

This stresses me out beyond belief. I can only imagine how stressed out my mom is. She's way too sick to work and wants so desperately to get better so she can find a job and dig them out of this rut. I feel for her. I really do. I just don't know how to help her, and that makes me feel panicky and guilty and useless all at once. I hate all of it.

And I blame my father. The worst thing about going over there is when he randomly pops home between "appointments." I just don't like him. He's not a nice guy, he abused us all for years, and though he promises he's changed, I simply don't believe him. Even my kid doesn't like him. The Hubbs says its because Baboo can tell he's a phony.

I don't just blame him because he's not the best guy. I blame him because it's his fault. It truly is. He's the one who took his package from the car company because he thought he "might" get laid off. He's the one who passed up the chance for the government to pay for him to retrain for a new career because he didn't want to go back to school. He's the one who thought a multi-level marketing scheme would be a better way to make a living, because he bought into the lie of "owning his own company" and "being his own boss." He's the one who turned down the perfectly nice, older, smaller (read: cheaper) home that my mom wanted to buy, in exchange for the rambling, mini-mansion that they bought but couldn't afford.

He's the one who added a bunch of extras onto his parting "gift" from the car company, so that the huge, gas-guzzling SUV turned out to cost $15, 000 rather than be free.

Oh yes. All of these things are his responsibility. And he is the one who is STILL paying off the *free* car, so now he can't even sell it to pay for his bills, because he technically doesn't even own it!

Yes, I am bitter. Oh, so bitter. Bitter that my poor, sweet, sick mother has to deal with this. Bitter because they say her illness is a cause of change of life hormones + STRESS (Read: Financial instability! Crappy marriage!)

I have to remind myself, though, that my mother is not totally innocent here either. He's been terrible with money since they married, and she has stayed with him. He has been controlling and abusive since they married, and she's stayed with him. Even when, as a 12 year old, I begged her to leave and take me with her. She was too scared to start over, so she stayed. And now she's screwed and stressed. And she's so sick, FROM STRESS, that she couldn't leave now even if she wanted to. Kind of a catch-22, huh?

My husband is crazed writing exams, and I have family members calling me and asking me to pony up dosh for my mom's medication. Umm, my husband's a student and I'm a stay at home mom.

We live in a tiny apartment down the street from a crack den (Okay, maybe I'm not sure about the crack den, but it's certainly possible. This place is a hole). We rely on our baby bonus to our bills. We drive a car that is older than we are.

Where do people imagine that I have all of this extra money? And I know it's sad to say, and sounds horrible, but honestly, my parents' situation is my parents' fault. Which kind of makes it their problem. I want my mom to be able to afford her medication. I want them to make their mortgage payments and be able to eat. I do. But honestly?

Our community centre gives away free grocery bags of fresh produce on Mondays, and I've been. I've taken the walk of shame and filled a bag with tomatoes, pineapple and grapes because we are poor and we could use the help. We don't have cable. We only have internet because my husband needs it for school, and I need it to look for work. We never go out. And we are both willing to make the time and sacrifice necessary to go to school and better our lives so that we can make a better life for our son.

My parents drive a brand new truck. My parents live in a giant house. My parents have gorgeous leather furniture and a really nice, NEW dining room table that they had to get because it is such a good deal ($400!? When they have no steady income!?). Their bedroom furniture costs a couple grand.

Our furniture is a travesty. Our couch is 25 years old and it is the couch my sister was BORN on. It's been cleaned since then, but still. Our other couch is a futon with a broken spring so your butt sinks down when you sit on the left of it. Our coffee and kitchen tables are from Ikea. Our computer desk was a hand-me down and the desk in our kitchen was pulled out of someone's trash. Our mattress is duck taped together.

My parents have cable. So why is it that it should be my responsibility to drive my 20 year old car over to their giant house, and hand over any of the limited money we've scrimped to save, so that they can pay for things that they would easily be able to afford if their entire lives didn't revolve around image? If they had bought the small house (hello, they're empty-nesters). If they had bought an older car. If they had NOT quit their jobs without having steady income lined up? If they had not counted on receiving an accident settlement that, after five years, still has yet to materialise?

I'm frustrated and sad, but I don't know what I can do. Trying to keep my own little family afloat is difficult enough. If they lose their home, if they end up having to move into subsidized housing for awhile, or apply for social assistance, maybe that will be their rock bottom. Maybe they need to hit rock bottom in order to realize that they can't go on like this.

This may sound callous, but I am so grateful, so grateful that The Hubbs and I seem to have hit our rock bottom the year that I was pregnant with Baboo. I'm grateful that we are both only 25, but we've learned the lessons that my parents only now seem to be learning. And as bad as this sounds, I'm grateful for their example because I've learned from their mistakes. When we purchase our first home (we calculate we should be able to in 4-5 years), I will put in a little bachelorette suite for my mom and she can come live with us.

As for my father? Heaven help him. I hope he will become a better guy. I hope this crisis will be a catalyst for change. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I have hope. It might be small and it might burn out completely from time to time, but its there.



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