Sunday, April 16, 2017

It All Started In Elementary School

The bullying and self harm, it all started for my little girl in the elementary charter school that we jumped through hoops to get her into.

It wasn't my idea to send her there. There is an elementary, middle, and high school within walking distance to my house. I thought she being able to get herself to and from school on her own would have been good for her. It was for me. I learned that I had to get out of bed and leave at a certain time to get to school before the bell rang. I did this on my own from the 5th grade through high school.

Perhaps it would have happened at the schools closer to home, but at least I wouldn't feel like I was going out of my way to make sure she was getting her daily dose of abuse from her mean classmates.

I ignored her early complaints about the kids picking on her. "Dad, they say it is kick a Ginger day." I didn't even think they knew who Ginger was. I blew her off thinking elementary school kids couldn't be that mean.

She would always be chewing at her finger nails. I even noticed her picking at them with a thumb tack. I found out later these were early signs of self harm.

Self harm being the way she dealt with the pressures at school, and the conflict at home watching her parents struggle with her older brother and sister.

Self harm was simply a coping mechanism for her, not much different than drugs or alcohol.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

So You Want To Work For Donald Trump?

In the past my daughters have been the ones that I have blogged about. Most of my parenting challenges have been with the girls. Austin was overlook much of the time. He was overlooked so much that we had no idea the issues that he was dealing with.  Eventually those issues caught up with us and things came to a head.

Austin left home when he was 18, like his older sister, pissed off at his parents, mainly me.

The entire time Austin was in high school we wrestled with his grades and attendance. Every semester I would get failing notices from his teachers and we would have to scramble to get his grades up to a passing level. I was not a pleasant guy to deal with in these situations.

It actually annoyed me to see him graduate from high school. I felt he got too many second chances on tests that he had failed and homework that he never turned in. I felt he needed to learn the consequences of his actions.

I had spent so much time dealing with my youngest and her issues that I had no idea Austin had quite the night life after I was asleep. My youngest has told me stories about how she would help her big brother to the bathroom so that he could puke and clean up from the night's activities. How the hell do I miss all of that?

For almost two years Austin mooched off his friends. He would tell his friends how awful his parents were and these "enablers" would take him in, only to find out what a flake he was and get stuck with some sort of bill. One idiot lady actually co-signed on a new car for him. It got repossessed 5 months later. I had to laugh at that one.

All of the flakiness and partying finally caught up with Austin.

He came to see us on Thanksgiving last year. He did not look good. He had lost almost 40 pounds, not intentionally, he just didn't have money for food.

I had to stop being mad at him at step in. My wife and I talked and decided we would see if he wanted to come home, but there would be conditions....

One of the things Austin enjoyed in high school, besides getting stoned, was the ROTC program. Going into the military was supposed to happen after school, but he kept stringing us along about visiting the recruiter and getting signed up. It was all just a lie because he couldn't pass the drug test. He was also over weight and had a bunch of great friends telling him what a bad idea it was to enlist in the military.

We would see if he thought that was a bad idea now.

I invited Austin over after my wife and I decided what to offer.

"Austin you know you could make weight in the Army right now."

"I know Dad, I have been thinking about that. I just wouldn't pass the drug test."

"You can move back in until the drugs are out of your system, but you have to enlist. None of your friends are allowed over. You do not leave either. You are basically under house arrest until you are in the Army. We will take care of your food and clothing needs until your ship date."

He immediately agreed to the terms.

It took over two months to clean that shit out of his system. But he did it and he reports to boot camp in less than two weeks.

He is very excited and I am very proud.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What's In the Box?

What's in the box? My stepdad, that is what is in the box.

If you are being cremated, your family has to choose a container for your body's transportation to the crematorium. This is mandatory in the state of Arizona where my mother lives. The funeral home charged my mother $80 for the cardboard box her husband was going to be cremated in.

I could see the whole cardboard box thing bothered my mother as she signed the agreement at the funeral home. She must have thought he deserved something nicer. But what was the point? He did not want a funeral. His ashes will be buried with my mother when she passes away.

I learned a lot about what I need to get in order for my family when I pass away .

I watched my mother a lot the day after she woke up to find that her husband had died in his sleep. It was painful to see her so frail. It was concerning to see her counting the cost of things in her head. The cremation was not an expensive transaction, but my mom's demeanor made it look like it was.

I worry that she is not ready financially for this. That they might have been living beyond their means.

I wonder how ready I am to take care of my mother. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Look Who's Back

Wow. It has been almost five years since my last post.

A lot has happened.

I am only going to post again because I might have some experiences that other parents might relate to. They might feel better after they read how I flubbed up situations I totally can't relate to or wasn't prepared to handle.

Divorce, suicide, death, drugs, and self harm are all things I have lined up for future posts.

I think I will stay away from politics.

The Shiny Blue Bottle

My photo
Indio, California, United States
My 9-year-old daughter gave me a bottle for my birthday. She told me the shiny blue bottle was filled with her love. I'm not sure I'll ever get a better gift.