Thursday, June 30, 2011

Setting Wheels in Motion

When I made my decision to move to Wisconsin to be with my boyfriend, the biggest obstacle  I had in front of me was telling each one of my (adult) children.  I was truthfully fearful of their reaction...not all sure HOW they would react.  Fortunately, my fears were unfounded.


I told my youngest first, to gauge how the other two might react.  He was shocked at first, then admitted that he thought it was a good thing, and since he could come spend a week or two on a visit...he was fine!  That was almost three weeks ago.


Last Friday, I had the opportunity to talk things out with my oldest son, and I was shocked that he suggested that I do move!  The reality here is that I have lived with my daughter for most of what will be 10 years this coming November, I am quickly approaching my 53rd birthday, and have not had a life to call my own, since I am a caregiver to 3 grandchildren as well as living with them.  He told me it was way past time for me to start living my own life...so it was easy to admit that I was doing exactly that.


The last major hurdle was to tell my daughter.  For the last couple weeks, I tried to find a time when I thought she would listen and hear me out, since she is perhaps the most critical of my 3 children...and I really believed that she would try to talk me out of moving...but each time that a chance to talk to her materialized, it slid by so fast that it was another day gone without telling her.


Sunday or Monday evening, my daughter told me that her my oldest had told her husband that I was moving in the next couple of months, and she wanted to know if it was true.  I said it was, and she actually astounded me by saying she thought it was time for me to find a life of my own!  

Wow!  To have her say that was such a relief...and a  huge weight off my shoulders.  It was a bittersweet moment, because I ached not only to be with my boyfriend, but knew that it was going to hard to leave my 3 grandchildren whom I have been with since the day each of them were born!  

Yet, in my heart, I knew...the decision I had made is the right one.  I am on my way, the wheels of change have begun and I couldn't be more happy...or more content!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cold Snap and a snake

Snakes also known as Garter Snakes (Thamnophissirtalis) can be dangerous. Yes, grass snakes, not rattlesnakes. Here's why.

A couple in  Sweetwater, Texas, had a lot of potted plants. During a recent cold spell, the wife was bringing a lot of them indoors to protect them from a possible freeze.

It turned out that a little green garden grass snake was hidden in one of the plants. When it had warmed up, it slithered out and the wife saw it go under the sofa.

She let out a very loud scream.

The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living room naked to see what the problem was. She told him there was a snake under the sofa.

He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it. About that time the family dog came and cold-nosed him on the behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and fell over on the floor.

His wife thought he had had a heart attack, so she covered him up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance.

The attendants rushed in, would not listen to his protests, loaded him on the stretcher, and started carrying him out.

About that time, the snake came out from under the sofa and the Emergency Medical Technician saw it and dropped his end of the stretcher. That's when the man broke his leg and why he is still in the hospital.

The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she called on a neighbor who volunteered to capture the snake. He armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under the couch. Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who sat down on the sofa in relief.

But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wriggling around. She screamed and fainted, the snake rushed back under the sofa.

The neighbor man, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her.

The neighbor's wife, who had just returned from shopping at the grocery store, saw her husband's mouth on the woman's mouth and slammed her husband in the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp to a point where it needed stitches.

The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbor lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed that the snake had bitten him. She went to the kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey, and began pouring it down the man's throat.

By now, the police had arrived.
Breathe here...

They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened over a little garden snake!

The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbor and his sobbing wife.

Now, the little snake again crawled out from under the sofa and one of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it. He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over, the lamp on it shattered and, as the bulb broke, it started a fire in the drapes.

The other policeman tried to beat out the flames, and fell through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who, startled, jumped out and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked police car.

Meanwhile, neighbors saw the burning drapes and called in the fire department. The firemen had started raising the fire ladder when they were halfway down the street. The rising ladder tore out the overhead wires, put out the power, and disconnected the telephones in a ten-square city block area (but they did get the house fire out).

Time passed! Both men were discharged from the hospital, the house was repaired, the dog came home, the police acquired a new car and all was right with their world.

A while later they were watching TV and the weatherman announced a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he thought they should bring in their plants for the night.

And that's when he shot her.


(Note: this isn't a true story...at least I hope no one has had a horrendous day like these people had!  LOL)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Journey to Justice: A Mother's Prospective


Right from the beginning, Shawn's arrest and then sentencing has been a hard pill for me to swallow. No mother wishes to see a child in prison, but when it happens...what then?

For me, it couldn't have come at a worst time.  I was still deep in the grip of my breakdown, still not able to function mentally and emotionally...and I know that I wept a lot during this time.  I couldn't believe that my son, a big, huggable teddy bear that everyone loved, could do something so terrible.  It just didn't fit.

Shawn's case was high profile, this was a big deal in a county that is one of the biggest in New York, and as much as I wanted to be there for my son...I couldn't.  I couldn't make myself go to the court hearings, I didn't want to be seen by the public or in the media...as I said, I was having a very hard time coping.

A war raged inside of me then too...unending questions, uncertainties, blaming myself, even though I did my best to bring my son  up right...and the list goes on.  I didn't know what to think, what to feel, yet at the same time, I was feeling broken hearted, lost, and extremely sad.  This was my first born, one that I was so proud of...a hard worker, a good father, and a loving son.

Even from the beginning, I knew...just knew...that things would not end well for him.  He kept getting dealt lawyers that were worthless, he had confessed just to get the investigators off his back...and none of us in his family had the money to hire a lawyer that was worth anything. That alone made me miserable too...I could do nothing to help my child.

I remember how I felt...especially then...gone were so many things that had become part of our lives.  Shawn loved (and still does when the chance arises) to cook and he'd have us there for dinners frequently.  Gone were the days of spending hours in a garage taping off a vehicle so he could paint it.  Gone were the times that he would come and take me out to lunch or even breakfast...just because.  Gone were the times where he would help me with a vehicle, either getting one for me or fixing the one I had.  This was the greatest feeling of loss for me...too much changed too quickly...and I had a hard time dealing with that too.

There was also the aspect that now I was looking at seeing my son in prison for big part of his adult life, and that meant trips to the prison to see him.  This is when reality really sets in...being there inside a prison...knowing that this is where your son now is...placed amongst inmates that are ten times worse than your child ever thought of being: drug dealers, embezzlers, child molesters, cold blooded killers with no remorse...and here is your child, stuck inside a place no rational person would want to be.  

What is a mother (and father) supposed to feel?  How are we supposed to cope?  There are no rules to follow, no ethic code to go by...it's an individual issue that has to be handled in the best way we can.  

It's not easy and never gets easier.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A New Chapter

I have always believed that as we go through rough periods in our lives and as we reach the end of them, we begin a new chapter in our lives because we have grown intellectually, mentally and emotionally.  This last chapter of my life has lasted a very long time...9-1/2 years to be exact...and I am now beginning a new chapter in my life.

This chapter will be titled: "Rebirth".

All that know me well, know that I hold little to no regard for internet dating sites or chat rooms...I've seen them be the beginning of someone else's misery...meaning destroyed families and marriages.  I've tried one dating site, but was soon disgusted...and cancelled my membership after the first 24 hours.  To me...dating sites are akin to walking dark streets in a shady neighborhood at midnight...where you know that you are risking your life at the hands of criminals that you can't quite see.

 I had resigned myself to the fact that I was probably always going to remain single, that there most likely wasn't a "Mr. Right" out there for me.  So, I wasn't looking for anyone...I was just going through my daily routine on the internet...on the sites that I frequent...paying no mind to anyone in particular.

That all changed with the request of someone on Facebook to be friends...a friend of a friend or something like that.  I looked at his profile and thought 'Oh what the Heck' and confirmed the request.  Little did I know that with that tiny action, my life would dramatically change.

The friend was a man, two years (well, technically 1-1/2 years) older than I, also disabled from having bad knees and a stroke.  At first, it was just chatting...that business of saying 'Hello' and telling each other about ourselves.  It quickly evolved into a meeting of minds and finding out that we had a lot in common.  And I do mean a lot.  For me, it was like seeing myself in someone else...and everything just clicked between us.

I am not ashamed to say that he pulled the rug out from beneath me...I was very unprepared to fall for him as easily and quickly as I did.  I didn't even believe that it was possible to feel these emotions again...it had been so long since I'd felt them and because of my breakdown, I was afraid that I would never feel this way again.  


Because of him, I can title this new chapter in my life as "Rebirth" because that's exactly what I am going through...a rebirth to the woman I was before, and yet, I am woman who is new to the world...a woman who has gotten her second chance at life.  And love.

Ahead of me lies a new day in a new life...one I am so anxious for, while knowing that I must take one step, one day at a time to get there.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A New Beginning

When I had my breakdown in the Winter of 2001, it was a shattering of my entire being...physically, mentally and emotionally.  Like the shattered mirror...that's how I viewed myself...I could no longer see myself clearly as a person.  Every bit of me felt disconnected.

I truly believed that I would never see the day ahead of  me where I was once again whole...and I may never see myself as whole...but I've found a beginning point over the last few days.


It wasn't until just recently, when discussing things with someone that I had just met and while describing the things that had happened to me in the past, he told me that "whatever it is you are looking for isn't in the past".  

That had to be the most profound thing I've ever heard...and made more sense to me than anything I've done or tried.  It's like I was given a key to the lock that has kept me from moving forward with my self and my life.


I have been trying so hard to piece myself back together...holding on to those terrible things that had happened to me, hoping that I could decipher just exactly who it is that I am...only to realize that I am right here.  I am the person that looks back at me in the bathroom mirror each and every day.  Nothing has changed...yet I have grown, and I know that I have.


But now...I realize that who I am looking for in the past, isn't there..she is here, in the present...with so much life left to live and love to yet to give.  She is older and wiser...yet still yearns to be loved and has a thirst for knowledge that can never be denied.  She is still young in spirit, talented and maybe still a little bit beautiful in her own right.


She is me.

I have always believed that with each new thing we encounter, it begins a new chapter in our life stories...and I am now at the beginning of a new chapter of my own story. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

PTSD: Learning to cope with change

A skewed reality
When I had my nervous breakdown in 2001, a few things happened that were unsettling to me...the worst being my inability to easily adapt to change.  Maybe it's something that was always there but became more noticeable to me...I don't know.

On my first few trips to a therapist at mental health, I was then diagnosed as having Dysthymia...something that although true...was a foreign word to me.  I seriously had to do some real digging...and realized too that I've always had a problem with anxiety.  Maybe these two things go hand in hand.


I've always had a rough time being amongst a crowd of people that the noise level was extremely loud and there were multiple conversations going on around me.  The best way I can describe how it feels is that it is akin to vertigo...I seem to lose my sense of balance, making me feel light-headed and confused.  It's not a nice feeling at all.

After I moved into another county and had to restart my therapy with a new therapist, my new diagnosis became Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). That fit me just as well as the Dysthymia did.  But despite the label, the fact is that I have always been depressed, and as near as I can tell, it started sometime around my being molested at age 9.


I'd like to say that's when my inability to adapt to changes in my life began...but I can't.  I only know that since 2001 I have had an awful time with changes...some more-so than others.  I can say though, that this last move that brought us back into the county that I have grown to love wasn't a difficult change for me!


So...what does that say exactly?  I'm not sure...does it mean that I am slowly healing and moving on past these things...or it was just that coming "home" to this area was extremely comforting to me?


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Church Foundation didn't Shudder

The Chapel in the Glen, Watkins Glen, NY
Today I went to church...for the first time in nearly 36 years.  My daughter has been nearly begging me for a couple of years to go and I always declined, feeling that I would be the very kind of hypocrite I despise: being a non-Christian acting like I was a Christian.  It's just wrong to pretend to be someone you are not, you know?

A little history:

I come from parents who were of two different religions:  Protestant and Catholic.  My mom felt it was necessary as I went through my childhood to know and understand both religions, so that when the time came, I could chose the religion that was right for me.  On Tuesdays, I went to a Baptist church school for an hour or so in the afternoon as a time-release from my regular schooling.  Then, on Saturdays, I went to a Catholic church school for a couple of hours in the morning.  At about age 8, I received my first communion.


After my mom died when I was 16, church became the thing of the past...part of it was confusion between what I believed and being angry at God for taking my mother and my best friend.


Over the years that followed, I decided that it was very hard for me to have faith in something that I couldn't see truly existed.  I had an even harder time reconciling issues between religion and science...they didn't (in my mind) fit together in any way.  

I admit that I am one of those who needs 'proof' of things...yet here I am, a person who believes in ghosts and paranormal activity!  And yes--I have witnessed these things...I've seen a few ghosts in my time and have been in the midst of paranormal activity, as well.

I can't call myself an atheist...as I believe in evil.  I've heard it said that if you believe in evil, then you have to believe in the God...yet I can't say that I do.

So today, when I stepped through the church doors, I feared that the church foundation would shudder...yet it didn't.  The sermon, given by Rev. Fletcher Brothers was interesting and the folks that sang various songs throughout the service were exceptional.  

Although I did go to church today, I can't say that my thinking has changed, but my knowledge did grow...and I can't say it wasn't an enjoyable morning!  8 )

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Long Haul "Home" and a Broken Toe

Despite the fact that we knew we would be moving and pretty much had a target date in mind, things did not pan out the way we'd planned.  

Our intention was to rent a Uhaul and make the move in one fell swoop, which would--in theory--save us money.  

However, when it came time to price the Uhaul...the price had gone up $100 and was something we now could not afford...since we had paid a security deposit plus rent, as well as having to pay to have the electric turned on...there was just barely enough money to do anything more than 'borrow' some vehicles and pay for the gas for those vehicles to make a single trip.  (My daughter's mother-in-law volunteered to make a second to get the remaining things.)


So--in the style of the Beverly Hillbillies--we loaded up and moved on out...2 pickups and an SUV.  What lay ahead of us was almost a 2 hour trip to our new home. For Alisha's mother-in-law and I...we were looking at a mere 8 hours road time that day...Two trips TO  the old place and two trips to the NEW place!!!  (I felt like a trucker!  LOL)

My daughter stayed behind with her loaded car just to prevent what was left--another pickup truck load--from being denied us by the landlord who we couldn't trust as far as we could throw him.


By the time that the final trip commenced, it was well after midnight by the time that we made it here to our new home.  We basically walked in the door and flopped down the box springs and mattresses, found the pillows and blankets and called it a night.


The next day, as we were going through and starting to unpack and make sense of the living room and dining room...it was in the process of taking chairs down off the table, when I dropped one on my foot, literally crushing my big toe! "OUCH!" wasn't what came out of my mouth when this happened!!!!!


So now...4 days later...and a broken toe...we are almost completely unpacked and settled.  (My daughter and I have this moving thing down to a science so that we gets done and out of the way a.s.a.p.!)  The toe feels okay...for the most part...I stopped hobbling so noticeably last night.


The upside to this move--beyond getting away from those horrid people in South Bristol, NY--is that we are back in the part of New York that we know and love.  

This area is home to me...where I feel most at peace.






Friday, June 3, 2011

Zero to Paranoia in a matter of weeks

I am having a really hard time understanding how two women who have paid their rent on time, bothered no one--with no attempts to befriend the neighbors, and who have minded their own business can be reduced to a state of paranoia over the past few weeks.

Since the whole episode happened with the trailer having (supposedly) been sold, the ordeal with the dogs that I described in my earlier post,  Evil People, dog tales and moving
my daughter and I have come to expect the unexpected, listening for unusual noises at night and been very worried that something will occur that will throw us into another tail spin and grow the anxiety and fear even more.

It's not the legality of the situation that is causing the problem...it's the "illegalities" that I am concerned with.  What I mean is that we would not put it past anyone here to do something to my daughter's car, like scratch the paint or flatten tires...just for spite.


In the past 3 weeks or so we have heard and observed people pulling into our driveway late at night...we've heard car doors slam...and cars pulling away from in front of this place.  There is no reason for anyone to be here at 10 or 11 at night...let alone 1 or 2 in the morning.

Each time we've heard 'something' we get up and look outside...even traipsing out to do a walk around the car with a flashlight to make sure that everything is still okay.  Last night was one of those nights.  And of course,  once the adrenaline starts pumping through your system, it's hard to get back to sleep.

As well, we don't have anything here really to protect ourselves...no rifles, no shotguns, or even a BB gun here.  The carving knives are all packed and about the best we could come up with as a weapon is a frying pan or a broom!  I've wanted to get a rifle...more for show than for actual protection...but my daughter doesn't believe in them...out of fear for the kids.  (As in my 7 year old grandson getting a hold of it.)  

My brother is a phone call and a good twenty minutes away...so he would be of no use in a situation.  The police departments, either the state troupers or the sheriff's are even further away...so essentially...we are on our own.  We can't even turn to the neighbors for help...they didn't want us here in the first place!

 I know we will be okay...but it's the anxiety and a bit of fear that keeps us on the edge...waiting for the unexpected...which may or may not materialize.  It's all just adding to the stress that we are already feeling.