So close, yet so far away

Timing is everything…and it looks like we were just in time–or not.

See, part of the reason for the whole house thing–the land transfer from my parents, the building, the moving–was so we could be closer to Mom to be able to help her if needed. My mom has fibromyalgia and has a tendency to overdo things (and thus be out of commission for days afterward) or to lose her balance and fall. Yesterday, the latter happened as she was on a walk. By our house. Like, right next to our driveway.

We were cleaning our apartment at the time.

It was a #fml moment to realize that at the exact moment we were getting most of the last of the stuff out of the apartment my mom needed us. Sure, my sister was with her…but she wouldn’t have had to hobble all the way across our adjoining land (on a broken left foot) to get home, and she wouldn’t have had to wait for my dad to get off work to go to the ER. Even if I had been at work, my husband could have checked on her, made her stay put, walked over and gotten her car, helped her into it, and taken her to the ER right away. Did I mention she hit her head when she fell? Yeah. That too.

She’s okay; she’s in a splint for her foot and I guess testing showed that her head was okay. But still, it was a hard reminder of why we really moved. It wasn’t just to get out of apartment life. It was to be there, extra hands if needed, for Mom.

And we weren’t. We could have been. And there are going to be times when we’re not here. We’ll be at SCA events or I’ll be at work and we won’t have the car or we’ll be at the movies or grocery shopping or whatever. But, for the most part, we’ll be here. Four acres away.

We just weren’t here yesterday. 😦

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Community spirit

It’s not seen as much in modern day: the medieval concept of community and trade. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past week or so, especially since my husband’s big reveal of his anniversary conspiracy.

In the SCA especially, this community spirit is alive and well, and trading goods and services works just as well as cash or PayPal. My husband has been trading trim and belts that he weaves for different goods and services for months, but it wasn’t until recently that I saw the enormity of what can be accomplished with fair trade.

For my anniversary gifts, some of them were obtained through volunteers to make the things, but some were obtained through trade. Chris, bless his heart, made a TON of belts and trim, both for my garments and for others to make things to go with the garments. It wasn’t just the traded goods that spurred others to make stuff; these people care. In the SCA, it’s a family.

I’ve heard the phrase “chosen family” in reference to the SCA dozens of times throughout the year I’ve been playing, but it’s only now truly hitting home how much of a family it is. There are people I barely know who stood up and said “Sure” when my husband asked for dresses (made by Lady Mariette of the Barony March of Mons Tonitrus–apron dress pending hand embroidery by Lady Illaria), or a Viking naalbinded hat (made by Willa McCafferty of the Barony of Tyr Ysgthir), or custom Viking brooches (made by Eric the Bald)…I could go on, but basically, these people were willing, some for a near stranger, to take time out of their busy lives to make something for a nice gift. It’s pretty cool. Here are just a few of the things that have been made/are being made for li’l ol’ me:

Since I’ve started the embroidery, I’ve started contributing here and there to the community aspect as well. I’ve done tiny coats-of-arms to finish the ends of belts that my husband made for gifting or largesse. I’ve done a commission piece for a kindhearted person who deserved something nice. I’m doing embroidery right now for a trade for temple rings to match the brooches shown above. Here’s a sneak peek I “stole” off of Facebook (temple rings also by Eric the Bald of the Kingdom of Atenveldt):

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How cool is that? And all I have to do is make an embroidered bag and sew some trim on it, something I’m more than willing to do for such a giving individual. It fills my heart to overflowing to see this type of community in the SCA that has, for me at least, been absent in mundane life. Even outside of SCA-related activities, our chosen family has been there for us. Recently we had nearly half a dozen SCA friends over at the new house, all sacrificing part of their Saturday to help finish some wiring on the house. They didn’t need to. They could have said “no”…instead, they came on over, some bringing their own tools and supplies, to help, for nothing more than some pizza and sodas/bottled water.

I am taking this time to extend my eternal thanks and gratitude to this chosen family, to tell them that they matter, that they’re appreciated (even if I don’t always know how to show it), that their efforts have touched me.

All in the family

Family drama: part two.

Well, my husband had a talk with my mom today about my sister, and apparently whatever got up her butt just happened to explode last week, because the stuff she’s been complaining about has been going on for five years. Yeah, pretty much since I started having to do laundry at Mom and Dad’s to save money over the apartment laundromat, I’ve been disturbing her life and turning things upside down.

The new story isn’t about how I’m treating Mom but how my visits make my sister feel. She feels uncomfortable in her own home (Mom and Dad’s home, but she lives there). She doesn’t like us coming over to do laundry whenever we please (never mind that I always ask Mom if it’s okay before I come over), I don’t hang out with my sister like I used to (except I try to ask her if she wants to do stuff and she never joins in), and I “don’t seem like I care” about her (despite the fact that she hides in her room the entire time we’re over there and I make an effort to go to her room and ask how things are going).

Keep in mind that these things have been the same for five years. Since my husband and I moved out of our friend’s house and entered apartment life. The timing is freakin’ weird though. I mean, we are roughly a month away from moving into our own home where we will have our own washer and dryer and no need to mooch off Mom and Dad (if that is indeed what she thinks is going on). A month. And she chooses now of all times to start bitching? This is going to be a nonissue soon. We’ll be able to visit without our motives being called into question. Or will we?

I’m so mentally exhausted over this. I can’t win. Just because things are going right for me for once I’m suddenly this evil bitch.

Now that I now the “real” cause of my sister’s disdain, I was hoping I’d gain some insight as to how to smooth things over. No such luck. I am still as clueless as ever. Do I even bother? Will this blow over once I’m not invading her space anymore? Should I try to go over there sometime and talk to her? For some reason I don’t think that’s too bright of an idea. She has her viewpoint on things, and skewed though it may seem to me she’s set in her mentality. This has been stewing for so long that she has warped reality to fit with this viewpoint. Five. Years.

Why didn’t she speak up sooner? Why let something like this fester, and why bring it to the surface when the offending behavior is about to subside?

This house can’t be finished soon enough. Now I have to find someplace else to do my laundry for the next month. Don’t want to make my sister feel uncomfortable in her own home. Or something.

So done.

Stranger in a familiar land

I’ll be the first to admit: I don’t go over to my parents’ house as often as I should. Once a week for laundry and watching Project Runway and maybe dinner if we can swing it. I mean, we’re moving in right next door, so we’ll theoretically be there more often soon, right?

Well, maybe not. Apparently, visiting Mom whenever I get the chance and trying to get her to go to the doctor when she’s been sick for over a week and not going along to the dog training classes for her new service puppy qualifies as being “disrespectful” according to my little sister’s out-of-the-blue texts this afternoon. No warning, no prior complaints of lack of respect from her, but now it appears I’ve been treating Mom so poorly that sis “can’t watch” much longer. What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Never mind that our brother is in a constant state of getting himself arrested, lying to Moms face, bringing unsavory individuals into Mom’s home…I could go on, but that’s a blog for another day. Suffice it to say, I’ve suddenly been blacklisted in my parents’ house and I have no idea where this is coming from.

My sister has made her…distaste, let’s say…for my husband known for quite some time. She doesn’t like him yelling at the dog who jumps up on him and chews on his arm, and rather than be rational about it, she blows up. He doesn’t hit the dog, doesn’t make sudden angry movements. He yelled. And when he was instructed not to yell anymore, he stopped. But I guess not praising the dog when he didn’t know that praising was part of the training is “disrespectful.” We’re supposed to know the rules even though we didn’t even know the new training was going on until last Friday. And the few rules we were taught on Friday, we followed. But no, we are apparently not treating Mom right by not knowing how to train the dog.

There’s gotta be something else going on, something underlying. The dog training thing can’t seriously be the straw that broke the camel’s back unless there was a fucking crapton of straw piled up. If our brother can be the Grand Poo-bah of Fuckups that he is without repercussions or consequences, there has to be something that I’m missing.

I’m just too pissed to ask what it is without making things worse right now. I can’t be trusted to use my words in a productive manner until I’ve had a chance to calm down.

I haven’t broken the law. I haven’t brought a criminal to have dinner with Mom and the family, lied about still associating with said criminal, then gotten Mom involved in the legal ramifications of hanging out with said criminal. But I’ve been “disrespectful.”

Why the double standard? Why does our brother get away with his bullshit when I am living a responsible life and not getting Mom caught up in drama that only serves to further stress her out?

Okay, I guess I’ll go over it in this blog today. Why not? I’m venting familial frustrations, might as well go all out.

So if I were to list his transgressions here, the Web would run out of memory for it. He has been the playing the victim in his self-destructive actions for years, and he’s been pulling Mom into his insanity–both figurative and literal–for years as well. Don’t get me wrong; I love my brother, but I can’t condone or enable his actions any longer. He. Doesn’t. Learn. He just doesn’t. I don’t think he really wants to. Why bother learning from your “mistakes” when they’re 100% forgiven and forgotten? Clean slate #72. Time to fuck up again.

Me? I try to learn from my errors. I take my meds for the most part. I take responsibility when I forget or run out and I get a little “off.” I don’t go playing the blame game, sidestepping any true accountability. I have never been in trouble with the law, never gotten arrested, and the few times I ended up in the wrong crowd, I’ve extracted myself from the situation without getting my family involved in my mistakes. But no, I’m the disrespectful one.

I’ve got a stable, successful career. My first book is in the process of being published. I’m in the process of getting my own house built so I can get out of apartment life and have even more stability. I try not to impose on my parents unless I absolutely have to. If I didn’t need to do laundry there, I wouldn’t even use their house for that. I’d come over to visit and watch Project Runway and have dinner and then go back to my home and do laundry in my own washer and dryer.

Is that her issue? Does my sister think my weekly visits are 100% about the laundry? If so, she is woefully mistaken. I could easily DVR the show on my own and watch it from the comfort of my own home. I don’t have to go shopping with Mom on occasion to have some “us” time. I do these things to keep from losing all connection with the family that is growing into strangers, especially my mom. How is that disrespectful?

Maybe if I ever get over being so angry I’ll calm down enough to respectfully ask why my sister is so angry with me. She doesn’t seem to have a problem with our brother, so I don’t understand why this dog training thing suddenly resulted in a bunch of texts detailing what a horrible person I am.

I don’t want to become alienated from my family, but it’s looking like that’s the way the cards are falling. I typed up a post a few days ago about my brother and the fact that he was hospitalized last month after getting the shit beat out of him and no one in the household told me. No one. My own brother. In the hospital. With a broken orbit among other things. Not a freakin’ word. Combine that with today’s drama, and it makes the jabs about “disrespect” sting all the more. Perhaps that’s why I sound so hung up on my brother’s screw-ups. He gets himself beat to shit (likely because of associating with the criminal element I mentioned earlier), and not only does no one “respect” me enough to tell me, but they take him in and coddle him while I’m being cast out.

A River runs through

Today, our little “family” (myself, my husband, and our cat Rory) became complete with the addition of this tiny little darling:

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Meet River, Rory’s new little playmate. Yep, we’re those annoying Whovians. Get over it 😉

River’s been home now for almost two hours, and she and Rory have been cautiously ignoring each other for about an hour. There was a lot of hissing and growling on both sides when she first arrived, and they haven’t been very close to each other, but I’m optimistic that once they get used to each other they’ll get along swimmingly.

Rory has always enjoyed playing with the cats living at my parents’ house when he went over there to visit, but he’s never had a permanent “sibling” living with him. He’s been, essentially, an “only child,” which means he’s never had to share his territory. For an animal like a cat, that’s a huge adjustment to make. I think they’ll be okay though. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start getting along within a couple of days at most.

I’m happy that River feels safe enough here to doze a bit. She’s still wary enough to fight going fully into a deep sleep, but she’s doing really well. I look forward to when she and Rory start playing together and cuddling and all the things that kitties do when they’re friends.