Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blessed are the Caregivers

Had a mediocre day that turned bad. Made me feel the need to post this:

"There are only four kinds of people in this world—those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who need caregivers." Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Friday, June 5, 2009

Handling Finances

Sometimes this topic makes me feel all grown-up, sometimes it just makes me want to cry.

Before Dave's stroke, he handled the major financial decisions around. He decided that we could afford the house we have, the cars we buy, etc. I ran the business. It was a good split, since we trusted each other. Even now, we are still affording the house we have, all of it, even though Dave no longer works. The cars are paid off, with one exception. And he had the foresight 20 years ago to start paying into a long-term disability plan. All good decisions, even now.

Now - well, the one car that is not paid off is one that I ok'd the purchase of. Will it be paid off? Yes eventually. In six more years. I don't like having a loan that is that long. But that is how we are able to afford a car that can hold six cars seats and pull the business trailer in a pinch.

The pool finally gave up the ghost. I can't just let it sit there, not with all our kids running around. It needs to be fixed or filled in, both of which costs about the same, and both of which is more than what I have available on my credit cards.

We are looking at the house, and trying to figure out where four kids will sleep, even if/when my parents are out of the house for good. Some walls need to be rearranged to make this happen. Does it need to be done now? No. But, construction costs are the cheapest they have been in years, and if/when the housing market recovers, it will only go up.

But I don't like making the decisions. Dave was always the good ones at this type of decision. Shoot, I'm the one telling him that we shouldn't go see a movie until I can get discount tickets on eBay. Who am I to be looking at spending incredible amounts of money that we would have to draw from the equity on our house?

I'm putting on a good front to the contracters I need to talk to, but right now, I keep repeating to myself, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home." Thing is, when I open my eyes, I'm still in OZ.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting stretched to the max

I am really, really, feeling stretched to the max right now.

My life just seems on standstill. Not only do I manage the business, but I handle Dave's life, the four kids, and most of the interactions with his family. It has reached the point where if it is not something that affects me, I don't want to hear about it. I hate feeling rude about it, but I'm doing what I gotta do.

The most recent thing? My mother-in-law's house.

There are tenants in there. The deal is that they help box up the family belongings and make repairs, in return for living rent-free for a certain number of months. Good deal all around.

But then, the siblings started bickering over who gets what. They aren't talking to each other, at least not well. Neither sister is talking to me. The tenants keep asking me what to do next, and I just don't know what to tell them, since no matter what I do, at least one sister will decide it is the wrong thing to do. Regardless, the family can't decide as a group, what needs to be done. One of those cases of three kids, four opinions.

For as much as I like her, I am not a trustee for my MIL, I don't want to be a trustee for her, this situation is awkward all around, and I already have too much on my plate to deal with nonsense like this.

Anyhow, thanks for letting me spout off. I need to get back to my bees now. 60,000 bees per hive, each one driving towards a common goal - the survival of the hive. I can really appreciate the order they represent....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Beating my head against the wall

I so feel like I am fighting a losing battle. I should not feel like I am in a battle, or fighting, or losing....

We have decided that my hubby does better with a written list of things-to-do. I write the list, go over it with him, then get started on my day. That does not always work, but it is a good starting point.

The other day, #1 on the list was "Find me when the nanny gets here." I pointed it out to him, and made certain he understood I had a job for him once someone came around to watch the kids. At least, I thought he understood. He sent the nanny out to me. Twice. I told her (in Spanish) that Dave did not understand, I want Dave to come out for a few minutes. The nanny is a good woman, but she speaks broken English with a strong accent, and Dave has trouble talking and hearing.... Who's on First comes to mind.

Today, I asked Dave to swap car seats for me. It wasn't on the list, but he did it. It was a complicated matter, involving removing the strollers (yes, plural) so he could access Rowan's car seat for me, putting the strollers in the garage, and transferring the car seat in such a manner that Rowan would be safe. And he did all that just fine. I did not ask him to close the back end of the vehicle when he was done, so he stopped after transferring the carseat. Since it was pouring down rain, things got a bit wet...

And, like many men, he does not understand that he is not supposed to be our daughter's best friend. If she misbehaves at lunch, you do not give her popcorn and send her to her room. Talk about mixed messages! And then he wonders why she doesn't take a nap, or listens to what he has to say. He told me he was being nice to her. He is supposed to be her daddy, not her best friend. A 3-year-old will eat popcorn and candy all day if allowed. The daddy is supposed to say, "No".

So where does this leave me?

I'm the mean mommy, I guess. Dave is frustrated with the necessity of me having to write a list for him everyday, but he prefers it to no list. He is tired of realizing that there are some things he just doesn't get. Rowan acts out cause she doesn't understand the mixed messages she gets. She behaves much better for me than for Dave, but I can't have her in the office with my 24/7.

I have a friend who is into the entire domination/submissive subculture (he's a dom). I think about him periodically these days. He has a few women who live with him and he takes care of them. Sex aside, my understanding is that he does not leave them wanting for anything, as long as they do what he tells them to do. The situation seems to work for them. I can see how it would be a good relationship, if the trust really is there.

There is another guy I know in the dom/sub subculture. He wanted me to dom him, but that is another story, best told over several drinks. He was married, with kids. I asked him why he did not bring his wife into this lifestyle. His wife, he said, was his partner, not his master, and it was best to keep the two lifestyles separate.

I find myself thinking of these things recently. I take care of the bills, manage the money, figure out what we can afford to do and when to do it, find activities for the kids, direct the husband, nanny, kids, business. I am seeing myself more and more in a dom-type role. Problem is, I signed on for a partnership, and Dave is no longer a partner. He wants me to handle the money, he wants to be taken care of, he wants me to tell him what to do. I kinda feel like if this new role came with an instruction booklet, maybe I would cope better myself.

Well, what started as an obvious rant on life seems to have denigrated into a bit more insight into my personal life than I intended. Looking back on what I have read, I think I will leave it at that. Maybe someone can recommend a good book.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Maybe he is just being a guy....

I have almost decided that Dave did not have a stroke. He is just being a guy, and figured out how to get away with it.

Other people periodically ask me about Dave, and in my lower moments, I commiserate about how it gets tiring to have to remind him to flush the toilet, brush his teeth, feed the kids, go to the doctor's office. What I invariably get from everyone is, "Oh, my husband is like that, too!"

Then there are the times like today. We were at our daughter's pre-K, and they were having their Easter party, since next week is Spring Break. I asked Dave to get the camera out of the trunk of the car so we could take pictures.

"At home?"
"No, in the trunk of the car."
"In the back room at home?"
"No, in the trunk of the car."
"The car at home?"
"No, the car here. The trunk of the car here." (Gesturing towards the parking lot.)
"That car? Our car?"
"Yes. That car. In the trunk. In the back." (Gesture towards the car, then behind me as I pantomine driving the car. The kids are starting to think this is a great game.)
"Where in car."
"In the trunk. There is a basket." (I indicate a round basket with my hands, then pretend to pick it up by the handles and carry it.)
"In our car?"
"Yes. Our car. There. In the trunk. You will see it on top of the basket." (I use our sign for "look", then indicate a basket again.)

The kids are getting ready for an Easter Egg Hunt. The 3-year olds completely get the basket idea. Basket. Car. Right.

So, he goes out to the car. I can see through the window. He spends 10 minutes checking the back seat, moving papers, looking under the seat. He finally opens the trunk, immediately sees the camera, and comes back inside.

I don't want to hear how your husband is "just like that".

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Misstatements and Children

Dave has been practicing some of his harder-to-say words again, and I just had to record them here for posterity. It really is interesting what comes out sometimes.

For instance, there was the one time he wanted to tell one of the girls that works for me that she was pretty. So, he called her a whore. Luckily for me, she understood and took it in good grace.

Dave invariably used to refer to our daughter Rowan as He and Him. I finally broke him of that habit. Unfortunately, he now refers to our identical boys as Her and She. I keep telling him that he had better correct that before they get to school age, or else they will get beaten up the first time he picks them up at the playyard. He nods his head in understanding, closes his eyes, thinks really hard and gets the right words out. I wish he would try that hard the first time.

When we were younger, we used to kid with each other. "You're silly!" I would exclaim. "No, I'm not, I'm affectionate!" he would reply. Now it comes out as, "I'm infectious!" I keep telling him that he may be that too. He has not been able to get that word correct yet, despite hard practice.

It was a bad day when he tried to help my parents by taking their clothes upstairs for them after they were done in the wash. "I've taken the trash upstairs for you." Yep, bad day indeed.

This evening, I had to look twice when he looked at one of the babies and said, "You can't eat that, you need teats!" I then had him practice making the "th" sound. "TeeTH, teeTH!" I would say. That is remarkably hard for him, and he can pronounce it correctly after multiple tries, but it doesn't seem to stick.

'Course, I have to wonder about how his speech affects the kids. Rowan does not enunciate as well as other kids, and has trouble being understood. I have to wonder how much Dave has influenced her speech patterns. Rowan is also old enough to start correcting Daddy. If she asks for milk, and he says water, she says, "No Daddy, Milk! Milk!" It saddens me that she has to correct her father so often at her young age. She is only three, after all.

Still, none of us are perfect. My father was talking to me this evening, and repeatedly called my daughter by my sister's name, Jeannie. Rowan does look a lot like my sister when she was about the same age, but as I pointed out to Dad, one of them was bound to be annoyed if he said that to their face. So he took to calling them "the taller one" and "the shorter one".