Monday, December 17, 2007

Friendship is Friendship, But Accounts Must be Kept

Ah, friends and money! The stuff that nightmares are made of. It seems that no matter how hard you try, the "friends and money" thing always pops up. Let's review, shall we?

Our attitude towards money is simple... "Sometimes ya got, and sometimes ya don't" We're luckier than a lot of people, we "got" more often than we "don't". We live in a nice home in a nice area, we have one "nice" vehicle and one "all-purpose" vehicle, we travel when we can and we give what we're able. We try to be honest with money. While our finances aren't dinner table fodder, if you ask, we will more than likely answer your question (broadly, rather than specifically). Money is such a large issue in so many peoples lives, I (we) believe that honesty and forthrightness on the subject is a way to leave it in the background. Acknowledge the subject and move on. When it comes right down to it, having a few bucks is nice, but the universe is really not impressed. The universe is more interested in you, not your wallet, and, no matter what you have, someone out there has 10 times more (unless you're Bill Gates....). So, it's not hard to imagine that when the "money demon" arises from the depths of hell, we're a little surprised...

It all started several years ago, slowly, at first. Our friends (let's call them X and Y shall we?) went on an inexpensive vacation with us. They were slow to pay their share of the cabin we all shared. Eight months later (I said they were slow) I asked Himself to broach the subject with Y. Perhaps they needed our help, and I'd hate for us to be those people that stick their head in the sand when things get tough. Y was apologetic with Himself, however, X called me later on to inform me that all Y did was yell at her when all she'd done was forgotten to write a check. Oops!

Then there were the tickets to a fairly expensive show. We asked them, before we ordered the tickets, whether they wanted to go, and told them the price. They accepted, enjoyed the show, and took three months to pay for the tickets. I said nothing during the three months, X is seriously sensitive, and there was no way I was going to be responsible for another X versus Y conundrum.

Vacation cabin this past fall?? They paid their share of the cabin before we left. But, then there was the "supply" run. You know, that trip for groceries, lunch goodies, snacks and the like? Um? Yeah....they paid for the mustard. And we will not even discuss the living situation. Suffice it to say we've booked separate cabins for our next adventure.

Our most recent issue? Hard to find tickets for a popular comedian. Not expensive, really, just seriously hard to come by. I score the tickets, five of them, Himself, myself, X, Y, and their friend Z. Everyone is pleased. The comedy club has a minimum (most of them around here do) so cocktails and snacks are ordered by all. The bill arrives toward the end of the show, X takes it, puts in some money, and hands the bill to me. I check the total, count whats in the folder and I tell Himself a flat dollar amount to put in. I was hoping Himself wouldn't look, because some serious shortage had taken place. Suffice it to say, we paid for half the bill and all of the tip. And, he looked. As soon as the house lights went up, Himself wished everyone a Merry Xmas and excused himself to go get the car, leaving me alone....with our friends.....and the giant gorilla in the room. Gah! Z ponies up his ticket money on the spot. X looks at me and says "Well, if you need it I can give you the cash now, or I'll just write you a check after the holidays" Now just what am I supposed to say to that? If I say I want the cash, I'll feel like I'm taking their last dime. If I agree to the check thing, I'm just giving the gorilla a banana. I go with the banana. The devil you know rather than the devil you don't.

So here we are. Himself is mad, I'm sad, and we are kind of avoiding our otherwise wonderful friends. Oh, and did I mention I'm also sitting on more tickets, for another expensive show, which Y told us to get? Yeah, there's that....

I have to admit, I have no clue how to solve this, or even how to broach the subject. The feeling that one is being taken advantage of is a hard feeling to shake. We try to look at it from different angles, try and talk ourselves into believing that we are better people for being generous, but it's forced generosity and no matter how we look at it, we resent it. Then there's the sadness that comes from realizing that your friendship is not all that you believed it was. (or is it?) Then there's the whole guilt thing, because, really, we should be better people... I don't like to tally up anything, but there is a balance that exists among friends, and the older I get the more I'm convinced that it needs to be maintained. The big questions is, how do you fix what's out of balance????

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.....

I'm thinking of breaking up with adulthood. Yes, adulthood and I have invested a lot in our relationship, but lately I'm just feeling less than fufilled with the whole grown-up thing. Maybe it's time for us to take a break, see other life stages, experience more things. Perhaps a few dates with Childhood and its unbridled joy and creativity might put me right. Even Adolescence is looking fairly attractive these days, with its narcissistic, all consuming angst, along with the wild highs and lows. Although the Golden Years have been flirting with me, I just don't feel the whole settled and sage thing. Sorry Golden Years, maybe another time.......

Alrighty then, that's enough of the personal reflection stuff. On to more entertaining and informative stuff. Along with the mundane and the boring. No one will be able to say that I'm not well rounded.

The quest to return Flipper & friends to the desert southwest continues on. So far both the weather and the airlines are less than cooperative. The airlines refuse to handle the friends if the temperature is below 20 degrees. And the weather can't decide if it's going to be less than 20 degrees. Flipper can't decide whether or not he wants to change his flight, and the airlines can't decide how many seats they actually have. We're at T-minus 3 days and counting to the original departure and T-minus 7 days to the last chance departure. If we end up at last chance departure, it means that Himself, Myself, Flipper and friends are spending 24 hours of family "togetherness" in the shiny new van that looked really large, until I pictured it loaded with boxes, golf clubs, friends and full-size people. Suddenly, it doesn't look so large....... Oh, and did I mention that every state between here and there is under snow, ice, a weather alert, or a state of emergency??!!?? That should make for a fabulous family trip...

Speaking of Flipper, his new-found sharing skills are sort of freaking me out. After years of not dealing with anything emotional, after years of not saying anything, he seems to have been beaten by the Dr. Phil stick. He actually called me yesterday to inform me about gifts that he was giving. Along with the gift inventory, he also wanted to make sure that I wasn't hurt or offended by the recipients or the size of the gifts. Huh?!? I suspect that the life changes he (and I) have experienced in the last few years have changed his perspective somewhat. And while I'm grateful for the change in his perspective, I won't say that it doesn't freak me out, just a little bit. One day I'll get around to telling the whole story, but for right now, trust me, it's a HUGE change.

My organizational skills and my OCD have been taking a beating the last few days. I've gotten up every morning with a plan, but somehow, someway, the plan is derailed, and the things that need to be done, just aren't getting there. I think I'm going to ground myself for today, and get done those things that just can't wait any longer (which in my head is everything). There are rooms to be cleaned, laundry, ironing, gifts to be wrapped and mailed, (or FedEx'd since I've waited so long), prescriptions to be refilled, and a whole bunch of personal care stuff.... Ugh!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree....

So, we put a Xmas tree up this year. For the first time in five years or so, we actually broke out the ornaments and covered a regular size tree. Since we're normally not home at Christmas time, we've been sneaking by for the past few years with the tabletop stick tree, or the wonderfully trashy fiber optic tinsel trees. This year, for some reason, I really wanted to put up a full size grown-up tree. I'm thinking that this will be simple, after all I purchased a beautiful pre-lit tree at a store closing sale. Just unbox that bad boy and plug 'er in......right????

Himself may disagree with me. I sent him to the crawlspace no less than twenty times. I sent myself to the local drugstore twice. I sent the poorly behaved beasts out of the room no less than a hundred times. The tree had balance issues, and the cord for the light up topper was too short for connection and I ended up dissecting a Christmas tablecloth for use as a tree skirt. My two hour project morphed into six hours, and a good chunk of my living room furniture had to be rearranged. Then came the sorting of the ornaments. The idea that next Christmas may involve a small child means that the ornaments need to be sorted into breakable and unbreakable boxes. As I dropped some shiny red ball ornaments into the breakable pile, Himself snatched one up, tapped on it a few times and announced that it was unbreakable. I truly wasn't sure and I told him so. He decided to demonstrate the unbreakability of said ornament by squeezing it tightly. As the words "I guess you're right" began to leave my lips... the shiny red ball exploded in his hand..... at which point I sent him downstairs for the twenty-first time to retrieve the vacuum.

Did I mention we won't be in town this year either?????

Thursday, December 06, 2007


  • The CCAA has finished referrals up to December 14, 2006. That means that friends K & P will finally see their wildest dream come true! Congratulations you guys! It also means that we're roughly 4 months out from our own bit of wildness...
  • Dubya is unveiling his plan to help homeowners with sub prime loans. Theoretically, this seems like a good idea, but, as the homeowner who played by the rules, I must say I'm a wee bit offended. I understand that home ownership is the American dream, but the idea that everyone in this country is entitled to own a home is a bit silly. The very nature of capitalism makes the idea impossible. So now, we'll have an entire group of people who couldn't afford the home they bought, gaining equity (albeit at a pretty slow rate) for five years while paying ridiculously low interest rates. Meanwhile, those of us who behaved responsibly with our purchase will see our equity growth slow or even stop. Further proof that there is no reward for responsibility in this country.
  • Speaking of homes, it is currently a whopping 7 degrees outside mine. The odds of me leaving the house?? Pretty slim..
  • The Spinner is having a bout of cabin fever. This involves him launching his furry 37 pounds at me and then using me for a chew toy. I hit the pet store the other day for one of those "keep your pet amused" toys. I came home with something called a "molecule" and it was a big hit. For a day. And then in disappeared into the depths of the snow in the backyard. Odds of me digging through the snow to find it? Slim to none. Odds of me hitting up the pet store for 3 more of the dang things? Pretty good...
  • Apparently, Costco's chicken salad is a dieting aid. After a nice helping several evenings ago, I found myself snoozing on the bathroom floor in between bouts of the "whoopsies". My stomach is now angry and suspicious of anything that it's introduced to. Hopefully this will be good for five pounds or so.
And so ends this morning's musings. I am out of ideas and coffee. Stay warm ya'll!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Morals, Ethics, and Adoption.......

I don't discuss the adoption thing much, it's like one of those computer programs that runs behind the scenes while I do something else. It has it's own life, it is out of my control, and I'll deal with it when/if it ever comes to pass. Or whenever I reach that magic deadline in my head (that's a story for another day).

Today's story, boys and girls, involves international adoption and the lengths that folks will go to get their own way. And the inevitable question....Should they?

I have lived with, or been married to Himself for close to ten years. In that time, my BIL has been diagnosed with "teh crazy". I cannot remember a time when he didn't have "teh crazy" and I can't remember a time when my BIL and "teh crazy" did not consume my SIL's life. My BIL is a bright man, but "teh crazy" has altered his life and put a tremendous burden on my SIL. Sometimes the anti-crazy meds worked, sometimes they didn't. Sometimes the BIL was well enough to work, sometimes he wasn't. My SIL was forced to be the grown-up, and to her credit, she handled many of life's trials and tribulations on her own.

In addition to dealing with "teh crazy" my SIL also dealt with infertility. Lots of infertility. And the all-consuming need to breed. Convinced that her life would be incomplete without a child, she endured countless procedures and countless disappointments. When it became somewhat apparent that birthing a child wasn't in the cards for her, she turned to alternative means. First came the foster system, and the foster system in her state said "Sorry, can't help you, your DH has "teh crazy". Then came the domestic adoption thing. And both the agencies and prospective mothers said "Sorry, can't help you, your DH has "teh crazy". Then, it was the international community. Several countries (including china) told her "Sorry, can't help you, your DH has "teh crazy".

Sometime during all of this, my SIL disappeared from our lives. Right after my MIL passed away several years ago, my SIL pulled a Garbo and announced that "she vanted to be alone". We didn't hear from her for three years. I think we received a Xmas card during that time, but that was about it. Phone calls went unreturned, and certainly our phone never rang. In the beginning I was somewhat supportive, then, as time went on, I decided that "teh crazy" was a sexually transmitted disease and she caught it.

Several weeks ago, our phone rang. It is the SIL with the announcement that she had just brought her son home from a Central American country and that she wanted to tell us before anyone else in the family did. WTF??? Along with the announcement came the request that we meet her at the airport during her layover (from visiting other relatives about an hour away) to meet our new nephew. Himself graciously accepted. As for me, I passed. I have trouble playing "nice" anyway, and my lack of verbal self-control would certainly put a damper on the situation. I also have an issue with the fact that she has not wanted anything to do with me or her brother for the last three years. We have walked the trials and tribulations of life alone, without any family. If she wants to be gone, she may stay gone. Life is too short to slap on the fake smile for people who don't give a damn whether you live or die. But enough about my issues....moving on....

Apparently, the meeting went well enough. However, during the conversation, Himself discovered that SIL had finally found a doctor that said BIL did not actually have "teh crazy" he was just prone to depression. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the diagnosis that was put into the dossier. After ten years or more of having "teh crazy", suddenly my BIL was cured and isn't crazy after all.

I have no doubt that my BIL still has "teh crazy". It is my belief (and Himself's) that SIL shopped around until she could find a doctor that was willing to tell her what she wanted to hear (and commit it to paper). So here we are. Almost three years into waiting, after playing by the rules, after never being diagnosed with "teh crazy" (although I have often been suspected...LOL) and the cheater comes up with a child. And here lies the moral and ethical questions....

1) Is cheating justified? If you want something so badly that you're willing to toss the rules in the toilet, is it something that you should have?
2) If you've cheated, do you really have the child's best interest at heart?
3) And what of the agency who seemed to have conveniently ignored 10 years worth of diagnosis? Are they merely trafficking in children? And do they have the child's best interest at heart?
4) Is a child put into this situation actually better off?

I want to be happy for all concerned here, but I'm having difficulty. Moons ago, I was vilified for alluding to the fact that all we are doing by adopting internationally is buying a child. This blip on the screen has done nothing to change my mind. I can't imagine that somewhere out there, there wasn't a family who was better suited to raising this child.....perhaps their check didn't clear....

Monday, November 26, 2007

So, really, I'm not crazy...

Well, not certifiably crazy, just kind of crazy....

The holidaze have arrived, in all of their glory, and I'm looking forward to January. Living near a mall is darn nice 11 months out of the year, but right now? Not so much... So, for the non-locals who are descending on my part of town, some rules designed to keep you safe from me and the loss of impulse control i occasionally suffer from.

1) There is no need to cut me off. I'm not after your "parents with children" parking space. I'm after the half and half at the local grocery store. Trust me, me having my coffee keeps you a whole lot safer.

2) Neighborhood shortcuts are for people who live in the neighborhood. Feel free NOT to come zooming through my neighborhood in a desperate attempt to avoid the traffic. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to flatten your tires without breaking a sweat.

3) There are grocery stores in your neighborhood too. Please feel free to stop there instead of clogging up the one grocery store that you can see from the mall.

4) Please do not slam on your brakes in the middle of the street. I know you don't know where you're going, but I do know where I'm going, and I'd like to get there in one piece. Might I suggest asking Santa for a nice GPS system???

5) There are a dozen different entrances to the mall. Pick one, any one, it doesn't matter. If you make nothing but right turns after you enter the mall, you will reach your destination.....

And if you happen to see me on the street....get the hell out of my way!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So today, I'll be ranting on the political...

For those who are even interested, I'm a conservative. Not one of those far right, bible thumping Christian conservatives, just a conservative.

I responded to another bloggers post about her feelings on supporting the troops while not supporting the war. I've since discovered that being a conservative will not get you any party invitations anytime soon.

My first complaint is the lack of information that quite a few people are using to form their opinions. Not a questioning soul among them. The TV told them so it must be true. And since when did Bill Maher and Michael Moore become quotable sources??

I'm hugely disappointed in the lack of understanding of broad issues. We seem to have raised a generation of folks who can only see that which is directly in front of them. War in Iraq? Troops being killed? ABORT! ABORT!

Yes there are troops being killed, and it's tragic. There are also Iraqi's being killed and that's just as tragic. There's also the small matter of the United States needing what that region contains....oil.... and if someone thinks that bailing now is a good idea, they had better bust open their piggy bank for gas money next week. Or perhaps they'll just go green....ditch the Jeep, heat the house with peat, and watch the fruit of their loins walk to school uphill both ways in the snow. Next of course, comes the less than popular idea that a destabilized Iraq could lead to a destablized Middle East period. Hmmm what's Arabic for $200 a barrel??

I'm also disappointed in the lack of understanding of Arab/Muslim culture. The fact that much of the Middle East, while divided into countries, is united in a singular religion. That religion not only provides guidance on the spiritual, but also provides guidance on the social and political. And we (Americans) are not real high on the list to get into their heaven, or any heaven for that matter.

I'm tired of the idea that Osama is the only fella out there intent on destroying the US. Osama may be the most recognizable, but he's certainly not the only one. But, the US must destroy Osama, then we will be safe, then the threat will be over.....really?? Ya think so?? Or do we just make the most recognizable hater into the most recognizable martyr. That'll make us more secure.

I'm tired of Americans. I'm not tired of America, she continues to grow and evolve. But I will admit I'm darn sick of Americans in general and I am one. How did it happen? When did our populace change from "inquiring" minds to "enquiring" minds. When did the "sheeple" outbreak happen?

The funniest thing to me is that the ones making the most noise are the ones who have suffered the least. They are the younger ones, the ones who's parents gave them every opportunity.... The ones who coined and defined the term "slacker".

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

So, I'm starting again. I'm a lucky individual, I get to start again. It's nice to know that life comes with a re-start.

Today I'm thinking about a few things.....

  • The fifty people that will arrive at my house on Sunday. Umm, yeah. There's a tent, caterers, balloons, and oh yeah.....I'm not nearly prepared for it.
  • The four inches of water that was in Flipper's basement. And the #%$@^ insurance adjuster who just seems to be taking his time. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the ceiling tiles are warping along with the walls because of the humidity. Hellloooo soggy carpeting!!
  • The ancient spastic lab of mine who is now beginning to tip over for no apparent reason. My time with him is limited and its killing me.
  • The thumb that I so thoughtfully crushed in the car door last week. Still hurts and damn inconvenient. Why must I always damage the dominant hand??
  • The leak that keeps re-appearing in my family room ceiling.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

So, I'm an avid blog reader......yes.... I'll admit it.... my name is Nyt and I'm an addict. So now, maybe, I'll work one of my own, let it all out, amuse, entertain....

Today I read a nice piece about infertility, adoption and the judgments that go with both. I'm a grown-up adoptee and I'm in the process of adopting. Not too hard to figure out which side of the whole infertility fence I'm standing on. Anyhow, the nice lady at this blog and many of those that left comments seem to view adoption as a very, very, last resort. Hmmmm... Then there's the comments about the money...Waaahhhh it costs soooo much money!!!! Um.... no.... and um, no.

I'm all for doing whatever makes you happy, really I am, but I can't help but wonder...

I was not struck by the "Imustcarryachild" lightening bolt. I was hit by the "Imustbeamother" one. Maybe because I am an adopted child, the whole biology thingy is lost on me. I respect it, I just don't get it. I try not to be judgmental, really I do, but I have to ask....What is most important here, being a parent or making sure your genes are in the pool? I'm struck by these wonderful romantic comments that these women make, "I want to make two halfs into a whole person." "I want the image of the man I love". Tell me that again when the image is the man you love standing naked scratching his balls.
Seriously though, what it most important? Does it vary from person to person, or is there some divine finite answer that just hasn't been revealed? And why is it a last resort? And if it is your last resort, should you even be allowed to adopt at all? And if you are that last resort person, what to you tell your child about how he/she came to be your child? "Well John/Jane your father and I reached the end of our list and there you were?
Then there's the cost argument. I wonder if any of those people are actually looking at the bills that are sent to the insurance company. After all, we're all paying for their decision to try to have a child of their "own". Oh yeah, and we're paying for the children who aren't being adopted through social programs..... oh and the other one is paying for our choice. Just us...