Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A grieving father sues his estranged wife for wrongful death...

Several months ago, I blogged about an article I read that stemmed from a writer's assertion that military spouses should have to undergo mental health screenings.  The writer based her opinion on the fact that Julie Scheneker, wife of an Army colonel, had killed their two children in a murderous rage.

For the record, as a military wife, I still bristle at the thought of having to submit to a mandatory mental health screening, especially if it's at the hands of the U.S. military.  However, since the Scheneker clan had been out of the news, I decided to look them up on the Web and see what was happening with their case.  I found this article, which reports that Colonel Scheneker has filed for divorce and is suing his soon to be ex wife for the wrongful deaths of their kids, Calyx and Beau.

Mrs. Scheneker is counter-suing, asking for alimony, her diamond engagement ring, and $40,000 to pay her lawyer.

Upon reading this article, I had two thoughts.  First of all, I think Julie Scheneker has a hell of a lot of nerve asking for money.  She's in the situation she's in because she killed her kids.  Granted, she might very well be suffering from a mental illness, but it seems to me that someone who's crazy doesn't think about asking for thousands of dollars to pay a lawyer or alimony payments.  Moreover, she supposedly decided to buy a gun, then came back after the mandatory two day waiting period and picked it up.  Not long after her purchase, her kids were dead at her hands.  Seems pretty clear to me that the killings were premeditated.  It's not Colonel Scheneker's fault the children died.  He was in Qatar when his kids were killed.  His wife is responsible for their deaths, whether or not she was mentally ill at the time.

The second thought I had was that I don't understand why the good colonel is suing.  OJ Simpson was sued for wrongful death after a jury acquitted him of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.  He lost the wrongful death suit, but the punishment was mostly monetary.  Does Julie Scheneker have the financial resources to pay Colonel Scheneker if he wins his suit?  What will he gain from winning?

A dying toad...

My husband and I live in an area where there are a number of critters.  There aren't quite as many critters here as there were at our old house, but we do get regular visits from rabbits, birds, turtles, and toads.  Last week, my beagle, Zane, made the mistake of trying to eat a little red toad.  He got a squirt of something nasty and a foamy mouth for his effort.

This morning, I took Zane and MacGregor out for their morning constitutionals.  Suddenly, Zane, my frisky young'un, jumped backwards a couple of feet.  It seemed he'd found a toad that was struggling to move.  I'm not quite sure what happened to it.  Maybe someone stepped on it or drove over it, but the little toad was suffering.

I felt kind of sorry for the little creature, but I knew there was nothing I could do for it.  A little while later, I came back outside and the toad was near death.  I picked it up and put it out in the woods, where I hope it will rest in peace.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Extremely lame Extreme Home Makeover...

So last night, I watched Extreme Home Makeover.  The family who got the home makeover really did need a new home.  They lived in a dilapidated trailer that was falling apart.  But, as anyone who has watched Extreme Home Makeover knows, the families who get blessed with a new home have to be community minded folks who have "paid it forward" so to speak.  Last night's family consisted of a married couple and their 12 year old daughter, Katrina.  There used to be another daughter, 17 year old Alex, but Alex died in a car accident.

It would be tragic for any family to lose a child to a car accident.  And Alex's death was especially sad, since she was a strikingly beautiful young woman who had a bright future ahead of her.  In the course of the show, Alex's parents showed everyone how their deceased daughter used to leave touching notes all over the house.  There was even a note written in dust on the window in Alex's mobile home bedroom.  Indeed, it seems that Alex was a caring, loving, exceptionally lovely child who was destined to go far in life except for the fact that she was killed at such a young age.

Unfortunately, as wonderful a person Alex Brown apparently was, she was entirely responsible for her early demise.  The reason Alex Brown died is because she chose to text while driving.  Further complicating matters, Alex was not wearing a seatbelt when she had her wreck. In the course of sending what must have been a very important text message, Alex had a collision and was ejected from her car.  She died of massive injuries... totally preventable injuries, I might add.

So... Alex's family decided to do something with their loss and started a campaign to educate high school students about the dangers of texting while driving and driving without a seatbelt.  They sent an application to Extreme Home Makeover and were awarded the grand prize, a brand new home.  They were sent to New York City while locals in their town helped build their new home.  Meanwhile, the show was a combination PSA against texting and driving while unrestrained and promoting Justin Bieber's and Emma Roberts' careers.

I think it's great that these people are trying to make some good come out of losing their daughter/sister.  However, toward the end of the program, I noticed that the people involved with this home makeover seemed to be trying to make some kind of saint out of Alex Brown.  No doubt she was a wonderful girl.  No doubt that teens need to be reminded to be safe.  No doubt it's very sad that she died.  But she died doing something really dumb... something that could have had tragic consequences for many more people.

Maybe I'm being a buzzkill for bringing up the obvious.  I don't think Alex Brown is a heroine.  I think her death was tragic and it was a very lucky thing that she was the only one who ended up dying in her accident.  But Extreme Home Makeover came very close to making her out to be a martyr. Alex Brown is not a martyr.  At 17 years old, she should have known better... certainly about wearing a seatbelt.  Wasn't she raised in the enlightened age of car seats, booster seats, and seatbelt laws?  And I want to know, who paid for her cellphone?  If the family's home was in such poor shape, why did Alex have a car and a cellphone?

Alex Brown could have easily been a villain instead of a quasi-martyr had the circumstances been just slightly different.   The one blessing of her accident is that it happened on a quiet country road and only involved her and the car she was driving.  What if she'd been on a busy highway or an interstate?  What if she'd been driving in a school zone?

I wonder if these parents would have felt the same need to turn their daughter's death into a cause if she had ended up killing a young family along with herself.  That accident could have killed or injured several people, not to mention caused serious damage to other peoples' vehicles and livelihoods.  A multi-car pile up on the interstate would have done more than killed and injured people, it would have had a ripple effect on the community by way of lost wages and lowered productivity.  After all, people who are hurt or killed in car accidents don't tend to have the best attendance records at work.  If she had lost control of her car and crashed it into a building, she no doubt would have created work for building contractors, but imagine how such an event would have affected the people who were living or working there.

I also wonder if Alex Brown hadn't been such a beautiful, popular girl, would she have made an effective poster child for the "no texting while driving" movement?  What if she had been a fat, ugly, unpopular girl who died while texting and driving?  Of course, an unpopular girl probably wouldn't have been texting and driving...  Unpopular and unattractive girls tend to be outcasts with few friends.

Some people might say Alex Brown could have qualified for a Darwin Award instead of an Extreme Home Makeover.  Nevertheless, as the show was ending, I couldn't help thinking how pricey the family's new "free" home was.  As the Brown family walked into their beautiful new home, I turned to my husband and quipped, "That house was very expensive.  It cost them their daughter's life."

Now... the Brown family seems like a very nice family.  I know they can't help how Extreme Home Makeover portrays them.  I admire the fact that they are trying to do some good after living through a tragic situation.  And just so no one thinks I'm totally heartless, I want to help get the word out.  Remember kids... cars are potentially lethal weapons, not just for you, but for everyone else on the road.  Please wear a seatbelt and don't text and drive.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Banning the word "retard"...

It's funny how language changes.  I was born in the early 1970s, which means I'm old enough to have seen the English language change a lot.  When I was a little kid growing up in the South, it wasn't uncommon to hear the word "nigger" directed at black people.  Shoot, I even heard it on television, watching The Jeffersons.  On the other hand, I didn't hear words like "ass", "bitch", or "shit" on television.  Nowadays, I never hear "nigger" anymore.  Instead, people refer to it as the "n-word".  I do, however, hear those other words uttered on television that used to be very taboo.

The other day, I was watching Glee and happened to catch Jane Lynch's and Lauren Potter's PSA about banning the word "retard".  They liken it to the hurtful minority slurs that have since been made taboo and ask us to alter our language so that we don't hurt other people's feelings.  There's even a Web site about this.

Well... this may be terribly politically incorrect of me, but I have an issue with people who presume to tell me what words I can or cannot say.   There is nothing wrong with the word "retard".  There is nothing inherently wrong with any word.  As George Carlin used to say, "the words are innocent".  It's the intention behind the words that we should really be concerned about.  

The only reason words become good or bad is because someone gives them that power.  The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote that pretty much sums up my feelings about this issue...

Take, for instance, the word "fag". According to Dictionary.com, the word "fag" has several meanings. One meaning of fag is to tire or weary by labor. Another meaning is nautical in origin, referring to fraying or unlayering the end of a rope. Fag is also a slang term for a cigarette. It's not until further down the list that the reader first encounters the potentially offensive meaning of fag, as a shortened version of the word faggot. Aha! But look up the word faggot, and the first definition you'll come across is an alternative spelling of the word fagot, which means a bundle of sticks. The second definition is the potentially offensive term for a male homosexual. The word fag has several meanings, some of them neutral, a couple of them potentially positive, and only one of them potentially offensive. If only one meaning for the word fag is offensive, why should we ban use of the word altogether?

The word "retard" has five definitions. Four out of five of those definitions are neutral. The fourth definition is the slang one, which can be used in a disparaging, hurtful way. But the word started out innocuously enough. It used to be a neutral, official term used to describe people who, for whatever reason, had less than average intelligence. Over the years, the word became a slur, reflecting society's negative attitudes about the condition. Later, some genius decided to substitute the word "special" for "retarded". And suddenly, we had "special education" and "special schools". Look up the word "special", though, and you find that it has at least ten definitions, many of which are positive. Is it a good thing to have less than average intelligence? I guess it depends on your viewpoint. However, even the word "special" has taken on sort of a negative connotation. No one wants to be told that they need "special education", for instance.

It seems to me that it doesn't matter what words one uses to describe a negative condition. Eventually, it will turn into a slur. But the word itself is neutral. It's the intention behind the word that makes it good or bad. And that's what I think we should pay more attention to... not the word, but the attitude that makes people use it in a disparaging way. It doesn't help to try to change language or ban words. What helps is to educate people and encourage them to think before they speak. Because history has shown us that changing words, adding syllables, and coming up with new terms doesn't change the unpleasant condition behind the words. A person who is mentally retarded will still be mentally retarded if we start referring to them as "special", except now we have yet another slur that mean people can add to their verbal arsenal.

Anyway, I can see why Jane Lynch and Lauren Potter don't like to hear the word "retard" used in a disparaging way. I think their efforts would be better served by trying to change attitudes, not by burying language. To their credit, I do think changing attitudes is what they're really trying to do... But, I don't think changing the term for mental retardation to intellectually disabled is going to make the condition any less painful...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An odd obsession with the Osmonds...

So... a few days ago, I blogged about Donny and Marie Osmond's weird interview on Joy Behar.  Since then, my blog hits have exploded.  I have gotten a shitload of queries, most of which were for that interview.  A couple of people searched for "Donny was an asshole on Joy Behar".  I have to laugh at that because I quite agree.

Anyway, because I love tacky, kitschy, campy, crappy television from the 1970s and 80s, I started searched YouTube for old Osmond specials.  I found quite a few old gems from the past.  However, while the Osmonds are always kind of fun to watch for the wrong reasons, I think I got the biggest kick out of this video from their Christmas special in 1978...

In this video, all of the Osmond brothers' wives circa 1978 join together in sweatshirts with their husbands' names on them to sing a little ditty.  I guess that was their way of earning their keep as entertainers.  I'm not quite sure what the song and dance had to do with Christmas, but it was oddly entertaining nonetheless.

The wives' performance is followed by a very faked performance of "Dance To The Music" by the "Osmond Family Band".  I have no doubt that the Osmonds are musically talented and some of them can probably actually play those instruments, but it's pretty obvious to me that this number is all an act.  Seems to me that this performance is actually kind of like Mormonism itself.  It looks good on the surface, but watch closely and you start to see some cracks in what initially looks perfect.

Here's another fun performance by the whole family.  Everybody looks pretty well trained, though a few of the wives look like they aren't too interested in lip synching.

And this one really takes the cake...  It kind of reminds me of the Underoos commercials of my youth...

A load on my mind...

This has not been the best week.  It started with the crappy Mother's Day phone call, followed by my run in with the "voice of reason".  Then I got a visit from Aunt Flow, which has made me feel icky.  There are some things I could do around the house today and maybe I'll get to them eventually.  I guess I feel kind of guilty.  Watching your parents get old and decrepit is painful.

I have a lot of complicated feelings about both of my parents.  I do love them and I do feel a sense of duty toward them, I guess.  I don't always like my parents, though... especially my dad.  Maybe now is not the best time to dwell on the past, but it always seems to come up anyway.  I suppose the only way to avoid the angst is either to stay away and be thought of as negligent or show up and keep my mouth shut.

My mom asked me a question-- "Was there a reason I didn't want to visit my dad?" and I answered her somewhat honestly.  I'm not exactly sure what she was expecting me to say.  Would she have preferred it if I lied to her?  I don't think I would have been very convincing.  I can hear it now...

"Is there some reason you don't want to see your dad?"

"Oh... of course I want to see him.  He's an even more brilliant conversationalist since the dementia set in."  Saying something like that just didn't seem appropriate.  I guess the old advice about not asking questions you don't want to hear the answers to applies here.

It was a strange question to be asked in the first place, especially given the fact that I had called my mom to wish her a Happy Mother's Day.  I was in a good mood when I made the phone call and was feeling pretty attacked and angry by the time I hung up.  I sure didn't feel like getting in the car and visiting my parents.

I started to think about the times my parents made me feel less than loved and accepted during my lifetime... like the many times my mom told me how upset she was to learn she was pregnant with me and how her friends hated going anywhere with me because I was such a brat... the times my dad would refer to me as his "retarded daughter" or would tell me I'd never amount to anything...  the times my dad would lose control during an alcoholic rage and hit me or try to choke me or scream at me.  The times he would force me to give him back massages or pluck his eyebrows... or put his hands on my love handles and tell me that I need to lose weight...  The times he would criticize my friends...  And the times he put me in dangerous situations...

I still have a deep scar on my arm from the time he made me use a box cutter to break down boxes when I was ten years old.  I was slicing the cardboard improperly and the blade flew off the cardboard and went right into my left arm.  I cut through all five layers of skin.  Dad didn't bother to take me to the hospital, so I didn't get stitches.

We had a neighbor... a weird, older man who went to our church... My dad thought the man was weird, but never discouraged me not to hang out with him.  As it turned out, there was a good reason why my dad thought this guy was weird.  It turned out he was a bit sexually deviant.  When I was ten or eleven years old, he used to regularly show me his stash of pornography.  I often used to visit this neighbor because he paid attention to me...  I didn't realize at the time how inappropriate it was for me to be looking at porn.  I spent many hours with him.  It wasn't until I was a lot older that I realized that the guy probably belonged in jail.  Thankfully, he is no longer living.

My father used to force me to attend Sunday school with a teacher I didn't like.  In fact, I disliked the teacher so much that I used to hide in the bathroom.  I did so for weeks until one day, the teacher ran into us at the grocery store asked my dad where I'd been.  Dad didn't want to hear what I had to say on the subject.  While at the height of anger, he gave me a spanking that I still haven't forgotten.  He rarely behaved with much compassion or understanding toward me.  Physical violence was his way of dealing with me.

When I came home after two years in the Peace Corps, my father unexpectedly met me at the airport.  I had actually asked him not to come, since my sister had met me in Europe and we had traveled together.  She was coming home on a different flight and I had the key to her condo.  But my dad showed up, hurled a couple of insults at me, and told me I could either come with him or take a bus home.  We got in the car and he proceeded to scare the hell out of me with his driving.  Then he told me he was going into rehab for his alcoholism the following day.  I had no idea about all of this on my way home from overseas.  It sure put a damper on my homecoming.

My dad was also good for public humiliation purposes.  When I was almost 30 years old, my spouse and I were asked to attend my sister's grad school commencement.  We weren't really there because she wanted us to share in the celebration.  We were there because my parents didn't want to have to drive around the DC area.  So my sister figured she could call on me and my husband to do the driving.  I knew what she was up to, but went along with it anyway.  We sat in a gymnasium with all the other people... there was a lot of talking, bell ringing, horn honking, etc.

I was talking quietly to my sister's boyfriend.  Apparently, the lady in front of us was disturbed by our conversation.  She complained to my parents.  Mom told us she could hear us.  A few minutes later, I guess the woman got upset again.  Again, she complained to my parents instead of me.  My dad turns around and, in front of everybody, shouts, "Be quiet!  You're disturbing people!"  I will never forget how shocked, humiliated, and enraged I felt at that moment.  It was as if I were six years old instead of thirty!

To be sure, I was pissed at my dad, but I was also pretty pissed at the fucking twat who was sitting in front of us, bitching about me to my parents about the quiet conversation I was having, instead of turning around and addressing me directly.  I hope she had a fiery car accident on her way home.  By the way, the following week, when my husband got his master's degree at the same location, no one from my family bothered to attend.  Actually, that was a nice thing.

And there was the time I decided to take voice lessons.  It was something I wanted to do for myself.  Dad found out about it and promptly signed up for lessons as well.  It wasn't because he wanted to share this experience with me.  It was because he wanted to compete with me.

Yes, I know... it's not good to dwell on the past.  There were good times, I guess.  My dad was only occasionally violent and ill tempered.  Sometimes he was a good dad and we could sit down and talk to each other.  And he was always home, which is more than a lot of kids can say about their fathers.  He was a good provider and was intelligent, attractive, and talented enough.  There are certainly worse dads out there.

But... as you can see... I have a lot of angry, unresolved feelings toward my father.  There's no way to resolve these things now, because he's not in his right mind.  My mom tells me to put all of this stuff aside and "man up", as it were... come see her and my dad and pretend everything is hunky dory.  She acts as if the feelings I have are all my fault and I am being childish, selfish, and petty for having them.  I don't think I'm wrong for having these feelings or for being angry.  My father expected me to show him respect, but he has never reciprocated.  So now that I'm at a time in my life when I don't have those painful feelings anymore, I don't really feel the need to reopen the wounds with a visit to my father, who will no doubt ignore me and make crappy comments, or my mom, who will treat me as if I'm an ungrateful, obnoxious, pain in her ass.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Finding out about the death of an old acquaintance...

Back in the summer of 1980, my parents moved our family to a small town in Virginia.  My dad had gotten out of the Air Force and decided to open his own business, which he ran out of our home.  I was eight years old and our new town was quite a culture shock for me.  It was a lot smaller and more rural than the place in suburban Washington, DC that we'd left.  The truth was, I pretty much hated our new place.  I got picked on a lot.

Across the dirt road from us lived a woman, her daughter, and son.  The woman came with my dad's new business.  She had worked for the man who owned our house before my parents bought it.  Her daughter was a year older than me, while her son was three or four years older.  The woman was married, but her husband had Huntington's Disease, and was so ill that he lived at a mental hospital.  The woman's son also had the disease and was really sick too.  He couldn't communicate very well, was extremely thin and frail, and drooled a lot.  I remember they had a nurse who visited several times a week to help take care of him.

The daughter was normal and used to attend school with me.  She was a year ahead of me, very bright, and quite nice.  I remember one morning we were waiting for the school bus and she talked about the disease that had made her dad and her brother so sick.  She told me quite matter-of-factly that she had a fifty percent chance of developing Huntington's Disease.  Not long after that talk, my neighbor's brother died.  I remember her mother had a yard sale and sold my parents a red dirt bike that used to belong to him.  It was mine for a few years, until I outgrew it.

A few years after my neighbor's brother died, her father passed away.  We were in high school and she was doing a lot of dating.  She got her driver's license the year before I did, so sometimes she'd drive me to school.  She and her mom came on a couple of family trips with us and I used to housesit for her and her mom when they went on vacation. After we were both out of high school, her mom sold the house across the street from us and opened her own business, which later failed.

On May 23, 1995, I was a college graduate about to leave the country for a stint in the Peace Corps.  My neighbor was a young mother of two, a boy, age 3, and a girl, age 2.  On that May day, the young family was at Wal-Mart and my former neighbor had driven to the front of the store.  They had decided to get some drinks from a drink machine, but the machine was empty.  Instead of putting the kids in their car seats, my neighbor decided to coast to some other drink machines on the other side of the Wal-Mart's entrance.  The two year old was apparently standing in the back seat behind her mother, while the three year old was in the front seat.  My neighbor's foot slipped off the brake and hit the gas.  The little girl lost her balance and fell into the seatbelt, got tangled, and fell out of the car, where she was run over by her mother's rear tire.  The little girl died en route to the hospital.  Given the fact that she would have a significant chance of developing Huntington's Disease, I almost wonder if that was an act of grace.

The other day, I decided to go looking for my old neighbor.  I entered her name in a search and found her obituary.  She died last fall, leaving behind two sons.  The Huntington's Disease had indeed claimed her, like it did her father and her brother.  Her mother had written a nice obituary and included a picture that must have been taken when we were in high school.  She was just 39 when she died, a few months shy of her 40th birthday.

I couldn't help but feel kind of sorry for my old neighbor's mom, who had lost so many people in her lifetime... both children, a granddaughter, and her husband...  I only hope that my old friend's boys didn't inherit the defective gene that causes Huntington's Disease.  It truly is a cruel disease that takes people when they are far too young.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Texas and the abortion debate...

Last night, I was on CNN.com and came across an article about a new law in Texas requiring women who wish to have an abortion to view a sonogram of their developing fetus and have a discussion with a doctor about the fetus's development 24 hours before the procedure is done.  The law allows exceptions for women who have become pregnant because they were raped, are victims of incest, or some other violation of the law.  Women whose developing fetus has an irreversible medical condition that will cause a disability are also exempt.

My feelings about this are pretty simple.  I think the government needs to stay the hell out of this very personal decision.  Moreover, I think this new law is incredibly wishy washy.  I presume the reason this law was enacted is because lawmakers believe strongly in the so-called "sanctity of life".  They want to protect innocent unborn babies from being aborted... unless, of course, that fetus happened to come about as the result of a crime or has some kind of medical problem.  Now... it seems to me that if you're going to assign personhood to fetuses, then all fetuses should be included.  A fetus conceived as the result of a crime is just as innocent as a fetus conceived as the result of carelessness or even one that was planned.

And yet, Texas lawmakers want to spare women who have been raped, abused, or are pregnant with a "damaged" fetus from further victimization, right?  A woman pregnant under those circumstances is free to have an abortion without harassment.  A woman who got careless is not.

We have overburdened social services.  We have parents who can't take of the kids they already have.  We have very expensive medical care.  Moreover, I don't believe it's right to force women to be pregnant or try to shame them into staying pregnant if they would prefer not to be.  Who is going to pay for these enforced sonograms?  Who is going to see to it that these pregnant women take care of themselves, before and after the baby comes?  It's so easy for me to see how this could turn into a slippery slope.

Another thought I had is that there are women out there who will go to extreme measures to get an abortion.  You can try to put up roadblocks, but sometimes a determined woman will do what she has to do to get around those obstacles.  How many women will claim they were raped or assaulted as a means to qualify for the exemption?  How many innocent guys will end up going to prison for the "rape"?  How many will do something to cause an "irreversible medical problem" to their fetus so they can have the procedure?  Maybe there won't be many who will do this, but I bet there will be a few...

Those who wish to have a safe, legal abortion will still have to wade through protesters, nut jobs who bomb clinics and murder doctors, graphic pictures, and shaming.  Then, once they get on the table to discuss the abortion, they will have to have an ultrasound, which will put a face on the being whose life they wish to extinguish.  And they will have to have a conversation with the doctor, which will also heap more guilt, shame, and pain on an already difficult situation.

Yes, most pregnancies are preventable.  But the only 100% reliable contraception is abstinence.  I'm willing to be that the majority of women have sex.  Sometimes birth control fails.  Sometimes pregnancy is good news.  Sometimes it's not.

I don't see why overwhelmingly white, male lawmakers should have the right to put women in Texas through this.  After all, they are not the ones who will be dealing with the aftermath.

Anyway, I think I agree with George Carlin's thoughts on this issue...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weird Donny and Marie interview on Joy Behar...

Donny and Marie seem awfully uncomfortable in this interview with Joy Behar.  I guess I can understand why they're uncomfortable.  They're trying to seem normal and failing miserably.  I think Marie comes off better than Donny does.  He seems like an arrogant, overbearing asshole here, interrupting Joy and busting her chops for not being married.

And I think it's interesting that they're commenting on the Book of Mormon musical, but they've never even seen the show... I also think that Donny doesn't know much about his faith.  This interview did not do them or the LDS church many favors.

ETA:  I have to add this earlier Donny and Marie interview from the 1970s...  Donny tries to address why blacks weren't allowed to be priesthood holders until 1978.  Marie explains why she thinks a man should speak for her.  Outrageous.

Monday, May 16, 2011

This week is already off to a better start than last week was...

First off, Aunt Flow has vacated, so I'm feeling better.  Secondly, my spouse is at home this week instead of on a business trip.  Thirdly, the weather is beautiful.  And finally, I'm not processing the bullshit of last week anymore.

It's Monday, which means a fresh start and high hopes.  Sometime this week, I imagine my husband and I will have to trade in our old driver's licenses for new ones.  We'll need new license plates.  That should be a lot of fun to deal with, since we live in a state where we have to take the driver's test.

Last night, we went to a very nice restaurant in a nearby town.  We enjoyed a lovely meal and each other's company.  Too bad I spoiled the drive home by drinking too much water.  There's nothing worse than having to pee like a racehorse on the way home after a night out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thanks again, "voice of reason"...

So yesterday, I was in a bit of a mood because of Mother's Day.  I fully accept that this is my issue to deal with.  Perhaps it's best if I don't express my anger at all, because there's always an asshole around to throw salt in the wound.  In my case, the asshole is Ms. Overly Helpful, who can't seem to resist offering me her special brand of "support" whenever I post about my issues.

I know... I know...  I should know better than to vent on a forum where Ms. Overly Helpful can respond.  However, this particular forum is a private messageboard that is supposed to be used for support.  Besides, things have been pretty quiet around there lately.  So I posted about my mom, fully expecting that Ms. OH would eventually open her trap.  And she didn't disappoint me.

I got a couple of constructive comments from actual friends.  I was in the process of venting/processing when I commented that I felt like my mom wants me to visit because "it's the right thing to do, not because she really wants to see me."

Ms. Overly helpful chimes in with the oh so profound, "Perhaps a little of both", then adds a tackle hug smiley.  The implication behind that response seems to be that my feelings are petty, childish, and/or selfish.  I suppose I could have taken the high road and said, "Gee... I never thought of that.  Thanks for the insight, Ms. OH."  But instead, I have to admit that I took the bait and wrote an actual response.

To which Ms. Overly Helpful adds a "there-there" smiley and "I'm sorry you were made to feel that way."

Yeah right, Ms. OH... I can tell you're being really sincere.  Fuck you.  And that's really kinda what I felt like saying to her.  But instead, I wrote "Thank you for feeling my pain."

That response is very likely to annoy her, because she'll no doubt sense my sarcasm and she's "only trying to help."  But at least I didn't use any patronizing smilies to emphasize my point.  

I wish Ms. OH would just leave me alone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished

Yesterday was Mother's Day.  It was a day full of emotions for me and my husband.  He's going away for most of the week on a business trip.  We don't have kids together.  I have none and his two have disowned him, but we were determined to have a nice day.

Mother's Day got off to a good start.  We had breakfast and my husband's mom called us.  We had a good chat.  Later, my husband did some rudimentary research and found out that his ex and her wayward clan had moved clear across the country.  That revelation sparked some spirited conversation, mainly because my husband's ex wife makes me sick for holding her kids hostage and using them to fight her battles.  Ex is evidently now in the same time zone as we are, which is a little spooky.

After that, I gave my mom a call.  She was not in the best of moods.  She hasn't been feeling well and she's dealing with my dad, who is an alcoholic with dementia.  She lives in an assisted living community now and has help with him, but I know she's worried about him dying soon.

I told my mom there was a chance my husband and  I might be coming up to the area where she lives; my husband has a business trip up there.  Naturally, if I'm in the area, I'll come by for a visit.  But somehow in the course of the conversation, my mom got the idea that I didn't want to visit my dad.

The truth is, I don't really want to see him.  The last time I visited, my dad pretty much ignored me.  He talked to my mom and my husband, but I was like a big blob in the room.  He spoke to me only to tell me that I'm too fat and called me by my sister's name.

Besides, my dad and I have never had the best relationship.  He was around when I was growing up because he had retired from the military and started his own business.  Consequently, I was subjected to a lot of alcoholic rants, the occasional beating, and plenty of mean remarks.  By the time I graduated high school, I was pretty angry and depressed.  It took a good ten years for me to get straightened out.

I lived with my parents for two years in the late 1990s, while I was trying to get launched.  While I was living with my parents, I got therapy and took antidepressants, which led me to make some positive changes in my life.

I've been feeling much better lately, but I find that I have to limit my time with my immediate family.  I don't do gatherings anymore because I usually leave them feeling like shit.  However, my family seems to think that I'm wrong for protecting myself.  They think I'm either overstating things or just plain wrong about my feelings.  My mom told me she wanted me to "put aside" my anger and subject myself to another visit with my dad.

So... I called my mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day and it turned into an unpleasant conversation about how I'm not doing my duty as my dad's daughter and submitting to more abuse from him.  And I should be willing and eager to submit to his verbal assaults because he's dying and, don'tcha know, he's not going to be around much longer to kick me around.

I got off the phone with mom and immediately had a meltdown.  My sweet husband was there to talk to me, which was a real blessing.  He's so good to me and he really seems to get how I feel about this situation.  I had good intentions when I called my mom, but it ended up being a bad idea.   No good deed goes unpunished.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another narcissist bites the dust...

Yesterday, I got a phone call from my spouse.  He was calling to give me some very interesting news about a former boss who put him through sheer hell when they were deployed to Iraq.  Apparently, the former boss, a colonel who shall remain nameless, had just been relieved of his command in Iraq because the other powers that are had "lost confidence in his ability to command".

My response?  This couldn't have happened to a more appropriate person.

A few years ago, my husband served as this colonel's deputy for a mercifully brief deployment in Iraq.  There were only a few other people in that group, but my poor spouse was the colonel's right hand man.  Consequently, he bore the brunt of his boss's abuse.  My husband had to drive his boss around; take most of his meals with his boss; put up with demeaning, inappropriate, and derisive comments from his boss; and take all of the abuse with a smile... while in a war zone.

My husband would call me every week and send me emails.  On the day that he compared his boss to his ex wife, I knew things were really bad.  Unfortunately, my husband didn't feel he could complain, because he was just one of a few guys subjected to this man's tyranny.  Another soldier witnessed the abuse and spoke up about it, but nothing negative happened.  In fact, until recently, this particular colonel was slated to make general.  He was essentially rewarded for being an abusive, narcissistic asshole.

So... with only a few weeks to go in Iraq, this colonel has been disgraced and was sent home early.  His career is probably over.  Frankly, I think that's a good thing.  Abusive people have no business being in power.  Of course, he must have done something right to get as far as he did.  Maybe another job will be found for him in a position that doesn't require him to deal with other people.

I don't feel sorry for the fallen colonel.  I do feel sorry for his family.  I'm sure the coming months will be very difficult for them.  On the other hand, I'm sure the soldiers in Iraq had plenty of reason to celebrate last weekend, what with the death of Osama bin Laden and the dismissal of their tyrannical boss.  Things must be looking up for them in a big way.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So now Bin Laden is dead...

Given the fact that my husband was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, I am delighted that we finally got Bin Laden.  Of course, as glad as I am to see the terrorist finally get his due, I have a feeling this event will ignite even more violence.  Getting rid of terrorists is somewhat akin to exterminating rats and roaches.  You can kill one or two, but there are always more where they came from.

I'm still happy that Bin Laden is finally out of the picture.  Thank God for the military.  I will never forget the way Osama bin Laden celebrated with glee as he surveyed the devastation of 9/11.

A friend of mine pointed out how fitting it was that Bin Laden died on May 1st.  Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide on April 30th.  Now they're both rotting in hell, where they belong.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nice week...

So this week, we had a royal wedding, and I started drinking more water and exercising more, mainly because I realize that I'm getting way too heavy for my own good.  The weather was mostly wonderful, warm and sunny, but not too oppressive.

My husband and I had a really nice weekend, too.  We went to the downtown area of our new town and visited a few local eateries.  We enjoyed a lovely southern meal last night.  And we talked of booking a Scottish cruise next year for our 10th anniversary.

For once, I have nothing to bitch about!