Monday, September 29, 2014

Day One: Two Months of Change

"You break my heart but then again you break everyone's heart." ~ Jules, St. Elmos Fire

***
1. Lose at least 25 pounds.
2. Get Cat out of our day to day lives.
3. Streamline our remaining possessions.
4. Continue to upgrade the house.

***
First off, I just want to say that I write down what's in my heart and head without any real regard for grammar, spelling or flow.  Sometimes, I will read an old post and think that I could've written it better .... that perhaps I didn't make my points clearly ....so on.  But then I remember that this blog exists for my benefit and that anything I write down here is purely stream of consciousness ... the only real way I have of getting this family and life stuff off my chest.  So, apologies if I seem to 'mumble' here and there.  I hope ya'll get the gist of what I'm trying to put across.

***
Lose weight:
The spouse is facing a potentially devastating surgery.  I won't go into details here just yet but suffice it to say, it's just about as serious as it can get.  He has more tests this week and then we will know more ..... whether his condition needs to be acted on now or whether it needs to continue to be monitored.  He has been told to lose 40 pounds.  More on that later.  Weight loss IS going to happen.

***
Get Cat out of our day to day lives:
Cat just left for work, covered in facial sores, but not before she created a scene out in the street.  I am so embarrassed.  I don't want the neighbors to know what a problem she is, although I'm sure they've already heard enough to draw their own conclusions.  Cat just had the nerve to tell me that she knows 'I won't be there for her' when all I've done is to be here for her. 

I have already had a close relationship some years ago with a friend who I didn't realize was a sociopath at the time.  This friend was the most manipulative, scheming, cunning, intelligent person I have ever met .... and yes, this very same friend currently resides in a mental institution having been fully diagnosed as a 'true sociopath'.  Locked up by the State.  So, I know what I'm talking about.  Boy, I sure can pick 'em.  Or get saddled with 'em.  Whatever.

My point is, Cat exhibits the exact same behavior .... manipulative, scheming, button pushing.  This woman knows how to get right under my skin, under everyone's skin, to make me feel like shit, the worst mother in the world (which I know is not true), to absolutely ruin my day.  What Cat doesn't know is that I have seen this movie already. I have already been reduced to the fetal position by someone else in my past so I know what this behavior does to people and I know how it makes them feel.  Sociopaths take emotional hostages and I REFUSE to be a hostage any longer, even if the taker is my own child. Therefore, I am able to see right through this act.  I know that her crocodile tears are just an act, that everything that comes out of her mouth is empty, hollow and merely for dramatic effect.  It is just so hard to accept that there is NOTHING I can do for Cat, not unless she receives intensive help and meds from a psychiatrist but therein lies the rub ..... sociopaths believe that everyone around them is wrong and that they are right.  Even if a mountain of evidence proves otherwise.

When Cat is off on her manic bent, there is no talking to her, no rationalizing. She runs her mouth a mile a minute and will not let anyone get a word in.  The more we try to talk her down from the ledge, the louder she gets and this is what happened this morning.  She knew that yelling at me from the sidewalk would get attention and that the attention would be focused on me.   As in, what did I do to cause the situation?  Like I said, sociopaths are manipulative.  They suck the life out of everyone around them.  Well, it is going to stop.  Cat is going to move out.  She cannot stay here any longer.  It's just too hard.

***
So anyway, I slept really well last night.  I did not lie awake wondering and worrying about Cat and what I should've/could've said in any given situation.  I already know that Cat cannot tolerate any level of criticism and that she will get nasty if I tell her one too many home truths.  Like, for example, her 'party' behavior costing her jobs and income.......or that she will never keep a healthy relationship with a man unless she lets him have some space ..... that moving in with men as soon as she has met them is a recipe for the eventual and inevitable cold shoulder ..... that suffocating people with attention and neediness is a sure fire way to make them run for the hills.  None of that gets through to Cat.  She continues to suffocate the men she knows and/or meets, even the bums.  This is something I will need to accept because I have tried to teach her differently but this is an extremely negative behavior that she has employed since Day One of dating: she literally moves into these guys' lives and won't leave them alone for a second.  It is painful to endure.

It is way past the time that I shunt Cat out of my day to day life, to leave her to bear the full brunt of her own decisions.  We have already tried it ..... we cut her off for a couple of years due to her drug abuse and her abuse of the people around her .... but the 'experiment' failed as miserably as it possibly could have.  She ended up back under our roof, a couple of years older but none the wiser.  And here we are, a couple of years later again, after her moving back in, and NOTHING has changed.  The whole situation is a gut wrenching, ever escalating series of events that plays on loop.

We are back at that breaking point again.  If she is going to continue her drug abuse and continue to emotionally abuse us, her family, then it is past the time that we say sayonara to each other.  She needs to go and I am going to turn the tables on her: I am going to become the manipulative one and get what I want for a change.  I think it's obvious that Cat is never going to change, that her behavior is the very fabric of who she is so ..... given that I've already stated before that there is nothing more I/we can do, the only thing to do now is to get her out of our daily lives.  I fully do not expect Cat to make it to 40 and even that may be a generous forecast.

Mental illness is a bitch.

***
3. Streamline our remaining possessions:
Cleaning out the bedrooms today, cleaning closets.

4. Continue to upgrade the house:We have a big project slated for November which will involve appliance upgrade.

That's all for now.  Have a good day everyone and may you all be free of mentally ill family members.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cat .... AGAIN

I had a nice few weeks of enjoyment, hanging out with my old school friend.  Despite the fact that Cat had a melt down right before I left for the airport to pick up my friend, even going so far as to throw herself down on the kitchen floor, then storm out into the front yard only to sit on the sidewalk and cry, she behaved herself relatively well all things considered.

For those of you who do not have a mentally ill daughter, let me describe what behaving 'relatively well' means, as it pertains to this particular 27 year old woman:

1. Cat stayed around the house the whole time, as opposed to disappearing for days at a time with any old bum with a bong.

2. Cat did not directly pick any arguments with me but she did continue her manipulations, albeit in a manner disguised as 'sweet negotiation'.

3. Despite my asking Cat not to smoke pot in the house, she did so anyway in the sanctuary of her bedroom.  She also popped pain killers and ate edible pot brownies.  She also drank considerably but, again, not enough to raise eyebrows.  Instead of directly flaunting her addictions, she carried on behind the closed door of her room so that my friend wouldn't see it.  We did, however, still smell it.

4.  Although I attempted to make Cat regulate herself, she still monopolized my friend to a certain degree and most definitely monopolized the conversation.  Many times during my friend's stay, I caught glimpses of the mental exhaustion that my friend experienced while trying to talk to/be entertained by Cat.  Cat never shuts up and talks constantly.  It's as boring as hell and drives people away.  By the end of the visit, I could see that my friend was mentally tuning Cat out and losing patience with her.  Cat sucks the air out of the room and sucks the life out of everyone.  The only people who can stand to be around her for any length of time, before they too get tired of her, are the bums who look forward to Cat bringing the pot around.  Cat's know-it-all attitude is absolutely exhausting and embarrassing.

So, the above constitutes decent behavior for Cat.  Now that my friend has returned to the UK, Cat is angling for an exchange visit.  She wants to go stay with my friend in the UK for a couple of weeks and is making it her business to foist herself and force an invitation.  Cat doesn't know it yet but I am going to tell my friend NOT to invite her over.  I feel that Cat does not deserve to be a guest in my friend's home because my friend has no real idea just how monstrous Cat's behavior can get.

Oh yes, Cat will be as sweet as cherry pie if (a) you have something she wants or (b) you have something she wants.  Which is everything.  Cat wants whatever she wants and will go to great lengths to get it.  She's greedy.  Always has been.  I am afraid that Cat will quickly wear out her welcome with my friend and cost me a long term relationship, doubly so because my friend and I only recently reestablished contact in the past couple of years and I don't want to lose contact again.

Today, I had something important to do and, yesterday, I asked for Cat's help.  Even though Cat was headed out to some bum's shack out in the desert to smoke pot, she promised to return home later that evening.  Of course, she did not return.  She texted me past midnight to tell me she was staying the night and that she would be home by 8am this morning.  Of course, she did not show up.  I sent one text at 7:30am to let Cat know that I would be leaving the house within 30 minutes .... and then left.  At 2pm, this afternoon I finally received a text from Cat telling me that she had just woken up (from her pot laced slumber.)  She continued to smoke pot all afternoon and passed out around 5pm this afternoon and only just now walked through the door.  It is 11pm.

Unable to stop myself, I made snide remarks about Cat's hard 'partying'  lifestyle.  She looks dirty and unwashed.  Her hair is greasy.  She stinks of pot.  I suggested that she shower tonight so that she's ready for work tomorrow ..... of course, she won't.  She started making nasty retorts in response to my observations that she NEVER keeps her promises or commitments anymore with regard to being available when she says she'll be available.  Of course, she turned it all around so that the fact that she wasn't ready to help me today was my fault.  She began calling me names under her breath, basically telling me to 'fucking get lost'.  I asked her if she had made any other enquiries with regards to moving out of my house to room with her only friend and she responded by throwing things around in the kitchen, throwing food into the fridge.

Bear in mind that we have just come off a vacation with my UK visitor that entailed several stays in hotels, lots of activities, lots of dining out, a trip to Las Vegas .... all of it paid for, Cat along for the ride and not having to pay a thing..... and here she is, treating me like crap again.  She ALWAYS forgets about the many, many things that people do for her.  Once she's gotten what she wants, it's as if she forgets that generosity and largesse even existed.  I told Cat that basically I have raised a monster.  Oh boy, that lifted the lid.

I don't want to hear that I am a doormat.  I am not.  I am merely trying to explain just how difficult it is to live with a mentally ill family member when it is essential to keep the peace.  Basically, I want to shove Cat out the door with all her stuff with a big smile plastered to my face with lots of promises to visit each other and keep in touch.  And then I want to close my front door with Cat on the other side of it, and lean up against it and let out the biggest sigh of relief that my body can muster.  I want Cat to piss off into the sunset, unfortunately to continue to do what she's always done: suck the life out of anyone and everyone who associates with her.  And it's hard to admit to this because all I can see is the little 3 year old cutie who always used to say, "I love you mama!"

Cat has had a lot of friends over the years but I can count on ONE FINGER the number of long term relationships that Cat has been able to maintain .....ONE!!..... and that sole relationship is only because the person involved has such poor self esteem due to a medical condition that she has almost completely shut down herself.  Cat has formed a sort of 'pot alliance' with this person .... they smoke together.  However, if Cat has something or someone better to do, then she takes 'the party' elsewhere, often for days and weeks at a time, leaving this person wondering where the hell Cat went. It's pretty awful to watch but pretty standard too: Cat wears out her welcome very quickly with EVERYONE so I'll be damned if she thinks she is going to move in with my friend for any length of time.

Cat has just made me so angry that I have to take to this blog and write about it, get it all out, otherwise I'll go to bed with my stomach in knots, wanting to grab that overgrown baby that is my daughter and throw her ass out into the street.

I have to get her out of here and away from me.  She won't go to a doctor and I can't help her any more than I have tried to do.  Cat can't take any level of judgment or criticism or anyone who calls her on her shyte ... we all end up getting blamed. Cat never takes personal responsibility for pissing people off with her using behavior .... it's never 'her'.

This is how narcissists operate: they suck the life out of everyone and everything.  As soon as Cat opens her mouth to speak these days, my body hits the snooze button on my brain.  Cat is so boring ....she bores the hell out of me and that is a shocking thing for a parent to say.  BUT .... I have had almost 20 years of this nonsense .....my patience long since wore out and I am running on the last fumes of my reserves.

Cat pretends to be this beautiful, caring person but the reality is that Cat is a nasty bitch, a venomous little viper who sinks her fangs in and exacts her own special brand of poison.  I see her for what she is and she hates that.

This is my daughter.  I don't know how this will end ..... as I said before, I can only hope that she meets a life partner who will help her to straighten her life up.  That is the ONLY OPTION LEFT, as desperate and unfortunate as it is.  I just don't honestly think that there is anyone other than a parent who would put up with the soul sucking.  I think Cat is going to end up alone and crazy with an animal hoard. ** long sigh**

Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Houseguest Leaves ...

My friend returned to the UK this afternoon.  We had a wonderful time, lots of laughs, and I feel that I am reconnecting with my homeland once again, after wanting to be disconnected from it for so many years.  I wanted absolutely nothing to do with anyone from the motherland for the longest time, even though I tolerated visitors from time to time.  When my blood family visited, more often than not, their visits would end with me kicking them out of my house for disrespecting me (my father) or with me getting my feelings hurt, or with some other slight real or imagined ruining the entire visit.  I really was just too raw to be able to deal with reminders of my pre-USA life.  I wanted to just create an entire new life .... new country, new husband, new family, new me .... and I didn't want to bring any family or friends from my 'old' life along for the ride.

As it happens, friends did visit me back in the '90s and my parents and various sets of aunts and uncles visited too but I just found it so hard to be around them.  They were all so fucking judgmental, criticizing me and taking me for granted, using my home as free board, coming and going as they pleased and just generally pissing me off.  Friends would return to the UK and I would pretty much cut them off.  I never invited them back.  They never came back.  I was fine with that.  The Atlantic Ocean was my cushion.  I needed it to be there, it was the barrier that I never had when I was growing up with a violent maniac.  It put plenty of space between me and my 'irritants', namely my family.  My mother, father and sibling.  My sibling has never visited me .... turns out, A is still trying to deal with our childhood.  We were so dysfunctional but A has never allowed the time and space to try and sort it all out.  As a result, A is as miserable as sin, married to an alcoholic.  Even the spouse has a hard time being around A.

Well, I guess decades of pleasing myself and decades of not visiting the UK have agreed with me.  In over 30 years, I have only returned 'home' a handful of times.  In the years while I was gone, busy trying to straighten myself out, other people on the other side of the pond were busy trying to straighten themselves out too.  My friend has had some real challenges in her life over the years, things I never knew about.  Had I been local and living near her, we probably would not have been able to maintain our friendship.  I probably would've pissed her off long ago, or she would've pissed me off, one or t'other.  As it is, we have had a whole chunk of time apart but... we have reconnected and picked up right where we left off 30 years ago as silly schoolgirls crushing on the local lads LOL

Most of the hassles of raising families are behind us, marital rough patches have come and gone, we are married to the same men we married decades ago.  I have reconnected with my Soul Sister.  Now, we email, skype and send daft emails to each other, laughing at the many memories we share and the ridiculous situations we found ourselves in .... right up until that time when I emigrated.  And tried to cut everyone off.

Now, I find myself ready to reconnect with many of my family members and old friends.  I think I can bring a new perspective to all of these relationships that were ... had to be  ....discarded way back when.  I just couldn't deal with everyone knowing that I had been abused.  It was embarrassing and shameful.  I am realizing now, however, that all of us have a battle to fight in life, that we all harbor our own garden variety of secrets and lies.  I have the confidence now, however, to deal with any reference to my past childhood abuse because I lived through it and I lived through the years of turmoil that followed.

I have the ability now to face my trauma head on and deal with it.  It is part of who I am.  I am damaged, most imperfect, still volatile at times but ever hopeful.  One of my greatest strengths has been my mental fortitude .... I just never realized that when I was younger.  I may have suffered mental illness during my life but paradoxically I have a certain mental stability too.

I may not be the sharpest tack in the carpet but I can still hold it down.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Morning

My friend from the UK is still visiting and we are having a really good time together.  Amazing what you find out about your friends decades later ...... the things that were going on in BOTH of our households when we were teenagers is mind boggling.  Neither one of us really had any idea what was going on back then, but then I suppose one doesn't when one is that young.

Cat has been reasonably well behaved but the crap hit the fan right before I was supposed to go pick my friend up from the airport.  Cat had an absolute meltdown which resulted in a huge argument and her storming out, right as I pick up my car keys to make the drive to Los Angeles.  Honestly, I need to get this girl married off to a good man, someone who can help her to sort herself out.  Sometimes, that is what it takes.  That is what it took for me to begin to straighten up although my problems were of a different nature than Cat's.  I was once a very angry, anxious, abused, shamed and violent female.  The spouse has been a very patient and loving man, albeit not without outbursts when he too reached the end of his rope with me.  Everyone has a limit.  I have been very fortunate and I'm only just beginning to really realize it.

Change is afoot.  The house is appreciating in value and the spouse wants to sell and move out of the desert.  Damn, so did I for the first 15 years that I lived here.  However, I have spent the past 5 years living in a nice peaceful neighborhood in a house I love and I don't know if this is a smart move.  The spouse and I are getting older and this house has suddenly become a real asset.  I can just imagine us selling it and not liking the place we've moved to, at which point it will be too late because we will never be able to afford to move back here, never mind anywhere else in Los Angeles county.  For once, I am considering all the options.  We just do not have the time to waste anymore.  We definitely cannot afford another costly financial mistake.  It just might be that we are stuck in the desert for the rest of our lives!  Time will tell but, with the spouse retiring next year, we are most certainly going to have to agree on a future plan.

OK, off to the beach for some bike riding fun.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cat

I wonder what it's like, not having to deal with a mentally ill family member?  I have never known what such a situation could be like because I have never lived it.

I grew up with a violent, abusive man-child who could (and still can) beat the tar out of anyone.  A man who could scare the shit out of other men by force of his brute strength and raging bull persona.  This man was capable of killing other people.  He has quite literally sucked the life out of his own wife, my mother.  She is a ghost of the vibrant person she once tried to be.  Conversely, this same man (my father, of course) could (and still can) charm the birds out of the trees when he wants to.  I think my father is actually a sociopath.  I would put nothing past him.

When I got married at a very young age, still a child myself really, I was happy/relieved/thrilled to be finally moving away from my highly dysfunctional family to begin my own life under my own terms.  Of course, I hadn't banked on the spouse's own highly dysfunctional family, and especially not the spouse's mother in particular.  What I found here in California when I arrived after a hellishly long plane flight and 3 days in US Immigration Processing was a father who was the alcoholic 'head' of this fractured family, a mother who was seemingly oblivious to the torturous goings on around her but who in fact was a hoarder of the worst kind, brothers who tormented the entire family with their twisted abuse (I later realized that they were just teenagers acting out), a narcissistic sister who had come home to live in her early 30s bringing an emotionally damaged 7 year old daughter (our niece) with her, said daughter/niece who was abused mentally and mercilessly by the brothers one of whom she later claimed had sexually abused her, and another sister who kept her distance in another US state.  Years later, no one has seen the daughter/niece since 1999 or thereabouts.  After the spouse's sister (the girl's mother) died at a young age, her grandmother was charged with the niece's care because she was still a minor but that didn't last long.  The spouse's mother died of cancer not long after her daughter passed and we were left with a gigantic hoard to clean out.  How anyone had been able to live in that house was beyond me, so hoarded, filthy and overrun with rats was it.  The granddaughter/niece was forced to find ingress and egress through a downstairs bedroom window.  After we cleaned out the house, the niece disappeared with a group of low lifes and has never been seen or heard from again.

Which brings me to my current situation.  While all this was going on, the spouse and I were raising our own family.  The spouse has always had a slight favoritism towards Cat because she reminds him of his long dead narcissistic sister.  Both women are like 2 peas in the pod: They both attracted all the wrong sorts of people, they both had a penchant for loser men with no job/prospects/education/money, they both had a taste for drugs particularly pot, they both engaged in parasitic lifestyles.  Cat, I have come to realize, is a carbon copy of her dead aunt and it scares the hell out of me because I already know how Cat's story is going to end if she keeps this up.  History will repeat itself.

Various commenters on this blog have accused me of being a doormat.  That is not true.  Given my own shitty upbringing and the environment of terror in which I lived for years, it's a wonder I have been able to raise three other stable high achievers.  My 3 other kids are doing fine, given the world we live in.  By all rights, I should be tranquilized on downers and other anti depressants and/or in and out of the nut house.  But I'm not.

I am a mentally strong person (as funny as that sounds!) and I too can be a force to be reckoned with.  Yes, I have most definitely experienced my challenges in life.  I was a spender, a fritterer of resources, a reckless person for the longest time (but mostly in secret while I lived the double life of my younger years), a hoarder.  I have overcome all of that.  I no longer do any of those things.  I did my best to shield my kids from my behaviors.  I held down high paying jobs.  I lived in big houses in the best parts of town and drove new cars.  I showed my kids what it was like to live in abundance.  Of course, it all came crashing down due to my excessively risky real estate deals and the global economic crash but still: I did it.  I lived a successful life to all outward appearances for a long time.

*** *** ***

By this time, I had been living apart from my british family for decades.  Half of the spouse's family had died and were no longer spectres with which I had to deal.  I could cut off and ignore the rest of his family which I most certainly did.  We both did.  We no longer had to deal with the dysfunction.  It was our choice.  We began to live a much more sustainable life, low key and basic.  And then Cat began to show the same signs of mental illness that we had seen in the spouse's family, particularly in his sister.  Of course, it doesn't help that the other half of Cat's DNA is made up of the defective material of my side of the family but thankfully she has not shown any sign of the violence that is the trademark of my DNA's contribution.  At least, not so far.

Instead, we are dealing with the spouse's sister #2.  Cat exhibits the same reluctance to grow up and take responsibility.  She hangs out with the lowest common denominators and revels in the trouble they bring.  She associates with people who have been dragged up by parents who are anything but.  And she is an expert at hunting out weak men ..... men she can move in with for weeks at a time while they smoke medical grade pot together, men who work menial jobs if they work at all.  Cat's life is going down the tubes.

Last night, Cat rolled home at 11pm.  She has been gone for the better part of the the past month, lying around with any old bum in a storm.  As usual.  She has lost a lot of weight and now looks thin and gaunt, older than her years.  She stood in front of me, swaying under the influence of whatever drugs she was doing last night, her eyes red and droopy, her skin dry, her hair like straw.  She had gone to work much earlier that day in an outfit that can only be described as 'bohemian' at best ..... nothing like what she should have been wearing to such a professional job.  Think black suits and white shirts.  Cat showed up to work in a mix of black, purple, turquoise and red......  As I wrote in an early post, Cat has been suspended from one aspect of her job.  That aspect made up one half of her full time hours. Thus, Cat is now employed part time.  She is actually working less than 20 hours a week now.  The rest of the time she is gone who knows where, sucking at the pipe.  I can see this last vestige of normality, the remaining hours of this job she has, being taken from her too.  I see her getting fired completely at any time now.  Then, she will be an unemployed drug abuser/addict.

I have tried to think back to a time when Cat was a child, an adolescent.  Did anything happen to her that could've caused this current state of affairs, aside from having me as a mother?  I always put my kids first and did the best I could with what I had to work with.  I KNOW actually that I was a good parent.  Always there, always providing, always dependable.  Whenever I indulged my own weaknesses, my kids were never ever around to see it.  As far as I know, they have no idea.  Hell, even the spouse had no idea what I would get up to with the shady characters I called 'friends'.  This other life I was leading was separate from the hoarding and spending that the kids did get to see.

No, this is genetic, hereditary.  Even the spouse's mother, Cat's grandmother, would remark just how much like her aunt Cat was.  They are built from the same template.  And it is as frustrating as hell because I know that no one will ever be able to get through to Cat.  She is on a collision course and will remain on it until the crash, whatever form that will take.

Meanwhile, I suffer sleepless nights, finally falling asleep out of exhaustion and waking up feeling  like hammered shit.  Last night, when I finally was able to drift off, I kept waking up to see what Cat was up to ..... she was still awake at 4am when her father got up to go to work.  Even though she has business to take care of around here, she will sleep until noon at least.

I have lived with this Cat state of affairs for the past 10 years and I am tired.  This morning, I have a very long drive to make (4 hours one way) to take care of some business.  I am so tired my teeth hurt. It's no wonder I can't lose weight.  I stress eat.  Cat is a huge source of stress, not just for me but for every other person in this family.  The problem is, none of us know what to do about it.  We have suggested rehab but Cat won't go.  We have already tried putting Cat in her own apartment with a roomie but that was a disaster.  We have tried cutting Cat off financially and every other way for a couple of years but that almost ended in her death.  Meanwhile, we continue to give this manipulative, delusional, untrustworthy character access to our home and our lives and our vulnerability while we sleep ..... there's no telling what could happen around here.  What else do we do?  Everyone eventually wises up to Cat's craziness.  And it's such a shame because she is so beautiful that she could be anything she wants to be but it's all going down the drain.

My friend shows up from the UK in a couple of days and I warned Cat last night that I don't want any of her craziness while my friend is here.  I just want normalcy.  I NEED normalcy.

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's September!

Well, it's Labor Day and I'm counting down to my friend's visit from the UK.

I went to Ikea and revamped my guest room for a very reasonable amount of money.  New furniture and bedding and voila...... I want to move in to the guest room myself LOL

I am happy to be hosting a guest for a few weeks ..... it has given me a much needed push to finish some painting and cleaning and decluttering.  Some old furniture got sold on Craigslist this week and I have become a fixture at the local thrift shop, taking over donations.

The flies in the ointment are the indoor animals ..... they will all have to go to a kennel during my friend's visit because I won't leave them in the house alone and we will be gone for days at a time.  I do have friends and/or family members who would come in and take care of the situation but ..... the animals start going into puking/crapping/furniture clawing mode when I am not here and I don't want this situation to ruin the visit.  So, next week it's off to the vet for vaccinations.  I hope the animals all survive the kennel experience but there's an outside chance that one of the cats may not.

***
Our net worth is going up, thanks to the untrustworthy real estate and stock markets.  We saw a big gain this month again.  We have gone from being bankrupt and flat ass broke less than 6 years ago to now having a net worth in the 6 figures.  Feels good.  Wish, wish, WISH we had started much sooner .... we would be looking at a truly golden retirement had we done so.  Well, I am with the spouse on this one:  he deserves to retire youngish and we WILL make it work.  There is no other alternative. Take a look at the Retirement Calculator on the right ..... when I started with it, we had over 900 days to retirement.  Now look at it!

***
Happy Labor Day all.  We are moving towards my favorite month of the year: October.  Love it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Family Brouhahas

OK, so I have a friend coming to stay with me for a few weeks.  From my school days.  From the UK.  Really looking forward to it.  I'm not exactly flush with cash but I have a full itinerary planned, incorporating as much free stuff to do as possible: walks on the beach, hikes, window shopping and so on.  My house is still unfinished construction wise but I have warned her that she will have to take me as she finds me.

I spent last weekend sorting out the last bits of furniture that I want to get rid of, then changing my mind and hauling some of it back inside the house.  I mean, furniture is expensive and I  just can't accept the departure of a sofa that cost me $750 to some chiseler on Craigslist for $40!!  To my mind, it does not compute.  I can hear you all now: Surely she doesn't have anything left to get rid of after years of decluttering?!  Well, my friends, it has been a long and slow process and I am now down to whittling away the last pieces of the things I love and wanted to keep.  All of the other junk has gone.  Now I have to decide which of the things I wanted to hang onto forever must go too.

One thing I did want to bitch about today concerns the number of animals we have, all because of Cat.  Cat, as I've stated already, has hoarding tendencies too.  Her bedroom right now is a hodgepodge of crap, piled up inside the closet and up against the corners of her room.  It is becoming a fire hazard.  Unlike me, however, Cat is an animal hoarder.  She has brought cats, dogs, mice, fish ..... snakes even..... to the house to 'give them a home'.  The problem is, I am the one who ends up caring for said animals, buying their food, cleaning up their crap, forking over for the vet when necessary.  I didn't mind it for the first couple of decades but now I am becoming increasingly resentful, angry and impatient with the poor critters.  It's not their fault!

I cannot leave the house without organizing said menagerie.  Dogs have to be put in their crates or out in the back yard, which they have destroyed.  Stinky cats have to be locked away in various rooms with litter boxes so that they don't vomit on the carpets or claw the furniture while I am out.  And you know what?  I'm farkin sick of it all now.  I want my own life back!!!  I am tired of cleaning up after other people and other beings.  I just want to selfishly do my own thing, when I want to do it, without the spectre of shitty litter boxes or messy dogs to deal with day in and day out.  I am over the proverbial hill and getting older with each passing day.  I'm tired of breathing cat litter dust!!!  What to do?  Well, the animals are getting older too so there's that.  Before much longer, we will be down 2 cats due to age.  I'm not wishing their little lives away but, for dog's sake, the enjoyment is gone and the resentment, she grows ever larger.

Cat, meanwhile, continues to gallivant around the valley with various men.  The fact that she won't or can't settle down really REALLY bothers me.  I just want her to find a man who can relate to her, who she can relate to, for them to find love and companionship together.  So far, no luck.  Pretty much every man she likes will dump her when her manic behavior becomes too much to bear.  I understand and I sympathize.

I am hoping that FINALLY ..... Cat is beginning to realize the effect of her crazy behavior on others.  I'm not sure how much of this is down to the pot smoking but I am certain that her smoking habit is not helping.  Last week, she was suspended by one of her employers because she isn't getting along with her work team.  I never thought something like that would happen but .... it has.  Another rung on the ladder that leads down.  The employer has suspended her until 2015 but .... I suspect that (just as with everyone else) it is a tactic to get rid of her.  This was a job that paid extremely well with some brilliant perks ..... but Cat has blown it.

I have tried talking to Cat, encouraging her, coaching her, the whole bit.  Now I have finally come to realize that the only person who can save Cat is CAT herself.  It's sink or swim time for sure.  She is staying with some guy for the week but she called me to discuss her latest 'firing' ..... she has come to the conclusion finally that perhaps she is to blame for the state of her life.  Hooray!!  A break through!!!  This is a start.  I happen to know that she hasn't spent hundreds of dollars on pot over the past week so I can only hope that the necessary wake up call has had an effect.  I live in hope.

In other news, my father is spending money like water.  I still have no idea how much cash he has inherited, only that he has gone off the radar.  He no longer feels that he needs to talk to me because he has a new safety net.  He no longer feels that he had better communicate with me, just in case he needs a new car or some bills paid, because obviously he has the means to take care of business for the time being. How much longer before he is broke again??  A fool and his money.