Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kicking Ass and Taking Names

So I've gotten my head straight about this 'reunion with the Arborist' shit. 

It's a relief to know that I've been doing the right thing in not getting actively tangled up in my son's dysfunction. I mean, you see me here and read this shit, and you probably think 'Oh my Gawd this woman is such a hot mess' but this is where I'm ranting and unloading, kids. (And, incidentally, working things out. It works. Keep reading.)
I am a genuine miracle of good exampledom and sanity when I'm dealing with him face to face, if I do say so myself. So why has that shit has been taking such a terrible toll on me?  Because I was so confused about my role in his life and whether I was in fact acting appropriately.  I defy anyone not to be confused in this situation. 

But confusion, dysfunction, and sad adoption story aside, I'm simply not his mother anymore, and I never have been in any real sense. You can take a child and make it behave correctly. You're SUPPOSED TO. But not a grown-up. It is no longer appropriate for me to make him do anything, or for him to want me to. 

So I can't make him get better, and he won't put up with it...both sides of that have played out already. And that's entirely, functionally correct on both our parts...which gives me hope. There is a genuinely sane and instinctual drive toward appropriate behavior going on. Even though it was baffling the shit out of both of us while it was going on.  So that, I can deal with.  The next time he starts wanting me to listen to how shitty his life is, I'm simply going to tell him 'When you want things to change, you'll change, sweetheart.  You want help then, I'm your ace boon coon. Until then, please lighten the fuck up. And pass me the bong.'

Will that piss him off?  Yeah.

Do I care?  Nope.

Ok fine it'll probably irritate the shit out of me because it's lame.  But if the worst thing that happens to me this year is that my son gets pissed off at me because I refused to listen to him dump and whine instead of nutting up and fixing his problems, then this will be the best year of my life so far.

God I'm awesome.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Get Out Of My Gene Pool And Take Your Duckie With You

The problem with other people is that they won't quit irritating me.  That, and they won't stop trying to make me play along with whatever their stupid shit is about. If I was the type of person that liked that sort of thing I'd be working in real estate, but I'm not; I'm a hippie with a gun who lives by choice in a town so small it only just rates a post office. I like it out here on the edge of the herd. I don't eat food thats been shit on and trampled, I breathe less dirt, and my chances of being caught in a witless stampede and carried off over the edge of a fucking cliff are nil.

In suddenly acquiring five new family members, I also found myself in sudden posession of a problem that is just driving me fucking crazy, and that problem will henceforth be referred to as 'The Meadow Blossom'.  At least here.
The Meadow Blossom, turns out, is a member of the herd. 

Now half the blame for this belongs to the Arborist.  Sure, you can be young and a dipshit and think that the 'right' thing to do is to move in with the girl who presented you with a little surprise, and to think that things will magically work out for the best. But when that girl begins to abuse your good nature to the tune of two more 'birth control pill failures', loots your bank accounts and IRA, and goes into debt for nearly a quarter fucking mil (oh yes indeed), a rational person would sadly conclude that things aren't working out with that person, pay child support, and leave. 
Not the Arborist.

No, not the Arborist.

What makes this particularly retarded?   He isn't even MARRIED to the bitch.

I don't hate myself for thinking this. It is. What I hate is that I can't change it.

I've become obsessed with this issue to the point where I literally have to wear a big rubber band around my wrist sometimes and snap it whenever the subject comes to mind, just to stop thinking about it for awhile.  It isn't getting better.  It comes and it goes, but it....comes and it goes.  I want to change it BAD.

Now me, I don't have problems with change.  I've never been averse to making a scene if the long-term payoff outweighs the present unpleasantness.  And boy, DO I WANT TO MAKE A SCENE.  I have it allllllllllllllllllll planned out.  For the past two years I've had two long, scathing confrontation scripts archived, in fact, that I revise and revisit as time has gone on.  The one I've written for the Meadow Blossom Confrontation will never be delivered of course because theres no changing or curing what she's got, which is Borderline Personality Disorder meets Duh. 

The one I've written for 'Arborist Confrontation; A Chinese Opera for Two Hippies With Frenzied Clanging Sounds and Intermittent Yodelling', is a masterpiece of the art.  It too will never see the boards. Nothing would produce the exact opposite of the effect I was trying to create (i.e. leave the bitch you idiot) than delivering this speech.

Realizing this about my son is not wonderful.  It does not make me proud and does not make me respect him.  It makes me pretty ashamed of him, in fact. 
And I love him desperately.


*The number one reason that birth control pills fail?  FAILURE TO USE THEM.  How do you think the Arborist got here?  Oh look it up:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Quaint Vignettes From My Charming Rural Idyll

The Biker is descended from original (white) settlers here in Subdued Excitement.  If there is a street out hyar that was named prior to 1900, chances are that it's named after the pioneer family homestead it lead to, and that the Biker clan is related to that family. They liked their strange, those Bikers. Which is a good thing, particularly when you consider the whole 'rural and isolated' part of the equation.  This is a part of the country where memories are long and people stay put generation after generation.  Long-time residents hear a last name and go 'Oh. You're a 'Fill In the Name,' huh?' after which you're either welcomed and accepted, or turned down for a loan or granted food stamps.  If you've ever read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' you know what I mean.

We got a visit yesterday from one of the self-appointed family historians, who came to consult the photographs and papers we inherited from the Bikers' father, the Playboy of the Western World.  In passing he mentioned that what we'd thought was the original family homestead was instead the second one.  The actual factual first homestead was only a short distance away, and the two cabins that those early Bikers had hammered together using rocks and limbs torn from store window mannequins still stood, were still inhabited, and still bore on the basement jambs the timeworn scars left by the frantic clawing of unwitting guests....hapless travellers only seeking rest who, torn by night from their slumber, were roughly carried downward into the earth-damp and gloom to be slaughtered by the blear yellow light of a guttering candle. Once the words had been spoken the stone knife, unburied by some forgotten ancestor, rose, then plunged like the stroke of an axe into rotted wood. Death-screams rose in horrific crescendo as hands tremulous with greed and unspeakable rapture wrenched apart the encaging bones which cradled the

....that those early Bikers had hammered together from cedar logs, sawpit baulks and hand-whittled pegs.  They've been remodelled over the years of course, but the original outlines are still clearly visible.

Across the street from the main ancestral manse is the graveyard which served the small community.  We walked through and found where the Bikers ancestors were planted. I was happy to see that despite their age, isolation and Goth appeal, the markers have lain unvandalized all these years.

It was an interesting day.

The next day, the Biker was almost killed in a head-on collision on the way to work.

A car tried to pass a semi in the oncoming lane, doing 70.  It shot out in front of the Biker, who braked hard. The car missed him by less than a foot and continued on into the ditch at the side of the road, plunging at speed beneath a concrete flood control grate.

The Biker pulled over.  The car in the ditch was bent in such a way that the rear tires were actually higher than the roof, and the roof was smashed backward by the impact.  The Biker reached through the window and held the man upright because he was drowning in his own blood. It took a rescue team and lots of equipment to cut the car from around the man.  He was alive and in a lot of pain when they took him away in the ambulance.

The Bikers vehicle?  Not a scratch. The Biker? Not a scratch.

So he went to work.

The Bikers are a hardy fucking breed, folks.

RedPeril explains it all for YOU

The Patriarchy:  I'm right because I can beat you up.

Juggalos: I'm really, really stupid, and I can beat you up when I'm sober

Conservatism: God wants rich people to run everything and you to let them

Liberalism: Smart people should run everything, and they're willing to let you get just smart enough to appreciate the fact that they're smarter than you so you'll let them

Hipsters: My limp taste in eyewear, music and beer is not a function of my youth, inexperience and poverty, it is ironic, interesting and quirky (and generally white)

Hippies: My isolation, malnutrition, and self-induced poverty is not trashy, it is interesting and quirky (and generally white)

Vegans: Animals are people and my eating disorder is a virtue

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eight stupid things you learn from being stupid

Oh yes. This is based on a real person. And it's ALL based on a real person. ALL OF IT.

1. Creating drama feels just like having a life.
When theres nothing in your brain your head gets lonely. When your head gets lonely it makes the rest of you feel bored.  When you feel bored you need action. And because you're stupid, you're lazy, so you should manipulate other people into providing that action!  What kind of action is the best?  Active action + DRAMA!  Because other people being upset is super interesting and funny!  Create some drama today!  It's safer than fire or cooking and generates a lot of interesting motion, like the windchimes did until they blew down, which was sad.

2. Spending money feels just like having interests.
When you've finished all your jigsaw puzzles and you're tired of playing Sudoku and Solitaire there's nothing to do. Having hobbies  and interests is boring because you might have to learn things. Learning things is boring and it's weird and uncool and makes you a dork. Plus you're out of school now and nobody can ever make you learn anything ever again, so ha ha anyway!  Besides you're too busy to sit around and read. You'd rather do something. From the couch. But you're kind of at a loss for things to do now that your ass is sore from sitting on it all day. Hey! Go buy something!  Buying things is super de duper fun, plus there's always something you have to buy because why would there by stores if there wasn't, right? Thats what money is for. You actually should buy things or else they'd go out of business and put people out of jobs and stuff.

3. Acquisition fixes everything.
I have no life. I'll fix it by buying something.  I'm bored. I'll fix it by buying something!  I'm sad. I'll fix it by buying something!  I'm angry.  I'll fix it by buying something!  You pissed me off! I'll fix you by buying something!  I'm just generally in a bad mood because theres nobody around to upset.  I'll fix everyone by buying something!  You told me we couldn't afford that. I'll show you; I'll buy something! Fuck, we can't pay our bills because there's no money. I'll fix it by buying something! Nobody will lend me any more money and now I can't buy anything. I'll fix it by stealing from my customers! Then I'll sell what I stole, and use the money to buy something!

4. Convenience is worth it.
If you buy 12 cans of chicken for one dollar a can, it's totally more convenient than buying a whole chicken and cutting it up because you just have to open a can and it's already cooked. You are WAY TOO BUSY to  mess around with a whole chicken.  Plus because knives are dangerous and cooking is really hard and chicken bodies are disgusting and plus it's saving the environment because you don't end up with a lot of chicken bones you have to throw away. If you buy a case of paper towels it's really totally convenient and sanitary, because you use one paper towel every time you spill something, or sneeze, or one of the dogs shits in the house, or pees, or one of the kids shits in the house, or pees, or dumps koolaid on the floor, or climbs into the refrigerator and dumps koolaid on the floor, or the dogs steal the kids lunch and dump it all over the floor, or the washing machine overflows again because  your stupid ass overloaded again it so you wouldn't have to do a bunch of laundry and hoist ass off the couch waste energy. Then you just pile up the used paper towels on the kitchen counter (it's not like anyone prepares food there) and the dogs and kids shred them all over the house and the dog eats them and then licks the kids. Plus it saves the environment because then you don't have to do laundry which wastes energy, plus you're not using a dishrag which is gross plus you have to go into the kitchen to get one and the kitchen scares you because someone might see you in there and expect your malingering ass to cook.

5. Acting and looking rich is really important.
 If you're ever at a store with another person you always have to buy something and it has to be more expensive than what they buy. Why? So they'll think you're rich.  You should always buy the most expensive thing you can because you don't want anybody ever to think you're poor because what people think is really really important.  So if you act rich and look rich people will totally not think you're poor which is a fate worse than death by a car wreck and leprosy at the same time. You find out what rich people look like and act like from television. That totally is what rich people look like and do and everything.

6. Everything in popular media is true and questioning it is weird and uncool.
They wouldn't let them put it on or anything if it weren't true.

7. There is no such thing as the future.
If you just go around planning ahead for disasters and stuff and expecting the worse all the time then thats just negative thinking. Besides what do you know?  You can't just tell whats going to happen when it hasn't even happened yet. Thats stupid. When things run out you just buy more. Sometimes you have to spend a lot of money because you need it right then but that's what money is for. If you spend all your money on stupid shit now and somebody gets sick, well, you'll cross that bridge when you come to it/ just run around all your relatives asking for six times what it really costs and promising to pay them back and they'll give you money because if they don't they're not being nice and they hate your kids. Anyway if you want something it's perfectly ok to lie to get what you want. Nobody will ever check up on you because if they do that's mean, and that's negative thinking.

8. If you have two dogs and five chickens and your favorite activity is the 'Ten Meter Wake Up From A Nap, Turn On The Empty Dryer And Wander Outside Wrapped In a Sleeping Bag To Sit Motionless Under the Dryer Vent And Chainsmoke While You Stare At A Single Spot On The Neighbors' Fence For 45 Minutes At A Time' (international rules), and five of you live in a tiny house on a tiny lot and two of your kids are still in diapers and you can't afford to pay your bills or feed yourselves, you should totally go out and buy A ST. BERNARD.

9. You know what people think is cool?  People think it's cool when you deliberately run over animals with your car and laugh.  They do. My mother in law was totally impressed.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adoption and Reunion: or, Travelling Without a Map, or Landmarks, Or a Destination, Or Sandwiches, or a Fucking Clue

There is no solid cultural reference for how to navigate the reunion of a child and his or her natural mother after that child has grown to adulthood.  Unless you count the exploitive fuckery of the 'Talk Show reunion', of course, and that only covers the 'OHMIGOD LOOK AT YOU YOU LOOK JUST LIKE AUNT MARGARET' part where people get their minds blown and everyone jumps up and down.   Once the segment is finished, you can pretty much assume that the whole happy group of them go sit in a Denny's and order a Grand Slam and then sit there and feel weird and uncomfortable because after all, everyone at the table is a stranger to each other, DNA notwithstanding.    I think that what people expect it to be like is the kind of explosive emotional reunions you see when trapped miners emerge after 3 months and race into the arms of their families. It's not.
So because it is my life and it figured 'hey, things aren't bizarre enough on a daily basis already',  I found myself reunited with the son I gave up for adoption when I was 19.  It's been three years since that initial meeting.  It's been a trip. There have been no sandwiches on this trip.

Going in, I was lucky in one respect:  The Arborist got my 'running off at the mouth' gene, so there was plenty of conversation.  But even with that going for us I still halfway expected the whole thing to be an elaborate build-up to eventual disaster...that at some inevitable point I was going to be sold insurance or to hear that he had been raised by Mormons and wanted me to convert so we could all be reunited in heaven or that he wanted to borrow money or something.  Worst of all, I dreaded seeing a younger version of the guy who sired him...oh man was I dreading that. 

None of those things transpired, much to my amazement, since this IS my life, after all. We did get to know each other, and thankfully we're enough alike that we became friends. As things stand I see my role now more along the lines of 'weird aunt' than 'mom', so we get high together, go on road trips, harvest dope, discuss composting methods, watch robot movies, drink to excess and sing The Allman Brothers Greatest Hits on the front porch at night to annoy his next door neighbor.  It does, too.

I am continually surprised as our relationship progresses at how much 'nature' as opposed to 'nurture' is involved in forming a personality.  I was adopted too, and the people who raised me might as well have been Martians (and probably were) for all we understood each other on any level.  With this guy, it's different.  And it's a little eerie. It goes far beyond the basic social drive to build a friendship by recognizing and reinforcing points of mutual interest.  It extends into whatever physical or biochemical reasons those interests formed in the first place. We consistently respond to the same things, from subtle to blatant, identically. IDENTICALLY.

This leads me to an uncomfortable subject, but it's gotta be said.  My son is, quite frankly, gorgeous.  I mean absolutely gorgeous.  I still find myself glancing at him and thinking 'hot diggity damn that is one seriously fineass OH JESUS CHRIST THAT'S MY SON I AM THE BIGGEST PERVERT WHO EVER WALKED AND NOW I MUST DIE.'   If he'd been zitty, chinless and sweaty it would have been a lot easier to deal with since my  innate horndog tendencies wouldn't have intruded themselves into the mix with quite so much enthusiasm.

Now...couple that fact with what turns out to have been a delayed oxytocin cascade and you have one seriously freaked out little Muk.

Oxytocin, my friends, is a hormone that typically turns on like a firehose a short while after you have a baby.  It reinforces maternal bonding.

I let him go two days after I had him. It had barely gotten underway at that point.

Come twenty-seven years later? It hit me like the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. I can tell you where I was standing and everything. You don't forget something as cataclysmic and frightening as that. I mean I'm a married woman. I love my husband. The man I'm hugging goodbye is my SON. Suddenly all I want to do with every single fiber of my being is spend the rest of my life smelling his hair. It was horrible. Still, hormones don't make fine moral distinctions. Oxytocin is the chemical component which stimulates human bonding behavior, period. In the case of a mother and child, it's stimulated by your sense of smell.  29 years later, he still smells like my baby.

If I sound like I've been doing a lot of reading about this subject it's because I have.  There were a lot of indecent, creepy and inappropriate adults back in my childhood and my single greatest fear has always been that despite my knowing better I somehow 'caught' it from them. Now dump seventeen gallons of oxytocin into that mix and meet your smoking hot adult son for the first time. Try it. I dare you.

And heres the punchline: I know....and I don't want to know- I really, really don't want to know - that he's gone through the same thing.

Yeah, it's....pretty interesting.

Now we're past the initial stage of reaquaintance. All our baggage is beginning to unpack itself and strew itself around the room, and a lot of it needs to be washed, and most of it smells really weird.  Reality is taking the stage and a certain amount of disillusionment as well.

I have an easier time with this than he does. I'm older, and I'm married to a German. I can take in the fact that my son can be kind of a dipshit, and doesn't eat very well, is a martyr, and needs to go to therapy and deal with his issues, and I can go 'yeah, he's being a guy' and leave it at that (while simultaneously tormenting myself about it and agonizing over the fact that I can't fix it, because I am also a dipshit.) He, on the other hand, is a pretty tender soul. He has all kinds of mommy issues (only part of which have to do with being adopted) and no coping skills whatsoever because he is, in fact, a guy...and then here my ass comes into the picture.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition...but they expect the Spanish Inquisition way before they expect me. I am decidedly NOT living up to his expectations...both unrealistic and otherwise. The sweet mommy he wanted is not the fool-baiting, menopausal, cigar-smoking hippie he ended up with. And it's messing with him BAD.

Now add the following...

This isn't a perfect relationship, but it's better than the one he has with the people who raised him; and that's kind of flattering at the same time it's sad. What's not so flattering is realizing that he'd give a year of his life to be having this relationship with them, and that what we have makes him feel guilty. 

His mother and sisters absolutely haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate me. Just the whole concept of me. My 'existing in life and walking among the living' me. Never met me. Don't know me. Just, me. They've made his life miserable since I came into the picture. I'm above this kind of bullshit, of course.  In fact I wouldn't mind meeting his mother at all. I'd be happy to share a number of opinions with her I've formulated over the years about drunks who beat their children, and I can deliver them in a way I'm certain she'd understand provided she doesn't lapse into unconciousness too quickly.

My presence and it's repercussions has also served to throw into high relief the fact that his present relationship sucks, for a variety of reasons I'll spare you reading about. He sees it. He'll even admit it. At length. In detail. He has some very good, very valid, extremely serious reasons for feeling the way he does, too.

Right up until you agree with him.*

This is all very difficult for me to deal with.  I didn't raise the guy.  I keep expecting him to react to 'x' situation the way WE react to it, and when he doesn't I register it as wrong, and an affront. Which is stupid.  Which realization does nothing whatsoever to make it not happen.  Which I'll eventually grow out of. I hope.

As much as my presence has complicated his life, so his presence has complicated mine. My daughter and husband have gone through some horrifying bouts of sulking, jealousy, pouting, abandonment fears, pouting, feelings of betrayal, pouting, sulking and mourning the loss of their exclusivity in my life. I've been a wreck...the ancient history I've had to re-visit, the emotions I've been going through and the issues I've had to deal with surrounding this whole thing have been legion and it's made me act like a total fucking insane harpy maniac; and as such, somewhat less than pleasant to live with.

This is where it stands now.

Me, I have no doubt we'll continue to be a family. We're right on track, if the present degree of retardation and dysfunction is any indicator (see previous post.) It's just going to be a roller coaster ride. A roller coaster ride with me standing up in the car with a rifle shooting at winos, my dil barfing uncontrollably, my son and daughter heatedly arguing about which one of them is the most irrational, the granddaughters bungee jumping off the rear car, the grandsons crying, and my husband eating a corndog and refusing to admit he's on a roller coaster at all.

Wish me luck.
*OK fine that was my mistake. I'm juggling a lot of plates here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DOOCED: Some things to think about

You have no idea how incredibly fucked up getting dooced can be.

You know what, let me tell you how incredibly fucked up getting dooced can be.  Me, I was a happy little blogging camper, merrily blogging along, bloggity blog blog, blogging whatever came to mind without worrying about keeping anyone happy or saying the 'right' thing or tailoring the message for a specific know, all those things you do in meatspace that keep society running happily..?  Those things which are part of to 'face to face conversation with people you know' as opposed to 'writing for an anonymous audience'? And that was lovely. I eventually had lots of readers who seemed to be amused by what I had to say (for the most part anyway.)   So time went on, and I got complacent and I got careless.

Here's where it all fell apart:  I was idiot enough to link back to myself while commenting on a family members' blog.

Holy fucking shitstorm of stupidity, Batman.

I'd like to say that I learned some pithy-ass lesson from the whole wretched incident, but that ain't what happened. What happened was, during the course of trying to maintain some personal integrity, making myself understood, and wishing I could just grab a baseball bat and simplify the whole ordeal,  I came to realize that 'choice' and 'responsibility' are very nebulous concepts for some people.  And that one specific member of my extended family is a complete stranger to the meaning of things like 'appropriate boundaries between family members', 'if I want your imput I'll probably ignore it anyway because you're an idiot',  'how on Earth did I manage to say so many things to you specifically when I WOULDN'T MEET YOU FOR TWO MORE YEARS',  and 'making me be a passenger in your vehicle while you deliberately run over a live squirrel and then giggle does nothing to endear you to me'. 

No really

Which leads me to my point...
 'Family' is not a sane construct.  It is a primitive construct. It is designed to repel mastadons and housebreak infants, and generally speaking, it only accomplishes half of that on a good day.  Get dooced by family, then, and chances are good that you'll put up with a substantially higher volume of BATSHIT INSANE than you do now for the rest of your life. 

Welcome to mine.