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Wed Mar 25, 2015 at 12:10 PM PDT

A Huge Thank You To Kossacks

by irishwitch

If gratitude can be infinite, ours is. I want to thank every single Kossack who used PayPal or sent us checks or money orders. You rock. And you reminded me that some people actually practice the principles of the Sermon on the Mount instead of focusing on Revelations and the nastier bits of Paul. I may be a Wiccan, but this witch had 17 years of Catholic school, including college (and studied under some Big Name Catholic theologians, the ones were more concerned with kindness and decency than birth control) and still think what those nuns taught us about caring for others is pretty much the same as the Wiccan Rede.  

What you did for us is beyond anything we could have hoped for. You made our goal, which allowed us to book the moving company. While the re-evaluation came to 3K not 2, the good news is that the money you have raised was enough to get us up there--and that while there's more we'll have to pay on delivery, we'll have several months to get it together and put money aside for an apartment. We were also able to get 3 new tires for the car with the money we would have had to spend for a UHaul. And let tell you what a difference it makes for us--the cats may be unhappy and protesting, but they (and I) will be a lot happier in our Camry than in a UHaul.

Ben's cardiologist says he's doing really well, and that his blood pressure will be much better once he's able to lose the weight, which we will be able to do once he gets somewhere he can take long walks again.

This will be the last time I post.  The moves are coming either tomorrow or Friday to pack up.  While we'll be here till April 6, running last errands, the computer will be on the truck and the tablets are hard to type on for any length. So, it's goodbye for now, with enormous thanks to all of you who kicked in to get us up to MA, and a real life again.

Know that however much you gave to us, you made a real difference in the lives of two people. We'll pay it forward once we can do so--it will likely be a few dollars at a time but I'll be happy to do so.

Discuss

This diary has nothing to with our move, or my MiL (though she's out of the cleaning frenzy, she's driving us both nuts but this too shall pass eventually). Its about the hard lessons I learned 31 years ago when my grandmother and my first husband  died within a month of each other. Those are the sort of life lessons you never forget, and gain wisdom from.

My grandmother's death was not unexpected.She had spent the previous 4 months paralyzed on one side of her body and aphasic, victim of a massive stroke; a second stroke took her life.  She was 83, born at the turn of the last century, fort generation born in America.  She had only an 8th grade education, worked as a maid at a prestigious girl's boarding school and in a factory. She was Black Irish with hair so dark it was almost blue-black, deep brown eyes made for laughter and a pale olive complexion that tanned more in a single day than I do in a year in Florida,and she was kind, gentle, loving, infinitely forgiving, and bawdy as hell.  She and my grandfather lived with us my entire life, and when she died, I  lost my other mother.

Yet I prayed for her to die if she couldn't get better, which she couldn't. I wanted her to suffer as little as possible after the first stoke, and I thanked the Goddess Brigid that it was mercifully quick.  Would I have liked more time with her?  Damned straight, but I wanted her at peace and out of the awful condition she was in for her sake.

A month later, on the Monday before Easter (I have banished the exact date, and settle for remembering that I hate Easter) my 29-year-old first husband  died the Monday before, buried on Holy Saturday, and it was damned hard finding an Irish piper for his burial during the Easter Rising commemorations).It was an undiagnosed heart problem from heart scarring due to asthma and rheumatic fever a a child. You'd never have guessed it to look at him, and he'd been fencing the day before. I loved him with my whole heart and his death came close to breaking me, but I survived. I really didn't have a choice.

He looked like a back-haired version of Benedict Cumberbatch, and seems to have stepped out of a Roger Zelazny novel. He was used as the model for Corwin in the reprint of Nine Princes in Amber.  Honorable to a fault, he was soft-spoken, gentle, and kind. Remember the scene in Roadhouse when Patrick Swayze tells his security team to be nict until it's time not to be nice? That was him. Never lost his temper unless someone he cared about was being threatened or hurt. He had three black belts, two brown, was a competition fencer in high school, and had studied kenjutsu.

But at 29, he was dead.

Lessons learned from this were many but these are the important ones.

1. Don't hold back when you love someone, whether it's as a friend, a family member or a spouse. Yes, losing them will break your heart, but hearts heal even when they break--and the capacity to love grows with each loss and each love.

2. When you lose someone, TELL THEM. You never know if this will be the last time, and the one thing you will regret when they leave are the times when you didn't say "I love you" when you had the chance.

3. You mourn in direct proportion to how much you love. Sure, the loss is devastating, but the rewards are so much greater than the pain.

4. When you are angry with the one you love--and no one can drive you crazier than a spouse--don't cling to the anger and be the first to forgive. If you need to sleep on it after a quarrel, do so; you'll be much more willing to forgive if you've slept enough. I've reached the point where I've forgiven MiL for making us give up Cleo to our nephew. Just not worth hanging on to the feelings. It took me more time than I'd have liked to reach this point.  Forgiving is not the same as forgetting, however.

5. Not everyone will like and support you. Be grateful for the ones who do, and especially for the ones who love you. Love is a precious gift.

6. From my grandmother: accept help gracefully and gratefully. When it's your turn to help someone, make them feel that they are doing you a favor by allowing you to help--because they are.

7. Some forevers are shorter than others. Cherish the time you have with the ones you love.

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You know the old curse about living in interesting times? It's been the story of my life since January 2014. First there was the Packhorse's heart surgery (he's doing really well, the cardiologist says--and he also has a thank you letter to the DKos folks who kept me as sane as it was possible to be under the circumstances). Then the foreclosure, with too little time to prepare--having someone who had open heart surgery in January doing the moving in May did not make me happy. Then we came to MiL's house under her very grudging terms. She originally demanded the cats fins homes or go to the pound because she hates animals; I think she especially hates our cats. That didn't happen. In September she decided we should move into low income housing here (the housing had a double murder occurred there; I suspect it may just be the first one I happened to catch because I avoid local news like the plague) but that plan was killed because we couldn't get in quick enough. Ben and I decided that if we moved into there, we'd be stuck here in GA forever which has been driving me into depression, and decided we'd just choose to move to New England, to western MA where we have friends. It's a therapeutic move; I was close to clinical depression from the Things refusing to come to see MiL for Thanksgiving or Xmas while we are here.  Turns out this Wiccan witch still feels  Catholic guilt for stuff that isn't even my fault.

Then MiL discovered  her cancer which she told us several years ago was Stage 1 and was really Stage 4, had moved to her liver and her spine. She has 6-12 months left and she wants us gone so she can move into senior housing. Sad thing is, the only one I think woul;d have been help to her in her last months when she will need skilled nursing is the son she's kicking out. Neither daughter came to her for Xmas because Thing 2 threw a hissy fit because we hadn't left the house like she thought was owed to her on Thanksgiving --the people who came were my two BiL and his wife and sons who aren't thrilled with the two nieces. SO we stayed.  Thing 2 was on her way here after dinner  when  she learned we had the audacity to stay and actually eat  instead of going somewhere so she oculd drop in without being offended by her presence.  The elder SiL decided she would have Xmas at her house and informed her mother of that in a tersely worded phone call. We were expressly NOT included.

My mood for Xmas was NOT helped when MiL got a call from HER niece telling her she was at a mall and those crazy people were staging a die-in. And MiL, who thought George Wallace was a great governor and LIKED Lester Maddox, called thew protestors idiots and Ferguson a stupid mess (implying strongly that the police were angels and the protestors assholes.  It is one thing to know in thew back of your head that your MiL is a Southern bigot who can't help it because she's 80 and probably thought MLK was an asshole and that the people marching in Selma got what they deserved (her sister was married  to the warden of Bull Conner's jail, and my husband and I prefer not to acknowledge that, but it is a fact) and quite another to have your nose rubbed in it.  I had a meltdown Christmas Eve day but got it together enough for dinner., Hell I apologized for her grandchildren's bad behavior like it was my fault.  

Yup, Jews invented guilt, and I had  Jewish grandmother. Catholics raised to a new level--and Irish Catholics, and you never get over that upbringing, raised it to an art form on a par with the Sistine Chapel.

She ordered us to get rid of the cats.  That DID NOT happen. We did find a new home for Cleo, my beautiful brown tabby CLASSIC  ME Coon. She had peed on the carpet. She went to live with Bill, my nephew, and his wife Jamie, who fell in love with her at Christmas. MiL never commented on it. We were however given April 15 as a drop-dead date to leave.  So we are leaving. And we are not coming back.  She evicted the one child who would actually be willing to care for her, and he's pretty much cutting ties with his family.  

I am trying to forgive her for losing Cleo, who sat with me every night while I read or watched TV.  I am not succeeding. I had given MiL my mother's china. I am taking it back and it moves with us, because I will NOT allow her to leave it to her children or her female grandchildren. My father may have suffered from Alzheimer's but he took one look at Thing 2 and asked who the ugly skinny girl with the big mouth and no manners was. I told him she was being rude to me, not him, but since he was my Dad, he was getting it too. I think he;'d come back and haunt me if she or her counterpart in crime inherited that china. Yes, it's petty, but remember, I lost Cleo on MiL's whim and demand and she didn't even do us the courtesy of acknowledging it. Yes, it's her house, but hey, she let them behave badly to us for years without ever saying a word, and never even apologized for their rudeness. We owe her a lot, but her son spent nights with her during chemo, drove her to Birmingham many times, mowed her lawn and did her yardwork all summer, bought the food we all ate....it wasn't entirely a free ride, but she doesn't see it that way.

So as of April 1, I will have no access to any computer service.  We'll be staying with friends while we find a place up there, and while they have wifi, unless I borrow one of their laptops, I won't have access to a keyboard. If you think my typing is bad now, you should see it trying to use a tablet's tiny keyboard; I don't text for a REASON.  I can barely order books for the Nook online without retyping things two or three times.

We will be back. And things will be better.  I'll be able to find a therapist up there to deal with my anger towards my father and MiL (we wouldn't have been in the mess with him if she hadn't refused to listen to her when I told her it was NOT POSSIBLE for me to care for him without ending up broken, and that we couldn't afford the damned house, that he should go into assisted living because he needed more  care than we could give him, and it would mean Ben dropping out of nursing school so he could help me--had we had exactly the time Dad lived with us, he'd have his RN, and we'd have been out of here 4 years ago). I would have tried fidning a therapist here, but so many are fundamentalist Christians with the local prejudices toward witchy types like moi,and I didn't want to have to argue theology while I am trying to deal with emotional shit that is very, very painful. Would I prefer Ben to be here with his mother for her last months? Yes. She's his mother and he loves her, even though she and his family have marginalized him his entire life. But SHE made that decision for us. For HIM.  We won't be able to afford a flight back for her funeral. We're dead broke and the move will cost us everything we have just getting there. With any luck we'll be bale to borrow enough to pay to have our furniture moved, because I really don't want him loading and unloading that truck And driving a UHaul with 4 cats is more than we can handle.. The cats and I will all have to be sedated.

So one more time I am calling the Ecumenical Prayer Squad (I think it's under the auspices of Father Guido Sarducci) in for one big favor: we need decent weather for that long drive. We plan to stop in VA then drive through the next day. I really think another blizzard is NOT what we need.  And I wouldn't mind a few prayers that MiL stays comfortable until her last few days. She's had a difficult life, and while I am currently mad as spit at her about Cleo, I wouldn't wish a death from cancer even on Vladimir Putin, and I actually do love her.  She actually has a good pastor at her church who came to see Ben, got it when we told him we weren't interested in changing our faith, but prayers were fine and it made MiL heppy,. We ende dup talking cats. He'll be a comfort to her.

And New England Kossacks, we'll be up among you soon. I have a good friend I've never met in Ellid (I don't quilt, Ellid; I just embroider and make garb) who is a pal of the friends we'll be staying with there. I hope to meet a bunch og you at some meet and greet dinner. And, commonmass, we WILL have that Guinness at Brian Boru's. Ben looks forward to meeting you; he's never met you online, but he cried with me when your husband died.

I've missed you all. This is my online home and you were there for us at a very difficult time.

Ben has a thank you letter that will eventually get posted.  SaraR's quilt made him cry. Nop, he doesn't normally cry. He's a retired CPO, after all. but kindness and sharing someone's sorrow will do it. And he's secure enough in his own skin not to care who knows. That quilt WILL travel with us. it, my jewelry,and the cats are the most important things we're carrying with us in the car.

Farewell for awhile. Be back as soon as I can.

Discuss

No white person can ever truly know what it means to be a person of color. Our white skin protects us from the indignities even Black celebrities face on a daily basis—an empty cab driving by without stopping, someone following us through a store (well, actually I have been followed through Hobby Lobby for wearing a pentacle), being treated like a third class human being. But we can listen and observe, and we can learn.

I am about as white as it gets. I’m an Irish redhead, and  I burn if I stand outside for fifteen minutes in summer. When I lived in Japan, I used parasols and hats to avoid sunburn, having learned those tricks from Japanese friends. I’ve spent most of my 65 years in the NE or Japan (7 years), but 2o of it was lived in Miami in the 50s and in North Florida and Georgia. But experience has taught me that I live in a different world than an African-American woman my age.

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Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:42 PM PDT

There Is Life After Eviction

by irishwitch

I'll keep this short and sweet.

As of May 12, we moved in with MiL. 99.9% of our stuff is in storage in the rented unit or her garage.  We both want to pare down the amount of stuff we have accumulated--mostly books. Thank Goddess for the Nook my SiL gave me (purchased for her daughter who never used it) because youy can  easily fit 7000 books on it! I brought 5 bags of books I didn't want to keep to Goodwill because the local used bookstore advertises a lot of pro-life crapola since the owner is fundy Christian and I don't want to contribute to hid bottom line one iota. It's bad enough I live in a house filled with angel statues (including two large plaster wreaths with angels worked in, which in my book are only a couple of points above paintings on velvet of Elvis) and have to hide my Wiccan books, but the office for my husband's cardiologist (which also houses the lab where they do his blood work; I refer to NE GA, natch) is littered with Bibles and fundy mags which cover every inch of table space and half the chairs. We've agreed that I can filch one whenever I go with him and  take it home and tear it up and burn it while Mil is not around.  

Before someone leaps in to accuse me of bigotry and intolerance toward Christianity and Christians, let me assure you that I am not.  What I am, is tired of having other people's religion forced on me in public spaces like hospital waiting rooms and doctor's offices. This office is part of the damned PUBLIC hospital not run by any religion.  Maybe I oughtta find some pamphlets on Wicca or a copy of the Q'oran, though I would be complaints if the offensive materials were not immediately shredded (because to a certain type of fundamentalist the acknowledgement that not everyone is a Christian and that, in fact, other religions do EXIST is somehow evidence of Christian Persecution).

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Thu May 08, 2014 at 07:34 PM PDT

We're Moving

by irishwitch

This is not a GBCW diary.  Tomorrow, the cats and I move to MiL's. The Packhorse, true to his name, will be packing up furniture for storage.Tomorrow we pack the kitchen (Goddess I do NOT look forward to that at all.). We've taken a lot of stuff to Goodwill, including  clothing which is way too big thanks to the 15 pounds I have lost since Ben came home.  I allow myself  a sweet snack before bedtime  so, I don't have the sugar craving, but mostly I am losing because I am eating about half of what I had at one point in time. I am mostly eating his diet, which meant giving up sweet tea, and * find I don't miss it.

We finally broke down and bought two cell phones, even though I hate the damned things. I got the most basic model, while he got the smart phone (Samsung Galaxy) which I may be able to use occasionally just to report in. With the rebate, mine will
cost a whole dollar. We have already agreed that phones won't ever be on during dinner or when we're out.

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Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:13 PM PDT

FURTHER UPDATE: The Cats Are Safe.

by irishwitch

The bad news is we have a temp place to live with MiL.  The good news is she will grit her teeth and allow us to bring the cats with us since we are praying we'll find a place to stay soon. So THAT CRISIS is averted. We'll be packing up in the middle of a flood and tornado watch, though, and we can't get a storage place until Wednesday when we'll have money to do so.

The bad part is that MiL has become a wild-eyed fundy--Ben prefers the term "Jesusfreak" but I find it offensive, and just think of her an old woman who grew up  here and is comfortable with fundamentalism.  She spends her evenings reading horrid Christian books (the type which lie through their teeth) or watching the local Christian channel  this is the home of Creflow Dollar among others). When  she was here a week ago, we talked about books, and somehow Steven King came up. She asked me in dead seriousness if he were a Satanist.  Since I have met him a few times, I knew he wasn't. Actually The Stand is pretty, if not Christian then at least tolerant thereof, with the Hand of God appearing in the sky after the Walkin' Dude is defeated--practically out of Revelations, as I pointed out.

I am currently looking for a therapist. After he's been dead for 5 years, the rage against my father for all the emotional and verbal abuse  Dad hurled at me from the time I was a child, which he viewed as "helpful criticism" about everything from my weight to my clumsiness to my back problems ( turns out I was never fat--in fact, at times I was damned thin according to photos my husband dug out, and my clumsiness is caused by issues I've had from birth, a scoliosis and ankle issues which make my ankles turn--there's actually a photo of me at age 8 with my poor little turned foot).  I need someone who won't try to convert me to Christianity and who can handle a pagan client, and I need to lance the abcess from Dad's cruel comments and leech the poison from my system. I will likely be screaming about MiL as well, but I intend to try to let her nasty digs roll off my back.  With luck I will find one soon so I  have a safe place to cry without upsetting Ben who doesn’t need the stress.

Thanks for the tips and support. We still have to find a new home. I wish we could just pack up and drive North but we can't.  We're stuck here. But least the cats are safe for the moment.  I plan to ignore MiL's comments as much as possible.  She works so she'll be gone during the day. If it gets too bad I'll figure out a safe word that means “Get me out of here before I do something we'll both regret".
I need to start the packing. Will somebody please  tell the Pootie People that for now the cats are going with us (unless MiL: changes her mind).

Discuss

Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:36 PM PDT

Update: Bad News And a Bit of Good

by irishwitch

I am gonna be offline for an indefinite period of time. We being evicted, and if we're lucky, we'll have until Friday. I won't go into the details but the words "predatory lending" come to mind. So I have at most 3 days to pack up everything. I have no idea where we'll be living. We're on a waiting list for low income housing (we have about $2K a month between my Social Security and his Navy pension which 't exactly princely despite what Paul Ryan believes. I don't know where we;; be living. I am  trying to keep him stress-free as possible during this time--his health is what matters, that and and keeping my cats--and I suspect MiL MIGHT give US house room, but the cats wouldn't be allowed.  I will NOT give up my cats.  

Why didn't we act earlier?

Frankly, he was still in recovery until March, and at that point it was too late to do anything about the eviction.

My husband has had to drop out of cardio rehab for the time being. He's having blood pressure issues because his cardiologist changed his meds and they're playing with dosages. The people at the cardio rehab are okay.  The dietician has one of those unfortunate grating voices, a combo of the worst points of Sarah Palin and  Wicked Witch of the West (I  kept expecting her to say "I'll get you, my pretty, and yout little dog too). I decided that when Ben restarts rehab, I'll start wearing ear plugs. If I sit in the waiting room, I am beset by screaming children and crying babies (not what you need when you're suffering from allergy-induced and pressure change headaches) ; if I wait in the gym areas, it's Fox News and men my age discussing golf  and politics (always right-wing; this is Gainesville, GA,after all).

I haven't been on lately   because we've either been running to his appointments or I've been sick from sinus and allergies--two rounds of antibiotics earlier  since the middle of February, and two rounds of steroid shots for the allergies, the most recent last week.  I've been coughing pretty much non-stop and still am. I've become an expert on the variation in color of not.

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I am sorry not to have updated DKos sooner but the last couple of weeks have been hectic. Ben ended up with bronchitis again and my sinus infection returned.  MY GP put us on the same meds and we've been hacking and coughing for the past couple of weeks. Since Levaquin makes me nauseated, I feel like I've been single-handedly keeping the Big Pharma that manufactures Dramamine afloat. And the nausea put me into great place for my right hyperflexed  ankle to send me sprawling. Doctor cleared us of the bronchitis and sinusitis, but it was annoying and kind of exhausting.

End of not-so-great news.   Everything else is terrific.

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Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 02:14 PM PST

Best. Valentine. Ever.

by irishwitch

Today marks the second week my husband's been out of the hospital.  Saturday was a really big day, because MiL played chauffeur (makes her happy; keeps her out of my hiar and things go more smoothly for all) and we went grocery shopping. We hit Sam's for some meat buying and we picked up lots of berries and a plush throw for Ben to use to keep warm while watching the Olympics (it's been difficult keeping the temp above 68 since Monday, but today we got it to 74! YAY!). We picked up cat food and a heart-shaped box of candy for Nicole, the PA who ordered the CAR Scan that discovered the blood clot in his lung. She's not someone I'd pick even as an acauaintance, but she saved his life so she deserves somet hanks.

And he asked me what I wanted for Valentine's Day,

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Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 11:28 AM PST

Home At Last

by irishwitch

Thank you all for watching my back.  For helping me not buckle under the burden of fear.  It's been a long journey from that day in the ER through the surgery past a blood clot in the leg--and potentially much more dangerous  clot in his  lungs. Yes, the surgeon and the cardiologist were prepared to send him home earlier than last TH--but a PA named Nicole may have saved his life by noticing that his 02 saturation decreased when he walked.  She ordered a CAT scan, and they found that second clot. I don't have warm and fuzzy feelings toward the cardio and the surgeon.  Because had she not ordered the test, I was gonna ask her about it since one blood clot in leg plus increased problems breathing when he should have been improving seemed of to me and I wondered about a clot in the lung which is not uncommon. He stayed a few days longer,  but tomorrow he'll have been home for a week.

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Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:59 PM PST

He Might Be Home Friday or Saturday

by irishwitch

If you can't be kind, begone.

I am dealing with enough  crap that Valium barely makes a dent in it. It's not just my husband's recovery from quintuple bypass, with bad news every time we turn around, it's also the complicated relationships within the in-laws, and my complete inability to pretend everything's just fine when it patently isn't. It's caused a deep rift between me and them. Actually, I suspect it just revealed the truth about how they view me, so for once in the 28 years I have been with him, they're showing how they really feel--and it isn't pretty.

So I don't want any lectures on how much better you would handle.  And try not to dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back about how much better you'd handle. And if you think isn't political enough, don't read it. Although, part of my worry is about how big a co-pay we'll be stuck with after Tricare, which is why I wanted single payer.  NOBODY at a time like this when the stress is breaking your heart, should have to worry about co-pays.

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