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No Decision Is A Good Decision

Monday, December 31, 2012

I'd like to say that I don't know how it began, but that would be a lie. It's been happening for quite some time now and each incident has been worse than the one before. What used to be containable is no more. Police, paramedics and hospitals have become a part of my life.

I've lived in fear for years, fear of someone that I should fear the least, one of my children. He's attacked me, and other family members, on numerous occasions. In the past I could mostly fend off his aggression, but not now, he's nineteen, extremely muscular and he's on the autism spectrum.

His autism/asperger's has caused many of the problems, his rebellion the rest. He was away at Job Corps for about a year and it was peaceful at my house. I didn't have to sleep with my door locked fearing I would be stabbed, or clubbed to death, in the middle of the night. I've told his psychiatrists, and my therapists, for years of my fear and we've tried to come up with ways to keep everyone safe. Sometimes the plans worked and sometimes they didn't.

Most of the people that know him will tell you he's a sweet, kind soul. He's sociable and extremely polite.  He is all those things, and much, much more. He's a talented guitar player, he's intelligent and can be a very hard worker when he wants to be.

There's also a dark side to him, an aggressive side, a side that comes in a blink of an eye. Sometimes we can see, or sense, it coming and other times it's instantaneous. Usually it happens because he's been told to do something that he doesn't want to do like clean his room, help with the dishes, or it could be as simple as being asked to lower his voice. Sometimes it just happens.

Since he's been home from Job Corps he's refused to take his medication and his threatening behavior and actions have become more frequent and more frightening. He's picked up bottles of wine, tea kettles, anything within his reach that he feels he could use as a weapon, and has advanced on his intended victim. Each time, luckily, we've been able to either diffuse the situation or get away. Sunday afternoon was different, he was serious, and he was ready to make his move.

He erupted because he wanted to watch a movie and was told no. I have a rule with him that he has to be up by a certain time in the morning, help around the house and control his behavior. If he doesn't do those things he doesn't get to play video games, have access to the DVD player, or play pool, etc.

He got up late, he knows the rules, and he wanted to argue the point. He escalated to the point that he was ready to attack. He made a move and we were able to hold him at bay while 911 summoned the sheriff. Security measures have been in place for years but now that he's older and much stronger he's capable of much more damage and his threats have become more than the mere words of a rebellious child, they've become something to be taken seriously, to be feared.  

I was on the phone with the 911 operator when the police arrived. I hung up with her as I went to meet the deputies. A deputy went into the house to speak with my son while two other deputies interviewed each person that had been in the house when his switch was flipped.

When every one's story matched, except my my son's, the deputies decided to take him to a nearby location where he could calm down before returning home. They couldn't make him go to the hospital because now he's an adult. Before they left, one of the officers asked why he's been allowed to live in the house since he's such a danger.

It caught me off guard. Being a mom means helping your kids in every possible way, but the deputy had a point, everyone in the house was in real danger. I had been making phone calls and trying to contact agencies during the past month trying to find housing options for him. So far they've led to nothing but dead ends. He scored right at the cut off line when he was tested for adult disability services with the State of Oregon, so they've been no help. We were on our own and had to make a decision, it had to be made and it had to be made then.

After talking it over with the family, and hearing them voice the same fear I have, and talking to his father, the decision was made to take him to a teen shelter down town. It was the most heart breaking decision I've ever had to make. He's my son, he was adopted at birth, we've loved him, cared for him and tried everything to help him and nothing has worked to quell the aggression. 

As his sister packed him a bag his father drove to pick him up from where the deputies had taken him. His dad brought him home, my son grabbed what he could carry in his backpack, I gave him some money, he then turned and walked to the truck to be taken away from the only family he's ever known. I paced, I cried and I was torn.

I knew it was the best decision for the family, but what about my son? Would he be cold? Would he be assaulted? Would he survive? He's naive, he would be alone and he would be scared.

I called my oldest daughter and asked her to call him. He told her he had been directed to a shelter for kids that are from 13 to 21. I also asked her to plead with him to call us, to work with us, to agree to stay on his medications so he could come home. He would have none of it.

My daughter stayed in contact with him until he had a bed secured for the night and then she reported back to me. That night had to have been the worst night of sleep I've ever had.

Today we had several conversations with a case worker at the shelter. She's going to work with him to find a him job and a place to live. She stressed that since he's over 18 he has to make the effort and whatever decision is made has to be made by him.

Wednesday I'll begin making calls about the possibility of gaining guardianship over him so we can have more control over his future and what happens to him. Had I had guardianship yesterday I could have had him admitted to the hospital. But he's now an adult and I have no power over what he decides to do. But then if I do gain guardianship will that push him over the edge, will it do more harm than good?

All of these questions but no answers, only heartbreak, tears and a different type of fear.



Foam And Frustration

Friday, December 28, 2012

I should have known when I didn't notice the foam on my latte. I like perfect foam, well to me it's perfect. It's like drinking velvet when it's right, but today I didn't pay attention to it, for me that's an oddity.

I always anticipate the first sip and I've learned which baristas I prefer. But not today. Today my mind was elsewhere. It's been there for a time and not much I do seems to bring it back to the present, to the here and now. I'm not even quite sure what day it is.

What began as a day distracted quickly turned to a day of total frustration. You know those days, the days where nothing works the way it should? The yin and yang...totally screwed up today, and the zen? Forget about it.

It began by me trying to make amends for a disastrous situation I totally, unintentionally, caused. Didn't work. Not sure it will, but time will tell. I hate when things like that happen because I completely obsess over them until things are cool. Yeah, well I think I'll be waiting a while on this one.

Then since the day was going so well, ha, I decided to go to the Mac Store to have them help me move my iTunes, photos, and other media over to an external hard drive. Should have never made that decision.

Once I was at the help desk the guy that had been assigned to me decided it was much more important that my cursor wouldn't make its way to the top of an icon. Who cares? I certainly didn't. All I wanted was my media moved to another drive.

Tech guy couldn't let it go and actually help me with what I wanted help with. He zoomed in on the cursor, preformed all sorts of software tests, that took about three hours, and ended up somehow deleting the operating system on my Mac Book Pro. Great. Freaking great.

I then got to go home and spend hours trying to reload the operating system, have I ever mentioned that I'm NOT a patient person at times? By this time I was really needing a drink, a really big drink, maybe multiple drinks. I decided against that because then I would be obsessing again over the first item of the day and sure as hell would have ended up doing something stupid, really stupid, that would only aggravate the situation. Decided against the funnel and the tequila and decided to text Angela instead. Her advice? Run EVERYTHING by her before I do it. She was going to be my cop (if you only knew how funny that is).

While I was soberly texting and waiting for the software to load I learned that everyone in my house was dropping minute by minute with some sort of viral nightmare. The day was going downhill and it was going fast.

Then Nikki came in and told me her iPad was stolen at the mall. What in the heck was it with Apple products today? What did I ever do to Steve Jobs?

Now? Now the operating system is up and running, Nikki's filed a police report, I haven't been thrown up on, but, oh yeah there's a but, but now my stomach's feeling a little funky, I have a headache and I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be spending tomorrow in bed.

I should have paid better attention to the foam and maybe, just maybe, the day would have taken a different direction.



The Ambien Tree And Acceptance

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It was a year ago almost to the day that I awoke and checked my email. My mouth dropped open and shivers went up my spine. There were several email confirmations of items I'd purchased after I had taken an Ambien and didn't immediately close the laptop, make sure the TV was tuned to 360 for the next morning's news, and put head to pillow.

Oh no, apparently I stayed up and did a little midnight shopping. There was a confirmation for some luxury lingerie from Aubade....ya gotta check them out...pure luxury, and worth every cent, and one rather curious confirmation for a 8' white Christmas tree already strung with tons of lights from Front Gate.

Shit! I didn't remember any of the purchases, not a single one. I clicked on the links, first to the lingerie. I was very glad my exquisite taste in lingerie hadn't been tarnished while under the influence of a hallucinogen. Then I clicked on the one I dreaded most, the one for the 8' white Christmas tree.

The tree arrived several days after Christmas in a box almost as tall as one of my grown sons. Holy Mother of God! What in the hell had I done? With a box that big I had visions of the infamous Griswold tree in the movie Christmas Vacation.

Oh well, it was there and I decided against returning it. It sat in the garage until a few days after Thanksgiving this year when the kids and I made the decision to put it up.

When we took it out of the box it looked big, really big, Griswold big. Oh crap, it was going to be a disaster. We put it together anyway.

When we finally figured out how to place the pieces I realized it fit just fine, although I still wasn't sure I'd made a wise purchase. I mean a white tree?

The next weekend I had the grand kids over to decorate it. Little by little it came together and little by little it became more beautiful. I was beginning to think I could get used to the white Ambien tree.

I gazed at it last night before retiring for the evening. It truly is beautiful. I think I'll keep it around even though I lost a family competition (that I knew nothing about) because I'd bought it "under the influence." (see the paragraph below)

"Congratulations, Michelle, for winning the most beautiful Christmas tree in the family contest! I couldn't bring myself to vote for my tree, I figured that would be too selfish considering I'm the only voter. And, Teri(mom) after much deliberation your tree was disqualified due to the fact that it was bought while under the influence of Ambien.
So, Michelle, you can hold your head up high today knowing that you won this made up contest by default."

Oh well, I'm happy, and isn't that all that matters?




What The Hell Was I Thinking?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The last few days have been strange ones for sure. I've been off kilter and out of sorts. Is that redundant? Well at this moment I don't really give a shit. I've done, and said, things I never should have and usually wouldn't have. I guess it was a weak moment(s). There's been a reason for my weak moments, and that's been a Diva denied. I don't do that well. Yeah, I know, you're all nodding your heads in agreement. You know me well. There's something I want that I can't have and it's really messing with me. Spoiled? You know it!

My usually composed and held together self has been anything but. Maybe it's the season. I really, strongly dislike this time of year. Especially today when I'm sitting in Starbucks and it's freaking snowing! I hate snow! And I no longer have a SUV, I have a car. I haven't been without a SUV in decades, so I'm not so sure how my car will handle in the snow. That kinda freaks me out (Reaching for Xanax). Now, does the period come before or after the parenthesis? Again, whatever.

Yesterday for some reason known only to Mary, Joseph and Jesus I let my guard down and told this new therapist guy all sorts of stuff. What in the hell was I thinking? Yes, I know, you're supposed to tell therapists your innermost, darkest thoughts so everything can seemingly get worked out, right? Yeah, bullshit. I'm not falling for that anymore. As a matter of fact I think I'll just save my money and use my phone minutes. The Green Eyed Brat has better advice than some PhD. Cynical? Maybe, but we all know it's true. Besides, aren't therapists the trendy thing to have? Well, I sure as hell don't do trendy, I try to stick to the classics, you know, like Louis Vuitton. Which reminds me, my Louis has a cut in it. Time for a new one? Not until another contract is signed for sure. I know, I'm off track again...shoot me.

Now my psychiatrist, he's the real deal. He's awesome. He lets me have my way, which I very much like, but keeps me within certain parameters, which I also like. I feel safe and secure under his care. But I really think I need a re-evaluation as to my diagnosis, even though I'm pretty comfortable with it (especially since it's the mildest form and I don't have to deal with the shit that others worse off than I  have to deal with). I'm seeing more effects of PTSD than anything else. That kind of makes me laugh for some reason. Isn't PTSD trendy as well? And as a good friend says, that happens to be a doctor, my main diagnosis is the ADD of the day, way over diagnosed and an easy out. Plus a way to make money I'm sure. I'm certain it's a pharmaceutical and governmental conspiracy! 

Am I a conspiracy theorist? Some would say yes, especially those on the left. But the way I see it, I'm just a realist. An armed realist, so the left really dislike me.

See what I mean about being off kilter? I'm sure none of this is making sense and is all out of whack. But just tell me you're with me, humor me, make me feel better.

Last night was a total cluster. Yeah, it was that bad. Details not needed at this time, they will come at a later date, I'm sure another weak moment will befall me and I may, or may not, speak of it, but it will leak out and become the talk of the neighborhood.

And as long as I'm all over the place, will someone PLEASE send another follower my way? This 666 shit is freaking me out. I have thousands of followers by email, so that's cool, but 666 on Google Friend Connect and the end of the world coming this soon? Not sure I can handle both, not sure there's enough Xanax in the world to help me deal with that. 

Now my coffee is cold, my donut is half-eaten, as usual, so I guess I should wrap this up and get on with my day. I have things to conquer, plus it's massage day. I'm off to try to find a way to bring a little more order to my world and a little more control to my mouth, my emotions and my texting.

Oh, and I'm down ten pounds again. What's up with that? At least that's something that's out of my control that I'll just take and not question.

Peace out,



Therapist Overload

Monday, December 17, 2012

I had an appointment with my therapist today. I don't think his life will ever be the same.

Tell me, how does one shock a therapist? Well, let's just say you should have been there.

He's relatively new to me and I wasn't really sure I could trust him. Have I ever mentioned I have major trust issues? HA!

I seem to have this life long record of trusting people only to be proven wrong time and time again, so I was a little nervous when I went in today. I view most psychologists with suspicion anyway. I mean who in their right mind would want to sit around all day, day in and day out, listening to problems voiced by others? No sane person I know, see my dilemma?

He met me in the lobby and escorted me back to his office. I was laughing as we walked through the door to the yellow painted room of secrets. That seemed to have gotten his attention. I'm usually extremely reserved with him, I mean I can talk to someone at Starbucks and not have to pay for it considering the amount of information I usually give him. I'm not even sure why in the hell I see a therapist when I have Angela.

I'm very careful with my words when I speak to him, after all he's armed with a pen and paper that only ends up in my permanent record and who in the hell knows what really happens with that record? I'm not sure how much information he writes in that file he has.

My last therapist was cool. I was really comfortable with her and would tell her anything. She'd write things like, "talked about relationship problems," or, "money matters." She also swore like a sailor, kept her feet propped up on a table and was tattooed from here to there, yeah, I totally trusted her with everything.

But this guy, I haven't been so sure about. But I gave myself away by my laughter. He asked me how my week went. I laughed a little more and shook my head, sure sign of trouble ahead.  

I hesitated for a minute, looked him in the eye and said, "I'm not sure how much I can trust you." He was cool about it and told me it was my call. So I stared at him a minute more before deciding to go full force ahead. See I was in devastated Diva mode today and, unfortunately for him, he got everything I had. 

I couldn't help but chuckle the entire time, it's better than crying isn't it? And we all know I don't do tears. Tears cause ruined make up and make for puffy eyes, not Diva-like, and I have a reputation to keep up after all.

So devastated Diva or not, I was going to get through the appointment with as much grace as possible. I pretty much laid it all out for him and let him sort out the details. He took it pretty well, I think. I mean he was still speaking to me when I paid him. Wait a minute, maybe he wasn't so sure I would pay him had he behaved any other way.

I told him of personal decisions made years prior and pretty much how the chicken flies in my life and in my relationships. In reality those decisions have worked pretty well all the way around, all sides have been in agreement and forward we went. I forget, though, that what seems normal to me may seem a bit unusual to the outsider.

But I was reminded of that this week and saw my life with fresh eyes when I invited an outsider in. Although unusual, my life usually works well. I found myself in a place trying to justify my decisions and the reality of my life, it was a situation that I haven't been in for quite some time. It was frustrating and I felt I had to defend my decisions and in the process I made a total fool of myself. That's another thing that's unusual for me. I'm usually in complete control of the information I make available to people, even here where I'm pretty damned open, for the most part I'm careful.

The therapist took it all in and asked me some pretty thought provoking questions. He didn't freak on me, he didn't seem to judge me, he just listened and gave me some great things to think about, like re-evaluating what's become status quo.

Do I keep things as they have been for years or do I make changes to allow for different experiences to enter my life? Do I stay in my comfort zone, or do I dare step out of it? Questions for the ages I tell ya, questions for the ages.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just how lame is my family on a Saturday night? You're about to see. I decided not to go out with the girls tonight and instead stayed back and hung with the kids. This is what went on.

You'll also hear that I have no clue as to how to record a movie from my camera. Good thing Jakob had his up and going, yes a twelve year old is more technologically advanced than I. SMH.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It really began innocently enough, well, maybe not so much. I was in Texas getting away from the mess here and was being carefree and totally irresponsible, in other words, I was hanging with my friends.

I was staying with my friend, Penguin, who has the distinction of being one of the only people on Earth to have seen me completely flat out, sailor drunk. I don't drink much, but one hot summer night at a bar(s) in the Oaklawn area of Dallas the drinks kept flowing and I kept drinking. Before I knew it I was seeing pictures of the night I had no memory of. Evidently we had quite the time and there was photographic evidence to verify the events of the evening.  I only wish I could remember even a little bit of it. Those pictures, by the way, will never be made available to another living soul, just sayin'.

I'm so off track now. Penguin, after the Night of the Drunken Diva, asked me to go to see the play "Mame." One of our friends was in it and we wanted to be there to support him full force. Penguin told me we would be meeting up with this chick named Angela. I didn't know her, or how she was about to change my life.

Penguin and I stopped to get a bite to eat while we were waiting for Angela, AKA The Green Eyed Brat, to show up. She was going to drive us to the play. Penguin and I finished our meal and were waiting in the parking lot when this shiny, new Cadillac CTS pulled up in front of us.

Behind the wheel was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. I was awe struck. Penguin got in the back seat and I rode up front with Angela. I couldn't stop myself, I had to text Penguin, who was barely three feet away from me, telling her how amazingly hot this girl was. I didn't know it at the time but Angela thought I was texting Penguin about how much I disliked her.

I can usually carry on a conversation with strangers, but for some reason I couldn't find words to say. This new girl intimidated the hell out of me. She seemed to have it all going her way. She had an amazing personality, she was funny, articulate and drop dead gorgeous.

What I didn't realize at the time was that Angela was about to become the closest friend I've ever had. I know how it began, but I don't remember how it evolved, only that for the first time in my life I felt there was another person on this Earth that I could tell anything to and she'd understand. She never judges me and flat out tells me when she thinks I'm wrong. I can tell Penguin anything as well, but there was a connection between Angela and me that is unexplainable.

What I came to understand was that Angela was me. She'd lived my life, she knew me, almost better than I knew myself, and I knew her.  She thought the same way I did, she'd had many of the same life experiences I'd had, even her kids' names matched my kids' names. She has Josiah and Alexander and I have Karli Alexandra and Josiah.

Before Angela came along I had never felt that connection with another person, this chick got me, she totally got me and I got her. We would talk for hours and the conversation was easy, not forced, not awkward, it flowed. We knew what the other was going to say before it was said. We would sit and drink, talk, laugh and cry.

There is a problem though. She lives in Texas and I live in Oregon. Facebook helps, as does Facetime on the iPhone, but I miss her. I have friends here, good friends, but there's just not another Green Eyed Brat, and right now I need my Green Eyed Brat.



Why Is It?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The small ones are the easiest; what jeans will I wear? Stone over porcelain is a no brainer, as is black nails, or red nails? Black has won out for years now, and will for the foreseeable future.

It's the big ones, the life altering ones, that are the most difficult to make, yet the most plain to see. I work in an industry where decisions of all kinds are required immediately throughout the day. They're a snap to make usually, maybe because a phone call can almost always solve the problem at hand or maybe because they're not changing the course of my life and the lives of those around me.

A rather large decision was made several years ago and, up until recently, it was workable, but now seems the right time for the next step. That step, however, has me frozen in a state of "what ifs," and fear. I'm not one to live in fear, yet I seem to be facing it on a daily basis. I was fine with the status quo then, but now is different. There's an urgency to it that is slapping me in the face.

My anxiety level is over the top some days and I'm glad I'm not alone running the business, I don't have to make all the decisions, I don't have to attend to every detail, I have someone that is exceptionally good at that. We work well together and when one is off the other steps in, just as any good partnership should be.

It's not the business I'm worried about, it's my personal life and its direction that has me tied in knots.

Someone asked me a question a few days ago and it''s been on my mind continually. No matter what I do, I can't shake it. It haunts me and it's unrelenting.

When he asked me I sighed, glanced down for just a second before looking back into his eyes and mouthing the word "No." It was at that precise moment I realized the answer should have been, "Yes, yes I am." But those answers are just technicalities, as I said, the decision was made years ago and, for me, has worked well. 

For someone on the outside looking in, I'm sure it seems unimaginable, unworkable and unbelievable. When in fact it's worked quite well, until now. Now is the time to move forward, now is the time to think of the future and now is the time to conquer the fear.



OCD To The Max

Friday, December 7, 2012

I sat in Starbucks this morning, as I do every morning, sipping a double tall, whole milk, one splenda latte, working a little and watching people. I watch people a lot more than I drink coffee or work. It's been a daily ritual for years.

I think all of the people I know from my little town I've met at Starbucks. I know the Starbucks regulars and their rituals. There is one couple, however, I'm always amazed by. Even though I've watched them for several years, I still can't believe what I hear or see on a daily basis.

They come in every day with their ceramic coffee cups, newspaper and a tote bag of who knows what. They order their coffee and sit at their table by the window and go over the paper. They're probably in their late 60s. The wife is very nice and the husband is polite, but you can tell the bark is just beneath the surface.

She likes to do the word puzzles and he likes to read the articles, complaining out loud on each article he reads. They drink their coffee then go for re-fills.

They usually spend a couple of hours there, I guess which means so I do since I know that little fact, and during their time there the husband straightens every chair when a customer leaves one out of it's proper place. He arranges the bags of coffee in their baskets, he wipes the tables, grumbling all the while.

Usually he doesn't bother me much, I know what he does, but today for some reason I couldn't take it. He was everywhere, moving every table, every chair and cleaning up after everyone in between grumbling about the news of the day.

I looked at his wife in amazement. There's no way I could have been married to him as long as she has been, he would have driven absolutely nuts, kind of like he did today.

Maybe I was just on edge this morning, but I sure was glad when he took their coffee cups, as usual, to the bathroom and cleaned every trace of coffee from them, packed them in the tote alongside the newspaper and rearranged the furniture on their way out of the store.  

And I was so glad he couldn't read my thoughts.

Oh, and there's a blogger I've been reading for a while and I wanted to introduce you to her. She is an amazing writer and I wanted to send you her way. If you like her she has a link to subscribe via email. Go check her out and tell her I sent you. Her name is Lalalady and you can find her blog here. The name of her blog is Ramblings Of An Old Woman. I think you'll like her, she has such a wonderful way with words.


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