My Dad

Longtime readers know my relationship with my dad, over the last 20 years especially, has been a rollercoaster.

The worst of it was when we lived together 6-12 years ago and he was trying to be head of house, while not really contributing to the household, and over stepping some boundaries when it came to the kids. I won’t hash it all up. It’s history and I’m trying to let go of some things. But I’ll sum it up by saying, 3 generations living together is rough, especially when it’s the middle generation that’s “in charge” and it was made worse by the fact that dad and Pat don’t really get along. It was a rough situation and it lasted too long.

Once we got dad out of our house, things were still sort of rocky for awhile. Not bad, just not good. Mostly awkward, with unsure footing.

But then Rachel almost died. And I realized I couldn’t take the relationships that matter for granted.

Now I would like to stress here that had my father been abusive (I know my audience, potential and confirmed) I would have cut the ties and walked away. But my father has never been abusive. It was just a bad situation and then an awkward one.

So the relationship was worth fixing.

I still didn’t jump right on it. I spent time with him occasionally. Like when I was at my mom’s house. And a few one-on-one daddy/daughter dates. But things weren’t really in motion yet.

Then I started weekly therapy just right down the road from him, but 30-45 minutes from my house, getting out of therapy as rush hour traffic started. It seemed like the perfect situation to be like, “Hey. Let’s spend time together.”

So now every week I have therapy from 4-5 and then I go and have dinner with my dad. Sometimes it’s fancier sit down. Sometimes it’s fast food. Sometimes we run an errand or two while we are out. I’m not up at that end of town too often, and dad doesn’t drive. So sometimes there are things that just need to get done, so we run errands together. It’s nice. Really nice.

This past Monday night we saw Captain Marvel together. I’d already seen it with Pat and the kids, but dad hadn’t. He has no one else in his life to see movies with, right now. So I suggested we catch an early showing. I think we are going to work movies into the plans more often. Maybe not monthly, but when there is something he wants to see.

Movies are especially good since there is company, but no talking. Dad and I talk about surface level stuff, but things just stay shallow. At least right now. It’s not bad. The frequent silence is comfortable. It’s just not deep. So movies are a good way to spend a few hours together in companionable silence, and still have entertainment.

I should have him take me to the new Men in Black when it comes out sometimes in the next month or so.

Anyway, there is room for imporvment in my relationship with my dad, but we’re actively working on it. So I think we’ll be ok. We may never reach deep waters, but some relationships are like that.

I know my dad loves me. And I think he enjoys my company. So that’s good enough for me.

I just… I need to work on trusting him. But that’ll come in time.

It All Comes At A (High) Cost

I would argue that cost is gas money, while some might argue it’s my soul.

Buddhism keeps popping up in my life.  I’ll read something and go, “Wow!  I could belive in and/or follow that!” I’ll take a silly quiz and it will tell me it’s the best suited religion.  The first highly noted incident of “WOWZERS!” was in reading Siddhārtha by Herman Hesse. It just sounded so simply obvious.  So over the years I kept meaning to do some research.  But it never happened.

Well a week ago, I decided it was time.  I wanted to at least see what my temple options were in my area so I could go and learn more in person.  Which led me to a problem.  What sect?  It hadn’t really dawned on me that like Christianity there would be different paths.

So, I did some reading.  My first thoughts where that I wanted to follow the path of Gautama Buddha which is a lot easier than I hoped. To put it so it’s easier understood, it’s like saying you want to follow a Christian sect that follows Jesus.  Sort of.  The point: big figure.  There are many Buddahs through history, but he was an important one.  So that still left me open with many options.  After viewing a chart (that is no longer online), I decided Theravada was the one that felt most right.  I liked that “Theravada means “The Way of the Elders” in Pali, reflecting the Theravadins’ belief that they most closely follow the original beliefs and practices of the Buddha and the early monastic Elders.” It was after all the original practices that peeked my interest.  Should I do some soul searching there and it not hit me as right, I’ll try Zen or another Mahayana subdivision next.

Ok, so realistically, will I become Buddhist?  I’m not sure.  It’s always peeked my interest as the possible answer to things.  It would also be a healthy means of achieving the calm I’ve always searched for.  But at the same time, I’m not one for organization and rules when it comes to spirituality so I might continue to have a problem with that.  Either way, I could at least see the teachings being used as everyday life skills not unlike that of DBT.  Basic meditation is healthy for everyone no matter the walk of life an belief system.  And well, I’ve never been able to properly meditate because I always panic I’m doing it wrong.  I end more stressed than I was when I began, even when guided through it.  Really, it kind of defeats the purpose.  So, even if I don’t end this quest with a belief system that guides me through life, maybe I’ll end it with the ability to at least meditate with out the need of an Ativan.  That would be something at least.

Oh, and as for my soul?  I can’t seem to be bothered to worry about it.  If the peaceful ways of the Buddhist monks and followers lead to damnation, then maybe that what I want anyway.  Sorry, but that’s how I see it!

Now I just need to find a temple near enough that follows the sect I’m after.  And a group that meets in the basement of a local church doesn’t cut it.

She’s Coming Home

When I was 2, my daytime babysitter had another little girl, younger than me, that she also watched (plus a few others) named Samantha.  At the age of 2, I decided that was the perfect name, latched on, and never gave it up.

At the age of 4, my parents made me a big sister.  When they brought Rachel home from the hospital, they brought me, my own baby.  She, of course, became Samantha, Sammy, and no other name was considered.

Through the years, there were a few more Sammy dolls in my life.  No other name held any real meaning to me.

As I grew into a woman, and my future family was considered, I knew it wasn’t just about finding a man I loved who wanted to create a family with me, it was about finding someone who would be willing to give me my real life Sammy.  Pat considered no other name once he knew.

In the past 9 years, we’ve gone from home to home.  Sometimes we were only a step or two above couch hoping.  And our belongings have scattered.  At some point, when we were living with his Grandmother and co, Sammy (the doll), in a box full of her belongings, came to live with us.  But in our rush to move out when drama hit, some things got left behind where we thought they were safe.  Sammy, was one of those things.

As years passed, I somehow forgot she was even moved there to begin with and I grew to assume that Sammy was safe and sound packed away in my mom’s garage or attic or someplace equally safe.  I never gave it a second thought.

Meanwhile, as family members moved in and out of that condo we vacated in a rush, our belongings weren’t treated the way they should have been by people either too young or too uncaring to give respect to other people’s property.

We came to terms with it.  We accepted our share of the blame for leaving stuff to begin with.  And there was some honest flooding anyway that destroyed stuff that was no one’s fault.  Between what was lost, it was hard to say who did what and it no longer matters.  It simply doesn’t matter.

And then my daughter was born.  After 25 years, I finally had my Samantha, living, breathing, and loving, in my arms.  And my world became complete.  The only thing missing was the original Samantha who was to be passed on to her namesake.  For while the doll came first, she was indeed named after my future daughter.

So, first I searched my basement.  I had moved most of my boxes, if not all, out of my mom’s garage and stacked them in my utility room.  Never really had the drive or time to search through them.  Never had a reason.  I needed that doll though to complete the circle, so I searched.  I didn’t just open boxes, I pulled everything out, and put it all in bins.  Nothing was missed.


But no Samantha.

So I sent my mom on the hunt on her end of things.  So she searched.  Then when she came up empty-handed, I searched.  The thing was, there were only so many boxes left at her place.  And only so many places to put them.  So it was official without a doubt that Sammy was not with me or my mom.

So that left…

Tonight, my husband and his brother, went to that condo.  Abandoned.  Trashed.  No electricity.  And looked the only place she could be.  Not even knowing for sure she was there.  Not knowing if she was intact even if she was.

And I’ve sat here for a couple hours now hoping.  I couldn’t get my hopes up.  I wouldn’t get my hopes up.  I shouldn’t get my hopes up.  But how could I not.

Then I received a photo text.  “Is this her?”

And the tears came.  There was no stopping them.

It was her

And she was more beautiful than I could have hoped, though not as beautiful as the living breathing name sake snoring beside me.

And while I have not yet lay hands on her, she is coming home in what my husband describes as “good shape for her age”.

And that is more than I could have ever hoped for.  That doll is 24 years old, grew up with me, lived through total chaos in that condo, and she is coming home.

But this time Sammy is coming home to her true mommy.  She is coming home to my Samantha.

Midlife Crisis At 27

The Plan

The big question:
I’ve had various “plans” for school and life starting with computers right out of high school and now psychology. Why would I follow through with this, and none of the rest?

Computers was me not knowing at all what I wanted to be based on interests, but knowing the computer field made money, so it made sense. 9 years later, knowing myself like I do, I know I would not be able to pass those classes and I know I don’t have the interest or skill. Could I maybe learn the skill? Possibly. But it would be a struggle. The programming and networking classes I had in high school show me I’m pretty hopeless there. So this wasn’t me getting bored and moving on. This was me getting older and wiser and then moving on.

Next was small business management and photography. Yes, I have officially given up on this. Not because I got bored with it, but because I put in the hours at the camera store to know that professional photographers are struggling. There are too many professional photographers fighting for the attention of the moms with digital cameras who think they can do it themselves. Photography would be a great way to pick up some extra cash here and there, but I won’t be able to support my family with it. I won’t get my family off welfare with it. And I’m not going to spend years and money on school for a degree that will help my hobby, not my career. Yes, the small business management degree would be useful, but that’s not going to lead to a known career goal. It could pay off, it might not. It’s a risky investment.

Mathematics was one I toyed with. I would love that degree, sure. I’d be good at it, yes. But that’s with no known career goal in mind. Yes, it would help me in banking, but that’s assuming I like banking. We don’t know I will. There are many possible jobs, I’m sure, that a degree in maths could lead me to. But this takes us back to the small business management degree. It’s a risky investment that may or may not pay off.

This degree in psychology would be with a known career in mind: therapist. There are still some risks, ok. Am I too tactless to be a therapist? Maybe. But there are ways around that. There are therapists who deal with patients over the internet, in fact. Full paycheck and all, it’s just a chat room instead of an office. I can link to sites, and in fact plan to soon, of where you can find these therapists and where these therapists can find patients. Or, there are thousands of other professions that would put that degree to use. Yes, that allows the element of unknown back in, but that’s an element that will never be fully gone when college is involved.

There is also the, will I get through a few classes and go, “oh shit, I can’t do this!” factor. We are talking roughly 120K in student loans, that is an, “oh shit” we can’t afford! Well, the first few courses will have to be paid for out of pocket no matter what. 3 of those 4 classes are psyche course work. It will give me an idea of what I’m up against before a loan has been applied and signed for.

The Money Goal

The first 4 classes will hopefully be paid for by mom. I’m hoping to get them done in 2 chunks of 2 classes, but I can go ahead and do one class at a time if that’s what is needed to secure the financing. After those classes are done and passed, my GPA should be what it needs to be for me to get my aid back. As it stands, even with the dropped classes, my GPA is recorded at a 2.8 which isn’t that bad. It’s just not high enough for my aid. And I think the ratio of classes finished to classes dropped is working against me too. These 4 passes classes should solve both aspects of this.

After my aid is secured, I will look first into federal and then private if needed, student loans to take care of bills and living expenses while I focus on school full time. These loans will total roughly 120K. The goal will be to get my degrees as quickly as possible and not draw it out for a few decades. Ideally, this will be completed in 7 years, with me taking each summer semester off. I will agree to take a class during the semester though, if needed, to catch up if I’m behind. The loans will help make this possible, and dedication to getting school done quickly, should help reduce the cost of the loans.
While I’m actively in school, I’ll keep on track of looking into grants and scholarships I can add to the federal aid, to cut back on the loans needed. But there is no point in apply now, for something I won’t be able to use until a year from now. But as it stands, I’m already a recipient of most of the standard government grants, that’s what my aid is.

Up front I know my aid won’t 100% pay for my classes and books, if I follow the schedule CSCC has set up for me and I imagine OSU as well. I will probably have to go an extra semester here and there. The problem lies in a semester being set up at 21 credit hours at the most (for CSCC anyway), and that being too much when books are factored in, for the set pre-loan, aid amount. But, I only need to take 12 credit hours at a time to get my full aid. So I can go 7 or 8 semesters with it broken down some, instead of the 6 that they have pre-structured. Or if my loan goes through, and finances allow, I can cover the left over with my own pocket here and there.

School and Class Goals

First I will get the 2 year mental health degree that CSCC provides.
After that I will transfer to OSU and complete their 4 year Psychology degree.
After that, I’ll settle on a school, well long before that really, where I’ll go ahead and get my masters.

My first 2 semesters at CSCC that mom is paying for will look like this:

ENGL 101 @ 3 credit hours @ 237$
PSY 100 @ 5 credit hours @ 395$
For a total of 632$ plus books

MHAD 111 @ 4 credit hours @ 316$
MHAD 112 @ 3 credit hours @ 237$
For a total of 553$ plus books

These can be broken down to 3 or 4 semesters if needed. I will be working at the same time, so it might even be to my benefit. But if I am only working 20 hours a week, I would like to try and get these classes out of the way as quickly as possible so that I can get my aid secured and flip into full-time school mode.

What I don’t know is how much of the 2 year degree at CSCC will be able to be put towards OSU’s 4 year. I know some of it overlaps, I don’t know how much. It isn’t a matter of the classes not being taught well enough, it’s more whether or not they are the same classes in general. Infact, a lot of OSU students will take the basic classes, like math, at CSCC knowing that MATH xxx for them is MATH 103 at CSCC. I will sit down with someone and discuss this before I start anything. If they are the correct classes what I take at CSCC will transfer as long as my grades are high enough. My grades WILL be high enough.

Answers Before You Ask The Questions

9K a year income + 8K a year tax return, bpth fully gone times 7 years is 119K.  I rounded, but yes.

Can I work part time while I school full-time? I mean most college students do!
Yes, but most college students aren’t also balancing 3 kids and a husband.  If I try to balance all 3. 1 will suffer.  Which can I afford to have suffer?

So I’d be going to school full-time, at least 3 semesters a year for at least 7 years.  The government aid would cover classes, but I’d need to cover bills, and basic life necessities.  That’s what the loans would be for.

I’ve discussed this with both mom and Pat indepth.  There are still a lot of fears and what ifs.  But if things work right, I’m set.

So, I don’t know.  What am I missing?  Not thinking about?  I can’t afford to be blindsided.

Old Pics

Luke and I were looking at some old photos and we came across some photos of me at 15. He doesn’t believe they were me:

With this being all he’s ever known, I can’t blame him:

(That’s long hair for me, these days. But my natural color. Oh, and that’s also an old photo but not as old as the first one.)

Then we were looking at some pictures of my baby cousins, who are now teenagers *gulp* from back when they were actually, you know, little and told him that’s what little sisters look like. He studies the photos for awhile silently. Then looks up at me and as serious as a 3yo is capable of inform me. “Little sisters look silly.” I was like, “Dude, you have no idea!”

30 Days of the Truth: Day 8

I stole this from here. I’m not going to be able to strictly follow their schedule. I already missed the first few days and they are off schedule themselves, for that matter. But I like the idea so I’m going to give it a go.

The idea is that every Monday and Wednesday, though I already have a regular post Wednesdays so we’ll say Friday, you go through the topics and post the truth about yourself. So here we go.

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Someone who made my life hell or treated me like shit? Well, I’ve already recently blogged about my old circuit city boss. So let’s move on.

The problem is, I don’t really have an answer for this. I mean sure, I have an ex who didn’t take the breakup well. And he didn’t treat me the best in the relationship. But I wouldn’t go as far as saying my life was hell or I was treated like shit. Pat might, but I wouldn’t. I also have a former fling who got it in his head I should hate him so he did his best to make me hate him. But he was more annoying than hell worthy. Not even the former circuit city boss fits into this. She was more immature than anything else. You’ll have that. It’s sad really.

I guess my best answer isn’t a person but more people at a place. High school was tough on me. I was different (goth) but not popular enough to hang with the goth crowd. So I was mostly on my own. I mean I had friends here and there, but I was by no means popular enough to avoid having people spit at my feet or declare me a member of the trench coat mafia.

Then in middle school, pre-goth days but still unpopular, there was the group of girls who took it upon themselves to kick me, pinch me, and pull my hair as we walked the halls.

So I guess my answer is school. Not exactly what the question intended but it works, right?