Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday Dinner

I was invited by my older daughter (and her boyfriend) to their house yesterday to hang out and eat. They cooked lots of stuff and my kiddos and I had a wonderful dinner! I went to a book club meeting earlier (for a couple of hours) while my little boys hung out at her house and helped with her chores (which reminded me of the Tom Sawyer story of wanting to help paint the fence, lol.) When I returned from my meeting, my other daughter was also there. It was awesome that we were all there hanging out and enjoying each other's company. My younger daughter hasn't been around a lot lately since she moved out and it was nice to visit with her. In addition, my older daughter, who has matured a lot in the last several months, has realized how to talk to her little brothers in a responsible way (and they love spending time with her.)

It was something I really enjoyed! Besides not cooking, I absolutely loved these adult conversations with my adult daughters while letting my little ones enjoy playing and seeing everyone get along well! Another thing I enjoyed yesterday was the fact that they wanted to take a couple pictures. Normally, my younger daughter hides from the camera but there were many taken yesterday. Here's a good one of my kiddos.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Schizophrenia and Family

My middle brother has Schizophrenia. When did he get it? Who knows? We observed his uniqueness in childhood, even during his teenage years but it really reared it's ugly head as he entered adulthood. I think his use of illegal drugs didn't help the situation. It's difficult dealing with him and his dual diagnosis, so to speak. You always have to wonder, which 'brother' will it be today? The drunk one, the high one, the crazy one?? Yes, he's been locked up a few times in mental facilities to deal with his bizarreness throughout the years. That's just part of life...

Recently, my brother's wife (and her kids) left him several months ago. He's had no real issues for the last few years or so. When things get rough, he starts to stress and then everything seems to break down. A couple months ago, his car died and it sits in his driveway. He can't really afford to live where he is (yes, I'm his landlord, for the time being) and his utilities will start to be turned off in the next month or so as he's already spent his money he receives each month ahead of time (thank you stupid tv ads for paycheck loans.) It's just a matter of time that he will be homeless too.

I knew he gives us grief. Sometimes I'm not sure whether he's just being inconsiderate when he makes certain statements. Or where his thoughts come from. Being erratic, child-like and unique has always been his personality. Sometimes it just wears on you. His neighbors have started calling to report strange behavior. Laying in the road, putting gifts (odd things he thought they could use) in their yard, walking around in a dress and hat, wearing a costume and riding a broom on the road....I had no idea he was harassing them (as he does us.) I urged them to call the police if he were endangering himself or anyone else. I've explained his current circumstances too. He knows he is not thinking clearly at times but there are so many incidents where he intentionally tries to 'act' crazy to get a reaction. He has learned that if he is annoying enough, he will get what he wants from people because they want him to go away. Definitely a fine line. My older brother and I have played the "it's your turn" with him for years and eventually, we feel like we need a break. It'd be wonderful if there were a place for people like him. If he is taken care of (like a friend or companion,) everything works well. He needs attention and someone to care about. When he is alone or having to care for himself, he starts unraveling.

This morning, I went to the courthouse to try to file an emergency commitment warrant. It's not quite serious enough because I need to observe more of him being a danger to himself or others. I understand that. There needs to be that important part of the process as everyone needs to be able to express themselves. I just know, based on his past, what will happen and I was trying to head it off. He's not taking his medication because he used drugs and, where he goes, they won't treat him under the influence. So he has an appointment with another doctor (a month away.) He started to commit himself a couple of times but never follows through the whole thing.

Also, today, he made a mistake. He brought a friend of his over (to pick up something from my house.) She is the mother of an ex-friend of his who has been nice to him over the years. Comparing stories, we realize that we've been bringing him all over the place (that he didn't necessarily 'need' to go) and have both been feeding him. I bought him groceries ($86) on Monday and on Wednesday, she spent $60 more. I'll admit, I bought him toilet paper and all food he can prepare himself without cooking (mostly healthy fruits, veggies, bread, sandwich stuff.) She bought him paper bowls, plates and cat food among other stuff. Apparently, she's been his chauffeur a lot more than I have been. It's a lot of gas and time to 'help' him but then to realize that we've been doing similar things (his stories weren't matching up and he's been lying to us both about a lot of things.) He took out the last bit of money he had from the bank today (no particular reason necessary but I think it was to buy weed or crack.) As we talked, I noticed him walking around probably thinking, Sh%t! On Sunday, I saw that he had absolutely NOTHING in his house to eat. I helped. On that day, he didn't know what else to do (he had called earlier asking to eat with us which would have meant me going over, picking him up and bringing him over and then returning him which would have been a couple hours at least and we were getting ready to sit down to eat...nope, not going to happen) so he called 911 saying he felt like he was going to have a siezure. They took him to the hospital. I went by there and was amazed at the condition there. He was living as if he were a squatter (most of his personal belongings were gone) and there was cardboard on the floor where he was eating (an empty chili can with a spoon in it.)

When I get up in the mornings to take my kids to school, I always look around to see if he is in the yard. He has come over while we were sleeping and 'helped out.' I don't need an old rusted battery and a huge armchair that was in the neighbor's garbage taken up to my kid's treefort! It's not nice to sleep in the kid's outdoor tent without asking! Or keeping extra clothes in my outside shed! Who does these kinds of things?!?

I don't know what'll happen, I just wish he acted like the 36 year old man that he is. He has some nice qualities, don't get me wrong. He ALWAYS remembers each of our birthdays. He is thoughtful (even though we may not agree on the definition) and is a hard worker (was a waiter for a local cafeteria for years.) It's just that when he goes down, he's gone for a while....

Of course, as he left today with his friend, he was mad. The usual explitives or comments are a normality. Luckily, my kids weren't around to witness any of that. They think the world of him. I wish there were a magic pill to make him (and others like him) better in an instant.

I just wanted to vent...I feel better.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Skating: The Past and the Future

I used to go roller skating when I was younger...every was my only thing I did for fun! I loved going alone to meet a friend or with a friend every Friday or Saturday night for weeks on end.

When I was 15, I saw this really cool guy skating! He was handsome, blonde, tall, and did jumps, turns and was so smoothe on his skates. I watched him all night. He had a friend with him (a skinny dude with brown curly hair.) Six months later, I saw the guy's friend again there (alone.) I kept an eye on him. He wasn't as good as a skater as the guy I initially watched but he was really great on skates. At the end of the session, I noticed the guy asking a girl to skate with him (couple skating.) She said no. Then, he turned to me and asked me...I said yes.

One thing led to another and we started dating. We became engaged and got married the month after I turned 18. A year later, our first kiddo was born. When she was about four, we bought her first pair of skates (which has also gone through her sister, her nephew, her brother and now, her youngest brother, even though they're still a little big.)

It's been over thirty years since that first meeting and just last week, we took our youngest roller skating for the first time. He has been invited to a skating birthday party this month and I wanted him to practice a little beforehand. While we were there, we scheduled a birthday party for my older son at the same place. (I don't give him birthday parties every year where he invites his friends...this is his second and after a few years of begging, I finally gave in, lol!)

Luckily, they have these things you can hold on to so that those who are just beginning can be more stable and fall fewer times. My kiddo had a great time. My older son never wanted to leave and was like a machine going around and around! Of course, we were tired after an hour or two (in a four hour session.) We left after the third hour, btw.

So, here we are again...isn't it interesting how history repeats itself, in a good way. I'm glad I said ....yes.