Monday, January 31, 2011

legal power over a life

At the time of writing this, I’ve now received my third set of power of attorney papers from Donovan.  By far it is the largest.

Skimming over them, I’ve realized that a) my husband has no idea how to spell my middle name, and b) he considers Rebecca his.  My middle name sounds common as hell.  But the spelling is insane; and French (thanks mom).

The general POA has something new and kinda scary.  It goes on and on about him being disabled, incapacitated, incompetent, a prisoner of war, etc etc etc.  I’ve never done something like this before.  The thought of him getting hurt or dying scares me so much that it keeps me up at night.  The only good thing is that this part of the packet specifically states that if any of this stuff happens, the POA is good for 60 days after that situation is rectified (except the death part.  But I REALLY don’t want to think about that)

The special ones are kind of comical.  I’m already allowed to do some of the things that they are saying I can because I’m his wife.  The military finance one is kind of a moot point – again, Nellis has failed us.  If I want to do ANYTHING with his military finances, I have to drive 3 hours.  Cashing checks for him has never been an issue; we’ve got a joint checking account.

Then there’s the one for taxes, ha ha.  As if I haven’t done his taxes and filed them already…

But even after all the hee hee hee of redundant rights granted by these POA’s, I’m still sobered by the “Durable” part, the fact that they don’t expire if he gets hurt, goes missing, or becomes a POW.  All things that I lose sleep over, that people here that believe they are in the know tell me I shouldn’t worry about.

People, be they military or civilian, refuse to see just how alone we are, how much my husband’s branch has, in effect, abandoned us.  My brother’s marine buddy is convinced that there’s an ombudsman to act as a liaison for the spouses that have been left behind.  What he doesn’t get is that the entire battalion, lock stock and barrel, is stationed overseas.  Our family is a rarity – marooned in the states while the rest of them are safely ensconced in Europe, or safe and supported in a town with family and close friends.  I have no branch spouses to fall back on, and no family.

My closest family member is an 8 hour drive away.  So’s Donovan’s.  The other immediate family member I have left is on the other side of the country.  Donovan’s other parent is a 24 hour drive away.  My birth father is an 8 hour drive, and my mom’s been gone 5 ½ years.

No amount of counseling will “fix” that I haven’t seen my husband since last May and that he’s soon to be in a place where lots of people want him dead.  It won’t fix the fact that my kids think that any man with dark hair is “Daddy” or that they associate the computer monitor with Daddy because of the constant picture show going on.  It won’t help me to stop worrying about him getting “laid off” because of budget cuts that will put us in the same place we were right before he went back in, only now he’ll have all sorts of mental goodies and I’ll have all the hurts of being left behind.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

WTF IRS?!?!?!?!?!

So, I’m freaking out.

As I’m writing this, the refund still hasn’t posted.  According to the IRS, the money was deposited to our account on the 28th, but if it has, it hasn’t posted.  We NEED that money.  

I keep envisioning horrible things, that Donovan’s ex got it even though he’s paying both the current and past due child support the way he’s supposed to, or that it was seized for the interest on his deferred student loans.
 
A few people have told me to relax, that it’s probably not going to hit till tomorrow or the first because of the state of the economy, but that doesn’t help me.  

I mean, really, the government TAKES what it believes it’s due every time you get a paycheck.  If you’re late paying the IRS, you get fined.  But if they’re late, or the bank holds the funds, you get NOTHING.

So now I’m sitting here, worrying about this stuff, dreading the thought of having to make calls and driving on less than a half tank of gas in a van that REALLY needs to be fixed because the money is either seized or the bank is holding it.

But then I remember that the bank didn’t hold the funds last year…  Crap, I’m going to end up at the IRS office this week.

Friday, January 28, 2011

tax return, yay!

Ah taxes.

For some, it’s a nightmare time of deadlines and meeting with accountants.  For people like me and Donovan, it’s a time of ease.  After living as cheaply as possible all year, we FINALLY have the money to fix the car, get “toys”, or buy new clothing that is needed for us or the kids.

Growing up I never realized that taxes were such a big deal until one year I ended up owing on state taxes the first time.  Living in Nevada, I’d never dealt with state taxes before.  Trying to understand the return was horrible, like handing over a physics textbook to an elementary school student.  I’d just gone through a nasty separation and now I had to PAY state taxes?  Other times that I was eligible for a state refund, the state I was in didn’t have the funds to give to it’s residents.

Now that I’m older and not living in a state that has an income tax, things are easier.  True, the first year without Donovan the government ended up seizing both our returns for student loans.  I was pretty upset by that.  I hadn’t realized they could or would do that, and we’d needed that money desperately; Donovan wanted to come home after he was done with his training and the van wasn’t running yet.

Both of those things happened.  Donovan got a loan to pay for his plane ticket, and I scrimped and saved to get the van running.  This year’s return situation is no different than last year – it’s pretty much spoken for already.  Fix the van, move to a house, carpet repair, and water proof slip covers are just a few things that are on the list.

So many would be quick to say that I need to go back to work.  The problem is that I don’t have the experience or availability to get a job in Las Vegas’s market. Add to that the fact that I’d be working to pay for child care and that Nevada has highest unemployment numbers in the United States and I, like so many other job seekers, am screwed.  If I could move to a state with better numbers, I would, but it comes down to the expense of moving to a different state and figuring out where to live and who would drive the moving truck.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saturdays Stink

Another hellish weekend brought to me by the military and my husband’s absence.

I was up till 7 am when Marion came in demanding milk and wanting to cuddle up on Daddy’s side of the bed.  Once she was settled, I could relax enough to go to sleep, too.  She woke me up a few hours later yelling about her pacie (that she isn’t supposed to have unless she’s going to bed) and then Cae woke me up again telling me “Marion has a poopy”.  So I stumble outta bed, find Marion without her diaper, pick up the diaper and hope that Vaca didn’t find whatever was in it.  Imagine my surprise when Caelen gets some toilet paper, finds the “yucky”, picks it up with the toilet paper and puts it in the potty?

Once I’ve woken up some more, I realized I’m functioning on under 6 hours of sleep, and the mystery smell from the kitchen is demanding attention nownownow!, and there’s now a bigger patch of carpet to have fixed – Vaca’s found something delicious in the carpet next to my bedroom door and is hell-bent on digging it out.

And now it’s a little over an hour to bedtime.  Cae and Marion are arguing over toys and Marion’s got a pretty annoying case of the whines.  “NO” and “MINE” are being howled at each other accompanied by shrieks; I’m honestly waiting for it to come to blows.  Beckie’s watching TV. 

The supper that I made (it’s one of Donovan’s favorite meals that I make.  Doubly hard to make when both of us worked out the right spicing for it) is still untouched by the little kids.  The dog has been trying to get at their plates when the new “yummy spot” on the carpet loses her interest.

And of course, I’m trying to lose myself in a blog that will be published sometime next week that I honestly doubt anyone’s reading…  No one has commented lately, so I don’t know.  I know that my husband reads it every so often, but he will contact me privately on it, even going so far as to tell me when I first started it “be careful, don’t put anything in your blog that will make (military branch) take notice of you or that will get me in trouble.”  When I asked if he wanted to review things first he said no.

I miss him so much on days like this.  Every day I hate myself for encouraging him to join, mostly for the kids, even though it’s a steady job with great benefits.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

moving I

Yay moving.  Really.  Yay.  It means that we’re going to a new place with new optimism and hope.  Hope that it won’t get cluttered and the “mystery smell” that is usually present in closed up homes with kids in diapers will be left behind.

I’m just tired of this cracker box apartment.  We moved here over a year and a half ago, thinking it was “temporary”, that Donovan would never see it.  Riiiiiiiiiiiight.  There’s paint, pictures, and shelves full of tchatzkahs and books on the walls.  Not to mention the “artwork” that Marion has put on most walls below the 3 foot level.

The carpet is unmentionable.  I’m hoping that it can be repaired.  I’m planning on getting everything out of the house then going through with some spackle.  I’ll end up hiring the people that do the carpets for the complex, most likely.  I doubt I’m going to paint.  We’ve been here over a year, and some of the walls were painted by the complex…  Aw hell, I’m going to end up painting the white walls that have the crayon on them.  Or I’ll end up buying a case of magic erasers.  That might be better, I don’t know.

Once we’re moved there’s other stuff to consider.  If we don’t move out of zone for Beckie’s current school, I’m planning on home schooling her.  There’s sewing to do, kids and a dog to house-break, pictures and shelves to put up. 

I honestly believe that kids aren’t meant to live in a little apartment like this.  We’ve no grass, nowhere for them to play, and the little kids are at that “jumping” stage.  All the world is their trampoline, including my antique chairs. 

I just wish that the damn realtor would get back to me already.  I need to start looking at houses now that the taxes are going to be coming.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Children are foul I

The joy of potty training…

You know, I thought it was bad with Beckie.  She was so stubborn.  She didn’t want to go at all.  So one “function” she was promised a special doll, and for the other she was promised a living breathing fish.  She didn’t completely train till she was 4 ½.

I honestly doubt that will work on Cae and Marion.  I know that it won’t on Vaca.  Yes, they’re all being potty trained at the same time.  Yes, I have lost my mind. 

With Cae’s developmental delays, in a lot of ways, he and Marion are the same age.  They’re BOTH just now trying to dress themselves, Marion’s more interested in using tableware than her brother, and they’re both ready to use the toilet.

Usually, as soon as I put the trainers on Marion, she pees then will stand around fiddling with the pants instead of telling me she had an accident.  There’s some days that she’ll play with her own mess if I don’t catch her, too.

Caelen is really happy to put on underwear.  At his age and size they don’t really make training pants, so he’s got spiderman underwear.  He’ll be fine for a while, then he will pee.  Usually on my couch.  The couch that isn’t going to our next house because it smells awful (unless I can get the stench out of the couch so that the dog stops trying to “find” the smell).  And worse of all he will sit on the toilet FOREVER and then pee on my couch.  His teachers tell me that he’s got a bladder of steel and will “hold it” till he’s good and ready.  I just wish he were ready while he was in the bathroom and not on my poor abused couch.

Then there’s Vaca.  She’s convinced that the little kids’ room is her personal potty room.  I really hope that getting a house with a yard and her a coat will help with both the potty issue and the fact that her claws should be registered weapons. 

I just don’t want her crapping in the house when Donovan comes home.  Actually, I just want there to be NO diapers in the house when he gets home.  I’m sick unto death of diapers, I’ve been dealing with them non-stop since 2006, they need to go.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The awesome that is Steve Sanchez and Mike Gallegher

“I can take a bullet for 30 minutes”.  Steve Sanchez, a Phoenix talk show host, stated this during an interview about giving his radio show over to the hate group in church’s clothing whose name I refuse to give more internet space to.

This group had planned on picketing the funerals of the victims of the Tucson shooting last week.  Including little Christina Green’s service.  Their reasoning for picketing the funeral of a 9 year old is that she’s Catholic.  Because of Sanchez they gave up on picketing Green’s service.  Because of Mike Gallagher, they aren’t going to picket ANY funerals in Tucson related to the shooting.
Gallagher isn’t just going to set this rabid beast upon his listeners, either.  Part of the deal is that their appointed spokesperson has to debate with Dinesh D'Souza, president of The King's College in New York City.

Both radio hosts believe that by being on a national stage, at least with Gallagher’s audience, this group will be exposed for what they truly are – a pack of hateful, intolerant extremists.

I hope that this happens.  I’ve done a little research on this group, and they are a true example of the evil in man’s soul.  They picket soldier’s funerals, the funerals of congressmen’s wives and performances of “The Laramie Project”.  In case you didn’t know, this is a play depicting Matt Shepard’s tragedy.  Shepard’s funeral is when people watching the news were introduced to these zealots.  They tell those that don’t believe like they do that they are going to burn in hell.  They are everything that I loathe and fear about Christians and those that influence Christians.

This isn’t the first time that Gallagher’s taken one for the team, either.  These guys would’ve picketed the funerals of 6 Amish children and the funerals of the victims at Virginia Tech.  And Gallagher gets criticized for protecting the grieving families by putting this group on his show.

So what’s my point?

Groups like this hide behind the First Amendment like roaches.  If the Supreme Court starts limiting where they can picket and what they can say, We the People start losing more rights.  What they put out there SHOULD be considered “hate speech”; at this time, it is not.  Until their agenda is given the label it needs, until their status as a church is revoked, until the truth behind the founder of this group is brought to the light of day, We the People need to stand up and protect those that can’t  - the grieving parent or spouse, the uncaring dead, and the international audience that is always watching and criticizing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ugh! Stupid school district absence policies!

Ah Clark County School District, how I despise thee…

Once again I’ve gotten hate mail from Beckie’s school.  This is to let me know that they now consider her a “constant truant” and are threatening me with all sorts of goodies – law involvement, fines, denial of credit for her, etc etc etc.

She’s in sixth grade!  And honestly, I see no reason to either send her to school with symptoms that will just get her sent home or keep her home and rush her to the doctor for something that is so trivial by medical standards that it’s pointless to waste the gas just so I can have a doctor’s note so that her absence will be excused.  And only that doctor’s note will, most of the time, make an absence excused.

CCSD is making it so that the kids that can afford a co-pay can have as many absences as they need or want.  Those of us that know that throwing up and “bathroom issues” aren’t a good reason for a doctor’s visit but ARE an EXCELLENT reason to keep our kids home are getting screwed.

I mean it.  The only reason that Beckie isn’t being home schooled already is because she’s told me that she’d miss her friends.  Friends that don’t call.  When I was in sixth grade, we called each other to talk about nothing for HOURS at a time. 

I’m so done with Vegas.  They’re so convinced that being at school will make a better student.  I got news for them – Nevada’s on so many “Worst in the US” lists it’s a miracle they’ve got the teachers they do; school district policies are unrealistic, classes are over-crowded…  I’m so done with this. 

Thinking on it, Beckie’s more a “college schedule” person, anyway.  She HATES going to school in the dark.  She’s got a set of things that she’s interested in that isn’t really addressed in public school.  The kid still can’t write a cohesive sentence and doesn’t know her multiplication tables.  But she can read at a 9th grade level. Once we’re moved, I’m gonna do it.  I’m going to start the process to home school her.  If her friends want to see her, they can come over or they can go places. 

And for those of you that teach, or are becoming teachers, think on this before you critique – she’s going to be 12 soon.  She’s in an extra math class and math tutoring, so she doesn’t get to take band like she wanted to.  She’s prone to throwing up over night; at one point she had a prescription for meds for it.  Of course, we were in California at the time – the school she was at didn’t have an absence cap.

At this point, at least to me, public school is more a social thing for Beckie than anything else.  A place that she can go to and check out books and think she’s got friends.  To me it’s just a threat of legal action for knowing my own kid’s medical issues and not wanting to trouble the doctor about.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Because the military cares for survivors

So, imagine if you will that you put up with your spouse being in the military long enough for you to qualify for a pension, benefits, etc upon their death.  Now imagine that because you got remarried after that spouse’s death, the Defense Department demanded that you pay back all the benefit payments.  With interest.

A Brooksville, Florida woman knows about this first hand.  It’s not enough that these families sacrifice EVERYTHING.  Now, if the service member dies, the spouse left behind is going to be expected to stay alone for the rest of their days or have to pay back money to the government that they’re entitled to and have had to pay double taxes on.  Yup, you’re reading right – the money is taxed when it’s put away, and taxed again when the surviving spouse receives it.  So the government is, big surprise, penalizing war widows, widowers, and orphans.

Many spouses feel that our government is just waiting for military widows to quietly “die off”.  I feel that they’d be happy if spouses stayed anonymous, that they took the treatment that the military doles out to them – apathy, negligence, and in the case of my own family, abandonment and cruelty – with stoicism.  I doubt that any command I contacted would understand my well deserved wrath.  Because Donovan’s still in, I’m keeping quiet.  But I’m keeping the funds for a flight and getting a passport.  If something happens to him, I’m going to channel my mother.  And they won’t be happy.

Congress is finally realizing that this practice is going on and working to end it.  So what, are you telling me that military survivors haven’t been getting re-married, that these women stay alone and forgotten the rest of their lives?

I mean, at this point, yes, I see no reason to get re-married if something were to happen to Donovan.  I have 3 kids; their well-being is OBVIOUSLY my main concern no matter how many parents they’ve got, and as time went on, if I really needed that kind of attention, I could get a boyfriend.  But expecting these spouses to stay single the rest of their lives is selfish.  I know that many of my faith would say “marriage, who really needs it in an age of civil unions?”  Well, most Americans do.  Because you say “civil union”, and the majority of Americans’ first thought is “gay marriage”. 

In many ways the military does things that are so backwards and detrimental to their members and the members’ families.  Out-dated PFT test standards, the spiritual fitness test, unaccompanied tours for soldiers with families that are over 12 months long, and deployments that last at least a year are just some of the ways that the military adds mental and physical stress to service members and their families.

And people wonder why most military marriages end in divorce.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

self loathing in Las Vegas

This Friday I found out some things.  A five pound dog can’t pass a digested baby wipe all the way, and that I have very few friends.

I think the thing about the baby wipe is self explanatory.  Vaca’s got a thing for baby wipes and underwear.  It’s super gross, and I never thought in a million years that she would eat an entire baby wipe.

The friends thing…  Sigh.

I went to a friend’s wedding reception Friday.  Barely any of our mutual friends were there and only a couple that I didn’t know.  He was over-joyed that people came to celebrate with him, but it reminded me of my own wedding and reception.  Nearly 100 invitations were sent out and there were maybe 20 people that showed up.  People that I’ve known for years will talk about parties that they went to together or post pictures and I realize that I wasn’t invited or wasn’t invited in time to try and find a sitter (as if).

I’ve become that woman that babysits for others so they can have a good time, the person that drops EVERYTHING to help others.  And why not?  When Donovan’s not here, I don’t drink; no one can/will babysit for me.  And even if I could get a sitter, where would I go?  I don’t get invited places anymore.  I guess I’ve become boring, that person that people know but don’t want to be around.  And it’s not just my old friends.  I feel like this EVERYWHERE, even at SCA events.  I feel like the moment I get to site the common consensus is “Oh crap, it’s Widow Kait and her traveling circus”.  It’s like high school all over again – I don’t get to see the man in my life nearly as much as I’d like, everyone’s doing their own thing without me, and if I do show up, very few are genuinely happy to see me.

I haven't had a birthday party since I was 10.  I don't know if my mom just shut down as far as I was concerned (there was A LOT of bad things going on that she was going through on her own and I'm pretty sure she felt pretty trapped) or what.  I vaguely remember one or the other of my brothers getting some type of birthday gathering, but I was usually forgotten...  Even as an adult, the only time a party has been for me was when I got married.  My mom didn't even make good on her talk of "dinner at the Tillerman just for us and your first legal glass of wine".  And FB greetings are fine, they make me feel special for a bit, but just once I'd like to be selfish and have a party that's just for me, with my friends right there, instead of having to treat it like another day or having to move furniture to a new house by myself.

I wish I were included in things, that people actually seemed happy to see me, that I had a “me” around that was more than willing to take my kids off my hands every so often, that someone would take one look at me and say "wow, you look like you need a break, let me help you" .

I'd like to be important to someone that's an adult just for me, not what I can do for them for once.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tucson and Christina

I know that so many have already remarked on the Tucson shootings.  They are horribly.  I've seen the chain-statuses so many of my friends are putting up about gun control, too.  I find it heartening that the media "darling of this tragedy is the youngest victim, Christina Taylor-Green. 
In our age of social media and faster than thought communication, this story has made it’s way around the world.  Journalists in the UK are remarking on the poor woman that took this child to the event “suffering nightmares and guilt” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/us-politics/8253861/Arizona-shooting-Christina-Taylor-Greens-neighbour-suffering-nightmares-and-guilt.html)  We the People know about Greene’s life – her birthday on 9/11, her election to the student council, and now, what kind of casket she will be using (http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Dubuque-Monks-Build-Casket-for-9-year-old-Arizona-Shooting-Victim-113429364.html ).  A hate group wearing church’s clothing was even going to protest her funeral.  My thoughts on them are best left for another day; they’ve been placated with unrestricted radio air-time the last I’d heard.
Part of me wonders if this is too much.  I mean, the WORLD knows the US’s dirty laundry.  Palin, along with a few other pundits, came out and said some things that have caused a huge amount of anger among the Jewish community.  Apparently “blood libel” isn’t a phrase that ANYONE should be using (as the granddaughter of Russian Jews, I was a little offended that they were using this phrase after finding out EXACTLY what it really referred to) but if you’re Sarah Palin, you are most definitely not allowed to use it without being even more despised by the rest of the country.
Besides this child, there were FIVE other people murdered.  John Roll, Gabriel Zimmerman, Dorwan Stoddard, Dorothy Morris, and Phyliss Schneck.  No one’s really talking about them very much.  So I will.

John Roll
Roll was a US District Court Judge and  everyone was more than willing to give clich├ęs about him except retired Superior Court judge Ron Reinstein. 
Reinstein knew Judge Roll since the 1970s, when they were young prosecutors, and says he always was impressed with how seriously Roll took doing the right thing, both as a prosecutor and, later, as a judge.

Yes, Roll was very conservative, Reinstein told us, but he would never let his personal views on a topic or a case interfere with how he interpreted the law from the bench.
He was a devout Catholic.  As a Conservative Wiccan, I can appreciate someone that is loyal and devoted to their faith.  He would visit law schools and give lectures, then mingle with the students long after the lecture was over.  I was happy to see that there’s no mention of family left behind and not because it makes me assume he was a single man with no family.  The failure to mention family makes me hope that the media has left his family to their grief as Green’s family was not.

Gabriel Zimmerman
Zimmerman was only 30 and again, the only family that is mentioned is his father.  He was Congresswoman Gifford’s director of community outreach, and started his career helping disturbed children (http://www.kpho.com/valleynews/26496200/detail.html )  Apparently, Zimmerman was into history, too.  “Two years ago, on a trip to President Barack Obama's inauguration, Mr. Zimmerman visited the Lincoln Memorial on a cold dreary day and refused to leave until he'd read every word on the monument.” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703889204576078402850194380.html )

Dorwan Stoddard
According to the Washington Post, Stoddard died shielding his wife (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/blog-post/2011/01/dorwan_stoddard_arizona_shooti.html).   Though he was 76, he was his church’s maintenance man.  People from his church remember him as one that would do for everyone in need, and that he and Marvie (who was his high school sweetheart and second wife) where at the church “if the doors were open” unless they were on vacation or sick.

Dorothy Morris
In his NPR broadcast on 10 January 2011, Steve Inskeep tells us that Dorothy and George Morris were married more than 50 years and had two daughters; that George, who was shot twice, survived.  Morris was a friend, wife, mother and grandmother who only wanted to meet her congresswoman.

Phyliss Schneck
Schneck was a widow and only lived in Tucson 8 months of the year, the rest of the time going back to New Jersey to be with her children, grandchildren and great granddaughter.  She was a stitcher, making aprons with football logos for church auctions and quilts, and at one time had served at both the state and district level for women’s clubs in Montville and Rutherford NJ.  Terry Cavanaugh said that Schneck “was one of my mentors when I took over as president of women's club” and "She kept you on your toes.'' (http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20110113/UPDATES01/110113046/1005/NEWS01/Obama+honors+Morris+County+victim+of+Tucson+shootings++funeral+set )

Why is this so important?  Because it wasn’t just a judge, child, and staff member of a congresswoman who’s lives were prematurely ended.  This isn’t just about a 9 year old or people that are in government.  It’s about an unbalanced man that decided to speak with his gun instead of his words and eternally affect the families of his nearly 20 victims, despite most of them being over the age of fifty.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK day 2011

Martin Luther King day.  Most of us call it MLK day.  Most of us aren’t affected by his great work.  For us, this is a multiple day holiday from work or school, a day to sleep in or be lazy, to check out the mattress sale or pick up a video game that’s been marked down by 10%.

MLK day is more than this.  I found this explanation on punchbowl.com:

This day serves to honor and commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. It is also one of three federal holidays in the U.S. that celebrates an individual person.
Though it is a well-received holiday today, it took over 15 years for the government to approve Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday. Congressman John Conyers of Michigan first introduced legislation for a commemorative holiday in King's name just four days after he was assassinated in 1968.
As Congress debated over the bill, they received petitions containing over six million signatures of support. Public pressure for the holiday reached its peak during the civil rights marches in 1982 and Congress finally passed the holiday into legislation in 1983.
Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a celebrated holiday across the nation. Take the day and reflect on King's life and accomplishments and acknowledge all that he did for the Civil Rights Movement in our nation.

I also found information that states that it’s always on the 3rd Monday of January.  This tells me that it’s not just a holiday to “honor and commemorate” his life.  This was a thought out way to get a 3 day (or a 4 day if you’re in the military)

It wasn’t observed by all states until 2000.  Some states, mostly the ones that were last to observe it, have tacked on “civil rights day” to the end of the title of this holiday.  Utah called it “Human Rights Day” until 2000.  Some states have combined it into an “orgy” holiday, making more than one icon “share” the glory. 

Being as I’m one of the racial majority, civil rights haven’t ever really crossed my mind until the nonsense with the TSA and the Bill of Rights.  I appear Caucasian, I’d like to think I pass myself off as educated.  I can usually hold my own in conversations that don’t involve a game of cut-throat hearts with the family.  But this really has me thinking…  What would the esteemed Dr King think of our society’s state RIGHT NOW, with the glut of information making it easy to find the evil in men’s souls EVERY DAY?

Honestly, I think Dr King would be pissed.   

We the People are losing our rights by inches.  The rich get richer, kids aren’t getting the education that they need from their parents or  public schools.  Our society and government is DE-VOLVING.  We the People are content to let things go along to get along for the most part.  Our government has made us afraid of speaking up because to do so MIGHT result in the speaker  being labeled a dissenter or domestic extremist, and it’s easier to stay home and watch “Survivor” anyway 

Do you really think that if the GBLT community had it’s own Dr King they’d be content with the “separate but (not really, who are we kidding?) equal” that civil unions are granting them?  I don’t.  Do you think that if they had a Dr King that DADT would’ve taken so long to repeal?  I really don’t think it would’ve gone into effect in the first place.

If non-Christians and Atheists had a Dr King, do you think that the military would be allowed to terrorize it’s members that are deemed not Christian or “not Christian” enough the way that it does?  I don’t think it would be nearly the issue that it is now.  It’s bad enough that Mikey Weinstein and MRFF, a watchdog group, have had to become a thorn in the side of the military and media.  Soldiers aren’t going through their chain of command because the issue is swept under the rug like sexual harassment or rape, so civil cases get dismissed.

Two of literature’s great writers made prophecies years ago about our society.  We’re become more Huxley’s “Brave New World” than Orwell’s “1984.  I’ve read BNW.  A couple times.  When I did, it seemed silly and frivolous, a UK writer mocking the future...  All those privileged people only interested in pleasure, proud of the dissolution of the family, and determined to conform.  Now that I’m older with children of my own, it seems to me that We the People are living BNW RIGHT NOW.  As Americans we are more interested in “Teen Mom” and “American Idol” than the news unless it’s a scandal.  We don’t care about getting active unless a celebrity “glamorizes” it.  We’ve got so many choices and most of them are mentally, emotionally, or physically bad for us.

A 1984 society is coming on, though, kids.  We are getting closer and closer.  The government is slowly taking taking taking.  Taking our right to assemble, to be free from searches.  They are taking our right to decide what to feed our children and the right to do what we want to do with the food we grow on our own land.  They are changing the history books so that no one’s feelings are hurt, so everyone’s happy – when everyone’s happy, no one’s told the truth.  We’re told we’re not qualified to know what to feed our families, that despite the economy we’re the “greatest country on the planet”, that all countries should or do strive to be like us.  What has this gotten us?  Happy meals banned in some cities, a national debt that will be choking our grandchildren, and over a decade of war on a CONCEPT (wars on concepts NEVER end) that is ripping a minority group’s families apart at least a year at a time.

What does this have to do with MLK day?  Everyone is losing civil rights except those in power.  And we no longer have Dr King to protect us, to stand for us, to say “this must end”.  MLK day is and should be about standing up and saying “this must end”, asking yourself what you do when no one’s watching, and doing something about it instead of being content sitting on the couch surfing the ‘net.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I thought I WAS organized

I thought that I was organized.  Really, I did.  Imagine my surprise when the power of attorney that I pulled out the other day was EXPIRED?  Where did the time go?  I thought I had plenty of checks so that I could pay a traffic ticket on time.  Nope.  The fine is due within the next 24 hours and the checks I rush ordered STILL aren’t here.

So now Donovan’s sending me a new POA.  I’m going to beg for an extension from the DA’s office.  And the expiration date of the new POA’s going to go into my organizer.

Add to all this loveliness a stress headache that ended up becoming a migraine (and is as I type being barely controlled with judicious amounts of OTC pain meds) the rest of today is shaping up to fugly.

At least I’ve got taxes, a new house (house hunting blows goats.  With VD.  Seriously), and possibly school or a job.  I’m thinking school.  It would serve me better to have a bachelor’s degree than the temporary relief of a job.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New signs

EDITED – Only a certain type of signs have changed - Sidereal astrology, the Eastern branch – and it won’t come as any surprise to anyone that follows the Eastern style  http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/none/has-your-horoscope-changed-2439951/  … 

So Beckie’s been knocked for a loop.  She put so much emphasis on her astrological sign.  I have no idea why.  But one of her favorite reference books in the family library is Caitlin Jonstone’s “Complete Book of Astrology”.  Now that’s all changed. 

Beckie’s now a Capricorn.  She’s got a lot of willpower and knows her own self.  I’m trying to make her responsible, but at eleven, who’s really responsible?  She is horribly introverted and very obstinate, but she accepts authority fine and is pretty even tempered.

The little kids are no longer Geminis; they’re Tauruses.  No surprise there.  Marion is compassionate and both of them are very strong physically.  They’re both stubborn and sensitive.  Cae can get aggressive, and neither one likes change at all.

I’m now an Aries.  Uh oh.  But reading up on it…  I don’t feel adventurous, energetic or courageous.  Confident?  Don’t make me laugh.  I don’t feel self-centered or impulsive, but I am short-tempered and impatient. 

Donovan’s no longer a Cancer.  He’s a Gemini.  But the Gemini description doesn’t match my memories of him.  He’s never been good at communication.  I would NEVER describe him as jovial or flexible.  He can be selfish and restless.  His personality never seemed confused, but he’s always has a problem with being punctual.

The good thing is that Donovan and I are still what’s called a “love match”.  But in reading the family astrology reference, there’s a reference to the “new” sign.  And in the book it says that the actual placement of the stars aren’t used because “tropical astrology works” (Johnstone, The Complete Book of Astrology, 2004, p. 434).

This makes me wonder… Is this the opinion of ALL of those that study astrology?  If so, does this mean that the field is going to split, with those that embrace the new sign doing their thing, and those that swear by tropical astrology trundling along like nothing ever changed?

It will be interesting to see if this is going to spawn a whole new set of reference materials or if the furor will die down and everything will go back to the way it was.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2 years today

Two years ago today Donovan started on a new adventure – he re-joined the military at my urging.  I’ve been kicking myself since August 2009 for it.  Since he’s been gone we’ve seen him a grand total of 8 weeks.  Up till a week ago, I thought that we were going to be allowed to join him at his duty station overseas.  Nope.  We can’t go because of paperwork issues.

In those two years, Donovan’s missed EVERYTHING important to a husband and dad – birthdays, first steps, first words, and times that I desperately needed him, like Caelen’s diagnosis with autism.  We’ve been waiting over a year to be able to join him, to be a family again; we’ve been waiting on “one more piece of paper” for MONTHS.  One of those pieces of paper was re-enlistment.

Seems that his current job is “full” and the military isn’t re-enlisting anyone.  Instead of telling him this MONTHS AGO, he was given the run around AGAIN “Get the rest of the packet prepared and then we’ll get you re-enlisted”.  At least he’s now on an unaccompanied tour.  So, technically he’s only supposed to be there 2 years.  Oh, but wait!  No one’s allowed to leave the unit until they are “settled” AFTER the deployment.  Apparently that will take a while.  So we get to wait even more.  Unless school starts before the day that he’s allowed to leave his duty station - then he can come back to the states.  But not home.

Instead, he’s going to be stationed 8 hours away, in the same general area as his ex and their child.  No big deal, it’s only an 8 hour drive and his child deserves to see him.  That is if his ex allows it.  It’s the thought of him being so close yet so far that bugs me.  

Of course, it hasn’t happened yet, so I’ve really just got to stop dwelling on it.  I just want him home already.  I want to be able to complain about wet towels and dirty socks on the floor and cereal bowls on the computer desk again.  I’d like him to be able to do his half for his own kids.  I’d really like to not be able to take up all the pillows and most of the bed anymore.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wait, how come I don't get adult time?

So, I’m looking at getting a sitter through sittercity.com or care.com.  Okay, do my thing, only to find out that to even ANSWER the e-mails I get from sitters I have to PAY $35 a month or $140 a year.  Yeah.  I have to pay a service.  I mean sure, it’s a service that they provide, but as a military spouse, I’ve got NO money most of the time right now.

If I were still in a place where I had family, I could ask someone to watch the kids.  But I don’t.  $35 is way too much.  It’s more than most gamers pay to play WarCraft.  It’s more than the insurance on my cell phone.  

Times like this it seems like everything is dependent on the taxes coming in – fixing the van, moving, the child support case…  I just wish something could go right for longer than an afternoon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sleeping Beauty I will NEVER be

It’s Sunday afternoon and instead of being at fighter practice (pointless cause I don’t have a fighter to watch and egg on, plus the kids get bored; the last time we went, it seemed to me that there were some kids picking on Caelen and taking his toys) I have once again slept most of the day away.

I’m not sure what’s going on.  I went to bed earlier than I have been for a couple weeks last night.  It may be that I’m barely eating and don’t leave the apartment unless I absolutely have to…  I’ve no idea what’s causing it.  There’s so much in this life that could and would cause a person to sleep too much.  I think I may be going through a good deal of it.

I don’t know that I’m going to look into it, though.  I’m going to combat it as best I can on my own and see what happens because the clinic on base has a month waiting list and trying to go to the doctor with a 2 year old is amazingly frustrating.

Friday, January 7, 2011

HELP! I need a break!

It’s a half hour till supper and Marion has been in her room, on punishment, for nearly an hour, howling and crying.  I honestly doubt that she remembers what she did to get in trouble. 

She was getting into things on the food shelves…  Lovely apartment that I’m in, I have neither a pantry nor a linen closet.  So it’s a curious two year old’s paradise.  There’s ALWAYS something to pull off a shelf, and with big brother able to break off the fridge lock and open the fridge, there’s always something to get into in the fridge.  The favorite for a while has been raw eggs.

I hate being the disciplinarian.  I’m always the bad guy because there’s always some sort of sneaky going on by one or more of the kids and their 4 footed accomplice.  I bet I’d find a lot of their antics hilarious if it wasn’t just me.  But it is just me, and by the end of the day I’m quick to yell and more than willing to spank.

I’m serious boys and girls…  I need a sitter.  And a break.  And the money to take said break.  Even if it’s just an afternoon to myself to go to a movie or go shopping with Beckie.  But it’s near impossible to get a sitter most of the time.  Apparently we’re eligible for something called respite care, but there’s a packet per person getting it that needs to be filled out and the kids’ pediatrician charges $25 a packet if the child doesn’t have an appointment within 2 weeks of asking for the report.

I’d rather find a sitter at this point, though.  Then maybe I could find a job or go back to school.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kids are amazing I

Children are truly amazing…  With Caelen having autism, he and his sister are at about the same development level – potty training, learning to talk, learning to share, etc etc.

Well, the day I wrote this was fast forward for us from 3:30 till 6:30.  I got maybe 3 and a half hours of sleep the night before because Donovan and I are trying to deal with being apart as long as we have…  There’s been lots of hurt feelings.  I got up with the kids, IMed with him till he stopped talking to me, set the alarm for 3:30 and then took a nap with Marion.  Before passing out I managed to hit her sippy cup with my arm and soak the middle of the bed.  Joy.  Grab a towel, let it soak up the milk, I'll change the sheets if I remember.

Then the fun began.  I had forgotten that today is Beckie’s late day at school.  She stays after on Wednesdays for math tutoring in addition to having an extra math class.  I pick her up from school because the late bus drops her off so far from home.  If I'm there and waiting by 3:30, there’s no way I can miss getting Cae off the bus at 4 in the parking lot outside the apartment.

I didn’t leave the house till 3:40 - I didn't even put Vaca in her kennel before we left.  Yes, silly me, I trusted a 7 month old dog not to piss on the carpet or chew up my furniture.  The furniture is safe; the dog is even further from potty training than my little kids.  

As I'm buckling Marion into her seat, Beckie called to find out where I was.  Yup, my eleven almost 12 year old has a cell phone.  It's horribly embarrassing and she barely uses it, so it's all good.  

So Marion and I haul it to Beckie’s school, drive back to the apartment, and end up having to go to the store.  As I’m buckling Cae into his seat (always a good time because he sits behind me and there’s only one side door on my van) he starts freaking out and whining over the sesame street figures that Marion has brought.  Without any prompting at all, Marion hands him her Elmo figure.

Yup.  She shared.  Of her own free will.  And it’s her favorite figure, the one that most of the fights (including the one that has been raging off and on for over an hour now) are over.  But for one afternoon, Marion was okay with sharing with her big brother. 

She held Beckie’s hand in the parking lot when we went to the store, took off her own coat, and was fine with “Brother” being put into the cart first.

Now if I could just get her to stop hitting the dog and using a pacie…

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The joys of living apart

“Long Distance Relationship”.  Sounds doable, right?  You and your other half aren’t in the same house, town, or time zone.  For a couple still in school or not yet married it’s pretty common.  Unfortunately, if your SO is in the military, it’s more common than you think with orders that don’t include the family due to medical circumstances, being assigned to an area that is amazingly hostile, or any reason in between.

In a little over a week, our family will have been in a long distance relationship for over 2 years.  We didn’t know at first.  Donovan went back into the service and did “remedial boot camp”, then went through the shortest job training they could give him.  Spring of 2009 had him texting me that “we got Germany”.  I was excited and a little scared.  I’ve never left our country, the furthest East I’ve ever been is Illinois.

So he came home on leave before leaving for Europe and we had a whirlwind visit of appointments and paperwork at Nellis.  It seemed like as soon as he got here he had to leave again.  And as summer dragged into fall, I felt like we were all but forgotten.  The first stipulation to him “sending” for us was that the van had to run.  I got it running.  Since then, it’s been decided that the van wouldn’t pass the rigorous inspection process. 

That winter he told me that he’d be deploying in 2010.  He’d already had me move myself and 3 children into a 3 bedroom walk-up.  I thought “big deal, he’s never going to see it, this place is temporary”.  We’re nearly at a year and a half of this bit of “temporary”.  Thanksgiving hit and I realized that with the deployment, I didn’t know when or if I was going to see him again, that he’d missed EVERYTHING in 2009, was going to miss it all for 2010, and most of 2011.  Including Marion’s first birthday and first steps.  I lost it.  I ended up in the ER because I couldn’t stop crying.  EVERYTHING was a trigger.

So Donovan got to come home for a month.  Nothing was really resolved – no paperwork was turned in.  Beckie’s father was still holding on to paperwork that we needed and would for another 6 weeks.  So Donovan’s CO decided that instead of trying to get the family there, maybe it would be better for Donovan to get a compassionate reassignment.  That spring it was denied on the grounds that command sponsorship hadn’t been applied for or denied.

Donovan came home for another 2 weeks in spring 2010.  It was a good visit, the kids loved it, but by this time, with only seeing daddy in dribs and drabs for a year and a half, he was more an exciting guest than a parent.  Thanksgiving was spent at a friend’s house, Yule and Chanukah were subdued because we didn’t have the money to bring daddy home. 

Now we’re creeping up on the 2 year mark.  I’ve had lots of firsts – I put in a new hard drive to the computer; and argued with my husband over money.  We used to be that couple that just didn’t fight.  Now we fight at least once a month.  I’ve had people that know us both say to me “you know, you’d be there if he really wanted you there.”

It's only going to get harder.  He's deploying soon and to stay in is going to have to change jobs.  So he'll be gone for both the deployment and job training.  If the family is super lucky we MIGHT get to be together by next year; THREE YEARS after he re-joined. Because the military cares for families and believes that we're important. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Peter Pan and Wendy

One of the most amazing O-Wives (an O-Wife is an officer's wife.  M is the most down to earth woman I've ever met.  She's done back to back deployments and has twins) I’ve "never" met told me about the “Peter Pan” syndrome last year.  I’d never heard of it before and was intrigued.  How it parallels the life my family has been living since Donovan got orders is both amazing and scary:

When a man does a back to back deployment (one after another without the sweet respite that is “dwell time”) they aren’t home long enough to have to be responsible for anything “big” having to do with their family – their wife, mom, or significant other ends up running the show.  Sometimes this ends up happening even while they’re home.  And the soldier ends up liking it, they get used to it.  Life outside of work becomes carefree and all they have to do is take it easy.  

Because of this they end up “living” in an alternate reality – Deployment (Never-neverland) where they get to be a leader or a hero.  They get to fight pirates and Indians and other types of bad guys.  They have no responsibilities, always have other lost boys to play with, go on adventures with, and they NEVER have to grow up.

For the wives, mothers, or significant others left behind to hold the fort, it’s a completely different situation.  

Some end up being “Wendy” – The mature responsible one who ends up taking care of everyone, sort out the issues and desperately try to get Peter to grow up.  Peter doesn’t always like her very much, but she gets it done, ‘cause if she doesn’t, who will?  “Wendy” will even have to suffer a crisis every so often so that Peter can rescue her and make himself feel better.

A few end up being “Nana” – A loyal nurturing pet that’s thought of as part of the family, but ends up doing all the work, taken for granted and left behind.  

And then there’s “Tinkerbelle” – Spiteful, Jealous, Vain, and Perky.  She’s got a bad temper and is a spoiled brat.  She’s usually madly in love with Peter, and Peter thinks she can do no wrong.  He always ends up using her and taking advantage of her until he’s tired of her.  At least “Tinkerbelle” doesn’t stick around very long.

Lately I’ve been feeling like Nana.  Little better than a cherished pet, doing all the work myself, no thanks, no gratitude, and, like the rest of the family, left behind. 

This amazing O-Wife, who has NEVER met me, says that she likes to think that we’re both like Wendy – “tough, strong, independent and don't hesitate to call Peter on his crap!”  But I have the HARDEST time calling Donovan on his crap.  Cause he’s so far away, and it usually dissolves into him being angry with me, and I end up feeling like a jerk for even bringing up issues and suspicions and hurts that now feel unimportant, that feel like the ravings of a “stupid, hysterical, psycho, jealous, piece of crap.”

It’s really hard to remember that I’ve been running our house basically on my own for nearly 2 years.  It’s hard to remember that I’ve run a larger house than this on my own, and that I was a single mom for a long time before I even dreamed there was someone like Donovan out there.
 

It’s difficult to remember what I’m capable of.  Hopefully I can remember really soon.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wait, I have to do ALL of this???

Running a house.  It’s one of those things that mom and dad don’t really prepare you for anymore.  You don’t hear anything about bills, a mortgage, or the little things that make it a life instead of just existing.  You don’t hear about the anticipation of tax time, or adult Christmas as we look at it in our house.

Since it’s the first day of the new year, I’m doing the expenses for December, and a budget outlook for 2011 based on 2010’s numbers.  All I can say is thank goodness we’re getting a return.  The budget, despite my best efforts, is always short the last few months of the year.  We have huge overdraft fees.  I’ve had to choose between insurance or food.  But we always make it to the end of the month to begin anew.

Hopefully, with not having to replace two sewing machines this year, I can actually save myself from this type of stress, that paying for a plane ticket for Donovan to come home won’t break us for the rest of the year. 

Oddly enough, I’ve got a good feeling about the coming year.  New house, the van will get fixed, and I can put a good chunk of it away.  I hope.  I’ve got a set amount for each thing that we do that HAS to be put away.

I also have to figure out if we’re going to go to Estrella War.  It’s this huge war in Arizona put on by the SCA.  I’ve never been, the kids were always too little.  I doubt that I will though.  The thought of doing another war with the kids and the dog ALONE is the stuff of nightmares.