Time

I went to an interesting writer’s workshop today, during which the presenter asked us whether or not we give ourselves permission to make time to write. Because one thing that is true for almost every writer, writing isn’t all we do, and other things often take precedence over our writing. She said that if our writing is meaningful to us, we must take the time. It’s important.

I wanted to say something about our families and that THEY don’t always allow us the time to write but, ironically, we ran out of time. Now I wish I’d said something.

Skip to the present.

My ex has two of our kids right now. I’m having a weekend off. I just got a text from him to say that because I didn’t answer messages from his mother about graduation pictures, and his girlfriend about what our youngest son wants for Christmas (yes, she’s already thinking about Christmas) that he has no faith in me. I answered, “I’m still waiting for graduation pictures (care to pay for them?) and I have no idea what he wants for Xmas. Why don’t you ask him? And what do you mean you have no faith in me? Who the fuck looks after them 90% of the time? I’m sorry I forgot to reply. I was busy looking after YOUR kids. All three of them.”

To which he replied, “You were busy doing nothing but you think you were doing something. Wake up and smell the fucking life.”

I have soooo had it with him. I’m trying to get a career going, between writing and taking editing courses, but from the outside it looks like a time-wasting hobby. I know that. I already feel as guilty as fuck that I’m not doing more. But what can I do when I’m looking after two disabled kids, alone, one of which is home 24/7 since he graduated? I have no support other than a babysitter and my eldest son. I can’t go out and work. I have a hard time making decisions for my kids who can’t. And where is my ex? He moved and bought a house 3 hours’ drive away from us and he’s taken the kids this weekend for the first time in 5 weeks. Normally, when he does have them, he stays home and I have to move out of my own fucking house! Spend money on hotels and meals just so I can get a break… and he has no faith in me? In me?

I’m fucking livid.

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Advocacy

I had so many great blogging intentions yesterday. I was all set and ready to post my first Thursday Doors post when I got a call from my youngest kid’s teacher – the school advocates were going to visit the school. So I rushed over to get their help.

Their first question (and probably yours at this point too) was what’s the problem? My son is fed by g-tube, I told them, and is being forced to go to the infirmary every day to be fed. He’s alone over there with the nurses (particularly Nurse Nancy) when he’d rather be in the cafeteria, socializing with his friends. I added that we (myself, the principal and my son’s teacher) had tried to talk to Nancy about the set-up but she refused to even meet with us. They agreed that wanting to eat with his friends was a reasonable thing to wish for, and so we all (me and four advocates) walked over to the infirmary together. It’s a five-minute walk, outside. We’re in Canada, so that means it takes longer in the winter with getting dressed for the snow and then trudging through it.

First the advocates talked to my son, who said yes, he really really wanted to be fed in the cafeteria. So they approached the nurse. She was livid, as I expected her to be. She insisted she had never heard of a meeting, let alone refused one. She said my son spends enough time in the school already and doesn’t need to be there for lunch, to which the advocate replied he’s already disabled (he’s Deaf) and so, excluded from society. Having to be excluded further by taking him away from the precious time he has to socialize with his peers is potentially damaging to his psyche.

Nancy said it would take too long to feed him at the school, and that the other kids wouldn’t wait for him to go out for recess. But that, the advocate said, would still be time he doesn’t otherwise get to socialize. Then she said he could come to the infirmary earlier to get back for more recess time – so why couldn’t he start feeding earlier at the school and be finished at the same time as the other kids? It would also cut down on the traveling time.

Then she said it’s just the way it’s done – all the other Deaf schools in the province feed the kids with g-tubes in their infirmaries, to which the advocate said it’s not so. He’s seen kids in other schools feed in the cafeterias with his own eyes. Take that, bitch!

She said his feeding pump doesn’t work properly – I told her I have a new one on order and it will arrive next week. Ha! Take that times two, bitch!!

She said his behaviour when he’s at the infirmary is bad, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to eat in the cafeteria. The advocate said that’s not relevant. And besides, he’s a kid!!

Her final argument is that there isn’t the nursing staff to send over to the cafeteria. So the principal’s boss is going to talk to Nancy’s boss and see what can be done. As the advocate said to me, he has a right to eat with the other kids. He shouldn’t be punished for having an extra disability.

In all the years I’ve known Nurse Nancy, I’ve never got along with her. It’s like she’s desperate not to let go of my son. With the lack of any better excuses she blamed my son, (his behaviour) and me (the pump). It was wonderful to have someone on my side who didn’t back down. She’s a real nasty piece of work – I don’t think I’m the only one who’s a bit scared of her.

So they’re going above her head. I just hope she doesn’t make my son pay the price in the meantime.

My dilemma

Okay, so here’s the deal: My ex moved three hours’ drive out of town a couple of years ago. His job requires him to work way too much, and so he can’t see the kids every other weekend like he’s supposed to. Add to this the fact that he doesn’t want to drive 12 hours every weekend that he does have them, so he moves into my house and I have to move out. At my cost. As my mother so eloquently put it, I have to pay to leave my own home. When their dad does take them to his place (actually, only one of them because he doesn’t have room for both) he expects me to drive half way to meet him. At my cost.

From the time he had the kids last, to the time he has them next, I will have had them for 5 weeks (four weekends). My dilemma is this: do I start drinking wine now? And if so, should I try to have any of the 20 bottles I have in my basement left by the time I get another weekend off (at my cost)? Or should I just throw up my hands and drink the lot?

My life seriously fucking sucks sometimes.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday – Mother – #SoCS

I don’t like to talk about my mother on my regular blog, but I think I’m okay to talk about her here, where I’m somewhat anonymous. I’m not sure if any of my family follows this blog. I’ve only ever mentioned it once, a long time ago.

My mother is my only parent, my dad having died when I was young. I’m an only child, so it’s just her and me. And my kids, of course. I grew up with her, my dad, and their two best friends. My mother is the only one left. I used to think she was the lucky one, to have survived everyone else. Now I wonder.

She doesn’t remember anything from one minute to the next. She can ask me the same question every 15 seconds for 10 minutes. She’s beginning to lose her long-term memory as well. So I’ve been patient. But it’s not easy.

Lately she’s taken to accusing me of selling all she owned when I moved her into a retirement home. In actuality, she was there for the whole thing. She went through all her stuff and decided what to keep and what not to, she met the auctioneer who sold all she didn’t want. But now she asks me how I could sell everything she owns–her whole life–without telling her I was going to do it. It makes me feel small, guilty even, though I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

It’s tough watching your parents forget. It’s hard to deal with the forgetfulness, the anger, the bewilderment… And yes, I feel just as guilty for saying that maybe she’s not that lucky for having to go through all this. But life is cruel. I’m bewildered myself.

SoCS badge 2015

You can find the rules for Stream of Consciousness Saturday here https://lindaghill.com/2016/05/06/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-716/ 

A novel idea

Okay, so there’s this woman I’ve been “friends” with on social media for about eleven years now. She’s single, close to thirty years old, still living with her parents and hating it, looking for a job, and basically spending her life living off her art and playing video games. She’s a character and a half and I soooo want to write her.

But I’m not sure I can. You see, she has a particular ailment that she’s extremely sensitive about, that is so much a part of who she is that I can’t write it out of her. So if I write a novel and use her, even though it’s fiction, I’m sure she’ll see it to be herself. The novel, even though she is the protagonist, will not be very flattering as she herself has a rather distasteful personality. What to do…

I know! Isabella Morgan may just become an author.

What would you do?

Epic Parenting on Thanksgiving Day

My eldest son, whilst hugging me: Thanks for an awesome dinner, Mom. You’re a good shit.
Me: You’re a good shit too, Fred. You’re welcome.

True story.

This post is part of One-Liner Wednesday. Give it a try! Just click the link to find out more: http://lindaghill.com/2015/10/14/one-liner-wednesday-im-driving-here/

X is for X-Rated

My A-Z Challenge this year contains posts about writing adult content in fiction – you will not find any adult fiction within the parameters of the challenge, except for illustration purposes.

Depending on where you are in the world, your country’s rating system may go up to NC-17, (U.S.) R, (Canada), 18, (U.K.) etc., but for the purposes of the A-Z Challenge I’m using the outdated rating because, well, “X.”  I’m purposely not including pornography ratings since this post relates to mainstream movie theatres. Perhaps not regardless of where you are–admittedly I haven’t done a lot of research–at least in North America, the highest ratings are normally placed on movies with sexual content. So while our Bugs Bunny is being censored all to hell, our children are encouraged to watch widespread violence but denied the act of love.

I have mixed feelings about this. Intellectually it makes little sense to me to limit the viewing of sexual acts but show willful acts of violence. On the other hand, emotionally I have issues that stem from childhood which I won’t go into. Suffice to say that I had very mixed messages growing up. On the OTHER hand, (because yes, I have three hands on this subject) there is also the question of what viewing sexual acts in the theatre will lead to at home.

With widespread (pun unintentional) access on the internet to the types of porn that isn’t even shown in adult theatres and the fact that it’s difficult to supervise our children’s internet access 24/7, the ideas they get from movies is equivalent to the concept of gateway drugs. Give ’em a taste and they’ll want an even better high.

With that in mind, I’m thinking what if they just put all the violence AND all the sex under the highest rating? What do you think?

W is for Watered-Down

Even as a child I was appalled when I watched a movie in which the language was watered-down. I don’t know that they still do it to the same extent, but I remember hearing “darn” dubbed over the word “damn,” and “heck” over “hell.” I’ve never been able to understand it. One would have to be completely isolated from society not to hear these words used between people in normal conversation. What’s the big deal about hearing them in natural conversations on the screen?

And now they’re apparently talking about removing swear words from ebooks in school libraries by installing a “Clean Reader” app. The app blanks out profanities in a way that imitates the “beep” in a talk show brawl a la Jerry Springer. As though we can’t fill in the blanks ourselves.

What purpose do these things serve? Is a cleaned-up book going to protect our children from the world? Seriously? Have the people who came up with this idea ever been out in public?

Next thing you know they’ll be banning lawn darts! Oh, wait…

N is for Neurosis and Noonan’s Syndrome

A creative writing teacher once told me to be careful about diagnosing my characters. Be sure, she said, that you know exactly what you’re talking about before you do. In that particular case I was writing about a woman with OCD – something I strongly suspect my son to be afflicted with, though he has never been diagnosed.

I can say with every bit of authority that my professor’s advice is valid, having seen an episode of Law and Order: SVU entitled Bullseye, in which they included a character who had “Noonan’s Syndrome.”  I was enraged. The show went about explaining the character’s mental retardation by passing it off with a diagnosis the writers quite obviously didn’t research. Yes, some of the people with Noonan’s Syndrome are mentally delayed. My youngest son is one of them. But through the extensive research I did when my son was a baby, in order to find out what his life might be like, I met some fantastic people with university degrees who were inflicted with the same genetic disease, which is most often characterized by its physical symptoms. Not its mental ones.

There are many ways to piss off a reader by not thoroughly researching an element in a work of fiction. The more emotionally driven the subject, the more it will affect the audience.

Have you ever been enraged over an author’s lack of research? I doubt there are many of us who haven’t, at some point or another.

 

On the heels of EM the Merciful

I hate the feeling that my goodwill and compassion is being taken advantage of. Without any word of a lie, as much of the time I spend looking after myself, equal to or more time is spent on looking after everyone else. I’m always the first one to say, “don’t worry about it. I’ll do it.” And so I take on everyone else’s burdens. I have a hard time delegating. Especially when I can do most of the things that need to be done faster and more efficiently than those around me can.

I’m exhausted. Both physically and mentally. My frozen shoulder won’t let me sleep during the 5 hours I night I manage to be in bed. The pain is inhuman. When I am awake I’m being pulled in a thousand directions at once: have you done this for me yet? Have you called this doctor for him? That doctor for her? Can you come with me to this or that appointment? Sorry, I’m too busy to help you. Maybe next month… You want the money I owe you? Fuck you.  This is what I listen to every day. And yeah, I allow it. But the truth is, I’m the only one who CAN do three quarters of what I do. It’s why I don’t have a job. Pfft. Like I sit around watching soaps all day.

And then everyone wonders why I go away on vacation alone.

I need a vacation. Again.