More Portland notes

Part of what I love so much about my friends is they don’t hesitate to say, “Why are you cleaning his house? I thought you weren’t going to do that any more.” WHY MUST YOU PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I SAY AND THEN HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE.

What the hell.

Why am I cleaning Dad’s house while I am here? Because this is the filthiest I have ever seen his house in 14 years of knowing him. He is very depressed. He is very overwhelmed by life. He can no longer afford to hire help and he is way in over his head.

I can’t watch someone who has taken me to the hospital when I was sick sit and suffer in a situation where a few hours of minor labor on my part will help solve the problem. Part of the depression problem is he feels used up and useless and unwanted and and.

It is hard to love yourself and take care of yourself when you don’t perceive that other people love you. I love him very much. I want to help remind him that he is worth loving.

So I clean his house. Not the whole thing. But he’s having a big party this weekend after we leave and now he’ll be ready without frantic work. And he was out of Kleenex so we bought him four boxes. Because no really he is struggling financially. Things are bad.

I am paying off my mortgage as fast as humanly possible and I never want to owe money again. Dad is really in a bad place and it scares the ever loving shit out of me. He’s not in danger of being homeless soon, but his life is on a downward trajectory. Period. He’s in his decline. It reminds me that Noah and I have one of those coming up. I need to make sure we will not end up in Dad’s position.

Part of the reason that Dad is screwed is the way community property stuff works in Washington. He didn’t just get everything that his wife had when she died. It was a real mess. And expensive. And she had been the one with the well paying job and all of a sudden he had to keep the whole ship afloat alone. It’s been bad.

If I die I don’t want Noah to go through this kind of situation. I will never be in a position like Dad–I am too basically frugal. Noah could end up there if he wasn’t careful. If I’m not careful enough in advance. I’m doing everything in my power to keep Noah and I safe through our old age. I’m trying as hard as I can to ensure that even if we divorced some day I have been frugal enough that neither of us will suffer in our old age. I want to do right by him. Noah has done right by me. He has given me everything I wanted and more. I owe him. I owe him a comfortable, happy life forever if it is in my power to effect.

Dad came and picked me up and took me to the hospital when I was 19 and homeless and hiding at my boyfriend’s house when he was at work. Dad said that I was too sick to stay home because I could die. (We had been chatting on IRC about my various physical issues that day.) When we got to the ER I had a nasty bacterial infection. Dad was probably right that I could have died in the next day or so if I had left my boyfriend’s house to go sit in my car and cry from the pain. That was my Plan A.

I would not be alive if not for my friends. I can pinpoint specific times over and over again. I don’t think I would have survived my father and brother committing suicide without Jenny. I’m absolutely sure that without having her to go to both nights I would have walked into traffic on a major highway.

I don’t owe Aunt Cookie anything. I don’t owe Aunt Candy anything. If Noah and I split up I would only hear from them to facilitate visits with the kids. They don’t give a shit about me. They aren’t my family.

I owe Dad. I owe Jenny. I owe Sarah. I owe Kira. I owe Noah. I owe Marcie. I owe Anna. I owe Brittney.

I’m not still in contact with all of those people. Doesn’t matter. They walked away from the relationship, not me. The door will be open until the day I die. I owe them a debt I can never repay. There is no end to the debt.

In my mind the only thing that someone can do to completely discharge my debt to them is to become a threat to my children. That slams the door forever. That is the only thing that can. Abusing me doesn’t slam the door. But my children are sacrosanct.

I can forgive people abusing me. Mostly I understand how I help provoke the behavior. I rather enjoy such dynamics. But not my children. Never my children.

We’ve been talking a lot about boundaries and saying no and being a good person. Shanna is in a phase where she really wants things to be black and white. “If you buy Nestle products you are a bad mom.” Actually honey… that’s not true. Just about everyone in America buys Nestle products and they aren’t all bad moms. Buying Nestle has nothing to do with whether or not they are good moms. That’s orthogonal. Then I had to explain orthogonal and draw a picture.

Man, Calli is obsessed with asking, “What does ______ mean?” I think she asks that question about 500 times to every 1 time Shanna asks. It is trippy. I’m not sure what it means about their varying vocabularies. Calli really needs to have new concepts ripped apart. Shanna absorbs a new word and then holds it until she can understand and apply it. Shanna rarely asks for definitions.

Anyway, back to Nestle/boundaries/being a good person… We keep talking about how being a good person isn’t based on one set of behaviors or one measure. It’s not about whether you do x. Nothing in life is that simple. Nothing. Nothing.

Being a good person is about making mistakes and apologizing and trying to do better. It’s not about being perfect to start with. No one is perfect. Trying for perfection will fail and drive you crazy.

Ran out of time.

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