So, we’re learning just how the attorney earns her fees… R doesn’t have to attend a hearing in Winston-Salem next month. The attorney phones in an “informal” (her words) conversation with the DOR and we just wait. We’ve been waiting almost 2  1/2 years now, going on 3, for VA compensation for R’s being sexually assaulted while serving his country in Air Force. He should have been safe from sexual predators instead he was drugged and raped (1988) by a superior officer. Told he would be booted from the Air Force with a dishonorable discharge if he reported the crime, he stayed silent for years. Then one day he just popped mentally.

It took about 25 years to hit him completely. Before that, he was most certainly mentally ill but it wasn’t anything specific. I thought of it more as an Aspergers type personality quirk, or quirks. But truly it was so much more. It’s not that he has Aspergers, it’s that he can’t trust or connect with people. We’ve been together over 20 years now and believe me, I know him.

R is kind, compassionate and loving. I get smarter every day that I deal with him. Schizo-affective disorder, OCD, General Anxiety Disorder and more to go with his PTSD. The Air Force does not pay compensation for PTSD, we’ve learned, what they “pay” for is the after-effects of it. The mental side of it — the schizo-affective disorder and all the other diagnoses in R’s mental baggage. His suitcase is full.

This is difficult to write about but I am assured that no one is reading this, and if they are, I trust they’ll read it with a compassionate heart and a knowing mind. He is very much affected by the stigma of mental illness and it lurks just beneath the surface every time he leaves the house.

He always asks if he’s acting normal. Fine … let’s all define normal. He is able to greet people appropriately, known or unknown, he is polite, well-groomed in public (at home that’s another story) and tries hard to be accommodating.

He takes great care of the boys and has always been an integral part in their upbringing. They are both fine young men, aged 12 and 13. They are actually quite amazing. Polite. Caring. Loving. Very much teenagers but that is to be expected. They don’t bad-mouth their parents, are appropriately defiant about chores (who can get a teenager to do anything??), and keep their rooms in the usual disarray of their gender and their age. I find them delightful and rejoice when they come to visit.

They grew up in this house with us. We’ve been here over 16 years and they spent the last 6 years just 3 blocks from our house. Their visits are frequent and very low key. The 13 year old, O, says this is his real house, he’s in boarding school all week (at his house). This is a running joke with us when he comes here for the weekend. They don’t come as often as they used to, they’re growing up and don’t need our wifi any more. All grown up with their own phones… and unlimited data (I think)

I have a friend who has a very unruly, disrespectful bully of a 12 year old son. I don’t know how to handle him, he came over many times over the last weekend and we had to entertain him as he brought games and cards over for us to “play” with him. R was quite kind and enjoyed the game time but I bored of it quickly and wanted to do other things, yet stuck as I was, I couldn’t get out of paying attention to him during the hours he spent in our house. Turns out, his mom banned him from the internet, so he came here. His mom took the power cord to the TV to  punish him yesterday, so he came over after school yesterday.

She told me that when he came home (she’s a single mom, it’s just the 2 of them in her house, no Dad influence at all) he had such an attitude, a bad one, that she slapped him. Then she told me she should have hit him harder. I am appalled and now withdraw from contact with ether of them. His aggression could turn on us and we aren’t raising any more children. Hence, the backing away. How horrid! I can’t imagine striking a 12 year old in the face, just can’t imagine it. He definitely had ADHD and they gave up trying to medicate him. J and I agree, you keep trying different drugs until you find the right one, you don’t give up on the first try. That’s why E is on meds, it took a couple tries to get it right but he is completely ok when he takes his meds. Without them, the whole oppositional defiance thing kicks in, it’s what the kid is feeling and he can’t control himself. Being slapped isn’t going to knock him into behaving. I can’t believe she did that and thought she should have been more physical with him.

She’s small and will eventually have to deal with him hitting her back. Where do they go then? He bullies her, his 80 year old grandparents and I can’t imagine him having any friends at school. He’s very smart, maybe too smart, so he’ll see his way around any punishment she metes out, even physical. He’ll just laugh at her, I can see it, just totally can see him laughing at her after she strikes him.

I will stay out of it. Not going to be part of such a child raising. Not gonna’ do it. I raised two daughters who are amazing, two grandsons who are superb and I am not taking on another kid that’s not related to me — to raise. She’s on her own from now on. I will resist her attempts to “go places” like out to eat or to the local bar down the street. I’m not her friend any more and it will be difficult to passively withdraw from our burgeoning relationship. I can do it.

Meanwhile, V has finished her FB fundraiser. She will get $114 via my checking account which I will then deposit into her PayPal account. Walmart online accepts PayPal so she can buy her necessary “pee pads” from there and have them delivered. She anxiously awaits the money but I fear it’ll be another week until she gets it. She pees on herself because of urinary cancer issues, I believe. We’ve been friends, online, for over 7 years, and she’s been homeless and alone for years. She found someone to live with in RI a year ago and she regrets moving in with a very dysfunctional family. She was/is supposed to care for the elderly mother at night in return for room and board but since she moved in, one of the family’s breadwinners has lost his job, the money is tight, she receives little or no (on some days) food and he (the job loser) resents her being there so he harasses her every day by stalking her. Or so she says. She could be just over-reacting to a difficult situation. I don’t know her reality any more.

I know my reality. I am anxious but hopeful. Aware of my surroundings and in a good place, all in all. We have enough money to pay for the 1/2 mortgage payment thru October and this is reassuring. It will take every penny we have to go that long but we can do it. After that, we’re totally fucked. There is no more money. I’ve managed, if we go through to Oct, to make the car’s sale ($5000) last for almost a year, if memory serves. I think I sold the car in late Nov … it was a 1972 Buick Riviera. We traded R’s old decrepit Harley Davidson for it. The bike was shit, really, but R thought it was wonderful. After he had a fender bender, actually no damage was done to the vehicle he bumped, the State took his driver’s license away and he was supposed to turn it in but he never did. He’s got to have a picture ID. I suppose this causes me a lot of angst but I put it away. I tamp it down and don’t think about it because I can’t fix it right now. I think we’ll hire an attorney once we get the money and get his license back — if we can. They may not allow him to have one because then, after the compensation goes through, he will truly have a mental illness diagnosis. It will help that he has a fairly clean driving record, I think.

Right now I have a wonderful car, a 2007 Volvo XC90 given to me as a Christmas present from my eldest daughter and her husband. J and A very graciously gave it to me rather than use it for a trade-in when J got a new Volvo. It was the right thing to do but that doesn’t mean that had to do it. I am forever grateful to them. We didn’t have a car for 3 years. If you live in a metropolitan area, that’s not a big deal. We live in rural South where there’s no public transportation other than calling a cab and people must drive everywhere. I tried riding a moped, it’s torn up and in the garage, I’ll give it away some day if someone wants it for parts. It has a gas leak and I couldn’t fix it, but I gave it the old Heinold try. I tried riding a bike but it has a flat … and I’ve become so anxious lately, it’s weird.

When I first started driving the car, after Xmas, it was as if I was 16 again and trying to drive. I was so intimidated. I’m almost over that but I lack confidence in almost everything so it’s not surprising that I’m nervous about driving. The brakes need work and J has assured me that they’ll pay for it and we can pay them back. I’ve hesitated talking to her about it, but they’re getting worse, starting to make a sqeeeeeeee noise when I drive. I’ve got to get the washer fixed and that behind us before I approach her. My anxiety precedes any actions. I need to stop obsessing about other people’s reactions to my actions and just move forward.

My therapist canceled today. It’s a real shame, I need her. I’ve so much swimming around upstairs in my brain’s aquarium. Lots of strange fish. I’ll go to C’s shop the afternoon, after Sears finishes with the washer, and we can have our own family therapy session. I need to unload all the VA complications, the canceled appointments, the attorney actions, and the pending disability hearing in August.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I took Provigil today, so my brain is functioning well — it’s just overloaded with possibilities. I think it makes R nervous when I sit here and type for a long time but I’ve told no one about this. Wait, I think I told R I had a random blog and typing in it helped me cope. I could type all this into my word processor but there’s something so gratifying about having my words out there, accessible by anyone but actually read by no one.

There’s this art therapy technique where a person must write 3 pages a day, every day, before doing anything else. It was/is very therapeutic for me, very freeing. I believe this is what the blog is, my 3 pages. I should rename the blog My Three Pages but The Assemblagist has been around for so long, and spellcheck just hate it, I guess I’ll keep it.

Old guy working on P’s porch. He’s slow, he says, but I say all that mitering takes time. I hear his saw as I type and know he’s hard at work. She’s gone to the beach for a few days. I was supposed to feed her Mama Kitty last night but guy blocked access to porch with boards so I didn’t step over them. I noticed food in the bowl and starlings fighting over it, so I figure the cat’s ok. Will put more food out later today. She has no idea that she’s feeding bluejays, starlings, stray cats and her own cat. I am a firm believer in NOT feeding any animals on my porch. We tried it, years ago, in another house out in the country and ended up with an opossum eating right out of the bowl.

I have a photo of it somewhere.

F is still waiting on the weather to behave so we can go to estuary area to try his time-lapse photography experiment. His last attempt, at Dinah’s Landing, failed miserably and he only got white … no images. He blasted back in full force after his ablation procedure, thank god. I’m definitely not ready to lose him!

time to sign off… thanks for not reading. you’ve been a great audience.


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