28 April, 2011

If You’re Family, I’ve Gone Fishing…

I’ve mentioned before that I have a crazy-ass family.  My immediate family is slightly quirky, but it’s the extended ones on my mother’s side that cause me the greatest concern. 
My mother was the eldest of 8 brothers and sisters and this is likely the reason she only had one child.  I understand that now – they are freakin nuts.
For as long as I can remember, there has been in-fighting between them.  At any one given time, no more than 2 would be on speaking terms.   It’s been going on forever and I’m pretty sure they’ve actually forgotten what they’re fighting about. 
The majority of them live in another Province, with a handful within an hour of me.  I’m not close with any of them.  They don’t send holiday wishes or call just to say hello – unless of course they want something.
When my mother passed away, they surprising all came together for her funeral, but still were separated into their respective “factions”.  Certain groups would speak with all groups, while others preferred the solitude of their own company.  It was ridiculous behavior.  That was 4 years ago.
Three years ago, my aunt sends me an e-mail asking for help preparing her wills.  I tell her that I haven’t prepared wills in years, but would help her – begrudgingly.   She hounds me relentlessly via e-mail for two weeks until I get them finished.  I don’t hear from her for almost another two years.
Two years ago, my cousin calls me asking for help in getting a court order dismissed.  I spend an entire Saturday filling out the paperwork and coaching them on what they need to do.   I don’t know if they were successful - I haven’t heard from them since that day. 
A year ago, my aunt calls asking for advice on her will that I prepared for her three years ago.  She wants to know if her will can be contested.  I tell her that yes it can be and most likely will be – that’s what you can expect when you leave your three daughters and grandchildren out of her will.   She didn’t like what I told her and hasn’t “spoken” to me since.   
A couple of months ago, the same aunt did send me an e-mail berating me on going on a Caribbean vacation when I haven’t visited my family in the east coast in over 12 years.  This is the SAME family that she doesn’t speak to.  She’s the “one” that doesn’t speak with any of them…
Three months ago, I get a call from my uncle, who needs help with a collection matter – from his daughter and ex-son-in-law.  He wants to know the best way to collect $35,000 from them.  It’s only been outstanding without a single payment being made since 2003, but now that the two have separated, he’s looking to collect it.   I’ve spent well over 48 hours of my time in the last two weeks, preparing documents, explaining what they can’t and can do to collect the money and basically “listening” to how they’ve been used and screwed over by their own daughter.  
After 2 hours on the phone last night with my uncle’s wife who tells me that she doesn’t like the way I prepared the documents and that she’s wants them redone to her liking - I totally lost it.   I’ve never really liked her and now she knows exactly how I feel about her and her messed up family.  She is the main reason all of the other aunts and uncles don't speak with each other.  I like to call her Yoko Ono...
It’s official, I’ve gone into retirement and my “free” services are no longer extended to family members.   For people I don’t see, they cause me great amount of grief and guilt.  If I want grief and guilt, I’ll go talk to my mother-in-law – at least she sends me birthday wishes.

26 April, 2011

Peacekeeping 101...

Well, The Boy is home from school for the summer…or perhaps longer and with that, my peace-keeping skills are already getting a workout.
I’ve always been the middle-man in my household – the “go to” person. 
If J wants to relay something to The Boy, he tells me.  If The Boy wants his dad to know something, he tells me.  It’s not like they don’t speak to each – they do.  The typically get along without incident.  They both have their opinions and usually respect what each other has to say.   Usually…
The Boy has not done fabulously at college this year.  I honestly believe, it’s not for lack of trying, he tried, but he just wasn’t interested in what program he chose.    I understand that it’s hard to choose a program and a career based strictly on a college catalogue. 
How can you possibly know what you want from life, if you haven’t experienced anything?  I understand this.   The Boy is so much like me, it’s terrifying.
Problem One – The Boy is confused.  He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, but he knows it’s not the course he was taking.   I understand this, but J does not. 
Problem Two – The Boy is a dreamer.  J is a facts and figures kind of person and needs a “plan” at all times.  I’m somewhere in the middle – I love to dream, but make a plan to get there and if things don’t go according to plan, I readjust and carry on.
Problem Three - The Boy understands that not getting a college education isn’t an option – neither is living in my basement when he’s 30.  He wants an education, he just doesn’t know what it will be or what in life will make him happy.   J can’t grasp the concept that not everyone knows what they want from life (at age 18) or how to get it. 
Problem Four – J looks at the past year as being a “waste of time and money”.    I somewhat understand the money thing, but I understand The Boy’s point of view too – “that being away from home has made him appreciate different cultures, different views, different people, where he’s from and where he doesn’t want to be”.   What J needs to realize that The Boy is the one working to repay his student loans, so instead of looking at it as a “waste of money”, he needs to look at it like an expensive life lesson. 
I have no doubt, The Boy will be successful in life.  He’s passionate and driven, but he just hasn’t found out what makes him passionate enough and driven enough to follow his dream.
Once again, I’m the middle man – constantly needing to find common ground while keeping both sides happy and on speaking terms with each other.  I’m exhausted and it’s only been three days…
Any recommendations?  I’ve considered running away from home, but I’m sure they will find me.

19 April, 2011

Green Goblin...

I don't normally like to bore you with my jewelry related stuff - that's what my other blog is for, but I just had to share my newest experiment.  I've been attempting to create chainmaille pieces.  Here is my first set of earrings.  

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out and I absolutely love the skull beads.  I mean, I LOVE them...

18 April, 2011

Learn to Get Along Boys…or I’m Telling…

I’m in the midst of the power struggle at work and I’m not even an active participant.
Although I’m in the Legal Department, I sit in the area of the Finance Department. 
The Chief Financial Officer likes to believe that he will be the next in line to become President, so he has this God complex about him.  I stress the word “believe” because I would bet my salary on that not happening.  He’s just not smart enough or enough of a people person for that to happen – he’s not liked at all.  He’s arrogant and self-absorbed.  Need I say how I really feel?  I don't think he likes me either, so we're even.
The in-house lawyer, who I work for doesn’t want to become the next President, but technically he is viewed as being in “second in command” by the current President of the company.  This in itself pisses the Chief Financial Officer off to no end.  The lawyer is wound pretty tightly, but other than his anal-retentiveness, he’s easy to get along with.
I thought certain women I work with are backstabbers and hard to work with, but the CFO takes the cake for pettiness and underhanded digs at the expense of the lawyer.  What he fails to recognize is that I sit in the office beside him and I can overhear the crap he says and does.   He also fails to recognize that I can’t stand backstabbing.  I’m a firm believer that if you have something to say, you should say it to the person’s face.  They may not like what they hear, but its better than hearing it second hand.
So, here I sit – waiting for the noose to tighten a little more around the CFO's neck before I march off to my boss (the lawyer) and tell him what’s really going on.  I think he already knows, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt his cause to receive a little more confirmation. 
This whole thing is nothing more than “school yard shenanigans”.  So what does that make me in this whole thing?   I’m the school yard “tattle tale”.   I’m okay with that.  I’ve always been the one to stand up for the underdog, regardless whether it’s the winning or losing side.
When "boys will be boys", it’s time for the girls to step in and start running the show.  I say Travel Dive Girl for President!

14 April, 2011

Kid's Say The Darndest Things...

I should of saved this for “World’s Ocean Day”, but let’s be honest, I would have forgotten about it by then.   As with a lot of things, I received this in an email from a fellow scuba diver and just had to share.  It's a collection of children writing about the ocean.
This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles.   (Kelly, age 6)     
Oysters' balls are called pearls. (Jerry, age 6)                   
If you are surrounded by ocean, you are an island.  If you don't have ocean all round you, you are incontinent.   (Sam, age 7) 
Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson.  She's not my  friend any more.   
(Kylie, age 6)                                                                           
A dolphin breaths through an asshole on the top of its head. 
(Billy, age 8)                                        

My uncle goes out in his boat with 2 other men and a woman and pots and comes back with crabs.  (Millie, age 6)                             

When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes when the wind didn't blow the sailors would whistle to make the wind come.  My brother said they would have been better off eating beans. (William, age 7)                                         

Mermaids live in the ocean. I like mermaids. They are beautiful and I like their shiny tails, but how on earth do mermaids get pregnant?   Like, really?   (Helen, age 6)                                          
I'm not going to write about the ocean. My baby brother is always crying, my Dad keeps yelling at my Mom, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write. (Amy, age 6)                  
Some fish are dangerous.  Jellyfish can sting.  Electric eels can give you a shock.  They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves in to chargers.  (Christopher, age 7)                                                    

When you go swimming in the ocean, it is very cold and it makes my willy small.  (Kevin, age 6)                                          

Divers have to be safe when they go under the water.  Divers can't go down alone, so they have to go down on each other.  (Becky, age 8)  
On vacation my Mom went water skiing.  She fell off when she was going very fast.  She says she won't do it again because water fired right up her big fat ass.  (Julie, age 7)                               
The ocean is made up of water and fish.  Why the fish don't drown I don't know.  (Bobby, age 6)                                           
My dad was a sailor on the ocean He knows all about the ocean.   What he doesn't know is why he quit being a sailor and married my mom.   (James, age 7)                                                           

If you didn't chuckle at one of these, you need to find your sense of humor.

11 April, 2011

Ode to Spring...

Okay, part of any healing process is to admit there is a problem in the first place, so I’ll admit it - this Winter kicked my ass and then kicked it again just for good measure. 
So, now onto the healing part…
This past weekend was gorgeous – the sun was shining, the grass was greening, the birds were singing, the weather was warm enough to say “bye bye winter sweaters”.  I was able to open up the windows and let the fresh air blow throughout the house.  In the evening, we were serenaded by the frogs and toads waking up from their long winter slumber.    Heaven…
I could literally feel the cobwebs blowing from my mind while I sat basking in the sun on our deck with an ice cold beer in hand yesterday afternoon. 
All is right with the world again…  Thanks to everyone for listening to my bitching and moaning these past months – it was much appreciated.

07 April, 2011

With Brain Mush, This is What You Get...

I cannot seem to shut my brain off or at a minimum fine tune it, so that I can organize my thoughts.  As much as I try to focus of something, I’m distracted by another thought or thing.  So, with all that said, here’s what’s on my mind:
The Boy is moving some of his stuff home this weekend.  I’m excited to see him, but not excited to see all of the crap he’ll be bringing with him.  I don’t know how he has managed to accumulate so much stuff in such a short period of time of being away at school.
Speaking of The Boy, he got the great summer job I told you about a couple of weeks ago.  He’s disappointed it’s not in cemetery maintenance, but he’s happy (and so am I) that he’ll be earning $12.50 per hour.
J had a phone interview for a new job yesterday.  Secretly I hope he doesn’t get it.  I know I’m awful, but I think he’s making the wrong decision by wanting to go to this company.   I believe he’s wanting out of his current job so bad, he’s not looking at the big picture and what he’ll be giving up by doing so.  I have more than enough experience with jumping from one bad job to another.  I’ve expressed my concerns and regardless of the outcome, I’ll be supportive because that’s what he’d do for me.  I don’t have to like it though.
With great sadness and a lot of tears, I had our cat euthanized yesterday.  He was 18 and had just been diagnosed with an untreatable kidney disease.  Obviously it wasn’t easy, but it was the humane thing to do and I know I did the right thing.  I swear the only thing keeping him alive the past few years was the fact that he liked to chew on J’s computer electrical cords and the low voltage current kept jumpstarting his heart. 
Since fish don’t count, we are now a pet free household.  I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I’m not in any hurry to get any more animals – at least not for awhile.   I do know that I won’t miss the gargantuan sized fur balls blowing throughout the house no matter how much I sweep and vacuum.
It snowed again yesterday and we had freezing rain overnight.  I’ve said it before and will say it once more – living in the north stinks, except during the Spring and Summer months.

On the upside, the weather may have turned the corner for today - it was sunny and warm.  Let's hope it lasts until November.

05 April, 2011

7 to 10...

I’ve always struggled with the question “where do you see yourself in 5, 7 or 10 years”?
Realistically, I don’t really know.   
In my fantasy world - I know that I don’t want to be working.  I know that I don’t want to be living in Canada during the winter months and I know that I want to be independently wealthy.  I said it was a fantasy world…enough said.
On the other hand, the real world tells me that - I’ll still be working, still be living in Canada during the winter months and I won’t be independently wealthy. 
BUT  I do have a 7 to 10 year plan to get me somewhere closer to my ultimate goal…
To own a vacation property somewhere in the Caribbean.  Ideally I would like to own a vacation property on Bonaire, but I’ll go wherever I can get the most “bang for my buck” - without pirates or warlords of course. 
My Plan to Get There…
I know buying a vacation home takes money.  Therein lies problem #1.   How do I intend to get the money?
1.       I intend to have paid off our mortgage in 7 years.  This is an aggressive goal, but with a little adjustment to our spending habits, it should be attainable simply by doubling up on our weekly mortgage payments.
2.       I intend to have our credit line reduced by at least 50%.  This one is likely closer to the 8 to 10 year timeframe.  With all my extra money going towards the mortgage, this one is going to be a little tougher.  As you can see, I haven’t worked out all the details on this one.  Damn details…
3.       So with my mortgage paid off and my credit line reduced, I won’t have any difficulty getting a loan, which will finance my vacation property.  In theory it should work…
“We are all agreed that your theory is crazy.  The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.  My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.”  Niels Bohr

03 April, 2011

Guilty Pleasure...

My new favorite show is currently airing on The Discovery Channel and it’s called “An Idiot Abroad”. Basically the show follows the not-so-adventurous Karl Pilkington while he visits the Seven Wonders of the World, at the persuasion of his friends Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant. 

Steve’s hope is for Karl to broaden his mind with travel and cultural experiences. Ricky’s hope is that Karl will hate every minute of it…and he does. 

The misadventures of Karl are unbelievably funny. I’ve laughed until I’ve cried during every single episode. It’s priceless…I guess I enjoy watching the misfortunes of others. What can I say?  I should point out that some of Karl's insights are brilliant.  This show is so well done - at least in my opinion.