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New Job

It's so late I can barely function, but I wanted to mention good news for once on here.  Monday is going to be my first day as an assistant teacher at Farrah's preschool, where I will work part-time (19 hours a week) and make about $9.50 an hour.  This comes at a great time, since his job as a Taco Bell shift manager doesn't pay nearly enough for us to get by, which has been quite troublesome.  Hopefully all will be awesome, even if I don't get paid over the summer.


Probably not pregnant after all...

I feel very foolish.  Ben was telling me not to be so sure before I was even late, which for the record, shouldn't be until next week.  I bought a pair of tests yesterday while the kids were in school and spent the afternoon reading up on and giving parenting/pregnancy advice in anticipation.  I barely slept all night, thinking I'd test really early just in case I was as pregnant as I felt.  I've been sick to my stomach but not vomiting for about 4 days now, and eating seems to make it better.  Sleep cures it temporarily.  This morning I almost threw up the water I was drinking.  I've had strange desires for chicken, which I'm normally so picky about.

I went to test and saw the very, very slightly tinged mucous had darkened somewhat since yesterday.  Still not full-on period, and so early, but I noticed this after I started the testing.  Test came up negative.  It could still happen.  This could be weird early on discharge they all seem to get.  Who knows?  I'm pretty sure this was all just in my head.

I haven't told Ben yet.  Like me, he had gotten used to and even excited about this, despite the horrible timing.  This new job has less pay and the insurance offered costs more.  I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do, but it'll work out.  Last time I was pregnant, neither of us were working, living on student loans, which we are now paying off.  There's never going to be a "right" time, so I was beginning to hope it was now, so it could be accomplished and the family debate would be complete, hopefully giving us a little boy.  I guess it's something for another time, and I'm glad we didn't give the condoms away just yet.  I don't want to hear him say he told me so, but I don't want him to feel sad, either.  Stupid brain.  I've been so moody lately, angry over little things or crying.  I even got teary over the insurance choices!  I don't understand any of it, or why I feel like I've lost something that was never there in the first place.  I guess I'll check the blood loss situation for sure before saying anything. 

Oh yeah, and I'll have to tell the excited girls too.  Autumn even blabbed to my mom that she overheard I might be pregnant.  That should be fun to get nagged at about.  Whenever anyone asks me if we'll have more, I tell them maybe a few years from now, and she pops up and tells them I'd better not right now, if I ever do, because of the finances.  Not like she pays my bills...  This whole thing just sucks.


Oct. 11th, 2010

Well, on Oct. 2nd Ben and I went to the Field of Screams and Hayride to Hell, which was an hour away but totally awesome.  I won the tickets on the radio listening to the Top 5 at 9 and taking the quiz about which songs were played, which was awesome since we couldn't afford to go otherwise--the tickets were worth a combined $70-80!  We have no certainty about his work schedule since his training is ending and he's going to a new store; anyway, he works on his trainer's varying schedule day to day to learn how to be a Taco Bell Shift Manager since his old store closed.  The money is less and we're still getting used to that, but at least it's a job and he was fortunate to find one quickly, right?  Anyway, not knowing the future scheduling, we went early and made an early anniversary of it.  The real anniversary is Oct. 21, btw. :)

We had a really good time and I was a bit daring on the hayride, which you don't really want to hear about, although it was pretty tame, I'm sure.  We got back to town a little after midnight and had some McDonald's while watching scary stuff on the Travel Channel.  We had some warm spiced wine called Witch's Brew I picked up at Meijer for $5, and it was worth every penny.  I'm such a wuss on alcohol but want to be drunk if I drink usually, and this was delicious, so it's highly recommended.  If you're a bit squeamish, I'd also suggest skipping this next paragraph for TMI reasons.

The girls were staying with my parents because we'd be home so late, so a little couples time was in order.  Long story short, we had enough fun that we couldn't find the condom after we were done.  Anywhere.  I went to the bathroom to put pajamas on after he surprised me witha  slutty little maid costume I'd sort of covered with a fancy dress shirt because I am unhappy with my form and don't want to disgust him or myself--mostly myself.  This part I chalk up to my intoxication plus the fact that latex is a bit small and thin.  When I came back from the bathroom to lie down in the dark, he checked, just for kicks, to see if he still had it on, as he was a bit tipsy too.  I made the gesture of checking too...and found it.  It was hanging out of me by the middle.  I timidly told him I found it and tried to lob it in the trash before trying to clean up just in case.  It had remained hanging there for the trip to the bathroom, the putting on of lounge pants, and the settling into bed, thanks to stupid oversized lips that I really hate.

The next morning I saw it was empty, which it never is, and I could smell the telltale smell on myself and my pants and the bed, which I know sounds crazy.  Now I have less than two weeks to go (about anniversary time, actually), but I don't feel optimistic.  As soon as it happened and I found the condom, I felt the knowing feeling like when Farrah and Autumn were conceived.  Since then, I have been irritable/emotional in general, I'm a bit tired at times, and now I have felt nauseated all day to the point Ben had to drive me to pick Farrah up from preschool today.  It could be the sun from flagging at the track all weekend, allergies, or what everyone else seems to have.  It's like generally just not feeling good.  I can eat fine, and it goes away for a few minutes, which ups the suspicion.  I'm terrible for morning sickness.  That said, I wish I could test tomorrow and know it would be a true answer, but I don't want to be paranoid and waste money.  Ben feels so sorry and guilty, but  I told him I didn't notice either.  I'm thinking my legs being closed too tight peeled it off.

What will happen if I am pregnant?  After delivery, I will have my tubes tied, as we discuss a #3 but were hoping for 3 years from now, but 4 will not happen, whether this one, if it is true, is the coveted boy or another girl to round out the crew and make use of beautiful hand-me-downs.  I'm applying for Medicaid for the family, since insurance isn't available for another month because of the new job.  Other adjustments and options will need examined as well.  It makes me sad to look forward to getting some Halloween decorations on clearance for our house and especially bedroom, but I won't if this turns out to be true.  Going to $2 less per hour really sucks, and adding another person to this will be a challenge.  Thank God for free lunch at the girls' schools.  I'm experimenting with other ways to cut corners as well.  This potential child will be loved and looked forward to, because this scenario isn't that different from the past two.  It will be an exciting thing he has wanted and I tend to want for him and for us, but not always.  It will be nice to end birth control and not have to worry month to month about accidents.  My parents will be upset, but it's an accident, not that they'll believe me.  In short, there will be a shift, but I am certain things will work out in the end and we will be the better for it either way.  I can sense Ben feeling hopeful but sorry about wanting this in a way and knowing what could happen to me, since last time had so many problems.  I doubt it'll be that bad though.

If it comes up negative, all the better, and there's always later like we planned.  I'm just so anxious to find out either way.  Feeling sick like this, llike I want to throw up but most likely won't, doesn't really help.  I wish there was a way to pass the time faster, to fast forward and stop concentrating on it so much that it feels like an obsession and constant mystery to solve intuitively.

Feeling hopeless

Everything's falling apart.  Things are so awful right now, it isn't even seeming real.  I don't know how to get things back on track from here.  I'm terrified of losing everything.

In late June, my car broke down.  It's the engine rods that broke, two of them, so it was trashed.  The only good thing is the car lot forgave the remaining $800 we owed by letting them tow it back to them.  That leaves me driving my in-laws' minivan, which uses about twice as much gas as my old Saturn did.  In preparing for the county 4-H fair, we spent about a week at the Charlestown Library.  I kept my purse with me religiously, except on the last day when I left it meticulously locked in the van because I was having a stress-induced bipolar meltdown that day and was going to go back home and just pick up Mom, Jenny, and Autumn at closing time.  I was in there for about 15 minutes when someone came in and said I had a broken window.  Some young girls broke the middle window on the driver's side to hide themselves, reached up and unlocked the driver's side door, reached over, and stole my purse.  My phon, bank card, and camera were in my pocket, but I lost a lot, including $45, Farrah's birthday card, 10 $45-apiece tickets I was supposed to sell for a fundraiser (those are numbered and forgiven, thank God), the antique book Ben gave me for my birthday, all new makeup from my 10-year high school reunion, and 2/3 of the vacation trip pictures from Myrtle Beach last year. There was other stuff too, but these were most upsetting. I still cry at night because of the pictures even though Ben tells me we'll go on more vacations and that I should be glad to just have the memories. The police wouldn't call in their guy to dust for prints because it wasn't a big enough crime. He didn't even give me a report number. Librarians told me this was the fourth recent break-in theft, and during the fair the next week, some kids almost did it again. The officer was stumped because they took the object they broke my window with with them. He wouldn't look into my claim of some girls at the computer next to me laughing and cursing and taking off right before it happened. I'm not sure what he thought about the witnesses he interviewed. A lot of other people said they saw it happen and could not tell me a single detail— young, old, male, female... I drove the van with tape and plastic covering I had to re-affix daily due to heat and humidity for about 3 weeks until I helped Ben and my father-in-law install a replacement, since I had an appointment a few days after it happened, but the glass was no longer made. When Rusty gets back from Florida, I need to use his Shop Vac to get the glass out. The seat closest to that window is covered in broken safety glass.


I was thinking my state fair money I'll start making next week could be put toward getting something cheap to drive and a new purse. More importantly, I need to see a doctor, where I've been freaking out more and more lately. I don't really want to leave the house anymore, and I sit here scared and brooding all the time almost. The air conditioner needs fixed and we haven't had the $60 to have it serviced/fixed. I still need to get Farrah in to be examined by the doctor and dentist for school. I need to get Autumn the required supplies. I can't do any of that. Two days ago, the ongoing lawsuit between Ben's store and the protestors backed by the county (they think an adult store should not be allowed to be open) ruled against the store, so he said they could probably stay open during the at least month-long appeals process. Yesterday he told me that wasn't the case. They watched an empty store, and today an alarm system is being put in. We could relocate to a Missouri branch, but we're taking the severance, which seems wiser and may cover two months of pay. That said, he is going to be unemployed, and we have no bubble here. The rent is due, as well as student loans, his car payment, other bills. My parents are going to be angry at US over this, even though I won't be getting money from them. It will come down to me being stupid for marrying him, which I never have believed and never will.

I've been trying to put together a resume so we can both try to get jobs and whoever does best keeps it, but that's confusing and disheartening. I have almost no work history. I work for a month a year. I tried putting on the volunteering to close the gaps as suggested, but now it's over a page long. I have no clue what I'm doing and I'm pretty sure my degree is useless to me. No one will be interested in someone with no experience unless it's a job I'm unable to do. The government's state website to help me figure this out is confusing to me, so I need to find time to go to their offices in Jeff, I think. We need to file for unemployment. Just when I think things couldn't get worse, they do. I can't stop this stupid, ineffective crying. If I could stand to eat, I'd be sick right now. There's only so much to be done. Unemployment would take awhile to set in, and his family can't just carry us. Starting next week I won't be home to clean and help get things rolling. He's submitting applications already, but I'm so worried about this. I just don't know what to do anymore.

A wonderful cat has come to live with us!

Yesterday I was hanging out on Facebook when I got a message from this guy named Ben who used to be Lesley's boyfriend  five, almost six years ago.  We're Facebook friends, but we don't chat much.  I don't know him very well but have always thought he was a good guy with a nice heart.  We met less than five times probably, but if he went to IUS instead of U of L, I like to think we'd have been friends.  One night we went on a double date to see A Clockwork Orange at a midnight showing.  I thought my Ben was going to propse after seeing his plans on here, so I got drunk to convince him to hold off and steady my nerves to do it.  Ben with the cat was drunk too, stumbling at the movie and landing on the ground once, but it was all good.

Anyway, in his message he told me he was trying to rehome two of his cats, since his wife has previous rescue affiliations and a soft heart.  they were trying to downgrade from six cats to four, and they were afraid he'd get out and ran over by their house on teh busy highway.  I checked out a picture of this cat, a slightly overweight 2-year-old male named Duke and fell in love.  They had found him as a stray in aparking lot and gave him a second chance and got him neutered, much like how we got to know Jasmine when she was a stray in the neighborhood.  We set up a meeting for 8:00 yesterday evening at the Falls of Ohio, since I hate driving in Louisville and would have to brave the expressways and probably get lost to get there, and this point was midway and quiet enough not to freak Duke out and to find each other's vehicles in the lot.  This worked out pretty well.  It was already 6:00, and close to 6:30 when Avery and her mom got Autumn to come swimming, and I got some basic cat care items from the Family Dollar store before heading over to the farm.

When I was picking up a cage for transport from the farm, a creepy guy blocked me in the driveway.  It looked like a police car, black and shiny with that spotlight thing above the left mirror, but he was scraggly, a weird fit.  He asked me if I lived there.  I told him it was my parents' house.  He asked my name, and I asked him why he wanted to know, not wanting to give too much personal information and really scared.  He stayed in his car even with a car waiting behind him to get  through.  I kept the car running and my seatbelt on andlooked back to sort of yell at him enough to be heard but kept the tone even, wondering how fast I could dial 911 if need be and if it would be fast enough.  Farrah had fallen asleep in the back seat.    He said he lived up the road and vaguely pointed.  I should have asked his name but wasn't thinking.  I told him my parents' last name and he asked me what their name was and I gave them the last name.  He asked me which kid I was and I told him my first name.  He thought about it, and I told him I was the oldest.  I was NOT going to give him my last name or any way to find me.  The farm has been broken inot twice in the past month, first the two outbuildings and then the house, and no one has noticed really.  Nothing was stolen that we can see, not that there's much of value there besides the rabbits and chickens my parents drive out to care for.  Finally he left, so I got the hell out of there.  When I got to the Falls, I called my mom and told her, and she later told my dad.  She doesn't like me going to the farm alone because she is afraid of all the people who pull in our driveway to ask about renting or buying the properly when we go out there, teh last of which we think is the break-in culprit.  She thought it was funny this was the time someone checks in.  I was scared for my life and for Farrah, so I won't go out there alone again.  And Dad wanted me or my brother to live there and probably still does...

I got to the Falls and two guys were driving golf balls into the raging, flooded out fossil beds.  The conservation officers missed this by about ten minutes, although they did investigate a third idiot, friends with the other two, had left his truck door open and wandered off.  I rolled my window down a bit so I could hear approaching vehicles and did a little reading.  I was starving from forgetting to eat all day, so I had two graham crackers and some Powerade.  I stopped reading before they got there, interested in my surroundings and a bit nervous about the strangers about, but the spot was good since it was quiet.  We could find each other easily, and Duke would probably feel better than if we met in a busy lot.  Farrah stayed asleep until we were nearly home, so that probably made things easier.

When they came, Ben's wife Molly was driving.  They got out and he waved.  She shook my hand to introduce herself.  I noticed how pretty she was and warm.  Ben had done well for himself, which made me happy, since his relationship when I knew him had been so sad and there was nothing, it seemed, he could do right for her.  This girl was a little taller than me, average weight but not overly thin or overly heavy.  She seemed like a kindred spirit.  Ben told me about the cat some more and she did too, feeling free to tell me some quirky things.  They said they were trying to control his weight but he waited until the other cats finished their food and swooped in for the rest, so I assured them he'd be an only cat.  They told me how much he loved attention, but being one of six, didn't get enough sometimes.  that will not be a problem here, even though the girls are in love with their guinea pigs.  Plenty of love in our house.  I told them how happy the girls would be, especially since they are still sad about Jasmine.  I hope he will help heal our hearts.  Ben kept petting Duke throught the cage, coming back just when we thought he'd pet him enough, and Molly said her good-byes.  they gave me a can of cat food and his toy mouse.  She told me how his tail looks like a target when he holds it out because of his coloring (He's got white areas and then brown and black tabby markings).  She almost started crying.  They told me how he cried on the way over, since they only take him to the vet in the Jeep, and he cried most of the way home with me despite being talked to and even scratched on the head at a red light.  Poor guy.  This woke Farrah up, so he cried while looking at her.  She loved him immediately.

When we got home, I got him to come out of the cage and carried him in to see my Ben, who was playing computer games and had already picked Autumn back up.  They both liked him.  Autumn thinks he's a bit heavy for her to carrya around--I think  he probably weighs a bit over 10 pounds when Jasmine was an even 5.  He sniffed them and heard Ben's noisy computer game he was playing online with his cousin Dave (Ben told him he'd have to get used to hearing that).  then he retreated to under the girls' bed while I set up his litter box and food bowl.  He scratched both girls and hissed at Farrah, who were in there even though I told them he needs a few days to adjust.  When I went to the bathroom and went through the bedroom to get there, he looked at me and I talked to him.  Sursprisingly he came over for another round of rubbing.  I found myself telling him I loved him and truly meaning it.  I wasn't thinking and picked him up to kiss his head and he tried to bite my nose and run off.  After finishing up in the bathroom, I found him standing on the bed where I rubbed him.  When I went to leave, he tried to bite my leg that was on the other side because it scared him, but it just bruised.  He's sort of confused, I think.

This morning I talked to him and he waited until I said his name to come over.  I carried him to the computer room where he sat on my lap a second and then went up on the table and then back finally to sit on the housing for the computer, I guess it's called, and watched me use the computer like my co-pilot.  I turned off the sound so he wouldn't be afraid, but later I put on some music, and he didn't seem to mind.  Ben and farrah came to look when i called ben in to check him out, and Duke tookthat as his cue to leave.  Molly and Ben said how he loved her most and sort of saw ben as an adversary of attention, so maybe this is going to be my cat.  We have had several that jsut haven't been interested in me in all the years of cat ownership when I lived with my parents.  Maybe this is my chance.  I just hope he grows to love the girls too and that he just hasn't seen many children and needs some time.  All in all, he's a very good cat and i feel so thankful for having the opportunity to share our home and our collective love with him.

Tribute to Jasmine

I tried my best to find Jasmine.  It didn't work out.  I try to believe she's still out there somewhere, either stalking mice somehwere or finding her way into the heart of someone else.  We once had a cat who ran away suddenly, and my mom saw her in the woods across the street past the neighbor's property for two years.  Then she found another family back in there in a house we almost bought years before.  So there is hope for a survivor, which Jasmine always was.  I found out from cat Man across the street that she had been left behind three years ago when her owners moved away, so he fed her and her kitty family despite being allergic. 

Two years ago we moved in and got to know the best cat in the world.  She hunted any sort of rodent but never birds, despite staring at them like crazy, trying to look through walls if she was inside and heard them outside.  She even dug up moles.  Once she caught a mouse and partially consumed it in less than two minutes while my parents were over.  This did not predispose her to messing with the guinea pigs, which she was just beginning to get friendly with.  More than that, she loved us very much.  She bonded most with Autumn.  She'd wait with her for the bus in the mornings and wait for the bus to bring her home in the afternoon.  She allowed Farrah to be as rough as the average 3-year-old and rarely complained.  When I was sad, which happens quite a bit, she would comfort me.  In the mornings she would come in and grab a bite to eat and then come sit on my lap while I used the computer, usually falling asleep on my lap or around my feet kind of like a dog.  When she realized I didn't like it when she jumped on my lap claws out, she taught herself to land claws in (mostly), although she did occasionally use my leg as a scrathing post and wonder why I didn't like it.  Sometimes she wrestled with me despite being a proper lady, which I liked a lot.  There's a lot more, but maybe you can see how special she was.

That said, Cat Man told me one of Jasmine's family members had four kittens and invited me to take one, so I've been trying to catch one for the past week.  I have seen one, but it was at night, and when I went over, I couldn't see.  Autumn and my mom have had sightings, but no luck for me.  They are as wild as their mother, but I think I could tame one.  It's just the catching.  They ate the food I set out one night but have not touched it since I refilled it, so they aren't going to move over here.  He was sure they'd be all over his porch climbing, but I haven't seen it.  I'm not trying to replace Jasmine.  I thought having a blood relative would be special because then we would have a part of her back.  I guess that isn't meant to be, so I'm moving on to the next stage.

Ben has approved of us getting a kitten.  So far Craigslist has been a frustrating bust.  I called and e-mailed and never really got anywhere.  One person was disgusted that i would want their kitten even though I have children, who they're sure would kill it, so at my suggestion, they changed their ad to adult-only home wanted.  Good luck with that.  Someone else had a one-year-old male (we're not just looking at kittens--the right cat may be a bit older) Russian Blue mix (one of my favorite breeds), and they refused to say under which circumstances they would wave theri $20 re-homing fee, which I don't want to pay, as I'll have to put out money after getting a cat anyway, since we are going to have this one be an indoor cat only to avoid a repeat of this horrible mistake.  Someone else wanted to deliver the kitten for us to look at, which I thought was to chancey lest they happen to be robbers.  Everyone wants vet references, and they're starting to want home visits prior to surrender to see if it's up to standards.  Anyone can have a warm and inviting hom and a torture cell in the basement.  Re-homing fees won't always deter someone who wants to do the unspeakale.   eBay Classifieds is slim pickings.  Petfinder.com is pretty much all shelters, which really kills me to see all these beautiful animals in dire need, but I can't put out $40 right now.  There's a lot of spayed and neutered, litter-trained animals on all of these, but also a lot are declawed, which I consider cruel, unnecessary, and dangerous if they get out.  That said, today, I'm looking at the Classifieds in the local newspapers.  Someone has some gray and white kittens, which would be perfect, since that's what Jasmine looked like.  And I have always loved gray animals.  Autumn, barring that, would love a trotoiseshell pattern or maybe calico.  Just not orange or solid black, although she fell in love with a little tuxedo cat the other day on Craigslist.  Ben's employee has a cat who may just possibly be pregnant, but it isn't confirmed and will be awhile, vut i will keep it as a fall-back.  She said if the cat does have any, we can have one.  It's just a game of patience at this point that I don't especially enjoy playing.

You may wonder what the rush is.  We still think about Jasmine all the time.  Yesterday we went to the zoo for Autumn's field trip and when I saw the big cats, I thought of her.  I want a new focus, a new memory that didn't end with such uncertainty and sadness.  I also want to help another cat have a happy life.  Every animal should be loved and taken care of.  I can't and won't try to take more than I can handle, but I will do my part.  In return maybe they will love me back.  I have an excess of love and it kills me that no one else seems to notice my bursting heart.
 I feel so awful.  Last  Wed. or Thurs., an employee of the trailer park where we live trapped Jasmine using a baited trap and dumped her in Henryville.  The manager told my mom (I was too upset to go in).  I called the police, and they said since there is a leash ordinance for the city (I didn't know), it's okay this happened, but not okay about dumping.  I have to find her or the others and show the county police for anything to be done, but I don't know where to look, just along HWY 31, and that was last week.  I checked all the shelters around here, and she isn't there.  Some cats died this past week, and we suspect it may be poisoning, but the owner would have to pay for the necropsy--like that'll happen.  The previous manager thought cats in the neighborhood was good because they kept mice down.  Then this new lady came in a few months ago to trade parks, presumably because of all the bad stuff our previous manager had done.  Apparently she called in some stray cat complaints and they let her use the traps.  They are allowed to take a cat off your porch if it is not on a leash.  Jasmine only went in my yard and the neighbor who had her family who used to own her.  She did not wander the neighborhood and cause trouble.  She didn't even eat birds--just rodents.  I hope her good hunting skills have helped her and that I find her so she doesn't have to be out in this weather.  It's been cold the past few days (50-60F) and has had rainy spells and I don't know about her finding shelter options.

It is unlawful to dump an animal.  It is wrong to take someone's pet.  She could have at least sent out some notification.  Or started with the owners who let  their dogs crap in your yard while they look at you.  It would not have been hard to take them to a local shelter--there are several in the area, and one is used by the Animal Control, which is based out of the police station.  I put a missing cat flyer up at that shelter yesterday after I looked at every cat there.  The other shelters have not gotten a gray cat, much less one with white markings, which is funny because her family at my neighbor's house are all gone or dead but two of the most wild.  He won't do anything though.  I saw inside his trailer yesterday and it looked  like there was an inch of actual dirt on the floor and a ton of trash inside when I went to tell him what happened to his cats.  That said, the burden of proof lies with me.  She said she'd call yesterday after the guy came in to tell me where the dumping area may be, but she didn't.  I have to call again to see what I can find out, and then I'm going to try to put some gas in the car and search.  If I don't find her, nothing will be done at all!  This is so so wrong.  I'm so scared I'll find her dead, but at least then the police would have their stupid proof.  She admitted it was happening--what more do they need?  I'm sure they could ask her.

My mom told her how much we need that cat, how a few weeks ago Autumn's guinea pig died and we'd gotten a sick rabbit (bad genetic line, apparently, since a lot of people who got them from this guy have dead rabbits now) and she and the rabbit in the next cage both did shortly before that, so we have leaned on this cat.  She has been a loved member of our family for the past two years and I was about to make her an inside cat even though she loved being outside and hunting, and this happened.  If she was at the shelter, I'd have paid to get her out and keep her in the house from now on.  I just didn't know about the ordinance.  Now the girls are upset, and I'm an emotional wreck.  I can barely eat, I'm crying all the time, I get physically overcome and have to sit down.  I literally screamed when I found out about the dumping as I sat in my car in front of the office yesterday.  It's been almost a week now that she's been missing, but I realized something was wrong over the weekend and had to wait until yesterday for these places to be open.  One of the neighborhood cats had young kittens outside somewhere, so they're starved and dead by now.  I just want my cat back for me and the girls and for Jasmine.  This never should have happened.  Sorry I'm going in circles, but I can't think anymore.  My bipolar has been triggered by this, and it'll probably be over a week before that gets over with, but the healing will take so much longer.

The softball problem worked out!

Well, since my last post, things seem to have improved with Autumnn's amount of play she's getting at softball.  Instead of being benched 4-5 innings of a 6-inning game, she was only benched for 2 innings during last week's game.  She was happy and smiling, she was on the field, and she even had a skip in her step!  That makes me very happy.  I asked her if she was having a good time and a good game, and she said she was.  hopefully tonight's game will follow in the same vein, as I just want that part to be over.  Tonight we're traveling to Jeff to play, and we didn't go there last year for the away games, so I need to map that before we head out this evening.  This is really a wonderful thing.  At the end of the season, if all continues to go well, I will definitely be giving the man who helped mediate all this a call.  As fro the coach, I act the same as always around him to make things easier (especially since I'm not sure how much he was told about what), but Autumn won't be on his team next year.

Softball should be a team sport, jerk!

This really, really bothers me.  The thing is, I've tried to do something about it, but I have no idea if things will work out even after outside intervention.

Autumn has been playing baseball, softball, tee ball in its progression since she was 4.  Now she's 9.  That said, her softball coach was saying to the assistant coach he thought she was a first-year player.  He said nothing when I set hime straight, just mentioning to him how long she's played and how much she likes playing.  That's all well and good.  This guy is not at all my type friendwise, so I expect little more out of him, adn even if he wanted to be friends, I would act nice around him like I do now and seretly hate him because of what he's doing to my daughter and a teammate of hers.

At the beginning of the season, he did not call the parents on his list to make initial contact.  Instead, he sent a mass e-mail telling about our practice schedule (which he changed the next week to a half hour earlier) and said he'd communicate with us by text.  My phone doesn't get text because it wants me to put in money in advance for that, and with friends who text junk to everyone on their list, that would be a dumb move on my part.  Aside from that, I REALLY hate texting.  It's stupid and lazy and I think it obligates me to entetrtain bored friends who could really call if they wanted but don't--most of the time my friends don't call me at all; we just hang out on Facebook.  Anyway, I messaged back that I can't get text, so he'd have to call with any last-minute changes.  He has only called me once or twice, and Friday we were sitting at the ballpark waiting for him to show up, and neither him nor the rest of the team was there, although he did come later to work on the fireld for the other team he coaches.  I never heard anything out of him about a cancellation.  He has been known to send a cancel e-mail 15 minuted before practice is set to start, which sucks, since I usually come directly from picking Farrah up from preschool.  Real considerate.

At practice, he is critical of some girls, mainly the two pitchers and the catcher (Although the pitchers also catch--when I played we all got a shot at catching, and that's how it was for Autumn last year).  The other girls he goes between a praise and getting on them, even if the effort is about the same for this girl.  He does not really watch what he says.  He said that Autumn was the worst player on the team once, in front of all of the girls (I wasn't there or it would have definitely been a problem for him).  This after he made a big deal of saying there was to be no bullying on the team.  After that, for several practices the other girls wouldn't really practice with her.  Before a game they all said they had already warmed up and went to the dugout if they weren't with a partner, so I had to warm up with her.  The coach and his assistant, who doesn't say much about anything and is a financial sponsor for the team, both saw me make eye contact and said there was no hurry in the warm up.  I can't catch too well, so the assistant and the girls had to toss me the ball a few times.  They want her to practice at home, and she does, but she can only learn so much from me and Ben.  ben played basketball, so it's a wonder he knows anything about it at all....

Then we get to the issue of the games themselves.  He also made this big deal of saying that no one child will be benched every game, that they will share the bench.  So far, there have been three games, and she gets one to two innings of play in games that last five or six innings without fail!  What a crock.  The first game was an "exposition" game and didn't count because one of the reuirements wasn't met, either the other team was short a girl or it was because the umpire was about 12 years old and played on a boys' team.  That would be the oppiortunity to bench a better player, but he didn't.  He uses his daughter as pitcher until she's spent when she isn't truly, truly great to begin with, and when he took her out for having a horrendous pitching day, he told her she was just tired.  Any other kid would have gotten a major tongue-lashing, and I bet she did when they got home based on his expectations at practice.

We only have twelve games this season, unless we do the championship, which we did last year and won, and then the All Stars get to play after that, which is made of the best girls from all the teams, which I realize she won't be on.  With any coach, it wouldn't happen.  I'm not delusional.  That said, a quarter of the games are over with another game tonight if the weather dries up.  If she is benched tonight, that will be a third of all the games and her sitting there, probably crying and asking me why she has to sit the bench.  She tells me it isn't fair, and I hug her and kiss her forehead and tell her I know it isn't.  That's about all I could do last time.

This was really a breaking point for me.  I ended up e-mailing the league's player agent (Who knows what all he does).   He referred me to the Vice President of the Little League Softball Minors, who I talked to last week.  We discussed benching a player for the good of the team and I told him that I understood that but there is a difference between that and what he's doing., because this is excessive, and he agreed.  I told him how much Autumn loves to play and that she gives up other things to be able to play, and he said that, not championships, is how they judge success.  I might add in here that there is a large plaque-type deal on the dugout where this idiot coach's team were national semifinalists three years ago and it has his name on it.  So there's that.  He told me as a coach, he sticks girls with not the best skills in outfield, and I told him that's where Autumn plays, and that's fine as long as she's out there.  I told him we have practice three times a week with the tam and I work extra with her, and he loved that.  As far as my not knowing how to teach her the skills or being a bad form teacher myself, he said just watch practice and see how the girls are supposed to be doing it, which I do.  I told him she may never be great, because I played for many years and still am not very good.  In short, I was trying to lay it out, because what's the sense in lying?  I told him last year she played so much more and her team still won games.  I also told him about the no bullying and about what he said about her being new and the worst player, and he was unhappy with hearing that.  He asked why I didn't talk to the coach, and I told him I don't want to make it worse for her.  I didn't tell him this coach scares me.  I did give him the name of last year's coach and mentioned he wanted Autumn back but she'd moved up from Machine Pitch because of age, so she isn't that bad.  He said they'd chat that afternoon and he'd call me back.

He never called me back.  Practice Friday was rained out, and tonight's game may be as well, so I know nothing.  I don't want things to be worse for her, especially when she helped pay to play because we were short on money.  I need to remember that part for the imminent Round Two.  After we hung up, I went back to practice (I was standing in the parking lot with my cell), he was telling agirl and her mother that this girl, who had been hit pretty good a couple of weeks ago with the ball, that she was scared of it and either she needed to get over it or the mom needed to pull her out.  THE MOM SEEMED TO AGREE!  So sad.  The mom and I tried to pep talk the girl, but we'll see.  This is her first year, and I bet her last.  I wish I could fight for this girl, but it isn't my place really.  Still, I'm not above mentioning it.  I really hope it works out, even if I have to complain higher up.  This happened to me and my sister.  When I was in seventh grade, my gym teacher was my coach and stuck me on a team of second graders and refused to admit wrong, saying it was my skill level, even though that was most likely against the rules.  A friend just told me she was like that other girl, and her mom had agreed she should be benched for the team, because that was more important than my friend, which is heartbreaking.

These girls are 9 to 11 years old.  Treat them like they have the feelings you know they do, even as you toughen them up.  Be fair and keep your word.  A trophy means nothing if you have to throw little girls under the bus to get it.

A Wreck/How fast Do You Fly

 In October, my mother, Autumn, Farrah, and I were on our way to Farrah's fall festival for school.  On the way, an older guy (60s or 70s--I forget) hit us and made my front and rear driver's side doors nonfunctional.  I leapt from the car (I was having Mom drive, since I was unsure of the location of the festival), and asked the guy what he thought he was doing, demanding he look at what he did to my car.  He told me it would be okay, that his work insurance would pay it all.  He put his arm on my shoulder and then tried to shake my hand when I shook him off.  I screamed at him not to touch me.  I told him it was not okay, and he said he had been totally distracted.  He told me, the cops, the insurance company that it was all his fault.   Farrah and I went in the ambulance but were later judged okay--I just had some pretty strained muscles or something.  I was so scared for myself and Farrah and so angry about it all that I cried quietly in the hospital for the longest time.  that was October 9th.  This is February.  My car repeatedly broke down due to a post-wreck short that caused the trunk light to stay on.  I also had to get the body work done (which the insurance did indeed pay for), and I finally got the car back yesterday.  Such a problem.  I have not driven my own vehicle for two months, relying on my parents, staying home, etc.  I have been borrowing Ben's parents' van for the last month of all this.  That said, my vehicle feels strange, like an alien craft.  It is low to the ground, the nose invisible to me as I drive, making me cautious with turns and other vehicles.  I am terrified of another wreck now that i have it back, more so than when I was worried about messing up his parents' van.  I know it will come back to me, the sense of ownership, the confidence of being falsely invincible.  Until then, it is quite odd.  I didn't even recognize it clean and in one piece, suspicious they had switched it until I saw the stains in the back floor and the little leafy bits in the trunk.

I still need to turn in hospital bills when I can round them all up, as well as ambulance fees.  My mother keeps talking to our insurance about how they were supposed to forward some information we filled out to the state after they added a bit to it.  This has cost her a suspended license, which my dad would die if he found out.  Such a big deal that maybe wouldn't have been if I had driven.  It wouldn't have been so difficult.  I don't blame myself for all of this.  I didn't cause the wreck.  I am not in charge of faxing.  I just want it to be over.  I want to feel the highway beneath the tires and feel how fast I really fly.