Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wrapping up another semester

Today marks the end of my second year of college. I’m 42 ½ years old. There are so many days that I wonder how the heck I can do this for another minute let alone another two and a half years until I finish my BA.

I love being a student. I love learning and can’t ever get enough. I hate that there are limits on the number of classes I can take each semester, and that there is an end cap of how many classes I can take at RCTC. I’ve no reached that end cap and it’s time to move on to my 4 year college. After summer session I’m 3 classes shy of my Associates. I’m working on the appeal for that so I can take those classes and get the Associates degree. But that is so hard because there are so many more classes I want to take!! I understand – I just wish I could find some sort of way around it so I can take all those wonderfully interesting classes I see in the list!! Maybe I’ll win the lottery and can keep taking classes until my thirst for knowledge is satisfied. I have a feeling that I won’t ever quench that thirst.

There is part of me that is afraid to begin another year. The end of my first year my grandma died. The end of this semester a favorite uncle is dying. We found out on Monday that he has end-stage liver failure. Now I’m worried that this is a trend and someone is going to die at the end of every year. I know that is not logical or anything. I know that in my head, but in my heart I’m terrified.

And during mid-terms there have been other stressful situations. During the first years mid-terms I found out my boyfriend fathered a child with someone else at the start of our relationship and had been lying to me. Midterm this year was a stressful time for me when I realized that I was not going to sustain my business where it was at and that I was going to have to close it. Thank heavens that worked out.

But running a business by myself while going to school (and having a house and family) is not an easy feat. It’s damned hard if you want to know the truth! And now I’m running two businesses. UGH! But I’m going to continue to do it and make the best possible life for myself and my children. I can do this.

The hospital my uncle is in is the University of Minnesota hospital and so I I’ve seen a lot of young college students and spent some time observing them. I really missed out. I’ve felt that for a long time. I wanted to go to college after graduation but had zero family support for much of anything. I didn’t know anything about financial aid or anything. That was 25 years ago. I have always loved movies about that time in life –finishing high school and starting college and college life. I wanted that. And now that I’m finally in college myself for the first time ever it’s a completely different situation than what you see in the movies. Because it’s entirely too crazy a situation to see what life is like when you are a full time student at my age with a family and a business to run. It’s not fun. You don’t have time for fun.

I feel so sad that I missed out on that. I plan to encourage young kids to follow their dreams of college right away – that there are ways they can do it. And help them if there is any way I can. I will push and push for my kids to go to college right out of high school so that they may enjoy all the fun and new experiences college life has to offer a young co-ed.

Every day is a learning experience, you should grasp that golden ring and hang on and don’t let anyone get in your way of your dreams. This is not an end for me, or a beginning. Well it is both of those things but it is middle as well. I don’t ever want to finish learning. I want to spend every day of the rest of my life being open to learning and growing. Because life is like a box of chocolate, but it is also like a library with no titles on the books. You never know what you are going to get but that doesn’t mean you don’t take a bite and open the book. I’m off to read as many books off my bookshelf of TBR books as I can before Summer Session starts. See ya in a bit!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Emotional day & there is no "fun" in a disfunctional family

Thank god for friends!!

Wow. What a day. Yesterday my day started with a vomiting child. I rranged to stay home part of the morning with her, with Jeremy coming home at noon to take over so I could go to work. Shortly thereafter I receive a visit from the Kenyon chief of police because a phone in my name called 911 and all they heard was screaming. Turns out that my daughters’ phone backpack-dialed 911 from the gym where the entire middle school was playing before school! Yikes!

I was frantic until it was discovered that all was well. All I could think of was she had been abducted; there was a school shooting. I find it so sad that is what I assumed was happening because it has happened so many times before in our world.
Before I can even get started on homework I get a call from my cousin. My uncle is dying and they are rallying the entire family. It didn’t look good for even getting there on time for me. I did. I got to spend time with my uncle and my family, and even got to talk to my brother whom I’ve not seen in a good 6-7 years. Not since my mom’s funeral.

My uncle has end-stage liver failure. It is not good. As of 8:03 this morning he slept for the first time in 4 days last night. He will be in the hospital a few more days. And if things continue to improve he will be released at the end of the week maybe. Then it’s just a waiting game. Wait and see how things progress. They went from a stage 1-4 very rapidly. I’m grateful for the day I spent with everyone. I hope to have a few more before I have to say goodbye.
I’m tired of saying goodbye. I am! I know that’s selfish. But I have said goodbye to too many.

As I was lying in bed hoping sleep would finally come to me at around 1:30 I got a text from Jeremy’s best friend. His girlfriend just died. She was 26 (I think). She had been battling cancer for the past few months. They took a tumor the size of softball out of her stomach. A sweet young woman. Ken finally was happy and starting to thrive after being screwed over immensely by his ex wife. His daughter loved Terri (the girlfriend) and things were GOOD! I can’t do much of anything but love my friend and be a good friend. So that’s what I’ll do.

Sitting around talking with my cousins at the hospital was interesting. My mom’s side of the family is about as dysfunctional as they come. Seriously. If you look up dysfunctional you will find a picture of the Scouton family.
My mom had 2 brothers. My grandparents were drunks. My mom and uncles all had their bouts with drink and drugs. My mom and one uncle had bouts with mental illness. They all have kids with multiple partners. They all have children that are estranged from them because of the drink/drugs/mental issues. I believe the drinking, drugs, and mental health issues are repeated throughout the family tree going back for many, many generations.

Has it stopped with ours? As I sat around the table looking at my cousins, I came to the conclusion that yes. I do believe that for the most part it has ended with us. Only a few of us have children and with one exception we do have good kids and healthy relationships with those kids. I can only speak for myself really, but my kids are good solid kids. I wasn’t a perfect mom. I didn’t have good role models for parents, with my step monster being the worst. So I made a few mistakes at first with my kids, but I got better and now we have great relationships. Or at least as good as one can have with teens and pre-teens.

My dad’s side of the family is normal. The exception being my dad, who is an asshole. He has decided that I and my children don’t exist. When I got divorced he told me I was a horrible mother for getting a divorce and was in fact, ruining my kids lives. He said I always said not having my mom around ruined my childhood. I had to correct him and say “no, it was having your wife hit me whenever she felt like it and you letting her that ruined my childhood”. He knew and never cared. That was the end of things.

Back in the 1980’s it was not a mandate that child abuse was reported. I told a teacher. He didn’t care. No one cared. My step monsters mom lived next door to me. She was the only one who cared and she did her best to help me whenever she could. I was very lucky to have her.

I would like to think that the reason she was so horrid to me was that she just didn’t know any better. But that isn’t the truth. She and my dad had a daughter. My sister was never hit. She never had black eyes, bruises, welts, or anything else. She was never grounded to the kitchen table for an entire summer.

That is why I made so many mistakes at the beginning with my oldest kids; mostly my oldest child. I didn’t know any better. I parented how I was parented. Then after getting irate because my daughter got her dress dirty before church one day I yanked on her to pull her into her bedroom and change her and I realized what I had been doing. I started to learn then to become a better parent. That there were other ways out there.

I’m not perfect, but I’m not a dysfunctional parent. And in time, my extended family will be more functional members than dysfunctional ones. I hope.
In the meantime I need to finish up this semester today, grieve for a loss, and cherish what I have. I hope you do the same. I hope I can continue to grow, change, and love.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cause & Effect

Cause & Effect

One of the blogs my instructor asked us to write about was the cause and effect issue. The main cause and effect in my life lately is the subject of my business.
I love my store. I love being my own boss. And while it doesn’t provide any income for me it allows me to share my passion of scrapbooking and rubber stamping with others. I get the chance to get together with other people and create. I get to spend time with my children and their friends in my store creating new things and having a good time.

And since it wasn’t making money it became more and more clear to me that I was not going to be able to keep the store open at its current location the way things stood. Shortly after reaching that decision there was a posting in the Kenyon Leader about a position managing the local thrift store. I applied. I wasn’t hired for the job. At first I was bummed. I was hoping to get the position to have a better opportunity to put to use the skills I’m learning while attending college. I was also planning on using the money earned to finance my Scrapbook & Rubber Stamp store.

When the man called to tell me they were going with someone else he offered me a different sort of opportunity. The foundation he runs not only owns the thrift store in town, but an art gallery housed in 3 adjoining buildings. The foundation was offering me space in one of those buildings to house my scrapbook store, rent free, in return for managing and running the gallery, which had previously only been open on Saturdays and not even that for the past several months.

Effects are pretty good for me lately. Here they are:
• No overhead expenses
• Move visibility
• Support of a large community organization
• Increased traffic to my store because of the location being the main corner of town
• Significant increase in business in the past 3 weeks – doubled the sales from the first 3 months in just 3 weeks at the new location

Not all the effects were positive
• Managing the gallery brings more responsibilities and no pay for the time
• Re-opening a store that was closed for a long time means there is a lot of cleaning, organizing, and other work to do
• More hours devoted to the gallery means less hours devoted to my own store
• My time is more divided between the stores and my family and thus less time for school work
• So much on my mind pushed some important things out of my mind

Life seems to be one big cause and effect paper when you really sit down and think about it, don’t you think?