Family Differences.

mood-girl-bokeh-photography-sad-aloneWow.  Just got off the phone with my mom.  The call did not go well.  My relationship with my parents has not been easy.  Lots of ups and downs.  My parents basically have two families – My Twin and I, and then my other sisters who are 9 and 11 years younger.  I do remember things being great until my sisters came along.. then it all went to hell.  😉

A week ago my mom had a disagreement/confrontation with My Twin sister…  My Twin and my mom walked away from this conversation with very different views.  I don’t agree 100% with either of their perspectives, I feel that I have an in-between view so I tried to bridge the gap.  My attempt was disastrous.

My parents were much more strict with My Twin and I – the rules were much more rigid and the punishment much more severe. They are and have been much more lenient with my younger sisters.  Right or wrong, it is the way that it is.  My parents are good people. They did the best that they could. But that doesn’t take away the fact that their treatment of each of us was and is  very different.  And when you treat your kids so differently it creates animosity. ADDITION: Perceived favoritism has long term impacts on adult children.

My mom got very angry. In a very angry voice she told me that she and my dad did the best they could.  Accused me of “jumping on My Twin sister’s bandwagon” (playing victim), and being judgmental.  She said they help all their kids no matter what and that will never change.

I told my mom that I know that she and dad did the best they could, but that doesn’t change the experiences that My Twin and I had… I then said that the best way to deal with differing perspectives is to talk about it, so that we could better understand the bigger picture..  She did NOT agree. Said that she doesn’t owe My Twin and I any explanations, then basically hung up.  I do not want my mom to feel bad, but her anger doesn’t change feelings.

My mom and dad did their best. I am proud of them. They have gone through a lot and I respect that they want to help their children.  But what if one kid takes more than the other?  Helping one child over an over again can take away from time with the other children.  It is a fact of life – you only have so much time and energy.  The fact is that my parents continue to help my 36-year-old sister takes away from the time and energy my mom has to spend with the rest of her kids.   Example, my sister has lived with my parents for 18+ years.  She still lives with them – my sister, her husband, and her 3 kids. My mom takes her 10-year-old to school and babysits the 3-year-old everyday.  My parents, who have been retired for 3 years, just went on vacation, away from their own home “to get away and relax”.

My parents have not been out to see me in CA in over 4 years.  Yep. 4 years.  Yes I have invited them, even offered to pay for them to visit.  They have yet to fit it into their schedule.

I feel like giving up.  I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to have a relationship with my parents.  But the relationship feels one-sided for the most part. If this was a love relationship, we would have broken up long ago.  I do love my parents, it would be nice to have a more balanced relationship.  Even without my sister sucking up all their time and energy, I am not confident that they would desire such a relationship.  Makes me sad.

Anyone else have a complicated relationship with their parents?

ADDITION:  Sibling Favoritism.  This is the issue. My perception is that my mom loved my youngest sister best, the sister who still lives at home is my dads favorite.  My Twin and I had each other. It always felt as if my parents were a family with my sisters and My Twin and I were the odd ones out.  Advise on the web is to “get over it”…  not exactly sure how one does this.

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2015 In Summary.

2015 was NOT a good year for me.  This only means that in 2016 there is no where to go but up. For a summary of my goals and results, take a look at 2015 Year In Review.

The two biggest downers –

1- I lost my job. I put all my energy into work and it resulted in absolutely nothing. Actually, it’s more than nothing – I gave up everything to make work work.  I had one date all year, on Dec. 28th no less.  I wanted more than anything to succeed professionally.  Not this year.

2- On the personal side, AbFab’s husband lost his legs.

 

I am so done with 2015.  I am all about 2016 – and 2016 is all about me.  I will focus on doing what is absolutely best for me.  Outside of me, I will be spending time with AbFab and family…  I am on polishing up my 2016 New Years resolutions and will share them when they are complete. Some good stuff around exercise and stress management, but there will be a few surprises around real estate. I am excited about what I can do this year – I hope it is worth the wait for you.

 

Taking Some Time Off.

southern_coast_of_turkey

Hello all.

So much has happened in these last few months.

  • Family – AbFab’s husband lost his legs in a work accident.  Here is a news video of how he survived – inspirational.  They are both so strong, so resilient. The kids – Mayonaise and Shanaynay are doing well and they love their dad with or without legs.
  • Travel – I had an opportunity to go to Turkey and I did it.  I went to Turkey for 10 days with one of my best friends – Unicorns. She suggested it one week, we booked our tickets the next week, then we left the next week. Impromtu.  It was one of, if not the best trip I’ve ever taken. More on this later.
  • Work – not going well at all…the product doesn’t work and leadership is lacking – in both inspiration and direction.  Every team works in silo’s – Sales selling product we don’t have, Product delivering product that doesn’t work.  Since I work with customers every day, I feel the chaos. These people, our customers, put their careers on the line to purchase and adopt our technology. And we consistently let them down.

So, I’ve made a decision.  I made it a few weeks ago, but I’ve been letting it stew in my brain for a bit before making it a reality.  I am resigning.  I will let my manager know on Friday. My last day will be Nov. 13th. I am resigning before having another job.   My plan is to get centered again. This will include spending time with myself, getting healthy, traveling, and reconnecting with family and friends.

Not only will I be starting an exercise regimen, I will be traveling.  I plan to go back to Istanbul during the Thanksgiving holiday. Then I plan to spend a few weeks in Utah with AbFab and her family. I will also see my twin sister and my parents. My goal during this time away from work is to focus on me and doing what makes me happy.  And in my spare time I will look for work.

I am aware that this is extremely risky.  But I am burnt out. I may just do some consulting work and continue to think well into 2016…  Only time will tell what opens up to me.  But I’m not doing “this” again – busting my ass for a company that doesn’t appreciate the work that I do. I will not make myself physically sick with stress and work overload.  I WILL find a great company, that has great leadership, and that will appreciate my skills, abilities, and what I bring to the table.  That’s it.  Until this time, I will find consulting jobs that will support me.  That is my decision.

So yes, I am throwing caution to the wind and moving forward with what my heart is telling me is the right thing for me.  Although I am tidying up things around the house and checking out local yoga studios, I will officially begin my journey of self-rediscovery on Nov. 2nd with Oprah and Deepak 21 day meditation series – Become What You Believe.  I plan to update this blog very regularly as I go through my reinvention – writing thoughts down really helps me.

If any of you have ever done this before, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what worked, what didn’t.. Or if you haven’t, I’d love to hear what you would do if you made such a decision – would you travel, stay at home, visit with family, friends, etc… ?

My next blog will be about my experience in Turkey – which I loved – both the country and the people.

Family Tragedy.

Just a few short months ago I was hanging out by a pool, relaxing, and putting off my work stress for the day. It’s been a ridiculous journey and has only gotten worse.  Which is why I haven’t written – as my parents taught me, if I don’t have anything nice to say, it’s best to say nothing.  So I’ve written nothing.

Work stress has been overwhelming.  So much so that my Dr. says that I will need medication if I do not control it.  So I’ve been meditating and medicating to help myself deal with the high level of stress. I do NOT want my adrenals to shut down and require prescription drugs for the rest of my life.

But now a family tragedy has pushed my work stress out of my mind.  My nieces husband was in a work accident and has lost both of his legs.  Yes, his legs are gone.  He is still in intensive care and is headed into his 3rd surgery tomorrow.

I HATE being so far away.  I do not like that I’m not able to be there, to help, to support, to do anything, even if it’s just sitting with my niece at the hospital.  I feel so helpless.. She has so much family around her now she has requested that I come out in 2-3 weeks… which of course I will.

I have set up a gofundme for them here – https://www.gofundme.com/newlegsforjohn – please donate and/or share this URL with others.  Any little bit helps.  The way I figure it, if 1000 people donate $50, AbFab’s family will have enough financial support to get them through the next year without worrying about losing their home.

I’m not sure what else to say. Except that all the whining I’ve done over the last 3 years has me feeling spoiled and ungrateful.  Life does suck sometimes and it will toss a whammy or two my way, but at least I have my limbs.  I now have a new perspective …

I’m sure my new-found perspective will get me writing again.

 

 

 

Sandwiched Between Two People.

sleepover-girls-pillowfightAnd it’s not that bad. The two folks?  My nieces.  Snore like men with heavy drinking habits.  I’m watching Boyhood – which is a great movie – which I picked – and the girls so graciously wanted to watch with me and soon passed out.  Loved the movie, girls.. not so much.

I am absolutely in love with these girls – but they do snore like no tomorrow – and these are the folks I’m sandwiched in-between.  I know, LUCKY ME.

I’m in Utah, with my family, working on a family matter that required my attention.  I have to go back to work in 24 hours….  I’ve so enjoyed my time with family that it’s hard to think about going back to work.  I’m desperate to sell my condo and buy myself a duplex so I can visit more often at a reduced cost… It will happen, it’s only a few years away.

Life has a way of unfolding in a way that you never expected.  My life is no different – I never imagined not having kids…  but it happened that way.  I think about this “life choice” every day.  But when I’m with my nieces I do not –  I can’t imagine a different life.  I love them more than the whole world, I would give up everything if it would guarantee their safety … I can’t imagine loving people more than I love my niece and her babes.

Maybe there is more love in store for  me in my life – but I honestly can’t imagine it.  I am open to it, but when I’m here in Utah, I can’t imagine a better life for me. Sandwiched between my favorite girls on the planet.  Love at it’s finest – snoring and all.

Decorators Envy.

mcmansionI’m in Utah.  I had a few customers to visit late this week, and decided to stay the weekend and stay with family.  I’m now staying with AbFab and her two awesome kids Mayonnaise and Shahnaynay.  4 and 6 now, 5 and 7 in very short order. My twin also came up for the evening, and she looks awesome.  I got a few pictures of us together, which is a rarity for us.

Since I’ve last talked about AbFab, she has gotten divorced from the kids’ father and has since remarried to a great guy. I’ll call him RoadRage for now… he is a very nice calm person, RoadRage is a great name for him as its opposite of the personality I’ve seen of him.

Anyway, they now live in a 5800 square foot home.  Its GORGEOUS. I love it.  It’s not the size that I love, it’s the dream of decorating and making a home.  It’s turning each room into a masterpiece, with color, with furniture, with flare. I can see why rich people keep buying new homes even though the ones they already have are Martha Stewart perfect.

On a personal front, I’ve been sick lately – a combo of allergies and a head cold.  I took a long nap today, it was good for me. I feel much better. Tomorrow, Sunday, I’m cooking dinner for the kids and my family…. Its going to be gluten-free (my new diet) but delicious.  I love to cook, it’s nice to cook for others.

O.k. so that’s it.  Not much tonight, but a little bit of something.  Which is what I’d love to see/read from Grey Goose…  hint hint GG, give me something!

Family And Money Never Mix. Just Don’t Do It.

bad-tatooAs you all know, I am very close to AbFab and her kids Mayonaise and Shanaynay. These ladies are from my twin sister’s lineage.  Although I did not birth any of them, I love them like my very own.  What I’ve probably not shared as of yet, is that I have two other sisters that are much younger than me.  They are 9 and 11 years my junior.

I was friends with my sister that is 11 years younger. For blogging purposes, we will call her #4.  I liked her, loved her son Bubba to the ends of the earth.  She had such a great sense of humor.  For whatever reason, she has decided to end all contact with me. This happened a few years ago.  I don’t know why… I’m guessing it’s because I still communicate with my parents (she doesn’t).  I still don’t understand the dynamics between she and my parents, but I do know that we got along, that I enjoyed her company and I loved her son.  Why she cut me out I’ll never know.  Its been years since I’ve seen her.

The other sister, the one who is 9 (#3) years younger, is a piece of work.  She has, for whatever reason, always been my dads favorite.  My parents have done so much to help her, but its never enough, they continue to give, she continues to take.   They are always “saving” her, most of the time it’s from herself.  Growing up she was a mean, angry kid – she would lie to my parents about our interactions, and my parents would just believe her.  For example, one time, as kids, she told my parents that I did something to her. I don’t remember what she told them, but it was fabricated; completely false.  She looked me in my eyes, confirmed whatever it was with my dad.  My dad, without question, made me eat bits from a bar of soap (Irish Spring cut up into pieces for just such an occasion).  #3 watched with a smile on her face, like she had won.  That’s who she is.  I stayed as far away from her as I could.

Fast forward a few years.  I moved out of my parents house when I was 17.  #3 was 8 years old.  I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me.   She gets pregnant (on purpose), lives with my parents with her kid while my parents go through one of the roughest periods one could face: my dad was in an accident, he almost died. It took him 2 years to recover (had steel pins put in his legs, couldn’t walk, had to go through painful physical therapy, etc).  In the meantime, my mom took care of him AND worked 2 jobs.  #4 was still in high school, shocked by it all.  #3, what did she do? Sat on her ass and didn’t do anything.  Did she get a job?  No.  Did she help with trips to the doctor, physical therapy? No.  Did she cook dinner? No.  Will she tell you that this is absolutely not true? Yes.  She has  skewed view of “help”. If help means sitting on your ass in a basement apartment, watching TV, and sending your kid upstairs to be fed by the grandmother during her 2 hours between jobs, well, then yes, she helped.

Fast forward a few more years. My wedding.  My parents really wanted all of us sisters to get along.  #4 didn’t come to the wedding (I wished she would have), #3 I invited of course.  I also invited her son to be my ring bearer.  My dad said it would mean a lot to him so I did it.  I paid for her accommodations.  What I learned later was that she was angry about her son being a ring bearer.  My parents had to agree to take her new-born (drive to/from Utah to/from CA).  She was a complete bitch at the wedding; acting as if she couldn’t wait to leave. Well, it’s because she couldn’t wait to leave.  After the wedding I received a scathing letter from her, telling me that she hated me, that I “used” her son, that she never wanted to see me, and never wanted me to interact with her kids.  It confirmed my belief that she didn’t want to be at the wedding, but it was way over the top.  I make a hard copy of the letter (no snail mail in those days) and send it to my parents saying she should seek medical help.  That’s the last I heard of anything.  Seriously, whatever.  She’s unstable and needs help.

Fast forward a few more years.. I’m hanging out with my parents, AT THEIR HOUSE with all the grandkids, #3 and her kids show up.   I don’t know what to do so I go to a separate room and wait for her to leave.  Then I think to myself, fuck her.  I’m in UT from out-of-town, staying with my parents, she knows it.  If she doesn’t like it, she can take her kids away.  This moment was a defining moment for me – this is when I decided I would no longer stay at my parents house or deal with her bullshit while visiting with my parents.  This is when I decided that owning my own place in Utah was a good idea.

Fast forward a few more years, her husband helped me out with the first condo I purchased in Utah (helped me remodel a few things). He is a very talented contractor, and specifically a very skilled wood worker/cabinet maker.  I really like her husband…. they have their issues (we all would have issues with her), but he hangs in there. He is still with her.  Anyway, they asked to borrow money. Against my better judgement I did it.  I did it because I liked hubby and I wanted to help out.   This was .. lets see, somewhere between 5 – 10 years ago.  Over the years, I’ve requested the money back.  Every time I asked for it back, she goes ballistic.  So, I put in my yearly request, via Facebook message this time.  Below is the exchange – Keep in mind a few things:

  1. She and her family (hubby and 3 kids) are living in my parents 3 bedroom very spacious and nice basement apartment.
  2. she hasn’t held a steady job ever.  Always an excuse not to.  She will go to school sometimes, sometimes she will hold a job for a month or so… I think the last time her husband told her to get a job she got pregnant.
  3. my parents always bail her out, to the detriment of themselves.
  4. her husband is a hard worker, nice guy, and honestly, must have the patience of a saint. I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be married to him, all I do know is that all my interactions with him are pleasant.
  5. Given #1, 2, and 3, they go on a long vacation to California (as we all know, vacations and California are not cheap).

Anyway, enough said, here is our exchange (my comments added for clarity):

Paula to #3:  Hi #3.   I hope you are well. I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’d like to get my $5000 back. Given that you have enough $$ to go on vacation, I think that you and your hubby have enough money to pay me back the $5000 you borrowed. You can pay me $417/Mo for 12 months, $210/mo for 24 months…(providing guidelines on how to pay, I’m helpful like that). Of course I would take a lump sum as well (like you promised many years ago).  Please let me know what your plan is wrt returning the money you borrowed from me. Thanks.
Paula to #3 Follow-Up:  Hi #3.  Any update on this? 
# 3 Response:  Paula, all I am going to let u in on is there is a reason why we are living with parents (really? Shocker (not, this is sarcasm) . I know we owe u money and I’m sorry we haven’t got it to u yet (she takes ownership of the loan) but as of right now there is nothing I can do. If I have any extra money I’ll send it your way! 
Paula to #3:  XXX doesn’t have a job and manages to pay $100/mo. You seem to be fine – after all you aren’t working, you don’t have a mortgage, and you were able to take a vacation (maybe a little bit judgmental  but shit, it’s all true).  Just do whats right. Figure out a way that you can pay me back. If you can’t do a lump sum, pay me $100/mo, and when you get your taxes back, you can pay me back. After all, that was the original deal – you would pay me back when you got your taxes back.
#3 Response:  U don’t know what’s going on in my life so please don’t assume. That’s good for XXX her situation is completely different from mine. To be honest with u I NEVER wanted to borrow the money from u, if u remember right this was a deal u and hubby made. (now all of a sudden it’s a deal between me and her hubby).  I am doing what’s right (really? Is stealing from your parents retirement income the right thing to do) . Like I said if I have extra money I’ll send it right to u. I’m not living the high life, we pay rent, utilities and have bills to pay yours included. Please stop with your accusations, like I told u before ill do what I can.
Paula to #3:  What accusations? I’m just stating the truth – you owe me money. I need it so I’m asking you for it. I don’t want to be asking as much as you don’t want to be asked. There is no need to be defensive. Let’s just get through this. I’m asking that you make it a priority to pay me back. $100 a month is a good place to start. If you feel it’s better to wait until tax time OR there is another time, great. But please just give me a plan… something that works for you, that I can count on. Thank you.
#3 Response:   I’ll talk to hubby and he can let u know. I’m at school  (yes, so many years at school, no degree ever, it’s a past-time until no one is looking, then she quits) and don’t have the time or patience for this. If I HAD an extra 100 I would give it to u. My kids didn’t get school clothes u don’t afford that for me I guess that’s just Ashley’s girls (Ashley’s kids were not even born when she told me to stay away from her kids). PLEASE STOP ASSUMING AND ACCUSING ME OF BEING WRONG. I don’t deny we owe u money never have. U don’t know my situation (and don’t care to know, does it really matter?) so please take my word when I say if we have extra I’ll send it your way! (trust her?? really??)
Paula to #3:  Why are you yelling? And you are the one that told me to stay away from you and your kids. Yes, please let me know when you can pay me back. Thanks.
#3 Response: The only reason I told u to stay away from my kids was because of your attitude and favoritism in front of their faces (I’ve seen them maybe a dozen times in the last 10 years).  They never did anything and were in an innocent party to your pettiness. I’ll talk with hubby this week since he is home with just having surgery. (the “my life is so tough story. He’s probably in surgery because he works so damn hard to support her bitchy ass).  One of us will let u know “the plan” by the weekend.(Awesome!!). 
Probably not the best thing to blog about family and money, but shit, I’m soooo tired of the elephants in the room (this is just one of many)..  Isn’t it time we just admit that we all don’t get along and just open the communication gates?  It’s ok to not like each other.
So, this is my very long-winded, sharing of a personal experience, on why you should never, ever lend money to family.
The meaning of the picture? It’s perfect – its a return image from the google search “family and money don’t mix”.  Mixing family and money is worse than this Epic Failure tattoo…  🙂