Monday, July 03, 2006

My aunt is staying with us this week. My uncle (her brother) and his family dropped her off before leaving for their trip to Vegas. I'm so pissed I could scream. No, not because she's here. She's my favorite aunt, and I'm glad to play hostess to her. Not because Spencer and his family went on vacation. Who doesn't need a vacation?

I'm pissed because Spencer has been working out the details for my aunt's visit for 2 weeks, yet I found out today that she didn't even know she'd be staying with me until they told her today. For God's sake! Would it have killed them to let her know their plans before today?? It seems so dehumanizing to me. So belittling. I don't get it. What would have been the harm in letting her know what was going on? She's not suffering from dementia or anything; she's just old, that's all. It's that damned wife of my uncle. She's such a bitch and always has been.

Auntie was kind of sad when she first arrived. She seemed like a kid being dumped at military school because her parents couldn't handle her, or like a puppy in a basket with a note attached: "Please take care of me." She wasn't unhappy to be here, I know. She was frustrated because she no longer has any control over where she stays or where she goes. There's always going to be someone who has more control over what happens to her than she does. She wouldn't have minded coming here; she just didn't get to choose.

My uncle couldn't even look at me when he brought my aunt this evening; I should've known that something was wrong. Even though I love and respect him, he can be such a pantywaist when it comes to his wife getting her way. She can be so cruel. When they found my aunt damn near starved to death in her apartment, too weak to move, she instantly thought that my aunt had attempted suicide and announced "This would've never happened in my family." The bitch. It wasn't long before we learned that "it" hadn't happened in my family either. Auntie is diabetic and had suffered a mild stroke. Once she recovered from it, she was fine. Except the doctor said that it would be safer for her if she didn't live alone anymore, hence the move to my uncle's house, where someone would always be around. God forbid that my uncle's wife should be inconvenienced by her sister-in-law, who's always been there for her and her family. Always.

It's got me worried, though. Anyone could find him- or herself with such a fate. It doesn't matter if you never marry. Any spouse could easily become a divorcee or a widow(er). Any parents could find that their adult children won't or can't take care of them. To go from a vibrant, independent woman to elderly, sick, and alone---that would scare me more than a nuclear holocaust.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Hearing's Over

The judge ruled that I should remain the representative/executor for my dad's estate. He said that, although I made some mistakes earlier (through my former lawyer), I corrected them as soon as I found out about them. He said that I acted in good faith, and the inventory is near complete, so I should not be removed. He pushed and pushed for the lawyers to agree to an unsupervised mediation, but the opposing side said "no dice." The sisters are hoping like hell that I stole something---anything. Their lawyer just wants to keep fighting---and padding her bill, no matter what it costs her clients. So now I'm supervised, but it doesn't sound like it'll be as much of a burden as it could've been; the judge said that there's no reason to start the inventory all over again from scratch, so all we'll need to do is finish out the inventory and present it to the court auditor. I expect all that stuff to be complete within 30 days or so.

Looking back at the hearing date, which now seems like ages ago, I realize that Tuesday was the easiest day to endure. The inconvenience of having to retrieve bank papers and file report after report is nothing compared to seeing what this has done to my family. In any case, I'll survive...whether I want to or not.

And now, on a lighter note, it's time for Five Questions for My Mr. Big:

Question 1.
Nika: Which would you rather do: solve a sudoku puzzle or watch Inuyasha?
Big: Can I ask a question within a question?
N: If you have to.
B: Is it a new Inuyasha or a repeat?
N: A new one.
B: Uh...Inuyasha.

Question 2.
Nika: What was the last dream you remember?
Big: [long silence]Vividly...one I remember the most is...hmm, I don't even remember that one. You remember the time when you called out in your sleep and I answered in mine? The one I remember most recently was that someone shot at me and I found out that it was me shooting at me.

Question 3.

Nika: How was the sex last night?
Big: It was good. Great.

Question 4.
Nika: I meant, with me:
Big: [laughs] It was great!

Question 5.

Nika: Will you bring some salmon and cream cheese pinwheels home with you tomorrow?
Big: [laughs] What's this all about? Is that what you wanted?
N: No. I couldn't think of a fifth question. You don't have to bring home the pinwheels.
B: Ah. Yeah, I can get some.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'll go one word further, as I've been Black and shopping at Target for a long time. It was the Black/Latina shopper (who could laugh at herself while finding a bargain that she could parlay into a fashion statement) who invented the term "Tar-zhay." I predicted several months ago to a friend of mine who works for Tar-zhay that this was coming, just as sure as McDonalds would accept the nickname attributed to it by its most willing and most desperate customers... Mickey D's. What most (White) people don't know---through no fault of their own---is that Black young people have been calling McDonald's "Mickey D's" before I was a teenager. (Hint: I'm 41.) In the last 10 years, White culture adopted the word "phat" to apply to an attractive person, most times a female. Oh sure, the acronym came up: Pretty Hot and Tempting. But that's bullshit. Because when I was still in a training bra several years ago (and I outgrew my training bra at 11 years old), my brother and his friends (and some of my cousins) were already using the word "phat" and spelling it that way. Only it wasn't an acronym. It applied to a young woman's physique, usually Black young woman's physique, and it didn't stand for shit---it was considered just "this side of healthy fat [zoning particularly in on the buttocks, of course]. Imagine my surprise when Chris Tucker started using the term "phat" as if it were an acronym. Maybe in his world it was, but I could have given birth to the sonofabitch, and older cousins---not to mention my brother (8 years older than me), and we knew that shit long before he entered this world.
The reality is, the use of the term "Tar-zhay" is just as Black as the use of the term "Mickey D's"...is just as Black as the use of the term "phat"...is just as Black as the use of the term [fill in the blank].

My conundrum is not that I'm Black. My conundrum is that I'm old. Old enough to know what marketing execs are trying to sell to young suburbanites, because nothing sells to young suburbanites like African American culture. And the best way for these babies to get it...aside from driving Daddy's Volvo into the bad side of town for a little weed [and yes, that was my neighborhood], was to pick up whatever they could from the television. The 21st century Bible.
Mickey D's. Tar-zhay. Pretty Hot and Tempting (PHAT). I never thought anything of it before. Maybe I'm the one who should think again.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Price of Freedom

I haven't been broke in a while, and I should've expected it to happen while I'm trying the self-employment thing. It just came earlier than I expected---and I hate when that happens. I've had to spend so much on legal fees and owing money to my dad's estate that I didn't even know I owed. I'm supposed to be reimbursed for a bunch of money that I paid out last year, but it won't be before my credit card bill is due. It sucks that I've had to cut back on accepting work this month because I've had to free up my time to prepare for the estate hearing, the one that'll cost my sisters more money than they think they'll get, regardless of whether I'm replaced as executor. (Actually, it'll cost them even more money if I get replaced.) Greed and intelligence don't always coexist.

I'd be lying if I said I'm not scared for my freelance business. Big gave me a little money, but I need him to pay all the utilities for the rest of this month, and he's paying down his own debts. I'll get through this one way or another, even if I have to forego medical insurance. Damn shame, though, now that I finally found a prescription that relieves my fibroid pain.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Because of the bullshit my stepsisters are putting me through, I've gone from having $8,000 to having $850 in my bank account. And they think I'm trying to rip them off; meanwhile, the longer this petition is in play, the more money they lose from their own inheritances. I lose money because I need to free up time to deal with this bullshit. But I still come out ahead...monetarily. I still may need to sell the house on Capitol Hill just to pay off the bills I couldn't pay as a freelancer, pack up and move elsewhere. It wouldn't be such a bad thing...depending on where I'd end up.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I don't know how much more of this I can take.
Big is responsible for paying the jeweler's monthly bill, only this month he can't make the payment (because of emergency car repairs), so he asked if I could make it. Well, I've had to cut back on work to allow me to focus more on a legal matter. I can pay it, but it will be tough on my bank account this month. He hands over the bill, and I look at it. The payment is due today, and they don't take credit card payments. I hit the roof. Not because I have to pay. Partially because the payment will be late. But mostly because there's a late payment now on an account that's solely in my name, and I didn't even find out about needing to pay until the day the check was due. We argue, and he blames his male pride. I don't care; this isn't about pride. This is about surviving financially as a couple, and there's no place for hiding heads in the sand. How much more will he hide until it's too late, because he's ashamed to admit that he fucked up?

I don't know how much more of this I can take.
All year, I've had to learn repeatedly that I can't trust people. Certainly not those closest to me. My sisters are taking me to court to try and have me removed as the executor of my dad's estate. They think I shortchanged them on the sale of his property. Well, someone did lowball the price, but it wasn't me---my father sold it himself, 2 weeks before he died. Had I reneged on the deal after his death, the company that bought the property could have sued me, and they would have won easily. The sisters and their attorney have all seen the paperwork, but they don't care.

As it turns out, the sisters had contacted my attorney asking for an explanation as to why the price was so low. He did not respond to them right away, and he did not tell me that they had asked. I didn't find out until I got copies of all his records, so that my new attorney would have them. I had trusted him, but that was a mistake.

And I mustn't forget the fiasco that is my past job. What I knew was that we managers had spent a year or two planning the reorganization of our department. What I also knew was that part of this re-org included the addition of a new director. What none of us managers knew was that she would get rid of all of us. Each of us had been there for 10 years, and this is what we get for it. After more than 10 years, suddenly, we're not good enough. Not one of us. I understand that companies can change their direction if they think it'll help their bottom line. I understand that people get fired or "made redundant" in some cases. But dammit, don't sabotage my efforts to do my job! Don't tell me that Procedure A is our new procedure, then switch to Procedure B two weeks later, then change to Procedure C without telling anybody---all the while telling us what a crappy job we managers are doing and bringing in friends/cronies/whatever from previous jobs to replace us one by one without their even having to go through the interview process. I used to take some comfort in the fact that the department is now in far worse shape than it ever was before. Now it just makes me feel betrayed and sad. This wasn't just a job to us. We cared a great deal about the work we produced, and we were proud of the work we did. For at least a couple of us, there were times when the work was all we had to keep us going. And just like that...our efforts didn't matter anymore. The procedures and communications were manipulated so that we wouldn't, couldn't possibly last in that environment. Of course, it would make sense to get rid of us. Only, now the place is in an uproar. Customers from all over the country are furious at the latenesses and lack of product quality. In the face of customer dissatisfaction, the higher-ups are still laying blame, taking aim, and firing people---but they're getting rid of all the wrong people. They're targeting staff based on the letters after their names, if you don't have Ph.D. after your name, then you might as well have R.I.P. after it. Looking back, it may have been a bizarre blessing in disguise (I hope). I can work as a freelancer, and the money so far isn't so bad. The freedom and flexibility are worth the drop in salary (sometimes). Still, it was a harsh reminder to me about trust, and how it should be used only on rare occasions.

Now there's this thing w/ Big. A completely avoidable problem. All he had to do was level with me: "Honey, after paying for the car repairs, I won't be able to pay for the jeweler's bill. Can you pay it this month?" That's all, and I wouldn't have been up all night typing this entry. The damn thing with my sisters and the court case wasn't enough? Now I gotta lose sleep over whether we can go any further because maybe I just can't trust him anymore? (I'm also losing sleep resenting his brazen ability to sleep while I cannot.) I don't know how much more I can take.

I want to trust him---but that's not enough. I do love him---but that's definitely not enough. He tried to make it partly my fault, too: "Look, I told you two weeks ago that money would be tight this month. You should have known then!" A novel attempt. A courageous attempt. A failed attempt. If he can't read my mind, why should he expect me to read his? "Money is tight" could've meant that he couldn't pay bills, but it could also have meant that he'd simply have trouble paying bills and might need to borrow some money, or maybe after paying the bills he wouldn't be able to afford to go out for a couple of weeks. Bottom line: He was ashamed of not having enough money and tried to hide the fact---or hide from the fact---for as long as he could. Men get fucked up over the size of their wallets more than they do about the size of their dicks. If a man has a teeny weenie, he can hide that from the world, but he can't hide what he can and cannot afford. Not for long. That's when they're vulnerable, and a vulnerable man is a dangerous man. There's no telling what he'll do or say, or conceal, to save his own ass. How can I trust that?

Well, as angry as I am/was at Big, I'm not mad only at him. If it wasn't Big who shook my sense of trust, it'd be somebody else. Men lie. (Women lie too, but I wasn't expecting to marry one.) This does have me wondering: Will we ever get married? Should we even bother? Should we run for the exit door like we usually do, or should we stay and fight for our relationship? I just don't want to regret whatever choice I make. God, I wish there were some easy answers.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This is the part of being coupled that I can't recommend to anyone. It is almost 1:30 a.m. He's fast asleep, and I can't sleep no matter how much pills or booze I swallow. Goddamn it, why doesn't any of this shit kill me once and for all? What's it gonna take? It scares me because I feel like there's never going to be anyone who really hears me and responds. (I love God and I think She hears me, but She's notorious for not answering til She's damn good and ready.) I feel that this is unnecessary aging. I don't need to be up this late. I'm trying everything I can to try and sleep. I've had seven martinis and two Benadryls. Nothing's working...Nothing. Damn, do I have that much tension in me? And if so, doesn't my Significant Other notice?? Oh, he probably does, he just wants to avoid it. So he'll sleep until morning, when he'll get up and have coffee with his Japanese anime cartoons (by then, the martinis and Benadryl will have kicked in, just in time for me to wake up and get to work). Then he'll zip straight off to work. I wish I had enough money to hire a private detective; then I'd hire one to follow Big everywhere. I'd be pissed, though, if he only went to work and back, like a schmuck. I don't even care how silly that sounds. All I know is that this lifestyle is not what I expected...and he knows it. Hell, sometimes I do think that he's screwing a friend of mine; if I could afford the private detective, I could know once and for all. For now, I'll just have to stay up all night.
Sometimes, a girl just can't blog because the things she has to say are just too intense. How do I blog about my sisters taking me to court because they think I'm not a good executor/executrix? (And in a year's time, they never responded to help me or anything---the only time I heard from them was when they filed the petition to remove me, a petition filled with lies against me and my attorney.) About my doubts regarding the future for Big and myself? About his secrecy regarding unpaid bills? In some way, all of these things hurt me, and I'm being hurt by people I thought I could trust. (Yes, I had my problems w/ Big, but I never thought he'd undermine my credit---ladies, if John F. Kennedy, Jr. came back from his watery grave, wooed you, and fucked up your credit, send him back from whence he came. It's just not worth it, I don't care how many "but I love him"'s you've got in you. Get his ass out of town.

That said, I feel like I'm all alone again. I don't dare trust Big w/ money. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm calling the jeweler in the morning to find out how fast I can get rid of the wedding rings and the accompanying debt. I can't marry him. He's made it clear in so many ways that, although he can be a knight in shining armor, it all has to be on his terms; therefore, that doesn't sound like a man I should marry. We'd both be miserable under those circumstances. It's a bitch, though, that he picked now to act out, given that I've got to get ready for the hearing in 2 weeks that may decide whether I continue as executrix of my father's estate. I don't ever want to hear from anyone in life about my trust issues.

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