Phew. The storm clouds were brewing overhead yesterday. I finished going over the revising (or making notes where to revise) my mip and I’m ready to move forward, thank God. I emerged from my office to go pay Mr. Coolbeth and get the hutch when my son arrived and was thrashing around, having a fit over where he’d put his water bottle. Turns out he was freaking out about health stuff (he gets so worried about even minor symptoms which is one reason he should be in VT — he has health insurance here). I calmed him down, he apologized, said he was going to go to the emergency room that night and if they put him on antibiotics he wasn’t going back to Michigan because they make him so sick.
Okay. He was planning to either call us or come by after he went to the emergency room, so we went on with our lives. Then, we get a toxic phone call. Let me give you some history. Erin’s mother is a powerhouse. I happen to really like her — she’s tough, she’s gorgeous, worked her ass off all her life. But she’s got attitude up the wazoo, and she hates my son and is fiercely possessive of Alex, her grandson. Which makes sense, the first couple of years after he was born she took care of him while Erin worked and went to school. She’s always been the real sticking point in their relationship — Erin is very very tied in with her family, and Tim not only wants to travel and live away from Vermont for a while, but he hates doing anything with her family because there’s such tension and snotty comments and outright confrontations. At the end of their relationship my son’s problem was that she was spending more time with her family than with him. Her problem was that he was a screaming asshole. (See, I’m fair).
Actually, I shouldn’t say at the end of their relationship. It limps along.
So Erin’s mom calls in a tight, furious voice, wanting to know if I know where Erin is. I said no. I asked if Alex was okay (she sounded like it was a disaster). She said no. He missed his mother. She said he wasn’t there (I imagine he was staying with his cousin — they go to the same daycare). She said he called and was upset and that ever since Tim’s been home Erin has been ignoring him to spend all her time with Tim, and she wanted to know the phone number of the big house.
My blood pressure soars. First off, she’s wrong. I don’t know what happened the first night, though I know she wouldn’t have asked her mother to help out so she could see Tim, because her mother would say no way. The second night they all slept at the Big House. Don’t know what happened Friday night, but Saturday was the big blow-out of Alex’s birthday, which was a huge amount of work for Erin. And the g’mother wasn’t even in town for the weekend. Alex spent Sunday with me, having a blast, don’t know what went on Monday but Tuesday night G’ma says he’s being abandoned.
So I know she’s going to get things as riled up as she can, and she wouldn’t hesitate to go to the Big House and start some horror scene (she’s done it before) and I worried about Alex and envisioned horrible things happening and where was Tim going to stay if he didn’t go back, which I was pretty sure he wouldn’t, and I knew he’d come over and start ranting about G’ma, so I took a tranquilizer and went to bed. (I’m supposed to take one when I go to bed, BTW), trying to ignore my feelings of impending doom.
I wake up, my car is back, there’s a note on my computer saying “love you guys, never went to the ER but I’ll see how it goes.”
Phew! He is coming back — there’s no life for him out there. And frankly, it’s just not possible for me to refuse him a home if he’s clean and sober, which he is. I’ll just need to keep backing off and see how things go. At this point Erin is planning to get some time off to go out to Michigan and drive Tim back, and he’ll go to Voc-rehab then, plus job counseling. And we’ve said over and over again how we just don’t have the money to get him a car.
So we’ll see. But right now he’s gone for at least a couple of weeks, and I can take a deep breath and get back to focusing on my life and my work, without the anxiety that’s been plaguing me.
And I’d really much rather concentrate on all the brilliant ideas you guys gave me yesterday about the house. I’ll start this afternoon when I come back from lunch. I love the idea of index cards and clear labeling. The breaks from writing to do just a little at a time. The clean sweep ideas of garbage bags and boxes (I put clothes in clear garbage bags and everything else in boxes. If I donate in black garbage bags it feels like I’m giving away trash.
So. Gotta go in and write a little bit, just to move ahead. Then lunch. Then attack the house. But at least disaster and rage and emotion haven’t landed on my doorstep.