Category Archives: Normal Family?

Return Policy?

Some days I wish there was a return policy on parents.

Harsh? Yep. How I feel? Yep.

Mr. A and I both would like to trade in for different dads. Our moms we love to the moon and back and they are amazing.

My dad and I have always had a rocky relationship and it’s just gotten worse in the last few years. I don’t want to get too much into, mostly because I’m having a good night and if I talk about it in too much detail it will rapidly turn into an angry sob fest.

But, the core of it all is that my dad wants more to do with my brother and stepsister than me. I’m not saying it for sympathy. There are facts that prove it’s true.

My mom doesn’t really put it into those terms, but says that he and I “aren’t in sync”, whatever that means. If nothing else, I’m the stepdaughter, and not my stepsister.

And if I’m being honest, along with this summer’s events, it’s why I’m in therapy. My therapist is amazing but this is a problem I’ve had for a very long time and it won’t be resolved any time soon.

My poor mom has had to endure my crying, sobbing, yelling fits so many times, she deserves an award. Sometimes I need her to try less to get me to see his side or gain some understanding, and just be on my side, but she is doing what she thinks is best when I get into those moods.

Mr. A…well, he got the shaft in the dad department. He just did.

Now, before I go any farther, there are some of you that read this that know Mr. A and myself in real life, on a personal level. I write this blog for me and because it’s a space I feel I can say what I want. If you are one of the few people that I interact with regularly, I told you about this blog because I trust you, so please don’t go talking about this stuff, especially concerning Mr. A.

His dad never wanted a son. He wanted a drinking buddy and they have had a very rocky relationship.

Within the last two years, it has gotten so much better. Not perfect, but we were no longer living in Mville and it felt like they were getting to some sort of normal father son relationship.

But within the last two months, shit has hit the fan, and it really hit hard this weekend.

Since it’s not my father, I’m not going to give details, but it’s so incredibly angering all that has happened.

Mr. A is embarrassed and angry, but it’s also his dad and he feels pulled and unsure of what to do or how to say no. My MIL and I are just afraid his dad is going to try to pull Mr. A down too and we won’t be  letting that happen, even if it means my FIL no longer likes me.

Mr. A and I have a family motto. “Team ‘Smiths’” (Not our last name, but you get the point.) It’s our reminder that he and I are a family and we have to make decisions for our family and do what is best for us and that will help us to meet the goals we have for our family. Yes, parents are family, but Mr. A and I are a very close team and we have to work hard to get where we want to be in life.

And if we have to distance ourselves from my FIL, we will.

Am I trying to come between them? Not at all. But I can’t let him ruin everything we’ve worked for, everything Mr. A has poured his blood, sweat, and tears into because he can’t think beyond the immediate and makes horrible decisions. He doesn’t think about anyone else. And that’s fine, but if it’s going to interfere with our life and all we have going for us, we can’t allow it.

Mr. A feels the same. I’m not being the bitchy wife. I normally brag up and down about my in-laws. And my MIL is a saint and more than makes up for the crap his dad has done to him his entire life. Mr. A agrees. He just still wants to help if possible, but this time, it is very quickly not going to be something we can help with without wrecking our goals for life.

I know we can’t pick our parents. It’s the luck of the draw. Because of that, I honestly believe that Mr. A and I were meant to be together in order to make up for those gaps and problems in our own families and we now make our own team and our own family and work towards not repeating the mistakes of our dads.

While logically, I wouldn’t trade in my dad because without him, I wouldn’t have had these experiences and maybe would do the same things in the future or to someone else or to my future kids. It’s a piece of me, that makes me who I am and I will (eventually) be stronger from this. I just pray Mr. A can get through this, as unscathed as possible, and to not let his dad set the guidelines for his future. It’s what I’ve been praying about every since yesterday morning. Team “Smiths” will get through this.

(But maybe a month long exchange program? Could that be developed?)

Can we go on our cruise now? Maybe a two week cruise without phone service and maybe some of this crap will be solved while we’re gone. If only…


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Filed under A little More About Me, Normal Family?

Patience is a virtue I do not have

Wouldn’t you know, I feel like blogging AND I’m in a good mood. So you get a happy post. I’m sure everyone has missed those. I sure did. ( even though my page views goes up exponentially when there is a crisis or something bad is going on)
I am so stinking excited because Mr. A and I have made the very adult decision to go on a cruise right after New Years and just before the spring (and Mr. A’s last ever And the last for this degree) semester.
Makes me giddy just thinking about it.
Our original plan all along was to go back to Mexico after he took the bar exam, but upon further thought and realizing that we will be in the middle of moving and either new jobs or job searching. Too much is up in the air to plan a big trip, so we’ve moved it up. We both will be finished with classes in December, so it will be nice for us to have a little vacation together and refresh. I will be finishing my thesis and he should be working for credit, so a nice cruise will be perfect.
I have been on one before, but due to a family member that can’t control how much she drinks, I did not have as much fun as I should have. I liked te cruise itself and the excursions, but my travel company was less than desirable. Mr. A has never been, so he’s looking forward to something new. We were originally going to do a 7 night cruise, but with it being his first, we decided a 5 night would be more manageable for a first timer.
Any of you been? What tips do you have? Also, everyone needs to kick my butt into saying with counting calories and working out because there is a beach calling my name and I do not want to be confused with a beached whale.
Also, January is too effing far away…


Filed under A little More About Me, Happy little posts, Normal Family?, Things I Love


Today I started my summer class. I’m back to being a student and a teacher at the same time again.
I was feeling pretty overwhelmed since we’re doing 12 plays in 4 weeks, which involves 5 analysis papers, a 90 minute presentation, and a 12-15 page paper. In four weeks.
But I was tryin to be positive and telling myself that maybe having a lot to do would be good for me. A distraction and some semblance of a routine.
Until the professor started giving brief overviews of all the plays.
One of which is about suicide. According to my professor, it’s funny an makes light of the whole thing.
What. The. Fuck.
I was pretty much on edge the rest of the class period. Steeling myself to go home, read the play, and if I really couldn’t handle it, go talk to my professor since we would only be covering it for one day and see if I could do some additional assignment I stead of listening to a 2 hour presentation where a girl makes jokes bout suicide.
Well it turns out, it’s the one play that Amazon was out of, and since these are all contemporary Irish and British dramas, you can really only get them from Amazon UK.
So my good friend in the class is going to let me borrow his tomorrow to read.
But, knowing I have a ton of work to do, I decided to go ahead and read my assigned play.
Now, I ordered my plays 3 months ago. I got the list from the professor and wanted to go ahead and get them. She told me about the presentations, and said I should skim them and email her with my play choice. I picked the one having to do with a ghost story and went on my way. U didn’t read it in depth. I planned on working on it 2 weeks ago. Before it happened.
So imagine my surprise when I started into the play tonight and it has like 3 different suicide storylines.
At this point, all the plays are assigned and I would imagine most people have already been working on their presentations since its such a condensed class.
When I read the first plot line, I told myself that I would just choose a critical lens that would allow me to skip around it. But since there are 3, I can’t avoid it and it’s a main part in the play.
I’m just flustered.
I’m having a hard enough time focusing to now have to deal with this in a very public manner. Most of the grad students in the class know so it will just be super freaking uncomfortable.
I guess it’s time for me to get a really thick skin and just deal with it.
My therapist will be earning his money.


Filed under A little More About Me, Normal Family?


Yeah…still not quite real.

More real than last week, but I feel like I’m in a fog.

I can’t seem to think straight. Or concentrate. Or to function properly.

Students were asking me questions in class today about their paper assignment, that I created, and it was like they were asking me to perform quantum physics on the spot.

I feel scatterbrained. I try to carry on conversations and my thoughts always go back to everything going on. A friend was trying to ask me my opinion about a haircut she was getting and I just couldn’t focus.

Mostly, I just don’t care.

I was so tempted to see if they could find another grad student to finish teaching my class for the summer so I could just stay home with Dad.

But that’s not really feasible. Dad wouldn’t want that. Eventually he will be going back to work and then I would just be sitting at home. Also, we need a paycheck.

I don’t want my life to unravel.

I really don’t want this to define me. I don’t want this to be all people see or think when they walk to me.

Doesn’t help that before I could even realize what I was doing, I told a fellow grad student what happened. I went to school today telling myself that I would just tell people that my stepmom passed away. Unless we were close friends, I wasn’t going to say the real reason. No need for that to be spreading through the halls of the department.

But someone said they were sorry to hear about the death in my family and it fell out of my mouth. And as I was saying it, I was wishing I could just shove the words back into my mouth.

I don’t know why I did it.

Maybe because I haven’t had a chance to say it. To see how the words felt in my mouth. To see how I felt once they were out.

It felt foreign. As if someone else was speaking. It wasn’t my words and it’s not my life.

This didn’t happen to my family.

Mr. A thinks I need to go talk to someone. About her death. About the issues I’ve had with my dad since long before this. How this affects my ability to ever talk to him about those issues without me sounding inconsiderate and selfish. If that’s even a possibility.

I probably need to. I just feel weird walking into the counseling center for some reason. I’ve talked with a therapist in the past, but I had a goal and she provided solutions and options for me to get there. This time? I couldn’t seem to make myself press “send” to call them to make an appointment. Maybe on Thursday. Maybe next week. Who knows.

I promise this isn’t all I’ll write about. There are just some things I need to get out and right now, this is the only safe place I have to say what I want without being interrupted. And strangely, I trust most of you more than other people. Not sure why, but I do.

I’ll get back to silly student stories and posts about Scout and fun weekends.

But for today, and maybe a few more days, I need a place to dump these feelings in hopes that this will help me make sense of all of this.


Filed under A little More About Me, Normal Family?


My brother is one of my all time favorite people.

He and I are seven years apart, and we REALLY did not get along until I got into college. We were just entirely too different and at two different points in life to find much in common or to agree upon.

I was loud and talkative. He was quiet and reserved. I was terrified of our parents. He was sneaky enough to get away with alllllll kinds of things. He graduated from undergrad Suma Cum Laude. I..well…didn’t. He got straight As through his difficult Master’s program. I hope I do as well. I still think our parents liked him more. He agrees. 😉

But, if you are new or forgot, other than my husband, my brother is one of my best friends. He was my “man-of-honor” at our wedding, which was perfect since he and Mr. A are also really good friends. (Mr. A definitely got a much better BIL than I did.)

It’s great to get to talk to someone who understands the family frustrations. He’s incredibly funny and a bit of a smart ass. I guess it runs in the family.

Unfortunately, with our busy grad school schedules and B’s busy work schedule, we haven’t seen each other since Christmas.

So I was all kinds of excited when he sent me a text last night asking about coming down to visit this weekend! We have been trying to find time for him and his girlfriend to come down, but it just never happened, so we are super excited to spend the weekend with them.

We will probably grab lunch at a local place on Saturday before showing them campus. If the weather doesn’t get too bad, I’m hoping we can go to one of the many wineries around here and spend some time catching up. Not sure what to do Saturday night, but might grill here at the apartment and then go out to one of the hole in the wall bars since they are far more fun than the fancy ones.

Sunday, they want to get up and go hiking at the state park before getting some lunch and heading home. Should be a great time.

I REALLY wish they could bring their dog, but he is HUGE and I think he would just be very very bored in our small apartment. Also, not sure Scout would be so thrilled with a 190 pound boxer/mastiff since she freaked out when we tried to introduce her to my dad’s 11 week old puppy.

(This post is much lamer than I anticipated. I’m a little rusty with the blogging.)

I’m hoping to get a bunch of good pictures from the weekend to share with you all.

And since we need to do a big cleaning tomorrow night before they get here, I will FINALLY post some new apartment pictures!

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Filed under A little More About Me, Normal Family?

Not Daddy’s Girl

And I always thought my family didn’t have much drama. I think I was just trying to ignore it. Or even when something would happen, I would forget about it for a few months until something else happened.

But today…I don’t know that I’ll forget this one.

And I know I’m going to blog this and people are going to think that it’s not that big of a deal. And maybe this one incident isn’t, but it’s a culmination of things and this has just pushed me over the edge.

I’ve never hidden the fact that I don’t like my stepsister. We don’t mesh. I think she’s rude and self-centered and I can’t stand her. I’m not alone in this assessment either, but whatever. We don’t get along.

Now, I understand my dad trying to make sure she feels included in things. (She’s 21 btw…not a little kid.) My dad’s usually pretty good about those things, so fine.

But over the last two years, he knows a million more things about her life than mine. I had to annoy and pester to get him to complete the two different tasks he had for the wedding. His only daughter’s wedding.

He knows who her friends are. What classes she’s taking. All sorts of things. I brought three friends home a few weeks ago and I bet he couldn’t tell you any of their names. He has no idea what I’m taking. He probably doesn’t even really know what I’m doing in grad school.

I also have an older brother. My dad and brother have always been close. But that’s fine. B is 7 years older than me, they are both into the same music and play/played in bands and have similar sense of humor. For some reason, even thought it used to at times, it doesn’t bother me as much. B wasn’t a “threat”. Dad still had a daughter and we just had a different relationship.

Until my dad apparently developed dementia and thinks my stepsister is his real daughter and now feels no need to include me in anything at all.

You see, my dad and his friends and my brother all go to this place every year. They rent cabins and go to a show on Saturday and they grill and hangout and have a good weekend. They look forward to it every year. Well, last year, my brother and his girlfriend had broken for a little bit, and B had an extra ticket to the show, so I was invited to go. Awesome. My dad’s friends are like extra uncles- they have been around my entire life. They are fun and I love seeing them. My stepsister was also invited last minute, but she was on fall break and whatever. Fine.

Well, this past weekend was the weekend away again. I knew it was coming. I was a little bummed that I wasn’t invited, but I figured dad assumed I wouldn’t want to spend the money on it. I am a grown up now and can’t expect dad to pay for everything, and if I had gone, I would have wanted to pay my part.

Until I get an e-mail today from my dad with the group picture they take every year and my stepsister is in the picture. (It’s taking all restraint I have to not have a million curse words in this. My text message to my brother did not contain such restraint.)

Just thinking about it makes me tear up and simultaneously want to punch someone.

I KNOW she didn’t pay her part. And, somehow, even though dad had talked to me about the trip, never once mentioned that she was going. Funny how that happens.

I’m beyond hurt. I feel empty. I feel like I’ve been replaced. My dad HAS a daughter. It’s just not the one he saw being born or took pictures of her on her first day of school or the girl he consoled when her first serious boyfriend broke up with her. It isn’t the girl he had nicknames for and went to choir concerts for. Nope. it’s the girl he’s know for less than 4 years. The girl who is rude to most people. But hey, she happens to be a theater major and does plays, so at least he has something to brag about, right? What do you say about the girl that was unemployed for 6 months, worked in retail for 8, and is now in grad school for English? No one gives a shit about that. That’s not impressive to his business contacts. No. Completely understandable why he’d trade us out.

I’m just done. I’m tired of feeling unwanted. I’m tired of feeling like a guest in the house I lived my entire life. I’m tired of not knowing what’s going on in the family. I’m tired of feeling like a needy 10 year old in family conversations, just trying to get any morsel of acknowledgement. It hurts too bad.

So maybe this Christmas business will be easier this year. Maybe I just won’t worry about trying to schedule time to see him. He already buys her really awesome presents and I get crappy sports team hoodies in big sizes. Guess it doesn’t hurt that she’s a size 4 and 5’10”. Yeah. I’d probably pick her over me too.


Filed under A little More About Me, Normal Family?, WTF

Adopted Family

Unfortunately, I don’t have a very close extended family. Both of my grandmas have passed away. I’ve never had a grandpa. My aunt and I, who I used to be VERY close with, have drifted after some tough and difficult situations and choices. All my aunts and cousins on my mom’s side live far away and we only see them at Thanksgiving or a funeral or wedding.

So while I love spending time with my parents and brother, I have missed the extended family time.

Luckily for me, Mr. A has a truly wonderful family, that since day one, has welcomed me with open arms and made me feel right at home. His granny went as far to say that I was always welcome back, even without him. And this was the first family event that I had been to. I love and miss that woman.

Mr. A and I have both lost our grandmothers that were very close to us. He was there for me as we watched my grandma struggle in her fight with ALS and he was there when she passed away. I knew what he was going through when his granny passed away while we were on our honeymoon in Mexico, so I tried to be as supportive as possible since I knew he was upset that we couldn’t be at home with his family. I almost hate saying “his family” and “my family”. It’s our family. Both sides are so incredibly loving and caring and open and welcoming. I couldn’t be more blessed.

So I was beyond excited when my MIL told me that Grandad, Aunt B and her husband J were going to come over for dinner. We were going to grill and watch the baseball game.

I’ve missed the family time and just laughing and enjoying company.

And Grandad is so funny.

He is 89 years old, still goes in to work every day. He’s healthy as a horse and only take a baby asprin everyday. Granny, however, was very sick and had heart problems. Well I guess she thought because she had to be so careful with her blood pressure, that if grandad’s blood pressure went up at all, it was a problem. When in reality, his blood pressure is perfect and if it rises a little, it’s a not problem.

Why am I talking about his health? Because he is a huge Cardinals baseball fan, but since last season when our team has been a little rocky and would give up big leads (like we did last night…), he said he couldn’t watch baseball anymore because his blood pressure would rise. Granny convinced him that he had heart problems too. It’s just funny.

But we figured with all of us hanging out and talking, he would be a little more distracted and so he could watch the game.

It was a good time. B and J had lots of pictures of all the cousins and our cousin’s adopted son from Africa. He is precious and love him and wish I got to see him more often.

This is really a rambling post to say I love family, even if it’s my “adopted” family. And I think I’ve spent more time with my MIL these past few days than I did with my husband. Oops? No. Not oops. It’s been a lot of fun and she has been doing so much for us and I know she needs some girl time, so I’m happy to do it. Did I mention that my flight is booked for Other State?

Yepp. I think July might be my favorite month.


Filed under Home Sweet Home, Life After College, Married Life, Normal Family?