Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened at the Prison

About a week prior to the X's birthday, I figured out that his big day fell on a Saturday... visiting day at the prison. Back in June, I had decided not to take the girls to see their father for Father's Day as he had requested due to the fact that I was busy helping my own dad with his house addition, and felt that I should spend Father's Day weekend helping the man who has been there for me through thick and thin and has sacrificed so much for his own children rather than taking my girls to see the man who abused me and neglected them and sold us all down the river for his own hedonistic desires. Now that his birthday was approaching, I thought that I would be nice and take the girls to visit him as a surprise.

I dreaded the visit the entire week. We drove the hour and a half to the prison and then entered... the Karma Zone.

The guard at the front desk looked up X's rap sheet. She said to me, "He was convicted of violation of a protective order." "Was that against you?"

I answered yes.

She said, "You're a victim."

Now this is where I would normally vehemently deny that I was a "victim". I would proudly state that I was a "survivor". But I wasn't in the mood to argue symantics with this tough looking female guard. I knew what she meant. I HAD BEEN a victim of X.

I told her that when I had filled out the request to be on X's visiting list, I had marked "YES" on the question that asked if I was a victim of this inmate.

She said that if she had been the one to intially approve me as his visitor, then she deserved to be kicked. She got on the phone and had someone pull X's file. The form I had sent did indeed have a check mark beside "YES" on the victim question. However, she hadn't approved me... someone else had. She then proceeded to inform me that I should never have been approved as X's visitor, and she would remove me from his list.

Then she said, "He was also convicted of domestic violence in the presence of children." "Are these the children?"

I again answered yes.

She then informed me that she would also be taking them off his visiting list. I think she thought I would be disappointed or try to talk her into leaving us on the list. I think she thought this would be bad news. I told her that this was great. Now I wouldn't have to take them to see him... and I couldn't even let his mother or other member of his family take them to see him. They COULDN'T visit him. And best of all... I wasn't going to be the "bad guy" in this. The system would be.

She walked me out to my car and apologized for breaking the girls' hearts. I looked in the back seat of the car, and they didn't look the least bit brokenhearted. They were playing and laughing. I think it was a relief for them also.

She and I had a smoke together and discussed domestic violence and our experiences with it. I gave her the URL for Our Place and told her that it is a great resource to pass on to victims of abuse.

The girls and I had a pleasant drive home, and I felt very relieved. I only had a tinge of regret that we didn't get to see him because, after all, it was his birthday. But it wasn't MY doing. Yay! I get to let someone else take the blame.

Karma is sweet!

More Thoughts on Moving Home

There are so many things I love about my hometown. I had forgotten a lot of the individual things over the last nine years I had been living elsewhere, but I needed only to sit on my back porch my first night there to remember many of them. It was dark; darker than the city I had been living in; and I could see so many more stars in the sky. I could actually find more constellations than just the Big Dipper and Orion. The semi-rural smell of the air. The lack of traffic noise. And the grand finale... the sound of a train running along the nearby tracks!

I've missed you, my old friend. There truly is no place like home.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There's No Place Like Home - July Highlights

The big event in July for our family wasn't the Stadium of Fire (yes, I did pay for and endure the torture that is the combination of the right-wing schtick of Glenn Beck and the whiney, breathy, pre-pubescent, bubblegum-pop stylings of the Jonas Brothers for my little girls -- I AM a good mom, damn it!)

No, the really big event in July was a move back to my hometown... not just my hometown, but my childhood neighborhood. It's a three-bedroom with a huge utility/laundry room and a cellar for storing all my sentimental crap. It's huge compared to the place where we had been living the past 18 months. It's just blocks away from my parents and older two children. And the landlord completely gutted and remodeled it just before we moved in. Beautiful!

We are no longer forced to hide our cats from a landlord. This is a cat-friendly home. We no longer have to hide the fact that we are smokers. The landlord is a smoker too, and has no qualms about our smoking on the patio. In other words, the place is about as close to perfect as it gets. Except for the spiders... lots of creepy spiders... ewwww.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vegas Baby! / June Highlights

My sister and I made the journey to Sin City the first weekend in June for a retreat. The retreat was for people involved in several abuse-related websites. I first became a member of a certain verbal abuse website forum back in April 2003, and have gotten to know these people over the past six years. One of the amazing members of that website created her own forum a few years ago ( Thanks, Carly! Then last fall there were some strange happenings on the original forum (that I won't name here) and the wonderful and wise administrators created their own website and forum and many of us jumped ship and made our way to Our Place (the link is at the top left corner of my blog just under the header).

Photobucket Emily, Ken and I at Harrah's

The retreat was held at the Imperial Palace and arranged by Carly... Thanks again, Carly!

Photobucket Carly winning "big"

There were a total of ten of us there. Two from the Southern California area, three from the Las Vegas area, one from Louisianna, one from Maryland, one from New York (via England via Australia), and my sister and I from Utah. It was so great to get to meet these amazing people in person after "knowing" them from the forum for so long. We rode to the top of the Eifel Tower,


went to the karaoke bar at the Imperial Palace,

Photobucket At the Karaoke Bar

watched the fountain show at The Bellagio and toured the Bellagio gardens. We went to Fremont Street and enjoyed a free concert and the light shows.


Rode the monorail and best of all, had a private brunch where we were able to all sit around and talk.

Photobucket Brunch in the Koko Room

Everyone there was so warm, kind, intelligent, and fun. And everyone there was a survivor of domestic abuse. These beautiful people are a testament that there IS life after abuse and it's a GOOD LIFE.

It was a wonderful trip. I enjoyed driving down with and sharing a room with my sister. We haven't been to Vegas together since 1998.

Photobucket Ken and his Harley

Photobucket LOVE his license plate!

I ended up gambling very little. I won about $10 on a Kenny Rogers slot machine, and then lost $20 in one quick swoop on the roulette table. All in all it was a great retreat.