Momma is in the hospital.

My mother took a fall today and broke one of her legs. It looks to be a pretty bad break and she’ll probably be in the hospital for a few days as they sort out what to do about it. I don’t have a lot of details at the moment, but as soon as I do I’ll post an update.

This means my blogging will probably continue to be somewhat light as I’ll probably be involved in helping take care of her or my Dad at some point in the near future as she recovers. I’m making an effort to try to get back into blogging more often, but this will obviously occupy some of my time and attention. In the meantime I invite anyone who’s registered an account to submit entries which I’ll attempt to get posted ASAP.

Grandma goes to jail for slapping cussing granddaughter in Florida.

In what is sure to be painted by the religious far right as another sign of how America is going to hell in a hand basket, 73-year-old Theresa Collier was arrested in Florida for slapping her potty mouthed granddaughter:

Collier says she invited her 18-year-old granddaughter, Felicia Collier, to her house so she could use her computer to do homework.

Felicia is finishing her senior year online after getting kicked out of Catholic school in Massachusetts, Collier explained.

“She said F-off to a nun!  I would just crawl into a hole,” said Collier.

On Tuesday, the newly turned 18-year-old did not want to obey her commands to complete her assignments.

“She kept repeating the F-word to me, about the whole family.  She just went on and on and I just got so upset, I got up and slapped her across the face,” she told 10 Connects, “She grabbed my wrists and I couldn’t get out of it and she let one go and she punched me in the cheek here.”

Sounds like Grandma and her granddaughter didn’t spend much time together as it was. She seems to be somewhat surprised by the girl’s actions so that suggests she doesn’t really know her.

Anyway, the granddaughter called police who showed up and promptly arrested the Grandmother for battery despite the young woman pleading with them not to do so and she spent the next 24 hours in jail.

“I went to medical, they take my blood pressure, it was sky high and he says, my God!  And I said, ‘Can you blame my blood pressure?’ ” said Collier.

“My wife of 52 years went to Catholic Parochial school, went to church, she’s a good strong Catholic and raised four kids and no one ever spoke to her like that,” said her husband, Walter Collier.

Well, someone has spoken to her like that now. I suggest she either gets used to it, learns to restrain her slappy impulse, or doesn’t hang out in Florida too much.

Because as it turns out, dear Grandma is a victim of the rule of unintended consequences. Here, I’ll let the police explain:

While Collier’s arrest seems out of line, under the law, a battery was committed.

“Legally she’s 18-years-old, so while I understand the difference between corporal punishment on a child, disciplining your child for using poor language, this is an 18-year-old child,” said Lt. Mike Loux, with the Largo Police Department.

Lt. Loux says his department has a mandatory arrest policy when it comes to domestic violence calls, so someone had to go to jail.

“If an officer on scene finds probable cause to arrest a person, because they’ve committed domestic battery, then our policy is a mandatory arrest of that person,” said Lt. Loux, “The discretion does not come because the victim does not want to prosecute.  It doesn’t come because the victim has remorse for calling police.”

In short, the kid isn’t a kid as far as the law is concerned and if you go around slapping adults you can and will be charged with battery and if it looks even remotely like domestic abuse in Florida that particular police department will haul your ass in and charge you. It’s that whole zero-tolerance policy showing what a bad idea it is once again. The police don’t have the option of discretion without violating the policy and the unwillingness of the victim to press charges is not enough to keep them from being applied. Which makes sense as it’s often the case in domestic abuse situations that the victims are unwilling to press charges.

The article appears to be painting this as an example of the police overreacting to a spoiled brat getting what she deserves, but if you look at it logically it went down the way it was supposed to when you take the power of discretion away from the police. It’s a reminder that it’s important to consider the rules and laws you set up before you enact them.

Should Grandma have the right to slap a mouthy grandchild? Lots of people seem to think so, but in this day and age of greater awareness of domestic abuse you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law if you do. Best not to associate with them if you don’t like their attitude.

Happy 75th Birthday to my Mother.

Technically Momma turns 75 tomorrow, but we’re celebrating a day early because it’s the one day everyone has off and can gather at her place. I can never put into words just how lucky I was to have her for a mother. Especially compared to some of my friend’s mothers or just some of the ones you read about in the newspaper. She taught me well over the years and has always been there to lend an ear when I was troubled, and often times more than that when a car needed fixin’ or an unexpected emergency put us in a bind. She often went without so that us kids had what we needed. She is the reason I do not have a troubled past checkered with various criminal offenses.

So a very happy birthday to my mother, without whom I wouldn’t be here today (quite literally). I hope she has many more yet to come. If you’d like to give her some well wishes you can do so here or on her blog.

This post will say nothing important.

Because I’ve been busier than usual the past few days and haven’t been able to post much so here’s a roundup. Thursday night Anne and I went to see Jonathan Coulton live in concert at The Ark here in Ann Arbor. It’s a very small venue which meant even sitting in the very back row you got a great view. We had reserved seats that put us fairly close, but not so close that our hearing was damaged by the sound system. That evening was the first time I had seen the duo Paul and Storm, who often perform with JoCo, do their own act as the opening band. They have some pretty funny stuff and are a great warm up for Jonathan. Afterward we bought a P&S CD and a JoCo USB 2GB Flashdrive that has every song he’s ever done with all the album artwork and other stuff preloaded on it. Then we got in line for the meet and greet thinking we were at the end only to end up at the beginning where we got to be the first to express our enjoyment to the man himself as well as snap this pic:

Click to embiggen!

Which was very cool indeed. It’s a great show and if you get the chance to catch him live in your town I would highly recommend it.

Friday work was hectic as hell and I only got time to put up the last entry which was mainly a YouTube video. Yesterday was spent over at family friend’s Darlene and Michael’s place where I returned the desktop PC I fixed for them. They treated us to a wonderful homemade Chicken Alfredo dinner and then I played some WoW with Mike while the girls played cards. Today will be busy running a couple of errands before heading over to the in-law’s place to celebrate a birthday for Anne’s sister Alica.

So, yea, fairly non-stop for the past few days, but a good kind of busy. I did find time to get my emo jack o’  lantern into the window, but that’s been the extent of our Halloween decorations so far. I’m hoping to get a few more things up before the day arrives. We’ll actually be attending a Halloween party this year so we’re also looking into costume ideas.

How about you guys? Anyone dressing up? If you are, what are you dressing up as? Any suggestions for costume ideas for me?

It’s 2AM. I can’t sleep. My daughter is leaving home.

Courtney left back at the end of May to spend the summer with her biological mother in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to get reacquainted with her. She told me she’d be back in August after her birthday to return to school at WCC in the fall. I was nervous about her spending three months away from home, but I thought it would be a good thing for her relationship with her mom. Then in June she called and told me that she was taking a job on Mackinaw Island for the rest of the summer and that it would mean she’d miss the first semester of school. I wasn’t thrilled with this idea to say the least and I told her that, as she was 18 years of age, it was her decision but I thought it was a very bad idea to miss school. It doesn’t help that Mackinaw is four hours away if she got into trouble and needed my help. She decided to go anyway and was upset with me that I didn’t support that decision. Today, well yesterday afternoon now, I got an email from her in which she explained that she would be sticking with the job through to its end in October (she had an option to leave in August, but she’d miss out on a bonus) and that she wouldn’t be attending the fall semester at WCC. That, in fact, she would be moving back in with her mom for a few months until she could get a job, buy a car, and find some roommates to move in with. She said she would be signing up to attend the community college in Grand Rapids and eventually to the local university.

Needless to say I was both surprised and hurt by this announcement. Surprised because I had honestly thought she’d be coming back home sooner or later and hurt because she opted to send it as an email rather than call me directly. I’ve been trying to reach her for the past several days because there was some paperwork she needed to fill out to complete financial aid and I was getting worried that something had happened as she hadn’t called me back. It was then I realize she had been ignoring my calls as she tried to figure out how to tell me she was leaving home. She didn’t really offer an explanation as to why she had made this decision, just that she had made it and that I shouldn’t try to talk her out of it. She assured me it wasn’t that she suddenly hated me, just that she needed to figure out what she wants and what is best for her. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I sent back a reply saying that I respected her decision, but that I was hurt by the means in which it was communicated. That I loved her very much, missed her, and that I hoped I’d hear from her from time to time. That she would always have a place here if she needed it and that I was only a phone call away.

Courtney will turn 19 years old in another 10 days. She came to live with me almost exactly 10 years ago just before she turned 9 when her mother got into legal trouble. She’s been a daily part of my life for a decade and she’s helped make me into a much better man than I might have been otherwise. I always figured she’d be moving out at some point in the next few years, but I always thought I’d have more forewarning and that she’d be closer to home. Without an explanation I can only assume that she was unhappy here and never told me. It is true that she and I and Anne have butted heads over college and such, but I thought we had a better relationship than we apparently did. At least good enough that news like the above would have warranted a phone call.

Thinking back over the past several months there were a few clues that I should have picked up on. At one point in the lead up to her leaving for her mom’s she asked me if life would be better if she wasn’t around. I told her of course not and asked her if she planned on moving in with her mother permanently or something. She told me no at the time. There was also a phone conversation a couple of weekends ago where I asked her if she had decided whether she was going to leave Mackinaw in August or stay until October. She hadn’t decided yet. So I asked her to let me know where I would need to go to pick her up and bring her home. She told me her mom would bring her home and I didn’t need to worry about it. I thought it odd that she’d drive all the way to Mackinaw and then all the way down to Ann Arbor, but Courtney assured me it wasn’t a problem when I asked. I should have probably realized then that something was up.

I am, naturally, blaming myself for this. Both my wife and my mother have tried to make me feel better and told me not to beat myself up over this, but it’s hard not to. I’ve not heard much from her since she left back in May, a few phone calls is all, and without an explanation as to why I am left to speculate on what I did, or didn’t do, that made her decide it was time to leave. It doesn’t help at all that she indicated that once she was back at her mom’s in October she’d set about collecting her belongings from us which suggests, to me at least, not only a permanence but a desire to cut all ties with us. It’s like the last 10 years never happened. Perhaps it’s nothing I did or didn’t do. Perhaps it’s not an indication of my failure as a father. Perhaps it’s all something she’s just decided she had to do. And perhaps it’s all of those things. I don’t know.

I just know this isn’t how I had envisioned this event taking place. I know that I’ve missed having her a daily part of my life for the past couple months. I know that I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. And I know that it’s now 2:40AM and I’m really going to regret allowing my anxiety and insecurity keep me awake when I need to be up for work at 6AM. So I’m headed back to bed to see if I can’t manage at least a couple of hours.

Retro Flashback to the 80’s! (#Blogathon)

Well that flashback to the 70’s was so popular that I thought I’d do one for the 80’s. This pic is from a Christmas morning circa 1985 or ‘86. I was probably 17 at the time.

Click to embiggen!

Looking at me now it’s hard to believe I used to be that skinny. And had that much hair. And no beard.

Retro Flashback to the 70’s! (#Blogathon)

Somehow we got around to discussing the 70’s on the live video feed and I felt compelled to dig out and post the following picture of me, my mother, and sister from some time in the 70’s. Fear the plaid pants:

Click to embiggen, IF YOU DARE!

I’m not sure how old I am in that picture. I’d guess 8 or 9 years. Man I hated those pants.

A belated birthday wish for my little sister.

My younger sister Cindy had a birthday yesterday and I completely forgot to post a Happy Birthday Wish like I had intended to. All through the day there was something in the back of my head prompting me that I was forgetting something, but I couldn’t put my finger on what. Then when I logged into my computer at work this morning and saw the date it suddenly occurred to me what I had been forgetting. In my defense, however, I will point out that I remembered to get and send off a birthday gift for her prior to her birthday. So I’m only late in publicly acknowledging it.

So here’s a day-late Happy Birthday Wish for my sister. She’s now 37-years-old and slowly creeping up on having life insurance commercials include her birth year in their ads. Then she can feel old like her older brothers. If you get a chance drop by her blog and leave a comment. Maybe ask her how she’s survived 37 years with me for a brother.

My Uncle Dan has passed away.

My mother called last night with word that her youngest brother had died around noon that day. He was 65 years-old. His death wasn’t entirely unexpected as he’s been battling cancer for some time and had been in and out of the hospital more than once recently. Still that doesn’t make hearing the news any easier to take.

Of the three uncles I had on that side of the family my Uncle Dan was my favorite. Uncle Bob died when I was fairly young and I barely remember him. My Uncle Gene, who passed away two years ago, always scared the hell out of me as a kid so I never got particularly close to him. So my Uncle Dan was the one I got to know the best. He was the goofy uncle who was always laughing and making jokes. So much so that when he occasionally became serious about some topic it was always a bit of a shock to me. Growing up ADD without knowing it I always felt like a bit of a goof-ball outsider myself and my Uncle Dan was the first person to show me that it was OK to be a bit of a goof-ball. As a result my Uncle Dan’s passing will probably be the hardest of the three for me emotionally.

I didn’t react with any grief at first hearing the news—it always takes a couple of hours before it really sinks in for me—but I could hear the emotion in my mother’s voice. She’s the oldest of four and she’s now outlived all of her younger brothers. I grieve not just for myself, but for the pain I know she must be going through. There seems to be a commonality among oldest children that they often feel responsible for their younger siblings. It’s a role they never seem to grow out of, my problems with my own older brother are probably rooted in that very issue, and I know my mother often saw herself as being responsible for her brothers. Not that there’s anything she could have done in this situation, my Uncle succumbed to cancer, but rationality often takes a flying leap in the face of strong emotions.

Needless to say I didn’t sleep well last night so it’s going to be a long day at work today. I doubt I’ll be able to make it down to Florida for the funeral due to financial issues, but I wish I could be there. I’d been meaning to take a trip down to see my aunt and uncle and cousins for years, but time and money just didn’t line up to make it possible. That only makes me feel worse about not making it to the funeral. This is the part of the entry where I would normally close with some pithy insight into the nature of life and death, but I don’t have anything to offer on the front.

A belated birthday wish…

… for my dad is due. His birthday was actually yesterday, but we’re making the trip to spend some time with him today as Anne had to work. My dad has reached the 68 year old milestone and, despite some health issues, is still plugging along pretty well.

So here’s a belated Happy Birthday wish for my Dad. Here’s hoping he has many more years to come!