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Calgon, Take Me Away (11 November 2006 - 7:51 a.m.)

Rebecca came home for the weekend, and brought her laptop with her, thank goodness. My computer is at work, where the Director of Technology offered to take a look at it. I hope he can fix the darn thing.

Yesterday was a very bad day. My mother and I had plans to visit the spot where Markís duck blind is located. Itís about an hour away from where we live. Right before my mother was due to pick me up, my youngest daughter dropped a bomb on me.

Apparently, she is flunking her college classes because she isnít going to them. Upon hearing this disturbing news, I tried to keep my cool. I reminded her that she had been told that her father and I would pay the bulk of her college costs as long as she did her part, but we wouldnít pay for failure. If she has to repeat courses that we already paid for, she will have to cover the cost herself.

She is attending a community college, and, with financial aid, the tuition is pretty inexpensive. That, however, is not the point. I canít afford to throw money away. These are the rules that both of our daughters are expected to abide by if they want us to pay for their education.

Leigh begs to differ. She went ballistic, and said it wasnít fair that I wouldnít give her a second chance. Personally, I think it isnít fair that she thinks we should pay for classes she canít be bothered to attend, and then pay for them AGAIN.

Leigh didnít stop there. Oh my, no. She had to go for the jugular.

In the midst of my extreme anguish over my brother, I found myself being viciously attacked by my daughter. Suddenly, she was yelling that I donít do anything for her. First on the list, I donít buy her clothes. For the most part, thatís true. She is 18 years old, and has a job where she earns a decent amount of money. In my basement, there is a mountain of her discarded clothing, some of it in almost new condition. She leaves it there to rot, or for someone else to deal with. Why should I add to the pile?

It is my responsibility to provide food and shelter, which I do. We are not financially secure. There are things around the house that need repair, but money is an issue. Leigh has no idea how we struggle to pay the mortgage and monthly household bills. More to the point, she doesnít care.

To my astonishment, she next had the nerve to accuse me of not feeding her. I cook dinner almost every night (and there are enough leftovers for the evenings when I donít feel up to it). However, Leigh rarely eats what I cook because she and her boyfriend prefer to eat out (at HER expense, I might add). Thatís HER choice, not MY failure to feed her! I cannot believe how far she will go to manipulate a situation to her advantage, or to try to make me look (and feel) bad.

Finally, I lost patience with her, and pointed out the fact that she does absolutely nothing to contribute to the operation of the household. She does not lift a finger, let alone a broom or a mop or a rake or a shovel or a dust rag. She doesnít even clean up her own messes. Every day when I get home from work, I find her crap all over the bathroom. Lights are left on all night. Her dishes, pots, glasses and silverware are left in the sink. Her hair is left to clog the bathtub drain, even though there is a sign on the bathroom door to serve as a reminder to wipe the tub after use, and remove any hair.

Instead of being grateful for how easy she has it, she blasts me for not doing enough. Instead of being sensitive to my grief over my brother, she kicks me when Iím down.

As usual, Leigh started yelling about how crazy and irrational I am, and called her father to tell HIM how crazy and irrational I was being. (I have been crazy and irrational plenty of times in my life, but, believe me, this was not one of them.) At that point, my mother arrived, and I had the pleasure of setting off for our already emotional outing feeling even more deeply shaken than I already was.

When I got home, I called The Ex to ask about his conversation with Leigh. He told her that he will pay for her spring semester, but if she repeats her past mistakes, thatís it. No more.

Yeah, right. I had to laugh. He and I had agreed on the rules about not paying for failure. He is always telling me that if she doesnít pull her weight, we have to put our foot down and stop enabling her. He advises me to tell her that if she doesnít go to school, she has to pay rent. He says I might even do best to encourage her to move out on her own. Heís always ready to tell me what I should do, but, when push comes to shove, he doesnít follow his own advice. So, of course, Iím left looking like the bad guy.

That wasnít the end of yesterdayís unpleasantness. Not by a long shot, although it was the most hurtful. My mother is in a very bad place Ė full of paranoia, bitterness and resentment. Itís extremely difficult to deal with. There is also some ugly drama going on about funeral expenses, when (if) Markís body is recovered. Suffice it to say that I have my hands full.

I do want to talk about these things, but canít right now. This entry is long enough, and has taken a lot out of me. Besides, I have much to do. My sister, Michele, wants to see Markís duck blind, so I said Iíd go with her today. Tomorrow, the family is meeting at my house for a big powwow. We have to decide what to do about Markís apartment, personal belongings, etc.

My computer crashed, and I just might be next. I donít want to do any of this any more. I want to run away.

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