Category Archives: psychological control

“Pet Peeves”

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How aggravating!

How annoying!

Nuisances.

If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

I have some gripes to express. Hope you will tell me what your

main ‘beefs’ with other people are!

 

1. “Repetitive complainers.”

You give advice to help them.

You try a different piece of advice

the next time.

You feel like you are ‘spinning wheels.’

Finally, when none of the thoughtful

approaches you have given to these,

‘whiners,’ you give up.

You hope they find someone else to

listen to them:

“Just because I am nice, doesn’t mean I want

to listen to you!”

 

2. “Sloppy parkers.”

Everywhere you go, there are ones

who feel their prize possession requires

two spots. Why not add to our relief and

your longer life, by parking far out in

the boondocks? Walking is so good for you

and your ‘car is safe’ out there!

The other ones, who go hand in hand with

these special car owners, are the ones who

bump your car with their door.

“My car is ‘special’ to me, so please use your

manners!”

 

3. Potluck ‘no shows.’

When the list is passed around, they add their

choice of homemade dish or dishes. They are

sometimes able to give a very good excuse for

not following through, lack of participation.

But, there are a few who ‘slide’ into line, get

a plate and you absolutely know they could

not even bring $2 hot dog buns or $1 pop.

Everyone has one ‘free pass’ I feel at our work

potlucks, but I know of a few who have NEVER

brought something to share.

“Come on, don’t you feel a little guilty about

not bringing anything?”

 

Family potlucks are different, I like to bring

extras, to cover those who have run out of time

or are short on money. Again, it is okay to bring

crackers or fresh produce out of one’s garden. . .

“Love means not having to bring anything but

oneself.”

 

4. “Borrowers.”

I have several in my work and apt. buildings.

Sometimes, it is no big deal, a quarter for laundry,

an egg or a cup of sugar. A little something, over

and over again,  does add up, though.

I have given once a week 25 cents to someone at work,

in a month it is a dollar…

If I need to borrow, I always come back the next day

and return the money. Mainly, due to my age and

forgetfulness, I do this.

The next time I shop, returning the egg is at the top

of my list of ‘things to do,’ sometimes adding a couple

of cookies or whatever I have noted they like.

Those borrowers are~

“Nickel and diming my good nature away!”

Please give back!

 

5. “Ride Takers.”

I like to help out, I honestly do. But there is someone

who actually had me take them through the drive-thru

and did not offer to buy a pop or iced tea on a long, hot

day!

When I have sometimes chosen to slow down and roll

down the window, seeing someone I know walking, that

is my choice. But there are now 2 people who linger at

our lockers, waiting outside having a cigarette or just

standing by my car, to get their rides.

Recently I have developed a thicker skin and have said,

“I have somewhere else I have to go, after work, which is

going to take me a different direction.”

Offer something to repay kindnesses.

 

6. “People who don’t know how to whisper.”

If you ever see the Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James

Gandolfini, someone put this right into the script!

That movie, “Enough Said,” includes few of my little

‘pet peeves’ that others do, that get on my nerves.

In the movie, it is actually a date at a movie theater,

where James’ character is not able to whisper but

uses a normal talking voice. If I really liked (or loved)

someone who did this, knowing they were not able

to do the quiet voice, I would just have to watch DVD’s

and use the ‘pause’ button, often! I cannot stand it

when there are people talking loudly for more than

a minute or two, at the library. I try to not glower or

give them my ‘mother’ or ‘teacher’ stare.

Try to refrain talking, if you have been told you have

a loud whisper.

 

7. “Frequent Guests/Rare, if ever, Hosts.”

Now, I may be’ treading on thin ice’ on this subject.

I know that I tend to have people come over and I

do enjoy their company. I loved this much more

when I lived in a nice, big house!

There was a certain friend who had been to my apt. about

3-4 x monthly, which means at least 40 times in one year,

making the total of over 80 times in two years. She thinks

she is saving me from driving her direction, a few miles

away. Once she comes over, she is hard to get back out of

my place. Worse still, is sometimes when we have made plans

to go somewhere, I will try to meet her at the door. She had

started to come early, though. Then I have her sitting in my

apartment watching me put on my makeup.

I guess this sounds funny or petty. I have picked her up at her

mobile home, which I can see from my car, that she has a nice

place, pretty curtains and some landscaping. I have NEVER

been asked in, before or after our times out. I have hinted by

saying, “If you let me come over for coffee sometime, I will

have a better idea of what kind of gift I may buy for your

birthday or Christmas.”

By sitting in my apartment, I have given her a sandwich,

cookies, chips, coffee, tea, pop, a few glasses of wine and

even, accidentally her spying my Godiva bag of chocolates

on a shelf when I opened the cabinet to get something else

to give her, I have felt ‘forced’ to share my chocolates!

This is ‘horrible’ to admit, but I have started saying,

“Let’s drive separately, I will meet you at the movies (or

wherever we have determined we should go together.)”

Take turns with your friends.

 

8. “One’s Situation is Always Worse Than Yours.”

I don’t think that I dwell on my misfortunes, in fact it

is only when a circumstance resembling my own comes

out in a conversation, will I mention how I have handled

my personal challenges in life.

This example is more easily described as, “Debby Downers,”

or “My Life Sucks More Than Anything You Say Is Going On

With Yours.” My daughter calls them, “Negative Nancy’s.”

While in high school, my Mom noticed this about a good

friend of mine, she even felt that it was her place to tell this

teenager that she needed to be able to ‘rise’ above some of

her circumstances and really, try to find some kind of ‘silver

lining’ in her life. Mom also started a little bit of silly passive

aggressive behavior, I am sure it went unnoticed by my girl-

friend. When the friend would call, she always asked, “Is

Robin there?” My Mom would say, “Yes.” There would be

dead silence. My Mom would wait it out. My friend would

finally ask, “Can I talk to her?” Mom, (English and Spanish

high school teacher) would say, “I suppose.” Tick. Tick. Tick.

Finally she would say, “May I speak with Robin?”

As my Mom was generous, she would often ask this friend,

who really was sometimes annoying (even) to me, “Would you

like something to drink?” The answer, invariably was, “Yes.”

My Mom would list a few choices, if it were the weekend, they

included juice, milk, iced tea or pop. This friend seriously

would say, “I don’t care.” My Mom would sit down and not

pursue the matter again, until the next time she came over.

I did not get to the point of giving her up, until we were in our

fifties. I was so understanding of her divorces, I was so helpful

with painting designs on her walls and her granddaughter’s

dresser. I understood that she has fibromyalgia, I volunteered

to weed armpit-high weeds, cleaning her basement and her

kitchen for her son’s high school graduation party. I served

the food, having brought two side dishes and a graduation card

with enclosure of money. Even when I worked two jobs, I was

able to spend time with her, since I did feel that she had few

people who cared about her. Her own sister would not invite

her to holidays. Her father would come down and take her out

to eat and then drive back to Cleveland. (Her mother passed

away when we were adults and parents of our own children.

I attended her mother’s funeral and she attended my Dad’s.)

Then, one holiday she showed up with her son and his girlfriend

uninvited for a Thanksgiving meal. I opened the door and then

closed it partway saying, “Maybe I should check with my parents,

this is possibly my Dad’s last holiday with his grandkids.”

I kept them waiting on the front doorstep. My Mom offered to go

and tell her, “No, this is beyond rude.” My oldest daughter said

she would go to the door and say, “Sorry this isn’t a good time.”

Finally, my ex-husband went to the door and I heard him say,

“Holidays are not times to show up unexpectedly. Thanks for the

kind thoughts about my father-in-law’s cancer. (She did not say

a word about him at this time.) Happy Thanksgiving.”

(Myex’s Christian upbringing came to the forefront, for which I am

ever grateful.)

When he came back to the living room, having heard his deep voice

carried into the living room, my Dad said, “Who was that woman?

Are solicitors allowed to come on holidays?” We all chuckled and let

the funny Cracker Barrel fish sing its silly tune, which we tended to

have for his last Christmas, too. (“Take me to the river…”)

 

9. Last but not least- –

“People Who Root for the Opposition.”

Those who have lived more than 20 years in a state,

who may have been avid fans of another state’s team,

note that sometimes you may have more fun, if you

decide to ‘switch alliances.’

I have a friend who lived in Michigan for all of three

years of her life. Karen will not wear any Ohio team

shirt days, she is always there with her blue and gold.

I totally understand people who were dislodged from

their homes or who grew up for years in a location but I

will say this, my parents grew up as Cincinnati Fans.

They both attended U. of C. liked Cincy Bengals and

Cincy. Reds, too.

They moved to Cleveland, immediately purchasing

all the Cleveland gear needed to support their new

home town. I am not sure whether anyone will find

this amusing, but I think that being in Ohio Wesleyan’s

back yard, I bought an OWU shirt, black and red. I

still wear my BGSU t-shirt and zip-up orange jacket. Just

while visiting Bowling Green or up in Cleveland.

While walking around Delaware, Ohio, I enjoy supporting

the university and being a ‘townie!’

I just have to wonder, when everyone at work is wearing

scarlet and gray, why not indulge in a purchase of an OSU

t-shirt? Why not wear the blue and maize at home, in front

of your television? But I don’t think this is a big pet peeve,

after all, we have lots of fun talking about Cleveland,

since you lived there, too. WE enjoy talking about the good

old Terminal Tower, Ghoulardi, The Ghoul, Big Chuck and

Houlihan… Why not get a Cleveland Browns’ shirt or a

Cleveland Indians’ t-shirt?

“Commit to your Home Town or Home State.”

Now, that I have taken too much of your time up in my list

of ‘pet peeves,’

What’s one of your ‘beefs?”

Who gets your ‘goat?’

Who gives you ‘grief?’

Come on now…

“Let’s Dish!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grown-Ups Here

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We are all “grown ups” here, I hope! I realize there are occasional young

people that are part of the blogging community that may wander in and

read one of my posts. There are ones who are as young as high school or

college who may stop by. I believe anyone who is logged into wordpress

or have their own blog are able to hear about a wide variety of subject

matters, or make the choice to ‘move on.’ I also think everyone should

read other posts, just in case the first one is just not your ‘cup of tea.’

Today, I am not trying to ‘start something,’ nor wishing to add too much

controversy in your lives. I don’t wish to shake you up or create drama

that you aren’t interested in.

I am hoping for a conversation about relationships.

The working relationship between the characters of Boothe and Temperance,

in the television series, “Bones,” had a great quotation that I will try to paraphrase

to give its essence:

(Boothe to Bones)

“Our perceptions are always colored by what we want to believe and hope for.”

I will share just some recent things that have caused me to ‘draw conclusions’

on the subject of couples.

Everyone has read or seen the subject, “Signs You Need to Break-up,” on the

television, in articles and on talk shows. Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, all have

their opinions and judgments.

I always hope you (my friends and family) will know and make that choice on

your own.

There are times, though, that you may feel as a good friend or family member,

that you have a right to express your opinion. You are my ‘family’ of sorts and

I wish to share reasons I would ‘give up’ rather than ‘fight’ to stay in a rocky

relationship.

You sometimes know, instinctively, when you have heard a person tell you about

someone who seems a little bit “off” or “wrong” for that friend.

Here are some strange and real examples observed or told to me by friends.  .  .

When You Know Things Are Going Wrong or

When You Need to Dis-Connect:

1. Calling one of the members of your ‘couple’ (spouse/partner) “Selfish.”

This is something that I could not believe someone said recently around me.

In this case, I would need to find out why that person was being considered

‘selfish’ and tend to think the one who is ‘name-calling,’ may not be meeting

that other person’s needs.

2. Using derogatory comments, with possible swear words, in a group or

family setting.

In this time, I was at a play area, where the person said this to the other one,

in a loud voice, while children were playing near by.

This would be, truly, a cause for leaving someone. Sorry, I don’t play around

with ‘maybe’s!!’

3. When you walk into a home, where the people are not great-grandparents,

and there are two Lazy-Boy’s, side by side, with an end table in between.

I am wondering how long have these people been living on parallel chairs,

with no bodies touching?

4. One participant in a relationship, who is not open for any counseling nor

discussions about improvements. There is a big, final door shutting on this

couple, I hear about at work.

5. Shorter version, not open to friendly (not nagging) suggestions and gets

hurt and insulted ‘easily’ by the other member in the couple.

6. One excuse after another, even when there is no financial nor scheduling

challenges, for having a ‘date night’ and time away from children.

7. One excuse after another, for months on end, with no physical or emotional

reasons behind these excuses, (unfounded excuses) for refusing any kind of

intimacy.

I would recommend the frank and explicit film, “The Sessions.” Our library has

it, it is about a man who is a parapalegic who has sexual healing sessions with a

physical intimacy counselor, played by Helen Hunt. It is very touching, I cried. I

felt that someone who is fully capable of having romance, will realize that it is a

gift to be able to do so.

This was brought up in a painfully honest, step by step movie, on how to get the

‘spark’ back into your marriage, in “Hope Springs.” It is not, in any way, funny.

But so honest and brutally true of some couples with their lives on hold, for

whatever reason. (Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep and Steve Carrell, in a

serious role as a counselor.)

8. In a shorter version of #6 and #7, one person ‘putting distance’ into a

relationship. There is something wrong, this needs to be fixed before it is

irreparably repaired or broken.

9. No ‘big’ secrets kept between members of a family.

10. There is an uneven distribution of ‘power’ or ‘control’ in the couple.

This can be quite upsetting, when you see one or both covering up this

but other times, the truth slips out. Control and abuse are both forgivable

situations for separation or divorce, in my mind.

(Not going to worry about the Bible, since there are not any passages to

support this. It is okay to leave if your partner leaves ‘first’ and you don’t

need to follow. This is the only example of infidelity being a reason for

leaving, that the Bible addresses. No words about if the person is being

abused, emotionally or physically.)

They fester, rot and eventually tear apart the foundation of trust and love.

There are many ways to have a wonderful relationship and it is no one’s

business but the two of you, unless it is a confidential, impartial member of

the clergy, physician, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist or member of the

medical field.

My friend, Melvin, is not embarrassed to talk about how his girlfriend has

undergone different surgeries, outcomes of having cancer in her internal

‘private’ areas. He doesn’t broadcast them, but when she had a colostomy

bag, due to her having colon cancer, she and he dealt with this. When she

had an ileostomy, due to having something go seriously wrong with her

urinary tract, they managed to get through this, too. She has improved her

health, taken steps to have both chemo and radiation, so now the “stoma’s”

are the only physical remainders of her having both urine and fecal ‘bags.’

Melvin once confided in me, that he and his girlfriend have found ‘ways

around the different complications’ to ‘express their love for each other.’

After 15 years together, that is wonderful and admirable, that they realized

that they still needed to feel physically connected.

We have had a few comments back and forth, last summer when I brought

up that I was contemplating intimacy with a man I had dated for over a month.

I was hesitant, I gave a few humorous examples of how three women plus

myself had told on our more embarrassing parts of ‘growing older.’ That post,

with different stimulants, varied physical challenges ended with one of the

women sharing a strange and uncomfortable position. Anyway, hope that it

is okay to tell you that I agree with Melvin.

There should be ‘no limits’ to the ways you would engage in closeness, with

another person. As long as Both Parties are comfortable and agree. If there

are parts that are not satisfying, then being open to changing the parts but

adding something else to enhance the happy feelings and connectedness

one feels while engaged in romantic activities. When there are physical

challenges, “there are always alternatives for both parties involved,” my

friend Melvin shared with me.

After we talked out in the parking lot, Melvin asked me if I felt like we

should not have ‘stepped into this area of discussion,’ being friends and

coworkers. I felt very blessed and happy by knowing them. Melvin’s girl

friend and he were able to overcome their obstacles, working like a ‘team.’

I told him I had high hopes to have someone who treated me with the

same respect and consideration that the two of them expressed for

each other. They were ‘blessed’ for this union of lives together. I am so

happy that Melvin kept with Diane, despite these physical challenges.

Melvin then reminded me Diane no longer has them, since they hung

on, through it. He said,

“We may be not married, but we treat our feelings like ‘vows,’ and the

one about ‘for better or worse,’ continues to apply to us.”

 

I ended the ‘personal space’ dialogue by saying,

“Of all the things my parents talked about and what I learned from their

own personal lives, sex is not the weirdest topic covered!”

He burst out laughing and we got into our own separate cars. Happy to

have an open-minded friend to share some personal moments with, once

in awhile.

A Special Memorial for Ben

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Ten Years Ago Today

February 24, 2004

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ben. He liked

wild and domestic animals and studied dinosaurs. He

enjoyed information, found in books and on computers.

He was filled with the love of learning and curiosity

about space and limitless galaxies.

When Ben played encyclopedia games on the computer to

learn about wild animals, he would become immersed in

their worlds.

This was the eighties; when his babysitter’s Dad who

loved this scientific aspect of the boy, set up all

kinds of World Book and Discovery programs challenging

Ben’s interests and his need to know.

He didn’t just “play,” he became absorbed and spent

time thinking. Sometimes, his Mom and babysitter would

ponder and worry about Ben, after Lynn Anne’s busy day

of nursing and Robin’s hectic day of being around just

kids. Sharing a cup of coffee, talking about their

children were rare, short moments for the two friends.

Ben’s parents, Lynn Anne and David, were professionals

and admired his intellect. His older brother, Zach,

was not at all into the same things, but loved him

dearly. He included him, if Ben ever wanted to join

him with his friends. Ben’s babysitter and her son,

James, loved him like he were part of the family.

Never was he excluded in their home. At school,

there were times where teachers were intimidated

by his knowledge, children were not interested in

listening to his fascinating and imaginative stories.

This was noticeable, even while in elementary school,

but the problems became more evident, in middle and

high school.

The parents chose to take Ben to a family counselor,

participating in therapy with him sometimes, too.

Ben was the young ‘tag-a-long’ to Zach, Jamie and

Mick. When they were at the movies or pool, all 4

were a ‘team’ within itself. No one could ‘pick

on’ any of their members. They often would play

‘Marco Polo’ and stay in the shallow end of the

pool to include Ben.

Camping and hiking with Ben and Zach’s family was a

wondrous experience for Jamie. He felt comfortable

and included in the male-oriented atmosphere. At home

he had, after all, two sisters, with himself being

‘sandwiched’ in between.

Lynn Anne and David were very open minded, like

the babysitter. There was always the choice to

express oneself, but also the space to be alone.

Ben moved back and forth between these places of

solace and comfort, not ever letting the building

remorseful depression show. He had ‘safe havens’

but they were not always transportable.

The fondness of those three boys will always be

one of the best parts of my son’s memories. Zach

came to my son’s wedding with a female friend,

stayed until the very end. There were no real

expressions (spoken out loud, at least) between

the two older boys, of wishes that Ben were still

here to celebrate James marriage to Trista.

They had needed each other, that was the truth.

Jamie moved off to Dayton, having graduated from

Delaware Hayes High (1999), along with Zach who

graduated a year later (2000). There were not many

moments of looking back at younger Ben.

The older boys were no longer around to be his

‘safety net’ and fierce protectors.

The fateful day came, when Ben was tormented once

again in the cafeteria. Sensing Ben’s ‘weakness’

and gentle soul, a big, tough football player had

been teasing him often, especially with no one

willing to stand up to him.

It was Ben’s ‘last straw.’

Before much thought went though his head, Ben was

rushing out into the briskly cold day, running behind

the frozen high school football stadium.

Ben knew his only option. At least, that is the way

it seemed that day, when he waited to jump in front

of the rushing train that ended his life.

We all loved Ben, we all miss him and he is on my

mind, as I had been his daily caregiver for several

years.

Felicia, my youngest daughter, graduated with the

boy who damaged Ben’s very core, a few months later

in June, 2004. He lives in California now. Not sure

what his conscience is like, now that he may have

grown up enough to face the consequences of his

verbal actions.

The date is indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Wishing we could just rewind his life and make Ben

stay with us and be here today.

In his memory, I suggest you may enjoy listening

to “Across the Universe,” written by John Lennon,

credited as a collaboration of McCartney-Lennon.

This was given as a donation to the charity musical

compilation of “No One’s Gonna Change Our World,”

December, 1969. Later, the Beatles included this

song in their final album, “Let It Be.”

I imagine Ben knowing finally the secrets of the

Universe and smiling.

Safe relationships

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I have written a few posts about my own personal experiences

with control and abuse, along with the battered women’s

shelter job as the Child Advocate. In my stories, I try to indicate

that everyone should be loved, cared about and treated in a kind

way, whether married or in a relationship. I encourage men also

to find that secure and “safe” love.

I have watched several movies over the years that had good

content, ideas and moving stories about women’s struggles

to get free and improve their lives. My story about the woman,

Maria, who lived in my apartment building was a haunting

one that from time to time, I stop and stand still. A prayer comes

to mind, then I try not to worry about her.

I just watched, “Safe Haven” and would recommend it. Although

it is not as wonderful as Nicholas Sparks’ book and following

movie, “The Notebook” which dealt with another serious subject,

Alzheimers and dementia. Both James Garner as the patient elderly

husband and Gena Rowlands make that movie meaningful through

their subtle portrayals of a couple who have been together many

years. The younger actors, Ryan Gosling and Rachel Mc Adams

portray the couple as younger and more impetuous, combatting

some class issues and yet, overcoming them.

Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergen were in the movie, “Sleeping with

the Enemy.” The story made from a book, covered similar subject of a

scary, angry husband as found in “Safe Haven.” Julia’s character has

to “fake” her own death to get away from her abusive husband.

Another fine movie, “Enough,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Billy

Campbell covers the abuse theme but I like the proactive moves that

Jennifer’s character chooses. She begins to train in getting fit by learning

skills called “Krav Maga” which teach her strength. She learns that she

must listen to her own voice and approaches her ex-husband in his own

home, breaking in to scare him one last time to leave her alone.

Jennifer’s character has hidden his guns and weapons. She pretends to be

hurt and weak, then strikes back. I won’t tell you more but I liked the fact

that she did not just hide and try to make a new life. She tries this, but the

movie and story goes beyond running, gives some other areas to develop.

I think that in “Safe Haven” it is interesting to have the “bad” man be a cop.

He makes his way  southward to Atlanta by flashing his badge to get

information. Somehow, he lands in the nice, peaceful town where the woman

lives and had found her “safe haven.” Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough

are the beautiful actors that depict the future happy couple. The chilling cop

and ex-husband “villain” is portrayed by David Lyons.

Although each movie promotes the idea of freedom from abuse and control,

I find that the dependence on a “new man” a little disconcerting. It is always

nice to have hope of a better life, more friends, and possibly a new love. But

it would be nice to show the women standing on her own two feet, being

happy and secure on their own first. Finding that “safe haven” within oneself

really is the best way to move forward wherever you head after getting out of

an abusive or controlling relationship.

“No offense…”

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These words along with the words, “Don’t take this personally,

but…” are the most sinister words that come across innocently.

The answer to the first, of course, is “No offense taken.” No matter

what awful string of words follows. The answer to the second

comment is a little more challenging to me!

I tend to be a very sensitive person who does not take any criticism

well. I learned in one professional job I held to take a big bottle of

water or a cup of coffee with me to my annual reviews. I could sip it

slowly and “swallow my (defensive) words!” This particular boss

was known for crushing new or younger employees’ egos. I was not

going to let her beat me down!

Another relevant situation is when you are in a social setting and

have a circle of people around you. One person who may vaguely

know you, may try this unnerving approach.

“I know you, wait! Don’t tell me…. Hmm… Did I meet you

while going to so and so’s house?”

“No, I can tell you where I met you…” but said person interrupts

and says,

“I met you while you were working as a waitress at Cracker Barrel.”

(or the earlier waiting job was at the Delaware Hotel.)

Yes, I am not proud of that fact but I will admit to it.

I would rather have let me tell what I am doing now or what I did

professionally…

Constructive comments, positive thoughts are always wonderful to

hear! It is the destructive comments or negative thoughts that need

quick replies or “comeback lines.”

I usually answered, in reply to her announcing to a big group of

people that I served tables at a restaurant, like this,

“You don’t know me very well but I am pursuing my Master’s Degree

so that is why the second job.”

If it was a comment about my children, their progress in school or

life, like a recent social setting I was in my comeback is not so quick

but I stewed awhile. I was at a recent party for cancer remission

where a past teacher of my two oldest children was standing right

by the food table. I set my appetizers down and went to get a beverage,

but as I turned to leave (on purpose) she said those dreaded words,

“Wait, I know you!”

I answered that I had been a middle school substitute and my last

name had been Long. I also tried to make a joke, “I subbed a lot for

Mrs. Delong who taught home economics. So I would tell my students,

‘I’m Ms. Long for Mrs. Delong today!'” The person talking worked in

that middle school.

She, of course said,  “No, no, that’s not it. Did you have any children

there?”

I tried my first foot forward and led with the one who is to all outsiders

‘successful,’ “Did you know _______, my youngest?”

She wrinkled her face up and said, “No, what year did she graduate?”

I told her the year, also trying to escape by  saying I needed to get a

beverage and move to where the guests I knew and liked were

standing, she turned to a friend and younger coworker and said,

“Do you know I can guess what people’s children are doing if I find

out their name and know them.”

So, I turned back and gave my first and second children’s names, she

said she knew them but would hate to guess what they were up to.

Now, that was kind of mean! I knew she had had both and their last

names were the same (first marriage children).

If she had said her “guess” what they were doing, and prefaced it with,

“No offense but…” I might have lied. Sorry, I have two beautiful adult,

fully grown children, who are a father and mother. They have children

and are trying the best they can to earn sufficient livings to be able to

give their children nice clothes, some after school activities like soccer,

baseball and football.

One of my granddaughters is a junior cheerleader. The cost for her new

uniform, with socks, shoes and the special skirt with top was over $100!

My son’s income covered it.

But do my two oldest earn professional incomes? No.

Both have extra training, one in art and the other in cooking. I am

proud of them so I finished the conversation with this positive retort:

“You could not find better parents nor human beings than my three

children.”

How is that for my “stewed” and thought out comeback line?

She Put a Price Tag on Their Love

Standard

Some stories break my heart, I am so sensitive. I have a male friend who shared

his painful childhood and I wrote about it. But this new story he was embarrassed

to share with me. No names, but the story is one that will make you think twice

about “kept women.” This is one about a kept man, who has been waiting a long time

to escape the “chains that bind him.”

It started about six years ago that my friend met a woman who seemed to really be

interested in him. She became his “tutor” in all aspects of his life. She shaped and

molded him in his appearance. She instructed him on the “proper clothes, shoes,

watch and hair style.” This attention managed to make him feel important. He wanted

to please her in all of the ways that a loving relationship would include.

He learned to cook her native foods since she was Asian. He started to learn how to

use a French Press to make his coffee. He learned first how to grind his coffee, put it in

the clean, washed press and add “Pur” water to it that had been boiled in a percolator.

When I visited him one day, I saw him scurry around the kitchen like a squirrel, he

was trying to also please me, his new friend. I worried about this obsession for it made

him nervous. He says he is “ADHD” and he would be this way, with or without this

influential woman.

He learned he needed to take care of himself more frequently so he bathed twice a day,

used an electric toothbrush and got his nails manicured. There would be more of these

requests as time went on. He was from a simple family with numerous siblings and a

single mother. He had learned how to make a bed, “military style” while in the Army.

He now was learning how to follow orders and make someone happy, sometimes he felt

“complete joy” in her company. He felt special, loved and “chosen.”

When he was asked to attend the opera or symphony, the woman purchased the tickets.

Together they went to the best stores where she chose his clothes, his black leather dress

shoes, and his woolen pea coat. He enjoyed the “Nutcracker Suite” performed in Columbus

and he also remembers the Italian opera but not the name of it. He was making average

wages but did some odd handyman jobs to earn more money. His goal was to try and be in

a committed relationship for the rest of his life with this woman.

Four and a half years went by, he in his simple life at his apartment. Going to her house for

daily dinners and television time with the woman. They would go out only once or twice a

year, never to a restaurant because she considered them “dirty” and “expensive.” The man

felt ready to propose. Surely this is what she would enjoy and revel in their love becoming

permanent.

He planned a nice meal, all of her favorite foods. Earlier in the week, he had bought a ring

with credit payments for the next four years so that it would be adequate. He had listened

carefully to the jeweler and asked for advice on size, clarity and so forth. He really hoped and

felt he had chosen the most beautiful ring in the world for her!

The woman enjoyed her homecooked meal and she liked watching her boyfriend wash the

dishes. She sat and chatted about her daughter and also, about a mutual couple that she

had introduced him to, who hired him as their painter and “jack of all trades.” She was very

quiet when he walked over to her and got on bended knee. She must have known, because

even he saw a flash of panic come across her face.

She saw the ring and was close to tears, her answer as plain as day shown in her eyes.

“No, I could NEVER marry you!”

Those words slapped the man across the face and he then collapsed, tears in his eyes.

She said that she had worried he had gotten the “wrong idea” but had hoped he knew

it would be impossible to marry. She lived in a “$500,000 townhouse that she owned.”

He lived in an apartment that she only visited once, over the years, and he paid “$900

a month’s rent.”

She ended it that night. They would remain close friends but he must get on a dating

site to find another woman and start a new life.

He felt very depressed for a month. Then, he reluctantly got online. He met a friend of

mine and they hung out. I met him also but did not think he was my type. The story of

his childhood made me think differently about his being outgoing and kind of a ‘smart ass’

guy. That did not mean I would like him or that my friend thought him ‘dating material.’

The recent revelation is that a year and a half after the proposal, this man was called to

the woman’s house. She answered the door, with a robe and request. Would he come back

and be her boyfriend, exactly as before? No public places except once or twice a year where

the symphony or a theatre production would be their indulgence.

When he said, “No, I cannot come back as I was, I want a full commitment or nothing” she

went into her expensive and perfectly decorated condo and came out with a typed bill! This

bill listed the four and a half years’ worth of expenditures that she had spent to keep him

attired, coiffed, and fed in the best style possible.

I will not hesitate to tell you the given figure:  $19,000 was the total!

This man came to my friend, desperate, wondering did he need a lawyer? Does he have to

pay for the lifestyle that SHE kicked him out of?

This story may astound you but this is totally true. The man is working off his debt slowly

but surely. He would not listen to us! We told him, “Those were GIFTS! You gave her Love!”

Twisted ending to a NEVER to be happily ever after story.