The nice things about birthdays is that it’s your one chance to wear your rose-colored glasses without being judged. Tough day at work? Refrigerator leaking? Ate one too many pieces of cake? It’s my birthday. I’ll worry about it tomorrow. The bad thing is that birthdays go by so quickly and tomorrow is here before you know it.
Last week got off to a rough start. Normally these things wouldn’t have much affect on me, but it all happened in one day. It was like a marathon of bad luck. And just as things were looking up, I learned that my dad was arrested and my mom’s house was broken into. Not only was karma coming after me, but it was stalking my family. I took it personally.
The Bad Day
My refrigerator is finally keeping my food cold and it has stopped leaking. I decided not to risk it and still bought new milk. The water has also been fixed so I can wash my hands, flush my toilet and shower as often as I’d like. In fact, I may have done the dishes just because I could, and not because I was out of bowls. I haven’t heard from the insurance company since Tuesday, but I’m sure it’s not the last time I’ll hear from them. As for the laptop, well, I haven’t gotten that far yet.
… is killing me. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but lately I’ve noticed that I don’t really enjoy what I’m doing anymore. After 10 hour days at work, the last thing I want to do is come home and spend more time working — at least not every day. There’s so much pressure to hit a deadline that isn’t convenient for my work schedule. And lately I’ve been giving up weekends to try to stay ahead of the game. While I do need the money, I think I can make changes in other areas of my life to make up for not having an extra paycheck.
… is also killing me. I haven’t written about his situation lately, but mostly because I don’t have the energy to deal with it. Short version: My dad’s girlfriend is abusive, but it’s her word against his. The cops always believe the woman, even though he’s the one bleeding. After 3 years she filed a restraining order, kicking him out of the apartment he pays for. He’s been living with my aunt while the crazy girlfriend calls and calls. If she’s not happy, she calls the cops and tells them he’s harassing her (even though he’s not.) Last week she told him she’d drop the charges and he went to their apartment. Guess who showed up? The cops. He was arrested. He’s currently still in jail awaiting his court date on Wednesday. Girlfriend calls me for bail money. First it was $500, then she asked for $2,500 ($2,000 for herself) I’m not stupid. Even if I could help, I wouldn’t give the money to her. So she’s been harassing me for days, telling me I’m a horrible daughter because I won’t pay to get him out of jail. She put him there. The only reason she wants him out is because he can’t pay her bills if he’s in there. I’m not helping because 1. I don’t have an extra $500 and 2. I’ve bailed him out twice before. I don’t get my money back and he doesn’t learn. However, while I know I’m doing the right thing, the guilt is eating away at me. I spent the last hour of my birthday crying over his eff’ed up life.
I feel bad complaining about anything because a year (to the day) after her house was robbed, it was broken into again. Last time they took her jewelry box. We were slowly rebuilding it with birthday and Christmas gifts. This time they took the TV, two laptops (one that I’m still paying for) and her jewelry box. I’m stalking Craigslist to see if they list either of the laptops, but in the mean time, I am searching for deals on new laptops and keeping an eye out for any jewelry that screams “mom!” It’s so shitty that people get away with stuff like this.
In between all of this, I celebrated my 26th birthday. It was difficult putting on a happy face, especially with the harassing phone calls from my dad’s girlfriend, but I managed to get through my birthday with little tears. I couldn’t have done it without some awesome friends though. Justine from Brand About Townand Nintendo sent me the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers ever. A co-worker sent me a box of the tastiest cookies from a local bakery. Brandy sent lots of internet hugs and love my way (thank you!) Mindy, my birthday twin, sent birthday love and flowers. Another co-worker surprised me with a delicious birthday cake. LA friends celebrated with me at Cliff’s Edge Cafe. And Nico ended the evening with an “it’s okay” hug, which was exactly what I needed.
I’m still clinging to my rose-tinted glasses, but reality is seeping in. I’m not sure what I’ll do about my dad or the guilt, but I’m going to start wishing on airplanes and making more time for me (not freelance) so I can focus on everything that’s going on. The silver lining: It still hasn’t hit me that I’m 26 years old.
Thanks again for all of the love, kind words, birthday wishes and support. I heart the internet.