Well, she would offer an apology if she thought it really mattered to anyone that she hasn’t updated her blog in – oh, 3 freaking months! But since it has taken 3 months for anyone to even NOTICE that she hasn’t updated her blog, (thank you, Sean!) she’s not concerning herself with an apology. So there.
An awful lot has gone on in three months. I think I’d need to be blogging nearly every day to catch up, but I suppose since I’m not training anymore, I’ll have some time to do just that! Yeah, you heard that right. In December I quit my trainer’s position with Sharps. The official reason is that now that Stephen and I are married I will be doing more to help him with navigation, book-keeping and basic truck stuff in general. The real reason why I quit is not going to be put in print for all to read. Sorry. So I’m back to cheerfully just driving my bus morning and afternoon, and have even been picking up some charters here and there. And I’m happy with that.
Over Christmas we all trooped down to the Dominican Republic but that will be a separate blog entry, I think.
In January all hell broke loose out in Edmonton with Brianna and James. I am still steaming about this one, so I think I’ll make this blog entry primarily about that and get it off my mind as much as I can.
Background – James and his mom had been rather estranged, but reconciled and he visited her several summers ago, which is what led to him deciding to head out there when he turned 18 to move into her basement. With Brianna.
It all started out swimmingly enough. His mom helped them find jobs within the first week and took them to the license bureau so Brianna could change her license over, and so that James could write his test for the Alberta equivalent of Ontario’s G1 license. I was a bit taken aback to learn she was planning to charge them $600 per month rent for two rooms and a bathroom in her basement. I wasn’t quite sure how she expected them to “get ahead” when she was taking such a large chunk of their income, but the kids seemed ok with it so I kept my mouth shut.
I guess the first hint that there might be a problem was how she handled teaching James to drive. Basically, she didn’t. In my books, a parent has the responsibility to ensure their kid learns to drive. It’s a huge step towards independence and increases their employability. If I remember correctly, her husband took James out once and said he would never do it again because James “treated it like a video game”. I have no idea what happened, but keep in mind it was the first time he’d been behind the wheel of a car in his life. And, if the parent isn’t willing to teach the kid how to drive, then it’s the parent’s job to find someone else to do it, like perhaps a driving school? And since the kids had no extra money to pay for driving school because it was being sucked away in rent, perhaps Mom should’ve used a portion of that rent money to invest in James’ future by paying for driving school. It’s what I would’ve done. But no. So now, nearly two years later, James still cannot drive. Brianna can’t teach him because she does not yet have the equivalent of our full G class license. So that’s Mom’s first failure. If you don’t count gouging your kid for rent money. If you do, then it’s the second failure.
The next problem surfaced when she started messaging me whining about how the kids kept their rooms a mess and didn’t clean the kitchen and were unappreciative and disrespectful. The kids claimed that since they knew how anal she was about cleanliness they were diligent in cleaning up the kitchen after themselves. I can’t really comment on that because I wasn’t there. I don’t know what was going on. But my gut reaction was – hey, they’re kids, teenagers, really. Get over it. Make your expectations clear. It’s not my problem.
Then the family moved. And the kids’ living space was downsized from two rooms to one, but the rent remained the same. And I started to hear murmurs of discontent from Brianna. Complaints about how James’ mom was two faced – posting on facebook about how wonderful and perfect her life was and hiding any hint of imperfection, but in reality she spent her time with her husband yelling at him and berating him for imagined slights. She had a new baby just before the kids moved out there, and this child was the center of her world. She spent vast sums on toys, clothes, etc, even taking the kid to his first movie before he was a year old. Guess that’s what she needed that rent money for. Meanwhile James was having some difficulty with employment and had been through a couple jobs. Her main concern was not whether the kids had enough money for food, rather she was distraught that she might have to wait for her rent money. She began to hassle James constantly about work, calling him a failure, a fuck up, and useless. Tell me, what kind of mother ever says that about her child, much less to his face? I was horrified.
The kids supposedly were allowed use of the kitchen to prepare meals, but they got to the point where they were afraid to go upstairs for fear Mom would go off on one of her tirades. They spent their free time hiding out in their basement, doing their best to avoid her. One evening Brianna was sneaking up the stairs to take out a bag of garbage and Mom caught her and proceeded to ream her out because she and James supposedly never took out their garbage. Um, did she not see what was in Brianna’s hand?
Things blew up seriously in early January when Brianna had the nerve to ask Mom about something of hers that had vanished. Apparently Mom had thrown it in the garbage, and Brianna asked for it back. That brought on a screaming, raging fit which included Mom standing on the front porch yelling at Brianna and calling her a “fucking little bitch”. Brianna and James called me from a restaurant asking what to do and saying they were afraid to go home. We decided bribery might be the best way to get back into her graces, and the kids slunk home with a bottle of wine, since Mom preferred to spend her evenings consuming copious quantities of wine once the little dude had gone to bed. Peace reigned temporarily. James was still seeking work, and Brianna was taking on every extra shift she possibly could to ensure the rent got paid.
Then all hell broke loose.
Brianna phoned me at 1:30 am my time on Jan 19, sobbing because Mom had kicked them out. I was dumbfounded. She literally threw them out of the house at 11 pm in the middle of January into an Edmonton winter night with nothing but the clothes on their backs and no concern at all about where they might end up. James was not even able to go downstairs to retrieve his phone. Absolute total parental failure there. Un-fucking-believable. Brianna luckily had her phone and, after calling around to some friends, found a place to crash for the night. She phoned me because she was afraid Mom would message me and she wanted me to know they were safe so I didn’t have to worry. Right. Like I wouldn’t worry anyway. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night at all. And yes, Mom did message me. Based on the content of the ranting message, I suspect she might have been drunk.
The next morning I called my bank and had a supplementary visa card issued in Brianna’s name for her to pick up at her bank. Then I called a hotel close to where she works and arranged for three nights accommodation charged to my card with the option for the kids to extend their stay still on my card. Mom had texted Brianna and told her she was welcome to come and pick up their stuff, but James would not be permitted on the property. So far as she is concerned, she doesn’t have a son anymore. Now, from what I’ve been told, the argument started when she lit into James yet again about not having found a job. She called him every name under the sun and made up a few extra. Then, she claims he swore at her and came at her to hit her. Personally, I can’t see James hitting anyone. What I have seen on occasion is James putting both hands on Brianna’s shoulders to calm her down when she’s been upset, so I wonder if that’s what happened. Mom was screaming and ranting and he wanted to calm her down but she misinterpreted his motion. But I wasn’t there, so I don’t know. I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Brianna stopped by the house and picked up as much of the essentials as she could carry and the kids moved into the hotel. With the help of a friend from work, Brianna found listings for rooms and basements for rent and managed to secure a basement bigger than what they had, including a bathroom, use of kitchen and laundry, (and including wi fi!) for a bit more than what they had been paying She-Who-Used-To-Be-Mom. They moved in on Jan 27. Now, because SWUTBM wouldn’t allow James on the property, Brianna had to go rent a truck and enlist the help of the only one of her friends who was off that day to move all of their furniture and possessions by herself. And then she went to work at 1:30, leaving James at the new place to unpack.
And that’s when SWUTBM started messaging me. Constantly. Bitching and complaining and whining. I didn’t answer. If I had answered I would not have been nice. This woman threw my daughter out into the cold without a second thought. This is not mother material. Her messages were bothering me however, and Stephen stepped in. Throughout all of this he had been most supportive and helpful. It was his idea to get Brianna the supplementary Visa card, and he sent the kids money for their first month’s rent at the new place. And now he dealt with SWUTBM. He hijacked my Facebook and sent her the following message:
This is Stephen speaking, Brianna’s stepfather.
I am interceding on Sue’s behalf and submit my comments as Brianna’s stepfather and as a friend of James’.
Your mailbox key will be returned at Brianna’s earliest convenience, which will be in a day or two and I would appreciate it if you would avoid having any contact with her during said delivery. Brianna, like ourselves, is appalled with your behaviour and now feels most uncomfortable dealing with you. Irrespective of whatever transpired between you and James on the fateful evening that you chose to evict them, your actions cause me to question your parenting skills. Obviously your attempted reconciliation with your son, and his subsequent move to Alberta, is a failed experiment.
Further, I find your vulgar tirade directed at my stepdaughter unconscionable. Any relationship between you and my stepdaughter is now at an end and I urge you to resist the temptation to torment or harass her further.
Please govern yourself accordingly.
You rock, Stephen! Her response was to unfriend and block all of us on Facebook. No great loss.
And so that chapter has closed. While I am devastated for James that he has lost his mother, I can’t help but feel it was for the best. Her behaviour was nothing short of unstable and she was consistently verbally abusive towards him. The kids are in a healthier environment now; James started a new job today; and he has decided that his Momma Sue is the only mom he needs. I shall do my utmost to support and encourage him as my son. We don’t know what the future holds for the kids but they’ve made it through some serious shit thus far, and I’m confident in their ability to hold fast and face down whatever comes their way.
With Momma Sue and Stephen at their backs, of course.