This is a post that I should have written last week, or at least sometime this past weekend, but there has just been too much drama (bad men, as usual) and too much readjusting to being back in my old life, my real life, that I haven’t done much of anything that didn’t need to be done right away.
While I always knew that the time I spent at my grandmother’s house was not my real life, it was still hard to come home. Maybe because I’ve moved so much, it doesn’t take me long to feel like something has become “old hat”, has become routine and normal. Part of me really felt like I’d never come back to my real home. Coming back to my real home was quite a culture shock.
Two weeks ago today, I got home at 1am. Most weary travelers would just slink into bed. Not me. I had to unpack. Everything. Since all my clothes smelled like cigarette smoke (because my grandma smokes), I had to wash them all, so three loads of laundry. I had to unpack all the books and shoes and cds and dvds that I had brought. I also had to clean up cat puke (hairballs) and vacuum. I finally settled down about 5am, watching Angel as I laid on the futon. (Strangely enough though, my overnight bag from last weekend is still partially packed. Go figure.)
That’s when something strange happened. My step-father comes downstairs to use downstairs bathroom to shower every morning sometime between 5am and 6am. He’s usually fairly grumpy, especially when I’m still awake when he comes downstairs. But that first morning home, despite his usual morning gruffness, he said, “It’s good to have you home, girl.” While I know that might not sound like anything special to some people, it is quite huge between us.
Then, last week, my step-father enlisted my help in one of his side projects. He was about to stain some pieces of wood, when he asked if I wanted to help. Basically, unlike when Sir helps his dad by standing there and/or holding a flashlight, helping my step-father means that he shows me how to do something once and lets me do the rest, interjecting here and there to tell me when I’m doing something the wrong way. It’s kinda been this way for as long as I can remember. When my parents married, my step-father already owned a rental house. Every time someone moved out of the house, we had to do some kind of work before we could rent it again. I was always enlisted to help with anything I could physically do. I painted, a lot, but I also mudding walls after the new drywall was put up. But, as he liked the job I did last week and knew that I am very broke until my new job starts in a few weeks, he asked me if I’d like to help him on another job where he could use an extra set of hands, essentially demolishing a bathroom and carrying away the pieces before he completely remodeled it. While the project has been put off several times, I am still excited about helping him. While I was staining and he was calibrating a saw, we actually had a conversation. He told me that I would inherit a lot of tools when he died. I replied, “My friend, Mon Parrain, once told me that, when he meets a female friend who mistakes lust for love too many times, he buys them a dog, a vibrator, and some power tools.” My step-father’s response: “Why does he buy them power tools?” (Completely glossed over the vibrator.) “So they can do all their own handy-work and doesn’t need a man around to do it for them.” “Oh,” he replied, “Well, that makes sense. You women don’t need us. Anything we can do, you can do. Usually do better too.” (Seriously, not a word or reaction to the vibrator part!!!!)
Another interesting development in my relationship between my step-father and myself has come from things my mother has told me about the time I was gone. My step-father apparently wanted me to come home from my grandmother’s house quite a bit sooner than I ended up coming back. Every time my mother would tell him about my grandmother’s newest crazy, he would demand that I should come back home. Eventually, she stopped telling him things because he would get so upset about what he saw as my grandmother mistreating me, using me for her own purposes and to deal with her own turmoil, instead of the both of us working hard to help my grandfather get better. He was essentially afraid that my grandmother was quickly driving me crazy. Which she was, but that didn’t really mean I was ready or willing to leave yet. Also, for my birthday, my parents had promised me a new stereo for my room. But my birthday weekend was the beginning of my time at my grandparents’ house and smack-dab in the middle of the time my mother took off work to take care of my uncle, which meant our family had less money than usual, so we all decided that I would wait for my big present until I came back from helping my grandparents. My mom and I ended up going to buy it last Tuesday, though she told me that the only reason she really rushed me to go pick it out and pick it up was that my step-dad kept mentioning how I still didn’t have my stereo. He was much more worried about it than I was, apparently.
But I think that all of this bodes well for he and I maybe getting along better in the future. Especially after I start working a real job again, which is a huge thing for him. He’s kinda old school in thinking that everyone should be working all the time, paying all their bills themselves. Not that I don’t understand that, but I also understand that there have been times I have just been unable to work, unable to do anything quite frankly, because of severe depression.
My mother understands this a little bit better. Or at least she puts up with it without ever complaining. Until I spent so much time living under my grandmother’s stifling rule, I never realized just how much space my mother gives me here. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that she isn’t concerned. When I am having a spell of depression or just a down day, she’ll check up on me, but she never presses, never acts like it’s my fault that I can’t seem to drag my ass out of bed. But she also has a keen sense of intuition and knows when to press for more or ask just the right question.
But while I revel in these new discoveries and pleasant events, I would never have realized how great it was here, back at home, without the time I spent not here, which, while not all bad, was more stressful than I had anticipated. So, despite how lax I have been lately, I’m grateful to be home.