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November 11, 2005

Whew. This week has been a whirlwind of activity. I can’t seem to keep up with much. I have been meaning to post for several days, now I have several little things to relate.

First is that Juliana is crawling like crazy now. She is pulling herself to standing on the stairs, step stools and the couch. She can crawl up the stairs if you don’t stop her. With all this activity she has started a semi nursing strike, meaning she has decided the world is too fun to nurse during the day and has instead saved most of her nursing for at night. This makes for very uncomfortable even painful days and long and not terribly restful nights. Thankfully she seems to be increasing her daytime nursing again, so hopefully we are on the right track.

Yesterday I took my online improved driver course that I had to complete to get the citation for backing into that lady off my record. What a joke. I finished it in about 20-25 minutes. It would have been sooner but they make your read the material for at least one minute before you can submit your answers. It is about twelve chapters. At the end of each chapter you have to answer three questions. You must get two right to advance to the next chapter. I started out the first chapter by actually reading it. Then I decided to scroll to the bottom and see the questions. When I discovered they were ridiculously easy, I decided to just answer them and get it over with. On the second or third chapter I answered too fast and it gave me an error message informing me of the one minute of reading thing. At the end you have a “final” exam. You must get 15 right to pass. I sped through them and not having read all the material I missed a few but I got 16 right. So, for $39.95 I am now a much safer driver and will have the citation removed. Oregon citizens should feel much safer with me on the road now.

You know on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation how Chevy Chase goes to great lengths to avoid having his hick brother-in-law around? You might think this is really funny until you experience something along those lines. We used to have a neighbor who lived behind us who was a pretty nice guy. He does hardwood floors for a living and he did some of ours and we got on pretty friendly terms with him. About two and a half years ago, he and his then wife split up and their house went into foreclosure because they couldn’t’ settle things between them and they kept fighting over everything. This neighbor, let’s call him Dennis, kept in touch with us. He has always liked the drink, but after his divorce (this was his second marriage) he started to like it a lot more. He would come over sometimes and lament about his work troubles, his loneliness, missing his ex-step-kids, etc. Then he met a new lady. Without telling you the whole story, his new lady is a woman from El Salvador with three or four kids of her own. She has two sons still living with her and I think two daughters who are out of the house, one married with a kid, one unmarried with a kid. Both pretty young. Anyway, she left her husband because he was abusive. So, Dennis brings her for dinner in the spring for us to meet her. She’s a very nice lady, but they start telling us all the problems they are having with her sons disrespecting him and he doesn’t want to deal with it because he’s done the stepkid thing before and only got hurt from it and he wants her to choose. I told him that he was being a jerk and if he loved her he wouldn’t make her choose between him and her sons. I advised her to break up with him. He was very drunk by this conversation and going on and on and drawing out this conversation to depths we couldn’t imagine. We just wanted him to leave by this point. It was after midnight, Juliana was due in a week. So, finally they leave and I am thinking he won’t be back for awhile since my advice wasn’t very favorable for him.

It was awhile that he was away, but he shows up on Saturday and as he is walking up the steps onto the porch, Lawrence starts telling me that we have to leave soon, so that we can make this visit short. Dennis comes in with his usual. I’ve missed you guys. I just wanted to stop in and let you guys know that I am thinking about you. You know I just love you guys, you’re like family to me. Yada yada yada, his usual drunken declarations of love. Then he starts showing Lawrence a “broken” leg he has from an altercation with Martha’s sons. And the gritty details of him having to pull a gun on the sons’ friends, but that they sons finally left and went to live with their father. I was pretty much staying in the kitchen because I didn’t want to get into it again, but I wander into the living room to see if we can wrap this up pretty soon. Then he starts telling us that one of Martha’s daughters is having personal problems; her boyfriend or husband (not sure which) is cheating on her and he is trying to save her heartache by telling her how it is. Dennis proceeds to tell us that he advises her how Mexican men are. How they all do the same thing cheat on their wives and the things “they” do. I can’t hold my tongue any longer and I say, “Now Dennis, I am part-Mexican. I don’t think you should make such a generalized statement about a race.” Then he proceeds to tell me that I’m not like “them”. I was so infuriated, the conversation then deteriorated further to him telling us that that’s not what he meant. He’s not racist, yet continuing to talk about “their” culture. Then further about blacks joining gangs because they are black. Finally, we are saved, by his ex-father-in-law knocking on the door and telling him that he’s tired of waiting in the car for him. On parting, as I am seething, Dennis expresses his wish to stay in touch with us and spend time with us during the approaching holiday season. Now, we are thinking of taking trips on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yeah right. I wish we could though. Like I said National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation isn’t so funny when you have to live it. Believe me when I tell you that I gave you an incredibly condensed version of the story. I hope he doesn’t come back ever. I can’t tolerate his treatment of Martha’s sons. It really sickens me.

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