“Relax,” she says…

24 Jun

I spent the weekend at Mom’s, helping with her annual neighborhood yard sale. My Sis gave me a (belated) birthday card. On the front is a cartoon woman doing yoga. It reads, “Life is a lot like Yoga. Relax. Be Flexible…” The inside reads, “…and try not to Fart.” Funny, yes? Underneath she wrote, “Really…relax a little!”

I asked a couple of friends if I seem tense. They glanced at each other, panic in their eyes, and replied that I seemed just fine, while giving me the Side Eye.

Huh. I guess people are noticing that I’m a bit…stressed? More aggressive than usual? A bit more outspoken about douchebags and their assholery? Less tolerant? Sigh.

Okay, let’s get it all out there, then, shall we? I am a bit stressed, but my reasons are sound, IMHO. Tell me if I’m wrong, ‘k?

Reason The First: My son is still on my couch. He is still unemployed. He says that he’s looking for work, but he’s been growing out of my couch for almost four-and-a-half months now. He worked for maybe one of those months. He has not paid any rent. He has food stamps for food, so he’s not draining my resources there. He has paid his cell phone bill only once since he’s been here (I can’t just stop paying it as he will need a phone to schedule all those job interviews that aren’t happening.) His feet smell because he wears an old pair of boots that probably have enough genetic material in them to become fully animate any day, therefore, Towanda smells. He does not feel the need to shower every day – it’s a waste of water, he says*, therefore the first thing I encounter when I get home from work is Man Smell.** He will not do any type of housework until I have okay-ed it. Explicitly. Yes, you can wash the dishes any time you want to – please trouble yourself to get them clean, though, ‘k?!? Yes, by all means take out the trash and recycling. Feel free to vacuum any time you get the urge, ‘k? Gaaaaahhhhhhh!

So he spends all his time, as far as I can see, playing games on his computer, using my Wi-Fi, watching TV and generally amusing himself. He doesn’t go anywhere. I don’t believe he’s looking for work but can’t prove it. He just sits there on the couch, silent for the most part, living inside his head, convinced everyone in the world is “stupid” and “useless.” There is no reason to get up, go somewhere, do something, become a functioning part of society. It’s all just a waste of time. He isn’t suicidal, though. He can be coaxed into conversation of a limited sort but would really rather be left alone. Right. It’s like I’m living with a sullen 13-year-old again. Didn’t I do this already? When does this Mom Gig end?

On top of all this, he is an alcoholic. When he’s drunk he agrees that he has a problem. Sober, he is a Special Snowflake, so special that no one in the universe could possibly understand him and his troubles, therefore making AA meetings or therapy of some sort a worthless waste of his time. Yeah, he’s pretty much said exactly that.

“Why can’t I just have a beer and relax in the evening?” is his plaintive cry.

My answer, “You are an alcoholic. One beer leads to another and another and pretty soon you’re on your lips. It happens every time. It will always be this way. You can be drunk or sober, there’s no “relaxing” in between. It sucks, but that’s the way you’re wired. Get a grip and admit you have a problem so we can move forward.”

I am sooooo over this bullshit. So. He lost his job. He wasn’t fired or laid off, he was simply not put on the schedule any more. This is a new tactic used by Slaveway and other large companies to make sure ex-employees can’t claim unemployment benefits (not that he worked long enough to get any) and have no cause to file suit for being laid off or let go for reasons other than poor performance at their job. Okay. Fine. I get it. He’s feeling sorry for himself. Whatevs.

What does he do? He starts (continues, actually, but it’s a long story) to spend all his money on beer. Not regular beer, but the fruity, 12% alcohol beers the homeless people around here drink. The kind of beer that has a stench like dorm rooms and cat shit. I can smell it the second I open the door. It pours out of his body like toxic sludge for the next couple of days as he sobers up. He drinks until he passes out. I finally took away his debit card (yeah, Slaveway doesn’t even hand out paychecks – they put your wages on a debit card that is not tied to any bank, therefore you can’t put any money on it, but they can take money out if they “make a mistake” with your pay. Cheap and crooked…) I made sure that my wallet was within my grasp at all times (I’ve been here before with his father…) and told him that there will be no drinking in my house. Period.

Things went well for a month or so. Last weekend he went with me to Mom’s. He did some yard work for her which she paid for in cash. Can you see where this is going? Oh, yes he did! I know he spent about $15 of the $40 she gave him, leaving him about $25 in his pocket. Sure enough, when I came home from work on Monday he was passed out drunk. There was no point in even talking to him – he won’t remember a word the next day, as past conversations have proven. I took to my bed with a glass of sweet tea and a book, ignoring his drunken stumbling to the bathroom some time later***.

Tuesday evening basically a repeat of Monday. The beer he likes is cheap. It takes 2.5 for him to be on his face, wasting the last .5 unless he manages to slam it down before passing out. At $2.50 each, he has about five days of being drunk before he runs out of cash.

Is this reason enough to be stressed? Wait! There’s so much more! Tune in tomorrow for Reason the Second.

* Nevermind that an RV shower is the height of efficiency, using less than 10 gallons of water per shower, compared to a “real” shower that uses as many as 4 gallons per minute. I mean, as an argument that is absurd.

** Man Smell is not a bad thing, in and of itself, I just chose to live a life without it and being forced to endure is making me really cranky. No, it’s just flat pissing me off. No need to sugarcoat, now is there?

*** I have told him that if he pukes he will be out on his ass. Period. Towanda is far too small to have a drunk puking, even in the bathroom, and he’s not known for making it to the bathroom in time. Yeah. Picture that and listen to him assert that he’s not an alcoholic.


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6 responses to ““Relax,” she says…

  1. JackieP

    June 24, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Unfortunately, alcoholics are always saying they aren’t alcoholics or saying they can have one or two and just stop. Yeah, right. I live with one too, so I know what you are going through.
    About the only thing is tough love. Then sometimes that doesn’t even work till they hit rock bottom and beyond. It’s not easy. So hang tough and I understand the being pissed thing. Sigh…..

    • Sofia Leo

      June 24, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      You’d think living in a travel trailer with your Mama would be pretty Rock Bottom, but he seems untroubled. It’s like he (and many boys of his generation, sad to say) has no sense of shame, no need to be successful and prove himself to the world. I know what the solution is and am taking steps in that direction. He has to be sober in order to remember an ultimatum, though, so it’s a few days off yet 😦

      • JackieP

        June 24, 2015 at 3:18 pm

        Good luck!

  2. goldfish

    June 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Ugh. Sorry to hear it, Sofia. You’re making me glad I never had kids. Here’s hoping he gets a job soon and leaves you with an empty nest again.

    • Sofia Leo

      June 24, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      I never wanted kids. I knew from a very early age that I didn’t want kids. This one was a Bad Idea but I had no options, which just fuels my rage over the whole situation. But that’s another post…

  3. Carrie Reimer

    June 24, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    At 17 my son decided he didn’t want to work, had dropped out of school and expected me to pick up the tab.I kicked him out. he was on the streets, I would feed him a meal, even let him sleep in my car one night. It was the one good thing James did, he wouldn’t allow my son to stay in the house. It broke my heart but i knew he had to learn. The night he showed up and was hungry and broke is the night I drove my car around the corner and gave him a pillow and blanket, so James wouldn’t see that I was helping him. A couple of days later he checked himself into rehab and got clean and sober.
    he is 31 now and the hardest working young man I know. i could not be prouder of him. he is never more than a day or two without work.
    Sometimes we can’t fix it for him. I have no doubt he doesn’t feel good about sitting on his momma couch mooching but he is so low right now he can’t do anything else. If you refuse to carry his load he will be forced to fix his own problems. I know it is tough, the hardest thing i have ever done and I was not alone at the time. But once he reached out and got into rehab he was with people who did way more for him than I ever could have done. It was hard at times because I was his mom and I felt it was my job to fix his problems but he needed more than what I could give. He needed to be accountable to someone, he needed more than his mom to tell him he could do it, he needed more than his mom telling him he was worth it.
    I wish you luck, it is tough, I know.


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