Family Obligations

Last night my brother Ryan called to let me know he plans to get married next year, in August, he wanted my mailing address to send an invitation.

To be honest, I was shocked he had my phone number at all.

My biological mother died in 2004 and that’s the last real contact I’ve had with any members of my “family”. I flew home for the funeral and spent time with my sisters and brother. At the funeral several members of my mothers immediate family had no idea who I even was, and once they found out it wasn’t long until they started to preach their idea of “God” to me. So it was loads of fun for me to be there. Friends and family bring cards to funerals, and in Wisconsin most of them put some cash in the card. After the funeral my siblings decided to split that money three ways – I spent a lot of money on that funeral and that was probably the last straw for me.

I had been in therapy for an unrelated matter when she died and one of the things we talked about was my “family”. After the funeral I shared with my counselor the events, attitudes, behavior of “family” and how hard it was for me to go “home” and be a part of my “family”. He asked why I thought I had to, so I spouted “we will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it” (Alcoholics Anonymous) as my reasoning for seeing them at all. I felt obligated to be there while they passed joints in front of me, drank beer and well… just stayed stuck in the same black hole they’ve been in for a few decades.

He pointed out to me that love is a two way street and so is communication. He helped me to see that just because she had pushed me out of her vagina was not an automatic debt to love her. I took a look at that and indeed saw that there was no obligation for me to continue to pretend to be a part of something that I’d never felt a part of, not even when I was a kid.

So, do I feel obligated to go to my “brother’s” wedding next year? No. I figure he just wants money or a gift and I’ve already said I have no intention of visiting WI next year.

April 2009 Trip to Wisconsin

Relief. That’s what I feel that this time i wasn’t going to fly US Airways with their fees, surcharges, surly crew and bad seats. Instead I had booked a flight on Northwest, which has always been a pleasant experience. My flights were on time, my seat was comfortable, it was relaxing! The flight from MSP to EAU on the little plane was a little bumpy, but that was more entertaining than frightening.

I landed a little early in Eau Claire and had to call Brenda to let her know I was there, she was soon at the airport to scoop me up. She and I drove to Oakwood Mall where we ate Rocky Rococo’s pizza and met up with Pat and then headed back to Chippewa (their home).

That evening Pat, Brenda and I went to see the new movie Observe and Report, which had a few good one liners but was mostly not worth the money.

Saturday was mostly uneventful up until we headed out the door for the Pacific Group’s 15th Anniversary Party. Before the party we stopped at Starbucks for coffee, Brenda got hit on by a 20 something kid… made her weekend. At the party is was great to see all the old familiar faces and reminisce about the early days. The food was good, the talk was good, the movie was too long… but it was fun.

Sunday morning, bright and early, I left for Galesville to see Ma and Rhonda. Ma and I went to breakfast at the Garden of Eatin’ and then we headed down to the shop to meet up with Rhonda and Greg. Rhonda, Greg and I worked hard throwing away broken mowers, snow blowers and other crap that Pa had managed to collect. Around 12 we broke for lunch and then were joined by Michael and a friend of his, more and more stuff was cleared out and sorted. I soon discovered that there was to be a thrift sale April 25 and 26 and two auctions the first of which will be right after my next trip to WI (June 4 – 11). We worked hard and got very dirty. Sunday evening we all met at Ma’s for pizza, Danielle and Cory brought their baby Charles (my first great-nephew) and we all had a relaxing night.

Monday I was VERY sore, it’s been a long time since I put in a day of manual labor. I had a quick breakfast with Ma and then headed back to Eau Claire. Monday and Tuesday were pretty uneventful at Pat and Brenda’s but it was nice to see and spend time with them.

What I heard you say…

Back in treatment or therapy or somewhere in time that I can’t recall exactly, I remember that I’m supposed to use the phrase:

“When You , I feel “.

But usually what happens is that I have a reaction instead.

When my friend Mark says “Missed you at the meeting on Wednesday.” I don’t usually respond, but inside I feel shame, anger, and less than. I think its a result of when I was in the “cult” in Eau Claire. Everyone else is doing “this thing” and if you’re not then there is something wrong with you, or you don’t want to get better. I realize this is a little weird way to think, but it’s just an automatic response now. So I don’t respond to his little non-question, I just ignore it and try not to form a resentment.

When my roommate Gary says things at home I have a similar but different reaction. When he asks if a dish (receipt, piece of mail, laundry or whatever) is mine, I hear “Pick up your crap, it’s in my way” and then I get snippy, it’s a horrid way to be and I should know better, means I have to apologize later. Chances are this is childhood stuff from so many different alcoholics around us as a child or maybe it’s something else.

Who knows.

An Idea for the Auto Industry

I know several of the car companies in America are in trouble, they know it too. We also know that oil is not in never ending supply and we need to find other fuel sources.

So first the Auto companies that want to change need to make official announcements like:

“Starting on June 1, 2009 we will begin to produce the final gasoline combustion engine automobiles in all our factories, the final cars will roll out at the end of August. Your last chance to buy a (enter brand name here) is approaching, be one of the last people to own a (Enter Brand name here).

In September our company will begin it’s two fold plan to produce hydrogen powered vehicles that will be the shape of the future transportation industry.”

Note the following from Wiki:


The hydrogen infrastructure consists mainly of industrial hydrogen pipeline transport and hydrogen-equipped filling stations like those found on a hydrogen highway. Hydrogen stations which are not situated near a hydrogen pipeline get supply via hydrogen tanks, compressed hydrogen tube trailers, liquid hydrogen tank trucks or dedicated onsite production.

Hydrogen use would require the alteration of industry and transport on a scale never seen before in history. For example, according to GM, 70% of the U.S. population lives near a hydrogen-generating facility but has just about no access to hydrogen, despite its wide availability for commercial use.[33] The distribution of hydrogen fuel for vehicles in the U.S. would require new hydrogen stations costing, by some estimates, 20 billion dollars.[34] and 4.6 billion in the EU.[35] Other estimates place the cost as high as half trillion U.S. dollars in the United States alone.[36]

How much is it costing us to bail out the auto industry now? What will it take to be cost effective to these companies?

I would suggest that the company that took this route would then also invest serious money, time and research into making hydrogen fueling facilities more prevalent on the American landscape. Yes, this is a slow process, but I think its worth the effort.