A Monday Morning Rant

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RSteve

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As I wrote in a prior post, my son-in-law is in California until May 16. My daughter is a teacher who has to be at her school by 8:00 am. Her school is near the border of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 25 miles from her house in the suburbs. My daughter's father-in-law lives about five minutes from my daughter's house. Each morning, he's volunteered, thankfully, to be at my daughter's house from 7:00 am to 9:00 am to be with the two older kids until they get picked up for the school bus for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. My daughter takes the toddler with her to a daycare center. I arrive at my daughter's at 11:00 am to be there when my grandson arrives home from pre-k at 11:30 am and the granddaughter arrives from kindergarten at 3:15 pm. My daughter arrives home about 5:00 PM with the toddler. I spend my days, M-F, taking care of the grandkids, when they're not in school. I don't mind at all. They're my grandchildren and I gratefully accept the responsibility. When the grandson arrives home, I have lunch waiting for him. During the afternoon, I make supper for everyone. Besides teaching and mothering full time, my daughter is in graduate school. Most evenings are spent either studying or preparing lesson plans and grading papers.
On Friday, when I arrived at my daughter's house, there was a note for me from my daughter's father-in-law.
"Steve, I went into the basement and saw that the cat litter box needs to be cleaned. A new container of cat litter is right next to the litter box. You should probably clean it."
Of course, I cleaned it, but thought to myself, "If he saw it needed to be cleaned and a new container of cat litter was right there, why didn't he just clean it?"
I showed the note to my daughter when she arrived home. She laughed and said, "It's typical, like son, like father."
My son-in-law is in California at a detox center. He's addicted to marijuana, alcohol, violent video games, and prescription drugs, simultaneously.
I expect that before the new school year starts, my daughter and the three kids will be moving in with me. They'll all be safe and secure.
 

Zeno Marx

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I have great empathy for those who have addictive personalities and brain chemistry (maybe one and the same?). That doesn't mean I'm drawn to them or anything, but their lives are often in constant turmoil because of it. As if the world and nature aren't chaotic enough, and peace is as difficult an endeavor as any. Not to rant. That's certainly a sticky situation. Maybe life will throw you all a little surprise, and it will work out when you least expect it.
 

RSteve

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Maybe life will throw you all a little surprise, and it will work out when you least expect it.
That would be wonderful. My son-in-law's father is a daily drinker, and according to his wife, a lifelong highly functioning alcoholic. He and his wife live in separate parts of their house. She's a former alcoholic and bulimic, currently a hoarder. From the outside their home is a normal well kept suburban home. My daughter has been there once. There's a thin passable trail through the living room, otherwise it's piled floor to ceiling with junk. Had I known that my son-in-law carried that genetic code, the marriage would have never happened. I think my son-in-law may be able to break the cycle of addiction, but I don't think he really wants to do it. He's lazy, beyond description, as is his father. I want to be certain that my grandchildren have the tools, as they mature, to understand the genetic code they've inherited and strive to combat any inclinations.
 

Zeno Marx

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I have some relatives with this mental illness, and for a brief time, I worked with people with mental illness. I never gave it a lot of thought, but when was around it enough, I concluded that it was a lot about impulses. They had no mastery over their impulses. They want. They take. They want. They do. They want. They eat. There's no cause/effect relationship in their perspective. If it occurs to them, there's no weighing of consequences or questioning is this good for me. Not directly self-destructive at all moments, but ultimately, mostly so. I'm sure it is a lot more complicated with adrenaline and endorphins and other brain chemistry, too. It's a real predicament, and I feel our culture is too quick to label it as simple weakness. Of course, that's easy to say from outside while not experiencing all the frustrations and inconveniences.
 

RSteve

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There's no cause/effect relationship in their perspective. If it occurs to them, there's no weighing of consequences or questioning is this good for me. Not directly self-destructive at all moments, but ultimately, mostly so.
In a nut shell, a description of my son-in-law.
 

Zeno Marx

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In a nut shell, a description of my son-in-law.
For them, it's a direct line. I think the rest of us...those not dictated by impulse...take it all for granted. All those many hurdles, that happen instantaneously and without focused mindfulness, that happen in-between the want impulse > have/take, that we label smart, common sense, character, instinct, etc. In a world...in an economy...in a culture that is constantly testing impulse control, that's a mighty task for someone who simply isn't wired like that.
 

RSteve

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For them, it's a direct line. I think the rest of us...those not dictated by impulse...take it all for granted. All those many hurdles, that happen instantaneously and without focused mindfulness, that happen in-between the want impulse > have/take, that we label smart, common sense, character, instinct, etc. In a world...in an economy...in a culture that is constantly testing impulse control, that's a mighty task for someone who simply isn't wired like that.
The issue my daughter and I face is whether my son-in-law can ever be "re-wired" to mindfullness. He's 35-years-old and still conducts himself as an adolescent. By nature and nurture, his attitude is when there's a problem or task to be accomplished, make believe it doesn't exist and it will either go away or someone else will resolve it. Also, if there's a task that's unpleasant, run away.
As I wrote previously, he was raised in a junk house that his mother created. His father has done nothing to rectify the situation because, as he has made very clear, his wife made the mess, so she should clean it up. And, of course, all involved know that she is incapable. My daughter and her sister-in-law volunteered to clean up the mess, but the father-in-law doesn't want the neighbors to see a roll-off parked in the driveway filled with junk. The son-in-law seems to share the same attitude as his father. "It's my parents issue, not mine."

The final straw for my daughter was coming home from work, finding her husband high on marijuana, smoking in an upstairs bedroom, with their three children, 6, 4.5, and 18 months outside, unsupervised. My daughter didn't tell me what had happened for several days, knowing that I'd have had him charged with child endangerment.
 
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