Closed Door

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Part 43


Dear Diary, 

First week of October, hard to believe.  It has finally cooled off … but only marginally; it takes ten minutes to start sweating instead of two.  Real cool weather won’t be here until the end of this month or the beginning of next and then it could decide to leave again until January, but at least it won’t be August and September kind of hot.  Hopefully it will also cool people’s tempers off.  We can pray it does anyway. 

Oh, and I saw another drone flying along the river.  They are becoming commonplace; like annoying mosquitoes, you just want to swat them.  Makes me feel like I need to go inside and close all the shutters.  And I’ve gotten paranoid about making sure I’m out of my nightgown and dressed for the day before I open the shears in the morning.  I don’t get undressed until I’m ready to crawl between the sheets because I keep imagining one of those golf ball size drones is outside the window just waiting to take pictures.  Dorrie says she swears that some pervert is operating the one that flies around their place every once in a while because it always seems to go by her window right as she is changing her bra and since she is on the ample size well … I don’t blame her for having the wooly boogers.  I’d say it was her imagination if not for the fact the news had a story on some college students that had made a mock government drone to do just that up in Virginia.  Technically savvy deviants, just what the world needs more of.  

Now on to more constructive musings.  Let’s see this week I’ve planted beets, burdock, carrots, onions, parsnips, salsify, shallots, turnips, broccoli, cabbage, celtuce, collards, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, English peas, strawberries, snap beans, brussel sprouts, Chinese cabbage.  I’m not sure what celtuce even is and some of the others I’ve never eaten much less grown, but when it comes to seeds beggars can’t be choosers.  I picked them up the end of September at one of the monthly Barter Bizarres that is being sponsored by several local churches.  There is a “no cash allowed” rule although vendors still have to issue receipts and keep records per the IRS (yes, bartering is taxable).  I know they did it for people that have no or little cash coming in and I admit that it is a neat concept, but you still have the “haves” and “have nots” and those that are able to outbid if two or more people go after the same item. 

That particular bizarre was the first one that I had attended so I kind of wandered around trying to get the feel for things before I got my feet wet.  Had a guy that tried to invade my personal space but some of the men from the church acting as security spotted what was going on and came over to handle it.  There is a zero-tolerance rule for harassing and intimidation.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  After the creep went away I generally tried not to stand alone too much but stuck in groups of two or three with other women, some with small children just like me.   

Heard some local gossip while I was there.  There was an outbreak of measles at the Brandon campus of HCC.  It didn’t really go far in the student population since they are required to show proof of MMR prior to admission – those that can still afford to go anyway – but it has really hit the staff pretty hard.  They made me get an MMR booster when I was still in the hospital after Feena was born because when they pulled my blood work it showed that I had a negative resistance to almost all of the childhood diseases that I hadn’t had growing up.   I asked Cal when the last time he’d had any boosters was and he said that two years ago there was a department wide push to get all the deputies in the county up to date on their immunization boosters because there was a chicken pox epidemic in the Orient Road jail. 

“And then there were three cases of hepatitis in one of the juvie facilities.  So, I’m all up to date.  My parents were not real fond of vaccines when I was a kid but since I was homeschooled it was never an issue.”   

“Wait … you were homeschooled?”  I reached across the table and slapped his arm. 

I’d knocked a meatball off of his fork and he glared.  You never get between a hungry man and his food.  “What was that for?” 

“You never told me you all were homeschooled.” 

He shrugged.  “My brothers weren’t but I was.  That’s how I finished my BS at nineteen.  I dual enrolled at HCC and then entered USF right as I was turning eighteen only a couple of credits shy of being a Senior.  I had to take some additional credits that didn’t carry over to my degree in Criminology and … uh … too much information?” 

“No,” I sniffed in response.  “I’m jealous.  I always wanted to be homeschooled but Momma got sick the first time right as I was to start kindergarten.  Then Daddy thought I needed … I don’t know … what he called structure or something like that while she was sick and then didn’t get better.  She died when I was going into middle school.  Daddy died within a couple months of her which left everything at sixes and sevens. Papa was seriously considering it when he saw what high school was like but was worried that I wouldn’t have any friends and then he died and I got shoved into the foster care system.  You know the rest.  Edgewater was the only constant there for a while except for …” 

I stuck a forkful of pasta in my mouth to keep from finishing the sentence.  Wisely Cal got the message and didn’t mention Daniel’s name.  Instead he asked, “Would you want to homeschool Feena?” 

“I’m considering it.  A lot depends on what she needs and if they change the laws by the time she gets school age.  They keep making all this noise about making homeschooling illegal.  I’m sure you’ve heard all of that junk coming out of the UN about international educational standards as well as standardize curriculum for everyone worldwide. And some whack job up in DC actually had the nerve to say that homeschooling creates militants.” 

Thoughtfully Cal said, “He’s got a point, just not for the reason he thinks.” 

“What?!” 

Cal shrugged and after consuming the last meatball on his plate in one bite said, “Think about it.  Homeschoolers are usually grounded in free will and critical thinking.  They’ve got boundaries and consequences that a lot of kids don’t and usually wind up being internally motivated to succeed for whatever reason you want to pick.  Most of them are also grounded in their parents’ worldview yet are still encouraged to be individuals rather than crowd followers.  All of that is very dangerous to groups that espouse socialism or communism.  They want cogs for their wheels, fodder for their cannons, not leaders that will wrest power away from them and show people there is a different way than being indoctrinated from birth to be an automaton.” 

My mouth had fallen open and then I felt a giggle gurgle out. 

He shrugged grumpily and said, “Look.  You asked.” 

“Aw, don’t get your feelings hurt.  I was just imaging how well you would have gotten along with Daddy and Papa.  They ate that kind of stuff up and talked about it all the time.” 

He looked at me but his mouth was full of pasta and garlic toast which he almost choked on in laughter of his own when Feena chose that moment to peg me with a long string of spaghetti. 

And speaking of food, I learned something else today at that bizarre that I’d never even thought of … dollar weed is edible.  And no I’m not kidding although it sounds like a bad joke.  Some people are down to looking in their lawns for something to eat.  I mean I know you can eat some flowers and I know herbs get eaten and technically I guess I know that there are a lot of things out there that are edible that you wouldn’t normally think of in that way.  But it has given me pause.  What if our garden doesn’t work out the way I hope?  What if all the produce stands close?  What if there are no u-pick farms next year?  Worst of all, what if the benefit checks stop coming in and I don’t have anything to go to the grocery store with? 

I haven’t said anything to Cal about that.  I know he has his own worries.  Lily’s lawyer called and started making some noise, trying to rework their agreement.  Lily hasn’t lost her job but she’s at half pay and hasn’t seen a commission since the divorce proceedings started.  Personally I think she is more interested in her social life than her professional life and it has had its consequences.  She’s also going into arrears in the house payments.    

Luckily Cal didn’t wait around for Lily to take care of things and notified the lender of the divorce proceedings and they quit claimed his name off of the deed.  His name hadn’t been on the loan docs to begin with because basically the down payment had been a gift from Lily’s parents (they’d also picked out the house) … kinda like saying they didn’t trust Cal to look after their daughter appropriately.  But the lawyer was trying to say that Lily’s change in economic standing was solely a direct result of Cal leaving her.  Cal called his lawyer who was not happy that the other lawyer was trying to take his legal counsel out of the loop and told him to leave it to her.  I guess we will have to see where it goes; hopefully nowhere.   

Cal has enough on his mind with the way things are out in the public now.  When he comes home it looks like he’s been figuratively worked over.  Morale is suffering.  No one likes to be viewed as the bad guy all the time.  When he is feeling low he will sometimes tell me about various cases and then ask rhetorically if people hate the cops so much why do they call them anytime they need help?  I’m not sure what to tell him.  I know there are bad cops but they are only one or two bad apples; that really isn’t how the majority of cops are.  They hired on to do a job which is to do their best to enforce the laws on the books.  If the public wants to blame someone how about blaming the people that created the laws … the politicians … or suggested the laws … such as group that sent in petition after petition to get something done?  But people never want to take personal responsibility; they have to have a bad guy to blame to make themselves look better. 

All of it is sitting heavy on my chest; my problems, Cal’s problems, and the problems we both have that overlap.  I can’t dump one more on him; I’ve got to pull my weight.  I’m starting to tally up how dependent we are on various things.  Cal gives me money every paycheck to add to the household funds but I am NOT going to turn into a charity case.  Even if I didn’t have my pride no way am I going to watch Cal go from supporting Lily to supporting me and Feena anymore than he already does.  Actually that sounds kind of … never mind.  I’m just not going to have it.  Period.  I’ve got to start thinking outside the box even more than I already try to do.

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