I had intended to post this yesterday but was interrupted by a nasty virus taking my computer down. It's still down... I'm struggling with my hubby's old slow, underpowered laptop with the keyboard that I hate (I need to see if my new one is compatible so I can use it). At least we have a cordless mouse for it so I don't have to use the much hated touchpad! Picked the virus up at LJ and suddenly remembered why I'd been avoiding it. I've been hit with nasty stuff (or at least been warned that nasty stuff was trying to access my computer)far too often to really trust the site anymore.
I'm going to try to keep this brief... Let's see if I succeed. (ETA... looks to me like the cut didn't work... sorry if it didn't)( Not really that brief. )
Last week we got a call from my hubby's mother telling him that his younger brother (the oldest of the three younger brothers and Scot's only full brother) had passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Scot was understandably distraught, disbelieving and his mother and 2 half brother's reactions made matters much worse. His 2 half brothers have basically stopped talking to him, his mother seems to want to blame everything that has ever gone wrong since he and his brothers were kids on him, told him he had no right to feel so upset, no right to want to console his nieces (despite his nieces telling him that they wanted his emotional support during this time!) and generally giving us both the feeling that she felt the world would be a much better place if his brother Bruce had lived and he had died instead, One day when they were talking about this on the phone, his mother said some very hateful, hurtful things to him, called back a bit later and told him she wanted him to come over so she could apologize... I went along since I didn't think it was going to end well... Her idea of an apology was to basically say "I'm sorry that you made me have to say those hurtful things." Yeah, real aplolgy that. There is a lot more to it but I'm sure you get the picture.
In addition to all of this, Scot and I went to visit with one of Bruce's daughters, Lisa and she had some stories about "grandma" both from her dad's experiences, such as all of the times as kids when Scot had taken the blame for his little brothers because his mom was going to blame him anyway and that way at least they wouldn't get the beating. (Yes, literally a beating with a leather belt with metal eyelets for the entire length... found out about that from his dad several years ago when his dad sincerely and abjectly apologized for the abusive treatment he'd received... with no lame attempts to justify it.) The story that really pissed me off the most though was when Lisa was talking about how when she was 7, grandma had told her to stop singing because "Your singing makes me nauseous!" What the hell kind of person says something like that to their 7 year old granddaughter? Needless to say, Lisa has never sung again. The woman neither understands nor cares how much harm this sort of thing causes.
All of this meant that there was no way that we could make the trip to Wisconsin for the funeral with her as we normally would have done. We were left having to spend money we couldn't really afford, running our credit card back up close to the max, for gas and figured that there would be other expenses for food etc. Scot had already reconnected with his cousin Mike who lives in Portage Wis. which is about a 6 hour drive from here and about a 3 1/2 hour drive south of the Veteran's Cemetery where the service was held. I hadn't originally planned on going since the original plan had been to go all the way up to the Shell Lake area (near the cemetery) and stay with friends of one of our nieces; a nine and a half hour drive from here. When Mike invited us to stay at his place, I decided to go along since a 6 hour drive was much more managable. (the mention of alpacas, goats, sheep, cats, dog and bunnies made it more attractive too ~_^) The drive itself was hell... Scot insisted on leaving Wednesday - the funeral wasn't until Friday - on one of the hottest days of the year with temps in the mid 90s and us with no Air Conditioning. The route he got from Google maps or Mapquest or whatever, sent us right through Chicago, the "shortest" route, which was a 5 to 25 mile an hour nightmare with far too many toll booths with far too high tolls. It was a good thing I thought to get an extra $20 in cash before we left!
We finally arrived at Mike and Allison's 10 acre farm and from that point on, at least until the funeral, it was wonderful! The area is so beautiful and serene! My allergies all but disappeared in spite of the animals. Mike, Allison and their 10 year old son, Liam were so welcoming! (And Red, their dog, was a blast to play with!) I found that I had a lot in common with Allison. One day we talked so much I ended up losing my voice! I am not usually that much of a talker! Liam and I had a blast watching Doctor Who (they have BBC America so I got to see a couple of episodes that won't air here on PBS until next year) and talking about bats, snakes and other critters. He's a really bright, inventive kid and I even got some reading recommendations from him!
Mike and family drove separately to the service since Mike and Scot planned on a side trip on the way back to the Leinenkugle (which I know I've spelled wrong!) brewery . The funeral service itself... once again the minister got it all wrong and the military part of the service redeemed it. What the hell kind of minister says in a eulogy "I don't know if Bruce was a believer but if he was, he is in heaven. If he wasn't a believer then he's not." WTF??? He couldn't have stopped with the first sentence? He just had to add the second??? Anyway. after the military portion everyone became very emotional, there was lots of hugging and such though not with Scot's mom who chose that time to ask if she was back in his good graces yet. He informed her that it was neither the time nor the place to discuss it.
We headed for the wake which was at the Shell Lake Community Center, a few miles away and ran into the only other bad thing to happen on the trip... we were almost there when I noticed what looked like smoke coming up from under the hood of the truck. We got to a gas station where the guys (including one of our nephews and Lisa's husband) started trying to figure out where the problem was. We had already figured that it was actually steam, not smoke (thank god!) and that there had to be a coolant leak. Luckily it was just a broken T connection that was easy to replace and, since it turned out the gas station was right across from the community center, Allison, Liam and I went to have lunch while Scot and Mike went in search of a parts store (thank goodness for Mike's smart phone!). Turned out to be a cheap and easy fix and things continued as planned. We could have all done without Scot's mom's parting shot to Mike - who she hasn't seen in 15 years - that she was glad Mike was there since "Scot needs a keeper." Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean! Anyway, the guys did their brewery tour, Allison, Liam and i went home - yeah, it was starting to feel way too much like "home!" We ended up staying a day longer than we planned - Mike and Allison made it very clear they wanted us to stay even asking if there was any way I could pick up the meds that I needed (I hadn't brought the ones for Sunday morning) at a local pharmacy because they'd be more than happy to take me to one to get them. As it turned out, I had extras of the really necessary ones and could easily wait and take the others in the evening. Even with the extra day, we still hated leaving. I miss all of them and the animals and hopefully we will be able to make another trip there soon.
The drive back was at least cooler... still ran into horrible traffic backups on the suggested route so when Scot saw a chance to jump from 90 to 294, he took it. Much faster, lower tolls and while it's technically longer since it loops around the outskirts of Chicago it is also much faster! We made it home with no further problems with the truck. We haven't talked to Scot's mom... not sure that I want to. I doubt that she realizes how badly she's damaged the relationship with her behaviour. If it was her lashing out in grief, I might be able to forgive it, but most of it was just her being herself... coldly cutting and unkind. *sigh*