journal of wood

Where are you and where are you going?
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Viktor K
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Viktor K » Thu May 03, 2018 8:04 am

Times like this, I always feel grateful that at least my finances are under wraps. Not that we're FI yet, but we're not dealing with things while also hoping that we have enough for rent and the minimum payment on our credit cards. And by times like this, I mean, as I've yet to have to go through any of the parenthood hoops, times of extra stress.

At least, I hope you either a) find a way to balance it all and adapt if its what you want or b) find a way to bow out without too much blow-back if its something that you don't want. Hoping the best for you, bud.

Jason
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Re: Exhausted

Post by Jason » Thu May 03, 2018 8:37 am

wood wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 5:48 am
In particular, I did not expect to feel frustration because of lack of attention.
I would never presume that you don't have real feelings for this woman or this family, but I have to think you also have feelings for a preconceived idea of your own creation i.e. the scenario - you are essentially a man named Brady without having three boys of his own. And the idea of something never lives up to its corresponding reality, if it happens to have one. And this is as archetypal as it comes.

wood
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Re: Exhausted

Post by wood » Fri May 04, 2018 3:26 am

@Viktor K: Thank you. My thoughts are the same; and if I do choose to bow out now is the time. The fact I'm even considering it at this early stage makes me extra aware of all those minor issues. What's 100% sure is that I won't be resource pooling.
Jason wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 8:37 am
wood wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 5:48 am
In particular, I did not expect to feel frustration because of lack of attention.
I would never presume that you don't have real feelings for this woman or this family, but I have to think you also have feelings for a preconceived idea of your own creation i.e. the scenario - you are essentially a man named Brady without having three boys of his own. And the idea of something never lives up to its corresponding reality, if it happens to have one. And this is as archetypal as it comes.
Very well put. Reality is way more complicated.

Peanut
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Peanut » Fri May 04, 2018 9:38 pm

May I suggest that your reaction to lack of attention from the gf is indeed normal, even predictable, and also unlikely to go away completely. I recall listening to J Peterson on this exact subject. He pointed out that kids are mostly "in the way" of the beloved in these scenarios. It's not about being a better person about it--I would say you've already proven yourself to be better than most by welcoming someone with kids--it's just love, evolution, and biology. Even within marriages in intact families, its common for parents (often husbands) to resent the new baby for a time. In blended situations things are much more complicated.

7w5 has great advice from the trenches. On the financial issue may I add that to my knowledge alimony often ends with remarriage.

On a personal note bc something parallel happened in my wider family, I have to say any divorced parent who has a new (less than 6 mos) partner spend significant time with their young kids is just a big red flag to me. It's often a negotiated part of divorce settlements even.

wood
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Dad died, stepdaughter hospitalized

Post by wood » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:08 pm

Where to start.

More than anything, this journal has served as an emotional outlet for me. Considering everything that happened in the month of May 2018 I'm planning to see a psychologist, but for today I just need to sort my thoughts a little bit.

2017
38%

2018
jan 32%
feb 28%
mar 27%
apr 1%
may -14%

I will never forget this month. A few days after my last entry here I got a phone call from my stepmother. She told me to please come to the hospital because my father is very ill. I was with my GF at the time and we rushed home to book plane tickets, packed a bag and jumped on the first airplane possible. Later that night we arrived at the hospital and I got to see dad. He was barely breathing and could hardly notice I was there. He wasn't able to speak or move. The nurse told me he was going to die soon. I spent the whole night at his bedside. He died the next morning on May 9th, 59 years old.

I knew nothing. Apparently he got diagnosed with lung cancer in March but kept it a secret to everyone but my stepmother. A few days prior to his death he was hospitalized because of issues with his throat. I talked to him on the phone 2 days before he died and he assured me it was just a minor thing and he would be ok in a couple of days. I didn't think much of it until my stepmother told me to come. His condition had worsened much quicker than expected. Looking through his personal notes I found out he was planning to tell me about his disease.

My stepmother, his wife of 18 years, is devestated. He had been her rock and support for all those years. She doesn't know how to pay bills or deal with insurance companies and bureaucracy. I've been helping her through this every day since dad died. The funeral was last week on the 30th.

In the middle of all this we had an accident at home. On May 16th I was chilling with one of the kids just when I heard a loud scream coming from the kitchen. I thought the 5-year old was having a rage fit. 10 seconds later my GF yells "Help!" and I rush out to find the two of them in the bathroom showering in cold water. Turns out she had accidentally dropped a full kettle of boiling pasta water on her daughter, burning the whole side of her body. Pretty much half of her body got burned, but luckily not the face, throat or genitalia. I called the ambulance and got us to the hospital, while she arranged for her sister to pick up the other 2 boys.

The damage is serious but not fatal. She might be left with a minor scar or two. She is getting treated by experts in a specialized hospital in a different city and just had a surgery today, 5 minor skin transplantations. I've been staying in a hotel near the hospital before and after the funeral. The father (GF's ex) has been absent, but visited for one day. So my GF has been caring for her daughter pretty much 24/7 for 3 weeks now and I've been trying to be there as much as possible. Dealing with a child in such pain is exhausting and her mom is doing a great job.

The negatives are obviously many. I'm dealing with all kinds of emotions from 2 dramatic events. I'm confused and wondering if I've handled everything like I should. All I know is that my heart is behind every small decision I've made this month. I feel anger, frustration, guilt, relief, sadness, joy, loneliness, regret, love, hate, to name a few. I've lost apetite and a few kg's, but focusing on eating regularly, getting some exercise when possible and getting some fresh air everyday. It's difficult to support my GF through this, but I'm putting myself aside because I'm able to. And if I don't I will regret it. Ideally these things wouldn't happen simultaneously and we would both be in position to support the other when necessary, but that's not how life works.

I'm trying to focus on the positive moments. I'm getting a stronger bond with my GF. We're both quite strong and capable. Her daughter has started calling me stepdad and wanting me to hug her. For the first time in my life I'm getting close with my stepmom and my uncle (dad's brother). I'm getting to know dad in a completely different way (other people talking to me about him). My mom and a few friends have been great support. The summer weather has been impressive so far. Barring expenses related to the above, my savings rate is 69%. So it's not all bad. But I will see that psychologist just to be assured this is not a dream and I'm not losing sanity.
Last edited by wood on Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wood
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Re: journal of wood

Post by wood » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:17 pm

I wish to add that I appreciate all the support I received in this journal. Publishing that monthly entry is one of those routines I need to continue to get life back to normal. Any questions are very welcome. I don't mind elaborating. I'm going through a difficult time but it helps writing about it. Also, I will use these notes in preparation for the psychologist.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: journal of wood

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:23 pm

Yikes, it saddens me to hear about your fathers passing, especially on my birthday =/

It does sound like your life with the GF and kids is forcing you to grow as a person and familial member. Life can get crazy, you are taking it in stride. Get some help, but don't forget who you are and where you came from.

slowtraveler
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Re: journal of wood

Post by slowtraveler » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:17 pm

Seriously sad to hear about your dad. I couldn't imagine that, mine's barely passing 60 and I still miss him living across the world.

It sounds like you gf daughter will be okay with some healing time. It's still a lot to process at once and traumatic to have happened.

I hear you becoming stronger in all this, being a damn solid, unshakable rock amidst these tidal waves that keep coming at you. Experiencing the full spectrum of emotions that entail being human and still showing up with your head on straight to move forward, to support and bond with your family through all this.

A good psychologist can help with processing everything and you can stop as soon as it stops becoming helpful. I've seen it help and also not help many people so it really depends on the psychologist and your own experience of them.

wolf
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Re: journal of wood

Post by wolf » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:19 am

I am sorry for your father. That is a tragical event. Such an unexpected loss for you must be very emotional. And then the accident with your GF's daughter. Oh man, what a months for you. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones!

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:52 am

Damn Wood, this is so sad that I can't find it in my heart to break your balls. 59 is too young for both of you. My condolences.

I lost my father two years ago. I wish I could say it gets easier but it doesn't.

My mother once accidentally dumped a pan of hot water on me when I was a young boy. Or at least she claims it was an accident. My father grabbed me, took off my shirt, put me on the back of his bicycle and drove me around the neighborhood to cool me off.

I am sure you have similar memories of your father to completely lose your shit over.

EdithKeeler
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Re: journal of wood

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:32 am

So sorry about your dad and your daughter.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: journal of wood

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:15 pm

So sorry to read this. Please remember to take time out to take simple care of yourself.

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bryan
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Re: journal of wood

Post by bryan » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:04 pm

What a horrible month. I don't know how I would handle all that. It's difficult to even bring myself to imagine. You have my condolences, wood.

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Viktor K
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Viktor K » Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:18 am

Damn, wood. It's terrible to hear what you're going through right now. You're a very strong person with a great strength of character (is that the same thing?). It's shows especially now as you weather this storm of misfortune. I wish you a quick return to a happier mindset. You surely can't feel any worse from here.

wood
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July 2018

Post by wood » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:38 am

2015: 19%
2016: 34%
2017: 38%

2018
jan 28%
feb 26%
mar 27%
apr 1%
may 22%
jun 41%

2Birds1Stone, slowtraveler, wolf, Jason, EdithKeeler, 7Wannabe5, bryan, Viktor K. Thank you for the support and encouragement. It makes a helpful difference for me.

Life is slowly getting back to normal, although it will never be completely the same. Almost 2 months have passed since the death of my dad. I'm ending the month of June just having finished a vicious round of throat infection and flu. I suppose when life decides that shit is going to hit the fan, it does throw everything in your direction all at once. I feel weakened, but well. Still standing and moving on. My head is getting clearer every week. I've gotten back to work. As soon as the flu is 100% out of my system I will start working out seriously again. My stepdaughter is back home from hospital, running, laughing and feeling well despite having to wear bandages for some time. Just a couple of days ago she told me I was her "papa". That felt amazing! Tonight we will all have dinner together and play some games before I help tuck the kids into bed. Looking back just 6 months the Friday nights of wood's life has surely changed.

On the financial side of things I've recently thought about how to account for those extraordinary events that might or might not occur. I have money/insurance to cover most events, but how should one go about making a monthly/yearly estimate on the cost of such? You never know when your closest ones will die nor how much it will cost you. There are a gazillion things that might or might not happen. I guess basing your assumptions on your last 10 financial calendar years is just as wrong as simply making a future guesstimate?
Last edited by wood on Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:22 pm

Glad your mojo is returning Wood. And you seem to have a nice domestic type of thing happening there.

You don't have to listen to me, obviously. I don't think anyone really does except the strangers I call assholes who generally return in kind. But you should set aside a full year for mourning before making any big decisions. I actually did two because the first year was a mere contemplation of how much I dislike the surviving members of my family. Then everything hit me and now I don't know anymore than I did before except I've survived. The death of a father is the fault line in a son's life. You are now in the AD of your time. You need to process that. Good luck.

wood
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Re: journal of wood

Post by wood » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:31 am

Thank you for the great advice Jason. I can relate to the feeling of being in the AD of my time. Like anyone can say, my story is different.

My parents divorced when I was 8 after he had been living in a different city for a few years, and my relationship with him was never as close as it could and perhaps should have been. As the only child I stayed with mom. My stepfather was never fond of children and my relationship with him is currently close to non-existant. Not negative nor positive. We may spend a weekend together at my moms place without having a single conversation.

My dad had 2 girlfriends after mom before he met the 3rd one whom he married. I was 14 then. At the point of meeting her I had pretty much resigned and didn't want to build a bond with her. I assumed he would find a new one shortly anyways. At 20 I stopped seing him every other weekend like I had been. I lived in a different city and saw him a few times every year in addition to the odd phone call. It pretty much stayed that way until he died. He was talented, kind, full of love and good intentions, and helped a lot of people in his life. It is sad because I have been in the process of trying to get closer with my dad in recent years. Perhaps I have already been in the AD of my time for some time now, or perhaps not. I never got to confront him about all the problems he's had in life and the subtle ways in which he hurt me through the years with his absence, broken promises, periods of alcoholism, poor finances and bad family dynamics. It was difficult to witness and take part in the funeral where so many people thanked him for helping them and being there for them. He was never really there for his son although I know he wanted to.

Now he's gone. I have 3 stepchildren but not too many reference points to how I am going to be a good father figure. I knew it was going to be a challenge before he passed and it is an even bigger one now. I have thoughts about building a solid relationship with my uncle, dads brother, although he has been struggling with cancer for 10 years and I only know him from my childhood. I've started calling him weekly to check up on him and just have a chat. I'd like to get closer with my stepfather but it feels weird just talking to him. He is silent and disapproving. I may rationalize the need to get closer with him but my heart doesn't want to and I don't know how to. My uncle on moms side also lives in a different city and has had heart problems for 15 years. I simply lack a solid father figure in my life and feel a need to be a good father myself. I have clear ideas about what not to do as a father and maybe that's good enough.

Jason
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Jason » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:28 am

I can only speak from my vantage point, but I found mourning to include, maybe even be most signified not by what you lost, but what you missed, as there is now a finality to it. You mourn the should of/could of as much as the actual. Death means that's it. The "D" is fuckin "D". No more chances. End of story. And I think somewhere I held out that maybe things could have been different. Any ways, its good you have people around to help out.

wood
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Re: journal of wood

Post by wood » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:10 am

2015: 19%
2016: 34%
2017: 38%

2018
jan 28%
feb 26%
mar 27%
apr 1%
may 22%
jun 40%
jul -22%

July was a fine month. Slow times at work, nice weather, some mountain hiking and a few days off. Grief is a weird thing. I'm not particularly sad or regretful, nor am I shedding any tears. But I get irritated quicker and feel tired. Don't know if its attributable to the loss or my new hectic family life, or both. Either way should be tamporary, but I don't expect it to go away immediately.

Horrible savings rate. I admit to spending in order to feel better. It worked, but with diminishing returns as expected. No drugs, but some alcohol and a weekful of holiday with GF.

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Viktor K
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Re: journal of wood

Post by Viktor K » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:23 am

Hey wood, I’m happy to see another update from you. What do you mean, “either way should be temporary” with regards to new hectic family life? Is it from the injury plus summer vacation?

Also, my savings rate is a mess as well right now. No income and no expense tracking makes for a bad combo.

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