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2007-06-19 - 9:09 a.m.

It was a nice gesture for my parents to come to help out. I swear thought that I would rather they just come to visit and enjoy our company the next trip.

It was very stressful with them here to help out as they are not up to it at this stage of life. There is a reason they ususally only stay a few days. A few days is enough for them. I can't typically convince them to stay for a visit beyond three days- so for them to actually stay for a week was a big deal. In the past my mom acted like it was because she was always so upset with Westely, but while that is true they also just can't handle the high energy required to keep pace with the girls for long.

So the house was WRECKED by the time they left. My Dad did take the girls to the park one day before the law guardian arrived and I was pleased for the catalyst of that visit to do some things I hadn't taken time to do before. Of course it is rather funny that in those two hours what I did was clean out under the kitchen sink, and clean out the cabinets in the bathroom and under the laundry fixtures. Figures... I get inspired to do some archane cleaning of an area no one would see.

It still felt good to do.

This weekend I planned an impromptu camping trip with Pocahontas. I used it as a motivator for the girls and I to clean the house from top to bottom. I told them we would leave for camping after each of them finished cleaning their rooms INCLUDING under the beds and in the closets (which Katie discovered a few months ago is a great place to hide things when told to clean her room each night! I have let her believe I didn't know this... in Mom fashion... so as to get the girls to bed on time at night while still having them pick up their rooms nightly! IT was too out of hand to do the overhaul before bed. What's funny is that Pocahontas' daughter laughed when I told her that and fessed up that she and her other teenage friend who sat for me once months ago told the girls of that trick! I was hysterical at finding that out and said "Thanks...your mom helped me get organized and you undermined it!" I thought it was really funny though.

The weekend before Blackford had his family camping trip with kids and his brother's family. I think that inspired Pocahantas who loves camping. So she and I went with our girls.

I was so lucky that a friend, this wonderful music loving fun neighbor of mine who is sweet and helpful and supportive (aka Enabler seeking needy women to feel validated... no just joking... he only has a little of that in him but combats it... very healthy like Blackford where he jokes about it!)... anyway my friend heard I was going camping and offered to loan me his truck. I worried about taking him up on the offer at first- I mean I get it when it comes to a man and his truck.

But boy was I glad I had that vehical as I was driving around lost in the woods thoroughly enjoying the ride-- It was JUST BEAUTIFUL and wonderous out there... and I realized when Sadie and I had to get out to move a fallen log so we could keep going that we were a bit off a beaten path and I had taken a wrong turn heading to the campsite..


It was really funny in the moment as I looked at them map and the rough terrain and realized I was on a trail.

IT was an amazing ride.

Someone commented how I was being like a Dad for Father's Day in that moment offroading with a big truck.

I totally cracked up, and asked what is it with a man and his truck- as if the truck is the measure of the man.

HEre is what I think is a measure of the man:

I ALSO borrowed a tent from this lovely man. Its a really nice three person tent that is light and easy to set up. After I set it up I then pulled out the tent I grabbed from the basement- yes Westley's tent which has been here that we used over the years. THe same one that he and I took camping. The same one that KAterina and Soren used when camping here with their Aunt and Uncle. The same one we pitched in our clearings here a number of times for the family.

So I then noticed that it was the same exact brand tent, only smaller. It was the 2 person version and easily set up after having just done so with the three person one.

Now the frustrating thing for me is that I turned on my internet and phone and left the phone # with
Westely. Of course HE NEVER CALLED THE HOUSE # despite me giving it to him- that is UNTIL the weekend we are not home. What is irritating is his game of "Let's Pretend" that I thwart his ability to communicate with the girls. What was frustrating was that I offered a month ago for him to spend some time with the girls on Father's Day but he IGNORED ME. What is frustrating is that a week ago I called and left a message again making that offer but he didn't respond. So after leaving two phone messages to that effect, I finally sent one last e-mail at the end of the week, as a last ditch effort to give the opportunity to him to see them for Father's Day. I got no response by the time I left for camping.

What was frustrating for me is that my cell battery died and as I didn't have my car (but swapped with my friend for his borrowed truck to fit camping gear) so therefore I COULDN"T HAVE THE GIRLS CALL DADDY FOR FATHER'S DAY UNTIL WE RETURNED HOME.

What was frustrating was that when I got home there were then messages ON THE HOME LINE from Westely. HE who wouldn't actually ever call that number WHEN WE ARE HOME and who ignored my messages to call that line rather than the cell phone THAT DOESN'T RING IN THE STONE HOUSE had to leave a few messages on the home answering machine.

ITs a fucking game.

Hes an asshole.

I picked up 10 messages on my cell phone. After listening to four in a row from Westley I realized the rest were likely his as well... he was indeed upset or acted upset at not hearing from the girls. I wish he wouldn't SELF IMPOSE such misery. HE COULD HAVE PLANNED BETTER.

Instead I get these messages about meeting at church. Which of course were left AFTER out of town in the woods without a battery on my phone.

Then the kicker.
After we got home I did have the girls call him to send their love and wish a happy father's day. They talked about having gone camping.

I got a call the next morning from Westely with a demanding angry tone asking " DID YOU USE MY CAMPING GEAR?"

I responded that I actually borrowed gear from a friend, but yes I did use the blue tent.
He went off on me about how that is HIS tent and how he wants me to bring him HIS STUFF
He went off on how I can't use his tent as I don't know how to use it properly and clean it and put it away properly.

I said "I borrowed the same kind, although the bigger version, and my friend didn't seem concerned."

I didn't tell him he not only loaned me a bigger tent, but a bigger truck, and he didn't feel the need to instruct me on how I am incapable of using these properly without his instructions and orders.

I think I now have greater insight that indeed a truck can be a measure of a man, however it is not how big and how powerful the truck, the real measure of the man is how willing he is to graciously hand over the keys with confidence and concern. The real measure of a man of how healthy he is perhaps is just how little he identifies his sense of self with his truck, or his house, or his tent. The real measure of a man is whether he cares more about the people in his life than the things. The real measure of a man is whether the care and cleanliness of his tent and his truck is more important than the people he would like to offer love and support and shelter from the rain for in his natural instictive care and concern being one who thrives on providing for others.

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