Saturday, December 10, 2016

The state of things

Ok, so, let's talk about my world.

My world is composed of nouns.  People.  Places.  Things.

People like my family by birth and my family by choice.

Places like the house in South Portland and the farm in Cape Elizabeth that I grew up in and on.

Things like the greenhouse on the farm, or the tractors, things like the computer I'm using to keep me in contact with the world, things like heat, and warmth, and protection from the winter.  (Oil, walls, so forth, not necessarily in that order.

I've talked enough about what having my SSI cut back did.  I finally did the lion's share of the work on trying (again) to get them to reevaluate.  So semi-"Woo!" on that.  I've also seen some help on the whole, "I have mountains of high interest debt because the only things I could use to fill the hole left by the cut to my SSI were credit cards.  Again, semi-"Woo!"  This time "semi" because some of that help needs to be paid back eventually and all of it together still isn't enough to be done with the fucking high interest debt.  Not that I would expect it to.

Regardless, we can move on from that.

People.  On one side of me we have people who I was born into loving.  It doesn't make the love any less real, and it's not a twisted sense of obligation.  I do in fact love these people.  Blood ties aren't guarantee of love (if they were I'd love my evil aunt, but not necessarily her daughters, while in reality I love her daughters and not her) but it's a strong incentive.  My sister was there from the day I was born, we grew up together, we suffered together, we lived together, we adventured together, we got lost in the woods together, we got brought back home by a black lab together, we fucking bonded in a way that wouldn't have happened were we not part of the same family.

And on this side the situation is shit.

I've been telling my sister to go public from the beginning but apparently people keep telling my sister not to go public because the situation is too confusing and people will just assume the police were in the right and-- BULL FUCKING SHIT.

Still not authorized to give all the details but let's go point by point on what I can say and see if it confuses you to the point that your brain throws a "divide by cheese" error and you default to "the police are always right about everything and never make mistakes."
  • According to all involved parties, including the police themselves in their sworn statements, nothing done by my sister or her partner, Cody, leading up to the police being called was remotely illegal.
Is that confusing?  Is that hard to follow?  The police shouldn't have been called in the first place.  Maybe it was a big misunderstanding, maybe it was something darker, but since there was nothing remotely illegal the police shouldn't have even been there that day.
  • The police were called because Cody was trimming rose bushes on my family's land (at the request of a member of my family) but the neighbors claimed that the rose bushes were trees, the trimming was cutting down, and the land was theirs.
Granted this might be a bit confusing.  How could someone think a rose bush was a tree?  How could they think trimming was cutting down when the two process involve entirely different actions?  How could the neighbors think that the land belonged to them when they had just measured (and, according to the police, photocopied) an actual real live boundary survey by an actual real live certified surveyor that showed beyond doubt that their land ended 15 feet before the line of rose bushes started?

This could be confusing.  But the confusion isn't about what happened.  What happened is clear, the neighbors told the police things that weren't true.  The police came to the scene believing someone was chopping down trees without permission.
  • While you might think that an alleged case of "Someone is chopping down trees that don't belong to them," would result in the police calmly explaining that one is only allowed to chop down their own trees and the legal repercussions of chopping down trees that don't belong to you, that is not what happened.
Again, not confusing.  The response wasn't what you'd expect given why the cops were called.
  • Instead of discussing the situation, the first officer on the scene:
    • Put a gun to my sister's six-month pregnant belly
    • Kicked down the door to her house rather than simply ask those inside to come out
    • Dropped her three and a half year old son on the ground
    • Used a taser on her partner, Cody
  • My sister thinks that the police over-reacted.
This seems like a simple narrative: The police were told someone was illegally playing lumberjack, they responded in a massively over the top way that in no way reflects the way one ought to respond to someone illegally playing lumberjack.

My sister, being one of the people on the receiving end of this over the top response, thinks they over reacted.

I don't think it's really all that hard to follow.
  • In the immediate aftermath the police did not see fit to call any outside agencies about anything.
  • When it was discovered that my sister was looking into how to lodge an "excessive force" complaint the police called all and sundry agencies with various stories, no two alike.
Again, pretty straight forward.  They didn't think there was anything wrong initially, but when they found out they could get in trouble they lobbed the entire book, including annotations and appendices, at my sister.

It suggests a lack of good faith.  In particular with regards to the child welfare claim.  They did not make any negative observations about the welfare of the child until after they learned they might be called on to explain why they took the child and dropped him on the ground.

It was only then, when they needed an explanation for why they were even holding the child in the first place, that they claimed they believed the child was in danger in the household.

But we'll get to that.
  • DHHS, which handles child welfare cases in the state of Maine, took away my sister's three and a half year old son, waited three months for her second son to be born, and took him away too.  They tried to send the three and a half year old to New York state, they tried to have the newborn immediately placed in foster care.
  • DHHS did the above solely based on claims allegedly made by a single police officer who has written on the record in his official report of the incident, that those claims are not true.
Ok, lets try to put this all together and see if it's really too confusing for anyone to follow.

When no one was actually committing a crime, the police were called on the incorrect assertion that someone was cutting down trees that didn't belong to them.  When the police arrived they responded in a way that was completely out of proportion to the alleged crime of cutting down trees.

When one of the victims tried to find out how to officially get that "out of proportion"ness labeled excessive force, the police immediately retaliated by calling other agencies that they had originally made no effort to contact in spite of the fact that the reasons to contact or not contact those agencies had not changed.

DHHS, one of the agencies called in, took a three and a half year old child and a newborn infant away from their mother because of the call they received even though the person who made the call indicated that what was said in the call wasn't, actually, true in his official report.

And that, more or less, is where everything stands.  So now that we've walked through it, high level overview style without getting into the gritty details that bring it down to earth, make it seem like dark comedy, and humanize it, we can return to the original question.

Did that confuse you to the point that your brain threw a "divide by cheese" error causing you to default to "the police are always right about everything and never make mistakes."


December 8th isn't just the day John Lennon died.  It also happens to be my sister's birthday.  I wasn't there for it, but I called her up to wish her a happy birthday in spite of the fact I knew that wish wouldn't come true.  I amended it to wishing that she could have a happy day sometime soon that could make up for the lack of a happy birthday.

She didn't have too much to say.  She's not going to be happy until she gets her children back.

The most recent reason for keeping them from her that I've heard is that she hasn't shown remorse for things that no one claims she actually did.  Not just things she didn't do, which would be hard enough to show remorse for, but things no one has even claimed she did.  Fuck, I've probably claimed that she sank the Titanic.  I'd be very surprised if I haven't claimed she ruined the world.  But I've never claimed she did the things she's supposed to be showing remorse for.  Neither have the neighbors.  Neither have the police.  Here's the kicker: Neither has DHHS.

They want her to show remorse for things even they say she didn't do.

Dark.  Fucking.  Comedy.


So that's one side of the people.  What about the other side?

My family by choice.  The people I can go to in order to escape the stress and tribulation associated with my blood family?

Oh my fucking god is the stress turned up to eleven.

Some of it's kids misbehaving as kids are wont to do.  Some of it's an accumulation of irregular things making it difficult to deal with the regular.  Some of it's just life churning onward.

And some of it is money.  Oh my fucking god money.

My mission right now is to get out of high interest debt.  Every penny I have that goes over what I need to survive the month ahead goes straight to paying down the debt with the highest interest.  If I want to have a future, this is the single best thing I can do.

Plus, if I stop paying that off then I can't justify not yet paying back loans that were only given for so far as and so long as they let me escape high interest debt.

Which means I'm not really helping with the money here.  I've got my own money problem.

Dear fucking god do I wish that I could help with the money.  And maybe it isn't a question of could.  Maybe it's should.  Maybe, specifically, it's should have.  I've already made all the payments I can make, the money is already spent except for a certain portion that absolutely no exceptions must be paid but will need to be hand delivered because someone paid those (very important) bills for me to give me time to scrape together money needed to pay the bills but was definitely not doing a longer term loan.

But what if I'd said "Fuck the future" and used the money not to pay down my debt but instead to help out here?

Maybe that would take enough of the stress off that spoons would be left to deal with ordinary problems.

(Maybe it would help if some mentally healthy neurotypical adult-type person were involved in things here.)

- - -

Are we at places?  I think we're at places.

Home is three things to me:
  1. The house in which I grew up
  2. The farm on which I grew up
  3. Maine

The land the house sits on is my family's but it doesn't call to me the way the building does.  The building, flawed and wonderful, is home.  The land is an accident of location.

For the farm it's basically the reverse.

The house is a part of my memories, my past, my family, but it's not home to me.  I don't know how much of my childhood was spent cooped up in the house vs exploring the farm (in which I include the fields, and the woods even though they were not farmed) but the house on the farm isn't home.

Maybe it's because another house already has that spot in my heart, maybe it's because it smelled of grandparents, maybe it's because during the summer my french relatives would more or less take over the house because it saved them money to impose on my grandparents for free, but for whatever reason the house isn't home.  The land is.

The greenhouse too.  Poor fucking greenhouse that's become target practice for the neighbors.  They break the glass with baseballs, the break the glass with softballs, the break the glass with golf balls, they break the glass with hockey pucks, and they break the glass with the apples that the previous owners of their property shared with us in kindness and in peace.  Apples that come from the tree that had seemed like magic to children that had not yet learned of "grafting" because it produced not one or two but THREE types of apples.

The apples are the only naturally renewable thing they break the glass with, which might explain why when I look around I see more of them than any of the other things.

I'm, going to fix that fucking greenhouse.  I'm going to make it as wonderful as it once was, and once it's done I'm going to call the cops every damned time the neighbors break the glass again.  (Where as now they break the glass and then try to get the cops and code enforcement to be pissed because there's broken glass on the property.)


So, let us talk about the places.  My house is what I constantly skate on the edge of losing because of money problems.  The farm hangs in the balance right fucking now, with the shit the neighbors decided to pull only complicating already difficult talks between my mother and her sister (my evil aunt) about finally settling the matter of ownership of the property.

Stress.  Yay.


There are many things.  In my basement there is a Commodore 64 with so many peripherals.  A reel to reel player.  A TI.  A cheap as far as they go but none the less not cheap as my budget is concerned pool table.  A work bench covered in the disgusting detritus of my earliest attempts at making silicone molds and plastic parts.  It has a sort of organic cancerous look.  In terms of shape, that is.  In color it's blue and white.  Mostly.

Lego sets.  Game figures.  Industrial looking fluorescent lighting.  Lots of books.  Rotting remains of childhood.  Mine and my sister's.

Recipes for non-traditional but still-kosher dishes that my dad made when the kids at the school he was chef for that time wanted more variety.

The biggest things, in terms of importance, though, are computers.  (Not the ones in the basement.)  Dead computers, salvaged hard drives.  External drives used to back shit up.  My writing.  My ideas.  My past.

Also my present and future for a computer that does work and does connect to the internet is necessary for me to connect to the rest of the world.  To be told that my writing means something, that it's somehow worthwhile.  To ask for help and say thanks when I get it (by the way, thanks, seriously, I'm only making it through 2016 because of you) to not be a hermit.  To have human contact.

To be, to see and to be seen.

Oh, and you know what I did.  I let my primary computer, the new primary that I haven't had for very long, slide.

This was a while back, I don't remember the details.  At first it seemed nothing went wrong.  In fact the cord was mildy broken.  Without treatment mildly became majorly and then BOOM.  Ok, no explosion.

I cut, I spliced, and I'm here now, but I did not fix.  Not completely.  I can run this computer off of the cord, but something in the process was lost or changed and it's not working in a fashion that's close enough to right to have the battery charge.  I'm constantly tethered, never really at ease, sometimes forced into uncomfortable positions because length of cord and distance to outlet and . . . fuck.

Yeah, I got a new one on the way.  42 dollars.  At another time I might note the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything popping up in jovial spirits.

$42, that's almost a month worth of electricity.  Gone because I stupidly let the computer slide and land on the plugged in power cord.


So that's the state of things, at the moment.


  1. I think you may be missing a "nothing" in the first bullet point.

    As for the rest, I don't know what to say. I wish there was something useful I could do. But reading a good writer's explanation of anything, even tough shit like this, makes the world seem more real. Thank you for speaking.

    1. I think you may be missing a "nothing" in the first bullet point.

      Which left the sentence without a subject. Thanks for pointing it out so I could fix it.

      Thank you for speaking.

      Thanks for saying that.

  2. "Did that confuse you to the point that your brain threw a "divide by cheese" error causing you to default to "the police are always right about everything and never make mistakes.""