Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Little Excitement—or, Maybe Too Much

Today I employed my long-time Yahoo friend and blogger buddy, Tiffany, to help me clean my house for Christmas. She had just completed making my livingroom acceptable enough to open the curtains to the outside world (see below), when she called to me to come “see the excitement.”

By the time I reached the front door, she was already out it and on the porch. I snapped the two photographs above from my front porch. The fire was in the house two doors to my left. It must not have been much, because the firemen—firepersons—went into it carrying what appeared to be only fire extinguishers and other implements of minor fire-fighting.

That really wasn’t a lot of excitement; it was , however, it was the first time I’ve seen fire engines on my street, much less in front of my house.

Actually, my day began with more excitement that the fire engines. This morning I had a repeat of the incident about which I blogged on November 18. This time it was $31.00 that disappeared from my wallet over-night. Besides again being stupid enough to leave my wallet in my jacket pocket—should one have to worry about that in his own home?—I did not realize that the money was gone until after I had made a purchase the at drug store. It was quite a shock when I opened my wallet and found that it was empty.

I have again issued the ultimatum that my "guests" must get out of my house! They respond by saying nothing. I have telephoned Stephanie’s grandmother. Both she and Stephanie’s mother will allow her to stay at their houses, but will not allow Brian to stay there due to his history of lying and theft.

I feel as if I am up against a barricade. If I make a police report, it will surely get back to Stephanie’s probation officer and there is a good chance that she will give birth to her second child behind prison walls. Yet, their refusal to talk to me—to respond to my demand that they depart from house—may leave me no alternative.

I genuinely detest being place in this position, especially by people to whom I have reached out when they requested my help. That is much more excitement than I can tolerate.


  1. It's not that you're not helping - it's that they're not using your help in the right spirit at all. Don't put the blame for this on yourself. Brian is actively abusing your gracious hospitality and charity, and Stephanie is passively abusing your welcome as well. He may be the one with his paws in your wallet, but she won't let go of his coat sleeve, either.

    I don't know what to tell you to do about them. I would be less charitable than you have been. But please, whatever you do, don't you feel guilty about doing what you need to do. You ARE entitled to your own life, you know.

  2. Exactly! if you have to ultimately call the cops because they won't LEAVE, for crying out loud, you can't punish yourself about it! Some people just won't let themselves be helped. You've done more than most people would've done. And yes, it's terrible and tragic if she winds up having her baby in jail. But you can't make her care about that. It's sad that she doesn't and it's a shame that you're more concerned about it than she is. What a pair they are. Their poor kids. What are their chances of turning out decent and honorable??

  3. I echo the words of Bucky Four-eyes: they are both taking advantage of your gracious hospitality and charity. You certainly need not feel guilty about doing what you need to do.

    I have been where you are more than once. I know what it is like to feel I am being used and abused by people to whom I have reached out. One of those people, as you know, is a woman you have also given a hand.

    Please do not let your experiences with her and these two allow you to become resistant you to those who are in need. All are not like Stephanie and Brian—and very few are as manipulative and self-seeking as the one you call “Candy.”

    At the same time, I urge you to toughen your heart just a little bit—just enough to protect yourself, no more and no less. I truly believe the words of Emerson: “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

  4. I was just passing through when I noticed the picture of what I suppose is your living room. The picture on the left of the wall, isn’t that Lee Teter's painting "Reflections" of the Vietnam Wall? It is one of my favorites and it hangs in my office where I can see it from my desk.

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  6. I don't think it's a probation violation to be evicted. I think you can remove them without putting them in jail. If it *is* a violation, well, you didn't do it, she did. Twice.

    In Texas, you can file a report without pressing charges. If it's the same in Kentucky, you can report this to the police and start a paper trail- and hopefully scare them out of your home- without actually throwing them in jail

  7. They are making stupid choices and putting you in the position to have to make tough ones...but you can only help people for so long before they are expected to start helping themselves. You know what I mean? They need to go.


  8. Tough love (and hospitality) are hard. Bucky has wise words, as do the others. You really need to draw the line, I think.

    And WOW on the firetrucks!

  9. I thank each of you for your responses. I will make another post later in the day updating what happened last night when I confronted Stephanie & Brian again. Before I do that, I want to respond to each of you.

    Bucky: As usually, you have hot the nail of the head—or, perhaps, bonked me into some realistic thinking. I have been blaming myself for not being able to get through to them; maybe it’s because it is me personally that I feel is being violated, but if they were clients I was counseling I would have used a much different perspective. (Of course, if they were clients, I would only see them for 50 minutes).

    The baseline is: I need them out of my house. I am actually becoming fearful of them bring here. Not fearful that they will physically injure me, but that they will continue to infringe on my generosity and home.

    Jay are: You, too, are on target. You also touched on my concern that if someone isn’t able to get through to them, they will continue their irresponsible actions. Maybe I am not that someone. Maybe I can’t work that miracle. Maybe I have a problem allowing myself to accept that.

    Mike: Yes, there is a relationship between how Stephanie and Brian respond to me and how Candy has. I agree with Emerson.

    j.s.: Thanks for dropping by. Yes, that is Lee Teter's painting, I must write something about that at some future date.

    Thomas: No, I don’t think that being evicted would be a violation of Stephanie’s probation. However, as I understand the conditions of her probation from what her grandmother has told me (Stephanie refuses to talk to me about it), she is in violation simply by (1) being in this county and (2) living with Brian. Her probation officer thinks she is living with her grandmother in another county.

    Natalia: Yes, I know what you mean! They are making stupid choices and both have been doing so for as long as I have known them. Stephanie’s relatives—at least her grandmother and sister—have attempted to get her to making changes for several years. They do need to go.

    Milkmaid: I know you re right and I have drawn the line. Actually, I drew it—sent expectations and boundaries with them—from the beginning. Like adolescents testing parents, they keep crossing that line. Like a fool, I do not impose the consequences of their actions. No, that isn’t true. I have imposed the “consequences.” It is the passivity of their response that has me flabbergasted!

  10. You do what you have to. There is no reason to put up with having your money stolen when you are already giving so much to them already. The fire truck thing is cool! The closest thing I've seen to that is when I was in middle school and my brother decided to experiment with explosives and some wierd bottle shot into my neighbor's backyard. Well, I opened up my window that afternoon to see that the entire bomb squad was in our alley. That was crazey!

  11. Nick, if she is violating her probation, and you are helping her do it by giving her a place to live, doesn't that make you "aiding and abetting?" I'd hate to see you blunder, with the best of intentions, into legal jeopardy.

    I know you don't want to send her to jail, but you could be setting yourself up for a world of trouble.

  12. Not to mention how horrible you are feeling right now with them in your house. Please take care of yourself, Nick.

  13. Bucky: Thanks for your concern. So much happened yesterday that I carried what I wrote over to today.

    El: Did the bomb squad identify your brother as the source of the, uh, rocket attack?

    What bothers me a lot about their theft of the money is, had they asked me, I am sure I would have shared with them.

    Thomas: No, the only problem that could develop is between Stephanie and her P.O. That relates to her not providing the P.O. with her current address. That’s the violation, as well as Brian being with her. The latter because Brian is facing 6 months in jail for not providing Stephanie with court ordered child support and Stephanie has testified in district court that they are not living together.

    Punkmom: You are so right. With all of them gone at the moment I feel a great relief. BTW, yesterday with Tiffany’s help, I put a new handle on the front door which includes a new lock. Just in case they found and appropriated my spare keys.

    Milkmaid: I am here and at the moment doing very well.