Monday, August 28, 2006

Weather Report

Red sky in morning,
Sailors take warning.
Red sky at night,

Sailors take delight.

There’s a storm coming.

The weather has been unusual for some time.

My sister-in-law and her daughter came down from Alaska and stayed with us off and on for a couple of weeks. They are Jehovah Witnesses and in the past there have been conflicts between them and my wife. But this year that patch of weather turned out to be far more pleasant than we thought it would be. Brenda and Debbie found a lot of ways to encourage each other and find common ground in their faiths so things were generally very nice. Mostly we talked about raising teens.

Brenda’s other sister had a baby a week ago. There were visits to the hospital and to their home (once Logan was over his case of jaundice).


That kept us hustling because there were other things going on at the same time. We live behind the county fairgrounds and each year during the fair our street is lined up with cars (you may have noticed all the parked cars in the “Bike Repair” post).

Our kids love to go to the fair, and to offset the cost I agreed to put together a team of kids (which included my own) to man a booth demonstrating Lego Robotics.

We had a lot of fun...
(That's Brenda screaming & waving in the middle up there)

(Here we are! --That's my niece in the front)

But it was another element to the busyness of our lives.

But it wasn’t the biggest element.

Brenda’s mom used to live with us, but she has an apartment of her own about a mile away and needs a lot of help.

But that isn’t what has been stirring things up the most.

My brother’s girlfriend of 15 years has been grieving over her brother. He died two weeks ago in an accident. It has been a very sad time over there.

But that hasn’t been the worst of it.

It’s my father in law.

He and his wife bought a sailing boat and lived in it. For a while they lived here in Oregon, but they finally moved to Puerta Vallarta. After a while they built a house there and sold the boat.

He needed by pass surgery to get blood to his legs. They also did angioplasty on his heart. All that was pretty difficult, but not as bad as what happened next.

When he started to wake up from surgery, he began to rant. He hollered, and cussed, and pulled out his IV (over and over and over), and tried to rip out his stitches. He tries to bite those who visit him, including my wife. His anger is so great his blood pressure keeps hitting dangerous levels. He has been sedated for almost two weeks, and restrained. He has delirium tremons.

Denny doesn’t think he is an alcoholic. After all, how can you be an alcoholic when it is mostly beer you drink? He chains smokes, and that is also a health concern, but the alcohol must stop if he is to survive. He is about to lose his liver.

So what do we do with Denny? If he returns home to Mexico he will go back to drinking beer as if it is water (actually more so, in an average day he drinks twice the volume of beer as I do of any liquids).

And he is abusive. His poor wife doesn’t want to watch him die, which he certainly will if this continues. And he constantly harangues her, calling her stupid, calling her worse.

So he is coming here. Just as soon as he is rational enough to leave the hospital.

We are planning an intervention.

This is the storm that is coming.

And there is plenty of other things to deal with. Our kids are going back to school, and as a teacher, so am I. In fact this year is going to be one of the most challenging, most interesting, most unusual years of my career. But that is the topic of another post.

I’ve told Brenda that he is her father, and he is Barbara's husband, and that when it comes to enforcing the no drinking rule in our home, I want to be the heavy. They need to maintain their relationship with him. It’s OK if he hates me. So if he sneaks alcohol in, I’ll pour it out. If there needs to be any confrontations, I will try to reason with him.

We haven’t a spare room, so we are going to turn the living room into a bedroom.

So this summer there has been some emotional weather for all of us. And there was sunshine when we didn’t expect it. All of that is a part of life. We roll up our sleeves and do our best.

This almost feels like we are inviting trouble into our home. But he needs to convalesce, and he needs help recognizing an pushing through his dependance on alcohol (tobacco too, but that is a battle for another day).

He's ornery in the best of times... and this is him at his worst. I think one reason the Lord gave us families is to teach us to love people we normally wouldn't like.

He needs a relationship with God. He needs to be loved and cared for . He needs to see how kindness works in life. He needs to free himself from the grip alcohol has on him. He needs prayer.

“Red sky in morning, sailors take warning...”

There is a storm coming.


Side note: I love my wife so much! She has been wonderful. Wednesday is her birthday (and I won't say which one except that she is five years younger than me). That is also Willy's birthday. She has come so very far this past year. I honor her in every way I can. She is a wonderful wife, partner, woman, mother, sister, daughter, and person. The Lord has blessed me greatly through her.


curious servant said...

It just occurred to me that this is an insensitive metaphor I have used for this post.

Today is the one year anniversary of Katrina's landfall, and many of my blogging friends live in Florida (especially you Fred) and Ernesto is bearing down on you.

Please forgive me for not thinking this through folks. I haven't time today to rewrite it.

Kc said...

May God continue to give you all strength and courage.

Best wishes to your wife and our hope for a wonderful birthday. ;-)

C & G said...

I will be praying for your family each time I pass your house, which, is often.
Almost two years ago we took in my addicted younger brother. I felt as though I was opening the door to spiritual battle . . . the Lord is faithful though!

One of the things that the Lord kept reminding me of during that time was that Jesus, knowing full well that Judas was going to betray him, washed his feet (Jn. 13) . . .

Ame said...

I love how you love your wife! When I saw the pic, my first thought was, "Brenda is very happy!" What a credit to YOU! And honestly, it is the way you love her and your boys that brings me back here.

Cute Logan! Fun pics from the fair!

Wow ... yep ... there's a storm a brewin' ... but I cannot imagine you being anymore prepared than you already are. Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for another ... powerful words ... even more powerful when lived out.

Squirrel said...

I really love that picture of your family. You and your wife look so very happy! There are so many unhappy, miserable couples out there and it's good to see one as happy as me and my hubby!
You found me, you are now an honary Secret Squirrel!

Felisol said...

Dear Curious Servant,
God bless you and give strength to your hole family this very moment. He will, you know, according to his promises:
"because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."[a] 6So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"[
Hebr. 13. 5-6
Looking at that wonderful family picture, your happy, solid bouys and your wife holding so safly and trustingly around you. It's wonderful. What a progress. What a fulfillment of promises.
It is wise to plan how you're going to handle the problems that may arise. It's even wiser to share it with your blogger friends, and include God in your precautions.
He'll provide shelter from the storm.

Fred said...

My brother is a Jehovah Witness. It tore our family apart; we no longer talk. It's good to find the middle ground; we couldn't.

Happy Birthday to Brenda!

jel said...


take care!

Coco said...


Strength and compassion to weather the "storm"...
I'll be praying for you and your family.


Coco said...


Strength and compassion to weather the "storm"...
I'll be praying for you and your family.


Margaret said...

It sounds like you have a full plate besides school. That's a lot to worry about, and deal with! I will be wishing you well. I have a new nephew named Logan, born on Aug. 21st,who also has jaundice. Thank you for your visit; I especially appreciate the supportive words from other educators.

Lucy Stern said...

My sister's husband was and acholic and all he drank was beer. He tried to tell everyone that beer wouldn't hurt him. He died almost seven years ago at the age of 49 from liver disease. He wouldn't listen to the doctors and quit drinking. By the time he realized what he was doing to himself, it was too late. He was in and out of the hospital and he died a very painful death.

Your father in law is killing himself. Until he admits that he is an acholic, he will not even try to help himself. He needs to get into treatment for his drinking.

I wish you luck, you are going to need it. Keep reading your scriptures and Pray, pray, pray.

Jada's Gigi said...

I know I left a comment yesterday but blogger is a pain sometimes. YOur wife is a blessed woman as are your children. Your FIL will be seeing some Jesus with skin on...what a blessing...will be praying for you...I know it won't be easy. Have you read Vicki's post today at Windows to my soul?

Kathleen Marie said...

I don't think you were insensitive at all. My prayers are with you and I am sure you will all be the stronger once you get through the storm. Just let the Lord keep you in the palm of his hand during this time - the peace that surpasses all understanding will be with you.

Blessings Galore!

Judas Hate said...

I'll be thinking of and praying for you and your family as you brave this storm. I hope a great peace follows it.

On another note....


Vicki said...

I came before and read your post, but Blogger got stuck and wouldn't put my comment through. Sure enjoy the photos of your family!

Wanted to encourage you, dear friend. Sounds like you have a storm brewing...will be praying fervently for His strength and wisdom for you. Just take Jesus with you (but you do).

You definitely are Jesus with skin on to those around you. Make plans, but expect Him. So thankful for you and your family.

David said...

That is a tough storm to weather but one that must be faced. I have had to deal with that disease with many men who worked for me and the only one who can start the fix is the ill person. Others can lead, can direct, but it is up to the person. Good luck.

GOod looking family in the picture.

Fox's Mom said...

Happy Birthday to Brenda!

Congratulations on the new family member-you know that every time a child is born, it is God saying, "OK kids, I have faith in you..."

Re: The Katrina coincidence, there are storms of all kinds, and I doubt deeply any reader is offended-this is coming from an IVAN survivor, so I think I may have an inside track on storm allusion sensitivities:)

We are with you and Brenda during this approaching personal storm, in prayer, and practical advice. Reach out to those of us who have 'ridden that train' and can perhaps help. you sound as though you have a pretty good handle on the preparations...the best advice I can offer is to line up reliable and experienced help-you and your family must take time out regularly from all of the caregiving. I wish someone had said that to me while I was caregiving to my stepmother's husband back in the mid eighties...

Jim said...


I don't envy you guy's last situation here, but God will see you through it.

curious servant said...

Hi folks.

I'm not sure how to put this... usually I'm much more articulate.

Brenda and I aren't sleeping well because of the issues surrounding my father in la (things have really gotten messy).

My mother in law is living here now... sleeping on the couch.

Pleasae pray for him. Please pray for her. Please pray for Brenda.

jel said...

will be

take care

Felisol said...

Dear Lord, please stay put with Will and his enlarged family this very moment. Let them rest in your arms and be their strength when theirs are gone. Thanks for your promises to us in our times of need. Send Your Holy Spirit to guide and enlighten. Let their sleep be sweet and their peace be like the ocean. Amen

curious servant said...

I have news! Things have been darker than I hinted in my post, and we've had even worse news since I wrote the post... BUT... There is a light shining through the clouds. There is a ray of hope.

If you have pryed for us, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

I am going to try to write about it all very soon. There is still danger in all of this, and things might be very bad... but we just had a phone call that hints at good things.

May The Lord bless all you greatly.

Your friend and brother...