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September 25, 2008 - Thursday, 4:01 p.m.

San Antonio...

I spent time in San Antonio a few weeks ago. In many ways it felt surreal. There were two sets of emotions bumping into each other.

The last time I was in San Antonio before this was over 26 years ago. My memories of the place are very fuzzy, and at that time my life was in complete turmoil. I was only there for two months, but a lot of life changing things happened there.

I was in San Antonio managing a pizza place on Fredrickberg Road. The guy I was dating, Gary, was there as well (he would eventually become my X husband). We worked for a pizza chain and his store was right outside of Lackland Air Force base. We'd only been there a few weeks when I started to suspect that I might be pregnant. I went to the Planned Parenthood clinic and confirmed my suspicion.

Here I was hundreds of miles from home for the first time in my life, not married and pregnant. Gah!! I told Gary and then took a deep breath and called my parents.

It's the place where my black and white world splintered into a thousand shades of grey. Any judgmental thoughts I may have harbored before that day dwindled away. I became a more accepting person, more able to accept and understand the faults of others.

THIS trip to San Antonio was different. It was taken in anticipation of my youngest son going into the Air Force. It was a window into the military world, which before now I was pretty well removed from. It was also a chance to support Dominic and Becca. I feel very motherly towards Becca and it was nice to be able to be supportive.

It was hot and we had a lot of stuff going on outside. It certainly brought home the fact that I am out of shape. The walking in the heat was exhausting. I imagine the fact that I am terribly anemic (which I discovered once I got home) wasn't any help either.

My life has changed so much in the last year. Sometimes it is hard to grasp. Justin and Philip are gone (along with Moon). They've moved into a house together. It isn't far from the house, but I don't see them every day any more. It's strange. Curtis, my baby, is working to go into the Air Force. Sometimes it all feels surreal.

The economy is crashing and burning. It all feels very unstable. I am glad to have a job, even though I REALLY want one that pays better. There are whispers of another Depression like in the 30's. It's hard to see what the road looks like ahead.

My marriage is going good, but we are struggling with Alex's teen years. It's hard going through the teens again for me. It is so frustrating to deal with someone who isn't trying to do well and doesn't seem bothered by it. (It's a repeat of some of the stuff I went through with my boys.) I STILL don't understand it. It's hard to comprehend someone working towards mediocrity. I worked to do my best in school. I didn't shoot for the middle of the pack; I wanted to be out front.

Another issue is not being able to trust Alex. To begin with I trusted him at his word, but it's become apparent that I can't count on that. I don't like not being able to trust him to do what he is told to do or even to do what he's AGREED to do. It seems like he is always looking for a way to 'get away' with something. When caught doing something he shouldn't he doesn't seem to have remorse for doing the action, only for being caught. He's not sorry he did it, he's sorry he got caught. Doing what he wants, when he wants is worth any punishment, and he seems to count on the punishment diminishing over time and he is back with privileges.

As a step mom, it feels like my hands are tied to some extent. Sometimes I just feel like a tattle tale. "Alex has done this, or Alex has done that." Sometimes I'd rather just keep quiet, but I feel responsible to say something. But then sometimes I think Scott wishes I'd not bring it up, because it just makes him sad to deal with it, and I don't let him not think about it.

Alex had jobs assigned to him by Scott. Dishes were one of those jobs. The problem? I have a very small kitchen, and it is very unpleasant to cook around a mess. There isn't enough space to prepare a meal if there are dirty dishes everywhere. Alex felt that once a day was enough, but sometimes it would be after dinner and other times it would be before dinner. So, pretty much when I went to cook the kitchen was a mess. At first I'd let the dishes sit for days, but then the sink would get nasty smelling and I was continuing to work around the mess. So about every couple of days I'd just clean up myself. I pushed about it as much as I could. I mentioned that they weren't done. Something would be said, hed do some of the dishes, half-assed, and then it would happen again and again.

Last week I just decided, 'THAT'S IT!". I've gone back to doing it myself. I can do a little in the morning and a little when I get home from work and a little after dinner and the kitchen stays clean. I can make meals in a clean kitchen now. I've stopped 'waiting' for them to get done. So what, he wins? Yay, he doesn't have to do dishes? Oh well. No allowance either, not that he cares. Bottom line... I'm happier with it getting done and I don't have to 'tattle' all the time.

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