Let's see...How to describe my cousin, A.? God, I give up. I love her and I like her; she's a sweet person, but the last smart choice she made was probably in about 1983. At any rate, she called me from Seattle today to tell me that she is leaving her fourth husband, to whom she has been married for one month. Rehab didn't work (wasn't it romantic, though, when he wrote her that cute proposal from the rehab center and they were married two days after he got out?), he's still using meth and then...well, he's not hitting her, but.... I was standing in my office when she told me this and felt the desire to shriek, "I TOLD YOU HE WAS A F***ING CREEP FROM THE VERY BEGINNING!", then throw the phone into a file drawer and slam it shut. But, should I file it under "D" for "Decisions, Bad"; "J" for "Jerk"; or "O" for "Oh, s***"?
Instead, I went outside to my branch office (the broken kindergarten chair in the school parking lot) and kept listening. "Yes, the things he's doing to you are abuse.....Yes, if he's using meth again, you need to get away.... Yes, I agree that, since you don't know a soul in Seattle, you should come back to SLC...You could probably get your old job back, if you asked for it...Oh, you're tired of that kind of work....hmmmm....well, sure, maybe something besides customer service....?????...you want to stay with us 'til you get back on your feet?...Right...Sure, I'll talk to Simon about it...."
So, then. There's no question that A. can stay with us - she's my own cousin. But let's see... how to tactfully say things like:
- What does your soon-to-be-ex husband think of this plan? Is he going to follow you to my house, sit in his car at the curb and call you over and over on your cell? Don't tell him where you're going.
- So, he's using meth again, but what about you? We have some house rules: No meth smoking, no meth cooking. We also have a rule against "borrowing" checks, credit cards or cash to buy meth. We're just funny that way.
- You can stay for us with a week, but then you need to go stay with your friend Susan for awhile.
- How much money do you have? Are you aware that we don't have any to lend you?
- Are you taking your anti-depressants? Are you going to lie in bed for days?
- No, I really don't like the idea of renting out the downstairs to you long-term.