I am not an enabler...not consciously anyway. Whenever I see someone I care about involved in destructive behavior, I call them on it. Sometimes I wait for appropriate timing but sooner or later I get to it.
Jessica had been told that she could not live with me if she continued her self destructive patterns. Even though I was still quite ill, I was determined not to allow Jessica to avoid doing what she needed to be employable or to fulfill her obligation to us for room and board.
Of course, I was operating on the assumption that she was being honest which gave her plenty of opportunity to manipulate and evade accountability. Most often when she was gone she claimed it had something to do with school or job interviews, doctor appointments, forgotten rides, etc. were all good excuses to be gone or to arrive home after the chores were already done. Only after I knew the truth about her did I understand where she really spent her days. I can tell you it had nothing to do with getting a real job or going to school.
Whenever we did manage to corner her to let her know we really needed her help, she would find some man to do the job. Never her boyfriend though, he was as insulated from contributing as she was. The only exception was worming horses. Jessica did that herself....or at least I think she did. There were a few other miscellaneous tasks that she did occasionally, like turning out a stallion or two, and she did get those guys to help with stalls when she couldn't figure a way out of it. On the whole Jessica took way more than she ever gave.
Her late night hours ruined any chance I had of sleeping most nights but her inconsiderateness didn't end there. The door to their room flagged all night long as they went outside to smoke. My front porch looked like a seedy bar with empty bottles and butts everywhere. There was never any attempt to clean the area up nor any consideration for the fact this was my front door so people's first impression of me. Then consideration of anyone but Jessica was not one of her long suits and Jimmy was all about Jessica.
She and Jimmy would use up all the towels but not ever put them in the hamper, let alone think about washing them. That bedroom had most of the towels, the same with drinking glasses and bowls stashed away in there but Jessica would complain about not having clean ones. It didn't dawn on me the shortage was caused by them until well into their stay when I had finally recovered enough to think about the mechanics of it.
Sometimes she was gone for a couple nights and others she slept here with Jimmy and they ate us out of house and home for at least 4 months. During that time they made a huge mess out of that room, destroyed an expensive queen size air mattress in about a week (She actually got quite indignant about the fact that mattress ruined her sleep losing air all night long, implying I had somehow screwed her), and they managed to send our power bills through the roof. Having Jessica here was an expensive proposition with no perks for us.
Chaos followed her everywhere. I found myself grateful to have her gone even though she really should have been helping to cover her and Jimmy's room and board. Through all of this I did not see that she was anything but a messed up kid needing help.
Believe it or not this is not the worst of it but I am not going to devote all kinds of space telling Jessica stories. I am sharing what I think are important pieces of this particular puzzle. Part of it has been this overview of her behaviors. Next I will share some specific stories that hold some important clues to Jessica. Then I will share the final straw and what I learned when she was finally gone. To my best recollection I am sharing them in chronological order.
The only other important thing I think I have left out would be missing money. I don't know how much because we have not had a serious problem with theft since Colleen was a kid and some incidents with Rachel. Because they are no longer around, we haven't taken the precautions or done the monitoring we used to. Jrssica's presence in our house changed that. She took away our sense of safety and trust. When confronted, she blamed Jimmy. She never denied it though...just pointed the finger elsewhere.
The first story has to do with her dogs. It really bothered me for a couple of different reasons. I will share both and other concerns I may have had along the way.
Jessica had two white boxers, a male and a female. Both were full siblings to my dog, Sugar. The male, Ace, was deaf (a well known genetic defect for white boxers) and a litter mate of hers. The female, Remington, was from a subsequent litter but I imagine these dogs got along so well with ours because of that initial relationship. Both dogs were well trained even with Ace's deafness but without knowing the hand signals he was trained to all his training was useless.
Remington, nickname Remi , had some type of serious digestive disease that caused her to be very thin. She also suffered seizures. She was probably a bit timid because of this. She was not spayed because Jessica planned to breed her someday despite her disease and the undesirability and genetic issues associated with her white color.
I never understood why anyone would deliberately plan to breed white boxers. In hindsight I understand it was all about Jessica. Seeing her at a dog show showing off her two white boxers, she thought it somehow made her special. She had no regard for the risk to her dog or puppies and she sure didn't notice the stir she generate was unfavorable.
Boxers are thin coated dogs and very sensitive to changes in temperature. Because of that Sugar wears clothes all winter long even in the house. Then she gets an additional layer to go outside.
Of course with her poor boundaries, Jessica helped herself to Sugar's clothes to put on Remi knowing full well that Sugar needed them herself when she went outside. When I called her on this she justified her behavior because her dog had been shivering.
I told her she could not help herself to Sugar's clothes because Sugar needed them. Instead I dug out another coat I had tucked away telling Jessica it was just a short term loan. She must buy or make something for Remi as we had done for Sugar.
As soon as she realized that years ago Lindsay had made a dog garment for her dog, Jessica began pushing to make something for hers. She expected me to provide the materials and I ended up saying I probably had something she could use.
Next thing I knew Jessica tore through my craft room again pulling out fabric she wanted to use for Remi's coat. She not only destroyed my room with piles of flat folds no longer flat but crumpled and even falling on the floor, she chose a beautiful, expensive piece of red berber I had purchased to make something special for myself.
There was no way I was allowing Jessica to use that fabric or anything near as expensive. The fabric wasn't suitable for dog clothing anyway. What I had in mind would be suitable and functional. Only problem was it was not flashy enough for Jessica so I told her she would have to buy her own fabric if she didn't want to use what I was willing to give her.
The pattern I had available needed to be modified and she did manage to get that project started. She didn't ever get it done or even begin sewing a coat for the dog. She did buy her something that was not suitable or durable.....but it was flashy. Remi still shivered but Jessica was happy because her dog looked good.
Not only did she screw up my craft room with a mess it took me days to fix but she tied up my kitchen table for weeks before I finally cleaned that mess up too. She did not take care of her dog. Instead she made a show out of it and poor Remi shivered all the way through and never did get a coat that kept her warm.
In addition to helping herself to Sugar's coat, Jessica used my dogs' bowls to feed and water her dogs. Sharing food dishes with new dogs in the pack is just asking for trouble so I insisted that she get dishes of their own for her dogs. Instead she went through my cupboards and found dog dishes that belonged to the dogs that we have lost.
Even when I told her those dishes were keepsakes to Lindsay and me, Jessica did not respect this boundary. I repeatedly took those bowls away from her but she managed to find them. The one belonging to Lindsay's dog is gone with Jessica. Of course it cannot be replaced but obviously Jessica just didn't care.
My youngest child has brain damage and life is hard for her. It is little things like keeping that dish to remind her of her dear dog, Brandy, that bring her joy. Stealing from someone like Lindsay is as low as it gets. I guess the same can be said of stealing from someone as sick as I was.
Dog dishes and pieces of fabric may seem like little things but it was about respect to me. The last time I saw Jessica she had that dog dish. It didn't dawn on me until after she was gone that I had seen it sitting right next to the bag of dog food leaning up against the car. Right up to the end she was flipping me off and stealing whatever she could get.
To be continued.......
The Power Outage.........