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Subject: Insanity in my family and Gifts gone bizarre. rss

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Paul DeStefano
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My Brother is almost done with his 2 year divorce proceeding. His wife went insane. Not jokingly so. She would make phone calls to passing airplanes. She sold my brothers jeep when he went for a walk. She once returned all of the groceries he had just bought because it "wasn't the right time" for grocery shopping.

Really, truly bizarre and frightening things. I haven't let her near my kids for 3 years, once the symptoms and signs became just too much.

Not a blood relative.

I also have another non-blood relative of a somewhat strange nature.

We see her maybe once every 2 years, an aunt from NJ.

Well, she shipped some packages to us. My wife and I just had our 13th anniversary. She shipped us some stuff and some stuff for the kids.

Here is the list. You tell me if this woman is insane:

For my son (8):
6 used books from a school library
3 sheets of oaktag
A plush soccer player with usable zippers and buttons to learn with
A set of dollar store dominoes
A set of 7 3' tall die cut cardboard dinosaurs for his wall
An envelope filled with letters cut from construction paper
A shirt with an image of a guitar painted on it in bleach by a local artist
A pack of post it notes
A pick-up-sticks set

For my daughter (5):
3 used disney colorforms sets with missing bits
3 gorgeous little girl outfits for fall, each custom made at a specialty boutique
A Snow White book
A plush cheerleader doll
12 photocopied sheets of math problems (she can't add yet)
A brush and comb set
A limited edition litograph of a scene from Snow White

For my wife:
A shirt with a hand painted dragonfly (my wife is obsessed with dragon flies)
An astoundingly intricate unique glass wind chime/suncatcher
A custom towel made with my wife's name and a dragonfly on it

For me:
A shirt that matches my son's with the bleach painted guitar (I don't play, neither does he)
A check for $1000.
 
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Jeff Wiles
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Geosphere wrote:
An envelope filled with letters cut from construction paper


Did they spell anything?
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The gift list from your aunt is amazing. Whatever a person might think of her it's obvious that she went well beyond the typical "gift-giving because you're supposed to" and sent things that she hoped would have real meaning.

My 80+ year old dad and his 80+ year old lady friend give my 5 year old some odd things... but never anything that doesn't reflect what they perceive as important or good for a small boy.

Does your brother's ex have an unclaimed sister in Idaho? If so I think I married her once. Took me two years to get her teeth unclenched from my ankle... and that's only after being stalked, having her arrested for B&E my home and being bankrupted by slimey attorneys and judges with an axe to grind.
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She IS nuts. That check was supposed to come to me.
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Geosphere wrote:

12 photocopied sheets of math problems (she can't add yet)


This is bizarrely hilarious.
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Paul DeStefano
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jeffwiles wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
An envelope filled with letters cut from construction paper


Did they spell anything?


Good Lord, I hadn't thought of checking. Now I'm scared.
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Marc B.
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Geosphere wrote:
You tell me if this woman is insane:


I don't know. Sounds like she may just think of your family often and on occasion comes across something that makes her think of one of you.
So she gets it and puts it in a box for you. probably with a thought of seeing you more often. Time passes and things collect up. A special occasion arrives and she decides to mail them all at once.

Think of it this way. What if you saw her often (like weekly) and she occasionally gave one of you one of those items? It wouldn't seem so
crazy would it?

I would think a package like that would be kinda fun.
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Paul DeStefano
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Oh, I forgot one item - for the kids to share, its a pack of 4 dinosaurs that are both puzzles and crayons.
 
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Quote:
For my son:
A shirt with an image of a guitar painted on it in bleach by a local artist.
For me:
A shirt that matches my son's with the bleach painted guitar (I don't play, neither does he)


Maybe to local artist lost his bonedrum stencil (or whatever that thing on your avatar is).
 
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Geosphere wrote:
...A check for $1000.


Dummy! It's just the prototype parts and earnest money on the game she wants you to produce!
 
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Robin
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I actually agree with Marc. I have some pretty unsually relatives. Sometimes they pick up things for me that they find somewhere at yard sales, retail stores, where ever, (not normally the library but hey you never know, they might have had a library book sale.)

Sometimes it may seem to me random but for whatever reason, this object made this person think of me.

It sounds like to me she thinks your children are a bit younger than what they are. It must have been a long time since she's seen them. An envelope full of cut out letters would be a great gift for my boys who are 4 and 2.

She actually sounds pretty thoughtful. She made a handmade gift for your wife but could not think of something thoughtful for you so she made up the difference through money. I've actually done that before.
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How old is this aunt? I have to be honest that I don't find any of the above that bizarre.

But, then again I'm comparing it to my family, so I suppose I'm no judge.

As an example: The first time I met my husband's aunt, she pulled about 20 watch bands from her pocket and offered me one.
 
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She obviously went to a lot of trouble to put these packages together for your family. And in my experience, aunts & uncles (and sometimes grandparents, for that matter) are constantly giving children gifts that strike the parents as a little odd.

But there is nothing harmful or obscene or inappropriate. Most of it sounds cute or fun or silly.

Whatever you might think of her sanity, I don't see how you can question her heart. I think these are gifts of love, and you should appreciate them in that spirit. And send a very nice thank you card.
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Steven Packard
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Going back to the ex-sister-in-law, I assume that she had testing done to rule out physical conditions, right? I know that insanity is a valid (and probably likely) explanation as to what your family's been through the last few years, and I'm sorry that you all had to go through that.

However, I've known at least 2 people who seemed to go insane, and who wound up having brain tumors that were "changing" them. The first one was inoperable, and she just got worse until she died. The second person went to the doctor at the insistence of a close friend. They found the tumor in time and it was successfully removed, and she's pretty much back to normal. As a result of her changes, her marriage was breaking up until they found the tumor. Now all's well.

So ... I just thought I'd ask.
 
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Aaron Lambert
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Geosphere wrote:
jeffwiles wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
An envelope filled with letters cut from construction paper


Did they spell anything?


Good Lord, I hadn't thought of checking. Now I'm scared.


This sounds like the beginning of a "Davinci Code"-type story. Perhaps there is some subtle importance in all the other items?
 
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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Geosphere wrote:
12 photocopied sheets of math problems (she can't add yet)


Looks like she is trying to fix that.

Seriously, I don't think she's nuts, not like the dangerous one you described. Everyone has some odd relative. Heck I got a phone call from my uncle that went like this:

Uncle: You know a lot about computers, don't you?
Me: Well, yeah, I work with them.
Uncle: So, uh, how would I go about selling a meteorite? Not saying that I HAVE one, but if I did, how would I sell it?
Me: ..... (long pause)...... You mean on eBay?
Uncle: YEAH! Using a computer, dontchya know.
Me: So how did you get a meteorite?
Uncle: Well....I don't have one
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Scott Lewis
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okiedokie wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
12 photocopied sheets of math problems (she can't add yet)


Looks like she is trying to fix that.

Seriously, I don't think she's nuts, not like the dangerous one you described. Everyone has some odd relative. Heck I got a phone call from my uncle that went like this:

Uncle: You know a lot about computers, don't you?
Me: Well, yeah, I work with them.
Uncle: So, uh, how would I go about selling a meteorite? Not saying that I HAVE one, but if I did, how would I sell it?
Me: ..... (long pause)...... You mean on eBay?
Uncle: YEAH! Using a computer, dontchya know.
Me: So how did you get a meteorite?
Uncle: Well....I don't have one

That reminds me of something my grandma told me when I was in college. I was a computer science major, and liked tinkering around with computers. One day she told me about a show she watched on PBS or something about these archaeologists who use computer imaging of sound waves to find underground objects. She told me "That sounds like something you'd enjoy doing." Not wanting to be rude, I asked her why she thought so, and she said "because you like computers, and that's what they're using."

I guess she may not have realized that just about ANYTHING these days uses computers, and the vast majority of them I have absolutely no interest in
 
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Jason Sadler
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My mom sent me similar things in Iraq. My care packages from her were filled with utterly incomprehensible doodads and pictures cut out of magazines. She just has kindergartenteacheritis though.

I suspect that your aunt does, as someone else said, think about you off and on and collects little things that went with the thoughts and sends them in one big wodge of stuff.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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WhiteKnight85 wrote:
I assume that she had testing done to rule out physical conditions, right?


Over the course of many, many years, yes. Her problem is so severe that getting her to take the tests took a police escort. The tests had to be mandated by the court to verify certain things that were going on.
 
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Helenoftroy wrote:

It sounds like to me she thinks your children are a bit younger than what they are. It must have been a long time since she's seen them. An envelope full of cut out letters would be a great gift for my boys who are 4 and 2.


To build on this, does she have children herself?

I'm in my mid-twenties and single, have no close friends with children, and my family is generally older (my youngest cousin is just finishing high school). I interact with young kids approximately never, and know almost nothing about what would be an age appropriate gift for (say) an eight year old. (Too old for a stuffed toy? Too young for a KitchenAid stand mixer?)

If she's a quirky person, some of the gifts may come off as much more bizarre to a parent than they would to someone who isn't.

I remember being young and receiving a plastic, "kiddie" baseball glove from a relative when I already owned a real one. Suffice it to say I was disappointed. But from my current perspective, I have no idea how old a kid would need to be to use a real baseball glove.

How many parents here know about Heelys? I learned about them on CNBC.

Ugh, now I feel old. shake
 
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A friend of mine had a great aunt who used to give gifts like that. I went to their christmas gatherings many times, and came home with lots of office supplies (I didn't have to buy post-its, paper clips, or pencils for many years), expired coupons, once even a box full of paper plates and plastic silverware.

I figure she was just shopping at the dollar store out of necessity, and I can't say I ever got anything I didn't end up using.

She was a bit odd in other ways, but as you've experienced with your soon to be ex-sister in law, there's an obvious and massive gulf between eccentric and insane. Hopefully she'll submit to treatment at some point, before she decides to seek out the congressional time machine or some such tragic ending.

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Steven Packard
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Geosphere wrote:
WhiteKnight85 wrote:
I assume that she had testing done to rule out physical conditions, right?


Over the course of many, many years, yes. Her problem is so severe that getting her to take the tests took a police escort. The tests had to be mandated by the court to verify certain things that were going on.


How sad. That must have been horrible for everyone involved, including yourself (and including her of course). Again, I'm sorry that you all had to go through that. I hope that it's all behind you now, and that she's gets whatever help she needs. Obviously she won't volunteer for that help, but I hope she can get it nonetheless.
 
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