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Jan. 24th, 2008

My Kids...

Here's a little bit on the kiddos:

Dak has a doodling habit.  Seems to me to be typical boy stuff.  I realize there is an elevated sensitivity in our post Columbine world, but please... 


My friend Thad sent me this cartoon, said it reminded him of me.  Very true.  I was told that Dakota is threatening other kids... and that his threats are very graphic, not just I'll kill you, but vivid descriptions of how.  To me, it was hard not to tell him that I find it a sign of his wonderful imagination.  Yes, I know, he shouldn't be threatening people...  
He's brilliant, has always been brilliant, and hey... they gave him a standardized achievement test and came back with one of the highest scores in his class, so maybe just maybe they've gotten the bulletin.  I've been fighting them off on the whole ADD thing for years.  Their solution is to medicate, and I explained to them that I've raised an ADD child, I have a good understanding of ADD, and I don't think that Dak has it.  They protest when you tell them they're under-stimulating a child.  Everyone should be enthralled by simple concepts.  Dak is not.  Never has been.  
So when Dak called me yesterday beaming about the test results, I felt a sense of satisfaction.  Now they're going to place him in the gifted and talented program, and I think this may turn him around. 
He's having some adjustment issues... I know it's a big life change in some ways, but in many ways, it shouldn't be so shocking.  As I said, I've really been going it alone for years.  B would come home to sleep and that was it for the most part.  So now he's not there sleeping, he's jetting about with E.  I've finally gotten a permanent position at work (more on that later) which carries benefits, and I'll be able to get him counseling.
I'm not thrilled with the new school district.  Its quite a change from the old school district.  My friend Pat who gave me the overpriced lawyer referral said really it benefited him in the end to have been in a more ethnically and socially diverse environment.  
Cyrena already is in the gifted and talented program.  On her first day in her new school in math class her teacher looked at her grades from her previous school's high school level Algebra class, scoffed at her 'C' and told her she wasn't ready for that class.  She now has the highest grade in her class and she's leading her entire team.  I'm pretty proud of her.  She's very mature most days, and she has truly rolled with the punches through all of this.  

Jan. 23rd, 2008

Divorce anyone?

Oh were to begin... 
Well, I'll bitch because its sooo cold here in the midwest.  Yeah, I really wanted to work downtown, but when its 3 degrees outside the trek across the frozen tundra from parking lot to office door (about 4 blocks give or take) seems tremendously long.   I just need a warm sunny climate, median temperature about 75 degrees year round.  
I made it through the holidays, won't say I didn't cry a lot. 
Something about the holidays always gets me, I suppose because both of my parents died around Christmas when I was young.  This year they were made more heartwarming by... Brian.  I'm not exactly sure what the hell is wrong with him honestly.  He seems to have forgotten, if he ever knew, that he is a grown up.  I am working on growing a spine, I promise.  
Two days before Christmas he stopped to drop the kids off on his way to Missouri and brought in his girlfriend.  Well... I'll go there just because I'm learning to channel my inner bitch.  Perhaps she has some radiant inner beauty that the rest of us cannot see, I'm not sure.  All I know is that by certain people's assessment anyway I'm rather attractive... and yet, I was never good enough for him.  To top it off really... I had a few years ago wanted a small dog because it would have been easier for me to handle and he told me he hated small dogs and instead brought home what he said was a golden retriever, which turned out to be a golden pit bull mix instead... and this dog later chomped my son Dak's face requiring about 40 stitches.  He came in holding... her miniature dacsund... oh, as if it were a baby.  Aww...their child.  (puke)
I know that our marriage was truly over long before I left.  I wish truly that I'd had the courage to leave a long time ago.  I am glad that he's found someone.  I am glad that they are happy.  But I really don't feel like the in my face, rub it in...take her to my favorite restaurant for Valentine's day is truly necessary.  Perhaps I'm just being overly sensitive.  Or maybe he's really an asshole.  Or since I'm capable of compromise, a little of both?
The family drama, well... yeah.  He's so busy running about pretending he's a teenager again (being single) that... he's failed to uphold his end of the agreement to put the house up for sale.  I had agreed because he's making the big mortgage payment on his own that he didn't have to pay child support in the interim.  I didn't know this would be an unending process.  He received his year end bonus, almost $6k and out of that he gave me $400 toward child support.  Let's put it this way, he makes a considerable sum of money, about double what I make.  During the years of marriage after we moved into the house in Pleasantville... he'd enjoy taunting me with the fact that... if I left him I'd lose everything because he could afford the house and I could not.  I did love my house but not my neighbors or the neighborhood.  I don't really miss it too much.    
My friend Pat, an attorney himself gave me a referral for a divorce lawyer, and well.. I contacted her, the her part being what I thought was a good thing... and I received a return email stating that her fees were $300 per hour.  I'd say that's a little out of my league.  I'm just not feeling inclined to sign the do it yourself legal papers he filled out stating it was a no asset divorce (house in Pleasantville, well... is an asset)... and he stated his income as what he draws in during his period of seasonal layoff that comes each and every year.  So I'm searching for a lawyer at present.  I just want fair child support for the kids.  He keeps throwing it in my face that he still wants to take care of me, which I believe is just to ruffle my feathers.  I've always contended all I need is for him to support his kids.  
This past weekend the Father of the Year was supposed to have visitation with his kids.  He called me early in the week and said that he was having a birthday party for his girlfriend on Friday night and that he needed to pick up the kids on Saturday afternoon.  I hadn't made plans for Friday night at that point so it wasn't such a big problem.  Then... well... he calls even later in the week and says that he's not going to be able to take the kids for the weekend at all because his girlfriend wants to go back to Missouri where she's from to see her twin.  He doesn't ask me.  He tells me.  I put aside the fact that my birthday never meant anything to him.  I put aside the fact that during 16 years of marriage he never threw me a birthday party.  Lets put it this way, I'd made plans for Saturday and i was not a happy camper. 
I knew Cyrena would be angry because she'd already made plans for the weekend herself.  What I hadn't anticipated was the 'daddy will buy you a pony' that came after his conversation with her or that she could be so easily bought off.  I'd already begun planning her birthday party with her, according to what she said she wanted.  Instead... he told her he would throw her a party and somehow it would be far superior to the party that she said she wanted, so now... her attitude has shifted to 'he's trying'.  
I'm ranting, and I know I'm ranting.  I'd apologize, but venting is good.  
I suppose things really aren't that different now.  I'm used to being the one solely responsible for the kids.  Nothing new there.  
I thought I would throw out a few notable quotables from the father of the year... before I close out my rant.  
The kids went over for his visitation with them.  It was really a weekend I'd planned to have them, and the closing weekend for "Roman Art from the Louvre" at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  He insisted on having them, and yet... when they got there he suggested to them that they call their friends and see if they could spend the night. 
My darling daughter looked at him and said, "You told Mom you really wanted to have us and now you're trying to pawn us off on our friends so you can spend time with your girlfriend."
He looked at her and said, "Yep, I'm transparent, just like glass.  You can see right through me."
On another occasion he told her that he and his girlfriend were getting pretty serious and that they were considering moving in together and he asked her how she felt about that.  
She told him that she didn't really like the girlfriend and that she wasn't very comfortable with it. 
He told her that it didn't really matter if she liked her or not.  That wasn't important.  
Methinks... he needs to learn to not ask questions if he's not prepared to hear honest answers.  Why negate her feelings like that?  
I have two more tales from divorce hell and then I'm done with this for now.... 
First of all... for the most part we were pretty amicable with the division of small property.  We argued over the Bram Stoker's Dracula DVD, and tossed a coin, he won, and I left it behind.  He bought me a copy for Christmas.  I'd asked if I could borrow the vacuum cleaner and he told me that he didn't need it, to just take it.  So I did.  One day he came over to bring a load of stuff to my condo.  He was supposed to put the stuff in the garage.  I came home from work after spending my weekend cleaning and saw junk littered all over my living room.  Instead of going into a seething rage I just looked at him and said, this is not the garage.  He then informed me that he couldn't find the garage door opener, which is all fine and well.  Then he informed me (not asked me) that he'd taken the vacuum.  I said I need the vacuum, its the only one I have.  He told me it was one more than he had.  I said, no, I need the vacuum.  So... he storms out of the condo, gets the vacuum cleaner and drags it up the stairs banging all the way (this is shared space, like an apartment building) and he opens the condo door, throws the vacuum inside and leaves without telling his kids goodbye.  After he left Dakota looked at me and said, "Mom, why did you marry that man?"
I just shrugged.
Then lastly, after he totally screwed over my plans for the weekend, he called me, and very enthusiastically told me that he had his W2 forms and that we could file our taxes just as soon as I got mine.  I told him that I wasn't quite sure what his intentions were but my plan was to claim the children and file head of household.  I told him I might get a consult on that, but that was my plan.  I got my W2's and after doing my taxes, my decision is made.   The Father of the Year... he got the short straw. 

Nov. 20th, 2007

Anger without Enthusiasm?

I'm here to tell you... my wanna be ex is quite a piece of work.  Yes, yes, I knew that already.  I'm supposed to be a really smart girl, I know.  

I want to be a therapist when I grow up, I've been practicing my whole life for it.  Sensitive, empathic types can attest to this phenomenon... needy people flock to me.   I talked to a friend of mine last night and I said I'm always thrilled when someone seemingly together comes along.  

Why why why does everyone want to play stupid games?  I'd go into the whole narrative, but it truly makes me want to throw up a little, so I'll spare you.  Ok, brief synopsis, he was blatantly flirting with me... and he informed my daughter that I was the one that can't leave things in the past.  Why does my daughter need to be in the middle of this anyway? Its all about PERCEPTION.  I'm tired of the he said she said...   

I never quite grasped why suicide rates go up over the holidays, but I am beginning to get it.  No, no... that's not a threat or a cry for help, merely a moment of epiphany. 

Here's the story... I have countless times prepared Thanksgiving dinner for many different people.   This year even though the divorce is on the horizon my 'ex' had asked me to make dinner.  Call me a glutton for punishment but I actually like cooking and preparing a big meal even though it stresses me out a little.  So I thought we were rolling along with this plan and last week he tells me his mother had invited him over.   He plans to take my kids and go to his mom's now.  I thought... well, there's always a plan b.  I was pondering driving to New York (the Hudson Valley, not NYC) to see a friend.  He told me to come and now... well... he potentially may have to work on Friday and Saturday as well, and I don't really want to sit there with nothing to do after driving 12 hours.  Sooo... I'm in limbo. 

I'm a little hmmm disgusted with mi familia as none of them have bothered to inquire as to what I'm doing, and I've never been one for inviting myself over.  

My coworker tells me that I need to stop hanging my 'shining star' on other people.  That I need to believe in myself.  Remember the little engine that could?  Oh yeah, I think I can, I think I can.... and then he did.  I will.  I promise.  

Nov. 19th, 2007

And today... is the first day of the rest of your life.

This is it, today... Today I'm crawling from the twisted wreckage.  I'm tired of the Eeyorian black cloud over my head.  I'm tired of gloom, doom and dark despair.  I'm tired of being incommunicado.  My apologies to anyone I've neglected in my six weeks or so of funk.  That urge to pull the covers over my head and cry overcame me.  

It has been a rough few months, maybe even a rough year.  

The proverbial straw could have been learning of my dear friend and mentor Michael's death last week (Michael Valine, photographer).  Michael passed away October 15th.  While still wallowing in self pity I began reading through my corresponce with Michael which at the time made me cry even more, but now... in retrospect I remember one thing that Michael imparted to me with every communication.  He'd always say... remember that you are loved and cared for.  I know that, and I realize that I am going to be ok.  

Fear is such a crippling thing.  It kept me paralyzed for almost a decade.  I stood on the ledge and was afraid to leap.  Then I finally gathered the courage to leap and collapsed crying when I landed.  

I keep reminding myself that this was what I wanted.  I wanted this so badly that I could taste it, but was so afraid of failing or not being able to make it without him or so many other things.  I'm here, and I'm doing it, and now that I'm done sobbing it feels pretty good too.