8:30 a.m. - I just got up and I’m going to have some coffee and then get my stuff packed in the RV. I was right about work yesterday. It was a killer. There were several new presenters scheduled for Friday only and I had to deal with the same issues as before. People not reserving the right equipment or not knowing how to operate it. I was running the halls all morning trying to get everything running smoothly. Around lunchtime, DS showed up to help me but there wasn’t much we could do until the seminar was finished and we could start collecting all the equipment. They didn’t have a closing speaker or final gathering. We just had to wait until almost 4:00 when the individual sessions started ending and then hit the rooms as they were emptying. Once they did, we were flying down the halls, gathering TV/DVD units, computers, projectors, speakers, etc., returning them where they belonged, and marking them off the list. My ankle was swollen and painful and I could barely drag myself out to the car when we finally finished at 6:00.

Elementary teachers are so much fun to work with. There were lots of big hugs and accolades. I kept expecting someone to give me a gold star. They all called me “Miss Pat” and made me promise to help out next year. I hope I get to. The principal is still pretty perturbed about the lack of organization but I have some ideas to help them with that and hope she’ll relent and let our school host them again next year.
This week was exhausting and we decided to wait until this morning to leave for vacation so I could ice my ankle and get a good night’s sleep.

There was one bad thing that had me upset. DS received a summons to court on Monday from DIL. She “claims” she was given the wrong time for last Monday’s hearing and the court has redocketed the case. Damn! I can’t believe how she gets away with that stuff. It doesn’t seem to matter what she does, someone is always giving her another chance. Reading her version of what happened on the report sickened me. She’s twisted everything and the entire report is a pack of lies. She says she’s very scared of DS because he’s extremely violent and he attacked her. Says she was afraid to leave her children alone with him because he was acting like a madman and she was forced to get some friends to help her “rescue” her children. Says she was taking Jake out the door when DS grabbed him and dragged him away from her and his foot was cut. She says she has been denied access to her children and knows they’re afraid of their father. She says, “I know my children are traumatized and can only imagine what thoughts are going through their heads to see their mother attacked and their father taken away by the police and then to have their safety jeopardized by having the police come back a couple of days later and take their mother away leaving them alone with their father who terrorizes them. They must be scared to death. This is no way to treat children. They will not be able to develop properly living in an environment where they must be fearful and on guard every minute.”

Sickening….

I wish I could somehow, through osmosis, touch someone and have them understand how she is. It’s frightening that she can twist and manipulate the situation to make herself and the kids come out as victims. The kids are victims, alright, but not from being held captive by a violent and angry father. It’s quite the opposite. The scary thing is that she not only twists things to convince others, she manages to convince herself that things are totally different than they really are. I’ve had her stand there and lie to me about things I’ve witnessed and tell me black is white and she can do it with a conviction that boggles the mind.

Now I’m worried about taking the boys with us on vacation but we’ve decided to do it anyway. We mentioned it to the social worker when she was talking with us and she didn’t see a problem with it except that she didn’t want to spoil our vacation. She wanted to hold off on court until we got back but that’s not an option now. She won’t be back in town until Monday and DS has to be in court first thing Monday morning before he has an opportunity to speak with her. He tried to call her yesterday but her cell phone is turned off. I don’t blame her. She deserves to relax on her vacation but it forces us to make a difficult decision. If the court decides to give custody to DIL or allows her visitation, they may order DS to produce the kids and we’ll be a thousand miles away with them. Still, they’re excited and looking forward to it and DS has full custody of them.  The decision was made when DS was unable to contact DIL because the court had granted him an EPO and he couldn’t contact her so we’ve decided to go ahead and take them. I believe the court will understand the situation. I even suggested we wait until Monday so I could go to court with DS but everyone vetoed that. So…I’m going to take my shower, throw my stuff into the RV and hit the road, Jack.

We’ll be out of wifi for most of our vacation but I’ll post when I can. You chickies take care and have a wonderful couple of weeks!

The seminar ends today.  Yay!  I thought this was going to be really easy but it turns out it wasn’t.  Each day has had it’s own challenges and I expect today to be one of the biggest.  The seminar doesn’t end until 4:00 this afternoon and I’m only supposed to work until 3:00 but I have to get all the equipment back where I got it and have everything secured before I leave.  Seems they pay me to set it all up and keep it running for the week but how I get it all collected afterward is not their concern.  I can’t complain, however, they paid me almost a thousand bucks to do this and they’ve been very good to me in terms of recognizing what I’ve done.

As I said, each day has had challenges.  We started off yesterday morning in good shape.  For the first time all week, everybody had what they needed and things were running smoothly.  Then, around 10:00 a.m. we had a terrible storm come through.  It was unreal!  I was absolutely positive tornado sirens were going to sound any minute and had to speak to the masses and let everyone know where they were supposed to go in the building if we had to take emergency procedures.  The storm raged for at least an hour and we lost power for a couple of minutes.  Just long enough for emergency back-up power to kick in and all computers to go off line.  Thank God DS arrived just before the storm broke and was there to help me run the halls and get everybody functioning again.  I know it’s rough on him going to work at 4:00 in the afternoon and working till 1:00 or 2:00 but it’s been a blessing for me because he’s come by the last two days to help and says he’ll be there today.  Actually, I think he’s gotten a kick out of it.  This is an elementary teacher seminar and it seems like almost everyone is a middle aged woman.  They all just think David is the cutest thing ever.  One woman told him yesterday that she’s going to bake him one of her world famous pies today. 

If they ask me to do this again next year I will but I’ll have a better idea of what’s involved and plan accordingly.

As soon as I got off yesterday, I took Andrew and Steven and we all got haircuts.  Came home and dropped them off and then went grocery shopping and bought a ton of stuff to stock the RV.  I didn’t get home until almost 9:30 and I just had the boys help me carry everything in the house and pile it on the floor in the living room.  We sorted through and got all the refrigerated items taken care of and then I left everything else where it was.  DH is off today so I’m going to let him deal with putting everything in the RV.

 

18thJune

Thanks, DS!

Things got better yesterday afternoon.  The morning was a mess.  Running all over the place trying to make sure everyone had what they needed when many of them didn’t even know what they needed.  My ankle was really bothering me after running up and down the halls for two days and not being able to get off my feet at all.  I ran up to the office at 11:30 yesterday and one of the secretarys said, “Hey, Pat, your son’s here.  I told him I didn’t know where you were but I think he went to the library.”  I found him and he said, “I just thought I’d drop by and see if you needed anything.  I know they ran you ragged yesterday.”

“Yes!  Do me a favor, take this TV/DVD to the end of the hall, get it on the elevator and take it to the second floor and then to room 226.  I’ll meet you there!”  After I got there and we hooked up the TV, he said, “Why didn’t you just ask me to take this to room 226?  You didn’t need to go there.  I came over because I know your ankle’s giving you trouble.”

He stayed until 3:00 and did most of the running.  It was a HUGE help.  Jake and Scout stayed in the library with headphones clamped over their ears and perfected their game skills.  I was soooo glad DS came over.  My ankle is fine if I do my regular job.  That is, run around a while, sit at the computer a while, run around a while, sit a while.  After a full day of running on concrete floors and not being able to sit down at all, my ankle really got irritated and it’s been killing me ever since.  The only thing that’s going to make it better is to minimize the time standing and running around for a couple of days.

I’m going through a lot with DS these days and it was good to know that he was thoughtful enough to recognize that I was limping and hurting and just take the initiative to come to school and do my running.  He said he’d come by this morning, too.

17thJune

On guard!

Today should be a lot easier than yesterday.  All of the rooms are set up and I just have to be on guard in case a projector bulb burns out or a computer decides to crash.  Should be pretty uneventful.  Weight is at 184 so I’m down another half pound.  That makes five pounds this week.  I know that’s too much and that it won’t continue at that rate but it just goes to show how much better I can do when I have a little more control over my life.

I don’t think I fully explained why yesterday was so difficult.  At the end of the year, teachers have all kinds of crap that they need to throw out.  In our school, we’re supposed to pile it all outside our classroom doors.  However, since they have 500 people attending this seminar, they asked everyone to just leave it in the rooms.  I was fairly upset yesterday because many, if not most, of the rooms I opened up yesterday had so much trash piled up I couldn’t get things set up for the seminar because, in some cases, I could barely get in the rooms.  I spoke to the head custodian and he said he’d guarantee everything would be cleaned up by this morning in time for the seminar but it was difficult to work around all the mess yesterday to do what I had to do.

I have to run.  If I don’t get there early, I won’t find a parking space.  Entering dangerous territory.  They’re supposed to provide breakfast and lunch today.  May the force be with me…

10:00 - OMG!  What a fiasco.  I got here this morning and a few people grabbed me for last minute stuff.  That’s okay.  It’s what I expected.  What I didn’t expect, however, was for a message to come over the intercom for me to go to the theatre immediately.  I went and found a woman pulling her hair out and getting all upset because the theatre wasn’t set up.  I told her no one asked me to set up the theatre.  She was stessing about a dirty theatre and 500 people and needing a sound system, computer with projector, and CD player.  The superintendent for the entire school district was due to arrive at 9:00 to address the masses.  I went to the principal and asked if she knew where the sound system was and asked her to let the head custodian know about the theatre.  She almost went ballistic.  Seems they didn’t tell her about the theatre either and they were supposed to have their own custodians sent from the board to clean the rooms they were using and our theatre isn’t ready, even though it’s reserved for 10:00 this morning because our custodians spent all day yesterday getting rooms cleaned up for this seminar.  I just stayed out of the way as our principal, plant manager, and head custodian blasted the woman who organized this event.  Our school doesn’t get paid anything to do this.  We just provide the building as a courtesy and they’re supposed to pay someone to set up the equipment (me) and provide their own custodians to set up all the rooms.  They’ve never used our theatre before and did not reserve it or request it.  Our principal was highly upset that we would be coming off as disorganized slobs when the superintendent visits and none of it is our fault.  End result was that the seminar didn’t start until 9:30 instead of 9:00, people had to spend an extra thirty minutes in the cafeteria having breakfast (which they probably didn’t mind) and our staff had to do a frenzied set-up and make arrangements to move the event which is supposed to take place at 10:00 from the theatre to the lobby.  The sound system is not even available because it was loaned to another school so I didn’t have to worry about that. 

I was afraid breakfast would tempt me but it looks like I didn’t need to worry.  I’ve been running around and haven’t even had time to think about it.  Now I’m killing a few minutes while I have time to take a breather.  I feel pretty certain that heads are going to roll at the end of this event but, at least, it won’t be mine.

6:00 a.m. - Guess I’ll be seeing the sunrise this morning.  Haven’t seen it for a while.  In fact, I’m tempted to go out to the spa.  I don’t have to be at work for two hours.  I guess I should have stayed in bed a little longer but it’s hard to know how long it will take me to get ready this morning.  DGS has to be at work at 8:00 and so do I so that’ll probably show me down a little.

I’m going to try to be more upbeat today.  It should be an easy day and I’ll be able to chat with Barbara, the librarian at school.  She and I get along well and she works extended days into the summer.  I think she works until the end of this week and comes back a week before teachers do.  At any rate, I’ve been so stressed and worried lately I’m going to make a concious effort to stop dwelling on the situation with DS today and relax.  As for vacation, it’ll be what it is.  I know the kids will get on my nerves a little but I’m going to throw them out in the pasture with a croquet set or a baseball bat and concentrate on getting my kitchen counter, cabinets and sink installed.

We used to work on the cabin a lot.  After clearing land, getting electricity, setting up a pad and septic tank for the RV, we started building the cabin a few years ago.  Used to go down just about every long weekend we could get.  Then we burned out a little bit.  We still like to go down but we got tired of all the hard work and haven’t done much the last two years.  The summer before last, we went to Hawaii, and last summer we took a 5,000 miles road trip out west in the RV.  This summer, it’s all about the cabin.  It seems like you get things 75% done and the last few things take forever.  The upstairs is pretty much finished but the downstairs is pretty rough.  In fact, I have a few old cabinets with plywood over the top and two big plastic tubs.  That’s my kitchen sink and counter.  I wash dishes by filling one tub with wash water and the other with rinse water and then go to the front door and throw it off the porch when I’m done.  Pretty rustic….

What is that noise????  I keep hearing something that sounds like a loud scraping.  I thought it was the neighbors dragging their trash can down their driveway the first time I heard it but I looked out the window the second time and their house is dark and I don’t see any sign of trash cans.  I just heard it again and investigated and I can’t figure out what it is….Better get my shower.  Weight is at 184.5 this morning.  That’s another half pound.  Yay!

7:00 - Ack!  Work was hard!  I thought it would be an easy day but it turned out to be a killer.  I had to get a big old TV on a huge cart, hook up a DVD player or VCR and then push it all the way down the hall to a room, open the room, push all the junk out of the way and get it setup, then go back to the library and start on the next one.  Some wanted VCRs, others wanted laptops and projectors, some wanted speakers and DVDs or CD players.  I thought I had a handle on it  and then some of the presenters started coming in and I realized they were pretty clueless about a lot of things.  They were supposed to fill out a form about a month ago telling me which room they were using and what equipment they needed.  I thought I had everything ready to go and then they all started changing things.  One woman who requested a TV and DVD player came in and told me she made a mistake.  She didn’t realize that what she needed was a computer with a projector and speakers.  I’d already set the room up and had to redo it.  Another guy said, “Oh, yeah, I need some speakers, a CD player and an overhead projector, too.  Lots of last minute changes that kept me running all day.   One of the presenters told me she needed a computer and projector to run a powerpoint presentation.  Then she wanted me to show her how to run the presentation.  She’d never used powerpoint before.  Lots of surprises kept me running all day.  I didn’t get breakfast and didn’t stop running from 8:00 to 4:00.  yeah, I know.  I was supposed to stop at 3:00.  I was so tired when I walked out to my car I actually felt pain in my legs when I finally sat down for the first time in 8 hours.  Somehow, I thought I was going to have an easy day and a  long relaxing lunch.  NOT.  I didn’t even get time to go to the bathroom, much less lunch.  Anyway, tomorrow should be pretty easy.

I got home and threw a Lean Cuisine in the microwave but 280 calories was NOT doing anything for me.  I was starving.  I ate some of DH’s gross sauerkraut and sausage but it wasn’t much.  I may have been hungry but I don’t like sauerkraut and sausage so I didn’t eat much.

Found out what that noise was, Joy.  One of the kids left the computer on in the family room and it was on a weather alert.  Every few minutes, it was making a loud thunder roll to let me know a storm watch was in effect.  Just about made me crazy until I figured out what it was.

15thJune

Beach Babies

I’ve been busy looking at hotels and condos on the beach this morning.  The kids love the beach and they haven’t been for a long time.  Holly’s been to Florida a couple times in the last few years but it’s been to Disney World.  I decided that we ought to take them all to the beach for at least a couple of days.  Our property is 3 1/2 hours from the nearest decent beach so it would involve 7 hours of driving if we did it for the day and I don’t want to be trapped in the car with three kids for that long so I decided to look for a condo or hotel for a couple of days.  Found a studio on Daytona Beach that offers a second night free after you pay for the first so I booked it.  Little Sister booked a double room on the same dates and got the same deal.  That’ll be nice for the kids and little sister can rip up and down the sidewalk in her scooter and have a little fun.  She came over yesterday evening and we determined that she can scoot up the steps in the RV and manuveur around fairly well.

DS had to go to court this morning.  This is family court for the hearing on the EPO.  He was supposed to be there at nine and it’s 11:00.  He called a couple of minutes ago and said DIL hasn’t shown up.  He doesn’t think she will.  He’s betting, however, that she’ll show up on July 1 for the assault charge she made on him.  I just can’t understand that.  This morning is the hearing about what happens with the kids and she can’t be bothered to show up.  Our attorney said what happens this morning in family court will have a bearing on what happens on the assault charge.  If that’s the case, I’m sitting here with my fingers crossed that she won’t show up.  Actually, I hope she doesn’t show up for either but DS says he feels certain that she’ll be there for the assault charge because she may not care what happens with the kids but she’ll be more than eager to try to get her revenge by charging him with assault.  I don’t understand it at all.

DS has been there for two hours and they haven’t called his case.  He says there must be 70 or 80 people there waiting.  I wish they would go ahead and call his case so they could see that she’s not going to show.  It would be just our luck to have the case called at 2:00 this afternoon after she strolls in at 1:30.  No one would know how late she is and DS would be in hot water at work because he supposed to be there at 2:00. 

Listen to me…worrying and stressing.  I’ve been through so much heartache with DIL that I’m a nervous wreck thinking about how vindictive she can be and worried sick about what’s going to happen.  That’s stupid.  Obviously, she’s not going to show.  I’ve just been through so much her that I know better than to think it’s over.  She can look you right in the face with tears rolling down her face and lie with a conviction that’s astounding.  I’ve seen it happen over and over.  One of the social workers who worked with the case a few years ago said, “Do you know if she’s ever been labeled as a sociopath because her behavior is much more aggressive than that typically associated with a bi-polar personality trait?”  I looked up the characteristics of a sociopath and was shocked to see that it fit her to a T.  I was also shocked to think that it was a trained social worker that was working with her who would come up with that observation.  I told the counselor that I didn’t know if she’d ever been labeled as sociopathic but it’s a scary possibility. 

I kept the grandkids last night.  DS was supposed to pick them up after he got off work and then bring them back before he went to court this morning and that seemed like a lot of wasted effort so I just told him I’d keep them overnight.  I don’t want to influence them and I don’t want to make them feel pressured but, damn, it’s hard not to question them.  I did.  A little bit. 

I don’t know if it’s best to try to reassure them and discuss things with them or to ignore it.  They certainly don’t seem concerned in the least that their mother is gone again.  They’re pretty used to it.  I asked Jake (9 yr. old) if he knew where his mother was and he said, “She told us she’s staying with a friend.  She’s coming back to get us in a week and we’re going to stay with her.”  I said, “Well, maybe that will happen but maybe it won’t.  I’m not sure.  Either way, you’ll be with Mommy or Daddy and you can stay with me, too.” and he said, “Well, she said we won’t be staying with Daddy.  She said he’s too violent.”  I said, “Your mother and father should not fight like they do.  I know it must be scary for you to see them fighting but your father is not violent.”  He said, “I know.  That’s just what she said.” 

At that point, Scout (7 years old) jumped in and said, “Well, you see, this is how it happened.  I was asleep and I heard a big crash and my mother came in the room and started pulling me out of bed.  Your son told her to get out and he grabbed her and pushed her in the hall and she was screaming at him.  She yelled for me and Jake to get up and I got out of bed and wrapped my Sponge Bob blanket around me.  You know the one you made me?  It’s too small.  You need to make me another one.  So, I got Jake up and Mommy and your son were fighting in the hall and she scratched him and he told her to get out of the house and she grabbed Jake and started pulling him in the living room and your son told her to let him go and then some man tried to hit your son with a board and they started fighting and another man picked me up and Mommy dragged Jake out of the house and he cut his foot and the police came.” 

Sh*t!  It’s disturbing enough to have DS tell me what happened but it’s so much worse to hear it from a child.  I couldn’t figure out why he kept calling DS “your son”.  It sounded so weird.  He’s never referred to him as anything but Daddy.  I felt really selfish and didn’t like probing but I felt like I needed to clarify a couple of things with them.  I really don’t know the best course of action but I said, “I’m sorry you had to see all that fighting.  It must have been scary.  That’s not the way Mommys and Daddys are supposed to fight.  You’ve seen Nana and Pawpaw fight, right?  That’s the way you’re supposed to fight.  You just get mad and say, “Leave me alone!” and walk away until you’re not mad anymore.”  Scout said, “That’s not fighting.  That’s just argueing!”  I said, “I know.  That’s what Mommy’s and Daddy’s are supposed to do.  They get mad sometimes and they argue.  You’re not supposed to start yelling and throwing things and hitting.”  Jake said, “Yeah, but you don’t know our mother.  She always wants to start fighting.”  Nuff said.  I left it alone.  I still don’t understand that “your son” terminology though.

12:00 - DS just called.  They called his case and the judge asked why DIL wasn’t there.  The prosecutor said she didn’t know.  Said she’d tried to call her several times but she hadn’t returned calls.  The judge said, “Well, she doesn’t seem overly concerned about his (gestured to DS) violence and threatening behavior is she’s not here to either support her EPO or contest his.”  The judge upheld DS’s EPO.  Yay!!!!  He can stay at the house and keep the kids and she’s not allowed any contact with him, the house, or the kids.  AND, her absence and the judge’s ruling today will influence her charge of assault next month.”  HUGE sigh of relief.  Now I feel like I can go workout.  BTW, weight is down another pound today to 185.

9:00 - I’m going to bed soon.  I made a boo boo with dinner and I don’t want to face any temptation tonight.  DS got me a Subway for dinner tonight and he got a foot long.  I fully intended to eat half for dinner and half for lunch tomorrow but I was talking to my sister on the phone and I looked down and the whole thing was gone!  At least I’m still under my calories for the day.  The rest of the week will be dangerous.  I’m working and they’re providing breakfast and lunch each day.

Nice easy work with plenty of time to sit around doing nothing and get paid for it.  I have to work from 8:00 to 3:00 all week.  Tomorrow is my set up day and I have to set up around 15 rooms.  Some of them need computers and projectors, others need TV and DVD players and others need overhead projectors and stuff.  After I get all the rooms set up tomorrow, I get paid to just hang around in case anything goes wrong the rest of the week.  Wheee!

14thJune

Sunday Menu

Weight 186

Lunch:
Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Entree (260)

Snack:
Chocolate Mint mini rice cakes (90)

14thJune

2008 Patty

I didn’t log my food intake yesterday but it was pretty good.  Gotta get back in the habit of doing that.  Everyone around here, both DS’s, all five grandkids, and DH had grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, cole slaw, french fries and watermelon for dinner.  I had a boneless, skinless, grilled chicken breast, a green salad with lite dressing, and watermelon.  Held my own in the face of adversity.  The scales are showing me 183 this morning and that’s the same place  I was yesterday.  I ate well but still could have done better.  I swore I was going to workout but didn’t.  The house was overflowing and we were all running inside and outside and I just didn’t take the time to do it.

Took a look at 2008 Patty from last year’s entries and the woman is truly beating me with a stick.  She was dealing with the same conflict that I am and yet she still managed to stay on track with eating, exercise, and staying on goal.  I didn’t go to the same date last year.  Instead, I looked at the entry from Monday after the first week of summer break which is about where I am now.  The woman weighted 181 pounds and was whining about it!  I’m at 186 and feeling good for having lost three pounds.  She’s only five pounds ahead of me.  I can still catch her.  Here’s an excerpt from last year.

“I’m watching Jake and Scout (no sign of or messages from their mother for two days now).  Scout said, “Hey Nana, we’re going to spend the night!”  I said, “No, You’re not spending the night.  Why did you think you were?”  Scout said, “Because Daddy has to go to work and no one knows where Mommy is.”  So sad.  Poor little boy.  How does he rationalize his mother’s behavior?  I don’t want to say anything.  I really don’t know what to say, anyway.  I just said, “No, Daddy will pick you up as soon as he gets off work.”

This year is even worse.  Not only do we not know where Mommy is…she’s not allowed to have any contact with the kids or DS because of the EPO he took out on her. 

DH and I had a serious discussion about vacation last night.  We’re supposed to leave in six days.  We were planning on taking my little sister with us in the RV.  She’s still stuck in a wheelchair and her foot will be totally non-weight bearing for at least another three months.  She’s totally sick of staring at her bedroom walls.  She has a huge master bath off her bedroom and her world consists of dragging herself out of bed and into the wheelchair (actually, I suppose it’s a scooter), going into the bathroom, sponge baths, and TV.  She doesn’t even have a good sized window in her room.  We figured she’d enjoy the RV because she can get away from her bedroom for a few days and the RV is so compact, she can have access to the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room area, and the bedroom by just hopping a few feet.  She’s never been to our place in Florida and we figured we’d drive down there, set her up in the RV a few feet from the cabin, and DH and I would have the cabin all to ourselves to install some kitchen cabinets, a kitchen sink, upstairs carpet, etc.  Now, everything’s changing.  We’ve had to lay out close to $2,000 for DS for his bond, attorney, etc.  On top of that, DIL emptied their bank account and his wallet before she was vacated from the property so I feel pretty certain that he’s going to need a loan.  That was a good chunk of our vacation money.  On top of that, we now have the “kid” dilemma with them being our top priority. 

Last night, we discussed whether we should go as planned, go but take the kids, or just cancel entirely.  I don’t want to cancel because I love my sister dearly and she’s really looking forward to the trip.  On the other hand, in spite of what the caseworker says, I have serious concerns that the court may order DS to hand over the kids until the situation can be resolved.  Currently, DIL has an EPO on him, and he has an over-riding one on her with the kids included on both of them.  What would happen if the court took the kids away from DS and I wasn’t there to take custody?  I shudder to think of it.  They could wind up in a foster care situation.

DH thinks we should go and take the kids with us.  They love going to our place in Florida and haven’t been there for almost three years.  They call it “Nana’s hundred acre woods”.  DH then said, you know, we promised Holly, DGD, that we’d take her with us the next time we took a trip in the RV.  We really had a weekend outing in mind but he does have a point.  She’s a lonely little girl with problems of her own and I certainly don’t want her to think we took Jake and Scout and didn’t want to take her.  Sooo, it looks like the vacation we planned and the one we’re doing are totally different.  Nothing is set in stone and I want to hear what the verdict is after DS goes to court tomorrow on the “assault” charge DIL filed.  I want to make sure that there won’t be a problem if we take the kids to Florida.

You know, I really do believe I’m going to Heaven one of these days.  My only fear is that St. Peter will meet me at the gate and say, “Thank God you’re here!  We’re desperately shorthanded in the daycare center!”

Now, it’s time for me to try to catch up to 2008 Patty.  Heading for the treadmill…

2:00 - Well alrighty then!  I just finished my workout and I’m feeling a lot better about my dedication/motivation/committment.  I tried something different.  Something I’ve never been able to do.  That is, reading while walking on the treadmill.  I can’t ever manage to get things just right.  Either the book won’t stay put or the book is in the wrong place or the fan blows the pages or something.  This time, I took one of those industrial strength paper clippy things upstairs and clamped a magazine in just the right place with the pages held down by the clip.  I set the treadmill for 2.8 mph at an incline of 3% and got moving.  Read for 20 minutes and then took my heart rate.  It was at 106 bpm!  I couldn’t believe it!  I might as well have been sleeping.  I tossed the book aside, upped the speed to 3.1 and the incline to 4% and was at 130 bpm within five minutes.  Kept on pushing, sweat running down my face and back (I forgot how hot it gets upstairs at midday in the summer) and hung in there for an hour.  Yay!  That’s the most I’ve done for a long time.  I’m nowhere near Devil Woman 2008 Patty but I’m doing better.  2008 Patty was doing 95 minutes, all the way up to 10% incline and all the way back down and burning more than 600 calories in her daily workout.  I only burned half that many calories.  Still, I’m feeling pretty good about it.  Of course, now I’ve got to take another shower….

3:00 - Just got off the phone with little sister.  She’s excited about the possibility of taking the trip to Florida and she’s getting her son to drive her to Louisville to see if she can handle the RV.  A big part of the problem is that she’s never been able to use crutches.  She tries to “hop” instead of using the crutches to “swing” her body.  I don’t know why she can’t get the hang of it but I can only imagine how difficult it would be to get around if you can’t use crutches.  She’s had several surgeries on her foot and ankle and lots of physical therapists have tried to teach her to use crutches but it just doesn’t work.  She has an instinctive need to “hop” and no matter how she tries, she just can’t get her body to do what it needs to do to maneveur with crutches.  I’m thinking that if she lowers her butt on the steps of the RV, she can scoot up the five steps and then scoot onto my aerobic step and then onto her shower bench and then onto the couch.  It’s an hour’s drive from her house to mine.  Guess we’ll find out shortly if she’s going to be able to handle it.

3:40 - EWWWWW!!! Yuck! Gross! Gross! Gross!  I went out to the RV to set up my aerobic step and turn on the air conditioning and it smelled horrible in there!  DH discovered that a cat had crawled under the RV and died.  Gross!  I don’t know what happened to it.  I shudder to think that anyone would have poisoned it or something.  We live in a well established neighborhood and don’t usually see strays but I have noticed two or three cats running around the neighborhood lately.  Don’t know who they belong to or even if they belong to anyone.  Poor DH had to use a shovel.  Gross, gross, GROSS!!!

13thJune

Saturday Menu

Weight 186

Lunch:
Smart Ones Fajita Chicken Supreme (this one was particularly gross) (260)

13thJune

How many times?

Yesterday went a little haywire.  I went upstairs to workout on the treadmill.  Decided to make some adjustments to compensate for the long absence.  I slowed the speed to 2.8 mph and raised the incline to 3%, raising it to 4% after about ten minutes.  I actually felt pretty good and made a goal of 45 minutes.  I decided to avoid the step workout for a few days and just stick with the treadmill.  About 30 minutes into it, DH came upstairs and said Child Protective Services was on the phone.  Crap!

I came downstairs and spoke with Joy, the case worker assigned to investigate.  She said she’d been trying to call DS and hadn’t gotten a return call.  Said she called Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then went out to the house and left a note on the door.  I told her that DS didn’t get his phone back until late Wednesday night and any messages she might have left had been deleted.  I told her DS had called me late Thursday night and told me he had gotten home and found the note she left and I knew he was intending to call her Friday.  She wanted to know if he’d be bringing the kids over because she wanted to talk to him but she also wanted to speak with the kids.  I told her I was expecting him to bring the kids over but I wasn’t sure what time it would be so we set a tentative time of 3:00 for her to meet them at my house because I was fairly certain they’d be here by then.

Following the call, I had to do a frantic cleaning blitz.  I wanted the house sparkling!  I scrubbed the bathroom top to bottom and put out nice towels and rugs and new soap.  Mopped and waxed the kitchen, vacuumed all the carpets and did some spot cleaning in a few places.  Windexed all the pictures on the walls and dusted everything.  You get the picture.  After the house was glowing, I hit the shower and did a frantic cleaning and polishing on myself.  In the meantime, DS had called to say he’d have the kids over at 2:00 and that he’d talked to the caseworker about meeting with her.  Said he told her his job was at stake because he’d already missed work on Sunday and Monday and she said if he could be here, fine.  If not, they’d meet later.  He was really upset about putting her off but I told him if she said it would be okay to wait, I didn’t think she’d mind.  God knows, he doesn’t need to be in any more hot water at work along with everything else.

The case worker didn’t get here until 3:45 and then she asked DH and I to step outside so she could talk to the boys privately.  She spoke with them for almost an hour and then called us back in.  She didn’t elaborate on what the boys said and I didn’t expect her to but I did tell her that DIL had them for almost three days after the incident before she was vacated from the house and DS got them back and she has a history of trying to “coach” them.  Luckily, she had seen reports from previous interviews with the kids where they had admitted under questioning that “Mommy told them not to tell” or “Mommy told them daddy was bad”.  Anyway, she said the boys told her that Mommy and Daddy fight all the time and some man was trying to hit Daddy with a board so Mommy could take them out of the house last weekend.  Scout told her Mommy and Daddy fight 99.999999999999% of the time.  Thanks Scout, for the Scoutism.  I don’t even know if he understands what a percentage is but I’m sure he understands that’s a LOT.  She wanted to know what I thought needed to be done and I said they needed to be apart.  They did not belong together.  I told her DS was a wonderful, hard-working father and I did not understand why he kept letting DIL come back into their lives.  I told her DIL had lost two children from her first marriage under the very same circumstances and had signed over all parental rights in order to avoid paying child support and she didn’t know that.  She said it didn’t show up when she looked over the paperwork from the past.  I told her I had no doubt that DIL loved the kids but they would never be top priority for her.  Her wants/needs will always come first, followed by her friends, followed by the kids.  DS is way down on the list: after her family, her job, and her dogs. We talked for quite a while and the gist of it was exactly what I expected.  She said DS was in the wrong because he continually allows the kids to be exposed to the fighting even after the courts have given him full custody.  She said she doesn’t doubt that DIL has serious problems.  It’s all been documented in the past but she said she has serious concerns about DS as well because he’s the one who’s allowing the kids to think that this kind of behavior is the norm and continually exposing them to the dysfunctional relationship between him and DIL.  She said, on the one hand, he’s telling them how unpredicatable, vicious, and self-centered DIL can be and then, on the other hand, he’s letting her live there and be a custodian to the kids.  He has full custody, she has no claim on the house, she’s never paid him one cent of child support, and yet he has her living in their home.  Yeah, Joy, I know what you’re saying.  I’ve already said it, and said it, and said it.

In conclusion, she said she still has a lot of work to do before she makes a recommendation but she doesn’t see anything changing in terms of the relationship with DIL and DS and she suspects things are not going to go easy.  She asked if I would be willing to take custody of the kids if it came to that and I assured her I would.  She did a tour of the house to make sure we had a spare bed and didn’t have a meth lab hidden somewhere and said she’d be out of town next week.  She said DS has every right to be in the home and to have the kids in his custody for the time being and we’d just have to see what the court says.  I told her I was concerned because DH and I are supposed to leave for Florida on the 20th and we were planning to be gone for two weeks.  I didn’t want to head out of town and have the court decide to take the kids and not be here to provide custody for them.  I told her I didn’t have a problem with cancelling the trip or taking the kids with us if it came to that and she said she really didn’t want to disrupt our vacation and felt that she wouldn’t have a problem holding off on doing anything until after we were back in town.

Gads!  This thing is turning into a book.  Today is just another day in the continuing drama.

3:15 - I’ve been busy with the grandkids and working on something for school and just realized that I didn’t set up my menu page or record my weight today.  Weight is at 186 which is three pounds less than it was at the beginning of the week (when? so much is going on, time is acting strange for me).  I still haven’t had a chance to workout but I won’t go to bed until I do.  In the meantime, I’m eating good and behaving myself.

1 firm mango (130 calories)
2 large tomatoes (45)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (20)
1/2 red onion, sliced into rings (40)
3 cups romaine or leafy green lettuce (40)
1 garlic clove, crushed (4)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (240)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (5)
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper
Splenda or other sweetener, to taste
chopped chives, to garnish

Using a sharp knife, cut a thick slice from either side of the mango stone.  Peel away the skin and slice into thin strips.  Peel the remaining mango, remove the remaining flesh and slice thinly.

Chop lettuce and top with a layer of sliced tomatoes on a large serving plate or platter.  Top with cucumber slices, followed by the mango, and finish off with the slices of red onion.

Make the salad dressing.  Crush the garlic clove into a small bowl.  Add the oil, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt, ground black pepper, and sugar.  Using a whisk or a fork, whisk these ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.

Note: This salad is yummy and I’ve added all kinds of things to it.  I’ve added sliced apples, pineapple cubes, sliced peaches, red peppers, etc.  Just be sure to add calories for any additional ingredients.

Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad and garnish with chopped chives.  Serve immediately.  Makes 6 servings; Total calories 524;  90 calories per serving

Halfway expecting the stork to bring me two little boys today.  DS worked yesterday and then picked up the kids around 11:00.  He called me a half hour later when he got home.  Said there’s a notice on his door to call child protective services concerning an injury Jake received during his altercation with DIL.  That’s where his foot was cut when DIL was trying to drag him out of the house.

BTW, DIL is not a DIL.  She and DS have never been married.  I just say DIL because it’s so much easier and explains the relationship better.  Perhaps I should say DS’s SO but that’s too confusing.  Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave me temporary custody of the kids until things can be investigated.  This is the same thing that happened five years ago when I had custody of the kids for 1 1/2 years.  The courts felt that DIL was unfit but they also came down on DS because DIL had accused him of domestic violence so many times.  After a LONG investigation, it was determined that she was the problem but DS was told that, by staying with her and allowing the kids to be exposed to the constant fighting, he was not putting the welfare of the children first.  DIL can be charming and charismatic when she’s not throwing a hissy fit and it took 1 1/2 years of investigation by CPS last time to figure out what was going on.  It shouldn’t have taken so long but the courts wanted to give her every chance to clean up her act so we had to wait while she went through rehab, counseling, and a half dozen “one more chances”.  In the meantime, I had to be available and have the kids ready to go everytime she had visitation and she didn’t show up or call on a regular basis.  I had to arrange my life around her visitation.  Have the kids ready to go 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the scheduled time.  Be at home for her to bring them back 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the time she was supposed to bring them back.  Often, she’d call me and say, “I’m bringing the kids back.  I have something to do.” and I’d be halfway across town thinking I had another 2 or 3 hours before they were due back but I’d have to rush home to be there when they arrived.  I’m praying we’re not going to have to go through that again.  The only thing worse than going through all that again would be if she were to get custody. During this time, DIL was only allowed to take the kids during her court arranged visitation but DS was allowed unlimited access as long as the kids lived at my house.  The social worker had no problem with him moving in and living here as long as he left during the hours before and after DIL was scheduled to pick them up.  Thank God for that!  Essentially, DS took care of the kids.  He did everything he could but I still had three additional people living here for 1 1/2 years.  DS would get the kids up.  He’d take the oldest to school and come back home with the youngest.  He’d take care of the youngest until it was time for him to go to work.  Either DH or I would pick the youngest up from daycare when we got off work and be there when Jake got off the school bus.  I’d fix them dinner, help Jake with homework, and get them to bed.  DS would get in around midnight and we’d do the same thing all over again the next day.  Thank God social services had no problem with DS having unlimited access the kids.  It just took forever for the court to give him full custody.  We had three different social workers during this time and they all did the same thing; came to the case with an open mind but a natural assumption that the kids would be better off with their mother, spent time visiting and working with DS and DIL, and then told DS he needed to stay away from her because she was nothing but trouble. 

Enough of the DS/DIL saga.  I’ll call our attorney in a little while and see if he knows what’s going on.  I kept myself busy yesterday evening so I didn’t sit around and watch TV.  I fixed a greek dish for dinner that had chicken breasts browned with Pam, two entire heads(?) of garlic cloves, white wine, chicken broth, two thinly sliced lemons, and some other stuff.  Seemed like it took forever to trim the chicken, brown it, pull it from the pan, add broth and wine and simmer all the garlic for 40 minutes until it was soft, add the chicken, simmer some more.  Put it all in a baking dish and top with all the sliced lemon and bake for another 30 minutes.  Then, it tasted like crap.  I don’t know what the problem was.  Maybe it was me.  I’ve fixed this dish several times in the past and it was really good but I didn’t like it last night.  No one else seemed to have a problem with it.  I fixed jasmine rice in chicken broth and added sauteed onions and almond slices to it and fresh broccoli.  Also fixed a big bowl of lemon linguini for all the kids since they love it.  By the time dinner was ready, I was so sick of dealing with it I didn’t want to eat it.  Still, I did.  The only thing I really liked was the broccoli and rice.  Think I’ll keep dinner simple tonight.

11thJune

Thursday Menu

Weight 187

Lunch:  Smart One’s entree (200)
Sugar-free Raspberry White Tea (0)

Snack: 4 large strawberries (35)

Dinner: Lemon Garlic chicken (400?)
Rice with pecans and sauteed onions (400)
Broccoli (60)

2 Trim Creations fudge bars (90)

Total (1,125)

We had terrible thunderstorms last night.  Lightning flashing and thunder crashing.  The wind was really whipping things up.  Here I am, sitting in my kitchen, looking at my messed up windows.

I rolled over a couple hours ago and found DH still in bed.  He mumbled something about a vacation day.  I’ll have to see what’s going on when he gets up.  I can’t believe he took one single day of vacation in the middle of the week.  Maybe he’s off tomorrow, too.  It’s possible we looked at the schedule back in January when he has to pick his vacation days and planned for a long weekend but I don’t know why we would have done it with another two weeks of vacation coming up on the 20th.

Okay, so what’s the latest on the DIL issue?  DS#1 called her yesterday evening and told her the sheriff said she took DS#2’s phone and charger and she needed to return it so he wouldn’t have to press charges and get her in trouble.  He told her DS needed the house key and mailbox key also.  She called yesterday evening and said, “I’m downtown at the courthouse.  If you want the phone, drive down here and pick it up.”  DS#1 said, “Why are you all the way downtown?”  She said, “I was advised to do this and you’re not getting the house keys or the mailbox key because I AM going to get that house and my mail is still coming there.”

DS#2 drove downtown and pulled up at the corner and she handed him the phone and charger through the window without a word and waved at some car as he was leaving.  I don’t think she’ll go by the house this soon because things are still hot but it wouldn’t surprise me if she went in and took what she wanted in a couple of weeks and it wouldn’t surprise me if she raided the mailbox at the street although she’s not allowed within 1,000 yards of the house.  She’d have no problem taking his mail and tearing it up.  Still, she does have all her belongings in the house and she needs her mail.  I suppose DS should buy a new mailbox and tell the post office she no longer lives there so they can hold her mail for pickup.  DS says all the bills are in his name which isn’t surprising because it’s his house.  He had it before he met her and she’s never invested a cent in it.

About the house, DS bought a fixer upper (major fixing up!) several years ago.  We helped him and he made it a nice little place.  We had to replace flooring, roofing, drywall, and redo an entire bathroom.  Still, with a lot of paint and new carpet and elbow grease, it turned out pretty nice.  A year or so later, he met DIL and moved her in.  They broke up a few months later and she left for six months.  She’s floated in and out of his life for the last eleven years but has never held a job or put any money or time into the house.  DS would ask his dad and I if we would come over and help replace windows/lay a ceramic countertop/put in a new air conditioning system/lay carpet and hardwood floors/etc.  DIL would either leave because she “couldn’t stand the fumes/clutter/noise/dust/etc. or she’d sit on the couch and say, “I wish I could do stuff like that” and never lift a finger to help.  Five years ago, when she had a major meltdown, she took out a restraining order and lived in the house for three months while DS made the payments and he and the kids lived here.  When he was finally able to get her evicted, we were shocked.  She took everything and totally trashed the place.  There were holes in the walls, holes in the carpet, holes in the doors and we hauled tons of trash out of the place.  DS started all over and we were right there beside him, working endlessly to get everything fixed.  We replaced all the cabinets, replaced the carpet, replaced the wood laminate floors, replaced the blinds, repainted, installed a new washer, dryer, stove, freezer, and refrigerator.  She’d taken everything so I made new drapes and curtains and DS had to buy new dishes, flatware, sheets, towels, pots and pans, etc.  She was gone almost two years that time and DS finally got things fixed up and once again made a cozy little nest for his family. 

I don’t think you can imagine my horror when DH and I went to Florida for spring break three years ago and came home to have DS tell us they had gotten back together.  I was actually sickened.  I had temporary custody of the kids for 1 1/2 years while they battled it out in court, she’d totally trashed the house and we’d just about killed ourselves revamping it, and she’d lived with four different guys during the previous year and a half.  And he took her back.  I never put another minute’s worth of effort into the house.  In fact, I’ve only been over there about a half dozen times in the last three years.  My relationship with DS was shattered.  I felt like he had literally stabbed DH and I in the back.

To wrap it up…DS was finally forgiven and DIL was accepted once again but damage was done that can never be undone.  I lost a lot of respect for DS and have tried to distance myself from his problems with DIL.  I don’t discuss it with him.  Things go wrong and he wants to talk about it and I tell him I don’t want to hear it.  I don’t want the emotional baggage and drama.  It’s just complaining and ranting and he doesn’t take my suggestions anyway.  He used to call me all the time when DIL was acting up and beg me to talk to her and I would.  I could usually calm her down but I don’t think DS has any idea how emotionally draining that can be.  Finally, I told them both, you need to work out your own problems and stop trying to pull me into them. We spend a lot of time with DS and DIL but I won’t discuss serious issues with either of them.   They don’t really want to do anything about it and I don’t need the heartache and drama.  I don’t want to be burdened with it if they’re just going to continue bumping along in their own dysfunctional little world.  Now, here we are, right back where we started.

I had a long talk with DS yesterday.  I asked him if he was finally ready to get rid of her for good.  He said he thought he was.  He said he almost cried when the judge was giving him Hell because he thought, for a few minutes, that he might actually lose his kids.  He said it’s so hard to make it on his own.  He has to get up, take care of the kids, the house, the laundry and then take the kids to me/daycare/babysitter and go to work.  He works long hours six days a week and picks the kids up close to midnight, carries them in the house and puts them to bed and hardly sees them.  Daycare costs eat up his paycheck and he’s barely able to make ends meet.  I assured him that every single parent faces the same obstacles.  He’s in that situation where he makes just enough money to make him ineligible for any assistance but not enough money to take care of everything.  Daycare throws him over the top. 

I don’t know what new drama today will bring.  At least, DS has his kids, his house, and his phone.  As for me, I ate fairly decent yesterday and I’m going to do my best today.  For starters, I’m going to try to get some treadmill time in.  If things get crazy, I’m going to let DH handle it.

12:00 - I got a workout in.  If you want to call it that.  I did 35 minutes on the treadmill at 3.0 mph and a 3% incline.  I hopped off a few times and did a little bit of step aerobics but I never got “in the zone”.  My legs and arms felt like lead.  I dragged myself along, wanting to quit the entire time and then, because I’m a stubborn bitch, made myself do five minutes more than yesterday.  I’m nowhere near where I was this time last year.  Still, my weight is 187 and that’s a couple of pounds less than yesterday so I just have to keep pushing myself to do a little bit more each day until I feel better.  My eating was weird yesterday.  I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch.  I had too much drama going on.  DS#1 came in with a bucket of Popeye’s fried chicken and was pretty forceful at making me eat because, “Stop it, Mom!  Sit down and eat and stop argueing with me about calories!  All you’re doing is stressing out and making yourself sick.” and it seemed easier to just comply.  Still, I only ate part of a chicken breast and one biscuit.  Last night, I ate a ham sandwich on two pieces of white bread and a bunch of watermelon.  I figured if I wanted to binge, watermelon wouldn’t hurt me.  You’ve got to eat a truckload of that stuff to add up to anything worth worrying about.

I pushed myself on the workout today.  Doing a little bit better than yesterday and now I want to work on the food and try to do better.  I’ve been up more than four hours and only had black coffee.  Time to focus on some healthy food.  I’ve been thinking about how I eat when I’m stressed.  I don’t pay any attention to meals or what’s in those meals.  I don’t think about what I’m eating.  I might be up six or seven hours before I eat and then I just cram something in there to satisfy the hunger.  It doesn’t really matter what it is.  If I have a frozen entree,  I might nuke it.  If I don’t, I might grab a bag of chips and some dip.  Dinner will be whatever is easy and available and I’ll sit there mindlessly munching all evening.  It’s not that I’m really enjoying the junk, I’m not even tasting it, it’s just there.  Whatever’s available.  Having given this some thought, I need to go to the store today and see if I can get some healthy stuff in here.  I need to cook and have stuff prepared so I won’t be rummaging.  If I hadn’t had watermelon in the house last night, it could have easily been a slice of cake or some chips that I grabbed.  I’m also going to start recording my food and calories again.

189. That’s what the scales say. How did that happen???? “Well, Duh!” It happens when you work long hours under stress sitting at a desk and then come home exhausted, cram your face full of food and collapse on the couch to watch TV all evening.

Goodbye, Russell.

I just threw the rest of the box of Russell Stover chocolates in the trash and then dumped coffee grounds on top of them. I did good with eating healthy yesterday but I watched TV a little bit last night and it entered my head that I still had half a box of Russell Stover chocolates that DH gave me on our anniversary last week. I’m proud to say I resisted the call last night but I don’t even want them around. After stepping on the scales this morning, I decided to take out an EPO on Russell Stover.

Speaking of EPOs, DS was supposed to be in court this morning at 9:00 and he was going to bring the kids over for me to watch. I was freaking out when he wasn’t here by 8:50. He pulled in the drive and ran up to the door with the kids and told me he had a flat tire on the way here. He was totally panicked and rushed out. I don’t know what will happen but I’m sure the courts do not like to wait. Still, he’ll be there. He’ll just be late. I swear, if it wasn’t for bad luck, the kid wouldn’t have any luck at all.

Last night, he fixed a great dinner. Some kind of lime beef salad. It was wonderful. Thin slices of flank steak grilled just right on a bed of romaine, cucumbers, homegrown tomatoes from Tennessee and an olive oil lime vinaigrette. Really good stuff.

Now, before anything else happens, while it’s still cool, while the grandkids are watching cartoons, I’m going to spend some quality time with my treadmill.

11:30 - I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes.  Not much, I know, but something.  I really didn’t want to do it.  After ten minutes, I wanted to stop but I promised myself I wouldn’t quit until I did 30.  So I did.  Nothing to brag about but I’m barely hanging in there this morning. 

The day is rapidly deteriorating.  DS called and there’s a big mess going on with him.  He got to court and the prosecutor has DIL’s EPO but not DS’s.  He doesn’t know anything about DS filing a restraining order that overrode hers and shows that DS is not supposed to be at the house or with the kids.  And then, TO TOP IT ALL OFF, DS didn’t take his paperwork with him to court.  I can’t believe it.  Did this man come from my womb?  Surely not.  There must have been a serious mixup at the hospital.  I’m so angry I want to scream and rant but I can’t because the grandkids are here.  I don’t want to say anything bad about their mother and I don’t want to say anything bad about their father so I have to rant here.  What was he thinking????  He said he thought it was just an arraignment to get the actual court date and he didn’t think he’d need it.  Now he’s on his way home to get his paperwork.  He’ll have to go back downtown to show it to the prosecutor and he’s going to miss another day of work.

Really, I’m seriously freaked and stressed out.  This makes five years in a row that I’ve had to deal with this sort of thing the week I start summer break.  He’s my son and I love him dearly but I can’t believe the mess he’s made and continues to make of his life.  He either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about what his relationship with DIL does to the entire family.  He says he does but he doesn’t show it.  He thinks everything will be okay because he’s a good guy who works hard.  He doesn’t seem to understand that the courts are beginning to think he’s NOT a good guy because he keeps letting DIL run his life and exposes the kids to her craziness.  Over and over again.

What’s this about???  I thought I did a good job raising my kids.  I was there for them.  I went to PTA meetings.  I helped them with their homework.  I made sure they had whatever they needed to be successful and yet they both hooked up with idiot women and have allowed those women to tear them down and destroy them.  They both like to say, “I wish I could find a woman like you, Mom, but they just aren’t out there.”  Yes, they are.  I’m not special.  I’ve really given this a lot of thought.  I don’t understand.  Both my son’s chose whiney, dependent women who can’t do a thing for themselves, much less for their children.  I’ve often wondered if I did too much for them.  Did I unwittingly teach them that the woman takes care of everything?  Did DH, by being pretty much hands-off with childcare, lead them to believe that men don’t take care of the kids?  I come from the Superwoman generation.  Those of us who were dying to be “liberated”.  We wanted good jobs.  We were strong!  We wanted everything.  And that’s what some of us got: everything.  We got the jobs, we got the responsibility but we kept the child rearing, the housekeeping, and the homemaker roles.  I’m a strong woman.  I know that.  But, by being so strong, have I led all the men in my family to believe women should look after them?  DH and I never really fought.  There was no need.  We argued, and still do, but we never had any knockdown, dragout fights.  We never pushed, kicked, scratched, or dodged flying objects.  The worst my kids ever saw was an occasional door slam.  That’s why this is such an enigma to me.  I have one son who marries a woman who can’t even take care of herself.  She’s lazy and unmotivated and totally irresponsible.  His reaction, instead of stepping up to the plate, is to let his children suffer and blame her for everything.  My other son marries a crazy, totally self-centered psycho and continues to tolerate the drama and chaos she inflicts on both him and the kids.  Actually, DS#2 is a very good father in terms of taking responsibility for providing for the kids, playing with them, and showering them with love and attention.  His downfall is that he can’t work the long hours he puts in, pay all the bills, clean the house and cook all the meals, and do all the things a single parent has to learn to do.  He works so hard and struggles so much that when DIL comes to him, begging for another chance, coming over and cleaning the house and caring for the kids occasionally that he folds and convinces himself that things will be different.

I’m rambling, I know, but I can’t rant right now and this is the next best thing.  Really, I don’t understand.  I just know that it’s killing me.

2:30 p.m. - Update - DS got his paperwork and the prosecutor actually apologized to him for being so nasty in front of the judge.  She said his EPO is not in the computer.  She made copies of it but she told him there’s still a problem because, it still has to be redocketed (whatever that means) and it can’t be heard before next Tuesday at the earliest.  If they can’t contact DIL and serve her, it won’t even be heard next Tuesday but will be continued again.  The prosecutor told him she can’t advise him but, right now, the computer is showing that he is not allowed to be around the house or the kids.  He said she seemed sympathetic but when he tried to press her to tell him what that meant, she just kept telling him she couldn’t advise him.  I told him to go by our attorney’s office before he comes home and talk to him. 

I may be wrong but I think the prosecutor was trying to say, as it stands right now, he is not supposed to be at the house or around the kids.  DIL doesn’t know this because she didn’t have to be there this morning so she doesn’t know about the mixup with the paperwork but if she were to press the issue, he might be in trouble.  As it stands at this time, the computer is showing that she has the kids and he’s not allowed to be around them.  That’s got me wondering.  If she finds out what’s going on, would she come for the kids and take over the house?  I don’t think so.  She’s seen the EPO that overrode hers and she was physically removed from the house by the sheriff and had the kids removed from her custody and turned over to DS.  I don’t think she’d risk trying anything.  Still, it’s worrisome.

DS said he went by work and talked to his bosses.  They weren’t happy but they understood.  I’m SURE they’re not happy because he missed work Sunday while he sat in jail and now today.  He thought he’d be in and out of the courthouse this morning in less than an hour.  It hasn’t worked out that way.

OMG! I can’t believe it’s almost 10:00 a.m. I was incredibly exhausted last night and I took a Tylenol PM to make sure I slept well but I didn’t expect to sleep until 9:45! Crawled out of bed, walked in the kitchen and the sunshine is so bright I need shades. I washed all the downstairs windows Saturday but it was a little overcast Sunday and Monday so I didn’t get the impact until this morning.

This is my first “I’m in control” Day in quite a while. I’m going to sit here and plan accordingly. I want to eat healthy all day. I want to go to K-Mart to pick up my cholesterol medicine (which I’ve been out of for almost 2 weeks). I want to go to Habitat for Humanity to see if they have any nice, affordable plants. I want to clear out a space in my workout room which is once again full of boxes, suitcases, and junk. I want to lie outside and relax. Maybe I’ll start a new book. It’s been a long time since I had a day that was totally mine.

11:00 - Okay, I’ve got some coffee in me and I’ve touched base with a couple of you fabulous little chicklets. It’s time for me to hit the shower and get moving!

4:15 p.m. - The day isn’t going exactly like I planned it but I’m still feeling good about it.  I went with DS#1 to drop Andrew off at Jefferson Community College where he’s doing this summer internship thing at 1:30.  We left there and went to the University of Louisville where I needed to make a quick stop at the School of Education to sign some paperwork for an extended endorsement to allow me to teach technology in grades K through 12 instead of just 7 through 12.  Being there brought back memories of years of hardship and struggle as I tried to juggle kids, a full-time job as a dental hygienist, 3 paper routes, and tutoring on the side.  Several years that went by in a blur.

We left U of L and went to Habitat for Humanity.  This is the second time I’ve been there this year and I didn’t buy any plants.  Last summer, they’d practically pay me to take them.  This year, they have a new boss and the man is totally out of his mind.  Lowe’s sells flats of annuals for $12.00.  They always have a clearance section where things are half price.  If they don’t sell and get pretty rough, they donate them to habitat.  Last year, Habitat would sell them for $1.00 a flat.  This year, they’re selling them for $8.00.  That’s $2.00 more than Lowe’s charges before they’re donated.  I told the manager I wasn’t going to pay $5.00 for a withered perennial or $1.25 for a withered and beaten geranium that I could actually get a lot cheaper everywhere else.  He said, “Yes, but you get the satisfaction of knowing that you contributed to a good cause.”  Huh?? I’m not that altruistic.  Sorry….I’ll go to Lowes and get better plants cheaper.  The other guy working grinned at me and whispered, “He’s crazy.  No one is buying anything this year.”  I’m not surprised.

I left Habitat and went to Lowes where I bought a flat of annuals for $6.00 and a hanging boston fern on sale for $5.00.  Habitat wanted $8.00 for the ferns.

After we left Lowes, I stopped by a Redbox and rented Gran Torino for tonight.

Came home and DS#2 is here with the grandkids.  They’re both out in the pool splashing around.  DS wants to make me dinner.  Promises some kind of healthy, delicious feast.  I appreciate the offer of dinner but I told him I’ve only eaten a Subway sandwich at 250 calories and I’m not going to mess up my healthy day with something fattening.  Let you know later about what he comes up with.

I wonder what he told the kids.  They seem okay but I worry about them.  Poor babies.  They shouldn’t have to deal with scary things way beyond their control.  DS wants me to call DIL later and see if I can get his phone back.  All his contacts are in there and he’s feeling lost without it.  Not to mention that he just paid $300 for it.

This entire episode with DS and DIL is so frustrating. I bailed him out last night and there was a bail. A thousand dollars of my money is now sitting idle and I won’t get it back for months. I can’t begin to tell you how angry I am about this whole thing. DS is asleep in the guest room. DIL took out an emergency protective order and he can’t go home. He can’t go within 500 yards of his kids, his house, or her. She has the kids, all his clothes, his house, and everything he owns, including his car and he’s not allowed to go home. He’s not allowed to call the kids. On top of that, the bitch called the house yesterday evening when I was downtown paying the bond and told my oldest DS that she had to work today and would need me to babysit. Pardon my french but F— that Sh*t! DS#1 lied to her and told her he thought we were leaving for Florida today so he knew I wouldn’t be able to keep them. I wish he wouldn’t have lied. I wanted to tell her exactly what I felt about the entire situation and let her know, in no uncertain terms, that she created this whole mess and she could deal with it. I’m not babysitting. Pay somebody like the rest of us. Work all day and then come home and take care of your kids like the rest of us. Work all week and then spend your weekends taking care of your children like the rest of us. My idiot son is sitting in jail because you were out whoring around all weekend and came home to pick a fight and cause all this drama and you want me to babysit???

She’s pulled this so many times I’ve lost count. She knows the system inside and out and knows exactly what to do to get the most out of it. Although DS has full custody of the kids, she filed for an emergency protective order and has temporary custody of the kids. I get so angry at the system. All they have to do is look at her record but they don’t see that. There she is, total drama queen, standing before a judge sobbing and crying and telling him how violent DS is and he’s sitting in jail and can’t defend himself. Of course, he’ll get the kids back, but it’ll be a nightmare of court appearances and it’s going to cost time and money.

I’m so angry with DS it’s unbelievable. He got released around midnight last night and started to tell me how she was gone all night Friday, all day Saturday, and finally came home around 4:00 am Sunday morning and picked a fight with him. He started in about how she was slapping him and kicking him and I blew up. I told him I didn’t want to hear another word. Told him I could recite the whole thing from past experience and I was done with it. You wouldn’t believe the tirade that came from me. I told him I would not get involved this time. If she winds up with the kids, so be it. He put himself in this position and has been warned by his family, his friends, and his attorney that he needs to get rid of her but he refuses to help himself.

I can’t even write about it anymore. I’m getting stressed out and angry again. She’s got his house, his kids, his car, his phone and everything he owns and he’s asleep in my guest room in his underwear without even a change of clothes. He’s got scratches on his chest, his face, and his arms and bruises on his legs from her attacking him. She has a scratch on her arm and gets the kids while he goes to jail.

9:00 - My eyeball hurts. I’m afraid it’s going to pop out of my head and roll around on the floor.

There is some small amount of justice in the world. I spent most of the day downtown with DS. I know, I know….I said I wasn’t going to get involved. I had to. I was finally calm enough this morning to listen to DS’s story. Of course, I still think it’s all his fault because he shouldn’t be with crazy DIL. Still, I had to help him because she can’t take the kids.

In a nutshell, she came in and picked a fight with him. She started kicking and scratching him and said she was taking the kids. He told her she wasn’t taking the kids and she went down the hall and started dragging them out of bed. He manhandled her to the front door and pushed her out. She went and got some friends of hers that he didn’t know and brought them back to the house. She had told them that he beat her up (she did have a scratch on her arm and her arms were red where he tried to restrain her and push her out the door) and they knocked on the door, rushed in when DS opened it and held him back while DIL went in and got the kids. He was struggling and fighting with them to keep her from taking the kids and they broke the glass top on the coffee table. DIL drags the kids through the living room and 9 year old DGS cuts his foot open on the glass. DIL goes outside and is putting the kids in the car when the police arrive and she tells them he was beating her up and threatening the kids. The police never even asked him what happened and wouldn’t listen to anything he tried to tell them. They walked in and cuffed him and didn’t even want to hear what had happened from him after they’d already talked to DIL and her friends. The police called an ambulance for DGS whose foot was bleeding like crazy and they took DS away as the medics were taking care of Jake. They took DS to jail and DIL got an EPO and emergency custody of the kids and the order said he couldn’t come around her, his house, or the kids. The thing that was so infuriating was that the police did not want to hear anything he had to say. They took him to jail with nothing but his driver’s license.

After hearing what happened, I knew I couldn’t sit this one out. The kids are not safe with her when she’s manic and she’s definitely manic. I went downtown with DS this morning because he was going to take out an EPO on her and he was afraid the judge wouldn’t let either one of them have the kids until they straightened the mess out. I went so I could take custody if necessary. The important thing is to get the kids in a safe environment. I had custody of them for 1 1/2 years in 2004 and 2005 and knew the court had already checked out DH and I and approved us for custody of the kids.

We were actually shocked when the judge looked over the petition, did a little record checking, and came back furious that things had gone the way they had. He was really angry that the police gave DIL the kids and didn’t bother to check out her record before doing so. He was angry that they hadn’t given DS an opportunity to explain things. He issued an EPO against DIL ordering her to vacate the premises immediately and have NO contact with the kids or DS.

The police went to the house this evening, served her with the papers, gave her five minutes to gather her purse, say goodbye to the kids, and take only what she could carry from the house. They called DS when it was done and he’s now home with the kids. In the five minutes she had, she managed to take his phone, the phone charger, his house keys, mailbox key, and all the cash in his wallet. The police stayed outside and the kids stayed with the next door neighbor until DS and I arrived. I couldn’t believe they let her lock the door and take the keys. DS had to break a window to get in.

It’s sad. It would break my heart to have to walk away from my kids and it’s sad that they don’t understand what’s going on. She’s not even allowed to talk to them on the phone. It’s also sad that DS keeps exposing them to this kind of ugliness. They deserve so much better. The judge had a few stern reprimands for DS and he certainly deserved them. The judge pointed out that the court had gone to great lengths to determine what was in the best interests of the children and he was not happy to find that DIL and DS were living together. He pointed out that continually exposing the children to this kind of environment was NOT acceptable and that if he wanted DIL to be caring for them, the court would have ordered that four years ago. He said she is not to be in contact with them until further notice. I hope DS listens. He says he won’t let her come back. Do I believe that? I wish I could.

I’m exhausted.  This is all so sick and ugly.

DS is in jail. He called at 6:30 this morning. Read my post from a week ago. Just one week ago I warned him. For the last four years, DIL has started a big fight, taken off, and left him with the kids just a day or two after the end of the school year. Why? Because she goes partying and she knows I’ll be there to take care of the kids. Just last Sunday, I warned him. I said, “Line up a babysitter because I’m not doing it this year. I refuse to spend my summer taking care of the kids while she goes off and parties.”

I don’t know what happened last night but I can pretty well figure it out from past experience. DIL’s method of defense is to bring on the offense. If you jump her case for anything, she tries to turn the tables. She probably took off Friday evening and didn’t come home until this morning. That’s not unusual. I didn’t talk to DS very long. I think the time limit on the phone call is three minutes. He told me she came in at 4:00 a.m. and started a fight with him. She slapped him and he grabbed her by the arms and pushed her out of the house. She was screaming and cursing and one of the neighbors called the police. Now, here’s the part I don’t understand…DS said she came back to the house a few minutes later with three guys, a fight insued and he got taken to jail because her arm was scratched and she was bleeding from where she got into the fray and said he did it. Did he? I don’t know. It’s quite possible that her arm got scratched when he pushed her out of the house. I’ve seen it before. She fights and scratches like an alley cat and it’s not easy to get her off. I imagine he would have had quite a struggle to get her out of the house. Then again, it’s probably more likely that it happened like he said, she got into the fray when the guys she brought over jumped him. The thing I don’t understand is why she called some guys over. Did he throw her out and refuse to give her the car keys? I don’t know. What’s important is that I don’t care. I’m totally sick of all this crap. If you lie with dogs, you’re gonna get fleas. And I’m not buying the Frontline this time. I’m done. I’ll loan DS money for bail (although it’s gotta come out of our vacation money) and that’s all I’m doing. You’re on your own, kid. I’m sympathetic to his situation but, as long as he stays with her, this is all he’s going to get.

11:00 - I’ve had some time to discuss this with DH and think about it some more. DH says there won’t be any bail. He says they’ll take him before the judge this afternoon and he’ll be released. Shows you how much I know about this stuff. I’m not real familiar with what happens when you get arrested. I never thought one of my kids would get to know the process either.

I’ve thought about what happened. I’d be willing to bet that DIL was ready to pull her disappearing act and party for two or three weeks. She probably intended to start a fight with him and walk out. He must have taken her keys or something and she wanted her car. I’m sure she bit off more than she can chew this time because the end result of her tantrum was that DS was arrested and now she’s stuck with the kids. I can’t believe for one minute that she wanted the kids. The only times she’s ever even talked about taking the kids was tied into remarks along the lines of “I’m going to take the kids and I’m going to get every cent you earn for child support.” or “I’m taking the kids and you’ll never see them again.”

DH and I had plans to meet some friends at a community art fair this afternoon and we’ve decided to go. I’m not going to sit here and worry about DS. Time for tough love. I’m not going to get into this mess anymore.

1:00 - Had to clear up some things on Sunny’s comment.  DS has full custody of both kids.  Can you believe he still puts up with this psycho freak????  It’s not just me trying to take up for my son, the courts have seen it too.  She lost both kids from her first marriage and isn’t even allowed to see them.  She signed over all parental rights in return for her ex dropping child support charges against her.  Now, she has two more kids with DS and the courts have awarded him full custody of them.  She avoided paying child support for almost a year and then, when the courts started closing in on her, she came back begging for another chance and DS took her back!  I might understand it better if she had custody and he was paying child support and only getting visitation with the kids but that’s not it.  He has full custody and she has to pay child support.

Feel like sitting around the table singing old spirituals. Freedom has a ring to it this morning. Although…I did wake up at 6:00 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. I’m sure I can fix that without too much trouble.

Graduation was an interesting play of emotions. I watched them all, the good, the bad, and the ugly, walk to the center of the stage and receive their diplomas. I teared up a few times for the good, sighed with relief to see the bad leaving our tutelage, and felt more than a small amount of anger about the ugly. Like “J”. A slutty little thing with long blond hair and a body that won’t quit. She cut and skipped school more than she attended this year and then tried to do a last minute run to fulfill graduation requirements. Caught her in the library where she was giggling and texting a friend while another girl was taking a quiz for her on her online algebra course. I reported it and, at the end of the day, J comes up to the library pitching a fit and accusing me of “trying to keep her from graduating”. “J’ took her practice final to the online course and failed it four times, and her mother called the board and demanded that J be allowed to take the final even though the requirements say she has to score at least 80% on the practice before she can take the actual final. The next morning she shows up to take her final exam and is to be monitored by one of her favorite teachers. I don’t know what went on when the teacher monitored her but she passed the final with flying colors. Another teacher told me she knew for a fact that J had “borrowed” some boy’s written synopsis of The Scarlet Letter and turned it in as her own. She reported it, too, but “J” was up there on the stage in her black stillettos grinning from ear to ear. After graduation, she came up to me and said, “See! I told you I was going to graduate!” I took the high road. I wanted to say something blistering but I didn’t want to ruin the day so I just said, “And?” and turned away. I know a lot of teachers, myself included, will bend over backwards to help a kid who’s messed up, waited till the last minute, and then is desperate. The kids are usually filled with remorse and trying desperately to do everything. I can deal with that. I have a difficult time with the “J’s” who lie and cheat their way through life and get away with it.

I was totally exhausted yesterday evening. I get that way for a couple of days after the school year ends and for the first couple of days of Christmas break. There’s so much to do to get everything finished up. I’ve never been one of those teachers who can walk out the door feeling jubilant and excited. I’m usually dragging my sorry butt out to the car loaded down like a packhorse well after everyone else is gone and the building is deserted. We have a checkout list with about 20 items that teachers have to get taken care of and you have to get every task initialed and turn it in before you leave the building for the summer. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I’m so busy checking computers and initialing everybody else’s list that I don’t have time to do my own. I knew the new principal was not a happy camper yesterday and I really wanted to do what I was supposed to but I found myself staring at the list at 4:00 and wondering who was still in the building to initial everything. The librarian was gone. The clerk who checks to see that we’ve posted our grades was gone. The bookeeper was gone. I initialed the item about all computers being checked in because I’m the one in charge of that little item and then handed in my sorry list to the principal’s secretary. She said, “Pat…you’ve got to check off more than that!” I picked it up, initialed all the other items and handed it back to her. She got all wide-eyed and said, “Are you going to initial them all yourself?” I said, “Well there’s no one else here! What do you expect me to do??? Anyway, I’m going to be back in a week!” She took my checkout sheet but didn’t look too happy. I don’t care. You don’t like it? Too bad! What are you going to do about it? Hunt me down?!

I was so tired, I didn’t feel like writing a lot yesterday evening and I was sad about “T” spending the summer in jail. It kind of put a damper on our anniversary. I walked in and said, “Happy Anniversary, Honey!” and gave DH a big hug and he got this shocked look and said, “Is it our anniversary?” It’s our 40th, dingbat. He was off yesterday and he’d started to prepare dinner. Fried fish, french fries, onion rings, and cole slaw and it made me half sick just to think about it so I said, “I really don’t want this for dinner.” He jumped on that, which is surprising and said, “Whatever you want, I’ll send DS to pick it up!” I missed out on lunch at school yesterday because I was too busy to eat but they had barbecued pork, potato salad, and baked beans and that’s what I wanted. He sent DS out to pick it up from a nearby restaurant and I grabbed a glass of wine and headed to the spa. I soaked for a while and decided I wanted another glass of wine so I came in the house and saw DS in the driveway unloading roses and stuff from the car. I went back out to the spa for a few more minutes and then came in the house. DH dished me up and brings me a plate down in the family room. Fifteen minutes later, he appears at the door bearing roses, a card, and a box of chocolates. “You thought I forgot, didn’t you?” I didn’t tell him I’d seen DS bringing the roses in so “Yes, you did forget.”

I’m still tired this morning and will probably spend the day taking it easy but I’m planning on getting back on track on Monday.

5thJune

Jukebox!

Throw me some quarters! Gonna play Martina McBride’s Independence Day and then Alice Cooper’s School’s Out followed by some Pink Floyd Another Brick in the Wall! All that’s left is for me is to throw on some black pants and black heels and try to figure out how to wear the gown and hood and all that ceremonial garb that goes with it. We have to be at school at 7:30 and hop on the bus to go to graduation. I really don’t like all the pomp and circumstance. I’d rather just sit there in a decent outfit and watch the kids march but we all have to wear our robes and be in the procession. We’ll be out of the building until noon, lunch is from 12:00 to 1:00 , and then we have 1 1/2 hours to get all our stuff packed up and the rooms ready for summer.

Of course, it’s going to take a lot longer than 1 1/2 hours but I’ll be working a lot this summer so I’ll have plenty of time to finish. I only have a week off and then I go back and work Tuesday - Friday of the following week. I don’t mind. Some program about childhood development is paying me my hourly rate to take care of their technology needs. I have to make sure there are functioning laptops, projectors, overheads, TVs and DVD players up and running in about 15 rooms. Should be pretty easy. I have a full day to set up on Tuesday and then I just have to hang around to make sure everything keeps working before I lock everything up on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, we’ll leave for Florida for two weeks.

I talked to the principal yesterday and told her I’ve had about a thousand laptops turned in that need work. I told her I didn’t know how she wanted to handle it and she asked if I’d be willing to come in some this summer and work on them for extended service pay. Extended service pay is a stipend that’s paid to teachers for things like coming to school an hour early each day to do bus duty or lunchroom duty. It’s not much. I think it’s ten or fifteen bucks an hour but I’m going to take it and be happy. It’ll solve the problem of finding time to work on all the laptops and still give me a little extra money.

I can’t wait for the day to end. I feel like it truly is Independence Day. Freedom is just around the corner and I can have a couple of months to run my own life and get back on track with dieting and exercising. The last couple of weeks have been really hard. I feel overworked, stressed to the limit, and completely worn out. I don’t know if it’s the extra two weeks we had to put in or just a rough year but I’ll be soooooo glad when it’s over.

8:30 - Done! I’ve got a full week of freedom before I have to go back to work! That’s okay, though. It’s money in the bank. A week’s extra pay will get me carpet for the upstairs of the cabin in Florida and a couple new cabinets.

Today was long and hard but not excessively stressful. We marched in the graduation ceremony adorned in full regalia. 27 steps down to the stage and I did it in heels without falling on my a$$. I got out of the building at 4:00 and it feels like a hundred pounds has been lifted off my shoulders.

There were a couple of things that upset me today. Something was bothering my little friend, Phyllisann. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her at length but it was obvious that something was wrong. I hope to get a chance to talk with her this weekend. I think there were some problems at work that really hurt her.

The other thing that really bothered me was the bad AP sitting behind me on the bus we took to graduation and telling me that “T” was arrested and will spend the next 60 days in prison. Of course, he’s only 14 so he can’t really be in prison but I didn’t want to discuss it with the jerk who suspended him the last few days. He made sure to tell everyone that he couldn’t believe how “T” would behave and work for me. Made it a point to tell everyone he’d walk by the library and “T” would be sitting in there with his shirt tucked in, working on a computer, and saying “yes, ma’am” and “no ma’am” and doing anything he could to help out. I felt like screaming, “Then why didn’t you leave him with me, you jerk?” I didn’t want to discuss it with him but I found out later that he was on probation on a 60 day sentence for vandalizing property and got into a fight on Monday which violated his probation.  I hope he comes back to school next year.  I’ve already decided that I’m going to go out on a limb for him and advocate as much as I can to try to get him back on track.  In all my years of teaching, I’ve always picked out a troubled kid each year and tried to give him what I can.  There have been three or four that were really special and “T” is one of them.  He deserves so much more than what he gets.  I feel like I haven’t done enough for him but I’m ready to go further if he comes back next year.

Today is our 40th anniversary. DH got me a card, roses, and candy. More importantly, he recognized that I was exhausted and picked up carryout for dinner so we could come home and relax.