Just called in sick.  I’ll get more work done that way.  :-)  I tossed and turned all night with stomach problems, headache, and (TMI) bowel problems…  We had White Castle hamburgers for dinner.  I can’t eat those things.  Another of DH’s plots to kill me.  “I know you’re exhausted, Honey.  Go get changed and eat dinner.  I bought White Castles!”  Of course, I didn’t have to eat them but I was so damn tired I didn’t feel like fixing anything else and they were there.  For those who don’t know about White Castles, they’re yummy, itty, bitty burgers that pack a lot of flavor into a small package.  People eat them by the sack and then frequently get hit with terrible indigestion and diarrhea.  I ate four of them for dinner.  Now, I’m paying the price.  Pele’s Curse is nothing compared to White Castle’s Revenge.  I don’t call in sick very often.  I always feel like I have too much to do but, in reality, a lot of what I need to do today can be done from right here on my computer so I decided to call a sub.  My students are all working on Power Point presentations for the Showcase of Schools this Saturday and I’m trying to pull the school newsletter together.  The only thing that’s going to be a snag is an annual inspection for ROTC by some big-wig Colonel today.  I told them I’d bring in some appetizer refreshments.  I can have DS go by Kroger and get a shrimp platter or something when he takes the kids to school.  Then I can sit here, without interruptions, and get the newsletter done.

I home-schooled my kiddo yesterday and I’m happy to report that she appears perfectly normal.  She’s cute, shy, and I didn’t pick up on any obvious problems.  I had her complete a 6th grade placement test which included a one page composition of writing with the topic “One of the Best Days of My Life”, a few science questions, some spelling, and quite a few math problems.  She did fantastic.  She had to do a bit of thinking before she began writing and I was getting a little concerned as she continued to stare blankly at the paper but then she started writing about last Christmas and what fantastic gifts she received and seeing her grandparents, etc.  Once she started writing, she completed the task quickly and produced a nice little story.  I think everything is going to work out for her.  I’ll be working with her through November 4th but I expect she’ll be returning to school at that time.

Now, if there’s anything nastier than the White Castle Curse, it would be the DIL curse.  It’s hovering over me again.  She had to make arrangements for someone to pick up the kids Monday and then DS received a call from the social worker yesterday morning at 6:30 a.m. blasting him for not being “proactive” in the case.  The social worker said he’s not making any effort to arrange visitation with the kids and he needs to go downtown and get the No Contact Order dropped so he and Stacy can work things out about visitation.  DS told him he can’t get the order dropped.  It was filed against him.  He told him DIL has to go downtown and file a motion to have it dismissed.  The caseworker knows this.  Stacy knows this.  They’re the ones who told us.  The guy actually argued with him and said, “Have you even tried?”  DS told him it would be like someone issuing a warrant for him and then him going downtown and telling the court he wanted the warrant withdrawn.  He can’t do it.  She has to.  The caseworker told him she has to work and DS told him he has to work too and he can’t take a day off after working less than a week to go downtown for a totally futile task.  Then the caseworker ordered him to take another drug/alcohol screening yesterday and said he’s going to recommend that he attend alcohol counseling sessions even though their own assessment team decided that he doesn’t need to. 

DS said, “Look, I know Stacy has convinced you that I’m an alcoholic wife beater but I’m NOT.  I haven’t had anything to drink in more than four months and I’ve passed every one of your tests with flying colors.  I know you find it hard to believe but I AM NOT an abusive person.  She’s the one who always starts getting physical and then she turns on the tears and tells everyone how abused she is.  I admit that I enjoy having a few beers after a hard day at work and I admit that I might even have had a few too many beers on occasion but I am not an alcoholic and I do not become abusive.  I just get sleepy and go to bed.  Now, I don’t drink at all and I don’t know what else I can do to convince you that I don’t have an alcohol problem.  You’ve never talked to any of my friends, family or neighbors and you don’t know anything about me.  The only person you’ve talked to is Stacy and it’s in her best interest to make me look as bad as possible.  I’m already paying $30.00 per week for “anger management” counseling and $30.00 everytime you order an alcohol screening, and $100.00 a week for child support.  I can’t afford any more counseling.  I’m already paying $650.00 per month and another $30.00 a week would bring it up to almost $800.00 a month and that’s not even counting my house payment, utilities, gas, or food.  I just started back to work last Thursday.  What do you want from me?  I’ll be more than happy to attend alcohol counseling if the court is willing to pay for it but I CAN’T AFFORD IT.”

The caseworker said, “I want you to become more proactive is getting a stable relationship going between yourself and Stacy.  I want your mother to call her and work out a visitation plan that works.  I want this case to be finished within three months.  I intend to sign off on it in three months and I want it done.”

DS was really upset.  He called me yesterday afternoon and told me about it.  I understand his frustration.  I’m sick of it, too.  He got off work at 5:30 yesterday and had to run downtown for a screening and then rush home to shower and change and go to anger management counseling.  There was a wreck on the expressway and he sat in traffic forever and didn’t get home until after 10:00.  I told him the only thing I can figure is that DIL doesn’t want to have to pay for daycare and she’s screaming bloody murder to the caseworker and he, in turn, is trying to get DS to take up the slack for DIL.  It’s infuriating that they’ve given her residential custody and I don’t think she’s handling it very well so now they’re jumping all over him in order to get her off their backs.  Or…to make it appear that everything is under control and running smoothly.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know what DS is supposed to do.  Obviously, the caseworker wants me to call DIL and try to work out some kind of visitation plan but we’ve been trying to do that for three months and she refuses to do anything except consider DH to be her “on call” babysitter.  She wants him to pick the kids up from school everyday and keep them until she gets off work and she wants him to take them overnight on Friday and Saturday so she can have the weekend off.  I’ve tried and tried to get her to give him overnights during the week which would work out perfectly but she refuses.  Now he can’t pick them up and watch them after school and he works Saturdays.  What is he supposed to do?  I KNOW that if I call her, she’s going to want me or DH to pick up the kids after school and watch them until DS gets off work and home at 5:30 and then she’ll pick them up at 6:00 and I am NOT going to be her unpaid babysitter.  I don’t even think DS has time to get over here before 6:00 since we live so far away from him.  I’m going to call the caseworker today and ask him what the Hell he wants us to do.  Of course she’s having trouble handling things on her own.  We tried to tell everyone that she couldn’t handle it but no one would listen.  So how in the Hell is it supposed to be our problem?  Damn, damn, double damn!

This whole thing is such a nightmare.  From the very beginning, everything that seemed logical has gone out the window.  Stacy has never taken care of her kids.  It’s always been DS and yet, they gave her primary custody.  She’s horribly controlling and vindictive and yet, they say we need to work with her to come up with a visitation plan.  And now, when she’s really struggling and they should be thinking that they may have made a mistake, they call and raise Hell with DS because things are not going well.  Everytime we think that they may finally see the light, it becomes our fault.  I honestly don’t know what to do.  How is she so different from every other single mother who has custody of their kids?  Having custody means you have to work out daycare and you have to give up partying on the weekends.  It means your current boyfriend might be getting tired of taking care of you and your kids and you might have to step up to the plate and take care of them yourself.  It means you might have to look at what’s best for your kids and stop thinking of yourself all the time and expecting everyone to take care of you and bend over backwards to see that you can function.

Okay…I’m ranting.  Enough…I talked to DS and he suggests that I attempt to work out visitation where he can have the kids from Saturday evening through Monday morning and he’ll drop them off at school Monday morning before he goes to work.  He said he’ll also take them from 6:00 to 8:00 one or two evenings a week even though he knows that’s going to mean he just has time to help them get their homework done and feed them dinner.  There really isn’t any other way to do it.

11:00 a.m. update - DS called.  Said he called his attorney and asked for a copy of the court ruling (again) and the attorney (if you want to call him that) said they have a new court clerk and he “just hasn’t been getting paperwork in a timely manner” so he still doesn’t have it.  He did, however, tell DS that he can’t make a motion to dismiss the Protective Order, DIL has to do it.  Said the only possibility would be if the judge had changed it from a “no contact” order to a “no unlawful contact” order but he doesn’t think that’s the case.  Said, if it was, the caseworker would know that and no one would have to do anything.

Half an hour after DS talked to his attorney, he got a voice mail message from the caseworker saying he needed him to call.  DS is working and was going to wait for his break but another voice mail came in ten minutes after that from the caseworker saying he needed DS to call him immediately to make arrangements to sign some paperwork about “after school daycare”.  Of course, DS decides not to call the guy until he’s spoken to his attorney again and ten minutes after that, the guy leaves a third message saying, “I need you to call me immediately so I can get your financial information and make arrangements for you to fill out the paperwork for after school daycare.”

Well, F*ck that Sh*t!  DS isn’t calling him until he talks to his attorney (worthless as he is) to find out why in the Hell they need HIS financial information and why they need for HIM to fill out paperwork for Stacy to get child care.  Sounds to me like they expect him to pay for it.  We’re not calling anybody till we have a chance to talk to worthless attorney.

Dangerous combo.  I was asked to start home hospital schooling a 6th grader yesterday.  Beautiful little girl with long blond hair and huge blue eyes.  I’ve seen her picture.  Honor roll student.  On September 15th, she lost control of a bicycle while attending a picnic at a park with her family.  It didn’t have any brakes and she didn’t have a helmet.  She lost control of it as she barreled down a hill and wound up crashing into a creek and hitting her head on a rock.  Good thing her cousin was there.  She was face down in the creek and unconcious and probably would have drowned if her cousin hadn’t gotten to her quickly.  She spent a week in ICU and then a couple more weeks in rehab before being released as an out patient and now has short term memory loss.  She’ll be out of school for at least another six weeks.

I’m meeting her this afternoon.  I’m supposed to go to her house twice a week for an hour each time. I talked to her teachers to see about getting some of her work but they said she can talk to you and seem okay and thirty minutes later, she doesn’t remember anything about it.  Instead, I’ve decided to put together a placement test for the 5th grade and see what she can do with it.  After that, I should have a better handle on what I need to do for her.  I hope everything turns out okay for her.  You never expect these kinds of things to happen to your child.  It must be really hard on her parents.  She wasn’t wearing a helmet, no brakes on the bike, made the decision to ride it down the hill while wearing flip flops.  Of course she couldn’t stop it. 

It makes my problems seem trivial.  DIL called last night and said “Penny”, the CASA worker, picked up the kids and took them to the library after school and Scout has an overdue book from 2008 called “That’s Not My Monster”.  She said he can’t check out any books until that one is returned and told me to have DS look for it.  The conversation said a few things to me…the CASA worker is evidently helping her out with the kids after school.  She really thinks DS has nothing better to do than to try to find a book from 2008 and, she can’t afford to just pay for it.  Or…she can afford to pay for it and is trying to dump the problem on him.  Either way, it seems pretty trivial in light of children with brain injuries.  I told DS and he said he’ll try to find the book.  He still hasn’t really met the CASA worker except for the brief conversation after court a couple of weeks ago.  She was supposed to call him Sunday but she didn’t.  Scout says he really likes her and she and Mommy are good friends.  No telling what she thinks of DS but she could at least make an effort to work with him.  He called her yesterday after she didn’t call him Sunday and left a couple of messages but she didn’t return his call.  I like the suggestions that I get rid of Pele’s rocks by throwing them at DIL.  Still, I think that might be considered domestic violence…

 

12thOctober

Just another Monday

Today is the first day of DIL’s new arrangements (if there are any) for the kids.  I told her last Wednesday that DS is working and won’t be able to pick up the kids from school anymore.  Told her DH and I would see that they were picked up and keep them until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday but she’d have to make other arrangements after that.  Haven’t heard from her since then.

DS called the caseworker and told him he was working.  Everyone has been notified but DS and I are still nervous.  I asked him…”What’s the worst that can happen?”  She doesn’t make any arrangements.  No one picks up the kids and the school calls her at 4:30 because no one has picked them up.  She has to take off work and go get them.  DS is still nervous because he seems to get blamed for everything else but I don’t see how this can come back on him.  I told her.  He told the caseworker.  She hasn’t called or left any messages.  Guess we’ll see. 

11thOctober

Pele’s Curse

Ever heard of Pele?  The volcano goddess?  A fiery goddess of Hawaiian origin with a jealous and possessive nature who creates and rules over the islands with her assorted relatives.

Legend has it that taking a piece of her rock or even a small container of the black sand created by her wild and wanton behavior - no matter how small the amount - will bring the thief bad luck. There are those who dispute whether this is actually a Hawaiian legend or whether it’s just a creative technique to keep people from taking lava rocks and the “legend” itself has even been attributed to a particular national park historian. But the truth is that it really doesn’t matter whether the legend has any basis in fact - people have been sending lava rocks and sand back to the National Park for years in an attempt to make the cause of their perceived bad luck go away.

It’s acknowledged that the best way to atone for your thieving ways is to return the lava rock in person. On a return trip to Hawaii.  (That’s not such bad luck, is it?)  But then again, not all of us can drop everything and take off to Hawaii.

Lots and lots of people believe the legend.  Here’s a link to a site with loads of notes and letters that accompanied bits of rock and sand that were sent back to Hawaii in an effort to appease Pele and ask her forgiveness. 

So why do you bring us this tidbit of superstitious nonsense, Sistah Pat?  What exactly are you trying to say?  Are you saying you believe that glass jar of glittering black sand with the golden strands of Pele’s hair and the smooth, jet black stones that you use as paperweights on your desk are wreaking havoc on your life?  Could it be that you’ve decided your “I don’t believe this superstitious crap” attitude is beginning to waver?  Perhaps.  Just a bit….

I’ve got to admit things are just not going well.  Okay, I confess…I’ve taken some rocks and sand during some of our visits to Hawaii.  After all, they’re only rocks.  Right?  Cheap souvenirs.  And they’re so pretty!  The last one was taken four years ago from the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean as the current lava flow ran down the mountain to the coast where it spewed out of a lava vent and erupted into the ocean.  Hot magna exploding and pulverizing into new lava rocks that replace the old in such copious amounts that the goddess surely can’t be concerned or even aware of the little nugget I took.  Right?

Sometimes I wonder about her.  Pele.  With the way my life has been going the last few years.  What happened to the joyous empty nest DH and I had?  Plenty of money to do anything within reason.  A clean house that required only the minimum amount of effort and left us with loads of time to enjoy traveling and the fruits of our labor.  Beautiful grandkids and sons who had moved out and were ensconsed in their own roles as fathers and husbands (or significant others).  Now it just seems like nothing ever goes right.  I have this heavy black cloud hanging over me.  I have a constant sense of misgiving.  What’s going to happen next?  It’s gotten to the point where I expect bad things to happen and just keep trying to keep my head above water.

I worked all day long yesterday.  Went shopping after work Friday and spent almost $300.00 of ROTC Booster Club money to buy Angus beef burgers, buns, condiments, soft drinks, meatballs, etc. etc. for the Highview Festival yesterday.  I got there at 9:00 a.m. to find my ROTC significant other (the club president) firing up a huge grill and setting up our booth.  There was another woman there.  A parent volunteer (Yay!!!) and the three of us set to work.  Mr. President was manning the grill, I took the burgers, hot off the grill, and put them on buns, added cheese and placed them in styrofoam containers.  We didn’t want any of the kids anywhere around the grill.  One of those massive “MAN” grills that could accommodate 18 to 24 burgers and have room for a couple of turkeys on the side.  All day long, Mr. Prez grilled and dodged the flames and I did my best to package the burgers while coughing and sweating in the billowing smoke from the MAN grill.  We were GOOD!  Turning out burgers with the speed and efficiency of a well trained fast food team.  The burgers were flying and the money was coming in!  At 11:30, the cadet who was working the table (a lovely girl with four years of ROTC training behind her) told us we’d brought in $300.00!  The break even point!  At that point, things got pretty crazy.  Lunchtime hit us and we were swamped!  So much so that we had to have our adult volunteer make a burger run to GFS to buy more burgers and buns.  She got back and we were running low on cheese and soft drinks so she had to take off again.  I looked up a couple of times to see a hoard of ROTC cadets taking orders, dishing out meatballs, and handing out food to the masses.  Our volunteer returned and did her best to keep things organized and we just kept going.

Things finally settled down around 3:00 and Mr. Prez and I were able to turn around and take stock of our surroundings.  Hot, sweaty, and smelling of eau de smoke and angus beef parfum.  I headed to the portolet and he sank down in a folding chair and popped the top on a Diet Coke.  When I returned to the booth, I noticed that the cash bag was lying on the table of the booth.  Not out in plain view of the masses but still…it shouldn’t have been lying on top of the table.  Anyone could grab it and run off into the crowd.  I made the decision that I was going to take the majority of the cash out of the bag and put it in my purse for safe keeping.  I opened it up and started counting.  Two hundred and sixty seven dollars.  What????  How could that be?  I counted again and called Mr. Prez over.  He and I just kind of stared at each other with that sinking feeling slowing taking over our exhaustion.  Someone stole the money.  Doing some quick calculations, we figured we should have had at least $700.00.  And there was no way we could salvage the situation.  There were at least twenty cadets who had been milling around the booth all day.  Most of our cadets are honorable, outstanding kids who display integrity beyond their years.  They’ve been in the program for three or four years and have devoted many hours to discipline and community service.  Then again, there are those freshmen who try the program, don’t like it, and can’t wait to finish their freshman year and get out of ROTC.  I don’t know.  There were so many kids hanging around.  All day long, they showed up, worked a couple of hours and were replaced by the next shift.  Sometimes, we had as many as fifteen kids running around.

We continued selling what we had and finished the day with a total of $327.00.  Mr. Prez and I were defeated.  We usually finish with a feeling that we’re totally exhausted but we did something good for a great bunch of kids and we feel good about it.  This time, we’re left feeling like we’re to blame.  Like we should have thought about it.  Should have been on top of things better than we were.  Especially me.  I’m the treasurer, for crying out loud.  I should have kept a closer eye on the money.  I’m angry, too.  Angry that Sarge and Major showed up for about an hour, had a burger and coke and cut up with the kids for a few minutes and then disappeared.  Angry that more parents can’t be bothered to volunteer an hour or two of their time to help out.  Angry that a wonderful group of kids have to learn a nasty life lesson.  Of course, we talked to the kids.  Like deer in the headlights.  They didn’t know anything.  I think most of them would have reported any suspicious behavior they observed but they were just as disappointed and shocked as Mr. Prez and I.  He and I talked about it.  I don’t know what we could have done differently.  We certainly couldn’t have the kids anywhere around that massive, red hot grill.  I could have run over to the booth occasionally and taken the bulk of the money for safe keeping but I just didn’t think of it.  I just didn’t.  I wouldn’t dream of stealing and neither would most people.  We’re just not used to worrying about thieves and other nasties.  I don’t think I’ve ever stolen anything, except a couple of lava rocks and a handful of black sand.

Maybe I should send my rocks back to Hawaii….

 

That’s what the extended forecast is calling for Monday.  I’m NOT ready for that.  Maybe it’ll change before then.  DH and I have been trying to get away in the RV for a weekend but haven’t been able to work it out.  We had actually hoped to do it this weekend but the Highview Festival is going on and I have to work it on Saturday.  I’m kind of glad we’re not going.  The forecast is for lots of rain and a progression of chilly going to downright cold temps.  Maybe things will improve for the next weekend.  I wanted to go somewhere with cool, beautiful days and fall leaves to enjoy.

Potluck went well and we have leftovers today.  Got to work yesterday and one of the more “prim and proper” APs had left a crock pot on my desk with a note.  “Pat, sorry to leave my weenies on your desk.  Can you take care of them?  I have an early meeting at Gheens Academy.”  Bwwaaahhh! Ha! Ha!  Thought I’d lose it.  Really, you’d have to know this guy.  Very dorky and very proper.  “Sorry to leave my weenies on your desk.  Can you take care of them?”  (snort, snort, hee hee)

I have to go to GFS after school today and pick up around 100 frozen burgers, buns, ketchup, mustard, chips, and drinks for the festival tomorrow.  After the parade, ROTC is raffling off a couple of cornhole sets and selling food to raise money.  Cornhole seems to be the rage these days and I don’t even know what it is.  Guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

DS got off work at 5:00 yesterday and got over here around 5:30 so he could spend some time with the boys until DIL picked them up at 8:00.  She told me on Wednesday that she’d be working late and that she needed some more warm clothes for the boys.  I told her David didn’t have any of their clothes anymore except for a couple of outfits.  I’ve been over there and helped him pack their stuff and I know she’s been given all their clothes, including the winter stuff.  I don’t know what she was trying to prove but Scout showed up here yesterday wearing a pair of pants that were at least eight inches too long for him without a belt.  I asked him why he was wearing them and he said Mommy said he didn’t have any long pants that fit him and she can’t find his belt.  I reminded him that he’s been wearing long pants for at least three weeks and he said “That’s what I TOLD her.  I don’t know where they are.  Maybe they’re dirty.”  If you know me at all, you probably know how hard it was for me to keep from running out and buying him some new pants but I didn’t.  I’m going over to DS’s this weekend and dig through every drawer and every closet just to make sure but I know she already has all of his clothes and I know he has plenty of long pants that actually fit.

DS got a job yesterday.  NOT in a restaurant.  Scary…the idea that he’s been looking for a job as a chef or kitchen manager for weeks and nothing has turned up.  He has a great resume, good references, and has won quite a few awards in his time and yet, there’s nothing out there.  So…he took a job in construction.  Not sure what his work days and hours will be but I guess we’ll work around them. 

DIL came to the door yesterday evening when she picked up the kids and said, “I’ll be running late tomorrow and Friday and will pick up Jake and Scout at 8:00 instead of 6:00.”  I can’t tell you how much good it did me to say, “Stacy, David got a job today and won’t be able to pick the kids up from school from now on.  I’ll make sure they get picked up and taken care of tomorrow and Friday but you’re going to have to make arrangements for daycare starting Monday.”  She looked like a deer in the headlights and said, “Well, uhhh, I have to work….”  I said, “We ALL have to work Stacy.  There won’t be anyone here to watch them.  You’re going to have to make some other arrangements.”

I’m wondering if she’s going to try to work out something with the after school program.  They have a great after school program where they’ll watch the kids, help them with their homework, and keep them entertained.  The kids really enjoyed the program last year but DH found out, when he checked into it this year, that she had taken the money he gave her to pay the last bill last May and kept it instead of paying them.  It was in her name because she set it up but he’d always given her the money for it and I guess she didn’t think it was going to come back on her because she planned on running off as soon as school was out.  I know she didn’t dream that the judge would order that the kids were to continue attending the same school to avoid as much disruption in their lives as possible.  I don’t know what she’s going to do but it’s going to be on her to work it out.  She may have to use the after school program and pay them $450 before they’ll take her back.  DS said he wouldn’t be surprised if she tries to hit him up for the money.  I don’t think she’ll do that but I’m willing to bet that she’ll try to convince them that he’s the one who didn’t pay it last year and they’re no longer together so it’s not her fault.  I can hear it now….

Today is the second potluck of the year at school.  I got off easy.  DS has been working on his portfolio and wanted to add some stuff to his catering menu so he cooked up a huge pan of baked ziti yesterday evening so he could take pictures and price it out by servings.  Looks to me like he made enough for about 50 servings.  I’m wearing pants with an elastic waistband.

Did I say I enjoyed sleeping with the windows open and a cool breeze drifting through the window?  The sleeping is good but the getting up is not.  I really didn’t want to get out from under the covers this morning.

Today will be the first normal work day since last Thursday.  I thought I’d get a lot done yesterday and I suppose I did but it seemed like everyone in the school took advantage of the day to come to me with computer problems.  Felt good about getting so many things fixed, though.  Sometimes, it was just osmosis.  Just restarting the things took care of a lot and folks were singing my praises.  “You fixed it!  Yay!”  I didn’t run into anything I couldn’t deal with and the net result felt good.  A major decrease in the pile of paperwork on my desk and at least ten computer problems addressed and resolved. 

ROTC met from 5:00 to 6:30 and I finally got home around 7:15.  It was a good thing we met.  I had wrapped my brain around the idea of chaperoning and working at the Highview Festival next Saturday and was brought back to reality when I discovered it’s this Saturday.  I’m scheduled to work the ROTC booth and parade from 10:00 to 3:00 and the school booth from 3:00 to 5:00.  Still feeling a bit miffed about having to report to work an hour early yesterday while knowing I’m volunteering seven hours on Saturday.  :-(

Nothing going on at home.  DGD, Holly, has been at the house the last five days and I tried to keep her from eating junk as much as I could and made sure she got some kind of exercise every day.  She lost 2 1/2 pounds since Thursday!  Ah…to be young again.  Walk around the block everyday and cut out a few extra helpings and lose 2 1/2 pounds.  (sigh)  In the same time period, I lost 0.  (double sigh)

Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. 

Good advice.  I’m going to try to take it today.  It’s a work day but it’s parent conference day and my kids are sooooo good I only have three conferences scheduled.  That means the rest of the day I can work on computers and try to get caught up on things.  I’m a bit pertubed, though, about the ROTC Booster Club meeting.  It’s always 5:00 on the first Tuesday of the month.  Major, Sarge and I were high-fiving each other because we were supposed to work from 11:00 to 6:00 today and figured we wouldn’t have to make a special trip for the meeting.  We’d be there anyway!  We made sure all of our conferences were scheduled early so we could meet.  I sent out the reminder to the distribution list of parents and the principal and the principal emailed me and said, “Pat, you can’t do that.  You’ll be on work time.”  I get a little testy about these things.  I mean…come on!  We’ll be in the building, in the classroom, and only a couple of people will show up.  We’ll be discussing the school’s ROTC program with parents.  What’s wrong with that????  It’s a school program and we don’t get paid anything to have these meetings or do any of the after school events we chaperone.  I told the principal we’d work though the “4:00 to 5:00 break” which is the time the school scheduled so we could have dinner but she said we couldn’t do that.  Crap!  I finally gave in and told her Major, Sarge and I would come in at 10:00 this morning to put in an extra hour.  I mean, really, like we don’t give the school hours and hours of unpaid labor as it is.  I’m feeling a little nasty about it and felt like telling them I won’t be able to work in the booth and chaperone kids during the upcoming Highview Festival Event on Saturday, the 16th.  (sigh)

Okay, enough about that.  Yesterday’s event went pretty well but the traffic was a disaster.  It was supposed to start at 8:30 but so many people were trying to get in the fairgrounds and find a parking space that they couldn’t start until 9:00 and people were still coming in at 11:00.  It wasn’t much better getting out.  We didn’t get back to school until 1:20.

I called the social worker yesterday afternoon and he told me Stacy is correct.  They do have to file a motion to vacate the No Contact Order in spite of what the judge said.  He said he’ll still be on the case for 90 days.  I’m still supposed to be stuck in the middle for a while.  He “suggested” I work closely with Stacy to have her give me a weekly schedule of times and days that she’ll be bringing the kids to avoid last minute changes and phone calls.  I told him that’s only part of the problem.  David’s visitation is a disaster and it’s forcing me to be available Monday through Friday so he can drive 30 miles to have one hour a day with the kids.  He said that’s something David and Stacy will have to work out.  He seems nice enough but he’s totally fallen for Stacy.  Told me she’s working so hard to try to work things out for the kids.  Told me he really “appreciates” my support and flexibility because it’s sooooo important in these kinds of cases.  Said Stacy’s told him how “wonderful” I am and how much she “cares about me and misses me”.   (gag)  I didn’t argue with him.  I have to admit that she looks damn good at the present time.  She’s doing exactly what she’s supposed to do and David is coming across as a pain in the ass because he’s upset with the visitation and everything else.  David was angry when the caseworker called me back because he left three messages for him yesterday trying to get the same information and the guy never called him back.  I wonder, sometimes, if I’m blind to something.  If I’m not seeing something that everyone else sees but everyone who understands the situation assures me that I’m not.

Alright, enough ranting for one day.  I need to get a shower and head to school.

5thOctober

Weird Work

That’s what we’re doing this week. Weird work. Today, we have to drive to the fairgrounds (they’re expecting 17,000 of us) find a parking space and follow the agenda below:

Greetings and Introductions

Lynne Wheat, HR Director Administrator Recruitment and Development/ The Wallace Foundation KyCLS Grant

 

Welcome

Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner of Education

 

Framing the Day and Introduction

Dr. Sheldon Berman, Superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools

 

How Do We Develop a System of Formative Assessment in Our Schools to Improve Teaching and Learning?  

Dr. Rick Stiggins, ETS Assessment Training

 

Closing Remarks

Dr. Sheldon Berman

 

At this point (12:00), we’re supposed to all leave and return to our schools (I can’t wait to fight the bottleneck getting out of the fairgrounds) where they have school-based stuff for us to do until 3:30.  Not my idea of a fun day. 

 

Tomorrow is parent conference day so we work from 11:00 to 6:00 without a lunch break.  Like I said, weird workdays this week.

 

I called DS yesterday afternoon after DIL called and he said he was NOT calling her until he’s had a chance to speak to his attorney and verify whether or not he’s supposed to.  I called her back and said, “Stacy, I got your message.  You need to talk to David about watching the kids tomorrow and Tuesday.  It’s my understanding that the judge rescended the No Contact Order so that you two could work out visitation.  I’ve been stuck in the middle for months and you two need to work these things out between yourselves instead of calling me.”

 

She said, “My attorney told me I have to wait because even though the judge said that, I have to make a motion for dismissal and it still has to go through court.  I don’t know how long that will take.”

 

I said, “David said he’ll take care of the kids Monday and Tuesday but I know he’s not happy with the current arrangement.  He feels like he’s “on call” and you need to be more forthcoming about a formal plan instead of calling at the last minute.”

 

She said, “How do you figure it’s the last minute?  He should know they don’t have school Monday and Tuesday.  He knows I have to work.”

 

I said, “But you can’t just pick up the phone the night before and call me and expect for everything to be taken care of when you haven’t made any advance arrangements.  You can drop the kids off at my house tomorrow morning but I won’t be here.  I have to leave for work at 6:45.  David will have to come over and he’ll be in the house.  I don’t want to be in this position anymore.  You two created this mess and you’re going to have to set aside your differences and communicate with each other to do whatever you need to do to take care of the kids.”

 

She said, “I’ll just pull in the driveway and let them out of the car and I’ll pick them up the same time I usually do.”

 

I said, “Alright, that will work for tomorrow and Tuesday but then, I’m done.  After that, it’s going to fall on you and David to figure out how to do this.”

 

So…that’s where it is.  DS and DH say that’s a bunch of crap about her having to make a motion and wait for it to go through the court.  DS said the judge already took care of all that.  He’s calling his attorney today to find out for sure.  I don’t know.  I just know that I’m going to call the caseworker today for myself and then we’ll know for sure.  I still think it’s way too soon and there’s too much anger and friction going on for them to be able to work together to assemble a bologna sandwich, much less a visitation arrangement but, again, they created this mess.

 

DH and DS got home about 9:30 last night.  Said it was cold but really pretty up in Kansas.  The leaves were brilliant.  They haven’t really started changing yet around here.

I enjoyed the brief rest but I was glad to have them home again.  Safe and sound. 

I blogged with a passion yesterday.  All day long…like I used to.  Just kept the computer up and running and updated several times.  I’m really trying to get things back under some kind of control and I’m just now realizing how much stress I was under and how much it was consuming me.  I was so angry at having to put on an act all the time.  If I’m mad, I want to be able to show it.  If I’m angry wih someone, I want to be able to let them know.  It was really difficult to be so furious with DIL and have to put on a front all the time for the kids and the caseworkers and everyone else.  It was infuriating to have to be “supportive and flexible” when I felt used and manipulated.

I actually had to think (just for a fleeting moment) about whether or not it was a good idea to leave my phone off today.  Like I said, it was just for a moment.  I started thinking about what the repercussions would be and then I had to reassure myself that it’s not my problem.  NO ONE has the right to come back on me and say, “You should have worked with Stacy to make sure the kids were cared for on Monday and Tuesday.”  She has to step up to the plate and behave like any other mother.  I do wish DS’s attorney would have called him, however.  Just to make sure that they’re supposed to communicate with each other.

So I’m off…to think about and deal with other things.  I keep thinking about that barrel chair in the RV.  Like the entire chair is deteriorating as we speak.   My favorite fabric store, Baer Fabrics, closed their doors after 103 years and three generations of owners.  A fantastic old building located downtown with three floors of goodies.  My second favorite, Thrifty Fabrics, also closed.  Where am I supposed to go for fabric?  I know it probably seems crazy to most people but I love wandering around in big fabric stores.  Many times, I’ve bought fabric just because it was beautiful and I couldn’t resist the price.  Even when I didn’t have any particular use for it.  The thing is…it’s inspirational.  The colors and patterns and textures.  I love them.  My bedroom was designed around a piece of fabric I fell in love with and used for the bedspread.  Everything else was chosen to go with that particular piece of fabric and all the colors in it.  Same thing for the family room.  That’s the way I decorate.  By finding one thing (usually fabric) that I love and building around it.  Somehow, I don’t think the fabric section at Walmart is going to inspire me.  There’s a wonderful fabric outlet in Valdosta, Georgia that I visit when we go to Florida.  Maybe I’ll have to just cool it until we go down there for Thanksgiving but I want to get that chair in he RV taken care of NOW.  Gotta give this some more thought….

 –9:00 A.M. NEWSFLASH!!! –

Just found this amazing discovery in the Sunday paper!  Our problems are solved!!!!!

4:00 p.m. update - Well alrighty then…here we go.  Sunday afternoon - 4:00 p.m. - My phone rang and it was Stacy.  Didn’t answer.  4:01 - my phone rang and it was Stacy.  Didn’t answer.  4:02 - Got a voice mail message, “Patty, ummm, this is Stacy.  The boys are off school tomorrow and Tuesday and I need to know if Dave’s going to watch them.  If he isn’t….ummmm…you need to call me right away and let me know.  Bye.”

Love the way she dumped it on me.  “If he can’t watch them…YOU need to call me RIGHT AWAY.”  Like it’s my fault if she winds up without a babysitter.  Gotta think about this a few minutes.  Whether to ignore it or call and say, “Stacy, I got your message but I don’t have any idea if David is planning on watching them.  This is something that you two need to decide.  I don’t want to be stuck in the middle of this anymore.”

3rdOctober

Damn Cat

I changed the sheets on my bed.  Piled up the pillows and opened the windows and slept alone last night.  Must be the first time in a couple of years.  The bed and the bedroom all mine.  Big California king size bed with the sheets all fresh and fragrant and the cool night air stirring the curtains.  I slept like a rock. 

Woke up to DS’s cat sitting on my chest and staring in my face.  I’m babysitting (as usual) and he was ready for breakfast.  I have the twin’s cat that lives here (notice how I refuse to say our cat) and DS’s dog and cat while he’s in Kansas.  I rolled out of bed and they were all running around and rubbing on my ankles.  Guess I should have filled food and water bowls before I went to bed last night. 

I had a fleeting thought about how I would have gotten up, fixed my coffee and blogged about it a year ago.  How I would have found humor in the simple things that go on in my life.  It seems like it’s been a long time since I found joy and humor in the simple things.  I’m going to try to find them again.

DIL picked up the kids yesterday evening and didn’t even come to the door.  Not that I wanted to see her or talk to her but it might have been nice if she’d said “Thank You” for watching them all day and mentioned something about who’s going to care for them Monday and Tuesday but she didn’t.  Just pulled up in the driveway and sat there until I got them out the door.  It felt kind of final and I gave them big hugs and kisses when they left.  Then I watched, from behind the window blinds, until she pulled out of the drive and drove away.  Couldn’t help but notice that she must have had a wreck because the trunk of the car (what used to be DS’s car) was all crumpled and the bumper was broken.  I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  I don’t have to deal with her anymore.

I don’t have any fears that I won’t get to see the kids.  DS will make sure that I do but I won’t have to see her anymore.  It feels good.  I’m concerned about DS having to deal directly with her.  He’s concerned about it too.  He says he’s going to set his phone to record everytime he has contact with her and try to make sure someone else is around but I don’t know how long he’ll keep it up.  It’s like everything else…he’ll do it for a month, two months, three months and he’ll start feeling like it’s okay.  Like nothing’s going to happen.  She doesn’t get crazy all at once.  It’s an obvious decline with little things piling up and her behavior getting worse and worse until she explodes.  I just hope he can see it coming.  I don’t have to deal with her anymore and that feels really good.

In fact, I’m feeling like I’m ready to make some changes.  Oldest DS is supposed to move to Florida on October 17.  I really don’t see how he’s going to do it but I’ve told him to make sure he’s ready to go because he’s not coming back.  I want my life back.  He’s been here for 1 1/2 years after what was supposed to be a couple of months.  Youngest DS, for all intents and purposes, has been living here since his nightmare began the first of June.  He’s been going home occasionally but Monday through Friday, he has to come over anyway to drop off the kids and he usually just stays.  It’s a long drive and he brings the boys out here and stays until he has to make himself scarce for DIL to pick up the kids and then he comes back.  I know he’s lonely and going through a difficult time but my part of it is over now and he needs to get on with his life.  He’s a sweet man and he bends over backwards to cook and clean and help out but he has to move on.  And I need to move on.

He doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself these days.  His family is gone.  His car is gone.  His job is gone.  DIL emptied the bank account, took the good car and everything she wanted from the house and left him with all the bills.  He’s out there pounding the pavement everyday while restaurants are closing right and left.  I would never have believed he’d be in this kind of situation but he is.  And he has to deal with it.  I don’t think he’s going to find any answers here.  He has to go home and begin to rebuild his life.  It hurts to see him brought down like this but I know he’ll come out stronger for having gone through this disaster.  He finally understands that he let all of this happen.  At least, I hope he sees it.  He’s so angry with what she did and how she used him and how she lied about him but I think, under it all, he knows that he let it happen.  It’s not like he didn’t know what she was.  He just refused to give up on her and thought she’d come around and be what he wanted her to be.  There was a stubborness in him that just wouldn’t listen to anyone and couldn’t see what was in front of his face.  He’s still being stubborn.  He doesn’t want to work with her or talk to her or see her.  He doesn’t want to admit that she’s won.  At least for the time being.  We all know that she won’t be able to keep up the charade forever and he needs to get his life back on track and be ready when she falls.

And, as for her, will she fall?  Probably.  I’d like to think that she’s ready to be a mother to her kids and care for them but experience has taught me that she won’t.  I try to see what the social workers see.  I know how wonderful she can be.  But it doesn’t last.  I’ve been where the social workers are.  I’ve seen her shine and I’ve loved her for it but she’s messed up time after time until she’s burned her bridges with me.  I keep thinking about what the first social worker said.  The totally biased, lying bitch that decided she was going to trust her and help her.  She said, “So I take it you don’t believe that people can change.  You don’t believe that they can turn their lives around and overcome their problems?”  I said, “I believe people can change.  I believe they can turn their lives around but I don’t believe Stacy ever will.  I’ve seen her abandon her kids and become abusive time after time and I don’t believe she will ever put her children’s needs above her own desires to party and do drugs and have a good time.”  The social worker said, “I see a woman who’s been abused and had a lifetime of bad breaks and has managed to overcome them and is trying to be a good mother and I think you’d do anything to sabotage her success.”  It just doesn’t seem possible to those who don’t know her that this lovely, charming woman can cry and talk about how horrible her life has been when the only horrible thing in her life is her own behavior.  I suppose that’s when the die was cast.  That’s what the social workers all see.  Because that’s what she’s showing them.  I’ve seen it too.  What the social workers don’t see is the other side of the coin.  The woman who uses anyone, even her children, to get what she wants.  I’ve seen that woman many, many times and the social workers haven’t met her.  Yet….

I know I’m rambling but it doesn’t feel the same this morning.  It doesn’t feel like something that I’m living with and dealing with on a daily basis.  It feels more like a purging.  Like I’m ready to get it all out of my system and begin to get my own life back on track.  I want to get where I was a year ago.  My happy little home with DH and the twins and I.  My house clean.  My bank account fairly healthy.  My health back on track.  I think I’m about ready to go there.  Just a few more things to tidy up.

10:30 update - I think I need to sew.  I’m pretty good at it, actually.  I don’t particularly like it but I always feel good when I make something that would cost a fortune for next to nothing.  It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something significant that a lot of people can’t do.  I bought fabric for a comforter and pillows for the cabin last spring…or was it summer?  Remember when I decided to do the flip-flop theme?  I need to get it done. 

The barrel chair in the RV is right next to the door.  It gets full sun almost all the time and I discovered a tear a month or so ago.  It seems that the constant sunlight is causing the fabric to deteriorate.  Of course, the fabric on the chair matches the trim around the dinette area.  I’ve done more than a little reupholstering in my time but it seemed like an overwhelming task and I’d pretty much made up my mind to just take the chair to a shop.  Still…it feels like such a waste of money.  I’ve never been shown how to reupholster.  I just start taking things apart, using the old fabric as a pattern and figuring it out.  I’ve always been confident enough to do things like that.  I think I need to do it.  I don’t think I should give in to that “It seems like such a big job” attitude and pay someone else to do it. 

I’m having that feeling today.  Instead of looking around and seeing what an overwhelming mess my house is and feeling like there’s nothing I can do about it, I’m seeing it as a challenge.  Instead of, “Damn!  There’s something else broken!”  I’m thinking, “Damn!  I need to fix that.”

I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone else but I feel the difference.  My living room needs painting.  I know that.  I almost decided to paint this weekend but it just seemed like so much trouble.  The old Patty would have taken advantage of the men being gone this weekend, bought a couple of gallons of paint and surprised them when they got home by having it done and over with.

Point is…I’m seeing all the things I need to do instead of seeing all the things that are messed up.  I can do this.

3:00 update - DGD, Holly, came over.  Mom is “concerned” because her cholesterol level is at 244 and she wants me to try to teach her how to eat better and exercise.  WTF??  She’s TEN YEARS OLD!  How can her cholesterol level be TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY FOUR????  My God!  As I’ve mentioned in here before, she’s way overweight and doesn’t do anything but eat and watch TV.

I downloaded two of her favorite songs.  A total of 13 minutes and told her I was going to show her how to dance and do aerobics.  She loves these songs but usually sits at the computer with her face glued to the screen and listens to them while head-bobbing.  I tried to show her how to do some simple dancing and aerobics but she was NOT interested.  Barely moved her feet.  Just kind of stood around with a bored expression on her face.  I had to push her the entire time just to keep her shuffling around.  At any rate, we got through 13 minutes with me breathing hard and definitely feeling it and her not even winded and saying, “NOW can I watch TV?”  Not gonna happen, chickie.  I took her to the scales and made myself step on them.  184.5. Not good but not as bad as I thought.  She got on and they went up to 177.5.  Whoa!  No wonder my clothes are too small for her.  She’s a little girl.  She doesn’t have a waist.  Just lots and lots of belly.  I’ve tried to give her clothes before but she can’t get in them because the waistband doesn’t meet by a good six inches.

At any rate, I told her we’re going to start exercising and being more careful about eating junk.  Made a spreadsheet and entered our weights and exercise.  She seemed a little bit interested.  I fixed her lunch.  Chicken noodle soup, a turkey sandwich and an apple.  I fixed some edamame beans for myself and she thought they were cute.  Popping them out of the pod and into my mouth.  She tried one and ran to the trash can retching all the way.  Guess I won’t be able to sell her on the idea of eating them for a snack…

 

I’m so tired of trying to figure out any of this mess.  Really sick and tired of it.  I just keep trying to make sense of it and there really isn’t any logic to it.  It’s just a total f*ck up.

DS went to court yesterday and I went to work.  His attorney had assured him that yesterday was just a preliminary hearing and nothing was going to happen.  He called me at 10:00 and said they got there and the case worker and DIL’s attorney and the CASA worker wanted to get everything settled and done with.  His attorney said the judge agreed and was ready to make final decisions.  They decided that DIL and DS are to have joint custody but primary residential custody will be with DIL.  DS now has a child support order in place and it appears that everything has been finalized.  The GAL had concerns because DIL has not produced any evidence that she “is no longer bi-polar” and doesn’t need medication.  DIL did not show up for her psychological evaluation and the case worker assured the judge ”she was trying to get that done but they hadn’t been able to work it out yet and she didn’t see it as a serious concern”.  DS kept whispering to his attorney and his attorney just keep saying “shhhh…” and then, before he knew what was going on, it was over.  Here’s the kicker…DS told his attorney before they went in that DIL has not worked with him on any kind of visitation but continues to see him as a “babysitter” to be used whenever it suits her.  He told him that he wanted the judge to set visitation even if it meant he would’t have any flexibility with it.  He was tired of having her decide when and where he could see the kids according to her whims.  The judge said she was going to vacate the “no contact” order between DS and DIL so they could “work out visitation arrangements and work with each other in making any vital decisions about the kids”.  DS whispered to his attorney that he did not want the no contact order revoked because he did not want to have any contact with DIL and his attorney gave him another “ssshhhhh…” and told the judge that was agreeable.   What???  The psycho bitch has attacked him and provoked him time after time and he does not want to be put in that position again so that she can lie and manipulate and abuse him and the judge says for them to “work together to come up with a suitable visitation plan.” 

They walked out of the courtroom and DS asked his attorney what had just happened and his attorney said, “I’m sorry…I thought this was just going to be a preliminary hearing and I have another case that I’m already late for.  I’ll call you this evening.”  Of course, he didn’t call.  Just grabbed his money and did nothing to earn it.

DS went to the caseworker and said, “How am I supposed to work out visitation when I’ve been trying to do just that for three months and she’s done everything she can to make it impossible?  She wants me to pick them up every day and babysit them for an hour and drive them all the way across town so she doesn’t have to go out of her way to pick them up after she gets off.  The only overnight she’s offered is on Saturday and she knows that’s the one night I can’t watch them.”

The caseworker said, “I’d suggest you take the kids on the weekend if you want to have them overnight.  I know she’ll probably be agreeable to that.”  DS said, “I told you, I can take them any day except Saturday.”  The caseworker said, “Well, I guess you better rethink that if you want to see them.”  DS said, “I don’t understand any of this.  You have only met me once for 20 minutes which is ten minutes less that the first caseworker spent with me and you’ve never even met my mother or any other member of my family.  You’ve never talked to any of my witnesses or my neighbors and yet you’ve decided this entire case without giving us any input at all.”  The caseworker said, “If you needed to talk to me, all you had to do was call.”  DS said, “I’ve called you over and over and you haven’t returned my calls.  I’ve left you a half dozen voice messages and you’ve never gotten back to me.”   The caseworker said, “If you needed to talk to me about anything, you should have kept calling until you reached me.  I have a heavy caseload and I can’t always be there whenever someone calls.”  DS said, “Well, I kind of figure if I call someone over and over and over and they don’t get back with me, and I leave a dozen voice mails and never get any response, I figure they don’t want to talk to me and I quit calling.”  The caseworker said, “I don’t like your attitude.  I think you need to go for a drug and alcohol screening.”  DS threw his hands in the air and said, “Yeah, that’s your answer to everything.  I’ve bent over backward to do everything you’ve asked me to do and you people have ignored me and refused to even discuss anything with me and when I get upset about it, you figure I need a drug and alcohol test because Stacy has convinced you that I have a problem even when everyone you’ve sent me to assures you that I don’t!  Send me for a test.  Right now, tomorrow, whenever!  I’m ready.  It just doesn’t seem to make any difference to you people.  You’ve met with her over and over and been to the apartment where she lives with her boyfriend and done everything you can to help her be successful with getting custody of these kids and you’ve totally ignored me in all of this.”  The caseworker just turned and walked away.

Probably not a good thing to have an arguement with the caseworker but I understand exactly what he’s saying.  If I hadn’t been so involved with this mess from the beginning, I wouldn’t believe any of it could happen.  But it has.  And I’ve lost any confidence I’ve ever had in the system.  It reeks.

DS had to sit out in the lobby of the courtroom while DIL, the caseworker, the GAL, the CASA worker and the child support people worked out all the details in another room and his attorney was off in another courtroom representing someone else.  The CASA worker finally came out and introduced herself and said she’d love to pick up the kids after school and spend some time with them and DS told her he barely gets to see the kids as it is and doesn’t want to give up the little bit of time he has with them so she can spend time with them.  The CASA worker said, “Well, why don’t we all go out then?  I’d like to get to know you and spend some time with you, too.”  DS said, “Why are you wanting to spend time with me and the kids now?  I’ve called you four different times and you’ve never called me back.  You’ve gone out several times with Stacy and the kids and you’ve never even met me until today.  Don’t you think it’s a little bit late to be getting to know me after all the decisions have already been made?  I thought it was your job to spend time with both parents and the boys and all the family members and then report to the caseworker about your observations?  How did you report your observations about how I interact with my kids and how they interact with their grandparents when you’ve never even talked to any of us?  I think you’re a little bit late, lady.  Today is probably not a good day to tell me you’d like to get to know me.”

The CASA worker said, “I’m sorry you feel that way.  I’ll try to get in touch with you later.”  I’m sure DS didn’t do anything to endear himself to any of the people involved in this mess yesterday but I agree with him totally.  They’ve done nothing but support Stacy and meet with her and represent her from the beginning and he’s just been ignored.  Their goal from the beginning has been to help the mother do whatever she needs to do to be a good mother to the kids and David, like so many fathers, has been ignored except as a “facilitator and supporter” for her.  And right now, she looks pretty damn good to them.  She’s had a decent job for almost a year.  Never mind that it’s the first time in her life that she’s done so.  She appears to be charming and totally devoted to the kids and that’s what they want to see.  Only those of us who have known her for years know that it won’t last.  It never does.

So where does that leave us?  I’m done.  I’ve disrupted my life, my health, my home and done everything I possibly can to make this mess go away and it’s all been for nothing.  No one wants to see the documentation, no one wants to look at her past, at drugs, at prostitution.  The first caseworker set the stage and everyone else fell in line with what she wanted.  The GAL even asked about the concern that DIL had moved in with her boyfriend and the caseworker said he’d met the guy and been to the apartment and the guy seems pretty nice and the apartment is clean so he doesn’t see any problem with it.  I think DS finally understands how toxic their relationship was and how lucky he was to have custody of his kids and how he blew it all by letting her back in his life.  Of course, it’s ironic that he’s finally gotten away from her and now the judge has revoked the Protective Order and told them to “work together on visitation and major decisions regarding the kids”.  So she’s still there.  Pulling the strings and manipulating him and the kids.

I’m watching the kids today because DIL didn’t make any arrangements for them and DS is on his way to Kansas.  The kids are off school Monday and Tuesday and I know she hasn’t made any arrangements for that either but I’m finished.  I’ve had to deal with her Monday through Friday for 3 months.  Been at her beck and call so no one could say I “wasn’t being supportive” and now I’m finished.  I won’t disrupt my life anymore in order to cover for her short comings.  I don’t know if anyone cares what she does.  When she picks up the kids this evening she probably won’t even come to the door.  She’ll probably call me Sunday evening and say, “Patty, I just found out that the kids are off school tomorrow and Tuesday so tell David I’ll bring them over to your house before I go to work and he’ll have to watch them.”  And I’ll say, “That’s something you and he will have to work out, Stacy.  As far as I know, you haven’t set up any visitation with him so I doubt if he’s prepared to watch them.  Why would you bring them to my house, anyway?  I thought you had residential custody?  I’m not the facilitator anymore.  That’s all over and done with.  You and David will have to come to some kind of arrangement for visitation but I won’t be involved in it anymore.”

Step up to the plate, bitch.  I’m done.

Wish we had one.  Wish good old Perry and Drake would be in court with DS this morning.  Probably won’t be any drama though.  Just a courtroom check to make sure the kids are still alive and kickin.  I hope DS gets some decent visitation.  He’s decided to bring it up to the judge.  Once the judge sets visitation, I assume the flexibility is gone but that’s kind of beside the point since we’re the only ones being flexible.  As it stands now, he picks up the kids at 4:00 Monday through Friday, drives 20 miles to my house, has one hour with them and then has to leave so DIL can pick them up at 6:00.  It’s like taxi service.  He hasn’t been able to take them anywhere or do anything with them in ages. 

He and DH are going to Kansas tomorrow to deliver an amplifier they sold on ebay and I told her about it last Friday.  She waited until Tuesday afternoon to say, “I have to work Friday and the kids are off school.”  I said, “I told you, Stacy, he won’t be in town.”  She said, “Well, I have to work.”  I said, “I can keep them Friday on one condition.  I do not want to get up early on my day off.  When David picks them up from school on Thursday, they can spend the night and I’ll watch them Friday and you can pick them up Friday after you get off work.”  She said, “Okay.  That’ll work.”  No “Thank you”.  Just ”Okay, that’ll work.”  So…I’ll be babysitting on my day off tomorrow.  The kids are off school Monday and Tuesday and I have to work.  Don’t know what she’s going to do about that but I’m tired of always being the one to bring it up.  After the judge sets visitation today, I don’t think she’s going to be happy.  No matter what days or hours are set, she’s not going to be able to abuse it by letting me know when she’s going to need DS to babysit and not giving him visitation.  It’s a shame.  I hate to lose the flexibility but we’ve gone waaaay overboard with being accommodating  and she has absolutely refused to allow DS to have any quality time with the kids.

I have to get ready for work.  Yesterday, somebody started a fire in the trash can in the boys restroom and we had to stand outside for 1 1/2 hours until the smoke was all cleared out of the building.  Needless to say, kids were totally wired after that and just wanted to cut up the rest of the day.  They’re off school tomorrow so it’s going to be difficult to get any work out of them today as well.  Guess I’d better dress for success.