Tag Archives: Children Youth and Family

Dad shaped hole

This is something that a fellow blogger whom I follow wrote.  I thought it was especially relevant to me, given what’s going on – both with my relationship with The Kid and the recent passing of The Old Man.

I didn’t feel “the hole” with The Old Man; rather, I want to be sure that The Kid never feels it with me.

Dad shaped hole.

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4 Signs of an Unhealthy Marriage | All Pro Dad

For a long time, I looked to articles like this one for affirmation in my decision to divorce.  These days, I see articles like this, mentally check everything on the list and wonder to myself “how did my marriage even last as long as it did?”

4 Signs of an Unhealthy Marriage | All Pro Dad.

The Only Six Words Parents Need to Say to Their Kids About Sports—Or Any Performance | FullerYouthInstitute.org

The Only Six Words Parents Need to Say to Their Kids About Sports—Or Any Performance | FullerYouthInstitute.org.

A Bullshit Mountain Christmas

THE FOLLOWING POST WAS STARTED ON DECEMBER 27, 2013.

a favorite expression of mine.

a favorite expression of mine.

“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”
― Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit

One of my favorite television shows is Comedy Central’sThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart“.  A few years back, Jon Stewart interviewed a writer, Harry Frankfurt,  who had penned a journal-turned-book titled On Bullshit.  I bring this up for several reasons.

  • One:  I always laugh when TV people get away with cursing on the air, for whatever reason. On this particular segment, Stewart must have said “bullshit” 50 times.  FCC be damned indeed.  Yes, I know, it’s immature but dirty words being said when and where they’re not supposed to makes me giggle.
  • Two:  I thought it sounded funny to hear Jon Stewart talk, literally, about bullshit for 10 minutes.
  • Three:  because the author brought up several interesting points when differentiating between lying and bullshit – focusing particularly on the ethical ramifications of both.
  • Four:  And this brings us back to do: Jabba, the queen of Bullshit Mountain, is at it again.

I’m in South Carolina tonight, to take The Kid back to Jabba in the morning following my Christmas visit with him.  This Christmas visit was informative, enlightening and educational – along with an absolute roller-coaster of emotions that I will get into.

Things to keep in mind:  The Kid spent the entire Christmas visit with the Auteur and I, much to Jabba’s chagrin. Both The Kid and Jabba know unequivocally that The Auteur and I are living together. that should set the tone for things to come.

I e-mailed Jabba when I arrived in South Carolina last week to let her know where I was staying and when we would do “the exchange”.   Here’s a snippet:

Rob:  I am in town at the ******.  I don’t know what you’re schedule is like, but if  he’s available, we’d love to have The Kid over for dinner and/or swimming this evening. (this hotel has an indoor pool.

To this point, I had been saying “I”:  I am in town, I am leaving tomorrow, etc.  The Old Man was traveling with me, but Jabba took the “we” to mean someone else had accompanied me on the road:

Jabba: We’ll be there. I’m not comfortable with him sleeping in the same room as people who aren’t family. I hope that’s not the case. You wouldn’t be comfortable if I had him sleeping in bedrooms or hotels with men you didn’t know and I understand that. I want to be very clear about why I am and am not comfortable with here. I am sure you understand that.

Upon reading this, it had occurred to me.  Jabba thought I was traveling with The Auteur.

Rob:  Aren’t family? My Dad is here with me. OH. You assumed The Auteur was traveling with me. She’s not.

It didn’t occur to me then, but this electronic exchange would set much of the tone for The Kid’s visit.

Jabba called not only The Kid, but also me, far more on this trip than she has for any of our other visits.  on Monday, the 23rd, she called three times alone.  Sure, I get it.  She’s likely to call more frequently since it is Christmas – or a few days before as it were.  Compared to our previous visits, this was excessive.  Something was different with Jabba.  There was a different feeling – a different tone to things.  The mood had changed.  There was almost a hint of desperation to things.

By around the 24th or 25th, I had made it clear to Jabba that The Kid and I were not staying at my parents’ house.  We were staying at OUR house – ours being The Auteur and mine – which may be referred to in the following text as “The Auteur’s house”  for the sake of clarity and conversational continuity.  Jabba got on the phone with me a few times, calmly at first; then yelling in subsequent conversations.  She decided to take the position that the entire point of The Kid’s Christmas visit was to spend time with his grandparents (my parents).  She even got The Kid to say it one night on the phone! But I’ll get to the manipulation later.  At this, I reminded her that our divorce settlement says NOTHING about visitation with grandparents, cousins, aunts, or uncles – one either side. All it discusses is visitation for the mother and the father.

The things is, I get it.  I really do.  Jabba and I divorced and I happened to be the first of us to meet somebody.  Were I in her shoes, I’m sure I would probably be feeling very frustrated and uneasy also.  At the same time, it’s over.  The proverbial, if not literal, ink is drying on our divorce as I type.  It’s time for us all to move on with our lives.  I intend on 2014 being all about taking life to the next step.

BACK TO THE MANIPULATION:  This is what gets me.  Jabba is a smart ass. She prides herself on her “bitchiness”.  My son is a good kid, but I can already see his personality being shaped and influenced by her.  This sucks because he lives with her probably 98% of the year and will have a bigger impact on his shaping his personality than I could ever hope to.  And I get it.  I really do.  He loves his Mom and wants to make her happy.  But I can already see the conflict within him – saying something to make her happy while knowing it’s not true.  It’s something he will have to deal with in the months and years to come.

I think the bullshit scares me most because of the way it affected me during my previous life.  In the 16 years we were together, I began to fib, lie and out-and-out bullshit people:  family, friends, loved ones, strangers.  That is one of several bad personality traits I picked up in those years.  Unfortunately, old habits die hard and I still occasionally fall into old routines – but I am improving.  None of this is an overnight transformation.

THE NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION CONTINUES…

coming clean

As I type this tonight, I am in South Carolina, so that I can pick up The Kid tomorrow for his Christmas visit.  The Old Man and I made the drive down last night.  The weather was about as good as we could have possibly hoped for – especially given the time of year.  

Jabba and I were exchanging e-mails earlier today – making arrangements for tomorrow’s “exchange”.  I think she assumed that The Auteur had made the trip down with me.  In one of her e-mails, she went on a rant about being uncomfortable with the idea of The Kid staying in a hotel room with a stranger.  By “stranger” I assume Jabba meant a person who was a stranger to her; because The Kid and The Auteur obviously know each other.  It was odd. She never came out and said anything about The Auteur directly.  she had voiced her feelings about The Kid being around “my girlfriend” but made no specific mention of The Auteur in today’s e-mail.

It’s been strange.  I know that – at least – since my trip to Myrtle Beach in September, Jabba has been aware of The Auteur. Obviously she doesn’t know how serious we are, or that we’ve been living together – let alone for how long.  But it occurred to me today that the time has come for full disclosure. The proverbial dust is finally settling.  Our divorce is within days of being finalized.  We are at a point where we no longer owe each other anything emotionally. But Jabba does need to know how serious The Auteur and I are.  She has to understand that if The Kid is going to be with me, than he is also going to be around The Auteur.  And in order to do that, Jabba and The Auteur will, inevitably, have to meet someday.  And that is going to have to happen sooner rather than later.

Ideally, this is a conversation that I would rather have face-to-face than via e-mail, but given our current living situations, that is not realistic.  I must admit that even thinking about giving Jabba the rundown has felt extremely liberating; not unlike when I finally made the decision to de-friend her from on Facebook.

coming to terms

The last 72 or so hours have been tumultuous.  I’ve been racking my brain over this divorce settlement – trying to sort out the terms I can live with; the terms that infuriate me to the point that I have no choice but to demand more from; the terms that bother me on principle; and the terms that I have to simply accept for the sake of both my immediate and long-term happiness.

To make matters worse, Jabba is now saying she wants the kid back on December 28; essentially giving her the entire second week of his winter break.  This despite her saying she wanted me to have him for the majority of his break.  If she wanted to simply switch weeks, I could live with that.  I don’t understand the need for her to phrase it as if she’s giving me Christmas as some major self-sacrifice. By this time next year, I am fully confident that the divorce will firmly be in place. Once it is, I’ll proceed strictly by the terms of the final order.  No more favors.  No more flip-flopping weeks (I say that now).

I talked to LeRoy about the final divorce order last night and he really helped put things into perspective.  He reminded me that I’ve got to think in terms of the overall bigger picture.  Trying to fight some of these smaller issues on principle could start opening up other proverbial cans of worms that I don’t want to get into – largest among them back child support.  Virtually everyone agrees that I got a good deal with child support – and I don’t want to rock the boat, so to speak.  Basically, I have to pick and choose not only my battles, but my acceptable losses as well.

Last but not least, I cannot thank The Auteur enough for all of her love and support through this process.  If there’s any one trait of hers I’m trying to pick up, it is her ability to compartmentalize things (for the lack of a better word) She has an ability to not let the random bad things that happen sabotage and otherwise good day.  I wish I was more like her in that regard.  Needless to say, I am still a “work in progress” in that area, but I am trying.   Like all couples, we disagree and fight at times, but we always have each others backs.  We love each other and are definitely in this together for the long haul.

Earlier in the evening I talked with my Mom about the whole Christmas break switcheroo.  She reminded me at The Kid’s age, Christmas is THE important holiday and it really is important to have it with him and that I need to – again – think of the bigger picture.

I wasn’t really happy at the end of the conversation with Mom.  I was feeling quite defeated actually. At that point, one would think that the talk I had with LeRoy would only make me feel even worse; but a strange sense of calm came over me.  I think I have finally reached the point that this divorce ruling is something I can live with.  I’m not sure how it happened, or when; but I’ve think I’ve truly come to terms with this whole thing.

compromisedemotivator

Virginia is for haters

This vanity plate says it all

This vanity plate says it all

With all due apologies to any native Virginian who may read this post…

The Boy finally calls me back at 10:30 last night, only to tell me that the STBX is taking him to Jellystone Park (A Yogi Bear theme park) in Virginia today.  As we conclude our conversation, I politely ask him to put his mother on the phone.  He agrees.

I ask her if it would be too much to ask if she could give me a “heads up” when she and The Boy were leaving the state.  She gets all defensive, about child support and visitation, etc.  At which point I finally ask her, “what’s going on with our court proceedings”.  She goes on to tell me that her lawyer is waiting to hear back from my lawyer.  The entire reason I even brought up our courtroom drama is because I haven’t spoke with my lawyer since before the July 4th holiday.

I explain to her what happened in court last month – as it was explained to me by my attorney.  She tells me flat-out that everything was discussed in court, including the amount for child support payments.  In turn, I tell her flat-out that  my attorney gave me a radically different story; explaining how her lawyer went on record stating that he had nothing and was not prepared for court that day.  To me, that suggests that the STBX has not paid her lawyer, thereby holding up the entire proceeding.  I didn’t call her a liar per se, but I made my thoughts very clear without doing so.

All that she has ever been about is money.  I told her as much and said that she wouldn’t be happy if I was sending them $1000 each month, which sadly is true.  I just want this divorce settled, so I can move on with my life.

The song in the video is really speaking to me right now…

approaching zero hour

fade to white

fade to white

Time, as it often tends to do, has snuck up on me.  Two days from now is The Boy’s last day of school.  Three days from now will be 11 months since the day I left Charleston; and I don’t feel any closer to being “officially divorced” than I did then.  It feels as if my attorney, and the STBX’s attorney for that matter,  is dragging his heels through this.

I got an e-mail from the STBX about a week-and-a-half ago asking about my plans for the summer.  I didn’t even respond to her – I forwarded it on to my lawyer, whose done virtually nothing about it.  I think I’m gonna have to pull the trigger on this one myself and take the 4 weeks that the STBX is willing to provide me The Boy, at least for this summer anyway.

And that’s only part of my problem:  I’m broke.  Much like my lady-love, The Auteur, I’m looking for work.  I don’t even have the money to go pick him up, that’s how pathetic I am right now.

Although I’ve made it very clear to the STBX that I want The Boy for 6 weeks during his summer break, I’ve been preparing myself for the reality that I may not get him for that long until this divorce is finalized in court. I’m ready for that.  I’d hate it, but I can deal with it.   My problem is that I’m looking at the calendar and nothing seems to have been done.

I guess that leads me to an even bigger question:  What have I accomplished in the last 11 months?

  • I’ve returned to school, with some mixed results.
  • I’ve made a few unofficial child support payments to the STBX – albeit upon advice from my attorney.
  • I’ve brought The Boy up here to Michigan and made a trip to see him in South Carolina on my own dime.
  • Six months ago, I started working out and have never felt better about my body.
  • Most important of all, I’ve met an amazing woman with whom I want to spend the rest of my life…
  • And in doing so I accomplished something I didn’t think was possible in Michigan:  I got comfortable.

The Auteur sees me in a bit of a rut and she’s right.  She summed it up best when she said “You’re comfortable.  You hate your situation, but you’re comfortable”.

Counterstrike

With the Boy’s Easter break  about 6 weeks away, I called the STBX last night to discuss visitation.  Here’s a paraphrasing of said conversation – to the best of my memory:

Me:  So the Boy’s Easter break is coming up.  Under the separation agreement that you had written up, I get him for his entire break, right?

X: No, that’s not what I remember.

Me: Well, I don’t have it in front of me, but that is what it says.

X:  We don’t have an agreement.

Me:  We’ve been going by the agreement that you had written up.

X:  You never signed it.

Me:  Really, X?  You’re gonna do this every time it’s my turn to see him? Fine.  I’ll call my lawyer first thing Monday morning and I’ll set up a visitation hearing.

X:  I already made plans to take him to Legoland that week.

Me:  Maybe you should’ve checked that with me first.  I’ll have my lawyer set up a hearing.  We’ll get all this set in stone.

X:  Be sure to talk to him about child support too! hangs up phone

Typical.  Whenever she gets frustrated, she hangs up on people.  Her parents, her siblings, me.  I’m not really sure why she wants me to talk to my lawyer about child support.  That would be like a murderer asking his/her attorney: “hey how much time should I do?  10? 15 years?”

Again, she tries to go back on a separation agreement that SHE had written up.

She doesn’t get it.  She’s not in charge of this thing anymore. And that scares the hell out of her.

All in all, this is a week I would really like to forget.  SHG blows me off.  Ivy makes her move.  The STBX descends further into the role of the stereotypical bitchy ex-wife.  Never have I ever looked so forward to Monday…

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