Tag Archives: Family

Treading water

treading waterIt’s been a while.  Let’s see if I remember how to do this…

A LOT has happened since last I wrote.  One-and-a-half weeks ago, I was offered the job in Eastpointe – the one I didn’t even apply for.  I interviewed on a Tuesday; completed all my paperwork on a Wednesday and was in the classroom teaching on Thursday.  I worked all of last week and that brings us to the present.

I have to admit, it’s far from ideal circumstances.  Work is a 1 1/ – 2 hour drive from where The Auteur and I live; so I’m staying at my parents’ house during the week, and going home on weekends.  The first coupe days weren’t so bad.  I worked two days and went home for the weekend.  This past week was my first full week of work. After living together for the last year, being away from The Auteur for almost an entire week sucked.  Doing that again Monday through Friday this week – and every other week for the rest of the school year – seems almost too hard to imagine.  I know, I know – I’m being a little melodramatic.  Truck drivers go through the same thing. Military families have it even worse.  The thing is, I don’t drive a truck and I’m not a soldier, and I want to be home.

This wasn’t an easy decision for us to come to.  And yes, this is something that The Auteur and I discussed at length.  The truth is, I need this job.   I need it for The Auteur and the life we are building and living together.  I need it for The Kid – so that I can be a good father to him.  Finally, I need it for the sake of my career. Sure I had a few years experience under my belt, but that ended 6 years ago.  Employers are going to start asking “What have you done lately?”; so this will be good when pursuing other jobs in the future.

All in all, I feel like I’ve taken a small step backward in order to make several giant steps forward.  I’ve talked at moderate length before about wanting to get started with the rest of my life. Maybe its finally happening.

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Career Opportunities 2: Electric Bugaloo

I couldn’t resist using that title…

I had another interview on Thursday.  This was for a job that I never even applied for – though it was in the same district that I interviewed with 2 weeks ago.  I got there 15 minutes late, though that was because of an accident on the freeway.  Still, i felt like I left myself more that enough time to get there should I run into any traffic snafus; and yet, late I was.

In spite of my lack of punctuality, I felt like the interview went alright. Looking back, I probably would have changed an answer or two in the interview, but I don’t feel as if I said anything that would have sunk me.  But then, they haven’t called me back, so who knows.

I’m not sure I would have even wanted to take the job had it been offered to me.  It’s two hours away from where The Auteur and I are living, In fact, it’s closer to my parents than it is to us.  But the fact is, a job is a job and I need a job.  Badly.

Well, it has happened.  Child support has finally started being pulled from my paychecks.  I still think my payments are based on what I was making when I was teaching full-time.  God knows they can’t be based on what I’m making now.    But there are steps I can take to have child support re-evaluated.  I just have to do it.

Mom, Mom; Dad, Dad

Last week, the Auteur and I threw a birthday party for 1B.  Aside from the aforementioned birthday, this day marked a special occasion in that it was the first time that mine and The Auteur’s parents met each other. It went great, probably better than we should have expected.  I don’t necessarily see them hanging out together or anything, but they were more than cordial and more than polite with each other:  They were friendly with each other.

It’s strange because I wasn’t nearly nervous or excited about it as I expected to be.  A lot of that was due to the fact that the Auteur and I were both running around like proverbial chickens with our heads cut off – trying to get everything ready in the 36 plus  hours leading up to the party and we were tired.  I also think a lot of it is due to the fact that –  let’s face it, were not 20 anymore – our parents simply aren’t as big of a factor in our lives as they were when we were younger.

Something is happening to me.  Lately, I feel like I’m not nearly as sentimental about some thing as I once was.  I’ve always been a softie, but that’s definitely changing in some aspects of my life.  Am I getting old?  Cynical?

Hell, even with this blog. There was a time when I would have been writing about the party/our parents meeting that night or the next day.  I just don’t do that anymore.

In other news, I got a call Thursday from the assistant principal at a high school in Georgia.  This is the same district that I met with at a job fair back in April.  I’ve been trying real hard not to put all my eggs into that proverbial basket.  In fact, I pretty much gave up hope on them when they started school earlier this month.  But that’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the years:  When I stop obsessing over something, it usually ends up falling into my lap.  More on that as it develops.

roots

The Auteur, 1B and I spent Memorial Day with my family on The Old Man’s side. It was as good as I expected it to be. It was the first time that 1b had met most of them. For the Auteur, while her and I attended my cousin’s grandchild’s (my third cousin??) birthday party, it was probably the first time she really had a chance to talk to most of them one-on-one. Some observations on the day:

  • It’s funny, because I’m probably closer to my Dad’s side of the family than I ever have been in my life. all of my cousins on that side of the family are older than me; but age, I have found has become more or less of a relative thing as we get older.
  • As they have gotten older, I see that my Dad and my uncle are looking more and more alike. I notice they have similar mannerisms to an extent that I never noticed when I was younger.
  • They do the “big brother-little brother” thing where my uncle (the older brother) will give a funny look at my dad (the younger brother) when he does or says something. My oldest cousin pointed this out to me. I guess one almost has to be a big brother or a little brother to notice a dynamic such as this.
  • I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: family really is all that anyone has in this world. Maybe my dad’s side of the family has come to this realization as well.
  • The dynamic on my mom’s side of the family is such a stark contrast to that of my dad’s side. Whereas my i wasn’t real close to my dad’s side growing up, I was tight with my mom’s side in the early years.  As we’ve all gotten older, my mom’s side of the family has drifted apart. Deaths in that side of  the family started when I was young and seemed to have scattered various family members around the country and caused many of those who stayed close to home to drift apart emotionally.

When I get together with my extended family, I think about my own family and the family I want to have someday.  I want The Kid to know his cousins and, to at least some extent, have them be a part of his life.  The truth is, the nuclear family dynamic I experienced – one which I will describe as a “traditional family” – is more the exception than the rule these days.  The Kid will never know the “traditional family dynamic” that I experienced.

Weathering the storm

A valuable lesson in checking your e-mail on a timely basis:

This past Sunday I opened an e-mail from Jabba explaining that her dad had died that Friday night.

It seemed both crazy and not at all unexpected.  He’s had health issues for some time.  I also know that the last few times I asked Jabba how he was doing, her response was “not good” though she never really elaborated. I suppose I should have expected such curt responses from her.  After all, we are divorced; but I was always legitimately concerned with her father’s welfare.   I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the fact that I am now at the age where my parent’s generation – The Baby Boomers – are slowly beginning to die off and we, the children of the Baby Boomers – Generation X if you will – are inheriting the Earth.

Jabba’s Dad was always very good to me; regardless if how bizarre her mother got at times.  Even after Jabba and I split up he was very friendly with me when I was in SC dropping The Kid off at their house. During my previous life, I even got to the point where I began to address her parents as Mom & Dad; so it was a little weird when Jabba and I initially split up and I began to call him by his first name.

As I always tend to do when someone I know dies,  Jabba’s Dad’s death has me thinking of mortality:  mine, my parents, The Auteur, even our kids.  Life is too short and I often feel like I’ve been just spinning my tires.  I’m 40 years old and what do I really have to show for myself? I know, it often takes years for people to rebuild their lives following a divorce; but for me it feels like the same old problems in my life.  Something, a lot of things, need to change.

I really worry about how The Kid is taking all of this.  He’s holding up pretty well, from everything I’ve seen and heard.  This is probably the first death of a real close loved one he’s dealt with.  Jabba’s dad lived with them for almost two years after her and I split.  That’s got to affect him more than we realize.  Jabba’s mother died a few years ago, but he was way too young to remember that.  The sights and sensations of a funeral may stay with him for a long time.  I wish I had the means to be there for him tomorrow.  Even if I could, I’m not sure how appropriate it would be for me to be there.

The funeral is tomorrow, so Jabba and The Kid are in town as Jabba’s dad is being buried in his hometown here in Michigan.  The Kid and I got together for a few hours yesterday.  Though the reasoning behind The Kid’s visit made me sad, I was so happy to see him yesterday.  We played at an indoor playground called The Treehouse.  It was the kind of pure unadulterated fun that I desperately needed right now.  I’m especially happy to say that he’s still small enough that I can life him up and put him on my shoulders.  I know that sounds corny, but I want him to remain small for as long as possible.  I already miss far too much of his everyday life for my taste.    Saying goodbye to him was, of course, sad.  I hated to see him go. I know he hated saying goodbye to me too.

I miss him more than I realized.  I miss doing everyday stuff with him:  playing, hearing about his school day, meeting his friends.  I have to find a way to visit with him this summer.  I’m not sure where we’ll stay or for how long, or how I’m going to fund such a venture, but I have to find a way to make it happen.   The truth is, I’m not involved enough in his life.  I have to change that.  I have to force that change if necessary.

There’s a sign in the classroom that I’m subbing in today that reads “Conflict Facilitates Change”.  That’s some food for thought today.   We’re watching a clip from “America:  The Story of Us” covering the start of the Great Depression. The overriding theme of this segment is the American “Can Do” attitude and our ability to persevere through adversity; again, more food for thought.

Maybe Shirley Manson said it best when she sang “the trick is to keep breathing.”

OddCrunch

cell phones and dinner

a sing of the times, methinks.

An interesting story about divorce, but maybe not the kind of divorce you’d probably expect me to post here, given the nature of my blog.  Click on the link below before you read my thoughts.  Spoilers follow.

OddCrunch.

I’m really torn on this one.

I hear A LOT of people talk a lot about this kind of thing.  I used to think it was just crotchety old people talking about ditching their smartphones; so I never gave it much thought until I got rid of mine.  Even without a smartphone, I’m still pretty damn addicted to technology.  Hell, I need technology just to write this blog.

There are times when I really miss my Droid.  I was my camera, my GPS and my mobile internet connection.  I loved getting e-mails in real time; and I loved using my MLB, WWE and Facebook, Twitter and yes, my WordPress apps.  But I have to admit, I get annoyed when I see people out together in public and instead of talking to each other, they are all playing with their cellphones.

In teaching?  Forget it.  I’m subbing right now and kids are always on their phones; not just in my classroom, but in their regular teacher’s rooms as well.  Down South, schools were still fighting the cell phone wars.  By and large, when I taught there, the majority of kids were good about staying off of them.  Who knows what it’s like there now?

I guess the flashpoint for this post (aside from the article I linked to above)  was a conversation we had in my computers class.  The professor asked:  “has technology taken over our lives?”  I has answered that like any technological progress, humanity gains a little and loses a little any time technology takes a step forward.

My Droid won’t take a charge anymore.  It hasn’t had service in over a year, but I used to use it for for the camera/GPS/Wi-Fi capabilities.  Since I’ve gotten rid of it, I haven’t missed it nearly as much as I thought I would.  I used it was just old people or persons with “phone envy” who bitch about smartphone users.  Maybe I’ve become one of those people. i think that I’ve come to realized how disconnected I was from people for a while there.    I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’ve divorced my smartphone, but we are definitely going through a trial separation.

Watch Matthew McConaughey’s Very McConaughey Oscar Acceptance Speech

If you had told me 20 years ago that THIS guy would win an Academy Award, I would have had you committed.

If you had told me 20 years ago that THIS guy would win an Academy Award, I would have had you committed.

Watch Matthew McConaughey’s Very McConaughey Oscar Acceptance Speech.

Some people found Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech at this year’s Academy Awards to be a little bit confusing. Even with all of his rambling, he made a few really good points.   I personally gleaned a lot from what he said about the person he chases:  himself 10 years from now. I really liked the idea of this.

I guess by virtue of the fact that I am a journaler and a blogger, I naturally tend to reflect on the past as well as look forward to the future.  I like to look back on where I’ve been, where I’m at; and where I’m going.  So the idea that Matthew McConaughey chases the 10-years-from-now himself gets me thinking about myself.

10 years ago Rob:  In 2004, I was married, living here in Michigan and teaching full-time.  Even then, I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be teaching in Michigan forever.  The school I was working in wasn’t great.  It was constantly facing the threat of being shut down (it closed 2 years after I left).  I felt like I was “on my way”.

A quick recap of the last 10 years:  I moved to South Carolina to teach there.  Had a kid.  Returned to the classroom as a substitute teacher just in time to get a divorce.  Moved back to Michigan.  Returned to school. Fell in love all over again. Now, I’m again looking at the prospect of unfurling my proverbial sails to see where the wind takes us.

At this point, I cannot imagine where I’ll be in 2024, but I’m certain that The Auteur and I will be there together.  The Kid will be getting ready to graduate from high school.  1B will be getting ready to graduate from college.  I fully hope and intend that The Auteur and I will be happily married by then; God willing with a couple kids of our own.

There’s simply no way 2004 Rob knew who he was chasing. And I guess there’s no way that 2014 Rob can know who’s he’s chasing either.  Maybe that’s what Mr. McConaughey was talking about:  life being about the journey, and not the destination and all of those other cliches to the same effect.

There is one thing about the future of which I am absolutely certain:  it is full of infinite possibilities.  Look at Matthew McConaughey.  No one, and I mean NO ONE could have foreseen him winning an Oscar twenty years ago.  Infinite possibilities indeed.

Oh yeah, and I will be turning 50 in 2024.  FIFTY. My reaction to that can best be summed up in the video below…

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hoping for the best

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

I don’t include this quote today out of any insane attempt to compare my situation – or any situation in my life to the Holocaust.  I include it because, I believe it embodies how most people feel about life in general.  Despite the experiences – good and bad – we all have with one another, we always look for the best in others.  I was thinking a lot about this while The Auteur and I were at 1b’s basketball game.  Her dad was talking about attending the game last night; he ending up calling in the afternoon saying he couldn’t make it. 1B didn’t seem surprised, but I’m sure she was still disappointed.  After all, it’s her dad.  In the time that I’ve known her, 1B’s Dad will pull no-shows, bail at the last second or he and his new wife will straight-up tell 1b that they’re not interested.  In spite of all this, 1b will – as all people do – hold out and hope for the best.

This got me thinking a lot about my recent dealings with Jabba. Sometimes, I think that if Jabba knew about The Auteur’s experiences with 1B’s dad, it would really make her appreciate the kind of dad I am to The Kid.  We’re trying to make plans for The Kid’s summer visit, but are having difficulty agreeing on a time frame.  Things have been relatively peaceful between her and I – maybe because we spoken on the phone.  This makes me optimistic.  After all the crap she tried putting me through, maybe, hopefully, she’s starting to mellow out.

But then there’s the cynic in me that  is cautious because she has been so quiet.

I don’t foresee things ever being amicable between me and Jabba.  Frankly, I don’t care.  I don’t want to be friends with her, but it would be nice if we could be polite when it came to The Kid.

I talked to a lawyer earlier this week and he introduced me to the term parental alienation.  I had never heard the term before, but I am already all-too familiar with the concept.  He said it sounds like that what Jabba’s starting to do with The Kid and I. I just don’t get it.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

I guess it’s because I’m am pie-in-the-sky dreamers.  I like to think of myself as this über-cynic but the reality is that I too hold out & hope for the best even from those people who annoy the hell out of me.

when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object

I got an e-mail from Jabba on Sunday night. Up until now, I’ve been reluctant to talk about it, let alone share it; but a phone conversation I had with her last night has prompted me to finally open up.

Here goes…

The Kid had a meltdown last night. He said some really frightening things and some that I will spare you. It was a gut wrenching night. The issue was his trip to Michigan.

He told me that “I wish my daddy didn’t have a girlfriend because then he’d love me.” He never mentioned The Auteur’s name as he likes her. He doesn’t like the idea of her. He is afraid that you are going to marry her and have a baby and forget about him and not love him. His biggest complaint was that he isn’t get to see Mother, The Old Man and Phred enough while he was in Michigan. He has asked me to speak with you about this. He has asked me to ask you that when he comes to Michigan that he wants to stay at Mother and The Old Man’s with you. It is much the same as what he said while he was up there. He told me that he tried to speak with you about it and that you wouldn’t listen to him so he thinks “he needs help from an adult.”

I ask you to hear him out and follow his lead. This is not about you. This is not about The Auteur. This is about The Kid not being emotionally it psychologically prepared to deal with this right now and you respecting his feelings. The way you handle this can help him accept The Auteur’s role in his life or reject it. Similarly, it will do the same for his feelings for you.

Please speak with him and more importantly listen to him

I was tempted to ignore it altogether; not even dignify it with a response.  Fast forward to last night:  The Kid and I are talking on the phone when he tells me that Jabba wants to talk to me.  He apparently misunderstood her as she just wanted to know if I got the e-mail.  I confirmed for The Kid – and Jabba – that I did.

Obviously, this is a topic that Jabba and I needed, and need, to discuss.  At the behest of The Auteur, I decided to give Jabba a call Thursday night so we could stop tip-toeing through this. As I mentioned in an earlier entry HERE, I don’t believe that The Kid truly feels the way that Jabba claims he does.  As the old saying goes:  I haven’t seen it myself; therefore I don’t believe it.

The Hutt reached an absolute new low last night:  She told me that The Kid has been seeing a child psychologist and said that he wanted to kill himself.  Upon hearing this,  I immediately asked for the name and number for this child psychiatrist.  She refused to give it to me, stating that she is reluctant to take that “safe place” away from The Kid.  Needless to say, I am now exploring my legal rights on this matter.

What was most striking to me was that this alleged bombshell she dropped did not change the course of our discussion.  She did not set aside any animosity she has for me in an attempt to get to the heart of this matter.  No; instead she reverted to her typical name call and cursing at me.  So I took a page out of her book:  after warning her several times to stop the name-calling, I told her that I would continue this conversation when she was ready to talk like an adult.  I told her “have a good night”  and I hung up on her.

Of course, if my son is feeling like this, then I will do everything in my power to help him.  But the fact of the matter is that it is highly unusual for a six-year-old to even have suicidal thoughts.  Furthermore, there is absolutely no indication in any other aspect of his life that he is anything other than a happy little boy.  I have spoken with his school teacher and she has said repeatedly that he is a both happy and precocious.  In fact, when she e-mailed The Kid’s report card, she even said he talked about how much fun he had with me over Christmas break.  At the time, the comment made me feel really good.  Little did I realize just how important  that remark would become in just a few short weeks.

The hardest goodbye of all

Two things prompted me to create this post tonight: a post on a blog that i follow HERE and a phone call I had with the Kid a short time ago.  He and  I spoke briefly tonight – he had a friend staying the night at his house.  He informed me about a fishing trip Jabba is taking him on later this week.  He told me “I wish you could go” which really struck me, I think because he is still only 6 years old but he is maturing and I see him developing a sense of empathy.  This conversation, the aforementioned link and the fact that I’ve never written about this topic – to the best of my knowledge – are the brainchildren of tonight’s post.

Forgive me if I’ve posted about this before.  I haven’t gone back yet to review my earlier posts.

Far and away, the absolute hardest part of my divorce was saying goodbye to my son; more specifically, my decision to leave him and the home in which he lives under the care of Jabba.  It was not an easy decision for me to make; and to be fair, it’s not an easy decision for any father worth his weight to make. I can’t speak for all fathers who have to – or chose to – move out of their homes, leaving their kids in the care of their moms.  But in my situation, I had to make the decision to leave for the proverbial greater good.  

Let’s face it:  my marriage dynamic was a fucked up situation  I simply wasn’t happy in it and I didn’t want my son to grow up thinking that the way that Jabba and I were living was normal.  I wanted – and want – The Kid to see me as a proud, happy, hard-working, productive human being.  Ideally, I would have like to have done all of these things while living under the same roof as him, but that was simply no longer realistic. Unless they are psychologically unfit or abusing the kids,the moms generally get custody of the kids, period.

The worst part of this whole mess is missing out on the everyday – day-to-day stuff.  The Kid is really interested in fishing; a passion I was and am not around to see develop in him.  We speak on the phone an average of 6 times per week, but it simply isn’t the same as having a daily presence in each other’s lives. I don’t get to see him come in from school and tell me about his day.  I don’t see his school friends.  I absolutely despise the fact that I miss out in him reading books, discovering new foods, and seeing him accomplish something that he wasn’t able to do the day or even the hour before.  When I get to see him, it seems like he’s growing by leaps and bounds.  There are times when I hardly recognize him from one photograph to the next.  I hear stories about countless dads who simply don’t want to be involved in their kid’s lives and it makes me sick.  I would give anything to have The Kid living here with me full-time.  I know that it’s all relative though.  There are some dads who live within earshot of their kids and never get to see them.  There are other like me who live  5 states away and get along with their kid fabulously but still can’t have the relationship they want.

IN OTHER NEWS:  I tried to add a couple classes to my school schedule tonight.  I have to talk to my academic adviser tomorrow to get that going.

UPDATE 1.2.14 1:13 PM:  I talked with my mom just a few hours ago, just to shore up plans for Phred’s upcoming birthday.  I informed her how The Kid had told me when we talked just after midnight in New Year’s Eve/Day that he had tried to call my parents.  Mom informed me that he made no such attempt to call; not on his phone and not on Jabba’s phone.  I’m not mad at him.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Jabba told him to tell me that, just to fuck with my head.

Also, I managed to get signed up for Winter classes finally.  I continue to move forward.

THE NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION CONTINUES

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