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I spoke with a mortgage broker today. I did not look forward to this. I had to worry about all my negatives:

  • I have school debt
  • I was divorced ….
  • which led to problems:
  • Excessive debt;
  • Consolidation of credit cards;
  • Low(ish) credit score;
  • low credit limits on the credit cards I have

This is balanced out by good things:

  • I paid off all my consumer debt with a modest inheritance;
  • I have paid every single bill on time for the past “verylongtime” (in zuska-language);
  • I have very little debt right now [only school loans – no car; no credit card debt]
  • I have been monitoring my credit score like a jilted, obsessed lover for 2 solid calendar years – I have disputed entries, I have done all I can.
  • Oh yeah [editing to add] – I have a more-than-decent income {guffaw}

My score, as investigated by the mortgage broker, is higher than when I look it up myself. I’m talking 40 points higher.

Which is potentially higher enough for me to make a semi-decent offer on my condo. Potentially. Not definitely. I will know tomorrow (deep breaths, Z; deep breaths.) Pessimism reigns.

Figuring things out with my mom: We need 1650 square feet. That’s how much it takes for us to have enough space.

Yet 3 bedrooms are 1500; and 4 (or 5) bedrooms are 2000.

There’s rarely anything in the middle.

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I am 100% obsessed.

It is now official.

I am obsessed with the local real estate market.

I am obsessed with owning a home.

[and with E having her own room]

Wish me luck, as the spring selling/buying season rolls along.

I need it.

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I wonder how that feels to a kid?

You’re in school, you’re at home (your primary home, at least), and everyone is talking about this political process.  Talking about what happens as it happens state-by-state, reenacting the events.  You’re getting assignments which include watching debates, researching candidates, puzzling through the delegate system.  You’re excited and eager.  You can’t wait to vote in 7 and 9 years, so that you can be involved in a more meaningful way in this exciting and interesting, engaging event.

And then you travel to see someone who is important to you, and you try to talk to them about this excitement that you have, and you ask them if perhaps you can go with them when they participate. 

And this is how they respond:  The Primaries are not Important. 

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I told Beloved I feared such a comment (and refusal to participate and/or include the kids – despite the fact that I let the ex know what is going on at school and home around the election, and how psyched the kids are about it) would result in a nasty attitude at school, as the political process is continuously seen as important and an awesome learning experience and civics lesson. 

He told me that I’m a fool if I think that our girls are so easily swayed.  That one small comment from someone 1/2 way across the country could change their minds so quickly.

I suppose he’s right. 

But still.  I reserve the right to complain. 

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The girls are leaving tonight.  It’s February vacation, and they’re spending it with their father in the Middle of the Country.  (I think – the weather is bad there, and I’m not certain that their plane will get off the ground.)

In the past, these trips were full of drama.  Tears, stomach aches, begging and pleading “don’t make me go!”

Today, they’re picking out their clothes, calling to find out what plans their week will bring so they can choose accordingly, and basically taking the whole thing in stride.

Two trips ago, our goodbye in the airport was a little rushed by the flight attendant.  Boarding time just sort of snuck up on us, and we had to quick hug and say “see ya.”  The girls called when they landed and commented on the weirdness.  The sadness of the rushed goodbye.

But then they had a great time.  Some relationships were healed, some changes were made (on their dad’s end), and the trip was a good one.

Last time they went, the goodbyes were again pretty quick and lacked drama.  It felt right then.  They were returning in less than a week, and they were looking forward to their time.

In some ways, there seems to be something missing.  This peaceful acceptance of their trip feels strange.  But I can’t find anything bad about it.  I think there was a bit of stroking to my (and Beloved’s) ego when the girls were miserable over leaving.  But I don’t think either of us are selfish enough to want the girls to be unhappy.  I don’t want them to have issues surrounding their father.

The acceptance that they’ve found does not at all infringe on mine and Beloved’s role in their lives.  They have settled into extremely different relationships with their father and his wife than they have in this house.  Perhaps the trouble E was having eighteen months ago resulted from a lack of understanding that the roles and relationships are different.  She was expecting from them what she got from us.  She isn’t going to get that.  She wouldn’t get it if she lived with him all year, and she certainly won’t get it during these small windows.  And if she did live with him all the time (year round), then there would likely be giant holes in her life.  But she doesn’t.  She now can tolerate the stunted emotional involvement of her father, and enjoy what he does have to offer.

And J always has a level of acceptance.  She has always been great at seeing the positive people have to offer, and basking in that, rather than honing in on the negative.  She has missed me more than E does when they are gone, but has complained less about her father.  The miserable conversations I had with them in the past had consisted of J sobbing over missing me tucking her in, and scratching her back, and hugging her, and talking with her.  With E, it was the thing her father said, the thing he did, the choices he made, the activities they weren’t doing.  Much more complaining about him than wanting me.

Okay – being completely honest – it does bother me that he gets away with it now.  I don’t (and obviously didn’t) find it acceptable that he doesn’t mind if he goes months on end without talking to the girls.  I don’t find it acceptable that when he has one week with them, after four months of not seeing them, that he will spend three of those nights out with friends, leaving the girls behind with either a babysitter, family members, or more frequently as they get older, the television. I don’t find it acceptable that he and his wife don’t tuck the girls in at night; that they spend much time in the evenings in their room with the door shut while the girls are left to occupy themselves.  I don’t find it acceptable that he doesn’t give a shit about J’s taste/fear with movies and television shows, often sending her home with nightmares because he doesn’t listen, and laughs her preferences away.  I don’t find it acceptable that he refuses to take them to the library or supply them with books; or that he refuses to manage their summer homework commenting that “time with their father is infinitely more valuable than busy work from strangers.”

But if the girls find this unacceptable, then they have a lifetime of unhappiness.  It is best for them to accept it, and perhaps be glad that it is their lot in life for less than 1/4th of the year.

And when I start to begrudge (them?  him?) the newly found contentment, I will just replay some choice quotes over and over in my mind:

Yeah, Daddy has long hair now.  It gets really greasy.  [pause]  So does his nose.

If we forgot socks, Dad would never buy us new ones.  He would just make us put the pair we wore in the washing machine every day.  Or just re-wear them all week.

Heh heh.

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I must also admit, I am perfectly fine with this trip.

One week is just not enough to miss them horribly – I save that for the summer.  Beloved and I were not able to celebrate our anniversary or Valentine’s Day, as I don’t really have a babysitter right now.  And the girls just feel too old to take the step toward establishing a good babysitter relationship with anyone.  But not old enough to be left alone for an entire evening.

So we’re going to go out to  a nice dinner.

And we’re going to meet with an accountant to get our taxes done.

And we’re going to have sex in the living room.  Or at least with the bedroom door open.

We’ll both catch up with work/writing.

We’ll enjoy the break from making a vegetarian version of every meal.

I will definitely enjoy not being yelled at by my 11 year old (please recognize, as Beloved will be happy to expand upon, I use the word “yell” loosely.  For me, I am ‘yelled at’ when someone uses an unkind tone, or if their words say something which I may construe as insulting or critical.  While I do not allow my 11 year old to raise her voice at me or otherwise exhibit obvious disrespect, the tone and the irritation and the exasperation are coming fast and furious in the past few months.  I feel yelled at.)

It’s okay that the girls are looking forward to their visit with their father.  Because so am I.

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I am lonely.  It is 9:53 p.m., and I don’t know what to do with myself.  Where is my HUSBAND?

And seriously, this morning, when I was woken up by weird lightning and thunder in the midst of a snow storm, and woke up a little later to drag the kids out of bed so I could take them to a friend’s house (a la school cancellation), and then when I had to yell at J because I discovered in a most inconvenient way (snow boots full of approximately 2 inches of water as we’re ready to walk out the door so I can make it to work on time and I instead have to remove the wool insert and put them in the dryer for 40 minutes so the child can leave the house in the midst of said snowstorm) that she 100% disobeyed my very very very clear instructions on her way out the door to the park with a friend on Saturday

– [deep breath] –

I was fine.  Really, not sarcastically, FINE.  I could handle it.

But now, at 9:53 – I don’t know what to do with myself.  Do I watch t.v.?  But I don’t watch t.v.  Do I read a book?  But I don’t usually read until I am tired, and I’m not tired.  And I usually read until Beloved comes in and scratches my back, and there’s no back-scratching happening this week (or next, really), and it makes me lonely.

But at the same time, it makes me happy that I am lonely.

Once before, I was married.  He used to leave town a lot.  It was nothing but relief.  I was not lonely.  I was happy.  But then when he came home, I was sad.  I was sad because life felt no different than when he was gone, except I felt rejected.  Dejected. The kids didn’t have anything in their day that they didn’t have when their father was out of town.  I had no more help, no more companionship – no partnership.

Even when he was gone for (literally) 7 months.

My life was the same.

Not anymore!!

We all have a gaping hole in our lives.  The girls are lonely for him, too.  They comment on the quietness of the house.  They ask every day if he called, if he’s okay.  They want to send him stuff.  J is concerned my slacker-self won’t get on the ball before he leaves for home.  [She may be right.]

They never ask to call the X.  They never ask to send him stuff.  They NEVER say they miss him.

And I don’t think it’s because they’re afraid to share with me, because I try so hard to be open and to talk with them and to let them voice their feelings.  Maybe I am not as good as I think I am, but – even when he does call, they don’t want to talk to him.

Beloved fills our lives; his absence is felt.  We are okay, because we are strong people – but we miss him.

And we love him.

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There’s more snow forecast for Thursday day through Friday night.  I think I’ll be okay again.  I’m most worried about the fact that I’m supposed to be driving to my folks’ house on Friday evening, and we’re slated for the Lion King on Broadway on Saturday.  I can’t NOT drive down on Friday.

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My daughters – two wonderful, intelligent, creative, funny, loving individuals – are spending their holiday vacation with their biological father. 

They arrived in his care on Monday (Christmas Eve) at approximately noon.

Christmas was Tuesday.

Woe – wait.

Guess when they last saw their biological father?

Well, that would be August 5th.

I spoke with E on Wednesday – her 2nd or 3rd day with her biological father.

She was telling me of some strange voice mail recordings on her cell phone.

I responded with, “Did you share them with [fuck-head]? What did he think?]

She responded: “I can’t, he’s been out all day – he isn’t here.”

OH.

I see.

I know that the vast majority of parents need a break. They want their parents, or in-laws, to give them a hand iwth hte kids – to give them some breathing room – some adult time.

But the vast majority of parents have contact with their kids more than 10% of the year.

Seriously – my ex does NOT.

Does he really need a break?

After 48 hours?

If I only saw my girls for a total of [quickly doing math] 25 – 35 DAYS!!! per year … you can be certain that I’m not “going out” for a day – or even an evening – while I am with them.

But I also would never make the decision to live first 1,000 and then 2,000 miles away from them. After moving 3,000 miles away — the distance only shortened by their other parent’s decision to go to law school on the other coast.

Why does he continue to take their summers from them? To insist on removing them from their everyday lives? I do not understand. If his time with them is so very disposable – why put them through it?

I am anxious for some explanations. If anyone has a theory – or a disagreement with my assessment – please, let it be known.

I do not understand.

They’re such great people.

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