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Archive for the ‘ex-husband’ Category

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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And quite frankly – no. I’m not sad.

We had our holiday. It was the day marked on our calendar all year. We had a fantastic holiday – with a delicious dinner, family and fun gifts. It was everything we had hoped for.

Today did not feel like a holiday.

[Oddly, and perhaps the topic of another post – it doesn’t feel as much like a holiday in public, either, as I’m used to.  Anyone else feel like there’s a bit of spark missing?]

The girls left wondering what sorts of stuff they’d accumulate while gone, dreading the heat, and looking forward to seeing loved ones.

One conversation:

Me [to E]: Are you excited to go to [state]?

E: YES!!!!

Me: What would you do if the flight was canceled right now?

E: JUMP FOR JOY!!

Me: Honey – you just said you were excited

E: That’s because that’s what you wanted me to say. You want me to be happy, and excited, and so that’s what I said, but I’d rather stay home.

Oh. Okay.

J was a little nervous last night that the plane would crash. Which made me a bit nervous. To say the least. I cuddled with her in her bed until she fell asleep, feeling safe in her mommy’s arms, and there was little sign of the fear this a.m.

They got on the plane without incident. And I know they’ll have a good time, because a) they often do, and b) they’re at their grandmother’s house, and she works hard to spend time with them and make sure they have a good time. In age appropriate wys.

They brought gifts, they brought summer clothes. They’ll have fun.

Meanwhile …

Beloved and I went shopping at Whole Foods on our way back from the airport, and we bought filet mignon, scallops, jumbo shrimp, the fixins for scalloped potatoes, asparagus, fancy olives, fancy cheeses, and anything else that was too-expensive-for-kids and delicious.

Then we came home and took a giant NAP (I am a bit under the weather, and airport-wake-up-time was 5 a.m.) We got up, and I went to the liquor store to buy the ingredients for gimlets and martinis, since my parents endowed me with a new bar set, and then we went to a MOVIE!

We saw No Country for Old Men. I liked it. I think Beloved did, too.

Then he made bacon-wrapped scallops and grilled asparagus, and I tried a specialty Gimlet featured at a bar up the street (it’s yummy … a traditional gimlet with a splash of Chambord Liquer to color/taste things up a bit).

Christmas day’s agenda?

  1. sleep until we don’t feel tired anymore
  2. go see “I Am Legend”
  3. Then skip over to “Sweeney Todd”
  4. Come home – where I may do work. Like, lawyer-work.
  5. He will make dinner — the filets, the potatoes, some green beans.
  6. While I nibble on cheese and olives and make more gimlets. We found the martinis to be way too strong and straight. I should check into the fruity ones for another time – but for now, all the stores are closed.
  7. Then we’ll watch a movie at home.

No stress, no pressure.

Just the two of us, good movies and good food – while knowing that the girls are spending time with people who love them, and that they are happy.

If they’re not happy – E has her cell phone on her, and she can let me know without permission or supervision.

Ahhhh, children growing up. How nice.

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The girls’ school publishes a directory every year. It lists the kids by class, with their contact information – addresses, phone numbers, emails. I use these directories constantly. I can easily tell you which teacher my kids’ friends had for the past 3 years, because I often can only find LAST year’s directory, and have to wrack my brain to remember.

My biggest stress about this year’s directory was my e-mail address. I wanted to have my .mac address, not my yahoo address, b/c my yahoo address is stupid, and sends any messages with more than 2 recipients into the spam folder, and then I don’t get important information.

They sent home forms with each kid – what info do you want in the directory?

Beloved and I each filled one out. He listed his name, with his juno email address, my name, with my YAHOO address, and our address.

I filled one out the next day and put my .mac address, and asked him what he had put, and freaked when he told me.

BUt then … I did some volunteer/extra curricular activity thing that required that I get a list of e-mail addresses from the directory people, and when I saw that she had my Yahoo address, I had her change it.

Yippee!

Right?

Nope.

Yeah, my .mac address is listed.

But guess what else?

The other adult living in my home?

According to this thing – is the ex. Not Beloved.

what the FUCK???

The ex has NEVER been listed in the directory.

It’s the DIRECTORY. It’s about who you call to ask if the kid can come over.

Who you e-mail to get class gift $$.

It’s not a fucking genetic tracker.

Who the HELL made that decision?

Why send out forms? Just to then decide “oh, this family has 3 last names, that makes no sense, I’ll just DELETE ONE OF THEM, and presume that the man in the house is this dude with a middle of the country address, area code, and college-related e-mail address.”

No, they weren’t even that smart,

b/c it’s still Beloved’s e-mail address.

Even though it has his fucking NAME in it.

There is 100% nothing I can do about this year’s directory. It went out to hundreds of families.

But I’m pissed, and I’m thinking of raising a stink, and making sure it doesn’t happen next year.

We’re going t have people calling us and when Beloved answers, they’re going to say, “Hi, is this [x’s stupid ugly first name]?”

Uh no, it’s Zuska’s OTHER man.

I would like to presume that our forms got lost, and the person had to try and figure out what to do on their own. And she got confused (she’s not someone I know, her kids are way younger), and just pulled information from the OTHER info sheet – the one that has emergency contact info and parents’ health history.

I would not like to presume that someone decided for me that the girls’ father was more appropriately listed, in lieu of their step-father.

Because their FATHER visits them less than once a year – while having plenty of time to go to London, Germany, Turkey, California, etc. Their FATHER has no clue who their friends are, never drives them to rehearsals, never takes care of them when they’re sick. Their FATHER doesn’t even call them more than once every 2-3 months, and has no clue what their interests are, and is still harassing me to get him an account number off a magazine he ordered last year so he can renew J’s subscription – as her only holiday gift from him.

Their stepFATHER, however, is constantly there for them, helps them with their homework, finds them new reading material on a freaking daily basis (b/c yes, they read that much – even though the ex complained to me last summer that “they don’t read very much.” Fucker), cooks them special meals based on their dietary preferences, cuddles with them during movies, finds the cool Christmas specials on t.v., makes them gifts, finds projects to do with them so they have gifts to give to extended family, has the rank of one of the “favorite dads” amongst their friends b/c he makes them laugh … and on and on and on.

So, did someone really decide for us? Did they really decide that I had no business leaving the ex out of the DIRECTORY? The “this is how to get in touch with the child and her family on a day-to-day basis” book?

Yeah, I’m irked.

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When E was in 2nd grade, I read her some books.  3 books.  Outloud.  Every night, after her sister went to bed, we curled up in my bed, and read a story.

I was a single mom at the time.  For some of the year, we lived just the 3 of us, and for some of the year, my sister and her son were in the house.  I think my sister listened in on some, when she was around.

First we read the Golden Compass.

Then the Subtle Knife.

Then the Amber Spyglass.

Yes, she was 7.  Or 8.  I’m not sure which.

And I read her stories about souls being wrenched out of humans, and of religion as evil, and of young, young love.  Stories of hell, of death, of courage and strength.  Stories that wrestled with the fabric of the universe, with the afterlife, with the “what ifs” of other worlds.

Beloved has chastised me for this ever since.

I may protest a bit too much when I say, “yeah, and it was FINE!  She loved the books!  I read them outloud – we talked all through – she asked questions, it was FINE!!!”

But now she’s 11, and the first book (or as E will complain loudly about – 3/4ths of the first book) is now a movie.

We went to see it today.

Just the 2 of us, because I don’t allow my children to see movies before they read a book.  At least a good book.  I refuse to have anything to do with their mental pictures being created by Hollywood instead of by their beautiful brains.  (Oh, and E re-read it on her own during 5th grade).

Sometimes their father flips me the bird and takes them anyway.

But that’s because he can be a fucker, when he wants to.

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There was a scene that struck home my old love of the books:

The 12 year old girl was having an altercation with her benefactor; unaware that the icy, nasty, manipulative woman is her mother.  Until that point, their relationship was cordial, and the girl felt lucky to be taken in by a wealthy woman, after having lived in the care of a college – scholars and servants.

But there was a test of wills.

Between the woman and the child, there was a cold stare, a defiant glare, and at the most, the grabbing of the child’s arm.

Their little daemons, though – these animal-formed physical manifestations of the humans’ SOULS.  Souls!!  The woman’s daemon attackd the child’s, pinning it to the ground.  The kids’ daemon (in cat form) took a fully submissive pose, despite it’s hair on ends, and regretfully gave in to the attack.  A full-on attack.

And I thought – wow.  You see a mom bitch at her kid in public, in thier house.  You may see a kid slightly shrink back.  Perhaps a little bit of numbness in the eyes.  You may think, “wow, that tone seemed kind of harsh.”  But you don’t see the absolute wrestling match of the wills.

But it goes on all the time.

It would be really helpful, I think, if we had that window into each other.

I want a daemon.

But I also want everyone else to have one, too.

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I do not recommend the movie.  Not until you read all THREE books.  They are incredible.   Then I will tell you that the movie was pretty well done.  The characters were nicely drawn, the plot quickened, but far from stripped.  It was stripped of some subtlety, but I think that was a pass to the Catholic Church.  Who obviously never read the damned books.

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Afterward, E and I went and bought her a MacBook.  That was fun, too.

Finally, around 4:30 p.m., we were home again.  We had big plans to decorate the tree (J and Beloved put it up today), but instead, J had a weird, random crying fit that she had forgotten to type a report (due Weds.)  That took some time.  First to get the old Dell computer to respond to any key strokes or mouse clicks (seriously, it took an HOUR), then to get her to stop the crying, and then for her to do the actual work.

Hopefully we’ll decorate our solstice shrub tomorrow (our celebration of the season, and not of anyone’s birth-so-he-can-die-for-me).  I have been watching my co-workers one-by-one leave “new associate transition period” and enter “regular associate slammed-with-work period” and fear that my turn is around the bend.  Will I have to post-pone tree trimming?  Will I have to cancel my Christmas weekend with my parents next weekend?  Will I have to give up a vacation day the week after?  I sort of feel like all of those are possibilities, from what I’ve seen.

We shall see.

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The Middle of the Country

Looks like I’ll be going on my first business trip.  It’s a quick overnight for a 1-day deposition.

The weird part … it’s in the Middle of the Country.  You know, where my ex lives?  It’s in his very town.

What are the odds of that?  My first assignment, my first trip – all right there.  In the place where my kids hang out in the summers.

Then, today, I was assigned a new doo-hickey.

Guess where IT is taking place?

The Middle of the Country.

what the fuck?

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