Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Divorced and Still Cleaning up His Mess

It's been a while since I could post. Self Help Guru Pretender is buried under a ton of molten slag, Inner Psychotherapist doesn't dare to make an appearance, but I have to admit maybe strapping on a good mad was what I needed to wake up and smell the coffee.

WARNING: This post is a rant. I'm going to be totally upfront about that, and I'm not going to apologize for it - It's my blog, and I'll rant if I want to.

DISCLAIMER: VERY sad stuff about animals in this post - so animal lovers who can't handle such things should beware - I inadvertently upset a good friend with this post!

I believe people, that's my problem. So I believed him when he swore he had the old house nearly packed up.

I believed him when he said he was going over and spending a few hours every couple of days cleaning it up, and for me not to worry because I had to work - he had time to do it, and I figured that was fair.

I believed him when he told me he was in contact with the landlord and I didn't have to worry about my books - the only thing left there I really cared about, and which were still there because he had packed them one day when I was gone and the resulting boxes were to heavy for me to lift.

I believed him when he called me one night and told me he had been to feed the dogs, and they were gone - run away.

So the weeks went by, and I walked around like a zombie from Christmas Day to New Year's unable to see or think due to a massive migraine. Then I was staying up till 2-4 am days on end trying to catch up. Then yesterday I got a nice good morning phone call from our old landlady.

She didn't know X had moved out. She couldn't reach him since his phone was disconnected. She wanted to know if we were cleaning the place up, or what. She said she was filing eviction papers on X and she knew I was divorcing him and had been gone since November, but could I put her in contact with him?

So. He didn't talk to the landlady. He didn't clean it up. I call and yell at him. He professes total ignorance to what I am talking about. Oh, but that was just the beginning.

Phone rings again, and hullo Mr Officer sir, NO I didn't know the dogs were there (WTF??!!) no sir PLEASE don't write a warrant for animal abandonment sir (GODDAMN you, X) No, I DIDN'T know, I SWEAR, he told me they ran away, sir, what can I do to make this right, sir. (OH EFFING BLOODY HELL.)

So I get to go up there, face the officer and landlady -- landlady felt so sorry for me, I could tell, and officer took two good steps back when he saw my face and swiveled his hips to ensure his gun was out of reach - they both told me later I looked like I was ready to kill somebody and I was.

I get to take our dogs to the shelter, they will almost assuredly put them down. Lovely, just effing lovely, I effing HATE you X, and poor things, poor things, I cried all the way there and back.

(NOTE: My options as presented by Mr Officer Sir were (A) take dogs to shelter in my car with him following me to ensure that is where I took them or (B) get arrested, and have X arrested and social services called to take Baby D. Just clarification, since I realize I was being misconstrued as having had any choice in the matter.)

I get back home in my effed up black Caddy and sit there a minute, then manage to get it started again and drive to X's - he had baby D for the morning playing with him after dropping kids off at school.

I walk in, toss the keys to the Caddy at him, scoop up baby D and head for the Suburban.

"Get a job," I spit back over my shoulder.

He's following me out to the SUV, asking what's wrong, and I let him have all the barrels in my Gatling.

"You liar, liar, liar. Get a job, don't call me till you do. I'm so effing done. The kids are mine, the Suburban is mine, your tools are mine and I'm selling them on effing Ebay."

(him) -- But, but, I have been looking for work-

(me) -- Where?

(him) -- Uhhh the tile shops..?

(me) -- It's been four bloody years and they don't have work for you no matter how many thousands of dollars I spend on tools and equipment. I'm selling the tools. GO FIND A JOB.

(him) -- I can still pick the kids up from school, right?

(me) -- Nope, if it's working hours you need to be working or looking for work. I'm not leaving the door open for you to say you couldn't find work because you were watching the kids for me. GO FIND A JOB.

(him) -- Can they come spend the night?

(me) -- When you FIND A JOB and can afford to feed them dinner, sure.

Yep, I'm being a total witch, folks, the whole debacle yesterday was the last straw. I told him the Caddy was paid for, had four wheels and an engine, no heat, but he could wear thermal underwear. "It has insurance and 6 gallons of gas. Good luck with the job hunt, bucko." Then I drove off.

Whew. See, I do have cojones, I just misplaced them for a while. I'm strapped on and ready to rumble, so don't mess with me.

I went and loaded up my books - like to killed me but I got them and the tools into storage - a unit in my name, and I have the only key.

What a mess. I feel marginally better, though. Ugh.


On the upside, David Tennant as the Tenth 'Doctor' on BBC's Doctor Who has saved me from the dark pit of depression. Positively YUM. :) As the Brits say, we lurrrrves him.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to me, Merry Christmas to me-e-e-e...

Last night small snow flurries started; this morning we woke to a brilliant if thin and threadbare blanket of white. Now, true to Texas form, it is nearly noon and the snow is nearly gone save where the shadows of trees and houses shield scattered scraps from the sun.

Almost white Christmas and only partly blue - I suspect PMS and killer cramps are making me a mite bluer than I would be otherwise (apologies to my male readership!) Being divorced sucks, but not so much as being angry all the time.

Whenever I mentally realize I am feeling blue, I simply start singing (with as much over the top drama as possible):

"I-I-ll have a (huh-a-huh-a) Bluuuuuuuue (ahoo-ahoo-ahoo-a) Chrristmasssssss (a-wah) without youuuuuuu ...." (aside: "Not really babe...")

This always makes me giggle. Then I can segue into a full out impersonation of an Elvis impersonator impersonating Elvis - my favorite is Kurt Russell at the end of 3000 Miles to Graceland while the credits roll. The King himself never really rang my bell - I suppose I was born too late for that particular bit of hysteria - but Russell dressed up in sequined white snapping his fingers and doing the boogie while crooning sappy love lyrics is just - fine, girlfriend.

Under the Dome is classic Stephen King. The last few books were a bit - I dunno - off. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind when Lisey's Story and Duma Key came out, but they seemed to be lacking, somehow.

Reading this immediately after reading The Stand, however, makes me appreciate just how much fun King can be. I'm about halfway through (Yes, I stayed up and started it at midnight last night!) and I'm transfixed.

I'm about ready to do a full on King immersion, and go back to the store for copies of It and Needful Things.

Well, time to clean this house and fix a big Christmas brunch. The big kids are at X's, playing joyfully with the Wii, with mad games of Connect Four and Toss-A-Cross thrown in at intervals. V loved her charm bracelet, and it fit perfectly so she won't lose it. C was ecstatic over his Nintendo DS, and both were alarmingly delighted with the BB guns.

D is so happy with his toys - we picked out just the right things this year, and he was big enough to rip his own packages apart so that was fun. I think he liked the train track and little magnetic cars the best - he hollered "Mom! A 'Chooo'!" (He calls trains 'chooos'.)

I am starting my ten AC/Helium articles after dinner, when D takes a nap - we'll see how I do for the first day of my new program. I'll be tracking my progress on the Hack Writers Blog.

Merry Christmas to me-e-e-e-eeeee.....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Divorced and alone... but making it.

Ouch. Finally getting a bit of a lonesome twinge, even though I kept telling everyone I was cool with it being holidays and all alone. Wahhhh.

OK, all better! (Amazing how a public wahhh can always help. You just can hear the "awww poooor baby' from all your friends.)

I'm expecting the last installment of gifts tomorrow by USPS and UPS (the mailman is shorter than me, has shaggy blond hair to his shoulders and a maniacal grin (I'm fairly sure he's high). The man in Brown is taller and cleaner cut but slightly morose despite the season. No idea why you need to know this, but if I think it, then you have to listen to it. Why they can't ship anything Fed-Ex I don't know - HE is a tad older, but bald in that hot way like Patrick Stewart and is a scuba instructor who spends a lot of time down by the coast... okay, okay, I'll stop already...)

Almost Christmas Eve! Only half an hour left. I was unable to keep myself from reading Divine Misdemeanors cover to cover, so bought myself the latest Stephen King - Under the Dome - which has no blurb or jacket copy so I have zero idea what it is about and am stubbornly refusing to look up online so I can have the fun of reading it totally unprepared. The only way I am keeping myself away from it until Christmas is by re-reading The Stand - I found the unabridged copy in hardcover and excellent condition for about $6, which pleased me no end.

Almost done with everything I promised by year end - just three articles to write tomorrow, one short web page, five little review edits and I am golden. Woohoo!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Divorced at Christmastime but it's OK!

I've been a bad blogger! I'm trying to get things ready for Christmas, finish up outstanding projects promised by Christmas, and set up my game plan for 2010 - which starts Christmas Day. I've decided to see if I can concentrate hard on Helium for three months and find out if I can basically support myself. I rather think I can.

Christmas this year will be just us, I suppose. My extended family has other plans (S&BIL are going to South Padre, for one). We bought a little live Norway Pine and set it up over at X's, and he and the kids decorated it. All the gifts are at his apartment as well, awaiting wrapping.

He and I will have to have a wrapping extravaganza one night, and then Christmas morning I'll get up early and drive the kids over there to open their gifts. I managed to work my ass off and was lucky enough to be handed some good opportunities in November, so Christmas will be pretty sweet for my three munchkins... the loot includes:

A Wii for everyone - I said it has to live at X's house so D won't get into it
A Nintendo DS for C - this will come in handy when he is here and V is at her dad's
A charm bracelet for V - a NICE charm bracelet with enamel charms (and a serious price tag)
BB guns for V and C - they have to live at X's also; that way he is in charge of target practice
Stuffed horse for V - since I can't get her a live one, this will have to do
Early present: live kitten for C (I snagged it from the neighbors' - they have 30 and won't notice)
13 board games, bought off Amazon for ridiculously low prices and shipped free (cool!)
3 puzzles (they LOVE puzzles)
Assorted other stuff I can't remember

And, for baby D on his first big Christmas:

A kit of big Legos
A police car
A fire truck
A train with a track
A helicopter (can you tell the kid is crazy about 'Things that GO?'
A set of metal pans for his cook station
A magnetic set of letters that plug into a base that says the name of each letter out loud
A big doodle pad (the kind you write on and then it erases with a slider bar)
An Etchasketch (OMG it was too funny. Story below)
Color Wonder set (best invention ever - markers only work on special paper)
Huge homemade framed magnetic chalkboard X and I made from bare wood and special paint

Other stuff I can't remember... I got V the 7th Harry Potter book and C the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid early so they could read them over Christmas break. I bought myself Divine Misdemeanors (The latest Laurell K Hamilton book from the Merry Gentry series).

I also picked up some nice gifts online for four of my dearest Helium friends I have known for nearly 2 years now; figuring out what to get them was a challenge, but I think I did OK. (Not really used to having friends...)

Oh! The story about the Etchasketch. We were all at Hobby Lobby getting supplies for V's last school project of the year - she had to build a log cabin to conclude the Little House on the Prairie segment, and at the checkout D was getting restless. One of the big kids handed him this little miniature Etchasketch (you know, the red frame with the two knobs you can draw pictures with by twiddling the knobs... then you shake it upside down to erase it?) - anyway, Duncan was fascinated.

Time to leave; I stuck it back on the shelf. X herded kids to car while I paid and when I got to car D was in hysterics. All the way home. After we got home. When I put him to bed. When he woke up at 3 am. He wailed and wailed and did his little hands like he was turning knobs. It was the most pitiful thing you ever saw.

So last night I went back to Hobby Lobby - the big kids were at X's, but I still had D with me. I got some weird looks from other customers and was watched closely by staff as I sidled around to the rack, snagged one of the Etchasketches behind my back with one hand, danced my way up to the checkout and turned my back on cashier, proffering the toy surereptitiously while glancing back with an apologetic grin over my shoulder.

She just laughed. "I am getting that you don't want him to see this?" she said, whisking it under the counter, zapping it with the handheld scanner and wrapping it in two bags.

I set D on the floor and pinned him to the checkout counter with a knee while I stuffed the package in my purse and swiped my debit card. "You got that right," I said, scooping the wriggling toddler back onto my hip and heading out the door.

I hope the little squirt likes it as much as he thinks he will! I thought he was too little for it, but I guess he can twiddle and shake it... I couldn't believe how adamant he was and how long he stayed upset over it!

Back to work for me... Here's hoping every one else's Christmas preparations are going smoothly!

Oh... the kitten's name is Merrybell. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Should Divorced Parents use Their Ex as a Threat?



Especially when it is an hour past bedtime for the fourth night in a row, and they STILL keep getting out of bed to tell you stuff like:

"Mom, did you know how Dumbledore dies?" (which V knows because she pretended she had to go to the bathroom and surreptitiously snuck her book in with her)

"Mom, I'm hot" (C)

"Mom, I'm cold" (C after I turn on his fan)

"Mom, D is making noise and I can't sleep" (V, after singing loudly to herself and being reprimanded)

"Mom, I need a drink" "So? You have four bottles of water on your desk" "But Mom, they aren't COLD..." (C and V, within mere seconds of each-other)

"Mom, I confess, C and I were playing rock/ scissor/ paper and ran back to our rooms when we heard you coming, but we promise to be good now and go to bed and not get up again" (which would mean a LOT more if this isn't the same thing I've heard on average 7 times per night for the past 4 nights)

So I do what I promised not to do, and say,

"Get up ONE more time, and I'm calling your FATHER!!!!"

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn't, but oh well... I'm sure X does the same thing, right?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Divorced and Kids in Turmoil... and a Burrito

Whew. I want it to be 8:00. Like, NOW.

V keeps misbehaving and instantly apologizing, so it's hard to work up a head of steam to yell at her. At least she's not screaming and stomping around - I think talking to the school counselor calmed her down a lot.

C hates me. Says his life is ruined, and nothing will ever get better, and there's no use to anything. I keep trying to get a hold of his school counselor, but she's always too busy - I need to bust in her office and insist she talk to me and put C on her roster of kids who might need to talk to someone besides their mom who they HATE.

D is a pill as always, and has developed the unnerving habit of taking off running full tilt after snagging something he's not supposed to have - if I chase him he falls and bonks his head. Lil' squirt. He's the one bright spot some days.

In the meantime, I'm a little ticked at X. The vehicle situation is sticky. The Caddy is dead - I can get it to go round the block, but that is it. Clean title, I keep telling him to trade it in and he can buy himself a clunker, but he has no money or job, except little hundred dollars here and there, weeks apart (no clue how he plans to make his rent.)

Agreement was, I pay the Suburban bill, I keep the Suburban. Seems like he takes kids to school and ends up keeping it all day. Now, I agree, he needs it to take kids to school, but for $400 a month plus insurance I should get some freaking babysitting time thrown in. As soon as he gets the rest of the furniture moved I'm going to point that out to him.

If he wants to drive it, fine - but the deal now is he takes kids to school, picks them up, keeps them for a few hours after school and half days on weekends, AND watches D for a few hours a day so I can get some extra work done since D often no longer naps. I think that's fair since he isn't working most days, so I can only assume he's sitting around watching TV and eating sunflower seeds. (<--- notice bitter, mean comment for those who missed it)

I'm aggravated tonight, mostly because I wanted a flipping burrito and couldn't go get one. X would go get me one if I asked, but I don't want to ask him to get me a burrito, I want to go get my own flipping burrito. Yes, I realize that this is self defeatist behavior. Bite me.

I wonder if I have stuff in the kitchen to MAKE a burrito. Then I could have a burrito... I would still hold stubbornly on to being mad though. Like, it's the principle of the thing... right?

There we go, says Self Help Guru Pretender. You managed to snark your way to a smile.

You know she's in denial, retorts Inner Psychotherapist. Her snark is a classic avoidance technique which she is using as an excuse not to deal with-

(Self Help Guru Pretender and I smother Inner Psychotherapist with a burrito.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Divorced Mom and Plumbing

Lovely. I gave the kids all a shower, and halfway through the tub quits draining. A little later, I hear squealing from V's room - all that water drained under her floor, so all down one wall of her bedroom is now soaked.

Stupid me, I assume the problem is contained to that half of the house, and run a load of laundry. That doesn't drain into V's room - it drains into the FRONT half of the house. The kitchen, dining room and living area end up half swamped before I come back into the front half of the house and realize what happened (silly me was in back room, checking on water damage there.)

Now I'm scared to flush a toilet, wash a dish or anything else until morning, when landlord will get a very unhappy phone call.

Ugh. Called X, just out of habit, then realized he doesn't live here... so my plumbing isn't really his problem. (<---- that is SO NOT a double entendre...) He offered to come over, but there's really nothing he can do for me. (<---- again, minds out of the gutter, people!)

Sigh. NOT a happy camper tonight.