Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Custody Costs REDUX

The meter on the oil tank is a hair away from registering EMPTY.
The thermostat in the playroom/office downstairs has been set to 60 for the past week. I have the cold hands to prove it. Sadly even typing doesn't generate enough blood flow.
Upstairs the thermostat is on 65.
I am dressing the kids in layers and have the electric space heater at the ready in case the heat punks out before we can schedule a delivery of oil at the bargain price of $2.09/gallon.
My hot beverage consumption has increased ten fold. Thank goodness I
need it.
The Boy and The Mouse both have colds and I am hoping that the evil Strep which seems to be
making its way across many blogger homes doesn't find its way into ours because our COBRA was cancelled and we are currently without health insurance.
It's the last day of the month and rent is due.
Our family is still struggling to overcome the costs of the
custody case.
Following in the footsteps of others who seem to have had great
success, I have opened an online store, started placing ads and have begun a redesign that will hopefully make it appear as though I actually know something and keep folks coming back for my pearls of wisdom.
It's worth a shot.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Shameless Plug

Just for fun, I opened my own online store and plopped my pitiful logo on some items.

You can throw your hard earned cash my way and help support my eBay addiction visit it by following the link from the sidebar or by clicking

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Watcher

He is my constant Companion.
Ever vigilant in his watch He is never far from me as I go about my daily business.

From the moment I open my eyes each morning He is there to help me greet the day.
Mommy, it's morning so that means you have to get up.
I want breakfast, Mommy.
Each and every statement is punctuated with my name.
While feeding The Mouse.
Can I have a snack, Mommy?

Doing the dishes.
Wanna play Mommy?
In the shower.
Though here his words are muffled by the running water. The acoustics of the tiled walls making his voice sound like a
Charlie Brown cartoon.
Still, his punctuations manage to break through the veil of steam and vinyl.
Is my potty empty, Mommy?
Yes it is. Alas the previously
documented success has taken a slight detour.
Are you done, Mommy?
Can I open the curtain, Mommy?

I feel somewhat like Peter Pan however in my case this Shadow cannot be lost. The thread that keeps The Boy attached to me is stronger than any backstitch could ever hold.
As I head downstairs to throw a load of laundry in the wash and back upstairs to fold the clothes from the dryer.
Wait for me Mommy I want to help.
With every step I take. Room to Room. Upstairs and Down. I hear the soft shuffle of his little feet behind me.

In the bathroom. While doing the dishes. Getting dressed. Blogging.
Can I come too Mommy?
What He doesn't realize is that I too am watching.
Watching him become more dependent on me for entertainment.

Watching as he desperately tries to get my attention by regressing in his potty training. He has learned that he can pull my focus away from The Mouse by going in his Training Pants instead of his Potty.
What he hasn't learned is that his Mother was a psychology major in college and so the concept of negative reinforcement is not a foreign one and stops.right.now so HA!
Still, I watch him as he watches me.
And when my sanity patience is wearing thin and I have run out of places to hide, I remind myself of the words of
Anna Quindlen knowing that soon I will watch him head off to preschool where he will rediscover his independence make new friends and dazzle his teachers.
And that then I will miss being watched.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Boob Tube

Breastfeeding an infant has its privileges.
I wish I could say that having tremendous moderately sized milk jugs breasts was one of them but it pisses me off pains me to admit that my Girls have limited growth potential.
Thankfully I am able to divert my attention from my lack of decolletage by the veritable smorgasbord of informational delights offered by late night TV.
Thanks to late night television I know all about
Today's Special Value and Flex Play and have, much to my husband's chagrin although he doesn't know it yet because I have not acted on it, re-fueled my interest in getting me some of that hope in a jar.
Thanks to night television, I have been able to confirm that there are people who hate exercise as much as me, as clearly evidenced by
this and this.
I find myself wondering how well
these really work.
Thanks to late night television I have been able to overdose on Olympic re-runs on NBC and I have learned that
animal cruelty can go farther than I have ever imagined.
Thanks to late night television I have learned that I too can
sleep like never-before were it not for the now 3 month old infant who has recently discovered that it is ME who is attached to her food supply and spends every moment of her late night snacktime flirting at me with her toothless smiles instead of EATING.

Oh, the cruel irony.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Disposable Diapers?

What happens when a disposable diaper [accidentally] gets thrown in with the wash?

It's super-absorbent core apparently soaks up the entire contents of the washer drum expanding to 100x its normal size. Also note how clean it comes out... no sign of prior use whatsoever.

Ultimate in leak protection, indeed!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Deja-Vu All Over Again

The doorbell rings. It's 3:50... ten minutes before the ordered and agreed upon 4pm pick-up time.
Instead of inviting her in to wait, I tell her that I will have to send Cinderella out. It's early and she is still doing her homework.
It's only by like five minutes, She tells me.
Ten minutes according to every clock in our Home but I decide that I am not going to engage in this debate with Her.
Thankfully She let's it drop and changes the subject.
Did you get my message yesterday?
Yes. I was feeding The Baby and wasn't expecting your call so I didn't get your message right away.
I was partially telling her the Truth.
What I neglected to tell her was that I had called The Husband after listening to her message.
Any idea why she called me?
Yeah. She had asked if she could pick Cinderella up early on Mondays and I told her we would have to Play It By Ear. Don’t call her back. I will take care of it.
Does that mean you will call her?
No. It’s not necessary. Let her come at her regular time.
ExWife is attempting to manipulate the custody schedule and take advantage of The Husband again.
Or should I say STILL.
I start re-playing the last 6 years in my head where ExWife did everything in her power to manipulate the custody schedule, and life in general, to her advantage and in so doing begin to feel my old familiar friend -ANGER- rear its ugly head.
ExWife lives in her own reality. Oftentimes I am envious of her ability to create this perfect fantasy inside her own head where all is right with the world, she is in charge, and The Husband is here to do her bidding. I wish I was able to escape to my own Shangri-La most often when having to face the reality of life with her delusions.
In her World The Husband suggesting they Play It By Ear means it's ok for her to implement this proposed change right now. She tells me as much.
We decided that I would call you every Monday at 3:45 to see if Cinderella was close to finishing her homework so I might pick her up early.
I determine that by “We” she means the Voices in her head but keep that thought to myself as I am in no doubt that it would not be received well if I were to express it.
Every week since the Custody Case has been "settled" ExWife has made a request to alter the pick-up/drop-off time in some way.
5 minutes here. 15 minutes there.
Husband is losing control over the situation and the Control-Freak in me feels this overwhelming need to point it out so that he may put a stop to it before it goes any further.
She doesn’t get that she has lost custody for a reason.
She doesn't get that she.lost.custody.
I am fearful that The Husband has failed to learn the lessons of history thereby dooming our Family to continue to suffer at the hands of a delusional lunatic person who just.doesn’t.get.it.
Husband admits to needing some help in establishing the boundaries. He lacks the finesse required to have a firm hand with ExWife while not undermining their attempts at communicating.
Husband needs me to be more supportive. I need him to be more assertive.
No doubt the way with which I expressed this need was not the most effective. My anger and frustration got the better of me putting him on the defensive.
I am trying to pick my battles. And I can't battle with You and ExWife at the same time.
I need you to support me and trust that I am making the best decisions for everyone.
Back to 2001. It's deja-vu all over again.
It's times like these that I wish I could be more like the comedian
Steven Wright and suffer from amnesia and deja-vu at the same time.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Winter Games?

Today I want you guys to play outside.
YEAH! Thank You!
I stare at their faces with disbelief. I am shocked over their combination of shock and extreme jubilation.
Suddenly I realize that not only have I been relying too much on the Electronic Babysitter since the birth of The Mouse, but that I have been doing so unnecessarily.
The Boy and Cinderella albeit all-too-willing to zone out in front of the Boob Tube have not only forgotten about the joys of fresh air and sunshine but are also under the impression that they are not allowed to play outside.
Is it because of the colder winter temps and the lack of snow to lure them into the outdoors.
More likely I fear it my fault. That somehow in my post-partum dementia recovery I have given them the impression that they are not allowed to do anything fun because if Momma ain't sedated happy ain't Nobody happy.
I remind them that they can always play outside when the weather is nice.
Except when it's snowing.
Cinderella likes to chime in whenever we dispense parental orders guidelines.
Again the Shock comes.
Who are you and what have you done with our children.
What have we done to deter you from expecting what is your god.given.right.as.children.on.this.planet to be able to do the Very thing that makes winter exciting and bearable.
What's the freaking point of having winter anyway if there is no Snow and nobody to play with it in.
No, Cinderella. You are allowed to play outside in the snow too.

Tomorrow I decide that these kids are going to get so much outside time that they are going to OD on it and beg me to stay indoors until Spring.
Today, they are going to get a healthy dose of the Olympics and see what winter fun is all about.

Thursday, February 9, 2006


Today my teacher told me The Boy is only my Half-Brother.

It was as much a statement as it was a question.
Cinderella was attending a group organized by her school for children of divorce and the dipshit social worker in charge took it upon herself to correct Cinderella's vocabulary after she proudly gushed to the group about her Little Brother.
I was as shocked as she was.
I had forgotten.
Forgotten that they were technically half-siblings.
Forgotten that some people might try to point out this difference.
Forgotten how the monikers given to blended families can negatively influence one's feelings.
Just as our relationship has sometimes been affected by our respective labels, Cinderella's relationship with The Boy was now being challenged. Her loyalty being brought into question by a label meant to distiguish between stepchildren and their post-divorce-remarriage siblings.
This label was never a part of our vocabulary. Not once did it ever enter our thoughts or Hearts.
The Boy is Cinderella's Brother. She is his Sister.
Now thanks to a support group meant to HELP HER she was hurt and had to come to me for reassurance. And an explanation.
She needed to know why she had never heard this term before.
She needed to know that being her half-brother didn't mean that she now had to love The Boy only half as much.
Other people might call The Boy your half-brother, I tell her but in our Home and in our Hearts you both are Brother and Sister. There is no difference.

Or is there?

Monday, February 6, 2006

The Cost of Custody

Mommy, it's boring being stuck here with You and The Mouse all day.
His words catch me by surprise... their honesty stinging me to the core.
I try not to react but after the sixth time of him making this statement I find it difficult to ignore.
Please don't say that. It hurts Mommy's feelings.
But Mommy, it's boring being stuck here all day with you.
Not 3 weeks ago, I enjoyed marveling along with his pediatrician about how articulate The Boy is for 3 1/2 and now I find myself wishing he lacked the ability to express his feelings so openly.
The guilt and anger start to bubble up.
I am beginning to realize the true impact of Cinderella's custody trial.
It has in many ways left us crippled, both financially and emotionally.
We cannot afford to send The Boy to preschool but it was decided by the Lawyers in the custody case that my husband CAN afford $500 for Cinderella's summer camp.
We'll waive $500 from our bill so she can go to the camp, The-Powers-That-Be tell my husband.

That $500 which covers only two weeks of camp would have paid for 2 1/2 months of preschool or a myriad of other bills (like the running tab at several therapists).
The Judge or the Lawyers don't care about that, He tells me.
They may not, but I do.
It doesn't matter. This isn't about us or The Boy.
Isn't it?
We're not a Family of One. We are a family of Five.
Cinderella is the primary focus but her Brother and the rest of her Family are affected by the decisions being made for her benefit.
The Boy has lost out on a needed educational opportunity in exchange for the luxury of an extracurricular activity which doesn't start for another 5 months.
He must spend his days at home while his Mommy struggles to befriend the
Enemy and let go of the anger, adjust to a new custody routine and juggle having 3 children at home full-time, while also trying to provide an enriching environment that stimulates his intellect because she is feeling guilty of neglecting his developmental needs.
The guilt brings on the anger which I am trying so desperately to overcome.
The costs associated with a bitter custody case run deep.

The question still remains, how deep do my emotional pockets run?

Thursday, February 2, 2006

The Boy... on the Hydrating Properties of Water

"Mommy, look at my fingers!"

"Yes. They are all wrinkly from your bath."


"Because that's what happens when you take long baths."

"Is that the water's job, Mommy? To make childrens' skin all wrinkly?"