The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lord, I Was Born a Ramblin' (Wo)Man...

Okay, see, I was soooo out of practice that you'll have to excuse the errors on yesterday's post. Have to. In the meantime, I've got a little something else on my mind. And, well, you guys know how that stuff goes. I come here. I vent. I pay the consequences. I move on.

It mostly works for me. So let's roll with it. 'K?

I mentioned, a couple weeks ago,about my kids needing some repair work. My ex simply wasn't doing a thing to either get his kids' teeth fixed, or repay me the money he owed me (which would allow me to get this stuff done). It's been more than a little stressful for me and, because he's the man I love for a reason, Bunnyman opted to do what he could to help the children he so loves (and simultaneously reduce my stress). This while he's been struggling with some issues of his own.

He's a gem, I tell you!

My children watched as their stepfather sold off various of his own treasures and quickly pulled together the money we need to begin this process. Knowing, all the while, that he was doing something so selfless FOR THEM. Knowing that it was something their own father wasn't stepping up to do. Knowing that they were that important to Bunnyman. That loved. It's been hard for me to watch this process. Hard for me to allow him to do it.

I know he's limited in what he can do to help, and that he deeply, deeply wants (maybe needs) to. So I've tried (and it hasn't always been terribly successful) to hold my tongue as he's pulled prized possessions from his collections to convert to funds for the orthodontist. I get angry that their own father is only too happy to let this man, for whom he has such contempt, continue to step up and do his job for him. This man who has been such a positive factor in his childrens' lives and for whom he fervently refuses to show any appreciation whatsoever.

The emotions are pretty overwhelming. I'm so happy that my daughter (one of two anyway...I'll elaborate more later) will be able to get the help she needs. I feel so very grateful to Bunnyman, and so incredibly lucky to have chosen a man to share my life who clearly loves these children so much. Sorrow and disappointment that my children have to look at their father and know that he had ways to help with this and chose not to...putting them second to his own personal agenda. Of course, I know EXACTLY how they feel. I've been where they are many, many times before.

Add onto all of that some anonymous commenter who felt it was more important to point out my husband's shortcomings (in response to my previous post), than it was to applaud him for doing everything within his power to help the children of a man who would not. Talk about not getting it.

I try to keep focused on the positive. Not easy by a long shot. And CERTAINLY I'm human...with all the faults that go with that. But [Kid 2] will be getting braces before school starts and the damage will begin to be reversed. And that is a MOST precious gift.

I've advised her father, who was (initially) very pleased that the money had been collected and his daughter was getting the help she needs. (I'd opted not to flaunt in his face where it had come from.) When I reminded him that he would need to reimburse his portion of this medical expense at the end of the next quarter (something I did out of consideration for him), he began blustering. I was trying to be up front with him and give him more than two months to make whatever arrangements he needed to make.

But, what I got was the standard. There was no way he could do that. As usual, it was okay for me to figure out how to make it work for the kids. As long as it was in a manner that did not impact his lifestyle.

For a couple weeks now, he's been avoiding the conversation of whether I can count on him paying what will amount to about $850 back to me on time. With school starting (and the accompanying fees, clothing, supplies, etc.), it would be helpful for know whether I can count on this money. But his latest advises that I "shouldn't take anything to the bank".

Mostly, this latest is because he's mad at me. Once again, for something I did not do. In an effort to significantly reduce legal costs (something that has been an unfortunately big part of our finances over the last couple years), I filed directly with the Child Support Division and they provide legal counsel at no cost.

As opposed to $200/hr., it's a figure I could live with. I went in and discussed the specifics of my situation and gave them copies of my income information, my ex's, and a spreadsheet I'd prepared some time ago that outlines the arrearages and payments towards same. My ex has been making some effort to repay these (though he'd led me to believe they'd be paid off this past spring and then reneged), which I pointed out to them while I was there. However, his current balance is right at $1,900. Money my kids could certainly use.

In any event, he left last Friday for a week's vacation in Florida with one of his casual female friends and her children. He twice mentioned to me that he was only able to go on this vacation because said friend was covering 100% of the expenses. It doesn't matter to me. It's not like he'd be paying me the money he owes me instead of taking a vacation anyway. Ironically, he took unpaid leave a few weeks ago, to spend some time here locally with our girls. And then notified me that my child support payment would be short because of it.

My brain didn't quite process that, but here's the skinny. Rather than use his paid vacation time to spend with his children, he's spending that time elsewhere with others and then working less and reducing the support they receive, so that he can spend time with them. Better, he thinks that's good for them. Frustrating, to say the least.

Apparently, the day before he left, he got a letter from the Child Support Division advising him that they plan to intercept any potential tax refunds (state or federal), lottery winnings, etc. to pay off arrearages to his children. To say he is furious is putting it mildly. He came to my house before he left, has sent me numerous derogatory emails and has ranted to me on the phone several times.

Here's the thing. I had no idea that the CSD was going to do this. I never asked them to do it on my (or the kids' behalf). They never told me they planned to. After catching so much flack from my ex, I called them...not necessarily to stop it (like I have any control over the government anyway)...but to try to find out what was going on. They advised me it was their standard procedure and that it was their job to keep focused on the "best interest of the children involved".

See, those words are key.

Best. Interest. Of. The. Children. Involved.

It is often difficult in divorces to remember those words. You have so many of life's stressors beating you up and you forget that children need things 24/7/52. Not just when they're with you.

The CSD doesn't have the same emotional or financial distractions. They do not know (or care about) you on a personal level. They are working at trying to take the best care possible of the children in the middle. And if that means that the grown-ups have to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate the be it.

Meanwhile, my ex has vowed (and then changed it back and forth a couple times over various email and phone who knows what he plans to do) not to give me any more money towards arrearages (or the medical) until "this gets straightened out". Consequently, it's really, really hard to budget. But I feel confident that if we don't get the money now, we'll get it at some point in the foreseeable future. It's know...that it gets a little tricky to feed them until then...

In one of the last emails I got from him (before I finally got to the "discussing it with him was getting us nowhere" point), he mentioned that he had been trying to get the funds together to address the medical reimbursement by ebaying some of his collectible items. I was surprised. But I guess he simply didn't have any other options, and realized that he's legally obligated to repay this money that's being used for the welfare of his children.

Again, though, the main thing is that [Kid 2] is going to get the treatment she needs. The rest will work itself out somehow. [Kid 3]'s periodontal work, which I'd hoped to get done before school starts will have to wait. It's another $500-$600 and there's simply not another drop of blood to be rendered from this here turnip. Especially, with the handicap of not being able to budget at all. While I'd rather she could get this beyond her more quickly, I suppose she'll have to wait until her father decides whether or not he's going to support them. I just hope problems there don't escalate while we're dealing with the rest of life's little realities. It could turn into a much more expensive, much more difficult surgery for her if we're not careful.

Lastly, I just wanted to note that D and I have been working on locating apartments and jobs for dear friend, Nate, as he will be arriving here in River City (to STAY!) in a few short weeks. We'll be having some kind of Welcome Celebration (likely the weekend of August 18th, but I need to check with Nate and formalize a few things here locally), so please keep your calendars open-ish.


Blogger AaA said...

Hmf, yeah. See, this all just underscores how {strikethrough}ironic{/strikethrough} hypocritical it is to criticize someone for 'not being a provider' or 'not being a good parent' or 'not being a real man' when they so obviously outclass you in every one of those categories. And it's all the more so when they not only sorely outclass you in all these categories, but also do not feel compelled to say so, letting their record and the third parties involved (whose opinions are the only ones that actually matter) speak for themselves.

7/30/2007 10:23 AM  

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