2005-07-11 - 8:29 a.m.
Had a GREAT WEEKEND!
Chris and her daughter arrived Fri night. The kids all enjoyed playing together. Sat morn we went to our friend "DAN, DAN the Fireman's" HOUSE (The kids of course thought he was just the coolest and loved chanting that) He also is an RN who works insane hours at those two jobs (80 to 90 a week!) His wife is a teacher and they have a lovely house in the suburb of Baldwinsville. Although I cracked up as Chris and I both share the same reaction to the suburban ALMOST PERFECT houses.... which we both happen to not care for. Give me the city where there is great diversity and culture or give me the country. Her comments as we pulled into the development with manicured lawns had me laughing. Dan was one of her Exs from undergrad and she said "See I KNEW he and I could never work out- as I KNEW this is what he wanted! And its lovely and perfect for him and his wife, but I could NEVER live in a place like this!"
Going to her parents house in the country outside of SARATOGA SPINGS is in fact the WOW experience that made me create that ideal of the place to live in a restored old home with lots of land. Her mom basically restored everything in their fantastic old home-- WHICH THEY JUST SOLD! Her mom and bro are now running a development company and putting houses on 5 acre lots on some of their land. They also discovered when they had the first survey done in over sixty years that they had an additional thirty acres! AMAZING!
I recall LOVING it there! After my divorce one of the best vacations I had was staying at Chris' parents house with Katerina and Soren and really enjoying it. My one brother who is so afraid of socializing came over from Clifton Park where he had a small place at the time and he enjoyed talking with her DAD FOR HOURS! IT was so nice to hang out with them all.
When we visited Elizabeth told stories of her family and how she and her brother made her DAD cry when as teenagers they were defending the right to burn the US FLAG. HEr Dad said "I've raised communists!" ANd Her bro said it WAS DEFENDING THE CORE OF DEMOCRACY TO ENSURE FREE SPEECH.
Chris then told of being at ball games and how her DAD would tell her as they stood during the NAtional ANTHEM "NEVER pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth. That misses the whole point. That's not what is important"
So it was a blast to listen to Elizabeth and Chris talk of their different parents and swaping stories.
But I just love the absolute LIBERAL Attitude of Chris and her family in conjunction with the ultimate embrace of capitalizm and the pragmatic understanding that REAL ESTATE is the way to make a buck so you don't have to be a slave to a system! Chris bought a condo in LONDON years ago when she was living there. She came back so her daughter has some connectedness to her grandparents and the extended family. Chris however likes to try to get to London about every six months for a visit to what she had come to think of as home.
She was relieved to have heard from all but one friend in LONDON. (Someone I also knew as we initially met her on our trip to MEXICO)
Its funny how I realized that MOST of my college friends and I bonded on service projects even though we were so very different from each other. Many from that group of friends then went on to LARCHE communitys for a while after college, which are Catholic communitys for disabled started in FRANCE by Jean Vanier.
Chris and Dan got into a fantastic discussion regarding the ADJUSTMENT to the "REAL" world after leaving L'ARCHE. Dan started it off by saying he valued that experience but was ill equipt to function well ONCE LEAVING IT. Chris was a bit defensive about the paradigm being in any way limiting and said she thinks the problem is the NORMAL Paradigm is just so Spiritually DEADENING (Although this is my take of what I heard... I can't possible capture either of their words of Chris' trademark PASSION and Zeal of the argument!)
There are such interesting things I note among many of my friends. I realized that MOST OF them are either Italian or Irish in some way (although many have other ethnicity.) Not sure what the implication of that is. Just an observation.
Chris agrees SHE is single as STABLE NORMAL MEN are BORING so she is always seeking someone EXCITING and they end up dysfunctional to a big degree! Elizabeth and she agreed that was a problem... and it echos something I have observed in a few other Buffalo girl friends.
I don't think its really an issue of men not being exciting enough for her. I think its that constant QUEST FOR PERFECT that keeps her single. For her that seeking of EXCITING is her standard of perfect and the one quality SHE is hung up on. But I think the particular quality that each single individual is most attracted to doesn't matter in the end- but the core of the problem is the constant lack of being satisfied if a person can't live up to what is an UNREALISTIC EXPECTATION.
Then I was thinking of this in terms of SEX as well. I saw Sex and the City last week for one the first few times.
I mean the whole episode for me captured women't constant quest for PERFECTION yet at the same time EXPECTING that men SHOULD KNOW HOW TO MEET OUR RIDICULOUSLY HIGH EXPECTATIONS. So leave the relationship that is otherwise fulfilling because you don't orgasm , or ________(fill in the blank with whatever it is wanted but not delivered) But my God- lets be honest, if that were a standard that everyone had to meet-- either to bring you to orgasm 100& of the time you have sex, or whatever _________________(again fill in the blank with your favorite expcetation) HEll- would ANUYONE EVER END UP IN A LONG TERM relationship???
They act like an adjournment must be agreed on and the law guardian and opposing counsel WILL NOT agree... but we'll see! I can see the opposing counsel doing that as he is not likley an idiot so thinks this only puts him in a strong position. WE'LL SEE !
God I'm tired already... I wrote too long this morn but was so excited to see my old friends. OH and DAN who is obviously a workaholic gave me the best marriage tip. He said "I LIVE BY MY CALENDER! IF I WRITE IT IN THERE IT GETS DONE! Write yourself into you hubbys!"
I thought that was so funny! Westley IS LIKE THAT! And its something I have NEVER thought of doing! Dan shared how he and his wife struggled with their issues (and his workaholic tendency) He realized he was working to give HER the STUFF she wanted, but that is just stuff and he needed to make it a priority to PLAY more WITH HER. So they just bought KAYAKS and he and his wife SCHEDULDED time together-- WAY AHEAD OF TIME and he is keeping that for her. But if she hadn't pushed it he would have continued in his clueless state of self absorbed workaholism THINKING it was for her! (It turns out he too cringes at the burbs and planted 28 trees in his back yard surrounding it. We hadn't told him OUR thoughts that is- until he indicated he was there as when his wife saw the house it was her MOMENT OF "THIS IS IT!!" IT is her dream house. I can relate as that's why WESTLEY bought our house in LINCOLN after I saw it! For me it was cool reconnecting with Chris and realizing that was in part as I Loved the SOLACE that I found when at HER PARENT'S HOUSE!
All sorts of cool connections were made for me this weekend!
It was also actually helpful to hear ELIZABETH recount some of the things I TOLD her years ago. She said she just can never get it out of her head how my EX came home drunk and fell asleep on the floor below KAterina and Soren's bed and when Katerina woke and asked DADDY why he was sleeping on the floor he responded "SO I CAN SEE YOU AND KNOW WHY I SHOULDN"T KILL MYSELF"
But Elizabeth is in horror at what happened. She said "WHAT ABOUT THAT ABUSE???"
And she is so right that a few spankings from WESTELY will be nothing in comparison to the psycological damage of somehow thinking AT AGE 5 as KAterina was, and obviously STILL NOW at age 11, that YOU ARE THE ONLY REASON YOUR DAD HAS FOR LIVING.
MY GOD THINK OF THE FEAR THAT INSTILLS IN A CHILD.
And who places more demands on the kids in the end?? All the REASONS the kids PREFER not to be here - like having less responsibility, could never end up being LESS DEMANDING that giving the kids responsibility for THEIR DAD's mental health.
Its what made me not so FEARFUL of going to trial EVEN ALONE if I have to. I have to be READY PSYCOLOGICALLY to go in alone... as I wasn't dumb and expected that EVEN IF I FILE A MOTION FOR REPRESENTATION from the court they CAN DENY it. EVEN IF I FILE A MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO RE-SCHEDULE WITH A NEW ATTNY THEY CAN DENY IT. IT is the courts interest to clean up their docket! So they told me on FRI that they EXPECT TO SEE MY ATTNY THERE AS SHE HASN't FILED A MOTION OF WITHDRAWAL.
I TOLD THEM THAT I FORBADE HER TO REPRESENT ME FURTHER THEY SAID SHE SHOULD FILE A MOTION OF WITHDRAWAL and I SAID I SUPPOSE SHE KNOWS WHAT HER OBLIGATIONS ARE- BUT AS SHE ISN"T MY REPRESENTATIVE THAT's NOT my problem. I told them I WOULD FILE MY MOTIONS myself. The clerk WAS HELPFUL
I felt at this point there was no harm in calling the law guardian and seeing if SHE was interested in one last chance at settlement. I wanted to hear from her that she indeed is the one blocking that as it HER STANCE that the kids DO NOT WANT TO SEE WESTELY. EVER. PERIOD. So she confirmed the HARSH SETTLEMENT is based SOLELY on the wishes of the kids without any other evidence. HOWEVER I KNOW THAT IN A TRIAL, WHILE THE KIDS WISHES ARE CONSIDERED THAT WILL NOT BE THE ONLY FACTORS LOOKED AT.
AND I ALSO KNOW THAT TO DATE ALL THE OTHER THINGS LEGALLY MUST BE CONSIDERED. My attorney never presented ANYTHING about our lives.
Oh and I talked to SOREN this morning who confirmed that he has been upset and complaining about how he HATED SCHOOL #81, and then GRANDMOM suggested PREFORMING ARTS. So that idea, like most was CLARA driven. NOT THAT SHE DOESN"T NECESSARILY HAVE A GOOD IDEA THERE- MAYBE IT IS. BUT THE POINT IS THAT IT IS BECAUSE SOREN HAS BEEN UNHAPPY.... and as he said "LEARNING is just not FUN at #81. They never do any fun projects or anything." ANd HE COMPARED "ALLEN CREEK WAS FUN, AND LINCOLN WAS REALLY FUN"
So Soren is REALLY switching schools because he is unhappy and he wants to have more fun. Hmmm... interesting
But he also hold LINCOLN as the place he was happiest in school.
It just strikes me as something the court should realize that CLARA is the one who is really directing the children's lives. ANd I KNOW HER-- NOT ONLY AM I EXCLUDED WHILE SHE RAISES THE CHILDREN, BUT THEIR FATHER IS AS WELL.
NOT that he would have any wiser opinions. In reality SHE AND I were often more aligned regarding the childrens FAITH FORMATION and EDUCATION than he and I. She did support me when he was difficult about baptism and she is the one who takes the kids to MASS for the holidays.So she makes effort. BUT THE POINT IS SHE IS THE ONE WHO WILL BE RAISING THEM and I just think THAT HAS TO BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE COURT.
And the law guardian CLEARLY didn't have that understanding. When I asked "ARE THEY IN HIS CARE IF THEY SLEEP AT HER HOUSE THREE TO FOUR NIGHTS A WEEK?" She said "But they don't"
And she said "THat's not what the kids say"
So it is SO CLEAR the kids are in fact obviscating that fact !!
Not that she is a bad grandmother or that she would even be a bad mother... but the point is THAT I AM A GOOD MOTHER and the point is that it is SO SAD to allow a grandmother to manipulate and do this!
I told her the kids DAD has a psyciatric history longer than their school records.
SHe talked of the kids fear of WESTELY She talked of how he is Abusive not only to them but the two year old (She meant the FORMER two year old Katie... who happens to be four now, but who was our child with the most behavior problems WHEN SHE WAS TWO, the one who DID get more disipline than the others COMBINED and who is now a happy healthy girl who controls her impulses and goes around singing in OPERA Like fashion about whatever is going on! ANd dances non stop too! )
I asked "HAs it occured to you you could have made a mistake? Just consider that- WHAT IF you are wrong? Think of what the implications for my kids are"
She said "I've been doing this twenty eight years" and I said
"YEs- and I'll tell you what you see. YOU SEE WOMEN who DO NOT TAKE A STAND. THE PROBLEM IS THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH WOMEN LIKE ME THAT DON'T TOLERATE NONSENSE AND ABUSE IN THEIR HOMES"
I told her the problem is THERE ARE SO FEW STRONG WOMEN THAT SHE CAN"T EVEN ACCEPT I AM SO
and she said "I'm hanging up now"
So I can't say the call went very well as I initially intended to matter of factly discuss settlement possibility just in case my EX was using her as an EXCUSE and thinking MAYBE SHE WOULD BE REASONABLE and present an option I'd agree to TO HER CLIENTS the kids to consider.
But DAMN I FELT BETTER and I KNOW MY VOICE WAS HEARD.
And I bet SHE IS THINKING ABOUT IT. I'll bet she DOES WONDER.
I'll be it IS ON HER CONSIENCE
And I HOPE IT IS
Because I can't allow her to BLINDLY think this is an easy case and be so sure of herself that she just trys to settle it and be done with it.
Oh and I DID TELL HER "I AM GOING TO TRIAL AS EVERYONE ACT LIKE I SHOULDN't Out of fear if I expose their FATHER for who he is they'd be placed in foster care. Well frankly, that just might be a BETTER place for them than where they are- as painful as that is."
At which point she said
And its an entirely differnt thing to sense SOREN'S guardedness OF ME and his not wanting to talk TO ME... and to realized he could be being influenced to not trust ME! Reading about how this REALLY happens.. and also knowing it has happened to other parents makes me know I HAVE TO GO TO TRIAL even if that means I HAVE TO EXPOSE who their DAD really is. Once again WHO HE IS isn't really for me to feel responsible for! IT isn't MY RESPONSIBILITY OR MY DOING if they think HIM unfit and place the kids elsewhere.
And fact is it wouldn't be with a FOSTER FAMILY
I always just thought it SAD before recently!
I responded "Of course not-- when the fear is ENCOURAGED it will become stronger."
So I hope she really thinks about all I said. If she really cares about her job and what impact she has on children's lives at all she won't be able to NOT think about all I said.
ONe BIG MISTAKE I REALLY MADE IN ALL THIS was not being AGGRESSIVE in response from the beginning. But its not really my style! My Ex's Dad's WIFE commented on the YEARS of manipulation of his life by his mother that he "will never see" as she said. She DID HOWEVER ask for the law guardian's phone # as SHE was willing to make a call last Sept ON MY BEHALF. I think I WILL GIVE HER A CALL this WEEK. Becasue she told me the kids talked FONDLY of WESTELY when they visited her. She and I had talked once in a while about SOREN in particular and she was a great resource as a teacher for me to discuss school issues. I REALLY LIKE HER. She is a LI GAL that RESEMBLES ME PHYSICALLY... so there are other issues there that Clara has!
She had her sister who was a law guardian and was visiting one SAT there COACH me on how to make my court appearance after the first one I made went so poorly!
But I didn't want to drag in my EX's Family. I though that was just too LOW! But I also thought the facts would be seen AS FACTS and they wouldn't be SO DAMAGING... but when EVERYTHING WAS LOOKED at I was SO SURE THE KIDS WOULD COME HOME!
But at this point I have been PROCRASTINATING WAY TOO LONG. The girls are watching lots of TV... so I HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO FILE THESE MOTIONS.