2006-06-14 - 10:08 a.m.
Whew! That was indeed SO EASY AND EFFICIENT AND QUICK!
It is 10:08 AM and the Matter of the Child Support Hearing before the Erie Family Court took all of nine minutes!
It also took about 10 minutes of me waiting on the phone for the court to be ready to hear the matter during which I went to the bathroom, put on a video and got the kids comfortable in front of Cinderella, fixed myself a cup of coffee as my hands ARE FREEZING with poor circulation when nervous and they get cold, and also moved laundry to the dryer and threw another load in the washer.
I am NOW CONVINCED THAT THE ATTORNEY I HIRED IS TRULY JUST AN IDIOT when it comes to COMMON SENSE.
ALL HER CRAP OF "YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP" was just BS
SHE SHOULD HAVE TWO YEARS AGO initally filed a form requesting a TELE APPEARANCE in the custody matter!
But of course that would mean that matter would have been handled MOST EFFICIENTLY and that would mean LESS TIME for all, and that translates into LESS MONEY FOR HER.
Either our law schools just do a VERY crappy job of preparing lawyers for REAL LIFE work and there is a huge disconnect with what people are taught and what they really need to know to be REALLY GOOD LAWYERS (like learn the procedures to request tele or video appearances and learn how to file motions in family court and not be afraid to do so even though "its just never done in family court" and isn't a cultural NORM for those proceedings) OR ATTORNEYS, such as MINE are TOO SELF ABSORBED AND SELF IMPORTANT AND GREEDY AND WANT CLIENTS MONEY so they fail to tell people of the easiest most efficient ways to handle matters, thus leave them in the dark and DEPENDENT on the paid counsel.
Either way I am happy that THIS TIME I decided not to outsource and took the limited time I had to reseach and handle this matter myself.
ALSO indeed the paper work I got indicated it was a Petition to STOP CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS by my EX who said HE WAS NOT SEEKING SUPPORT PAYMENTS FROM ME. I had told him it didn't really matter as I assumed they would seek the payments anyway, and I furthermore told him I WANT TO START PAYING once I can and am out of debt for the court battle.
Indeed the court ONLY HEARD THE MATTER OF stopping his payments and didn't hear any matter regarding collecting from me. The paperwork also said he is NOT Eligable for child support enforcement which I think is because he was in arrears so I think he lost that privalege. Regardless it doesn't matter to me from a financial perspective as I intend to send him some support payments as of now anyway as this month I pay off my former attorney!
But what does matter about that is that he was not lying to me when he said the legal case was only to stop his payments to me.
I never got ANY PAPEWORK from the courts regarding his child support order, nor did the VA child support enforcement office so they earmarked the checks as ARREARS and assumed that's what it was. (They only saw the amt of support we asked for in court in NY and were not therefore aware that as an indigent he was only ordered to pay $500 arrears). It is so typical that once the office in NY was getting paid they wouldn't invest time on my letters requesting information about the order that was handed my EX. (And I don't blame them for ignoring that request for info-- its a waste of their time when they are so backlogged and have other people they need to work on FINDING to compel support being paid to kids! I mean they get a letter saying I am getting money and want to know WHAT FOR... and I am sure it hit the circular file!)
Calling back to tell my EX about the trust as he should also know about it for the kids benefit.
Just off the phone. My ex was glad to hear about the trust for the kids and to hear the update of my family. My little bro who is the banker was recently promoted to VP which is so amazing!
In talking about my bro who is living with my parents, and about the increased awareness of the fact our family DOES have all these issues, I was telling my EX that it is NICE that my DAD at least acknowledges mental illness in our family and is not so afraid to NAME and then ADDRESS issues.
I was also talking about my law school friend who my EX asked about. I told him that she recently got a diagnosis of BI POLAR and commented that I thought it STARTLING in relation to me as I wonder WHAT IT IS ABOUT ME that attracted me to all these people who end up to be BI POLAR. (I seriously have wondered about that in relation to WESTLEY BEFORE as he clearly has those MANIC tendencys.... and often DEPRESSION in MEN is manifested in ANGER ISSUES . He also has a cousin with the diagnosis of Bi Polar so it not inconceivable that he too has that specific mental illness along with others !)
I then told my EX THAT REALIZING THAT I HAVE BEEN SURRONDED BY PEOPLE IN MY LIFE THAT ARE WONDERFUL BUT END UP BI POLAR MAKES ME WONDER ABOUT MYSELF. I said that in all my reading and refelction I seriously WONDER sometimes if it not the case that I AM A MANIC person WITHOUT the down cycle as there are indeed people like that! I said that the things some people said in the past like our former nanny's comment of me having such energy and activity that it is scary (OH and she is ANOTHER PERSON who struggles with Depression! YET ANOTHER that was close in my life...),
and my EX's response was:
I then again talked of my BRO and said that AT LEAST with family support, even if not independent, and with learned SKILLS (as I mentioned WESTELY and the fact that he DOES manage his anger well and has learned better skills and coping mechanisms) THAT SOMETIMES PEOPLE DON'T EVEN HAVE TO HAVE SELF AWARENESS if they have healthy supports and have learned coping skills, but that of course the whole problem with my brother and I also think with WESTLEY is that refusal to seek out and accept treatment, but that no one can COMPEL another to do that. People have to come into their awareness on their own to get that help, and some never do. I said MY MOM is not open to looking at herself, but in her case I think it doesn't matter AS SHE IS HEALTHY AND HAPPY NOW and therefore the self awareness of any issues JUST DOESN'T REALLY MATTER
ON that note of self awareness I told WESTLEY about the book I am reading which I FOUND HELPFUL as it focuses on WORKING ON YOURSELF and in it I actually identified THAT I HAVE A NARCISSIC TRAIT!
I told him that in it I recognized that I have an issue with not recognizing boundaries... and this is the narcissic trait of ENTITLEMENT which can be very destructive to others if not curbed. (Fortunately my destructive behavior has been limited to things like going in his desk to get tape... etc... I am GLAD to not have PERVASIVE issues in that are!)
I did laugh though as I read this and had INCREASING SELF AWARENESS of my own lack of respect of other's personal boundries and then I called my friend who just visited and told her to "BEWARE of those who don't respect boundaries as your life is FILLED with them!"
I did indeed clean her car out while watching the girls during her interview! Now WE BOTH WERE LAUGHING as she and I later were eating and she said she hasn't been doing well lately and it was miraculous she even made it here for her job interview. SHe confessed that she filled her prescription and LOST IT and then got ANOTHER BOTTLE as her Dr. gave her another prescription AND SHE LOST THAT TOO! So she can't call to get more and is NOT DOING WELL without her medication!
I told her- "OH I found it in the car and put it on your seat."
She said "REALLY? I didn't see it."
I said "Wait- I'll get it for you" and first handed her a glass of water, then ran to her car. I ran back a minute later and said "It was NEXT to your seat"
I had before joked "I can't help you get your WHOLE life in order but at least when you leave here you will have a clean and organized space in you car. YOU NEED AT LEAST ONE SPACE like that in your life!"
We both were literally HYSTERICAL then when she took her medicine and she said "Who would have known that by cleaning my car you may indeed have helped me get my whole life together."
There was such irony in that moment, and joy and hopefullness for her as well! What is very odd and ironic is that a person without my lack of sense of BOUNDARIES would never have taken it upon themself to clean another friend's car WITHOUT ASKING. There is this strange thing that we are drawn to people who have the very qualities that in a sense we need to some degree. So I was able to come into her CAR and organize it an although I joked it was only her car I could save and not herself and THE REST of her life, it ends up that in fact that one blurry boundry for me may have allowed me to cross what would normally be a PERSONAL line to do what she couldn't do for herself. And in doing so the finding of medication which is indeed HER LIFE LINE really did essentially save her life as it is no exaggeration that makes her able to live as oppossed to struggle to even live each day. Similarly Westely in his obsessive need for order has been able to HELP ME in my life SO MUCH while at the same time the negative permetations of his personality WHICH ARE THOSE SAME POSITIVE TRAITS TAKEN TO THE EXTREME have been challenges. So through our working on our relationship we have both pushed each others boundaries but had this growth and self awareness that we wouldn't have had before. HE indeed assisted me with identifying and working on both my lack of attention and organization and lack of following through on commitments as well as my boundary issue (which is so funny as I saw this issue in my sister in law YEARS AGO in college but never recognized in MYSELF!) I have helped Westley in countless ways as he has become more empathetic and less stressed doesn't always have to be RIGHT and doesn't always require to have things PERFECT and has developed a comfort level with occassional disorder and chos which is inevitable in a large family! He has mellowed and become more tolerent and learned more skills regarding communication and has learned that not all things are an affront to him when they are done DIFFERENTLY than he would like. I feel like there is this symbiotic relationship of us helping each other without unhelathy dependency. I feel that same thing with my best friend from law school and it is the funny quirky realization that my weaknesses have indeed been the areas she most needed in some way. She needed someone to cross that boundry (although next time I need to RECOGNIZE AND ASK HER FIRST and not just do so without asking!) My friend is this amazing person who has it all together when medicated, but who if she doesn't take her medicine just spirals down quickly.
WE are both praying for her that this marks an end of that recent spiral and the beginning of a new phase for her. She recognizes that she does BETTER when surronded MOSTLY by heathy people! She commented that the people in law school were so much NICER and COMPASSIONATE than those in Social work school, and that SHE DID REALLY WELL in that enviornment and in jobs where she is surrounded MOSTLY by healthy people. She has realized that her field of social work is truly a field FULL OF A BUNCH OF DYSFUNCTIONAL folk who are just not good for her! She was fired from her last two jobs (depression kicked in, she forgot her meds, spiraled and work was affected... forgetting things, not able to get it together to be on time etc...)
She said at least she made some good friends and some of her former co-workers have been her support system, but she said THE HELP ALWAYS COMES WITH STRINGS ATTACHED.
OH- she ALSO has had severe back injury from the car accident a few years ago and has damage and pain from that and TECHNICALLY is classified as DISABLED due to that and mental health but she knows that to be well REQUIRES she have a job and struture and routine in life!
And as an example of her "friends" she told me the one WHO IS A PROFESSIONAL - a liscensed clinical social worker, who comes over to "help" her clean and then STEALS her prescription back pain medicine which is a highly addictive controlled substance. She told me she identified her friends ADDICTION but of course her friend DENIED it- so she just had to LIE and tell her friend she is receiving "Wholistic" treatment and off the meds!
She commented "Its just SO UNBELIEVABLE! TO risk your whole CAREER!"
And as for her she is TRYING to get a LEGAL job and get out of the cycle of being the CO-Dependent personaliy. She realized that to be healthy really entails giving up her career as a social worker and all its dysfuctional people and finding and accepting A BORING YET STABLE JOB.
She is excited that not only did she MAKE IT HERE but she ALSO had a VERY GOOD interview!
I sprung on Westley at the last moment that she was here and told him she didn't even have gas money to get back so she was either staying with us until I got paid this Fri or we could offer her help by filling her tank in exchange for her WIC groceries valued at $20 as she has enough food for her daughter and this week the gas money for the interview was MORE important. I told him she has a check for $20 good ONLY for eggs, milk, juice and cheese that she could go to the store and get and leave for US if he could give her the gas money.
He refused to take the equivalent food (even thought she attests it is just so silly how they give her enough juice, eggs and milk and cheese for A BIG FAMILY but after her rent she has only $75 left FOR EVERYTHING ELSE EACH MONTH including gas. She said though that disability payments and welfare assistance IS GOOD as it give the necessitys and ENCOURAGES people to work. We laughed though as last time we helped her in exchange she offered FORMULA cans as she had a stock pile enough for a day care. Someone REALLY should assess the amount they earmark for FOOD as we all agree all they do is FUEL a black market among the really poor most of whom are not bartering for gas or clothes for job interviews but to feed their addictions!)
He was VERY GRACIOUS IN Refusing that and in fact filled her tank so she can get home and get her daughter to her last SWIM day at preschool today rather than wait till Friday. HE ALSO REALLY ENJOYED HER COMPANY as he always has! He also filled MY tank and gave me his credit card to go buy a new tire (as mine was STILL not functional! The spare went flat so Westely put the donut back on) so if I DID choose to drive to Buffalo today I could get there!
I was just TOO TIRED to take care of that tire yesterday after working the night before. I had enough energy and time to get my paperwork done to request the phone appearance then get over to Westely's office to have him FAX it to the court for me!
I had resolved not to worry about it or drive today EITHER WAY but to call in and tell them I just couldn't make it. So I was SO PLEASED when I called in this AM that they had a phone conference all set up!
Cinderella is done, thus so is my personal writing time. ME TIME IS OVER so back to the girls. Lunch time and the walk to the bus, and then laundry and more laundry (oh I also told my friend to bring her laundry and Westley was ALSO gracious about that as she doesn't have a machine so it helps her TONS to do it here!)
What was NICEST OF ALL about my friend's visit is that we fed the kids FIRST and then when Westley heard she was here he came home from work EARLY to see her and WE ALL enjoyed dinner together. It was the first ADULT time Westley and I have enjoyed TOGETHER socializing with a friend in a LONG TIME. WE BOTH ENJOY her company and all three of us were really happy to visit together. Then Westley LEFT US ALONE and he in fact BABYSAT her daughter and the girls so we had time together without him. It was just SO NICE!
We visited until I had to go to work, at which point I made coffee for both my friend and I and she finished loading her laundry into her now clean car and then headed back home.
Westely had told her HE HOPES SHE GETS THE JOB HERE as it would be so good FOR US as well as her. He told her she and her daughter are welcome to stay with us AS LONG AS SHE LIKES to get relocated and situated.
I had ALREADY told her that and that although it would be dependent on him saying OK that I KNEW HE WOULD as he has ALWAYS LIKED her and she and her EX both stayed with us in VA before and she is welcome ANYTIME. He has said so before. Its really nice that we have MUTUAL FRIENDS that we both like who are so good for us as a couple as when we spend time with them WE BOTH RELAX and actually enjoy our time as a couple TOGETHER!
(LIKE you M who reads this! You are in that category! Hope to someday meet your significant other and hope we get
There is something SO HEALTHY and in fact THERAPUTIC about time relazing with good friends! THat is REALLY what has been missing in both Westley and my life for a long time. While this move to NY has been good for a # of reasons I SO LOOK FORWARD to going to VA this summer as we have that community of friends there we just haven't developed here. Part of it is that Westley doens't like to become friends with CO WORKERS and will only really become friends after a business relationship is ended. So most of his friends are people HE HAD MET AT WORK that he socialized with AFTER the working relationship was over. (This his mistake in ever attempting to start a company WITH FRIENDS!) HE somehow hasn't it in him to learn how to work and become frineds at the same time! In fact I think that is ALSO the etiology of our relationship trouble, that once we had a JOB AS PARENTS and as HOME MAKERS to do that there was this difficulty in NURTURING OUR RELATIONSHIP while being in those ROLES which are in a sense JOBS of PARENT, HOME MAKER or NREAD WINNER AND PROVIDER for family.
It really gives us ALL a healthy sense of balance when those needs for FUN and recreationship and FRIENDSHIP and compansionship are met and we do not have the imbalance of only being TASK and JOB ORIENTED.
My best friend from law school was ALSO excited to learn that while she interviewed for the job at a location about a half hour away, the office just happens to be moving TO THE TOWN NEXT TO US which is about 5 minutes away! So indeed if she gets this job offer, the logical thing would be that she tries to find a place to live in this the better school district! SHE INDEED MIGHT END UP LIVING RIGHT HERE IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD and our girls could go to school together! Her daughter will be going to kindergarden this Fall and if here could very well end up in Katie's class.
She said she has been praying alot lately!
We both are so excited that this job would be right here! She also said that gave her an advatage as they are inteviewing people who would have to MORE to the area so they are very interested in why each applicant would want to move HERE for the job! She said they seemed to be really happy that she would be excited to move here.
I had reminded her that when in law school HER CAR "NEver looked like this and was always clean " as was her home and her life at that time, and I reminded her that SHE WAS THE ONE WHO HELPED ME when my EX moved out and left a mess finals week. I told her I was HAPPY to help her now as I will never forget that SHE WAS THE ONE who came over and went in my apt with flowers on the table and started to clean and organize it for me then! She said "Oh yeah! He did leave a mess!"
And I reminded her that HAD I BEEN LEFT TO FACT IT ALONE THE DAY BEFORE A FINAL EXAM when I was suppossed to bring the kids back there that next night that THERE WAS NO WAY I WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO IT ALL!
I had the courage and energy and SUPPORT of her as she stayed up ALL NIGHT with me getting my life back in order. I told her that what goes around comes around and that we all take turns helping each other out. I told her that THEN SHE WAS THE ONE who was organized and together and the scholarship student who was active on campus and in her commmunity and helping everyone else.
She said "You are the only one who remembers what my life was like"
and I said "And I know what you can be like and what you will be like"
And she said "Thank you. I need to be REMINDED of that."
I was thinking of a song that I heard on the radio that a mother called in to have played for her son's HS graduation. I think it was called "I'm just a little unwell" but it reminded me of her in a way. The mom calling in Delilia asking for the song said she understood why her son loved the song and made her listen to it once years ago. It talks of the VISION OF WHO ONE WAS AND WHO ONE CAN BE and of SEEING THAT PERSON through the veil of their illness which is obstructing them.
I can't find the song right now and need to get busy with caring for girls and LIFE soon so instead I'll post THIS COOL link that quotes the unknown song/artist (I thought nine inch nails? but that might be wrong)
In any case this looks like a fun site to look at when I have time! I think its a hysterical premise: The DSM IV of the web!
Westley came back so impressed with the teachers he met and what they are doing in the classes here and said we are in an outstanding school district.
He was really excited and this morn asked Sadie what she did yesterday. He pointed out to me she would talk of some game which was teaching math skills but she would be unaware of that fact. She indeed talked of the game of moving the BEARS on one line and then on another, which is clearly the math piece from yesterday. SO now that the parents UNDERSTAND what to ask they will be comfortable knowing what teaching is going on. AS for Westley I was so glad at his community involvement and his excitement at the quality of education in this school system as perhaps that him LESS inclined to job hop off to ATLANTA in search of the next grandiose job!
AT that note-- I have to supervise lunch and keep focused on MY responsibilites of getting Sadie to the bus on time! Ok- got her on the bus and came back to edit to complete one last thought. I had a nice conversation in which I told Westley about what I was reading and that the whole ROOT of any narcissic trait is really the lack of development of SELF and lack of separation from MOTHER. I told him how it is just AMAZING to recognize this IN MY LIFE in a way! I said my whole goal of law school was REALLY intended to MAKE MY MOTHER HAPPY as she had this bitterness at NOT being supported in persuing HER DREAM and commented over and over how ONLY THE BOYS were encouraged to go on to school. She then worked as a paralegal and COMPLAINED that she should have been the lawyer as she was CORRECTING the lawyers poor grammer etc. I recall asking her "So why don't you just go to law school now?" when she was fifty and her saying it was too late, she was too old. At the time I said "No your not." I realize that my whole GOAL though was not merely INFORMED by her but an ATTEMPT TO ACTUALIZE HER UNREALIZED DREAM. Westely was really kind in saying, "You really love the arts and are really artistic, right?" and I said "YES" I has an experience at my COLLEGE REUNION where I was telling one of my former classmates about SOREN' play and how he is at the school of Preforming ARTs and it was so surprising and NICE that the guy said "He takes after you!" I had said "Wow! YOU remember Thanks ! Its so nice to receive such a compliment and that you remember that about me as I even forget about that aspect of myself being so caught up in other things and roles" In a sense I HAVE BEEN disconnected from parts of MYSELF by not doing the things I LOVE. So it was VALIDATING to have WESTELY REALLY NOT ONLY SEE ME but ACNOWLEDGE that he recognized those parts of ME that I myself have put on the back burner in thie effort AT OTHER THINGS which in a sense really were not even FOR ME but an attempt to actualize my MOTHER'S dreams and an attempt to do this FOR HER as I WANT HER TO BE HAPPY. I really just wanted to become a lawyer to make her feel happy and like she achieved something in life THROUGH ME. I realized that at some point the dream of a laywer REALLY DID BECOME MY OWN with the fitting of it into MY OWN VALUES by seeking this permetation of attempting to be an IMMIGRATION LAWYER when I found that area of working in service of that marginalized community that I LOVED to do. (likely as it fills that personality trail of WANTING TO HELP PEOPLE which I have due to the children on alcoholic traits both my parents and I have!) But ultimately, this quest to be a lawyer, and specifically an IMMIGRATION LAWYER is one I entered into in a sort of compromise of merging what I saw as MY MOTHER'S DESIRES with what I ENJOY MYSELF. And in doing that I really did put MY PASSIONS on the back burner. And I think about when growing up how I was told I couldn't be in the play as I was failing LATIN and how I wasn't encouraged to take piano lessons, etc... and how my brother who is now so ill was not NURTURED in the areas he loved (art and writing) but encouraged to go to the PREP SEMINARY for boys to prepare to become priests and his interests IGNORED. So Westely was open when he said he heard of this GREAT COLLEGE with a new model for teaching engineers "that he would love to see Katie go to" and SMILED when I asked, "Why does it have an outstanding DANCE program she might just love then?" He said "No they give the kids LEGOS and have them BUILD THINGS" (She also DOES love that!) It was just GREAT to see Westley SMILE and laugh himself as he articulated HIS DREAMS and ALSO ALLOW himself to be reminded gently that WE AS PARENTS have to support the kids in becoming THEMSELVES without the UNCONSIOUS and NON INTENTIONAL SABATOGING INDIVIDUALITY BUT ONLY AFFIRMING WHEN THEY PERSUE THINGS WE LOVE. I am as happy that he found such a cool program as he is as indeed perhaps one of our children WILL BE INTERESTED in it! But more important, it was nice to see that recognition and growth of Both of us as parents. PS: I give up. I saw this site here and looked at it and noted some mistake in need of editing but FORGET what it is! So instead I went through and attemted to Change all the CAPS but it is a big pain! I instincively am in the bad habit of using that annoying method and will TRY to curb it when I write. Editing after the fact is too laborous! Afternoon update: My four year old dancer who wants to be a princess figured out how to make a SEE SAW this afternoon out of some logs in the backyard! Kudos to her engineering skills! (HA HA!) Maybe our kids will have balance in their lives after all.