2011-11-03 - 8:44 p.m.
E-mail to CAto I am NOT sending. He will call me back soon and I will talk to him but I want to avoid DUMPING on him. So I will DUMP here first:
Its nonsense. The hearing in Sept ordered me to pay $500 then and an additional $300 before the next hearing and said "the matter of attorney fees is deferred " until consideration at the next hearing when the judge could look at records of my income as well as what I already provided of my budget to evaluate the order of what I am to pay.
I actually think he was leaning toward lessening the obligation perhaps. Maybe that is just my optimism however I did VERY WELL at the last hearing arguing and made opposing counsel basically look like an Ass to be honest. I argued that I had offered to settle in full with them and they refused. Therefore I took out a loan and settled in full with the lawyer who would do so, and paid toward settling in full at a discount with MY attorney I still owe and he could just wait in line.
I said "I will pay it , but did not do so as there were other priorities"
It was kind of funny as the attorney made the argument of ignoring a court order, but then I presented the OTHER two court orders to pay the other two attorneys and made it clear each was entered individually without regard for the others and therefore in the aggregate not tenable so not only was it not possible for me to pay all three as ordered but it would be fiscally irresponsible for me to have paid him and NOT taken advantage of the wise opportunity to settle the others in full.
Reminded the court he had the offer but refused, and since 2 out of 3 attorneys accepted settling in full rather than going back to court to run up MORE legal fees , it seems that that is a good indication of what the REASONABLE man would do.
( "Reasonable Man" is the lingo used in law for the standard that is socially reasonable and it was a great delivery to suggest he is UNREASONABLE and was done very well!)
The attorney actually responded and sounded weak and lame as his whole argument was destroyed when I introduced the settlement with the other attorneys. He and Westley looked like assholes.
Rather, they were EXPOSED as assholes taking a mother to court for no reason other than harassment and seeking to make my life difficult. Who take the other parent to court seeking incarceration when the other parent is paying and making every effort and INVOLVED with their children? Only someone who is bitter.
Favorite quote from the LAST hearing from one attorney who quipped "Your Ex has no heart and he found an attorney with no soul."
In typical form, I have NOT LET THIS CONSUME ME, or interfere with my happiness.
However, the paperwork yesterday brought it to mind. It saddens me frankly. That in conjunction with Katie having come here and having sat down to practice piano with her music books from her lesson but then getting interrupted by a phone call from her Dad who apparently was furious that she dared to bring her piano books here was a real downer last night. THat was just so heart breaking to hear her on the phone with him and then hear her say "He cancelled my lesson."
I don't know it that means FOR GOOD or just for this week but regardless it is totally fucked up that he would punish a child for bringing HER PIANO books to HER HOME she stays at with HER MOM for the night so she can practice.
Certainly not child centered behavior.
Alexey was missing her backpack when we arrived at school today and she refused to go in the building but wanted to come home to get it. I told her I would bring it. I asked the principal to talk to her and tell her to go in. She wouldn't listen to me or him. So I brought her home with me while I got ready for work and then dropped her off with the backpack and headed to work.
I returned home to a message from the Truant officer that the school referred me to her as the girls have been late 5 times. Now the thing is that only Alexy was late today so I wonder how it possible that as of today all THREE were late five times. I believe only ONE of the three was late five times and the other two were late four times.
I love the way they say " Lets come up with a plan"
Only plan I haven't yet tried is to pitch a tent in the playground of the school so the girls are there when they wake up and have NO EXCUSE to dilly dally and not walk in the door on time.
Heck, I wonder what the fine is for trespassing after dark on school property? I know for a FACT that it is NOT a reportable crime that requires fingerprinting and a record as my friend the attorney represented a client and plea bargained a noise ordinance violation and false ID to officer and resisting arrest charge down to "Trespassing in cemetery after dark" specifically so that the client WOULD NOT have a record! Provided the client refrains from having too loud conversation on his porch with his black self and male friend ( who I think the Loudoun young redneck sheriff may have assumed was his LOVER), and therefore doesn't offend the old world sensibility of the closed minded power hungry folks in this region that happen to yield control, then the gentleman should have no further trouble.
Perhaps I shouldn't be so cynical, but how many folks do you know get a knock from a sheriff for violation of a NOISE ordinance for hanging out on their own back porch in a suburban development?
So when the dude answering shut the door on the guy and said "NO" to the question "Are you the owner"
And gave some name to the question"Who are you?" which may not have been his name,
I don't see the crime that clearly as I don't see how the guy answering ( who was not the owner) could have thought
Maybe I am sensitive, but the fact the gentleman is a black guy who was on the porch and given a hard time really made me suspicious. I also DO wonder if there was a homophobic thing going on as well.
This is Loudoun County after all.
Home of a legal system in which mothers who leave abusers not only are not offered any protection and are turned away at the one resource as they have NO ROOM, but also then go to court and lose on the basis of the EVIDENCE that WAS in the Loudoun Sheriff's office "disappearing" as well as the basis of an attorney who LIED to claim that an issue was NOT raised when it WAS clearly raised on the initial complaint to a magistrate ( on page 2 which "convienintely was NOT copied. NEVER FORGET TO WRITE PAGE 1 of X, PAGE 2 of X etc... I learned my lesson and WILL NEVER FORGET SUCH AGAIN . IT COST ME ALOT OF MONEY IN LEGAL FEES, AS WELL AS A PROTECTIVE ORDER BEING OVERTURNED, And I am STILL be harassed due to that one error I made which has been exploited.)
YES , I believe I can tell the Truant Officer I have come up with a viable family plan which will make a significant difference.
We shall go camping.
Heck, perhaps some with think it interesting and join in . Perhaps if I seek permission the principal will grant permission to have a camp out and collect food for the homeless and call it a community service project to raise awareness.
My college did that.
I really don't get it.
I am 42 years old and have been ADHD my whole damn life.
For goodness sake, I MISSED my brother's WEDDING because I didn't get there on time! I WAS LATE FOR MY OWN WEDDING AS I MISPLACED THE FLOWERS. So it amazes me that my Ex husband who knew of that trait full well would attack me for it post marriage. Its what he fell in love with as he LOVED the ability to "save" me or have someone that might be DEPENDENT on him. Is that challenge of being on time really something that the school system should PUNISH ME FOR???
My oldest two children are doing AMAZINGLY Well despite being late in elementary school! Katerina is a professional violinist in an orchestra and on almost full scholarship to a prestigious small private college. She entered college with eight credits she earned in her History IB work as she preformed stellar on the world history IB exam. Soren is a PROFESSIONAL actor- the youngest ever at one company, who has now worked with six different professional companies, mostly theater ( exceptions being one of which was Reading Rainbow and another for Fisher Price as he sang "Head, Shoulder's, Knees and Toes" which was recorded for a toddler toy.) Soren also now has a job as a PRODUCER for a TV show in his city! ( REALLY! He made a movie, won an award at a local film festival and was "discovered" as a budding prodigy.) This kid is not even out of High School! These are the children I RAISED until their step father PUNCHED Katerina in the head. So there is NO QUESTION in my mind that I have parenting skills. For the Loudoun Schools to act like my getting the kids late will impact them adversely the REST OF THEIR LIVES is in question when one looks at the success of my two oldest who were late AS OFTEN when with the SAME mother with the SAME challenges and limitation. In fact Katerina was late MORE OFTEN than the 2nd grader in the same class with the same teacher, but that same teacher had neither concern about that or recollection of such when inquired of her on cross examination. The school NEVER raised the issue of lateness with Katerina and Soren OR with Pocohontas' daughter either who was also late. They only raised the issue after my EX HUSBAND made it an issue. That is something I TAKE ISSUE WITH as I don't see OTHER parents' being sent to court when I DO see other parents' dropping off their kids consistently late by just a few moments!
I was RARELY on time for school myself. My loving Dad supportively would drive me after I ran out the door with a wet head to catch the bus and sheepishly came back having missed it. We followed the bus route and caught it en route and I would pick it up in the next neighborhood on the good days. That was once or twice a week. On the bad days I lost something ( homework, an alarm clock, my mind...) and ran LATER and he would drive me the 30 minutes to the private High School I attended.
The dean of my high school figured out after the second year of me being sent to the dean's office for being lost in the hall, skipping a class, confused thinking it was ONE day rather than ANOTHER ( We had A through F days and when I ran in late and asked "What day is it today" the girls must have found humor in telling me the wrong one. It took twenty years before that dawned on me and I realized I had been picked on way back when!),that I WAS NOT ON DRUGS and she really needn't worry about me but rather I was just NATURALLY challenged with organization, time management, and memory and directions.
I don't think the understanding of ADHD was well developed then, at least not in upper middle class Long Island.
Upper middle class is the kind of environment where actual problems are IGNORED and everyone PRETENDS they don't exist rather than actually addressing them. Its a WASP New England thing perhaps, and I think comes from the fact that NO MATTER WHAT the trouble when one is privileged they are blessed with other safety nets, coping mechanisms and skills and resources to COMPENSATE without actually NAMING and ACKNOWLEDGING any ACTUAL issues and concerns.
God forbid the idea of MENTAL ILLNESS be suggested!
That would just not be socially acceptable at the country club! So therefore it shall not be uttered!
Instead lots of wine and other "Self Medicating" substances were consumed I am sure. The housewives had valium in the 70s.
Now keep in mind I grew up in SUBURBAN Long Island. Long Islanders like to PRETEND they are New Yorkers from "THE City",because of course to them there is only ONE city. But we really were NOT at all similar to those from New York City as the time in which I grew up going to a shrink was en vogue.
Annie Hall makes me think that was so in NYC in the late 70s early 80s.
I love Annie Hall. It is a movie I appreciate all the more now that I have experienced being neurotic.
Just got a call from sweet attorney who was so wonderful to listen to me spew for the past hour or more. ( He said it was more.)
I told him "$100 an hour. That is what a shrink gets, so I will take you out to dinner at a French Restaurant, OK? This time I will treat."
"More than fair" was his response.
I said "It might be a few months though.
It is now 10:41 pm and after two hours of writing and talking to friend I feel fine. The glass of wine helped relax and amazingly the headache I had all day long is GONE.
See what a few tannins can do?
They say SEX helps headaches! REALLY! There was an article on that indicating that women who used that as the traditional excuse to not imbibe are out of luck now. Men might be more lucky as if their wives say "Not tonight honey, I have a headache" the guy can respond
"All the more reason to get it on!"
I have court tomorrow.
It is being asked that I be thrown in jail.
Considering that I didn't have energy and time to get the financials for the interrogatories together today as I HAD TO WORK! ( It was a GOOD day! I drafted one contract amendment and edited three service orders from our engineers), I decided I had better take care of planting of bulbs I didn't yet get to.
If I am thrown in jail I want those bulbs to be growing in the ground rather than the fridge.
Can you just imagine what me being thrown in jail could potentially do for the cause of women leaving domestic violence situations getting justice in the courts??
I think if I am throw in jail it is potentially be most sensational action that could call attention to the fact that our court system is BROKEN when it comes to providing safety and protection from harm and harassment to women who are being abused.
If an abused wife can seek help from the court and then have an order of protection thrown out on "judicial discretion" deemed OK when that discretion was that EVIDENCE and a WITNESS of a RESPONDING SHERIFF prepared to testify to abuse of CHILDREN were not to be heard as the judge uttered "I am not hearing any more witnesses. I have heard from the parties and that is enough. You don't need to be in my court seeking an order of protection , you need to be in divorce court" can happen in our system, and the WIFE then is ordered TO PAY THE HUSBAND'S LEGAL FEES-- THERE IS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH OUR SYSTEM.
If we FIX our broken system so women are not AFRAID to go to court because going to court will then be used as a TOOL FOR CONTINUED ABUSE
Well, then , I will be PROUD to go off to jail in the hope of making a difference for at least one other woman and child.
I am not dead. I am quite alive and doing very well. I might be late this month on my mortgage and I might be behind on paying my EX HUSBAND'S COURT ORDERED THAT I PAY legal fees, and I might be an ADHD BI POLAR WOMAN who struggles DAILY with Mental Health and paranoia which is a result of PTSD from having been a severely emotionally as well as sometimes physically abused woman WHO STILL navigates the abuse of my children ( who are terrified of defying DAD), BUT I AM ALIVE AND OVERALL WELL!
I am PROUD to be sustaining my job, despite challenges and tremendous effort in order to be AVERAGE in some regards.
As an EA told me which I am so grateful for "YOU ARE CERTAINLY NOT AVERAGE", and as an office manager in a place I once worked told me " YOUR AMAZING! Your accomplishments are remarkable" I truly believe that rather than be condemned by the courts I should be looked at with admiration at what I have accomplished.
I left an abusive husband. I had the courage and conviction that I WILL LIVE WITH DIGNITY BECAUSE I DARE ( sing along with me please with the notes to the song from Rent when they sing about dying from AIDS with dignity)
I had a fantasy of just responding in the court room with song.
I think the world is always happier with music. Songs can be healing.
I think of ART who listened to me sing YEARS AGO now and told me it was a BAD IDEA that as lovely as it was the court would just think me crazy.
Too bad that music as a means of communication would be seen by anyone as CRAZY.
Perhaps that is what is wrong with the world and our court system. Any HONEST expression is not ACCEPTABLE and our social norms and procedural constraints then accept LIES that are presented in the proper "form".
So tonight, I am doing what I feel is the BEST use of my time for preparation. I have nurtured my soul. I have written, I have talked to a friend and lover who loves me, and I have enjoyed some red wine and chocolate- and now I am going to GARDEN.
I am going to affirm life. I am going to affirm LOVE. The most wonderful moment of yesterday was when I read an Alice Walker poem to the girls, and later on, when I asked Alexy to pick out a bedtime story she came to me and handed me Alice Walker's book. It almost made me cry it was so beautiful. I had read " I Will Keep Broken Things"
The trouble with our courts is that they do not understand LOVE. LOVE necessitates that we keep broken things.
And that it is in fact, those broken things, and those broken relationships, and those broken people who are at times the most valuable of all.
Really because I VALUE MYSELF and I WILL LIVE WITH DIGNITY and I think I DESERVE to go shopping for food for a change rather than rely on the food bank now in this economy, I CHOOSE to prioritize buying food and buying some clothes for a RARE CHANGE rather than paying my EX HUSBAND's Lawyer bill to defend himself with lies after he was abusive to me and our children.It is not really that I think I DESERVE to be able to go grocery shopping with my hard earned money, but I do so now because I think it UNETHICAL to use the resources of the food bank when I earn so much. Yet if I pay ALL the lawyers I have NO MONEY left for food after rent and legal bills. And I DID go to a food pantry this year, but after that thought "ENOUGH. Other's don't even have JOBS! I am NOT accepting this help which could go to someone WORSE OFF when I am working" so I went to the store instead of paying lawyers.
My court ordered payments in the aggregate were $1200 a month! I am proud I did pay off the law guardian in full and a large chunk of my attorney as well as my FIRST attorney in full. I have done VERY WELL and am proud of the accomplishment financially.
So now, the one last thing which I am going to do before bed is an affirmation of love and live.
I do not choose to allow my spirit to be squlched by anyone or anything who attempts to destroy my happiness.
I am going to plant bulbs which my sister in law put at the place of each of the guests at her and my brother's wedding reception. We may have missed the ceremony but WE DID arrive in time for the party. It was just wonderful!
I am now going to delight in turning over the loose soil and covering each bulb full of potential with the blanket that will protect through the winter.
I look forward to the Spring when the shoots come up and remind us all that despite hardship and bitter days, there will be warmth and sun which causes us to swell and grow and burst forth anew.
I am so proud to have a beautiful and happy home where love is dominant and nurturing is present for growth and that blossoming to occur.
I have no doubt it will continue,not solely for me but for all my children.
For I understand love.
And I will keep broken things.
Tomorrow I will think of that as despite my respectful civil disobedience in not having paid off in full yet the court ordered payments to my ex husband for his attorney fees, I will stand without bitterness attesting to that which I have paid ( that which I could afford) and that despite the terrible BROKENNESS of our judicial system, I pay that which is unconscionable out of respect and love for that liberty and freedom and justice our court strives to attain understanding that like each human, our system is fallible yet still beautiful and to not only be honored but ENJOYED.
So tomorrow, my challenge is to find the joy in the moment as I go to court. I am sure I will recognize it when I see it. Sometimes all that it takes to recognize something is to make a point of looking at it carefully. If we are not deliberate we so easily can overlook and miss the significance, and subsequently the JOY of things. Tomorrow I will not miss such moments. I also hope however that those around me ALSO choose to be deliberate in their careful viwing and consideration of what they see. They just might realize they have not been careful and deliberate enough, and have been missing much- including seeing the joy right before them as they are only seeking and looking for that which is broken without any understanding that it is the broken, which may in fact be most valuable.