2005-08-11 - 11:48 a.m.
I returned last night from Buffalo and when I stopped at a gas station 30 miles from Syracuse to fill up the car when was reading EMPTY, I realized I ONCE AGAIN had lost my credit card! I found two dollars in change and put that little gas in the tank . I then was ableto make it into Syracuse. I however didn't want the car to stop dead in the middle of the street somewhere, so I prayed as I headed to a gas station.
It was 11:30 pm when I stopped the car at BJS (since we recently joined, they were convienintly close to where I was, and they have the cheapest gas!) I then called my husband to help. So he got out of bed, got the two girls who were home with him and they went to another ACTUALLY OPENED gas station and put some in a gas can and came and put it in my car. I had initially failed to notice that the BJs station was closed! The empty parking lot devoid of anything should have been a hint but I missed that!
Then after being home unpacking the car I came across Soren's medicine for an ear infection! I had it as he was with me visiting and I was asked to give it to him every four hours! (Ear drops) There was also all the other medicines for hypocondriac illness fears in the big ziplock: An epi pen which he ridiculously carries everywhere since last summer's flare up at Grandpa and Grandma's in Philly where I am sure he was allergic to their dog's dander. He is a dramtic kid, so I am sure he wasn't really at risk of dying of anaphylatic shock- -but was exhibiting ANXIETY at having asthma, and asthma itself which indeed is worsened by anxiety! When with us he would have allergies, but not to that extent as no one got HYSTERICAL and hyper about them so he was CALM and then we'd give him benadryl and it worked! Not that he shouldn't be TREATED for it- I think he should, but asthma treatment might be in order rather than fear of death inducing anaphylatic shock and an epi-pen as they treat him like a fragile child which I am sure is not great for his psycological health. Anyway, the night before when I had visited with Soren I ALSO forgot to drop off the medicine when I took him home that night and had to go back to return it! So I feel like an idiot. There is no way I could possibly drive back there today to return it. Just not possible- the car is in fact being registered in NY today and Westely is now using it to pick up drywall for the next house project phase . That's for getting another bedroom functional. (We have been all using only two bedrooms in this house thus far.) So I called AMEX and a new car is en route. I went to the post office and attempted to mail the medication OVERNIGHT delivery via COD. I feel like an idiot to not even have the capability of paying a stupid FED EX or Mail cost to ship it ASAP! Westley is being an ass about it. HE said "It's his responsibility. He can go re-fill the prescription, and it will cost him the same as you mailing it. You won't get it there in time for him to get the continuation of doses anyway, so he'll have to do that. " Further he made it analogous to when a kid leaves medication at camp. Its the parent who dropped the kid and the kid's medicine off who had the responsibility, not the camp who is responsible to get forgotten items back to the kid. What an ass! We then actually had a discussion of divorce which we do rather often! But we again weighed all the costs of that and I STILL agree that even when he is an ass that though it sucks I am still better off for the sake of us all to do my best in the situation. Maybe the ass will develop some empathy today and spring for the $14 to mail Soren's medicine. Maybe he'll realize that would be the right thing to do. I did however also have the insight that I do things like this ALL THE TIME. So in looking at my accountability and responsibility it made me think of the Ritalin question. I DO THINK it would be fantastic to not have what I can understand is considered cloudy thinking. When in trial this week at one point they talked about how if we don't settle the next date couldn't be until Sept. Now KAterina has been going to SCHOOL all summer for her awesome program. Soren just had this first week off since THEATER SCHOOL. So in that moment in the court my BRAIN actually was thinking of how THE SCHOOL YEAR IS NOW ENDING... and if I have to wait UNTIL NEXT FALL it would just suck. I swear I was THINKING it was JUNE and the end of the school year! NOW JUST HOW THE HELL does confusion like that happen to me CONSTANTLY when I initially hear something? In that case the thought of three month wait and the fact I was being pressured AS IF THERE WAS SOME UNGENCY then made me more open to settlement. Then in the so called trial, which was really only a whole afternoon of pushing me to settle and AVOIDING trial, the question of child support came up. I will just enter a letter I don't think actually was received via e-mail as it was bounced back, and my printer is shot (AND I REFUSED WESTELY's OFFER TO BUY ME ONE A WEEK OR SO AGO AND SAID THAT WAS INSULTING THAT HE'S DO THAT BUT NOT GIVE ME MONEY FOR GAS TO SEE SOREN'S SHOW!! I SAID I DIDN'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE PRINTER AND CARED DEEPLY ABOUT WANTING TO SEE THE SHOW AND THAT I WOULD CONTINUE TO USE THE LIBRARY PRINTER!!) So this letter was done at 7:30 am but not yet out. I am tired. I am worn out. I felt like my spirit was attacked over the course of the trial that did ensue on MON (It was Tue that it was soley the avoidance of trial and badgering of me to settle) I DID settle thinking that I just had to as I felt better that the judge actually had HEARD me artulate all the points I wanted made already (and she was still committed to her initial reaction after hearing what the kids want. Although she vowed to continue with full trial and consider all....) Basically on MONDAY I was barred fron entering any evidence I attempted to bring forth. That was a weak point in college and a good reason for BAR EXAM failure. . . But that was BALANCED by me doing what I am proud was a KICK ASS JOB of cross examining the EXPERT TESTIMONY of the Psycologist. Actually the whole thing started off pretty interesting. At the PREVIOUS HEARING weeks back, the opposing counsel initially tried to be slick and motioned to "Stipulate" the psychologist report IMMIDIATELY at the onset of the trial - BEFORE HE DID ANYTHING ELSE. HE thought I was CLUELESS to the extent that would get by me! I may not know procedure, and suck at the jardgon, and not know the laws of evidence etc.. . but I am still pretty quick to see BULLSHIT and attempts to be slick and responded well. So I said "I WANT TO CALL THE Dr. to the stand" So on Monday I thought the trial started off on VERY STRONG note for me as I also noted BULL SHIT and my BS MONITIOR was on and I was assertive and addressed it. In the previous hearing I WAS THE ONE TO SAY I WANTED THE PSYchologist who had been COURT ORDERED as an Unbiased EXPERT WITNESS to the stand. The judge responded that I had the right to not only read the full report, but call her to the stand AND SAID THEY WOULD CONTACT HER TO SEE WHAT HER AVAILABILITY IS. So on Mon, I was there just about an hour early- I figured early enought to scan her report and be ready. I actually was confident I didn't even REALLY NEED TO READ the report as it was clear from the synopsis given by my attny that the problem with it was its OMISSION of information about my EX's mental illness.( The synopsis was ALL AN ATTNY IS ALLOWED TO SHARE! ONLY BECAUSE PRO SE COULD I NOW READ THE WHOLE THING) So as I am preparing in the waiting area, I see the "EXPERT PSYCHOLOGIST" arrive, and the opposing counsel greet her and they start to head into a conference room. I go over and say hello, and indicate I have a concern about the propriety of that as I in fact am the one who called her to trial! We then had a debate about WHOSE witness she was! THe opposing counsel asked if I soupened her, and I Said "No- DID YOU" and he said "No - we had an undersanding so it wasn't needed" and I said "Well, she has willfully shown up, so I likewise had no need to sopena her" It was really hysterical. I LOVED it. AVOIDING BS and ALSO DOING A DAMN FINE JOB OF PRESERVING MY RIGHT TO AN APPEAL. So we had to all go in and the judge had to hear the dispute. She determined that the course of the trial was that it was first the petitioner who was to present the case and in this case if he wanted to call the Court ordered expert pschologist as a witness he could do so. The arbiter said it was not an impropriety for the counsel to meet her first. She then said likewise I as the respondent could then ALSO call her, however that may be redundant as I would have the opportunity for cross examination. I agreed that her taking the stand and then me cross examining was acceptable and sufficient and I didn't feel the need to keep her involved after that, but I was mainly questioning the propriety of the other counsel meeting with her- an expert who is ostensibly supposed to be IMPARTIAL and investigating on behalf of THE COURT, by himself and using him as in effect HIS witness. She said it was not improper. Hmmm... family court is indeed a strange beast. But I still felt like it was a STRONG START on my part REGARDLESS of the fact it likely set me up as DIFFICULT and didn't make them too happy. I think it established that I wasn't going to be walked all over in the trial and that being PRO SE wasn't a reason for the opposing counsel to try to be sneaky with me as he wouldn't succeed. So when trial then did resume the EXPERT took the stand. Interesting they did that first to get her finished first. I think I did EXCEPTIONALLY well with that part of the trial. She basically said a bunch of VERY STUPID things that would make it VERY EASY to establish that despite her experience, her judgement is not infallible. The highlights: She could not tell the instructions of the MMPI I think it wouldn't be too hard to establish if she wasn't even familiar with the INSTRUCTIONS of how the test taker is to take the test, that ignorance could also inform HOW SHE INTERPERTS the results. (IN fact I have an incredible argument I don't want to write here.... but to be clear I established all the premises for the argument which would render her assessments and conclusions worthless in a court! Hey my years on the debate team, studying philosophy and law were not entered into after all because I have always been good at THAT aspect of crafting logically sound and compelling arguments. Procedural flubs and awkwardness and my scatterbrained lack of knowledge of the LOGISTICAL elements of cases in the end are really secondary to the substance of arguments! And I have some SOUND arguments. I also managed to not give away my arguments by doing a great job of the HARDEST THING OF ALL FOR ME: I cut myself off and targeted my questions only to the arguments I believe are the winning ones. I established what was needed and didn't waste time on other ancillary less important points. I focused on RESTORING My credibility which was in fact ATTACKED by her analysis of me, and I focused on her OMISSIONS of not investigating who Mr. XXXXXXXX is. I basically deceided not to ATTACK in my case but to DEFEND and render the arguments being made against me as NOT COMPELLING. IN her presentation then THE PSYCHOLOGIST herself ESTABLISHED the negatives of Mr. XXXXXXX while trying to herself minimize them. I think however her establishing of his issues was MORE compelling than her minimizing of them! My favorite moment: Me asking: "IS it conceivable that a person who has been diagnosed with BI Polar Disorder could EVER have a diagnosis revoked" She said "Are you asking if a person with bi-polar can function normally? YES" I reiterated that was not the question. I said It is known that with medication and consitent treatment a person with Bi-Polar can function. But I reiterated the ? of whether one with the diagnosis ever no longer is considered to HAVE the illness such that a diagnosis could be REVOKED She said "Yes" I asked "Have you observed this in your personal experience?" "Yes" "How many times" "I don't know" I think that was when I felt like my cross EXamination was done! I mean REALLY, who would EVER believe that when it is SO CONTRARY to pretty common knowledge of Bi-Polar Illness. I also asked if she contacted my Ex's Dr. She said "No" I asked "WHY Not?" She said "It was not necessary." I'd venture to say it would be VERY HARD to find ANYONE else who would espouse that a person being Bi POLAR is something that should not be investigated fully by a Psychologist doing an assessment of a person. So I think it is CLEARLY remiss for an EXPERT to just MINIMIZE that diagnosis and NOT REALLY EVALUATE how my EX HAS AND IS MANAGING HIS ILLNESS, but could possibly act like it is not an issue worthy of investigating further! I guess after all the trial that did get heard I felt like the COURT actually HEARD my story. I think a huge factor in my choosing to settle, despite my believe I in fact DO HAVE A STRONG CASE as I am convinced the court would not meet the criteria of proving ME an unfit parent, is that to REALLY HAVE A CHANCE OF WINNING THIS CASE I would have to ATTACK my EX to such a degree, continue to undergo assault of my character- which wears at a person, and The most important piece of all, I would have to ADDRESS my children's exaggerations out of their REAL fears. I didn't like that when I was trying to manage the case TUE, when I picked up Soren and it was really hard for me to switch from the LEGAL HAT of acting like a lawer to mommy mode. That was the moment that the case started to affect MY ABILITY to be there for the kids in the best way possible-- and I don't ever want this legal case to be a DIVICIVE thing for my relationship with the children. When the judge pushed the point by asking at one point "Are you saying your children are lying?" after I asserted the facts and she said what the children alleged and they are so VASTLY different- I realized to REALLY ADDRESS THAT would be at a horrible emotional expense. In particular I think Katerina really already APOLOGIZED to me in her own way. I think I UNDERSTAND why she and Soren really did feel so threatened that they would exaggerate. The feel the tenuous nature of their Father's commitment to them. They sense the fragile state of his health in the past, and they know the difference now when he REALLY DOES appear to be healthy for perhaps the first time in years. I also ACKNOWLEDGED that he has indeed demonstrated he can be a good parent for them, and that they are indeed happy. I did try to remind the court thought that is not the issue. I had to remind them I HAVE BEEN THE CUSTODIAL PARENT and the real issue is whether MY RIGHTS should be taken away I really think that custody battles themselves by their nature attack all parties SPIRIT to such a degree, and attack CHARACTER, and assault INTEGRITY and ESTEEM and are environments that are ultimately damaging to all involved. But for the fact my children WANT TO BE WITH THEIR DAD, I might continue the fight out of FEAR of what could be. I realized I don't want to be making choices BASED ON FEAR of my unknown of what their FAther will give or not give them. The whole case was instituted based on fear of unknown. I think I need to be a more stable and more reasonable person in this and have discernment that there is little point to continuing a case which would only feed off of fear and facilitate fear and mistrust, and would be motivated in fact by MY FEAR. And I think I need to focus on what I CAN Do and what I DO KNOW ABOUT AND CAN CONTROL to improve all of our lives and relationships. In the end, that always comes down to the same thing: MYSELF And when I had SO MANY MOMENTS of having organizational flubs, confusion because of all the excess stimuli/ stuff I had trouble remembering and organizing etc... then I thought again of my biggest PERSONAL issue. So again I am thinking about the merits of ritalin ( or whatever they now prescribe to adults) and this time I think I am ready to actually find out more about it. Maybe its time for my diagnosis! And I will work on EACH individual relationship, and the family as a whole as it now is-- albeit changed. So I felt pretty much at peace. BUT THEN I dropped off the kids at their Grandmother's best friend's house for the 2nd night in a row. Their Grandmother broke her leg on MONDAY! HEr friend has been helping alot and JOSE apparently is no longer a sitter. I mentioned to the kids as I was intending to leave to empty the de-humidifier in the basement when at their grandmother's house so it remains healthy and not moldy. They whined and complained. Grandmom's best fried joined in and told them off for BEING LAZY and not helping with chores!! Hmmm..... they were EXPOSED! I talked with them telling them I am disappointed and EXPECT MORE. I reiterated what they USED TO DO and told them that now they are THE ONLY ONES to do it all there! I told them they SHOULD DO MORE in NY! There is no one else to pick it if they don't! They looked pretty damn guilty. I was reminded what this is also motivated by for them. They hoped to AVOID normal responsibility. And I realized I settled BEFORE getting the SOCIAL WORKERS report STIPULATED. SHE THOUGHT THAT WAS ALL THIS WAS ABOUT! She said that there WAS NOT AN EMERGENCY In our home and furthermore- and I quote: "Discipline should be left to parents to work out and administer,respecting that there are in fact cultural differences in what is accepted. In this case I have found hitting did occur, in spanking used as discipline, and with a household of six children may in fact not only be acceptable but NECESSARY." That was THE LAST CONCLUDING LINE OF HER REPORT!!! In some ways I was ready to settle after I read that. I FELT VINDICATED reading her report! OH and SHE KNEW OF THE FACTS of the INCIDENTS WHICH WERE IN FACT ABUSIVE DISCIPLINE GONE OVERBOARD-- like everyone else. The difference was SHE RECOGNIZED THEY WERE FEW AND NOT THE NORM AND SHE BELIEVED in the COUNSELING PROCESS. SHE TOO believed and told me in a rhetorical question: "WHAT FAMILY IS NOT DYSFUNCTIONAL?" But she was VERY CONCERNED with the SAFETY and HEALTH of the kids and concerned WITH THE PERMISSIVE ATTITUDE of parenting in NY which she saw as a GREATER threat to them! So when I awoke this morning I did think "Hey- don't you have 48 hrs in which you may revoke a contract before it becomes binding in NY?" My fear was stimulated! So I made one last effort Thinking it just might have been a mistake from being so exhausted, but also maybe the best when I settled for the reasons above. I don't want to be conflicted about it. But I tried one last effort to be sure one issue I WASN't feeling resolved about WAS REALLY heard by the judge! MY E-MAIL BOUNCED. I haven't the energy to continue trial when I HONESTLY think it in the best interest not to. I'll post one more posting of my now theraputic letter as it didn't go though, we had stuff to do today, and I want to LIVE life other than only act in lawyer mode. After that next entry I hope I can now put this behind us all and move forward accepting what is and doing the best we all can! So I'll send some postcards reminding the kids to help clean Grandmom's basement of the recycles and to empty the de-humidifier.