Expeditor

No idea when life got so busy…but it has lately.

My divorce is final, the papers arrived in the mail on Saturday last week. FINALLY FINAL.

Custody is legally and physically 50/50 which means we are both granted equal decision making and parenting time with the boys. We were also ordered a parenting time expeditor which is a person who will make decisions on the boys behalf that is in their best interests. Although I believe that what I ask of the expeditor will eventually be the outcome, the fact of having to go through a mediator to make simple decisions is so unbelievably childish in my opinion.

First up…summer vacation. The boys are finished school today and I have requested (for over a month now) to change the visitation schedule from weekly to biweekly (two weeks with each parent). This cuts down on transitions for the boys and allows for easier scheduling and such.

To date I have received no answer. I keep getting “I’ll think about it” from their dad. Today I sent the request to the expeditor. He will review my request and then contact the ex for his response. We also have to PAY for this service…billed in 10 minute increments at $150/hr. Anybody else see the ridiculousness of the situation? We have to pay a stranger $150/hr to make decisions on how the kids should spend the summer???

It will be nice to have a third party involved…maybe I am completely off base when it comes to what is right/reasonable for the boys. I’m willing to be told that from a neutral party. I also have a significant request I will go straight to him with as I know the other parent will vehemently deny that idea. That will get extremely ugly…not looking forward to that.

The expeditor has the ability to make binding decisions…it can only mean great things for the boys.

 

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The Last Supper

Ok, maybe I’m being a little overly dramatic…I mean they will be back next weekend. Realistically I know they need to see their dad, they need to see that their grandma is okay. Looking at the statistics, her five-year survival rate is about 20%. Knowing what I do about the situation and her self-care to this point, I think that number is high.

I am confident that my boys have learned some very valuable lessons in the last month. One that they will struggle with when they go home is financial priorities. Instead of ‘we can’t afford it’ for everything (their dad’s go-to answer for anything that is not his top priority) we look at the budget and we make a plan.

The boys and I take an annual trip to Minneapolis for three or four days of awesomeness. We are not sure if we can take it this year. A lot of our financial decisions right now hinge on what the judge has to say on Tuesday. The original reason for us going back to court is Mr. Ex is asking to the judge to amend the order that says he is to pay me $500.00 in spousal support. This opened the door for us to ask for to amend the custody and visitation. If nothing changes, and he is still required to pay me the spousal support, he is already nearly $2000.00 behind. Although I understand this won’t be paid in a lump sum, it will allow me some security knowing my savings can be built back up fairly quickly.

So for now, our trip is off and that’s okay. Everybody has to make sacrifices during divorce. Maybe instead of Minneapolis we can save up and go somewhere else…the possibilities are nearly endless. Our financial future is okay. We will have many more trips, many more experiences. Money can’t buy happiness…but it sure buys nice shoes and pretty jewlery.

Unexpectedly having the boys for a month with no financial support has drained what little savings I had left after spending my first month out of the house living in a hotel, then paying the damage deposit for the apartment and the utility deposit. I am seriously considering cutting off the cable and internet at home just to save the $90 and build my savings up even faster. Not having a financial safety net is very difficult for me. I crave that security of knowing I can get through a crisis such as the one I just faced. If the tables had been turned on Mr. Ex, it would have destroyed him. I can’t live with that uncertainty…did I mention I will need new tires on my vehicle by winter? lol

With them going home (Friday now is the day) I am going to see if I can work some double shifts next week to make up for some of the hours I missed this week plus I have to miss Tuesday for the court hearing. I would like to have at least 40 hours on my paycheck. The paycheck I get tomorrow will cover all my fixed expenses for July. Maybe I will even work Sunday afternoon…we will see. I need to just spend some time taking care of myself as well.

Did I mention I could really use a manicure and pedicure, a full body massage, and a sugar scrub? Yes, some regular pampering is what I need.  I know once life is settled down a bit I will make time in my schedule and room in the budget for these things, because I enjoy them. Maybe…if I’m lucky…my boyfriend will just start buying me gift certificates for such things 😉 haha

It is Time

Time to reflect back on my time with the boys. It has been a magical time for all of us. Even under the financial strain, we have managed to make many fun memories. We also made it with out breaking the budget.

I first and foremost need to thank my girlfriend, her husband, and their children. They have been providing child care…but much more than that…they are providing love, stability, and nurturing to B1 and B2. They have gone above and beyond for me and my kids. Without them we would have starved (although to hear B2 tell it, she doesn’t feed him anyway!! LOL) I am trying to come up with a way to repay what has been more than generosity…besides Rum for the dad…he’s easy!!

Their father has again extended the length of his absence. He is now looking at sometime in the middle of next week for returning…my brain hurts trying to wrap my head around his reasoning. I know that this leads me nowhere and I’m best to just move beyond it; the issue is that not only do my boys life hang in the balance, my life does as well. I cannot move beyond what I do not know and, as such, I can only live in today…and getting through another day…another week…another schedule change.

Last night we went to the library for a little while and it was story hour (I didn’t know, just good timing on our part). They were reading a book and then they were going to make Father’s Day cards. Here’s how the conversations went (both boys were at different areas of the library when I talked to each of them.

Me: Awesome, your dad will love that!! We can even mail them and he can get them at his hotel!!

B1: When is Father’s Day

Me: This Sunday

B1: So he’s not even going to be here?

Me: It doesn’t look like it but you can still send him cards.

B1: Nah, I don’t want to.

Me: Ok, well, if you change your mind just let me know.

~~~

Me: Hey Bum, they are gonna read a story and then make cards for Father’s Day.

B2: No thanks.

Me: Are you sure? The book is called “My Dad is Great” and Father’s Day is on Sunday so if you make the card tonight we can mail them tomorrow so he gets it on time.

B2: No thanks, I’m not interested.

I’m sure many divorced/divorcing parents at this point would shout out a huge BOO-YAH as a claimed victory…not me. My heart sank. My boys are emotionally pulling away from their father. It’s only been two weeks.

The hardest part is going to be when they go home…they are going to have to readjust to his way of raising them (which is not child focused) and learn to be second class citizens again. I believe that there will be some serious regression at that time for both of them, but B1 especially. I’m not sure about B2. He’s young enough that bouncing back and forth is almost ‘fun’ for him. He gets the best of both worlds…and it’s all about him.

A few of the things that have happened over the last two weeks with my boys:

  1. We ‘tattooed’ each other (literally head to toe) with washable markers one evening (I still have some on my arm…thankfully the big letters on my forehead washed off).
  2. We ‘experienced’ Jiffy Pop.
  3. Fishing with their ‘Grandpa G’ (my girlfriend’s husband’s dad) and saw mom TOUCH a fish!!
  4. Library (and signed up for the summer reading program) .
  5. Mini golf (I won…I can say that here because they don’t read this and can’t tell you how bad I sucked).
  6. Church.
  7. Community fun night (twice).
  8. Boys learned how to wash dishes by hand (which means we then had enough water on the kitchen floor to wash it…twice).
  9. We purchased and assembled our dining room table and chairs.
  10. A couple of trips to Dairy Queen.
  11. We bought AND USED our new vacuum…it works quite well.
  12. My fridge has been colored to the EXTREME (at least 4 times) with the same washable marker mentioned in #1.

We truly have made the most of our situation. We are so blessed to be in tune with each other…we are a team…but I am still the coach who gets the final say.

Thank you to everybody who has checked in with us and who has helped or offered to help in various ways. Your kindness has meant the word to all of us.

Time

I believe that my boys deserve to spend every possible minute with their parents right now. They are so wounded, so hurt, so confused, so lost. In my opinion, they need us more now than they ever have at any point in their lives.

I call to talk my boys nearly every day, even if it’s for a quick two minute phone call. Thursday this week I am going to repeat how I spent last week…going to school with the boys. They are excited, I am excited.

Their father, on the other hand, is less than thrilled. He had his lawyer send mine a letter regarding his ‘concerns’ that I am spending time with the boys when I do not have ‘parenting time’ scheduled. Who complains that a parent WANTS to spend time with the kids?

THIS is the person I am dealing with. He cannot see beyond his own issues to take care of the needs of our children. When he was living outside the home, I reminded the boys to call him daily. Never once did I complain about them wanting to spend time with their dad. Quite the opposite, I encouraged it. More than once I even made sure to send food with them when they had concerns that maybe dad wouldn’t have anything to make them for lunch. I could have told them it wasn’tm y problem, but it WAS my problem if it was a concern of theirs…so I did what I could to make sure it was ok…a box of mac and cheese, a can of ravioli, soup…if it gave them one less thing to worry about, I did it. I worked very hard to make sure that every interaction with their dad was possitive, that the transitions were seamless, that they had every right to be excited about spending time with him , and that it was ok to miss him when they came home.

THAT is my job…I have no hatred towards their father. My job, from the day they were concieved, is to co-parent with this person until my last breath. I cannot promise to do this for the rest of their lives, but I swear I WILL do it for the rest of mine…

I may end up back in court after spending the day in school with the boys. This is a risk I am willing to take. I will continue to spend every minute I can with my boys, every opportunity will be granted to them. If this is wrong in the eyes of the family court, then I will take my punishment as ordered.

Pray for my kids,  for them to understand that we grow through suffering. Pray for peace in their hearts that God has a plan for them, and it is a good plan, it is the right plan.