Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snow Days... and Days..

Maybe we didn't have a White Christmas, but there's been plenty of the white stuff before and after around here. Yesterday was the beginning of the Spring semester, and morning classes went ahead despite the winter storm warning from 10AM forward. The regular schools were canceled, and so was day care, but I didn't want to miss my first class. And even though it took me 3 hours to get home (normal commute at that time would be around 20 minutes), I am glad I didn't miss the information our professor shared. It was essential. Unfortunately, she made it clear she expects us to show up with our books at the next class; and since the bookstore was closed when I got to it after class was dismissed, and remains closed (along with the rest of the campus) today, I don't see how that will be possible. Not to mention the last of the book allowance has STILL not been posted to my account as of today; and if my receipt is dated prior to the posting date, the money will be withdrawn again. Ugh. I think I will just try to get there early, hope there isn't the huge crowd typical for the first day of classes, and purchase only the books for that class until my allowance comes through. Maybe she will be understanding of the delay.

Little Bear has been having issues at school. I finally emailed his teacher since he refused to say what was wrong. She said he had just been generally more disruptive and inattentive the past week, and it was getting out of hand. She wanted him to do a writing assignment at recess, and he says he didn't know what to write; the end of it was, he refused to write it and refuses to go back to school. Since Whiz Kid had the same teacher for 1st grade, I know her pretty well and I'm confident that her expectations are reasonable and fair. I kept him home Friday since it was going to be a long weekend, hoping he would feel better after the holiday. But that didn't work out.

The next two days have been snow days, so he hasn't had to go back yet. I'm worried about tomorrow though. I know this has to do with his dad, but he refuses to discuss it. His counselor thinks that he's reached his limit of what he can hear about he father, and feels guilty for being angry, so he's looking for other reasons to be angry. He's been lashing out viciously at Whiz Kid for mocking him, and even though Whiz Kid totally brings it on himself, it's still not acceptable to attack your brother like a wild animal. We had a talk the other night that seems to have improved his overall attitude, but hasn't changed his mind about going back to school. Ugh.

Whiz Kid turned 9 this weekend. This I'm sure contributes to Little Bear's issues, since he feels like his brother is always being celebrated and fawned over. The in-laws and ex-dad contribute to this, which angers me. But it is what it is. Anyhow, the children's godmother and her husband took us all to see "Frozen" in celebration. It was great. I highly recommend it. Several people in the ex-fundamentalist homeschooling circle have pointed out its recognition of the harm done by being told you must repress your emotions, be a facade dictated by others; in short, reject who you were created to be in favor of what someone else decided God meant to create you to be. I can SOOOOO relate to those feelings. And I still relate to the feeling of needing a place to stretch my wings and find out who I am away from all the people who can't handle seeing that I don't fit the niche they had me in.

Lately my mom has started bringing the dog into he room at night so he doesn't bark. I've been wanting them to do that for a long time, since no amount of vitamins or energy boosters can make up for the lack of sleep that creature occasions. And today, for the first time in months at least, I actually feel like I have energy! And I can remember things I need to do! Whoohoo! It's great to know that I can NOT drink coffee in the morning if I want. And that I will make it through the day if I forget my supplement. I think this semester will be much easier than previous ones if they continue to keep him in.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Skylander Comparisons: or, How does this kid perceive things?!

Little Bear loves Skylanders. He has fought hard about my decision to get rid of them. Since my major complaint is the level of violence in the game, I recently realized that he wants to play with the figurines in his hands a lot more than he wants to play with them in the virtual world of the game. So I decided to let him keep the figures he likes, but we will still get rid of the game.

Of course, now he wants me to go right on collecting the figures for him. No way. I think they are creepy and a waste of money, and I'm not pinching and scraping on our slimmer than slim budget to buy things I hate. However, when we saw their dad last week, he told them he had bought the new Skylanders Swap Force collection for them. (By collection, he meant starter pack, and apparently even that was a lie.) So once again I found myself trying to make up his deficiency with something I didn't even want them to have in the first place. I tried to convince them to buy Disney Infinity figures, but the stocks are pretty slim and the only single-pack figures we could find in stock are ones we already have. We can't afford the triple packs right now. So he begged and begged and finally I told him he could pick his favorite Swap Force character instead (it was cheaper, after all). He did, and convinced his brother to pick another one so the two of them could battle. The second choice was not available, and they settled on a character called "Zoo Lou." Whiz Kid chose the Legendary version. (Yes, they make multiple versions of the same characters. It's a shameless ripoff and yet we fall for it anyway.)

On the way home, Little Bear said that he didn't really like the Legendary Zoo Lou. He would have preferred the other one. The Legendary, he said, was creepy. I asked him how one could be creepier than the other. His answer? The Legendary guy has hair. That freaks him out.

???? The "hair" is actually a sort of ponytail on top of the figure's head, which in fact the standard character also has. It's just not as obvious. Of course I busted up laughing, and he didn't like that. But I can't help wondering what goes through his little 7-year-old head, to look at a ferocious little toothy figurine swinging a mace and decide the ponytail makes it creepy. Lol!

Monday, January 6, 2014

So that's how it is

Well, I guess my questions have been answered since the police showed up at my FIL's house and arrested my ex for armed robbery. They say they have him on camera. Whiz Kid is devastated, and I feel so inadequate to comfort him. Anything I can say just sounds pathetic. What he wants is a respectable father, and his father refuses to be either. Apparently there are charges pending from a couple of other things as well, and I'm not sure whether I feel more like crying or burning him in effigy.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year

My post is a bit late, I know, but I heard from my ex on New Year's Eve that he wanted to see us this week, so I waited until after that. We had a lot of fun New Year's Eve; we visited a family from church whose boys are best friends with my boys, and we didn't quite make it until midnight, but it sorta counted since we arrived home at midnight and I had to wake them up to get them inside. I think they were too sleepy to notice the fireworks though.

New Year's Day was a chill-out sort of day, and then the boys went back to school. Just in time for a snowstorm that shut the schools down yesterday. I still managed to get my work in on time for the online course I'm taking, and then my ex said he was ready to meet with us at his mom's. We headed over. It was alright as far as his behavior. He's obviously not clean and sober, but he wasn't behaving irrationally. He's about the same as he was the first 9 years or so of our marriage. He looks relatively healthy, and his injuries are pretty much healed except that hair won't grow on the scars, so they are rather prominent. He was driving a car he claimed was his, and wearing all new clothes and shoes. Oh, and a gun. Yep. Isn't that lovely.

As a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment who also chooses not to own a firearm, I'm not sure how to handle this development. The first thing I did was tell him he had no business with it, then completely ignore it the rest of the evening. The kids didn't notice, and from their standpoint I think the evening went very well. He was his old self, and they don't know that this has bad as well as good implications.

Today I ran a background check on him through a source rated reliable by some accredited business magazine, and found nothing I didn't already know about or expect. Just traffic and controlled substance or alcohol related issues, lying to law enforcement about his identity, and a disorderly conduct. Nothing that would make me say "Oh no, this person shouldn't be anywhere near a gun" if the person in question was a stranger. At the same time, I know that he shouldn't be anywhere near a gun. I can't help wondering if it's how he obtained all those new clothes, or if he actually saved that much money from his settlement. And I'm very concerned about future visits. Last night he did not seem irrational or threatening, but that isn't any guarantee of his behavior in the future. I can tell him I'm not comfortable with him having a weapon when we meet, but that's meaningless since he can conceal it, and there's nothing I can do about it. I can tell the police that I don't think he should be carrying a weapon, but that's overstepping what I feel are important civil boundaries, with just my word that he's unstable and has a history of petty theft and suspicion of burglary. I can tell them it's unregistered (I know that without asking), but there are many arguments for not registering firearms that I still consider to be good arguments (Nazi Germany, anyone?). I just personally feel that I would do so if I had one. Besides, if he did register it that wouldn't make me feel any better, so it's not a solution to the problem. I'm not sure what the laws are in PA but I'm almost positive nothing on his record so far would prevent his registering a firearm.

Interestingly, the background check said nothing about his ever owning the property he's been claiming to own since before we were married, but refused to ever let me go into or see any paperwork for. Neither did any liens show up, tax or otherwise; yet he's been claiming tax liens and property taxes and mortgage payments since before Whiz Kid was born as an excuse for much-needed paychecks suddenly disappearing. I have suspected for some time that he lied about owning that house, but seeing proof of it was still maddening. Everything he's ever told me about anything is probably a lie. There is no way he could ever do anything to make me want a relationship with him again, after all of this.

Ugh. I think I will email my divorce attorney and hope she doesn't mind giving advice from her retirement. Assuming she still has the same email address. I hate to end the visits again indefinitely, but I don't see any other way.