I’ve moved five times in the past ten years, as I could afford something better, as we were outgrowing places, and so forth. Pretty standard for renters with young kids, I’d imagine.
As a result, I’ve had a lot of neighbors. Some places I didn’t know them at all, and some I knew all of them. I had a neighbor throw a two-day party under my bedroom window in the summer who later threatened to kill my indoors-only cat for pooping in his bushes (it was just Nietzsche, you see, who could go incorporeal at will, and not all the other outdoor cats in the neighborhood). This was probably the worst one. I had a sweet old Swedish grandma type. I had a Moonpants. I’ve tried to be a good neighbor when I could, and most people have done the same.
However, I am now, decidedly, The Bad Neighbor.
This is funny to me, because we moved to a neighborhood where you barely see your neighbors. This, no doubt, lent a hand in our immediate robbery after moving in. To this day I cannot get the neighbor across the street to even acknowledge my existence as his neighbor, in spite of directly greeting him multiple times and very obviously coming in and out of my fence. He does talk to P. so I suppose that’s something. Point being, it’s just not a very social street.
It took eight months, but I finally made contact recently with the lady next door. It turns out she’s the one who left an anonymous cake on our porch right before Christmas. I thought about going door-to-door and asking who was nice enough to leave us a “welcome cake” as the unsigned note said, but then it was Christmas and I didn’t want to bother anyone. I was weeding the front bed when she walked up.
“Hi, I’m the one who left you the cake on your porch for Christmas,” she said first thing.
“Oh, that was you. I wondered. Thanks!”
“Well, there was a note.”
“I’m sorry, it was unsigned. I wasn’t sure,” I said.
Strike one: I was an Anonacake Ingrate.
She went on to ask about my cats and told me they were pooping in her flowerbeds.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said. “I can give you some tips…” She interrupted me then and took her leave shortly thereafter, but not before she took in the giant gold vampire head on my porch and my children and me and my flaming red door. I got the picture we were not her first choice for neighbors.
On the border of our mildly conflicted nations there is a laurel hedge. P. has been working to cut it back over time since it was about eight feet wider than it needed to be to still provide a privacy hedge. I wasn’t thrilled with how it looked at first, especially as I saw holes appearing, but it has filled in quickly as they usually do. Then he moved on to another shrub and proudly showed me the bonafide face-height hole which exposed one of her windows. When we moved in you could not even see her house. I panicked.
“We have to go to the hardware store NOW!” I said.
“Wha? Why?” he asked.
“NO TIME TO EXPLAIN, GET IN THE CAR.”
As it turns out, there was time to explain, since the hardware store is five minutes away.
“We need a bamboo screen thingie or something,” I said.
“Well, we’re looking at ten years here, probably. She’s not that old. She’s already mad about the anonacake and our cats. I think we should plug that hole.”
He got it and we did.
Then there is the matter of my address. I filled out the little form to change my address before moving, as you do. I filled out P’s at the same time, since address changes were on my to-do list for moving. I double checked the address before dropping them in the mail. They were both the same, and correct, and as neatly printed as my deformed-from-years-of-typing hand could make them. P. started getting mail, and I started getting *some* mail. At first I didn’t think I was missing anything, since I got the deluge of catalogs you get when your mortgage broker and real estate agency sells you out.
Within a couple of weeks, our letter carrier figured it out–all my mail was going a couple of blocks up the street. One number had been entered incorrectly at the post office. Of course the letter carrier told me I filled out the form wrong, to which I said nothing, because it doesn’t matter. She put in for a change and all my first class mail started being forwarded correctly. The poor neighbor whose house my mail was going to had dutifully bundled some of my mail and had passed it along to the letter carrier, along with an angry note scrawled in pencil, “Figure out your mail forwarding! I’m going to start sending this back!!” Actually I’d prefer that to the note and the puddle my mail had been dropped into. Then the sender would know the mail was going to the wrong place.
Because of this early mistake, apparently this neighbor is now doomed to get my junk mail for all time. I still get junk mail forwarded with angry pencil scrawl, which I recycle. I know my neighbor isn’t walking it up the street, because I have a locked mailbox. The letter carrier is “forwarding” these pieces up the street. I thought about dropping them a note letting the neighbor know what the situation is, but I am not sure I want someone who is this angry to know where I live. So I will keep recycling the junk.
This weekend I am going to finish up an application for a writing fellowship that’s due Monday. It’s drafted, I just need to make sure it’s perfect. And then I will enjoy this lovely rainy weather. Happy summer. :(
I have wanted to tell you about this for MONTHS. Fortunately I wrote it all down in a much more professional and concise format because I knew I was going to be reporting what follows to the appropriate board when it was over, so I have not forgotten anything.
I believe I mentioned my guardian ad litem for our case was removed by the court in January. Here is what I say to you: if you are faced with a list of GALs outside of a courtroom, after being ordered to use one, and there is no more information on said list than their name and prices, I SAY TO YOU, take 5 and search that shit. Even if your lawyer is saying, “I’ve worked with this person, they’re fine.” I know not everyone has a smart phone, but do your best. There’s crackpots out there who will review, you know, DMVs and post offices, but if you see a pattern in the reviews, think twice. I was too trusting in choosing from a list of people who work with a vulnerable population that was provided by the family court. This is your kid, you know?
I think I have said this before, but to be clear about why all this was happening…the purpose of the GAL in our case was to have a “neutral party” to speak with us and Franny and advocate for what Franny wanted and what would be best for her as far as the visitation schedule goes. Franny is not old enough to testify in court in Washington State. The GAL was to testify in court and submit a report of her conclusions about these issues.
The GAL that came to the top of the list was Karin Ballantyne. Karin was appointed way back in December 2011, when it was first decided we could change the parenting plan. We were supposed to go through mediation, and if we could not settle by those means we would avail ourselves of the GAL option. We got to that point in August 2012 and finally, I had to retain her (SeaFed refused to pay his half). Karin said she would do a “short” report since we didn’t have a lot of time before our trial date in early October, so her normal retainer was cut almost in half.
I was to meet with her alone first and there was a hiccup from the get go. We set an appointment via email and she told me what time to meet her at her office, but didn’t specify which day. There was a range of days and it was unclear if it was supposed to be the next day or the day after. I sent her a final clarifying email, expecting to hear back quickly, to the effect of, “Sorry, tomorrow or Thursday?” No response, so I sent her an email telling her I would assume the appointment was for the first day unless I heard back from her. I came to her office the next day, and she did not. I called her and left a message and sent her an email telling her I was there. I felt like I should be careful about giving every appearance of taking this seriously, since I was, of course.
I bring this up because it set the pattern. I was willing to give her a pass on the first time, because we all communicate poorly sometimes, and my motto is usually “shit happens, man,” which has to be said in the voice of The Dude, naturally. Later that day, she replied to the email with (I summarize): “Whoops, see you tomorrow.” She never got back to me in less than twenty-four hours in the beginning, which is fine if appointments are clear. (I find in life that the people who set clear appointments in the first place are generally the ones who are willing to get back to you if you have questions.)
Before the first meeting I spent four hours filling out her short and long intake forms. The long form had about 120 questions and I provided about a paragraph for most questions. There were questions like “What led to the ultimate break-up of the relationship with the other parent? Who initiated the decision and action to end the relationship? What impact has this had on the current situation?” My lawyer encouraged me to paint a complete picture of the situation and it was hard to delve way back into the past. A lot of the questions applied to events that had happened over ten years ago.
I didn’t know what to expect with our meeting. I’ve met with therapists, psychologists, lawyers, drug and alcohol assessment counselors inside and outside of court orders. The usual protocol is to show up, keep your pants on, and tell your side of things.
Once we sat down, Karin hit me with this one: “Sooo I have a new assistant and she seems to have LOST your paperwork. Can you remind me who the people are in this case?” I thought at first this might be some kind of test to see how I handled weird curve balls like this, seriously. Why was I meeting with her if she had no idea who I was, and what the issues were? How could she lose paperwork that I had emailed and posted to her? My understanding was that SeaFed had not bothered to fill his out, so at least she did not just have his side of things. I had to get organized in my head, QUICKLY, and stay on point with what we wanted from a parenting plan.
I started speaking and she asked if SeaFed was a different person with the same last name whose case she was also handling. Then she went on to give me the details of that family’s case, including their names, the age and gender of their child, and where they lived. Alarm bells. What a breach of confidentiality! Holy shit, this lady was crazy! And she was appointed to our case! Fuck fuck fuck. Could I walk out? Could I just be nice and pray since at that point she had all the power and we didn’t have time to get a new person? Maybe this was all a mindfuck and she was great, like I’d been told.
I spent the next hour trying to cram in anything she wanted to know about the case. I didn’t expect anyone with an eidetic memory to handle our case, but I was hoping this shit would at least sound familiar to her. She scribbled notes, obviously hearing about everything for the first time. Somehow it came up that I am gay, that it’s part of my identity.
“What!” she scoffed. “You can’t be gay. You have two children by two different men.”
I thought of telling her how, a woman who looks “straight” (Well, do I? I don’t know. I think I look like myself. I don’t get hit on in straight meat-market clubs, that’s for sure, never have), who doesn’t have a strong preference for any gender is going to be likely to, statistically speaking, meet and settle with a straight man. Because unless you really do have a preference and seek a certain type of person out, then straight men are what’s falling out of trees around you. I did say something about dating women in the past, and did not tell her that one of my worst heartbreaks was at the hands of an ice princess Betty Draper type years ago. Grace Kelly, you are my kryptonite. I felt very much like not a whole or real person at that moment. However, I knew I was only one piece of this puzzle, and that I was there for Franny, and endeavored to move on.
“So you’re bisexual,” she told me.
Again I thought of all the delightful and sexy transmen I have been fortunate to know over the years, and have had connections with…you know what, oh fuck it. This was not my Norma Rae moment. This was not the first time I’ve heard I’m not gay, or am a certain type. I’m pretty frickin gay. Bring in a muffin, I will butter it. Is there a casual way to tell someone you just met that you’re Jerri Blank with slightly better teeth?
“…Okay,” I said.
We got to what court had been like in the wayback, and I told her it was challenging, because there were crazy allegations and statements flying around in 2004, and it was obfuscating what I felt was the heart of the matter. She wanted to know what the dirty stuff flying around was. I was like hey, he’s not really paying attention to this kid when she’s in his care, and it’s dangerous sometimes. What came back in court from his side was, “SJ is a satanist/zoosexual who was so bad her parents had to abuse her. Also she eats too much ice cream.”
Okay. You got me. I love ice cream.
Karin began talking about how she read some really wild erotica in the 70s or something about having sex with animals and how that “freaky” stuff could be really sexy sometimes if it was just in the realm of fantasy. I felt like she was expecting me to say…something? About this? Like she was making a safe space for my true confessions? I had nothing to say. This all seemed about as safe as a stampeding bull covered in hypodermic needles of questionable origin.
Outwardly I sighed. Inwardly I imagined myself fleeing so fast that my bones, organs, and muscles would rip free of the rest of me, leaving a deflated sack of skin and some sad pink weave in her chair. The rest of my time was spent being regaled with tales of how amicable her divorce was. That’s marvy. Really. Uh huh. Wait, you had more to ask me but our time’s up? Okay.
SO THAT WENT WELL. DON’T YOU THINK? I went home and felt like this for about three days:”AAAAAAH!!!!!” I immediately emailed my lawyer a complete account of what had happened, and that I had taken it very seriously but had extreme reservations about Karin’s competence. My lawyer said she thought that was all very strange, and hoped that obtaining the report would give us what we wanted since court was zooming right up.
Then she was supposed to meet with SeaFed, but he gave her some busy-and-important jive and they had a phone interview instead. This is after she gave me a big spiel about how she would be handling both parties absolutely equally. “If I inspect your house, I will go and inspect his as well.” And so on. Then Karin met with him and Franny together in her office to watch her interact with her parents separately. It was a Sunday night and Karin asked me if I could pick Franny up from her office since SeaFed was to return her Monday morning. Could I do him that favor? Of course. I was assured he would be gone.
I rounded the corner to the street that her building’s door opened out to, and BANG, there was SeaFed with Karin and Franny. I felt the blood drain out of my face. I really don’t enjoy running into him unexpectedly. My face always goes all “AMG, VOLDEMORT!” which, come on SJ, get a fucking grip already. I stammered a few pleasantries and took Franny away. It was obvious Karin saw me blanch.
“Well, that was weird,” Franny said, as we walked away to where I was parked.
“What?” I said, recovering slightly and becoming a human with loose joints and regular circulation again.
“She’s just weird, Mom. I don’t like her. And I know you weren’t expecting to see my dad just then, I could tell.”
“It’s okay, it’s just your dad. It was a surprise, is all. How did it go?”
“My dad was acting faaaaake. He asked me before we left his house this afternoon what I want for the schedule and I told him, and then in the meeting he acted like he didn’t know any of that.”
“Jesus, I’m sorry. Let’s go get some sushi.”
Then I had my kid-parent meeting with Karin. She called me the day of to tell me she did not have time to meet at her office because she was coming from somewhere on the Eastside, and could we meet someplace “neutral” in my neighborhood? I suggested a coffee shop. Franny was filled with dread at going through everything again. Karin was an hour late. Basically we played a few word and story games and she watched us interact. Karin asked to be alone with her at the end and spoke to Franny about what she wanted. She met me at the door of the coffee shop with Franny and said she would be submitting the report in a week, in plenty of time for the final paperwork like the brief to be due in early September.
And I never saw or heard from her again. DUN DUN DUNNN.
What happened after that, I can cover pretty quickly. We were ready for court in October and SeaFed even turned in his hilarious bag of mess he called his legal brief so we were locked and loaded. Karin did not produce the report and gave several excuses about being ill/on vacation. We had two continuances because of her, and she was finally removed in January. All of my legal fees from October to January were due to her delays.
My lawyer did get in touch with her a couple of times. Karin said she would be “crafting a communication plan” for me and SeaFed, to which my lawyer responded that we had been communicating pretty well up until this recent action thanks. Karin was concerned about how “scared” I looked upon seeing him unexpectedly. No comment. Karin also wanted to know, oh, was this the supervised custody case? To which I say: Facepalm.
In late February I emailed her briefly, telling her that as she knew by now, she had been removed from the case over a month ago, and I would like my money refunded since no report was provided, and I expected it in my mailbox by March 15. I could hear her cackling upon receipt of this email in my head, but I had to officially ask. March 15th came and went, and the following Monday I went to the courthouse and filed a small claim to recover the retainer and some of the legal fees.
She did respond to my email with more batshit smokescreenery in the form of, I kid you not, “I just found the paperwork removing me from your case in my closet this weekend.” (???!!!) Lady, if your letter carrier is sending your mail to your CLOSET and not telling you, you might want to get a new owl, I’m just saying. How is this an excuse? She also blamed my lawyer for sending emails to an old email address. Really. I happened to know her legal assistant had called Karin’s office several times, and had reached her for some of them. Also that Karin was apprised of the case schedule, and so on. She said of course she would return my money–she did want to do right by me. Karin said she had the report ready, did I want it now? Umm, no thanks. I did not reply.
I took a spin online to find her home address via public real estate records (librarian powers activate) so I would have something to write on the small claims form. I knew her office hours were sporadic and self-set, so it would be almost impossible to have her served there. In my searching I found where she was going to be later that week–bankruptcy court! FAAABULOUS. Was there even a point in trying to recover my money?
Ultimately I decided it was worth a try, since personal bankruptcy did not protect one from things like fees owed, was my understanding, but from “unsecured loans” like credit card debt. I don’t think I will ever see my fees but I would like it to be part of public record that Karin took my money, worked with my child, and did jack shit but prolong this process and stress my kid out further. I’ve taken a lot of bullpucky in the pooper during this process, but NOBODY FUCKS WITH THE FRANNY. When I was searching for her address I also found other online reviews like “Karin is of exceptionally low personal character” and “Karin will take your check and do nothing.” That sounds familiar.
After I paid the fee to file the claim, I went to the sheriff’s clerk’s office, where I could pay another fee to engage them to serve the papers for me.
“Can I tell you if I know exactly where she’s going to be on a certain day this week?”
“Sure,” the clerk said. “But there’s no guarantee we’ll have someone available at that time to come to that place. Where is it?”
I gave him the deets of when and where her bankruptcy court was and he wrote it down.
“I hope it works out, since it’s at this courthouse,” I said.
So I have ANOTHER court date in May. Wow I love court. I’m going to set up a yurt outside of the sheriff’s office. And what I really hope is that this lady loses her license and is not allowed to work with vulnerable people any longer.
This basically summarizes my experience in court so far:
I think I struck a chord with my last post. Thanks, everyone who commented. I really wish it was a comment section full of, “As usual, SJ, we have no idea what you’re talking about.” But life’s not like that, is it?
I have pictures to post this weekend and more writings to make and I wrote for two hours this morning. Boy howdy! Shauny was telling me that she’s using something called 750 Words sometimes. I thought, shit bitches, I am not writing anything close to that! Maybe just a page…. I decided to pay attention to my word count for a couple of days. 1500 one day, and 2100 this morning when I had two hours to write.
Of course, it’s not the word count that’s the primary point. It’s just that it’s fairly easy to knock out and make progress pretty fast. I forgot about this. My mindhack (oh yes I did) for this is to time myself. I started with ten-minute bursts because I cannot justify my way out of ten minutes. Now I am on 30-minute solid bursts where I don’t talk to anyone or look at the internet for “research” or stop unless I really need to. I was really worried about being sick or tired, so if that happens I am going to cut back to ten minutes and see if I can do more from there. The tiniest amount of progress will keep the story fresh in my head.
This story is running on its own steam now–I’ve got it charted (in my head, at least) from start to finish. It’s nice to have one of those periods where you can see it all like a movie and you’re just transcribing what happened. I’ll spend more time this weekend and I suspect it might top out around 20k words in another week or so. I have promised one of my very favorite people that I will put it up somewhere else NOT on iasshole so it has a home and doesn’t get lost and people can download it. The antidote to my mother’s voice in my head calling my writing pretentious is bossy people who I love. Bossing me. The muscle’s coming back fast and it’s like I never stopped now.
Now I have something embarrassing to tell you, which is an unusual occurrence around here, I know. This, however, does not involve things getting stuck in my vagina or whatever, so feel free to wander off. Some time ago I stumbled upon this article, about, yes, Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret. I’ll summarize, since it really doesn’t need to even have an article’s worth of words attached to it. .5 Think about the thing you want to make progress on and do every day. 1. Get a full year’s wall calendar (“year-at-a-glance”) 2. Make an X every day you do the thing you want to do. 3. Don’t break the chain. Now that I am over a week in, it is already hard to think about breaking it.
I have a growing wall of red Xs hanging inside the door of my pantry and it is making me happy. When I walk into work in the morning, I feel like even if I lay under my desk all day (WHICH I WOULD NEVER DREAM OF DOING, COUGH) I would have accomplished enough for the day.
I know what I am writing about after this first story, and then I will have to figure something else out after that, but I have time.
I realized that I have been writing steadily for half my life now. I wrote my first story when I was nine about some cat detectives in the future who have fedoras and Model-Ts except, twist, they are Model-T hovercars. And then 25 years or so later I discovered I basically wrote Meow, The Jury, except shorter. I guess I have always loved noir the best.
As an aside, Jerry Seinfeld always gives me a cringe because when I was a barista in college in Phoenix there was a guy who came in every day, Ted. Ted became very fixated on me and chatted me up most days I worked. He saw me in my terrible Coffee Plantation uniform with my hair in a ponytail every day. I remember Seinfeld was in its last season then, and the media was kind of spacking out about it all and it was kind of idle small talk. This is the time I informally think of as “before pop culture went kablooie” via the internet being what it is today and 50 gajillion cable channels. The splintering. Lots of people were watching Seinfeld.
As an aside within my aside, I was thinking that hardly anyone comes really close to an almost complete overlap in pop culture interests anymore, but at the same time, you can catch someone up in 30 seconds via your pocket computer. So that’s a trade. I realized my Feral Dwarf doesn’t really grok Bugs Bunny references and it may not matter. Bugs Bunny is kind of an asshole. But she can quote Strong Bad, who is an entertaining asshole.
Anyway. My stalker. He was quoting classic Seinfeldy quotes at me and trying to make me laugh and whatnot. I was trying to smile and make as many tips off the tightwads who came through Phoenix’s “fancy” mall as possible. [Actual customer quote: "I have socks that are worth more than you."] Of course he inquired about my relationship status none-to-subtly with my five a.m. opening shift buddy, who was a peach and a really hard worker, and reignited my love of hiphop via one of those restaurant satellite stations. You have not lived until you have ground several pounds of coffee for the drip urns in preparation to the morning rush by 5:20 a.m., getting some kind of weird contact high from the powdered beans floating in the air while dancing to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.” Actually, that is a lie. Even if you have not done that I believe you when you say you’ve lived.
So it’s that thing where you have young girl with nametag who is trapped behind counter and is actually paid to smile, or at least not spit at you. Why does this equal consent? When I was younger I really had issues with men in their 50s-60s hitting on me (I know, I know, this is not an uncommon phenomenon), however, it would really throw fuel on the fire when they would pry into my interests and discover I was basically a 50-year-old woman who looked 20. I did things like dinner theatre, martinis, watercolor classes, Frank Sinatra, gardening, and “being in bed by 9 p.m.” Wait, once when I was 21 or so I accidentally drank red wine AND NyQuil within an hour of each other, and had a really far-out time listening to “Sketches of Spain.” (I had kind of a wild couple of months when I was about 27-and-a-half but I am basically back to being 50 again.) I should have said that I was totally like into parasailing and whatever was on the radio in 1998?? Aguilera?? I don’t know. Ted started getting really overt in the guise of (loudly) talking to himself as he would stir sugar into his coffee: “Yeppers, I could really use an SJ in my life.” I am getting freaked out just typing that fifteen years later.
“Does he not have a job?” I asked my opening buddy one morning as we sliced bagels. She had told me Ted was asking about me and what my schedule was.
“Oh no, he used to come in here a lot before, but then he won the lottery and quit his job. Now he’s here every day.”
“Yeah, he’s loaded.”
This made it sadder, somehow. ASU was a stone’s throw away and he could have pulled any one of hundreds of Britney clones there, but instead he was bothering a sweaty, dairy-vomit-smelling child bride who dyed her hair brown on purpose, and not for any smart reason, like covering grey. I just wanted it browner.
One day on my day off I came in to pick up my paper paycheck so I could spend it on sensible shoes or vegetables or something. Ted was sitting outdoors, which was unusual, because he usually sat within earshot of where I would work on the hot machine.
“Hi SJ!” he shouted at me across the parking lot. Ted’s weaselly face lit up as I pushed my goggles up on top of my head and swung my leg over my scooter. Man, this was his lucky week. He got six days of SJ! As I approached him his face changed and became very confused-looking.
“Hey, Ted,” I replied when I got within polite talking distance. I was never one to shout across parking lots unless someone was in danger or something. “What’s crackin?”
“Uh, nothing…” He blanched a little in the toasty Phoenix springtime sun and looked down into his coffee.
“Okay, see you later, Mr. Chatty.”
As I walked into my store I forgot I was wearing short shorts and a shirt I had picked up at one of the only piercing shops in Honolulu in 1996. It featured cartoony, Coop-like scantily-clad women. One was bent over and trussed up with a ball gag in her mouth, and the other woman was flogging her. The name of the shop, which I believe was Sin, was featured over the picture.
Ted rarely spoke to me after that. I should have thought of it months before!
In Other News.
My old boss sent me this picture today and I captioned it. Oh Friday.
Why do I have hair in funny places? Is it wrong to want to look under the vicar’s cassock? CAN I GET ASS PREGNANT BY SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF MY PROFESSIONAL FIELD, i.e. DMV WORKERS?
I have something to add to the annals me not being able to figure out what is happening to my body. I think I mentioned recently I hurt my shoulder in September and that I was going to physical therapy. I think I hurt myself in yoga, which is like the most pathetic white lady thing that could ever happen to anyone, except for recently when my heels were too high and I edged off the sidewalk and went ASS OVER TEAKETTLE and splashed my face with my short double soy mocha, why no lid? PNW white lady environmentalism. Flying Spaghetti God smite me now. I went down like LiLo after you tell her you think you dropped some crack crumbs in your pubes.
Wow, where was I? After Christmas my shoulder was slowly improving week by week, but I was afraid I was broken. Numbness, pain at rest, trouble sleeping, limited range of motion in the arm, an inability to lift it from a laying position. I was literally moving my arm around at times with my right arm, which is not so great itself thanks to carpel tunnel (en Francais: tunnale with cheese). My co-dependent dog slept with Franny the other night and was FRANTIC about seeing me in the morning after an excruciating separation of 8 (unconscious) hours. I was turned away from him on my side and he was dancing and snuffling and whining to try to get me to turn over so he could lay on my (bad) arm. Horace is the king of spooning.
I lifted my arm slowly and carefully as I rolled over. When I got about halfway there, I heard this incredible CRACK in the joint–the loudest pop I have ever heard in a joint in my body. That knuckle cracky-endorphin feeling flooded through my entire body. I sat still for a moment, trying to figure out what happened. I moved my arm slowly and it moved, without help. I stood up and my range of motion was back. I was still kind of sore in the joint, but it felt like residual soreness and not like something that continued to be cranky. The next day was even better. I have discovered something, though, in walking around work yesterday. I’ve stopped swinging my arm when I walk. And I hold it differently when I stand and type. I’ve been swinging my arm around (gently) for no real reason. And you know what else? In about a week these five or so months will be forgotten because that is how I roll.
Confidential to someone who would probably be embarrassed if I called her out by name. *cough* Here is a boring set of charts about employment outcomes for people during this depression we’re in. I know a lot of people are underemployed, but some work is better than no work? I know, I know, who knows what things will be like in 4 years. College isn’t for everyone, nor is it needed by everyone. But hey, you are already there.
1. What else could you be doing right now? If you answer “chick sexor” then can I job shadow you and you have my permission to drop out, but this is the only exception. Stay warm and dry while you’re sucking up some learnings and not just trapped behind a cash register with little hope of improvement.
2. College can make you interesting. Yeah, you can absorb up learnings on your own, but those survey classes you are suffering through now will get you into the pants of someone at a party later, or get you a job because you can talk about a breadth of subjects. It’s great for making connections. You will have depth of whatever your focus was to keep that job once you get it.
3. Seattle sucks in January. Everyone knows it. It can really fuck with your perspective and energy. Look at me. My Halloween post is still visible on my blog and that’s sad, but I am out of gas. I go to work, I come home, I try to let my friends know I am not dead and make sure they have not died under hoarder piles or something. I will come out of my crypt again in April.
Complain about it like we all do, drink juice, visit the Sun Shoppe, take your vitamin D and pray for Pineapple Express in February this year. Listen to your body–schedule more sleep when you need it, but try to exercise too. Things will start blooming very soon, which is so cool.
ALSO STAY OFF THE PCP. SANDY, BE A BUMMER. WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR FIRST MILLION, CUT ME A CHECK. BECAUSE I WILL BE LIVING ON CAT FOOD THEN.
I’m going to ask you: what recourse do you have when your GAL goes AWOL? I feel like I have a gag over my mouth right now…and yet so much bullshit is still leaking out of it. Have you ever tried putting your hand over your mouth while your body has other ideas, i.e., vomiting? It’s better to just vomit. Less spray that way.
Here is the scoop: we all met with her in August and September and gave our accounts of everything. We were assured we would receive the report very quickly, as trial was in October. It did not materialize. We filed for a continuance for November. The report did not surface again with no excuse and trial day came and went. We have filed for another continuance and she has not signed this next paperwork approving the continuance to December 10. This is, possibly, the most ridiculous fucking fiasco I’ve been involved in, and that’s saying a lot.
I estimate, and this is pretty close based on actual invoices, that these two continuances have cost me $500 in legal fees. For no reason that I can see, really. I panicked when the GAL finally made contact with my lawyer, since she told my lawyer she wants to craft a “communication plan” for the two of us. SeaFed spent about a month bothering me with the aforementioned “amateur Columbo shit” and ratted me out to the GAL whenever I fart and cough. Forch my lawyer is all over that shit and is like YO this is about transportation, Lady Jesse Pinkman OUT.
ANYWAY what else is happening? Good news, I suppose. I really wracked myself in September during the move, to the point where yoga seemed pointless because I could barely downward some dogs. My left shoulder got really jacked up. I saw a physical therapist yesterday who had the audacity to move the joint and make me do weird exercises, and I wanted to disembowel a motherfucker by sundown. I slept and did more wee little exercises and I tell you what, it feels better already. He thinks I have a pinched tendon. I think, fuck, how did I hurt myself basically sleeping? Anyway, when my shoulders get back on their…shoulder feet…I will be back to exercising. I have lost 30 pounds this year. Can you believe that? Bye, gravy.
On Sunday I took the girls to see a wee opera or a masque or something. John Blow is my absolute favorite (stuff that in your frock coat, Purcell) and I took them to see his first jam, Venus and Adonis. It’s only about an hour and it’s exciting to see something that was put on for a motherfucking king like 400 years ago. It was kind of sexy too, which I think is in the spirit of fluffy Baroque trash. “What did you think?” P. asked me. “It was a little over the top,” I replied, which is absolutely my best and only Baroque joke. I cannot think of one thing I dislike about the Baroque period. If some long-lost relative died and left me a fucking Fragonard I think I would stroke out, seriously. I’m certain my dining room is bronze for this reason. Whenever I see live music I really like cry through the first act, but not during the tragedy part. The last time I saw Les Miz I cried all through the prologue. Pathetic.
Saturday was less successful. Strudel was very excited about performing in a ballet at a concert hall downtown that she’d been working on for a few months now with her school. We rode down with her where I had to sit with one of her classmates, who was a total drip, I’m not going to lie. Pompous, annoying, quizzing Strudel on the definitions of words. “Strudel what is your favorite thing to do on the weekend,” he droned like a junior league Barbara Walters. “Shooting rats at the dump,” I chimed in. “WHAT,” he said.
“Yes, last weekend she hit TWO with one bullet.”
“I don’t think I believe that,” he said.”
“That is your choice,” I said.
Longer story longer, we got there and discovered Strudel had thrown out the tickets a week earlier and there were no extra and we were locked out. We hung out at Seattle Center as one does when locked out of an event. I was glad Strudel did not know we were not there. That’s sad though, innit? It’s like some O. Henry shit. “Mother I have boughten you some ballet tickets” “Child I have put my eyes out with toe shoes…for…reasons.” Maybe not like O. Henry.
Anyway I’ve snapped finally.
I had a panic attack for the first time in fifteen years. FIFTEEN YEARS. Maybe sixteen. That was fallout from living in the drug house then.
Now the last straw was some Lifetime sexual harassment type shit, I am not kidding. I don’t want to talk about it, and probably can’t.
I am crutching along on Xanax ["NO MORE THAN 2X A WEEK!!" says my NP.] which is ok, but kind of just blanks everything out and then I sleep.
I was never a fan of oblivion. I always embraced pain.
Now, it’s too heavy.
You should really read this story by Pamie. Manuel tipped me off. The only flat note is when a commenter says that Pamie and The Bloggess should get together. Yes, let’s mash up some real gangster shit with a white kid drinking Zima in a Ford Contour. BARF OUT. What is wrong with people? This will be on my headstone.
HELLOOOO RACE FANS! I am moving in one (1) week! HNNNGH! My house is all crates and ACK again just like it was two years ago. In my spare time I have been painting and playing phone tag with contractors. If you’re extraordinarily bored I just threw up (HARF) a bunch of house pics on le Flickair. Yes, the set is called “Asshole Dream House.” Yes, I am properly ashamed of myself.
2. Court boring also stress
As a bonus, I am going back to court on October 1. I met with the GAL for the first time on Thursday. Why so late, you ask, when we’ve had the better part of a year to get ourselves investigated and shit? Because first I had Seafed insisting that mediation had succeeded (it didn’t, we never scheduled the second appointment or finished), and then he told the GAL to go away because we didn’t need her. And then he said he did not have money for it, not now, not two years from now, not ever.
My lawyer, who is so awesome I am unfit to touch the hem of her garment, was all, “SOOOO like do you feel like paying for all of the retainer then?” And I was like “UM LIKE TOTALLY NO this guy just got back from a vacation that he flew his wife and four children to, and then there was some bonus vacation on an island. Priorities man etc.” And she was all, “Yo this is like deadlocked then dog.” And I was like “FINE.” That is pretty much verbatim. And then I paid it. DOUBLE HNGGGGH. Yes, my lawyer is Lady Jesse Pinkman.
So last night as a result I had a dream that I was up betimes as usual and bammo, Franny had let all these people into my house and they were kind of noodling around or napping places. I said, “FRANNY WTF!!?” And she said, “Oh, they were at a party next door and needed a place to sleep.” Hmm, Franny letting strange people into my house…this is sounding all very metaphorical. Except to be fair I am letting them in.
Am writing the GAL down and will unleash that later. ~cryptic~
Child Labor Rules. That is all.
Here is a seventh grader and a second grader on the first day (the 5th).
Here is a Strudel in a tree outside the new kitchen. I regret very little, but I do have a twinge that I cannot throw fuds out the kitchen window at my chickens anymore. I will have to get a slop bucket like a civilized wench.
Also, my face…it turns out it was just dirty. HA HA. The tea tree oil is TOTALLY eliminating the pain I was having. Once a day, cut in half with some sweet almond oil (massage type, just plain). I use about a tablespoon and swab it on with a cotton and then let it sit for about ten. Bonus: the cotton goes in my toilet bowl after where it seems to be keeping it cleaner. I got a brain wave and decided to start using Jason brand tea tree oil shampoo and HOLY CATS my head does not itch anymore. Great comments from Team Asshole here as well about the magic properties of tea tree oil. THANKS. DIE BUGS! Or Bug poop! Or WHO CARES, my face doesn’t hurt. Non-bonus: now that the inflammation is quelled, you can see all my cool exploded capillaries. CRONE-ESQUE.
Coming soon: post-court new assbanner. Can you incorporate fall and courtgasm? Let’s find out.
I told the girls I would not be extorted for Easter baskets any longer, and offered to make a cake. I didn’t get suckered into providing Easter baskets until Franny’s dad started doing it over at his house, having been freed from my Satanic Communist regime of not feeding the girls waxy crap candy in the morning, relating to a holiday we don’t even believe in anyway.
Whew. I really need to look into periods, since I seem to be using up all the commas.
ANYWAY, I haven’t made a Grand Canyon cake in a while, which I thought would be fun.
You make different colored layers.
Then you stack them all up.
Then you split the cake gently. BEHOLD A CANYON. EDUCATIONAL!
Also you pour in the whiskey sauce and let the canyon sop it all up. Don’t forget to have a short snort of Jack before going out to plant herbs and alyssum.
“Happy Zombie Jesus Day”
Then Chewy comes along and knocks it onto the floor.
On Thursday I talked to SeaFed, Franny’s father. This is the closest I will come to doing any kind of intervention, and it’s for my kid and not really having anything to do with the person who has a problem. I laid out what I knew, which added up to me not feeling comfortable with Franny being unsupervised over at my mother’s house.
It’s always awful talking to him. I always feel like I have ten seconds to make my pitch before he rings the gong. Of course we would rather chew our respective legs off than have a conversation anyway, so there is the knowledge that if one of us calls the other for A Talk it is some serious motherfucking shit.
“Okay,” he said. “I won’t tell your mom you said anything, I will just be delicate when I bring it up.”
“Don’t be DELICATE,” I said. “You didn’t hear this on craigslist, you heard it from ME. Shout it from the rooftops! Something is wrong right now! I don’t want to see Franny in a car crash or left alone. That is all I care about.”
“Alright, fine, no unsupervised visits for now. I’ll speak to your sister Friday.”
I have no idea if he did or did not. I heard from my sister a bit via text today, but she was so anxious over the last few days about making waves with my mom I don’t want to get up her butt.
One thing that got to me a bit was that SeaFed was so apologetic about my mother, and it wasn’t even that, exactly. I just wanted to say, I don’t know her anymore, even. All I care about is Franny. Which I pretty much did say, I think.
How much does it suck to get a person who basically hates you on your side? I wonder if he thinks about when we were divorcing and he asked her for an analysis of his habits with alcohol for the court and she wrote that she thought he was an out-of-control alcoholic. He did not see that coming, did he? BACKFIRE.
I have this fantasy that my sister being pissed at my mother and my ex not letting Franny go over there will be a wake up call. I would like to see complete rehab happen. Who knows what will happen, though.
This is weird, I wish it wasn’t happening. Just like a lot of life.
Sup bangstoast. I played Munchkin most of the afternoon with this one.