ONE THE GIVING OF THE FANGS
Recently I asked Strudel what her favorite part of Christmas is. I almost Pocahonta’d my pants when she said “FEAST.” Franny did the same, asked me what I was making before she went off to her dad’s for her first leg of the Xmas Cycle. (I get her back on the 26th.) I was thinking of not cooking at all since it’s been such a disaster lately.
I don’t think I even wrote about Thanksgiving and how it went–I wrote about it right before things went all LEGAL DOCUMENT and OMG A CAMEO STARRING MY MOTHER etc.
I was thinking about bunking on cooking because I was the first one with the stomach bug that was going around, and I was still kind of weak on Thanksgiving. The girls INSISTED I cook, and I already had the ingredients, plus I invited my sister, so I figured I should go for it. Sadly, I had to cancel on her last minute because P. was vomiting ON Thanksgiving Day, and I did not want to bring her into to a den of germs.
So we rallied and started cooking while P. was laid up moaning.
The girls helped, which was awesome.
Just as we were sitting down to dinner, Franny left and started barfing. Later on Strudel pretended to be barfing. “Yes mother, I made it to the toilet, vomited neatly, then flushed,” which had much the same effect in that I ended up coddling her and made a little bed for her on my floor. About a week later Strudel caught the bug for real.
2011 can bite a nutsack really. I am stabbing this year in its back on the way out.
I decided to just do a breast this year, which is still a sizable chunk of turkey. Of course I brined it and it came out very well. I took a picture and was going to post it, but it was a little…hmmm.
Ah yes, that’s what legless turkey makes me think of.
There was also some sweeee potato casserole, something I have come to very late in life. Dunno why.
And I made a pumpkin cream pie, which was mostly eaten by the person who was well enough to eat it, me.
I redid Thanksgiving a few days later using leftover stuffing and turkey and fresh cranberries and potatoes and there was much rejoicing.
Back to Christmas, which I started with waaay up there. Now through all my ambulations you can maybe understand why I am hesitant to cook a “FEAST” for Christmas. But if I do, it will be duck.
TWO A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DEADBEAT DAD
A few days ago Strudel asked me about Christmas Steve. I had been telling the girls that I thought they were well-behaved enough this year that he might not even show up.
“I think YOU are Christmas Steve,” Strudel said.
“Mmmm,” I said noncommittally from the cheese log where I was perched.
“I think YOU do all the things.”
“Do you really think I would eat part of your gingerbread house and give your sister a trophy that says #1 SUCKY on it in Sharpie?”
“Are you Christmas Steve?”
“Yes, I am,” I said. She cried a little then, but now she thinks it is very funny.
“It was YOU ALL ALONG,” she says.
Franny asked for guinea pigs for her birthday, and has been asking for them for months. I felt bad because as her birthday approached in October, her dad was serving me with paperwork to get back to 50/50. I did not want to be a dick about it, but I also did not want to be solely caring for her pets half of the time. I have lovely cats and chickens and other things that deserve my attention. My attitude is, guinea pigs are not my thing, but I will help and supervise to make sure they are getting proper care and nutrition.
So, after things had been settled court-wise, we took the plunge for Christmas.
This is Cloud and Misty. I am relieved a hundred times over that she did not name them Hammy and Porky as she originally threatened to. Misty, interestingly enough, is the name of one of my lawyers. Franny heard it and loved it. And now we have Legal Pigs. They are darling. I really wish I would have kept them as a child instead of hamsters, but they would not have done well with my mother’s laissez-faire attitude toward pets.
Speaking of fuzzballs.
Gertie hogs my cheez log. The girls have been with me for about a year now and they are doing really well. The kittens turned a year old in September but they still have a little of that adolescent thing hanging on. One thing that I did not really expect is how separate they all are. There will be no more than two cats on my bed at any given time. Gertie is like Nietzsche in that she will follow us around and see what we are up to. Matilda will sleep on my shoulder at night. Mere is still kind of her flaky temperamental self, but does well as long as I don’t pet her below the shoulders. She’s got that cat-sensitivity thing.
Someone stole the ladder, so we decorated the pear tree this year. Tres Charlie Brown, no?
What is happening in legal doings? I will tell you. Last time we spoke, I had just emerged from a courtroom, where I felt like I had been put on that life-draining rack Wesley ended up on in The Princess Bride. Since our next orders were to mediate, I thought things would be kind of calm since then. NOPE.
SeaFed’s lawyer sent an email saying that he had been “forced to withdraw” from SeaFed’s case. There is some speculation that it is less money-related, and more personality-related. I did not blog about this, but as we were standing in the hallway post court hammering out details of the parenting plan, his lawyer said to mine, “Your client is being VERY cooperative in this.” SeaFed would not move on anything.
At first I read this as a condescending head-pat, but now I wonder. Of course I said nothing and kind of forgot about it, since there were bigger fish to fry, and we were busy frying them.
I also discovered that SeaFed had been spraying my lawyer with emails, which she was ignoring, since he has counsel who should be contacting us for anything crucial. Then the withdrawing-attorney thing came out. Then last Wednesday SeaFed started hammering my lawyer and cc’ing me. He was threatening legal action over some confusing language in the temporary plan. He is absolutely a cornered animal right now.
I know I shouldn’t be at this point, but I was pretty shocked how nasty his tone was and how pointless and inappropriate his questions were. My lawyer advised me that this is a common tack to run up the other party’s bill. I implored her to shut him down and begin ignoring him. I think he is going to be a nightmare on a pro se basis as this continues.
And there was one other thing I did not tell you, because I did not realize it until a day after court when I got all my paperwork and read it. SeaFed was suing me for attorney’s fees in the motion to modify the parenting plan. As if I was just opening that frivolously!!
So, I have a couple of theories…behold the crinkling of my tin foil hat. SeaFed retained his lawyer to fight child support, and his lawyer suggested the best way to smash child support was to make a motion go back to 50/50 time. At the same time, of course, I was moving to modify the parenting plan, so I assume his lawyer hung on for that. Perhaps SeaFed did not see that as my next logical step. Attorney withdrew because of lack of funds, because SeaFed gambled everything on me losing the motion to modify. Or, he withdrew because of jackassery. It will remain a mystery.
This is the worst cat-and-mouse game ever. I am invisible and the cat has bells glued all over it.
The next move is to mediate. Our deadline is by the end of January, and the mediator is not even available until after the end of this month. She has requested that we mediate separately, and she is a guardian ad litem with training in child psychology so she wants to speak with Franny separately as well. This seems hopeful.
I have a bad feeling SeaFed will dig his heels in and not move on anything here, which will push us to trial next year. What’s he got to lose if he is going pro se? Or perhaps they will mortgage his house or he will beg his father for money.
The next thing also is I have a trial date on January 13 that I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT in all this–child support hearing. I was sent the paperwork alerting me that the trial is approaching and the prosecuting attorney’s office wanted me to sign all the motions and child support worksheets. If we both sign, it’s just settled.
Since he has not submitted one jot of requested financial information, I assume he is not going to sign the paperwork either. They have all his financial information from their research. I submitted up-to-date paystubs and bank statements and signed it all and sent it back. I reckon what will happen is that I will be made to show up on January 13th and it will go through automatically, really. The prosecuting attorney’s office had already decided there was justification to modify the child support order from $0, and now they have appended the recent court actions granting the right to change the parenting plan. I am hoping this will be the most in and out, non-teary court experience I have had.
The potential amount I am being awarded monthly is $340. I want to tell you I think all of this is over $340 a month. I cannot help but wonder what his wife thinks in all this. How would you feel if your spouse/partner had a child who someone else took care of most of the time and took care of 90% of the financial stuff, and not due to an agreed arrangement?
Anyway, that amount should cover her food, really, which will be a great boon. No complaints. It gets bumped again next year when she turns 12, and that should be it until she’s 19. We should “break even” on court costs and legal fees about two years into child support, but the knowledge that there will be official paperwork in place keeping everything straight is priceless.