New Year, same drama

It has been a while since I’ve given an update on Dick and Jane. Not much has changed with regards to Dick’s girls, Mary and Sue. The younger, Sue, still refused to spend any time with her father, with the exception of a Christmas dinner with him and her sister, but I maintain that was simply to get whatever gift he was giving, it was Christmas after all. Jane was sure there was more to it, as he always does. Just before the holidays Dick’s lawyer suggested that a “friend of the court” be appointed on the girls’ behalf. This would be someone who could advise the court as to the what is in the best interest of the girls, without an emotional attachment or financial bias. A motion was submitted in mid-December, with notice of the hearing date in early January received just before Christmas. Jane was sure that Medusa had told the girls and convinced Sue to see her father for Christmas as a way to prove that things were fine and no appointment by the court for the kids was needed. Personally, it think Jane gives Medusa way too much credit, this was a selfish act by a manipulative girl to get “stuff” after months of refusing to see or even speak to her father, going so far as to run and hide when she sees him.

At this point I truly feel that both parents have failed these girls. I can understand why Dick felt that living with their mother full time was best, given the emotional outbursts, threats of self harm, lack of communication from either child, that doesn’t mean you just stop being involved. Mary, the older daughter, had seemed to open up and engage with her father once she wasn’t made to stay in his home. She talked to him daily and spent more time with him than she had in months. Mary maintains that while life at mom’s house is not perfect, not having to go back and forth, with two very different sets of rules and expectations was much better and made her life easier. Because Mary was willing to spend time with Dick, he maintained responsibility for taking her to her weekly therapy sessions and any other appoints she had, in addition to weekly dinners and hanging out on most weekends However, while he has done well with Mary, Sue is a very different situation. Aside from sending texts that are not replied to or calls that are not answered, Dick has done little to keep involved in Sue’s life. She has a medical condition which she often uses as an excuse to miss school, therapy appointments, pretty much anything she doesn’t want to do. Mary would mention that Sue had missed school, yet he made no effort to check with school on her attendance or academic progress (its a small private school with no online reporting for parents) or check with the doctors as to her treatment plans.

After comments Mary made about Medusa having no control over Sue to make her attended school and given the courts are now involved since the advocate for the girls was approved, Dick is looking into things. This school year there have been 86 school days, Sue has missed over 30 days. She also missed a shadow day/entrance exam, at the high school she is expected to attend next year.  The reason for all of the absences  is her health, however upon checking into that, her primary doctor has not seen in her in months and the new treatment she started just prior to the living arrangement was stopped with no explanation. By all accounts Medusa has no control over Sue, she tries to be her friend, not her parent and with Dick out of the picture, that leaves this troubled girl with no parents to look out for her.

Jane has been pushing Dick to check with Sue’s school and doctors, but Dick has once gain become resentful of anything Jane has to say about his kids. My thought is Dick never thought things would turn out like this. He likely thought the girls would find life with mom was not as ideal as they had hoped and they would be willing to discuss the issues that to got them to that place, resume family therapy and go back to the old visitation where he would be able to monitor things like school attendance and work as well as Sue’s medical issues. But that has not been the case and now I feel he blames Jane for the situation.

This morning Jane shared with me that she informed Dick that since Sue is part of their family plan for internet usage, she could tell that she had not been at school last Thursday, as she was logged in online for over 6 hours. She could also see her internet search history, given the parental controls they had put in place. Dick became angry, said that was an invasion of Sue’s privacy. Really? Your 14 refuses to speak to you unless you are giving her gift, she has missed over a month of school and is not following her treatment plan, yet you have no interest in using the tools available to you to get some insight into what might be going on with your kid? Sorry Dick, lame. For all of Jane’s faults, she’s is not to blame for any of this. Dick and Medusa have always been more focused on their hatred for each other than what is in the best interest for their kids. The girls know this, they have used it to manipulate their parents, now to the point that Sue is not made to attend school or take care of herself as the doctors have suggested.

This is a textbook example of how being a friend to your kids fails them. Kids need parents and structure. Without those things they are left to learn on their own, which many simply don’t. I have no idea what will end up happening. I can only hope the friend of the court will be able to help get both girls into a better place developmentally, as neither is prepared for the next phase of life.

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There is no excuse to be rude

Some people try to cover rude behavior to more flattering words: brutally honest, strong-willed, empowered, confident… just to name a few. In the South many a Belle has perfected the skill of being “nasty nice”, which is to insult one with such sugar sweetness they don’t even know you were cutting them to the bone.

I have friend who we will call Queenie, as in her world she is the queen, period. I love this woman, she is many of the words I gave as examples above: strong, confident, empowered. She is a go-getter, starting her own side business in addition to full-time corporate job. I admire this woman, but the one thing I am losing patience for is how she can come off so rude and dismissive to others. I have seen this many times, curt comments in social situations, being short and impatient with vendors for her business or with wait staff. She will berate a waiter because they do not carry the ONE brand/type of wine she likes, which is foul by the way and she should be embarrassed to drink it. She is also very busy and tends to act like her time is more precious than everyone else. I guess this contributes to why she is a single lady of a certain age.

A few years ago Queenie introduced us to a couple she was working with. They are lovely and we became fast friends. As a group we try to get together about once a month, either the five of us or six if Queenie has a beau worthy of meeting friends. I have noticed of late it is Queenie’s schedule that prevents the group from getting together, yet she is the one that will make comments that the group is letting her down by not making an effort. Really? While the holidays are crazy, I invited everyone over for brunch on New Years Day. Queenie was going to be out-of-town and specifically asked that we not get together without her. I thought that was off, we are not in high school, we can have friendships outside of the “group”. I didn’t give it too much though, with the holidays and then my hubby ended up with the manflu (see previous blog).

Well, the group had planned to get together this past Saturday. We were to meet at 6:00 pm at a local restaurant not far from our house. Most of the time we actually host, that way we can spend as much time as we like, laugh and talk without disturbing others and I simply like hosting. We planned to come back to our house to watch the game and play cards after dinner. We arrive early to secure a table (they don’t take reservations) and keep in touch with the group on our plans, including Queenie. We arrived before 6:00, got the table and I let everyone know. The other couple arrived shortly after. 6:30 came and went, no Queenie. At 6:45 we decided to order, as the artisan pizzas take 30 minutes per the note on the menu. At 7:15, over an hour late, she arrives. No apology, no explanation. She was annoyed that she was being “rushed”, which was not the case, out waitress was trying to get her taken care of so she was caught up with the rest of the group. She ordered, about the time our food came out. The appetizer she received was not to her standard, she shoved it back in the waitress’ hand as if the sight of it offended her and cut the girl off when she tried to ask what the problem was, very dismissive.  I’ll be honest, since we waited so long for her I had a one (maybe two) glasses of wine more than I planned, so I didn’t pay much attention after that)- even tipsy I was embarrassed by her behavior.

After dinner we went back to our house. This is a regular thing for our group, so they know how our dogs are. They are excited when company first shows up, then calm down. Keep in mind Queenie has a small dog who is BAD, yet within minutes of entering our home she looks at my husband and says, of my dogs excitement, “this is not a relaxing evening”. Hmmmmm… do you think it was “relaxing” sitting in a crowded restaurant for nearly an hour without ordering waiting for you while those people waiting for a table wondered what the hell our problem was? Was it “relaxing” trying to enjoy our meal when one of your party is treating the wait staff like servants, dismissing them with a wave of her hand (yes, she does this).

I don’t know if she was having a bad day or if her behavior has finally gotten to a point I can no longer ignore, but she was in rare form.  I am a grown woman, I don’t want or need a “boss” in my social circle. I enjoy going out with friends, I treat wait staff with the same respect I treat the other members of my party. I told my husband I wasn’t sure how many more nights like this I could take and I did invite the other couple to a gather at our house, sans Queenie because its crazy for her to tell me I can’t invite who I want to MY house whenever I want for whatever reason.  For now I think I will limit my social interactions with Queenie to larger groups, with more buffers to distance myself.

 

#manflu2018

I love my husband, I really do, but like a lot of men, when he is sick, he is the biggest baby. Hence the term “man flu” applies to him anytime he is sick. Let me start by saying, thankfully, he doesn’t get sick often. This year he has been sick more often and to a greater degree, likely do the new environment he is in at work. I can only hope that with time and exposure to these new germs, he will build up his tolerance so we can once again to back to long period of him being “flu free”.

The round started out of nowhere, on New Years Eve. We were at dinner with friends (Dick and Jane, actually) and all was well. We had really reservations at my favorite fancy white tablecloth restaurant, a holiday splurge. We laughed, we toasted, we ordered amazing food. About half way through the meal I noticed my hubby was being quiet, a rarity for him, which both Dick and Jane noted later. I asked if he was ok, to which he said yes, but I knew better. He has lingering digestive issues from a medical condition, which can cause nausea no matter what he eats. It will often come one quickly, to varying degrees. I figured that was the issue and continued with my meal, check on him periodically. Eventually he excused himself and left the table, not returning for some time. When he did return he looked worse than when he left, so retrieved the bill, sent him to the car and made my exit as quickly as I could. I had him home, in bed and asleep before 8:00 pm. The rest of my NYE was a like a flash back to my single days: snuggled on the couch under a blanket and a dog (or two) watching romantic comedies.

The next day he said he was better, initially, but it was clear he was not and he quickly racked up the symptoms: chills, sore throat, cough, fatigue, body aches, along with the linger nausea and lack of appetite. Being a holiday he didn’t want to venture to the ER, the only option and opted for rest, fluids and OTC medicines. He was no better Tuesday, stayed home from work. I never questioned if he was sick or that it was bad, however this is when the true man flu kicked in. He kept posting online about how he was dying. DYING. How he had been left to fend for himself (yes, I went to work, the nerve). He neglected to mention in his many death-bed posts that I made food for him, got him diet ginger ale at his request (even though we had regular at the house), took care of the dogs so he didn’t need to worry with them and had him set up on the couch with pillows, a comforter the remote, tissues, medicine and assorted beverages….all before going to work.  Once I returned home, the whining and begging to be hit with a hammer (yes, he really asks for that) begins and doesn’t end. When I’m not there he won’t take medicine, so not sure how he expects to get better.

He stayed home for two days and honestly it felt like two months. I am sick often, but I swear I’m not that bad. I just want to sleep and be left alone. I don’t claim death and ask to be put out of my misery. He was not happy that I high-jacked his posts with my hashtag, #manflu2018. Our friends have the same twisted sense of humor I do and they too mocked his plight and posted hilarious GIFs and memes about the man flu. That was the one bright spot of the whole ordeal for me.

He did survive, returned to work yesterday and has made a complete recovery. I’m so glad, as if he asked me one more time to hit him in the head with a hammer….I just may have done it!

Resolutions aka Setting up for failure

OK, I’m a tad late, but I’m here. Today was my first weigh-in since the end of the Biggest Loser Challenge. Happy to report I only picked a pound over the holidays, not bad since I fell off the wagon BIG TIME after a nasty fall on Christmas day. No workouts and eating comfort food to ease my pain, literally.  As of yesterday I’m back at it 100% and ready to hit more goals and milestones. I’m not really big on resolutions, as everyone knows that they need to do to better themselves and their lives, so why wait until January 1. I honestly think resolutions just set people up to fail. I started my lifestyle change long before the holidays, so its not a resolution, but more just getting back on track after a holiday break.

One thing I attempt to do each January and fail miserably is I try not to let Ursula, aka  “The Girl’s” Mom, aka The Ex From Hell, get to me. I fail because there are just some people who get under your skin and with this woman its not just that she is the ex, she’s  horrid. And this January, like all other, I failed in my attempt to not let her get to me. I caved at 9:47a.m., January 2nd, quite possibly a failure record as far as resolutions go. The Girl is getting braces. This has been a nightmare for a couple of years now. With both parents changing jobs, dental insurance was not a constant. In the spring of 2017 Ursula, without taking to the girl’s father, took her to the orthodontist and told the girl she would be getting her braces then. My husband does not have dental insurance at his current job and Ursula did not have coverage for braces. Neither is wealthy, so tackling nearly $6000 in treatment without insurance is not financially responsible, especially given that the girl’s teeth are not horrible, one might go so far as to say braces is a minor cosmetic procedure. At this point I could have just stayed out of it, but half the cost would be coming out of my household budget and frankly, I don’t like anyone outside of my husband and myself making our financial decisions. I looked into adding the girl to my insurance, as I have very good dental & ortho coverage. The issue was, braces would have to wait, again, for January 2018, as I would have to add her during open enrollment.

At first Ursula said no. She had promised the girl she would get her braces then when she could be done prior to starting high school (her entire treatment is estimated to take 12-18 months). I looked into what the savings would be, $1500. At that point, since money is all that matters to this horrid woman, she agreed, with the disclaimer that no matter what happened, the girl would get braces January 2018 without insurance. Good things she was sooooo willing to work with us, during that time she also changed jobs (again), and has ortho coverage with her new employer, now the savings has jumped to $2500. But we are dealing with Ursula, so she made the girl’s first appointment on January 2, the first working day of the new year. Ugh. In the weeks leading up to the holidays she emailed me asking for the insurance information, which of course I didn’t not have, since the girl would not be covered until January 1. She provided me with names and numbers to call, when I had the information. I had suggested not making the appointment on January 2, just to be safe, no, it HAD to be on January 2. And what happened, because I tend to have the worst luck in times to stress, I called the insurance company first thing yesterday morning only to be told the girl was NOT listed on policy. KILL ME NOW was my first thought.

Calls and emails to everyone I could think of to remedy this issue were made, but not before Ursula had to call me, from the orthodontist’s office, to inform me that I had not contacted them with the insurance information. No shit, it was 9:47am! I explained the situation and got the long sign, then the condescending tone as if she just knew I did this on purpose. She then went into how the down-payment had to be made that day and the girl was not going to wait. The money side has nothing to do with insurance, she just loves rubbing it in, when she can, that she has fulfilled her responsibility, but the girl’s father has not.  Within an hour everything was straightened out, but not before she has the girl call me to tell me the same information about calling the office with the information and that a payment was needed. WHY? Why have the kid be involved in the insurance and payment discussions, especially when she had called me herself not 30 minutes before.

So, I failed. I let Ursula get under my skin and honestly, I don’t see that changing the further into the year we get. I don’t like her. I don’t like how she treats my husband and I don’t like the kind of fake person she is. 2018 is starting as 2017 ended….. but hey, 2017 was a very good year 🙂

Bitch please

As sure as the malls will be crowded, children will write letters to Santa and snow freaks will pray for a white Christmas, this time of year is certain to bring with it an email (or two or TEN) from “the ex” questioning support payments.

The first message was received a week ago, shortly after a trip that I’m sure she was hoping to have child support for extra spending money. A short back story on the way child support is handled in our state. All payments are made via the county attorney’s office. They have online systems that are perhaps the biggest technological joke I’ve ever seen. Zero constancy, from one screen to the other totals will be different. Totals for what is owed are updated monthly, not as payments are made and they are not updated on the first of the month. When a payment is made, the funds immediately are taken from our bank and a receipt is provided, yet on the Ursula’s end the funds are not available for 5-10 BUSINESS days, per the disclaimer on the site.

Her initial email, in her bitchy condescending tone, she questioned if my husband had switched jobs “again”, as no payment had been received since mid-November. First, on the job comment, she is on job #3 in 2 years, but sure, let’s pick on the fact he changed jobs 3 times as well, in 5+ years.  Anyway, the reason for no payment since mid-November was the balance for November was paid in full at that time. We have learned, the hard way, that over payments are not applied to the next month. I mean, Ursula gets the money, but my hubby is not credited. So, once December rolled around, we waited until the system was updated so the payment would credit correctly. It was made on 8th, but due to the delay, which she knows about and has been reminded of countless times over the years, she had not received the fund.

Now, before anyone gets all up in arms about how as the mother Ursula depends on child support to care for “the girl”- let me drop some knowledge. First, Ursula and my hubby have 50/50 custody, so the girl is with us half the time. Second, it’s not like Ursula needs to worry about living expenses, she is living with her boyfriend, in his house, so she has no rent or utilities. Third, she has a job, supposedly a full-time job making decent money. So, the money received for child support (which at 50/50 is crazy, but that is for another blog), should solely be for the girl’s needs. I mean, she is with us the same amount of time, we have the same expenses, yet we don’t get nearly $600 a month to off set food or clothing, not to mention Christmas.

I replied to Ursula, as I am the keeper of the budget. I once again explained the delay, which she acknowledge knowing (then why are you sending an email!!?!?!??) and that November had been paid in full early in the month, so no payment was due after that. She said she understood, yet yesterday, another email, complete with screen shots from the child support website showing a gap in payments and totals that were not correct. I once again explained about the November payments, sent screen shots of my own showing what had been owed for November and what had been paid and when. Then I explained, in painful detail, with screen shots, that no over payments to her will be made since they do not credit the following month. There are no arrears owed, so any over payment, which of course she receives, goes into an arrears balance.  She replied with some nonsense that she is to receive support payments bi-weekly per the court order. No, she is  to receive a specified amount, per month, no mention of how often she is to be paid. What she was hoping was payments were being made by my husband’s employer and she would get funds bi-weekly regardless of the balance.

It’s so frustrating. My husband is a good and involved father. Just because he is no longer with her mother he has never turned away from his child, financially or otherwise. I feel support should be for the child, not for the day-to-day living of the parent receiving the funds. If the child did not exist, housing, utilities, food, insurance, etc would have to be paid, so my feeling is those needs to be covered without using child support. For two weeks out of each month, Ursula should have more than enough money in support to feed and cloth the girl.

 

 

And the results are in….

So, we have completed the Biggest Loser Weight-loss Challenge at work. I am proud to say, I lost the most weight, 21.2 pounds during the course of the 12 week challenge. However, I did not win the challenge. The prize money went to the top two who lost the largest % based on the starting weights. And this is where the skinny bitches win, again. A lower starting weight means less needs to be lost to achieve a higher %…. yes, they worked hard and lost weight, but come one…this fluffy girl lost the most and still, I’m a loser.

I’m still proud of myself, I started my journey to improve my health before the challenge and I will continue now that it’s done. But yes, I’m bitter AND, the organizer sent out everyone’s weight, I know I’m overweight, that is why I am working to change things, but I don’t need the world knowing what I weigh.

Not cool…I think I will stick to my core group of friends to keep me motivated.

Milestone achieved!!!

I am the type that likes to break big goals down into reasonable milestones. My total weight-loss goal is a big number, daunting if you just went from zero to goal with no celebrations of the milestones along the way. I hit the big 2-5 this week. I’ve lost 25 lbs, 1/3 of my total. I’m thrilled. I feel better, look better and along with the 25 pounds I’ve lost 23 inches, mostly from my chest, waist and hips!!!

Our weight-loss challenge at work wraps up this week. While I lost the most pounds, I don’t think I will be taking home the jackpot, as the challenge was based on percentage of your original body weight lost. This is where being small at the start pays off. The thinner challengers had to lose less weight to get a higher percentage. That is fine, I mean, the money would be nice, but for me it was more about my personal goals and achieving them. I’m not stopping now, I’ve only just begun and I am determined to hit more milestones on my march to my final goal.

So, here is to 25… and my eye is on dropping the next 25 on the way to the big 5-0!!!