Apr 29, 2002

Been reading about Kimberly's problems with her kids. Custody issues are a bitch. It's hard to tell where the judges will go; you are on equal footing in the courtroom unless the substantiated evidence proves otherwise. Even if they sympathize with you, they have to follow the law.

Fighting for your kids is hard. You have to be passionate, but not too much. Reasonable and willing to negotiate. Your ex is not the worst creature on earth - remember, you had kids with him, so what does that say about your judgment? These judges have seen it all, and they sum you up fast. But stupid, they're not.

My ex once got busted because he wore the wrong t-shirt to court. A brand-new t-shirt advertising a whale watch in New England. The judge remarked how nice it was and casually asked him where he got it. He proceeded to tell her about his trip, about taking someone else's child, about how much she loved whales - all the while thinking what a good guy it made him seem.

The hunter sets the trap, covering it with pine needles.

Then she asked him how much the trip cost.

Snap. The mechanism is spring. The animal senses the danger, but realizes it is too late to retreat.

Hesitantly, he gave her a figure. A ridiculously and suspiciously small figure. For an overnight trip to New England. For two. (Well, for obviously more than two - who's going to let their child go on vacation with their "friend" without them?) A figure that just happened to be the same amount as that of his weekly child support obligation. Which he wasn't paying. Now, explain to the judge again how you spent the money you should have been paying to your own child on someone else's kid?

Spring! The trap closes.

And I didn't have to say a word.

Apr 26, 2002

The Friday Five

1. What are your hobbies? Computers. Gardening. Books.

2. Do you collect anything? Pens. It's not intentional. I just keep hoping one of them might give me better penmanship. Or if I collect enough, maybe I can trade them all in for a good Waterman?

3. Is there a hobby you're intersted in, but just don't have the time/money to do? Photography. Of course, that lack of any actual talent thing getting in the way, too.

4. Have you ever turned a hobby into a money-making opportunity? Computers. Well, whether I can consider it "money-making" is still up for debate. The electric company, phone company, insurance company, and landlord would be on the "con" team.

5. Besides web related stuff (burbs, rings, etc.) what clubs do you belong to? Any that could increase the "pro" side of the "money-making" debate (see question #4). Networking groups, Chamber of Commerce, business associations. And the local computer user group. Think I need a little balance in my life?

Reading this entry brought back memories of my own daughter's operation, at the age of eight months. She, too, was born with a cleft, but luckily only of the soft palate - the area at the back of the mouth. Much easier to repair, and involving no facial surgery. So for the most part, no reminders, no memories. Except for The Mom.

I still remember that horrible feeling of turning my innocent baby over to the arms of the nurse. They would not let me go into surgery, of course. They would not even let me in the recovery room. I didn't realize then how I could have insisted on it - I am not one of those "mouthy mothers" with that fight-to-the-death attitude about their children. Sometimes I wish I had that kind of blind courage.

I can still picture her face as the nurse walked down the hall. The confusion in her eyes. "Where am I going?" "Why aren't you with me?" I'm sure this was all in my head. Short of a few minutes of curiousity, my daughter probably thought it a wonderful adventure. But to me, it was possibly the last glimpse I would see of my smiling baby's face. It was, after all, major surgery involving anesthesia, and the numerous forms requiring my signature was evidence of the danger for one so young.

The hours waiting for the surgery to finish were unbearable. Even more so with the presence of her father, my soon-to-be-ex, who drove us down to the hospital with barely enough to pay for parking, let alone to eat (we would have to be there most of the day.) Not that I would be able to consume anything but water. But this was the person who was supposed to be looking out for us? That I was supposed to be able to lean on for comfort and security? Totally, totally unprepared. Probably because my mother was also coming, and he knew she would have the resources to pick up the slack. The attitude, I'm afraid, has not changed. Many years later, he's still expecting everyone else to pick up the slack.

When they wheeled her out of recovery, I was a stew of emotions - the desire to cry, jump for joy, and break into hysterical laughter. So relieved that everything had gone well. Pained by the look of the tube stuck into her nose so the swelling would not interfere with her breathing. And amused by the sight of this tiny body on this huge hospital gurney - she was barely as big as the pillow, a tiny speck in this sea of white cotton. Seeing her mommy. A big smile. "Geez, Mom, it was a breeze. What were you so worried about?"

She's still doing this to me. Does she know that my heart, in her hands, is a bouncing ball?

Apr 25, 2002

Came across the Chaos Calculator at this site, so I entered 2 for family members (thinking immediate family only.) Pets was not hard, of course. The score? 25. I stumbled on it again at this site and I decided I really should add my parents in. Altho they don't live with us, we see them often and they are the people I go to first when chaos reigns. Final score? 2401.

'Nuf said.

The cats are eyeing the backyard savannah, dreaming of prey and great feasting. If the rains do not stop, it will take a sickle to get the grass under control - I managed to get the front and side yards mowed, but my hands were freezing and the sun was going down, so I had to come in and take refuge under the afghans. That was two days ago. It's been raining since, which only makes the grass grow faster.

Timing your life to the growth spurts of grass. Just one of the many joys of being a homeowner.

Apr 19, 2002

T-storms blew in this afternoon. Walked out to bring in the quilt I had earlier put out to dry and there was a flurry of white petals from the various flora. Like walking into a sudden blizzard. Very surreal.

The storm is over now. I love the way the light changes during late afternoon storms, a chiaroscuro painting. And that fresh, clean scent. The exaggerated contrast of the old white dogwood against the new green foliage and growing grass.

Life here is good.

Apr 18, 2002

I've gotten lost in the blogs again. It stuns me how much I've missed this other world, one that I'd inhabited with my mind instead of my body. I kept up with a few blogs while I was away, but rarely got sucked in. I got sucked into the vacuous cathode ray - which is pretty sad, since I don't even have cable. It was a white noise, no thought process involved, and needed at the time. But my brain is warped now, and I want it back.

Another unseasonably hot day yesterday. The neighbors have switched on the ac, and my daughter says the school is like a refrigerator.

More of the tree is down, and some mulch spread, but no other yardwork - it's just too hot. Need to get the garden planted, but first need to get rid of the weeds. So, ok, Gaia. You are in charge. I got it. Now knock it off!

Apr 16, 2002

Unbearably warm today. I'm not ready for summer to just in like a guest you're not prepared for. I'm still scouring my wardrobe for decent spring clothes, since everything is starting to wear out. It's no problem when I'm banging at the keys - I can come up with any number of comfortable things that I wouldn't be caught in the dark in - but I do have an occasional networking meeting or even scarcer visit to a client site (unfortunately) so I do have to look "professional" now and then. Which is getting harder.

You see, I also have a pre-teen that is having far too many growth spurts. And is far too picky about her attire. So what little money there is at the moment goes for things like shoes. Thankfully, I get to wear her cast-offs, which aren't too worn. But I still can't wear them to a business meeting.

Kid's gonna have to aspire to a higher degree of fashion if I have to resort to stealing from her closet.

A faster new memory technology has been developed which could end the need to reboot computers after crashing. Well, if Sharp really does follow thru on this, what will I do with half of my day?

Ok, so maybe's that's an exaggeration. But the time I spend rebooting this thing is significant.

Guess I need to think about taking up a hobby.