Friday, April 29, 2011

Who's Best Interest?

When we were working with DHS they continually told us it was in Zack's best interest to have a relationship with and/or contact with his biological father. At the beginning, I somewhat agreed. I didn't have Jim in my life (Our first date was the same day as FoTB's first visit with Zack) and I wanted to make sure he had at least some male influence in his life.

Now, the farther we get into this, the less I believe that may be the case.

At this point there is nothing I can or will do about it. I have said from the beginning that I will allow FoTB to be in Zack's life as long as he is sober and it will be Zack's choice to make up his own mind about him but it still makes me wonder if I mad the right choice.

For Zack, at four years old his mind is already pretty much made up about things. Over the last two or three months we have had several instances in which Zack has told me that something his dad did was wrong or not nice.

Two months ago Zack started not wanting to stay the night over there. Maybe it is a phase. Maybe it is the fact that they do not have a room for him so he has to sleep in FoTB's girlfriend's son's room. Maybe it is the fact that they do not have a single toy over there that is his. (We have one Iron Man we send back and forth with him so he will have something that is just his not J's toy that he can play with when he is there). Perhaps it is a million other reasons. We have asked him and gotten no real answers.

The point is, he didn't want to be there. And he told me so... several times. My only answer to him was that FoTB wanted to spend time with him too and that he would have to talk to him about coming home as I couldn't make him send Zack home. So one weekend he got up the courage to tell them. He was very vocal about it, in fact, and he told them he didn't want to stay the night.

He wanted to go home and sleep and come back in the morning. And do you know what these two lovely people told my four year old??

"You can't go home because your mom will get in trouble if you go home. This is our time with you and if she tells you that you can go home or if she comes and gets you she can get in a lot of trouble."

Do you have any idea what "Mom will be in trouble" means to a child who has witnessed domestic violence?

When we first picked him up he was sad. We asked him why and he told us he wanted to come home and his dad wouldn't let him. I told him that dad did let him call me (twice that weekend and he has NEVER let him call me before or since so I knew something was up) and his answer to me was I didn't want to call you I wanted to come home.

Strike one for FoTB. His answer then was that was not very nice of dad to not let me come home.

Then Monday night he started telling the story of the night FoTB was arrested again. He hadn't told that story in several months and so it seemed odd to us that he was telling it again out of no where. That Tuesday my niece came over to watch him. I'm fairly certain on any given day he would pick her over me... hands down. He LOVES her. And he cried... and cried... and cried when it was time for bed. He was scared, he missed me, etc.

Finally by Wednesday morning I had started to put two and two together and I sent Jim and email. Sure enough, a four year old who has witnessed domestic violence believes that when Mommy is in trouble it means that FoTB was going to come to our house and scream at me and throw things at my head again.

Strike two for FoTB. And Zack's answer once Daddy (Jim) explained to him that was never going to happen again and that he would keep Zack and me safe no matter what. "That was not very nice of my dad to say that."

Strike three was the motorcycle...

And just for good measure we throw in last night. Last night when we picked up Zack he was sitting on the front porch with FoTB while J and the neighborhood kids were playing in the driveway and the front of the house.

When he got in the car he was clearly pissed off. I asked him what was wrong and his answer was that my dad made me sit on the step with him and he wouldn't let me play with any of the other kids. I asked him what he had done wrong and his answer was nothing. (Zack usually cops to it if he is in trouble.) So I asked why he had to sit on the step and his answer was that Dad wanted to spend time with me so he said I couldn't play with the other kids.

Strike four.... "I am very mad that dad made me sit on the step. I wanted to play with the other kids. That was not very nice of him."

So, who's best interest are we really serving here? Zack's or FoTB's??

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


On Saturday FoTB took my four year old on a motorcycle ride.

(As a side note: I know of at least a couple readers who have let their kids on a motorcycle or have watched other relatives kids on motorcycles ... this is not a judgement of you, it is strictly my opinion.)

I am 100% against young children on motorcycles. Why?

Let me count the reasons:

  1. They are incredibly dangerous if an adult is in an accident, what do you think would happen to a child

  2. They are heavy, if one falls over on a child it could crush the child and I know more than anyone that you do not need a head injury to die, it almost happened to my sister

  3. There are people who have died because their motorcycle was rear ended, or in a minor accident that someone would have easily survived if they had been in a car

  4. Just staying in a subdivision or going slowly does not mitigate the risks, what if a teenager is distracted and hits the motorcycle. Your going at a slow rate of speed but you wobble a little... where does your child go? On the pavement? What if the bike falls over... you break your leg, your child breaks their pelvis or crushes their internal organs.

  5. Do I need to go on?

On top of the fact that I am against children on motorcycles, no matter the speed and where they go (i.e. it was just around our neighborhood) the fact that FoTB was driving it, one of the worst drivers on the planet, makes it 10 times worse.

Two weeks ago we picked up Zack from FoTB's house. On our way home this car FLEW past me and almost rear ended a semi. I thought it was a drunk driver from how erratically they were driving until I realized it was FoTB. I called Jim on his cell phone to confirm (he was about 500 yards in front of me) and he looked over to his left just in time to see FoTB fly by him. Yup... it was him. He then proceeded to weave in and out of traffic and left the road onto the shoulder no less than three times.

In fact, when he got said motorcycle a week ago I said to Jim, "Well, now I know how he is going to die." So the fact that he has my four year old on this bike, with his driving skills, compounds my fear.

On Monday night I tried talking to him. His answers were as follows, "We were not going to let either boy (his girlfriend has an 8 year old) ride the motorcycle again until we got them a helmet." Again... what will the helmet do if the bike falls on him and crushes his body? "You can't live in a bubble honey." #1... I am NOT your honey, #2... I don't think asking you not to take a four year old on a motorcycle is living in a bubble.

Since Iowa has seat belt laws and car seat laws I figured I would just talk to someone who knew the law, have them tell me OF COURSE that is illegal and have that to throw back at him. Unfortunately, it is not. According to the two police officers we talked to it is not illegal because no one thought it necessary to make a law about common sense and that no one was stupid enough to take a four year old on a motorcycle. Ahhh... they are wrong. I know someone.

The officers did tell us if they ever saw someone riding on the road with a child they would pull them over and offer them a stern talking to about how dangerous it was but they couldn't do much else.

So I contacted our DHS worker. Her answer was the same, it is not illegal so she can not stop him from doing it but she thought it was VERY dangerous and couldn't believe he would put his son in that position.

Finally, I moved on to my lawyer. Her answer was similar. A judge probably couldn't enforce that as it becomes Zack's word against FoTB unless we actively catch him on the motorcycle however, I could take him back to court and if the judge rules the activity too dangerous he could possibly take away visits or make them supervised again.

At the end of our conversation I did tell FoTB that I thought what he was doing was illegal and knowing him as I do he will probably not look it up so perhaps it will never happen again. After I told him that he told me he would "respect my wishes" and not take Zack out again. Which means, he has not thought at all about the ramifications of having Zack on there and instead is just saying he won't because I told him not to.

I told the lawyer I would contact her if he put Zack on the bike again and we would proceed with going back to court if we had to. In the end I'm just frustrated. The police officers, the DHS people, the lawyers all of them tell me how dangerous this is and how he should NOT be doing it yet not one of them can do anything to help me because no one would be dumb enough to do that would they?

I know someone.....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Group Invite

We sent out our wedding inviations a few weeks ago. All of our RSVP's are online except for about 10. The people we knew were not tech savy or the older generation all received paper RSVP postcards.

Yesterday we received one back from one of Jim's relatives. We invited a husband and wife. They RSVP'd for six people....

No, you did not read that incorrectly... SIX...

They wrote in "6 six" so we would be sure to understand. There was no mistake.

WTH?? I'm so confused. Did they invite friends? Are they bringing their neighbors??

We asked his mom and her answer was she didn't know. We didn't invite their daughter or any of her three kids so they shouldn't be RSVPing for anyone besides themselves??

Should we call them and inquire? Would it be rude to send a follow up RSVP card with a little note saying perhaps you didn't understand the first one.... we invited two people... not six could you try this again?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lack of Motivation...

Tuesday I had the day off from work.

Yesterday I left work at 3:00.

Today I left work at 11:30.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

Tomorrow I may actually have to work a full day. I'm not sure I can handle a full day. Maybe I should go in late....

I find it odd how quickly it happens every year. Tax season ends, all of the rush, rush, rush is over and it goes from 60 hours a week to nothing over night. I'm struggling right now to re-find my motivation.

I hope it returns soon... I need to have some personal time left for the wedding and honeymoon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

House Cleaning

I've been trying to do a bit of house cleaning today. Tax season is over and I'm trying to dust the cobwebs off of this old blog and get back to writing. There are things I have missed and things I have not about being here every day. I will try to focus more on the things I have missed. :-)

For right now, the last trace of the old blog has been taken away. I've been here for over a year now and I finally got my email changed. If you click on the link over there you will see the new email. My old one will stay active for awhile but I'm hoping to slowly phase that out. In 6 1/2 weeks (but I'm not counting or anything) I will be married and the last trace of that name will be gone from me.

For now, Zack will keep it, so it will still be a part of my life, just not a part of my identity any more.

There is one problem I am finding that I'm hoping perhaps some of you, if there are any of you left, can give me a hand with. I used to have bloglines. It was very easy to just put a link to my bloglines subscriptions and share with all of you what I was reading. That is not nearly so handy in google reader.

I've read a bit about making reading lists or groups but no where does there seem to be a standard share all feeds button. The alternative is to put what I'm reading over there on the right. But... I read A LOT... and so I think that could be cumbersome and distracting.

Any thoughts on this?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Two Months

Two months until I marry the most amazing man I've ever met.

Two months until I get to be his wife.

Every time I think about it, every time I talk about it I get all giddy with excitement. Just ask any of the ladies I was hanging out with this weekend. I may need to be highly medicated in the next two weeks.

My confession for the day is that I did not have a clue this would happen. No really. I have been married once before. I just figured planning a wedding is planning a wedding. Nothing new, I wasn't this over the top excited the first time. I was sort of hum ho. It was all about the wedding, the perfect dress, the perfect cake, the perfect reception all of the details. I spent so much time and energy and money (thank you mom & dad... LOTS of money) on the first one and when it was over.... I was still ho hum.

In fact, our first big abusive fight happened on our honeymoon and it was all sort of down hill from there. Welcome to being my wife, here let me shove you down a hill into a parking garage.....

This time... this time it is SOOO different. The planning has been so easy and so laid back. (Except for the dresses... but that is over and they are bought... yippie!!)

Everything has also been much cheaper than we originally planned. We set out what we wanted, for people to come and have fun and celebrate us and our love, and we went from there. Does it matter if they come in jeans or slacks? Nope. Does it matter if they eat a $15 per plate catered meal or a hamburger? Yes... no one likes the $15 per meal options anyway... :-)

On Friday our invitations came in and then on Sunday we went and picked up Jim's ring. It is all sort of coming together nicely and I am over the moon ecstatic. In fact Jim has told me on more than one occasion it is a good thing he is so mellow because we couldn't handle that much enthusiasm under one roof.