27 January 2008

'Every Other' Parent

I have a very close acquaintance who's going through some child support/visitation issues with the father of her young child. They were never married, so she won't have to deal with the added joys of divorce, thank God.

She's telling me the compromises she's had to make ...and the added benefits he receives for the child he denied having until the DNA tests proved him - and his mother - wrong.
Where does his mother fit in, you ask? That was my question, too.

Anyway, it got me started thinking ...yeah, that whole thinkin' thing again... as she was telling me now that he knows her child is his, he wants her child every other Thanksgiving and every other Christmas... and a month every summer... but balks at paying 'her' any kind of child support or back-support for this child.

"Who should I make the check out to?"

I think "The Whore Who Mothered My Child" would be a tad too much...

Like the measly pittance is going to elevate her from middle to upper-class.

On the fast track. Good planning, Sunshine!

I'm sure the food, housing, clothing and medical expenses of this child is nowhere near the amount he'll bitch about sending. She'll be laughing all the way to the bank!!

Why is it so many non-custodial parents want to be the 'Disneyland Parent' and don't like the money aspect of child support? They want to buy the ice cream and visit all of the area attractions and show their children a really good time (tm) the entire twenty days of their yearly parental participation. But bugger their children the other 345 days per year. Meanwhile, we, the custodial parent, get to use all of our income on rent/mortgage, insurance, medicine, child care, car, utilities, clothing, food and school supplies/fundraisers. We don't have extras for 'fun' stuff, exciting places or ice cream. How dare we ask for some kind of monetary support! Gold-digging beotches, anyway!!

A real 'fair' sharing of parental responsibilities/visitation would be listed more like this:

You get them every other Flu/Cold ailment.
You get them every other 5-8 hour doctor visit for routine examinations.
You get them every other serious illness/injury or surgery (ear tubes, tonsillectomy, etc.).
You get them every other braces realignment.
You get them every other fit, shouting match and meltdown.
You get them every other parent/teacher conference or PTO meeting.
You get them every other sibling rivalry dispute over the stupid, little, plastic 'made in China' infantile toy you gave them last Christmas when you didn't have them.
Every other time the school calls and our child needs to be picked up, you get to take the time off from work, you get to explain to your boss why, and you get to pick up our child from school/daycare and take them to the doctor's for meds - and you get to stay up with them all night, cleaning up their puke and poop and snot. You get to try to bring the fever down and you get to worry if you can't.
Every other time the school has an awards ceremony, you get to attend the entire 2 hour program to watch our child for the 2 seconds they're on stage - if at all.
Every other time the school calls with disciplinary/education problems, you get to talk to the principal and teacher and nurse and parent of the other child.
You get to nag at our children to clean their room every other time it's needed.
Every other day you get to nag our children to brush their teeth and hair and take a shower and wash behind their ears and put their dirty clothes in the wash.
...And every other week you get to do their laundry.
You get to hear them complain every other time they're told to turn off the TV and do their homework.
You get to deal with the school bully every other time our child is tormented.
You get to hear our child every other time they say the world isn't fair.
Every other time they ask if they can go to the movies or out to dinner, you get to tell them I don't have the money for it.
You get to hold them every other time their best friend/boyfriend breaks their heart and tell them "this too shall pass" and "if she/he can't see what a wonderful person you are, she/he doesn't deserve you."
And you get to wait and worry every other time they're 20 minutes late.
Every other time someone invites you out for one thing or another, you get to decline because you can't find (or afford) a decent babysitter.
And, every other time someone invites me out for one thing or another, you get to find and pay for a babysitter so I can go out...

NCP wants the December 25ths and third Thursdays of November.  We get to have them the 21st of April
. You're right.  That's not any special day.  But what we know and NCP doesn't is:
The date doesn’t matter - Christmas, Thanksgiving or April 21st. Any day spent with our child - this wonderful soul - is Thanksgiving. And every morning kiss is a Christmas present.

NCP will never figure that one out, will s/he?


24 January 2008

Sleepless in my prattle

Just how long can one live without sleep? Does anybody really know?

It's like the commercial for the Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop - The world may never know.
Does one drop dead right at the crucial time? When making the final note one is still alive at, say, 2 am on a Sunday morning, then drops dead and is not found until five days later, irrevocably altering the scientific data of how long one can survive without sleep?

Yep - you guessed it. I'm rambling on because I are one tired puppy. No sleep in four nights will do that to this person.

You are left to pluck through the drivel of my exhausted mind to find a thought worth clinging to and applying to your rear view mirror for later retrospection (wait, that's kind of redundant) so, introspection... or something like that.

I did receive an email today with the phrase:
Actions speak louder than bumper stickers.

I like that.
I like it a lot.

...I am saddened by Heath Ledger's death, although it doesn't much alter my plans. He will be missed by many, I'm sure. I enjoyed "Knight’s Tale" "Ten Things I Hate About You" & "Patriot" to name a few. Sad face. He seemed like a decent human being with a promising future. (I wonder if he forgot to forward that chain email I sent.)

My brain is going into hibernation now, so knock on my door tomorrow. Maybe I'll have slept and be more alert ...actually say something 'mirror worthy'...or maybe not.

Probably not.

Hey, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Deb A.  You know you'll always be older than me.   Enjoy your cake.


22 January 2008

One of your 5

I know I’m one of your five.
I figured it out about ten years ago when you got a computer and online savvy.

You send me an email weekly (at least) telling me if I don’t send it on to five (more is better) of my favorite people all hell will break loose. But it’s okay because “God” or Nieman Marcus sent it to you apparently, and you just want to ensure I’ll receive the money, hopes, answered prayers and cookie recipes promised in said email by sending it on.

Well, I’m here to tell you I fell for that the first five years and, like a moron, sent it on to my fav five, plus back to you as instructed… and just like the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes claim I won 5 bazillion bucks … nothing happened.

At least I don’t think so.

Maybe I’ve been staying alive only because of those chain-emails. Or, maybe I’m still alive as punishment for not sending them on. Maybe I was supposed to meet my maker and exist in blissful immortality picking silver fruits from gold trees in the kingdom of heaven. (What does one do with a silver fruit in heaven anyway?)

Anyway: Thank You.
Your emails saved my life …or kept me from dying. Either way, I am none the wiser.

Send them to me if you must. I will destroy them in my inbox and steady myself for the eventual apocalypse from my actions/inactions

(I live on the edge.)

17 January 2008

Sexy! Sexy! Sexy!

I’ve just sent the kids to school. The TV is on… crowd noise, you know. E! THS Investigates – Serial Killers… I heard an announcer say “2 – 4 % of the population are psychopaths… so, they’re out there.”

Which explains a lot really.

Exspouses… Peanut allergy Moms (& Dads – that’s why it’s 2 – 4% and not just 2% - which is the percentage of peanut allergy sufferers in our pop.)

So, you’re more likely to be a psychopath than you are to be allergic to anything.

Hiding in plain sight.

Yesterday the girls were home sick… not to be confused with homesick… anyway, I zoned out between running hot tea to one, soup to the other… on one channel – I can’t remember – the 50 cutest childhood stars (and where are they now) – a program from 2005.

I wasn’t really watching, but observing. Did you know if a boy childhood star makes it through the “Growing Pains” - surviving fame at such an early age to become someone as productive as, say, Opie Cunningham they are spouted as being intelligent trend-setters of fantastical degree… whereas if a girl childhood star makes it through puberty tracking the same path as her childhood male co-star, she’s SEXY, SEXY, SEXY!!! …regardless of what she’s done in the days since. Unless you’re someone like Natalie (Mindy Cohn) from ‘Facts of Life’ – then you’re funny. (Are you aware she’s been working pretty much solidly from about 1980 on? They kinda skimmed over that information.)

My sister related a story to me yesterday: Preparing to ‘go to work’ on a project with a friend, she donned some old over-alls. Her husband walked in the room and asked:
“What are you getting all dressed up for?”


16 January 2008

Up against the wall...

"There's one in the spotlight... he don't look right to me..."
Thieves. That’s what they are, you know, nothing but thieves.

X-spouses…not to be confused with espouses (which, ironically, means to marry - but also means to advocate) because I do not advocate the practice of stealing property from another (especially when said property was my property before I became just another piece of his property when I espoused him).

I just realized my Pink Floyd – The Wall CD is missing. Then, I started thinking back to the last time I remembered seeing it… which was in the boxes from GA I packed and placed in the corner of our family room – one process of many in becoming an exspouse - a corner I was delegated to have as my ‘space’ to place things belonging to me, for exspouse-two to return to me after he received payment for its weight (it’s a military thing)… So, shame on me. I believed all of my things would be returned to me… but as time goes on I find I’m not finding things. I find my boxes have been raped and pillaged. And, to add insult to injury, I was required to go retrieve said items as exspouse-two no longer felt the need to ‘honor’ his promise (another military thing) of returning them to me after he got paid handsomely for their weightiness. I guess after you break the promise of forsaking all others...

My antique desk – I found out he gave it to my ‘pretty’ neighbor. I hope Julia appreciates it. (She’s a good person. It’s okay she ended up with it.)
My trundle bed – I found out he later sold it… He told me he wanted it for the girls when they came to visit him… but, he just puts a mattress on the floor of the spare room for them instead. Ooh, comfy!

Oh, I was going to go on and on, but what’s the point?

The point is I bought that damned album/cassette/CD three times. 3 TIMES!

The first time it was the album. When exspouse-one enlisted, he told me I had to leave all of my personal belongings in his mother’s attic when we relocated, because, apparently, he wasn’t aware of the military ‘weight/pay’ thing exspouse-two was so hip on. Long story short - a year later when we came back to retrieve my belongings, it seems my belongings belonged more to his sisters… bye-bye Pizza Hut Care Bear glasses my brother gave me… bye-bye collection of coffee cups… bye-bye all my childhood memorabilia (two ceramic kittens hanging from a ceramic hot-air balloon – a gift from my brother and sister when I was, like, four - to name only one) and my children’s memorabilia as well. I hope Tyler, Britney and Bubba (yes, Bubba... *sigh*) enjoyed them all as much as we did. You are welcomed. Bye-bye wooden wall clocks my step-father made for me and I found hanging on my mother-in-law’s walls. (Now you know why the thought of losing everything in a fire is no threat to me… sometimes it doesn’t take a fire to lose all your belong-ings)

And, bye-bye all of my music albums – including Pink Floyd, The Wall…

Then, I purchased PF-TW in cassette form only to lose it a few years later to the same exspouse-one… which is funny (odd) because he fell asleep in the middle of the movie and I always thought he didn’t much care for Pink Floyd…

Fast forward a few years. I’m a single mom. I buy the CD.

Fast forward fifteen years… Exspouse-two hates PF-TW, but I guess he hates me more…

Maybe I was never meant to own PF-TW… (or be espoused) ...does anyone have a copy I can ‘borrow’ for a bit?

Yeah, it’s PMS Monday… and, all and all it’s just another brick in the wall.

13 January 2008

My daughter, Jack

So… yesterday daughter #4 had to go to a birthday party at the local fitness club. She made a card and put on her suit, all in front of daughter #5, who’s having a really hard time understanding why she can’t go, too.

“It’s not a community pool,” I say.
“Yeah,” Marci interjects, “Matt’s family owns it… It has a huge hot tub, too.”
“No, they do not. Marci quit teasing your sister.”
To which I get a big smile as Marci runs to grab her towel.
“They won’t notice.” I think Sophe actually believes her words.

We drop Marci at the fitness center and head off on a quest for those non-skid thingies, probably made in China, you put on the floor of your bathtub so your kids (or Mom) won’t slip and kill themselves in the shower… what are they called?
Nope, me neither.

So, I’m walking thru the first department store (no, not Wal-Mart) and finally ask someone who needs to ask someone, who tells me…
“Yeah, they’re in the back with the shower curtains and stuff.”
I find a pretty shower curtain… needed one anyway. Looking all over for those thingies and wish, not for the first time, I knew their exact moniker.
(Found an old, ugly, thick bath mat with octopus suction cups… I think it was a beautiful shade of retirement-home-grey. I had to pass it up.)

We leave store one with shower curtain, drain stopper (my bathtub drain leaks) and a child’s make-up kit Sophe just ‘had to have.’ It was on sale – 30% off – so that makes it understandable, right? And besides, she didn’t get to go swimming…

…and she promised she'd share with Marci as long as Marci was nice, and asked ‘Please’ and didn’t try to…(I admit – I stopped listening.)

Store # 2 - grocery store. No luck there.

Store # 3 – Walgreens. No rude lady with three unruly kids, but no non-skiddy sticky stuff either…

Sophe and I are leaving the store when we pass a bin with a sign “ON SALE – 3/$10.00.” Inside are plastic, personalized cups with the most up-to-date, popular names you could ever imagine… ‘cept my kids’ names. Well, they had ‘Paige’ but no Diana, Tahna, Marci or Sophe. Go figure. No Knickerless, either – which was surprising.

Sophe looks up at me and says “We gotta get this one for Paige.”
Now remember, she didn’t get to go swimming today, like her sister did, and swimming is her favorite #1 sport of all time…

We’re rooting thru the bargain bin – I’m thinking “Maybe I can find one for one of the cousins, or something we can use as a present later. Three for ten dollars…Wow! That’s like too good to pass up… a little, crappy plastic cup for about $3.33. (I’ll give Paige the one for $3.34.) Forget we don’t need them. Cheap at twice the price!”

Sophe pulls out a cup which says “Sophia”
“I want this one!” she declares.
“That’s not your name,” I say.
“So what? It’s close enough.”
“Close enough doesn’t count in names.”
“What do you mean?” she asks, still holding the cup.
“Sophia is not your name. I don’t know any Sophias.”
She’s still looking at me with eyes that say ‘yeah, but I didn’t get to go swimming…’
“We might as well get one that says ‘Jack’,” I say.
“Who’s Jack?” she asks.

Exactly my point!

Yeah, we left the store with three cups – one which says ‘Sophia’ – but I’ve decided I’m gonna start calling her Jack anyway. What’s in a name?

(Unless you’re trying to find something specific… like those stick-on non-skid bathtub thingies… which, apparently, my town doesn’t have.)

11 January 2008

Blog of the Century

Did you ever have one of those days in which your head just hurt? For no reason; just ached like you had too much to drink the night before, but you know that’s impossible because you haven’t touched a drop in a long time.

This is my morning.

I have nothing to bitch about. No one’s being quirky. I cannot find any humor in the world today. Maybe the writers in my head have all gone on strike.

Do you think these blogs will live forever on the Internet? Do you believe some day – a hundred years from now, or so – kids will read back on these irreverent blogs (not just mine, but all of them) and do reports for school about ‘history’ and the way the world is ‘today’? That would be somewhat cool, yes?

How warped would history be, though, looking through the eyes of the disgruntled American or the over(or under)sexed zombie on another blog site? We all have warped and distorted views of our world and others who don’t think or act like we do.

Will their reports be chock-full of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton – not realizing the average American today thinks more about peanuts than they do those two? It would be understandable, though, as the ‘news’ is full of that crap. It could give some unsuspecting teenager cause to believe the celebutards ran our world in this century.

Maybe one of them will come across my blog, and realize the Entertainment Tonight’s version of the New American Bible may have some inaccuracies… after all – this really intelligent woman posted on her blog 100 years ago a dissenting opinion.

I wonder if all of their reports will be written in Spanish.

In Joy & Enjoy,

08 January 2008

Daddy's Boots & Momma's Boots

Many of you have asked when my books are due out. It seems like it’s been a long time, and you’re right – it has been. I signed a contract with Windstorm Creative back in the early fall of 2006 – with a production schedule of June 2007.

Windstorm Creative has been through many changes, including some personnel, change of printer services and, most recently, a terrible computer virus. I have been assured by them all is back on track and my books will be out shortly.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to post some reviews I’ve received for Daddy's Boots & Momma's Boots:
* * *
“The stories are a first-rate look at some the complexities of the modern military family of deployments, separations, uncertainties, and fear of the unknown through the eyes of our children, and how and why their parents go away. After a twenty-four year career in the U.S. Army Infantry and many of them with the airborne divisions, I, too, faced the explanation to children of why I had to go. These stories tugged at the ripcord of emotion that is the parachute of my heart. Memories of my life are touched by these words of compassion, patience, understanding, hope, and love.”

James A. Bowders
Sergeant First Class
U.S. Army Retired

* * *
DADDY’S BOOTS: “A wonderful, heartwarming story offering an inside glimpse into the boundless sacrifices our military families make in the process of doing their jobs to serve, protect and represent our country. This book will present parents and caregivers of small children whose loved ones are being deployed an opportunity to discuss this scary and confusing situation. Small children do not possess the verbal skills to express their emotions. This tender account provides youngsters with a voice and the words to help them share their feelings and fears. An excellent resource to help build bridges between generations at a time when families must pull together to support their brave soldiers.

MOMMA’S BOOTS: “A touching account of a good-bye conversation between a mother and a child as Momma is preparing to leave home for an unknown period of time. The child, affectionately nicknamed Bean, expresses reluctance and frustration at Momma’s impending absence. As Momma patiently explains why she must go, Bean comes to understand why it is important for Mama to do her job. Bean’s mother just happens to be a soldier! An unexpected insight into how our heroes sacrifice to serve our country and protect our freedom. God Bless the mothers and fathers that selflessly serve in our military.”

DK Washburn, PTA

* * *

“I’ve yet to find a deployment book to compare with Sandra Miller Linhart’s “Daddy’s Boots” and “Momma’s Boots.” Suitable for all branches and ranks of military service, these books don’t just placate small children with usual ‘Daddy loves you, but must leave anyway’ tales, but really goes deep to explain why Momma and Daddy go. A must read for all military families, whether leaving or staying – as the books additionally address operations other than war and short-term deployments. “Daddy’s Boots” and “Momma’s Boots” are 'must haves' for all school and military libraries.”

J Molly Buscetti, Author

Thank you for the wonderful reviews.

Here are the descriptions of the books:

Daddy’s Boots:
Boots say Daddy is getting ready to deploy, but Bean needs to know why Daddy is leaving, what he does while he’s away, and why Bean can’t go with him.
Daddy’s a soldier and his boots are preparing to take him away again. If Bean can hide Daddy’s boots will Daddy be able to stay? Daddy explains to Bean the many things Daddy is called to do, why his boots sometimes have to take him far away, and how his work is really not so much different from the other daddies’ jobs.

Momma’s Boots:
When Momma puts on her boots, Bean knows it’s time to say good-bye and maybe for a long time. What does Momma do when she goes? Do the other mommies wear boots that take them away, too?
Can Bean understand the many things Momma’s called to do, why her boots sometimes take her far away, and how a soldier’s work is not much different from some other mommies?

All of my titles may be viewed/ordered through Amazon.com here.

Check out www.sgtmoms.com for more reviews. (It’s a great informational website for military spouses/families.)

Cheers, all!

pass the popcorn, please!