Usually this time of year is magical... The Boy *really* get's into the season - last year our yard was like a Air-blow display with over 30 - yes THIRTY - different 3foot - 6foot Santa's, Snowmen, Elf's and the like....
This year, with no yard to put them all up, they stayed in storage. I was heartbroken, The Boy, though, ever understanding of our situation, didn't mention it.
Last year we spent nearly every single night from Thanksgiving to Christmas driving around the neighborhoods looking for bigger and better houses with the lights and Air-blow buys of their own.... this year I worked - quite literally - almost every minute of every day right up until two days ago. So.... we didn't get out to see those lights that often.
This being our "first" divorced Christmas, I've been both frustrated by the amount of work I still had to get done - and then a bit blessed.... not only because I was able to buy stuff for the kids - but, I suppose having the constant distraction has been good for me. I'm not sure how good that's been for the kids... but work is work - and, it scares the sh*t out of me to realize that I am *completely* done with work. I have no outstanding orders, no money waiting to come in....that really, truly scares me. But, I've given myself a hiatus of fear - and I refuse to come to terms with "what" that actually means (the not having a steady income part) until after January 1st. I need time with the kids and they need time with me- not the distracted, behind a computer, frustrated, rushing around me - but the *ME* that is their Mom.
When we were first separated.... El Capitan was living with Yoga Girl right away. He had gotten what he wanted - his freedom, his girlfriend - a new lease on a new life.... I, however, was relegated like garbage back on the pile of a life he no longer wanted.... I resented that. My biggest fear, however, was what was going to happen to me on the holidays.
Several years before - I was pretty close to my sister-in-law, we call her Min-Min. My brother in law, we'll call him The Rooster (because I happen to think he's a bit of a c**k...... bwahahahahah.), had lived with us for nearly four years of our marriage. He worked nights and lived in our second bedroom of our apartment. When we moved, he would just move with us.
He was eventually got Min-Min preggers (I warned him several times that that was going to happen....) - and they got married. HE wanted to get married. Again - the In-Laws intervened and tried to stop him, but he wanted to marry her. We paid for some of the wedding and I did most of the organizing and did the wedding photos and flowers as well. (Oh, and the custom invitations :)
Min-Min and I were pretty close..... a few months before their baby was born I started getting sucpisous about The Rooster's activities. Turned out... he had a girlfriend. The day their baby was born I nearly had to pry the phone out of his hands to get him to hold Min-Min right leg up so she could start pushing. After the baby came out - I grabbed the phone, made a fast excuse and bolted to the elevators to read through his text messages.
It was alll kinds of sex talk ..... clearly he was having an affair.
I waited to tell Min-Min- but it wasn't a few weeks before she started to think the same thing..... she pressured him and he broke it off with that girl. Then only a few months later he took up with another girl..... there are more details in the The Book (MY BOOK - currently "sold out" on Amazon... bwahahahaha ) - so you can find them there.... but long story short, by Christmas Min-Min was calling my hysterical because The Rooster and his latest almost-underage girlfriend were walking down her front walk taking her baby for "visitation"... it was The Baby's first Christmas.
I was gutted. Totally, gutted.
El Capitan claimed to be "disgusted" by his brother and his actions - wrote him off, refused to talk to him at all. I spent a few months uncovering the entire affair - the lies, the deceit, the betrayal.... I found out things that most people wouldn't even bother looking for.
But... alas. I'm kind of smart that way. I take something and I think about from every angle I can - I come up with every problem and solution I can before I move forward. I like solving problems, I like finding out the truth... which is great - but makes me a pain in the ass during a movie because I usually know the twist and the ending... anytime there's character resolution that's always a solid indicator that your favorite person is about to die on screen.
My uncanny knack for figuring things out earned me the nickname: Secret Squirrel.
Over the ten years of my marriage - I always left my "secret squirrel" in it's cage, so to speak. If you don't trust someone, if you don't believe in them, but instead are always looking for ways to "catch" them lying, etc.. eventually you will because people don't like to feel that you don't trust them and will live up to the standard you set for them... if you set them up with the expectation that they will fail and you will catch them at it - then they will do just that.
I didn't want that to happen.
In spite of doing things over the years to jeopardize our marriage and certainly rock and (on occasion) even shatter it.... I still got up the next morning, things talked out, issue's (somewhat resolved) and moved forward in faith and trust - as any good wife should do.... even if El Capitan never lived up to his end of the bargain and went to counseling like he promised over and over and over that he would....
So. The second night after I found out about Yoga Girl, I was already reading the books and putting together our parenting plan. I thought back to the horrific phone call from Min-Min.... to the sheer pain in her voice about having to watch another woman carry her infant daughter down her front walk-way on Christmas day. The very idea of it made me vomit.....
I called El Capitan right then and there and told him that that was an unacceptable outcome. I told him that there would *never* come a day when I won't wake up with my children in my home on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, my birthday, their birthday or Mother's Day. I had been a *good* wife. I had been a good mother... being a mother is the only thing I ever cared about. I told him while he was free to punish *me* as a wife... he was not allowed to punish me as a mother. He said that he understood my point and agreed with me.
I told him that I would write up the Parenting Plan in fairness to his erratic work schedule, but that I got the children on all holidays. Period. Now... don't go getting your panties in a twist just yet..... The have to say with me overnight - but I'm willing work out a lunch/dinner split on Thanksgiving, El Capitan is welcome at their birthday parties - AND - on Christmas, it states in our papers that El Capitan is welcome to come Christmas morning to open presents with us. (****see NOTE below*****)
I told him that until they are older (and don't believe in Elf on The Shelf and Santa and stuff)- trading houses on major holidays was out of the question. He agreed. I told him he was welcome to contest me - and, more to the point.... he was welcome to come home and work on things so that we could *both* be with them on holidays as a family.....
He told me to write up whatever I wanted in the paperwork and he would sign it.
Coming up to Christmas we *had* plans to go out of town with the majority of our family- El Capitan said that was fine and agreed to "celebrate" Christmas earlier in the week with the kids - but we left it open so that if our plans changed and we stayed, that he would come over on Christmas.
The kids didn't really "pick out" much for their Dad.... at 7 and 3 years old - they aren't really up for the task just yet.... so we picked out a few new t-shirts, he needed a new belt, so I got him one that is brown on one side and black on the other (reversible), I picked up Smallville Season Nine, and a few other things.
To my *great* surprise.... El Capitan brought *me* a few presents along with the ones he had for the kids. Which.... seeing as how three years ago he actually forgot to get me *any* presents AT ALL - bar a Snoop Dogg CD..... his track record in the gift-giving department totally blows (See Birthday presents presented in a tied down Target back here. lolol)
He had bought four tickets to a Blazer game for the kids and I - which.... boggled the mind a bit. For one, it's very expensive, and for two.... I freaking HATE basketball. I hate the sound of the shoes on the floor.... I hate hate hate how "two minutes" on a clock turns into a another 30 minutes of my time. The Boy and El Capitan used to go to one or two games a year - they would get all dressed up in their Blazer gear and watch games at home.... but it was never my thing.
I'm grateful for the thought and I recognize how spendy of a present it is.... but when I asked him why *he* wasn't just taking the kids he said... "Well, you've never been to a game before".
In the first place.... if I've been married to someone who loves basketball for ten years and successfully avoided ever having to go to a game - why the f*ck would I start now? lololol In the second place... I *have* been to several Blazer games.... I use to *date* a 'retired' Blazer the summer before I met El Capitan. He was nice enough... certainly tall enough even by my picky standards, but he ended up taking an announcers job at his old college and I didn't see us "going to the distance" so we split up. But yeah... I've been to a Blazer game. woo-freaking-hoo.......
Still, the thought was nice, very nice - and I'm sure that one some level he's either trying hard or being a manipulative ass... for the sake of the kids I'm going with "being nice".
Then he hands me a second bag with my name on. Inside is a car charger for a gaming system the kids use.... practical - I always love a good practical gift, especially if I can use it for the kids. And then.... there was a small box and when I flipped it over - it was a Secret Squirrel action figure.
Once upon a Hanna-Barbera time, Secret Squirrel had his own show and now has an action figure.... and there it was in my hand, complete with purple hat, a gun and a camera.
After MONTHS of accusing me of "following" him, having my friends follow him, cyber stalking him, etc.... he buys me a Secret Squirrel action figure for Christmas.
There's a sick kind of irony in that.... no doubt some people would find it a bit twisted... but I just think it's funny. Honestly..... he's a funny guy. So... I think it was a bit tongue -in -cheek.
He got some great presents for the kids - so they were pretty excited and I was glad to see them so happy. He had his time with them and we made plans for him to see them again assuming me didn't leave town.... I called him the next day he suggested he take the kids to Peacock Lane...which *almost* had me spitting nails.
LAST YEAR when *I* wanted to take us all to Peacock Lane- which is a street in Portland where every house on the street has a certain holiday them and lights and it's a pretty big deal around here.... - anyway - El Capitan bitched, pissed and moaned the *entire* time about having to go... in fact, that's what he usually did about everything from Birthday parties, dinner plans with friends, etc... he just kind of slumped along... detached, bored, etc.....
I pointed out to him the irony of that - that he's suddenly 'Disneyland-Daddy' taking the kids to the Zoo and for FroYo (hipster name he uses for Frozen Yogurt places) and to Peacock Lane.... it makes me angry because his lack of interest in doing things and his annoyance at *having* to do them was a constant source of frustration in our marriage.... if only I had been married to the person parading my children around town.... our marriage *might* have been a wee bit different for both of us.
He got annoyed at me and said to let him know if I wanted him to come get the kids to get a break or go holiday shopping etc... I said I would.
And then he stopped answering his phone when I called. Awesome.
Which is fine - I've actually been craving having this time with the kids... I feel guilty - as though I need to take every job, earn every single penny I can... but there are only 24 hours in a day and I'm lucky if I sleep four or five of them as it is.... - so not having *any* work means that I can spend every minute with them. Bliss.. pure bliss.
We've been to every great neighborhood, been out to THE Twilight Tree (where Edward first reveals to Bella that he's a vampire) and I shot the kids there.... until deer walked within 5 feet of us scary the holy hell out of all three of us... hahaha - we went to see Monster Inc. in 3D (I had NO idea how expensive that was going to be....) - went to Pittock Mansion, The Raceway (set up for lights) and the Victorian Mansion.... so we've been making up for lost time quickly.
This morning I was looking for Christmas movies and decided to turn on Netflix. Two years ago The Bubbie and The Papa bought us all Blue-Ray DVD players that streamed Netflix and then bought us a one year subscription to NetFlix. The Boy LOVES streaming Netflix on his Wii... so I've always kept the account going.
When we moved out of the house, El Capitan got the large 46" Flat Screen TV and I got the Blue-Ray player my parents bought for us... I was actually calling El Captain on Friday because I *still* can't find the Blue-Ray player and our DVD copy of The Muppet movie died and we only have the Blue-Ray version now.... He say's he doesn't have the player.... but I can't seem to find it anywhere. (***NOT suggesting the blu-ray player was "stolen" by anyone - I'm sure it's just buried... though not something I would usually bury anywhere... I'm just explaining events in the order they happened - not accusing anyone of anything! ***** :)
Anyhow... where we are staying, they have the same type of player that streams Netflix but they don't have an account, so I logged on to set up my account to work through their player. Having not brought up the account in MONTHS.... I was SHOCKED to see so many things RECENTLY watched in my account.
Like... several seasons of the TV Show Supernatural? Huh.....?
Then I realized.... El Capitan and Yoga Girl have been watching The Avengers and Supernatural and a ton of other stuff on MY Netflix account..... sigh. Yet again I stumbled right into pouring salt into my own gaping wounds.... that really ticks me off. Honestly.... I don't even have to *try* to find things out 'Secret Squirrel' style... sh*t just falls into my lap all the damn time.
You know.... what I need is a "Dumb Ass" action figure... I could wrap that bad boy up and drop it off on their door step..... oh... and who's the "Ho" putting the ho-ho-ho in Christmas this year who wasn't content with just stealing my husband... she has to steal my Netflix, too? Yoga Girl... that's who. lololol
Needless to say - I changed the password on my account.
Tomorrow is set to be a fun and festive day of pajamas, movies, games, more movies, baking cookies, more games and dinner and going to bed. I can't wait.... I almost feel like waking them up now to get started. lol... but I think I'll take a wee nap first..... they are still the only gift I need....
Mind you... I'm also grateful that after all this... after Yoga Girl and The Sign and The Blog and even after The Book came out.... El Capitan and I still have the same sense of humor we've had for eleven years.... perhaps it wasn't enough to keep our marriage together... but I'm thinking it's the glue that will help bond this whole co-parenting thing...... if nothing else, I have to actually laugh out loud at the fact that *this* Secret Squirrel comes with a tiny toy gun....
Merry Christmas-Eve to me.... and a Ho-Ho-Ho...... for El Capitan.
NOTE: For the sake of clarity. El Capitan moved into a two bedroom apartment with Yoga Girl the night he left us. A short while *after* that, he moved out and into *another* two bedroom apartment where he signed a lease with Yoga Girl and their roommate. There is NO ROOM for the children. Clearly... spending the night is out of the question and by default, the children would be here on holidays (all nights, in fact) until El Capitan has a place to live where the children can be there, too. Just FYI... before a few of ya'll flame my ass... :)