Well, that was me before 10am on Saturday.... but let me fill you in on Friday first.
Oh, and..... this post might make you like me just a little bit less. Some of you might lose respect for me. A regular reader once (nicely) warned me about posting stuff like this because I could lose the 'support' of my readers.... which might well be true.
However... I'm many things - loud, overweight, slightly clumsy, opinionated - but not the least of which is honest. I would rather be honest than cloud over things just to save a few readers..... I hope that makes sense. I feel like being dishonest is a disservice to anyone who reads this blog - if I do something wrong... then I did it wrong, and like everyone else on the planet who does something wrong, I should have to own and answer for it.... so here goes:
A day in my life is.... busy. Friday I woke up at 8am (this is after going to bed at the usual 2:30isham) - and I started working. I have dozens of client jobs that still have to be proofed and finished - so I start with that. I do several hours of proofing and finishing. I made breakfast and brought it to the kids. Then The Boy and I did some reading (for school) and then I called a client who's job we canceled due to rain and wind.
I played a round of Disney Pictionary (a gift from my cousin during our recent visit- which we play *every* day, The Girl LOVES it!) - and then back to proofing and finishing.
Then I drove the kids over to a friend who kindly agreed to watch them while I drove to OHSU to visit a mutual friend whose daughter is in the PICU and in critical condition. I brought with me a talking Elmo doll that's wearing a robe, holding a box of tissue's and say's cute things like "Elmo feels better when you hold his hand."
How freakin' cute is that?
So, I sat with my friend for a while, we visited her sick, sweet baby and then I left when another of our friends arrived with coffee for her visit. (Don't I have great friends? I swear.... I'm so lucky for that.)
I then drove back to my other friends house where more friends arrived and we stayed for the afternoon playdate. I drove the kids home at 5, made dinner, proofed and edited (meanwhile we were missing a Halloween party because I had to choose between editing and a party.... client work won out.)
We still had another party that night - the *big* Halloween party of the year, which I *thought* started at 7:30pm but actually started at 5PM..... grrrr....
BTW - this is my Friday and it's my 'slow' day of the week by far. This one was slower than most.
So I rushed around getting the children ready for the party. In late August the Goodwill starts putting out their Halloween stuff, so I had run around buying up used costumes then. I had gotten a Spiderman for $4.99 and then a matching Spidergirl for $4.99. So I dug them out and got the kids dressed.
This is *THE* party to end all parties. My friends have a big barn and the entire second floor is turned into a haunted house. Only like - a *real* haunted house. It has over two dozen 'sets' where various animatronic skeletons or Freddy Krueger-types are set up inside of flashing lights and smoke machines. It's the kind of Haunted House you could totally charge money for - but this family does it every year and hosts this *amazing* party for free..... see - didn't I say I have great friends?
The Boy looks forward to this party allll month - they love the Haunted House, the DJ and dance floor - my kids love to bust a move. This year the party had a glow paint/glow stick theme and The Girl scored a pink glow bracelet that she was in love with.
This is the 'kid' party... the next night they house an 'all adult' party which I was also invited to and .... kind of looking forward to, but more on that later.
So. we arrive at the party - which is still in full swing (thankfully, I think The Boy would have had a total meltdown if I had missed the party....) - and there's dancing and scaring and screaming and endless amounts of fun. Around 9:30pm the party is dying down and The Girl is tiiiiirrreeeedddd..... and wants to go home. The Boy wants to go to the Spirit Halloween store.
So, off to the Spirit store we go for a quick 15 minute trip through the displays - which, much to The Boys dismay - most of it is sold. Then I head down to McDonalds to get them apple juice and fries (at their request) and as I pull into the drivethru, The Girl starts screaming.
I'm quickly between two cars and waiting my turn and The Girl is screaming bloody murder, clawing at her mouth and tongue and crying. I'm trying to calm her down, order their stuff and then I pull over in the parking lot to get out - as I'm sure she's bitten her tongue or something.
I get out of the car and open her door- she's in a total panic, pulling her face and rubbing her tongue which.... for some reason isn't fitting in her mouth? huh? Then I notice her face is red, her eyebrows are swelling, and her lips are swollen... also - her breathe smells sweet like perfume?
The Boy is starting to get upset and scared - he said that they weren't eating anything or anything - and he doesn't know why she's crying or what happened. I remember the pink bracelet and it's not on The Girl so I start looking for it... I find it on the floor of the car, but it doesn't have bite marks on it - and it doesn't appear to be leaking?
I get back in the car and call El Capitan. I tell him what's going on - of course he can hear The Girl screaming and The Boy trying to calm her down. I'm about three minutes from where El Capitan lives - and about 10 minutes from the hospital. If I go back to where we are staying.. then I'm 30 minutes from the hospital.
I ask El Capitan if he's at home.... he say's, no - and then say's he's going to "go to another room" so we can talk. I hear him leave one room and shut a door into another.
I'm also right by his work - which has been closed for hours and the parking lot is empty.
I don't know what to do - because I don't know what happened, but if he's right around the corner, could he look at The Girl and tell me what he thinks about whether or not I should spend the $1,500 to go to the ER?
He say's he's not at his place and that he's..... "unavailable". I tell him I'm going to drive to the ER and if she's still swollen when I get there, I'll go in and let him know if they keep her, he say's, OK.
I get to the ER and The Girl is still hysterical - and now The Boy is freaking out because he's scared about his baby sister.... my kids don't usually cry like this about anything, so The Boy has assessed that something is very wrong.
***I want to be VERY clear about something. I don't *have* to call El Capitan when something like this happens. I have full custody and I can make any all medical decisions - I could say nothing to him, not involve him in anyway - and just do my thing. However, I try to respect the fact that he is still their Father and any Father would want to be apart of a situation such as this - right? Want to be apart of deciding whether or not I spend $1,500 at an ER... right?***
I park and run in with the kids and a nurse - seeing us coming - passes us right by the desk and admitting and straight to a room in the pediatric area of the ER. They start asking me about gas - or alcohol - or what she's ingested. I had grabbed the pink glow bracelet and brought it in and laid it on the bed, the nurse picks it up and we see a wet spot. Upon further investigation we notice the bracelet is kinked and almost empty..... it has a funny perfume smell and I notice that the front of her Spidergirl costume also has that smell.
I'm undressing The Girl and the nurse is preparing the medicine and The Boy has started crying.... "Are you going to make my sister better? Is she going to be ok......? Can you help her?"
Another nurse comes in to console The Boy while I change The Girl into a gown - and then I ask to step outside to call El Capitan.
I run to the lobby and can't seem to get a clear signal to make a call, so I text him, I tell him that they are admitting her and treating her for an unknown allergic reaction - steroids, etc. I get this reply......
"shit..... do you need me?"
Um..... what? I stare at the phone, stunned. We've already talked on the phone, you *heard* your daughter screaming in the backseat.... you know that the ER had admitted her to treat her... and you aren't just coming? You aren't doing that thing that Dad's do for their baby girls and coming to swoop her up and make things all better......?
So, I reply. "Nope.... and btw, thanks for everything you've done for our family. Tell XXX I said, Hi."
I hear nothing else from him... no phone call about how she's doing, no offer of help... nothing.
You see, *this* is how this works..... I said something 'not nice' in response to something he's doing - and so he uses that as a 'get out of jail free' card. It's awesome.
We then spend several more hours at the ER, the Dr. decides that it's most likely just an allergic reaction to the fluid in the bracelet, so they treat her with steroids and some other stuff. The Girl is quickly asleep (due to the meds) and The Boy is tired and asking why can't we just go home? The Bubbie and The Papa weren't in the area, so there was no one I could call to help at midnight. Seeing as how I had called their Father and he was..... at a party? With his girlfriend? Somewhere where he needed to "go to another room" to talk to me... and clearly somewhere he didn't want to leave. BUT. I say none of this to The Boy, I just tell him we have to stay until the Dr. say's we can go home.
Around 1am a sleepy, tired and frustrated Boy say's to me, "You know... if Daddy wasn't with his girlfriend, he could come get me and take me home." To this I respond, ...."let's just focus on Sister and try to sleep.".
The Boy, however, has a valid point.
We get home just after 3:30am - I'm expecting text messages or voicemails to start beeping on my phone... but nothing. Not a word from El Capitan asking me about how she is or anything.....
I'm supposed to have several jobs, but it's pouring rain, so one by one, they cancel. El Capitan was supposed to come at 9am to pick up the kids for his time with them - but I text him at 8am to say the kids are still sleeping and my first job is canceled and to come at 10. Even then... I'm dragging the kids out of bed at 9:45 to get ready.
I'm so tired. The Girl's face is mostly it's normal size and besides being very tired, they both seem fine. We head outside where I have to install their car seats in the truck that El Capitan say's he's borrowing from a friend - but.. he's been 'borrowing' it for almost four months now. Yet, refuses to *keep* the car seats, so I have to installl and un=install them every time he comes to get the kids.
I ask him where he was the night before - he starts getting defensive and say's he was "at work". He even say's he was at work with RXXX - and I can call that person and ask them.
I point out that there were NO CARS in the parking lot at his work and they had been closed for nearly two hours on a Friday night .... so he was *not* at work.
Then he say's he was working at a different store - getting a 'transfer'.
By now I'm just angry and frustrated and pissed... super duper pissed. So, with the kids in the car, I lose my schmidt.
He's starting blankly ahead clearly annoyed AT ME.
So I say, "What pisses me off is that I wasted my time on someone who bailed me a long time ago... I'm f*@king tired of paying the price and being punished just because *you* decided you wanted to be somewhere or with someone else...... A FATHER fights for his family - takes care of his family...."
He's yelling back, ... good times.
Then I tell him flat out that he's "not a parent... a parent sticks around to raise their kids - not just show up once a week to be a glorified babysitter for a few hours" . Yes... while the kids are in the back seat and can most likely hear it.... I said it.
Then he comes up with my *favorite* gem....."You shouldn't do this in front of the kids."
Yes.... he has a point. I concede. However.... I would like to point out that while I shouldn't *talk* about what a piece of crap their father is being.... my kids are LIVING THROUGH IT. They are SEEING IT. LIVING IT. BREATHING IT. Talking about it... while unflattering and not a super stellar choice as a parent.... talking is *NOT* as bad as LIVING THROUGH IT.
The Boy - is living it and processing it - ON HIS OWN - and I worry about that...... at the same time - I'm still just ONE PERSON. It's just *me* here EVERY SINGLE DAY - the day in and the day out.... just me wiping the noses and poopy butts and skinned knees and doing homework and doing all the discipline.
I sure as shit wish I could pop by for a few hours, take the kids for lunch and to the zoo and then be on my merry way..... right? How much *easier* would life be?
But I can't do that - and I wouldn't do that - because poop and snot and time-outs aside - there are like a millions cuddles and giggles and smiles that I wouldn't trade for anything and anyone.... and it *PAINS* me that El Capitan seems to have.
THAT is what makes me angry..... because I won't trade them in - because I'm still their Mom and the remaining parent - it feels like *all* the responsibility for taking the higher road and safe-guarding their 'innocence' as the books say - it's alllll on *ME* to ensure that I do and say all the right things to try and keep them.... safe.
What about El Capitan? What about when he does things - when *HE* does things TO THEM and AROUND THEM that affect them in ways that I cannot "shield" them from......?
What the hell am I supposed to do? Excuses about how he has to "work" - how he's "always at work" and how he has "no life" and "no friends" and he "doesn't go anywhere"..... and it's alll LIES.
Lies and trading that have our son asking me at midnight in an ER why his Dad is choosing his girlfriend over helping us......
But really... me *talking* about that is worse than actually living through it?
Which.... I agree it is. It is. I know it is. and I try and I read all the books and I try and I try.... but I'm not perfect, I'm still a scorned and painfully hurt wife who loved her husband and her family and can't understand how I got here in the first place.. but on top of *not* stepping up, he lied about where he was. He chose, not actually knowing what was wrong with The Girl - to not come. To not be there for them.
So he dropped the ball and I dropped the ball... and all those balls land squarely on the kids. Which is crushing.... I feel terrible.
After 7 hours (their longest visit ever) - I meet up to uninstall the seats and pick up the kids. Another recent development is that The Boy has been having intestinal trouble for YEARS - which even involved going to a specialist early this month to try to resolve it. Working with his diet - I've noticed that fruit smoothies - especially from Jamba Juice - gives him the problems. I had told El Capitan about this and that Jamba Juice and smoothie's were OFF THE TABLE until I get in touch with the specialist for advice. He agreed.
Only... getting them out of the truck, they are each carrying a now empty 16 oz. Jamba Juice cup. I ask El Capitan why he would get them Jamba when he knew it will make The Boy sick and he say's, "Oh, I had them make it special - they only filled it two inches in each - and only charged me like $2.00 for it."
We have another spirited exchange - this time with the kids in my car and the radio... but still. :(
I get in the car and The Boy say's, "Mommy.... I have something to tell you..... Daddy lied."
"Ok," I say....."About what?"
"Well, when he said our Jamba was only a little full, he was lying about that because our Jamba was full allll the way to the top...... why did Daddy lie about that?"
Before I answer... because I don't really have an answer for that... The Boy then say's, "Yeah... I guess that's what the problem is - Daddy is a liar."
So. Parenting fails alll over the map. Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in a perfect storm of betrayal and heartbreak and anger and disappointment and pain.... and I keep trying to swim to the top to save myself dragging the kids behind him.... but, that's what scares me - if *I* still feel like I'm drowning... aren't *they* still drowning? Or... worse?
I read all the books on *how* to have a "good" divorce and how to have "two happy households" and all the things I'm supposed to say and not supposed to say..... but - here's the bitch of it all - the books assume that the other parent wants the same thing and is ACTING that way.
I want to believe in my heart that El Capitan *wants* those things... even if his actions seem to say otherwise. Over and over and over.... like waves lapping over my head over and over and over......
Holding me down - pushing me under - until I'm grabbing for straws to try to breathe through - but I'm just taking on water..... and he'll tell you how mean I am - how I *say* mean things to him... and I do. Because I'm tired - tired of breathing through straws and tired of failing my children.... our children. Tired of lies and tired of being lied to ..... mostly though, tired of watching those lies wear down the children and really really really tired of always having to control what I say and how I say it and who I say it to - because I feel like I'm the only one 'accountable'...... even the largest reservoir can only take on so much water before it's own levy breaks - and when my levy breaks...... it's just 'not allowed'.
See. So there you have it. I'm not a saint, my levy's break and my verbal wrath will soak you.... or him. Tomorrow's another day and I'll get up and try again. Mind you... Jamba Juice and glow bracelets are off our shopping lists... two problems I can control - I wish I could control so much more.