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The custody negotiations begin in earnest. August 27, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, divorce.

Tonight I called husband over to begin talking about custody of Boy-o.

I want to move to Somewhat Large City on the Coast in my home state. I’ve blogged many times about my love affair with the ocean…my life is in turmoil, so why not? Aforementioned city has a community college with an accredited medical coding program (the field I wish to pursue until such time as my life calms down enough to begin discernment again), several call centers where I can get a job, two large hospital systems where I could also potentially pursue a job, and cheaper housing than a lot of other places in my home state. It has incredible scenery, wonderful people, lots to do, and you can get anywhere you need to go in less than 20 minutes, which is more than I can say for the bumper to bumper traffic in the city I grew up in. And naturally, I want to take Boy-o with me. We visited this city for a few days after Easter, and he has not stopped asking to go back to the beach since.

Husband has a problem with this, as I would if he came to me and informed me he wanted to move hundreds of miles away with our son. So, I don’t have a problem understanding his point of view. In fact, he has offered to keep Boy-o while I go to this city and get myself set up with a job and school and a place to live. All well and good, except for the fact that I abandoned one child already – The Princess, who is now 14. I abandoned her to the care of my parents when I was 19, and have lived to regret that decision every day since. I’m not about to do that with my second child. It doesn’t matter that this situation is completely different or that I have grown up. I don’t have it in me to voluntarily leave another child, even to pursue better opportunities for myself.

It was my hope that husband would accept my argument that I will be better able to meet Boy-o’s daily needs by virtue of having a far less stressful non-professional job and a less stressful undergraduate course load than he does, with his position of responsibility with a prison and his graduate level classes. I also think I’m the better parent because I always put my family first when husband and I were together, and he obviously did not, but saying things like that are not productive to negotiations. The city where I want to move is 9 hours away from husband, and I have offered two weekend visits a month, plus every summer, when husband does not take classes, and I do. We have both vocalized the desire to keep attorneys out of this, primarily because neither of us can afford one, but secondarily because we want to be able to tell Boy-o that we always worked together for his benefit.

Unfortunately, he did not accept my argument, nor was he able to offer an alternative plan other than, “No, if you want to move, I think I’ll be keeping him.”

Which makes my options the following:

1) Stay in this town in this state that is not my home, where I am miserable and have no opportunities to become financially self-sufficient in a reasonable amount of time (2 years or less).

2) Sneak out of town with Boy-o in the middle of the night, move to City on the Coast, and begin to pursue divorce and custody when I have re-established residency in my home state.

3) Arrange housing, college admission, and job in City on the Coast, advise husband I am taking Boy-o, and if he doesn’t agree, leave him here. Re-establish residency in my home state, and begin to pursue divorce and custody from there, if husband doesn’t file first in this state.

See, it seems to me (but what do I know, I’m not a judge) that if we can’t reach an agreement about Boy-o on our own, when the day comes that we stand before a judge to make everything legal, the parent who is perceived as having done the “taking away” of Boy-o from the other parent is not going to fare as well. So, from a strategical perspective, that leaves #2 out. Either I get husband to agree without argument to let me take Boy-o with me, or I go and begin to get my life on track and work towards financial self-sufficiency, so that I can at some point make the argument that husband took Boy-o away from ME.

It would be so different if I actually had the capacity to earn a living here without reliance on state assistance. No matter how much I hate this town, for Boy-o’s benefit I would stay. But I don’t have that ability. At my current job at the call center, I make less money per hour than I ever have, exclusive of the fast food jobs I worked in high school, 15 years ago. I require public assistance to buy groceries, pay for day care, and cover Boy-o’s medical insurance. A year and a half at a community college followed by credentialing exams in a new field would dramatically improve my earning ability, since I already have a bachelor’s degree and all the basic classes. Husband thinks my wanting to move is all about me, and while I can’t deny that I do want to move to the beach, I think it is important to acknowledge that I can’t take care of Boy-o if I don’t take care of myself, too.

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Word Association, Redux August 17, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.
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reverendmother writes:

This one is patterned off an old Friday Five written by Songbird, our Friday Five Creator Emerita:

Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.

1. vineyard – I think of the Eucharist, and I remember specifically the words of the Mass during the Preparation of the Gifts that left me in such awe…I think they are beautifully poetic, and I miss them.

“Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.” The people respond, “Blessed be God forever!”

2. root – I’m re-reading one of my favorite books, “Shampoo Planet” by Douglas Coupland, and I just read these words from the main character, Tyler:

“I am walking across a turnip field, a baseball cap guarding my eyes from the sun. Underfoot are root vegetables – cool, nutritious, and silent – awaiting either Thanksgiving or scavenging by ravenous radioactive mutants.”

3. rescue – I am planning a trip to my beloved beach this weekend. My best friend S was supposed to go with me, but now doesn’t know if she can get one of her work shifts covered. I think of her because she worked as a veterinary assistant for many, many years and was always talking about different dog breeds’ rescue groups and the work they did. Our family had a dog that we simply could not take care of they way he needed to be, and we sadly turned him over to the city shelter when we were unable to find a friend or relative to care for him. My friend, unbeknownst to me, went right behind us and picked him up. She tried to get him into Golden Retriever Rescue, but they wouldn’t take him because he was a mix. So her boss at the time agreed to keep him at the clinic until they could find an adoptive home, which they did not too long after. She told me about all this after it was over and done, and showed me pictures of our dog pulling his family’s other dog around their swimming pool on a raft! I am so happy he was adopted, because even though we weren’t a good family for him, I cried when I took him to the shelter.

4. perseverance – Oh, I just think of my life! It has required an extraordinary amount of this stuff not to just cash in my chips and become an inmate at the state mental hospital.

5. divided – “‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.” -Abraham Lincoln


(Each of these appears in one of the readings from this Sunday’s lectionary.)

August 16, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in divorce.

Things I will definitely NOT miss about being married:

1. I will never have to eat dove gumbo and burned French bread again.

2. I will never have to eat boudain again.

3. I will never have to eat crawfish again.

4. I will never have to argue with my in-laws about feeding candy to my son (it upsets his rather sensitive tummy, which results in me having to stay home from work).

5. Surprisingly (to me), I don’t miss sharing a bed. It was my bed first, anyway.

6. I don’t miss being the only one who knows how to actually wipe a counter, dust, vacuum a floor, or scrub a bathroom. (he thinks washing dishes is all it takes to keep a house clean)

7. I don’t miss being yelled at about the way I spend money when I was the one who kept the checkbook balanced and paid the bills.

8. I don’t miss the constant secrecy. “Who you talking to? Oh yeah? How do you know them?” to my mind SHOULD result in, “I’m talking to Jamie, a friend of mine from high school that I just reconnected with. We should all go out to dinner so you can meet her!” versus “I’m talking to Jasmine, but that’s not her real name, I don’t know her real name, I met her at a game or a con once many years ago, I don’t remember which one, and we’ve reconnected ’cause I want to start another game and she’s interested in playing.” Right. Yeah, I was gullible.

I’m sure if I think about it, there are lots, lots more. But I have to get to work. You know, where mothers with young children shouldn’t be going, because God will miraculously provide if you just have faith and submit to your husband and trust him to be the moral leader of the household, according to my in-laws. Sheesh.

I know I’ve turned the corner when I start listening to angry chick rock again August 16, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in music.
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I think it’s the “it was you who chose to end it like you did, I was the last to know” line that makes me jump up and down and pump my fist in the air. 🙂

August 12, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in depression, divorce, Episcopal.

I truly didn’t anticipate how painful it would be to lose my right to ask husband to explain his decisions…but this is what really hit home for me today.

My car is still in the shop – we are going on three weeks now without it. I don’t have the money for a rental, and so by necessity he continues to pick me up for church on Sunday, and I depend on a friend to get to work. This morning, he dropped me off, and when he didn’t get out of the truck, I asked him if he was coming in. He said he wasn’t – that he was going to go to the Methodist church down the street. I looked at him and started to ask why, but his jaw was jutted out and the look on his face was vaguely challenging, as though daring me to say something to him in front of the other church members who were walking past us and into the sanctuary. And so I took Boy-o out of the truck and went inside. When he picked us up afterward, he informed me that he was going to tell the rector that he would not be attending our parish anymore. Again, I desperately wanted to ask why, but I know it would lead to a pointless argument that I simply don’t have the energy for.

I was raised Roman Catholic. He was raised Methodist. The Episcopal Church was a natural compromise for us, and as I learned more about the theology, the history, the polity, and the practice of TEC, I began to conclude that I had really been Episcopalian my whole life and just not known it. We were received into the church together in 2003, 8 months after we were married. Joining this church was really our first act of marital unity, the thing that made us a family of our own, separate from the families that raised us. And now he has left it. One more piece of the foundation that made us a family has been chipped away. I haven’t been able to stop crying all day.

Can I please just go to sleep now and never wake up? I don’t want to feel like this anymore. Everything that gave my life meaning and solidity is slipping away, and I just can’t handle it…any…more. Everything that I thought I could count on forever is just…gone.

He has shaken the dust of our 6 years together from his feet SO EASILY. Why can’t I do the same?

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Stress busting edition August 10, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives, life.
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Sally writes:

I am off to spend a few days at the beach chilling out after a hectic few weeks and before I head off for Summer School…

So with that in mind this week’s questions are looking at how you deal with the stress monster!!!???

1. First, and before we start busting stress, what causes you the most stress, is it big things or the small stuff ?

I’m a big believer in the concept of “choose your battles”, and this definitely applies to what you choose to stress about. Granted, I worry about lots of things…but I only worry myself into a spiral if I mull it over and decide it’s really worth it, and that it is going to involve some genuine problem solving. I have found the little things tend to work themselves out, but if I am going to have to make a decision about a new direction, then it is definitely worth my “worry time”.

2. Exercise or chocolate for stress busting ( or maybe something else) ?

I should exercise. I know from experience that it really, really helps. But I usually opt for chocolate (or better yet, wine) instead.

3.What is your favourite music to chill out to?

trip-hop…especially Massive Attack.

4. Where do you go to chill?

I need some serious “chill time” right now, so next weekend, I’m making the 9 hour drive to the beach. The older I get, the more convinced I become that living so far from it is the reason I’ve always been so tied up in knots. I’ve just about reached the point where I’m just not willing to feel this way anymore. I’m at a place in my relationship (broken beyond repair) and my career (nonexistent) that I recognize my geography would be very simple to change, if I just have the courage.

5. Extrovert or introvert, do you relax at a party, or do you prefer a solitary walk?

Very introverted. I can have a fantastic time at a party if I know everyone, which is why I like family parties. At other kinds of parties though, you are more likely to find me hanging out in the corner with the one or two other people I know…and you are even MORE likely not to find me there at all. I do love going for walks. I also like to find a place to sit where I can watch people but they can’t watch me. I used to love climbing trees for this very purpose.

August 8, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in blogthings.
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Click to view my Personality Profile page

HOLY CRAP!!!  Fictional ISTJ’s include…DARTH VADER!

proof positive that the German in me wins out over the Irish August 8, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in movies.
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“Look, if we’re not gonna make it, it’s gotta be you that gets out, ’cause I’m not capable.  I’m fuckin’ Irish.  I’ll deal with something bein’ wrong for the rest of my life.”

-SSgt. Colin Sullivan, The Departed

August 6, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in life.

So…I’ve got 5 months left on this lease to make a plan for the next steps of my life. Anyone wanna help me figure out where to start?

I know I want to return to my home state, but not my home city.

I know I need to go back to school or vocational training to get the ability to earn a decent living for myself and my son, and I know that I will need to work while I do so, but I have no idea what I really want to do. By “decent”, I mean 30k per year or more. And I don’t want to work 60 hours a week for that 30k as I did when I was a restaurant manager. It would also be nice if I could leave my work at work and not have to be responsible for other people’s performance.

I know that I will need to come up with a reasonable plan for custody, visitation, and child support.

What specific steps does one take to start their life over at age 32?

I’m serious. I’m looking for more particular guidance than “God bless you, we’re praying for you.” Not that prayers are not needed – they are! But I know dang well some of you out there work in higher education and vocational training fields, and that you have wisdom to share. I’d also like to hear anything anyone has to say about relocating and getting settled someplace where you don’t know anyone.

disjointed Sunday rumblings, bitter and paranoid edition August 5, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in addiction, divorce.

I’m not having a good Sunday. Not that that’s anything new. I think everyone’s watching me.

Husband and I continue to have to share a vehicle while my car is in the shop. Awkward at the best of times, downright painful when you’re separated…especially when you consider that the small enclosed space that is the inside of said vehicle somehow manages to cause me to want to have serious, in depth conversations about the future of our relationship…

I shared with husband some stuff that I had looked up at the library about sex addiction. In general, most of the information I’ve looked at talks about the role of fantasy games, escapism, and role playing in sex addiction. Husband is an avid player of tabletop role playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons and has in the past been an active participant in live-action role playing games (LARPs) like Vampire: The Masquerade. These games involve creating characters and taking on other personas and working to accomplish a mission or a campaign of some sort. Not my thing, really, and never has been. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think RPG’s and LARP’s are dangerous in and of themselves. Lots and lots of people play them, people you meet in your daily life and would never, ever expect to. But everything I’m reading says that sex addicts simply can’t engage in any fantasy play that involves taking on the attributes of another character or person and still remain healthy. The analogy given was that that alcoholics can’t go in bars, period, and sex addicts, who are addicted to story and fantasy, can’t roleplay.

The games themselves have gotten a bad rap from some Christians who are concerned about the supposed occultic references, and I have sat in on enough of them to come to believe that this is mostly a result of lack of information. Dungeons and Dragons definitely teaches players to work together as a team and to use their resourcefulness. Vampire: The Masquerade, on the other hand, is more about the individual’s desires. In the end, there can be only one. There are healthy people who play the games, and unhealthy people who have a hard time distinguishing between reality and fantasy playing the games. Just like not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic, not everyone who plays RPG’s is a sex addict. And just as alcoholics can’t drink alcohol EVER, sex addicts can’t engage in fantasy roleplay…EVER. It’s a slippery slope for an alcoholic to hang out at parties where alcohol is being served, and it’s a slippery slope for sex addicts to attempt to engage in healthy roleplaying. And so, in the confined interior space of our vehicle, I tried to have this discussion with husband. And when I had said my piece, and asked how he felt about it, he replied that roleplaying was the most important thing in the world to him next to his son, that I could not ask him to give up his friends, and that he now knew I was right in seeking a divorce. He asked me to drop him at a friend’s house, and I did so, and went home and spent the whole evening in tears.

He called this morning and asked me to pick him up for church, which I did. We continue to attend church together, sitting on opposite sides of Boy-o instead of next to each other like we used to. I think that I can feel everyone’s eyes on us, operating under the faulty assumption that we must be back together since we are sharing a pew. I am probably imagining it, of course, but oh my…the gossip it would cause if we suddenly began sitting in different pews. Not to mention the confusion and trauma it would cause Boy-o. My rector has not spoken to me since I visited with him a month ago to tell him that husband and I were separating. He himself is a recovering addict, whose first wife divorced him in the throes of his addiction, so I suspect that he cannot think of what to say to me, and it is becoming increasingly uncomfortable.He made an announcement from the pulpit today about the upcoming “Howdy Day” at the local University, where area businesses and churches and student organizations put up booths and hand out stuff to welcome students and show them what’s available in town. He asked for volunteers, and I bitterly think that if he and the vestry had approved hiring me for the youth and young adult ministries position, he wouldn’t have to be asking for volunteers now to man this booth because it would have been MY job.

I get the feeling from people who are looking at what husband is doing right this minute – going to meetings, moving out of his female friend’s place and into his own place, seeking medication for depression – that I am going to be looked at poorly for initiating the divorce. What they don’t know is he’s gone to meetings before, been on medication before, made promises before. It never lasts. I’ve been urged to pray and to look to God for the ability to forgive and perhaps reconcile.

And I just can’t. No matter how hard I pray for grace to enter my heart and to allow the seed of forgiveness to take root, my heart still feels as cold and dead and black as ever. I have forgiven. For 6 years I have prayed and prayed and prayed and forgiven and forgiven and forgiven. And I just can’t bring myself to do it anymore.