Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Getting Brighter

Dining fixture is UP! That one took a lot longer than the other three... But, it looks fantastic! My ONLY complaint? The light is so centralized on the dining table, that I have to use an extra lamp to be visually comfortable in the "office space" (between the dining area and the living room area). The bulb inside is specialized, too, so I don't think there are many options to make it reach the computer, but that's okay. Again, leave me a comment if you'd like to see a photo!!!

We also got different tubes for the kitchen. The DAYLIGHT DELUXE were just TOO bright (like a blue-white); glaring, really... We replaced them with the same wattage (32W), but a lot lower of a color temp (3000 instead of 5000). The new ones are more of a white w/ a slight pinkish tint. I don't know if I like those, though... perhaps one in between (like the 3500 ones - those are more of a yellowish-white, but more white than yellow?) would be best right now. We'll keep the daylight ones for when we redo the kitchen, though. We may need the brighter light once the walls are grey and the cabinets are a dark cherry or mahogany.

Also, legal update. My attorney took one look at the check and the envelope and told me to VOID it; this is ridiculously childish and yet another pathetic attempt in her mission of war with me (proving, yet again, that this is NOT about Princess; she could give a rat's @$$ about my daughter). He is sending an email to B.D. about this. Even if B.D.'s wife is the one reading & writing the emails from that account, he is still LEGALLY responsible for their content. He is also legally responsible for this payment due, and all others that will occur over the next 8 years or so (provided he maintains his B.D. rights, anyway). Perhaps if his wife has such trouble writing a proper check, she shouldn't be allowed to write them...?

My "favorite" part of the latest letter (demanding I cash the check within 14 days of the due date or they will stop payment and consider the debt paid) is where "he" (remember, we all know SHE writes these emails) says I must not have cashed the check because I am jealous of J**** and angry because the check is written on her account... Really?!? What are you, in junior high?!? If the check was written correctly, I'd have just deposited it, but her childish behaviors have, once again, interfered with her ability to be a grown-up. Not angry; just irritated. And, jealous of what, exactly? Because I'm pretty sure I got the better end of this -- husband who doesn't cheat: check, daughter who adores her PARENTS (that would be Ace & I, she says): check... I could go on and on, but it's not worth it. THEY'RE not worth it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More Updates

So, our little break from updating things around here is officially over. Last week, we put up the new hall light and over-sink light. These are the matching, but different sizes, fixtures. The one in the hall holds two bulbs, and is 16" round. The one over the sink in the kitchen holds only one bulb, and is 13" round. Today, we put up the big kitchen fixture. That took longer to do, but looks really good! I will send photos to you if you're interested; let me know in the comment box. Tomorrow, the dining fixture goes up...

I also wanted to mention something. For the last 5 years or so, since Ace's ex moved to the base of our mountain with his kids, his parenting time almost always ends with him taking them back home (or to school, depending on what day/time of the year it is). And, every time this happens (usually a Monday, but not always), Princess climbs out of her bed, and into his spot in mine. Even though she's 10yo now, I love that she still likes to spend the couple of hours a few times a month snuggling with me.

To clarify, she has never climbed into bed with us on a regular basis; it's always been something we've discouraged, as Ace is her stepdad and I was concerned about B.D. pulling something childish like claiming abuse. When Ace has gone on business trips, though, or took his kids to the coast, she always sleeps with me in my bed.

Since she was about 3, she's had night terrors (they stopped completely, though, about 2 months or so after "the incident" that lost B.D. his parenting time), and the only thing that would calm her is laying next to me. Exceptions to the "no kids in our bed" rule were, of course, made for those times.

Which brings me back to my point: I cherish these snuggle times. She usually pulls the blankets back (leaving the sheet up), grabs my hand, and falls asleep pretty quickly. I've been told she's too old for this, but I think as long as SHE doesn't think she's too old, I'm going to let her do it. She'll be "too old" soon enough.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick Update

Check came TODAY (not yesterday, when it was actually due). Check itself was dated January 19th, and the envelope was date-stamped January 21st (the due date). Rhetorical question: Why did it take 8 days from the day I sent the informational email to even write the check, let alone two more days to put it in an envelope and mail it?

Check was written out, from B.D.'s wife (of course), to "D*** G******-Kuntz" (not, IMHO, by accident -- change the K for a C, and remove the z... she's called me that before - in writing, even), even though the envelope was correctly (if messily) written. Check dollar box says "$32.50" while dollar line CLEARLY says, "thirty-two and ----------- 00/100". (Oh, and she actually took the time to cut out part of HIS name on the address sticker she used and hand-wrote in "r & Mrs" so it read Mr & Mrs G******" - lame.)

I'm not mad, actually; this is yet one more example of her petty, childish, immature behaviors; a large chunk of which contributed to B.D.'s loss of parenting time. She doesn't care about Princess; it's all about her personal war with me. I also think, btw, that it is because of his lack of ability &/or want to stand up to her and regain control over his parenting issues with me that this is even an issue.

Regardless, whether I COULD cash it, or not, is not the point... the check is written in a manner that is against our court order (how sad that we even have to have a court order for something that should be so simple!). So, Monday will include a phone call and an email with a copy of this to my attorney. Our next step is up to him, but I do have a couple of thoughts on the subject... I'll keep you posted!

Stumbled Upon...

Actually, my friend Tasha posted this to her husband's FB account, and I checked it out. Now, I want YOU to check it out, but get a tissue handy... it's LAUGHtastic!

I gotta get me one of those messenger bags...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Can You SEE What I Have To Deal With?

Monday, January 4th, Princess and I had our annual eye exams. As usual, my vision had only changed minimally from the previous year (still need corrective lenses for distance; my vision is roughly 20/50), and since the insurance plan covers lenses every year but frames only every OTHER year, I opted to wait until next year to get a new set. I actually have three pair -- one "back-up" that I use in the house for watching t.v./movies, one "good" pair (the most recent prescription) that I use for driving and watching movies on the big screen, and my 'scrip sunglasses.

Princess, however, has apparently inherited the vision of a mole. HAHA! J/K. Seriously, though, it's bad. She's had vision problems since she was 18months old. Her first few tests involved pictures instead of letters! I mostly blame my side of the family; namely, my bio-parents. Dad, Mom, and all bio-sibs wear some form of corrective lenses, as does her bio-dad, G-gpa, G-gma, and a few others on that side.

As most split families know, the custodial parent is the one who gets to make all decisions regarding medical care for joint children, unless there is an emergency situation while the child is with the non-custodial parent. Since bio-dad (B.D.) has had no parenting time since November of 2007, that is no longer an issue. However, although the typical court orders in split families order the non-custodial to cover the child under their insurance plans and gives the non-custodial 30 days to pay their (usually) 1/2 of all uninsured expenses, our orders are a little different.

B.D. has had "issues" holding down a job (as far as I know right now, he's supposedly self-employed building & maintaining websites), and therefore can't (or won't) keep insurance for her. Since he is currently on, among other things, our state-paid insurance program, and has been for quite some time, she is covered under my insurance plan. Under my husband's employer, as with most plans these days, step-children count as "children" and are entitled to coverage.

B.D. has also had issues making sure to pay me within the 30 days, and the correct amount (he has, in the past, chosen to send his half of Princess' bills directly to the provider, after I've already paid it in full, which confuses their billing departments & makes for a lot of extra work for them to process his payment and send me a check for that amount). Our current order says he must pay ME within 10 days of me sending him a bill (which is usually emailed to him). I even had to add another document stating exactly how the checks must be written, because they would come to me illegible or incorrectly written or unsigned, etc... Fighting me is quid pro quo, it seems; even with something as simple as writing a check.

Now, our court orders are VERY specific, so I'm not sure why there has been these issues, aside from the fact that he rarely is fully aware of most of the emails I send; choosing, instead, to let his wife be in charge of his parenting issues, emails, etc with me. His wife's childish antics, however, are another (very long) story, and aren't really the subject of this blog. So, of course, in typical fashion, I sent him a notice telling him (as is required of me) about Princess' eye doc appointment, as well as what the co-pay is (same as it's always been), and that she needs another set of lenses (bi-focals this time), and that I, of course, had them put on the polycarb coating again (as I always have with her), as well as what that costs.

In typical fashion, I get a nastygram which states that "he" wants a real bill from the doc's office, and refuses to pay for the polycarb, since that isn't a "necessary medical expense". However, that doesn't matter... I want it done, it's a reasonable thing to do, and you will reimburse me for it. Total cost of the polycarb & co-pay equalled a whopping $65 (so he owes me $32.50).

At this point, I was only mildly irritated. I had considered just bagging the whole thing. THIS is exactly why I have asked only one other time since his loss of P/T for reimbursement; I don't want to deal with this crap. There's no reason for it, and in the end, whether he likes it or not, when I send him a bill, he has to pay these things. In the grand scheme of things, the uninsured stuff doesn't even add up to a whole lot, anyway...

BUT, I decided, the pain-in-the-ass factor of the emails his wife sends me doesn't eliminate the fact that he still owes me this money. He has LEGAL, FINANCIAL obligations to his daughter and I; NONE of which he's followed in the last two+ years, and ALL of which (not to mention, for instance, the way emails are written -- they're supposed to be "business-like in tone & manner") could land him in jail (he's on bench probation still, and has already been threatened by the judge at least twice for this crap)... if I choose to ask for it. The reasons I haven't asked for jailtime, yet, is a whole other story; one I'm also not getting into on this blog.

The point is this: he has an obligation to pay for ANYTHING medical or dental or mental health or vision that I think is something she needs. As an ACTIVE 10yo child, I deem polycarb coating necessary. The judge even told him the last time "he" (I say "he" 'cuz even though the emails are signed with his name, he's admitted that his wife usually writes them) tried to get out of paying for this same thing that he doesn't have that choice. You can bet your butt that were the shoe to be on the other foot, they'd fully expect to be paid.

So, I spent a couple days going through my documentation, and I spoke to my attorney a couple of times. I located three relevant judgments, and quoted them in my response email. I also explained a few things. For instance, "uninsured medical costs" means anything not covered by insurance, NOT (as they believe) anything they feel like paying after insurance kicks in. I, as her mother & custodial parent, have the explicit right to determine what is and is not a reasonable procedure, who can treat her, and a number of other things. THAT covers this polycarb coating. I say it's necessary; it's necessary. You don't like it, too bad.

After sending that email (no response as of yet), a friend of mine notified me of a change to BD's wife's profile pages on YAHOO. It seems she's been busy; looking up bible quotes to admonish me for my "evil doings" or something. On her own, she states she is, "Looking forward to financial peace and..." (the rest is a religious message). On their supposed shared one, she laments my asking for reimbursement for half of Princess' vision costs by stating, " amused that some people think we would just blindly give money to greedy liars without proof of expenses incurred!". (Since then, her personal page has been updated twice. Once, to say, "Luke 12:15 NLT - Then he said, 'Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.' " and now says, "Don't bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked... they will soon die - Psalm 37:1-2 MSG" -- I must say, it's interesting that she uses bible quotes, from different bibles nonetheless, when I don't believe in that crap.)

First, I'd like to note that living on government-funded programs up the wazzoo (WIC, housing, and medical care) is NOT, no matter how you look at it, living in financial peace. That is, unless you've made peace with the fact that you LIVE ON GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE!! I did find out last week that she was talking about a class being offered at their church... One of the financial gurus is offering them.

Second, they have proof of expenses incurred! Try actually READING the many court orders we have! Those clearly state not only that I am (again) within my rights to demand half of Princess' medical bills be paid to me by B.D., but also that he owes me a HUGE chunk of money (I don't need it, but that doesn't cancel the fact that he owes it)!

Every month that the child support goes unpaid (in full) is a potential contempt charge (it's at $6300+ and counting -- 27 months, so far, I think). Every month the attorney's fees (there are six of them) go unpaid, those, too, are each a potential contempt charge. Both the c.s. and the attorney's fees are accruing 9%/year interest. Every nastygram email I get are potential contempt charges. That's almost $30,000 he owes me.

The only peace they're ever going to get from me will come from (1) paying every dime owed, then continuing to stay current, and obey ALL court orders (like THAT will ever happen), or (2) signing that one set of paperwork (you all know what I'm talking about). I will gladly exchange the signature(s?) needed for all the monies he owes me... But, that's unlikely to happen because the wife would NEVER allow it.

Now, let's see if I get paid the measly $32.50 on time (it's due to me January 21st) AND if the check is made out correctly... The rest of what he owes me? I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Holidays Break-Down

Now that the frenetic pace of the holidays is over, I can blog again!

Our holiday season started with Thanksgiving weekend. Since Ace worked T-day, dharmasmom invited us over to her family's home to have turkey with them & her parents. That was nice (got my first try of Snickers Salad - yum). As usual, the Walla Walla family came into town Thursday night, so when they got to mom's, T called to have me bring Princess over.

The following morning, T picked up the sisters & C.M. (pseudo-niece) from the airport, and I met up with them at mom's house a little later. Family dinner consisted of about 12 people, and was very good. Little C is so cute & smart, and Princess is a great big-cousin to her. While dinner was cooking, some of us went to the park at the church.

Saturday, we headed downtown to see Santa at our usual place. This year, we got photos of C & Princess together with Santa, and us "Big Kids" posed with him, too (you can never be too old for Santa). We all went separate ways until later: T, D, C, myself, and T & D's friends met up for gaming in their hotel room. Princess & mom went to see a play. J.H. had visiting time with a local friend, and D.W. & C.M. went shopping & bar-hopping!

Sunday, Ace and I met up with mom, Princess, T, D, and C for brunch before they headed out of town. That brunch was also the first time in quite a while that Ace had seen our niece, as he's always working when they come through town. She did the shy-kid thing, but in my arms, whispered, "That's Unc *****". By the end of brunch, though, she let him hold her and posed for a couple of pictures (some where she squeezed her favorite cousin a bunch) as we said goodbye for now.

The first weekend of December, the mini-fam took almost a full day to set up the tree (artificial, due to Ace's severe allergies & migraine tendencies, unfortunately) and put up all the decorations we have. We would have included the older two kids, but they were with their mother and I was getting antsy to get everything done.

The second weekend in December was dedicated to sending good healthy vibes to my Mama (who had surgery on the 9th), holiday shopping/wrapping, replacement school photos of the older two kids (their school ones didn't turn out so we had them done by a local company we love), and doing the holiday cards (one of MY favorite parts of the holiday). I made sure to have Princess choose one to send to her bio-dad & his family, as well as having her sign/decorate/etc some of them, since he doesn't have p/t anymore (since November, 2007).

The third week/weekend of December, I had a doctor's appointment (everything's fine; thanks). After that, I was all about baking and Winter cleaning. When we could, Princess & I made many batches of fudge, layered bars, and molasses ginger cookies. Ace also contributed to my tins-for-friends with his Crackle Drops and Applesauce cookies. After putting the tins together & delivering them, I had a lot of extra baked goods, so I took some of them to work. Seems my co-workers are big chocolate fans... LOL! I also made time to clean out the kids' and our drawers & closets of clothing & shoes that no longer fit (most of which are donated to charity). I went through Princess' "too-big" bins to remove things that now fit her, and rearrange a few things to condense the bins (success!), while Ace cleared some things in the garage we no longer need or use, or things that have been replaced with better items.

That left Festivus Week for Princess's dental check-up, and family get-togethers. The Monday prior to the holiday, Princess went to mom's to decorate a gingerbread house, then I picked them both up (after work) and went back to my house for Round One. My mother can be very generous; she is not, however, one to give gifts lightly. All her presents have meaning, and most are handmade &/or picked out especially to suit our personalities, likes, etc. My favorites from her to Ace & I this year include: my tote bag, the tix to a show we want to see, the g.c. to one of our favorite places to eat (DATE NIGHT!!), our family calendar, and the donation made in our names to one of my favorite charities.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I had full books at work, so Ace got to enjoy all three of his children's company alone for a big chunk of those days. Thursday, I had a couple of clients earlier in the day, then a couple of last minute wrappings & grocery store run. Friday was the actual holiday, so that was our family-only day. Gifts, brunch, playing with new "toys", steak for dinner (Princess made the marinade, as usual), etc... It was a good day (much better than the last couple; Gamerboy's recent attitude has improved drastically).

Saturday, after breakfast & chores, we packed up the dogs & their gear, as well as the kids & ourselves, and headed down to S&G's for Festivus with them. We had a nice ham dinner, a lot of visiting, and played on their Wii. They gave the kids gifts, as well, of course. Since we were headed to Washington on Sunday, they agreed to dog-sit. Of course, the dogs didn't know that so when we went to leave, they tried to follow. We gave them loves, and left. S said my dog whined quite a bit that night, and neither dog ate their dinner, but by day two, they were their normal selves.

Sunday, we made sure the older kids had everything they needed to go back to Mama's, and that the rest of us had everything we needed for our short vaca. We had breakfast, packed up the 4-Runner, and headed up to the mountain (older kids live at the base of it). After we dropped them off, we took one of the mountain highways, instead of backtracking, back to the main highway. We did encounter some ice & snow up there, but we have both 4WD and studded tires, so it was fine.

By the time we got up to T&D's house, it was about 630p. Princess grabbed a few of her things to take inside, but she was more interested in her cousin... As soon as she put her stuff down, she picked C up and C starting kissing & squeezing her. So cute! She does this thing where she puts her hands on your cheeks and strokes them very lightly. Princess got that and when I came in, I got it too. Ace got, "Hi, Unc D****" very quietly. T helped unpack the truck, and once we got all situated in our rooms, we had some dinner, and visited for a bit. We brought a ton of gifts for C (and one cool one for T&D), so we did the present thing at that point. After getting C down for bed, the plan was to double-date at 930p to the movies, but Ace was exhausted and his head was starting to hurt, so it was just the three of us. AVATAR in 3D was pretty cool.

The next morning, we all (mom was there, too) went downtown. Us girls shopped & walked while the boys went to T's work for a bit; meeting up later for lunch. T took C, Princess, & mom to the airport for mom's return trip, Ace & I went to see AVATAR in 3D (it was just as good the second time, btw), and D took a nap. When we returned from the movie, D's mom & her bf were there, and the rest of the fam had returned from the airport. Pizza for dinner, and a lot of visiting & games. Once the computers came out (I had brought my new laptop with us and T has a ton of computers), Ace was a happy camper. I taught Princess how to play Gin. Now she's hooked.

Tuesday was a chill day. T took Ace, Princess, & I on a tour of the area (no wine tasting, as red wine - the areas best - is one of his migraine triggers) while D went house-hunting with her mom & mom's bf (they're thinking maybe of possibly buying in the area and D loves looking at floor plans, etc). There was a lot of game playing, computering, and playing with C - inside & outside. T & D made pork chops for dinner that night (YUMMO!), then Ace & I packed up. He's been watching the weather and knew, since Monday night, that there was winter storm watches & warnings for our whole drive home. We knew we wanted to leave fairly early; I had a 5p client if we didn't have too much trouble getting home. We went to bed around 10p.

Wednesday, we were up even before Princess got up (she said she'd been waiting for C to wake her, as she did every morning, crawling onto her bed and saying her name in her cute way); around 730a. I peeked outside and saw that not only was it snowing, but there was about 4"-5" already on the ground.

While I was getting my coffee, C came up to me and asked where "Unc D****" was. I told her he was still sleeping, and would be down soon. Then she asked if he was going to have coffee, too. I told her yes and she said, "I help him make coffee?" As she said that, he was coming down the stairs, so I turned her around and said, "Why don't you ask him?" Then, she got all shy again. At one point, a little later, he went into the downstairs bathroom, and C knocked really quietly on the door a bunch of times... He said, "Who's there?" as he opened the door, knowing full-well it was her, and she smiled really big at him, then ran to me.

Anyway, by 930a, we were packed, showered, dressed, and ready to go. I told C we'd see her in a few months, when we have a party for her mommy & baby sister. We said our goodbyes to everyone, and were off in the snow. We stopped once for gas & once for quick sit-down lunch, saw five accidents, and were home (safely) by 345p. The dogs had been delivered about 1/2 hour before we got home, so there was some doggie hugs & kisses when we walked in the door... Of course, I had to be to work by 5p, so Princess' bag quickly got dumped out, repacked for ice skating plans, and off we went.

Last weekend, all the holiday decorations came down, was repacked, and put back up into the attic. It was a busy holiday season, full of family & good friends, but I was ready for it to be over.