Thursday, September 03, 2009

We Don't Even Live In Florida

Yesterday, Peanut and The Champ had a friend from across the street over for dinner. Seeing we had company, I made my best dish.

We dined on grilled cheeses and french fries.

The three had finished eating and were playing hide-and-go-seek inside the house. Which was good because it allowed me some time to myself before baths, lunches for the next day, storytime and bed.

I sat at the dining room table enjoying a Smithwick's, watching the kids as the girl from next door began to count with speed only an auctioneer should have. The Champ shot upstairs and Peanut stepped behind the Playskool easel that is in the dining room. She must have second guessed her decision because as the girl from next door finished counting, Peanut stepped out from her hiding spot and declared,


It seems she did not like her hiding spot and wanted to find a better one.

Who does she think she is, Al Gore?


Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Wonder How Much They've Grown

After I get out of work tomorrow, I will be picking up Peanut & The Champ from their mother's. Mrs. Joe had taken them to the beach and has been there since the end of last week. She has had them for almost 2 weeks. I don't think I have gone this long without seeing them.

As I have said, Mrs. Joe's family has a house on Cape Cod. We used to go out there for a week or two in the summer for our vacation. Last year, I took them by myself. Mrs. Joe had been fighting with mother about our separation.

This year she decided she would go. She didn't like the idea of me being there with her family last year. Weird thing this year was the day before she was to leave, Mrs. Joe invited me out there with them.

Um, did she forget we filed for divorce a week earlier?

She went as far as assuring me I would have to drive myself out there and that I would be sleeping on the pull out couch. Thanks, nothing says relaxing like some old lumpy mattress full of beach sand. I decided against it and told her I felt it would confuse the kids.

Besides, I had plans. I was to go with GBD up to Stowe, VT for the weekend. I had never been up there before. It was beautiful. We took the back roads home and enjoyed the views. I also got a bunch of stuff done around the house during this past week. I admit I like my free time but damn how I miss those kids.

Speaking of the divorce, I haven't gotten any word from probate court regarding a meeting with the judge. Not that it matters, I've waited this long, another month or two is nothing.

This past week or so has been fun but I can't deny I am looking forward to being a dad again.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Similar, Except No Announcements In The Paper

It took over a year and a half but it is finally done.

Mrs. Joe & I filed for divorce Friday.

We used a single lawyer and filed uncontested. He mediated our divorce agreement and thankfully we were able to agree on everything. Going this route was a lot less stressful and cost much less.

I had to remortgage the house so I could buy out her half of the house and pay off a home improvement loan in both our names. We agreed that instead of child support I would pay for private school for the kids until high school. Not that I would think she would spend it foolishly but this way I know my money is going to the kids. Everything else had already been taken care of.

We met with the lawyer for the last time last Tuesday. I needed to show that the mortgage and the loan were taken care of. He had his clerk finish up the agreement and we signed the remaining paperwork. We left and had the agreements witnesses and notarized but could not file seeing the courthouse had already closed.

I left work early Friday and went to the courthouse. Of course nothing comes easy, so when the clerk asked me where our separation agreement was I realized it wasn’t included. So I had to drive back home, find the agreement, drive back to the courthouse, and wait in line but finally it was done.

We will receive a court date in September. Assuming the divorce is granted, we need to wait 120 days for it to become official. That puts things out until January.

I’m trying to look at this past Friday similarly to when I proposed to Mrs. Joe some 13 years ago. This divorce filing is like the wedding proposal and the 120th day after the hearing in front of the judge is the wedding ceremony.

I often told Mrs. Joe and others that from the day I proposed, I considered myself married and that the ceremony was a formality. Now I am trying to think that because the divorce paperwork is filed, I am divorced and the time from now until after the hearing with the judge is just a formality.

Either way, another big step is complete. I had the weekend to myself to think it over and I am happy with the decision I have made.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Asses & Elbows

I turned 39 at the beginning of this month. Not really a big deal to me. I don't think next year will be much worse but I have no problem putting the big 4-0 off for another year.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with my doctor. Not really a big deal either. I go once a year around this time. We usually swap some small talk, he asks the typical doctor/patient questions, I get some blood drawn and he sends me on my way until the next year.

Although this year I was under the impression my visit was going to be special. I thought I was a little young but I figured we have been together for years. It is time the doc & I moved our relationship along.

Yes, I left thinking that this year's appointment was going to include a prostate exam.

"Oh, my", I thought, "what will I wear?"

I showed up to the appointment yesterday a little nervous. I mean our relationship was going to the next level. Would he like what he seen? Would he still respect me?

As he came into the room, my, um, throat tightened. We talked for awhile, he looked me over and I thought, "this is it." I felt like I had been waiting all my life for this moment.

"Okay, everything seems to be fine. I'll have some blood drawn for tests and we'll see you next year."

And he was gone.

"Wait", I thought. "I am ready for you. I'm young but I can handle it."

But then he came back in the room, "He came back!", I gasped.

"When was your last tetanus shot?"

I couldn't remember.

"I'll get you one of those, too." and was gone again.

I felt rejected. How could he do this to me? I've been preparing all year for this.

A nurse then came in and gave me my tetanus shot. Since then, I haven't been able to move my left arm without a painful reminder of my doctor's appointment. I left the exam room, had some blood drawn and was out the door.

Knowing some doctor's bedside manners, he probably wouldn't have cuddled after anyway.


Monday, July 20, 2009

A Mental Stumble

It is 10:30. I just finished making 3 lunches for tomorrow, picking up the living room & writing out bills.

There are still dishes in the sink.

There are towels in a laundry basket that need to be folded.

I just realized The Champ's bathing suit is still sitting in the washing machine. I need to put it in the dryer for camp tomorrow.

I have given up.

I am having difficulties with life as a single dad. I am trying my hardest to take care of them, take care of the house and work 40 hours a week but at times I think its getting the better of me.

Right now is one of those times.

I have had Peanut & The Champ since Thursday night. We had a pretty busy weekend. I took them to dinner and storytime at Barnes & Noble Friday night.

Saturday afternoon we went to the mall and I bought them both some new pajamas. I bought Peanut a My Little Pony toy. The Champ bought himself a new Bakugan toy with his allowance. I treated myself to some new underwear.

Saturday night we went to the local minor league baseball game. The NECBL is for college kids while school is out. Local families let the kids stay with them for the summer. It's fun for the kids with a lot of family stuff. The Champ enjoyed the game while Peanut followed the mascot around looking for hugs.

Sunday we drove out to a nearby lake and spent the afternoon in the water. With Peanut on my back as I swam around its no wonder why the sunblock wore off and now I have a nice burn on my shoulders.

Maybe it was too much this weekend. Probably right.

Then why do I feel it wasn't enough?

Nevermind all the shit around the house I ignored this again weekend. The lawn needs mowing. The hatchway needs to be stripped and repainted. The basement needs a good cleaning. Don't ask about dusting.

It's just some times I feel as though I am failing. And I only have had them 4 days. They will go back to their mother in 3. How anybody does this all the time is beyond me. Any mother or father who has full custody of their kids and has to deal with these challenges all the time is an amazing person.

Please, share your secrets.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Fun

I have not written much lately. The summer has been busy and there does not seem to be any time to post. I have also been moving along with my divorce from Mrs. Joe.

It's been two steps forward, one back, but forward nonetheless.

I had to refinance the house, hoping a reassesment of the value would allow me to pull out enough equity to buy her out. Luckily it was. I paid off the last remaining bill we had together, a home equity loan we took out to redo the kitchen.

She mentioned her frustrations since moving out, hinting at giving up everything and asking to come back. That led to more of me climbing into my own head wondering "what if" only to be let down again.

Peanut & The Champ are good. They are at the beach with their grandparents. I brought them out there last Friday. I spent the day with them before driving back home.

Here are what keeps me going through all of this.

They won't be home until Thursday. I have never went this long without them. I tell myself that they are fine and having a great time.

Just wish I could say the same about myself.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

For Father's Day

Every year he ran the portable quartz heater well into Spring.

That was one thing I remembered as a little kid about my dad. While he sat at the kitchen table, which was almost always, he would have a beer on the table and the portable quartz heater on.

He worked in the metal heat treat department for Smith & Wesson. Every day, as long as I can remember, he was up before me and out of the house by 6:30, off to load and unload huge baskets full of steel gun frames into the furnaces for 8 hours.

Working in those temperatures made him used to the heat. During the blazing hot days of summer, my sister & I would complain how hot it was but not my dad. Then September would come and out came the quartz heater until June.

He hated his job.

He didn't get along with his boss.

But he went. Every day. Even the mornings after he stayed out all night drinking, which were many.

He still went.

I never thought much about that until I got older and was working. I was lucky enough to learn a skill that I liked which involved sitting in front of a computer all day. The only heat I feel is from my cpu.

But I think back and wonder how he was able to get up every morning and go to a place he did not want to be, do a job he did not want to do for a boss he did not like.

Once I got married and had kids I learned why. It was because he was a husband and a father. He was responsible for taking care of his family. Even though he probably dreaded those 8 hours, he went because it was his responsibility.

Whenever I think my job sucks, I remind myself it could be so much worse.

He retired in 1997 at 62 years old. Good for him I thought. Celebrate your retirement I told him. He deserved it.

He was dead less than 2 years later. I was 27.

He stopped working but didn't stop drinking. He just sat at the kitchen table with a beer in hand and the quartz heater on.

At times I get upset that I lost him while I was so young. I was married less than a year. I had no idea what was in store for me. But I also think about how hard it had to have been for him all those years standing in front of hundred plus degree furnaces while my sister & I were little.

I know whatever challenges that come my way I will be able to handle, whether its my job, my marriage or Peanut & The Champ. I just remind myself that my dad made it through his challenges for me and my sister.

You could say his memories are my quartz heater.