Friday, October 1, 2010

it just keeps getting better.....

Brian and I adjusted to our new budget. I pretty much got screwed in court, and T was getting more then 50% of my pay. Which by law, he was only suppose to get
40% for the 4 kids, or 40% of my net. He ended up getting more close to 60%. We did the math...and that's what it boiled down too. Basically I was making like $2.50 an hour for my take home wages. Thank goodness, Brian was a good sport, and he understood.
Our lives didn't change. We kept the kids on our visitation weekends. From time to time I would ask T if I could switch weekends due to plans that we had made, and each time I would ask for a change, I would be told NO! He would say to me, if I can't get them for my regular weekend visitation, he wasn't going to switch. So either I would have to cancel my plans that Brian and I had made, or I just wouldn't see the boys for my weekend. I tried to make sure that any plans that Brian and I did make, were not on the same weekend I had with the kids. This is where I started making a calendar, for me and the boys. I would mail it to them. But when that started coming back to me in the mail “no such address” I would just give it to them when they were with me.
I liked mailing them things on our off weeks, just so they knew I was thinking of them. But when I would ask if they got my letter/card in the mail, they would say no. I made copies of all of them so I could show the kids what I had sent and what they didn't receive. He could only return my mail for so long, and he could only hide the mail I sent for so long too. I eventually started telling the boys I was going to mail them something and to be expecting something in the mail. But that didn't work either.
So I stopped mailing letters all together.

One time my aunt was coming into town, she live in Florida. I was scheduled to pick up the kids at 6pm that Friday night, and they were on spring I didn't think this was going to be an issue.
Anyway, I had sent T an email...and asked if I could pick up the kids at 3 so I could meet up with my aunt and cousins for dinner at Portillos. Of course his answer was no. “Your time is at 6pm.”
That what all the emails were, every single one, every single time I would ask for a little deviation in the schedule. I always had to remind him that my time “is not limited too....” But, that didn't make a difference to T. Any extra time I was with my kids the more he hated it. He was in control, and that’s what he wanted. He had to much control.
From time to time, before our next and final court date, he did allow for some extra time with me and the kids. But that was just to make himself look good in court.
And yes, I may not have been so consistent with my visitation that first year and ½. But it was a lot to soak in. I hardly had any money, after that court date, and travel to and from Kankakee and Dundee was a lot of miles and it took gas money, which I didn't exactly have all the time. I had other bills too.
But this was all part of T's plan. Make it so hard for me to pick up the kids, that I would eventually give up. Well, I didn't, just yet. But I did go sometimes without picking them up on my scheduled weekend, out of pure exhausten and lack of funds to do so. But is wasn't as often as he let it on to be.
I was keeping track.
Right after 911, Brookfield zoo was having a FREE family day, so we decided to take the kids to the zoo, and from there we would just take them home. We had a great time. Brian was a great help, he walked with the kids, mainly the twins hand in hand, and walked with them and talked to them about the animals. We took pictures, and video taped our time together. (just in case)
We had already been there for a good 6 or 7 hours and they boys were getting hot and tired. So we decided that it was time to leave. This was about 330. Now, the drive from Brookfield Zoo to Dundee doesn't take to long. I tried calling T's house number and there was no answer. I tried calling his parents house, knowing that probably where he would be, it was Sunday after all, and to my surprise, no answer.
So I just said we would try both houses once we arrived in Dundee. When we arrived at his house, there was no one home. So I drove to his parents house. It was about 5pm...mind you my drop off time is 6pm....and the whole “not limited too...”
anyway, I pulled up in the driveway, and parked the van, got out and helped the kids out, Cody ran out of the van, went into the house to change clothes, and the twins I was helping change in the car.
(yes they changed clothes, that's another whole issue) so while I was helping the twins change, all of a sudden I started hearing his mom yell “get off our property,” “get off our property!” She kept repeating herself. Then his dad started screaming it at me too.... “get off our property, or I'm calling the cops.”
I yelled right back and said “im dropping off the kids, I tried to call but no one answered the phone.”
They continued to scream at me all the while the kids are listening and witnessing the entire thing.
Finally his dad made his way up to me, and got right in my face....telling me to leave or he was going to call the cops. He was so close to me, that I could smell his nasty breath and nasty body odor (apparently he didn't shower either.) But what he was hoping I would do, was hit him like I hit T that night. But, I kept my cool and just laughed at him. I wish I would've at least spit in his face....that would have been awesome.
His mom didn't shut up either, she kept saying “your drop off time is at 6pm.” Give me a break, it was like 5:15 by now, and they would’ve yelled until 6pm I bet.
.O my God, I know lady, shut up, this is your property and my drop off time is 6pm....I got it!! Bite me already.
Then when his brothers girlfriend pulled in the driveway, that made matters a little worse. I hadn't seen her since the whole ordeal took place. So when I saw her we hugged. I asked how she was, etc.....boy that made his dad even more furious. He was more admitted about getting me off “his property” by this time. The twins were changed and out of the van, Brandon on the other hand was crying and scared and said he didn't want to get out. Well if I was 3 years old with this big guy who he knows as grandpa, I wouldn't want to get out of the van either. Finally, when I yelled down to T that Brandon didn't want to get out of the van because he was scared, that's when he decided to stop playing with his toys in the yard and come get Brandon. But he stomped over, he didn't walk. He stomped, like it was such a burden to come and comfort and help his son, who was terrrifedof his grandpa by now.
I also noticed someone else while all this commotion was going on. A new face in the crowd. She was a thick gal, blond hair, looked trashy. Could it be? ….Did he have a new victim? Shoo nuff, he had a girlfriend. Poor thing. I would hope after she witnessed this little soap opera, she wouldn't want to stay.
I didn't care that he had a new girlfriend, it didn't bother me. I had moved on a long time ago, even before Brian came into my life I had moved on. So his new relationship didn't bother me.

All this time I had the video camera in the van, and not one time did I think to have Brian start it up and get all of this great incriminating evidence on video. Dang it!
He just sat there in awe, looking and watching as T's parents scream at me in front of the kids. It was so bad. It was the last encounter I would ever have with them. Thank God.
After that was all over and I drove away, I cried. It was the most awful thing. I hated that I had to leave my kids in that mess. That my kids were being subjected to that much hatred and anger. I was so mad at myself for dropping them off when I did. I said maybe I could've waited 45 more minutes..or what if.....maybe I should've.......
It didn't matter. What happened , happened. And now I had something to write about in my journal.
But, not only would I write this in my journal, but I would write his mother a nice letter too. (Actually, I typed it) and I sent his attorney an account of what happen. Because I am sure that T wasn't going to tell him what his parents had done in front of this kids. This would make their little perfect family look so bad in front of a judge. I didn't just tell her what I thought about that incident, but I let her have it all the way around. I brought up her dead mother, and how sorry they are for being who they were. Bla bla bla. I never heard from her or the attorney on this matter. Except when he questioned me about the comment about her dead mother when I was on the witness stand. But, for what? There was no rhyme or reason for the didn't have any thing to do with the case at hand or my parenting skills. Notice that they didn't want to mention that incident at all?
In my journal, I also made a note about a new face I saw during the whole ordeal. She was standing down by T and his mom while they screamed at me. While they made themselves look stupid.
Could this new face be T's new girlfriend? If it was, I sure hope that she saw what she was getting
herself into with this family. Poor girl, hopefully this will open her eyes.

In August 2001 Brandon turned 6 years old. I had a small party for him at our house. I was finally able to have a party for my boys. I bought a cake and make his favorite meal, tacos.
In November of that year, I took the kids to Tennessee, since we had a long weekend, and they had no school and it all fell on my weekend, I took them to see my parents in TN. There, we celebrated Cody's 9th and the twins 4th birthday's. It was a nice trip. The boys always enjoyed going to Grammy and Pa-pa's. They love seeing their cousins. There was always something to do. We miss those times. My parents miss the boys. My sister and her girls miss them too. It brings tears to my parents eyes when we talk about the boys. I've become so immune, I rarely cry about it. I am sad all the time. Half my heart is gone, its empty. It's like one of those necklaces with two ½ 's of a heart and someone holds on to one ½ and the other ½ you give to your friend to hold on to. The other piece belongs to the other piece, the missing piece to make it a solid heart. Well, they hold onto ½ of my heart...and until we are all united, our hearts won't be whole.

A few weeks ago my dad was looking at a photo album and came across a few pictures of the boys, as he looked at the picture he started saying quietly to himself , “I really miss those boys, I really do miss them.” He just happen to be sitting across from my uncle, the one that testified on T's behalf. I think my dad wanted to make sure that his brother heard that. If his brother (my uncle) did, he sure didn't say one word about it. Must be that “selective hearing” that happens with all men. Who knows?
Sometimes I wonder myself if my uncle feels badly at all for his behavior? Well, if he does, he sure hasn't apologized to me for it. As a matter of fact, I haven't received an apology from anyone in my family for the way they treated me or made me feel. Oh well, sadly they are now reaping what they sewed. Karma is a bitch!

I was in a constant battle with my parents about my living situation with Brian. I was a sinner, living with and sleeping with this man whom I wasn't married too. I stopped talking to them after a while. I would even get crap from my sister too. I would eventually just ignore their phone calls and only talk to them when I actually needed too. I would have the boys call them while they were with me, so they could say hi. I didn't care if I was living with Brian, it didn't effect the way I parented my children, and it didn't change who I was. Needless to say, Brian never did go with me to TN until we were married. My mother wouldn't allow us to sleep in the same room under her roof. That was fine with the both of us. I had to much to deal with as it was, let alone having to deal with my parents rules.
When May of 2002 finally arrived, I was happy to finally be getting the 2nd phase of this trail over with. I never understood why we had to go to trial anyway. I was pretty much in agreement over everything, except I didn't want T to get sole custody of the boys. I wanted joint. But that still didn't mean that a trial was warranted. Nonetheless, we were on the 2nd phase of the trail. It had been sometime since we were in the courtroom, and by this time, a new judge was at the bench. She would not be much better then the last. As a matter of fact she would be worse.
This time around, I was going to be calling my own witnesses. I also now had letters from my co-workers and supervisor, giving written statements about my character. They have also had the privilege of meeting my boys, so that helped. I had also finished my training with DCFS and would have my certification as a mandated reporter, and I would also have completed the Healthy Family of Illinois training too. I though would be a good thing to have under my belt for the judge to see, that Joint Custody is in the best interest of the kids. T didn't have any sort of training, or skills.

T also had his fair share of witnesses to question. 2 of which were the twins daycare teachers. Really?
I knew what they were their for. One time when I was at their daycare, they wouldn't let me in the classroom during a break time. So I threw a fit, and I did a little yelling. I said, if I am paying for ½ of the bill for them to be here, then I have the right to check on them whenever I want too. Well, come to find out, I wasn't on the “list” to allow into the classroom. That infuriated me even more. I continued to yell, rant and rave all the way out the door. I guess I shouldn't have acted that way, but come on, those were my kids and once again, I was being told I couldn't see them? Not only that, but I didn't sign the paper work for them to even be in that daycare. It was all in T's name. Then why the hell am I paying for ½ of it?
Another time that I showed up, on better terms, I participated in the twins Valentines Day party. I brought treats for all the kids. It was so nice to be able to do that with my kids. It made me feel like a “real mom.” But when I was leaving, the twins started putting on their coats, hats and mittens. They thought they were going with me. They started crying. No they were sobbing, with that pitiful cry that makes them gasp for air. I wanted to cry too so bad, but I needed to contain myself. I did however, manage to snap pictures of them crying. To this day, I can't make myself look at those sad pictures. All they wanted was to go with their mom.
I was coming back the next day to pick them up. Yes, I drove all the way to Dundee on a Thursday for the valentines party, and drove back home, just to turn around and drive back the next day to pick them up. But of course all worth it. Anyway, I kept telling the twins that I was coming back tomorrow to get them for the entire weekend. I promised them I would be back. But they didn’t understand that.
I eventually left with them still crying. It was so sad. It broke my heart. The teachers didn't want to tell what happen on that day in court, how well manored I was, ha ha ha...nor did they want to mention how distraut the twins became when I was leaving. I wonder why?
I would spend the day participating in all 4 of the boys valentines day party's at school. My mom liked to send them flowers and balloons too at school for the holiday, and for their birthday. They looked forward to receiving it every year. So when I was in each classroom, they received a special gift. It was a balloon and flowers that was sent from my parents, sister and cousins. Attached was a card that would say “we love you happy valentines day.” I took pictures of this too. The teachers never mentioned the flowers or balloons that my parents sent either. Go figure!
Even when I brought it up to them in cross examination, they acted as if they forgot. But when I showed my exhibit “x y or z”....the picture of them sobbing, fully dressed in coats, hats and mittens, they suddenly remembered that they did start crying, but stopped as soon as I left. Really?? Can you actually believe that they even suggested that I not come back again, since that was an interruption of class.
I was livid.

His mom was questioned, and then it was my turn. I don't think we got very far. If you ask me it was a waste of money and time. The witness that I brought, never had a chance to be questioned, and my letter of character were not admitted either. When it was my turn to be questioned, I tried to hold it together. But somewhere in the middle of it all I lost it, and cried so hard I couldn't contain myself.
I begged with the judge not to grant T sole custody of the boys, because “if he was granted sole, it would be just a matter of time before he alienated me from them.” She didn’t say a word. She just stared at the papers in front of her, and took notes. I told her that the last 2 years, since we separated have been difficult. I struggled to find a job, a place to live, my car was repoed...I was living by a schedule to visit my kids. She didn't care! It was the same old sob story she hears everyday.
But I needed her to listen to me. But nope.....Then T's attorney decided to ask a question about a message that I left on his machine one day. Remember that nasty one I left around Christmas 2000.
Well, they “tried” to get the tape to play, but it didn't. Nonetheless, the judge said not to bother, it wouldn’t change her mind on her decision.

By this time, I honestly think the judge was realizing that we were there for no real reason and decided to break for lunch. She figured out that I wasn't trying to get custody of the kids, since I felt I had no chance in hell, all I wanted was joint. She broke for lunch and dismissed us. After lunch she would make her decision.

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