Where to start?!
This month started off with a bang. Not necessarily a good bang, but a challenging one. When I’ve told people about some of the challenges I’ve been facing I often realize later that I left a few out. I hate leaving things out so although I have wanted to blog or vlog about it. I’ve put it off because I feel like I can’t even remember all that has taken place. But, I gotta start somewhere so here I am making an attempt.
Starting with the end of June, I had plans to move to the Charlotte area of NC. The place we live in now requires a two month notice when one plans to move out or they penalize you. So, on the first of July I gave our two months notice. I knew the kids dad, Preston, wouldn’t be too happy about it, but I also knew once the school year started again he would be too busy for them anyway. Though he had been good at taking the boys to their Taekwondo class during summer, I knew that once the regular school season started he would start canceling or asking me to take them once again. Other than that he wasn’t taking them to the grand folks or spending any other time with them. The kids, well, they’re kids and as expected they told dad about our plans to move south. I let him know that considering he would be in full time school again soon and have almost nothing to do with the kids I figured it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal for us to move at that time. I also told him that when he finishes up school he could move there as well. After all, all five of us wanted to go and only one of him wanted to stay.
He informed me a few days later that when he gets his fiance here from the Philippines she plans to finish up her collage education here. Due to his GI bill apparently once they are married she can go to school for free. Then he added rather intensely that he is never going to leave Wisconsin.
As time has gone by Preston has made it clear that he believes I am just making up what the kids want. He tells folks that it’s not good for the children to move so much. I’ve told him that if the kids were happy here and attached to their friends and such I would suck it up and stay. But since they are not, then this is the time to move and try to find a place where we at least feel somewhat like we fit in. I have relatives and friends in the Charlotte are of NC, so it seemed like a reasonable place to try. The kids would have a bunch of cousins there. Sure, in the long run it would likely be good for me as well.
After going over some finances I realized we just weren’t financially ready to move and needed a few month to save some more money. Summer is always a difficult financial time for us. Since I had given notice at my current place I needed to find a temporary place till we were able to head south. There is a waiting list for these homes so I couldn’t ask for more time to stay. I told the kids that we needed to find a smaller place that cost less so we could save up. They were fine with this because they were anticipating the bigger move.
It’s always a struggle to time things just right when going from one rental to another. If you find a place to soon the landlords aren’t’ willing to wait but if you find a place to late, well, then it’s already taken if there even is such a place. That is just something to be expected. Still I couldn’t help but scour Craigs List for rentals as well as other sites.
Mean while, Preston had request he and I visit the girls counselor together and see what she thought. While there he let the councilor know how he spends a lot of time with the boys. I’m not convinced he is lying, I think in his mind he actually believes this. The councilor mostly listened and didn’t offer any help for either of us except saying that Hannah had a really hard time dealing with winter here. Kara was a new client so she was still just getting to know her. After the appointment Preston started doing more with the boys. He started teaching Levi programing and told him that if he finished the book he was teaching him out of with him and got his yellow belt in Taekwondo he would give him the lap top he was working on. Of course this was excellent motivation, or maybe bribe, for Levi. After all Levi is an 11 year old high functioning Autistic boy who doesn’t quite understand that when told that the lap top he’s been promised doesn’t have Windows, only Lynx, it won’t support games like Minecrafe.
Preston let me know one day that he still wanted the part about him paying for child support for the kids first two years of collage taken off the divorce decree and he planned to pursue it. I reminded him that the vary same issues was what got our first divorce filing denied. It’s written in the divorce decree and he had crossed it out. He told me that it was a Hawaii thing and that it is different in Wisconsen. I reminded him that it is difficult for a kid to get by financially their first two years of collage. Although if they attend collage in Wisconsen they will have free tuition due to their dads GI bill, there are many other expenses that can make it challenging. He said it would be okay cause they could live with him. He is determined that our kids use the free tuition in Wisconsen to the point that he is terrified that if they should leave this state they won’t do so. I’ve tried to tell him that since they have this opportunity there is no reason for either of us to pay for them to attend collage. And that likely they would do so instead of paying for it themselves somewhere else. He isn’t convinced. In my opinion, if they really want to pay their own way else where it will be their freedom to do so. I have often wondered if he feels so strongly about this cause he doesn’t want his military time to be ” a waste” or something psychological like that. Still, it’s their life, and their choice in the long run.
Also this whole money issue is screwed up as well. On the divorce papers I get a percentage of his retirement. It’s legally mine. But, since the amount I am to receive is written in a formula and not an exact amount DFAS (the agency that cuts the military their checks) won’t give me my money until it is written in an exact amount. Preston had been retired about two years now and I haven’t seen a penny of my money. He, on the other hand is being paid his retirement with mine included, that I know of. I warned him last year that when this is resolved they will likely take it from him and he should be saving it up so it doesn’t hit him all at once. I doubt he took it to heart. I have and am still working on getting my legal portion. So far I am still being passed around from Wisconsen to Hawaii and back and forth with no results. Hawaii courts and legal aid don’t like to answer their phones and they won’t call back long distance numbers. My next step will be the congressman.
Back to the things he wanted changed on the divorce decree. Later he let me know he had filed the papers and that would be a court date in Wisconsen Rapids and that I would get served the papers on it soon. He also added that he wanted the custody changed to joint custody for the boys and to have then on the weekends. I told him I would be willing to do every other weekend but not every weekend cause I wanted to spend time with them as well and when they are in school it’s hard to do that. So, at 6:58am one morning after a restless nights sleep the door bell rang and there was a police officer with “the papers”. Like he said would be on the “papers” the two issues were listed. I did find his wording rather, well, the word “retaliating” come to mind. I never find retaliation between ex’s okay cause it always affects the children. I have never tried to hurt him and I have sacrificed everything for the good of the kids. He has put his desires first and foremost. So I find this whole thing very offensive. I understand that he is attempting to “lock” us into Wisconsen and will likely succeed regardless of our happiness. It isn’t about what the kids want, it’s about what he wants. I’ve spent a life being a slave to others and I’m not to happy about it starting all over again. But, I can’t imagine the judge would deny him his request. Here is what he wrote on the recent papers.
Also, on the original divorce papers we actually do have joint custody, it just also says that I have physical custody.
The amount of moves he mentions is actually a little less. As far as stability the kids all suffered educationally here in the Stevens Point area schools. Thankfully we are moving to a different school district and thankfully the new one has a much better reputation. But I think many people know that there are kids raised on the road that get a better education in many instances. Really, the original RV dream we had would have been a wonderful educational experience. But. while their dad gets to take vacation trips to the middle east and the Philippines, the kids and I are apparently to just sit here in his home state and go no where cause that is how he wants it. I doubt this has much to do with their education.
He thinks they need stability, well, you sure couldn’t tell when we lived in Springfield, Mo. He was stationed in California and was about to get out of the military. I made it very clear to him that the kids were quite settled. They were doing well in school, they had great therapists and some friends and so on. But, three of them really wanted a daddy. I let him know that he should move there to be near them. He kept telling me that his plans were to go straight to Wisconsen to use the GI bill for collage. When we were married he had used the military to get his degree but now he wanted to further it.Since I couldn’t convince him to live near the children, and since the younger three wanted a daddy I decided to uproot us and move where he was so they could have their own dad. At the time it made sense. I was raised by what is becoming old fashioned where the common belief was that there was nothing better then ones own dad and mom. I see now that was not only somewhat old fashioned, but it is in some cases not even true. It is good for children to have both male and female influences in their lives, but it’s not always a pat and dry formula.
So, we did move to Wisconsen. As it turned out, Preston was hardly ever available to help out or spend time with the kids. He would sometimes show up at the door out of the blue and expect to spent time with them but leave in a foul mood cause they didn’t gather around him and “spend time” but kept on doing what they were already doing before he got there. When he did have them over they would either cry or beg me not to take them to daddies apartment. He had a small two bed room apartment and absolutely nothing for the kids to do. Sometimes he’d let Hannah use his computer but usually he was the one using it. After a while even Hannah couldn’t use it cause he thought she was to hard on it. I went to him one day and told him that we needed a time to sit down and make a schedule for when he was going to take the kids. He got very upset and in a very mean condescending tone said, “Lori, I‘m not married to you anymore!” I told him I knew that but that we were partners in raising the kids. Once again in his condescending tone he told me that I had custody and he didn’t have to make a schedule. Then he left. I cried, it broke my heart that his kids had been uprooted and came all this way for nothing. After all that maybe you can see why this more recent plan to relocate away from him didn’t seem like it should be such a big deal.
Back to the now… Well, whither we need to stay here to save enough to move or we are officially shackled in, we still needed a home to move. As stated before finding a home too soon doesn’t do much good, timing is everything. However, the closer it gets to the new school year here the higher the prices get which was exactly what was happening. It’s a collage town after all. I also realized one day that I had made a mistake in putting our last day down as the 31st since our money doesn’t come in even a second prior to the first and I really needed an extra moving day. I called the management to ask for a grace day or two. They couldn’t give it to me because the woman moving in after me had to be out of her place as well on the 31 and was ready to move in the1st. Also, the manager let me know that in the contract it stated I had to be out by noon of the 31st. Oh my!
One of my major issues wasn’t just the timing and prices coming up for the new school year, it was my credit score. My credit score hasn’t been great cause I’ve had some past medical expenses that got turned over to collections, but it wasn’t terrible either. Well, not until my ex filed for a deed and lieu on his house. It was our house but he got it in the divorce. It’s on the papers and everything. Of course the bank doesn’t recognize that so what ever he does with it affects me. The house is in Camden, Arkansas and he had a realtor trying to sell it and for a while was renting it out. Though it’s a nice big home with a giant fenced in yard in a nice neighborhood, still there wasn’t any money to be made off of it and he was looking just to unload it. I’m sure it was far from a priority for the realtor. Also it was getting run down and not repaired.
According to what he has told me, in order to do a deed and lieu he had to stop making payments. He also told me it wouldn’t affect my credit. I had a hard time believingthat so I did my own credit check. It was horribly low, close to 500. I asked a banker about it and they looked over my credit report and told me the major issue was the unpaid mortgage. They suggested I offer to pay it till he could sell it then pay me back. However, I couldn’t offer that cause we just make it to the end of each month on what we have. I did have the idea that we could move into the house, help fix it up and help sell it. When I told him the kids and I would be willing to do this for a period of time he told me it was too late He also told me that even if it wasn’t to late the house was no longer livable cause it was so run down. What a shame!
Most apartments and mobile homes and various home rental agencies go by credit score. I have excellent rental history, but I learned it didn’t matter. This was another big reason I wasn’t finding a home for us. I kept looking for homes rented by individuals because they are more likely to go by references. I responded to a posting I found one day and the man e-mailed me back giving me the name of a lady who rents mobile homes and used rental history, not credit score. I got a hold of her and she sent me the link to check out the available homes. They even had three and four bedroom ones available. Though they were single wide and still small, it would be a place to live.
She had mobile homes in several areas but Mosinee was the closest to a big city then the others and I learned in the past that it cost too much in gas to live far from the city and have to drive there all the time so I chose the Mosinee area. The kids and I toured the available home and liked one of the three bedroom ones and one of the four bedroom ones. I was really hoping for a four bedroom so the girls could have their own room and not be squished together in another tiny room, but, the four bedroom home had only one bathroom. I just don’t understand why people build homes with three or four bedrooms and think that it’s reasonable to have one bathroom. I ended up choosing the three bedroom one cause it has the two restrooms. Hannah felt it was the best choice cause it was logical, Kara was very disappointed. I understand how she feels but for now this was the best we could do. Thankfully the folks that run the place seem very nice and the town sounds lovely.
Still there was the issue of having to be out of the current home by noon on the 31st and having no where to put our stuff. I started calling storage places only to learn they were all filled. I was also concerned that I would lose the home we chose cause I needed $500 to hold it. I hate to do this but I was out of options so I borrowed it from Preston with the promise of paying it back on the 1st. The field manager also told me that we can not move in until the first months rent is paid. I don’t get money till the 1st. She also told me they don’t like to do new contracts on the 1st cause all the tenants are around paying rent. They like to wait a day or two. It was getting more and more complex. You would have thought we were renting a condo on the beach, not a run down trailer home.
When I had gotten the borrowed money from Preston I went to the main office in Wasuau to hold the mobile home. The office manage let me know that as long as the repairs are done we could move in with no extra fee on the 28th. It was a big pressure relief to hear that from her. The court date is on the 28th so I made a reservation for a UHaul for the 29th.
After having the weekend to think, I am now concerned they will still want their full rental amount before we move in. If that is still the case I will ask if we could just put our stuff in there and not “live” there till after the 1st.
I’ve decided to include the date when I write because two days ago when I started writing this I got interrupted by my oldest constantly. Usually it’s my youngest that does that. I had been thinking about doing this and trying to decided wither to do it in a blog or vlog form. Doing anything that takes time on the computer is challenging for me because the kids are on summer break and I don’t get alone time on the computer. But, two days ago the boys had spent the night at their dads so I had the morning to myself. Normally Levi wakes up very early and then Kyle wakes up somewhat early as well and comes to get me to help him with breakfast and to be with him. Mostly be with him cause he can really do the breakfast on his own. So I thought I had time to write. However, Hannah woke and decided to talk to me, humm, make random noises and so on so I just couldn’t concentrate and had to pause till another day.
I got a lot typed today because I woke early and was stressing out and couldn’t go back to sleep. When the boys got up and I finished some of the writing and then used the couch for a short nap. I ended up having a nightmare. I dreamed I was somewhere other then my home and Preston needed some papers from me. Later he called to tell me that the papers he got from me were really the car title and he signed it over to himself and sold it. He was saying this over a phone in a very hushed tone. He then added that he had the kids and was talking them from me legally. I was very very upset and kept mentally trying to figure out how to fix this. There is always that element of him possibly seeing the light if he did have them full time but then I wouldn’t be with my babies and they wouldn’t have a good upbringing. In real life, he doesn’t look into or study the things he should, like Autism and Aspergers and Bipolar or ADHD or how to raise kids in general. So although I believe he keeps them reasonably safe, he isn’t a good parent. To him they need to shut up and if they don’t behave they are intentionally being bad and should be punished. To him there is no melt downs, or raging hormones, it’s all intentional behavior. Add in the smoking and chewing factor. So, even in the dream I couldn’t trust him with the kids long term and I was distraught. Then, in real life, Kyle flopped on me and kissed me to wake me and tell me he was going upstairs. As I woke it took me a moment to realize the issue with Preston was just a dream.
On the good side, as long as we are indeed able to move on the 29th, it will give us a few days to settle before the first day of school. The office manager contacted her granddaughter who is going into the same grade as Hannah and told her about us. She called to tell me her granddaughter is excited to meet my girls and show them around the school. I have been enjoying the little things like this and things like Preston finally being put on a schedule and being forced to be responsible once we do see the judge. At least I expect something like that to happen. Even though we may likely be chained to Wisconsen at least he will stop getting away with being irresponsible and just showing up when ever he feels the whim and fancy. It’s helped a lot to look at the positives but sometimes the negatives remind me that they are there, like last night and this morning. I suspect it is just going to be like that for a while.
I went to the DMV yesterday because it’s time to renew my drivers license. I asked the lady if I could get a temporary one since I would be moving in a week and have a new address. She told me that I couldn’t do that and that legally I was supposed to have changed my Michigan license for a Wisconsen licenses a long time ago. She also said that when I do update it it would be sent to the address I gave her and at this time the only proof of address I have is the one I am about to leave. She told me that even if I do a change of address it would not be forwarded but return to the DMV. So basically she suggested I wait till I moved and have a electric bill or bank statement with my new address on it. I’m not to happy driving around with an expired drivers license but it didn’t look like there was much I could do about that for the time being. I had visited the DMV several months ago and wasn’t told about the time limit on updating from the old state to the new state. I wish they had told me then.
Last night I got to thinking about this some more. I have to pick up the UHaul on the 29th which means I will be presenting them with a expired drivers license. Well, Crap! So now I gotta figure this out.
Today started off early. I had to be in Wausau at 9 to sign the contract for our new place. It took a long time. Then headed to Mosinee to get my mail box keys at the Post Office and hoed they would have some mail from the school there so I could take it to the DMV and prove my residence. They didn’t have any mail for me so I just hoped the DMV would accept my new home contract. The lady at the DMV last time I stopped in there told me they wouldn’t.
Kyle was with me the whole time so we made a pit stop to get Icee’s and chips then went to the DMV in Stevens Point. They did indeed accept the new lease agreement and I walked away with a temporary drivers licence to tide me over till the real deal comes in the mail. This means I don’t have to find someone else to get the UHaul for me. But I still need to find a ride.
After the DMV I rushed home to gather the other kids and head off to Wisconsen Rapids and meet Preston in court. We made it on time but had to wait about forty minutes before they let us in for “our turn”. The judge decided that Preston filed in the wrong county so he said he couldn’t handle the case and sent us out to try to figure out what to do. I needed to feed the kids and this is Prestons thing so the kids and I headed back to Plover. We stopped at Subway and got dinner.
I had to make one more stop at Walmart after dropping some of the kids off. I need my meds and some groceries and light bulbs for the home we are leaving tomorrow. Actually that would be today.
The 27th was just about just as busy. Well, not as busy but then again when I’m not running around Wisconsen, I am packing. In the early evening two of the kids had school orientation. My mom and her husband are self employed now and work with a company called Horizon Transport. They haul RV and boats and such across country. They took some jobs in Wisconsen hoping to get to see me and the kids. We were able to work it out meeting them at the high school. It was great seeing my mom again, it‘s been a long time.
Hannah had trouble at first because we were late and everyone was in assembly. She and Levi are usually have issues with assemblies like many folks with Autism do. Then the assembly ended and folks came out in groups for their tour. I asked a lady standing in the hall what we should do and when she learned Hannah’s name she knew who she was because she is the lady in charge of Hannah’s IEP. Hannah seemed a tad more comfortable being shown around with the lady so the rest of us took off for Kyles orientation at the elementary school.
Like all my kids Kyle had been begging to be home-schooled and telling me how much he hates school. I couldn’t blame him cause last year his teacher basically stuck him and the other “difficult” children in a corner and paid them little attention. Kyle is very bright, he has ADHD but so do many kids. It just wasn’t a good year for him. I was so happy to see him get excited about his new class room. The teacher seems great too. Although Hannah wasn’t thrilled with her orientation and was very happy when we called her to tell her it was time to go and eat, over all apparently it wasn’t all that bad either.
After leaving the schools my folks and kids went to a small but decent oriental buffet and enjoyed each others company.
So, today I have to pick up the moving truck, pack it and un-pack it in our new home. Thankfully a friend called and said he would be here to help. Preston said he would help a little but he also reminded me he had shoulder injuries that he has to be careful of. I have been packing and packing for days and it just doesn’t end. I’ve been trying to get rid of as much as I can but I think we could do better.
Also, today, I have the other two kids school orientations plus Hannah and Levi’s IEP meetings. I would wonder how it is I’m gonna do all this but after all that crazy stuff working out the last few days, I just have to believe it will fall in place.
Right now I just want to pass out so that is exactly what I’m gonna do.
I asked the neighbor if he would give me a ride to get the Uhaul and I offered him gas money. He took me and I had no problem getting it. Shortly after my friend showed up and we started loading. My neighbor pitched in and helped load as well. It was very kind of these two men to do so.
Time went by and Preston didn’t show up to get the boys as promised. Soon it was time for the IEP meetings and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go. However, I still really wanted to get Kara and Kyle to their school orientations so that on their first day it wouldn’t be overwhelming for them. The time was getting closer to orientation which was to start at 5pm so I started texting and calling Preston. After quite a while went by he finally called back. I went on about how worried I was and how I had wanted to go to the IEP meeting and wanted the two kids to make it to the orientation and how I had expected him to be there to get the boys in the morning and so on. I wasn’t angry sounding but more sadly agitated. He said he hadn’t thought it out clearly and thought I was going to meet him at the IEP meeting and that he was on his way over.
We weren’t able to fit all our stuff into the UHaul, guess we didn’t pile high enough. Thankfully with my friends van, Prestons small truck bed and my van we were able to finish it off. It took several trips for Preston and I. Preston really kicked in overtime with helping us move which I appreciate. I also had to borrow his vacuum because my Kirby bag broke and I haven’t had the money to replace it yet. He even vacuumed for me.
The next big trick was where to sleep that night. Preston took the boys to his place, which Kyle was very upset about. I gave the girls the master bedroom because the other bedroom is just too small for two people. My bed was layed out and ready to sleep on so they slept in my room and I slept on the couch.
It was quite daunting to see everything we had in the large town home in this new very old run down small trailer home. Stuff was piled up everywhere with little trails for walking. It’s taken me a long time to get things put away because all the cabinets were dusty, full of cobwebs and sometimes scary looking. Many of them had old rotten contact paper and discolored newspapers dated back to May 2007. Some of the cabinets are still not useable and waiting to be repaired.
My friend had found a work order dated about two weeks prior to our move in and the first work day was started two days before our move in. They stopped working once we got here. One of the maintenance guys gave me the impression he would return the next day but didn’t. The office lady informed me when I called to tell her our front door wouldn’t lock that no one would be working on the house for the weekend or labor day. She suggested I use the back door but it doesn’t even shut. I have stuff propped up against it. The head maintenance man came by Tuesday morning and thankfully fixed the front door locks. I heard the other maintenance man come through the house while in the bathroom but then he left and I haven’t seen him sense. I’ve been told they are coming to work on stuff today. They have been piling door stuff I assume for the back door against the deck.
Today we are getting hooked up on the net. The kids will be ecstatic when they get home, assuming it’s done by then.
The “stuff” in the house would seem overwhelming but I’ve always liked puzzles and that’s about what I have been facing here. One giant household puzzle. It’s been nice in a way not worrying about where I have to be and just getting things cleaned and put away. We’ve also been enjoying our deck and being able to see the stars at night. The boys have been enjoying having a yard area to play in with trees even though it’s small. Hannah even did her homework on the deck and maintained a pleasant attitude.
This is Hannah’s freshman year of high school. She says it’s just like the movies and shows. She has made friends with some teachers, as usual, and no kids, yet. Kara is in 8th grade and so far not complaining. Levi is in 5th and has two very nice teachers. Kyle is in 2nd and plans to ask his teacher to be his friend today.
Like I said, I probably forgot some things. But, that about sums up my August 2013.
It’s too funny that I forgot to mention that I turned 43 on the 21st. A little detail left out. lol
Read Full Post »