It Was A Long Week

I did something in December that I don’t think I’ve ever done before. Every single week from the week after Thanksgiving up to the week after New Year’s I worked a 4 day work week. I didn’t plan it that way originally.

I took off December 2nd to fly to Virginia and to see Mannheim Steamroller with the mobster. That was the first 4 day work week. I still had 2 more days to take for the year and since I wasn’t getting back into town until after 11 pm I decided to take Monday, December 5th off. That was my second week. The next Friday was December 16th and was my daughter’s pinning so I took that day off. Third four day work week. I had wanted to take the Monday after Thanksgiving off but had too much work so I opted to take December 23rd off. That was my fourth week. We got Monday the 26th off and we’ll get Monday the 2nd off as well. This is a surprising turn of events because normally our bank does “banked holidays”. We don’t get additional time off but since we didn’t get time off for Christmas or whatever holiday since it fell on a Sunday we can take another day off of our choosing sometime within the next 6 months. For whatever reason they’ve given us the day after lately.

Anyway, a huge part of my job consists of working alerts. We have 30 days to work these alerts from the time they are dated so despite the fact they are usually dated the 28th for some reason and don’t drop for us until the 30th or 31st we still need to get them done within 30 days of that 28th date. Fun, don’t ya think? We are also down an analyst because of my boss leaving and people shifting work roles.

Nonetheless my work was done. I worked the one weekend I did not take a day off before or after. I got caught up and actually got a little bit ahead. If I felt like I was slipping and getting behind I would work longer days. I did everything I needed to get done before leaving for the Christmas holiday on Thursday. I had 5 alerts left. I had already contacted the people I needed to contact. I had it handled.

I was so excited because I am generally working right down to the wire. I’m clearing alerts (other alerts) and the new ones have dropped. I never really get a chance to try to start on my reports super early or play catch up. But this week was going to be my week. I would go in, finish up my 5 alerts, do my 2 days worth of CTRs that were assigned to me (vacation day and regular day), and then clear up my backlog of other alerts I had. And then after that was all done, either Tuesday or Wednesday, I would complete my assigned training courses and once that was finished I would start on my investigations and cases.

Instead I come in Tuesday morning to find that I’ve been assigned another 5 alerts. In fact, we have 46 BSA alerts to clear by the following day.

At this time I’m going to point out that we have been receiving emails from our new boss reminding us that we need to have our work done before we go on vacation because they don’t have anyone else to give it to like they might when we are fully staffed and we don’t have a ton of people trying to go on vacation. We’ve also got several people sick.

And right now we have no idea what the hell happened. Did someone go on vacation and say, “Fuck it! I’m not doing this!”? Did these get lost in a management queue? We do not know.

What I do know is I spent the entire week (all four days of it) putting out fires for other people. Five BSA alerts that were due the following day. Five crypto currency alerts that were due Friday. Yet another type of alert- 3 or 4 of those, one which was due on Wednesday or Thursday.

I got through the alerts for the most part on Tuesday. Wednesday I had 2 outstanding because I was waiting to hear back my the branch. My old boss messages me and tells me she really wants to see me push through the other remaining alerts I have so that she can assign me some alerts for accounts that are exceeding declared behavior. I finished up with all except the alert that wasn’t due until the 15th of January and was then given 29 more alerts. These aren’t as complicated so while 29 is a lot it’s not the end of the world. I got them on Thursday. Worked from home. Worked until around 6:15, 6:30 and then my mom and I went out to dinner. I came back home, logged back on around 9 and was planning on clearing out the remaining 10 or 11 alerts I had. This is when my VPN started going nuts. I lost my connection four times in an hour. The fourth time I just gave up. I was tired and grumpy. I was not going to do this anymore.

Friday I was supposed to work from home. I connect to the VPN and in no time it is giving me problems again. Fine! I throw on clothes and I run into the office to work. Only… it wasn’t my internet that was causing the problems. Our provider was having problems so for the entire day our internet would go down for 3-5 minutes approximately every 15 minutes. And on top of that I received three more alerts.

Plus I still had to get my assigned training courses done. I had five of them. They were due December 31st.

So I’m trying to get alerts done, finish up my training courses, and work on the CTRs that have been sitting there for a week, all while our network sputters out for 3-5 minutes every 15 minutes.

I got all my alerts done. I got all of my other alerts that dropped just on Thursday done. I got my training assignments done. Took one quiz three different times but I finally got them all done. Even started working on some CTRs. And then I left at 4:30 after the damn network crashed yet again. I had an appointment at 5 which was only 5 minutes from my house but because I had to go into the office I now needed a good 20 minutes at least to walk to the parking garage and then drive to the location.

I am still trying to figure out how my catch up/get ahead week turned into the Week From Hell. I went from thinking I was going to enjoy a leisurely week with plenty of time to get everything done to running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I swear, this felt like the longest week of my life.

All right. I’m done complaining. Happy New Year’s Eve to everyone!

The Audacity, Part 3

Finally, we come to the last two instances of Audacity Overload. These stories all seem to have a common theme- either a dead mom who played the part of the Other Woman, or at the very least, Other Woman ends up with cancer.

In our first installment Douchebag Ex cheats on his wife of 13 years. Gets the other woman pregnant. As she stated in her story, “He got her pregnant either right before he told me, and that was why he confessed, or right after.”

Naturally he wants to remain friends (Say what?) but the poster could not even look at him after what he did.

Douchebag Ex has a daughter within months of their separation, followed by a son and then a pregnancy loss. This pregnancy loss led to the discovery that the new wife had cancer.

At this point Douchebag Ex asks his ex-wife to step in and help him with his new children who are now 3 and 5. Poor Douchebag doesn’t have any family help as his own family disowned him after the affair, and the new wife doesn’t have any family to turn to either, although we’re not told why.

Douchebag Ex proceeds to tell his daughter’s school to call his ex-wife when his daughter got sick. He was at work and couldn’t leave because he had already missed so much due to his wife. Mistress turned wife was at home recovering from chemo so she couldn’t go pick up her own child. Apparently childcare fell to the betrayed spouse. Why not? I mean, if you can lie to her, manipulate her, use her, and waste 13 years of her life, why not treat her as an indentured servant and your personal nanny who works for free?

Unfortunately for the two entitled fuckwits when the ex got the call asking her to come pick up not her child she said no.

And here is where the audacity comes out full force. This worthless piece of shit, this sad sack of a human being, has the nerve to call her up and ream her over the phone for leaving his sick child at school. She knew they had nobody else! How dare she not jump right up to assist them? She replied that his son’s babysitter should have been called over her, to which he replied that his son was in daycare and she should be “fucking ashamed” because his daughter was simply a sick child who was going through a lot and she just left her there at school.

Are you shitting me with this? I’m amazed she didn’t hang up on him. There is no way in hell I would let my cheating ex jackass yell at me for not picking up his affair child from school. I don’t work for you or your whore! Your kids are not my responsibility. Maybe pay a fucking nanny because I sure as hell am not doing you any favors.

Can you believe this? I sure as hell can’t. I cannot wrap my mind around someone cheating on another person, getting the affair accomplice pregnant, and then expecting the ex-wife to help them out with their children. If I can’t wrap my mind around that I certainly can’t wrap my mind around that same person being shocked that the ex refuses to do so. The audacity is off the charts!

Finally we come to Juniper. Juniper is a 3 year old little girl. Husband cheats on wife and gets the other woman pregnant. This woman dies when the little girl is only a year old. The writer says she once tried to take the three of them (she has 2 sons with her ex husband) but she quickly realized that this was not for her. While she realizes the child is blameless she can’t separate her from her ex’s affair. She goes on to explain that she does her best not to engage much with the little girl when she goes over to pick up her own two sons. If Juniper waves at her, she’ll wave back. If Juniper says hi, she’ll say hi back.

Recently the little girl has begun referring to this woman as “mama” whenever she goes to pick up her own kids. The woman has repeatedly told her, quite patiently, that she is isn’t her mom and to call her by her name. The woman reports that the last time she was picking up her boys Juniper ran up at her calling her mama and then began crying when the woman didn’t pick her up and take her with her.

When the woman went to pick her boys up on Easter Juniper once again ran up to her. Her ex asked to speak to her and when she agreed he hit her up with the request for Juniper to call her mom. As she wrote:

He basically told me that seeing me picking the boys up, being affectionate and loving with them is confusing and hurting Juniper. She’s a baby and she doesn’t understand what’s happening so he asked me if I could just take her with me for a few days like I do with the boys and maybe, over time, let her call me mom.

The woman flat out refused.

I said absolutely no, that I’m sorry for Juniper, but that I won’t be playing mom with her and that I’m only keeping a relationship with both of them because of our sons.

At this point the ex called her heartless and pointed out how his daughter cries whenever she leaves without her. The woman thankfully held her ground and told him that it wasn’t her problem. He later sent a video of Juniper crying by the door with a message that said, “I hope you’re happy.”

That is rich. He has the audacity to call her heartless when he’s the one that cheated on her and knocked up another woman.

It sounds like someone got in over his head. Like maybe he figured he’d have his cake and eat it, too. Have a mistress on the side while his wife appliance did all the heavy lifting. But then the mistress decided she wanted a full time partner so she gets pregnant. Or maybe the two of them were just really stupid. Wife finds out. Divorces him. Then the affair accomplice has the nerve to die, leaving him with a child to care for 24/7. Oh no! Whatever will he do? Oh yes! He will make it his ex-wife’s problem.

Take my affair child. Hug her. Kiss her. Look at her sweet little face and do your best to forget that she was born from my betrayal. She is literally a living, breathing symbol of your broken life. But please, put all of that aside so that you can help me out. Because really, at the heart of all of this is the reality that you don’t matter. I matter. My affair baby matters. Hell, maybe even my dead affair accomplice matters. But you? You don’t matter. Your job is to pick up my slack, to do the things I don’t want to do. And you should do them with a smile on your face.

The audacity is staggering. I’m not a heartless bitch. My heart breaks for that little girl who wants a mommy. I feel for any child who has lost a parent at a young age. But this is not the ex-wife’s problem to solve. The solution is not to hand this child off to the ex and expect her to mother this motherless child. I understand it is not the child’s fault both of her parents are fuckwits. The fact remains that little girl is a tangible reminder of the betrayal the ex-wife went though. It’s also not the ex-wife’s burden to carry.

What makes it even sadder though is that there really are people out there who think that these women are in the wrong for not embracing the ex’s children even when these children exist only because the woman’s life was obliterated.

Fuck that!

The Audacity, Part 2

In yet another story a woman was asked to host her ex’s 5 year old daughter for Christmas. There was no mention of infidelity or any reason really for the end of the marriage so I’m not sure why it ended. Regardless, they have a 13 year old daughter together and he and his current wife have a 5 year old. The two girls get along and her daughter loves her little sister. The mother goes on to say that they see each other often but never at her (the mom’s) home. New wife was recently diagnosed with cancer so the ex asks if his daughter can spend the holidays with Mom’s side of the family they won’t be able to have any holiday parties. When the mom declined and said it would be awkward Dad went on to point out that while his daughter might not be family to her, his ex-wife, she most certainly was family to her half sister, the ex couple’s shared daughter. He implored her to “think about what’s best for the kids.” When she suggested he spend the holidays with his parents he told her they weren’t speaking. He then went on to tell her how cruel she was being for not including her daughter’s half sister. Even after being told no and her cutting off the conversation he continued texting her to tell her how selfish and unfeeling she was being.

Maybe I am alone in feeling this way but I don’t think she’s done anything wrong. This isn’t her child. By her own admission the child has not spent any time at her house. The only person this 5 year will know will be her half sister who has relatives of her own that she is seeing and may want to spend some time with.

The commenters though? Holy hell! You would thought the woman was threatening to tell the kid the truth about Santa Claus all while singing, Fa la la la la, I hope your mommy dies!” around a burning Christmas tree.

You’re the asshole. You’re well within your rights to refuse. You don’t owe your spouse anything. It’s your holiday and you can celebrate it however you want. You are still the asshole here. The child has a sick parent, she’s only five, and you have the chance to show kindness and embrace the true spirit of Christmas. Instead, you’re choosing to be a hard-nose about it, and in so doing, making a lot of people’s lives bleaker at tine when you could be making them brighter and more hopeful.

Correction- this is not the woman’s spouse. This is the woman’s ex-spouse. That’s an important distinction. Secondly, it’s not her responsibility to be making everyone’s life a little less bleak. Third, why does everyone assume this 5 year old who will know no one except her half sister even wants to spend the holiday with these people? I can tell you that my own daughter, at age 5, would not have handled that well at all. I’m sure there are kids who would. My niece comes to mind. But my own kid? Not in a million years. And since we have no idea what this child’s personality is like it’s a little premature to assume she would love the chance to spend Christmas away from her mom and dad.

You’re the asshole. Oh my goodness, that’s downright cold. That little girl may not be your kid, but she is your daughter’s sister and that makes her family! What kind of message does this send to the child you are raising? Rejecting a 5 year old family member over the holidays, while her mother is being treated for cancer? Is this how you want her to learn family should be treated?

Here’s the funny thing about people divorcing and going on to have more children. Just because they are related to my children does not make them related to me. Kind of like how when my kids get married (if they get married, that is) they are now related to their spouse’s family while I am not. So again, if Jerry Lee and Harley had a baby yes, that baby is now related to my children. Still not related to me. Would I pull the kid out of swimming pool if they fell in and no one was around? Absolutely. I’m not going to let the poor child die. I’m also not going to turn around and throw the kid a birthday party. Why? Because it’s not my responsibility. The child is not my child. The child is not my family.

Another person added, “Sometimes adults just have to go through a little bit of hardship to make a magical time for their children.”

Say what? Now in order to make Christmas magical for my child I have to babysit Daddy’s affair child?

I am not a martyr, folks. I have no desire to be one. Fuck that shit. I don’t owe my ex anything. I don’t owe his progeny anything.

She just ruined her own daughter’s Christmas as well. There’s no way she doesn’t spend Christmas fretting over what her sister is going through. Mommy is a massive asshole.

I think some people are heavily projecting. I don’t really think the 13 year old is going to care that much. I do not believe that her every waking moment is spent “fretting” over what’s happening to her stepmom or how her sister feels.

I don’t think most people, children or adults, are celebrating the holidays and thinking about everyone else they know and what they’re doing. You’re busy with your own celebration so the idea that this 13 year old is sobbing while she worries about her sister instead of enjoying her relatives, dinner, and gifts is quite laughable.

Yet another person questioned why on earth the half sister had never been over at the woman’s house with her daughter. That was the problem!

Let me tell you something. After years on that Mom/Stepmom debate board I can say with confidence that most people who are dealing with half siblings feel that the sibling bond is extremely important. Those same people also feel that it only goes one way. The parent without extra children should always be willing to give up their time with their own children so that those children might “bond” with their half sibs. When the question is asked, “Why can’t your kid go over to their house?” you would have thought someone asked them, “Why not stick them in a cage with a lion?” They are quick to point out that there is no need for that and all bonding can be done at one house only.

So many people were focused on the sick mom and how dad needed to tend to her and maybe they didn’t want the child to see her mom so sick.

I think they all forgot that the story reads, “She was recently diagnosed.” There is nothing that says she was recently diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Nothing that says she won’t live to see another Christmas. Hell, nothing that even says she’s so sick from treatments that she can’t eat a holiday meal.

It was revealed later in the post that originally the ex was pushing for an invitation as well but when Mom wouldn’t budge he offered to stay away if his daughter could tag along. To me this sounds like a man who realizes his wife appliance is not working as well as usual and therefore will not be able to create all of the Christmas magic. Instead of him getting up off of his dead ass and creating a little magic he’s trying to push it off onto his ex wife under the guise of “doing what’s best for the children.”

When people pointed out that it might be awkward for the 5 year old to come over for Christmas and watch her sister open gifts those on the opposing side questioned how difficult it was to let everyone know this child would be there so they could all run out and purchase a gift or two.

I’m a big gift giver. My son and nephew have a friend who has been coming over and celebrating Christmas with us the last three years. The first year we had no idea. He stopped by to drop off a gift and ended up staying for dinner and through gift giving. Last year and this year I had a few little gifts for him. I took suggestions from my son and nephew. But what I bought for him, this young adult I see pretty much once a year, is vastly different from what I purchase for my own children. I think that as a young adult he understands that. He also realizes he is at our family Christmas. Not everyone will be giving him something. But you take a 5 year old and try to explain that to them it becomes a little more complicated. Or what if the 5 year old is getting coloring books and crayons and maybe a stuffed animal or doll while her sister is getting piles of clothes, a new tablet, and Air Pods. That, too, could be a little awkward.

I also love how these people are so free with other people’s money. “Just let everyone know an extra child will be there and they can all run out and buy her a gift. It’ll be fine!”

An awful lot of people also had the attitude that Mom and Mom’s family didn’t really count. If their holiday was spent catering to a 5 year old, oh well! What’s one Christmas down the drain? We all know adults have no business celebrating Christmas. It’s for kids only. With that in mind what does it matter if this might be Grandma’s last Christmas with her grandchild? Instead of getting to visit with her granddaughter Miss 13 is busy entertaining Miss 5. That seemed to be the thought process for a lot of people.

The younger child would be fine because she loved her older sister and her older sister would pretty much be her full time babysitter and chaperone. Screw all of the relatives that might be coming into town or who don’t get to see Miss 13 all that often. She’s got a sister to comfort. And remember, that’s all she can focus on.

I don’t think anyone ever truly thought about what was being asked. There were so many unanswered questions. How is the child in unfamiliar situations? How does she react being in the company of strangers with neither parent around? How sick is her mother? Why don’t they want their daughter around? Is it unsafe for the child to be around? Dad was obviously not going to be with his wife as he was angling for an invitation, too. Is the child a picky eater? Does the ex-wife have to make something different for her? Are they going to have to forgo some of their family traditions?

In the end it was a lot of audacity, not just from the father expecting his ex-wife to pick up the slack for him and his new wife, but from a whole bunch of commenters who also apparently think the ex-wife’s job is never done.

The Audacity

Audacity and fuckwits go together like peanut butter and chocolate. I have no less than three stories where men who have cheated on their wives, who go on to marry and procreate with the affair accomplice, don’t understand why the ex-wife does not want to play mommy to his affair children. They are absolutely astounded!

Story #1- Dad cheats on Mom with “Kate”. Dad leaves mom and their two children who are now 16 and 18 for pregnant Kate. His kids with Kate are 11 and 9. In a twist Kate died a year after their youngest child was born. The story teller, who happens to be the 16 year old daughter left behind, says that her dad’s family rallied around her half siblings and tried to make up for the loss of their mother. Meanwhile, Mom continues to co-parent with her lying, cheating POS ex. Said ex then goes on to ask her to include his two affair children in her life after his wife dies. According to the daughter her father went so far as to tell her and her brother a few times that her younger half siblings would be going to her mom’s house with them and that she’d be their mom now, too.

Am I a cold hearted bitch or is this shit bat shit crazy?

The story continues. As the younger kids have gotten older they have expressed all the emotions you might expect of kids who have lost their mom at a young age but who also have older half siblings who do have a mom. She reports they get jealous, sad, frustrated, and that they have asked them to share their mom with them as well as asked to come along on vacations their mom treats them to. Most recently they have started requesting to spend Christmas all together.

Here’s where it gets really weird. The daughter says that over the years her dad or even grandma or uncle has asked her if she dislikes the fact that her mom won’t “open her heart” to kids who are part of her (the daughter’s) family. Thankfully this daughter is not bat shit crazy and she has told the meddling relatives that no, she would never expect her mother to do such a thing.

Anyway, full of audacity Dad has decided he is going to make his second set of kids’ dreams come true for Christmas. Both dad and the older chid of the two pile on to our story teller, trying to convince her to talk her mother into it. Story teller flatly refuses which upsets her half sister. At this point Dad and the grandparents corner the story teller and ask her how she can refuse such a request when she knows her younger half siblings feel left out and that they “crave mothering”.

In the end the daughter told these relatives that she really didn’t care if the younger two felt left out because it wasn’t her mom’s job to mother them nor did she expect her to volunteer to do such a thing. When they went on to say that the mother could, and should, have love for them as her children’s siblings the story teller replied that her dad should have thought about that before he cheated on her and got another woman pregnant while he was still married to her mom.

I am always amazed when people act like you owe the ex’s new children something. If Harley and Jerry Lee had a baby together that kid would mean nothing to me. Honestly, I doubt it would mean much to my kids. I certainly don’t owe it to Jerry Lee to “step up” and mother this child should Harley get hit by a bus. The fact that the child shares DNA with my own children is immaterial. And yet many people make that argument as we will see with Part 2.


I wanted to share this happy news. My credit score is 816! I don’t know what the hell happened. It’s been at a solid 6 something for a long time. I retained a C in payment history most likely due to everything that happened during the divorce because all of my payments in the last few years have been on time. I’ve done nothing differently. Nothing. The grades remain the same. I’ve checked it like 3 times today just in case there was a glitch. No, it says my credit score has increased by 143 points. Again, I’ve done nothing different. The only thing I can think is that I used my credit cards during the Christmas season. It will probably go back down again because I’m going to pay them off. Usually I don’t even make it out of the store before I’m paying it off.

I know some people are not happy unless they are at a perfect 850 but I am beyond delighted. Hell, I was ecstatic when I was over 600.

I’m still expecting something to happen and to have it go down again but I took a screenshot of it so I can look at it and smile.

Merry Christmas!

I know I’m a day late but Merry Christmas! I hope your holidays were spectacular. I hope that they were everything you hoped for.

Sadly, I had almost no Christmas spirit this year. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I was even in a freaking Christmas parade. How do you have no Christmas spirit when appearing in a Christmas parade? I’m going to blame it on work.

My boss, my fairy godmother, left our office October 31st. She’s still with our bank but she is now over all of Compliance and not just our department. So yea her! Our senior analyst moved up to her spot and one of our analysts became the new senior analyst which means we are officially down an analyst with the same workload. It did not help that I worked 4 days every week during the month of December and these next two weeks are going to be 4 day work weeks as well. Let’s just say I work a lot of weekends.

I did manage to fly down to Virginia the first weekend in December. The mobster and I saw Mannheim Steamroller in concert. I was in a Christmas parade down there. Told you I was in a parade. We intended to go to Dickens of a Christmas but it turned out Dickens of a Christmas, along with the parade and lighting of the tree happened on Friday, the same night of the concert. The really sad part is we were already in Roanoke. That’s where I fly into and we never went home. Instead of watching the parade and the lighting of the tree we were perusing Barnes & Noble and having intellectual conversations. Didn’t realize we had missed until Saturday when we were almost there. We ended up grabbing a drink and some appetizers and then going over to the Roanoke Hotel to look at all of their trees. The mobster calls them the Death Trees because there are always trees decorated in honor of fallen heroes, sick children, and cancer patients. There are other trees, of course. Many of them beautifully decorated. I especially liked the Alice in Wonderland tree this year. But the death trees stick with you.

We were really looking forward to Dickens of a Christmas. They have vendors selling all sorts of wares, mostly for Christmas and winter. I got an awesome pair of gloves there one year. They have buttons them. They’re cute. I got a cute little ceramic red Hallmark truck with a light up tree in the back one year. I think I got goat soap there, too. And I bought my mom an ornament there. It’s a lot of fun and we always enjoy it. We were looking forward to eating roasted chestnuts, especially since I’m pretty sure I’ve never done so. We were going to take a sleigh ride. Haven’t done that either.

The next weekend I worked. It was the only weekend I could work before Christmas because the following weekend was Rock Star’s graduation. The weekend after that was Christmas. Our alerts are all due on Wednesday and both the senior analyst and the BSA officer are out of the office this week so all SARs and No Files had to be submitted last week. Plus, despite my long hours and willingness to work weekends I do not work on my vacation days. I had Friday, December 2nd and Monday, December 5th off, then Friday the 16th, and Friday the 23rd. Long story short the majority of my work needed to be done before I logged off on Thursday the 22nd and that one weekend was the only one that did butt up against a vacation day.

Weekend three was Rock Star’s graduation. My niece had mentioned at my brother’s 50th birthday party that she had talked with my other niece and her brother and told them that Rock Star had come to all of their graduations and they should be there for hers. She went on to mention that maybe we could combine it with our “annual” Christmas get together.

This is in quotes because it’s not really an annual Christmas get together. What happened is this. My mom was lamenting the fact that we are all no longer ever together. Florence Nightingale got married so she doesn’t come for Christmas. Her brother doesn’t come without her. My other brother, Florence Nightingale’s dad, hasn’t come up for Christmas in ages. So I asked my mom if it was the date or the the togetherness that she felt was important. She said it was the togetherness. I in turn suggested we get together for a dinner or maybe a weekend if things went well. My mom liked the idea. Eventually I texted everyone, probably September. It turned out the only weekend we could do was in December. Apparently I phrased it as, “Since we can’t get together for Christmas” when what I really meant was, “Since we don’t get together for Christmas as a family we would still like to get together at some point and spend time as a family.” We had an amazing time and even talked about doing something a little longer because it’s tough when we’re coming from all directions and we only have one full day together. But somehow this was construed as our “family Christmas get together” and because of that my other niece, who lives about 40 minutes from us, decided to spend Christmas Eve with her boyfriend’s family. And that ended up in a big shit show which I won’t get into.

Anyway, I was not going to put it together again this year but then Florence Nightingale made the suggestion so I passed it on over to her. Honestly I wasn’t sure that anyone was going to be able to make her graduation due to the times and distance. Her pinning was at 7 pm on Friday. Ball State is 3 hours from us and I knew my one brother who lives here didn’t have anymore time off and wouldn’t be able to get off until 3:30 or later, so he would miss that. The graduation itself was at 10 in the morning. If you didn’t plan on coming the night before that would entail getting up and leaving before 7 in the morning. My other brother is 2 hours or less from Ball State. Both of my nieces are several hours from Rock Star. So, I really figured it would end up being just my mom, Picasso, and myself celebrating with her.

Florence Nightingale took the reins, booked the place, and coordinated with the graduate to make all the meal plans. We ended up in a converted church that was spooky as hell but we had a lot of fun. After the first night we weren’t quite so concerned someone was going to break in and murder us in our sleep. My niece, Queen Bee, did swear someone was standing over her at 3 in the morning but she refused to open her eyes and look.

Sadly, my brother who lives locally wasn’t able to make it. He tested positive for Covid and when he and his household members went to retest his wife also tested positive. The mobster was also sick, probably recovering from Covid, so he didn’t make it either. My other brother did not stay at the converted church with us but he did meet us for the lunch afterwards and he even ended up paying for it. It was a much appreciated gift but certainly not expected.

Anyway, I had a definite lack of Christmas spirit this year. I did most of my shopping online. I bought a few things in Charleston when we were on vacation but most of what I didn’t purchase online I went out and bought on the 23rd during our Winter Storm. That’s capitalized because it was a big deal. Sub zero temperatures. Blizzard like conditions in many places. Roads weren’t plowed. But let me tell you, it was awesome for those of us who don’t like crowds. The stores were not deserted; I was not the only idiot out there. But they were very light on people for the most part. I think the mall was the busiest place of all even though they had several stores that weren’t open.

I can’t tell you what was wrong with me this year either. The last several years it hasn’t been money. Ever since I did the plasma donation I have had plenty of money for Christmas. I know! Shocking! That used to be a big stressor, even when married. I want to experience the miracle of the season. But alas, it is lost. I didn’t watch a single Hallmark Christmas movie. I didn’t drive around and look at Christmas lights, which I think is probably one of my most favorite parts of the holiday. I didn’t do any Christmas baking. I didn’t get Christmas cards out. I even feel like I kinda dialed in Santa this year. Plus, no matching pajamas which I found out only after not getting matching pajamas that my kids love this so called tradition. I mean, we’ve done it like three times. Not really a tradition but it sure as fuck is now! My kids want matching jammies we’re getting matching jammies.

I had a lot of plans but they got away from me. Plus, with Rock Star’s graduation that took a weekend. I’d love to see The Nutcracker again. Unfortunately, unless we go to Indianapolis we only get approximately three days for the show here in town. I’d love to go to multiple zoos to see their light displays. Gotta worry about the weather though. I’d love to go down to Purdue to see the PMO Christmas Show. I’ve seen it twice- once when I ushered while still a student, and once when Jerry Lee and I were married. It is awesome! I would like to have some time to bake. I’d like to actually have enough friends in the area to have a white elephant gift exchange.

I have all of these plans, most of which don’t require a lot of effort on my part, and then the holidays roll around and I have no energy. None. It doesn’t help when I work 60 hours a week, or for an entire weekend. I think the Christmas season needs to be longer or people need to get the stick out of their ass when it comes to doing Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving. There just isn’t enough time! This is why I start listening to Christmas music in September. It’s not long enough.

We’re Grinches in this house. The decorations are down the day after Christmas and I don’t listen to holiday music after December 25th. I never got to sit in the darkness and just take in the Christmas tree lights. We got a new tree this year, too. Pre-lit. Lights change from white to multi color, too. It was nice. But I’m upstairs most nights so I never really just sat there. We had a small tree upstairs that was supposed to be an outside decoration but it kept blowing over so we brought it inside. The lights stayed on for that one so I got a little hit of Christmas lights. Cats liked to bat at the poinsettias on it, too. Fake. Not real.

Oh well, I’m going to put together a little schedule for myself for next year. Maybe I’ll stick to it. Hopefully that will help. Of course, next year my daughter probably won’t be able to make it because she’ll be working.

Ah, that was a bright spot I forgot to share. She and her boyfriend planned to come up early because of the impending storm. Originally they were going to leave on Thursday after he got off of work but he was worried with it getting colder as the darkness fell that the roads might not be in great shape. So, they left Friday morning and stayed until today. I actually got 3 nights with her! That’s the longest she’s stayed since moving down there, I believe.

Merry Christmas, everyone! New Year’s Eve is right around the corner.

Fly High, Baby Girl

Yet another milestone has come and gone. My baby girl has graduated. She will be studying for the NKLEX and once she passes that she is officially an R.N. and will begin her job at the hospital. She is officially all grown up.

I remember the days before she started kindergarten. I don’t know where I came across these articles but they were written by parents sending their kids off to college. Again, mine was starting kindergarten. Didn’t matter. I was bawling as I read these articles, thinking about how difficult it was going to be to send my baby away and not see her every day. Somehow I reeled myself back in and was able to go to Back To School Night, meet the teacher, and when the day came, walk my daughter across the street to the bus stop and wave goodbye to her as she climbed on the bus and rode off to school. Naturally, I followed behind and took pictures of her in her classroom on that first day.

Then came the transition to middle school. I don’t know why this one scared me so much. I suppose I envisioned my sweet little girl being surrounded by all these big kids. I still don’t know what it was because looking back it was so stupid. I suppose maybe it was simply change. She was moving on from elementary school to middle school. She was growing up and wasn’t my little girl anymore. She was my big girl with a locker and everything.

Next was high school. I think I was better able to handle that one than middle school. But I do remember the senior class President telling the kids that their four years would fly by and that their years at TA would be some of the best of their life. I’m sure that would have been true had she been able to continue on there.

Nonetheless, those four years did pass by. Sometimes I think it was a blink of the eye and other times I remember all the turmoil, the tears, the fears, and the uncertainty. Whatever it was the day finally came that my daughter graduated. That day I had warned Jerry Lee about back on her first birthday was finally here. I was soon going to be one of those parents I had read about way back when she was five years old and starting kindergarten.

And now here we are once again. Four and a half years later and she has graduated from college.

In some ways it seems like only yesterday that I was going shopping with her so she could decorate her dorm room. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was helping her pack up the car and dropping my heart off at Ball State. I did such a great job that day. No tears. Kept telling myself I had done my job and it was her time to fly.

In other ways it was a very long four and a half years. Life gets very dicey when your ex opts to modify support on a whim. Her freshman year was one such time and I truly was not sure I was going to be able to help her at all the following year. I had been so proud of myself for being able to pay the remainder of her tuition and give her some spending money. Then Jerry Lee announces he’s lost his job again and everything was up in the air. She ended up taking out loans to cover it all but ended up not calculating correctly. Thankfully Jerry Lee began paying again even at his modified amount so when rent came up short I could help her out. Junior year I paid her rent while her loans covered her tuition and the last three semesters I paid the remainder of her tuition.

Now it’s all over. She’s done.

I began writing this blog in 2016. It’s been almost 7 years. All these years I referred to my daughter as Rock Star because that is what she is. She is brilliant, beautiful, fierce, determined, driven, funny, kind-hearted, fearless, and completely amazing. She has a name.

A couple years ago I had a reader who mentioned something about how I had to write this anonymously. I don’t really remember the context behind it and I’m not going to look right now. But I always remembered that. I didn’t keep it anonymous because I was ashamed or afraid. I suppose I did it because it felt safer when so many other things didn’t feel safe at all. 

I told her this weekend I would probably write about her graduation and asked her if she was okay with me disclosing her name. She is. I’d like to introduce my lovely daughter, one of the newest nurses out there, Miss Shelby Lynne. She is awesome. I would say you would be lucky if you ever get her as your nurse but she’s going to be working in the ICU so that’s kind of a double edged sword. On one hand you’d be lucky because she’s awesome and really advocates for her patients. On the other hand you’re in the ICU and that can never be good. I guess if you’re critical you’d be really fortunate to have her as your nurse. How’s that?

Fly high, my darling daughter! The world is your oyster.

Holiday PSA

It’s that time of year once again. You know the one I’m speaking of, right? It’s when people take to social media to tout how amazing they are because they continue to “put the children first” and spend holidays together. I’m sure you’ve seen at least one of them.

My ex and I chose to put our children first and our egos last and that’s why we spend every holiday together. Even though my ex cheated, lied, had two children with the affair partner, had me involuntarily committed to a psych ward, filed a restraining order against me, broke my arm, threw me through a plate glass window, methodically poisoned me, had me arrested, brought the affair partner into our home and had sex in our bed, turned all of our friends and family against me, financially ruined me, took our dog to the pound, and threatened to kill me, I don’t let that get in the way of doing what’s best for my children. It’s not about me and my feelings; it’s about them. And yes, of course the affair partner and their love children attend as well. I do all the cooking, cleaning, and shopping for the gifts and then they come and take all the glory. But it’s for the kids so how can I complain? I’m setting a stellar example for my children. It’s too bad some of you are so angry and bitter you can’t put that aside for your children. They didn’t ask for this! I made the decision to love my children more than I hated my ex and you can, too! Do better. Be like me

If this kind of thing appeals to you and it doesn’t make your skin crawl to celebrate the holidays with a lying cheater then by all means continue doing so. It is not my goal to discourage a cooperative relationship if you and your spouse can have one. My job, however, is to tell you that you’re not an awful person if it doesn’t appeal to you. You are not damaging your children if you cannot bring yourself to celebrate the holidays with your ex.

I hate this tripe every time it comes out. And it comes out in many different forms. You have the very obvious where someone is patting themselves on the back for welcoming the ex home for the holidays, and then you have the less obvious ones. The ones where the prevailing wisdom is always, “Think about your kids and what they would want.” Of course, that’s always the advice when Parent #2 plans an elaborate vacation somewhere exotic and enticing over Parent #1’s holiday time. Or when Parent #1 is being cajoled into being Parent #2’s helpful little Christmas elf.

Hell, it wasn’t that long ago someone on a support board was venting about her ex-husband, the former mother-in-law, and the affair accomplice turned wife’s mother all contacting her, asking her for gift ideas for the daughter. People were giving her shit for not wanting to do the mental work of thinking of things this child may like for Christmas. I believe the girl is around 11 or 12. Definitely old enough that she could be asked directly. I’ve taken that approach many times and found it to be quite successful. Apparently that takes away all the magic of Christmas. Who knew? I guess the thinking was if the child had to actually tell someone what she wanted then she wouldn’t be nearly as surprised if she received that item at Christmas.

Adult: Amelia, what would you like for Christmas this year?

Amelia: Well, I was hoping for an American Girl doll, a new pair of pink Ugg boots, and an iPad. I also like to draw so any kind of art supplies are always great.

Christmas time comes. Amelia opens up a gift. It’s an iPad.

Amelia: Damn, this would have been so much more magical if they just knew I wanted an iPad. Now it seems anticlimactic. I’m not sure I even want it anymore. If only my mom had put me first and come up with a list of gift ideas to give everyone else so I didn’t have to speak the words out loud and manifest my own gifts.

You know what the kicker is, folks? Mom and Dad have 50/50 custody! That’s right. Mom does not have the child any more than Dad does, and yet somehow, it all falls on her. Why? Because Dad’s head is firmly stuck up affair accomplice turned wife-tress’s ass. Because Dad’s focus is on new wife and stepdaughter to the detriment of his own child. Because Dad doesn’t know his kid. Dad wanted 50/50 custody but he didn’t actually want to do any of the parenting required. And yet people are perfectly willing to tell Mom that she needs to “think of her child” and “do what’s best” for her. She’s been accused of ruining the magic of Christmas for her child, told that she obviously knows her child better than anyone so it falls on her to get answers to everyone who asks (again- despite her only having her child 50% of the time and having the exact amount of time as Dad does), accused of not wanting her child to have an amazing Christmas because what if she doesn’t get what she wants for Christmas, and so on and so forth. Every bad thing that might happen because she doesn’t feel it’s her job to tell three people who are not related to her what her child might want for Christmas will rest on her shoulders.

They can fuck all the way off with all that bullshit.

I saw another one where the ex asked the cheated on wife what she wanted for Christmas. He wanted to buy her either two $100 gifts or one $200 gift for the kids to give her. Apparently, “I don’t want anything from you, you jackass!” was not an appropriate response. At least to some.

One lovely lady replied, “I would tell him what I want but then I’m not bitter or petty.” Bless your heart.

In what world do we live that we are obligated to accept gifts from people we do not like?

Others suggested giving him ideas because it would make her kids happy to be able to give her a Christmas gift and watch her open it.

I think what they fail to realize is that she’s probably not going to be all that happy opening an unwanted gift from her ex, even if he’s doing it under the guise of “from the children”.

I’ve given some thought as to why this irritates me so much. After all, if some couples are able to get along great, do holidays and vacations together, watch each other’s children, buy each other gifts, housesit for one another, and be a gestational surrogate or sperm donor for the ex, what’s the harm? Good for them! What a blessing!

Here’s what I realized. These people that put these stories out there aren’t doing it for altruistic reasons. They aren’t writing about it because they want to show people that there’s another way. They aren’t writing about it to say, “Gosh, crazy things can happen. I never thought it would happen to me either but it did.” No, they write to make themselves feel superior. They write about it to look down on others who don’t do it the same way they do. They write about it to shame those that refuse to participate in the illusion.

Kids first, egos last.

Because God forbid you recognize that something makes you uncomfortable. God forbid you recognize that a situation is not good for you. If only you would put your ego aside and concentrate on your children spending the holidays with your ex and his pregnant mistress wouldn’t bother you.

I had to love my children more than I hated my ex.

What does this even mean? Every insane idea that an ex has must be approved? Every request, no matter how intrusive or disruptive, must be granted? Regardless of how difficult a situation may be for me, personally, if I love my children I suck it up and put myself through hell?

What are we talking about anyway? I shouldn’t engage in a screaming match at my child’s graduation ceremony? Yeah, I got that. Handled that one fine. I’m not a wild animal, for crying out loud! I need to invite Jerry Lee and Harley and her children out to dinner with us afterwards? Uh, I don’t think so. My kids will survive just fine without mommy, daddy, daddy’s whore, and daddy’s replacement children all celebrating together. Honestly, in my case I absolutely know that Picasso and Rock Star would prefer NOT to do that.

You need to put your children first.

Oh, that’s a weighty one, isn’t it? Who wants to be the big bad and disagree with that? What the hell? I will.

Putting your children first doesn’t come from eating shit sundaes. It doesn’t come in the form of humiliating yourself or putting yourself in stressful and/or painful situations. If you have one parent who cheated, lied, and abandoned the family and another parent who stuck around and did all the hard work raising the child or children while simultaneously having to rebuild their own life then that second parent did put their children first. So you can take your forced shared holidays and watching the affair baby and taking vacations together and shove it up your ass. When people finally give as much crap to the person who cheats on their spouse and abandons their own children for the new ones or for the new partner’s kids as they do to the person who is holding down the fort maybe I’ll look at my own behavior a little more closely.

In closing that’s my holiday PSA. If you get along with your ex, fantastic. Don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t. But if you don’t get along with your ex and you’d rather swallow shards of glass and slither buck naked through a creek of shit and toxic sludge than spend a moment of time with them, accept a gift from them, go Christmas shopping for them, or have them in your home for the holidays you are perfectly fine to say so. I hereby give you permission to tell them to fuck all the way off with that holiday bullshit.