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Topics - Kitty C.

Father's Issues / Talk about role reversal!
Sep 30, 2009, 09:31:53 AM
This was on

Role Reversal: Ex-Wives Angry Over Paying AlimonyLong a Gripe of Divorced Men, More Women Feel Burdened by Spousal SupportBy ALICE GOMSTYN
ABC NEWS Business Unit
Sept.30, 2009—
He got their second house, an investment property she had bought in Costa Rica, and a $96,000 annual alimony payment.
She got angry.
"It's so obscene," said Holly Chiancola, 52, a Gloucester, Mass. real estate agent who is fighting the terms of a divorce settlement ordered by a judge in 2006.
You used to hear about divorced men complaining that their ex-wives were unfairly cutting into their income. Now, as more women become primary breadwinners, the complaints increasingly come from them. The number of American men receiving alimony has climbed, from 7,000 in 1998 to 13,000 last year, according to U.S. Census ( Bureau data
Chiancola's ex, who declined to comment for this story, is among them.
Thanks in part to the pre-financial crisis real estate boom, Chiancola earned considerably more than her ex-husband, a sometime carpenter and fashion model (, during their 19-year-marriage. She said her ex didn't hesitate to take advantage of that -- even though her income plummeted after the real estate boom ( years, and she's now struggling to make her mortgage payments.
Chiancola said she partly blames Massachusetts' "outdated" divorce laws for her predicament -- she is a supporter of the group Mass Alimony Reform -- but she's also plenty outraged at her husband.
"He went for the jugular, believe me," she said.
Aggressive pursuit of spousal support by men is becoming more common, some divorce lawyers say, as the stigma of asking for alimony fades.
"Early on, men were somewhat embarrassed to ask for alimony because it went across their defined roles in the culture. That has diminished," said Marlene Moses, the president-elect of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an organization of family law attorneys. "There's been a revolution of men and their rights and the vigor with which they pursue legal opportunities for themselves."
It's a revolution, experts say, that has been going on for more than 20 years -- actress Joan Collins' divorce and alimony case made headlines in the 1980s -- but today, it's still catching some women off guard.
Take Terry, a 56-year-old Florida healthcare executive, who asked to have her last name witheld because her divorce from her husband is not yet settled.
"He's a very independent man, a very macho guy, and I was quite surprised that he would ask for alimony," said Terry.<!-- page -->

Alimony Ex-Husband: 'I Helped Her'
Terry said her soon-to-be ex is asking for $2,500 per month in alimomy -- and she's fighting it.
Terry, who earns more than $100,000 a year, said she's not against the principle of women paying alimony to their former spouses. But in her case, she said, it's not warranted. Her husband was laid off from an $85,000 per year job several months ago, but "he's completely capable of earning a living."
For some men, just as with some women, it's past experience, not future earning potential, that weighs heavily on their decisions to seek alimony. One divorced New England man told that he deserved tens of thousands in alimony payments because he played a key role in his ex-wife's professional success.
"I helped her out in the background," said the man, who asked that his name be withheld due to ongoing divorce proceedings. Without him, he said, "there's absolutely no way she could have done what she did."
Despite the increases in men seeking and receiving alimony, advocates warn against linking the trend to equality in the courtroom. Family court judges still tend to favor women, said Ned Holstein, the founder of Fathers & Families, a group advocating family court reform.
"Family court still gives custody overwhelmingly to mothers, child support overwhelmingly to mothers, and courts still give almony overwhelmingly to mothers and women," he said.
"The family courts came into existence years ago in order to give things to mothers that mothers needed," he said. "The times have changed and the courts have not."<!-- page -->

Recession Brings More Male Alimony?
Today's economy may be adding new men to ranks of alimony-seekers. As traditionally male-dominated industries like finance and construction continue to struggle, more men are finding themselves with lower income or no income at all, forcing a newfound dependence on their wives or, in some cases, ex-wives.
Earlier this year, a British judge ruled that Elena Bowes Marano should pay her ex, real estate tycoon Peter Marano, 5 million pounds (about $8 million) after his property portfolio dwindled in value -- an order that Elena, originally from a wealthy California family, is fighting.
Such cases notwithstanding, a reversal of traditional gender roles in a divorce doesn't necessarily create more acrimony, experts say.
Alexis Martin Neely, a prominent California family lawyer, is an alimony-paying women content with her divorce settlement. Supporting her husband, she has said, allows him to spend time with their children.
"I do really like him being available for the kids and their school events and if he can't work and do that, I'd rather support him to be readily available for them," she wrote in a blog post. "He deserves it and so do they."


And if you like that, you ought to read the of this posting, it is predominantly positive.  I take that to mean that the mindset is certainly changing in every aspect of family law, as I viewed female-only alimony to be the only holdout from by-gone days......
July 20, 2009

Kids of divorce get new program

Rob Daniel
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Children caught up in the middle of their parents' divorce now have a place to go to vent their thoughts and feelings.  United Action for Youth in Iowa City has started providing the Kids First Divorce Workshops for children whose parents are divorcing. People who have filed for divorce in Johnson County since May 26 now will be ordered by the courts to enroll their children in the 2.5-hour workshop at UAY.

Kate Moreland, UAY's development director, said children often are left to fend for themselves by parents working through their own issues as the divorce proceedings continue. She said the free workshop provides a place for those youth, who are grouped with other kids their age, to express what they are thinking and feeling.

"Kids process information differently at different age," Moreland said. "It serves as a support group, too. It allows them to vent feelings so they're not alone in the process."  The program is based on a divorce workshop developed by the Kids First Law Center in Linn County, where the program has been in place and ordered by the courts for the last two years, she said. The workshops are designed to be educational and interactive using artwork, games, videos, discussions and role-plays. In addition, the older children can ask questions about the divorce proceedings with an attorney.

"It empowers kids a little to have a voice and tell their parents what they're feeling," said Moreland, a former divorce attorney who expects 220 to 240 children to go through the program each year.  We see a lot of kids who don't get a lot of information," she said.

Moreland said the Rotary Club of Iowa City Downtown and the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys have provided some funding for the program and that additional grants are being sought.


I find it interesting that the Iowa Org. of Women Attys. is actually providing funding for this.  But what concerns me is how much information they are actually giving the kids about the divorce process.  And it doesn't say who is facilitating this, whether it's social workers, therapists..........or others in the divorce industry who have a stake in the outcome. 
Just read this and found it very interesting..............

Iowa Court Says Child's Health Records Protected
Originally printed at
DES MOINES (AP) - In a decision that child advocates say extends new privacy rights to children, the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a child's mental health records can be kept private from a parent.
The court's decision on Friday was in the case of a divorced North Liberty woman who claimed she was entitled to her children's records. A counselor objected, saying the records should be kept private.
The woman has joint custody of her three children but is not their primary caregiver.
The court ruled that the law does not compel the release of the records and then when joint legal custodians disagree over treatment of a child, the court must step in and decide what is in the child's best interest.


This just allows the courts to have more say-so in how parents care for their children.  All the more reason to get legislation passed that takes the adversarial atmosphere out of custody disputes.  You would think that parents who realize the courts will take over their decision-making rights regarding their children would at least try to make an effort to come to some agreement so that wouldn't happen.  You would think.........
Cops Find Anonymous Note at Hit-and-Run Scene Letter 'Expressed Remorse' at Death of Man Walking Home From Job at McDonald'sBy EMILY FRIEDMAN
April 1, 2009 —
The person responsible for a fatal hit-and-run accident in southeastern Texas ( left an unusual piece of evidence behind at the scene  ( an anonymous apology note.
League City, Texas, police told that the note was left near the body of 34-year-old Maurice Jones (, who they believe was walking home from his job at a McDonald's when he was struck and killed.

"We're surmising that the person who struck Jones stopped and left the note," said Sgt. David Hausam of the League City Police Department.  Police declined to release the contents of the note, but the victim's mother, Roberta Jones, said that authorities told her the message read, "I'm sorry, but I have a family."

"The note is something a coward would do," said Jones. "We teach our kids to be honest, and if you did something to tell. Of course, you'll get in trouble but it won't be as bad as if you lie.  This was a coward's way out," she said.

Jones' mother said that her son's body was found -- clad in a McDonald's uniform -- by a local police officer who was patrolling the road where the accident occurred. She described the area as one that wouldn't have had a "steady flow of traffic" late on a Saturday evening.

Jones had recently moved home to live with his mother after losing his job as a carpenter, and he had been walking home because his truck had recently broken down.  "He was just planning to get himself back together and get his situation settled," said his mother, who described her son as a "happy" guy who was always willing to help out where he could.
"Maurice was everything to everybody," said Jones. "If you needed help fixing something, he'd come fix it. If you needed something cooked, he'd come cook it."

[HIGHLIGHT=#ffff00]Jones is survived by his 11-year-old daughter, Jada, whom his mother said he rarely saw because of his estranged relationship with the child's mother. [/HIGHLIGHT]

Hausam believes Jones was killed ( between 10 p.m. on March 28 and 7 a.m. on March 29.
"It's very odd," said Hausam, who said that in his 16 years on the job he'd never heard of a note being left by a driver in a hit-and-run case (   "Obviously [the person who wrote the note] is aware they struck him and I believe they have a conscience about him," said Hausam.
The note was written in ink on a piece of spiral notebook paper, said Hausam, and was left close to Jones' body.  Hausam declined to speculate as to whether he believed the author of the note was male or female, but one of his colleagues, Detective Scott Aldridge, told The Galveston Daily News ( that he believed the driver was female because of the handwriting.
Aldridge told the paper that whoever wrote the note "clearly acknowledged having made a mistake," and that the note was approximately 20 words in length.

Hausam said that he hoped the note would help them find the driver.  "The note is a big clue," said Hausam. "They showed remorse in the note and hopefully, when they think about it, they'll tell someone else about it or come forward."  Hausam said that he had hoped the widespread media attention given to the case would have already led to an arrest.  "This is something that's going to leave quite a mark on someone's car," he said. "And someone must have seen something."

Maurice Jones' mother said that she hoped the identity of the note-writer would eventually be learned.  "I don't think anybody deserves to be treated the way my son was," she said. "Maurice never would have done that. That's an ugly person."


Now the 'child's mother' will start receiving a fat survivor benefit check from Social Security.  The only saving grace is that she can't keep taking SS back to court to increase it!  And another child grows up without her daddy..........
This article was published in this morning's Cedar Rapids Gazette:

Mar 9, 2009
Do-it-yourself divorce: It's no cakewalk

Stick me on a spit and rake my naked flesh over the coals of hellfire. Chain me to a cactus and leave me at the mercy of jackals and buzzards.

But please, I beg of you, don't ever make me go through another divorce.

My ex-wife and I finalized our divorce last summer after a lengthy separation. Early on we decided the best way to proceed — for the sake of our son and our financial health — was to represent ourselves, becoming pro se litigants.

Following a nationwide trend, more Iowans are doing the same. And Iowa's courts are responding proactively.

"I think it's safe to say every court has seen more and more pro se litigants each year," said Tim Eckley, staff attorney at the American Judicature Society, based in Des Moines.

Representing yourself in a divorce is not easy. That's why we have divorce attorneys. Add a child to the equation, and you're looking at serious work. Here are some tasks we had to undertake:

l Reach complete agreement on splitting our assets (house, furniture, cars, retirement accounts, etc.).

l Agree on the exact details of child custody and support, as well as who would cover health care, education and insurance expenses.

l Determine which legal documents we needed, find or draft the documents, and have them notarized.

l Attend family education classes and consult with a mediator.

Why go through all the work? The main reason for many is financial.

"Studies suggest most people choose to represent themselves for economic reasons," Sixth Judicial District Judge Patrick Grady said.

Another reason is simple independence.

"We live in a self-help, do-it-yourself society," Eckley said. "You can go to Home Depot or Menards to get stuff to fix your house, go online to make your own stock trades. That phenomenon is ... bleeding into the legal arena."

The jump in pro se litigation has weighed on Iowa's courts.

"Pro se litigants take up clerks' time, they can take judges' time, they can really gum up the works," Eckley said.

In this area, I'd have to plead guilty. We appeared before a judge three times before finally getting it right.

Iowa addressed this problem in recent years with the appointment of a Pro Se Litigants Task Force, which created court recommendations. The Iowa Supreme Court then appointed a Pro Se Family Committee to design forms.

Grady, who has co-chaired both committees, said forms for cases not involving children were created first, and certain child support forms were approved recently. Forms for divorce with children are in the works.

Forms are available free at the Iowa Judicial Branch site,, or at Clerk of Court offices for about $10.

I found forms through the Iowa Judicial Branch. I found others online and also studied friends' divorce papers to figure out proper wording and format. But be careful online.

"There's a lot of misinformation on the Internet, and the forms might not work in Iowa courts," Grady warned.

Eckley said some Iowans have paid up to $300 online for the same forms available at the Iowa Judicial Branch site.

If you go pro se, don't expect to be coddled. Clerks answer basic questions but can't offer advice. And sitting before a judge is intimidating.

On that third try, beads of nervous sweat gave way to elation when our divorce decree finally was signed. We high-fived in the hallway, relieved to be done.

We had saved money and avoided unnecessary acrimony and arguments. We were satisfied in the end, and our son, who shares equal time between us, is happy as possible in his modern family. Who wouldn't be? Now he gets two Christmases every year.


I'm glad to see that this couple were able to set aside any animosity towards each other for what's best for their child.  And I'm glad to see that Iowa has made it much easier to represent yourself.  But I still think (like in this instance) pro se will ony work if both parents are willing to go the extra mile to MAKE it work, which they obviously have in this article.  But if a parent is hellbent on wreaking havoc in the other parent's life (and gets an atty. to meet those ends), I would NOT ever recommend going it alone.  I think going pro se is no different than agreeing to joint physical custody.....if the parents are not willing to work with each other to make it happen, it will not work.
Some new information from  This is a study that was done in Canada that looks at the scope of child custody not in the terms of parental rights, BUT parental responsibility.  It also includes the government's responsibility to the parents so that they can sustain their parenting responsibilities.  I've only been able to look briefly at the executive summary, but I'm impressed with how they present the data.  It is also implied that, even though this study was done in Canada, it would be useful here in the US, too.

'Responsibility-based framework based upon children's needs'.............Personally, I think they've hit the nail on the head........... (

[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]http://www.fira. ca/cms/documents /181/ChildCustod y.Kruk.Fullpdf. pdf[/COLOR] (
Father's Issues / Wouldn't it be great????
Jan 20, 2009, 02:44:42 PM
I don't know if the Obama girls will be attending any of the balls this evening, but wouldn't it be great if they did and got at least ONE dance with Daddy??  If that wouldn't get the nay-sayers of children's and father's rights right through the heart, then they're genuinely cold-blooded...........

I remember dancing with my Daddy when I was a little girl.........I would stand on his feet to do it!  It is one of the happiest and earliest memories I have of my Daddy.  I hope that Sasha and Malia have the same experience to remember!
Dear Socrateaser / A favor........
Apr 28, 2004, 11:51:40 AM

I have a friend who cannot post here because of certain circumstances.  Could they e-mail you instead and would you post your addy.?  It would be greatly appreciated!

And thank you for all the help you give to everyone here!  :-)
General Issues / What do you guys think???
Aug 14, 2007, 08:53:55 AM
Saw this article in the local e-news and thought it quite interesting:


Article published: Aug 13, 2007
Helping kids cope with divorce

Cedar Rapids -

It's hard enough for adults to understand and cope divorce, let alone kids.

A $50,000 state grant will allow the Kids First Law Center in Cedar Rapids to begin a course for school-age kids whose parents are divorcing.

The one-year pilot project will focus on Linn County divorces, but the goal is to develop a program that can be used throughout the state.

While parents sit through the mandatory Children in the Middle Class, which teaches parents how not to put kids in the middle of their divorce, their kids may be in another room taking the course for kids.

Participating children will be able to share experiences with kids their age, develop coping skills and learn about court and what to expect, said Jenny Schulz, executive director of Kids First.

``As a child's attorney in divorce cases, I've had kids ask me if their parents' divorce will be on TV, and if it's true that they have to sit between parents in court and pick who they want to live with,'' Schulz said.

Divorcing parents can turn to self-help books and articles, support groups, therapists or friends, but kids don't have the same options, she said.

The $50,000 grant allowed Kids First to hire a second attorney, recent University of Iowa College of Law graduate Laura Ebinger, to develop the program for kids.

She started Aug. 6 and is researching programs in other states, ordering teacher workbooks and reviewing books for children about divorce. Ebinger, who studied education as an undergraduate, is also talking to school counselors to find out what's available locally.

In 2006, 496 divorces were filed in Linn County involving children.

Adding the course will allow Kids First to reach perhaps 1,000 kids each year, well beyond the 50 to 60 cases Schulz takes. Schulz gets appointed by judges to represent kids in high-conflict divorce and custody cases.

``We're barely just scratching the surface in terms of the number of kids we can help,'' Schulz said.

She and Ebinger would like to begin offering classes by December or January, and they hope the court will mandate attendance.

Sixth Judicial District Chief Judge David Remley said he and the district court judges will decide that after they learn exactly what the course is about.

"The fact that she got the grant speaks volumes about the quality of the (Kids First) program because grant money is not that easy to get,'' Remley said.

It was a competitive grant process, but Kids First is not only unique to Iowa, it's one of two similar non-profit programs in the country that deals solely with kids in divorce and custody cases, at least as far as Schulz knows about through the American Bar Association.

"We think it is a really good idea to provide information and support for children in the middle of a divorce, and it's a very good idea to have legal advocacy available for children when it's needed in the most contentious divorces,'' Attorney General Tom Miller said. ``Kids First Law Center is well-equipped to deliver these services.''

Schulz said Kids First must raise another $7,000 for the pilot project.

"I know that people will step up to help. This is an incredibly generous community,'' she said.

This spring, Kids First conducted a market analysis to determine how best to expand services. Attorneys and judges who participated overwhelmingly stated Kids First should add another family law attorney, perhaps as early as next year, Schulz said.

Remley was among those who answered those questions. He'd like to see the program expand to the extent where there is an unmet need. It's key to make sure children who need representation the most get it and that all attorneys follow the same procedure, he said.

There's interest throughout the 6th Judicial District - which includes Tama, Benton, Linn, Jones, Johnson and Iowa counties - for an expansion of Kids First, mainly from attorneys who have heard about Schulz, he said.

"It's going well because it gives the children an attorney and, in some of the high-conflict cases, they need someone to represent them. It isn't needed in every case when children are involved, but in some cases it is,'' Remley said.

About 30 area attorneys have been trained to take two Kids First cases within a year. That would potentially double the number of kids represented by an attorney.

Ebinger, who interned with Kids First last fall, will devote most of her time to getting the program running, then plans to take on child clients by early next year.

"She's just brilliant,'' Schulz said.


General Issues / To all my friends here..........
Nov 23, 2004, 09:47:43 AM
I know I haven't been around for the past week.......I got pulled to another temp. position.  And I start my new job next week on Wed.  I have a feeling I'll be around even less after that.  And I don't have Internet access at home, at least right now (that may have to change, LOL!)

I was 'placed' in this new position, so you can imagine my feelings about it.   :-(   The good news?  The position I had applied for, interviewed with, and wanted desperately back in August has come open again!  It's the dispatch position and the hours and days will fit perfectly with my family.  I have this gut feeling that I'm getting shafted by HR, so I contacted my union pres. and told him I had applied for this position again.  He told me he would make sure that the head of HR knew he knew of the situation, so that they couldn't pull a fast one on me.  He's got my back door.

So things still haven't settled down on the job front, but there's still hope!  I just wanted to thank all my friends here who have supported me thru all this.....I can't thank you enough!  Knowing that you are all there behind me makes it easier to deal with all this and to keep forging ahead.  I thank God every night for such wonderful, caring friends!
A friend sent this to me and I thought I should pass it on.........

Do you fancy working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics?:

* 29 have been accused of spousal abuse
* 7 have been arrested for fraud
* 19 have been accused of writing bad checks
* 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
* 3 have done time for assault
* 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
* 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
* 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
* 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
* 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year ...

Can you guess which organization this is?

Given up yet?

It's the 535 members of the United States Congress. The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.


I have found myself contemplating lately of not even casting a vote for President.  Right now, I can't find anything good to say about either.  Now's the time for additional alternative to any ballot.....'None Of The Above'.........

Don't get me wrong, I WILL be going to the polls....there's local races that I must participate in!  
General Issues / Back to square one...........
Sep 08, 2004, 08:32:38 AM
I first want to say thank you to all of you who have been thinking about me regarding my job situation.  You have NO idea how comforting it is to know that others are behind you and supporting you!

That being said, I got notified last Thurs. that I did not get the position I had interviewed for.  I am just sure it was given to someone who had actual dispatch experience from a surrounding county.  Which is why, when my friend takes office in Jan. as the new sheriff (IMO, the election is just a formality, LOL!), I plan to work PT dispatch with him to GET the experience I need!

In the meantime, there's a position open in my current classification that does sound good so far....unfortunately I only have until the end of today to apply for it.  But because it is in my classification, only my seniority will be a factor in whether I get it or not...I won't have to formally interview.  It is in a location that has a very low turn-over rate and there will be a lot of public contact.  I haven't had a chance to talk to DH about it yet, but since I supposedly only have until the end of this month to find a new job, I can't afford to be picky anymore.

Again I want to thank everyone for their well wishes.....knowing your support is there has been a great source of comfort to me!
I have a BIG interview coming up Friday morning, for the position I applied for 3 weeks ago.  I have been told there were FORTY applicants to the position..........but I have pulled every string I could find, have listed some impeccable references, and feel that I have a really good shot at this position.  I'm putting all my EMS experience and training on the line, and including any derivation of it.

I haven't done this (been to a formal interview) for a long time so I'm VERY nervous!  If I do get this position, my days and hours will change.....and DH and DS are willing to deal with it.  It can also open many other doors for me, it pays more, and I don't even have any idea yet where it could take me!

So all I ask is for calm nerves, a clear mind, and a willing listener for an interviewer!
General Issues / Tuesday Funny..............
Jun 29, 2004, 08:45:08 AM
Had this e-mailed to me and JUST had to pass it on!


A lady about 8 months pregnant got on a bus. She noticed the man
opposite her was smiling at her. She immediately moved to another seat.
This time the smile turned into a grin, so she moved again. The man
seemed more amused. When on the fourth move, the man burst out laughing,
she complained to the driver and he had the man arrested.

The case came up in court. The judge asked the man (about 20 years old)
what he had to say for himself.  The man replied, "Well your Honor, it
was like this:


              When the lady got on the bus, I couldn't help but notice
              her condition. She sat under a sweets sign that said, "The
              Double Mint Twins are coming" and I grinned.


              Then she moved and sat under a sign that said, "Logan's
              Liniment will reduce the swelling", and I had to smile.


              Then she placed herself under a deodorant sign that said,
              "William's Big Stick Did the Trick", and I could hardly
              contain myself.


              BUT, your Honor, when she moved the fourth time and sat
              under a sign that said, "Goodyear Rubber could have
              prevented this Accident." I just lost it."


Here's one school district's response and request to it:

Iowa City officials want tougher truancy laws

 By Zack Kucharski
The Gazette
Thursday, June 10, 2004, 11:24:28 PM

IOWA CITY -- School district officials plan to meet with local lawmakers this summer to ask for stiffer truancy laws to help keep students in classrooms.
Concerns come as Iowa City school district officials see an increase in truancy and say they have few forms of legal recourse to level at students intentionally missing school. Not only are the number of truancy cases increasing, but those who are truant are missing more days, district officials say.

"We really feel the teeth in the Iowa law just aren't there," said Joan Vandenberg, the Iowa City school district's at-risk coordinator. "The options under the law are pretty limited."

The main option -- threatening to send parents to jail -- isn't a feasible step in many truancy cases, said Jim Behle, associate superintendent. Often, parents want their children to return to school, he said.

"It doesn't make sense to remove someone from the home in these types of cases," said Behle, who added that students recognize this and can hold out from attending school, leaving the district with few paths of recourse.

Another problem is that a truancy case is pursued in the juvenile court system only if it is part of another offense, officials said.

The state allows each district to determine the number of days a student can miss before being considered truant. The Iowa City district hasn't set the number of absences to define a student as truant, but often uses 30 missed days.

District officials aren't sure the extent of changes they'll seek. The district is modifying attendance policies and looking at internal programs which could help retain students. Part of the review includes looking at truancy policies in other states.

The district wants to see changes to improve student achievement and to stem increases in the number of students identified as at-risk of graduating. Also of concern are attendance requirements in federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

There's no standard age at which truancy occurs and no standard reason why students opt to skip school. Reasons for truancy range from substance abuse to students staying home to care for other siblings.

"Attendance issues are really just the tip of the iceberg for a lot of these kids," Vandenberg said. "But we can't do much teaching with a student who tends to have that many absences."

To help reduce problems, the district has an attendance task force that matches the truant student with district staff, juvenile court authorities and the Johnson County Attorney's Office. The task force mediates an attendance plan for the student.

The district also wants to be able to intervene earlier for the students, many of whom have other social service needs. The district has monitored students with 30 or more days of school absences, but will begin monitoring student absences much more closely under a new attendance policy expected this summer.

Jerry Arganbright, principal at West High School in Iowa City, said that fewer than 12 of the school's nearly 1,700 students could be considered truant. He believes that it takes a multi-faceted approach, not just laws, to get students to stay in classrooms.

"There needs to be some way of invoking care and emotion," he said.

Despite an apparent increase in truancy, only a very small percentage of the district's 10,943 students have truancy problems, district officials said.

The Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Association of School Boards has not advocated for any changes in the state truancy laws.

"If there are concerns whether the current law is effective enough, it's a conversation that should be had," said Kathi Slaughter, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Education.

"The goal is to keep kids in school until they graduate," she said. "Schools need to have multiple ways to do that."

Contact the writer: (319) 339-3157 or [email protected]

I'm sure some of you can relate, and those that can't, well, this might explain why we are the way we are.
Recently, I was diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D. - Age Activated
Attention Deficit Disorder.
This is how it manifests:
I decide to wash my car.
As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on
the hall table.  
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the
trash can under the table, and notice that the trash can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out
the trash first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I
take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only
one check left
My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my desk
where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.
I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the
Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.
I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put
it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the coke a vase of flowers on
the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.
I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading
glasses that I've been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going
to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container
with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote.
Someone left it on the kitchen table.
I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be
looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on
the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where
it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.
I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on
the floor.
So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels
and wipe up the spill.
Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was
planning to do.
At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't
paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the
flowers aren't watered, there is still only one check in my
checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm
really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm
really tired.
I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some
help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.
Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message to everyone you
know, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent.
Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!

The emoticons that came with this e-mail were hilarious, too!

I've already signed this petition and got this response.  I urge any of you who value your overtime to sign it also.  With this enactment, many fathers who depended on that OT income just to LIVE will be destitute.

Sorry, SPG, but this is just another flagrant example of how Bush is systematically destroying families.  First the immigrant deal, now this.  Is nothing sacred to him??  Because if he truly cared about families, more than big business, he WOULDN'T do this.


Dear Working Families e-Activist:

Last week we reported to you that the Bush overtime pay take-away is likely to be finalized by President Bush and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao before the end of March. An announcement could come as soon as this Friday.

Now, President Bush's top political allies are attacking efforts to protect overtime pay. They're pressuring television stations not to run TV ads paid for by the Voter Fund that are critical of Bush's overtime pay take-away. They don't want you to hear what's about to happen to the paychecks of millions of America's workers.

It's more important than ever that you reach out to your friends, family and co-workers to let them know about the Bush overtime pay take-away. Please ask them to sign the Petition to Save Overtime Pay at the link below.

Overtime pay is critical to the well-being of millions of working families--and the Bush administration's paycheck heist must be exposed. You have done a great job of keeping this issue alive. Senators and representatives in Congress have voted right on this issue under pressure from you. Now, the goal is to get the word out to people who haven't signed the petition or haven't heard about what is going on. That is how we'll win.

Please send an e-mail to your friends, family and co-workers. Ask them to sign the Petition to Save Overtime Pay at the link below.

We also suggest you send a short note to other e-mail lists you are on. For example, there may be an e-mail list in your community that allows you to post messages. Think about e-mail lists you are on through a sports team, a hobby club—any way you have access to groups of people who need the opportunity to protect workers' paychecks. These lists are opportunities for you to spread the word. Please forward a note with a link to the petition website.

You can also download a printable petition form to circulate in your workplace, neighborhood or community. Please get as many signatures as you can.

The petition has been a huge success. Since last week's update, more than 50,000 new people have signed the Petition to Save Overtime Pay. That only happened because of the outreach you did to protect good jobs and good paychecks. Let's keep it going!

Thanks for all you do. Look for another update soon.

In Solidarity,

Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO
March 9, 2004

P.S. Here is a news story about the Republican National Committee's attack on MoveOn's overtime pay TV ads.
Read the article >>

You can check out the full MoveOn Voter Fund TV ad at the link below (RealPlayer required).
View the ad >>



General Issues / Okay, here goes.............
Jan 08, 2004, 02:29:25 PM
A handful of you know what has been going on with me the past few months/years, but it's time to let everyone else know, since now I need some help.  I'm filing for divorce and moving out with DS at the end of the month.  I've had it with the alcoholism, the verbal and emotional abuse (to DS as well), and the severe potential for physical abuse.   No one should have to live this way and I can't put my son or myself thru this anymore.

It will be hairy for the next few weeks, especially once the cat is out of the bag.  I am afraid of what he might do when he finds out/gets served (go out on a BAD bender, then all hell will break loose), but I have a TREMENDOUS support system, INCLUDING all of my dear friends here.  I have deputy friends who will protect me as well.  As many have told me, past behavior is a really good indicator of what can happen, and since he assaulted me 1 1/2 months ago, I have every reason to believe that he could do it again.

I am attempting to do this pro se and have the cover form filled out that is required with filing a civil petition, I also have the proof of service of original notice done.  I also have (taken from the state code) the requirements of what information is needed in the initial petition.  What I DON'T have is the wording, the legal verbiage required in a pleading.  Can anyone help me out?

It feels very strange to be on the receiving end on this site, as I'm used to giving.  But I also ask that you keep DS and I in your thoughts and prayers..........  
Second Families / Stepmother's Bill of Rights
Aug 07, 2007, 06:49:45 PM
Found this on Glenn Sack's e-newsletter:

The Stepmother's Bill of Rights
Stephanie M., a stepmom and frequent commenter on my blog, has some interesting thoughts on a "Stepmother's Bill of Rights." Apparently the idea first came from "The Wicked Stepmom" blog. Stephanie's post and the Bill of Rights appear below. Many of my readers either are stepmothers or are divorced fathers who have remarried--what do you think of this list? Is it workable? Does it demand too much? Should there be more "rights" included? I'm interested in your thoughts.  

Stepmother's Bill of Rights

I found the following on The Wicked Stepmom's blog and thought it was a good creed for all stepmothers out there.  Some pieces of it are obviously more delicate than others, but all in all, it's a pretty good foundation.  If adhered to with love and respect on both sides, perhaps it could solve many of the problems we stepfamilies face.

Stepmother's Bill of Rights  

Our marriage is our first priority, and we will address all issues together.

I will be part of the decision-making process in my marriage and family at all times.

People outside the immediate family - including ex-wives, in-laws and adult children - cannot make plans that affect my life without my consent.

I will not be responsible for the welfare of children for whom I can set no limits.

I must be consulted about which children will live with us, when they can visit and how long they will stay.

I will not be solely responsible for housework; chores will be distributed fairly.

I will be consulted regarding all family financial matters.

Others may not violate my private space at home, nor take or use my possessions without my permission.

I will never be treated as an "outsider" in my own home.

My husband and stepchildren must treat me with respect.


I think this is a very excellent start............if anyone has more ideas, go to Glenn's website and let him know............
It's been a long time since I've been on this forum with the issues related to our family, but one has arisen now that I have no idea how to handle.

Up until a year ago, BM thought I was the proverbial wicked SM and barely gave DH his court-ordered visitation.  The only way he got more is if it were for her benefit only.  Then she got divorced last Nov.  Since then, those issues have literally made an about face.  Her and I have talked at length about ADHD issues with SS and we've had more time with SS than the previous 3 years put together, it seems.  

She works at a factory where they work 12 hours shifts, so her days are S-Tues and every other Wed. 6 am-6 pm.  So we came to a verbal agreement that she would have SS come over on Sat. nights, then she'd pick him up Sun evening (this is EVERY weekend), then drop him off to me Mon. mornings at 5:45, and I take him to my mom's (right across the street from the middle school) on my way to work.  With this arrangement, SS and DH have spent more time together than they ever had.  

In the meantime, my DS has been thru hell and back.  He got in trouble a year ago (it had been building to this point since his dad passed away 4 years ago), I sent him to 'Brat Camp' over last winter, and he ended up in juvenile detention at the end of April. He got an eval. in May and  was eventually ordered into residential treatment which he started on 10/3.

But SS's behavior has steadily declined as well.  He's been reprimanded in school quite a few times already this year, once for getting on a teacher's computer and a 'totally inappropriate' website.  Then on Columbus Day, he had to spend the day home alone and BM came home to find him playing with matches and candles on the stove.  Come to find out, he'd been doing this since this summer.  Then just this week, he got so mad at another student at school, he threw down a water bottle so hard, it split open and splashed on other kids and supposedly swore at the kid he was pissed off at.

The problem arises with DH.  Every time I bring up the subject, he says 2 things only:  One, he says he'll talk to SS about it, tho nothing that he ever says has made a difference so far.  Two, he brings up DS and all the problems DS has caused that he feels I didn't pay attention to and didn't listen to DH's advice.  I feel that DH might be throwing the issues of DS back in my face by not getting involved with SS.  I've reminded him that, tho I may have been in denial on some of DS's issues, that's no reason to let SS suffer the same fate.

We have an opportunity to let SS see what can happen if he screws up too much.  The RTC where DS is at has told me that they will allow a child to stay for the day, kind of a tough love/scared straight kind of deal, to experience what it would be like if he had to go there.  I've brought it up to both DH and BM and explained that they would have to jointly agree for him to spend the day there, and I have offered to take SS there myself (it's an almost 2 hour drive to get there) and then spend some time with DS myself.

Hindsight is certainly 20/20 and it's much easier to see things when you're on the outside looking in.  I know I've made mistakes with DS, but I just can't sit back and watch SS make the same.  He's told BM that the reason he set the fires is because he's mad that he doesn't have any friends.  BM, misguided as she is, told me she told SS friends right now aren't important, that he has plenty of time later on in life to make friends.  I just haven't had the chance to talk to her and tell her that now IS the time he should be making friends as this is the time he is learning the important social skills he needs later in life.  

So SS is obviously angry and I have a few ideas why (BM, her new BF, the lack of attention from BM years ago when he really needed it, not seeing his dad very much for so many years, never learning how to make friends and now forcing himself on others who don't want anything to do with him...the list could be long).  It's just convincing DH that we need to do something now, before SS ends up in the same boat as DS.  Anyone been thru anything similar?
Things have gradually been getting better and better as far as DH having to deal with BM, ever since she told him that SF told her he wanted a divorce.  But still, up to this point, the most her and I had ever exchanged were just a few words.

So when we had SS this weekend, I took him to the shop DH was working at Sat. afternoon, then went to the library to dink around on a computer.  A while later I got a tap on my shoulder and looked up to BM saying 'Hi'.  I responded in kind and went back to my screen.  Later, a piece of paper is laid next to me, I look up again, and here it's her.  The paper is info on a counselor she is telling me she plans to take SS to (something DH told me she had already mentioned to him, and we are in agreement with, she just didn't have the name yet).

Then she just starts to TALK!  She goes into how she understood why her and DH broke up, but she 'just can't understand' why SF says he's not happy anymore.  She even mentions her wanting to go to counseling herself, a HUGE step for her.  We talk about SS and the problems he's going thru, I mention to her that her pediatrician isn't qualified to diagnose ADD/ADHD and that the counselor she plans to take SS to may be able to test thoroughly, or at least recommend someone who can.  I also told her that she might want to consider putting SS on my medical, since I have no premium to pay and it's an HMO.  That there wouldn't have been ANY OOP expense for his tonsil surgery this spring if he'd been on mine.  She said that DH had mentioned the same thing to her and that she was thinking about it.  I bet we talked for a good 10-15 minutes.

She went to make a copy of the counselor's name and addy while I got my library card back.  I then walked over to her and told her that, in regards to SS and all that she's going thru right now (SF filed about a month ago and still hasn't moved out), that if she needs ANYTHING in regards to SS, to just call me, even if it's during the week when DH is on the road.  She thanked me and also told me that she had told SS that he is free to come spend EVERY Sunday (she works 6-6 every Sunday) with us if he wants and doesn't want to be with SF.  Then I left.

Yesterday, DH had to leave around 4:30, since he had a 4 hour drive to where he had to work today.  BM told SS he could stay with me and she would pick him up when she got off work, which he did.  So when she came by, we had ANOTHER conversation!  I was blown away........TWO days in a row!  She had seen my purple magnet ribbon (Chris Alexander's from here) on the back of my car and had asked me (thru SS) a few weeks ago for one for herself, which surprised the heck outta me then.  I had gotten it in the mail recnetly and gave it to her last night.  She then tried really hard to pay me for it, but I refused.  I have found that, despite the fact that her comprehension of things leaves a LOT to be desired at times, we ARE able to communicate and get along quite well.

Later, I told DH on the phone that I have a feeling we'll be having quite a few more conversations...........that it appears I've morphed from being a boogey man and lower than whale crap to someone she apparently trusts and is willing to talk to now.........and in a VERY short time, too!  Of course, DH had to throw in his 'opinion'  ;-) and told me that if we became best of buddies, he's OUTTA there, LOL!  

Eight years ago, if you had told me that this was the way things would have turned out, I'd have told you you were full of it.  But if I've learned anything going down this road, it's that you never know where life will take you and what events will transpire to change your life and that of others as well.  And that conversation yesterday was right in front of SS, so he was able to see that his mom AND his step-mom can and do get along now, that it's one less thing he needs to worry or get stressed about.  He knew the level of animosity his mom 'used' to have towards me, and that it was very high.  I think our conversation yesterday will go a LONG way in helping him heal and least I hope and pray it does.  All I know is that I will do everything I can to maintain it.... I will continue to do my part for him.

Some people just natually 'hate' the world and everyone and everything in it.  Some are too 'sick' to see that they are sick and need help.  I think that many of the CP's we deal with fall under one of those two definitions.  And for a long time, I thought SS's BM was one, too.  This past weekend, I believe I was proven wrong.  And all I pray is that some day, some how. some way, many of you are able to find out the same.........  
SS was with us last weekend, but DS and I were gone when she picked him up.  So DH told me when we got back that she was probably going to need a place for SS next Sunday (yes, it's mother's Day, but she works EVERY Sunday, too).  So right in front of DH, she asked SS who he'd rather spend the day with, SF or DH.   Of course, he said DH!  Then DH asked her if she wanted to drop SS off on Sat. night or on her way to work Sun. morn. (she has to be at work by 6 am.), so she asked SS again what he wanted to do!  Of course, he said Sat. night!

DH told me that he felt he should be ultra-sensitive to this situation on Sunday, not only because it's Mother's Day, but also because of SF leaving, which could be any day.  But I told him that her just asking SS what he wanted implied that she didn't care.  DH was concerned that SS should be with her first thing in the morning, but when I told him that SS would have to get up at 5 am. (and you know how owlly tweenies and teens can be, LOL!) and it was HER suggestion in the first place, he let it go.

Never did I ever imagine that SS would be able to spend even a fraction of any Mother's Day with us. And technically, she won't see him any less than she would if he were at her house, since she wouldn't get him up in the morning and would see him right after work anyway.

So now I feel really torn......part of me feels sorry for her in what she's going thru (another divorce), but the other part is just grinning from ear to ear, because I saw all this coming a LONG time ago, and it's all coming true.  She's told DH that she just doesn't understand why SF says he's not happy and DH told me that she probably will never figure it out, as nothing is ever her fault, she never has a part in it, she's just an 'innocent' victim here.

So why she deals with all this crappola, we'll take care of SS as often as she gives him to us.  I just never expected Mother's Day to be one of them.  As much as she's a product of her own stupidity and has no clue, I'd like to help SS get or make something to give to her when she picks him up.  And enjoy the heck out of having SS with us......we're taking my mom out to dinner and we'll ALL be together......I'll enjoy it while it lasts, cuz it may be the only one I ever get!

Thanks for letting me blow!  ;-)
SS called DH Sat. afternoon and said that BM wanted to talk to him, in person.  Well, we were out picking mushrooms (yes, they're up!) and DH said he couldn't get there for a while, so if she wanted to talk to him right then, it would have to be on the phone.  SS told DH that he had no idea what it was about.

So BM gets on the phone and drops the bomb...............SF says he wants a divorce....surprise, surprise!  She said that he said he's just not happy anymore.............and she just doesn't understand WHY!  Actually, DH has a good theory.......which relates to his statement that when he was married to her, Santa Claus came more than he did, LOL!  Apparently, the only time she's willing (unless she's chasing for a new hubby) is when she wants kids, and she already got her kid with the SF.

Her concern was what to do with SS on the days she works, since she works 12 hour shifts 3-4 days a week.  She said she can't afford daycare and DH said SS is too old for it anyway.  DH offered her to drop off SS to us (me) on her way to work (before 6 am.) and picking him up after work.  SS can go to and from school with DS and on the rare occasion that DS might have something going on after school, my mom only lives about a block from the school and SS can go right over there till I get there after work.  What blew my mind is that she's going for it, even tho she must realize that she'd be dropping him off to ME, since DH works out of town all week.  Goes to show what she's willing to do when she's desperate.

DH did ask her about their son and she said that SF was intending on taking the kid with him, but she would NOT pay him CS......typical.   So now I have an idea, but want to pass it by y'all and see what you think.  I don't want SF to be taken or deprived of his child like DH was/is.  I'm tempted to write an anonymous letter and include a flyer from here, informing him he DOES have rights and not to let her dictate when he can and can't see his son.   To tell you the truth, if he did take the boy, he'd probably move back to the nearby town he used to live in and his folks still live there.  I wouldn't be surprised if they'd babysit the boy for free.

The thing is, they both work at the same place, just opposite days.  So it wouldn't surprise me if she came home some day, possibly this week, and find him cleaned out and taken the kid.  Might be the only way he'd get custody of the boy anyway.

I want to tell him that he can't let what happened to DH and SS happen to him and his son.  He's watched it for the past 7-8 years, so that may be why he's telling her he's taking him.  Do you guys think it would be prudent to pass on some anonymous info to this guy?  I'm certain he knows what he wants, but he may not know how to go about it and his ignorance may be used against him.  She's been thru this before, but he hasn't.
Our HS football team is playing state quarter-finals tomorrow night, the first time they've gotten this far in YEARS in football.  And the game is only about 40-45 minutes away.

I talked to DH Friday afternoon and told him that DS and I were going, to ask SS if he wanted to go and we'd take him, too...........if PBFH would let him.  So DH asked SS when DH picked him up, with PBFH standing there, too.  DH gave me a blow-by-blow when I got home Fri. night.  SS asked her if he could go and she asked him 'Do you want to go with Kitty?', like she couldn't believe that he'd really want to do that!  But SS gave her a VERY emphatic OF COURSE!   At that time, she said okay...hard to believe, but she's also notorious for saying yes, then retracting at the last minute.

PBFH came to pick up SS at 6 last night and SS (like EVERY weekend he's with us) went out to ask her if he could stay until 7.  Of course she said no, and he came back in crying, trying to hold it back, and pissed as hell about it.  DH tried to comfort him and reminded him that he'd be going to the game with DS and I on Tues.  I gave him a hug and told him the same.  He wasn't happy about it at all, but he knew he had no choice but to leave.

About a half hour later the phone rings and I see that it's from their phone on ID.  DH picks it up, then tells me it's SS and he wants ME.......he first said that I didn't have to pick him up Tues. night because she would drop him off, but he might be a few minutes late.............I had told him we'd pick him up at 6, the game is 40-45 min. away and starts at 7 pm.......and she gets off work at 6.  Then I hear her in the background say something about 9 and he said that he had to be home by 9 pm.  I told him that the game starts at 7, it's a ways away, it will last 2-3 hours and then the time it takes to get back home.  That he probably wouldn't get home till 10 at the earliest.  He repeated it to her and then he said he had to be home by 10 instead.

First of all, I am NOT leaving the game early if they are winning.  No way.  And I know the boys won't want to, either.  And I will NOT speed to get home......we're in the middle of the deer rut right now and driving at night on dark 2 lane highways can be dangerous.  DS and I saw a big buck run cross the highway in front of the vehicle in front of us just Sat. night.   I'm taking my time.  If we leave before 10, which I'm sure we will, but know we won't make it home BY 10, I'll have SS call her to tell her we're on our way.  

To tell you the truth, I'm more expecting SS to call DH tonight or tom. to say that he CAN'T go.  When he left last night, he was PISSED, and I told DH that she was going to get an earful from him for not letting him stay longer.  I wouldn't be surprised if she uses that against him and decides he can't go just for spite for him wanting to stay longer.  She's done it before.  But SS isn't rolling over for her like he used to.  He hasn't had hardly ANY respect for her for over a year now because of her actions against DH and I both.

So I guess we'll just have to wait and see if she wants to bury herself deeper with her own son by turning him against her even further or she's willing to let him go to just ONE post-season, road to the state championship game.  If she doesn't (and HOW), I will be hard pressed to not go to her door to ask her WHY.......and see if she can come up with a coherent answer.  Either that, or she will force SF to take him instead.  That's happened before, too.  In 7+ years, only once has she allowed SS to do something with me and that happened only because she thought DH was doing the p/u and d/o.

Just ask for hope that there's three of us going to the game tomorrow night (gonna bundle up and take the hot choc., it's gonna be COLD!) and that a boy's hopes aren't dashed once again.........

And I suppose it won't sink in to her if I tell her that her refusing him is NOT turning him against US, but against HER, right???

It's ONLY a football game, for God's sake!
Second Families / Am I crazy?????
Oct 07, 2004, 06:05:55 AM
I've got a potential situation coming up this weekend, and I'm not sure how I feel about it or respond to it.

SS is in Scouts and this Sat. is the day for the annual door-to-door food pick-up for our local food pantry.  The Scouts organization in our community is getting incredibly thin (and I've heard our community isn't the only one this is happening to), so they don't have many people to help gather and sort.  When BM gave DH a copy of SS's football schedule a few weeks ago, she also had a note with it about this event, asking us if we'd help!

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read that!  It blew my mind!  But BM has been acting more 'cordial' to both of us lately, even to the point of her making 'small talk' briefly at SS's football jamboree about a month ago.  That has NEVER happened before!  I just went with the flow with that experience!

So even tho it appears that this is a genuine appeal for help (since we know the manpower situation as well), if I do this, it's going to feel REALLY weird!  Unfortunately, DH can't help.  We have a snowmobile that we really need to get sold ASAP, and there's a swap meet about 30 miles away at the same time that DH is taking it to, to see if we can get it sold there.  DH sold one there about 4 years ago, so we just don't want to pass up on this opportunity.

I just don't think it would be a good idea for me just to show up.  I think maybe it would be a better idea if DH would call her and tell her that, tho he won't be able to make it, I would be able to help (and I've done this a few times before, when DS was in Scouts).  I know how desperately they need the help, so if BM would say forget it, I would know that it's because of ME.  And it would also make me realize 2 other things:  she hates ME more than she hates DH (which I thought was more vise versa or dead even) and even tho it 'seems' that she's 'getting nicer', she still hasn't or can't overcome her jealousy of me.

Three years ago, she and I stood on either side of SS's desk, at a class function, and she NEVER once acknowledged that I was even present, even when I spoke directly to SS!  Now she's asking for OUR help and willing to work side-by-side?  Stranger things have happened, I guess.  And it's why this just feels SO weird!

If she is comfortable enough for me to be there, without DH, then I'm more than willing to go.  If for nothing else, for SS's sake, to show him that we CAN work together, and if we can do it for a Scout event, we can probably do it with him, too.  It would be a great lesson for him.  And if it makes her more comfortable around me and lessens her jealousy, that would be a plus, too.  I'm just not sure how to go about it!  

Any ideas, guys??????  
Second Families / EXCITED!!!!!!!
Aug 05, 2004, 10:19:04 AM
With all the BS going on in my life lately......FINALLY a ray of hope!  A position just came on line today that I want REALLY bad!  Public Safety Dispatch, of which I feel I am definitely qualified for.  What's even better is that it is a promotional position (mo' money) and rotating shifts (shift differential, mo' money).

I'm pulling all the stops, contacting as many people whom I can use as references, and I have an appt. with the head of HR tom. afternoon to update my app. and for her to call the PS office to let them know they REALLY need to interview me.

So now I ask for prayers that the door recently shut on me has opened this one on me and it's just waiting for me to walk thru!
Got a bomb shell dropped on me yesterday.  The institution I work for (state) is/has been dealing with major budget cuts.  In the current round, my dept. has been forced to cut MAJORLY from their budget.........and my position got the chopping block.

I have 11 years seniority to back me up, and I will eventually get another position somewhere else, but I certainly don't need this right now.  This dept. is like family to me and it will be VERY hard to leave.  

So now, along with everything going on at home (stalemated and calm at the moment), I have this to deal with.  I show a strong, determined attitude to others, but I feel like mush on the inside.

So again, I'm asking for prayers...for the good Lord to give me the strength to see this thru and that I get a position I like............
I will try to keep this short, but I might fail..........

DS has been in therapy for over 6 months now, once a week.  The reason for starting is now secondary to what his therapist is helping us with now.  It is with her help and because of her legal status that she, with my approval, will be making a report to DHS on DH for emotional abuse against DS.

Over the past 6 years, DH's relationship with DS has been rocky, and I always attributed it to DH's alcoholism and the abuse he went thru as a child himself.  Well, I've had my head in the sand for too long, not wanting to realize just how severe it was.  The therapist firmly believes that DS is suffering from PTSD, and I have to agree with her.   She is of the belief that because of the abuse that DH went thru as a child, plus his addiction, he really has no clue on how to be a parent, never really learned, and has a LOT of trauma to work thru from his childhood before he can even begin to learn.

She is a mandatory reporter (as am I) and we've decided that she will make the report for BOTH of us.  Once the report is made, I have no idea what will transpire.  I'm certain that they will want to talk to me and to DS, then they will probably want to talk to DH.  I have no idea how long this will take or how DH will react to it.

And DH has started drinking again, plus lying to me about at least part of it.  DS is of the impression that DH did what he had to do to get me back......I think there's a lot of truth to that.

And this may sound stupid to some, but I really didn't have any choice about reporting him.  As a mandatory reporter, if I didn't and therapist did solely on her own, I could be in a LOAD of trouble.  Our state law is that if it is found out that a MR knew about abuse and failed to report it, there are stiff fines and prison time to do.  And if I don't report, as a parent, I could also be accused/charged with failure to protect, also.

Therapist said that emotional abuse is very hard to prove, but this has been going on for 6 years and only getting worse as DS gets older, plus the fact that she's now diagnosed PTSD.  So I ask for prayers for DS and I, and for DH too.  It's obvious to me that he's been living in a world of pain all his life.  That doesn't forgive his actions, but at least I 'understand' why.  I have come to realize that, tho we grew up only 10 miles apart in a very small, rural community, we had vastly different childhoods..........

And I ask for prayers for deal with the guilt of allowing my son to suffer for so long.........
Second Families / Gotta tell you guys the latest!
May 25, 2004, 09:50:36 AM
This made my YEAR!

DH was telling me about when he picked up SS and PBFH was telling him how 'bad' SS was behaving.  Then, lo and behold, right in front of DH, she tells SS 'If you don't straighten up, I'm going to send you to live with your father!  And since he's gone during week, that means you'd have to be with Kitty ALL that time.'  Of course, she made it sound like that last part was a BAD thing, LOL!

She's already called DH twice in the last month to have him talk to SS to get him to behave, but apparently he's gotten really mouthy with PBFH.  Gee, I can't imagine why.

But for her to say that right in front of DH???!!!!  This is MAJOR!  DH said that SS 'acted' contrite at the time, but both DH and I agree that, knowing SS like we do, we wouldn't be surprised if SS has it in the back of his mind 'If I screw up enough, maybe Mom WILL send me to live with Dad and Kitty!'

I think this summer and the next year or two will be VERY interesting!
Second Families / It's coming to pass.........
May 06, 2004, 11:52:48 AM
SS is hitting his prime, now that he's turned 10!  He used to be scared of PBFH, but now we think he's just pissed!

PBFH called Mon. night asking for DH, who's on the road all week.  She sounded pissed!  I told her DH had his cell on, and DH called me later to tell me what happened.  Apparently SS wanted to watch some cartoon and PBFH wouldn't let him.  That she had before but wouldn't now.  DH told him that he has to mind his mother and there is no way to get around it.  SS then had an issue with PBFH not letting him walk or ride his bike to school.

An explanation is needed here.  We live in a multiple horse town (not a one horse), heart of Amish country where you have to dodge the horse turds driving down the street.  And only ONE stop light for kids to cross the highway to get to school.  In the past 50 years I've only heard of one murder and NO child abductions.  Nevertheless, PBFH is ultra paranoid that if SS isn't driven to school, he will either be shot by a sniper or abducted (possibly by either DH or myself and we're NEVER in town when school's in session!).  SS has told us before that PBFH said he couldn't go by himself till middle school/6th grade.  But there are kindergarteners down the street from them who walk every day!

DH finally convinced PBFH to let him try it, so he did get to on Tues.

Last night DH got ANOTHER call from SS and this time apparently he was in trouble again.  On Wed., PBFH left SS a note (she has to be at work by 6 am.) on what he was supposed to do after school but riding his bike to school was NOT on it.  But he rode it anyway.  And PBFH was pissed!  Again!  We have no idea where the SF was in all this.  It is looking like she is not permitting him to have any say-so in discipline with SS.

The writing on the wall is getting clearer by the day!  DH and I both agree that her strangle hold on SS is really making him chomp at the bit and he's starting to rebel.  Eventually he will get so bad that she won't be able to handle him anymore.  And she has a 3 y.o. that she's even worse with!  SS is a product of her own screw-ups.  She lets both boys get away with practically anything, then when she gets to the boiling point, she comes down hard on them.  I've seen the 3 y.o. scream at the top of his lungs, while she 'calmly' tries to tell him that that is unacceptable behavior.  I hate to think what she did to that child after they got home.  I have yet to hear her say a flat out NO.

The next few years will be pivotal.  Between dealing with the toddler out of control and a pre-pubescent boy who's getting angrier by the day, she will eventually break and call DH to come and get him because she can't handle him anymore.  DH and I both know that when that day comes (not IF but WHEN), we will have one very angry and confused boy on our hands, and we all will need extensive counseling to get thru all the damage the PBFH has done. But at least he will be away from that influence.  And she will have no one to blame but herself.

I fully expect our phone to be ringing more often from now on!