Saturday, May 14, 2016

An Upgrade

Multitasking: Charlie’s eating and sleeping all at once,
while I’m feeding him and typing one-handed!
Sun Tzu said, "the wheels of justice grind slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

Karma was awfully busy around FAR Manor this week, preparing for the runup to Thursday’s court hearing. Whether you believe Karma’s a b***h or not, she got awfully cranky having to work overtime on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Big V has insisted all along that she should have custody of Charles, regardless of her unwillingness to take care of herself and her fractional ability to take care of Skylar. She kind of spilled the beans at one point: what she really wants is the benefits and tax deduction she'll get for having custody, while we actually take care of him and have the expenses. The wife is already taking her and Skylar to their various appointments as it is. So she did what anyone does who doesn’t want to acknowledge reality: constructed a narrative.

Because of various things, mostly having to do with DD’s upcoming wedding, I worked at home Tuesday so Mason and Fizzle’s kids would have someone at the manor for them when they got off the bus. Thus, when Big V called, I got an earful of narrative. Most of it is pure crap, especially the part where she says we’re not allowing her to see Charles—in fact, when I had to go down there, I would take him inside to see her if he wasn’t asleep in the car seat. The crux of the matter is, we don’t let her have unsupervised visits. That’s not our doing, that was a stipulation from DFACS at the time we got him. Signed papers and everything. She seems to think that we should blow them off at her own whim, regardless of the consequences (which could involve Charlie being relocated and none of us get to see him, but Big V and rational aren’t even nodding acquaintances).

Anyway. In her rant, she said she was going to file a Motion to Intervene to get “grandparent’s rights” (which means more in some other states than on Planet Georgia). In case I never mentioned it, my mom worked for a Federal judge when I was in high school. I’ve been behind the scenes at courthouses more than most, so her waving writs at me didn’t faze me much. Seeing I wasn’t giving her much satisfaction, and was in fact poking holes in her narrative bubble, she called the wife to rant at her—and then… here’s where Karma got mad. She called Charles’s lawyer and screamed at her. Now this lawyer is a volunteer for DFACS. She teaches law as a day job. So she isn’t paid to put up with weapons-grade crap like Big V throws when she’s in one of her moods. And… she’s originally from New Jersey. Yup, Big V pissed off a New Jersey lawyer, and you know that isn’t gonna end well.

So the DFACS advocates all know each other’s business, even if they don’t always get along. Charlie’s lawyer didn’t need a whole lot of poking to learn that Big V is legally-blind, one-legged, can’t drive, and depends on us to get both her and Skylar to their various appointments. So she decided to make life difficult for Big V.

So now we come to yesterday morning. Figuring the 8:30am scheduled time wasn’t going to happen, I brought my work computer since there’s wifi in the courthouse. And indeed I was right. There was a rather large spec review, and I got through all 13 documents before they called us in. Meanwhile, Splat and BB sat with us to see Charlie. We’ve never had a problem with them visiting, although we both wish they had actually done it more than a handful of times. At one point, BB took Charlie and was making all these adoring noises. He started crying, and BB said, “here, take it” and gave him back to the wife. Yes, take “IT.” Meanwhile, Big V was off to the side, bad-mouthing us. Like we cared.

Just after 11, we finally got called in. Big V was looking all self-righteous, and got pretty steamed when she got the papers from Charlie’s lawyer. Shoulda kept your big freaking yap shut, sis. But when we got started, the judge said “we’ve got a conflict with one of the lawyers, come back at 1:30, and we’ll deal with this Motion to Intervene in July.” Seeing as neither the wife nor I had managed to grab any breakfast, we had no problem with that.

So after a nice leisurely lunch, it was “hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to court we go.” Big V was not there; since her tossed wrench got deflected for two months, I guess she couldn’t be bothered. Too bad, it would have been interesting to see her reaction. The DFACS lawyers and staff not only dug into Charlie’s case, they started laying the groundwork for Skylar’s. Meanwhile, Charlie charmed just about everyone in the courtroom—the caseworkers, the lawyers, and even the judge smiled at his “I’m content” growl1. But when Splat took the stand, it became an utter trainwreck. He really didn’t want to incriminate BB, who face-palmed a few times while he testified, but he was under oath and seemed to understand that. Finally, one of the DFACS lawyers asked, “do you want to save time and just turn custody over to [the wife and me]?” Interestingly, the judge quashed that question.

The upshot was, Splat and BB both admitted to having a serious drug problem, and they were unable to take care of Charlie (living in their car is another minor detail), and they wanted us to continue taking care of him. So now we’re officially a foster home, as opposed to a safety home. That means we get some more benefits (which is what Big V wanted for herself), Charlie now has his own insurance, and Splat & BB have nine months to clean up their act. Meanwhile, there will be scheduled visits (although our policy of “you can see him whenever you want to” is still okay), and Big V will likely get scheduled visits once her motion is considered in July. The question is, whether she’ll just be seeing Charlie, or Charlie and Skylar, by that time.

In Big V’s case, it would have been better to keep her yap shut and let everyone think she was nucking futs, than to open her mouth and remove all doubt. Meanwhile, she has killed any willingness on our parts to help her with… anything. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.


1 He has some fairly distinct vocalizations. There’s the raspy wail for “I’m hungry,” the smooth one for “Rock me, I’m ready to sleep,” the growl that can mean “Everything is awesome” or “Pick me up NOW,” and one I can’t really describe that means “I want to go home now.”

6 comments:

  1. Dude, you and your wife are freaking saints.

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  2. That whole saga sounded like a nightmare.

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  3. Glad little Charles is in good and safe hands!

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  4. Maria, a saint wouldn't bask in the schadenfreude when Big V finally gets her comeuppance....

    Patricia, it's a little more drama than usual. But only a little.

    Helen, we're inured to Big V's fits. She decided to go poke someone who isn't... and unfortunately for her, has the clout to make her regret it!

    Thanks, Cindy. Charles does enjoy being here. He already has the concept of "home" and likes to be in it.

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  5. Ugh. I'm glad you can get your work done on the go, and that court stuff doesn't freak you out. But I'm also glad Charlie (and Mason) have you. I remember the blog post from when Charlie first arrived at the Manor.

    Hope things settle down by July.

    ReplyDelete

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