Monday, March 29, 2010

OMG!!! Talk About Uncomfortable!

You know, not much makes me uncomfortable when it comes to discussing the human condition. I grew up in a somewhat conservative Catholic home where things like sex just weren't discussed out in the open. My parents did talk to us about it, but it was never in the forefront and was one of those things that was to be discussed "not around other people." That's ok. Given how, where, and when they grew up, I get it and it was totally fine.

As I've gotten older and exposed to more life, my views have gotten more liberal, especially when it comes to sex. Not that I think a person shouldn't respect themselves and others in their sexual behaviors, but just in that sexual discussions and sexual preferences are nothing to be ashamed of. I fully expect to have these discussions with my daughter when she's older and actually look forward to it.

I just didn't expect to have one this weekend...

Miss M is a little over three. She's in the wonderful phase of physical self discovery. She's fully potty trained but still needs a little help wiping, pulling up her pants, etc, so when she goes potty, I usually stand in the doorway in case she needs me. She's very independent, so usually it's "Daddy, you stay there!" while she goes.

Last night as she was doing her last potty before she went to bed, she decided to have a closer look...down there. Totally cool, she does that occasionally, but this time, she REALLY went for it. Pulling both sides of her little self apart, she bent over to have a close look. Even I had a tough time not pulling an uncomfortable face!

After a short inspection of the "magic girl spot" she looked up at me and asked, "Daddy, what's that?"

Running through possibilities of what to call it (thinking the clinical name just wasn't appropriate for right now), I opted for "Well, baby, those are your special girlie parts."

"Special girlie parts?" she said inquisitively, tilting her head to the side while still exposing herself in all her glory.

"You want to touch it Daddy?"

Ok, THAT one I wasn't expecting. Even Daddy is uncomfortable now. Composing myself I say,

"No thank you honey. That's yours. No one else should touch it but you."

"Ok Daddy. I like to play with it." OH MY GOD!

Daddy takes a deep breath and says,

"Ok baby. It's yours to play with. Just make sure when you do, you're by yourself, ok?"

"Ok Daddy."

And just like that, we've had our first sex talk. Is it SUPPOSED to happen this early? Wow...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mission Accomplished

So we had the meeting between HG and Ex on Wednesday with the Child Therapist there to mediate. First thing I can say in this whole process that went exactly the way I would have scripted it. Prior to the appointment, I sent an email the CT and outlined what we'd like covered and what would be appropriate and what was off limits:

  • HG's experience with kids;

  • Ground rules for communication and/or conflict resolution

  • How the other is discussed when talking to M

OFF Limits

  • HG's and my relationship

  • HG's personal life away from M

I also mentioned that if Ex demonstrated an ability to stay within boundaries over time then maybe we could broaden the relationship, but until then we'd like to keep the discussion M focused to avoid any conflict. CT agreed to mention this as well.

So, CT brought up each topic, Ex pontificated about her greatness as a Mommy and spouted a lot of crap about how she was totally an agreeable, honest person and only wished us the best. HG and I occasionally nodded or gave a SHORT response but mostly we let CT guide the process. Ex talked for most of the time, as expected. Whatever. All I heard was the Charlie Brown teacher voice. Remember that? "Wah, wah-wah, wah, waaaaaah..."

Important in all of this was CT being very adamant that Ex and I are the parents and any conflict, communication, decisions are to stay with us. There should be no contact between HG and Ex unless I am first informed. HG will get a say with me because I trust her, but the two of them shouldn't discuss/fight about any issues. Of course, HG has ZERO desire to have a direct line of communication so that's totally cool with me. Why should both of us suffer needlessly?

The point of this meeting was so Ex would have been given the courtesy to meet the woman who is going to spend significant time with her child...TOTALLY legit. Of course, it accomplished a second point: after we got out, HG called me and asked "How in the world did you stay married to that woman for so long? She never shuts up and only talks about herself. Is it always about her?" BINGO!!! WE HAVE A WINNER!!! Sad thing, besides us having to share a child of course, is that when I met her she wasn't like that. Not sure what caused the complete narcissistic delusional break from reality, but it gets worse and worse as time goes on.

My big fear was a total cat fight. I wouldn't expect HG to participate...she has way too much grace and poise for that, but Ex has no "off switch" and pushes people past places they never thought they'd go. I assured HG that I'd step in (or CT would) if this happened, but she just didn't want to deal. Who can blame her? Don't get me wrong, she's no wilting flower and can run intellectual circles around Ex, but no one can handle the craziness. Fortunately we didn't have to go there.

In all seriousness, I'd recommend a meeting of this sort for any shared custody co-parents who are introducing a significant other to their child. It established firm ground rules for communication, gave Ex the courtesy of meeting someone who appears to be headed toward being a significant figure in her child's life, and set the precedent that that type of behavior should be reciprocated. It's SO hard to take the high road when your Ex is such a douche bag, but you know, it helps to defuse some of the douche baggery before it even starts, which can only benefit Miss M.

All right kids. Have a GREAT weekend!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yes, I'm Alive

Hey kids. Long time no talk. Between all that I had going on the last few weeks with finding Miss M a school, the Ex's financial hi jinx, re-establishing things with Hot Girl (that's going exceptionally well), and my job, I've been either too tired, too busy, or just too plain lazy to write. So, in honor of "I'm Alive," a picture of Baby Alive. Nothing like a doll that sh*ts all over your house. Who thinks of stuff like that?

Anyhow, here's the latest:

We've enrolled Miss M in school. One of the more expensive ones unfortunately, but for what she needs (strong language focus), the proximity to my apartment (literally, a 300 yard walk), and the fact that Ex agreed to foot half the bill, it was the best decision given the options that were available to us. What tipped it over the edge for me was that Ex also agreed to pay her own nanny care going forward. Saves me a TON of money and given that she offered it, I have to say I'm appreciative.

I'm not sure if Ex offered this because she knows I'm on to her and her finances or just to be nice, but given that it's a big step in the right direction, I figured I'd not look a gift horse in the mouth. Baby steps, right? We sat in front of the child therapist and discussed all the school options, including costs, so this gave me an opportunity to lay out my whole financial picture. I decided not to get into "accusing" Ex of anything and to just focus on my side of the street. Seems she heard me and is giving me breaks here and there. Yup, guess there's a person in there somewhere.

Hot Girl and I have also been getting on extremely well. After my post The Dilemma a few weeks ago, I decided to take a brutally honest path and just tell her EVERYTHING I was thinking. Have to say, she took it like a trooper and what transpired was a couple weeks of very long talks. The result though: we both feel like the other is the best friend and our communication is more open than ever. Honestly, I've never had this in a relationship before. Ex and I were never best friends. Huge step for both HG and me. While we have some differences, we have mostly the same values when it comes to family and kids, we're willing to sacrifice personal things for those values, we laugh a lot, and the sex is still phenomenal. Can't ask for much more than that, right?

So, after more discussions with her, my parents, my friends, and my shrink, I decided it was reintroduce M to Hot Girl this past weekend. We did it at the playground with tons of other kids and parents around just to keep it low key. They got along great (as expected) and after I said, "M, we have to go upstairs and get dinner" she looked at Hot Girl and said "You want come to my house for dinner?" How could we refuse that? The next morning, M woke up, came into my room and said "Daddy, [Hot Girl] go to zoo with us today?" Can't say no again.

So, with that, we've decided it's also time to introduce HG to Ex. One of the things we agreed to in child therapy was that when the relationship got serious enough that the new boyfriend/girlfriend would be spending significant time with M, we'd arrange a meeting. Just to keep it neutral, I requested we do it at the therapist's office, so tomorrow at 1 PM is the big intro! I'm a little nervous as Ex has a propensity for saying inappropriate things at just the right moment and for being confrontational. HG and I have decided that if this occurs, she'll just defer to me and I'll take care of it. Seem the best way to handle things, right?

So, overall things are pretty good. Have a little financial relief which was drastically needed, M has a new school, and HG is in the picture for the foreseeable future. Next up...I need to get to the gym. Daddy is getting a bit pudgy. One thing at a time, right?

Talk soon everyone!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm So Angry I Could Puke

OK kids. Today's post is going to be nothing but venting. Ex has done some F'd up things but this takes the cake. Why I'm surprised I have not idea. Given her track record, I should have seen it coming.
I posted the other day that I was going to have to renegotiate our support agreement due to my decrease in income. I'm down 35% from the year we drew up our agreement, so legally I'm entitled. I've suspected for a long time that Ex was doing significantly better than she was letting on. Today, I found out how much. See, she moved into a new apartment last week. She told me she had found the incredible deal and that it would give M much more room and would be a better environment. Great! I really am glad for the both of them. What got under my skin though, was when I saw the apartment. By Manhattan standards, it's ginormous. Given what Ex tells me she's making and what I'm paying in support, I just couldn't see how she could afford it. Turns out that she can't.
See, in Manhattan, you need to earn about 40x your monthly rent in order to qualify for a rental. Sick, I know. That's why people live in such small places and a lot of the times can't afford to buy. Total scam. So, I was wondering how Ex could pay for I Googled the building. A realtor has the exact same apartment listed in her building for...get this...$5,200 per month! Not per year, per month! At that rate, Ex would have to be earning over $200,000 per year to qualify. She tells me, as recently as yesterday, that she's earning $60,000. NOT POSSIBLE! How the hell does she think she's going to get away with this and how stupid does she think I am? So, not only am I due a decrease due to my income dropping a huge amount, hers apparently has more than tripled without a word from her. I'm going broke and she continues to collect a ridiculous amount of money from me each month. I'm thoroughly disgusted with her.
On top of this, the private school thing continues. Miss M so far has been rejected by two schools (who could reject my baby? grrrrr....), accepted by two, and we're waiting to hear from 3. The two she was accepted to: $14,000 per year and $20,000 per year!!!! I can't afford it, I really can't. The deadline to accept offers is next Tuesday and I hadn't heard from the other 3 so I decided to call. One of the schools, which Ex seems to be really against because it's Catholic, told me that they left two messages for her last week for us to come in for the final phase. Ex conveniently never let me know about this. This school costs $6,000 per year. That I can swing.
In an argument I had with Ex yesterday over money (of course), she failed not only to tell me about her new found financial success but also didn't mention at all that the school had called her. Even worse, she got pissy with me when I told her that I can't afford the $20,000 a year school which is, of course, her first choice. With the short time, the Catholic school can't get us in until next day AFTER the other schools have to hear and take a none refundable deposit of $5,000. So, do I bet on the Catholic school or do I pay money for a school I know I can't afford? SO shitty on all levels...
My daughter lives with me half the time. Ex and I have equal shared custody. Per our agreement, neither parent is considered the "custodial parent" except in that I pay support. All decisions have to be mutual and consensual. This is a TOTAL breach of all of this. What's worse, Ex apparently doesn't care that I can't afford to care for her daughter as long as she gets to live in her palatial apartment and spend gobs of money.
Trust me, I'll be the first to congratulate Ex if her business takes off and she makes a ton of dough. It's her lifelong dream and can only make my daughter's life more comfortable when she's with her mother. To do it at my expense, regardless of the financial straights it puts me in, however, is irresponsible, dishonest, and disgusting. I really feel like I'm going to throw up.
We have an appointment with the therapist next week to discuss all of this. I'm going to try and remain calm but it's going to be really hard. Wish me luck friends and most of all, wish me calmness and composure. I'm going to need all the help I can get. Thanks.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Coming Up for Air

Hi everyone. Sorry I've been absent for almost two weeks. Needless to say there's been a lot going on and I've been too tired to write.
The school search for Miss M continues. Ex and I have been getting along pretty well during this process. A small blow up happened in front of M which made her cry though. Of course, it was about finances and the cost of schools. We haven't resolved it yet, but once M started to cry we both backed off and gave the little one a hug. Sucked. Poor baby has no idea what's going on and our behavior didn't help. Still, she's doing well all things considered.
We've visited 7 schools and like a few. M has to get accepted of course, which isn't an easy feat in NYC. It's very competitive. We tried to pick schools that didn't have that type of selection process or competitive atmosphere (we're talking 4 year old kindergarten after all), but each did want to meet M and have her play with the current kids there for an hour or so. She did great with her outgoing personality and seemed to really have fun. Now we're just waiting to hear back. Keep you fingers crossed.
The second thing going in is finances, which of course is related. When Ex and I put together our financial arrangement, I was making about 40% more than I am now, so the child support and alimony is set up to fit that. Now, with the economy, the demise of my sector of finance, and my company slowly going out of business, I've burned through most of my savings and can't afford to pay that for much longer. I've tried to discuss this with Ex but she's not hearing me. At the same time, her financial situation has gotten a lot better. She picked up a business partner who's putting private equity into her company and it looks like things are taking off. She's since moved into a more expensive apartment, made several big ticket purchases, and done quite a bit of traveling. I, on the other hand, am up to my eyeballs in debt.
So, she's making more money, I'm making way less. Just over 18 months into our agreement, it seems to make sense to readjust things before I go broke. I've discussed this with my therapist who's agreed to try and mediate something so that we don't end up in court. Looks like that's coming to a head next week. I'll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck there because I'm really going to need it. I have not doubt that if we go to court that there will be a reduction in what I pay, but why pay lawyers to get this done? Hopefully she'll be reasonable. One can hope, right?
That's the latest folks. Keep an eye on me. I could use the help.