Good for gander ..

As part of this co-parenting malarkey, if AH needs to swap his kid time with me, I will agree – provided I’ve not already got plans.  I don’t ask why he needs to swap (but like to know if it’s a work-related reason, to back-up that he doesn’t get the flexibility he claims when he says he can do week on/week off).

I would hope that he would do the same.

Last Friday, I’d been invited to drinks at a mum’s place.  Her boy has started in M10’s class and they’re getting on well so I’d introduced myself a few weeks back to her to arrange a play.  Have introduced her to a few others with similar aged boys as she’s just moved from Spain/UK and knows no-one.  I was going to go by myself – but then I saw her kid and he pleads ‘could M10 comes too’.  It’s AH’s time and I’m not due to have 1-on-1 with him until next Saturday, so I suggest a swap which would mean I had two 1-on-1s over 2 consecutive days (and none next week).  Nothing out of the ordinary there – or so I thought!

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I’m peeved at his words on what 1:1 is meant to entail – that kid still has the benefit of being the only one getting my attention if I take them out on 1:1 time.  Being lectured by someone who thinks quality parenting means you play the same game as you sit on separate devices doesn’t sit well with me.

I let M10 know that I still wasn’t sure if it could happen, he tells me (looking a bit fearful) that it wouldn’t be able to happen as Daddy has started Friday football (so the two days he has with the kids, he now plays HIS social netball on one of those nights, and HIS social soccer on the second).  Again, I struggle to deal with his parenting advice when he puts his need to socialise above the kids. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Why does it all have to be so hard?!  I can’t help feel he knows that I’ve got a party next Saturday, and he thinks I’m manipulating arrangements so that I can go.  Unfortunately, he’s jumped to the wrong conclusion once again as I’ve arranged for M10 to have a sleepover with this friend so that I go to the party (yes, we’ll miss our 1-on-1 but M10 will be more excited by the sleepover).  My wanting to take M10 was purely because his friend specifically asked, and he said he wanted to come too.

Some 24 hours after I asked, M10 tells me he can come – but he needs to leave at 6:30 pm and I’m to bring his scooter.  I suggest AH might pick him up, as he could bring M11 who I haven’t seen for a week.  M10 tells me that ‘Daddy had said no’.  Next morning, I get an email from AH saying he will pick M10 up so that I can say hi to M11.  That’s what I’d suggested!

And the psychological games continue!

Despite all of this crap, when he arrives, I get Ms7 to invite him in to join us for a drink.  I can only hope this might lead to better treatment for the goose!

Positives:

  1. Stunning weather for the long weekend just passed.  Even got into the garden;
  2. getting M11 back from his camp;
  3. playing swingball with the kids.

4th (& 5th) C’s

Few days away from the blog.  Busy with work and catching up with some friends.  Actually spent both Thurs and Fri staying at other’s homes (no, not a new fella on the scene [still haven’t been even remotely interested since coming back from my parents a few months back]) so feeling a little bit like some quiet “me-time” grounding is needed.

Popped into the local police on Thursday to check about going down the protection order route for the emotional and psychological BS he throws my way.  I’m done with it.  But I know if I do this, I will open the biggest can available to man!  I still can’t make up my mind and need to be utterly certain I’m doing it for the right reasons (my health) and have considered all scenarios.

So back to the conflict.  Forgot one so here’s the final 2:

4)  COD

We called the ceasefire on the Friday.  On the Monday, M10 couldn’t sleep as he’d been playing Call of Duty at the mate’s that I don’t rate highly.  Yup, the R16 game … despite him only being 10.  The mate has been allowed to play R-games for years – in fact, his 9-year old sister also played.  I’ve mentioned to AH before I didn’t want them playing these games but his theory is that you can’t control what happens at other people’s houses.  Yes, you can!  And if they don’t respect your wishes, then the kids don’t go there again!

Zombies are giving him nightmares so he’s in my bed.  Thing is M11 had said they didn’t play it.  Claims when it was suggested, he said he wasn’t interested (so it looks like he has some control; not that he’s just a Mummy’s boy doing what he’s told).  He lied to me!

Whilst emailing about something else, say that I need to discuss something but he shouldn’t take it as finger-pointing.  It’s something we BOTH need to make sure we’re on top of.  I spend a fair bit of time re-wording it to make it non-accusatory and calm.  Thought pre-empting it might help.

We meet at the supermarket to hand over Ms6 for 1-on-1, and it’s clear it didn’t work.  He’s angry.  Not sure why – I’ve proposed a rule of no R-rated/no war or anti-police (and with M10 sleeping with M11 in his bed that night, add zombies to that list).  Get no input from him.  Just an ‘okay’ eventually.

5)   Camp

M11 went on school camp last Mon.  Had arranged that he stay with AH on the Sunday so that he could get him to school for early departure.  As mentioned, had also arranged that he’d do the packing, and I’d give him gear he was missing.  I had M11 for 1-on-1 on the Fri before departure and was shocked to get the camp list showing that pretty much none of the clothes had been packed.  When I asked whether M11 had jocks or socks there, got told he has, “but they’re all dirty and Daddy hasn’t done washing for a while”.  Texted AH checking the position – got no response!

Next morning, I ask why we’re back to no answers, pointing out that M11 is feeling as though he’s being put in the middle which isn’t fair.  He rings – apparently his phone isn’t delivering messages; yet he got this latest.  He’s raging.  Doesn’t give me a chance to speak just shouts over.  I tell him I won’t be spoken to like that and hang up on him.  Once he’s calm, we can speak.

He calls back and foully questions whether the clothes I’d given M11 to give him were all he’d be getting (some socks and jocks).  I would only fill gaps – not lose all the clothes I have here so would wait to hear what was missing!  He tries to go back on the packing arrangements we’d made and says if he has to go out and buy clothes, I’ll have to repay him 40%.  NO ASSHOLE – what needs to happen is that you communicate what you need to me, and I’ll assist.  We’ll CO-parent.  As planned!

Emailed AH to ask him if he would give M11 his spending money (what he’d earned doing little jobs fundraising over the past few months less $100 contribution to total cost).  We hadn’t discussed the final figure M11 would get but I suggested he get $40.  AH REFUSED to go draw him the money, saying he’d give him $20, thereby reneging on what had been agreed with M11.

camp-1

Dorrie’s husband is one of the camp parents so swung some money into her account and asked that he give M11 the extra $20, as M7 and M10 are asleep by now.

He calls just as I send that last text – asking how I knew about the movies and spending money on the ferry …. well, dickhead – from that camp contract that came home to your place before you sent it to me to complete!  

Let him know I’ve sorted the money for M11 – that I’d arranged for ‘someone else to step up as a parent, as he obviously wasn’t prepared to be one’.  And that’s definitely one time I don’t mind being hung up on.

And we’re back to where we left off.  He still knows how to push my buttons and I still let him.  I just get so damn frustrated by his arrogance and refusal to see anything for what it is nor to every see anything as something that he has caused.

If only he’d packed as agreed.

But then this is just another way he gaslights.  He makes me question whether I’ve got it wrong or not.  I’m wishing I had cut back on the drinking years ago as I am vividly recalling nights very early on in our marriage where I was questioning if I was losing the plot.

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God, why can’t it be easy!

The four C’s (pt 2)

Have to start this with a jump to the present.  Today’s recycling day.  Must’ve been another tough week for AH, coz it’s full again.

Funny story from Ms6 a couple of days ago.  The boys do hip-hop on Thursdays from 6:15-7pm.  Apparently there was a booze bus on the way to the class last week and AH got breath-tested.  He passed as, as he happily told the kids, ‘he’d only had 2 beers with dinner and that was ok’.

So when I used the word ‘funny’, it was anything but!  It’s completely insane.  He thinks it’s ok to drink 2 beers before getting them all the in the car to drive them to their class!  Waiting until they got home at 7:15pm is too long?  I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again and again and again … WHAT THE HELL!?

And back to the last 2 C’s …

3)  Ceasefire

On top of the CPT and chattels conversations, AH also started one at 06:50 the day after Ms7’s birthday asking that, now the UK flat is sold, he wants the debts cleared … including his student loan.  Considering he’s refused to share the cost of the teacher’s meal from Ms7’s birthday the night before, and that money is in the UK and any time we transfer to NZ will incur bank transfer fees as well as potentially UK lawyers’ fees (as he’s refused to let the sale proceeds go into our joint account over there), I’m wary.  I say I have no issue with the UK£ debts being paid.

I’m told “that’s short sighted” {attack 1} and that the mortgage I’m paying is now on a floating interest rate {threat 1}.

With my rules in mind, I explain my reasons without pointing fingers.  I end my email with:  “Please can I be free of any more of your emails today.  They are causing unnecessary stress to an already overly-charged time”.

It’s only 10 minutes before he replies, completely ignoring my request.  He’s pushing for this but I say, as the relationship property split hasn’t been agreed, I can’t buy him out of this property any quicker.  Without knowing how much of the sale proceeds I’m going to get, I’m not going to commit to potentially crippling myself financially.  Also, as he reneged on the agreed value of this house and raised it $15k (despite not paying a cent towards it for over a year now), he’s added another element to the mix that will cause conflict and delay things.

There’s some 12 more emails between us, including from him:

“the longer you take…the more you’ll be paying on interest” {threat 2}

“You might not be claiming spousal maintenance but I have helped & agreed to putting the mortgage on interest free to help you. You’re reaction to that left me with no faith that you will look to treat me fairly” {attack 2}

“You got [valuer] to under value everything we bought to serve your own purpose” {attack 3}.  “You have done everything in your power to keep the house and all its contents while I have had to set up a new home” {attack 4}

“You had no consideration for my well being nor the children’s during that time I had no place to live. You even knew what had gone on in the Meth house as you had spoken to [friend]” {attack 5 and utterly untrue allegation}

“If we can settle all the debt now – I will help you to get a better interest rate on the house for the short term, I will agree to your chattels split and we can work together on an amicable & fairer split of the assets. 70:30 is not fair” {threat 3}

“I did not destroy our marriage…I had a part to play but your drinking, mental health and violence drove a wedge between us. I wasn’t there when you needed me – I have already acknowledged that and apologised. You’ve taken no responsibility for your part” {attack 6 and BS, BS and more BS}

“In fact, you have attacked and destroyed relationships post separation that had nothing to do with me”{attack 7 and I don’t even know what it’s referring to}

“We can go to court and you can play the estranged wife but given your mental health and track record of violence…thats a very risky move” {attack 8 and threat 4}

“Good luck to you.  Good bye” {not sure if this is an attack or a threat}

I’m still doing my best to channel my rules in my response.  I don’t want to do as he’s done and point the finger at me or name-call or base it on lies.

Oh my god.  Fair and amicable is not what this response is.  It’s abuse [AH].  More threats and adding other people to the attack too?  Continuing to bring up my mental health as though addressing my depression is something I should be ashamed of and something that you can use as ammunition?  Claiming I have taken no responsibility?  Lying about telling you I didn’t love you – that’s not true [AH], let alone that I said it more than once?  You are so wrong and so intent on only seeing things from you side and twisting things to suit.  How the hell are we ever meant to get to a stage where we can be friends?  

Something in this triggered something in him and he suggests we chat before I get M10 for 1-on-1.  And we sit in the car and have a nice air-clearer.  I let him know I feel constantly on the attack – as does he.  I reiterate I’m not out to crush him, despite what he thinks.  Tell him my lawyer has said we should go for a 80/20 split as I should’ve been getting spousal maintenance and it’s been my money that’s keen the UK afloat.  Also point out that in some circumstances, he’s been aggrieved because I haven’t said “do you need anything” yet I have been waiting for him to ASK when needs something.  Mars and Venus!

Agree to look to settle the debts EXCEPT the student loan (I’m buggered if I’m paying towards a loan that’s cemented his career and future salaries, but I don’t get any benefit of the hard graft I put in behind the scenes).  He agrees to pay his share of the teacher’s meal and associated birthday costs.  It’s a good chat and I let him know that the following day [thanks 2bshamless: that advice from last time stuck].  With M11 heading to school camp, we even managed to agree that he would do the first pack and I would supplement anything that was missing with stuff I have here.

Things definitely felt like they were moving in the right direction!  It wasn’t to last 😦

The four C’s

Yesterday’s catch-up post focused solely on Ms7’s birthday and AH’s messed-up idea of what is fair.  ‘Fairness’ is something he brings up often; normally claiming I’m being so unfair to him.  There never appears to be any seeing it from any other viewpoint, other than he’s getting a raw deal/his victim one.  And this difference in our definition of that one word leads to some horrible discussions between us — starting first thing on Ms7’s birthday …

1)  CPT

He’d spoken to his dad the previous night and an uncle is not well so they were hoping to all be there for Xmas [AH has the kids from the day they finish school (15 Dec) until we meet on M11’s birthday to spend the day together (27 Dec).  I then get them for 10 days].  They would not get back until the day after M11’s birthday effectively (he asks if he can take a few extra days so as not to travel on Boxing Day).  To have my first Xmas without my kids AND to miss M11’s birthday struck me as ‘unfair’ but, despite his family’s unwillingness to be good voices of reason and common sense or, bar one aunt, touching base ever with me since the separation, I decide I will consider this fairly.  The good aunt then called from South Africa to wish Ms7 a happy birthday.  It’s her partner who’s been made out to be at death’s door, but speaking with her, it definitely doesn’t seem that way.  Hmmm, is someone trying to play me here?

I email him to let him know if the wool is being pulled over my eyes as to the uncle’s health [not his words, but my presumption by travelling at the most expensive time of the year], it will not fly.  And he doesn’t hold back ….

Be very careful.  I will not tolerate the tone your email is written in.  I said he is frail…that’s what I have been told….not dying.  You need to think before you write if we are to get out of our current tone of communication.

Nice threat there.  I don’t reply as we have to sit at dinner together and it’s bad enough already.

After such a display at dinner, I give him my answer: due to taking them out of school and not having M11 here for his birthday after my first Xmas apart from them, my answer is ‘no’.

I talked to my dad last night. The probability of you ever agreeing was remote….this was the outcome we have all been expecting.  I will look at taking the children to South Africa next year sometime. My options are Easter or around October.  Both those dates will probably require some time off school.  Thank you for your response & unemotional/unbiased consideration.  Enjoy the rest of your day

[Don’t buy into the ‘charm’ of his last 2 sentences.  There are written with venom].

I point out that there’s 30 days in January when it’s school holidays and they could go.  But it’s not good enough for him.  Him being with his family who, besides that one aunt, have done f**k all to be part of my kids’ lives EVER, at Xmas is more important than me spending my kid’s birthday with him, having not seen them for 10 days.  There’s that differing definition.

2)  Chattels

I’d finally drafted my counter-proposal re the chattels that I wanted us to try to agree without lawyers (gutted that he got his email re CPT to me before I pressed send to mine, but that’s procrastination for ya!).  I hope he’d agree that the proceeds of London can be put to better use than lawyers.  From the things he’s asked for, I agree that he can have the majority.  I send it about 3 hours after he sent his CPT one.

3 hours after sending my ‘no’ to CPT, I get his response to my proposal:

I think a 50:50 split of the household items is fairer.  Let me know when I can come up to the house to agree the items I can remove

I refer him to the chattels valuation that I had commissioned.

All offers are off the table as they were not good enough for you.  50:50 it is

Again, I ask that he goes through the chattels list and marks what he wants and we’ll go from there.

I dont need to mark anything.  There is a fridge and a chest freezer; tumble dryer & washing machine, a sofa and a chair, a bed and a mattress, 2 side tables and a chest of drawers; books, CD’s, wedgewood, crockery & cutlery….50:50 of everything.  I will need access to the house as part of the negotiations…you are more than welcome to have a Police officer or Supreme Court judge witness the division of property.

I feel sick.  He is fuming that I said no to not letting him go to CPT for Xmas and this is his cruel retaliation.

I’m not willing to buy into his manipulation, his abuse or his games so end this for the day:  “I knew I had reason to be anxious and this proves my fears were justified.  Perhaps we need to let this go for a week until emotions are not so clouded (and before you reply, my emotions are extremely unclouded and calm)”.

That leaves ‘3)  Ceasefire’ and ‘4)  Camp’ – but my eyes are heavy and Ms7 is in dreamland in my bed.  I know there won’t be too many more years before she’s too big for me to have the opportunity to listen to her sleep so I must make the most of it now.

Belated

It’s happened again.  A couple of weeks of school holiday just has that effect on me.  I have a great excuse in part though … my mum doesn’t do comfortable silences.  And were I to pull out the laptop in the evening while at theirs, that must mean that I’m ready to chat.  And if I disappeared off to bed early, the worry would start that something was wrong, then the “is everything ok?” which will ultimately end up with me getting pissed off as nothing was wrong.

Well, not at the start anyway.

So it’s just not even worth the effort of logging on while there.

Had a great time though.  Took my 13-year old niece up again and she amazes me with how mature she is, and how brilliant she is with my 3.  My parents have now moved into their ‘downsized’ home (could still fit my little shoebox into it nearly 3 times), but at least the grounds are smaller and more manageable for them.  Kids had a blast in the swimming pool (heated, thankfully as it rained a helluva lot) and spa pool.  Wee birthday celebration for Ms6’s birthday that would happen the day after we left.  Great to have two brothers and their wives join us for Sunday lunch (esp good to see the brother and sis-in-law who lost their daughter last year, as they’re still hurting and keep low profiles).  Didn’t catch up with as many people as I’d have liked though – a few more days would always be nice.  Having said that, I think Mum is always happy to get her ‘nothing out-of-place’ home back again after about 4 nights.

Had made Ms6’s birthday cake the night before we left and put it in the freezer.  She was allowed to invite one friend to do whatever she wanted, and was very specific about the plans:

  • Breakfast – McDonald’s;
  • Lunch – sushi;
  • Play – Chipmunks (indoor play park);
  • Dinner – [newly taken-over pub/restaurant that has $12 steak night :)] with her cake that I’d be making;
  • Friend – [her BFF] AND her teacher!

So that her BFF could have a sleepover, I’d asked AH if we could do the ‘party’ on the actual day, as it was the holidays and as he’d have the kids on Sat.  He agreed.  Only once everything was booked, did he say, he’d only do the dinner … leaving me to do everything else.

Truth be told, NOT spending time in his company was preferable so I was down with that!

Unfortunately, despite my best intentions to take the cake to the restaurant, the damn chocolate shell hadn’t set in time and I couldn’t get it out of the bowl (it was a piñata thing).  AH was already there with Ms6 [who is now officially renamed Ms7] and BFF.  His face turned to thunder when he found out the cake wasn’t there.  As I’m trespassed from his and I don’t want him in mine, he was pissed that he’d not be there for the cake.  But instead of making an easy fix, ie speak with the staff to get a dessert with a candle in it, he just fumed!  He didn’t even wait until the kids had finished dessert – he paid his share, said I could let him know what he owed for the balance and left.

I was sooo glad Ms7’s teacher came.  She got to see the side of him he usually keeps in check.  At one stage, I had to say to him “one night [AH], just one night without any crap for your daughter’s birthday” when he started to go on the attack about something I’d said to the teacher.

Back at home, when I was making finishing touches to the cake, I actually considered ringing him to see if he wanted us to come round there so that he could be part of it (I’m loathe to have him in mine as he’ll simply use it as a spying mission, and attempt to claim more money from me for the place).  Given his reaction to me asking if I could go into the boys’ room at his to find M11’s production clothes, I figured that it wasn’t even worth asking.  There would be no way he’d tolerate me stepping into his place.  Cake or not!

I felt sick when, having forked out for all the expense of the birthday and sent through a breakdown of his share, I got back “I’m only paying my 60% for the kids, you can pay for all the teacher’s”.  WHAT. THE. HELL!  She came because OUR daughter invited her.  You don’t ask someone to dinner, she brings a present  … then tell her she has to pick up her tab!  She’s our invited guest!!

Now this is only one of the special moments that have occurred since I last posted.  Tomorrow, there’s ‘chattels’ and ‘CPT’ to discuss, along with ‘Ceasefire’ and ‘Camp’ (no, the alliteration coincidence was not intentional).  As these all brought even more of his beautiful, calm, understanding side to the surface!

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Positives:

  1. Being ‘HOME’ and not having to cook;
  2. not having to get out of bed and get out the door for school; and
  3. being away from this judgemental pack of wolves.