Wednesday, December 10, 2008

School Lockdown

There are several things that my daughters have at school/daycare that I never had as a kid. They still have fire drills (and the kids still love them). Now, our school, and I think every school in Toronto, has lockdowns and evacuations. Lockdowns are split into 'strangers in the school' and 'strangers out of the school'. They had a practice lockdown a few days ago. Heather, my 9 year old, didn't know it was a practice and started to cry because she was scared.
There's now another element to this scary new world we live in...
I received an email yesterday from the daycare. Two girls were in the bathroom (they always go in at least pairs). While in the bathroom, a man took their picture. They immediately notified the daycare (they are daycare kids). The daycare called the principal down, who then called the police. I'm happy to hear that these situations, while extremely rare, are taken seriously. There was another email update this morning saying that there were more details and that the police and the school were taking it seriously.

When I went to pick the girls up today, Heather was talking about a letter that was in her backpack for me. Everyone got a letter to give to their parents. The letter talks about a 'potentially serious incident' and the steps that the school is taking to keep the kids safe and secure. Leah was talking to Heather's friend, Emily, who promptly came to me and told me what Leah was saying. Leah told us that a couple of days ago she was in the bathroom with 2 of her friends (all grade 1) and a man took a picture of them and then walked away. I immediately asked Emily's father to take Heather with him for the girls to play in the school yard, and took Leah into the daycare manager's office to talk with the manager and assistant mgr about what I had heard. After some prompting, it turns out that Leah may have seen the same man who took the pictures of the other girls. She gave a description of the man and described the camera he was using. What impressed me was how serious they are taking this. I took Leah out and they called the police and the school principal. Most likely, Leah will talk with the police tomorrow.
While I am not completly convinced what Leah did see, I am sure that something happened. She didn't say anything about it because she didn't know there was anything to say. It wasn't an extraordinary occurance for her. She also has a great imagination.
After we left the school, I talked with the girls more and told Leah what a great thing she did and if she talks with the police tomorrow to just tell them the truth with the story.
I received another email tonight, saying that the school is on high alert and will have one door only open. There are several doors to the school, some of which are open in the morning and afternoon (before and after school). Now, only one door in the entire school will be open.

While it is scary to think of this world we live in, I am so grateful that we live in a good area (relatively) and things like this don't normally happen. The school is on 'high alert', the police are involved, and everyone is doing the right thing in insuring the childrens' safety.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some People CAN Change...but for how long??

I have vented, ranted, and bitched about a couple of my co-workers, A and K.

I haven't updated in a bit because I was afraid that if I did, things would change back to the way they were.

I am thrilled to report that as of a couple of months ago K has been amazing with me. One night, we had a very long chat on the phone and came to an understanding about each other. Seems that we were having some mis-communications. Through talking about it and discussing communication methods, we resolved many of our mis-communications. Since that time, things have been great with us at work. Now, a couple of months later, I know how she expects things to be done, and things that I can do to make her life easier (she's a lawyer, I'm the assistant).

A is another story. She has had a 'hate-on' for me since the day she started. From the time she started as assistant, I went from working a few hours a week filing, to more responsible work, to full time, and now to Cheryl's assistant (a very good job). I have had discussions with other people about her and our lack of relationship. She's jealous of me. She is superior to me because she went to college to become an assistant. She's getting married. She's not in recovery....it goes on and on. The bottom line - she treated me like crap. If I asked her what time it was, she would tell me to look it up or figure it out myself. Don't even get me started on the fact that I have a laptop and can work at home (I begged to work at home...who does that???). I always describe her to other people as the exact opposite of teamwork.

At the end of Oct., she took the last week as a vacation week. During that week, she got sick and ended up taking the following week of because she was still sick. To make a long story short, while she was gone for those 2 weeks, I handled everything that needed to be done. I served/filed court documents, and did both of our jobs. I worked every night from home after my day at the office, and worked weekends. I didn't complain, it needed to be done.

Since she has been back now, it's like she's a different person. She's actually nice to me. We joke. She has explained things to me. Today, she asked me about my divorce, my case, and offered to help me with it. Wow! I don't know if this is going to last, as she has been nice the odd time before. I hope it does. Perhaps she has heard that I am staying as Cheryl's assistant when her friend, the other assistant, returns from maternity leave in a few weeks. I don't know why the 'change' occured. I don't care either. All I know is that now work is the way it should be in terms of teamwork. I love it. For now, I'm accepting it and enjoying it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bell Canada Sucks!

We have a 'choice' for cable tv in Toronto, Rogers (who owns everything and re-names the Skydome - different issues with HIM), and Bell Canada. Not much of a choice.
To make a long story short, when we moved in July, I thought since my home phone and internet were Bell, that I would switch my tv to Bell as well. It's a satellite system, supposed to be more channels, blah blah blah.
So I did. I still have problems finding things on tv, since all of the channel numbers are different, but on the whole, it's fine. The problem I have is getting my dvd/vcr player to work with it. I've tried several different ways, so please don't tell me how you know how to make it work. What really sucks is the fact that I can't rent a dvd, and I can't tape 'House' (my favourite show).
I decided that I would get a PVR, personal video recorder, so at least I can tape stuff. At the time I made the call to Bell, I explained to the person that I could not get the dvd player to work. She said that the person coming to put the pvr in could fix the problem with the dvd.
Fast forward to today. The Bell guy comes to 'install' the pvr. It takes him all of 5 minutes, then I ask him about the dvd. He tells me he doesn't do that. Okay, please take the other receiver back. He doesn't do that either. I fiddle around with the new pvr, trying to get the dvd to work. I can't. I figure, fine, I'll get a Pay Per View movie. I want to see 'Sex in the City' movie. It's on at 5:30pm. Perfect. A couple of minutes before, I try to order it on-line and it doesn't work. I try to order it on tv. It doesn't work. I call them. Oh, I'm told, the person who installs the receiver should have connected the line for Pay. He didn't. I get transferred from one person to another, trying to have it so I can watch the movie that I've been looking forward to watching. After 40 minutes on the phone, I know I'm not going to see it. I explained that I simply want to watch movies with my kids on my dvd. I want to beable to get Pay per view if I want to. I really don't think that I'm being unreasonable. I got so frustrated, I told one person that I was fed up and wanted to cancel my entire Bell tv and go back to Rogers. Oh, she can't do that. I get transfered to someone else. Once with the next person, they tell me that it can't be done and he would call me back Mon morning. I did explain that I worked and could not call during the day. It was left that someone, a supervisor, would call me Monday around 9pm.

How much do you want to bet that I don't receive a call??

I am so fed up with these large monopolizing corporations who don't give a crap about the individual customer. I know I'm not alone in feeling this way. I don't know what the answer is. At one point, I thought that I would simply cancel the tv all together, but that's not fair to the girls, or to me for that point.

I'll update next week to let you know what did not happen on Monday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Love My Boss

How many people can honestly say that they enjoy their job and their boss is amazing?
While I do have bad days, sometimes over-worked, a bitch of a colleague, and not enough hours in the day, I do enjoy it.
I also have the best boss in the world. I was talking to her a couple of months ago about wanting to take an on-line law course. I'm taking it now, directly related to my work, and she is paying for it. And the textbook! Today I went to a continuing education seminar that was also paid for by work.

Since I got my promotion this past summer, I have been trying to dress better at work. As a senior family lawyer in Toronto, Cheryl's hourly rate is $475. I can't really get away with wearing shorts and a t-shirt to work now. I need a new wardrobe. Problem is, I've gained a lot of weight and I hate shopping. My feet are weird, so I also have a very hard time with shoes.
Her regular assistant is returning from mat leave in Dec. It has now been established, although not 'officially', that I will stay as her assistant and the other woman is going to 'float'. She only wants to come back 4 days a week, so it will work out well.

Cheryl is going away on vacation the end of this week for over a week. I asked her a few days ago if she should get someone to have signing authority for cheques while she's away. I didn't mean me. Yesterday, first thing in the am, she called me into her office. She handed me an envelope and said that I wasn't to tell anyone about it. She said that I've been doing a great job and doing 'other' stuff for her as well (I pick up her lunch almost every day because she doesn't have time, plus I'm the RSVP on a big party she is hosting for her parent's 50th anniversary, etc). The envelope contained certificates for a big mall in Toronto. $200. She told me I was NOT allowed to spend it on the kids and I HAD to spend it on me. Wow.
Then we went downstairs for a smoke break (we both smoke...why? is it bad for me?). We are right next to RBC, where we bank. She told me to go into the bank with her. She gave me signing authority to sign cheques up to $500. Holy crap! What a day!!

In AA, there is talk about the 'promises' when life gets better and good things happen. It's something that people in AA talk about, something I have seen in other people, but have rarely felt happen to me. It's amazing to think that 3 years ago at this time, I was drunk and wanted to die. Not anymore. Today, I'm sober and relatively happy.

It's amazing how a good job and a good boss changes things.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

When Life Sucks

What do you do when people you care about are in pain? How do you help them without interfering or meddling, showing them that you care, love, and support them? What advise can you offer a friend or loved one when you don't know what advise to give?

My life is fairly together now, probably the most together it's ever been. I'm not saying that I'm happy all of the time, but because of AA, I have the tools to help me deal with life stuff.

I have many friends, and some relatives, who are going through very horrible life changes. Some are separated, some have parent's who are dying or have died, one has a drinking problem and is in denial. A couple are having kids for the first time. That in itself is not a 'horrible' life change, but it is a life change all the same.

I deeply care for these people. I've been separated, I'm 'doing' life on my own. I had a parent die when I was 15 (my father). My mother is getting older. I had a drinking problem and now attend AA a minimum of 3 times a week, I'll be doing that for the rest of my life. My kids are getting older and are creating 'new' challenges for me.

The point is, I can empathize with their life challenges. I can attempt to advise, I can listen, I can tell them what helped me, and I can listen even more. I cannot make it better, no matter how much I want to.

My kids are still at the stage (for the most part) where I can kiss an 'owie' or give a big hug and make it all better. Not so with friends.

Sometimes, life really sucks. Sometimes, 'it sucks' is the best thing I can say. I know it doesn't help, but sometimes it the best I can do.

I just really want those friends to know how much I care and how much I wish I could make it better.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dating and Kids

When I first started this Blog, I thought I would post often, and post about 'stuff' in my life.
The reality is that I do post about my life, but can't get to it often.

I thought that in recovery, I would have my 'stuff' together and would move on with my life and lead a 'normal' life. Most of the time I do have my 'stuff' together and I do lead a 'normal' life. I go on with my day to day activities and do things to the best of my abilities. The 10th Step of AA says that 'when we are wrong we promptly admit it'. I really try to do that. If I make a mistake I own up to it promptly, remember the error and do my best never to make that same 'wrong'.

My life right now is pretty full. I'm a single mother, kids are 6 and 9. I work full time, then have a laptop at home that is connected to the server at work so I can work at night. My daughters are both in Guides of Canada; Leah is a Spark, Heather a Guide (and it's cookie time, too!). I'm taking an online law course to better myself at work. I'm the VP on the Board of Directors of the daycare that the kids go to. Both kids are in extra curricular activites as well. Exactly when would I date, even if there were someone I wanted to date??

A couple of weeks ago, Heather stated that I need to get remarried (okay, but I think I might need a date first). It boils down to Heather wants to sleep in, she does not want to get up at 6:45 and be at daycare at 7:45, to be picked up at 5. Her reasoning was very clever. When there are things that they want, or things that they want to do and I can't, sometimes I explain that 'those other people' (friends of hers) have 2 parents in their house. That means that in most cases there is more than twice the income. Plus, when one child wants to do something and the other one does not, it can't be done in a one-parent household. Punishments are difficult because both kids suffer.
If I were to remarry, then there would be another income earner in the house. I wouldn't have to work so much. I could go into work later. She could sleep in. Clever for a 9 year old!

The kids are funny when it comes to waking up and sleeping in. During the week, I am up at 5:45am. I shower, make lunches, and have my 'alone' time. On the weekend, I want to sleep. My rule is 'don't talk to me before 9am'. They, on the other hand, hate waking up at 6:45am during the week and always want to sleep in. On the weekends, they are up even earlier. Go figure.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Appreciation Day (well, morning, at least)

I have great kids. I love them and they are, at heart, truly good people.
This is how my day started.....

At 9:30 (yes, 9:30), Leah came in and woke me up. She said 'Mommy, it's time to get up now, Heather and I have something for you. Here are your glasses'.

I went into the living room and they had made breakfast for me. We have 2 small tables that we use instead of a coffee table. They put the tables together, had 3 plates with food on them. There was a vase with wool fringes out of it (their 'flowers'). A glass of diet coke with lemon (my fave), and a small 'sandwich' for me. Also, toast without butter and a bowl of cereal (Special K, because they don't like it).
It was SO sweet!!

I asked what it was for, they said it was 'Appreciation Day' because I am such a good mother.

WOW! I think it's because I took them to Chuck E Cheese last night for dinner, it was the first time any of us had been there. It might be because I told them that today we may go to Ontario Place or swimming at a pool somewhere. It might be because I told Leah that she can pick any backpack she wants as she is going into grade 1 and it's her first time in 'all day' school.

It really doesn't matter why it 'might be'. The point is, they did this completely on their own and because they wanted to. I'm touched beyond words.

I have the best kids in the world!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Updates

Summer is almost half over, it's been so busy!

Heather is now at a sleepover camp, coming home tomorrow. She left this past Mon, so she was gone for a week. She's at a camp called Marygrove, through St. Vincent De Paul Society. They are an amazing society of people, churches, etc. who help out 'underprivileged' families. Being a single parent, recovering alcoholic, with an ex who has not paid child support in months (more about that later), I think I can easily qualify.
I took Heather to the bus last Mon and was a little uneasy about it at first. I didn't know what to expect. The information sheet that was sent to me made it clear that some of the children who attend are in protective custody, and visitors are NOT allowed. What I DID see were many excited campers and parents, 4 state-of-the-art buses, councellers with smiling, friendly faces, and 'employees' (volunteers) from Marygrove. We waited in line to register Heather, then waited for the bus. I was looking at all of the happy campers and families. What really got me - I saw a man that I knew from AA. I've seen him the last couple of years at the AA conference. He rents a room and sells jewelry. I bought 2 rings and a pendant from him. Turns out, his 2 daughters have been going to Marygrove for years and they love it. I told Heather who he was, and from that she knew that other 'AA' kids were going. It helped her to know that I knew someone whose kids were going on the same bus.
Leah and I pick her up tomorrow. I'll let you know how much she enjoyed it.

For the past couple of summers, my boss has closed the office on a Friday and has had a 'cottage party'. Her cottage is about 1 1/2 hours from Toronto. It's actually not a cottage, it's one of the nicest houses I have ever seen, with 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, it's huge. Right on the lake as well. This year, I had 'the kids' invited as well (last year no kids). One has a 6m old, another has an 18m old, plus Leah. Turns out Leah was the only kid there, but it didn't matter to her. She went jet skiing twice and ATV'ing as well, plus the 'big boat'. My boss invited Leah and I to stay the night and we did. It was the first time I had spent a night away from Toronto in a couple of years and it was SO nice. Leah really enjoyed herself as well.

Scott's parent's want Heather and Leah for a week this summer. They live in Grand Bend, about 3 hours from here. I used to think that they had a the perfect 'summer home' (until I saw my boss'). It's a great home in the woods right near a lake. When Scott first talked to me about the girls going there for a week, I said that he could take them next Fri or Sat, but I wanted them home the following Sat or Sun early. He pretty much blew a head gasket with that, so I then said that he could take them Sunday to Sunday. Heather now has plans with her friend for next Sat, so Scott and I compromised that he could take the girls Sat night after Heather gets back from Ontario Place. That's fine. The following Monday (Aug 4) is also a holiday in Canada, making it a long weekend. I told Scott that I still wanted them home on the Sunday, and he has agreed. I feel good about the compromise, and we'll see if he sticks to it.

As some of you might remember, we moved at the begining of July. We have a great 3 bedroom in a triplex and it's great. We still have lots of work to do here, but it's home and it's nice. The lady who lived here before us gave me her bed frame. I love it andit's so nice. Because of that, Leah now has a queen size bed as well and Heather has the bunkbed in her room. I put the bed together but did not put the bottom mattress on so she has a little 'hide out' under her bed. She loves it!

That's about it for the update for now. Someday I will take pictures and post them, I just have to find my digital camera!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer as well.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My First Meme

My good friend, Michelle, has a new meme on her blog. The purpose is to go back in your life 15 years and tell readers your life. I'm going to go back to 12 years ago...

1996: I was working for my uncle in my family business (home health care). I met Scott. I didn't exactly fall in love, but we decided to get married and to move to BC. I spent my entire life until then in Toronto, only leaving to go to Western University, in London, ON.

1997: Scott and I moved to BC. He started to work for Schneider's. I began to work for a home health care business in sales. We got married in Toronto. We bought a house in Maple Ridge, BC, a smaller community that we loved.

1999: Heather was born. I went back to work after 6 months (that was Mat Leave at that time). Left my home health care job to work at a toy store. Became assistant mgr and loved it.

2001: Surgery...bunion on my foot. The surgeon shaved the bone on my foot, broke my toes and straitened them out. Wheelchair for a month, crutches for 2 more. Ouch.

2002: Leah was born. Started my own business selling Discovery Toys. Conflict with toy store. Left the toy store.

2003: Tripped while carrying Leah. Didn't listen to the doctor. Walked on it. A couple of months later...fractured femur. Surgery that day. Wheelchair for 3 months. Could not put any pressure on my leg. Ouch again.

2004 (Oct): Scott decided that our marriage was over. It was over for me a couple of years before that, but I was 'stuck' in BC with no job and a very sore body, low self-esteem, and becoming addicted to alcohol in a big way.

2004 (Oct): Girls and I move back to Toronto. Go from 'country' setting and bears in the yard to semi-detached house with no grass. Scott arrives in Dec, moves across the city from us.

2005: I attempt to start my own daycare in my house. Few kids to watch, doesn't pay the rent. Go to work for my uncle again. Drinking increases, drinking pretty much every day.

Late 2005- early 2006: Drinking is totally out of control. I have a complete breakdown. Scott takes the kids. I get sober. I get the kids back. No job, no income. I work a couple of hours here and there for my family lawyer. Get sober and join AA.

2007: Still sober. Working more for lawyer. End up being on payroll there.

Early 2008: Scott had his own business. It goes under. He moves to appartment. We had 2 dogs from BC. One gets put down in summer 2007, other I find a 'rescue' place to take so she does not end up at the pound (where he was going to leave her). Get promotion at work. big raise.

May 2008: Still sober. Get another promotion and big raise at work. No child support from Scott in a few months. He gets new job. Get notice from landlord telling us we have to move.

June 2008: Have new place to move. Move July 5. Nice place, in school catchment area. Expensive, but can do it with new promotion and raise at work. Girls are great, although there are problems as in any family. Heather is 9, she's a brat. Leah is 5, a monster in her own world. They both have amazing hearts and are good, loving children.
I'm content and happy, probably more than I've ever been in my life. Have a strong AA program and see the world and my life in a new light. A good, white light.

That brings us to now. Stay tooned for further updates.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another New Home (this time for real)...and THE talk

We did not end up taking the new home that I posted about previously. I did say that I was going to take it, but really, I wasn't happy about it. It was very small, and much further from the school than I wanted to be.
I kept checking my usual sites, 'MLS.CA', 'Viewit', and Toronto Star listings. Obviously, if I was happy with the place I wouldn't have kept looking.
I did see another add, called and went to see it. This new place is perfect for us. It's 3 bedrooms, and the girls can have their own room. It's big. The kitchen is big, the bathroom is big, the bedrooms are all a nice size. It's more money per month, but weighing the pros and cons, it's worth it. It's also much closer to school, and the shops that we go to.
We move July 1, but probably not really July 1 as it's Canada's birthday and a long weekend. It will be difficult to move at that time. The lady who lives there now is nice, and I might get her bed out of it, too. I love my mattress, so that's coming with me anyway, but her bed frame is great. She doesn't want it because it was her 'marital' bed and now she is divorced.
The owner is great. I told her that I was in AA and she was great with it.
It's a triplex, 3 'apartments' in the house. We have the middle, or 2nd floor. The people in the basement are moving, so don't know who's moving in yet. There are 3 guys who live on the top floor, I met one of them. They are all in their late 20's, all professionals, or teachers. I was a little concerned being a single parent with 2 girls, but after meeting the one guy and talking to the current tenant, I feel like it's safe and secure for the girls and I.

And, the next news....
Heather and I had THE TALK a couple of days ago. Leah had a playdate/birthday party, so Heather and I had some time alone. I went to the library and to Indigo and came home with 3 books. Heather has been exceptionally moody lately, so I thought it was time.
I showed her the books, explained things that she wanted explained, and we talked. She was excited about the thought of growing up and getting breasts. She didn't ask about the actual 'how' a baby was made, so I didn't explain it to her. We did talk about 'parts' and looked at pictures.
Then came the part about 'products'.
Again, we looked at the pictures, but that wasn't good enough for her. I had to go and get some 'products' for her to see. While it was embarassing, it was funny and I saw things in a different light. Kids do that to you sometimes. We opened the one product and she 'tried' it in her underwear. Then we opened the 'other' package. She was interested, while I was trying to not get embarassed about it further. We dipped it in water. Then she squeezed the water out. I got rid of it after that. We talked a lot about what happens if she gets 'it' at school or other places. She wants to get 'it' now, and she wants 'it' at school. I did not say 'just wait'. It will happen. Maybe not for months or years, but it will happen. Then she'll be sorry.
I'm glad I had THE talk with her. She seemed happier the last couple of days. I told her that her emotions being all over the place were part of puberty, and sometimes she was going to get upset and cry over things that normally she wouldn't. I know personally, when I find out that something is 'normal' it helps me to get through it. We also felt a closeness with each other that was comforting.
This morning I woke up to Leah coming into my room saying 'Mommy, Heather got her period'. 7am on a Sat. Leah has no idea what that means, she's only 5. I had to laugh, even though it was 7am.
One down, one to go....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ANOTHER Raise!

Wow, do the AA Promises ever come true if you work the Program (of Alcoholics Anomymous).
I wrote about work, that one Assistant was fired and the other went on vacation.
Well, I filled in that week and at the end of the week I spoke with my boss. The plan was to get a temp who could assist until her Assistant came back from Mat leave in Dec.
She (Cheryl) offered me the job! Not only that, another (NICE) raise to go with it. I was shocked, but of course I said 'yes'.
I did have some problems last week with the other Assistant and one of the lawyers (K). When the other Assistant (A) came back from her vacation, she was not pleased to see me sitting in that chair. A and K gave me a very hard time. Last Wed I lost it, talked with another lawyer (M) and told her that I didn't want the job anymore and my sobriaty was not worth the job. I walked out. During this time, Cheryl was in a meeting and didn't know what was going on. M told me that after I left and Cheryl came out and heard what had happened, sh*t hit the fan. Cheryl was not upset with me, in fact, she defended me. She laid into A and K and told them to smarten up (I don't think it was said that nicely, though).
Cheryl wrote me a very nice email that night, said that I was doing a great job, she was sorry that they treated me so poorly, she was committed to having this work and other nice stuff. I was clearly shocked at this, as I thought that I was going to be out of a job. I wrote her back, told her the truth, that in the past 3 days the 2 of them (A and K) took me back 2 1/2 years. Cheryl knew me then. I told her that I was NOT going back to that place of 2 1/2 years ago under any circumstances. The rest of the week was okay, nothing major, but I kept quiet and did my work.

Today I had a great day. A and I were talking a bit in the kitchen/copy/binding room. She ended up telling me that she thought that I was doing an amazing job and that I'm catching on very quickly. I told her how much it meant to me that she said that. We talked about the fact that while I don't have the legal background, I do have other assets and strengths and we could work together pulling our individual strengths. It was a great talk and at the end of it she hugged me. I said to her 'work is so much better when we get along and communicate in an effective manner, isn't it?' She laughed and we went on with our day.
Towards the end of the day, I spoke with her about the laptop that Cheryl got for me so I could work at home. I told A that I wanted to do more work, I'm not getting paid extra for doing it, and I asked for the work. She is in her late 20's, engaged, planning a wedding, and have an active social life. I, on the other hand, am a single mother with 2 young kids. After they go to bed, I want more stuff to do. I can't go out at night (unless I get a babysitter, don't do that often because I don't want to). I'm not being 'poor me', I like my life and am very content with it.

I talked with Heather and Leah about it tonight, the fact that last week I was so upset and this week things are better. Things really can turn around and tomorrow IS another day. It's a nice, positive way to live, and that's all I'm trying to do.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A New Home.

It's been a long time since I last posted. I find very few people read my blog, so I often forget to post.
My last post was about the fact that we had to move and I realized that we were quite happy where we were. That's still the case, but there are some compromises and solutions that we have found together as a family.
We finally found a place. I called today and confirmed. I took the girls to see it twice and at the same time brought some of my own adult friends to see it as well. It's in the school district, which is very good. The catchment area for this school is very small, pretty much everyone who goes to the school can walk there in 10 minutes (an 'adult' walk of 10 min, not a 5 year old walk of 40 min). It's 3 blocks away from here, but further from the school. It's the bottom floor of a triplex, meaning that it's a large house with 3 totally separate units. Ours is sort of semi-basement. We have to walk down a few steps, but it's above ground. It's cute, 2 bedroom, cozy kitchen, tiny bathroom. The rent is great, the owner is very nice. She owns our triplex and one next door to it, with a driveway between it. Cute backyard, parking, laundry. It's a nice place and I think we'll be happy there. The girls like it a lot, and I promised them that when we move there I will not attach their bunk beds and they can have 2 separate beds in the same room. We're also going to look for a dog once we're settled in. I felt a huge relief when I called today to say 'yes' we would take it.

Other news:
Work has been crazy. There are 4 lawyers, 2 assistants, and myself. I sort of do everything, including a/r, filing, some 'Clerk' stuff, and misc. stuff. Well, last Fri one assistant was let go. She was on contract for the assistant who is on mat leave (she's back in Dec). The other assistant is on vacation this week. Guess who that leaves to do all of the work??? ME! I'm sitting at the desk of the one who was fired. I have no idea what I have been doing for the past two days, but Cheryl (main lawyer) told me that I'm doing an awesome job. Doesn't feel like it, but I haven't screwed anything up yet, so I guess I'm doing something right. Cheryl told me how amazing it is to see how far I've come in the past two years. I started off with her 2 years ago, going in a couple of hours here and there to help out. I had zero self confidence and was not a happy camper with life. Now, 2 years later, I'm a different person (thanks to AA). Cheryl also told me that she thought I had lots of potential and how proud she is of me. It was obviously very nice to hear.

I also got my van back. Two years ago, I lost my licence because of a DUI. I was very much DUI. There are levels that 'they' give to help people understand where they are on the intoxicated scale. I blew 340, which is in between comatose and dead. Yes, I was driving. No, I didn't get into an accident or hurt anyone. Different lifetime ago. Anyway, April 28 was the end of the interlock condition on my license so now I have my van back and I can drive. It's really neat driving again after 2 years. Too bad gas is $1.20 a litre!

There's lots more, but nothing else really to write about now.
I'll write more again soon (as soon as something else interesting happens)....

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Moving

I've done some complaining about where we live in Toronto. We have no grass at all, we're attached to my sister and we always have to be quiet. We share a driveway, the neighbour's kid is the biggest brat I've ever known in my life. We're right in the middle of Toronto. The street is busy, lots of cars. Blah Blah Blah...
I found out last week that we have to move by July 1. Now, I knew when we moved in here 3 1/2 years ago that this place was supposed to be temporary. Scott and I had just separated, living in BC, and Scott (after lots of 'talking') agreed the girls and I could move back to Toronto because this is where I"m from, all my family is here. My sister and her business partner bought the house next to her when it went on the market. Plan was for them to rent it fully furnished for mega bucks. My sister found out about Scott and I, told me to come here before Scott changed his mind, and we've been here ever since.
I don't mind moving to another place. It's a new adventure. Oh, bull-crap...I HATE change, hate moving, and I don't want to do it (add in whiny voice, stomping of the foot, etc).
I've thought of moving to another area, one that is not as expensive. Relocation is not a horrible thing, I've done it more than once. Here, though, we have built a good life (not that it wasn't true in BC). The girls are older now, Heather almost 9 and Leah 5 1/2. They know enough now for it to have consequences for all of us.
I've told Heather that I will do my very best to stay in this area. I've realized that as much as it isn't BC, I do like it here. We are one block from the school and it takes me 20 min to get to work, that's taking a bus and a subway.
I'll keep you updated on the situation. It's still a bit of time before we have to make the actual decision as to where we're going. We will do our best to stay in this area. I promised Heather I'd try, we'll tell Leah tomorrow, and I'll promise the same thing. My 'best' is the best I can do.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fake It Till You Make It

I've heard the phrase 'fake it till you make it' regarding different aspects of life. AA uses the phrase to help a newcomer learn about the program without preaching and forcing someone to believe in what they don't believe in. For example, part of AA is to believe in a 'Higher Power', or a god of your understanding. It's whatever YOU believe in, there is no right or wrong answer. To some, it's a person, a group, their concept of something that is 'higher' than you are.
I have been using the concept of 'fake it...' for some time. I found that I was being more negative in life and miserable than I wanted to be. I 'faked' being happy and content. It's not that I wasn't somewhat happy, but I did not want to send out negative vibes. I wanted to 'stick with the winners' and in order to do that, I needed to attract and keep them.
My 8 year old, Heather, is overly emotional and tends to be negative without really meaning to be. She cries about everything. Always. She's losing friends because, really, who wants to be around someone like that? I know I don't, and I also know that you attract what you are. In my younger days, I lost plenty of friends with my whining and negativity. Although I know that my children have to make their own way and experience things to learn, it's my 'job' as a mother to guide and teach where I can. In this regard, I do have the experience to guide Heather. If I, as her mother, can't stand the crying and whining, what are her peers thinking?
So, being the good mother that I am, I started to teach her the concept of 'fake it till you make it'. Aside from her thinking that I was telling her it was okay to lie (about her feelings), she did start to 'get it'. This is still very new for her, so it's a process that's evolving.
The big thing, my 'ah-ha', spiritual awakening, epiphany, whatever you want to call it, was that while explaining this to Heather I realized that I'm NOT 'faking it' and that I've 'made it'. I was faking being happy, joyous and free. Not that I was being execptionally happy, but I was 'faking' being positive about everything in order to change my way of thinking (all part of AA program).
My big moment....I really AM happy and positive. Holy crap, when did THAT happen?
Don't confuse that statement to say that I'm walking around in a pink cloud and being disgustingly smily and happy always. It means that my outlook on life and myself have changed. I know that I'm an okay person. I know I work hard, help other people, try to stay positive. I'm a good person and I deserve good things to happen to me. WOW! To some of you, that might seem silly or retorical, but to ME, it's HUGE. I really do feel this way.
Now, if I keep working on Heather, perhaps I can 'teach' her not to cry every other minute and be more positive about stuff. It's not all about me, but while helping her it was amazing to me to have this feeling of happiness within myself. It's all good (today)!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Did Hell Freeze Over??

Today the girls and I took Zoey (our other dog) to a 'rescue' place. To make a very long story short, Scott moved to an apartment and he could not keep Zoey. We couldn't keep her, either. Scott told me a few days ago that he was going to take her to the humane society. We've had Zoey since she was a puppy. She's a great dog, very loyal, sweet, and unique. Her mother was malamute/wolf, her father sheppard/wolf. When Scott told me that he was going to take her to the Humane Society, I couldn't sleep or stop thinking about Zoey being locked in a small cage for the rest of her life, to be put down by strangers. I googled and called people because I didn't think that was fair to Zoey. I ended up finding a rescue home that would take her. She's over 10, part wolf, in fairly good health, but she's still 10. Nobody would adopt her and I knew it. The girls and I took her to Siber Rescue today with my friend, Louise. It was very hard for us, and Heather and I left there in tears. I know it's for the best for Zoey, and I know she'll be happy, but it still hurts knowing that I couldn't take her. There will never be another Zoey, just like Floyd, a special member of our family.
Scott phoned tonight to say goodnight to the girls and also to see how it went with Zoey. The resuce place (Lisa) needed $300 to cover some costs for her. Scott said he would pay for part, but then showed up Thurs with Zoey and no money. When Scott called today, he made a comment like 'I know you think that I'm cold-hearted and hard' to which I replied that I knew he was; he always was and would always be that way, it was who he was. He didn't really like that comment. After he talked to the girls, he called back about 1/2 hour later and asked me to talk. I said 'sure' and listened. He told me that things were very bad for him work-wise, socially, and financially (what else is there?). I knew things were a bit bad, but he was very bummed out. He told me that he did love Zoey and how hard it was for him. Now, here's the 'hell freezes over' part...he said that he was proud of me for what I have accomplished over the past 2 years. He said that he's seen so many people not recover from addiction, and he is lucky enough not to have that personality. Many years ago, he was into other stuff, other than pot and booze. He just decided one day to stop and turned it off. He is lucky. But he told me how well he thinks I'm doing and how great it is. I've know this man for about 12 years. Married, 2 kids, separated. He has never even come close to saying that to me before. He said that financially things are horrible for him, how down he is because of it, and how he promises to 'provide' for 'his' family as soon as he can. I reminded him that I am not part of that anymore, we're separated, but that's great for the girls. He told me that no matter what I am still 'part of' his family. It was weird, hearing him say that stuff. Part of me wanted to laugh, part of me wanted to tell him to screw off, but I didn't. He actually showed vulnerablity, even a bit of humility. Things I've never seen. Wow, I was impressed he could actually show any real feelings at all.
Will things change between us? Never. See, all of these feelings he's expressing are great, but I still don't feel anything positive towards him. One phone call showing me that he actually does have a heart doesn't change the fact that he's still an ass. And a jerk. And, he was stoned and drunk tonight, as usual. Some things never will change, but at least he's made some sort of effort.
My final words for this 'change'...what goes around, comes around. Things are how they should be, for both of us.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Be Right or Be Nice

I have a very wise AA sponser. Her name is Judy (I can say that because none of you know her). Throughout life, there are choices to make, and how I make them can have an impact on my sobriaty and my recovery as a whole. Judy usually lets me vent and to speak my mind. Then she asks me if the choice I am making is to be right or to be kind. It helps me to put things in perspective.

My current choice has to do with Scott and the girls (as usual). The choice has to do with my court stuff with Scott and closure to this. Here's the short version. The current court Order we have has some good and bad things in it. According to the Order, I am required to attend AA everyday. I have to go for urine testing 3 times a week to check for alcohol. I cannot drive with the girls. The girls primary residence is with me. Scott has access ever other weekend from Fri to Sun evening. A few weeks ago we had a court date to vary the order, that is, to change it so I don't have to do all of these things and I can drive with the girls. I was charged in Dec/05 with impaired. In Ontario the minimum that can happen, which I received, was $1000 fine, 1 year suspension followed by 1 year interlock device (breathalizer) in the car. I currently have until the end of April until the interlock condition is removed, at that point I can drive again like a 'normal' person. The Order also states that Scott has acess every other weekend. Period. That's it. Because it is the right thing to do for the girls, I also give him (them) until Mon am on his weekends, 2 weeks in the summer, 1/2 of Christmas, including Eve and Day (I'm Jewish, don't need those days).
When we went to court, we had an Order that was to be on Consent (that means that both parties agree to the Order). It had all of the above in it, plus the Order had a bunch of acess time that I was giving him anyway. Nice, neat, fair.
One of my choices is to see if he will simply sign the Order or if I should go back to court, yet again, to have the Order varied and also go for sole custody. I know I can do that, and I know I will probably win, thereby having sole custody. He has demonstrated, over and over again, why I should have it by his actions. I have the documents drafted, so it's not even a lot of work to do it.
After talking with my lawyer, and with Judy, I have almost concluded my future actions. I asked Scott when he picked the girls up last night if he would sign an Order now. Because he does not have a lawyer right now (his fired him), he can sign himself. He said he would. However, it will not be the original Order that was prepared for our last court date. I will have a new Order prepared that ONLY lists those things that I want changed. It will be short and sweet. I don't have to attend AA daily, I can drive with the girls, etc. That's IT. That will be fair to me, giving me the closure I need and the vices I need to 'get on' with things and put my 'bottom' behind me. Then, the choice becomes his. If he is not happy with that and wants all of that extra stuff in it, he can make the effort to do so.
The conclusion to this: I am being nice...and right.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Let it STOP Snowing



Okay, enough is enough.
The first picture was taken when the girls were skating. It was a Brownie 'family skate night', and the snow was crazy. The second picture was taken when we got home, it's from our front door. Yesterday morning, there was barely any snow on the ground, by 8pm, that's what it looked like.
Too much!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Oye, what a day

So, we were supposed to go to court today. Scott said he would agree to varing the existing order. It benefited both of us, I would not have manditory AA, plus some other stuff, and he would be getting a whole bunch more access with the girls. I spoke with him briefly last night and he said that he was going and we would meet before hand. This morning, around 10:30, I tried to call him. His phone was off. He doesn't have voicemail, so I emailed him on his blackberry. About 1/2 hour later I get a response...'i'm sorry, I cannot attend'. That's it. I emailed back 'are you kidding me?' I asked him to call me, I emailed him again and still no response and the phone off. Oh, before that I had called the gov't agency that controls the child support payments (he pays them, they pay me). His last cheque bounced and they have not been able to contact him. Anyway, hearing that and no explanation as to why he was not going to court got me freaked out. I called the daycare and the school and told them under no circumstances were the girls to be released to him. I thought with all that's going on he was going to take the kids. He didn't do that, but I was freaked anyway.
My lawyer, Malerie, and I go to court. We ended up getting costs (means he has to pay me for the cost of going to court), plus we can now bring a motion to vary the order (means we can go back to court to have the stuff I want taken out). I"m not sure if I wrote before about 'sole custody', but it was on the original legal stuff we did a couple of years ago. I think that now I am going to go for sole custody. My lawyer said that because he didn't even show up, and the way he did it, looks very bad for him.
I never wanted all of this. I was content with shared custody and him seeing the girls as much as he wanted to. I've offered him a flex day during the week when he could take them for dinner. He's never taken me up on that offer and seen them during the week.
I've often thought what it would be like for me to tell the girls just what kind of a person their father is. I've refrained from doing that because I love the kids and I don't want to hurt them. I've learned that I don't have to do anything, he is doing it on his own. I do my best not to say anything negative about him, but they are seeing for themselves what an ass he really is. He constantly dissapoints them, he's unreliable, and he doesn't keep his promises. I'm learning that just by doing nothing I can offer my kids more than doing something.
Don't get me wrong, I'm pissed off about all of it. But, I'm taking deep breathes and calming down. I've used my AA Steps in dealing with this, and for me, it's working.
Not all men are shits, but my ex certainly is. And I don't have to do or say anything to prove it...he does it all on his own!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hi ho, Hi ho,it's off to Court I go

In March/06 things were very bad for me. I had just become sober (Jan 21), Scott had 'scooped' the kids, I didn't have a job, blah blah blah. At the time, the judge made an Order and that Order is still in effect. There are some things in there that just don't apply any longer. Scott and I have agreed on the changes to be made, a better Agreement or Order for us and the girls. Problem is that Scott has decided he doesn't want anything more to do with lawyers or the Court. This has been going on for some time now. We agree with the changes, but he hasn't paid his lawyer so she's not doing any more work for him at all. He flat out refuses to do anything. After months of going back and forth, my lawyers and I decided that we would book a court date for a Case Conference. A Case Conference is something where the lawyers and parties go in front of a judge and the will make some decisions about the case. The judge cannot make any major decisions, but s/he still can make some.
I told Scott about this. I told him that most likely he would have to pay my costs because it's not necessary for this. He just doesn't care. He still has not paid me costs awarded to me in Mar/06. Anyway, we served his lawyer yesterday with our stuff for court. She has (again or still) not responded in any way to this.
So, Mon, my lawyer and I will go to court to try to get his lawyer off the record (means she won't reprsent him any more) and try to get this thing done.
I'll keep you updated if anything exciting happens.

Oh, update on my cousin H who has the drinking problem...
He did come over a couple of weeks ago. Once again he assured me that there was nothing wrong and everything was getting blown out of proportion. In other words, he doesn't think there is a problem at all. I told his wife, again, nothing anyone can do until he realizes that there is a problem. I'll keep you updated on that as well.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

MY ex IS dumber than yours

Scott's birthday was this past Wed. I told him a couple of weeks ago that if he wanted to take the girls out for dinner that night, he could (yes, that is nice of me). He said 'maybe'.
Heather decided that she wanted to make him a present. She had the idea to sew something for him. She took her idea to the daycare where they are much more creative than I am. One of the teachers brought in a scarf for a man. Heather took a piece of felt, sewed their last name, put some stars/snowflakes on it, and sewed it onto the scarf. She worked very hard on, was very proud of it, as she should have been...it looked great.
Day before Scott's birthday, the girls are talking to him on the phone and Heather tells him what she made. His response??? 'I hate scarves, I'll never wear it'. Then came 'Daddy, can you take us for dinner tomorrow night for your birthday, we want to see you?' Response?? 'My truck is broken, we'll see.' Heather was totally heartbroken. She was so upset about the two things, the scarf and the dinner. I called Scott back when the girls could not hear me and told him that he had better call back and tell Heather he was sorry. He did, but she was still upset. Who says that to a child who worked hard on something?
He called me the next day at work (Wed, his birthday) to tell me he was not going to take the girls for dinner. His truck was still broken. I went to the daycare to pick the girls up. Went to Heather's room first. A teacher saw me, came over to me and told me that Heather was talking about her father's birthday and how they were going for dinner that night. So, again, I had to break her heart and tell her that her father wasn't coming for dinner. I told her the reason. She asked what was wrong with the subway or a taxi. I couldn't answer her. I gave Heather and Leah a choice: we could go out for dinner ourselves or I could make dinner and they could have a big bowl of ice cream after dinner. They decided that the ice cream was a better deal. At the end of it, they were fine. They talked to their father. They were happy with their ice cream.
But I ask you...who has the dumber ex???

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Family

I have written a bit about my sister and her life right now. She's separated from her husband, he lives in the house, and she now has a boyfriend. It's not the ideal situation, for obvious reasons. I have my views and sometimes it's hard to keep them to myself.
My family and I have always been fairly close. I have 6 first cousins, from both sides of my family. My maternal cousins are no way as disfunctional as my paternal cousins. On the paternal side, there are 3 kids. All 3 are married. My one cousin, H, lived in Asia for about 9 years, the same time I lived in BC. This blog is going to be about H.
H has a major drinking problem. He's a practicing alcoholic. He got married just over a year ago. He and his wife are expecting their first baby in May. I've been talking to my uncle (his father) and his wife for a couple of months now. At one point I did talk to H. At the time, H told me that everything was being blown out of proportion and there wasn't a problem. I know differently. Being a (recovering) alcoholic myself, I know the signs. Over the past couple of months I've talked to his wife, S, several times about it. H is not even close to admitting that he has a problem. That's the first step in recovery, admitting that you have a problem. Without that there is no recovery. I found out some stuff tonight about H that sickens me. His wife left him yesterday. I talked to her tonight. We know that there is a problem, a very serious one. He has chosen alcohol over his wife and unborn child. His choice. Problem is, he is blaming all of his problems on his wife. All I heard from him was 'she did' so he 'had a couple of drinks'. I've been there. I know what that is like. If I had a good day, bad day, fight with someone, anything, I drank beacause of it. When Heather had her tonsils out Scott promised her he would be at the hospital. He didn't show. I got drunk. It really didn't matter. H is at that point. He is lying about drinking, hiding booze, and doing all sorts of things that alcoholics do. I had a long talk with his wife about how some alcoholics think. I hope I helped her. She is so fed up, hurt, and confused by all of this.
H is supposed to come over Sat to talk to me. I'm worried about him. I know where he's at and he has 2 choices: live or die. His current path is death. I want to smack him in the head so he can see what he is doing to himself and his family. I can't do that. I was and often am that person. I've learned that you cannot force someone to do anything, even if you know that person is hurting themselves. Instead of thinking of the things I can't do, I'm going to concentrate on the things that I can do. I can talk to him and I can tell him things that I went through to get to where I am now. I don't often say 'yay me', but sometimes I do. I am approaching 2 years in AA and that IS something. I can offer H my experience, strength, and hope. I can talk to him about the true realities of this disease. That is my 'smack in the head' for this situation. I will post after our conversation Sat to let you know how it went. I really want the 'smack in the head' to work.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!

Happy New Year!
It's hard for me to believe that it's already 2008, I was wondering what happened to the summer. We have tons of snow here, even snowed more tonight.
We had a pretty good night. I worked, but got out at 3. Scott and the girls were waiting for me when I got home. He dropped the girls off, and it was just the girls again. I really missed them, they were gone for a week.
We were invited to two places tonight. One was a friend who lives on the same street as us, the other my sister, who is next door. My sister started a 'games night' years ago and my mother and her 'friend' go as well. We also had a guest, Heather's best friend Emily. We started off here, had dinner, then went to Louise's house (friend on our street). There were some other people there, kids, and all of the kids were crazy, running around and yelling. We left there to go to my sister's place around 9. Games night is fun, but tiring. My sister also has a new 'friend'. Here's the soap opera again...she's separated from her husband, has been since the summer, and he is living in the basement. Her new 'friend', Kurt, was over with his 2 sons, 8 and 10. I first heard about him a few weeks ago. He was some guy that she met, they were just friends, and she was 'helping him with some stuff'. It was pretty obvious tonight that he was more than 'just a friend'. I have mixed feelings about that. I want my sister to be happy, but her husband is living in the basement. Anyway, not the time or place to talk about that. New Year's.... Rhonda (sister) goes out and gets a whole bunch of 'prizes' for the games. She also had some 'grand prizes' as well, they were predetermined when she bought them. Kurt's boys ended up with a Simpson's dvd, we ended up with a cd player. All of the kids were happy with their stuff. There was also tons of little things, bubbles, candy, cards, pencils, glitter glue, etc. You know, dollar store stuff that kids love but parents hate. We did have a fun time. Leah, who is only 5, kicked some major butt in 'Connect Four'. At 11:50, we all went and turned the tv on, watched the ball drop, and said 'Happy New Year'. We even hugged. Wow. I guess once a year is pretty good for that. My neice and I never hug, she hates to be touched. We do the pretend hand shake, it's pretty funny. My nephew hugged me, that was pretty neat.
At 12:10, I took Heather, Leah, and Emily home. It took a long time to settle them in. Leah went to sleep in my bed. That took about 10 minutes. We started with Heather and Emily in Heather's bed, but it became apparent in less than 1 minute that that plan was not going to work. They were both very tired and grumpy. Emily decided that she wanted to go home, but her parent's were not home yet. Heather wanted to call her father, his phone was turned off and he doesn't have voicemail. They were both crying. Nice way to start the year. Anyway, I did get them both settled down, they are both sleeping now. I'm quite sure that all will be well in the morning. Aside from the breakdowns afterwards, it was fun. One of the nice things about it...no champaigne at midnight at my sister's house. Not even a mention of it. Was a very nice way for me to start the year.
I hope all of you had a peaceful and happy night.
I wish all of you a healthy and happy 2008!