I feel skippy today. You would have never known that 48 hours ago I resembled single mommy roadkill on the bathroom floor. It felt good to be back to work. Everyone was so chipper and happy that I was feeling better, it was kind of nice.

LB made her first appearance in the local paper this weekend. FRONT AND BACK PAGE (I guess couldn’t pick just ONE adorable picture of her). The article was mostly about Head Start looking for a new building to house their program, and they just happened to pick LB’s class for the photo-op. My boss has the newspaper clippings all over my office 🙂

Just when I feel all warm and fuzzy about my employer, I get a notification from that other job I applied for, that I’ve met the general requirements and I will receive further instructions on the mandatory test date. Its been so long since my application that I had almost forgotten about it. Honestly, since the State of Colorado ordered a hiring freeze after the stock market started plummeting, I had pretty much given up hope, but I guess I squeaked passed the cutoff.

I also returned to work yesterday and found a box stocked with goodies under my desk. I’m talking pancake mix, maple syrup, pasta, cereal, cookies, mac & cheese….the works. I’ve already been asked by one of my co-workers if I want to be the recipient of Project Merry Christmas, which is a little weird to me. I remember stuffing Christmas boxes with my mom when she worked for social services, and now I’m the one getting the boxes.

 Its still a little early for all of that, so I wondered who my mystery Santa Claus was. My very conservative, Christian co-worker (she’s either acted in or directed the Passion Play every year) told me a little mouse must have left that box for me. I was shocked and completely grateful of course, but there’s a whole other post coming up about this topic. My complex relationship with organized religion has a long and twisted past and I can’t get into it as merely a sub-topic. All I can say is “Thank You Kim!” (she has her own blog, and has probably tracked mine down by now).

I’m going to meet with Lawyerdude today. I am going to present my 7-page proposition for Sole Parental Responsibility (Physical Custody), my 3-page outline for what exactly I’m going to ask for in court, and my 2+ (still in the works) page for Sole Decision-Making Responsibility (Legal Custody). I’m also going to get the breakdown on the legal jargon contained in “Civil Rules of Procedure.” During my court observations, I’ve seen Judges throw the book at the uninformed Pro-Se peeps, telling them if they don’t know the rules, they are basically screwing themselves. Lets hope I can learn the rules in 14 days.

P.S. I’m using some of that hunk of Child Support Cash to pay for Lawyerdude’s advice. I would mention the law of Karma again, but I’m afraid she’s getting pissy with me using her name so damn much, and will come back to bite me in the ass.

Hurting the Public

I had absolutely no time to blog yesterday. I didn’t even have time to eat lunch. I lost count of how many angry phone calls I answered. Here’s a recap:

  • One mom told me I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about, and I might as well forward her to someone who “can actually make decisions.”
  • Another mom screamed and threatened and eventually started crying after 15 minutes on the phone with me.
  • A grandma came into my office and asked if there was “anyone here who actually knew what they were doing.”
  • Another mom told me that the way we are running our program this year is wrong, completely unfair to working parents, and she will take this up with the board of education.
  • The most common response was “You’re kidding, right?”
  • The nicer parents were the ones who told me “Well, I know this really isn’t your fault, BUT….”

Due to confidentiality, I’m not going to blog about what program is being met with such resistance. Those of you who live in Durango and have school aged kids, I’m sure you know what program I’m talking about. Ever since my boss was told that changes needed to happen this year, or else the program wouldn’t exist, I have been dreading the beginning of this school year. Why? because I feel for the parents. Hell, I AM one of those parents. I don’t have alternative options, extra resources and a variety of choices.

How do I tell a mom who is crying because they are about to foreclose on her house that, no, I can’t make an exception? I can’t defer her payment until September. How do I tell a mom who is currently going back to school that she needs to pay for services upfront, even though tuition, books, and college supplies have drained her entire bank account for the month of August? How do I tell my single mom neighbor that her three kids are going to be turned away from the program because she hasn’t pre-enrolled them?

I hate my job right now. I hate hurting parents. I hate being the bad guy to people I don’t even know, and who definitely don’t deserve to be screwed over. I can hear people’s voices cracking over the phone. I can hear them trying to keep it together, hoping they can keep themselves under control. I hear that aching silence on the other end of the line after I give them an answer they don’t want to hear.

You can feel the tension everywhere: at the gas station, in the grocery store, at the bank, and by the time moms & dads get to my office, its the last straw. I’m cannon fodder for people feeling the squeeze.

My boss came over to my desk at the end of the day and said “I think you should talk to my husband.” Her hubby is a therapist. She also offered to watch LB so I could take her tickets to the Bar-D Wranglers last night.

Man, I must look pretty busted.

I thanked her and politely declined. I didn’t have the energy to be social, to fake another smile. I just wanted to go home and sink into the couch. I did exactly that, while LB played on the floor with her aquadoodle. As I stared up at my ceiling fan, and felt the heat of my apartment surround my already sweaty body, I wept.

I wept for the mom who is going to lose her house. I wept for my neighbor who was fired from her job yesterday. I wept for LB, who keeps coming into my room at 4 am, shaking with sobs. I wept for the woman thee doors down who was thrown through her bedroom window Tuesday night . And I wept for myself, cause school hasn’t even started yet.