Re: ATM: Custody arrangements

1

Because it's a major issue with some people I know, the first question to occur to me is, how old are the kids? and how much do the president and first lady see eye to eye on how far their (the kids's) opinions should be taken into consideration/be determinate? If the kids are old enough to have opinions and one parent thinks that those opinions are important while the other thinks that the issue is one for the grown ups and the kids shouldn't be consulted, then trouble lies ahead if my friends' experience is anything to go by.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
2

When my sister was negotiating custody, the mediator told them that the kids' preferences weren't relevant, primarily because they couldn't be solicited without putting the kids in an awful position. She was told that the kids can choose when they are 18, and until then, the parents and the courts tell them what the arrangement will be. The rule was strict: 'don't make the kids choose that.'


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
3

1 is probably correct.

There are a lot (almost infinite) number of things that can go into a custody agreement, so it's hard to know where to start. IME the most important thing is simplicity and clarity. Set drop-off, pick-up times, and have a schedule that is intuitive and makes sense. Clearly assign and alternate vacation times, holidays, etc. Very clear rules on who is paying for what and how much it will be.

Remember, you can always modify the agreement (either formally or in practice) if everything is going well and people are getting along and all is smooth. The agreement exists to set the ground rules for when things aren't going well. So provisions that fudge times or responsibilities or call for further discussion are pretty much guaranteed to lead to more conflict.

Also, we do have a fairly regular commenter who is a for-real professional in this area.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
4

Yeah, further to 1, 2, and 3 it's a really bad idea to leave things *in the custody agreement* up to the choice of the kid. If the kid wants to make his or her own choices, then the parents can choose to honor them (or not). But the whole point of the agreement is to set up the default rules for when people aren't getting along, and it's very unlikely that in that circumstance anyone is going to be happy about deferring to the kid's choice.

Also, you absolutely can't solicit or lobby the kids about who wants to be where more and put that into play in the negotiations.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
5

1 and 3 are correct, and 2 is correct though complicated. Yes, you can't put kids of any age in that position, but their interests come first, so you have to suss things out without directly soliciting. It's hard to advise without particulars, though; every divorced family is divorced in its own way.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
6

Oh, this may not be relevant in the jurisdiction of our president. But my sister was exceptionally careful about time keeping and it turned out to be extremely important.

She looked up the child support rules for her jurisdiction and did all the calculations. She realized that the "hours" factor was dominating the outcome (maybe it has an exponent or something?). Actual hours/week was nearly everything in the child support equation (here, in her jurisdiction).

Once the time allocation was made, she sat at the same screen as the clerk who was calculating custody. "Nope, you can't just say 'four weeks per month'." "Nope, you can't round off when summer vacation ends." She made the clerk re-enter the exact dates for everything. It turned out to be worth many hundreds per month. Huge difference.

If money matters, figuring this stuff out and being very precise is real relevant.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
7

5 and 6 also correct. The California support-calculator program is called the "Dissomaster" which I thought would be a pretty decent name for a metal band, maybe a metal band full of middle aged divorced guys.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
8

And, looking, there's an app for that.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
9

6: The real secret is probably to share support with somebody who makes enough money that a relatively small difference in hours results in hundreds of dollars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
10

Apparently there are websites for formal scheduling and other communication between the parents. A friend in Houston has found it really helpful to not have to re-negotiate everything all the time and to have a record of who told what to whom. They also have some sort of legal type person who has some monitoring authority who can access it as well.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
11

10 --the one we use is called "Our Family Wizard." It's basically just a shitty overpriced webmail interface that allows you to upload documents, but it's helpful for keeping a record, scheduling payments, etc. Some courts, especially here, strongly encourage using it.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
12

It looks like you're trying to request a modification to the holiday schedule that has been planned out for five years in advance and negotiated at a cost of thousands. Would you like some help with that?


Posted by: Opinionated Clippy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
13

If you have the right ex, supporting kids is more expensive than hookers.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
14

I have no practical advice, other than to tell the president that we care about them and care that they get to the good outcome they and their kids deserve.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
15

Hookers and kids aren't substitutes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
16

What ttaM said.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
17

Definitely easier if the kids are older, if both partners are OK financially, and households are close to each other.

The solution as others have pointed out, is spelling out tradeoff times and finances in detail, I guess other crucial details (no cults, no dating felons). My ex-to-be and I are still working out money bookkeeping logistics, so far a shared access email account where expenses and reckonings get logged. The best method would depends on auditing needs and degree of cooperation, I think.

Good luck. Unless there's open conflict or logistical disaster, kids come out OK. I got a sensible book recommended from our mediator, I can post title and author later. Mediation is the way to go IMO, I guess depending on state law-- but mine is backward, and mediation worked for us.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
18

No felons at all? What if it was years ago and non-violent?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
19

Felonies are crimes punishable by more than a year's time, grand theft auto rather than minor theft. Your call if you really trust your ex's judgement, I guess.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
20

In the situation where divorcing parents are having a difficult time coming to an agreement, going through a mediator (without lawyers present) may be easier than trying to negotiate custody agreements through lawyers, whose job it is to be adversarial. Keep in mind that nothing agreed to in mediation has to be filed with the court, and any agreement can be reviewed by each party's lawyer first.

I see custody as 2 separate issues. 1) The first issue is really in 2 parts... 1a) Child sharing plan. The specifics of how much time each parent gets on a specific schedule, diving up holidays, etc. There are an infinite number of combinations, and it's very dependent on individual factors; 1b) custody agreements also are concerned with legal custody: sole vs. joint (which is not necessarily dependent on how much time the kid(s) stays with each parent), but does have ramifications for who has the final say for religious, medical, legal decisions. 2) The money. The more "time" you get often equals a change in child support. It's unfortunate, but totally understandable, how the money part gets in the way of doing what's in the best interests of the kid. And that's the biggest thing to try to keep in mind when negotiating a custody agreement.

A divorce mediator I once knew had the following line written on her wall: Do you have more love for your child than you have hate for each other?

It's so difficult to step back and think about what's best of the kids, particularly when you are going through such a difficult and hurtful time. It's ever so easy to continue the conflict with your spouse through the kids. Or worse, when you are trying to not do that but your spouse clearly is. Being the bigger person totally sucks, but will be better for the kids.

I agree with many above that kids should not get decide the plan, as that's parent business (and nearly impossible to not end up using kids as pawns).


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
21

Pwned by 17.

And, I also forgot to add that I wish Mr. / Ms. President the best of luck in navigating things!


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
22

Smearcase and I were discussing a friend's custody situation just the other day, and we found it helpful to analogize to cats. However, that might not be very illuminating here.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
23

The question is whether you're thinking of the cats as occupying the role of the children, or of a cat as an estranged partner. Because trying to negotiate with an intransigent cat sounds terribly, terribly difficult.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
24

Also, CPS gets involved immediately upon becoming aware that you carry the children around by the scruff of the neck.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
25

Also if anybody is shitting in a box of dirt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
26

Thanks, friends. I'm not going to bother choosing a presidential name. I'll post this in chunks since I'm bust serving dinner and have lost my work twice so far.

. We started mediation today and I am definitely trying to put the kids' needs first and be the bigger person. The problem with that plan is that the mediator wants us to consider a custody arrangement where the kids (almost 3 - just 9) stay here in the house and Lee and I rotate out, staying in some small, cheap apartment in our off times, which Lee likes because it's cheaper than having her get an apartment big enough for the children to visit.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
27

Oh, Thorn, so sorry you are going through this. I wish you the very best.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
28

I'm just worrying because it seems awfully convenient that what I think is best for the children is also what's best for me. I've always wanted to minimize disruption but I don't know how I can get away from the emotional abuse if I'm sharing two homes with Lee. And I think it would be best for them to have me as their in-home parent almost all the time and only have superficial, fairly short contact with Lee, no longer than a weekend at a time, since she's so far unable to do things like get all three ready for camp on days when she's not even working. But I said I don't plan to back down on wanting more than 50% physical custody. Lee feels she's now ready to step up as an equal parent and also doesn't want to or expect to be able to pay child support, which has a much simpler calculator here than in CA.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
29

I've heard about the arrangement in 26 working, I think from someone here, but it sure sound unsustainable, entangling, and God-awful. Good luck.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
30

I don't want to disenfranchise her, but I'm concerned about her ability to care for the children effectively. And the mediator wants us all to just be nice little lesbians who do what's obviously right, and I don't think that's the right model for our relationship or breakup even if it was for hers.

So one easy response would be to get the little apartment and see how things go, assuming Lee will fail and I'll get my desired outcome of the house plus time. But that's only a 99% sure thing and it seems sort of unethical for me to aim for it rather than sort it out initially in mediation. And I'm the one who wants this over and wants her out, which makes her think I should suffer more if there are going to be things that feel like penalties.

Anyway, we don't go back for two weeks, 10 days of which will leave me on vacation with the children. But I could conceivably get out of the house the next weekend to see how she handles that before we head back to the table, which I would like to do. I'm hoping the reality of it will bring clarity but clarity and introspection are in short supply.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
31

One common deal is to trade money for time. That is, you ask for more time but not the corresponding money, to get an agreement on more time.

At a minimum, I don't think Lee should have 50/50 custody unless she's ready to set up her own household where the kids can be 50% of the time.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
32

I'm thinking of you, Thorn. And there is no way in hell that the share two places thing would be non-abusive. If Lee had demonstrated any history whatsoever of willingness or ability to be more than a stereotypical '50s dad then she might have a case here, but her behavior hasn't demonstrated that she deserves or that the girls would benefit from more than "weekend dad" outings with her.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
33

Not too mention--I'm getting riled up on your behalf here--has she ever taken care of major parenting tasks by herself, like, two days in a row? Won't the girls want her to, I dunno, eat dinner with them?


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
34

I was prepared to split things 50/50 until my lawyer set me straight about what I could reasonably expect to get.

So my short advice is don't let yourself get bullied into less than you want by someone who wants to make you feel worthless

As someone who trusts my own parenting and not my ex's, it's been a huge deal to have an arrangement that gives me a bit more control over day-to-day atability. Rory sleeps at my house on school nights, but is with UNG two evenings a week and every other weekend. I let him have overnights on his evenings over the summer because it works for Rory. I feel better knowing that is in my discretion.


Posted by: dk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
35

Thanks, dk!! That's pretty much exactly the plan I want, though it would probably be one girl at a time on the evenings. There's a nice, very cheap one-bedroom around the corner from the bar she's at every night (and now!) that I'm hoping she'll take.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
36

30: If you feel the house-sharing proposal is not going to work, but you're willing to try it provided that there's a backup plan for failure, you might try just telling the mediator that and see where the negotiation goes. Nothing unethical about that, I wouldn't think.

I would be concerned about the question of who's going to judge whether the proposal has worked, and what the mechanism would be for resolving disputes about that (if, for example, you think it's not working and Lee insists that it is). But maybe the mediator has an idea about that, and maybe the idea is one you can live with.

I'm sorry you have to go through this, and I hope you get to a solution that you can live with and that is good for the kids.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
37

Yeah, J,R, I snapped at her the other day because in almost two years she's never washed Selah's hair. She still can't remember which inhaler is which even though I have an explanatory note on the fridge. She really, truly doesn't do anything in terms of meaningful care and I'm not so sure she can. They mostly take that in stride, but they've had other parents who can't do the "mom jobs" and so it's not an alien concept.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
38

My parents, who were basically reasonable people who turned out to not be suited to be married to each other, started off with the arrangement in 26, when my brother and I were 12 and 15. It did not work terribly well for them - the fact of sharing someone else's space, even in a week-by-week hot-bunking kind of way, is really pretty annoying. Them not being very happy made us not very happy. Things improved considerably when my dad got his own entire place, nearby, and my brother and I went back and forth (together) on a week-by-week basis.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
39

Thorn, do you have a lawyer? Or are you mediating without one? I think one useful and really important thing to do is to get an idea of what you can realistically expect by being aggressive, and then negotiate from there.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
40

We're starting with just the mediator, who's also a family law lawyer but not operating in that capacity. If either of us can't come to an agreement, then we move to lawyers. (This is stipulated in the joint custody plan we already have.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
41

So sorry you have to go through this, Thorn!

I'm kind of reminded of what happened with my wife and her ex-husband. After long negotiation they worked out a shared parenting agreement, and then within a month of the divorce going through he told her, he told her he couldn't do this, and from then he's had her every other weekend at most.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
42

Unless your agreement prohibits it, I'd suggest at least consulting with a lawyer to give you advice about your rights in the mediation. For example, it sounds as if the house is unambiguously yours and that, given the history, Lee would not have a chance in hell of obtaining either the house or 50/50 custody were anything to be litigated. Thus, the mediator's requests seem to be asking you to give up way, way too much, given your concerns. But you need someone who actually knows these things rather than just the hunches of people on the internet.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
43

Thorn, I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. I have no useful advice, just good wishes for you and the girls. I think 34 and 39 are good advice. I mean, it doesn't seem like consulting a lawyer who'd consider your best interests violates the spirit of your agreement.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
44

Actually the house is unambiguously hers, though she agreed to gradually pay back the money I put into the down payment plus a little extra. But we both believe I should be the one to stay here if one of us is going to.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
45

And I'm going to make some calls and try to see a lawyer when I get back from vacation, I hope the lesbian with an emotionally abusive ex who represented me in our joint custody proceedings.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
46

From personal experience, get a lawyer. Working it out by yourselves with just a third-party neutral sounds nice in theory, but I would have been fucked if I'd gone with that. Especially if you have a mediator aggressively pushing a solution you are not comfortable with. Last thing you need is a mediator bullying you out of your better judgment.


Posted by: dk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
47

The mediator called Lee on bullying, though she used a nicer word, and told me to stop being conflict-avoidant and afraid of Lee while we're in there. She's not awful or anything and the budget sheet she's having us do should be very helpful.

And thanks to all of you who've been so supportive over the years. I'm sure it's been frustrating to see me complain and then nothing change, but it's a delight and relief to finally feel the time is right to get out.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
48

But how is going to be really, in real life? Does it count as working if you get back to the kids' house and it is trashed, so it takes you two of your days to get it back in order and that happens every time?

If you share a tiny apartment and every time you get there, there's food going bad but you don't know if you can throw it out because it is hers, but it is already going bad and she used up your shampoo?

Sharing the off-site apartment sounds bad to me. At a minimum you both have to spend to keep up two households. Maybe you have to spend to keep up three households, if you can work out the real transition problems of switching over the main house (the house is transferred at a defined level of cleanliness or the leaving-person pays for a cleaner?).

I dunno, man. You can plan around unreliable other people, but you have to constantly remember that that is what you are doing. It is real easy to backslide and think that you are planning with a reliable other person.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
49

Hugs to you, Thorn.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
50

And to get right down to it, how does the whole bedding situation work? Do you want to continue sharing beds with an ex, albeit not at the same time? Are you going to be washin sheets everytime you go back and forth? Sleep in a bed that smells like your ex? What happens when the time comes and you want to be with someone new? Can you do that in a bed you know your ex was in two days ago? Can you sleep in a bed she may have been doing God knows what in? Where do you put things you don't want her going through?

I know they say the rotating houses thing works for some people, but I can't imagine it feeling comfortable.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
51

Where do you put things you don't want her going through?

A box marked "Tax Receipts, 2005-7" works for me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:38 PM
horizontal rule
52

I do have to move the stuff to the box labeled "Tax Receipts, 2008-2011" before the former box gets shredded.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
53

The mediator recommends a two-bedroom and then locking your bedroom when you're not in the house, but Lee immediately jumped on the idea of something smaller and cheaper. I do think the bed thing would be awkward, though not as awkward as her previous plan that we break up and see other people but keep sharing a bed. I want to be able to decorate my way and I've been looking forward to that, to a lot of small freedoms.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
54

You could save even more money by both dating a single other person.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:48 PM
horizontal rule
55

Yeah, I think the idea of kids stay put, adults rotate in, is lovely for the tiny fraction of people who can pull it off. The idea that it should be something anyone should be expected to do as the baseline best practice is insane. People split up for REASONS.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
56

I should probably stop with the relationship advice. Best wishes trying to work out something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
57

No, no, everyone appreciates Moby relationship advice!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
58

I do know a family who did the kids-stay-parents rotate thing for a while. But the adults each had their own apartment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 5:55 PM
horizontal rule
59

But they didn't do that on my advice or anything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
60

Two households shouldn't be hard to afford but three definitely would be.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:07 PM
horizontal rule
61

Oh Thorn none of those things are *small* freedoms, I am very happy you are making progress on this! Completely agree with everyone advising you to consult with an attorney to help you understand the parameters underlying mediation. I recall someone in law school presenting research showing that divorce/custody mediation tended to result in worse outcomes for women than men as compared to working it out through attorneys, and as noted above Lee has managed to play the traditional man role in your relationship to a fare thee well. Proceed with caution.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
62

I want to be able to decorate my way and I've been looking forward to that, to a lot of small freedoms.

Early on in the breakup process, I repainted the family room. UNG took it as proof I was insane, but God it made me happy. (Turns out NewGuy hates the color. Too bad NewGuy! That's freedom paint.) Reclaiming your living space is huge. Enjoy it.


Posted by: dk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
63

Like airbnb, but for custody, sounds like an awful idea.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:41 PM
horizontal rule
64

What color?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
65

63: Not as bad as Uber for custody, where you both drive around all day and switch the kids from one car to the other as needed.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
66

Grindr, but for custody


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
67

I'm still wondering what color freedom is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:08 PM
horizontal rule
68

Woad blue?


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
69

Colr, for painting joint custody homes on demand.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
70

||

I just found out that "Gabor" from this hilarious editorial slip is one of the parents of Pokey's classmates.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 7:57 PM
horizontal rule
71

though not as awkward as her previous plan that we break up and see other people but keep sharing a bed

What?! Was that suggested as a cost-saving measure?


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:06 PM
horizontal rule
72

The book I liked, not that you're likely to have much time for reading, is the truth about children and divorce by Emery. I can mail you my copy if you like.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:07 PM
horizontal rule
73

70 is making me feel bad about not doing my peer review thing yet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
74

I don't do family law, really, but have recently been hired for a case: 4 years post divorce, and the other one has breached on some things. It was a no-lawyer mediation; the mediator got the deal done, but some assumptions everyone made, and urged by the mediator, turned out wrong, so my person feels pretty ill used.

For a mediator, the signing of an agreement is the finish line. For the participants, it's not exactly the starting gun, but maybe closer to the start than to the finish.

There's a genuine difference between adversarial and acrimonious.

The idea of sharing the apartment is simply madness, and I would view advocacy or even tolerance of this as some sort of solution by any professional as an absolute disqualification.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
75

Wishing you much strength through this Thorn. This is so clearly the right way forward (not sharing living quarters though, that's just not going to work or, IMHO, allow you the mental space to reclaim your own life apart from Lee).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 9:32 PM
horizontal rule
76

May I join the chorus of invisible friends? Don't share.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
77

74.4 -- I mean the mediator, of course.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 10:42 PM
horizontal rule
78

53: share a bed? She's fucking delusional.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 11:04 PM
horizontal rule
79

it's a delight and relief to finally feel the time is right to get out

Hooray! FORTUNE FAVORS THE BRAVE


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07- 8-15 11:27 PM
horizontal rule
80

So I am in the middle of my own custody legal issues with many extremely dramatic aspects (domestic violence (his), economic and emotional abuse (him of his current 25 year old wife frim Mexico with immigration issues who may be pregnant), substance abuse (both of us), bipolar disorder (his), corporal punishment(him), other mental health issues (mine), relocation (his) etc etc.) I finally hired an extremely good expensive lawyer and got ex parte emergency custody with a restraining order. I've decided that I am going all in - no matter what the cost and whatever outcome will be better than being scared of what he will do next. It sucks a lot!


Posted by: RebeccaS | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 1:21 AM
horizontal rule
81

Don't be the bigger person, Thorn. Lee is an incompetent parent who's going to disappear from the kids lives in a few years. I'm sure on some level the only reason she's claiming to want to be a coparent is that it's too embarrassing to admit otherwise. You're the one whose going to have to raise those kids, so your interests _are_ their interests.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 1:55 AM
horizontal rule
82

I hate to agree with 81 but I have to.

Take care of yourself and under no circumstances agree to anything for agreement's sake.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 2:28 AM
horizontal rule
83

Have to completely agree with 81 and 83.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 2:34 AM
horizontal rule
84

Have to completely agree with 81 and 83.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 2:34 AM
horizontal rule
85

So much I had to say it twice.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 2:36 AM
horizontal rule
86

All best wishes, Thorn, this is a good move and I hope that the custody arrangements etc get worked out smoothly. A lawyer seems like a good idea, not just for expertise and experience but just to have someone putting your case who isn't you - a sort of stress buffer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 2:43 AM
horizontal rule
87

I meant 81 and 82 of course


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 3:18 AM
horizontal rule
88

Let's see, updates as I wake up. Sharing a bed is what we're doing now, because it means she can roll in at 2 am and not have to sleep on the third floor, where there's no air conditioning. Since moving me to the third floor but having me be the one available if a child needs something in the night isn't terribly practical, she agreed to move upstairs six weeks ago or something but backed down and has since counteroffered with ongoing bed-sharing (supposedly for ease of parenting) since.

I really don't want to do the airbnb custody thing and was pretty sure people would be as strongly opposed in this case as they are. I've also decided that I'm ethically fine since I told her I have reservations about it even though I know it fits her personality to just take the first apartment she finds, even though it may mean trapping her there. I'll also get a lawyer and figure out how I have to phrase things to make it clear that her "I would do anything for my kids and can't imagine living without them!" is itself more imagination than reality.

Probably the easiest would have been to just get my own place and move the kids out there since living in a house she owns is going to tie me to her forever, and I thought about that every time I put a plant in the ground (while she, despite agreeing to sleep upstairs and proposing her breakup bed-sharing plan and telling me to get the fuck out if her house and life, keeps insisting she never thought a breakup was even a possibility) but I do think letting the girls stay here as we make our changes is going to make life easier on them and if we end up moving in a year or two, that will be less stressful.

I'm feeling better today but my immediate focus is on getting everything ready for vacation rather than doing anything more than contacting lawyers, which I will try to do.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 3:20 AM
horizontal rule
89

In that case screw everything else and enjoy your vacation


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 3:34 AM
horizontal rule
90

83 is so vain it thinks the comment is about it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 4:18 AM
horizontal rule
91

I hope you have a great vacation, Thorn!


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 4:21 AM
horizontal rule
92

70: that Gabor paper thing is funny, but I didn't check the link in advance and used up my last free story before Slate's new international paywall slams down. How long will my resistance last to the 50euro annual fee?

Good luck Thorn, and happy vacationing.


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 5:00 AM
horizontal rule
93

RebeccaS, I'm so sorry you're dealing with all that. I'm glad you've got high-powered support and hope it will get the job done. That sounds awful and exhausting.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 5:46 AM
horizontal rule
94

93 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 6:18 AM
horizontal rule
95

Agree with 93, echo 91.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 6:31 AM
horizontal rule
96

Sorry, Thorn. This whole thing sounds unpleasant.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 6:40 AM
horizontal rule
97

Also agree with 93. That sounds like a rough time.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 6:55 AM
horizontal rule
98

Wow, our pastor just called me because she's trying to support Lee through this and wants me to know she told Lee that the breakup is obviously best for everyone and children need happy self-aware parents and that not everyone is cut out for day-to-day parenting. She's going to push hard while we're on vacation to get Lee to see the wisdom of essentially giving me full custody and having some visitation, basically my ideal imagined scenario. It was all totally affirming and the pastor is proud of me and what I've done for the girls and for staying strong now.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:04 AM
horizontal rule
99

The Lord works in mysterious ways...


Posted by: dk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:10 AM
horizontal rule
100

And few more mysterious than that. But good stuff, enjoy your vacation Thorn, which is long overdue.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
101

98: Gleeful that your diligence in taking the girls to services that you didn't care about but were important to Lee has been rewarded.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
102

101: Lee didn't really care whether I take them or not. She doesn't really want me doing religious instruction since I'm not religious. But while they were in care they had the right to practice their family religion and I think it's important on cultural literacy grounds. Plus there's nowhere else in town to see so many queer families with black kids, and they need that. But the pastor is great for many reasons and knows the work I've done for the church over the years. We will see her together when I get back, assuming Lee is still willing. I hope she will be.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
103

Sending good thoughts and hugs your way, Thorn. And yay pastor for seeing the light.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
104

They have candles, so that's what you'd expect.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
105

Very glad to hear 98, and I hope it helps move things swiftly to the outcome you're looking for. (I find it hard to imagine that it wouldn't get there eventually, when Lee finally recognizes she doesn't actually want to put in the kind of effort her plan would require; but sooner much better than later.) Good reason to enjoy your vacation with a little more peace of mind.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
106

Where are you going for your vacation?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
107

98 is great and I hope it gets things moving in the right direction.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
108

"the mediator got the deal done, but some assumptions everyone made, and urged by the mediator, turned out wrong, so my person feels pretty ill used."

Often people believe that the mediator is advising them about the law and acting almost like a judge. Mediators are NOT doing them. They are essentially facilitating dialogue, with their own assumptions and bias.

If there is an assumption being made, include it in the agreement. If there are predicates, then write them done and make them part of the agreement. Assume nothing. Always have a family lawyer advise you and review everything before it is signed.

I make a lot of money due to bad agreements written by mediators.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
109

Just to help you and other people in your profession, I tell teenagers that all you need is love to make a relationship work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
110

If there is an assumption being made, include it in the agreement. If there are predicates, then write them done and make them part of the agreement. Assume nothing.

This. I've been on a ton of calls for people trying to get us to help them enforce an agreement and we can only enforce what's right there in black and white. "But this is how we agreed to do it/have always done it" gets told to get a lawyer and go back to court.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
111

The vacation should be great! When I was young, my grandparents always rented a cottage on the Canadian side of Lake Erie and we'd stay for a week or so, basically the happiest time of my childhood. My uncle rented the cottage next door to that one for two weeks, so the girls and I will be up there for a week of it and my grandmother will meet Selah for the first time. None of my brothers or cousins can make it, but several of my childhood beach friends will overlap with us for a day or two with their children. I'm so excited!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
112

Sounds lovely and relaxing, lots of people to take the girls off your hands for a few minutes when it gets too much.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
113

That really does sound great. The Midwestern cabin-by-a-lake vacation sounds really fun and kindof exotic to me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
114

Best wishes Thorn, glad to hear you're excited about the vacation, and get to go into it feeling good.

The process of actually splitting up probably will be frustrating and drag out, even if the pastor can influence Lee, but hopefully you end up in a much better situation. It did make sense why you were trying to make it work for a long time but, as you know, everybody here is ready to believe that separating should be a big step forward.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
115

Wow, the pastor talked her out of any plan that involves us sharing meaningful space while we learn to live in the separation and ourselves. Hallelujah!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
116

Best of luck, Thorn. Glad things seem to be going the way you want them.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
117

Wow, Thorn! So glad to hear you have a (hopefully restful and restorative) vacation coming up, and YAY your pastor being supportive in the best sense of the word.

And sheesh, Rebecca, that sounds awful. Glad you are taking steps to help mitigate the worst parts.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
118

I'm so glad the pastor persuaded her!


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
119

Yeah, so if anyone ever asks why there still are black churches in America, you can say it's to get better breakup terms for your queer white atheist friend. (Seriously, I'm so grateful and relieved. Each step in the right direction feels amazing. And I got my first "You look great! What's going on in your life these days??" today, though yesterday it wouldn't have happened because I was a weepy zombie.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
120

Great news. Go Jesus.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
121

The pastor is indeed impressive. "No, the kids are definitely better off with their queer white atheist mother, and that's what's most important so I am going to make it happen THROUGH THE POWER OF PASTORALISM" is great.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
122

Cosigning 91 and 120, although the latter in an atheist way.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
123

...And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
124

Ugh, Rebecca, sorry to hear the update. Glad you're lawyered up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
125

Sorry to hear the grim update, Rebecca. Lawyered up does sound the way to go.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
126

Black churches in America threaten to give Christianity a good name.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
127

Always have a family lawyer advise you and review everything before it is signed.

This. It always sounds like the kind of thing lawyers just say to convince people to lawyer up and make us money. But, as Will notes, lawyers stand to make way more money if people make a mess of things first. (Though shady lawyers also stand to gain by encouraging acrimony and endless spiteful battles over minutiae. So, you know, beware that, too.)

I'm just thrilled that the time you invested in the girls' religious upbringing is leading to positive results, Thorn. As it should. Church going is but one of so many examples of you putting what you felt was best for your kids first. I've said it before and will say it again: your selflessness as a parent and as a person amaze and inspire me. I wish you all good things.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
128

Some good things are rivalrous goods and there are others to be considered. Specifically, if she gets all the beer, what will I do?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
129

127.last Very much this.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
130

"No, the kids are definitely better off with their queer white atheist mother, and that's what's most important so I am going to make it happen THROUGH THE POWER OF PASTORALISM" is great.

Yeah, that's some good pastoring.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
131

98 made me a little weepy and 121 made me lol.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
132

Best wishes as you move forward, Thorn. Glad of this latest news especially.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
133

131.1: We also talked about how she's not comfortable with the latest UCC resolution that Israeli treatment of Palestinians should be considered apartheid, because she thinks it's makes the word's use too metaphorical and if wasn't fair that there were no Israeli delegates. That was not how I expected our conversation about my breakup to start, plus she was calling from her day job at Job Corps. She's pretty great.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
134

Best wishes, Thorn, and I hope it's financially as well as psychologically manageable. I'm glad the two-shared-houses plan seems to have died a quick and merciful death.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
135

Let's all give our opinion as to whether or not the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians counts as Apartheid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
136

133: I initially assumed the "she" was Lee and I was so confused about why she'd be bringing the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in mediation!


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
137

I always bring it up in domestic discussions.

"How can you expect me to do the dishes while Palestinians lose their homes?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
138

I'd like to discuss custody arrangements with Jammies' employer because I am so fucking sick of this constant traveling. I know, I know, you shouldn't take the job if you can't handle the requirements, but fuck them anyway. I just don't understand why you don't have to compensate someone extra when you're occupying all 24 of their hours. I mean, I understand why that legislation has never been seriously considered but it's stupid.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
139

Is he Palestinian?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 4:44 PM
horizontal rule
140

Well, he's occupied.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
141

Is the constant travel a newish thing, or has it really been constant? Do you ever expect it to change (like, once this 3-year contract with group X and its many global satellite offices ends, he'll be more settled -- something like that)? It certainly doesn't sound family-friendly, although I'm sure they're friendly with you and shit.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
142

It's a one year position that he was more or less told he had to take or someone in his group (maybe him!) would get fired. So for 2015, it's about one week a month.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
143

Happy for Thorn. Rebecca, my heart goes out to you.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
144

Have a great vacation Thorn. So glad things are heading in a good direction.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 6:34 PM
horizontal rule
145

if wasn't fair that there were no Israeli delegates

I, uh, would not expect the UCC to have very many Israeli members, let alone delegates.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
146

145 was my response too, but I decided not to get into it!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
147

Probably the best choice in context, yeah.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:25 PM
horizontal rule
148

Heebie, that sounds awful. Could you hire a nanny/sitter/chef/maid for some of that time to help you juggle it all? Ideally someone old enough to have a glass of wine with you after you get the kids to bed...


Posted by: dk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-15 7:30 PM
horizontal rule
149

Clocking out at work and heading (very slowly and incrementally) for the border! Thanks so much for the support, guidance, everything. You're the best, as Pauly Shore used to say.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-10-15 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
150

Also Lee's sick burn today was "I'm sorry you're an introvert with no friends. I can't help that." Little does she know I have so many friends who are so great!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-10-15 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
151

Have a great trip, Thorn!


Posted by: dk | Link to this comment | 07-10-15 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
152

Have fun in Canada. And I mean that non-ironically.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-15 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
153

Have a great trip Thorn! This part should probably be deleted for fear of unleashing the trolls, but I miss Pauly Shore.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 07-10-15 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
154

Do not even.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-10-15 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
155

98: Yes, this is the right way to do it if it must be done. Best wishes, good luck, and I'll toss in admiration for your courage.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-11-15 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
156

Thorn-- I read unfogged all the time, but hardly ever comment. Was party to the third same-sex divorce in my state a short while ago. No custody issues, but awful ex. Adding my voice to the chorus of those saying get a lawyer. We also mediated, but with lawyers on each side. Lawyer was the best decision I ever made, even as I'm still (literally) paying the cost of that. I'm not generally conflict avoidant, but the temptation to give in just to make the nightmare end was overwhelming at times. Having a lawyer say not only "no, don't give into that" but also remark periodically on (1) how ex was trying tactics lawyer had seen before; and (2) how ex was behaving bizarrely even for an adversarial divorce was incredibly sanity preserving. Totally worth it. Lawyer up, asap.


Posted by: beenthere | Link to this comment | 07-11-15 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
157

"I'm sorry you're an introvert with no friends. I can't help that."

Dick.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-11-15 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
158

Have a great vacation, Thorn!

I definitely support the push for a lawyer. Glad you've got that planned. And good luck with the negotiations and all the stress that splitting up entails. I am convinced this will, in the end, be so much better for you, for your peace of mind, and for your kids. Embrace the small (and large) freedoms that come with splitting up!


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 07-12-15 5:23 AM
horizontal rule
159

RebeccaS - loads of sympathy. Sounds like a huge, stressful mess. I hope it is sorted as quickly as possible!


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 07-12-15 5:23 AM
horizontal rule
160

The good news is that Lee is starting to calm down about thinge and agree with me that we'll both be much happier once we're through this. She found a spacious apartment a few blocks from the house that meets her design needs and will be available in a few weeks. The landlords, who live below, are an older lesbian couple we like, which could be good for her social life too. We're finding common ground on a lot of things and she's being kind and helpful, which I suspect is easier when I'm hours away. But I'm getting more and more optimistic that we'll find a good mutually agreeable solution. I do still plan to involve a lawyer, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-12-15 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
161

And thanks, beenthere. I very much appreciate hearing your experience. I hope life is better for you these days.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-12-15 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
162

Yay for 160!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-12-15 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
163

Yes, glad to see 160.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-12-15 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
164

Good!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-12-15 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
165

Huzzah!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
166

Things just keep getting better. Lee and I both feel excited and happy about the prospects for separate lives, while plans to try to get better at liking each other and working together better always felt like awful chores. My travel with the girls hit a logistical snag and Lee immediately stepped up and overnighted what we needed to save the day. I feel much kinder toward her than I have in years, though I'm sure there will still be hard times ahead as we split our belongings and do on. But I think basically we're in good shape to tell the girls soon and present a united front and be ready to make the co-parenting part work.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
167

That's very good to hear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
168

166: Cool! Good work. (I've been wondering for years what you got out of the relationship that made it worth preserving. No, don't tell me.)


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
169

Oh, tell him.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
170

166 is great news.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
171

Thorn, I am very hopeful for all of you.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
172

Also 150 is funny.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
173

I, uh, would not expect the UCC to have very many Israeli members, let alone delegates.

It has been a while since I shared the dark, humiliating tale of [New England town name redacted]'s [church name redacted]'s Passover Seder in the church basement, hasn't it?

Have I previously mentioned that they were unable to find any actual Jewish people to attend this fiasco?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
174

168: Three children I adore? The soonest I could have initiated this would have been April, when all the adoptions had been done and I finally got custodial rights to all three. And then I had shingles for two months and then we broke up, essentially. I hadn't been counting down the days until it could happen or anything, but all that factored in.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 1:01 PM
horizontal rule
175

166 is so right on. Awesomeness. It's clear that this is going to be so much better for both of you and your kids.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
176

166 makes me want to do a little happy dance. Hold on... Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
177

Yay!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
178

Yay!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
179

Heebie, that sounds awful. Could you hire a nanny/sitter/chef/maid for some of that time to help you juggle it all?

I am going to go help supervise art projects and invent weird toys, starting in a month.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
180

Yaaaay 166


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
181

179 is the truth! We're going to be roomies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
182

Way to wreck the big reveal, yo.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
183

Oh sorry :( :( :(


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
184

Oh I'm just teasing. I'll still reveal.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
185

ROOMIE.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-15 4:53 PM
horizontal rule