Saturday, May 2, 2009
Azaleas, Painters and Late Night Calls
I’ve posted a different photo of Caleb (see right), the eleven year old son of friends, who continues to fight the good fight against brain cancer. May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month and while I keep Caleb and his family in my prayers all the time, I want to respectfully request that anyone reading this consider offering up a prayer for Caleb and others like him. It is a tough prognosis and the families in this battle have a real fight on their hands. Caleb has been actively battling this monster for over a year. His parents, three brothers, extended family, church family and friends have been with him every step of the way. They are all amazing.
I was in court, yesterday, with a family that is angry, fractured and just doesn’t get along. The father was asking the court to order that the mother be required to undergo a psychological examination based on concerns for her mental health. What concerned him? The other parent had filed multiple rules to show causes (contempt for violating court orders) against him and requests for protective orders, alleging he was abusive. Most of the filings had been thrown out.
Trouble is, the father had filed even more cases against the mother! They’d all mainly been tossed out, too.
The most recent dust up came about when the mother allegedly called him at 11:00 at night to discuss child support and the new wife (who was the subject of a Court Order to have no contact WHATSOEVER with the mother) hung up on her. Mom thought that was rude. So she filed a request for a protective order alleging phone harassment. No, you read that, correctly.
The father also filed a request for a protective order so she wouldn’t call so late. When I asked the mother about it, she became most disgruntled because, she insisted, she did NOT call at 11:00. She had the phone records to prove it. As it turned out, she was correct. She’d called him at 10:53 p.m.
I sighed. I told the mother to not call after 9:00 p.m. (I went to law school for this?). She insisted that she called that late so the kids wouldn’t still be up. I told her that NO ONE was up that late (well, at least at my household). The father, across the hall, was listening in to the conversation and yelled over that she was so stupid that even the GAL thought she was an idiot. The mother puffed up, I gave dad a steely look (the mom look - you know the one I mean) and he threw up his hands as if to apologize (to me – not her).
I’ve worked with this family a long time and for some reason, they didn’t get angry at me when I bluntly tell the court things like, “In my non mental health expert opinion, both sides are nuts.” Yes, I can be quite professional, I admit it. I think that if you say it with affection and a smile, it goes down easier. And this is one of the saddest things about this family – they actually have a sense of humor and can roll with it most of the time – but the parents simply can’t get along and act ridiculous. Normally, things get better with time but they have been at this for years. This petty war is their hobby.
They should get a blog or take up quilting.
I asked the court to order a child custody evaluation, which she did. A child custody evaluation, essentially, is a report done by a mental heath professional to determine the relative strengths and weaknesses of the parents as parents. It is not binding but it gives more information. In this instance, the evaluation will be done by the court psychologist and she will conduct psychological testing for serious mental health problems. I don’t think they will find any and, unfortunately, I don’t think there is a specific test for immaturity. It is like obscenity – you know it when you see it.
Their kids, btw, are just darling. It is a shame that half the time one or the other parent is in jail or in court over something stupid that the other parent filed. Both sides are on a first-name basis with the local police (who are constantly called). At this point they probably exchange Christmas cards. This is one of those tough cases where neither parent is what they ought to be but the kids are thriving nonetheless. The piper will arrive for payment in about five years when the kids hit puberty.
Husband was on the phone to the painter for our Oklahoma house, last night. The painter just finished up a job painting most of the interior where we'd had wallpaper removed. He told husband that they went ahead and painted the utility room, too.
"What do we owe you for the extra?" asked husband.
"Oh," said the painter,"Don't worry about it, we had left over paint. Consider it 'value added.'"
Gotta love Oklahoma tradesmen. And if you need a good painter, we know one...