Yep, I showed up for work today in grubby shorts and a semi-decent/semi-grubby shirt so that I could work on packing things away and stay cool and not worry about what decent clothes I was destroying. I did, however, iron the t-shirt. It’s a sickness I have, really!

I got three of the four computers disassembled and put away onto maintenance carts, and most likely won’t do my own (the one I’m on now) until relatively close to the last minute. Looking around, there’s so much to do that it seems quite overwhelming. I’ll get it done, though. Somehow.

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Our new floor still isn’t in, and I’m starting to get pissed. We ordered it on July 7th and were told it would take 7-10 days for it to come in. In order to not be disappointed, I told Lisa we’d assume they meant BUSINESS days, so figured it should be in by July 21 at the latest. Lisa called yesterday and was told that the ship date had been changed to July 28. Of course, we already got the first bill on the credit card we were given to purchase the floor with…

Amazing how that part of any system always works best, eh?

So we have plywood for floors right now. Everything is in a temporary state and I’m sick and damned tired of stepping over and squeezing around things. My house is completely chaotic and I don’t have the floor to UN-chaos it!
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I let yesterday slip by without even thinking about the fact that it was the 31st anniversary of my first marriage. A lifetime ago.

We met in Okinawa while stationed there for the Army. We hit it off right away and dated intensely for about 6 months. Then, when the Department of the Army announced that, in an effort to conserve funds, all overseas tours would be involuntarily extended for three months, we decided to get an apartment and live together.

LeRoy was a proud, stereotypical Hispanic male — somewhat possessive and jealous, but he was a gentle soul as well. I would have to say that my biggest complaint was that he just didn’t know how to show and give affection, something that we all need. At one point he told me that it was MY job to provide for the family’s emotional needs, and his job to provide for their physical needs.

Through it all, we had a good companionship, but we didn’t really have a good marriage. We grew in different directions and had different dreams and goals. Or rather, I had dreams and goals, he had none. Finally one day, after 12 years of marriage and 3 kids later, I woke up and realized that I couldn’t raise happy, well adjusted kids if I wasn’t happy myself.

I filed for divorce. And I wanted it over as soon as possible. I saw the lawyer on September 29th and we were in the courtroom on October 29th, our divorce final on February 28th. Looking back, the only thing I’d do differently is give him more time to digest and deal with the impending divorce. Two months after we split, he attempted suicide. A year later, he threatened it again.

We parted on relatively friendly terms and through the first dozen or so years after our divorce, we remained good friends. It made life so much simpler for the kids that way. I didn’t have some axe to grind about their father, making me badmouth him to them, and vice versa. I always told the kids that we just didn’t have a good marriage and decided to get out of it before it got to be a BAD marriage.

He remarried about 7 years later, and divorced not quite 2 years after that. During that marriage, his wife had issue with our friendly relationship, so things deteriorated a bit. In 1998 he married his high school sweetheart, an absolutely wonderful human being, and the status quo remained for a little while.

Throughout all this time, from 1988 until 1998, you could set your clock by his calls every Sunday morning. He called the kids on their birthdays and the holidays, too. And I had the kids call him to share whatever was going on in their lives as well.

In 1999, #2 daughter left home in a snit because I refused to pay any more tuition for her after she got her Associates. She was out partying every night and I just didn’t see her taking college seriously and, as I told her, she made no effort to improve her grades to get financial help. She moved to Colorado to live with Daddy.

A year later, his wife was transferred to California and I got an email from him telling me that he’d be giving half the child support to #2 daughter. No way, I told him. And we fought bitterly over him wanting to help her out and me refusing to just hand over money to her when she could have worked harder to earn more financial assistance.

So much for remaining friendly.

He stopped calling Joe. He said it was because he didn’t want to talk to me if I answered the phone, so I told him that we had a customized ring system, and Joe had his own phone number. His line had a triple ring so I knew when the phone rang that it wasn’t for me, and I rarely, if ever, answered Joe’s line. He still didn’t call.

Then, when I got Joe a cell phone, I gave that number to his father, telling him that there was no excuse for not calling his son now. He still doesn’t call.

He and his son are so estranged, it’s not even funny. When Joe graduated high school, he turned 19 the same day. He got an envelope in the mail from his father — not a card, just an envelope which contained a POST-DATED check (dated June 31st) for $600 with a post-it stuck to it that said “Happy Birthday and congratulations.”

Two years ago, at Christmas time, Joe got a card from his father that contained a $100 check that was post-dated to January 1st. When Joe cashed the check, it bounced.

The following summer, my ex informed me that he was sick of being broke and was going to stop paying child support. These days, his paycheck is garnished for the support.

This man was once fiercely committed to his family and felt personally responsible for his children, never missing a child support payment. He went from that to a father who hasn’t spoken two words to his son in more than 5 years. For a while, Joe called him, telling me “I maintain contact with Dad because I have friends who don’t have that choice.” But when you’re conducting a one-sided relationship, it grows old, and Joe stopped calling his father. He still sends him Christmas gifts (and sends gifts to his step-mother, too), but that’s about all. His father has become an annual obligation. How sad.

That man can never buy back all that he’s missed with his son. In my book, his actions (or lack thereof) have truly made him a

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