Read about the misadventures of a sped high school teacher in Savannah, GA as he sails through the exciting seas of committment, marriage with step-kids, some tour guiding while he attempts to break into the world of professional storytelling and the occasional act of piracy.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Taking Care of Business
summer of Kim progresses nicely. Routines are establishing themselves. I wake
up around 8 with enough time to take Roni to Fashion Design Camp and Jude to
Theater Camp. I head back to the house to put off work on the tour and find
ways to waste the day as Kim trudges through her mounds of homework. Some days
we sneak out and eat lunch where we pretend to be adults without kids. Life is
going quite well. Until someone decides to muck it up.
Kim’s Ex has popped back into the
picture and refuses to work and play well with others. For the majority of our
relationship, her Ex has been waaaaay in the background. He has shown little interest
in the kids’ lives by irregular calls missing birthdays, holidays, and even
Roni’s surgeries last summer. He has popped up and dropped by in what feels
like a courtesy call. It’s like a bad case of the crabs. You think he’s gone
and then “Guess who’s back?”
For the most part I have been
silent about my feeling. He is a part of Kim’s life that happened before us. I
respect the fact her Ex (Let’s call him X for the blog’s sake) is the birth
father and always tried to be cool about it. He has always been cordial in our dealings.
Frankly, I should be threatened by him. The guy is an ex-Ranger with a college education. He made up to the
rank of Major before retiring. X did several tours overseas in Iraq and
apparently was in some serious stuff. He lost his leg after going back and working
in the private sector in Iraq. On paper, he would give Captain America a run for
Yet, I am not threatened by him
in the least. And I am fed up with his
X never bothered to finish his
court ordered program to receive the rights to full visitation with his
children even though it was his second chance. X never bothered to get them on medical
insurance after the divorce even though he promised. (Remember, one of those
kids is disabled) X never did a lot of things that I am learning should come
naturally as a parent.
I tell a lot of funny stories on
here about me and the Big Guy. Often we are odds and one of us usually trumps
the other. I have not really talked much about what I learned about being a man
from my father. (Though, I do assume there is a lot of subtext in that) Ol’ Bob
taught me a lot and I find myself using it every day.
The Big Guy is Content. Jack's River Falls 1991
First and foremost, a man takes
care of his family. I never got an Atari 2600 and not from a lack of asking. I
also never was hungry, needed medical care, or wondered if my Dad loved me and
Mary.I do not see this in X. He has
shown none of this in performance, attitude, or track record.
X moved back right around the time
Kim and tied the knot. I knew it was a game changer but was curious about what would
happen. Based on previous performance, I figured he’d run out of steam by now
and fade back into the distance like X usually does. Keep in mind that X has
never finished the three steps required to get full visitation. This was almost
two years ago. Starting something is no problem. Finishing is another story.
At first, X has tried to maneuver
Kim into ways to avoid dealing with this agreement. My favorite quote was along
the lines of “Are you really going to follow that plan?” to Kim about six
months ago. This pisses me off because the guy was given a second chance and
still refuses to do what is required.
I often speak to my teacher
buddy, Steve Freenor, because he is also remarried like I am with kids. During
our Fourth of July Cookout, he summed it right up and his words have resonated
within for over a week.
“If this was important to X, he’d
take care of it immediately.”
A man takes care of his family. Not makes
X wants to have the kids overnight
as part of step 3 of the court process yet he was supposed to finish this 2
years ago. For the past month, he has badgered harassed and even threatened to
take Kim back to court. It has been borderline harassment we have consulted two
attorneys and even the court appointed psychologist who almost laughed because
too much time had passed for her observations to be valid. Kim has been as professional as possible,
stayed firm and has put her foot down. She is finally not playing X’s game. I
am proud of her.
A pattern has emerged that upsets
me greatly. X will send an e-mail where he requests legitimate bits of
information regarding the kids’ schedule. Hidden in those e-mails are little
nuggets where he gets a dig in on Kim. Kim
has handled this like a pro but I am a Richardson. We take care of our family.
No, I am not going to do anything
stupid. 20 year old Robby would have pulled something like that. You are
reading about 43 year old Robby. I almost hate to admit that I have matured a
bit over the years and finally have learned a bit about dealing with ilk like
The one thing I have learned in
dealing with problems is to remove the factors that make the issue. X is making
Kim’s day harder. No more. Starting today, X is more than welcome to
communicate regarding the kids’ schedules, schools, camps, etc. through me.
Between 15 years of social work,
Wal-Mart service desk, and teaching, I know a bit regarding dealing with difficult
people. I am more than happy to let X know what he needs to know, where to be,
when to pick up the kids. He is their father and it is his right to know these
things. This is by no means an issue with me.
But Mr. X, I want to get something
straight. I respect your rights that come with being a father of two of the
most amazing children I have ever had the privilege to love. I also understand
any frustrations that come with dealing with an ex-wife (been there, done that,
had a bag of lime and a shovel)
You have a history with Kim. I
respect that too. But as far as we are concerned from this point on, you
interactions will be based upon the needs and wants of our kids. You will leave my wife alone and not play your childish
games with her. I am more than happy to showing where to look for whatever
necessary and pertinent info you will need. You know what you need to do. Do
it. Take care of your business and be a Dad not a father.
As I say to my students, I share
with you. Please do not mistake my courtesy for weakness. If High School,
Depression, Back Surgery, Losing my Dad, Heart Murmurs, a cavalcade of crazy
exes, and Kidney disease didn’t do me in, this is whole situation is a walk in
the park. I will happily do what I must because as the greatest man I have ever
known once showed me though his works and deeds:
Afterall, A man takes care of his family.
For the first time in a while, the Bible and I agree