Archive for April, 2008

Yesterday I stumbled across a step-mommy blog (how refreshing, amongst all the many mommy blogs!) – The Ommy Diaries – and Rhonda there asked me how I like my own situation, specifically the 50/50 custody arrangement. I started replying there, then my comment turned into a mini-novel, so I thought I’d post it here instead.

How do I like the 50/50 custody arrangement?

Simply….? I don’t.

I thought I would….I thought I would have the best of best worlds, you know. Be a full-time mommy for a week and then a carefree spirit for the next. But it doesn’t work like that, does it.

I will never be the kids mom…they have one of those already. It took me a few months to really understand what that meant. So the week we have them, I feel like a detested babysitter at worst and a favored aunt at best. The emotional turmoil of wanting to be a mommy, and not being able to, tears me apart. Then I pull away from them, but that tears me apart too. I want to love. I need to love.

My hubby and his ex both have “rights of first refusal”, so if he’s at work and one of the kids are sick or off school for vacation or whatever, she can come whenever she likes and just take them. Even though my hubby and I made very specific life decisions to enable us always to be able to take care of the kids when they were here with us. I even arranged a telecommuting job so that I can be there for them after school and on vacation time. I hate this “right of first refusal” – it tears our little family apart. Yet I totally recognise her rights as a mother.

Then the kids leave for a week and both my husband and I mope forlornly around the house, like something’s missing. We close their bedroom doors, so we don’t have to see them when they’re not there (make sense?). It just hurts too much to see their empty bedrooms.

The kids don’t like it either. They hate having 2 homes and cannot understand why their mom, them and us cannot all live happily in the house together. They miss their mom terribly. She used to be a full-time stay-at-home mome. So not only are they having to get used to me, but they are having to adjust to their mom not being there as much as she once was. And even when they’re supposed to be with her, on her weeks, she works such odd days and times, that she is forever handing them off to sitters. This missing of her, aggravates their time with us too. I think they miss her so terribly when they are with us, because she doesn’t spend much time with them when she is supposed to. This angers me, because I resent her issues causing issues in our home.

My husband could enact his own right of first refusal in these cases, but he refuses to because we don’t agree with the concept in principle. He sees what it does to me when she does it and he refuses to support it.

In addition, our weeks with them are so geared up to them, that the weeks without them we catch up on work hours and chores etc, so there is not much free time anyway.

Furthermore, as was custom in their marriage, my hubby’s ex sees his role as primarly a provider and “back up” parent and sees nothing wrong with dumping the kids on him, when it’s convinient for her. Which it frequently was (and is). So his parenting seemed to be contigent upon her deciding when it was fit to happen. Now he is learning to parent on his terms, not her’s.

It is our belief that structure and routine are what the kids need more than anything else (after love and affection – which they get plenty of). So we are trying to provide that for them during the weeks we have them. However, she doesn’t share that belief and cannot understand why we do not take the kids during her week, when she is otherwise engaged. She doesn’t see how that messes up routines and schedules.

It’s a mess, to be honest.

So why don’t we change it?

Give her full custody? No, my hubby does not want to do this, because he doesn’t trust her parenting ability. She has made some really poor decsions and has some really wacky views on the world. He wants to try and minimize the long term effect that might have on the kids. On my bad days, I wish he would just do this. Suck up the massive child support payments and give her the kids. We’ll see them every other weekend and my heart will be protected from the “mommy bug”. But then I see reason and realize this would give the kids the worst possbile start in life and would mean my hubby would not get to be the dad he wants to be.

Him go for full custody? He has thought long and hard about this…even spoken to his attorney about it. But he decided against it. Apparantly she is not a bad enough mother for the courts to award him custody. The courts are still favoring mothers and unless they are terrible, father’s stand very little chance. Perhaps she has to murder someone first…

So for now, we make the best of a bad situation, which is probably the best situation, all things considered.

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Website Redesign

The website I develop and maintain is going through a resign, primarily the look and feel and the navigation.

A bit of background and for those who don’t know me, I work for a land-grant university on the east coast of the US.  I am the webmaster and sole web developer for their main website (which has around 30K pages to it).  I am relatively new to the web field, although I have been in the IT industry for over 10 years.

Back to the redesign….we are working with a design agency for this little exercise and they are charging us a lot of money for the priviledge.  A week or so ago, they presented their first “concepts” to us.

Seriously….I was S-H-O-C-K-E-D!

For the amount of people on their team and the amount of money we are paying them, I am shocked with what they presented to us.  So we told them to go away and make some adjustments.  Yesterday they presented version two of the concepts.

Again, I am S-H-O-C-K-E-D!

I am not a graphic artist, hell, I wouldn’t even call myself a web designer yet.  But even I can see what they are sending is trash.  Yes, it’s a strong word.  But that’s how I feel.

It is so not worthy of consideration I think all we can do is trash what they’ve done and ask them to start again, or find another design agency.

So anyway, of course I am now starting a design hunt.  What looks good…what is our competition doing…what is new and hip and hot.  So I will probably be posting any resources I come across that I think are noteworthy.

I found one such resource today – webdesignfromscratch.com.  Excellent for current web design trends!  Simple, detailed explanations.  According to this website, current trends are:
* Simple layout
* Centered orientation
* Design the content, not the page
* 3D effects, used sparingly
* Soft, neutral background colors
* Strong color, used sparingly
* Cute icons, used sparingly
* Plenty of whitespace
* Nice big text

Well, right now Design Agency X (let’s call them that, shall we) is in contravention of 5 out of 9 of these trends!

Will keep you posted.

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You know where I am RIGHT NOW? As I’m writing and posting this?

At my neighborhood cafe…eating a scrumptious meal, logged into their very fast internet connection, listening to Corey Hart’s Never Surrender (gosh, that brings back memories…Viki and high school), and before writing this post…working.

I feel so, so decadent!

Know why I’m here? Because I have cleaners in my house, cleaning (obviously), and I wanted to get away whilst they’re there.

And I’m thinking to myself, who do exactly do I think I am? Seriously. How many people (regular people) have someone clean their house whilst they lounge in the lap of luxury? I was SO born to be royalty! This comes so naturally to me. And I love it 🙂 . I say this with a complete lack of shame too. Isn’t that awful? No it’s not, I’m just saying that because I feel I should. I am actually LOVING this! This is the way life should be. Earning one’s living in the way that brings happiness, so that one can pay for the other parts of your life you don’t like doing so much (like cleaning a house).

Anyway, back to why I started this post in the first place…

This cafe is so, so lovely! The murals on the wall are awesome. So realistic. It looks like the courtyard of a street in a Tuscany village…little wrought iron chairs and tables…awesome service…really good, imaginative, wholesome food…with decadent desserts. And this in an area where there are very few unique eating places, with most of them being commercial chains. What a breath of fresh air!

Open Door CafeI nicked a photo from their website to show you, since I didn’t want to be snapping pictures in this lovely setting.

Isn’t it lovely?

Oh well…time to publish this post, get the check and return back to mundania. Thanks for taking a walk down fantasy lane with me…

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Been an age….

Ok, it’s simply been an age since I posted.  Like seriously.  A really long age.  I feel guilty.  Like I’d abandoned a friend.

But, you know, life happened and then I didn’t know where to start and then guilt kept me away and then it just spiraled and spiraled until … nothing … just blank pages.

Well, I’m here to apologize to you all (if there is even a “you all” anymore) and see if we can still be friends …?

Hope so … 😦

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