Monday, August 29, 2011

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away

As some of you know, I've had a string of terrible, horrible, no good very bad days this summer. Divorce does not exactly elevate the psyche. Somehow, bad follows bad, with worse not far behind. At the end of a week, it'll seem like we've clearly reached the apex, the zenith, the acme of badness. Then something else goes wrong.

These stories will mostly be funny some day. Some of them were even funny the next day. Or when I told them to some of you. :-) Not so much funny ha-ha to live through, though.

So Annie and Jonathan took a train to Ann Arbor this week. They met their dad and spent the weekend visiting with Grapes. Had a Grape family reunion, in fact. First one without me. Not that I was feeling sorry for myself. No, no.

Actually, I enjoyed the peace and quiet. It was quiet. And peaceful. Until my phone made that noise it makes when one of my children is texting me. It was Jonathan. "Apparently Annie left her laptop on the train." Oh my, said I.

I received no further news for hours. Being a trained glass half-full girl, I assumed that it must have turned up. Ha. Annie was simply avoiding telling me, as she was busy berating herself and was afraid I'd do it, too. No mom berating occurred, as she was clearly covering that base all by herself. Poor kid.

Many calls were made to Amtrak. No luck.

Carl dropped the kids off Sunday afternoon. Jon came running in, needing to use the facilities. Apparently his laptop was necessary equipment for this event. Why, I don't know. Why is a cell phone needed in the bathroom, such that it can (and will) fall in the toilet, as has happened at least twice in our family?

Anywho, J was grabbing and pulling and fumbling with his laptop when SMASH, down it crashed onto the ceramic tile floor. Oh my, said I. The screen was oh so nicely cracked, both horizontally and vertically.

Two laptops in one weekend? Really? Isn't that a bit over the top, even for this summer and my family? Apparently not. Apparently I underestimated our capacity for wretched events. OK. We're all full up now. Stop it. God. Karma. Fate. Bad luck. Just stop it. Now.

OK. here's the good news: we did NOT experience Hurricane Irene. My basement was dry all weekend, thank you very much. And for the pollyanna glass half-full record, Jon's hard drive, which seemed glitchy after the fall, seems fine now. The screen hasn't fallen apart yet, nor have the colors bled out or done whatever colors do when they leave a computer screen, never to work again.

And here's the even better news. Someone found Annie's laptop. And did not steal it. And Amtrak has it. And is sending it to Ann Arbor so that Annie can drive to Michigan and pick it up tomorrow. And I don't have to buy a new Mac Powerbook or whatever flavor machine she currently drives.

So the Lord giventh and the Lord taketh away. But Amtrak rocks. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sue your mom

No, that's not a fat-fingered typing error. Nor is it a partial sentence lacking pertinent punctuation and a verb. For your amusement and edification, I present today's lawsuit. Yes, that's right, two adult children sued their mother for bad mothering, which caused emotional distress to the tune of $50,000.

This wicked mother did such horrible things as arguing with her daughter over the cost of party dresses and harassing same child by calling at midnight on Homecoming to tell her to come home! The boy child received a boorish birthday card accusing him of being "different from all the rest." Gasp. It also had no money in it.

Oh my. Think of the possibilities. I could sue my mom for the extreme distress she caused me by throwing away my big red and blue stuffed cat while I was away at college. And what about that time she made me stay at the table and finish the bologna and jelly sandwich I specifically requested then refused to eat? Clearly, that was damaging. Not a bite of bologna has passed my lips since.

Alas, the lawsuit was dismissed by a sane Illinois appeals court. Ruling in favor of the children "could potentially open the floodgates to subject family child rearing to . . . . excessive judicial scrutiny and interference." You think?

The lawsuit is bad enough. But we know that all manner of ridiculous cases clog up court dockets each and every day. What I found disappointing about this situation was the identity of the adult children's attorney: their father, ex-husband of the subject of the suit.

Again, it's not surprising that ex-spouses would seek to beat up on one another. But here's the kicker in their father's behavior. He said he tried to convince his children not to bring the case. So, I'm a parent, my kids want to sue my ex, want ME to be their attorney, and I don't think it's a good idea. But I do it anyway?

Grow a spine, Daddy. Yes, as our children grow, we step back and let them make their own mistakes. Certainly, the parent involved couldn't keep his children from filing suit, nor should he have tried to do so. But it was definitely NOT Daddy's job to assist them in making that mistake by providing them free legal services.

Some parents do horrible, unspeakable things to their children. At the very least, ridiculous suits like this make a mockery of those crimes by attempting to put a price tag on the disappointments we all face when our parents turn out to be imperfect human beings. And having a co-parent aid and abet this behavior adds salt to the wound.

I wonder if somewhere in the piles of legal papers about this case, someone might have suggested counseling for all of those involved. If nothing else, it sure would've saved a forest of trees.