Keep On The Sunny Side….

So there was an assembly at the high school yesterday, and Hanna’s school was bused over so they could also take part in this assembly.  When the announcer said, “A special welcome to the students of XX Jr/Sr. High School,” a huge number of the student body stood up and booed the kids from the alternative high school.  To top it off, the kids from the alternative school were not allowed to leave the gym for ANY reason.  There was even a policeman “patrolling” the area in which those kids were sitting to prevent them from leaving the gym.  They could not even go across the hall to get a drink OR to go to the bathroom, so for two and a half hours, they had to sit there on the bleachers like prisoners.

I am trying to decide whether this is something I should REALLY be pissed about (I am), or rather if I should make a stink.  Eli said that there was an announcement over the intercom yesterday afternoon regarding the kids’ behaviour in booing the kids from the alternative school, but of course all the kids just laughed.  Still, at least it was addressed, right?  I am more mad about the fact that the kids from the alternative school were basically prisoners;  while I understand that some of them are, in fact, juvenile delinquents, if they can’t be trusted to walk across the hall to go pee then they shouldn’t even be allowed to go to the assembly.

Also under the heading of general what-the-fuckery, I got letters from both Sam and Eli’s school yesterday regarding the vaccine for the swine flu.  I am actually starting to get a little bit more concerned about it in a general sense; there are a lot of sick people here right now, and several documented cases.  The thing is, even though I have a high-risk child, I can’t see actually having him (or any of us) get vaccinated with a vaccine that hasn’t been thoroughly tested in a controlled setting before being used on the general public at large.  In a rush to get a vaccine found and made available to the public, it seems a little as if the FDA/CDC in conjunction put this one on a fast track, and I wonder what steps they skipped before releasing it.  No, I don’t think I want any of us to be injected with something that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted, including with long-term ramifications.  Does this make me an irresponsible parent due to the fact that I have a high-risk child?  The letter implied that.   However, I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea at all.

And once again, the first three posts I read this morning were about babies and/or pregnancy; enough already!  Not really, because I love to read them, but babylust is strong lately (as you all know) and I am having a hard time coming to terms with being all the way done.  Plus I don’t have any babies around with which to get my fix.  However, I do go home to a three-year old who hasn’t been feeling so well lately, which is pretty damn good birth control right there.  I don’t get annoyed (much) at him, but it IS  good reminder of all of the stuff I am NOT missing by being done.  Everything has a sunny side.

It is cold here; I went out to take my morning walk and just about got blown away.   We got the pilot lit in the furnace last night and kicked it on for the first time since May (and I broke my personal rule about not turning the heat on until AT LEAST October 1st), and I was glad of it when it come down to 30 degrees last night.  It will be chicken noodle soup and bread for dinner tonight, and the recommencing of our nightly tea-before-bed ritual; like I said, everything has a sunny side.  Also, Ice Age 3 is at the cheap theater this weekend (the $2.00 theater), so for $12 we can maybe all go to see it; I loved the first two, so am excited to see this one as well.

(Clearly I am running out of things to say, so perhaps I should just, you know, stop here.  A novel idea, you say?)

And this is what makes me happy…

It was a really good weekend; nothing of huge import happened beyond the long-awaited Homecoming Dance, but it was still a really good weekend. Good speaker meeting on Friday; the man having a really good story to share.  We cleaned ferociously on Saturday morning, and then my friend Jacquie and I helped Hannah get ready for the dance…and later that night I even had time to delve into my new book.  Sunday was much the same, little household chores and more heavy cleaning and then?  For me, a nap, a wonderful nap with both dogs curled up next to me to keep me warm.  We cooked, too, cookies for my part and the yummy bread on Steve’s part, plus steak and potatos.  Later, two long phone conversations and a visit from Steve’s parents…and while I didn’t get to use my new reel yet, well, next weekend, perhaps.  I feel good today, rested and happy, and though I would share with you a few of the things that do make me happy, on a consistent basis.  Plus, of course, pictures of Hannah.  Enjoy!
Um, yes, these are BOTH male cats...

Um, yes, these are BOTH male cats...

Man and Fish

Man and Fish

Flan

Flan

Dutch Oven Bread

Dutch Oven Bread

Owen

Owen

The New Baby

The New Baby

And So It Begins....

And So It Begins....

Having Problems With The Hairstyle

Having Problems With The Hairstyle

The finished product

The finished product

Hannah

Hannah

 

Hannah and J. getting ready to leave

Hannah and J. getting ready to leave

 

Hannah and J.

Hannah and J.

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments?

Welcome to another edition of Friday Fragments, brought to you by the lovely and charming Mrs.4444.  She posted some really great news over there today, so you should go check it out (no, she isn’t pregnant).  While you are there, check out her Friday Fragments post and join in.

***Here is a direct quote from a commenter on the newspaper article about CF’s sentencing:” Don’t you think at 15 that she could of got away from him? Why stay there and let him do things to her that she knew was wrong.”I have to thank “jazz” for her incredibly thoughtful and, of course, well-informed comment.  One might say, then, that if she or her daughter is raped, we can also conceivably blame it on her inability to prevent it from happening?  Funny, for some silly reason I thought the perpetrator was at fault, but gee, I guess I was wrong.  Fuckwad.

***Mornings at my house have pretty much sucked the last couple of days.  This morning I lost it and finally said, “Thank you all SO much for making me so thrilled to actually go to work!” 

***I just got the recertification for my child care assistance.  My co-pay went up because according to them, I make $2,239 a month.  Well fuck me running, wouldn’t THAT be nice?  I have to email them next week to find out how they came up with that amount; before taxes, I make $1600. I WISH I made over $2,000 a month before taxes! 

***On a happier note, it is not likely that Steve is going to die based on the minuscule amount of charcoal lighter fluid he swallowed last night.  Especially given the fact that it was diluted greatly in the can of soda he had just opened.  Note to Steve: if you leave a soda can out on the step, ALWAYS smell it before you swig. 

***Ms. Moon is having a grandson very soon, maybe already.  So if you love her like I do, send up happy thoughts for her daughter Lily and Son-in-Law Jason as they labor to being another Owen into the world.

***Hannah and Eli’s dad always calls the house during the day, in the middle of the week, when he knows they are not going to be home.  Twice this week he has done this, and I am baffled.  Because when the kids call him back at night, he won’t answer the phone.  I am not sure if he is trying to be all “well I call all the time and you guys aren’t home” deal, not REALLY wanting to talk to them, but who knows.  It just annoys me; why call when you know well no one is going to answer? 

***I really need a vacation.  When I burst into tears this morning because the dog got out and wouldn’t listen when I called her back in and I dropped my coffee cup while going after her, well, that is a pretty sure sign I need a break.  It isn’t happening anytime soon, though, and the entire weekend is already filled up with shit that HAS to be done.  Stuff I have put off because there was all this other more pressing shit to do.  I know this is the way of it all, just LIFE, and I am not really complaining.  Much.

***I finally got the new fishing reel Steve bought for me for out Fourth Anniversary.  It is lovely, with a beautiful gold patina and a wooden handle that feels so nice in my hands.  It has a lot more bearings in it than my old one, which means it reels in a lot smoother.  I cannot wait to use it.

***I had also pre-ordered book that was just released on the 22nd.  In tacking my package, I found that it will be delivered to my house today.  Is is bad that I am just as excited about this as anything else?  Talk about being a nerd!  This will be great motivation for me to get done all I have to get done early in the weekend, so I can delve into my new book.  Maybe I will get to take my new reel AND my new book out on Sunday morning!

For other fragmenters, please go visit Mrs.4444.  If you are lucky, you will get her coveted Favorite Fragmenter award; I got it once, and I have forever strived (striven?) to get it again, it is that cool.

The Squeaky Wheel….

I emailed the newspaper yesterday to ask why they didn’t publicize the results of the sentencing; I think I wrote about that.  Today I got an email from a reporter asking what the relationship between CF and Hannah was, etc…and do I think Hannah would be willing to talk with her?  So I told her that I would give Hannah her number after school and if Hannah wants to call her, then great.  Well, that sounds abrupt, but it wasn’t.   I haven’t talked to Hannah about the possibility of speaking to the press; so far, there have been no interviews, just facts.  However, now that it is over and done, I think it would be really good for Hannah in terms of having publicized just how this all made her feel, and her reactions to the sentence, and have people READ it.  Is it going to change anything for her?  No; but it might help her feel just a little more empowered, and also, let’s be honest, as her parent, I want people to know just how these things can happen, and what the effect can be.  I want, too, to have this as public as possible (within reason) so that people will see him and know him for what he is.    Maybe it will help someone else down the road, who knows?

His car is still in front of the courthouse.  Where are all of those supporters now?

Moving on, Hannah is getting all geared up for Homecoming on Saturday, which is-well.  It sucks.  I want to keep her home and give her cookies to make her fat so that she doesn’t look so goddamned beautiful and grown up.  Not really, but kind of.  She is so excited, though, planning this first dance with a really nice boyfriend and how can I ever begrudge her that?  I wouldn’t; this is such a normal teen behaviour that God, it just makes me happy.  Even though I would like her to go in a gunnysack and brown paper bag.

 Sam came home yesterday all in a dither because he got picked to be a peer teacher for the Writing section of the Talented and Gifted Program; that?  Is awesome.  He said, very modestly, “I must have gotten my talent from you, mom.”  Ha. What a kid.  He is also thrilled to no end because Steve (drum roll please) is going on a field trip with Sam’s class next week.  I am slightly hurt (and shouldn’t be, but this is the topic for an entirely different post, believe me!) that Sam didn’t even ask me to go, or rather he did, but seemed relieved when I told him no.  In fact, I had barely finished with, “I have taken so much time off work that…” before he said, “I’ll ask Steve!’  But then I remembered that I went on a field trip with Hannah’s second grade class and spent a good part of it wondering if the glass in the bus windows was, in fact, shatterproof, and if I could slit my wrists fast enough with the shards, so there you go.

I am feeling much better today, which is odd in that I didn’t feel BAD yesterday.  I just feel somewhat more refreshed in general.  It helps that I am helping a friend with some business stuff  HE is working on, and I am getting paid, so that has been a totally new and fun experience.  It helps that Steve had my lunch packed and ready for me to go this morning, helps that the sun is clear and bright with just a hint of coolness in the air.  Owen has taken to wearing his goggles aka Scuba Steve, which never fails to crack me up.  Really, life just keeps going on, and that is never a bad thing.

Numb and Tired

Okay.  I have to admit to feeling, still, a little bit numb about the results of yesterday’s events.  It isn’t as if I don’t KNOW what happened, but it still hasn’t sunk in.  And I think what I am is simply tired.  Not tired in the “oh my god I can’t DO this anymore” sense that you have all seen at different times over the last year, but simply tired in general.  Relief, probably, brought about by simple lack of feeling at the moment.  Numbness.  It is neither bad nor good, it just IS.

A complaint:  although the sentencing was on the local news last night, it was not included in the web cast of the news, so that annoyed me.  There was no mention of it in the newspaper,  neither the online version nor the actual paper edition. This made me downright mad; there have been things published about it from Day One, yet the ending isn’t?  I very politely (yes, I had someone else read it first to make sure, thankyouverymuch) emailed the Editor of the city pages, inquiring as to why there was no mention of it; I received an email in reply that was very, very vague and also pulling the “we just don’t have enough reporters to cover everything” statement.  What the fuck ever.  Still, I can’t quite muster up the energy to even reply to him; like I said, numb.

One funny thing: since CF apparently didn’t believe he was really going to jail yesterday, he drove his own car to the courthouse.  It is still parked out there, and this?  Made me laugh.  Maybe he has been able to make arrangements with someone to pick it up (though another happy little note is that he had no one in the courtroom with him yesterday.  No one), but it still makes me chuckle.  Because wouldn’t it be the icing on the cake if his car got impounded?  For some reason this strikes me as quite chuckalicious.

Anyway.  I got up this morning and I might feel numb and tired but it will pass.  There are too many other things to be doing, both with regards to this whole thing (gathering together all of the expenses incurred in the last nine months and 7 days, not that I have been counting, setting up a consultation with a REAL therapist with regards to a formal evaluation/treatment plan/estimated cost to submit to the court, etc…) and in other areas of my life, so I CAN’T be tired. 

I don’t even know what is wrong with me.  I just-I don’t know.  So since I don’t know what else to say, I won’t keep trying.  And won’t THAT be a blessing?

The post you might have been waiting for…

It has been a hell of a morning, let me tell you.  But it hasn’t been just this morning-it has been a hell of a 9 months, and it culminated in the sentencing this morning.  I kept waiting for it to be postponed, since that has been the way of it so far; hard to be hopeful, really, but this time it wasn’t postponed.  Instead, we got to sit in the courtroom with the news camera rolling, listening to the bullshit flow from CF’s sleazeball lawyer’s mouth, listening to the prosecution rebut anything said, watching the realization sink into CF’s eyes as it finally, finally occurred to him that maybe he is, perhaps, in trouble. 

And at first the judge was very calm, his face kept perfectly blank and devoid of any emotion.  When it was my turn to address the court, he was unfailingly polite, but while I spoke, he very carefully kept his thoughts to himself.  I honestly can’t remember what I said; my knees were shaking so badly that I could feel the legs of my pants brush up against each other, but obviously I said something.  Irrelevant, probably, but everyone in the courtroom sat up a little straighter when my dear sweet daughter stood up.  The judge told me that I could stand with her, and I did, my arms around her holding her up while she shook.  But she spoke.  She spoke eloquently and well, her voice raw with emotions and tears running down her face.  She said, “I hate you.  I trusted you and my family trusted you and I hate you for what you did.  I hope you get what you deserve, and that is to go to prison and be afraid and embarrassed and ashamed just like I have been.”  There was a lot more, but it was so emotionally charged for all of us that I can’t clearly recall all she said.

One thing she did say, though, that almost had me laughing out loud was this: She was very vehemently pointing her finger at him and said, “I hope people MOCK you.  I hope everyone reads the paper and remembers your face, and I hope one day you are at the grocery store and a little kid runs up to you and I hope his mom says, ‘Stay away from that man, he is very, very bad.”  And no, it isn’t funny at all, it is very true, but God, I was so proud of her, her staunch assertion that he is bad and that she hopes people make fun of him, that it truly WAS funny.  Sweet, sweet girl.

And as Hannah spoke, the judge became more and more upset, visibly so.  While the defense attorney (aka Sleazeball) was doing the baffling with bullshit thing (I think his intention was simply to bore everyone to death, really), the judge was up there shaking his head, and even when the prosecuting attorney was talking, the judge was not pleased at all.  Both the pre-sentence investigation and the psycho-sexual evaluation recommended retained jurisdiction, which is a 6 month sentence where the criminal can get some sort of rehabilitation (otherwise known as a RIDER); however, since there was this plea agreement in place, the prosecutor felt legally obligated to uphold that.  The judge, he was pissed.  He said something about how he understood that at the time the agreement was made, Hannah was not in any position to go to trial, but based on how excellently she had held up today he was tempted to throw out the guilty plea and take it to trial on all four counts.  However, since everyone was clearly in agreement….

And at this point, I just bowed my head and prayed.  Prayed that he would understand that the only reason we EVER agreed to it was because when it was slated to go to trial, Hannah was in no way emotionally ready to testify and be cross examined.  Prayed that he would see the very real affect this has had on our lives, prayed that in the end justice would be served.  He got really, really quiet for a few minutes, and I think the whole courtroom was holding its collective breath.

So then he pronounced his sentence: 120 days in county jail.  Registration as a sex offender. 10 years felony sex offender probation.  No discretionary time (which means he can’t be given, say, 30 days by his probation officer if he gets caught violating terms of his probation). The underlying sentence, fixed, is life in prison.  What this means to us laypeople is that he will be on strictly supervised sex offender probation for TEN years; this is huge in and of itself.  Sex offender probation is very, very difficult; he will be required to undergo a more detailed psycho-sexual evaluation and will be prescribed a treatment plan based on their findings.  There will be classes and therapy and group counseling.  He has to submit to polygraph tests quarterly for the first year, then at least annually thereafter, plus any time his PO has a reason to ask for one. He can be searched-his home, his car, his locker at work, his person-for any reason, at any time.  And then, if he fails to adhere to the terms of his probation, he goes to prison.  For the rest of his life.  With no possibility of parole.  Ever.

I will admit to hearing the “120 days” and thinking, “oh, crap, it really is going to be bad as we thought, he is going to get a proverbial slap on the wrist….”  but then when the judge continued on to give the rest of his sentence, well, Hannah and I both just started crying.  Just-crying.  This is so huge, so unexpected, so-amazing that I can’t believe it.  I really can’t.  On the surface it stinks, right?  But it doesn’t, not at all.  His actual sentence is life in prison.  For the next ten years, he will have that hanging over his head.  Every move he makes will be watched, not just by his probation officer but by the public (even before this happened, I regularly checked the sex offender registry, so it stands to reason that other people do as well), and he will have to worry every single second about whether or not something he says or does could be construed as being inappropriate.  The story will be on the news tonight and in the papers tomorrow, and with hope, people are not going to forget his name or his face, at least not right away.  Typically, sex offenders have a hard time complying with the terms of probation, too, so he very well may end up in prison.  The judge was very funny, too, although I don’t think he meant to.  He said, “One of the things you mentioned in the pre-sentence report is that you want to die sober; I can guarantee you can die sober in prison!”  And I really, truly, don’t think that CF thought this would happen.  Often, the defense will ask for and be granted a request to have a week or so to finalize “affairs” before having to report to jail, and J., the prosecutor, nipped that one in the bud.  He said that if the defense had been thinking of asking for that additional time, he would object, loudly, because he has had nine months to finalize his business affairs, plus he “would really like to give the victim and her family the satisfaction of seeing him taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs” ( Tee hee, it was great, too).  When asked if he had anything to say to the court, CF just said, not even looking at us, “I would like to apologize to the victim and her mother,” and the judge said, “Don’t.  And if you EVER think you need to get in touch with the victim, her mother, or any member of their family to tell them how sorry you are, just don’t.  Because I will put you in prison.”  Only at this point did CF start to look scared, like he finally realized that he was, in fact, in some major trouble.  It was a great moment, seeing it dawn in his eyes that he wasn’t going to get away with anything.

Afterward, amidst tears and hugs, the prosecutor told me that I need to gather together a detailed explanation of any expenditures related to this case.  From day one, any time taken off of work, whether it was paid time or not, and additional expenses such as gasoline and meals and the hotel from when I had to take Hannah to Idaho Falls, all medical bills even if they were paid for through Medicaid, etc…clothes for court, additional childcare needed for my other children, anything.  In 30 days, we will have a another hearing to decide whether or not he has to pay restitution.  In addition, he said we need to be thinking about taking her in to have a professional evaluation done with regards to what further counseling she might need, and have them submit a projected time frame and expenses anticipated; it might be possible to have a fund set aside by him for future therapy.  And while I can’t stand the idea of taking any kind of money from him, for anything, and of course they can’t guarantee the judge will approve any of it, J. said it IS very important.  Not so much for what we might GET, but to acknowledge the additional burdens his actions has caused our family.  So there may be another court hearing or two ahead of us, but nothing major at all, just tying up loose ends.

So.  We-Hannah, Steve, my friend Jacquie and her husband, and I-all went out to lunch afterward, giddy and silly with the relief of not just having it over with but feeling like it was a good sentence.  We laughed-over the silliest, stupidest things-and we all just feel so much better.  This is the beginning of healing, for all of, and maybe, just maybe, sometimes justice truly is served.