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Posts Tagged ‘scheduling’

Managing Time

There’s such a lot going on each day in this past week, it has been difficult getting on and posting. Although I seem to have the time to read other posts almost daily!

Christmas turned out well. Christmas Eve the little angels fell asleep by 10:45 PM and by 11:15, Santa had written a reply note, filled the stockings and laid out the presents. True to form, my daughter was awake at 4:11 AM. The three of them woke me up at 6:00 AM sharp and it was such a delight to see all three of them in the bedroom doorway – even my oldest, with huge smiles chomping at the bit to get to the gifts.

It was a wonderful morning of tearing open paper, hugs and kisses and topped off with my cooking a full, heavy Christmas Morning breakfast. The ex came and took them at 11:00 AM and it was very sad for me. But, it was not like it was last year for me at all. This year, I had made a plan to work a shift later in the day. So, I kept busy, was around someone else who had to leave their family also and had a great talk with her. I found great comfort being there with her.

My new shift position has me coming home very late – close to midnight. But, once more, I’m grateful to have anything at all! In the beginning (heck, only last week) I was sitting in front of the tube and flipping while smoking butt after butt and then lying back and falling asleep on the couch. I’ll write a post about my nasty habit later.

My new approach when I get home is to sit for just a few moments while my PC boots up. When it’s up, I immediately sign on to Netflix and find where I left off the night before (in the middle of a movie or a documentary) and lie down in bed and watch what I can before I fall asleep. I then try to have my internal clock wake me up around 7:00 AM and get up. I want to have a rhythm going and not wake/sleep haphazardly.

I’ve taken to go online and read up on my class before it has even begun. I’ve found online tests that I can take for each chapter and can pinpoint some nuance that I don’t quite grasp and study harder. I am determined to be well prepared and ace the class. As far as financial aid, I find that I have to wait until next week to try to straighten out any money issues because naturally, they’re closed for the holidays. But I’ll get up there Monday and have a face to face to see what might be done. Worst case scenario is that I don’t get anything for now. However, I’ll bring my checkbook, arrange for a payment plan, make the first payment and keep applying like crazy – there has to be something that I qualify for and I’m confident that I’ll get something.

There’s something huge that’s been bothering me – reacquainted girlfriend. Something in my mind that’s been, again, telling me that she’s not the person I want to be with. Much as I try to stay fully committed, I have this dreadful feeling that I simply do not want to be with her. Or, maybe it’s that I’m not excited by her company? She’s certainly been a undenyable and indispensible for who constantly dispenses confidence and who cheers for me as I’ve mentioned many times before. As I stir up my reasoning I try to not dismiss it and stay my determined course with her, but try to pinpoint exactly what it is that wants me – sometimes at arm’s length, a shadow away from her. I’m feeling that a lot of it has to do with her constant, unalterable need to be close and closer to me physically. She perpetually needs long kisses, hard hugs and physical intimacy. Nothing at all wrong with that! But, it’s constant. And I just don’t want that every single moment of the time we’re together.

More, after the Break

Not Quite Dating

When I moved to where I am now, a bit after the divorce, I hadn’t seen anyone for over a year. The last time I was with someone, I was married. I was scared out of my wits at the prospect of dating.

I had the thoughts of ‘Who the heck would ever want to see me?‘ mostly because of my lack of confidence after the divorce, but also because of the crazy schedule I have with my kids. I also thought ‘What do I possibly have that anyone would be attracted to‘? Although I’m in good shape, I’m bald, I’m fifty-three, I’m a low level nurse, I don’t have money, I live in a less than desirable neighborhood because of money issues and, well, I have nothing. Most men in my age bracket are already well established, with homes, have older kids, or kids out of the house, go on vacations, have a certain level of financial stability and most women my age expect the same level when dating. And the avenues in which to meet someone around my age is severely limited. Bars are not an option and I’m not a barfly. Hanging in the park? It’s like opening a butterfly net and waiting for a butterfly to enter the net. Go to a grocery store and hang in the aisles? I couldn’t take a night class with my schedule. I was at a loss.

Compelled by staggering and overpowering loneliness sitting in a one bed apartment, I joined an online dating service. How awkward and anemic I felt as I filled out information in the required fields. I felt scared, weak about not being able to find someone on my own and nervous about the prospect of meeting someone and who I would attract.

I was so nervous, that I couldn’t bring myself to respond to a few initial emails. I’m certain that it seems silly to you reading this, but I was alternating between feeling strong and self-assured, but worthless and devalued. I felt as if I were someone who was fluffing up who he is – putting on a false brave and confident face, but underneath, being a failure who had ‘issues’.

I did gather the courage to go out and meet someone after we corresponded multiple times. She was six years younger than me, cute and she had a bubbly personality. From the beginning we talked about our ex’s and our divorces. After a few-and-far-between dates she was the one that actually leaned over and kissed me because she could tell how hesitant and nervous I was. Imagine that? A fifty-three year old man that couldn’t make the first move? I later felt ashamed about that.

Due to my schedule, we could only see each other sparingly, and that became a point of discussion between us. She wanted more time, a signal that I was committed. But, I was hesitant for many reasons. One reason was that I couldn’t know, or I couldn’t feel, that she was ‘THE one’ – the woman that I wanted to spend all my time with. Two, and most importantly to me, was my single-minded focus on working as many hours as I was physically able to in order to secure as much money as I could.

As I look over the above paragraph, I need to be more honest. I felt, despite my earlier statements, that I could ‘do better’. In hindsight, I was a cad and a loathsome man because she was the only one I was seeing. She invested heavily and without hesitation and I was tenuous and being opportunistic. I was dating her and feeling more confidence because of the experience but every so often fleetingly thinking that someone better would come along and thus, I was not putting as much effort into keeping the relationship as fulfilling as she was. I was sometimes distant, and also most times scared of committing. How does one who is still feeling the scorched earth effect of divorce segue into developing a new-found relationship that is permanent? When she began saying ‘I Love You’, I was again, scared. I used the term once in a great while back to her, but most times as an endearment and not out of passion and dedication.

As to my working all the available hours I could, I didn’t slow down my work schedule for her. Quite the opposite – I would take any opportunity to work and would have a schedule several weeks in advance of where I needed to be and when. It began that I was so drop-dead tired from all those hours, that on a night when I didn’t have my children, and I wasn’t working, I would come home from my full-time job, sit on my couch and literally fall asleep from maybe 4:30PM – 5:00PM, until I woke up at midnight, or later. Then I would go back to sleep, work, and it was a night with my children. Then the next night it would happen again. Many times I would wake up from falling asleep on the couch to find a phone message from her asking if we might see each other for an hour or so. Or worse, I would have agreed to see her, only to fall asleep and not call her back at all. Other times, on a rare night when I didn’t work or have the children, utter ennui would hit me and I would stay alone, busying myself with ‘little things’ around the apartment and never ‘got around’ to calling her. She left a few times because of my not fully committing and my  purposely not fitting her into my schedule. Last year, a few weeks before Christmas, it was one of those times.

More, after the Break

Non-negotiable

Our divorce agreement states that she would take control of, and pay, the mortgage on our home.

I called CitiBank mortgage company last week to ask about the status of account.

Long months ago she told me that she wanted to restructure the loan to make it more affordable for her to pay. She filled out the application and needed me to sign it to make it legal. I stated that if she wanted to change part of the agreement, I wanted a chance to change part of it it also.

I wanted the chance to see each of my three children individually, every so often – alone. I’m in a continual struggle to find anything to do that would satisfy three radically dissimilar children in differing developmental stages – a fifteen year old boy, a twelve year old boy and a ten year old girl. There’s no appropriate movie for an ten year old girl that a fifteen (almost sixteen) year old boy wants to see. And there’s no movie for a fifteen year old boy that’s appropriate for an ten year old girl. Let alone movies, what activities do I choose for the three of them that would keep all three satisfied, curious or simply be fun? Each weekend that they’re here, as they are now getting older and establishing individual identities, it gets razor thin to impossible to stop the arguments, confrontations, bitterness and resentment that they feel toward me and even more so, toward each other, for having to attend something, or do something together, that they don’t want to go to. So, I wanted the chance to see each child, alone, at least once a month.

The chosen date would be one of my weekday nights and it would come out to three and a half hours per month for a chance to see my only daughter alone, see my middle boy alone and time with my fifteen year old alone. For each child that would come out to a total of only fourteen hours a year! It would be a time for us to do something age or gender appropriate that they alone wanted to do with their father without the pressure of having to be coerced into something generic for the three of them. This is something that married parents never even think about when they take one child alone to the store for shopping, go to an age appropriate movie, attend one of their team sports events … the others can be left alone at home, at a friend’s house, a neighborhood friend if they want to be, and still remain content. I don’t have that option or luxury.

On the Tuesdays and Thursdays that I see them, I travel about twenty-five miles one way to pick them up at 4:30PM. Then I drive the four of us twenty-five miles back to my apartment. By 7:30PM, I have to bring them twenty-five miles back home again, and then twenty-five miles back for me. For one night, that’s one-hundred miles. For the two day weeks, it’s two-hundred miles. On the opposite weeks when it’s Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, it’s two-hundred and fifty miles for a two week total of four-hundred miles. I asked if she could pick them up only one night a week from my apartment for a total of fifty miles a week, or one-hundred miles total over two weeks.

I also asked if I could get access to my storage area (in the basement room that holds my clothing, books and various other items) once a month. Come fall (like it is now), when all I have are summer shirts and light jackets, I’m usually freezing and dressed inappropriately. Same for when spring hits – I’m still in winter clothes. I wanted to be able to quickly sift through boxes and gather belongings that I needed and drop off boxes with what I didn’t need. I don’t even venture up the stairs into my own home when I’m there.

Lastly, I asked that the difference between what she was supposed to pay for the mortgage, and the new payment amount be deducted from her side when the house was sold. I didn’t think it right that when the house was sold – having less equity because of the restructured payment schedule, that I should be penalized in profit. I wanted to have enough money to put a down payment on something small for my kids and myself and because of the restructuring, I would have substantially less.

 Those were the four items I asked in exchange – see my children alone once a month, have the children picked up once a week, get stored items when I needed them and not suffer economic penalties for a restructuring of the mortgage in her favor.

More, after the break

Bit by bit, I’m losing them all over again

I woke up with a start just a few moments ago.

I had shut off my waking alarm last night before going to bed. It was not making sense leaving my alarm on to get up for work when I’m suspended. It was the alarm for a scheduled calendar event that went off instead.

As I woke, I had the rushing thought that work was calling me because they needed me. I bolted up, came across the bedroom and picked up the phone that I use for alarms. Instead of it being the phone it was a reminder that I have my kids tonight – after work.

My thoughts shattered as a piece of glass falling from above. Reality enveloped me and here I am without work to go to, sitting in my underwear, smoking my second cigarette already. ‘Pathetic’ and ‘scared’ were the words that almost visibly came to me.

If I’m permanently out of work, the alternative schedule that I’ve set up to see my children regularly would be quickly dashed. I work 7-3 shifts. On alternate weeks, I’m lucky enough to see them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, which lead into the weekends that I have them. On the opposite weeks I see them on Tuesday and Thursday night. Every week – Monday after work, Wednesday after work, Friday after work when they also sleep over until Sunday late afternoon. Then I wait until Tuesday after work and then Thursday after work and it’s the weekend that I don’t see them. Today begins the week where I see them Monday, Wednesday, Friday night leading into Sunday late afternoon.

The schedule may seem bizarre, but in my profession it works out fantastically! I set it up purposly in order to get to see them at least every other day. My thought is that I helped bring them into this world, why shouldn’t I see them as often as possible despite divorce? And the schedule works out perfectly for that! It’s been in effect for over two years and I can’t imagine not seeing them on any given scheduled day.

If I am forced into another job – believing that I can find another job, my schedule would be destroyed. And then, the utter embarrasment of telling the ex, and the kids, that my schedule needs to change. I would lose the opportunity of seeing them as often, and thus, another stone would be dislodged in the continuity of seeing them. Which, God help me, would be just fine with my oldest.

Seeing them less would only help to solidify the expanding physical gap between them and I. I pale over when I think of the countless times when I’m not there at the end of the day for them. For instance, when they’re sick and need to cling – even ever so lightly, for comfort and I’m not physically there for them. She’s become the only one they cling to for support because she’s always there. And, I’m not.

It’s a continual loosening and redefinition of our bond. It invariably happens each hour, each and every day that I’m not there with them, and they’re growing up, and getting used to, their Father not there as a daily presence. It tears at my heart no matter how I try to put it aside and tell myself that this is just the way it is.

Losing my job would ease the pressure of my oldest from seeing me as often.

Good morning. I’m struggling.

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