|I haven't spoken much about it here, but drama is always occurring, in some degree, around Animal Planet. It's just a given, with blended families.
Originally, the "arrangement" between Calvin and X(f) was for Michael and Marie to spend alternating weeks between parents. Sunday 6pm to Sunday 6pm spent at one parent's house, with Wednesday night of that week spent at the alternate parent's house (confused yet?). Well, in April of 1999, Michael and X(f) had a falling out, the result being Michael's full-time residence at our house. We all adjusted, though Michael and his mom rarely speak. Anger on both sides, though it's dying down with the passage of time. Marie continued with the split household schedule.
I should interject here by explaining that there is/was a lot of anger between Calvin and X(f), as can be expected in a divorce, to the point where they couldn't have a conversation with one another without having a yelling match. A lot of bitterness, drudging up old wrongs and unfairness, etc. etc. Lordy, I have so many stories, but really don't care to resurrect 'em all. Some of them will be funny in the retelling though, after some time has passed (like the "Lipstick Bandito" episode - I got to be fingerprinted at the police station! Cool!). At any rate, co-parenting was a challenge, to say the least. Though that anger, too, is dying down with the passage of time.
About six weeks ago, when it came time for Marie to go back to X(f)'s, she decided she didn't want to go back. An accumulation of things between her and her mom made her decide to make our home her permanent home. Calvin tried to convince Marie to maintain contact with X(f), but it was to the point that Marie didn't want to speak to or see her mom. X(f) was upset, and very understandably so. At first she was convinced that Calvin and I were poisoning the kids against her - first Michael, then Marie. Which, of course, is patently untrue, and I hope she's figured that out by now. Calvin and I have both had conversations with X(f), wanting to figure things out as badly as she does. The four of us (Calvin, myself, Michael, and Marie) are even going to family counciling, to see if we can get to the bottom of things. We just don't want to leave any avenue unexplored. We want to ensure there is no problem lurking beneath the surface which would prevent the kids from growing into stable, sane, happy adults.
Calvin and X(f) have had quite a few conversations together, with and without Marie's presence, and it looks like they're now able to co-parent a bit more effectively. There's always the potential for blow-up, because X(f) just irritates Calvin, and I'm sure it's vice versa, too. But if they're able to focus on the kids, and set aside the issues of their past relationship ("twenty fucking fucking years", as Calvin puts it), some resolution, or at least peace, might be had.
Here's where it gets surreal, to me.
In an effort to be a bona fide "grown-up", keep the peace, extend the olive branch, what have you, on the occasions that X(f) has stopped by our house to either talk to Calvin or see Marie, I have asked her in. I'm just a hospitable chick, ya know? Full well knowing that if I were in a car accident right outside her house and were bleeding to death from a severed limb, she would *not* allow me in to use the phone to call 9-1-1.
Last night X(f) came over. Marie has finally relented and has had several phone conversations with her, so now X(f) was feeling out the waters by giving a visit a try. She came in, she petted the dogs. I told Marie her mom was here. A few minutes went by, and X(f) asked where Marie was. I told her "in the computer room". X(f) went into the computer room, and knelt on the floor next to Marie. What was Marie doing on the computer?
She went through the site to quite some extent, there with her mom.
Now, if I were X(f), and I know her fairly well, I'd heigh myself right on home and log on to read through the site. And, realistically, I have no beef with that (so if you're reading this, X(f), "Hi, there!"). There *was* someone with an AOL account, my web stats tell me, who spent quite a bit of time on my site, right around the time X(f) would have gotten home...
Calvin doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. "You set a good example of how a relationship should work. She might learn something from you," he said. Yeah, well, I doubt I'll be receiving epic e-mails from her, gushing about how I've enlightened her. However, if she *is* reading, a courtesy e-mail would be nice. We don't have a window into her little world like she has now with ours. And, as my loyal readers know, this website has never been about trashing her, or even my own ex. Whatever our differences are, we're all adults here. Besides, I have a lot more interesting things to write about.
So if you're out there, X(f), my in-box is always open.