Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2/13/13 Twofer

Ugh...this morning I got notice from dad that Julian was sick and could not to go school.

Unfortunately, custody agreements must state a handoff time -- in this case 8am -- even though real life doesn't work that way. Whichever parent has the kids in a morning takes them to school, even though that's past 8am, so they keep the kids for technically 25 minutes longer than handoff, so as to take them straight to school. Call that a "gentleman's agreement" for flexibility of reality -- until a kid gets sick. That creates a scramble for everyone, but dad expects me to be available at the letter-of-the-law handoff time of 8am to take the sick kid, and if I'm not, he makes remarks like "I see. I will cover for you then."

Mornings that I don't take the kids to school, I plan for a free morning. I go running, to the Y, drive to the city for work, sleep late, take a shower, meet a friend....No matter what the literal word of the custody agreement says, if I'm not taking them to school, I might not be home at 8am and can't teleport back there then. The parent who has the kids is home, so I think this arrangement needs to be adjusted to match practical reality -- such as changing handoff times to afternoons. I know from experience to brace myself for battle and armor myself against a barrage of double-entendre condescending insults and exaggerations for making any suggested changes, so as usual I have to work around it and live with the literal interpretation of the custody agreement until I'm ready to take it to mediation or court.

When I picked up Julian, I found him unusually lethargic. Usually he milks this for all its worth, but today he didn't have the energy. He just wanted to hang in bed with Zorro, who mostly indulged him. How annoying, that animal won't give me the time of day, but mews pitifully when he misses the kids! He has by far the softest fur I've ever felt on a cat, too.

I set Julian up with his own new lamp, gave him some secret kitty-treats to help incent Zorro to stay with him, brought him his Nook with some new books on it, and went to work in my home office. I honestly don't mind days at home alone with a sick kid; my kids aren't whiners and I like playing mom to them one at a time.

I just wish I weren't under such tremendous pressure at work this week. I usually don't mind pressure. A project that's come up is critical to the company and to individuals' livelihoods, and there is NO slipping schedules. If I can't do it, someone else who's even more overloaded than I am will, and that makes me feel terrible. I'm keenly aware that while I won't necessarily help make a sale, I can certainly impede it. Mostly, it's super-important to me to support my wonderful employer (of under 50 people, so this is the reality of small business, overall a great fit for me). And I really like this project -- a rare treat for network engineers to get to design a new data center from scratch -- in Europe! If anyone can eke out the last painful eensy detail, I can. And I have fantastic support in my other network-engineer coworker. So this is good. But now!

With Julian settled in, i was able to get some work done, until....a call from the school: Gabriel now complaining about a "burnt forehead." He had no temp, so we sent him back to class, but after lunch, he fell asleep in the school office and did measure with 99.9. Enough to send him home for today and tomorrow.

Great. Two boys, sick, home together. Juuust what I need. I don't mind having one home sick, they're mellow and not complaining -- but the boys together??! And Gabriel wasn't that sick -- he can do a lot of damage even with a 100 temp. Fortunately I was able to keep the boys contained with threats of, "If you have the energy to insult Katrina or bounce off the walls, then you are going to school tomorrow!" Gabriel can't, but's borderline. Just gotta count on the girl to hold it together, and if anyone can, she can.



MommaWriter said...

I'm so very sympathetic to your situation. And seriously, an 8am handoff sounds fine until something like this comes up. (I think I'd hate it during vacations too!) Then it's just ridiculous. I'm guessing this hasn't worked out the other way yet. Then maybe there'd be a little more understanding. Seems like afternoon/after work would work out a whole lot better. At least it then a sick day off school/work isn't as likely to be a surprise. There are always those days when a kid pukes on the way to school or something. Mine are still coughing, but at least they're back at school!

mommieN. said...

Even the mediator who helped us negotiate terms acknowledged that no particular term could be strictly adhered to, or not, no matter how impractical. The written terms were intended to be guidelines.

But unfortunately, the vagaries of our custody agreement give that the strict written policy must be followed. Our mediator said it's understood that most people work within/around that as neededn (eg checking the other parents' availability in a given situation)-- but when there's any ambiguity, the written letter becomes law.

This comprises my fascination and revilement of the law: I like strict unambigous rules, but the legal world doesn't work that way; it's filled with open-to-interpretion warm-n-fuzzies. Give me computers anytime! :)

So until I can find a more suitable strict legal remedy with fewer negative tradoffs, I have to swallow my irritation and abide by the letter of the law, absurd or not!