Monday, October 28, 2013

Kids' Rooms & Mom

So, I think I've finally got both of the kids' rooms put together.  I ordered a glider today, bit that will come while I'm away in California, but that should be it.  I'm sure there will be little bits and pieces here and there, but I'm happy with their rooms and hopefully they will make them feel welcomed, loved and like they're finally home.

Ellie's room:

Emma's room:

 The Family Court (dependency hearing) is Thursday, October 31st at 8:30am.  This court date is what will allow the state of California to hand the case to the state of Georgia to clear us (Mike - my ex-husband, and Shane/Shelby's step-dad and me).  In a proactive attempt to move things along, I went ahead and paid the Georgia Sheriff's office for a background check (came back clean, of course) and Mike has printed his "good standing" paperwork from the Georgia and South Carolina Bars - which he is a member of, since graduating from Emory law school.  It would be nice if the court just let me go ahead and have Ellie.  That is basically what I'm going to plead for.

As I stated in the last blog, I was able to get a place to stay from October 30th until Shelby gives birth.   Since she's in custody, and will be giving birth while in custody, she's able to sign over a Power of Attorney for me to take the baby when she's born and bypass the whole bureaucratic process we're having to going through to get Ellie.  So, I'll be there until around the third week of November.

However, today I got a piece of bad news about my mom.  Looks like she's taken a turn for the worse and is having lots of seizures.  It's pretty severe that my aunt is having to go to the rehab (it's also a nursing home - just not allowed to call it that to mom) tomorrow and sign a DNR, as that is my mom's wishes.  Her health has declined to the point that it looks like my mom might not make it before I get back from California.  I hope this isn't the case.  I honestly don't know if I would be able to afford a flight back to Knoxville, if mom dies, and then a return flight to LA, to wait for the birth of the baby.  If mom does die while I'm away, I think I'd actually be okay not tending to her cremation services.  Mom has specifically stated that she does not want a funeral.  She wants her ashes spread in the Gulf of Mexico.

The problem will be the logistics of carrying out her will and taking care of her belongings - her apartment and so forth.  Luckily, she does have a will and has specifically assigned certain things to certain people, then leaving the rest to me and for me to distribute as I see fit.  I will need to talk to her landlords and see if they would be willing to work with me via time frame.

Then, I will need to work on getting out of my own condo.  We still haven't set a closing date, so that's good.  That buys me the most time.  Moving is expensive though, and takes a lot of time. much going on.  The things that keep me going are the thoughts of having Ellie and Emma here.  Getting to watch them smile.  Getting to watch them have a normal life.  Being able to love them, squeeze them and embarrass them with kisses in front of friends.

I'm thankful for Mike.  I'm thankful for all of my friends and family who have helped me get through this and get these rooms ready for these kids - donating items, labor, opinions, time, etc.  I'm thankful for Angela.  She helped me find a place to stay in California.  It truly does take a village.  I'm glad to be part of a good village.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quick trip to Knoxville

Made a quick trip to Knoxville today to see mom.  I originally had planned to go up there and come back with her cat, Victoria, who is pretty depressed because mom's not home with her anymore.  But, after getting up there and talking it over with mom and my Aunt Gina, we decided it was probably best that Victoria stay in Knoxville.  Victoria is an old lady, with many health issues.  Moving her down here with me and Mitzi might make her more miserable and just exacerbate her declining health.  I kinda wish we would've resolved this over the phone without having to make the trip, but I'm glad I got to see mom.  I also went and got Victoria and took her over to see mom for a while.  I think that helped both of them a lot.

Shane's kids also dropped by for a visit.  They are getting so big.  Brianna is so pretty and smart!  Kainan was happy and Skylar just slept during the whole visit.  Brianna read us her Dr. Seuss' book, Green Eggs and Ham.  Hard to believe all of these kiddos are mine.

Some photos from today's visit:

Mitzi was pretty glad to see me when I got home.  She practically sat on my head and has had at least one paw touching me for about an hour now.  I'm actually kinda relieved that Victoria is staying in Knoxville.  I was willing to take her while mom rehabs, but I've already got a lot on my plate.  So this works out for the best.

While there, gotta a call from one of Shelby's social workers.  She had all kinds of questions about Shelby, Ebony, their pasts, etc...  I also learned, just today while on the call, that there is another lawyer involved in the case - Shelby's family court lawyer.  Ugh...this is the first hearing of this.  Gonna find out more about this person tomorrow.  There's sooooo many people - it's crazy!  Trying to maintain my sanity.  Think I'm gonna have to draw a diagram of roles just to keep them all straight.

Feline Film Festival

So, my friend, Lynn Lamousin, who by trade is a copywriter and s self-proclaimed "recovering film maker," decided to create a film festival about cats.  She did a great job!  Last night was the very first Atlanta Feline Film Festival.  She did so well, she had to have second screening - sold out both shows, I believe.  The programming was great.  Obviously, the films were all about cats.  It was an hour-long program, with a bunch of great short films.  I'm glad I got to attend and happy the Atlanta 48 Hour Film Project got to be a sponsor.  It was great seeing some familiar faces and friends I hadn't seen in quite a while. Below are just a few photos of the event I captured on my iPhone.  I'm sure there are (or will be) lots more photos from the event on the web site, or the Facebook page.  Next year's will be even bigger.  Congratulations on a job well done, Lynn!  Learn more about Lynn, her business, her fantastic puppet film, The Lady From Sockholm, and her passion on her web site, Kittyboy Creations.

Oh, and Mitzi got some loot from the event.  Here she is admiring her new cat bed.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Going back to Cali...

Got some great news yesterday: I've got a place to stay in California for three weeks.  That will allow me to attend an upcoming court date (October 31st) to try and Ellie, and also helps me be on the ground in LA, where all of this bureaucratic hell is taking place, interact with the authorities there and possibly see Ellie - and also stay until Shelby delivers the baby, which I already have Power Of Attorney over, so I can take the baby as soon as she's discharged from the hospital.  I feel so relieved that I'm going to be able to be there.  I've been going crazy over here trying to deal with things.  People won't return your call, the time difference, there's literally like seven different attorneys/social workers/authority figures involved in this case and I honestly don't think any of them talk to each other.  There's two different courts involved - family court (which deals with the dependents - currently Ellie) and criminal court (which, obviously, deals with the crime).  There are different court dates for each, different attorneys for each, family services, etcetera.  But a really great, long-time friend of mine was able to hook me up with housing so I can make it to the dependency hearing and stay until the birth.  This will save a lot of money, because I wasn't going to be able to make it to the hearing and the birth.  Now I can do both.

My next step is figuring out the best mode of transportation.  Driving or flying?  I'm gonna need a car while I'm there, renting one for three weeks could be pretty costly.  I could drive there, but driving back, with a newborn, is pretty insane.  I'mma think on it.  Research it.  See which is most cost-effective and factor in convenience and sanity.

Right now, I'm just feeling very grateful for having such wonderful friends.

So, I'm going back to Cali...but for slightly different reason than Biggie did, although there are probably some similarities...not on purpose though.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Goin' back to rehab

Just got off of the phone with mom.  She left neuro rehab and went home on Tuesday but had another fall last night and today, and is now returning to rehab.  She apparently cut herself pretty badly in the fall.  She's very upset and her spirit seems broken, because she feels so weak - like she's never going to be able to regain her independence.  She was crying on the phone.  I felt the loneliness, fear and sense of loss (in herself) in her voice.  I was trying to be as compassionate as possible, reassuring her that's it's okay to return to rehab - that I understood how much she wanted to be ready to go home and it's very disappointing learning that you're not.  I almost had her laughing about how stubborn we both are by the end of the call.  Guess I'll be heading back to Knoxville today.  Even though I can't really do anything, I suppose providing moral support and companionship is as important as taking the right medication.

Oh, mom...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Perfect Shitstorm

Wait for it, it's all coming...but for now, here's a preview (or review from the rearview):

1. My daughter (Shelby) is arrested and in jail in LA (CA), along with baby daddy (Ebony), charged for attempted murder and burglary.  Her baby, Ellie, is in foster care and I (and my ex husband, Mike) am currently trying to get custody, but the bureaucracy in California blows chunks.  Story is though; she, Ebony and Ellie were coming out of the library when Shelby's ex boyfriend (George) approached and started an altercation with Ebony.  Fighting ensued, Shelby pulled knife from her purse and began stabbing George to defend Ebony.  Both were arrested, George was hospitalized, and Ellie placed in protective custody.  Ebony and Shelby have both signed parental rights over to us, but there is an obnoxious "process" that must first be completed before we get Ellie.  We have to be investigated, house and individually - to make sure the kid won't be going to a thug-like household.  Oh, and found out Shelby is preggers - with a baby girl - due November 22nd.  So, we'll be acquiring two kiddos in about a month.
2. Having to short-sale my condo and move back to Monroe, with Mike.  I'll be moving into the basement apartment, but I've been preparing the rooms for the kids.  That also means I'll be leaving the city - which is breaking my heart.  It really, really hurts.  However, I am glad that Mike is accepting and willing to take us in and become a parent, for his step grandkids.  He's a good guy.
3. My mom finally got moved to neuro rehab about three weeks ago, but she's itching to regain her independence so much so that she's pretty-much scheming her way out and plans on signing herself out of rehab tomorrow to return to her apartment.  She has lost most control of her right arm and with each seizure, that moves into the loss of her right leg.  She's very stubborn (glad it skipped a generation) and refuses to let her body take the time it needs to heal.
4. As I was on my way to Mike's about two weeks ago, to start working on Ellie's room, a woman turned left on Ponce/Scott and ran into me, forcing me to crash my car.  I ran over the curb, a street sign (pulled it out of the ground), and I've been in a rental car for about two weeks now.
5. Jay and I broke up.  It's been a long time coming.  We both love and care for each other very much and have a great time together, but it's just not in the cards for us.  I don't regret our time together and I'll always cherish our time together - the crazy ups and downs (which were aplenty).  We've had many breakups and get-back-togethers, but this is the final one.  I wish him well and hope he finds happiness.  His family is near and dear to my heart and I hope to stay in their lives.  They are good people - he comes from good stock.  I also hope to stay in touch with and see Ben when he visits.  He's a smart one, not to mention a little cutie.  Sometimes I think it's the collateral damage that makes the cut hurt the most.

So, that's the outline for the next several blogs to come.  But, finally, I wrote it down.  One thing that will be therapeutic is my return to writing.  That will help me get through all of this right now, and the future.  So, changes, they are a coming.  Stay tuned.

Here are some photos of happenings.

Ellie's room (formerly Shelby's room) is coming along.  He'll be five November 30th.

Shelby and Ellie when we went to the Grand Canyon earlier this year.

 Slowly getting the nursrey pulled together.  This room used to be my office at Mike's.

My Condo:

Mike's house in Monroe, GA (which is about halfway between Atlanta and Athens - but closer to Athens):

 Finally leaving the hospital on the way to rehab.

Her TV in the rehab place.  It fell off the bracket and was being propped up on the bedside table so she could watch it.  Her initial roommate was named Mildred, but mom kept calling her Evelyn.  I don't think either one of them cared much about the error.

My car:


Jay's grandmother's (Lurline) 100'th birthday celebration at the Braves - she's a huge fan.