So K's "on travel" this week, leaving me to play single dad. Which I'm fine with, don't get me wrong--it's fun, in the short term, when mom's away. Reminds me of my childhood, a bit--when Dad went TDY, Mom "cooked" TV dinners and things were generally much more relaxed.
But Wednesday nights are nights when K generally takes the boys to their grandmother's house to eat dinner with their dad. She does this because a) the boys want to see their dad, b) because it's nice to have some time alone with yer partner during the week, and c) because he's a dickhead who doesn't have a car. And possibly d) she's nice.
I pointed out last weekend that I wasn't keen on doing the drop off/pickup thing on Wednesday--the kids are going to see the guy in two days anyway, and I'm not inclined to jump through hoops just so dude can feed them strawberries for dinner while watching "America's Funniest Kittens" or whatever. There's something that irks me about bringing him his kids, then waiting 2 hours to go get his kids and continue taking care of them. Perhaps if I was a biological parent, I'd look at it differently. But I'm not.
So, naturally, the guy doesn't call yesterday during the day. I'm sure we're both busy--I spent yesterday reconciling payment and transaction data between the DOT and their collections agency, and I imagine he spent yesterday smoking cigarettes and bearing down on "One Life to Live." But come six o'clock, when they're supposed to be at his house, still no phone call. Guess he didn't want to deal with me.
Squared the kids away with dinner, and advised them that I was going to be taking an economics quiz--which, this online econ class is a good reason for another post, if I get around to it. The critical thing about this quiz, from the standpoint of this story, is that it's timed
. And, you know, it's kind of hard. Something you have to concentrate on, and concentration's difficult for me when I'm pissed off.
Naturally, he calls when I'm in the middle of it. 6:37pm, because I looked at the clock. Math in my head confirms my feeling-even if I was able to drop everything and take them, what's the point in taking them for an hour? I send the call to voicemail.
Once I'm finished with the quiz, I thought I'd try to grow myself a little bit and actually call the guy back. I haven't yet run across a situation in which I benefited to reach out to him, but whatever. This is what grown, responsible people do. Return calls. Right?
So I call the number, and after a few rings and some light conversation with his sister, I get him. Apologized for missing his call, explained the timed test thing. Pointed out that since it's now 7pm, it's not really efficient for me to bring the kids for an hour. But I'd be happy to let him talk to the kids on the phone.
His response: you can still drop them off over here for two hours.
Not "yeah, you're right," or "yeah, I should have called earlier to make a plan," or "I really want to see my kids, how about I come get them instead?" All of these potential outcomes are so unlikely that I actually had to do some work to sort of put those words in his mouth...
My response: "well, no, as I said, it's...."
The fucker hung up on me.
Which made me kind of mad (although I've been in this game long enough to recognize that being hung up on is better than being screamed at), but I considered it a teachable moment for the kids--who had long ago figured out that they weren't going to hang out with daddy today.
"Well, kids, I just got off the phone with your daddy, who isn't very happy with me right now. In fact he kind of acted like a jerk. Which is somewhat understandable in that he didn't get what he want, and some people think it's OK to act like a jerk when you don't get what you want. Which is not how we want YOU to be, of course, but we can't really do much about your father at this stage. The thing that you should learn from this is that you get a lot more of what you want when you communicate and plan with the people who are involved in your getting what you want. For instance, had your daddy planned something with me, or called me beforehand, there's a good chance he would have gotten what he wanted. Instead he didn't get what he wanted, and acted like a jerk."
Followed shortly by:
"I'm sorry you don't get to see your daddy tonight. But I think I've got the next best thing here."
To which Eddie responded: "Ice cream?"