About Me

My photo
If you think this is about YOU, maybe you should go reconcile with your parent and work to get back your kids instead of continuing to be a jerk. If you think I am you, or similar to you, welcome! :-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Vengeance Might Be The Lord's, The Retread Parent Can Have Justice

I enjoy justice. This does not mean I hang out in the local courthouse,waiting patiently with the witnesses. Oh no. I go out and get my own justice. And justice tends to find me.

My eldest was once living in self-induced squalor with her small children. We had given her every opportunity to pull herself out of the ashes of her decision to leave the military, and to rid herself of her ex-husband, also not a favorite around here. We were frequently held prisoner by her demands for this and that, with the threat of physical or financial harm to our grandchildren if we did not cooperate. We put up with a lot, including 911 calls because she barricaded herself in her townhouse with the children and threatened to kill them, then herself.

We were, however, given vengeance, the Almighty's retribution. We were the co-tenants on her townhouse. We were treated to how she kept the place by the manager, and also shown her stash of alcohol and such. This young woman could not bring herself to buy her babies nutritious food, to get up in the morning to go to work or take them to school. She could, however, hie herself to the liquor store and drug dealer. With a heavy heart, but the knowledge our cause was just, we snapped time-dated photos and removed the children's things.

We chose to utilize private resources, rather than involving our local child protection agency. Where we live, this agency does little to nothing to protect children, except when one of the children is dead or in a vegetative state. We instead went first to court for guardianship, then explored related adoption. Before we could even give our daughter a date to speak with our attorney, she contacted him, ready to sign away her rights. So did her ex-husband. There was really nothing to do at that point but go for our interview with the guardian ad litem, have a home inspection and visit, and go to court. We will never recoup the tens of thousands of dollars owed us for the support of these babies, but at least those two are out of our hair.

However, in first removing herself from the townhouse, then removing herself from the efficiency apartment which we rented for her, then storing her possessions in a common storage area via rental while she went homeless or slept on the couches of others, we came across more of her things, such as her bills. And in finding the bills, we found her household items. And this is where the justice comes.

The pile of thick, large, cream-colored towels sat in an open basket. These were obviously expensive. I'd been told she's won them at work. The charge slip said otherwise. And oh boy! Were they expensive.

I have taken great solace in using permanent marker to write each grandchild's name in the corner of each of these towels. These gorgeous, thirsty, expensive towels, no doubt inspired for a very sleek master bath, have made their way to day camp, the swimming pool, and school functions. They were used to take naps and sun in the back yard. Two of them sewed together made a great Christmas pageant costume. They have been dragged and snapped. Some of the towels once sat over a week's period in a mildewy changing room at day camp, only to be removed and then heavily bleached. Some of the fluff was lost as well as the creamy color. Oh well!

The pets have enjoyed the comfort of the matching facecloths. These have made great rags for wiping muddy paws. The hand towels lined several boot caddies during the winter, and added an elegant touch to the dreary months.

When the children were in their undisciplined state, they took to drawing on sheets. Fortunately, those sheets were their dear Mama's, left behind for us to claim. The dishes made a great addition to the annual garage sale, as did the furniture that could be reclaimed.

I still have her photographs and albums from her military and early college years. I've often thought of sending them to her the same way we obtained justice from her ex-husband, when she and her children lived with us. The vengeance was absolutely free and was only a by-product of his misery.

After the divorce, he made himself scarce. After all, he had not only agreed to child support, but to repay the Mister and me money we had lent the happy couple over the course of time, quite a substantial amount. Every few months we would receive a piddle payment, certainly not keeping in the spirit of repayment.

And then, the young man wanted his things. Yes, he left behind a great many of his personal items, including some family heirlooms. He wanted them back.

We had already taken his extensive collection of paperbacks, in prime condition, to a local secondhand book store, and gotten a good hundred dollars for that. Craiglist and eBay took care of certain mementos via collectors willing to pay top dollar for such items. But we had some of his things left, and it seemed wrong not to give him the opportunity to reclaim them.

The items of real value were mailed to his mother.

Normally, I would feel empathy for my fellow traveler in life, another mother. But this woman hated me on sight without even giving me the chance to develop an acquaintance. She replied to my "Welcome to the family" letter in the most biting words I'd experienced in life. She hated Catholics, Italians, and Midwesterners, in that order. She insisted the wedding be held in her church (not Catholic), along with the reception in her locale, never even considering for one minute that she had daughters to whom she'd given weddings, and this was my turn (The happy couple eloped). She frightened our common grandchildren from the time they were babies.

Well, I am not one to hold grudges. I knew these things meant a great deal to her, the heirloom craftsmanship, the dainty stitches her grandmother had taken on some of the linens. I carefully catalogued them; boxed them separately and with plenty of strong, heavy, sturdy stabilizers; labeled them; and sent them to her- COD, $300 per box, plus shipping. If she wanted them back, she was going to have to front her son's irresponsibility, and collect the money off him.

As for his boxes- He once admired the rocks that decorated my driveway. I felt it was only a nice gesture that he should have them, in the bottom of each box, along with his things. I could always get more of them. I heard all his aftershave and cologne spilled all over everything, including paperwork necessary to public activities. So sorry about that, I thought I had packed it better. I guess one or two of our cats accidentally mistook the packing materials for the litter boxes, because I heard there were a few poops among his treasures. One thousand apologies. Still- $300 per box please, plus shipping. He did not claim all his boxes. And that's OK. Despite having to prepay the shipping, and then disposal, we were still compensated for our efforts.

So you see, retread parents, you can seek justice. You just have to think a bit and apply yourselves.

No comments: