Where was I? Okay, you read this part right?
June (cont.)- Having made it to California still on speaking terms (minus one fiasco involving the fiendishly covert disposal of someone's cherished tobacco products by someone else who is cruel, unusual and very very mean; and in retrospect this makes the survival of both parties over the next three weeks of travel even more amazing), Todd and I visit with his family for a few days and sadly prepare to hand over the kids to their mother for her summer visitation.
After dropping off the kids off, we head to my house in Cupertino. We try to figure out logistics for our relationship and the coming summer. Todd votes for finding a place together but I tell him that that is definitely against the rules. God says, "Trust Me." I decide that going with The Big Guy rather than church regulations worked out rather well the first time so I ignore a lot of people who telling me I'm making a terrible horrible no good very bad mistake. We'll skip over the next few weeks and get to the part where we decide on five different towns to move to in one week and do A LOT of driving around. Finally, we decide on Modesto as being fairly inexpensive and equidistant from Todd's family and my peeps in the bay area. We find an apartment in the perfect condominium complex- it has a pool, a pond with a family of ducklings, koi fish, turtles and lots of tadpoles (promising a healthy frog population in the coming months). Oh, and it has, like, walls and a roof and stuff too.
We spend Father's Day weekend in the central valley with Todd's family and the kids. We have to buy them new clothes because their mother delivers them to us without underwear or socks. The few pieces of clothing they do have with them mostly belong to their young half-brother and sister and are much too small. Stone doesn't even have shoes. As in, he is not wearing any. Even though they met us after going to a movie and an ice cream parlor. Even though he has a hole in his foot from stepping on a fork. Apparently he left them somewhere and his been shoeless for several days. His feet are black. In one of the few times in my life am grateful for the existence of Wal-Mart, we stop to invest in shoes, bathing suits, socks, underwear, t-shirts, shorts, and lots of anti-bacterial wipes.
Much fun is had over the weekend. Not so much fun is had on Sunday when we have to give them back, wondering when we will see them again. Todd is legally entitled to several weekends over the course of the six-week summer visitation, but his ex-wife has no compunctions about using the children as pawns, and will therefore threaten to cancel every single weekend we try to plan for and will indeed cancel the next one, at the last minute. Since our only recourse is to show up with the police (i.e. traumatize the children), we let it go but decide take the kids back in mid-July shortly after the six weeks is over, rather than letting her have a longer extended visit as we'd planned.
July- We move into our new apartment in Modesto. The next few weeks are spent setting up house as much as possible with our combined possessions of... practically nothing. I have downsized over the last few years until everything I own fits into a small bedroom, and Todd's belongings are languishing in storage on the opposite coast courtesy of the Army and the Army's awesome organizational capabilities. They won't arrive until the end of August. However, we have a table, some beds, a laptop, and a netflix subscription; what more could anyone need, really?
We pick the kids up and they are thrilled with the pool, the local wildlife, and the fact that they will be sleeping in my old loft. There is a lot of pool-going that takes place for the rest of the summer. In fact little else takes place, except for weekend adventures to visit the Fresno zoo and Playland with T's family, or to the bay area (Santa Cruz! Monterey! And more importantly, Dennis the Menace Playground!!). Much progress is made by the kids in the area of swimming.
A good time is had by all except for the times when Todd and I are figuring out that we're both stubborn as mules and too proud to apologize. But in between? Good times.
Progress is made by me in the area of Not Stomping Off After A Fight.
Progress is made in the area of Who's Job is it to Cook Dinner?
Progress is made in the area of Why You Wanna Throw Away All Of My Stuff, Woman?
Occasional regressions occur but are duly dealt with, usually by crying on the part of one party. One party cries a whole lot. Especially around certain times of the month. Patience is learned by the other party, eventually.