Hints are comingThursday, July 7th, 2011 – It started as a ‘Normal’ day. Normal, I think, refers to the routine of the last 3 days, otherwise there is nothing normal in my life, at least not recently. Patti got up and went to work, I woke up a little later this morning, starting my coffee and email check in my new office.
Then I saw an email from my lawyer. I was waiting for some updates – and here it came. For obvious reasons I avoided writing on this subject in the last couple posts, but now – I can tell. Remember how I left CA without my son. It was a sad day for both of us, as I knew how much he wanted to be with me, and how much better could it be had he stayed with me. I promised him to do all that I can to change it, and have him come and live with me.
And so I did. In my last day in CA I went to talk to couple family attorneys about this case, and the first day after I came back to WA, I hired the services of one of the attorneys I talked to. A young lawyer who looks like she has experience, and sincerely wanted to help in the matter. I trust her to do the best she can not only for the money but also because she believed it would be the best for my son. I made it clear that I have no intentions to hurt anyone, and I am not out for revenge. Also, it was important for me to emphasize that I want to help my son come and live me because this is *what he really wants*, and not because I want it (although I do want it very much).
So back to this morning – I received an email that states that all the attempts to settle with my ex-wife peacefully have failed (yeah, we tried once more to send a letter), and she is going to approach the court, but would like to know how fast can I get to CA if the court granted me temporary custody. I immediately replied and wrote – I will be there the next day! The decision of the court is scheduled for tomorrow.
So here it comesFriday, July 8th, 2011 – I was nervous all day today, curious to know what would be the decision of the court. Patti and I already talked about it and decided that if my son comes over, he will go with me to get our belongings from MN by the end of this week.
Around noon, I got the much expected phone call. It was the attorney’s assistant. She told me that the court has decided to give me custody until the hearing on the 19th, but I can’t get my son out of the state of CA. Ouch…
I was extremely happy about the decision. Although it is only a temporary decision, I believe it shows the intentions of the court, and based on what I presented, the court takes this situation very seriously. Now I need to stay in CA for 10 days, No RV and no other place to stay – that means I need to rent a car and hotel room, and SoCal is not cheap especially not in the summer, when all the kids are going to Disneyland, Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Sea world, Knot’s Berry farms, Six Flags, Universal Studios – it is all around here.
Changing PlansI called Patti and let her know about the news. She was extremely supportive and helped me plan and change all the travel arrangements. We had to cancel the flight to MN, cancel the move of our storage unit, find a flight a car and a hotel in SoCal, all in a one day notice.
I know how hard it was for Patti being by herself waiting for me to come over, and now I need to go again, but I appreciate her help and understanding.
When Patti came back home all the plans were already done. Part of it Patti did from work, and part I did from home. I am flying tomorrow at 7:20am from Seattle, so I have a shuttle picking me up at 4:15am from Everett – about 20 miles away from home. That is going to be a long day tomorrow.
With the short time we had, Patti has cooked for us a nice Friday dinner, she lighted the candles we blessed the Shabbat, the Challah and the wine, and ate a delicious fish over spinach and rice with a soft fresh Challah bread that Patti baked yesterday. Patti also helped me pack for the next 10 days (do you see the pattern? I don’t know what would I have done without her). We went to bed early as we have to get up tomorrow by 3:30am, facing yet another waiting period.
The trip southSaturday, July 9th, 2011 – Could hardly sleep tonight. Well for obvious reasons.
Patti woke up with me and after fast coffee we drove to the pickup location of the shuttle. We waited in the car about 5 minutes or so and the shuttle came. That’s it – I am on the way to get my son. I am going to spend with him at least for the next 10 days. Hopefully for the next 4 years…
I was exhausted. Half asleep I managed to find the gate and waited for my flight. I believe I slept most of the way to Salt Lake city, where I had to switch planes. From there it was already after 10:00am and the short flight went pretty fast (90 minutes or so).
After we landed in Orange County, I went to pick up the car. I had a car reservation at Thrifty, so I went to their service desk and handed the girl my Driver License and a Credit Card. After punching some numbers she told me – “Sorry I can’t give you car”. “And why not?” I asked. She said – “Whenever we receive a debit card the system preforms a credit check, and it came back as declined”. What the… I was thinking. No way! My credit is not bad, and I have enough money in the bank… “I will give you a credit card instead” I said. “Can’t” the girl said and turned the monitor towards me. It had a message – Do not rent. Hand a Credit denial Card.
Nothing I could do at this point. It wouldn’t matter even if I pulled a credit report and showed her a score of 800. I am dealing with a computer, and there is nothing I can do. I turned to the next desk – National Alamo, and in 10 minutes I had a car. Just an embracement! If you ever need to rent a car – think twice before you choose Thrifty, and do not give them a debit card.
Finding the lost sonWhen I landed in Orange County I turned on my phone and a text message from my son was waiting for me “Where are you? Mom is forcing me to go to church”. I replied – “Just landed. on the way to pick you up”. That was the last I heard from him this morning.
Drove down south to his mom’s home, and as expected – there was no one there. Just across the street from the house there was this camera shop where I dropped my camera for repair couple months ago, and just yesterday I got a phone call that it is ready, so I swung by and picked up my camera. I got my D700 back! I don’t have any lens or battery to use it, but at least I got the body.
I called Patti, consulting with her what should be my next step, and decided that I will look for my son in one of the churches they use to go, and if not there, I will just wait by the house until they come.
My first bet was a church in Irvine, about 15 miles north (very close to the airport). I turned around and drove back north. Took me a little while to find the church, but when I drove through the parking lot I spotted the mother’s minivan parked at a far corner. Bingo!
I found my son and my daughter with their mom standing outside the church talking to someone. The mother noticed me approaching and I don’t think she was too happy. She knew nothing good is going to come out of it.
I parked close to the place they were standing and got out of the car. “Hi” I said politely. “I came to pick up our son”. “And what make you think you could do that?” She asked… “I have a court order”. This is when the color disappeared from her face. I don’t think she expected that. “What court, I was never invited, you didn’t tell me, let me see” she mumbled.
I knew she is in shock and going through hard time. I did not want to make it hard on anyone, just wanted to take my son and go. My hope is that she will realize that it will raise a red flag for her, and make her wonder what if the court will have to decide, as she might lose not only custody but much more, so maybe she will agree to sign the offer letter I sent her and fax it to the lawyer. That would put an immediate end to all this roller coaster, it would be the cheapest easiest way to put things in order, with minimum aggravation cost and anxiety. But chances are slim.
I showed her the court order and stepped back to the car, allowing her some privacy to say proper good bye. It took a while for her and my daughter to digest the fact that I am taking my son without their consent, and after a long while (probably 20-30 minutes) finally my son joined me in the car. It was not easy on him at all, seeing his mom crying and not wanting to let him go, but he assured me that as hard as it is, this is what he wants and he knows that this is the best thing for him. We had a fast stop at his mom’s house, picking up his stuff and from there we drove to the hotel, starting the waiting period. We grabbed a fast meal from a fast food joint across the street and went to bed. After all it has been a long and rough day.
The first daySunday, July 10th, 2011 – The hotel is not a fancy one, so there are very limited amenities provided. We stopped at Target and got some snacks and a cheap coffee maker. we continued to a Laundromat to wash my son’s clothes, and grabbed a fast bite from a Chinese restaurant close by. By the time we were back it was already 4:00pm or so, and we tried to pass the time by getting the room organized, watching some video clips and talking about all that is happening.
It is going to be tough keeping ourselves entertained in a small room in a hotel. I have to work, and not much for my son to do. He is trying to keep himself busy learning programming, and watching movies, but I am sure we will manage somehow. One week to go. Day one.
Monday, July 11th, 2011 – The day just started, and I am between work and emails sitting in this hotel room and trying to pass the time. I feel bad as Patti is alone at home, and my son is bored stuck here in the room with me, but we do have big hopes that this is not for nothing, and that the cause will justify all that we are going through. So with small victory and big hope we are looking forward. Hoping for the best.