Thursday, March 28, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sometimes justice crawls

Things are no worse than when I went in but, boy, that was a crappy day in court.  I should have known - I got a good parking space.

At 8:30, the hearing time, there was no sign of the respondent.  At around 9, the kid's father moseys in.

At some point they tell us we're going to Mediation.  HUH?  What is there to mediate?

I'm alone in the hallway with the father.  I offer a handshake.  He shakes my hand.  He says, "Why would you want to shake my hand?"  I'm a little taken aback.  What I meant was, "look, we're both fathers and nothing could have prepared us for the horror of these last couple of years."  What I could have said was, "you mean because your son is a creepy pedophile and no one in your family has shown anything that resembles remorse?"  I mumbled something like, "why wouldn't I shake your hand?"  Being civilized sometimes feels really stupid.

We shuffle off to mediation where there are two cases in front of us.  One is neighbors, who used to be friends, until one of the daughters egged the other ones' house on Halloween and there was a misunderstanding, blah blah blah.  The second one wasn't even that compelling.  The mediator was crabby and impatient with both cases.  Can't imagine what he's going to do with us.

The mediator is confused by the father's presence.  He finally realizes that the kid is a no-show and he lays into the dad.  "Then this is over.  He had a court order to appear to appear.  Why did you think you could ignore a court order??
Father: We were told it would be okay.
Mediator:  Who told you that?
Father:  The police.
Mediator:  What police?
Father: The sheriff who served the papers.
Mediator:  Impossible.

The mediator yelled some more and then asked again, who advised him to ignore a court order.
The father said, I talked to a couple of lawyers. (Translation:  If my asshole son has to speak, the case is over.  If I show up, at least we have a snowball's chance of fighting back.)  The mediator is furious.  He tells the father to go wait in the courtroom.  When we're alone, the mediator says, "I have three daughters and if this was my daughter I would have killed that kid."

Let me tell you something.  Everyone fancies themselves as a killer.  When I dropped of the TRO papers to the North Hollywood PD, know what the sergeant said to me?  "If it was me, I'd have killed this kid."  I think it's a way of offering sympathy but I guess it bugs me because I never seemed to fully answer the question of why I didn't kill him.

The mediator said, "this case has me so upset I can't even go back to work."  So for the next 15 minutes I rehashed the case with the mediator so he could calm his nerves.  I appreciated the sympathy but I'm kind of over talking about it, I just want my restraining order.  "I don't know even know why they sent you to mediation.  I think they saw two older Jewish guys and figured it was a business dispute."

He sends me back to court where the judge yells at the father and then holds it over for another date.  A month from now.  Truth is, the original judge on the order was called away and this judge was happy not not have to decide anything.  And I got to do this all over again in April.

Thanks to Markus for coming along.  It would have been that much worse to go it alone.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Turn, Turn, Turn

This week is barely half over and the excitement never ends.  Friday I have to go to Court for a hearing to secure a permanent restraining order against this creep*.  I'm nervous that I'm going to have to speak, that he may be there, that he may even have a lawyer to contest the order.  I talked to my sister-in-law, Liz, who was very helpful.  She's in family law and, among other things, she told me to point out that 1) this has been an extreme emotional hardship for the family, particularly may daughter, 2) he pleaded guilty in a plea bargain but was charged with more violent acts, 3) that, because of his age, he's not registered so that's one layer of protection that we're missing and, most importantly, 4) my daughter is only 6 years old.  She can't defend herself.  She has to know that if she encounters him that she can just tell an adult to call the police instead of trying, in any fashion, to negotiate herself.  I'm sick to my stomach as I write all this.

This one's pretty much stacked on our side, but he worked the Juvenile system pretty well so there's no slam dunks.  I've been adrenaline flooded since Monday and a court hearing - no matter what the outcome - isn't likely to alleviate that.  Maybe this is why middle-age folks don't do a lot of bungee jumping or zip-lining - there's plenty of buzz to go around.

*Maybe I'll write about it some day but I figure 1) most people are sick of hearing about it, 2) the rest of the people are better off not knowing about it and 3) no one reads this thing anyways.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Now that I've scarred you for life...

I owe Orly a huge apology.  She's an awesome little girl.

With Six You Get Eggroll

It's been quite a day so far, some of it personal.  Who can I tell but still keep it private?  I know, I'll put it on my blog.  NO ONE reads that.

Yesterday was Kirby's 44th birthday.  She's now as old as I was when we met.  And I'm as old as her parents when we met.  Like that Twilight Zone Episode where she sees herself on a horse in the future... then in the past... okay, it's not exactly like that.  Last night, to celebrate, we went to MexiKosher and a leisurely showing of Django Unchained.

And today was Kirby's scheduled heart surgery.  Procedure.  Surgery makes it sound dire.  But procedure makes it sound like a band-aid.  Probably closer to band-aid - I'll let you pulmonary experts to hash it out.  She has Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), which is a kind of heart arrhythmia.  Annoying, not life-threatening.  She was scheduled for a catheter ablation this morning.  Basically, they zap the offending cellular structures in the ventricle from the inside.  Like a sci-fi movie.

I'm kicking it in the waiting room for a few hours when Kirby calls me on the cell.  "The nurse is going to come get you."  "I'm supposed to be at Amalia's for lunch, should I go there?" "No, come in here."

I hate bad news.  So much.  It doesn't get better since I've gotten older, in fact worse.  I start to make my way through the wide doors and I'm thinking, "I don't know how bad it is, but until I make it through the final door, it hasn't happened yet."  That barrier is soon behind me.  Kirby is sitting in a hospital bed.

"They've canceled the surgery."
"Because I'm six weeks pregnant."

I know, I buried the lead.

The first thing that I did was laugh.  Heartily.  I am aware that, with the mother of your children, there is a first response that you can never take back.  "Oh, shit," is a toughie.  Fortunately, laughing was my honest reaction. Relief, that nothing was wrong.  Funny because it was ludicrous (I'm soon to be 55).  Because it was inconvenient - she finally scheduled the procedure.  Funny because it's fantastic;  I should be caring for my grandchildren.

There's three things - and only three things - that pass through the mind of an expectant father, particularly an older one:  1) Oh Lord, how will we afford it? 2) What am I going to do if it's not 100% healthy, and 3) aren't they going to be mad at me when they realize how freaking old I am?  After that, omigosh, we might have another baby!  There's going to be another person introduced into the world that I'm going to be crazy about and I haven't even met them yet. 4) What if our streak of nice kids has run out at 2 and the 3rd one is some kind of problem child?  I'm not looking forward to sleepless nights, diapers, etc. but that part passes pretty quickly.  But an asshole is for life.  5) If the new kid turns out perfectly normal, he/she will graduate high school when I'm 73.  All of this is my way of explaining that I'm pretty ramped up right now.  I'm feeling a little panicky.  And my head hurts.  I'm as glad as I can feel under the circumstances.

And here's the other part - everyone was waiting to hear about Kirby's surgery.  I told people it was canceled.  Why was it canceled?  Complications, I say.  Ooh, what kind of complications?  Complicated ones.  Fact is, neither of us is great at not telling things.  I mean, you definitely don't want to be blabbing to the world that you're only 6 weeks pregnant.  So you're the only one I'm telling.

But I know two people who are going to be very excited:  Amalia and Orly.  Like over the moon.