Hello everyone out there in Internetland. Yes, your Technobabble and sports fanatic friend is still around. Life has been so busy over the past several months that, alas, my blog has been severely neglected. It’s been months…where do I begin?
Yes, it’s been that long. I won’t bore the general reading public with the details, but back in August of 2019, it became clear that my marriage was no longer working or salvageable. Part of it was the loss of my son, part of it was the after-effects and side-effects of that loss, and part of it was that my wife and I were no longer on the same page, no longer shared the same interests, and were both admittedly happier when we were apart than when we were together.
Divorce is never truly easy (well, unless you’re talking about a midnight wedding at the Elvis chapel in Vegas–annulled the next morning). My daughter is still struggling with the change. She still sees things in black and white, and due to the final circumstances of the marriage, that makes mom the wounded bird, and me the evil, rifle-toting hunter. Compound this situation with her other various needs, and we have not had a fun last several months.
The technical aspects were easy enough–we filed an uncontested divorce, agreed to enough of the basics that lawyers (other than this one who was handling the filing) were not needed. Filed in October, 2019, final in February, 2020.
I wasn’t really single. This part is hard to explain sometimes, but in my quest (yes, even pre-divorce, I know…) for someone that I could talk to, share my emotional states with, someone that made me feel like my thoughts and feelings mattered–I met someone on Twitter. We were online friends for over a year. We hadn’t even met until early August, 2019. When we met–we just knew. Once again, TL;DR–we’re engaged. Wedding tentatively set for sometime in Summer 2021.
While All That Was Going On…
I’ll hold off on the whole “2020: The Year of Wrecking and Reckoning” for a later post.
I continued doing my multiple-work-lives thing: appellate attorney by day, PA announcer for the Tucson Roadrunners (and occasionally ASU club hockey and ASU Softball) by night. In addition, I continued scheduling and helping run the Arizona Cactus Cup MLK Jr Weekend youth ice hockey tournament, as well as acting as the administrator for the state’s primary youth roller hockey league. The balancing act was a little tougher during the Winter 2019-20 season, with divorce and parenting time issues mixed in, but it was going okay–until March, 2020… (Again, more on that later.)
I was also mixing in numerous trips to Lacey, Washington (just outside Olympia, the state capital) to see my beloved, and generally keeping as much of my life settled and calm as possible. On the good news side, until the world turned upside down, round trip airfare from Phoenix to Seattle was generally less than $125–sometimes as low as $80-90 round trip on discount airlines like Spirit. (I learned to really appreciate Spirit–and to learn how best to pack for a quick two-day trip using just a larger “personal item” to avoid ridiculous add-on fees for a carry-on or checked bag.)
Honestly, those trips to Lacey, as much as they tore at certain parts of my heart and existence, helped me feel whole. I was completely accepted by not only my love, but by her three kids–and even her ex. Another long story for another time, but her ex and I have come to regard each other as husbands-in-law. 😀 I spent Thanksgiving and Hanukkah/Christmas with this new side of my family, and just felt welcome.
Fast-forward a bit to today, and my beloved is now living with me in Chandler, Arizona. She came down for a visit and got caught in between stay-in-place orders in both Arizona and Washington. She wound up in a forced resignation situation with her job in Washington, and we decided it was just best at this point for her to move in. No complaints from either side as we’ve spent lots of quality lockdown time together — and have managed to not kill each other.
Changes on the Job Front
I’ve walked a long, twisting path over the 26 years since I graduated from Roosevelt University with my Bachelor’s degree (Bachelor of Arts in Education). Eight years as a teacher. Three years in law school. A little time in criminal defense practice before getting reassigned to the juvenile unit. I spent four years representing kids in our juvenile delinquency unit, before becoming one of our first parent attorneys in the dependency unit. After a little over 18 months in dependency, I transferred to our mental health unit, representing adults who had been brought into the system for involuntary evaluation and/or court ordered mental health treatment. After a couple years in mental health, my presence was requested to become the office’s primary Appeals attorney. And so I was, until…
Over the past few years, I found myself having an increasingly difficult time representing parents making their last ditch attempts at saving their parental rights after spending years trying (or not trying) to navigate the child welfare system. See, here I was, a father of two–one tragically lost over four years ago–who would do anything for his kids. I lost Micah in January of 2016. I would do ANYTHING to have him back. I would walk on hot coals while eating shards of broken glass if it would bring my son back. Yet, here I was, representing parents who–in many cases (not all, but many)–squandered away their chance to get their children back from DCS (Department of Child Safety–similar to CPS or DCFS in many states), and often only now, at the point of the permanent termination of their parental rights, do they choose to fight for their kids. I had a really hard time figuring out the disconnect.
Frankly speaking, I also missed actually working with my clients…going to court…arguing before a judge… And, honestly, working with/for children. I was a junior high teacher for almost eight years. I started at the Public Defender’s Office with the drive and desire to represent children. As my time went by, I seemed to drift further and further from working with kids…until I reached appeals, where I rarely worked directly with anyone, outside a few select colleagues in my office.
After I missed out at a chance for possible promotion to a supervisory position, I jumped at the chance to move back to our Mental Health Division. Then, less than 24 hours later, I was presented with an even better offer: move from appeals back to our Juvenile Delinquency Division. I could finally get back to representing kids! And now, one week from Monday, I will officially rejoin the Delinquency Division!
I have already felt a warm outpouring of greetings from my colleagues in my new division–many of whom I have worked with previously–either in delinquency, or in my appeals position. I am so incredibly excited about this change!
So–that brings you up to speed with where I am in a few areas. I’ll post another update soon, to cover other thoughts. On one of my forever important thoughts…I have really missed Micah. I’ve looked at what’s happened over the past few months and thought about how he could have made a difference–while at the same time thinking how worried I would be about him, as well as my daughter, in this mad world.
More to come…