It's already been quite a week, and it's only halfway over. Yesterday I had to take a personal day off from work, because there was a court hearing I was required to attend in the morning and afterwards I had to make a trip to the
seventh circle of hell DMV to renew my driver's license. I'm not sure which was worse...
....actually, I'm kidding. The court hearing was worse. It was for the two kids I went to meet on Saturday, and for my court report I felt compelled to share some concerns I had for the childrens' physical safety. They were unattended in an upstairs bedroom for at least 40 minutes while I waited in my car for their father to arrive home, and there was a space heater on the floor surrounded by piles of clothes and rubbish. Space heaters are notorious for causing house fires, and children ages 5 and 7 have no business shut up in a room alone with one. The Guardian ad Litem attorney told the judge of my concerns and the father had to answer for it. I felt bad turning him in, simply because he was too poor to afford to heat his house any other way, but I couldn't have lived with myself if I had let it go and later heard about a house fire on the news. He still gets to keep his children, but DSS workers will be periodically checking in on him for a few more months at the very least.
I ended up getting on the elevator with the father after the hearing and he said, "I'm sorry you think I shouldn't have a space heater, but if I hadn't had some kind of heat you would have complained about that, too." And then he turned away from me before I had a chance to respond. That was a really uncomfortable elevator ride! I could tell that he was hurt and offended and I didn't know how to answer him, so I didn't say anything. I wonder what he would think if I had told him that I actually lost sleep over whether to report it or not? It's a grave thing, telling the court about issues that may separate a parent from their children. It's not something I take lightly, at all, and I wish he understood that. I'm not trying to make life harder for anyone; on the contrary, I'm trying to do good things. Visiting families, phoning and emailing caseworkers and school personnel, writing monthly monitoring reports for the court, and taking time off from my "real" job isn't exactly my idea of fun. And I'm not making a dime from it, either. Oh well....I should have waited for the next elevator! The good thing is that since the court decided that with proper monitoring he can keep custody for now, and the boys won't be going to foster care, they no longer need a GAL and I'm already relieved of this case. I won't have to see that man again...although I'm sure there will be plenty more just like him in the future (and worse).
After my uncomfortable half hour in court, I went and got my license renewed. It expires on my birthday, which happens to be the day after tomorrow. I had waited until the very last minute to do it because the DMV is the worst. But now that's done, too, and I can enjoy the rest of the week and this weekend! Tonight is book club, where we will be discussing Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. That's the book I kept promising to post a review of here, and still haven't had time to finish. Sorry! I loved it, though, and I think tonight's discussion will be fun. Even better than that, though, will be seeing all my book club friends for the first time since last month. We always have a good time!
Since my birthday is Friday, I have all sorts of plans for this weekend. I may not be back here until next week, but I'll try to get some pictures of the fun.
Have a good one, everyone!