My girlfriend (CSG) met with legal aid last Thursday morning. She’ll hear back this week, but it looks like she has a lawyer and will be eligible for full funding. It also looks like her soon-to-be-ex-husband (STBEH) is about to be stripped naked, tarred, feathered and driven around town in the back of a pickup truck.
I almost felt bad for the guy. Actually, if I knew him at all, I probably would. The house he’s living in will most likely have to be sold, with half the sale going to CSG; he’ll have to pay child support plus alimony, plus some other payment called “equalization”… or something.
I hope STBEH gets full use out of his BBQ this summer, because I doubt he’ll be able to afford meat for the next fifteen years.
Most importantly for her though is it’s inevitable CSG will have full custody over their three-year old son.
She was really nervous before the appointment. I went with her — after having been up all night trying to write something, which was dumb. I waited in the office with her, holding her hand, helping with the paperwork and trying to keep her entertained. The local legal aid office is in an old home, one of the original homes of the town, so it feels like a library. The walls were really thin, and I think they were using the volume from a small radio to hide the lawyer-client conversations in the next room.
I waited outside for most of the appointment… once it started I could almost hear them, and I really don’t feel like I have any right to know the details of the divorce. Or the why part.
Once it was over I took her for a slow walk along the river that flows next to the town, we mostly talked about things we’d like to do together. On the way back to the car I suggested we walk through the downtown mall.
There’s a small pet store in the local mall and CSG loves looking at mice and dogs. The owners also have a huge display case with their own pets on display, two huge iguanas named Pink and Floyd. The smaller female was about the length of my arm. Her boyfriend looked like he could have eaten my arm.
The owners let CSG play with Floyd, the female. They got along great. It was the first time CSG had held a dinosaur.
By the time we started back to the car it was lunchtime, so I took her to a local bakery where she had her favourite cookies and I ate sushi with chopsticks made from two butter knives because they had no real ones. Which made her laugh. She was very impressed at my butter knife-chopstick prowess.
The bakery makes incredible cookies, including both CSG and her son’s favourites, so I bought a bunch.
Which is when CSG told me we were going to her parents home to pick up her son… and meet her parents.
I had met CSG’s father once in her kitchen while he was dropping her son off. But that was pretty early in our dating relationship. Since we met CSG has been telling me stories almost daily about how badly she had been treated by her mother.
But overall it went very well. I ended up outside with Mr. CSG and he asked me some questions, and we had a nice conversation. Inside, meanwhile, Mrs. CSG asked CSG the “is he treating you well” type of mom questions. Thankfully no one asked about my job situation, or if manic depression is communicable.
I did ask CSG after we had pulled away that she not spring any more family visits on me. I need time to prepare for stuff like that. I think that’s as close as we’ve come to having a disagreement.
Her son really liked his cookies… they were in the shape of bunnies. But he asked CSG first if he could have one. Which I thought was cute. He has started looking at me, which I think is a good sign. He’s also getting excited when he finds out I’ll be in the car with them… but once I’m on the car he almost never speaks to me. Small steps.
CSG and I had our third (official) date last Monday… I made dinner for us, and I’m thinking it could become a regular thing.
I’m not surprised anymore when she says things like this, but CSG told me it was the first time she had watched a dude cook, and the first time a dude had cooked for her.
I baked some chicken with a spicy peanut sauce — kind of like General Tao’s Chicken, then in a separate dish roasted some potatoes and carrots with rosemary and some canola oil. I put some corn into the chicken dish for about fifteen minutes as well. All together I think it took forty minutes. I don’t know why I keep forgetting how easy and quick it can be cooking at home.
I don’t use my kitchen a whole lot… I like the one they have at the local Chinese restaurant. So it did require an all day cleaning. The night went really well… I found a neat way to light the table using tea-light candles and high-sided dishes in the shape of card symbols, which kind of made my dining room sort of almost romantic.
For dessert my idea was to go out somewhere for ice cream, but it got late and we got lazy so we had carrot muffins and diet-ginger ale.
At some point in the evening she asked if I’d like to go to her family’s cottage in the Quebec mountains. It would be me, CSG and her son out for the day, with a stop at a small candy factory. So that’s happening this coming Tuesday. Sweet freaking Jesus I hope the kid’s in a good mood.
I think we’re also going to Ottawa this week as well… my idea is to take her son to the Museum of Science And Technology for the day. He likes trains and planes, like most sane three-year olds, so I think he’ll get a kick out of the SciTech Museum. Then, maybe, we can swing past the Aviation Museum as well.
So everything was going great, then I was invited to a “Wild Meat Party” where I met some punks from Toronto I haven’t seen in seven years.
My mother called on Saturday night asking me to attend a church dinner with my step-father, because he had two tickets and couldn’t find anyone else.
A “wild meat party” is a supper where the main courses are all hunted game. There was buffalo, elk, moose, wild goose and wild boar… and rice. It was prepared different than I expected. I’ve had buffalo before, and it was prepared like a roast. But when I got to the buffet table there were three kinds of stew, and the buffalo, moose and elk had been ground up and turned into meatballs.
The goose and elk stews were very tasty. The meatballs were… meatballs.
I spent my time there basically staring at a wall. My step-dad knew a bunch of people, but I’m not down with the over-50 crowd yet. While I was finishing my dessert a hand clamped down on my shoulder… it was a friend who moved back home from Toronto about the same time I did, but he came back to start a business — which has grown into one of the more successful in the region.
So we chatted. We were pretty close back in Toronto — he had given me a place to stay a couple of times. When we were in Toronto he was part of a well known punk band made up of kids from my hometown, and we had many, many adventures. But this was the first time I’ve spoken to him since last summer.
When he started his business he brought in his family, and some of the punks from the Toronto days. And now he’s bringing up more. He’s determined to change the demographics of our little village.
They actually just moved into town on Friday. So we met at the ‘good pub’ in town for a drink and started telling stories… mostly about drinking competitions between punk bands — crazy crazy fucking crazy times. One of the punks I didn’t really know, but we had been to a lot of the same shows. The other one I knew fairly well. His band just broke up last fall after ten years and four albums.
And now he has moved here to restart his graphic design career. Crazy crazy.
I don’t think I’m going to spend a lot of time reconnecting with these guys. Most of their lives seem to still revolve around alcohol, and I’ve managed to isolate myself from the friends who own the business — intentionally or unintentionally, I’m not sure. And I’m not sure CSG would like them very much… I think she’d enjoy hearing stories about a piece of my past, but not necessarily from this group of people.
Anyway… I’m not sure what it means. But it feels like two very different parts of my life — the quiet part I’ve created here, and the noisy and blurry part I left to come here — are merging in a potentially very annoying way.