Once a year, she reappears. I know it's coming, but I try to tell myself that maybe this year it will slip through the cracks. But no, every year our lives have to get thrown all out of whack when she crawls back out of the woodwork, in her standard uniform of too-short shorts and too-dark cake makeup.
Ugh. Heaven help us all, esp. Punky. BioB*&^% is back.
Here is the maddening update:
After last year's visitation, Punky came home sick, constipated, wanting to wear make-up, and concerned that she was fat. It would be a waste trying to put my anger into words, but I think it's rather obvious, so I'll just leave it at that. Then, surprise, surprise, BioB stopped calling. Fell off the face of the Earth, like she always does.
She will routinely go a month or more without calling to talk to Punky. She actually called us much more last year pursuing the adoption than anything else. And, as you all know, we were well into the swing of the adoption, all the paperwork was filed, and BioB submitted the first document consenting. The disappeared again. Our lawyers sent her the termination paperwork, and we didn't hear back from her. And then we didn't hear back from her some more. Then, finally, though it was probably too late, she contacted us a couple months ago to say she had signed the papers but she had made some changes to them (seriously? Don't even get me started on this, friggin idiot). But she never sent the papers to either us or our lawyers. So that adoption proceeding is dead in the water. Suck. To say the least.
During the last of one of these calls about the adoption, BioB implies that she'd like to see Punky this summer. We have always been very supportive of her taking her visitation (heaven knows for how many years she tried to avoid it) for Punky's sake. And as much as I hate it internally, we go out of our way to accommodate visitation. So we told her we would drop Punky off with her just after the 4th of July, provided she arranged transportation back, and she could have her the rest of the summer.
But then she disappeared AGAIN. For weeks before MacGyver and Punky left for Wisconsin (the beginning of the trip that was scheduled to end with us dropping Punky off with BioB), she was completely unresponsive. She did not return calls, texts, or emails. We had no idea whether she still wanted to take her, or even if she still lived in the same place. It made planning the trip that much more fun.
Then, as is so often the case with her, she popped back up at the most inconvenient time. Right after MacGyver and Punky had left for WI, meaning just over a week before we were supposed to drop her off. It had been her first contact with us in about 2 months (give or take). And the excuses (this woman is the queen of excuses) start flying. She quit her job (big shocker after we finally got her wages garnished for the child support she has never paid), and had to start waiting tables (go figure she switched to a line of work that depends on tips – a lot harder to garnish that). She had no money at all and she lost her phone (granted, she now lives with a boyfriend, but apparently she couldn't call her daughter from his phone, that would've been too inconvenient). And blah, blah, blah, pity me crap. Whatever. We still agreed to drop Punky off, as much as it hurt.
At the same time, BioB friends MacGyver on Facebook. I have no idea why, but, hey, I'm not going to complain. As a lawyer, I've discovered that people put some pretty friggin stupid stuff on FB, and, at the very least it might be a good way to keep tabs on what's going on with Punky while she's there.
So I, of course, went through her entire FB. What can I say? I'm thorough. There are two conflicting things about it, and they both ticked me off. I know they're conflicting, and I don't care, I think my annoyance at each is justified.
1) Punky wasn't mentioned anywhere. Going back more than two years, covering at least two visitation periods, it was as if Punky doesn't exist at all to her. No, I take that back, she mentioned Punky ONCE, in response to someone else's question, and all she said was that "[her] daughter" was turning 8 this year, and how old that made her feel. That's it. Punky is a nonentity in her life.
2.) While Punky wasn't mentioned per se, there were some pictures of her. Just a few, but there were some there nonetheless. Including ones of her, at six years old wearing make – up. And not fun, dress-up make-up, but just actually made up. Sick. Thanks for giving my kid a complex.
My anger at her having pictures of Punky up is complicated. As a parent (or aunt, sibling, etc), how would you feel if you discovered that someone had posted pictures of your child online without your permission? What if this was a person you couldn't stand, who you didn't want your child around anyway? Now layer on top of that the frustration of knowing that that person is completely within their rights to post those pictures, that you can't even SAY anything about it.
I hate that she's out there posing as a caring parent to MY daughter. Genetics be darned, she abandoned her and hasn't shown the slightest hint of parental responsibility in 7 years, she is NOT Punky's mother. I am. (Ha, Punky mistakenly referred to BioB as her stepmom just a few days before we dropped her off, pointing out to me that the mom who takes care of you (according to Ms. Spider) is your real mom, so BioB must be her stepmom; I was soooooo sad to have to correct her).
Well, she can just bite me after we get Punky back and I tag all of her pictures.
Another interesting note from FB: You know that period of time when she was claiming to be SOOOO poor that she couldn't call? She went on a very enjoyable bar-crawling vacation in Miami. Huh . . .
So we, regretfully, dropped Punky off, with her phone (I dare anyone to give me flak for giving a 7 year old a phone given the environment into which she was going). On of the conditions to us agreeing to drop her off with such short notice was that Punky would be allowed to keep her phone on her AT ALL TIMES, and could call us whenever she wanted (this is following the debacle of 2 years ago when Punky wasn't allowed to call at all because it used up BioB's minutes and last year when BioB took away Punky's phone because she "called us too much" – including the time she called us because she was upset since it was AFTER NOON and she hadn't yet had anything to eat because BioB wouldn't get out of bed and Punky wasn't allowed to wake her up).
So far, BioB seems to be holding her end of the deal. But, wow, the change in Punky has been dramatic and immediate. The day after we dropped her off, Punky called me dripping with attitude. Neither she nor BioB (apparently) could find the extra shoes we packed for Punky. "YOU didn't send me enough shoes," my sweet little girl accuses when I answer the phone.
"They're in the black bag in your suitcase," I tell her.
She insists, angrily, that they're not. So I search our whole car (we're on the road back home at the time). Nope, I'm sure the shoes are in Punky's suitcase. I didn't scold or get angry with her, I knew she was probably getting plenty of that from the other end and was stressed from being left with that woman, but MAN, that attitude. Two days later, TWO DAYS, they found the bag of shoes in Punky's small suitcase. Huh. . .
But, she has gotten much better. There was much less outright attitude the last couple times I talked to her, though she still doesn't sound 100% like herself.
All Manner of Creatures
Two summers ago, BioB "got Punky a kitten." Punky loved the kitten, and I think it was the only positive thing about her visit. Immediately after we got Punky back, BioB told us she got rid of the kitty. Just like that. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given that she abandoned her own infant, but still.
I HATE people who mistreat their pets or don't take the responsibility seriously. It's a living creature that you have taken upon yourself to care for. It is YOUR responsibility. It is not an inanimate object to be just tossed away. It really sickens me when people just disregard pets. I was so mad at her. I mean, we would have taken the kitty to save it from being abandoned to a shelter and to save Punky the pain of hearing that the kitty was inexplicably gone.
So I was duly annoyed when BioB informed Punky during her call that last week that she had gotten her some geckos. 1) No you didn't, we all know those are your current live-in-boyfriend's geckos, and 2.) stop with the ridiculous "I got you an animal" crap. Pets aren't toys – a fact we have worked hard to instill to Punky through our care for the ying-yang pups and her fish, Mean (he's a beta, she said he looks like a Mean).
Then, I talked to Punky a couple days after she got there, and she informed me that BioB and the boyfriend had bought her some fish, too. Ugh. Even fish are living creatures, and, as such, not disposable!
AND THEN she called a couple days ago, very excited to tell us that BioB and boyfriend (you know, the ones too poor to even use their phones, the same BioB who couldn't handle the kitten after Punky left last time) got her a dog. WTF? What the heck is BioB going to do with a dog after Punky leaves? Because I can't take it in. We already have 2 dogs and were planning to get a cat soon. This has disaster written all over it.
And a second WTF?: What's with the buying Punky a zoo thing? Someone trying to buy some love there? It ticks me off for obvious reasons. Punky may be thrilled with all this, and she may be only 7, but you can't buy love, you earn it.
One Bright Spot
Remember how one of the conditions of our dropping Punky off was that BioB had to provide the return transportation (something she has only done ONCE in the last 4 years)? Guess what? She can't. Oh, but she can afford rare albino geckos and a dog out of the blue. And that trip to Miami.
MacGyver told her last week that he would be in WI for the wedding of a couple of old friends and that she could pick Punky up then, but it would shorten the visitation by 2 weeks. Otherwise, she said she'd provide the transport and we were not going to just front the money yet again like we have so many times in the past. We work to live within our means, thanks.
Well, she's taking us up on our offer. Apparently her money is more important to her than those two weeks. That's her call.
Tiny happy dance.
Plus, now we get to have some summer fun with Punky! Beaches, hiking, and looking for dolphins! Yay.
So there you have it. The very long version of where things currently stand with BioB and Punky being gone. I have more to say about my feelings on the matter, but this post has gone more than long enough! Props to you if you're still with me here at the end!