Foolish Games

1. to defer action; delay
2. to put off until another day or time

“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.” – Mason Cooley

A few days before Thanksgiving “Jake” called to tell me that he didn’t want to drive down to pick up “Em” for Christmas; he was concerned about the weather. When I was pregnant with Em, Jake and I drove up to his parents’ house for Christmas. The drive up wasn’t so bad; it was the drive back down. It was raining and the wind was blowing so hard that freeway overpasses were shaking and high-profile truckers had pulled off the road to wait out the storm. It took us a day longer than expected to make it back home. So when Jake said he wanted to have Em fly to his house for Christmas, I agreed.

So less than a month before Christmas we split the cost of an unaccompanied minor plane ticket. When we divorced, Jake and I did the paperwork and processing ourselves; we didn’t have much to split up and we had agreed on my moving back to Orange County to be with my family and his visitation with Em. However, because we did it ourselves, when we made changes before filing the paperwork we forgot to make the same changes other places in the documents. So one section shows that Jake is responsible for all of Em’s travel costs to and from visitation with him, and another section says that we split the cost. However, most times I pay for her plane ticket since he has to then buy himself two round-trip tickets for his travel with her on the plane. He doesn’t work very often, so funds are limited on his end. If I didn’t pay for all of her plane tickets, she’d never get to see him. But because the cost of the one-way unaccompanied minor ticket was less than what he’d normally pay for two round-trips for himself, we split the cost.

But we never talked about how she’d get back home. I just assumed that he would drive her down since he never mentioned it.

A week before Christmas he said that he’d be buying her return-flight ticket. It would be done on Monday, December 20th. When I called that night he said he’d do it the next morning, Tuesday, December 21st. I talked to him on Christmas Eve, concerned that I hadn’t heard anything about the ticket. He said that he’d been working on ceilings for a guy and he’d just received a check and would cash it on Monday, as banks are closed on Christmas and Sundays. (My assumption as to why he’s cashing instead of depositing is because he’s behind on his support payments and if he deposits money into his account, the child support folks will send me a good portion of it, leaving him with not enough for the plane ticket. Cashing it means he can give the money to his dad who will likely be purchasing the ticket on his credit card.)

And now it’s Tuesday, December 28th and we still have no ticket for Em. I’ve left messages on his cellphone voicemail and his parents’ house message machine (where he lives). It’s no concern of mine if he pays up the nose for a short-notice flight. It is however my concern if she can’t get on a direct flight (click here for rules on unaccompanied minor travel) because they’re full because everyone else bought their tickets 6 months ago! According to the modification to visitation we did in July, she has to be returned to me no later than 6:00 PM the day before school resumes session. So finding a non-stop or no-change flight before 6:00 PM on Sunday, January 9th that is within his budget is inevitably going to be more difficult the longer he waits. And paying for a last-minute ticket for her to fly home is not within my budget. So he either has to buy the ticket soon (like yesterday) or plan on driving her down and allowing for enough time due to possibly inclement weather to do so in a timely manner.

A small part of me is concerned that he won’t bring her home. NOT that Jake has ever given me any reason to think he might violate the physical custody order we have in place, but it does happen. And Em is old enough now to know what day it is, how long she has left of her visitation with Daddy and she’ll be very upset if she doesn’t come home. And it’s not like I don’t know where he lives, or that he has any way of funding a run-and-hide scenario. But that doesn’t mean the idea doesn’t creep into my mind when he doesn’t return my phone calls. I’m sure he’ll end up buying a plane ticket or decide to drive her down. I just wish I didn’t have to wait for him to get his act together.

Then again, this is Jake I’m talking about. There’s nothing new about him keeping me in the dark about matters that concern both of us. Just because he’s a bit older doesn’t mean he’s grown up enough to stop playing these stupid games.

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