Friday, August 16, 2013

A new dentist... and an explanation

I had to go to the dentist yesterday because one of my fillings cracked.  It was in one of two baby teeth I have managed to hang onto for all these years.  I'm especially concerned about preserving them because once they're gone, it'll be time for implants.

Anyway, my mother-in-law recommended this dentist out near where she lives.  I called their main office, but it was totally booked.  So I called their other office, which is located in a very upscale shopping area right next to Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  When I say "right next to", I mean you can watch people on the rides from the front door and hear their screams.  It was kind of surreal.  Right next to the amusement park, you can see upscale housing going up... condos or apartments.  I can't imagine why anyone would want to live right next to an amusement park unless they happen to work there and would like to walk to work.  But what do I know, right?  I spent the last few years living in properties that were totally isolated.

I had a stressful time getting to the dentist's office because there was a big traffic jam that took 20 minutes or so to get through.  I drive a manual shifting car, so by the time I got through the jam, my calf muscle got quite the workout from holding in the clutch.

The appointment itself was interesting.  I was a little jittery from the drive.  The office was very nicely decorated.  It reminded me of a spa.  I filled out the medical paperwork and then went into a room where an assistant asked if I wanted them to "save" my tooth.  Um... yeah, of course I do.  I didn't perceive that this issue was a really major thing that would require a pulling.  But then she took my blood pressure with a wrist cuff.  I had never seen one of those before and had never had my blood pressure taken before a dentist visit.  Bill says they now do that when he sees the Army dentist, so I guess it's cutting edge stuff.  I expected my blood pressure to be high because I was pretty nervous, but it was very normal, under the circumstances, 120/80.

The dentist came in.  She was very petite and seemed young.  It turns out she has recently moved to the San Antonio area herself and just started working at that office.  I liked her.  She was very professional and nice to talk to.  She did a good job on my tooth, too.  They fixed it right then and there instead of making me make another appointment.  She removed the old work and put in a new composite filling.  The co-pay was less than $20.

The office manager remembered my mother-in-law, who hasn't been to the dentist in several years because she has dentures.  She had told me she needed to go get them relined, but put it off because it means being without her teeth all day and it's expensive.  I told the lady in the office I'd get mother-in-law to come in.  Mother-in-law and I were both very impressed that they remembered her so well.  I told them I could not have a better mother-in-law.  She's a great lady!

The ride back home was pretty stress free.  I later told Bill we should go out there sometime on a weekday and check out all the shopping.  I understand at night and on weekends, the place is a madhouse and there's not enough parking.  That wasn't a problem at all yesterday.

I'll go back to the dentist in October for a cleaning.

Bill got a letter from the bigger moving company (not the ones who damaged the floor) explaining the settlement.  He's going to sign off on it and then that mess will be behind us.  The DISH equipment is finally going back to North Carolina, now that they sent us the box and labels to send it back in.  They had sent us emails and made robotic phone calls reminding us of our need to return the equipment, but they only sent us the means to yesterday.  So that will be done today...  And we are slowly getting rid of the boxes and such.

An explanation...

This post started out as really mundane compared to the last two I wrote.  I'm sitting here wondering if I should have posted about all that stuff with the ex.  I've ultimately decided it's not a bad thing.  Sometimes I get comments from people on my blog who think my husband is just a typical guy and doesn't want to take responsibility for his part in the fiasco that was his first marriage.  I think the emails prove that he cared... especially when his kids were still young.  He didn't just walk away from them.  They abandoned him.

There are other emails in existence that show more of the craziness.  I don't have them because I asked Bill not to share them with me.  I find them too upsetting and, frankly, I probably got too involved in the first place.  But Bill has kept them as proof should the need to reveal them ever arise.  I would advise anyone, male or female, involved in a situation like this to hang onto emails, even if they are painful to read.  Having those emails helped us explain to Bill's father and stepmom what had really happened.

Back in July 2006, when things really got crazy, Ex sent Bill a whole bunch of packages restricted delivery.  They were all things of his that she had held onto for the seven years since he left.  Why she didn't just throw them out or send them to him sooner, I don't know.  I guess she figured he would eventually come back and claim them and probably her, as well.  She even wrote in an email to Bill that he'd "always know where his family is", which implies that she expected him to "wise up" and come back to her (even though she ended the marriage).  But I guess after the whole ex stepson drama, she determined that Bill wasn't going to come back to her.  So she sent a bunch of boxes with an itemized inventory.  They arrived right around Bill's 42nd birthday and I remember the mailman delivering them to us because he was a friend of ours who moonlighted at the Officer's Club and liked to gossip about everyone.

Included in those packages were letters from Bill's ex daughters, then 12 and 15 years old.  They were handwritten, but Ex had photocopied them and sent the copies to us.  Older ex daughter had written a somewhat long letter, but younger ex daughter's letter was very short, cold, and hateful.  Both had addressed their father as "Bill" and demanded that he allow them to be adopted by their stepfather.  Ex had included her own hate filled letter and the paperwork Bill could sign to give them up.  Ex knew very well that Bill wouldn't sign the papers... but even if he had, we had no way of knowing if she would actually file them.  And then she would have signed adoption papers to show everyone, "proving" that Bill really is the jerk she makes him out to be.

As it was, Ex called up Bill's stepmom and got her all upset about a potential adoption.  Stepmother-in-law then called Bill all frantic, telling him Ex had said that Bill had suggested the adoption.  In a moment of extreme anger with Ex, yes, Bill had asked why, if Ex's third husband was so great, he didn't adopt the girls.  He shouldn't have said that, but Ex had no business telling the girls about it.  He had made it very clear to her in writing, right after he'd said it, that there was no way he would ever consent to letting them be adopted when they were still minors.  Incidentally, we never got anything from Ex's third victim indicating that he actually wanted to adopt Bill's daughters.  He never said a word about it.  Seems to me that if he really wanted that responsibility, he would have reached out to Bill man to man and discussed it with him.  But nope... not a peep from #3.

Ex wrote to Bill, letting him know that she had told the girls about Bill's "adoption" idea.  Then she went to Bill's stepmother and father to tell them about it.  But fortunately, we had all of what Ex had written in print, so she couldn't twist things or accuse us of twisting things.  Stepmother-in-law was initially very upset with Bill, but when he sent her Ex's emails, her rage did a 180 and was directed squarely at Ex.  Because it was obvious what she had done...  she had caused this huge drama all as a means of "teaching Bill a lesson" and maintaining power over him.  Having those emails readily available and being willing to share them made her whole plan backfire.

After I wrote to her and let her know that I had seen most of her emails, she stopped sending them. And that was a welcome development, because every time she wrote to Bill, it caused drama in our household.  Abusers isolate their victims and thrive on secrecy.  Knowing that I had seen her crazymaking and was somewhat objective, in that I never had a bond with her, seemed to make her back off.  She also knows my educational background and probably figures I have more power than I actually do.

I think that impression was really deepened in 2009, when we busted ex stepson attempting to change his name behind Bill's back.  She no doubt told him Bill would never know.  She probably said it would be no big deal.  Ex stepson would have his legal name back (it never should have been changed in the first place) and could still collect money from his former stepfather.  Then, when the time was right, he could kick Bill to the curb, humiliated.  They had no idea that we could find out that information with a few mouse clicks.  It obviously never occurred to them.  And, tell me this, if Bill really didn't care about those kids, why would he be looking?

I suspect that being busted in that way was humiliating for Ex.  It probably caused a meltdown and a feeling of powerlessness.  And then she probably spun off into true psycho mode.  I bet if she thought she could get away with it, she'd hire someone to wax me.  I bet she wishes I were dead;  I'm pretty sure she hates me with a passion, though I'm sure she would deny it.  That's another reason why I'm glad we have never met in person.        

Anyway, I have come a long way in the years we've been dealing with this crap.  These years have been very educational for me.  Until I got involved with Bill, I didn't know about this kind of stuff at all.  My parents didn't divorce and I never knew anyone who alienated or was alienated to the extent that Bill and his ex have.

Now I know it happens to a lot of people, especially dads, though mothers can suffer parental alienation, too.  People like my husband's ex wife capitalize on the way people tend to look at fathers.  A father's best efforts will always be less than a mother's worst in some peoples' eyes.  I know that given the chance, Bill would have been a much better parent than his ex wife was, simply because he never would have used his kids as weapons against other people.  It's true that he didn't give birth to them, but he is a much more stable person than she is.  But going through the legal process to get them was too daunting and circumstances did not allow him to rescue them from their mother.  And I know there are mothers out there who deal with exes who alienate the kids against them.  It's a sick thing to do and has nothing to do with love or protection and everything to do with revenge and being a control freak.

I know there are people out there dealing with this and I want them to know that they aren't alone.  This is the kind of thing that people will deem too personal to share.  But it's precisely because people never talk about it that it's allowed to go on and kids end up losing half their families over divorce conflict.  They grow up hating the other parent, but they don't know the whole story.  Sometimes their hatred is justified, but oftentimes it's not.  And it never occurs to them to look at the whole picture and find out for themselves about where they came from and why their parents split.  Even as I write this, though, I don't even really think I want my husband's daughters to come around.  If they ever do, I will deal with it...  but I feel like I'd rather they didn't.  I know that's not fair, but it's how I feel.  And I realize that I, at least, have the luxury of making up my own mind instead of having it made up for me by a crazy person who sees me as an extension of herself instead of a person in my own right.

6 comments:

  1. I can't blame you for not wanting the daughters to come around. It's been a huge emotional mess for years and you can't trust them. I can totally understand why you'd want to leave it where it is. It's sad, but it's easier to move on when you can put people in your past and they stay there.

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    1. I agree. I think a huge reason why I am so angst ridden is that history has taught us that Ex and her ilk never let people go. Her son didn't speak to his father for 15 years. That guy probably thought he'd never see or talk to his son again. I can only imagine how freaky it was when he got a call from his long, lost boy.

      I just don't believe the same can't or won't happen to Bill. So I try not to worry about it, but the thought is always there. I'm getting a lot better, though. We enjoy life a lot more than we did when all this stuff went down.

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  2. It's all very sad, but what can you do? It's possible that someday the girls will leave their mother's sphere of influence to the extent that they want contact with Bill (I know; that'll probably be a cold day in hell), but I'd probably want to stay out of it personally as well.

    Regarding dental work, I've only had cleanings, x-rays, and sealant. Matthew and I got our dad's strong teeth. My dentition has been extremely delayed, so the verdict on braces isn't yet in on me, but it's looking like no braces if the second set of molars doesn't mess up spacing. My bite is fine. I have four baby teeth, also that aren't getting pushed out of the way by the permanent teeth that are there, according to x-rays. I didn't like the last dentist I saw here, so I'm going to find a new one. The last dentist here wanted to pull the baby teeth out and force the permanent ones down, while my northern California dentist said there was no rush to do anything. Our insurance doesn't cover braces or implants anyway, so there's no rush to beat any deadline before I'm off my parents' insurance. I see no reason to remove four healthy teeth that are doing just fine.

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  3. I'd like to think it would be a cold day in hell before they come around... But the fact that they talk to Bill's dad, knowing he still has contact with him, makes me think that old day might be sooner than we think.

    My baby teeth have nothing under them at all.

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  4. mymom's bbay teeth are like that. Ican't recall kf they're the canines or first bicuspids. To have been replaced with implants. Two are still handing in there just fine, and she's almost 47.

    I do have permanent teeth under my bby teeth, but their not descencing/ascending as they should be, so there's no impetus for the baby teeth to come out. I say leave them along until there's a reason to do seomthing sbout them. If I cn't find a dentist here who agrees, I'll drive back to northern cA twice a year to see my old dentist.

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  5. I had a couple like that. The ones on the right side of my mouth that are counter to the babies on the left side didn't fall out when they should have. One came out on its own when I was about 15 or 16 and then the permanent tooth came down on its own. The other one had to be pulled. It was kind of traumatic for me. I don't remember it hurting, just the idea of having it pulled was creepy.

    That, and the fact that the permanent tooth that was supposed to be under it was about two teeth over from where it should have been. One dentist said I should have oral surgery to pull it into line, but what ended up happening after they pulled the tooth is that it eventually shifted into place and came in sideways. It's my only crooked tooth and you can't really tell it's crooked unless you're in the dental profession. I was blessed with nice choppers, if I do say so myself. They're nice and straight and I never had wisdom teeth. I do wish I had taken better care of them when I was younger, though.

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