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My wife's cousin Jo and her three kids are living with us at the moment. Jo has been divorced for some time, but has always flirted with the idea of getting back together with her ex, etc. Recently they had been together again when, I am told, he started hitting the kids. She was concerned that if she just moved out again, that she would weaken and want to get back together again, so she decided to move further away from Kentucky. Carolyn suggested she move up to NH, and had her up for a visit. Well, everything was to her cousin's liking, and Carolyn had various ideas for getting her housing, work, transportation, and so on. So, it was resolved that she would move up here and that we would help her get settled in, including letting her stay here until we could get her into her own place. A month, my wife thinks.

Moving day was fancy. Her ex apparently had someone watching the place for him since he zips up in his car shortly after she gets the moving truck there. A lot of COPS-style action ensued involving the cousin and her ex, their mothers, and so on. Everybody goes down to the police station. The way the story was told to us, the police negotiated some sort of agreement with him that involved the truck not being parked very close to the house, and the guy who was helping her move not being allowed to leave the truck, and so on. To add insult to injury, the cops who were sent along while she loaded groused that it was taking too long for her to finish and that they needed to leave. sigh.

The ex and his mom made a big show of taking down the truck's license plate so that they could 'track it.' The concern this action created seemed odd to me. I should mention, I guess, that my work history is heavy on information security, and this situation seemed pretty straightforward, especially given that he knew his ex-wife had just been visiting up here. In such a case, you'd have to assume it was very likely he would guess where she was going anyway, so the license plate is just extra drama. The real question would be to determine what preparations you could make at this end, based on the risk (which, given the distance and his level of energy, probably wasn't that great). I didn't think I was being pedantic or anything like that (but then, pedantic people never do, do they? :-P ), but Carolyn wasn't very interested in my input on that. After she had shielded her eyes and counted to ten, she went on doing things like calling U-Haul to ask if they would give such information out to a child-beating ex. Guess what? You'll never believe this, but they actually said they would not! Whew! Anyway, the info is apparently available to people who answer the phones, so experience with the ways of social engineering tells me you gotta assume that it can be handed out. Whatever... I tried to stay out of the way after that.

The move planning itself was kind of crazy. Her cousin spent a lot on the rentals and so on, but then this was her first big move. It was also her first big drive and it turned out to be kind of overwhelming. Eventually she may have run out of gas in MA (or maybe she just wanted a guide for the remaining part of the trip... it wasn't clear). My first inkling of this was when Carolyn gets off the phone with her (it was sometime after 10:30pm, IIRC) and tells me where the gas cans are and what exit on 190 she was at. Ah! At last she found a use for me! Even a Delta-minus moron has his day, I guess. Yes, I was pretty pissed on the ride down, especially considering how she had blown off my input earlier, but I got over it on the way.

When I got down there and found them (they were a couple of miles from the exit for some reason), I also found out her cousin had thoughtfully brought pets with her (two cats). Oh, and she smokes... that one isn't huge as long as she doesn't do it in our house or cars, but it was another pleasant surprise. My estimate of her ex's energy level turned out to be pretty good... he just called around to various relatives to ask where she was. This was apparently enough to touch Jo's heart, however, as she was impressed with the effort he went through. So, maybe my estimate was a little too high, actually.

Over the past couple of weeks, through our efforts and those of people at church, school, work, and transportation are either in place or are being arranged. Housing? Well, that just got really complicated. It seems she is feeling homesick and is now thinking she will head back in December. Not that anything about the situation has changed... no, the only change has been in what we agreed to. Now it is looking like she is thinking she can just stay in this house for the whole time. That can't happen... my kids have been great in putting up with what has gone on so far, but I'm not going to put them through months of it just because she has changed her plans.

Oh, and today, while we were out, she called the police on her 12-year-old, who had gotten violent with her. She is surprised by this, which is surprising in itself, given what they have gone through while growing up. I dunno. It can't go on like this for months, however, that is for sure.