Let’s just say

By Mir
October 7, 2008

Let’s just say that last night I started making bread. Bread to go with the soup I’m making today, that we’ll be having for dinner. Let’s just say that after I bake it (which I’m doing right now) it is going to be the best bread I’ve ever made, because it has been kneaded and punched and smacked within an inch of its gluten life. Let’s just say that it is tempting to say “I FOUND THE BRIGHT SIDE OF HELL! HELL YIELDS EXCELLENT BREAD!”

Let’s just say that yesterday I spent my entire afternoon dreaming of pointy objects, bloody violence, and writing STERN LETTERS of complaint to… well, I’m not sure who. Someone in charge. Perhaps the person in charge of appointing mediators for disputes down at my local courthouse. Let’s just say that sometimes the courts order people to mediation and then they appoint someone who is certified and qualified to help the parties in question reach resolution.

NOW let’s just say that in this PURELY FICTITIOUS case, the person who is sent in to mediate is, in fact, Mr. Magoo.

And I’m sure, my pretty readers, you can easily imagine the joy that would fill someone’s heart, the EXTREME RAPTURE that would ensue, upon realizing that yes, it’s Mr. Magoo, here to help you and someone else determine various pertinent arrangements for the two people you love best in the whole world.

Let’s just say that Mr. Magoo arrives late. Of course. Because wow, there was traffic. Which is extremely unusual on a weekday in the Atlanta metropolitan area. If you happen to be Mr. Magoo.

Let’s just say that Mr. Magoo is at least one hundred and twenty years old. Not that you’re being ageist, or anything, but that does impart a certain deliberate slowness to life, when sudden movements might cause your bones to shatter or your teeth to fall out.

Let’s just say that Mr. Magoo needs to set up his computer, except that Mr. Magoo, goshdarnitall, isn’t really sure how his computer works. In fact, Mr. Magoo may need to tell you all about how he installed that newfangled Microsoft Office and hooboy, howdy, that removed a bunch of stuff he needed, plus it took FOREVER, and can you believe it? Let’s just say that you responded, “I’m a Mac person,” because that seemed shorter and more polite than, “I don’t really care about your computer issues, you incompetent old coot.”

Let’s just say that Mr. Magoo explains that he doesn’t know anything about your case, and asks you to fill him in. Let’s just say that you proceed, and Mr. Magoo takes notes, but then twice as much time over again is spent in CLARIFYING the items he ALREADY WROTE DOWN because Mr. Magoo, you see, he just can’t keep anything straight. It takes three go ’rounds to get him straight on current visitation schedules, and by the time he departs to the other room to talk to the other party, even your lawyer is rolling his eyes and commenting that whatever slim chance of resolution there had been, heading into this, is being obliterated by Mr. Magoo’s jovial incompetence.

Let’s just say that you sit, and make small talk with your lawyer, and you wait, and eventually Mr. Magoo comes back with even more notes on his pad. And Mr. Magoo has several propositions to go over with you, and he begins explaining, and the first item that is completely ridiculous you say, “No. Not up for debate, that’s insane.” And he tries to make a joke but it falls flat, and then he tries to sway you, a bit, seeming confused at your opposition, and then your lawyer reiterates that this is not even up for discussion, and Mr. Magoo persists, and FINALLY Mr. Magoo realizes that OH! Actually, he meant “never” when he said “always.” OOPS! No wonder you were so opposed! OH GOSH! And let’s just say that at that moment, you consider walking out.

But let’s just say that you don’t, because you are trying to make the best of things.

Later, let’s just say that Mr. Magoo wants to propose a certain item from the other party, and he has a DIAGRAM, even, because, you know, VISUAL AIDS!, and you and your lawyer say “7 days” and he agrees, yes, 7 days, and then he holds up his diagram indicating 10 days and says it again: 7 days.

Let’s just say that Mr. Magoo isn’t very good at math.

Let’s just say that several hours and AN ENTIRE WEEK’S EARNINGS LATER, you decide it’s time to leave, and Mr. Magoo agrees, and opines, “You know, I’m sorry nothing got worked out. I think maybe in this case, mediation just made things worse.” And let’s just say that at a point when you thought you couldn’t be any more annoyed, you suddenly ARE more annoyed, because Mr. Magoo KNOWS how ridiculous and useless this was, and yet he still takes your money with a smile.

Let’s just say, it is going to be the most fanfuckingtastic loaf of bread I’ve ever baked in my entire life.


  1. Megan

    Damn. I’m sorry – really, truly, deeply sorry and that’s about all I have. Love? Is very, very hard sometimes.

  2. Caroline in MA

    Sounds like a banner day, Mir… so sorry it royally sucked…

    Hoping the bread makes it all better. Bread makes everything better so I’m sure you’ll be ok in a bit…


  3. ~annie

    Oh, no! I’m so sorry. If I lived anywhere near you I’d drop by with a jar of Nutella to slather on that fanfuckingtastic loaf of bread of yours. Or maybe a stick of butter or a pound of bacon… Hugs!

  4. Sharkey

    Just reading about this makes my blood boil. I can’t imagine what it’s doing to you. I would be writing letters too. And maybe stopping payment on some checks. Grrrrrrr . . .

  5. Jill W.

    That sucks. Sorry you had sucha bad experience. So much in mediation depends on getting the right person to mediate and that did not happen in your case. So much the worse since the subject matter was so important.

  6. bob

    so, how does one eat bread that is 1/64 of an inch thick and the consistency of chaff?

  7. Aimee

    Argh. Do you have any input at all on who the mediator is? Or recourse if he’s useless? I mean, really.

    That is massively irritating and I’m really sorry it was so craptastic. {{{hugs}}}

  8. Half Assed Kitchen

    That mediator needs to be put out to pasture. And you should get a re-do! Seriously.

  9. Kemi

    My sister is also working through mediation. While she got lucky enough to avoid Mr. Magoo (thank GOODNESS), her ex is a firefighter, which means he’s basically revered and given whatever he wants. You know, because he’s a hero and all that. (While I think MOST firefighters are, in fact, heroic, the ex is also a miserable human being and totally undeserving of such awe and reverence. And also his 10-month-old daughter.)

    Her mediation went something like this:

    “Why are you making this so difficult for him? He’s a FIREFIGHTER.”
    “But he WANTS to see his daughter every single day he’s off. Why would you keep him from her?”
    “Well, his schedule is the one we need to work around, so we’ll give him four days and three overnights each week, and right of first refusal for any other days you have to work during the week.”

    My personal favorite response to every rejection my sister made: “Well, a judge is going to grant him this in court, anyway, so you may as well give in.”

    Her mediation was about as productive as yours, it sounds like. I’m sorry.

    I bet your bread is AWESOME.

  10. Jean

    Incompetence is something I simply cannot stand. You get paid to do a job, do it and do it well. I’m totally with you!

    That bread will be so soft, warm and amazing. For what it’s worth, your kids are soooo lucky that they have a mom like you.

  11. Leanne

    Oh Mir,

    Just when things couldn’t suck any more. The fact that you didn’t lose it is huge! So what now?

  12. RuthWells

    Holy hell. I’d be cleaning house, and I have to be pretty d@mn p.o’ed to clean house. At least you’ll have tasty homemade bread to eat….

  13. parodie

    Bread – especially warm, freshly baked bread – does make life better. I’m sorry you had such a horrendous experience, and I hope the bread helps. I’m so, so sorry.

  14. Wendy 2

    Oh crap, I am so sorry, that is just awful. I agree, that mediator needs to be put out to pasture and fast. Do you have any recourse to avoid paying at all?

  15. Sara

    You must be a saint because I don’t think I could have kept my mouth shut for ANYTHING!!! I sure hope that it does end up being the most fanfuckingtastic loaf of bread EVER! Good luck.

  16. Jamie AZ

    That just sucks. Do you have any option to get a different, competent mediator? I hope you can enjoy the bread and it doesn’t make you angry again thinking through the anger you kneaded into it.

  17. mamalang

    When my husband and his ex went to mediation, the mediator asked them both to state their side (they were in a room together) and then said “welp, I don’t see mediation working here. I’m sending you on through the system. Have a good day.” And we had to pay for that synopsis. Oh yea, and my husband had to attend parenting classes, even though they had been divorced and remarried for several years. Parenting class that parenting coach asked him why he was there since we had worked through everything they were going to cover. We had to pay for that, too. Ex was granted a waiver since she doesn’t live in state and couldn’t afford it. But it was worth it, because we won custody.

    I feel your pain.

  18. Tammy

    Some people just don’t know when it’s time to retire. Sorry Mir!

  19. hollygee

    I’m with Annie — lots of butter, bacon and Nutella — maybe all at the same time.

  20. Randi

    You know what else is good for getting frustration out? Painting. Can’t you think of a room to paint, even though you’ve redone almost the entire house?

    OH! Closet cleaning helps too. So does imagining putting Mr. Magoo in the middle of hundreds of angry mothers at BlogHer or something like that.

  21. Wendy

    I hope you’re having a VERY large fanfuckingtastic cocktail to go with your fanfuckingtastic bread tonight?

  22. Marissa

    Many, many hugs to you for enduring that hell. Ask your lawyer to submit a letter of complaint to the court regarding the quality of the mediator, probably won’t do anything to help your situation but it might keep him from being appointed to more cases–where he gets money for being useless at best and counter-productive at worst.

  23. elizabeth

    That is going to be the most awesome bread ever. Your kids are very lucky to have two people who love them enough to put up with Mr. Magoo to try work this out.
    My heart goes out to you and I wish I had something better than assvice that will be better kept to myself.
    shutting up now.

  24. jess

    Sending lots of wine.. and a sledgehammer for the magoodiot

  25. Lisa- Domestic Accident

    Oh my god. That sounds horrible. I’m so sorry.

    But yea, for carbs!

  26. The Other Other Dawn

    I hear ya, sister!

    Let’s just say that his sister is a social worker here.

    And let’s just say there’s a summer’s worth of Tuesday evening appointments I’ll never get back.

    And let’s just say I’m sending hugs.

  27. Em

    Wow, that sucks. I’m sorry. Insult to injury – getting to pay for the assistance to make no progress. Wishing you wine, more dough to take out your anger on and a glimpse into a future where it turned out exactly the way you hoped (with both kiddos getting exactly what they need to grow up feeling loved and secure). Not too much to ask, I don’t think.

  28. Carrie

    When my mom was going through custody/visitation disputes with my dad, she used to garden. Well I should clarify that she used to yank things violently out of the ground. There was one summer that we found out that we had an entire brick walkway that had been buried in grass across our backyard until she got her hands on it one afternoon. Baking bread sounds like a good option also.

    Also, why is it that old people like Mr. Magoo move so slowly? Theoretically, they have less time left than the rest of us! Shouldn’t they be moving faster than young people? If you had a smaller finite amount of life left in your body, would you want to waste it going 10 MPH slower than everyone around you? This is an eternal question I ponder on every commute I’ve ever driven.

  29. Jennifer Suarez

    After becoming thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt due to lawyers fees regarding my step-son, I can totally relate to your frustration.

    I often wonder how it’s possible to spend so much money and the only thing accomplished is sucessfuly draining my bank account and running up my credit card bills.

  30. Ariel

    Stupid mediation…
    Stupid lawyers…
    Stupid ex husbands.
    Please excuse me while I cry.

  31. Katie in MA

    I’m sorry things worked out like that, Mir. I have a pound of bacon in my fridge, and I would gladly give it to you to go on top of your perfect, flaky, toasty, buttery bread if I could.

  32. Lori

    Sorry Mir. I’m glad you were able to work out some frustration on delicious baked goods. Such a constructive way to handle stress! Mmmmmmm, carbs.

  33. The Mom

    I hope you put 3 whole bars of chocolate in that bread and have a fanfuckingtastic bottle of red wine open and breathing! The latest in my Nightmare on Ex’s Street….My 11 year old told me last night that her father’s girlfriend refers to my children as her step-daughters and she explained that at the tender age of 24, she has already had an abortion….no she’s never been married. Your welcome. And mediation? Someone tell my Hasn’t Paid Child Support in a Year Ex to mediate my ass!

    I’m fine….really
    Can I have some of that wine?

  34. Sue @ My Party of 6

    I’m sorry. :-( I hope the bread was good. Try to think that hopefully it’s all because there are two people who really, really, really love their kids and it’s not about revenge. (Even if maybe it is.)

  35. Lylah


    I’m so sorry it went so badly…

  36. Melisa

    Um, yikes. Enjoy your bread.

  37. Jenny

    So sorry mediation was a bust; it’s a great concept, IN THEORY, but can so often be a disappointing experience. I’m so sure that what you wanted out of the experience was someone else to be frustrated with. Arrrgh, no wonder people hate lawyers. I’m a lawyer, and I hate lawyers.

    I bet your bread would make excellent cheese toast. And I am pretty sure cheese toast goes great with wine.

  38. Sheila

    You are a better person than I, for I would not be baking bread, I’d be baking BRICKS to throw at someone!

    Maybe Mr. Magoo is so shortsighted that he wouldn’t notice a few numerals left off the check? Just a thought.

    Sorry that was so sucky for you.

  39. tj

    Love and good thoughts going your way Mir.

  40. MomCat

    I am completely morally outraged on your behalf. Your patience should send a heap of good karma your way. I’d send tissues and something bacon-y and chocolate.

  41. Flea

    Real butter. You need real butter on the best bread in the whole world. And it sounds like you need to eat the entire loaf yourself while it’s still warm. Then beat Mr. Magoo.

  42. Keyomi

    oof..so sorry…i would probably do the same..except it would make my kitchen shinier..and each and every surface known and unknown..polished ! i would clean with a vengence!
    good luck!

  43. Vicki

    I wouldn’t have given him a dime. I would have told him how incompetent I thought he was and then I would have asked him for the phone number of his boss so I could make a complaint right then and there.

    You definately have more patience than I do because I would not put up with that. If I’m paying for it, it better be worth it…

  44. Barbara

    “the person in charge of appointing mediators ” gets my vote for “pointy objects, bloody violence, and writing STERN LETTERS of complaint”. But then, you might not get a chance to meet Mr. Magoo’s partner, Elmer Fudd. T’would be such a pity. I’m sure your family will enjoy the bread very much. You’re welcome!

  45. Headless Mom


    Mediation sucks.

  46. Ray

    My blood is boiling in sympathetic outrage.

  47. Mandee

    I’m with Jenny (number 38): I’m a lawyer and I hate lawyers. There is nothing worse than court-ordered mediation other than court-ordered mediation with Mr. Magoo. Please, do ask your attorney to send a letter to somebody so that guy can be taken out of rotation. Unfortunately, the mediators are often retired judges and the local bar has a hard time speaking ill of the former man behind the curtain. But, Georgia does require that all mediators be board certified so perhaps there is some way to file a complaint with whoever is certifying things.

    Moreover, I’m sorry that you still have this entire mess hanging over your head.

  48. Joshilyn

    Rabbit. I am sorry.

    That is not mediation. That is robbery.

  49. kate

    The harder you slap it, the more tender it is! Am I talking about bread or ex-husbands?

    At least the carby goodness will lull you into an ENTIRELY TRUE sense of security. :)

  50. Jane

    I’m sorry for all that stuff for you. Yuck. Or as my husband says: Yucky yuck-yuck. Or he says crappy crap-crap. But you get the idea. Sorry.

  51. Veronica

    Well hell, isn’t that what bread is for? Beating and pumme;ling and picturing faces on?

    Or maybe that’s just me…

  52. Kendra

    You could take the bread you just tortured and bang the heads of Mr. Magoo, the other party and the ones who decided that mediation would be a good idea! Sorry about the wasted day/money at least you made a weapon….oops I mean bread.

  53. tripleblessings

    That’s just awful. I’m so sorry. I admire your self control, and bread-baking. Excellent coping skills!

  54. Karen

    This is another reason why I am so glad my children are all grown up. My ex has not spoken to his adult children in at least 15 years. And it still makes me mad.

  55. becky

    Slather it in butter and sprinkle it liberally with bacon salt. Then it will most certainly be the most fanfuckingtastic bread ever.

    Other than that, I got nothin’. Except, I’m sorry that you’re going through this yet AGAIN. Sometimes, I really, truly hate our legal system. The only people it does any good are those who make money off of it.

  56. lindasands

    I thought mediation was best performed with the two parties in a boxing ring with no rules. Except you can’t hit a girl in the face.
    May the best breadmaker win.

  57. Mary

    What is your lawyer going to do about this? I know that you are stuck with the costs, but a good lawyer would lodge a complaint with the court / mediation service about the mediator.

  58. Stephanie

    Mediation ONLY works with REASONABLE people…if one party is a total and complete asshole, there’s not a chance of a snowballinhell that ANYTHING positive will come of it. I know this from personal experience.

    I’m really sorry, Mir. :-(

  59. Kristy

    You know what goes really well with warm bread and homemade soup? Wine!!

    Sorry to hear things didn’t get resolved…

  60. Astrogirl

    Oh pretty Mir, I wish I could help. But being 1000 miles away, I will give you this to cheer you up. At least you’re not the kind of mom who feeds her kid so much junk that they become morbidly obese at the age of 13, and has to have their mom wipe their ass for them. That right there is bad parenting.

    See? Don’t you feel better? :)

  61. Hip Mom's Guide

    Oooohhhhh, I’m sorry, too. I hope you enjoy the bread, at least. And thank you, Astrogirl, for that extremely helpful visual. What good mothers we are!

  62. Wendy

    I am SO bitter about my mediation experience – two full days (months apart) that took months to reschedule and reschedule again with a woman who hated working mothers and said they deserved to not see their kids because of the choices they made in life. My court experiences have left me with a complete loathing of our so called ‘justice’ system. I hope you have a good lawyer that might be able to get things moving along after that wasted day. Good luck to you!

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