Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I've got quite the conundrum

ITSam's ex-wife called today and informed him that if he wants school pictures of his son Jack (the 11 year old who will be in 6th grade), he needs to send money to the school by Friday. The smallest package is $25 which gets him 1 8x10, 1 5x7, 1 3x5, and 4 wallets. (It's a rip off for that price.) It also sucks because she's known about this for two weeks but like she always does to him, she tells him about things he may want at the last minute. Just another way to push his buttons.

So, I offer to take Jack's pictures. I told ITSam we can wait for this heat wave to break and take some outside; we could even do it in the early autumn. We could do this around the third weekend in Sept. Jack can still go ahead and get his picture taken at school for his mom who can buy what she wants; and we'll do something different for ITSam. (Jack has to have his picture taken at school no matter what for the standard yearbook shot, his school record, and for his student ID, regardless if anyone buys these pictures) Then ITSam can order whatever he wants from me (and for his family.) He and Jack were both agreeable to this solution. Jack was pretty excited and wanted to know if I could take a picture of him sitting at his dad's drum set, wearing his AC/DC t-shirt, and tossing the drum sticks in the air. Well, of COURSE I said Y*E*S!!!

ITSam sends his ex-wife a text and tells her he isn't going to order pictures. She texts back and wants to know why. Now, I would normally say "none of your business" if it were my ex Sperm Donor but ITSam says he's going to have Jack's pictures taken somewhere else that's cheaper. She wants to know if I'm taking them since she knows I assisted the photographer who took ITSam's niece's wedding shots. ITSam says yes I am. HEREIN IS THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!

Now the ex-wifeie wants to know if she can just order the pictures from me, too. Well, shit. My first response is damn ITSam for blabbing but what's done is done.

The real question is should I let the bitch order pictures from me? My gut response is a huge no f*@#wording way am I going to do that. I have reasons:
  • no matter how good the pictures are, she'll complain, and nothing will be good enough, and Sam will NEVER hear the end of it
  • she'll just keep wanting more and more favors
  • I have lots going on in the next few weeks so this is going to happen on my time schedule (well, mine and ITSam's) and I will not bend to her will. And she will want pictures done NOW and will bug Sam to death asking him when it's going to happen. Which will piss him, and me, off.
  • she keeps telling ITSam she wants us all (her, him, me and he BF) to be friends and I do not want to be her friend in any shape or form. I don't even like her existence let alone be a friend. So NOT gonna happen
  • she'll want to be at the photo shoot and also pick out what Jack is going to wear. Again, no. Just... no.
  • She's a mean, evil conniving bitch and I just don't want to do it
However, if Sam tells her "no" then it's going to be a big THING and will probably cause a fight. It will be his fight, not mine, but I get him when he's grumpy after a 'discussion' with her. Sam said it would probably make it easier on him if he gives in to her, just to shut her up and pacify her. I could just burn all the pictures I take onto a CD, give it to her, and tell her to order what she wants from Wal-Mart or some such. BUT Sam said, he wants me to do what I want. He said it's my artwork and I offered to do something nice for him and for his family, not his exwifebiotch.

So, what to do? Stand my ground and say no and let him have many arguments with his ex over it and be miserable? Or just say yes and deal with it myself and suck it up.

Feed back please!


Curley said...

Wow! I say either burn the CD and let her print her own. (Lots easier) or you print what she wants (tell her it's a one shot deal, no reprints) and charge her going rate (or higher). And make sure Sam tells her this is on your timetable not hers and you don't want to be hounded by her about it.

Kathy said...

Maggie, I have been reading your blog for a while, now. I'm married to a man with two children from a previous marriage. The kids will always come first - so - take the pictures. BUT - you are the owner/photographer of these pictures. Treat it like a business deal. You are the boss. "If we do this, it'll be this way with my rules if you want good pictures." And you of course don't want to sully your reputation with bad photos. Stand your ground on this one. For the record, I managed an amicable relationship with the ex for years. It really makes things a lot easier and the children happier. IF you can manage that. It's tough, I know.

Good luck - Kathy

Thirty-Six Ten said...

Wow! That is a conundrum!

I would pro/con it. It seems from what you said by saying no there will be a "thing" but it will be one thing that will be added to the list of (I am sure) other things.

By saying yes it will be a laundry list of problems that stretch from here to infinity.

I do like your idea of giving her the pictures and letting her order whatever. I wouldn't tell her when the photo shoot is happening so she can't be involved.

Unfortunately you have a kid in the middle, too. and he needs to be considered above all.

Also, you can charge her some ridiculous prices as well....just a thought :-)

Good luck!

sam said...

You asked.

If you and Sam end up together his ex-wife is going to be part of your live forever. Why have you developed such a hatred for her? Why is she a bitch? You only hear what Sam says. It took two to end their marriage.

Why didn't Sam realize that pictures were coming up? Doesn't it happen every year when school starts? What is their agreement? Does he pay every year? Is it part of the divorce agreement? Maybe she got busy and forgot. Is that not allowed for her? If she always does these things maybe Sam needs to fight his own battle.

The question to me is: Why wouldn't you want to share the pictures that you are taking of her son? And why are you assuming that she will complain and then want future favors? She should pick out what clothes will be worn. These pictures are forever and she will be sharing them. There is nothing wrong with having a change of clothes for the fun, drum set pictures. Are you footing the bill for Sam's copies? If so, why?

My friend Anita hated her husbands ex-wife. Missy did everything to welcome Anita to the "family". I'm sure it was awkward for Missy but she never showed it. Anita resisted, called her a bitch and every other name in the book. Dan and Missy had a son Ryan who Anita loved. One Mother's Day Ryan handed Anita a card. It basically said "Step mom, step this, step that, I don't care what anyone says, I'll just call you mommy cause you love me too". Anita bawled like a baby because she knew that Missy had picked that card out. Anita called Missy and they did become friends. It even made the relationship between Dan and Missy much better.

Like it or not, the ex-wife is still "family". I take it there are grandparents and aunts and uncles? Cousins. Maggie, please don't be part of a problem with this group. This is Sam's deal, not yours. Be gracious and kind. Set an example for Jack whether it kills you or not.

Enough feedback?

Shan said...

I think I would be nice and professional acting with her because you don't want any hair pulling cat fights to break out. And it seems like the nicer you are the less she'll have to hold against you.

Not that that sounds easy at all. ;)

But, since the pics will be very cool and she DOES want to buy yours (tiny peace symbol), I think I would do the disc Wal-Mart thing and act like it's no skin off your back but you don't feel obligated to print them and such.

I like that option best. And I think ITSam will appreciate not having to have a stink about it when no doubt there will be other bigger battles in the future. :)

And I wanna see the pics!

Maggie said...

Curley- I like the burn the CD and give it to her idea, and I like telling her to not hound about it. I hope it can be that easy.

Kathy- thank you for reading and commenting; it's nice to see you! I appreciate it!

I think you're giving good advice. I will certainly take the best pictures I can, regardless. And I like treating it like a business deal. I'm gonna have to think on this!

3610- All those pros and cons. I hate situations like this. LOL

Sam... Ok, let me try and answers some/ all your questions. First, his exwife and I went to college together. She was not a nice person then and from all evidence I've seen so far, that really hasn't changed. Yes I realize I'm getting only 1 side of the story, but there are things she did when married to ITSam that weren't... nice, I think is the word I'm going to use. Whether it takes 2 to ruin a marriage or not, she did some really crappy stuff to him.

Sam didn't kow pictures were coming up so soon because this year Jack's schools system decided to do something new. Usually pictures are taken the third or fourth week of school. This year they are being taken on the day of registration, which is Friday. The agreement they have on school pictures is that he pays and buys what he wants and she pays and buys what she wants. No one had to pay for each other's pics, and it's up to each parent to buy their own if they choose.

And yes she can forget and maybe she did get busy but when she called to tell him about the pictures, SHE said she thought she mentioned if two weeks ago when she got the information in the mail. She seems to "I thought I mentioned it" quite a bit. And I was present for this phone conversation, in case you need proof.

Sam is also fighting his own battle. However, since he let if up to me to decide this is has to do with me and me taking pictures, which is something i do and get paid for, he's leaving it up to me. i guess since I'm the "semi-professional" photographer, he's letting me make the call and will fight the battle in which I decide.

I don't mind sharing the pictures. It's all that will come with it. Will she complain? I have no idea, but if I base it on what I know of her, from college and of late, then yes she will complain. Then all she'll have is the pictures I took since she didn't pay a "professional" at school. I do know that she made snide comments about some of the pictures I took for the wedding. (Jack told me, not Sam. Interesting) So why would she want me to take pictures if she already thinks I do a poor job?

And again, with the favoris. I don't know if she'll want more, but in my experience, people do that with photographer friends. ALSO, just for example, one day I returned movies to the store for her. Long deal how it came about but to be a nice person, to save an argument, and an effort to offer an olive branch, i returned her movies to the video store. now i've been asked to do it again- 3 times. Just a small example, but still...

And I disagree with you. I made the offer to Sam's family so Sam could be the one to choose the clothes. Personally, I think JACK should pick the clothes. he's 11. He's old enough.

And no I'm not footing the bill for Sam's pictures at all.

I'm glad your friends managed to amicable I'm more than willing to be amicable. But I don't want to be friends.

I'm trying to not be part of the problem and I've kept my mouth shut. I spelled it all out here rather than dumping this on Sam, to a certain extent.

whew.... I think i answered all your questions to the best of my ability!

SHAN--- I'll definitely send you a link to see the pictures! I think you and Curley are right; the Wal-Mart disc thing is going to be the best way to go.

Jimmie Earl said...

Go the WalMart disc route, but charge her for the disc at your going rate just like you would if you shoot a wedding, or Senior pictures. She's still getting a good deal, and surely there will be some pictures on the disc that are "good enough" for her to choose from. With school portraits you get whatever the photog chooses, this way she will get about a kazillion to choose from.

Evil Pixie said...

Let her order, but charge her more. If she gives you any flack, say you gave ITSam the "friends and family discount." By the by, if you need help processing - let me know. I'd offer my lab, but to get the discount price professional photographers get, you need to have a business license and send them all sorts of stuff.

Bragger said...

Having a step-daughter myself (even if she IS almost my age....), I say be gracious and give her the pictures. As long as ITSam is in your life, she is too, like it or not. And besides....she'll be in your debt!