Ask DNA

Okay we're back. I'm not trying to test anyone's patience, I promise. My kids came back from their mom's pretty emotionally broken. They were oddly robotic when I picked them up at the end of last month. I found myself forcing even minimal conversation out of them for most of the journey back, really unsure as to why. But I knew something was off. We spent about 4 days with my family after that since we may not see them until Christmas 2020. Drive back took an entire day, and I'm guessing the drudge of it just exhausted them to the point of finally cracking when we showed them their rooms. Every time I had asked them how their two months at mom's was and what they did... every answer was "Fine" or "Good" or "Not much." This was the first time they spent all summer at mom's instead of only five weeks. They just experienced the new extended stay. Apparently it was not a fun experience. I pulled my kids one at a time into a separate room to ask what was going on. My 10 year old son painted the typical rosy picture. Rainbows and unicorns just shooting out of the toilet over there at moms. He's like that. He doesn't like to cause waves. It's his nature. 12 year old daughter was more candid. Her mother lives with and supports her own mother "Memaw." Memaw is a disability scammer, among many other scammer hats she wears, and has been since I've known her. Recently lost her Western Union privileges for running frequent, suspicious, and convoluted money order schemes. She has resigned herself to being a shut in in her own room of their condo. My ex pays for everything, which leaves me with virtually no child support since her own mother is now her dependent... on top of my ex's third child, a 5 year old, who's not mine. He stays there full time. Welp, Memaw is a ghost. She literally says no words to any of the kids. Doesn't make them food. Doesn't do anything other than leave sporadically. My ex works 2 jobs as a waitress and lab tech, so the kids are home alone. A LOT.  Memaw's there, but 'in spirit.' And by spirit, I mean some kind of demonic one. There was a ton to unpack. Me and Claire both spent the next 10 hours talking to the kids, and into the following days. My children's half sibling has a serious heart condition. He's also been diagnosed with seizure activity in his brain. Memaw has been diagnosed with a serious heart condition and high blood pressure. If she misses her meds, she has been told she could die. This was also told to my kids. My kids, while there, were assigned the duties of reminding Memaw to take her own meds. They were also the full time babysitters of Caden, the one that could seizure at any moment. So, to tl;dr this.. a typical day in the life of my kids being at their mom's: Memaw could die. Their 5 year old brother could die. They're in charge of meds. They have no home phone or means to call anyone in case of an emergency. They don't know what a heart attack, stroke, or seizure look like if they were to see it. They have no idea what to do, and they're scared out of their minds. They have a grandmother who locks herself up in her own room when she's there. She does not talk to them. Lily to me: "I don't even know who Memaw is anymore." She doesn't make the kids food. "One time we got excited Memaw was going to make dinner, but she just made something for herself and went back upstairs." The kid's diet was a daily routine of cereal and pizza rolls. They were limited to microwave only food. And this was apparently when they had food. Sometimes they were told they weren't allowed to even eat anything. So.. where's mom? She can't literally work 24/7? No, mom would leave around 3-4am, and not be back until around 8 or 9pm. Damn! That's a lot of working. No wait... mom's out getting her nails done or at her boyfriend's. At the local makeup store buying Kylie Jenner's $50 sticks of lipstick. Or as Lily said "Sometimes she goes to bars. She took me once." Okay.. so does mom make food? Maybe a late dinner? Spend time with you? "No. She brings us Little Caesars sometimes. She never makes anything." But what does she do when she gets home? "She drinks a lot. One time I guess she was passed out, but her eyes were open. We were really scared. We thought she was dead." This is on top of Lily saying she has to remove her siblings from certain situations where mom is violently throwing things. "I had to pull them out of the room. I didn't want them to get hit or like.. involved somehow."  So mom is frustrated all the time? "I can't tell what mood mom is in most of the time. I can't tell if she's happy, or mad or sad. She took me out to eat for a special day thing. We went to a steak place, and mom showed me her bank account on her phone. Saying "look how broke I am." Then I felt bad like we shouldn't eat there. It was supposed to be fun but then I felt guilty . On the way home she started crying about money and said it's stupid she has to pay you money for us." So that's a wonderful double wammy. Make our daughter feel ashamed for a special day SHE offered her, then shaming her for needing money for every day support. Lily cried several times during this talk and I nearly got to that point too. I told her I was sorry she had to deal with that as she cried into my shirt. And her biggest concern was "What's going to happen to Caden when we're not there? What's he going through? What does he do? What if something happens?" And that is just so crushing. Lily knows no one in that house gives a damn. They used the kids as glorified babysitters and emotional dumpsters for their miserable immaturity. They were alone for most of their stay. Physically, emotionally.. Thank God I found Claire. They can finally see what a real mother is supposed to act like. Claire took her aside and spent the entire next day with her. The kids came back in total rags. Because of the move, we shipped them off with ALL their clothes. Lily came back with one pair of leggings and no underwear that fit. Jackson had one pair of pants and not a single sock to his name. Claire immediately took Lily shopping. She even asked if Lily needed anything for shaving, or knew how to do it. She said "Mom told me how, but didn't buy me anything." Just like how mom 'showed her a birthday cake on her phone' for her birthday... but never got her one. : Lily also told me what Jackson, my 10 year old son, dealt with. Mom and her boyfriend constantly made cracks about Jack's weight. He developed many nicknames. "Man boobs" and "Three Chins" were some of them. I confronted Jack later about this. Did mom and her boyfriend say these things? "No, I mean." Did they or not? Immediate tears, "Y-you know. It's just jokes.. just, you know.." He suddenly gets so raspy he trails off. Me: "Jackson! You are a human being with feelings. And NO ONE gets to walk all over them. Not me, not mom, not her balding fat boyfriend. No one. And if I ask you if you have a problem with anything, you need to tell me. You've told me for the last 4 days everything was fine. Don't excuse bad behavior just to make everyone else happy. You are no one's doormat, and I will stand up for you if you need me to. I always have." Then my shirt got cried into again. He told me how sometimes they'd wake up and no one was home. They'd never know when. They'd just wake up and be alone until sometime in the night. Sometime go to bed never seeing an adult. Kids 12, 10 and 5. No idea when anyone was coming home or what they'd do for the day. Who to call if they needed to. What to eat. Just an existence of uncertainty and isolation. So guys I just straight up spent a ton of time with my babies. We immediately just did 'stuff' for days. Me, Claire, my two kids, and her two daughters. We just family'd tf out of everything. Board games, video games, movie nights, biking, trampoline, Legos. Oh, and we've grilled out and made 3 meals for them every single FUCKING day. There were a few other time consuming things going on simultaneously, but I can get to those later. Sorry for not keeping you more in the loop, but I had to digest most of this myself. Even as I type this they want me to come over and play Uno. Fortunately they walked right into the big, inclusive family environment they so obviously need right now. It's all going to be okay. It's gradually getting better and they're adapting. I just hate it when one parent actively works against another. All this poison I have to suck out. Claire has been a tremendous help. And don't worry, everything is currently being looked into legally over these issues. That's been a big thing on my plate as well. Just research and planning. They don't go back until December, and that's if they even want to go.  Next comic is half done. Will definitely be up Tuesday. $2 and $10 patreon comics just need backgrounds. Really shooting to finally have those up beginning of next week. Thanks everyone. Love you all. Thank you for being my fans and for understanding. <3

93 thoughts on “Ask DNA

  1. DUDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel so bad for ya kids. No child should have to go through all that. That is such BS what they had to go through. I’m glad they have you n clarie to see them through this. I hope ya kids never have to go back to her again. I can see why it took so long to get this comic up. Thank you for the comic but the comic can always wait ya fam comes first.

    1. It’s like spending the summer in the Sawyer house. I hated Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a passion, but between the elderly ghoul camped out in the attic and a man so deranged he’ll mock a 10 year old over a perceived weight problem, I keep looking for them to talk about the crossdressing gimp in the basement with a fondness for masks.

  2. #1 in the hood G!
    So is the mouth cover for Juniper because of biting or talking…? Or violent smoking?
    I’m so sorry your kids have had to deal with all of that. Those are things that no kid should have to worry about.

  3. Whoa, I know Anise got implants, but are they the magical ever-expanding kind? Looks like she’s surpassed Tara and Ellie at this point. :o

        1. Meanwhile there’s poor Caz in the background, still wondering what sexy things she’ll do that Mrs. Claus won’t.

  4. Glad to see that you and yours have come thru this summer (relatively) intact. As long as they know that THIS is their safe space, that Dad, and now Claire and her family, respect them, love them, accept them, and will be here for them that will go a long, long way to repair that damage.

    I know that was hard to write (probably too, at long as the coloring on today’s comic!); just know that if you need us to drop a prayer for you and yours, we’re here for you Chris.
    As always, we’ve got your back.

  5. Whoa! That was heavy, Chris. Lucky for you and yours, y’all hit the jackpot with that Claire chic! ;) Sending you all good and positive vibes. What an awful situation for your kiddos to have to experience, especially the part where they didn’t know if “mom” was even alive. Makes my heart ache for them . . . and I kinda want to have a talk with their “mother”. Too bad you weren’t aware of all this so you could have sent the authorities over for a welfare check on the kids so they could be found with no adult supervision and sent directly to their loving and responsible dad. Also, before ever sending them back over there, please invest in a go phone for the eldest to keep just in case.

    1. Given what we already know of this woman due to Chris’s latest and several previous accounts, I can confidently say that said phone would be the first thing confiscated by her and then sold for maybe a dozen bucks. She has no respect for whatever is their kids property. See how the kids made it back with barely any clothes?

      I remember other post where Chris said she regularly put the kids’s toys in garage sales, even if it was their favorite toys, without so much as asking. The woman is extremely narcissistic.

  6. You need to separate this personal commentary into a separate blog.
    Anyone wanting to follow your personal trajectory can then branch over there and commiserate with you.

    And you need to get professional, giving accurate,
    dependable updates on the progress of your next cartoon installment.

    Am I callous? Perhaps. But many of us could burn your eyeballs out with our own stories.
    Discretion is not a vice..

    1. The blog is BELOW the comic. Below that, there’s a button that you can click to go straight to the comments. If you don’t like the blog, you don’t have to read it.

      1. The author’s commentary seems on my browser to be visible by default; no way to avoid it.
        Slightly remissioned, that COMMENTS button would be an excellent way
        to unveil AUTHOR’S COMMENTARY if we wanted to read all that, and
        the readers’ reactions to it all.

        A separate VIEWS ON THE TOON button could send us to the readers’ reactions to the story and the art.
        I click in to appreciate the story and the art; not to read about other people’s real-life travails, however gripping they may be to them.

        1. There is a way to bypass it, by clicking the little button icon that says “comments” (first – previous – COMMENTS – next -latest). Hope this tip helps you in future art appreciating! Some artist fans don’t care about the personal details such as those that this artist has shared, while there are others that do and who like to show the artist not only support for the art, but also moral support for life. While I do see your POV, I also think that there are people who like to feel that personal connection with the artist they support. Directly below the comic are button icons that look like the rewind and fast forward icons on a remote and in the center there is a caption cloud icon for comments that will take you directly to the comments section.

        2. Again, for those with broken scrolling fingers, the blog is below the comic, and you can skip the blog entirely and jump straight to the comments by just clicking that button. Seeing as it’s Chris’ website and comic which he puts out for you to read for FREE, I think he can write whatever the heck he wants on it. You don’t *have* to read the blog, or spend your obviously valuable time complaining about it in the comments.

        3. THIS! THIS! SO MUCH THIS!

          @TMI_TMI_TMI: luckily for you, there’s a way to bypass the blog entirely. And it is so simple and fast anyone can do it!

          Start by opening the comic in any page except for the last one. Now start enjoying the art and story and characters in the drawing that occupies most of your screen.

          At the bottom of the drawing there are a few buttons with arrows pointing to the sides. Below them are the blog posts you dread so much.

          Now pay attention because here is the trick: once you reach those arrows STOP! Don’t read any further! Quickly press the bigger arrow facing right, before your delicate eyes have any time to absorb any words about some other human being. The next page should load. Crisis averted, you’ll continue being the center of the universe.

        4. “No way to avoid it”? Someone has a gun to your head screaming, “READ OR DIE!”?
          Do you need us to call 911?

        5. I’m going to say this once diplomatically, because I’ve said it on so many other comments when people bitch about what the comic author does:

          This comic is a free service. Let’s be honest – you don’t pay for it, you can zip over and read it, you can zip out and do something else.

          Now, in no shape or form is the author required to meet any of anyone’s expectations. This isn’t some store where he (or she) has to provide you the best customer service in the world. Especially because they are doing this for free. Chris here is a very nice, decent person, and we usually get a heads-up or explanation to why the comic stalls at times. Chris also gives us like bonus things from time to time, even if he DOESN’T HAVE TO. His little blog bit there was to explain to us why the comic stalled this time, because he just went through a freaking painful moment there with his children. His CHILDREN FFS. Who he should be paying more attention to than some comic he does for free.

          If that’s not diplomatic enough for you, then you can go read something else and GTFO. I have low tolerance for raggity arseholes who complain when they don’t get something when they want it and how they want it, when the thing is literally free and in great quality for the audience. Either Lrn2empathy or just don’t say anything.

        6. Of course, if Chris went on and on about his politics, if it disagreed with anyone saying, “Shut up!” right now, they’d all be “OMG! Keep it to yourself! You’re a dumb/hateful/whatever insult person!”

          You know, regardless of the free comic or not and their ability to bypass it and keep their comments to themselves.

          Part of the comment section is to make comments on what the creator has done.

          If the art was suckie, would you expect people to just keep their mouth shut because it’s free? Offer no criticism?

        7. Only if he was in the industry minority.
          I would say only if he was a Conservative, but Conservatives don’t treat football players or country musicians who break ranks any better than Liberals treat tech industry workers, movie stars and academics who break ranks.

          Frankly, off the top of my head, I can think of five webcomics I follow, whose authors either regularly air, or have aired in the past, their political leanings, and I haven’t quit reading any of them because I disagree with them. (Okay, so I agree with one of those five, but not the other four.)

        8. True. It’s only when they disagree with their readers, do they complain about it.

          Or discuss it.

          Could go either way.

          More complain though.

    2. Posting for the first time ever to point out that reading this comic is not mandatory. Chris is not a machine, and he is not your bitch.

      Before you decide to complain that he is not entertaining you — for free! — in a manner that is sufficiently to your liking, please take a moment and refer back to the facts in paragraph #1, above.

    3. You are an impressively entitled bitch. The author doesn’t owe you shit, never mind being required to set up his website to your specific whims. If you can’t not read something your not interested in because it happens to be there, that sounds like a personal problem you should work on with the time freed up by keeping your asshole opinion to yourself.

    4. Hmmm – this looks very much like a Troll looking for attention.
      Ignore them and they lose interest and wander off.

      BTW – I actually like being able to get to know a little bit about the artists who produce the comics. I’m glad his kids are able to return to a fairly normal home. My poor brother doesn’t have custody of his oldest son and never sees him any more because his extremely dysfunctional mother has poisoned things. I just hope the kid escapes the situation as an adult and realizes how toxic his mother is rather than carrying on her aberrant behavior. I’m glad our beloved artist/author Chris is the one with primary custody of his kids.

  7. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll keep saying it: take care of your family; we will wait. I don’t have children, but I would put them before everything. and I can totally understand you taking time to unpack all that and detox.

    Keep up the Awesome, as an artist and a father.

  8. Thanks for keeping us posted, Chris. I don’t mind your telling us about your recent trials, but that’s just my opinion. Personal interest stories don’t bother me. As Claire said, it’s your comic and your blog. Just some moral support from someone who doesn’t mind. ;-) My sentiments echo KSmith’s above.

  9. okay, so I about started crying reading that. I have a son, and I am lucky enough that my wife(his mother) is amazing. If I was in your shoes, I would have to take a trip to see the ex, and politly inform her that if she dont want to pay child support then give up all rights and custody and just not be part of their lives. I would also offer to take her 5 year old off her hands and adopt the poor baby. I cannot stand people that treat children badly.. jesus christ it pisses me off. I am so sorry you and yours have to deal with that. And to that boy friend.. he would be no long able to speak after previously mentioned visit…again I am sorry you and your family have to deal with that kind of stuff. Take care of your family, if you need another 4 or 5 days to take it. We will be fine. bless you and your family.

  10. And on the comic: Interesting look for Anise. She rocks that 1950’s look! I like it!
    Amusing that Cinnamon evidently has neither the know-how or the “equipment” to mimic Anise… ;-)
    Haven’t seen an Aqua Teen Hunger Force reference in forever… Never really was a fan of the show, but it was amusing enough.
    Wonder what happened that Juniper’s in that kind of trouble THIS time? Thought she was doing fairly well after the Date-Con thing.

    1. Yep, while she it might be harder for her to try the challenge, it’s a lot easier if she uses an open top shirt.

  11. Damn, Chris! That’s some phucked up chit that no kid should have to go thru. Unfortunately too many do. I’m relieved you were able to get them to open up about what happened, instead of leaving it bottled up to fester, and you and Claire can show them what a real, loving family home is like.

    On to the comic: I love the Cowboy Bebop cosplay, after finally watching most of the series, and realizing a few similarities to another Space Cowboy show, Firefly. (I’ve paraphrased Mal Reynolds for a work slogan: I do the job, I get paid, I go home. I’m not being anti-social at work, but I don’t bring my work friendships home, or hang out with them later.)

  12. TMI-ad nauseum; You should feel privileged to be included in Chris’s venting. I don’t comment here often, but when it comes to choosing between looking after his kids, rescuing them really, versus getting your comic fix out on time, which do you think any decent person should do?
    Oh, wait..you already made that clear. Like a true sociopath.

  13. I’m speechless… No that’s not true – I have a lot I could write (say), but that would offend somebody and after all it’s not mine situation so I don’t need to call names and let through negative emotions, so I just say:
    I’m glad children have you and Claire. Thank you for telling us too.

    BTW children come first. Even if you wouldn’t publish anything for months it’s not like I would stop checking this site twice a day anyway…

    BTW ad. discussion few posts above: I don’t read separate blogs, so writing below the comic is absolutely fine (and welcomed) by me. It also puts context for what was happening when time went on while you worked on the comic, which would be lost if you wrote it elsewhere…

  14. Like everyone else, I’m thrilled to see a new page up …. and horrified by what your kids went through. Damn. I have no words. I’m an educator & work with children whose stories break my heart on the regular, but I’ve no kids of my own & wouldn’t have the strength you do to 24/7 the gig. Mad respect.

    Strength & weal to you & yours & big damn hugs all around.

    PS – Spike’s NOT dead, dammit.

  15. We stare into the inky blackness of the abyss of life.

    In an effort to distract us from the awfulness…

    Anise… That outfit… Wow. (Serious mood whiplash. Also, need to think of a way to get Tarra dressed like that.)

    Aww, poor Cinnamon. Quit making me feel bad for you. You jerk.

    Juni’s comment will go on the Discord since it gets a visual aid.

  16. I don’t think that I’ve ever wanted to punch a real person more than a wall, until now. Anonymous for a reason, and I’ve no idea how to make my statement work.

    And I’m not looking for sheet rock, by the way. So chill.

  17. I love this comic, and refresh it daily to see if you’ve posted a new one…and if we go a year or two without an update, but your kids are taken care of, AWESOME! I mean, say the word, and we’ll pick up some torches and pitchforks if needed…but I’m certain what is mainly needed, you took care of, as much as you could, and showed that *YOU* have your priorities right…Thank you for that :)

  18. I would gladly wait a couple months for a new comic from you if it came with an update stating that all the problems you just told us about have been rectified and your kids aren’t in danger of going through the same thing on their next extended stay with their mother and grandmother.

  19. I’m relatively new here, but I think It I can speak for everyone here when I say that when that’s the kind of shit that’s going on in your world you don’t need to apologize. Take care of your family. Take care of yourself. Comic when you can and we’ll still be here to read.

        1. I can’t help but feel that Juniper’s behavior – from the promiscuity, the alcoholism and what not – points to being abused. And her family just shits on her. Hell, she has a COP for a father, he should know the bloody signs.

  20. If you needed to take an indefinite hiatus to take care of your family and yourself, just know that we’re still going to be here rooting for you. Of you feel the need to give us something, but you’re still unable to update, maybe drop a picture or a doodle and a blog post telling us you’re still alive and hopefully that all is well. If you need to drop your free updates to once a month or less and focus on life whilst prioritizing your Patreons, that’s also an understandable route that we (I can’t speak for everyone, but certainly I) can and will respect. No matter how much you love your readers, you don’t need to put yourself in a situation that makes it more difficult for you.

    Obviously, you don’t have to listen to me either. These are all just my opinions and I’ll still be here even if it continues the way it’s been going because I support you and all that you’re doing. I just feel it would be nicer if you changed that part up a bit. You have no obligation to and I don’t want to come off as ungrateful or as though I can’t understand what you’re going through; I just feel like things would be better from a readers perspective if you had something solid we can look forward to and less flaky updates. Genuinely not trying to sound entitled here, but I’m enjoying this open forum and I’m finally feeling confident enough to communicate my opinions.

  21. Hey man, family first always. I do the same with my comic if need be. Take your time with your family, we can wait.
    Though I am happy you still keep us updated as much as possible.

    Now, onto the comic…
    I have no idea what “meme” Anise is doing…but I’m perfectly okay with that.

  22. I feel like I have to say something in regards to what your kids went through, most of which would involve profanity. At least your kids have one parent, two counting Claire, that actually give a shit though. I mean, what the hell, what the fuck is wrong with your ex? You may be doing exactly what a parent should be doing, but kudos to you nevertheless, no child deserves to be in the situation that they were in.

  23. Let me just say that I completely empathize with your situation, Chris. I too went through something similar with my ex, although it was after I married her and before we got divorced. She had one child that I never knew existed for the first year we were married until she took me to meet her mother, who basically raised her daughter for her. My ex mother in law was a piece of work who took the money she got from the state (since she was disabled) and walked to the casino about four blocks away and gambled it all away. Or spent it on stupid stuff. When my ex had her third kid, she dumped her middle kid on her mother, since her mother offered to help (they were all financially having difficulties). What her mother actually wanted to do was claim another check for gambling money, and the middle child spent all her days at home BY HERSELF from age 4 to 7 when her grandmother was at the casino.

    When I met Deserai (pronounced Dez-er-ay) for the first time, the kid was sleeping in a pile of her own clothing in her grandmother’s room. And she thought she was a dog that crawled around on all fours and barked all the time. She could talk and be social, as well as eat like a normal person, but she preferred to be a dog all the other times. I looked at my wife (now ex-wife) and said, “WTF is going on here???” I immediately suggested we take the kid back to our house, and her mother agreed. My mother in law cursed us (since we were taking away her source of income) and tried to poison Deserai against us. Finally, after having our daughter back in our control, we learned that she had pretended to be a dog to escape all the insanity that her grandmother had exposed her. I immediately adopted her, to avoid that happening again.

    Now that little girl is grown up, went to school and became a successful person. She takes care of her mother (who is slowly turning into her grandmother) and still calls me. She’s my daughter, and I told her no matter what, she can call me and talk. Or come see us.

    So I totally feel for your children and you. That’s one messed up situation (worse than mine) and I’m so glad you are such a good father. No one should have to go through that – your ex is a real piece of work. Unfortunately, we never know it until later when we have to separate, and even then, it’s like you wonder what you were thinking when you got married and/or had kids with that person. It’s unbelievable what shitty things what some people with kids do.

  24. Ecstatic to see a new comic (this is the norm). Distressed and disheartened to hear that story. I have little to no advice, because you’ve already done the best you possibly can in this situation. But there are two things I’d like to suggest.

    1) Never speak poorly of your ex. Don’t insult or belittle, just explain things to kids as simple facts, they can come up with their own conclusions as to the merits of the other parent’s behavior. To do so otherwise can cause more harm than good. Perhaps you already know and realize this, if so, ignore this.

    2) We all like to vent, it’s cathartic, it’s therapeutic and it’s healthy, but there is a time and a place. As much as I enjoy being part of the development of the characters, and hearing the goings on of the creator’s life, venting here probably isn’t a good idea. First and foremost, for legal reasons. Secondly, airing your exes’ dirty laundry online, no matter how scandalous, isn’t the right way to go about it. Worst case scenarios, it is used against you by them in legal proceedings. Doubly worst case scenario, one of your less sensible fans uses it as a reason to interact negatively with your ex, wether it’s doxxing, prank calling, or worse. I’m not suggesting anyone here would, just that it’s a scenario that can and has happened. Thirdly, and most importantly, it’s not really good for your kids, to air their woes publicly, especially by name. I’m sure they know Daddy makes a thing that everyone sees on the internet. They might not feel so good if they knew Daddy was sharing all their problems and responses to those problems with the public in general. Their classmates may read this comic, or their classmates parents, and be overtly judgmental. Kids can be cruel over stupid things. Adults too, just in more subtle ways.

    Sorry to be preachy about this; it’s something that hits very very close to home. So close to home that there’s a baseball in the living room surrounded by glass shards. Take it as you will, just offering some friendly advice. You’ve already done so much good for your children, and you need to resolve it your way.

    Thank you as always for a totally awesome comic! Hope things improve, certain that they will with parents like you and Claire. :)

    1. Additionally, if you want to vent, you can; i’m not trying to police your content. This is your website, your comic, your baby; you do with it what you want to.

      And as others have stated above, you take as much time as you need to to take care of your life; this website is a free service, and though we may occasionally offer critiques, you are under no obligation to us to produce or abide by aforementioned critiques. Your life is more important than our entertainment.

    2. I have to agree. As much as I’d like to poke and prod at TMI to see if a few skeletons fall out, I think this particular instance of catharsis might be more trouble than it’s worth. It might be advisable to make this blog entry, and all the comments associated with it, private, because I would not be surprised in the slightest if your ex doesn’t “keep tabs on you” from time to time, and might not find some way to use this status update/unburdening against you, either in a custody or child-support battle, or in some other way.

  25. Yikes. Your ex is a source of endless drama and I feel really bad for the kids, especially Caden. You’d think that a disability scammer like Memaw would be able to scam in some sort of caretaker for her and/or Caden but apparently that’s too much work. Luckily you got their backs. If they are forced to go back to their mother long term again, make sure they have phones or something to keep in contact with. A simple tracfone is cheap enough and can be paid up for a few months in advance so they won’t be completely cut off and would be able to call 911 if there is an emergency.

    Like many other commenters, I also have personal experience with woman who is painfully unfit to be a mother, though in my case it’s my stepsister plus her daughter and her mother. They can’t hold down jobs and spend their lives trying to sponge off of one man after another as well as claiming whatever benefits they can from the government. I still check up on my niece’s facebook from time to time to make sure she’s alright, but otherwise don’t have any contact anymore. At least she’s doing better than her mother so far. She’s managed to graduate high school and hasn’t had a kid or gone to jail so there’s hope for her yet. There is a lot more shit I can say, but honestly this is not the time or place to vent about my own family drama. I’m just glad you are there for your kids.

    1. The lady’s got a point about Tracfone. A hundred bucks gets you a year’s service and 400 minutes besides is like $115 on Amazon right now, and you can likely do better. I’ve been using it for years.

  26. Divorce is rough on kids in the first place, and parents pulling shitty things like that is even worse.

    Ask me how I know.

    Protect your family, we’ll be here whenever you get back.

  27. Two shakes, two sisters. Hope he brought spares.

    Seems like a case to be made on the grounds of a lack of mental stability of the caregiver being unfit to look after themselves, let alone anyone else and the house ghost to be admitted to a nursing home for medical reasons. Get in touch with the local police, fire department, paramedics, Everyone who would give a damn. Have someone with authority make routine checks inside house based on a concerned neighbour hearing loud coughing across the street. Build a case and evidence.

  28. Ah jeeze, now I feel like a jerk for being impatient about the comic being late on updating / radio silence. I’m so sorry for your kids. I hope whatever legal case you are doing has to do with taking full custody and that you’re successful. You’re a great father!

    1. Honestly, man, I can’t blame you for at least wanting to know that everybody didn’t die on the drive home.

      “No comic” is what a lot of people jump to, but if you’ve been around any length of time, you’re just as concerned for everybody involved’s welfare. When you don’t hear anything for weeks at a time, you’ve got no way to know what–if anything–has happened.

  29. I for one have no problem with waiting for an update if it means taking care of you and yours is your #1 priority. Family is sometimes all you’ve got so, yeah…take care of them. Especially in a situation like what you described. Yikes.

    But yeah, a new update and more Juniper! Yasss!

  30. okay, that… sucks

    in my early teens I was left alone for week days, upwards of 10 days. I was lonely AF. I am still working through that

    do them- their future selves a favor, draw them each an individual comic, something 8×11 will do, telling them how special and beautiful and awesome they are and how much you guys love them. Frame that, and hanging it for them. They will love it, and they will keep it forever.

    and if you are not a hugger – become a hugger, get them to hug each other so that when they go back they will know its okay to hug their sibling

    last thing, that 5 year old… you said he wasn’t your’s but your kids are watching how you handle their brother’s situation…

    last, last thing,
    You are a good Dad

  31. I hate that your kids have had to go through that. If anything about this goes to court and the kids say what went on there, it might be possible that they won’t ever have to go back to their birth mother again. I’m most worried about Caden though. It’s possible that he could be taken from her and put into the system, which could put him into a loving family quickly, or pass him from foster family to foster family. It’s impossible to tell what might happen to him, but I will be praying that everything turns out well in the end.

  32. I’ve been thinking of how to reply to all of this for a while now. Words simply fail me. I just want you to know I’m sorry for both you and your children, from someone who’s been there in similar situations before, and I understand the pain it puts on your heart. Keep on keeping on and best of luck to you with all of it. I hope you get a good legal footing soon to pull away from the mess, that makes it all much easier.

  33. I’ve been thinking of how to reply to all of this for a while now. Words simply fail me. I just want you to know I’m sorry for both you and your children, from someone who’s been there in similar situations before, and I understand the pain it puts on your heart. Keep on keeping on and best of luck to you with all of it. I hope you get a good legal footing soon to pull away from the mess, that makes it all much easier.

  34. Loving the story, thanks for your time, so sorry to hear about the trauma of your kids, as a Dad I can imagine what you must be feeling. I hope you get it all sorted and they don’t have to go there anymore, and their step brother gets the help he needs.

  35. Spike is absolutely alive, if the movie is canon.

    I am very sorry to hear the inequities your children have had to endure. I am very glad Claire is around in all your lives. God bless you all.

  36. As someone who went through similar stuff as a kid, I give you the Amazingly Awesome Parent Award.

    Seriously though, its great that you’re there for them. I hope you can get that situation resolved soon.

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