Graduation Day aka The Day Hell Froze Over

If you know me in real life you’ve probably heard this story.

We moved from the Memphis area up to Michigan when Rock Star was 7 months old. A few months after our move I saw many signs advertising for graduation open houses. Her birthday is in early June so it coincides with many graduations. I had been driving by these signs and I told CF one day, “That’s going to be her someday.” He looked at me like I was crazy.

“She’s not even a year old yet. You’ve got some time. Let’s focus on her first birthday party before we begin planning the graduation party.”

These weren’t exact words (well, mine were; I absolutely remember saying that to him), but you get the gist of it. Here I was, a young mom of a not quite one year old, and I was already getting wistful about the day she graduated.

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I remember reading articles from moms who were sending their babies off to college at the same time I was sending Rock Star off to kindergarten. My eyes would well up with tears because I knew, although it was new, this starting school thing, it would pass by in the blink of an eye.

I remember holding back tears as she climbed on that school bus the very first time, waving to her before the doors shut, and then driving up to the school so I could take pictures of her very first day of school. Hey! I was not the only parent up there that day!

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I remember the fear I felt when she began middle school. My little baby girl going off to the big school with all those older kids. Why I didn’t fear my kindergartner going off to school with all those big kids, I do not know. But I do know I worried about the beginning of middle school. Maybe it’s because I never thought about a sixth grader picking on a five year old; I guess I didn’t ever think it happened. Maybe it’s because they’re so much more segregated in the elementary school years. Or because the “dangers” aren’t as plentiful. Maybe it was because you end up getting very familiar with elementary school. They remain there the longest period of time. Maybe it’s because you think of all the kids in elementary school as kids, regardless of age, but those kids in middle school… well, they’re teenagers and you all know the dangers of the older teens! They might lead your baby into temptation.

Finally, I remember her high school orientation. They talked about how this would be a great four years and how this high school would feel like home to them by the end of it. Seniors spoke of their time at the school and how quickly it had passed by. The speakers even talked about what was to come in the later years- perks like the senior parking lot and the seniors only outside area. They encouraged them to get involved. Assured them they would love it there. My baby was entering high school! Only four more years and she would leave the nest.

She was the new kid at school. Nervous. Shy. She wanted us to go with her but they separated the students and parents and that’s when an angel of a teacher stepped in and took Rock Star under her wing. She introduced her to her daughter and her daughter’s friends and by the time we were brought back together for dinner she was off with her new friends. She never looked back. I’m sorry she had to leave it behind.

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What a beautiful segue way into CF and his attendance. He is, after all, the reason she didn’t graduate from that high school.

I was all set to write a blistering post about him not being there and how he should have been. I was composing it in my mind when he went and messed that up. Good for him. It wasn’t much but it was better than him not showing up at all.

Shortly before graduation Rock Star announced to me that she thought her dad had contacted her to ask if she had a ticket for him so that he could attend her graduation.

“What do you mean you think he contacted you?” I asked her.

She goes on to tell me that she had deleted him from her contacts list so she wasn’t sure it was him (like so many random people text her and ask her for a ticket to her graduation). She told me the area code and I confirmed that it was him (based on nothing more than the area code, but again how many random people are texting and asking her if they can attend her graduation?).

I asked her what she wanted to do and she told me she didn’t care but she didn’t want to deal with him. It was left to me to put on my big girl panties and text him, letting him know that if he wanted a ticket there was one available. Honestly, ticket availability was not an issue. I also offered to mail it to him because I didn’t know the best way to get it to him. I didn’t know if I would hear back from him or not. Remember, he typically tends to ignore me. I wasn’t sure what I would get if he responded. I also figured it was a pretty big if.

He surprised me and replied to my message eventually. About seven hours passed between me texting with the offer and him taking me up on it. But he did reply. Told me he would love a ticket. He said mailing it would fine if I thought it would make it there on time. It turns out he had taken some initiative and had done some research because he also informed me that from what he had read on the website they wouldn’t get their tickets until they did they did their practice graduation the day before.

We had a polite exchange which ended with him agreeing to meet me at work at noon when I got off the day of graduation and I would give him the ticket then.

I did let my co-workers know I was going to be meeting him so if someone found my dead body in the parking lot they knew where to look, but it never came to that. Obviously since I’m writing this.

He texted to let me know he was there. I texted him about 15 minutes later to let him know I was on my way out. He met me in the parking lot. I gave him the ticket. He asked me if I would give Rock Star the two cards he had for her. I said yes; he said thank you and turned and walked back to his car. That was it.

I don’t know what I was expecting. It’s not as though I wanted to go grab a coffee and reminisce with him. I found it somewhat odd, though, that a ten second exchange was the extent of our conversation on the day our daughter graduated from high school. That day I had tearfully lamented only weeks before her first birthday back when we were new parents was finally here and instead of celebrating together or sharing our pride in her or making any kind of conversation about her, we were reduced to a ten second superficially courteous exchange.

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I’m not sad. Again, I didn’t want to go off and have drinks with him. I didn’t want to pretend that we were best buddies. I don’t know what I expected. Maybe I thought he might try a little bit harder. Maybe I thought he would comment on Rock Star and how our daughter was graduating. Maybe say something like, “It’s hard to believe she’s graduating; do you remember how you were freaking out about this 17 years ago before her first birthday?’ or, “Our daughter did it. She graduates today. Can you believe it?” or, “Did you ever think this day would come? Where did the time go?” Hell, not to go off the rails but possibly I thought he might thank me for raising her and getting her to this point in her life. “Thanks for standing by our kids and doing the right thing after I walked out on them.” I know- crazy talk!

Instead he thanked me, as one would thank a cashier or a server, and turned and walked back to his car. He was wearing a shirt I had bought him years ago, and flip flops with jeans. In all my years of being with him I don’t recall him ever wearing sandals or flip flops with jeans. He barely wore them with shorts.

He has put on weight. He had lost about 50 pounds when a doctor told him there were fatty deposits on his liver and if he didn’t lose weight he would have to have his liver biopsied. He’s gained it all back, although I wouldn’t call him fat. I never thought of him as fat.

I did drive around to pass by his car to see if he was alone or if he had brought the whore with him. I knew she didn’t have a ticket but I didn’t know if she would be accompanying him up to the city. Spoiler alert: He was alone.

He had said in a text when trying to arrange a meeting time for the ticket that he would be coming up the day of graduation, and that his room wouldn’t be ready until 3, but that could have all been a lie and she might have been tucked away at the hotel for all I know.

My mom informed me when I arrived at the graduation site that she had seen him and that he was wearing a suit and tie. For some reason this really irritated her. How dare he dress nicely?

I later spotted him from our seats. He was two or three sections over, sitting by himself. I was with a group of nine other people, not including Rock Star or Picasso. He, btw, was down in the orchestra pit, playing Pomp and Circumstance as his sister graduated. Very cool.

At one point the principal asked all parents, grandparents, and guardians of the graduating seniors to stand. I glanced over in his direction to see what he would do. He remained seated.

It might have been my mom, but it could have been a friend, who was appalled at the idea he remained seated. At the time I was thinking, “You better not stand up, you sonofabitch! You haven’t done a damn thing to help raise this kid.”

“But he’s her parent! Why wouldn’t he stand?”

Because he has played no part in getting her to this point! Perhaps if we considered more than just the high school years he could have made an argument about standing. But if we’re going strictly by the four years of high school? No, he has no right.

He moved her across the country and made her give up everything she loved, and once she adjusted and found a new life, an awesome new life, he yanked that away, too, by cheating on me and opting to destroy her family. He cut us off financially and while he gave Harley and her kids everything he possibly could, he let his own kids suddenly struggle. While Harley’s kids were living a dream life filled with puppies and expensive dresses and every little fun thing under the sun thanks to new Daddy, his own kids were having to cut back and do without.

He barely played a part in her life her first year of high school. He was engaged the first half, but the second half he was too busy feeling sorry for himself and checking out of the family. He completely checked out her second year, not having a single conversation with her despite living in the same home until February, and choosing to move six hours away without saying a word. And for the last two, after ripping this new life to shreds and forcing her to start over yet again, he hadn’t set eyes on her.

I asked her at one point how she felt about her dad attending graduation. Her response was that she didn’t really care. “He can’t just show up for the big days,” she told me.

I later found out that he had texted her while he was up here. I guess he told her that he was available if she wanted to talk. From what I heard she ignored him and never responded.

I also learned that after we were done taking pictures and most of us had taken off to go to the restaurant her dad came out of the shadows to get a picture with her. She said he approached her crying and then apologized for crying. She was over it (all his tears) by then. She might have mentioned something about rolling her eyes, but I’m not sure if she really did, or if it was a mental eye roll. She did agree to have her picture taken with him. He looks serious and somber. She is smiling, a photogenic beauty. It’s what she does when the camera is pointed her way.

Why would he not be grinning from ear to ear? It’s a fantastic day! His daughter has just graduated from high school. This is a huge milestone in her life. He should be delighted. He should be happy and smiling and eager for what is next to come.

Instead it’s all about him. His sadness. His pity party. If I thought for even a moment his sadness was because of all that he’s missed out on with his piss poor choices, or that it was regret for all that he threw away, I might have a tiny bit of sympathy for him. I know it’s not. It’s all about acting pitiful in the hopes that she will feel sorry for him and kick everything under the rug.

The mobster has said it’s sad. He quickly assures me that he doesn’t feel sorry for CF; oh no, he chose all of this. But he still thinks the whole situation is sad. He says it shouldn’t be awkward to have both of your parents at graduation; it should be a happy time and we should be celebrating together. In an ideal world, of course. I’m rather “eh” about it. None of this should have happened. Yet it did. You deal with what you have and try to make the best of it.

I know this has been a rather long post to say pretty much nothing. It was an anticlimactic event. I was shocked he reached out to her, even more shocked that he replied to my text. I found our 10 second interaction to be a little weird although I’m still not sure why. There was no other interaction between him and anyone else. My mom didn’t shoot him. My brother didn’t end up in fisticuffs with him. No shoot out at the OK Corral between him and the mobster. I do find it a little creepy that he was probably watching all of us as we gathered around Rock Star and took pictures. He had to have known the mobster was up for her graduation. I also find it a little sad that he had no interaction with Picasso. Granted, my mom took him with her to the restaurant and they left even before we did, so he didn’t have a chance to say anything to him. He had to have seen him though when we were taking pictures.

In the end I’m glad for Rock Star that her dad showed up. Even if she says she doesn’t care or that she didn’t want him there I know it would have been a hell of a lot harder on her to realize her dad didn’t care enough to even bother to attend. I know she thought that was the way it would happen, so I’m glad for her sake that she was wrong.

Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t think what he did took a hell of a lot of effort. I don’t think it took much effort at all, in fact. Sure, he had to take a few vacation days and spend money on gas, but it really was the least he could have done. I don’t think he’s turned over a new leaf or that he will be one bit more involved in his kids’ lives. This was the first time he set eyes on them in over two years and my guess is that it will be another three years before he sees either of them again. If he bothers to attend Picasso’s graduation, that is.

Considering he claims he doesn’t know his son’s phone number, and doesn’t have a clue on how he could possibly get it, my hopes are not high that he will come through for his son. And that makes me very sad.

 

 

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Another Year Gone By

June 10th came and went yet again. It happens like clockwork, once a year.

It’s a funny day for me, June 10th. It used to be nothing special. Just an ordinary day. And then the year 2016 hit. June 10th became probably the worst day of my life. Even worse than DDay #1 and DDay #2. I can still picture myself in my car; I can still picture the road I was on. I received a text that would change the course of my life and the lives of my children.

I lost my job today. I won’t be sending you anymore money.

That was it. That was all the explanation needed in his opinion. He had upended our lives as we knew them but those two sentences had it covered.

With that he checked himself into an alcohol treatment program at the VA for three days, a fact I wouldn’t discover for another 6 months. I was only the discarded wife. I didn’t need to know what was going on. Harley, the fiancee, had it all covered. She was the important one. She was entitled to all the facts. I got conjecture. And stomach ulcers!

To this day I remember the awful feeling, knowing I needed to keep it together because Rock Star’s friend who had flown in from Utah for her birthday was still here and I didn’t want to ruin her visit. Rock Star was going away to camp for a week as well only a day or two after I got the news and I didn’t want to mar her experience. I remember her friends coming over and talking about how they had heard she was amazing at gymnastics and they really wanted to go to a few meets next year to watch her, and me knowing that she probably wouldn’t be here much longer. I remember emailing my lawyer, and her first emailing me back immediately, and then calling me. I remember getting the email from his attorney telling my attorney that he didn’t know how long he would be out of work and that he was attempting to qualify for disability. I knew then he wasn’t planning on going back to work any time soon.

After that, I remember breaking the news to Picasso, who took it pretty well. And I remember Rock Star coming home from camp, happy and excited to tell me all about her experiences, and me changing her life in an instant. I remember her crying and telling me, “I don’t want new friends! I want to stay here!”

I remember going through my house and deciding what I would take with me and what all I was going to try to sell. I remember days spent out in the sweltering heat having a garage sale to pad my bank account because I was living on savings at that point. And I remember packing up my few belongings and loading them up in a UHaul and driving 600 miles away from my home, leaving most of what I had ever owned behind.

It was tough for a very long time after that. The world was dark and gray. I felt no joy. I was resigned to my fate and waiting for death.

Finally, about 10 months later I began to feel better. The world began to look a little brighter. I had a tiny bit of hope. I could imagine a future. And then a mobster fell out of a tree onto my head and I’ve done my best not to look back.

June 10, 2017 was a Saturday and it was part of that first weekend I met the mobster in person. I wrote a post about it. We went up to Lake Michigan; I spent a lot of time sharing pictures of my family and friends with him. We had a delightful time; it was a much better day last year than in 2016.

This year June 10th was our one year anniversary of meeting and it was spent in Utah together with my kids. We flew in for a wedding and I happily showed my mobster off to my closest friends.

It is my hope that we will spend every June 10th together, although that may be a little more difficult next year when it falls on a Monday. Come hell or high water I will take that damn day back. I will never forget what happened that day in 2016 but I’m going to make sure that every June 10th from here on out is a marvelous day for me. Suck it, cheater!

Anniversaries Aplenty!!!

I meant to write about this back in May but time got away from me. The one year anniversary of the mobster and I “meeting” occurred towards the end of May. We are in debate over when we really “met”. He counts the 23rd because that was the day he found my post, liked it and began following me. As you all are probably aware any time someone likes your post WordPress sends you an email letting you know someone has liked/commented/began following you and then they list several of the reader’s most current blog titles if they, too, have a blog, and suggest that you take a look because, hey, you might like their blog as much as they like yours! So his liking my post led to such an email and resulted in me reading his blog and commenting on our similarities. It wasn’t until the 24th that we read each other’s comments and began texting. In case you were wondering I tend to consider the 24th as our official “meeting” day. The 25th was the day we first talked on the phone.

I was texting him on my way to lunch (I was walking through the grocery store, not driving a car). He asked me what I was having for lunch. I sent him a picture of my fried chicken. Next thing I knew I got a text saying, “Call me.” I looked at my phone with a curious expression on my face, thinking, “Um, this is supposed to be a texting relationship. Very superficial. I think talking on the phone is taking it to the next level.” Nevertheless, I called him and we had a delightful conversation. That is how he became the mobster.

I believe the 29th was the day he amped it up just a tad more with his video chat request. That was the night I knew I was a goner. He was so freaking charming and cute!

Needless to say the end of May is bursting with anniversary dates and what I was doing those last few days was making his anniversary gift and attempting to finish it before I left for Virginia to spend the weekend with him.

I saw the idea on Pinterest and even pinned it on our board. It was supposed to be a jar with 365 slips of paper in it. Each different color represented a category. I thought this would be a fairly simple project so I went shopping for supplies on Tuesday and figured I would hammer it out on Wednesday and Thursday so that I could present it to him Friday night/Saturday morning.

Let’s just say it didn’t happen quite like I imagined. I went shopping on Tuesday as planned. I even cut the card stock into squares on my lunch hour on Wednesday. I toiled until past midnight on Wednesday evening. I told him Thursday I probably wouldn’t have it done, even though I stayed up until midnight once again, despite having to drive 10.5 hours the next day after work.

I ended up working on this project Tuesday-Sunday the following week. I was getting nervous that it wouldn’t even be finished before he flew in for Rock Star’s graduation.

I ended up with 6 categories: Things I love about you/mushy texts, Remember when/weekend getaways, Jokes/Random Facts, Song Lyrics, Bucket List/Things I look forward to doing with you, and Love Quotes. I also threw in a bonus category entitled, “8 more to get you to an even 730.” Yes, that’s right. I was supposed to have 365 slips of paper tucked into a car. I ended up with 730 squares of card stock placed into a very nice decorative box from Michael’s.

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Honestly, there might be 731. Or I could have counted wrong and there are only 729.

I even decorated some of the squares with stickers and jewels.

It took forever! I swear I must have put about 30 hours into this gift of love. There was the thinking (of things I love about him, things on our bucket list, memories of him). There was going through my phone and copying mushy text messages I had written. There was going through my phone and copying all the dates of the weekends we had gotten together. There was copying lyrics and jokes from websites and then printing them off and in most cases, cutting the papers and glueing them onto the card stock. There was researching fun random facts and typing those up so that I could print those out and glue them onto card stock. There was hand writing all of the love quotes from our Pinterest board. There was researching some more cool jokes to add to my collection and then typing them up, printing, cutting and pasting those. I even did some editing!  A labor of love, I tell you! How did I think I could get this done in a mere two days?

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At one point I told a co-worker, “I hope he likes it,” and she replied, “He created a Pinterest board for you two. I think he’s going to love it.” That’s so true.

Sadly, it is still sitting on my dining room table. The mobster only had a backpack as a carry on and he had no room to put his gift. He had to leave it behind and I’m supposed to mail it to him. Here’s a big secret: I am terrible at getting things in the mail. Absolutely horrible. So it may or may not get put into the mail.

That’s my explanation for part of my absence. I was also busy designing and ordering graduation announcements, collecting addresses for said announcements, and running my daughter around. I think I’ve also mentioned the trips to the airport, the weekends away with the mobster, and the weekends spent celebrating with family.

I digress. This is supposed to be all about our anniversary. We’ve known each other for one full year. We’ve been talking and texting for an entire year now. It’s really hard to believe. Who would have thought it would have lasted as long as it has? There was a brief moment of insanity when I didn’t think we were going to make it. But we have, and it’s good.

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Perverted Shit My Mother Says

I was all set to write a cute story about my mom and her poncho while we were down in Florida.

We were shopping at the outlet mall when it began raining. Hard. Like raining cats and dogs. We were on our way out of the outlet anyway when the rain began pouring down, but our car, naturally, was outside in the monsoon.

My mom starts rummaging through her purse. “I have a poncho in here.”

“Of course you do,” I replied.

I felt like a petulant teenager as I tried to dodge this plastic poncho which she was steadfastly determined to get me to wear. “Just put it on your head!” she insisted. “At least your head will stay dry!”

Seriously! Who carries a poncho in her purse? She will vigorously defend herself until the end, saying she had heard on the news it was supposed to rain and she had this from some other event so decided to tuck it into her purse, and wasn’t I lucky that she had it with her?

That’s my mother, folks. Sweet little lady with a poncho in her purse, always ready for a storm. Also a sweet little lady with a gun and a concealed carry permit, but that’s a story for another day. Then came yesterday when IT happened.

I was telling her that Rock Star shared with me she thought her dad had gotten fat.

“Must be all of Harley’s great homemade cooking,” I snarked to my mom.

As you might recall I was grilled on the witness stand during our divorce trial about my shortcomings as a wife, and one of those shortcomings was my failure to provide a five course home-cooked meal every evening. Apparently, Harley is feeding him a little too well.

My mom looks me in the eye and says, I swear to God, “Must be all that pussy he’s been eating.”

My mouth fell open. I’m pretty sure I blushed. I was beyond shocked.

She then proceeds to take it one step further. “Or is that low cal?”

MOTHER! I had to walk away.

I have been traumatized, people. Traumatized, I tell you! I am not sure I have the wherewithal to go on. You may never hear the story of CF and graduation now. I am off to stuff my ears with cotton.

I Send My Regrets

I have been informed by the mobster that I haven’t posted a new blog post since May 16th. My mom is on my ass as well. It’s almost like we don’t live together and she doesn’t already know everything that is going on. Nonetheless, this is the longest stretch I’ve ever gone without checking in. I’ve had so much to say but every time I get ready to write my eyelids feel like cinder blocks and next thing I know I’m falling asleep sitting up. I feel very bad for neglecting my readers so I have written a few haikus to explain what I’ve been up to.

Busy, busy bee

Time flies by like an arrow

Too much to do now

 

Video chatting

all night long with the mobster

Leaves me little time to write

 

Graduation day

For Rock Star has come and gone

CF showed up- wow

 

Big trip to Utah

A great time was had by all

Friends, wedding, food, fun

As you can tell I’m no poet. I have been busy lately. Work has been crazy. A good crazy, but crazy nonetheless.

The funny part about this job is that it takes literally three months minimum to be trained on everything. Now the fun part is getting quicker and better. I really do like it over there, but I feel like I’m going at a hundred miles an hour some days. I’m so envious of the only person in our little pod that has been there for three years. She knows so much and is so quick and efficient. She can take breaks and everything. Meanwhile, I’m over here struggling with this new round of assignments, trying to get everything done.

I have an 8 am deadline on one report and a 2 pm deadline on the others. Two weeks ago we had two out of the four people out. Last week one of our very important programs wasn’t working which made a huge report we do each day take an even longer time AND we had someone out on vacation. I go in at 7:30 this month but the first two days I didn’t leave until 5:30 and 5.

I would rather be busy and having the days pass me by though than to be standing in a teller line waiting for customers to come in.

Work has been crazy. Weekends have been crazy. I feel like I am constantly on the go.  May 2nd we took off to Orlando for Summit, which I’ve already written about. We came back on the 7th. The following weekend was my niece’s graduation from nursing school and Mother’s Day. The weekend after that my daughter had prom on Friday and the mobster and I met up in Athens the following day. It was a quick trip, barely 24 hours, but memorable because we got to stay in the first Air BnB we ever stayed at (this was where we stayed the weekend of the Great FB Hacking), and we got to go back to the great little winery we discovered there. Sadly, they did not offer up dinner that evening because they were switching over to their summer menu.

The next weekend we were planning on meeting somewhere in the middle but the mobster’s daughter had a friend graduating from high school. This girl is over at his house constantly and jokingly refers to him as her other dad. It was important to his daughter and to her friend that he be at her graduation so he paid for me to rent a car to drive all the way down to Virginia and then flew me back home.

I didn’t get in until 2 in the morning. We went to the graduation which took place at 9 am. After some pictures and a long walk back to the car we went out to eat. We headed home and I made the mistake of taking my contacts out and putting my jammies back on and then reclining in the chair for a “nap”. I woke up around 5 the next morning, so that day was a total waste. The mobster was really nice about it, though, and said I obviously needed the sleep.

On Sunday we had brunch at a winery up in the mountains. I had French toast on challah bread and he had what I should have had- shrimp and grits, along with a couple of mimosas. After breakfast we headed over to the winery (we were at the restaurant) to take a tour and then sample some of their wines. We ended up buying two bottles of their very excellent cherry wine, drinking most of one there and taking the other one home with us.

We had planned on spending the evening watching movies and eating pizza. Instead we got the pizza but headed over to his parents’ house to join his sister who had come in from out of town, and his brother. Around 10 pm we said our goodbyes and went to his brother’s house. He had wanted to show me his house for a while now and his brother and sister-in-law were looking forward to having us alone for a bit. It was probably midnight when we went back home. All in all, Saturday might have been a big fat dud, but we crammed a lot into Sunday.

Finally, on Monday all we managed to do was head to Charlotte, eat breakfast, and drop me off at the airport. Saying goodbye really stinks, but I loved flying home as opposed to driving!

One of the biggest things that happened was Rock Star turning 18 the first weekend in June, and then graduating later that week. A teammate from Utah flew out to be with her for both of those so we drove to Chicago to pick her up. More driving.

Thursday was graduation followed by dinner afterwards. Friday morning we once again drove to Chicago to catch a flight. We got home after 11 pm on Thursday and needed to be up between 4:30 and 4:45 the next morning. Then it was off to Utah and a whirlwind weekend, which I’ll write about more later.

As you probably guessed the mobster flew up for Rock Star’s graduation, and then onto Utah with us. Yesterday I flew back to Chicago and he flew back to Charlotte. The kids and I got home around 12:30 in the morning; I didn’t get to bed until about 1 and then I reported to work this morning bright and early at 7:30.

That’s been my May and June so far. How has yours been?

P.S. Yes, CF did show up for Rock Star’s graduation and yes, I will be writing more about that as well.

Divorce Laws and Double Standards, Part 2

Because I was married to an entitled fuckwit once upon a time I figured I better know exactly what was allowed and what wasn’t. Could it really be that simple? I mean, it’s that simple when it comes to marriage vs. divorce. So, I’m not living with someone. I’m not remarried. I’m good, right? Oh no!

After inquiring what would constitute “living together” I was informed that pretty much everything constitutes living together! At least the courts have heard cases that involve pretty much everything.

Naturally, the first bit of advice is to not sign a lease or buy a house with someone. Well, duh! I think we would all consider that to be living with someone! Also fairly normal would be not sharing bills with someone, using the address of that other person as my own, and sharing a bank account.

Really? So when CF and Harley share a bank account while we are still married it’s no big deal. Certainly not proof of any wrongdoing on their parts. Can’t get me an immediate divorce granted based on adultery. But if I share a bank account with the mobster a few years down the road it’s now proof we are living together in a relationship analogous to marriage? I’m thinking these laws are a bit biased.

On the not so normal side? My attorney cautioned me against: grocery shopping together, doing the mobster’s laundry (oh, how could I resist?), going to church together, not leaving both toiletries and clothes over at the other’s house, naming one another as beneficiaries on each other’s insurance policies, taking too many vacations together, and giving each other a key to our separate homes. In addition to all of that she advised against spending too many nights at each other’s homes.

Seriously? Going to church together now conveys marital status on a couple? How can that be? I was married for 20+ years to CF. Aside from our children’s baptisms and maybe one Christmas Eve service he never went to church with me. If that is the standard then I’m already fucked because the mobster and I did attend church together. In a state that neither of us live.

I could say almost the same thing in regards to vacations. Twenty plus years together and if I think real hard I can think of 5 vacations he took with me. Six, if you count the one weekend we went away to Vegas for his birthday.

Holidays? We spent probably as many apart as we spent together.

If I give my best friend or neighbor or brother a key to my house (you know, in case I lock myself out) could someone argue that we are living together?

Back to that shared bank account…. when CF and Harley did it it wasn’t proof of adultery. If the mobster and I do it even while living in separate homes we can be considered living together. WTF? Disclaimer: I am in no rush to share a bank account with anyone. I am merely appalled that the courts could use that as proof to dismiss alimony because we could then be considered to be living in a relationship analogous to marriage.

In one particularly scary case the husband took his ex-wife back to court to try to get spousal support dismissed based on the fact that she and her boyfriend were in a long term monogamous relationship, basically. They both had their own homes. She stayed with her boyfriend when her kids were with their father, so about 4-5 days every two weeks, and he might spend the night at her house once a week when she had her kids. They didn’t have clothes at each other’s homes, although he did have a toothbrush over at her house, and I believe she had some toiletries at his. In fact, it was stated she brought a suitcase with her every time she stayed. He pointed out that when she went over there she took her dog along. I believe they went to church together and they tried to use the fact that they would cook meals and cleanup together. The vacations they took together were also scrutinized. Who paid for what? Did they pay separately or split the expenses? They even brought up him going to her mother’s funeral! I believe he went to the funeral but not the memorial, or the funeral but not the burial. They presented themselves as a monogamous couple who were sexually active and in love and that was enough for her ex-husband to try to take her back to court and get spousal support dismissed.

She took her dog with her when she spent the night! Oh no; she’s living with him! No, dumbass, the kids are with their father. If she didn’t take the dog with her who would take care of it?

They’re going to scrutinize if he comforted her when her mother died and attended the funeral? Are you shitting me? Can anyone else attend the funeral of my loved ones without being accused of being my “husband”, or are you only prohibited from going if you’re having sex?

This is a quandary for me because as I’ve mentioned before CF didn’t bother to attend either of my grandmothers’ funerals. I drove 2000 miles to bury my Mamaw and over 1500 to bury my grandma with just my kids. He didn’t even bother to send flowers. So, just to be sure everyone is on the same page: My actual husband did not attend my grandmothers’ funerals with me. However, if the mobster were to attend a family funeral with me that is proof that we are living together in a relationship analogous to marriage. Interesting.

Why are any of those things now the barometer of whether or not I’m living with someone in a relationship analogous to marriage? Actually being married didn’t guarantee me those things.

Are they honestly trying to claim that having sex is something that only married couples do? Hell, according to the cheaters they never get any at home from their spouses. I would argue that having sex is proof positive that you aren’t married or living with someone in a relationship analogous to marriage!

I don’t feel like debating Virginia divorce law at $250 an hour but if I did I would be asking my lawyer if there is a limit on how many times a week I can actually see the mobster. If we have lunch together every day is that marriage? If we’re over at one another’s homes every night, but return to our own beds most nights, are we living as if married?

My daughter sees her boyfriend almost every day. Are they married? When I was younger and didn’t have kids or a husband I saw my best friend every day. Could someone argue we were in a lesbian relationship with one another?

If I help him pick out furniture or decorate his house is that married? God forbid I give him any advice or help!

Are we allowed to buy each other gifts?

Your Honor, he bought her chocolate covered strawberries for Mother’s Day and had them delivered to her at work! Why would he do that if they weren’t basically married? Don’t even get me started on her birthday or Christmas!

I bought him a water jug to replace the one that was leaking. Was that a dowry? The last year before CF moved us halfway across the country I put together cute little Christmas gifts for some of my best friends in Utah. They were adorable! Cute little socks, a homemade sugar foot scrub, and nail polish with a card that read: For Your Mistle Toes! Was I engaged in a polyamorous relationship with all of them? My best friend and I used to gift each other with calendar’s each year. Was that okay? Or were we basically married? I’m pretty sure lots of unmarried people give each other gifts, even ones that are in a relationship. If that’s not allowed then I understand why so many people break up right before a holiday.

And what about the trips we take together now? After all I did make a fucking omelette for him the last time we were together. Everyone knows that’s pretty much a signal to one and all that we are married! Granted, it’s been 3 weeks since we’ve seen each other and we’ve got another 2 weeks to go but I think they’ve got a great case!

Yes, Your Honor, they live 10.5 hours apart and see each other maybe 6 days out of the month if they’re lucky but she made him an omelette!

I also made him shrimp and mushroom fettucine and he washed the dishes afterwards. Holy crap- what’s next? Making babies? He made breakfast sandwiches for me and I cleaned up. Oh my!

Additionally, I’d like to know if all these weekend getaways are considered vacations which practically spells marriage, or do we get a pass since we don’t even live in the same fucking state?

I’m sure to the casual observer it would be easy enough to call me a greedy bitch who wants my poor ex-husband to subsidize my lifestyle with another man. The ultimate cake eater. No, I paid a lot of money for my divorce, mainly because of CF’s antics and his refusal to settle; I’m not willing to turn around and hand it all back over to him. I’m not willing to let him decimate my life and the lives of my children and not pay any kind of price for that.

The cold reality is I have two children I need to support. My job does not do that. Virginia will not order support for college aged kids if the payor is opposed. I have no doubt CF would have been opposed despite the fact that we never expected to cut our kids loose the minute they hit 18 and graduated from high school. So I need that spousal support to help support my kids once they are in college and child support is a mere memory. CF is way too busy reinventing himself as a wonderful father to children that aren’t his to actually parent his own, and he has an expensive, gold digging whore for a girlfriend so he won’t be offering up anything he doesn’t have to.

Sadly, it seems to me that Virginia is trying to corner me into three shitty options: 1. Stay single and collect spousal support; this is what I thought I would be dealing with. I really had no problem with that scenario when I thought that was my destiny. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or sad about living life as a single person. I would have been fine had I never met the mobster, although he has added so much to my life.  2. Have casual, short term relationships and collect spousal support; I don’t really see this as being feasible for me. I didn’t go looking for the mobster; I won’t be out there looking if anything should happen to us. 3. Be fortunate enough to get involved in a serious, long-term relationship and have spousal support yanked away despite not getting remarried or living with one another. Tell my kids they’re on their own because I barely have enough money to support myself, much less them. Let CF and Harley ride off into the sunset, counting their money and laughing about how they got away with everything.

It’s such bullshit. Who is anyone on the bench to tell me I have to get married? Or that my relationship, one where I’m not living with another person, is analogous to marriage? The basic theme seems to be shit or get off the pot. Get married or break up. A long term monogamous relationship is unacceptable. Everyone knows marriage is the pinnacle of a relationship. If you’re not married or living together then what are you doing? What kind of games are you playing? You can do casual. You can be alone. But if you’re going to date someone for any length of time then you must take the next step or you must end it! Marriage or bust!

Maybe I don’t ever want to get married again after what happened to me. I lost everything when CF left. My entire life was torn apart and I have had to dig my way back to the surface. I can’t even say that I’m there yet. I still live with my mom. My job, thanks to insurance and 401ks, still doesn’t pay me much more than what it takes to cover my bills. I’m still at CF’s mercy and whims. Why would a judge or anyone else think that I would ever trust someone enough to remarry and lose guaranteed spousal support? I was discarded after twenty years of marriage. After moving all over the country for CF’s career. After giving birth to his two children that he has also abandoned. If CF could discard me so casually after twenty years together why would I give up what I’ve fought so hard to be awarded for someone I’ve known for a year? It’s not about pulling the wool over someone’s eyes, or trying to play games. I’m being asked to trust this new relationship enough to say, “Sure! I’ll trust you not to do to me what he did; I’ll trust you with my heart, my life, and my finances even though we haven’t been together long, we aren’t going to have children together, and I won’t be moving around the country for the sake of your career. I can give up spousal support because I know that you and I are a team, despite meeting later on in life, despite not having children together, and despite not building up our careers together. With you working your job and me working mine we’ll make up for the spousal support I’m giving up. I trust you’ll do right by me and my kids, even though you’ve only known me a few months and even though their father didn’t despite being married to me for twenty years!” Why would anyone ever think I would be willing to give up what I fought so hard for so that I could once again combine my money with someone else and believe that the lifestyle we created together is mine? I learned that lesson the hard way. If I can’t afford the house on my own, it’s not mine. If I can’t afford to take vacations or buy an RV and travel in retirement or buy a boat or put a pool in or buy a hot tub… all on my own… it’s not mine. If I can’t afford it on my own it’s not mine.

What if I’m not even the one who is dragging my feet on marriage? What if I would love to get married but my significant other doesn’t want to? What if he says, “No thanks. I’ve already had to sell the house and split the proceeds. I’ve already had to split my 401k. I’ve already paid thousands of dollars to end a relationship. I’m not going through that again. I love you but I want my own space. I want the peace of mind that not being married grants me. I want to be protected in case this doesn’t work out.”

Then what? Do I end the relationship because he won’t commit and I could be considered married even if I’m not married? Who knows- we may be sharing one too many meals together and going to church together.

Hmmmm…. doesn’t not getting married protect him from having to share anything with me? Will a judge in Virginia grant me spousal support from this person I’m “living with in a relationship analogous to marriage”? If he buys a house and I’m not on the deed, can I refuse to move out? Is he not allowed to change the locks on me? Must he name me as his beneficiary on his 401k unless I sign off? Do I get to make medical decisions for him or would that responsibility go to his parents or children? If, after thirty years together, he dies, do I automatically inherit everything? What do you think?

I find it an ironic twist that Virginia has no legal separation. You are either married or divorced. There is nothing in between. Not even if your STBX is living in another state over 6 hours away with another woman. A woman he calls his fiancé and who is wearing a big ol’ diamond engagement ring while sharing a bank account with him. A woman who knew where he was when he checked himself into the VA clinic after losing his job, while his actual wife had no clue what was going on even though it would change the course of her life. I’m still married. Still not allowed to have sex with anyone else because that’s adultery! You are either married, or you are divorced, says Virginia. Unless your ex is looking to get spousal support dismissed. In that situation you might not actually be married but you may possibly potentially act like you’re married based upon arbitrary standards set by the same people who tell you that you are still married to your lying, cheating, co-habitating with another person spouse, and can be sued for adultery if you move on before the final divorce. When you are married and wishing to divorce, Virginia is focused on what the reality is; if you are not divorced, then you are married. Once you are divorced and your spouse wishes to discontinue paying support Virginia is focused on what the reality could be; now they want to try to judge based upon appearance. How many nights do you spend together? How often do you see one another? Do you go to church together? Do you ride in the same car? Do you share meals? Do you say “I love you,” or let it be known you’re not out fucking other people?

In more concise terms: In Virginia you are married until you are divorced. Once you are divorced, however, you might be living together in a relationship analogous to marriage, even if you’re not living together.  What a load of crap.

Divorce Laws and Double Standards, Part 1

I have come to the conclusion that laws in Virginia are written by entitled, narcissistic cheaters. Bear with me for one moment while I recap.

It is a state (commonwealth) that requires a couple to be separated for a year and one day before they can file for divorce. Keep in mind, too, that they are very big on physical separation. Separate houses. Separate bank accounts. In some states (think Illinois) the breadwinner is not allowed to cut off the spouse financially until the divorce is finalized. Not so with Virginia. Nope, once you decide to separate, either by living separately or living separately under the same roof (but not legally separated ‘cause that’s not a thing in Virginia!), everything that is his is his and everything that is hers is hers. In my case…further contributions to a 401k? His. Cutting off his SAH wife who has moved all over the country for him and hasn’t worked in 15 years? Sure, go for it! I didn’t have a job to buy groceries or get the kids anything they might need, but that’s no longer his problem. We’re living separately now. Spending thousands on a whore and her kids? Oh yes; absolutely! Buy puppies and engagement rings without having to account for any of that or have to pay back any as marital money? You betcha! It’s now all his money! In fact, feel free to set up a joint checking account with the whore.

Why are they so big on physical separation? For starters, it supposedly makes it so much harder in the eyes of the court to consider you actually separated if you’re still under the same roof. How do they know if you are truly separated or only playing separated?

They have a long laundry list of things you can’t do when living separately under the same roof. Obviously, sharing bank accounts is out. As is doing each other’s laundry, cooking for one another, and going to events together. That’s just for starters. Let people know you intend to divorce, stop wearing your wedding rings, and for God’s sake don’t have sex (I wouldn’t have let him touch me with a diamond encrusted dick at that point)!

It is a commonwealth that allows at fault divorce but the standard for proving fault, at least for adultery, is almost impossible. Remember- CF and Harley were living together, engaged, and had shared a joint checking account since August of 2015 before I even found out about them, and yet my lawyer told me she didn’t think we had enough to prove our case.

I remember my first lawyer telling me that the only thing they consider adultery is actual sex. Your spouse can have an online love affair, pledge their love for another in the public square, send naked pictures, sext all night and all day, share a bank account, give the paramour money, make out in public, spend thousands on said paramour and the paramour’s kids, and parade the paramour all over Hell’s Creation, but unless you have irrefutable proof that they’re having sex they are in the clear. Sorry about your hurt feelings.

Why is that? Does Virginia just really hate divorce and by not granting an instant divorce on the grounds of adultery they want couples to try to work it out, or at least have plenty of time to think things over before taking this drastic step?

I don’t think so. I think it’s more likely that men (because let’s face it- most of the lawmakers were/are indeed men) couldn’t get rid of at fault divorce for whatever reason. In turn, they figured they would write the laws so that it would be very difficult to prove and none of them would have to deal with the public scrutiny of being labeled an adulterer. It’s difficult to claim you “just grew apart” when anyone can peruse the court documents and see you were sued for divorce based on adultery. And for them to further see that the divorce was actually granted based upon that.

In the meantime, while the cheaters are off sowing their wild oats the betrayed partner is supposed to sit at home and remain faithful to the cheater. Why? Because if you are a person who will be granted alimony the standard for proving adultery is much lower. Have you physically separated as Virginia would like you to? Is the cheater hoarding all of his or her money and blowing it on Schmoopie? Yeah, too bad, so bad. The cheater is allowed to do that. You, however? You need to forsake all others because you are married! If you dare to have sex while you’re separated from your cheater you could then be accused of said adultery.

Yep, you can be physically separated for any duration of time (6 weeks, 10 months, 2 years, 5 years…) and if your spouse catches whiff of you dating while separated, and can somehow prove you’re having sex, you lose all claims to alimony. You can lose your alimony if they can prove you’re having sex while you wait for the judge’s decision after the divorce trial. Why? Because Virginia considers you married until you’re no longer married. Living separately? Still married. Husband living with another woman in another state? Still married. Paid out the ass for a divorce trial and are awaiting the judge’s decision, knowing the divorce will be granted? Still married.

That brings me back to my theory. Those clever lawmakers weren’t clever enough. They forgot that they aren’t the only ones that lie and cheat. They’ve done such a bang up job of writing laws to protect cheaters that they now may be stuck with a cheating wife. And have to pay her alimony on top of that!

What to do… what to do…. Write more laws! If they couldn’t prove the cheating wife was lying before the divorce, then they could prove it on the other side, when offering up reasons as to why they shouldn’t have to pay alimony. It also benefits all those men who are lying and cheating on their wives because they get a chance to get out of jail free so to speak. If they’re fucking their mistresses and dragging out the divorce, perhaps the wife will move on and meet someone before the ink on the divorce decree is dry. Hallelujah! No more spousal support! Now he gets to keep the whore and all his money.

Again, the bar is now much lower. You want to be granted a divorce based upon adultery? Your spouse is living with the other person and sharing a bank account with that person and you’ve got pictures of his car parked at her house all night? Eh. Not really enough to prove anything happened. You need to wait a year and a day before filing for divorce. You want to stop paying alimony because after you’ve cheated on your spouse he or she has moved on? There’s a car in the driveway all night? Adulterous slut! No alimony for you, you cheating whore!

I’ve written about this before so you may be wondering why I’m revisiting it. Turns out those sneaky lawmakers weren’t finished. Spousal support stops when the person receiving it either remarries or lives with someone in a relationship analogous to marriage for more than eleven months. Sounds simple, right? I mean, in Virginia you’re either married or you’re divorced; there’s no in-between. Obviously then, you’re either married/living with someone or you’re not, right?

To be continued…