Brrrr!!!

I live in one of the states that is being affected by the polar vortex. Temperatures yesterday got down to -47 degrees with the wind chill. Mail delivery has been suspended. School has been out since Tuesday. The mall is closed. Some of the banks are closed as well. The one I work for is not, but they did shorten the work hours to 11-4.

I had already put in for vacation for the 31st and 1st, but with the polar vortex coming and talk of a possible state of emergency I didn’t want to be stuck at home come Wednesday, so Picasso and I took off Tuesday after work and headed down to the mobster’s. We stopped just shy of the West Virginia border to spend the night and made the rest of the journey the following day.

Traveling with Picasso has been interesting. I made the observation when we stopped for the night that checkout wasn’t until noon, not that we would need that. The next morning we get ready, go downstairs to eat breakfast, and then once back to the room I asked him if he was ready to grab our bags and get out of there.

I thought we couldn’t leave until noon.

No, I said checkout was at noon. That means we have to leave by noon; however, we can leave any time we want. This is not the Hotel California.

What’s the Hotel California?

Oh dear sweet Jesus! To his credit (and my surprise!) he did know it was a song. I ended up in a philosophical discussion with my 16-year old about what the Hotel California actually represents. All because of a damn late checkout time!

He spent most of his time on his Switch so I was totally shocked when he broke into song once we crossed the river into West Virginia.

Country roads, take me home

To the place I belong

West Virginia, mountain momma

Take me home country roads

Number one, where in the hell did he learn the lyrics to this song? It’s old! It’s John Denver! Second, I was totally baffled by where he was going with this until I heard “West Virginia.” That kid has a keen mind, and an amazing music library.

We had some good conversations. We talked about his dad a little bit. At one point he said, “How sad is it that I don’t even remember if he was around for Thanksgiving or Christmas?”

The mobster requested we stop and take a picture at Lover’s Leap. It’s a scenic overlook about 45 minutes from his house. I rolled my eyes but I did it. Hey, it’s cold up there on that mountain!

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He is a funny guy. I had Picasso text him and ask him how to get in the house if we should arrive before him or T. He texts back: Break the window on the left. He always makes me smile.

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We went out to dinner shortly after he got home from work with two of his kids and his son’s girlfriend. We had seafood, of all things. I got the shrimp but wish I had followed my son’s lead and chosen the broiled catfish. It was really good. The shrimp was listed as jumbo shrimp but they were not jumbo. They also didn’t have much flavor. Oh well. I stuck with my low-carb eating plan. Yesterday, anyway.

One of T’s friends came over after the basketball game when she heard I was in town. She said she wanted to come over and say hi. We figured out that we hadn’t seen each other since May last year. That made me feel good. The fact that she made a point to come see me, not that we hadn’t seen each other since May.

I fell completely off the wagon today. I had toast for breakfast, plus flavored creamer in my coffee. On top of all of that the mobster and I met for lunch at Hardee’s. I had my favorite- the mushroom and swiss.

Tonight the mobster, his daughter and I are going to see Kane Brown in concert. That should be a good time. I’m looking forward to it.

Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Whoreville to pick up my divorce file. That should be an awesome read! It will probably supply plenty of material for future blog posts.

There is a possibility I will get to see one of my favorite cousins. I’m not holding my breathe but she is working in a nearby city so if nothing else I can always stop by the pharmacy and say hello.

After that Picasso and I are going to head to our favorite restaurant in town. I’ve talked about it before. It’s an all you can eat Japanese steakhouse style restaurant. They don’t actually cook in front of you but they do cook to order. I may splurge and go ahead and order my favorite sushi roll which isn’t on the lunch buffet but I know of no other place that makes it.

We’ll head back to the mobster’s by 1 because the three of us are going to see Paula Poundstone in Roanoke later tomorrow evening. I haven’t seen her in ages. Ironically, the only time I ever saw her in concert was when CF and I were still married; even more shocking is the fact that we went together! He wasn’t always a dud that hid in the bedroom. Remember, according to him everything didn’t start falling apart until we had kids.

Saturday is up in the air. We might go see a hockey game. We might stay at home and watch movies and eat pizza. We’ll see.

All I know is I’m not suffering through minus 40 degree temperatures! Plus, I’m with the mobster. That’s always a good feeling.

Stay warm, everybody!

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Saying Goodbye to My 40s

For my mother, turning 30 was the age she dreaded. For years after her 29th birthday she would claim to be 29 and holding. I remember shortly before my own 30th birthday I asked her, “Am I going to be older than you when I turn 30?” I wasn’t sure how she was going to pull that one off. She replied, “Only if you’re dumb enough to tell people you’re 30.” She might still be telling people she’s 29.

I, on the other hand, never dreaded turning 30; I didn’t mind it at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say I was eager for my 30s. I can’t complain about them. I looked younger than my age so I enjoyed the shock on people’s faces when I would mention being 30 or older. Even now, if asked, I would say that my 30s were probably my best decade so far. I don’t know why exactly; after all, I was married to CF. Alright, that’s harsh (harsh, but true, am I right?). The fact is I entered my 30s married (no more playing the dating game) and owning my own home. I had my babies when I was 31 and 33. Financially things were going pretty well. I turned 30 in Mississippi and had a great group of friends. I moved to Michigan right before I turned 32, and found another good group. I started going to church and I got involved there. I got involved at Rock Star’s school. I participated in MOPS. At 37 I moved to Utah where I again found a tribe to call my own and got heavily involved in the community.

Looking back I think that my 20s weren’t awful but that time of life was more about finding yourself. I was still finishing up college, and then looking for a job. I had been single since my sophomore year of college so I was still looking for a boyfriend. I found CF and got married, which, I suppose at the time was a good thing in my mind. In your 20s you’re still getting your feet wet, trying out this whole “adult life” thing. By your 30s, hopefully you have it a little more together. Plus, I was trying to have a baby in my 20s. Let me tell you, trying to get pregnant month after month only to get your period, and then turning around and miscarrying after you finally get pregnant after almost a year of trying, while everyone else around you seems to be able to pop babies out without a care in the world can make you crazy. I spent many, many days bawling and praying for a baby. I tried to cry in the shower so CF wouldn’t know I was upset but I remember him coming into the bathroom one time and asking me if I was ok. Apparently I wasn’t as quiet with my crying as I thought and he could hear me sobbing over the water all the way into the living room. This was all over getting my damn period. I remember another day sobbing and sinking down a wall, thinking to myself, “I can literally see my sanity slipping away.” I wanted a baby badly! And my 20s did not pay off!

No, my 30s were fine. They were welcomed and they were enjoyed. For me it was turning 40. There was just something about that birthday. I don’t know why. I had never been one of those people who fought aging. I turned 40 kicking and screaming. Holy crap! I remember thinking to myself, “You know, you’re going to look back when you turn 50 and you’re going to say, ‘Forty wasn’t that bad. I wish I were turning 40 again.’”

I don’t really think I’m going to say that. Mainly because for whatever reason turning 50 doesn’t really bother me all that much. Probably also because my 40s sucked. Maybe that’s why I was kicking and screaming so hard. I just knew instinctively what was coming. My 40s were just one long shit show basically.

Let’s review. First of all, nothing special was done for my 40th birthday. My best friend flew out to surprise me but that was all her doing and not CF doing it for me. I don’t want to hold a grudge, but I’m just saying… I did try a Shamrock shake for the first time in my life. Delicious. Plus, I had a wonderful time going to gymnastics meets out of state with Rock Star. Those are pretty much the only positives in my 40s.

In 2013 I was 44, so not quite halfway through my 40s. I found out my husband was screwing around on me with his cousin. His cousin of all people! And I basically spent from 2013 until 2017 just living out a nightmare. 2013 I found out he was texting the whore. Later on I found out he had lied about cutting it off and ending it. He was still texting her. I was sure I was headed for a divorce. Shortly thereafter I ended up having to move. I left my beloved Utah. I left my friends behind. I left everything- PTA, volunteering, Bunco. I left behind being a gym mom and being a hockey mom. I left all of those things. My whole life was there.

And then we moved to Virginia. I had all the material things I had ever wanted in my life. We had a game room going on downstairs- we had a foosball table, darts, pool table, air hockey table. We finally got a pool. But it was rough. I didn’t really have any friends. I had all these wonderful contraptions. I had this beautiful home. I had it decorated so nicely. And yet I didn’t have any friends for the most part. I didn’t have people to come over and hang out and socialize. I couldn’t offer to have anybody come over to my pool. Number one, it wasn’t finished until August and number two, because asshole was discovered 6 days after it was put in. So 2014 and part of 2015 was spent dealing with the move and that huge loss. And then 2015 was also spent dealing with CF acting crazy and winding up in a psych ward. If that wasn’t enough I got to deal with the fact my husband was having an affair and I was heading for divorce court. My kids and I had just made a huge cross country move and this was the end result. I was 46 years old. I hadn’t worked outside of the home since 1998. Then in 2016 he loses his job and I’m forced out of my house. I was 47 years old.

Really, that whole period of time from the moment I found out what he was up to until June was one hard knock after another. Oh hey, he cashed in the rest of his stock and put it into a joint checking account with the whore! Oh hey he’s taken out a loan on his 401k. Oh hey he’s bought her an engagement ring. Oh hey! Guess what? Now he’s moved out of the damn house AND he’s quit his job AND he’s moved back to Kentucky! Wow! It was knock upon knock upon knock. Then of course there was the final knock where he lets me know he’s lost his job and he won’t be sending anymore money. And the kids and I were forced to sell off what we could, leave behind the rest, and move in with my mom 600 miles away.

Then I spent several months trying to find a job; of course no one wants to hire me because, “Hey, you haven’t worked in 15 years!” I finally get a job and I’m going into work at 4 in the morning and I’m making $11/hour and it’s not a full-time job so I’m still looking for one of those. Then it gets closer to Christmas and I’m going in at 2 in the morning, 3 in the morning. Then I have another part time job and I’m working all the time. 16 hour days. Getting up at 1:30 or 2:30 in the morning. Going into work, working until almost noon, and then turning around and working until 6 or 8 depending upon what time I had to go back into Target. Then I finally get a full time job and I start that in January and I’m working both jobs because I can’t afford to quit. Working that second job, getting up at 3:30 in the morning, meant my kids didn’t have to choose between eating or wiping their ass. I couldn’t buy new shoes for them if they were to outgrow their shoes; I couldn’t buy my daughter new clothes for no reason. But I could buy toilet paper and milk. So that was nice.

My 48th birthday was one of the most depressing days of my life. I cried and cried and didn’t want to celebrate it all. I still remember thinking as I climbed in my car at 3:45 in the morning, “I can’t believe this is my life. It sucks so hard. I can hardly wait until I die.”

It wasn’t until later on that things started to get a little easier. Eventually I got my back support. That definitely helped because I could breathe a little easier. Plus, I was able to give up my second job.

And then my 40s ended up being a wonderful time for me because I met the mobster. I was given the most wonderful gift in the world. I was 48 years old when I met him so I was almost at the end of my 40s. Side note: God bless that man; he told me the first time we talked he thought I was around 35. I love him so much! I’ve had 2 good years out of my 40s. Okay, I guess we could say the first 3-4 years of my 40s weren’t so bad, and these last 2 weren’t bad. But what I went through from 2013 through most of 2017 really colored it all. So I’m not dreading 50.

I had a great-grandmother who lived to be 103, a great grandfather who lived to be 98 and a grandmother who lived to be 92 or 93. I’m banking on 105 for myself, so it’s not like I go, “Over half my life’s gone,” because I think I’ve got easily another 50 years. I’m hoping to God that this 50 is a hell of a lot better than the first 50. There’s been a lot of crappy stuff. A lot of good stuff but a lot of crappy stuff. I’m not dreading 50. I think, too, there’s this certain, “I’m old and this is kind of liberating and freeing. I don’t have to worry about what people think. I don’t have to put up with a lot of bullshit. I can always go back to ‘I’m old’” state of mind. But I don’t feel old.

I remember watching an episode of Hot In Cleveland. I think one of the main characters was talking about growing older; they asked Betty White’s character, Elka, how it felt to be her age.  Elka replied that she still felt like the same person. She didn’t feel old; she felt the way she always had.

That describes me perfectly. I know I’m almost 50. I know that’s considered <gasp> middle-aged. Nonetheless, I still feel like I’m in my 20s (or maybe my 30s). I don’t think anyone who saw me would say, “Oh yes, she definitely looks 50!” There are a few more creaks in my joints. There are a few more wrinkles on my face. Plus, I’ve got that farting thing going on (which seems to be clearing up, btw). Aside from that, I sometimes have to remind myself how old I really am.

Sadly, the final thing that makes me not dread my 50s, and rather embrace them is my class has lost more than a few classmates. We recently lost someone in December. It wasn’t someone I hung around with but I knew who she was. I am speculating but from what I’ve read it appears she took her own life. Not too long ago someone posted a picture of her and another classmate. It was from sometime in high school. They were young, probably 18, had the world by the tail. Life was full of possibilities. The caption read, “… We lost M 10 years ago today and K merely weeks ago. Both way too soon, but they left us a full lifetime of beautiful memories. Thank you both for all of the unbelievably fun times!” It was jarring seeing those two, so young and full of potential, happy and carefree, and realizing that both of them were gone before they had reached 50.

Another classmate commented, “… As the class of ’87 turns 50 it’s easy to complain about aging, but it’s always better than the alternative. This post reminded me that not everyone has the privilege of growing old so we should be thankful for every day we have.”

I threw the mobster a surprise 50th birthday party. I intentionally picked a positive theme. I didn’t buy him gifts to pick on his age. Instead I gave him 50 gifts to celebrate his 50 years. Some of those things were a little silly, like the bowl of noodles I gave him. The Chinese eat noodles on their birthday and they believe that the long noodles represent a long life. I gave him a little set of rocks with inspirational words on them, like “Peace”, “Love, “Hope” and so forth. I put a little sign in it that said, “50 rocks!” I bought him a mug that said something to the effect of, “It’s taken me 50 years to look this good!” and a bottle of hot sauce with a note tied around the neck of it, declaring, “Still hot at 50!” I gave him a jar of Hershey kisses and put a label on it that said, “Kiss your 40s goodbye!”, and a jar of suckers with a sign that said, “I’m turning 50 and I don’t give a lick!” The original idea found suggested, “50 sucks!” or whatever older age the person may be celebrating, but I wanted positive. I wanted a celebration. His cups and plates all proclaimed him to be a “vintage dude”. There were no “Over the Hill” or Grim Reaper jokes.

As I was looking for ideas for him I saw party themes for women as well. I liked the ones that said, “I make 50 look good!”  or “50 and Fabulous,” or even “Aged to Perfection.” I saw another one that said, “50 & Young AF,” which I appreciated, along with, “It should be against the law to look this good at 50!” But the one I loved the most was the one that said, “I’m 50, bitches!” That about sums it up for me. Next month I’m putting my 40s behind me. My kids are nearly grown. I have a fabulous new partner who loves me for me. I’m back in the workforce again. Let’s see what this new decade brings. Bring it on! I am ready!

The Joys Of a Good Hat

I am not much of a hat person. I’d like to be a hat person. I love trying them on. I’m possibly even cute in them. But I generally don’t like wearing them. I don’t like having them on my head . I’m always leaning my head back to see if they’ll fall off, or doing all sorts of weird things to make sure this hat is a good “fit” for me. I’m not even crazy about the hood on my coat. It’s either way too big so I have no peripheral vision, or I just don’t like it for whatever reason. Usually it’s a vision thing.

Normally I eschew hats even though I have heard it said that you lose something like 70% of your body heat through your head so a good hat is essential. Until the moment I found my perfect hat, that is.

I found it at a little boutique where my mom had a gift certificate. She couldn’t find anything she wanted so she offered it to me.

I looked around and came across all of these cute knitted hats. This particular one is bright pink with knit flowers and sparkles on it. It’s lined with fleece and has two big pom pom balls at the back of it to adjust it. It doesn’t slip and slide. I don’t lose any vision. It doesn’t push against the back of my seat when I’m driving in the car. It hits every weird criteria I have. I love it!

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I used to think those people who say you lose all your body heat through your head were crazy until I started wearing my lovely hat. Now I feel as though they must be correct; since I’ve taken to wearing that hat I can testify that I feel so much warmer when I’m out in the freezing cold. The difference between wearing the hat and not wearing the hat is substantial. I could be outside freezing but when I put the hat on midway through my walk I am warm and toasty.

In fact, I love my hat so much I took the time to write a post about it.

 

 

P.S. The mobster took the time to Google this and now my whole article is bunk! It is all a myth, dammit! Apparently there is no benefit to covering your head and you’re much better off covering your leg or arm. Well that’s stupid because you’re already wearing a coat! He also tells me we only lose about 7-10% of the heat from our body through our head. But let me tell you I feel so much warmer wearing my hat. So fuck Google and all those stupid articles that say I’m wrong!

Trying to Banish the High Road

Bear with me as I think through this. As you all know Friday was a great day for me. I started garnishment proceedings and learned that the child support enforcement agency in my state considers his current order to still be current despite Rock Star’s graduation, because he has not seen fit to modify it. As of today the difference between what he was going to have to pay and what he is now going to end up paying is well over $5000 and it will only continue to grow.

As you also know my lawyer was quite quick in responding to me on Friday when I let her know she didn’t need to worry about modification anymore. She thought we would be finalizing the modification on Thursday.

This is my dilemma (and I can already hear my mom screaming, “No!!!! Don’t you dare!). I really do feel a little guilty about making him pay $900/month in arrears. Even more than that I feel like I’m somehow lying because I knew the order needed to be modified and knew I was no longer entitled to child support on both kids. It feels dishonest- attempting to modify the support order, my lawyer pushing me to the back burner, and then me filing a case for garnishment.

What can I say? I’m a sucker. I’m a perpetual high road taker, even at my own detriment. I did it all through my marriage. I still tend to do it. So I’m doing my best to think through this and tell myself he does not deserve my good graces. Which he really doesn’t.

My first thought after my attorney contacted me was I could instruct her to tell him to accept us using the $44 premium instead of the $85 premium I know he would insist upon, plus he would cover all legal fees. I’m a bit like my daughter when she said if there was a real purge she would get a sweet tea at McDonald’s and not pay for it. Or maybe grab some clothes. Yeah, it’s a freaking purge and she’s shoplifting. At least now I know where she gets it. I’ve got him by the short and curlies and my big thought is, “I’m going to insist on the $44 premium!”

My next thought wasn’t much better. I was going to insist he take the old offer and we could use the new figures going forward. I would have received an additional $300/month since June until December, and then child support would have been less than $200 more from January forward. He would also still be responsible for all legal fees.

I might be working my way up to vandalism in this purge, but I’m still not going for the throat.

Thought #3 was insisting we use the coverage for both kids through December, since I couldn’t take Rock Star off anyway. That would probably equal the same amount as just going with our original offer.

By thought #4 I was finally catching on that I could pretty much ask for the moon and the stars if he realized he was going to end up being responsible for the full amount of child support unless we came to an agreement. That’s when I decided I could add things into the new support order. Things like- he would agree to have Rock Star’s insurance included in the child support calculations, and that he would help out with college expenses 50/50. Plus, pay my damn legal expenses. I, in turn, would agree to the lower amount of arrears and would use all my new information going forward. I would turn the new order over to Indiana. The new order would explicitly state what the arrears were so he would no longer be responsible for an additional $900 each month.

Before everyone starts yelling at me let me say there is a reasoning behind this at this point. Three reasons, actually.

First, I am not sure what his reaction is going to be upon finding out he’s being garnished. I mean, I know he’s going to be pissed. I don’t know, however, if he would simply refuse to pay anything until the state garnished him. I can’t take that hit. I also don’t know if reason would prevail for him. Hey, Buckaroo, if you don’t pay you’re even further behind. He might not give a shit because he’s so pissed at me. Or, maybe he’ll be so close to having a heart attack when he finds out what he owes me I can point out: If you agree to this you’ll save yourself close to $10,000 in arrears (I’m figuring it will be another 2-3 months before they begin garnishing and another month before he gets a new order so 11-12 months in arrears). It’s far more cost effective for you to agree to my stipulations than it would be to continue to fight me. Maybe he would jump at that; maybe he would bite off his nose to spite his face. It could go either way.

Second, I don’t like to ever get too cocky. Right now I feel like I’m completely in the driver’s seat- he’s getting garnished no matter what, and there’s also the matter of Indiana going after him for the full support amount for arrears. I know that situation could change, or at least I’m preparing for it. I’m still anticipating him dragging me in front of a judge and having to explain myself. I’m waiting to be told he will somehow get away with this because we had started modifying the support order. I’m always waiting for the second shoe to drop with him.

Third, this is an interstate case. Our divorce is in one state, I live in another, and he lives in yet another. I know that anything that pertains to our divorce will be handled in Virginia. Child support, however, I’m not completely sure how that would work. His first step obviously is going to be modifying the support order so he’s no longer on the hook for Rock Star. Where does he do that? As in, which state would he need to go through?

In Virginia he is imputed. Our incomes are vastly different, especially when he’s imputed. If Indiana modifies the court order I wonder if they would use the same figures, or if I would once again have to prove he should be imputed. If child support was calculated at our current salaries we would be fairly close in earnings seeing as how they will deduct spousal support from his income and they will add it to mine. I don’t want to end up in a situation where I win the battle (a decent amount in arrears) but lose the war ($400-600 less per month in child support for the next two plus years). I have no idea how they would calculate it or how much he would end up having to pay if they didn’t impute his income; I’m guessing.

Let’s say everything goes my way. Either he has to go through Virginia to get it modified, or Indiana uses the imputed numbers for him. Now I’m at a crossroads because once again I’m in the driver’s seat. How do I justify not getting on that high road?

I have pretty much worked it through my mind and as long as the above is true I don’t think I’m cutting him a break. This is how I came to that conclusion, despite my desire to be “nice” and to “do the right thing”.

Part of the reason I would want to be fair is because I don’t want to give anyone the opportunity to call me a greedy, selfish bitch. “Oh, she knew the court order needed to be modified. He was working with her and then she went and did this!” Let’s face it. I will always be portrayed as a greedy, selfish bitch. There will never be any concession I can make that will satisfy him or anyone who supports him. So fuck all of them.

Indiana says the exact same thing I have been saying this whole time. It’s his goddamn job to get this modified! I told him that. I was very nice. I was completely non-confrontational. Have you spoken to your lawyer yet about modifying child support? I realize it will go down but it’s not going to be reduced by half. According to your first conversation with her it would reduce by about $350 but that’s using different numbers than what we have now. That was sent on June 28th and he ignored me, choosing instead to send his “prorated” support for Rock Star. I tried again on July 1st. While I appreciate the prorated child support for Rock Star that’s not what I was referring to. Child support for Picasso is not $900. It’s probably in the $1200-$1400 range. He finally deigned to answer me, letting me know: The decree says $1800 for both. It says there are no separate amounts for each child. Therefore $900 for each. Check your official court documents. H.13 “There is no order for separate amounts of child support for each child.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day so I called my attorney at that point. Maybe he was correct. Maybe that is what I had agreed to. Turns out I had not. He was, in fact, wrong. He now needed to get the order modified.

What does he do? He turns around and calls me a cunt. Later that month when he sends child support he sends me this: Child Support 2018 (original amount absent pending revisionist history). Your attorney has not given me the new $$$ required to keep you and the Potato Chip Squire living comfortably and able to meet up. When that amount is determined… then the amount will change.

Ah, going to dig in our heels, are we?

All that crap? Tells me he knows he needs to get it modified. He knows he’s not paying what he’s supposed to. But as always he’s going to sit there and let me do all the work. If you want the additional money then you need to do all the work. And pay for it.

Not once since July did he ever ask about a new child support order. He was perfectly happy to leave everything as the status quo. Unless I pushed it he was totally content to ignore it. Why not? At this point he had taken it upon himself to modify a judge’s court order and determine how much he was willing to pay, and so far he was getting away with it. Let it ride!

When he’s finally given the new support amount, along with the arrears, he disagrees with them. He wants to play lawyer. He is suddenly able to locate a child support calculation sheet online. He wants proof of insurance. He wants my new pay stub in case I’m making a dollar more an hour (or two dollars in my case). He wants to make sure he pays as little as possible. He is arrogant and dismissive of my attorney. He refuses to pay the legal fees that I’ve had to incur because of his stubbornness.

Once again I’m left thinking that if he had simply taken that first offer and not tried to drag it out or play lawyer, this would already be resolved. He would have a new child support order and arrears would have been agreed upon. Instead, Indiana considers the old court order to be the correct one because he hasn’t modified it yet. So they’re going to treat him as though he’s $6300 or more behind. As I said the other day he should have taken the first offer. It has been his behavior that has led to this.

That’s not even taking into consideration his other shitty texts and messages to me. Anybody remember the infamous Christmas envelopes with the Grinch and robber stamps? Or this gem: Your attorney just gave me permission to take money out of MY 401(k) to pay the arrearage. Figured I should tell you since you have such a watchful eye on MY money.

How about this?

You asked if you could pay every other week since that’s when you got paid. I agreed to that because there was no reason not to. I don’t know if you got paid on the 5th or the 12th but regardless you should have sent the support check already. When can I expect it?

Check your damn mailbox. Greedy much?

I did check. It wasn’t there or I wouldn’t have asked. If it’s easier for you I can just go through the state and have your check garnished. Then you won’t have to be bothered with texts from me.

No idea why you don’t have it. You should. Not my fault if the mail doesn’t arrive in time. By the way I never got proof that you have health insurance on the kids. That would be nice to see as well. You will have your “well deserved” funds in plenty of time before the month end. Don’t stress yourself out.

That was way back in January last year. He did an okay job of getting support to me until April.

The month is almost over and you have made one half of your child support payment and none of your spousal. Do you have a plan to catch up?

Don’t stress yourself. The money will be paid. If you absolutely must know I am catching up from funeral expenses for my mother. Thank you for your condolences and those of the children as well.

The following month he was once again behind. By the 22nd of May he had paid half his child support and a quarter of his spousal support. Once again I sent him a text letting him know there was nothing in the court order about him paying whenever he wanted. I went on to tell him I didn’t care if he paid weekly, bi-weekly or the first of the month, but he needed to pick a schedule and stick with it. If he couldn’t do that then he was going to force me to garnish his paycheck.

Rock Star graduated soon thereafter and I thought my hands were tied until the new support order had been settled.

One of my favorites was his explanation for what the spousal support was for: What’s it for? That doesn’t even deserve an answer. Everyone knows why this money is changing hands. Because the party of the 1st part needs to supplement the inability of the party of the 2nd part to live on her own merits.

In other words, he has been an ass to me at every turn. If I’m offering up a graduation ticket or letting him know about an injury a child has suffered he’s fine. If I ever have to discuss money with him he’s an ass. Is it my fault no one explained to him that affair pussy is expensive?

I’m left with the realization that, much like when I felt sympathy for him when he was testifying at our divorce trial, his own actions have brought this all on.

  1. He could have modified support when I brought it up and told him he should probably contact his lawyer.
  2. He could have done the modification paperwork himself if he didn’t want to pay his attorney. He is obviously capable of finding that information and doing that work. Had he said, “Sam, I’m doing it myself to save money. You can have your lawyer look it over if you want,” I would have been willing to do that. I would have given him whatever information he asked for, just as I always have.
  3. He absolutely refused to pay anymore in child support until I paid my lawyer to modify the court order. The one that orders him to pay me.  He knew it wasn’t correct. He knew the moment his lawyer contacted him and he responded in a rage, calling me a cunt. I think I have been very accommodating to a person who has not deserved it. I would have been willing to work with him but he chose to cross his arms and stomp his feet like a toddler.
  4. He could have chosen not to act like a penny pinching jackass and gone with the first offer. As I said earlier, this would have all been over if he had. Instead he was all, “If we are updating the child support amount owed, then we need to use the actual figures from today to make everything correct and proper.” Not to mention refusing to pay for my legal fees despite the fact that he was the reason I needed a freakin’ lawyer!
  5. He could have paid support according to a schedule. Any fucking schedule! This is HUGE! The whole reason I even went the garnishment route was because I was tired of never knowing when he was going to pay me. I can deal with his stupid envelopes and all of his crappy emojis (which I suspect are supposed to be obscene). I don’t even really care about his snide comments. I cannot deal with never knowing when the next support check is coming. I’m beyond tired of being stressed out because I have $200 in my account until I either get paid or get a support payment, only to then get paid AND receive a payment from him. It’s feast or famine. I never know if I can go ahead and pay a big bill or not. Never know if I can pay ahead or not. Never know if I can splurge on something or not. Because he refuses to pay on any kind of a schedule. Furthermore, he has completely ignored me when I’ve requested he pick a schedule and stick to it; he’s downright nasty and condescending if I have to ask where it is.
  6. He is the one that decided all on his own that he was going to modify the child support agreement. He did his own calculations for prorating Rock Star’s support, calculating right down to the moment she graduated. Even when told that this wasn’t correct he dug in his heels. I cannot tell you how many people shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them those stories, and then mumble in amazement, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.” He is the one that believes no one can tell him what to do. That’s all on him. I’ve done all I can and I’m taking myself out of the equation.

I was a dutiful, loving wife so I heard many industry stories over the years. At his former company the hourly employees used a point system. You got so many points before you were fired. I remember him telling me how so many of the employees would “play the game” with their points. They generally knew exactly where they were so they knew if they could afford, both financially and point wise, to call in on a Friday and have a three day weekend. He would always tell them, “Eventually you’re going to mess up and I’m going to catch you, and then you’ll be gone.” He was correct. They would forget about a point, or miscalculate when something was going to fall off, or they would genuinely need to use points and they wouldn’t have them.

I liken what’s happening now to that. He’s those guys. He’s been playing with his points for a while now; however, he’s miscalculated and I’ve caught him now.

Happy Thoughts

Let’s talk about something happier than what I’ve been discussing. How about another weekend update on me and the mobster?

We have returned to the same Air BnB three times in a row now. It’s a beautiful place. It’s a suite connected to a house but it has a full size kitchen and a large living area with a gas fireplace. Then the bedroom is off to the side with an adjoining bathroom, which also opens out into the kitchen/living area. The best part though? We pay $57/night for it! You can’t get that kind of a price even at a dumpy hotel.

The first time we went was the first weekend in December. We fell in love with the place. Plus it’s not too far from where we’ve stayed before. We had an amazing time checking out the local scene, although the first night we stayed in and watched The Christmas Chronicles in front of the fire.

In the morning we went to breakfast at this cute little diner called Sunny Street Cafe. I love how all of their mugs are different, and they’re all hand-painted. The food was good, too.

After that we headed over to Meijer. We checked out the Christmas stuff and ended up buying a puzzle. We bought some snacks to keep hunger at bay while we were doing said puzzle. Our plan was to stay home, do the puzzle, watch some Netflix and munch on the snacks. Then I got the brilliant idea to stop by this new bar/boutique that had just opened. I have a friend who loves Moscow Mules and this place had a holiday version. I was intrigued. We’ll just have a holiday Moscow Mule and then head back. Famous last words.

Zassy’s used to be a home decor boutique before this recent move. They have very cute things. It has a definite country feel to it. But in this new location, which is a converted bowling alley, the home decor boutique is in the back and they have added a bar and grill.

We checked out the boutique, even bought a few Christmas decorations, and then grabbed a seat at the bar. We both had a holiday Moscow Mule which was very delicious. We also went ahead and ordered a chicken quesadilla and chips and salsa. The mobster got to talking to the bartender and found out he was in real estate. That’s something the mobster has always thought about doing. We all chatted for a while and then we decided to go next door to Plum Run Winery. I mean, what are the chances that you’d have a taproom and a winery right next door to each other?

I tried a flight of wines and ended up ordering a glass of their cranberry wine. It was sooooo good. We actually ordered an appetizer of Brussel Sprouts there. They were quite tasty. We were going to order the gigantic Bavarian pretzel that is served hanging from a hook but they were sold out.

They had a Christmas bizarre going on inside as well so I ended up buying a few things, including a Christmas gift for my mom.

By the time we left to head home it was almost 7 and we were caught in traffic for the city’s Christmas parade. A very nice cop on a bicycle told us to head the other way, the wrong way down a one way street in fact, to get out of the traffic and be able to head home.

Once home we began working on the 500 piece puzzle while we listened to Christmas music. And that’s what we did until 1 in the morning!

We got up late, headed over to O’Charley’s for brunch, and then wandered around Target for a little while. Parting is such sweet sorrow. It’s definitely hard to say goodbye.

We had wanted to get together with most of our kids and go to the Columbus Zoo to see the Christmas lights next time but that didn’t pan out. Instead we reserved the same Air BnB and exchanged Christmas gifts and finished up Christmas shopping for our kids.

Our first night there we headed out for a late dinner. We tried out yet another new place called Planks on Broadway. The food wasn’t bad but it definitely had more of a small town feel. It seemed to be the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else so we were kind of out of place. As I told him later I wish we had chosen to go back to Zassy’s or Plum Run Winery.

In the morning we got to open our Christmas presents to each other! I couldn’t wait for him to see what I had given him. I even numbered them and had him open them in the order that I thought would bring the most excitement. His first gift was a set of plaques declaring my love for him. It was actually the very first Christmas gift I bought this year. His second gift was a Dunder Mifflen Inc. Paper Co. shirt. I may have misjudged how much he was going to love it because he whipped off his shirt and put that one on instead. His third gift was a set of candles. He loves candles. One was just a regular Yankee Candle but for the second one I used their personalization service to create a special label with a picture of the two of us and the caption, “You Are the One” on it. His fourth gift was a set of Elf pajamas. I had looked everywhere trying to find him an Elf t-shirt but struck out; however, I did manage to find some cute pjs and I know he wears pajama bottoms a lot. I told him it was a toss up between the final two gifts. Gift number five was a cup I painted at a local pottery place. I had written the names of all the places we had been to on it. Finally, he opened the Red Sox wreath I had had my co-worker make for him.

I received an air fryer which I had wanted, a pair of polar bear pajamas, two chocolate caramel apples, and a Bob Ross calendar. We love Bob Ross. He also was planning on taking me out to buy me a piece of jewelry and later bought me a puzzle as well.

Afterwards we once again had breakfast at Sunny Street Cafe. Afterwards it was ON for that last minute Christmas shopping. I honestly thought we might spend an hour or two finishing up. Instead it turned into an all day affair.

The highlights of the shopping trip were buying my beautiful double heart necklace, finding out that in Ohio Meijer lets you sample alcohol and the mobster’s first foray into Ulta.

  1. The mobster knew he wanted to buy me some jewelry; he just didn’t know what exactly. Originally I thought I was going to go with a bracelet but I ended up choosing a beautiful double heart diamond necklace. I love it!
  2. Ohio is either the very best state in the union, or the worst. I’m not sure which. I’ve seen their drive-thru liquor stores, which while convenient is also a little scary. I pass one every time we meet up and I’m just amazed. I’ve also seen a bar inside a convenience store. Like, a real bar. A full bar. In a convenience store. I wanted to take a picture but I didn’t want to be obvious. They’ve now achieved the trifecta. They sample alcohol in their grocery stores. I’m not a big drinker. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t had breakfast before shopping I could have got drunk off of what all I sampled!
  3. Right before entering Ulta he looked at me and asked, “They have an entire store for nothing but makeup?” Oh, sweetie! I smiled and replied, “They have skin and hair products, too.” He was truly amazed. It was like he had entered a completely different world.

We ended the evening by having dinner at Olive Garden and returning home.

We had bought another 500 piece puzzle so once home we filled stockings for our kids and then got down to putting that bad boy together. We did much better this time. Our first puzzle was not completed and I couldn’t find it to bring it back with me so we could finish it. This one we finished by midnight. Plenty of Christmas music was heard in the background. The mobster’s favorite is “You Make It Feel Like Christmas”.

Our final day we went back to Sunny Street Cafe before we headed back to our respective homes.

That brings us to our most recent weekend together. We met at Longhorn Steakhouse instead of at the house where we normally meet. Once back home finally he locked himself in the bedroom. I patiently waited for him to do whatever it was he was doing. When he finally let me in he had hung heart lights over the lamp shades. There were candles glowing in the dark over on the dresser. He had sprinkled confetti hearts all over the dresser. In the middle of all of that was a copy of The Meg, which he knew I wanted to see. I love shark movies!

How did I ever get so lucky to find a man like this? He is always so loving and thoughtful. He does these incredibly romantic gestures and when I squeal and gush over what he has done he shrugs it off by saying it was nothing. Or, as he put it, “It’s easy to do when it’s close to Valentine’s Day and every store is selling heart theme merchandise.”

Our plan was to spend the weekend inside, doing nothing. Okay, we actually planned to cook at the suite, do a puzzle, watch Netflix, blog a little, maybe do a budget, and transfer my pictures off my phone onto my external hard drive. This was a perfect weekend for it. It snowed all night Friday night and all day Saturday. We didn’t leave the house except for a quick trip to Meijer in the morning. I was all set to make my famous spinach, mushroom, and bacon omelets with Swiss cheese, when I discovered I hadn’t packed any butter.

We headed to the store, grabbed some butter, decided on what to have for dinner that evening and then headed back home. He spent most of the day trying to get my pictures onto my hard drive. I started doing the puzzle. We watched four hours of Bill Burr on Netflix before switching over to Jim Gaffigan. We watched The Meg on my computer. He joined in doing the puzzle with me, although we still didn’t finish. I took it home and finished it the other night. I ended up making a copycat version of Outback’s Alice Springs chicken and shrimp in a creamy Parmesan sauce.

We didn’t get around to blogging or creating a budget but we had a great time. We capped off our weekend by making our first trip to Tim Horton’s. He wanted someplace fast so we could get on the road. It was surprisingly good. Despite making fun of their name every time he’s seen it before the mobster also really enjoyed it and he is Dunkin’ Donuts #1 fan so that’s saying a lot.

Although we enjoyed our lazy, do-nothing weekend, the mobster is ready for us to tackle a new adventure the next time we get together. He’ll get his wish. The next time we see each other Picasso and I will be heading down to Virginia. We have plans to go see Kane Brown in concert on Thursday and then Paula Poundstone on Friday. Saturday he’ll probably have us hiking the Appalachian Trail!

Stay tuned for more adventures!

Checkmate

Guess what I did today? I started garnishment proceedings.  Let me back up first.

The weather has been terrible here lately. I got a phone call around 5:30 this morning letting me know school had been canceled. I tried to go back to sleep but I couldn’t. I thought I would do something relaxing, like reading blogs or playing Candy Crush. Long story short I had a mini nervous breakdown thinking about the crap that’s going on- trying to get support modified, wanting to garnish CF so he can stop playing these games, wondering when in the hell he was finally going to pay another support payment (he paid half of spousal support on the 16th; he didn’t pay the other half until today), realizing I hadn’t heard from my attorney since Monday, potentially losing my partner at work who is applying for another job within the department (which will leave me by myself to do the work that 3-4 people used to do but has now been condensed down to 2 people doing it with lots of help from others), thinking about college costs for my daughter and taxes coming due, and any other catastrophe that can possibly come my way.

I call the mobster on my way to work as I do every day and I tell him I’m in a funk; I’m stressed. I actually cry on my way to work, although I don’t think he knew it. He’s trying to solve these problems for me, and he’s telling me there’s got to be someone I can talk to about getting him garnished. I tell him I tried calling before and it’s very apparent that there’s not. You end up with a recording telling you how to get a case started.

I go into work, still in kind of a funk. About an hour into it I get my weekly email which details my account balance. I haven’t been freaking out about CF’s non-payment because he’s religiously paid since the judge tore him a new one. I figure I’ve got probably $900 or so in my account and he still owes me quite a bit. Then I get the email which tells me I have approximately $360 in there. Oh fantastic! Let’s see how far I can stretch $360, keeping in mind I don’t get paid again until next Friday and my insurance will be due probably before I get paid.

On my break I decided to do as the mobster suggested and I called once again. Once again I’m given the whole spiel about filling out the application and how to go about getting one. Then I decide to try to push the button for the “other” option. Actually, it was, “If none of these choices describe you then press x.” I pressed X and I got a real live person! Oh, happy day!

It turns out I can begin a garnishment case before my child support is modified. In fact, as she told me, it is his responsibility to get it modified and because he hasn’t the old support still stands. Even better is the fact that they will indeed garnish the spousal support as well.

I made arrangements to take a long lunch. I drove home, collected all of my papers which were all still in order, found my kids’ birth certificates, and headed on downtown. After a slight mixup there we got ourselves on course and I now have a caseworker.

I told the receptionist how he had calculated support for Rock Star down to the half hour she graduated and how he had taken it upon himself to modify the order himself and simply cut it in half. She was looking at me, stunned. “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!” She sounded like the lady in the Geico commercial. She went on to say that judges don’t like it when you do their work for them and that you can’t just modify it on your own.

Well, I know that! He’s the smartest man you’ll ever meet so you would think he would know that.

I asked about arrears and she assured me that the state has a table and they do all the calculations for me. She asked if he was behind and I had to remind her how he refused to speak to a lawyer about modifying the current order and had modified it himself instead. I don’t remember her exact words but there was something about how this was not good (for him, of course), and digging himself a bigger hole. She looked genuinely distressed on his behalf.

This whole process will probably take somewhere between 60 and 90 days. Not exactly moving at the speed of light, but it’s definitely better than not moving at all. I wish I had known I could do this months ago because I would have done it. Every time I asked my attorney if it could be done she ignored my question. To be fair I usually asked more than one question in an email, but somehow that one was always left unanswered.

I emailed my attorney to let her know that I believed CF would soon be modifying support himself because I had started garnishment through my state. I reiterated that they will be seeking arrears for the entire amount and that they believe it is his responsibility to get this modified, and not mine. “I’m sure that when they start garnishing him $1800/month for child support he will be motivated to get this done.” I also asked about what I need to do to file a contempt of court motion for the $25,000 in legal fees he has not yet paid me (and which were due on December 28th).

Amazingly she was able to respond to me within an hour! Imagine that. Apparently, her understanding was that I would be coming by to pick up my file next week. She thought we could finalize everything then, and then she could send the order to CF.

It might have been nice if she had shared that plan with me. I’ve been waiting since Monday to hear anything new. As it stands now I don’t believe there is anything to finalize. It looks like my state is going to go after him for support and they’re going to fuck him up the ass with a cactus when it comes to arrears. Maybe he should have taken that first offer, huh?

I predicted he would be furious upon learning he was being garnished. He would see it as humiliating. Plus, that takes all the control away from him. He no longer gets to decide when I will get paid. It’s all done for him. With this latest bombshell he will be apoplectic. Arrears at just over $900/month since June? By the time they finally get around to garnishing him he will more than likely owe  9-10 months worth of back support. And he’ll still have to get it modified. Until he does he’s on the hook for two kids. He’s going to be real mad. Real, real mad. Better him than me, I always say. You would think at some point he would learn it does not pay to fuck with me. Checkmate, motherfucker.