Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I come across some truly horrific stories while reading through my Google newsfeed. For those who think that affairs are just two consenting adults minding their own business I offer up this story as a rebuttal.

Patrick Frazee and Kelsey Berreth were engaged and the parents of a one year old daughter. Sadly, despite the engagement Patrick apparently wasn’t a one woman type of guy. Turns out that getting engaged to be married didn’t exactly mean, “I’m off the market” to him. He was having an affair with Krystal Jean Lee Kenney. They had dated in college and apparently Krystal couldn’t get over the big sociopath! She was cheating on her husband with him and eventually divorced him. No big deal, right? It’s just a private matter between two consenting adults. Hey- if you’re unhappy in your relationship you owe it to yourself to find someone else. We no longer are subjected to long, miserable lives with someone who doesn’t make us happy.

Who cares if Krystal’s husband was invested in their life together and wasted who knows how many years on a woman pining for someone else? Who cares about Kelsey and her little girl and the family they had created with Patrick, the father of the child? Everyone deserves to be happy! If cheating makes them happy who are you to say it’s wrong?

That’s not enough for Patrick, though. According to investigators he wanted full custody of their daughter. My personal opinion? If he did want full custody he only wanted it to hurt Kelsey.

Okay, jackass cheats on his fiancee. Wants custody of his daughter. Wants to pursue this relationship with another woman. How to make this all happen….? Hmmm….. Patrick decides to ask his new girlfriend to kill his fiancee. Brilliant! Anyone still think affairs are just private matters between two consenting adults?

This story gets worse and worse. Dumbass Krystal is asked not once, not twice, but three fucking times to kill this woman! The first suggestion was poisoning a coffee drink from Starbucks. Krystal, who lives in Idaho, travels to Colorado where Kelsey lived, buys the drink, actually makes up a story so that she can introduce herself and gives her the drink, although it was not poisoned. She says she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She did, however, text him and apologize for not killing his fiancee as asked.

The second time he told her to take a metal pipe and bludgeon Kelsey with it. Again, Krystal waits for her, outside Kelsey’s condo, pipe in hand, and then backs out.

The third time he instructed her to beat her to death with a baseball bat. This time she apparently flat out refused.

Wait for it! He got angry with her each time she refused to kill his fiancee. Maybe it’s just me but I’m thinking when a guy you’re dating asks you to kill someone, anyone really, that’s a big fucking red flag. You are not in a good relationship. This is not a good person. You should go directly to the police station. This person needs to go to prison. He not only asked her to kill for him, but he also had a fucking plan! He had a multitude of ideas of how she could get rid of his “problem”. The cherry on top was actually getting pissed off at her when she didn’t go through with it. That is a serious problem. How stupid do you have to be when you stay with a person who not only wants you to kill someone for them but also gets righteously angry when you don’t? One news outlet reported that Krystal said “he was angry each time she failed to act. She loved Frazee and wanted to make him happy but could not hurt Berreth.” Sweetie, you need to move on! He gets a little upset because you forgot to pick up his dry cleaning or you signed him up for ballroom dance lessons without his knowledge? That’s understandable. He’s upset because you won’t kill someone for him? You need a new love interest. Seriously. Do most people even need to be told this, or is it instinctual for those of us who are sane? 

It’s nice that her conscience prevented her from actually killing the woman. You know what would have been better? If it had led her to the goddamn police station where she reported the sonofabitch! It sure as hell didn’t prevent her from helping him clean up the aftermath. Yeah, I told you, it gets worse.

Kelsey Berreth was last seen alive on Thanksgiving Day. Patrick allegedly murdered her that day by blindfolding her with a sweater and then beating her to death with a baseball bat. It was also reported he put her body into a black canvas bag and stashed it among bales of hay while he enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner.

According to Kenney’s account to police Patrick told her, “You got a mess to clean up.” And two days later she arrives in Colorado from Idaho, hauling latex gloves, a white suit, booties, bleach, two trash bags and a hair net. She came prepared. Good thing because it was, as she puts it, a “horrific” scene with blood splattered on the walls and floors of the woman’s town home. Another news article claims she was even asked to look for a tooth near an air vent. She reportedly spent hours cleaning, and discarding blood stained toys and other items. One report says she spent four hours cleaning and bagged up curtains, toys and pillows that were too stained to be cleaned. Yet another claims she threw away a tooth with the root intact.

She also helped get rid of Kelsey’s cell phone. She took it with her to Idaho to throw off the investigation. She did draw the line, however, at helping him dispose of Kelsey’s body. The reports are fuzzy on whether or not she was present when Patrick moved Kelsey’s body to a water trough, added gas and wood, and burned it. Initial reports seemed to indicate she wasn’t there but was told what happened; later reports have her there when he burned Kelsey’s body. Afterwards, he disposed of the remains in either a dump or the river. At least he had the good sense to whine to Krystal, “You don’t know how hard it is to have Thanksgiving dinner after killing her.” Who says the man doesn’t have a heart?

I do not understand these women who seem to be flattered that a man “loves” them so much he’s willing to kill the current girlfriend/wife for them. Are they really so stupid they think they’re special? Maybe I’m one cynical bitch but I would be telling myself, “Self, if he’s willing to kill her to be with you, what do you think he’s going to do when he’s tired of you?” Hell, I know he’s killed somebody for me! I’m a liability! That’s not how they think though.

Patrick is one sick, sadistic sonofabitch. I hope someone gets him alone with a blindfold and a baseball bat. I really don’t think Krystal is any better. If that woman had even a small conscience she would have hightailed her ass to the police the minute he began asking her to kill his fiancee. I’m not sure how many people would not consider that a deal breaker. Obviously it wasn’t for Krystal. I’d like to believe there aren’t many people that stupid, selfish, and sociopathic.

There are many who believe she either helped him kill her or encouraged him to do so. I’m sure there are just as many who believe she knew beyond a doubt that he was going to kill her. Naturally, she lied when confronted by the police. “Patrick who? No, I’m not sleeping with him.” Then later she ‘fessed up, probably when her DNA was found at the crime scene. Her story now is that she deliberately left clues behind so he would get caught; she was just so scared of him and believed she had to go along with what he wanted for fear he would kill her as well.

As far as their story goes I don’t know what I believe. Does it really matter? A beautiful, vivacious young mother is dead. Her fiance could have walked away, shared custody. His dipshit mistress could have alerted her, or the police. Anyone, really. None of that happened.

What I do know is that this story once again illustrates how affairs are not simply two consenting adults minding their own business. Anyone who thinks differently should try telling that to Kelsey Berreth’s little girl.

Progress, Maybe?

It’s been 3 weeks since CF let me know he had lost his job. I don’t feel that accurately describes what happened. I think if I had not inquired about where the hell my money was I would still be in the dark, waiting for payment.

About a week ago I sent him an email. Basically I told him that if he had been laid off then he should have received a severance package. He is eligible for unemployment. He can take money out of his 401k to fulfill his obligation. Ultimately, my message was he needed to send me something, even if he couldn’t send me what he owed.

I followed that up with the fact it was his kids that were going to be hurt by his non-compliance and reminded him that none of this was going away. He should do himself a favor and get out in front of it because it was only going to grow bigger.

Surprise, surprise! About a week later with no response from him I get a text alert on my phone. I thought it was the mobster telling me good morning but it turned out to be CF sending me his self modified monthly child support. I’m so poor at this point that $900 means the difference between eating and not eating this month so I’m grateful for it.

In other exciting news I found out that due to the change in exemptions I made shortly after CF lost his job I will be taking home about $80 more this paycheck. Granted, it does include 30 minutes of overtime but I’ll take it.

I also talked to my mom’s financial advisor. That was a huge stress reliever. He has given me several options of things I can do while I’m waiting for the ex to get his act together.

I shall live to fight another day, it seems.

More Amazing Advice From Hax

I recently found out that my girlfriend of five years (long distance for a year) slept with someone else. The day after, she called to break up and gave reasons but didn’t mention another guy.

I was confident she’d cheated but had no proof. Until… I did something rotten. I checked her email.

I know that’s horrible but I had to know. And my worst fears were confirmed. I confronted her again, she denied it again. And again and again.

Last weekend she came to visit and we had a wonderful time. Well, I checked her email again and found out that yes, they messed around multiple times. I confronted her again and she admitted to it. I’m devastated, to say the least. How does one, if they decide to try again, get past this kind of betrayal?

Carolyn’s amazing response?

I guess all she can do is accept that you know snooping was wrong and be patient while you demonstrate to her that you can be trusted.

Right. Not the answer you wanted.

Did she cheat? Yes. Terrible. Were you supposed to enjoy getting dumped? No. It’s a hellish, powerless feeling.

But that doesn’t mean it was right to recapture your sense of control by interrogating and badgering and scrounging until you found the smoking bedsheets. And it’s tough to see what you gained. Before, you had a girlfriend who dumped you, making you an ex-boyfriend. Now, you have a reason your girlfriend dumped you, making you… an ex-boyfriend. Congratulations!

If your argument is that you needed the “truth” to “move on”, then okay. Look how well you’ve moved on.

I’m not going to pretend your ex didn’t behave horribly. She did. The breakup call is supposed to precede the tryst with the other man (though by breaking up with you right away, she did make the best of a hurtful decision). And her denying and denying wasn’t morally crystalline, either; in fact, it’s arguably worse than the cheating, since there’s no caving-to-passion element. But these are just rhetorical rabbit holes you wouldn’t have fallen into, and betrayals you wouldn’t now have to fight your way past, had you merely taken her breakup for an answer.

Since it’s too late for that, take a cue from your ex, believe it or not, and start repairing the damage immediately. Stop ferreting through other people’s private business, stop keeping score, stop hanging on to a relationship that’s months past its sell by date and really starting to smell. It was over when your girlfriend broke up with you. Let it be over, please. Be willing to see that she- this- isn’t healthy for you.

I always love it when people act like the real problem isn’t the cheating; it’s spying or snooping on the cheater. Cheating on your partner is fine. No big deal really. Spying on your partner to get the truth about them cheating on you is bad. End of the world stuff.

I also appreciated how she spent the majority of the time chiding this person for getting to the bottom of his girlfriend’s cheating, instead of focusing on the fact that his ex cheated. Did she cheat? Yes. Was that terrible? Yes. But let’s forget all about that and concentrate on what a horrible thing he did by snooping in her email to get the truth. Let’s examine every fault he has as a human being. Let’s completely disregard her unfaithfulness and instead focus on his behavior and his shortcomings. Let’s also forget about how she’s lying (oh yes, Carolyn calls that denying, denying, denying) to him which is why he felt compelled to dig around until he discovered the truth.

Her entire response is predicated on the idea that if he had let it go he wouldn’t be in this situation. If he hadn’t snooped he wouldn’t have found out she cheated. If he was still in the dark about her cheating then he wouldn’t feel betrayed. If he had let her go without asking a single question then none of this would have happened. It all boils down to this: It’s all his fault. Cheater girlfriend is blameless. If he’d just been a good little stooge he’d still be wondering what on earth happened to derail this wonderful relationship. He could still keep worshipping his ex and keeping hope alive that she would come back. Even better, if she decided to “give him another chance” (once she realized she hadn’t traded up) he would jump at the chance, delirious with joy at the thought of reuniting. She could convince him she realized she couldn’t live without him with him being none the wiser. None of that pesky, “How could you cheat on me?” drivel to deal with.

I will give her credit though. She was wise enough to counsel him to move on and told him straight up that neither the girlfriend nor the relationship was good for him. Maybe she should have led with that.

If I had an advice column this is what I would have said:

Hey, Encyclopedia Brown, great job ferreting out what a lying liar your ex-girlfriend is. Can you explain something to me? What is it that you think you have to work with here? She’s a woman who lies to you and cheats on you. Is that what you’re looking for in a partner? Are you just dying to paternity test your kids in the future? If not, move on.

I won’t bust your balls for snooping. She was lying and gas lighting you. That’s what liars and cheaters do. It’s a normal reaction to attempt to sort out the truth when people are trying to make you crazy. Mad props to you for that one, bro. I will, however, smack your nose with a newspaper for your willingness to give her another chance.

She cheated on you. And then turned around and lied to you about it. What do you find appealing about all of this? Is it the way she shakes her ass for another guy? Is it the charming way she smiles and lies right to your face? Do you want to spend the next fifty years fact checking her stories and GPS’ing her vagina? Here’s a little wisdom I picked up during my ex’s infidelity debacle: Any time you need to start snooping your relationship is already over.

Finally, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I think someone needs to be honest with you. It’s not going to be her. And it’s not going to be that ditz Carolyn Hax. That leaves me. So here it is. The only reason you just spent “a wonderful weekend” together is because she’s either realized her new schmoopie isn’t the knight in shining armor she thought she was getting, or she’s already been dumped by him. You are her Plan B, otherwise known as the backup plan.

Get out now! The sunk costs are relatively low. Save yourself! You have nothing to work with.

Here I Am

Hello, everyone. Sorry to have left you in the lurch. It’s been a little over two weeks since my life blew up spectacularly once again. I’ve only had one really bad night so I guess I’m doing pretty okay.

Currently, I am taking action where I can. I just fired off an email to CF, letting him know I know he has money coming in so he can start sending some of it my way. I’m probably pissing in the wind with that but at least if I end up back in court I’ll have further proof that he just completely ignored his obligations.

Where is this money coming from, you may be asking? Well, I have nothing concrete. I’m basing it on the fact he was the #2 guy at the plant and therefore should have received a severance package and unemployment benefits. I’m really not expecting a favorable reaction but I’m also not going to sit around and wait six months before I try to haul his ass into court either.

My caseworker with the state was gone the week I tried to contact her. She then forwarded my email onto another caseworker who was pretty prompt although the news wasn’t great. It turns out it could take up to SIX MONTHS for the garnishment to begin. But, they’ll make note that I would like his 401k garnished once that finally happens. That also means if he is receiving unemployment it could take six months before they would finally begin garnishing that as well. Isn’t that just ducky?

So, I emailed my lawyer. Hooray! More legal bills! Of course she was out. I got her new assistant. That was last week. I still haven’t heard anything back from her. I told her I wanted to freeze his 401k once again and that I was willing to take him to court for contempt in order to get the $25,000 he still owes me in legal fees. I’d love to take the free way through the state, but I can’t wait six months. Knowing him he will drain that sucker if it’s not already gone.

I’ve also applied for another job within the bank. This is one of the few jobs where a college degree is required. I applied last week and haven’t heard anything yet. I don’t remember how much time elapsed between me applying for my current job, and hearing they wanted to interview me. I should have kept better notes.

Additionally, I applied for a job outside of the bank. I haven’t heard back from them either.

I adjusted my exemptions so hopefully my check will stretch a little bit more with this next pay period. It won’t be substantial, but I’m running on fumes so even an additional $40-$60 would be nice.

Finally, I have an appointment with my mom’s financial guy. I hate to do it but I will probably end up taking a hardship withdrawal from my 401k. Hell, I may have to take a withdrawal, period, if CF doesn’t get back to work soon. I’m hoping I can do the hardship withdrawal. But if not… regular ol’ 10% penalty withdrawal will have to do. If I take this withdrawal I can pay everything off and I’ll end up with about $900 more per month. It will be tight but it will be doable and I won’t have to work a second job. I still could choose to but it wouldn’t be necessary.

Of course, that’s assuming Rock Star gets the financial aid she needs and that she’s able to work 40-60 hours a week this summer so she has enough money to break her housing contract, buy books, buy the stuff she’ll need for nursing school, have spending money, and pay her sorority dues. Ah, the wonderful life we live thanks to her dickhead father.

I’m doing what I can. A whole hell of a lot is falling by the wayside. I feel like an utter failure as a parent. I’ve already had to cancel Picasso’s cello lessons and now it looks like pretty much everything having to do with school is going to fall on Rock Star for the time being. This is not what I wanted for my kids. Sadly, right now I am merely treading water and trying to keep from drowning.

Well that just sounds sad, doesn’t it? I’m really doing mostly okay. Probably because I’m in denial and I keep thinking he’s going to get another job sooner rather than later. The mobster has been very good about keeping my spirits afloat as well. In fact, he just paid for me to come down and celebrate T’s 18th birthday with them this past weekend. It was desperately needed. For one weekend I could forget about everything else.

Nonetheless, it is a fact that I’ve failed my kids miserably. Their father has as well but he doesn’t seem to give a shit. I, on the other hand, care a great deal about my failings. I made a huge mistake in choosing to stay at home with them. I should have been out working so that when this day came I was prepared to take care of them financially. I have to believe even working mediocre jobs would have resulted in me making more than I’m making now. And if I had never considered being a stay at home parent I wouldn’t have been satisfied working the jobs I worked because I would have been concentrating on building a career. Perhaps one day I will be financially stable without relying on CF but by then it will be too late for my kids.

Anyway, aside from the cloud of failure that covers me as a parent I really am doing okay. I will survive. CF will never defeat me and this time around I am going to be a constant thorn in his side.

I’m not waiting months and months before I have my attorney file for show cause. That cousin fucking sonofabitch can get a damn job at McDonald’s for all I care. He can be like me and work two damn jobs until he finds something that pays well. He needs to pay something towards his kids. As my mom pointed out, he admitted in court that he had headhunters calling him so he damn well can get a fucking job. She can pull up roots and move her ass across the country if the only place he can find work is Montana. Let her kids suffer some consequences because of those two dopes for once. Or better yet, she can hand her kids over to their dad and she can ride off into the sunset with her Prince Charming.

I’m going to hold him accountable for the legal fees and let him explain to the judge where the rest of his 401k went to if he no longer has any money left (my mom wholeheartedly believes he took out the money as a down payment on the house they’ve been renting). If he’s still got the money then damn straight I’m going to insist I get my legally ordered money. I don’t care if it leaves him with no 401k. He is no longer my problem.

I’m going to let the state of Indiana deal with garnishing him and following him around, taking away various privileges as he falls farther and farther behind. If he goes to jail, oh well- it’s not like he’s paying me anything right now anyway. Hopefully he’ll get some of that awesome weekend jail. He can work during the week and then report to his local detention center for a little weekend R&R until he’s caught up.

I will not stop. I am Sam; hear me roar!

CF Strikes Again

I meant to write about this shortly after it happened but I was probably tired and stuff came up. Then I wrote other stuff, like I Miss Financial Security. And I wrote about my birthday and giving Picasso driving lessons. Fun stuff. Uplifting stuff. So I kind of put off writing about this.

I finally emailed CF on the 1st of February and reminded him that he was overdue in paying the money he was ordered to pay for court fees. It’s not a small amount. I gave him an extra month before asking and then asked him to pay it within the next two weeks. I used his real name and everything. Plus, I was civil and business-like. Not snotty and horrible, or threatening. And, I signed it!

The response I got in return was: I have received your email. There is no source of funding with which to pay you the money from.

No acknowledgement of my name. No signing his name. Just cold, hard facts. I don’t have it. End of story.

Interesting. I didn’t realize court orders worked that way.

Also, it’s: There is no source of funding with which to pay you the money. The “from” is redundant.

Maybe a few hours later I get another email: Sam, I don’t know what else to tell you on your request. You already are getting 62% of my check. Garnishment carries a maximum of 50%.

If you wish to pursue garnishing my check that is your prerogative but it will cut the amount you are getting to approximately $xxxx total.

If you wish to put me in jail, well then, you can garnish 50% of $0.00 per month.

I don’t know any other options.

On the amount of child support, I replied to your attorney well over a month ago requesting information and have yet to hear back from her.

My, how his tune changed once he realized I was following through on my threat to garnish him if he couldn’t stick to a schedule. He could damn well call me by name when he got word the state was going to garnish him, couldn’t he? By golly he was downright chatty!

At first I thought he didn’t realize I was garnishing for the monthly payments, but since he mentioned how much I was getting each month I suppose he did. I love how he thought that if they didn’t garnish enough he was done paying me. That’s not how this works. He has no clue how any of this works.

I was a little nervous because now he knew I was planning on garnishing him. Would he still pay until they started taking it automatically?

February payments are due. I get the first half of alimony on the 15th. He’s cutting it a little close, considering there are only 28 days in the month. I get his self modified child support on the 25th.

February 28th comes and goes with no additional payment. March 1st, a Friday, comes and goes with no payment. I got home from work and was greeted with a surprise party. My mom, my daughter, and the mobster were all here from out of town. CF is the last thing I want to think about.

I finally text him on March 7th, telling him that we’re already a week into March and he hasn’t fulfilled his February obligations. I go on to tell him that I need to pay Rock Star’s tuition so please get this done.

I’m fully prepared for him to call me a greedy bitch, or make some other snotty comment towards me. I’m prepared and I’ve got my response ready.

I am actively seeking employment to secure a source of income from which to pay from.

Fuck me! Are you goddamn serious? When exactly were you going to tell me this? Must you speak as though you’re filing a fucking legal brief? Why can’t you just say, “I lost my job and don’t have the money to pay you,”? And again- the “from” is redundant.

He goes on to say: How do you still owe tuition in March? That should have been done already for the semester. In addition, did you fill out the FAFSA wrong? Because at your income level there should not be any tuition to pay after Pell grants and other federal subsidies.

Did I fill the FAFSA out correctly? Are you kidding me? Hey, thanks for stepping up and being a parent finally! Second guess the one that’s here and actively involved while you’re off playing house with your whore cousin and her kids.

I’ll go have a talk with the financial aid office at Rock Star’s college. Apparently, if you need aid they are obligated to give you aid. Again, that’s not how this shit works! Not to mention my “income” will now show as higher than it actually is because they’re basing it on fucking child and spousal support that I’m not getting!

I let him know I paid her tuition monthly and that yes, I did fill the FAFSA out correctly. I then asked point blank, “Did you lose your job again?”

Probably not the nicest question but I didn’t give a damn.

He told me he was downsized due to lack of business at the plant, and when I asked how on earth they downsize the production manager he told me the GM absorbs the responsibility. He went on to tell me that the quality manager and the HR manager had already been “downsized”.

I recommended he place a call to his former company, the one he left so he could go fuck a whore. He replied that he had already placed a call to them and then followed that up with, “Thank you for your input.”

“You’re welcome,” I told him.

So…. that’s what’s going on in my life. Not even a week into my 50s and my life has taken a turn for the worst.

I’m trying really hard not to hyperventilate, cry hysterically, or lose my shit. It’s not easy.

Three weeks ago I was feeling the pressure with all these mounting bills and that was when I was receiving child and spousal support. I’ve now lost 75% of my income. I’m stuck paying $200 a paycheck for shitty insurance which I was court ordered to get because I was getting credit for it on my child support order. Of course, with this child support modification I’m getting credit for a whole $45 a paycheck but that’s a whole other story.

I have no idea how I’m going to pay for college for her next year.  When I finally told both kids what had happened she cried. She’s afraid she’s going to have to drop out and that she’ll have to drop her sorority.

Oh, and look at that! Once again I’m the one left breaking disastrous news to the kids. Sure, CF, I’ll handle it. You just go play house with a whore. I’ll take care of the tough stuff. Fucking sonofabitch.

She’s finally happy once again. I cannot let this happen to her. She feels like every time she finally gets to a point of happiness in her life that her dad comes along and ruins it. She tries so hard to do everything she possibly can and then he shits all over it.

It’s like he can’t stop fucking with our lives. He insisted he would go crazy if we stayed in Utah so I moved both of my kids to Virginia to make him happy. I tore their lives apart. I destroyed her dream of being a college gymnast, or at the very least, becoming a Level 10 gymnast. And once I helped him destroy that dream she rebuilt her life and was happy in her new school with her new friends and her new life. Only he bulldozed that, too; we were forced to leave everything behind. We left our home, left the state, and moved 600 miles away. She spent two years being mostly miserable. She was in a bad relationship because he paid attention to her and made her feel wanted. Now she’s finally happy and he wants to destroy it AGAIN! Can I please just get my daughter through fucking college? Picasso has recently announced he doesn’t think he wants to go to college so she really is the only child I need to get through school.

The mobster keeps saying he thinks that the two of us combined could live quite nicely but he lives 10.5 hours away. His daughter didn’t get the financial aid package she was expecting (hey, maybe they filled out the FAFSA wrong!) so it’s quite possible she’ll go to the local campus which means he will be staying put for another year. At least. Not to mention, he’s got a guaranteed good job down there right now. I can’t up and move because my daughter is in college here; if I can’t afford in-state college tuition how the hell could I ever pay out of state tuition?  In addition, my son is two years away from graduating. So even if he’s right we can’t do anything about it.

I am familiar with the idea that some money is just too expensive. I’m beginning to think that’s true in my situation. I would love nothing more than to be able to tell him to go fuck himself. That I don’t need his money and I’m living just fine without it. Maybe the mobster is correct and we really could make a go of it on what the two of us make together. I told him once that I wouldn’t even consider giving it up until both of my kids were through college and I had money for their weddings, because I knew their dad wouldn’t help and it would be up to me. That was a bare minimum. I do not want to rely on him to provide for my kids. They are my responsibility; not his. He has his own kids to worry about.

If I were to give it up because it’s just too fucking expensive to live like this then that means I paid out almost $40,000 to get spousal and child support for a little over a year. What a waste. I’m damned if I don’t and damned if I do. I’ve either paid out huge amounts of money to hold him accountable and then walked away from it, or I live life like this for the next 15 years- always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This is probably a good time to mention one more time to those starting out in life: Don’t EVER quit your job to be a stay at home mom.

Obviously I’m going to have to find a different job. That’s the only way to get out from under this stupid insurance. Plus I need to make a whole hell of a lot more money. I’ll never make up the money he’s paying me but I’m hoping I can at least do better than poverty.

Also obvious is the fact that I’m going to have to get a second job. Hooray! 50 years old and working two jobs. Back to 6 days a week and 13 plus hour days. I can hardly wait. Especially when CF sits around on his ass, watching ESPN and the History Channel all goddamn day and fucking his whore cousin every night. He couldn’t possibly work two jobs. Or even one if it doesn’t pay him oodles of money!

This is such a clusterfuck. I’ve already talked to my lawyer. Everything is a crap shoot. If he really did get downsized there’s a possibility he could get support modified, which is not good for me. For how long, I don’t know. I also don’t know if I would then have to take him back when he got a new job.

We could take him back to court for contempt but we have to prove he willfully did not pay the legal fees. She doesn’t think that should be too difficult but you never know. The judge doesn’t seem to be too terribly sympathetic to him. Plus, he hasn’t paid a dime towards those legal fees in over a year. I think that’s pretty willful. There’s always the possibility he’s already spent whatever was left in his 401k so regardless of what the judge rules it may simply not be there. I’d like to believe he’s smarter than that but he certainly hasn’t demonstrated good common sense since Harley came along.

My attorney did tell me to contact the Child Support Enforcement Agency because they should be able to do something with that 401k and it wouldn’t cost me anything to get it enforced, unlike going through her. Something about they could compel him to use those funds to pay his support obligations.

Plus, there’s still the matter of the child support arrears. He owes anywhere from $2000-$8000, depending on whether or not he can get the judge to modify it back to June. It’s going to be even more by the time he finds another job. But at this point in time what does it matter how much he owes? He could owe me a million dollars. It doesn’t mean I’ll get it.

The whole reason I dropped the damn matter was because the state was going to go after him for the full amount. I didn’t make a deal with him; I told my lawyer to leave it be. I thought I finally had him by the balls and he was going to have to go get it modified. For once in this whole divorce debacle he was going to have to take charge and do something on his own. I owe another $600-$1000 just for that little incident and I still don’t have a modification in place. Nor do I have an order for legal fees. I probably never will because he’s lost his damn job now! THIS, people, is why I don’t gloat. It’s also probably why I was so willing to try to make a deal with him. Fuck me hard for ever trying to play hardball with him. Because that sonofabitch always wins.

I’m trying very hard not to panic. I have been listening to the mobster who reminds me that I’m not going through this all by myself. I don’t have to vacate my home or sell off all of my possessions like I did the last time. I don’t have to move again. I already have a job so I’m not worried about trying to find one, unlike last time. It may not pay well but it does cover my bills and I’m not simply watching my account drain down to nothing.

Maybe I’m far too optimistic, or simply burying my head in the sand, but CF does not like being poor. I also don’t think Harley wants to support him for another 10 months either. Remember, in the beginning of all of this he was handing over $5000 a month to her. She must have thought she had hit the lottery. If there is a bright spot to all of this it’s that. Her sugar daddy is running out of sugar.

If he’s telling the truth he’s not going through an alcohol treatment program this time which means he won’t be spending months in treatment before finally beginning his job search. The fact that he’s even reaching out to his former company is a good sign as well. I don’t know if he’s burned those bridges or not, but he’s at least willing to look outside of Kentucky this time around. Perhaps my lawyer is correct and he really does not want to appear before the judge again.

Another thought occurred to me. If he did get downsized at the very least he should be able to apply for unemployment. Now, he’s probably thinking, “Hell yeah! I may only be getting 80% of my pay but I’m not paying any support so I’m actually bringing home more money!” I, on the other hand, am thinking, “I’m willing to cut you a deal while you’re unemployed.” I could possibly even agree to not go after arrears during this period of time if he would send half of whatever he’s getting in unemployment. I won’t be too hasty in forgiving debts because the man still owes me a ton of money. It’s at least a thought to keep me and my kids from spiraling once again back into poverty.

Sweet J also mentioned the possibility that he received a severance package. Perhaps.

And, if the state has already started garnishment proceedings (and I know they have based upon his email) then it’s possible the state could intercept his tax refund and give it me. That, of course, depends upon whether or not he (they) filed before the state could do anything. It also depends upon him actually getting a refund, but with him being able to deduct spousal support I don’t see how he would end up paying.

I am not even sure when he lost his job. Like I said, he paid me on the 15th and the 25th. He gave Rock Star $50 on February 28th, I believe. I don’t know if he lost his job shortly after that happened or if he was already out of a job. His normal MO is to completely disregard his obligation to me or to his kids so I would be surprised if he gave her money after losing his job.

This really sucks. I had an amazing week and an amazing birthday, only to have it all followed by this clusterfuck. I’m trying to keep in mind something that I saw recently.

Never let a bad dayI’m pretty sure this goes beyond a mere “bad day” but I’m trying to stay positive and calm. Hey, at least I’m not losing absolutely everything once again. I’ll be back to working two jobs soon enough but I don’t have to sell off all my possessions and move in with my mom again. Because I’m already here. Thank God I never bought a fucking house. That’s about all I can say at this point.

I take that back. I’ve got one more thing I want to say. Does anybody else notice how his life has been one disaster after another since he took up with Harley? He job hopped when we were married but it was always to get more money. He was fired once while we were married. Supposedly a personality conflict between him and the GM. Since he’s taken up with Harley he’s left his secure job of 15 years to take a job that pays him less. He’s been fired once for drinking. Took another job that paid way less than what he had been making and has now been “downsized” due to lack of business. Awesome!

One of my best friends told me soon after D-Day and after I had started divorce proceedings that I had kept him sane for 20 years. At my party last weekend I reminded her of that and told her she had been absolutely correct.

I am keeping my head high and telling myself that this is all going to work out. In fact, maybe it’s the kick in the pants I need to get a better job. Maybe it’s the first step in no longer being so reliant upon him and his support checks. Worst case scenario after he finally gets another job he ends up going back to court and his support is reduced because I’m making more. That’s less I have to make up for, right? And less I have to pay in taxes because I’m actually paying taxes on the majority of my income. It sucks to let him get away with that but in the end I’m free of him and he’s stuck with himself.

Don’t worry; I’ll be okay.


I Miss Financial Security

I was driving to work the other day, letting myself get overwhelmed by everything. I’m soon going to have to pay taxes. I’m worried Rock Star won’t get as much financial aid. I’m still trying to pay off the mobster for the tickets purchased back in June. I’m still trying to pay off the stay-cation I had with Rock Star. Plus, I continue to have college and sorority bills coming my way. As if that’s not enough to have me pulling my hair out I have legal bills once again. Then it hit me- Rock Star’s car is a piece of shit and I don’t know how on earth she’s going to get around this summer when she comes home. At the very least I have to buy a new battery. In the end the car probably needs several thousand dollars worth of work to keep it safely running. With everything else going on I don’t have the ability to save up money to help her buy a new car. I just don’t. On top of that I still have books to pay for for Picasso (I swear Indiana is the only damn state that makes you pay book fees)- $200. I also need to enroll him in Driver’s Ed for the bargain basement price of $425. My insurance gives me a discount if they’ve taken it and he doesn’t seem willing to drive until he gets a tutorial. I’m so tired of worrying about money.

I don’t miss CF at all. He was a killjoy and a big old baby. He was entitled and arrogant and he never gave half of what he got in terms of a partnership. Yet as I was driving to work, trying to figure out how I was going to cover everything, it suddenly popped into my head that I really miss financial security.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have a mom who jumped at the chance to take me and my kids in. I couldn’t function if I was paying rent on top of all of this. Seriously, I would have to get a second job. Possibly a third.

I am also incredibly happy with the mobster. I have said it before and I will say it again: I would rather live in a one bedroom apartment with that man than live a 4000 square foot home with CF.

All in all my life is good. I have friends. I’m healthy. My kids are both happy and healthy. My mom is doing well. I have an amazing love. I should have no complaints.

Still, I miss those days of not having to blink when a bill comes due. I miss being able to pay bills and pay for extras and still have plenty left over. I miss being able to go above and beyond for my kids. Hell, I miss being able to take them to the eye doctor or dentist or doctor and not begin to hyperventilate.

Rock Star is insisting she has a hernia even though the doctor she went to said she doesn’t, and I’m trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to add paying for hernia surgery on top of everything else. I just had my company put their contribution into my HSA so I have approximately $1200 in that for medical expenses this year, minus the $360 for the aforementioned doctor’s appointment at the med center for my daughter. I have a $3500 deductible. Per person. I have no idea how much hernia surgery is going to be but I know it’s a hell of a lot more than $1200. Even after my deductible is met I pay 20% so by the time she’s done, if she indeed needs surgery, I’m sure I’ll be paying her medical bills for the next 10 fucking years. She also complains off and on about her wisdom teeth. I have dental insurance but I’m pretty sure that again, what I end up paying out of pocket is going to be pretty steep. Thank God she’s the one that needs all the medical treatment and she’s not the one he’s responsible for, huh?

So yeah, financial security sounds really good right about now. I just got my annual raise and found out I’m going to be making a huge 53 cents more per hour. $20 more a week! $80 a month. Looks like I’m going to be able to afford those medical bills after all!

I try to take it one crisis at a time. I try to do some deep breathing and tell myself not to stress about it because it will work out eventually. But it seems to never end. Just as one expense comes to an end another one comes around the corner.

I miss the days of the $50,000+ bonus check so we had over $30,000+ in the bank. I miss the 200-250 shares of stock options; the last time he was given stock and I was privy to the details it was worth approximately $15,000. When we got the quarterly dividend check it would be over $300. I got 10 shares of stock options this year, worth approximately $400. My dividend check was a little over $2. Sadly, I am not missing a zero. I miss the days of getting a tax refund. We adjusted deductions so we weren’t getting huge amounts of money back, but I find it ironic that when my annual income was over $200,000 I got money back at tax time and now that I make $13/hour I pay taxes at tax time. I do realize it’s because I get alimony and have to pay taxes on that but still. So much for the myth of the single mom who rakes it in at tax time. That has never been me. Never.

I realize I’m going to have to look for a different job. This one doesn’t pay for shit and the insurance is killing me. I take home approximately 60% of my paycheck after paying for insurance (medical, dental, life), taxes (no deductions), and putting aside 6% for my 401k plus $15 into my HSA. I’m just not sure what 2 years of experience is going to do for me as far as getting a new job. Seriously- two years ago I wasn’t a viable applicant anywhere but now that I’ve worked as a teller for a year and in the back office for a year I’m suddenly a hot commodity? If I throw in the fact that I unloaded trucks and stocked shelves at Target for almost a year I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t want to hire me!

The problem I’m facing is that I don’t think I’m qualified to be hired in at a decent salary. I’m not being offered jobs that start at $65,000 or more. That means I’ll have to work my way up. I don’t have that kind of time. I wasted it on him. I wasted it being a stay at home mom while we moved around the country for his job. So if I’m stuck taking jobs that pay less than $30,000 a year and I’m trying to work my way up…. well, it’s a very long climb until I’m making decent money.

While I will admit I do love taking his money, especially because it makes him so mad, I hate being dependent upon him. I hate knowing that if he loses this job, or dies in a freak accident, I’m spiraling back down into poverty. It will be two jobs once again for me. I hate letting him have control over my life. If I want to continue getting spousal support I can’t marry or move in with the mobster. It’s not even so much that I’m chomping at the bit to remarry; it’s that I can’t. I am in no position to provide for either of my kids if I no longer receive spousal support. I hate it.

I’ll say again- I don’t miss him at all. He was a liar and a drama queen. He never put me first. He never cherished me. He never fought for me or defended me. But damn, I sure do miss that financial security. I miss not worrying about money. Until the day comes that I am making great money on my own I probably always will.

I’m 50, Bitches!

I had the absolute best week leading up to my birthday and several amazing days after my actual birthday.

I’ve heard of people who celebrate their birthday “week”. I’ve never done it myself. The biggest gesture I’ve ever made was to throw myself a birthday party. Then again, I’ve never turned 50 before. I figured, “Why not?” I celebrated all week leading up to my birthday and counted down each day. “It’s Wednesday! It’s my last Wednesday as a 49 year old. No wait! It’s my last Wednesday in my 40s!”!

Wednesday night Picasso and I grabbed milkshakes. On Thursday we had Culver’s for dinner. Friday night Picasso and I went to the 10:40 pm showing of “How To Train Your Dragon” at the theater with the luxury recliners.


Saturday night I went out drinking and dancing with my friend sweet J. I also saw a classmate I haven’t seen in probably 10 years.


Sunday Picasso and I had Chinese for dinner. That was also the night a car hit a pole feet down the road from our house which caused quite a bit of excitement for us. We had no electricity for over 3 hours. Traffic was using our horseshoe driveway as a turnaround since they were being directed away from the scene of the accident. We had police and a fire truck outside. We spent quite a bit of time in front of candles.



I have no idea what I did on Monday but I’m sure it was fantastic! Tuesday night, my last night in my 40s, sweet J and I grabbed a drink at the tavern my brother’s neighbor owns. We listened to the jukebox shaped like a giant iPhone and almost played darts, which was the original plan. In my defense, I haven’t thrown darts in over 20 years and I was afraid I would hit somebody.


On Wednesday I turned 50! My desk at work was decorated. There were balloons (they were black- boo! hiss!) and banners and big block numbers. My co-worker had told me she was going to bring in chips and salsa from our favorite Mexican restaurant. What I hadn’t counted on was a full blown carry in! All of my co-workers brought something in to share. E even made me a beautiful chocolate cake with bright pink buttercream icing. Young J (not to be confused with sweet J) ran and got the chips and salsa around 11 because she wanted them to be fresh for me. My boss gave me tulips, which I have already almost killed. And the mobster sent me the most beautiful arrangement of flowers shaped like a cake, along with a scarf and a bracelet.





That night I went out to dinner with Picasso and my brother and his family, minus my sister-in-law who was working that night.

I got cards and lots of sweet Facebook messages and texts.

My son gave me a gift card to Chili’s, which is where we ended up eating, and then he paid for his own meal because he said he didn’t want me to have to pay for him on my birthday.

The fun wasn’t over though!

The mobster threw me a surprise party! That sweet, sweet man had been a nervous wreck trying to plan my party and surprise me. He ended up getting a flat tire on his way to pick up his rental car which he mistakenly rented out of Indiana instead of Virginia. Same city name. Different state. So the poor guy had to drive an hour to pick up the car.

I need to back up. When I threw his surprise party for him he immediately began worrying about what he was going to do for my birthday. He kept telling me he wasn’t a party planner. I have the cutest video of him, hours after his party had ended, telling me he wasn’t a party planner and there was no way he could top what I had done. He told me he was going to have to enlist my daughter’s help. I told him she would be at school. He said he would ask my mom for help. I told him she would be in Florida. He was despondent. I really think he’s been freaking out about this for the last 8 months! He shouldn’t have though because he blew me away! He surpassed what I did for him by miles!

He ordered decorations. They were perfect! He ordered a cake. It was delicious. He had Chick-Fil-A catered for the party. My mom flew in. My daughter surprised me. She had been telling me she was going to go to Indianapolis for Spring Break with her sorority sister and instead the mobster drove to her campus and picked her up. God, I love that man!




My mom bought me some shirts that I have already worn to work.


The mobster gave me a photo album with pictures of us and blank spaces left to fill with more of our adventures. He inscribed it: February 2019, Happy 50th Sam! February 27, 1969 The world became a better place that day. I love you! He bought me a necklace with 5 rings to represent my 5 decades of life, a wine glass that tells everyone I am vintage, made in 1969, and a shirt I picked out extolling the virtues of being 50, as well.


I loved it all but the piece de resistance was the birthday card and cartoon from Tracy Schorn, aka Chump Lady. Squee! That’s right; my man knocked it out of the ballpark!

When we first began talking I introduced him to Chump Lady. When he came up that first Labor Day weekend I loaned him my copy of “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life”. Somehow he lost it. He thinks his STBX might have stolen it. Anyway, he reached out to her and told her I had been at her book launch and had loaned him my signed copy and he inquired if he could possibly buy another one and have her sign it for me. She did him one better. She also enclosed a birthday card and drew a cartoon for me!




She called him a keeper! He is Chump Lady approved!

I keep telling him I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not but ever since he’s come into my life I have had the best birthdays!

The fun still wasn’t over. We had the rest of the weekend together. Saturday we grabbed coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, his favorite. We grabbed some groceries so we could make breakfast sandwiches for everyone. That was followed by a rousing game of Phase 10 where I got whipped despite it was my birthday weekend. The nerve!


That evening he, my mom, sweet J and I went to the local casino. He had never been and he wanted to go. He was given a $5 credit and he left with over $28!


Finally, on Sunday I took him to brunch at an old historic mansion downtown. He had heard me talk about this place many times and I really wanted to take him so he could experience it himself.


He really enjoyed it. And the brunch was pretty good, too. Any place that serves prime rib and shrimp cocktail is an okay place to me.

That was my birthday week. It was fantastic. If my 50s are even half as wonderful as the week leading up to it I am in for a hell of a ride!


I have written before about my 48th birthday and what a low day that was for me. It was my second birthday since D-Day, although I don’t remember much about that first one. I just know I wasn’t terribly depressed. Or maybe I was; it’s possible I was still waiting for CF to send me alimony and child support after he had moved out of the state and left the company he had worked for for 15 years. I might have been thinking I was going to have to move out of my house, leave everything behind, disrupt my children’s lives, and move back to Indiana.

By 2017 all of that had happened. Everything was gone. I was working two jobs. I worked 6 days a week and 13 hours a day most days. I was poor. Even working two jobs I barely made enough to cover the bills, feed us, and buy the essentials.

I remember crying that morning as I came home from my first job and got ready for my second. I didn’t see how life would ever improve. I was still at that point where I begged God every day to please strike me dead so I didn’t have to go on living this shitty, shitty life. I shut down my Facebook because I couldn’t bear to have people wish me a happy birthday. I didn’t want to go out and celebrate. My brother and his family ended up coming over to my house and cooking me dinner.

I don’t mean to be glib. I realize that there are a lot of things going on when a person decides to kill themselves. I don’t think it’s as easy as saying, “Don’t do that.” Depression is a very serious illness and many times you need professional help to get out of it. I also know when you’re going through a messy divorce it seems like life will never get better. I’m not sure I would have categorized myself as clinically depressed but life sure as hell wasn’t a fun time. Like I said, I would drive around screaming out my fury and despair. I once was so hysterical a guy in a truck in front of me was looking around to see what all the ruckus was about.

If that’s you right now, if you think there’s no point in going on because the person you loved deserted you, please stay. It does get better.

In February of 2017 I was begging for death. In April I received my back support and a weight was partially lifted. In May I met the mobster. In November I finally had my day in court and later that month found out I had kicked his ass. All those times I was certain he was going to get away with it all did not come to fruition. I won. And finally, in December I was divorced from him.

My birthday in 2018 was a completely different experience. I’ve written about that, too. The mobster sent me flowers at work. He bought me a beautiful ring. He video chatted me that morning just so he could see my face. My son bought me a gorgeous amethyst set and then wrote me the sweetest note, telling me how much he loved me and appreciated me and how hard I work. My daughter bought me roses, an iTunes card, and my favorite pj bottoms. My mom rocked her gifts to me. I got Facebook messages and texts. I went out for sushi with my brother and sister-in-law. I let my co-workers know it was my birthday so I got happy birthday wishes from them as well.

This year was even more amazing. I’ll write about that more in another post, but suffice to say, if God had granted my wish I would have missed out on all this wonderfulness. Don’t get me wrong. There are still days I feel overwhelmed. There are still days I feel like I’m spinning my wheels for nothing and like I’ll never get ahead. But overall I’m happy.

I never thought I’d get to this point when I was in the middle of all of that crap. More importantly, if I’d gotten my wish I wouldn’t have gotten to this point. I would have died a sad, depressed, poor woman instead of emerging from that hell as the person I am today.

I can’t tell anyone it’s definitely going to get better for them. I believe it eventually will but I don’t have a crystal ball. What I do 100% know is that if you don’t stay you’ll never get that chance to reclaim happiness.

I’d Take a Bullet For You

Oh, the interesting conversations I have with my kids.

Conversation #1

A few weeks ago my daughter called me to thank me for raising her to be a strong, independent woman. Apparently a bunch of people she knows have chosen to return home instead of remaining at college. The reason cited for the return? Homesickness.

She went on to say that in almost every single case the person returning home didn’t get involved at school. That was my moment to jump in and take credit. “What did I tell you?” She agreed that I had indeed begged her to get involved, to go out and participate in everything she possibly could at least that first week. As I wisely pontificated, “ Please give it a chance. Take advantage of every outing, every get together, every event planned for the first week. After that first week if you decide you just want to hang out in your room and watch Netflix, fine. But get out there that first week.”

She decided to go through recruitment (what was once known as “rush”) and has never once looked back since.

Conversation #2

I have come to the conclusion that I am a very bad driver. I didn’t used to think this but it is becoming more and more apparent.

I picked up Picasso from one of his after school events. There are a lot of stop signs with cross streets that don’t stop. I was at one such stop sign and began crossing when halfway across the road I realized there was a car coming towards me. I put the pedal to the metal and made it across.

Now, keep in mind the driver didn’t have to slam on their brakes. The driver didn’t have to swerve to miss me. I cut it close but we were in no danger of almost crashing. Even so the driver was not pleased and laid on the horn.

As we continue down these narrow streets, stopping every block for the stop signs I’m pointing out to my son how all of these houses look newly refurbished, which is something I was talking about with him recently. I was almost at the end of the block and ready to turn and, of course, coming upon another stop sign when I hear a car honking furiously behind me. I’m thinking there’s no way I have taken too long so what the hell is wrong?

That’s when the driver of the car from earlier pulls up beside me! She’s yelling and gesturing to me to roll down my window. I’m thinking, “No.” I’m not getting into it with some stranger that is obviously crazy enough that she’s willing to chase me down on a residential street.

I pull on up to the next stop sign and she’s still behind me, honking. I think it was at this point Picasso told me I should have a gun. I told him I had mace and he told me that wasn’t going to help if she pulled a gun. “Well, no, but if she doesn’t have a gun then my mace will be just fine,” I replied.

I turn right with the crazy bitch behind me. She begins to pass me on the right, trying to come up alongside me.

Again, I remind you, she did not have to slam on her brakes. She did not have to swerve to miss me. It wasn’t like we almost crashed and died.

As she’s pulling up beside me I decided I had had enough. I punched it once again and she was either going to have to slow down or run up onto the sidewalk or into the cars. I really didn’t care which one she chose. I did blow through a stop sign after I sped up.

Maybe she figured I was crazy at that point, or she felt she had completed her mission. At any rate she gave up the chase.

Once home Picasso told me that’s why I needed a gun. Eh. Probably not the best idea under the circumstances. Nonetheless, he told me he was getting into a defensive posture in case she did pull a weapon. “I was ready to take a bullet for you, Mom.”

I was touched. I also let him know that it was my job as the parent to take a bullet for him, not the other way around.

It’s sad, though. He can’t stand his father, refers to him by name, and wants nothing to do with him. He’d take a bullet for me, though. And he wasn’t just spewing shit. He really thought it was possible the situation could escalate to that point and he was getting prepared.

CF doesn’t have that with his kids. I tell myself all the time I am the real winner in all of this, no matter what, because my kids love me; they think the world of me. Yet, I also realize CF doesn’t care about stuff like that. Those are my values. That’s what is important to me. Harley and money is what is important to him.

Conversation #3

Picasso spends a lot of time in his room playing games on the XBox with his friends. Sometimes I feel like I’m failing him because I don’t drag him out of his room. There have been times when I’ve asked him if he wants to go get something to eat and he’ll reply, “Nah, I don’t really want to go anywhere.” There have been times when I’ve asked him if he wants to go see a movie and he’ll tell me there’s nothing out he really wants to see.

I know he’s much more of an introvert than his sister so I don’t push. Plus, it gives me a chance to decompress as well. But I do end up feeling guilty some days.

We had a rare day when he was out at the table and we were talking so I asked him how he felt I was doing as a parent. He’s a very literal kid so I find him very funny most of the time.

“On what kind of a scale?”

“What kind of a grade would you give me? A, B, C, D, or F?”

“Oh. Well, an A. You’ve kept me alive.”

“I would think the standards would be a little higher than just simply, ‘I kept you alive.’ Do you feel like I’m around enough? Give you enough attention? Am I engaged enough with you?”

Everyone should be pleased to know that I passed with flying colors. He feels I’m doing a bang up job of parenting him. I’m around plenty and he knows he can talk to me. He also assured me that he’s not barricading himself into his room and being a hermit. He’s playing with friends. He’s laughing and having a good time, which makes me feel a lot better.

We’ve been to two movies since that conversation and get this! He’s agreed to go see “Gone With the Wind” with me!

My Mamaw loved that movie. My mom used to say she believed she was Scarlett O’Hara. Close to twenty years ago she was visiting me down in Olive Branch. The local theater was playing “Gone With the Wind” on the big screen so I took her, knowing how much she loved the movie. It was the first time I ever saw it at the theater.

I never thought I would be carrying on the tradition with my son but hot damn, I’ll take it!

Conversation #4

The day Rock Star returned to school after winter break was rapidly turning into a disaster. She was picking on her brother and he was almost in tears. I was upset because we were out to breakfast before heading to take her back. All I wanted was a nice meal with my two children.

I barely said a word for the first 2 1/2 hours of our 2 hour and 45 minute trip. After I pulled over at the rest area to go to the bathroom and came back to the car I decided to break the ice.

She immediately burst into tears. “I miss you! I miss you so much! It’s not fair. I only get you for this one day and he gets you for the next two years!”

I was gobsmacked. She is loving college life. She loves her sorority. She loves the girls she’s met through AOPi. She is beaming and thriving. I reminded her of all of this.

“I know. And I do love it. But I still miss you!”

Maybe I shouldn’t be pleased that she misses me still. Perhaps it is a very bad sign that she will never launch because I have created such a dependence in her on me.

I don’t care, though. I know she’s having an amazing time at college. I’m still pleased to hear she loves me and misses me and wishes I were around more. When you hear all the negative stories going around about kids who can’t stand their parents I’m glad mine adore me.

Conversation #5

You may find this one a little sad. It is another conversation between me and Picasso involving his father.

I know I have written about not forcing a relationship on your kids and to not try to smooth things over between them and the other parent. It’s not your job to spackle. I don’t but I also don’t want my kids to feel like they will be betraying me by having a relationship with their dad.

On yet another chatty night we were talking about CF. Picasso was holding a small box and he remarked that the only thing CF had taught him was how to fold a box. At that moment I decided it needed to be said. I would suck it up if either of my kids wanted to see their father and there are times I worry that they feel I’ll be angry if they ever did choose to have a relationship with him. I very seriously told Picasso: You know, I won’t be upset if you want to have a relationship with him. You don’t have to worry that I will feel like you are betraying me.

“Oh, I wouldn’t feel like I was betraying you. I would feel like I was betraying myself,” he replied. “I abhor him.”

He went on to explain that he once felt sorry for his dad because he seemed so sad and so broken. He bought into the PTSD explanation his dad was selling the last few months before DDay. But, once he realized his dad was faking he became very angry. He said it was sick to do something like that, to pretend you have a very serious mental health diagnosis and to use that to justify your behavior. He also said he didn’t appreciate his dad cheating on me or him leaving the state and not saying a word to them. He ended his explanation by saying, “It all culminated in a perfect maelstrom.”

I was as impressed with his explanation as I was with his vocabulary.

“Wow, nice use of the word maelstrom.”

“You like that? I like that word but it’s hard to find an occasion to use it in a sentence. I’m surprised you didn’t say anything about me using abhor.”

“Eh. Not that big of a word. Maelstrom impressed me, though.”

Like I said, I have some interesting conversations with my kids.