Look At the Trees, Sam! Look At the Trees!

I have a confession to make. Last Monday was the first day in a very long time that my alarm went off and I just shut it down and reset it for another hour. Did not feel like getting out of bed and running at the crack of dawn. So I didn’t. That’s how I roll.

Anyone still watch The Walking Dead? I was never a big fan. I found it too violent. I like to laugh, not cringe. Jerry Lee was a big fan so I did happen to see a couple episodes.

The one that stuck with me through the years was the one called The Grove. If you’ve never watched TWD, or don’t remember this particular episode by it’s name alone let me give you a little synopsis.

Carol and Tyreese are in charge of 2 young sisters, Lizzie and Mika, and baby Judith, who is Rick Grimes’ daughter. One day they are out hunting and when they come back Mika is dead. Turns out her sister is a psychopath, or sociopath, not sure which. Lizzie lists feeding walkers and playing tag with them as her hobbies. She’s so distraught over the idea of the walkers being killed that she has decided to prove to Carol and Tyreese that they are “good” by virtue of killing her younger sister and letting her “come back”. Just to prove that she’s a little psychopath she admits she was about to kill baby Judith. And pulls a gun on the adults so they don’t try to prevent Mika from becoming a walker. This kid is so bonkers she thinks Carol is upset with her because she pulled a gun on her. Uh, no; you killed your little sister. That’s the real issue.

Anyway, Carol takes Lizzie out to a field and shoots her in the head. So she doesn’t become a zombie, of course. As Lizzie is crying and asking her not to be mad at her; she didn’t mean to pull a gun on her, Carol keeps telling her, “Just look at the flowers, Lizzie. Just look at the flowers. Just look at the flowers.”

I know you must be thinking, “What on earth does this have to do with anything?” I will tell you.

Back in the beginning of the year when he was totally gung-ho about exercising and I was not, I avoided hills like the plague. I mean, obviously if there was one in front of me I would run it but I would actively go out of my way to make sure I didn’t find one. I was telling him about running this hill and how horrible it was so he told me he had read that when you’re running up hills you should focus on an object in front of you instead of focusing on the hill.

The mobster is the smartest man I know. Far smarter than that guy I knew who claimed his IQ was so high he could qualify for Mensa. So when he told me that I figured I would give it a shot. Now whenever I have hill to run I always try to focus on a tree up ahead. Sometimes I have to switch focus to a different tree because I get too close to the first one I’m focusing on. But I focus on the trees. Because of that damn episode every time I’m running up a hill and I’m focusing on the trees I can hear a voice saying, “Just look at the trees, Sam. Just look at the trees!”

Oy! And vey. The things I think about while I’m running. This is why I never should have started running with no music. No time for whackadoodle thoughts like this when you’re running along to Dierks Bentley singing about being drunk on a plane, or Little Big Town singing about the beer, the wine, the whiskey.

Good news is I don’t think I’m at a high risk for suffering a bullet wound while I run. I could get ran over by a car though. The streets are narrow. But I’ll take my chances as I look at the trees. And watch for cars- even the sneaky ones that might come up behind me.

How Do You Sleep At Night?

The Chicks, formerly known as The Dixie Chicks, are back, feisty as ever with their new album, Gaslighter. Little tip for anyone who might need it: Don’t cheat on a person who can chronicle your behavior in song and then make millions off of it.

Unlike Taylor Swift who seems to delight in superficially calling out the various men she’s dated and dumped (or been dumped by) the songs on this album detail the agony of infidelity, the craziness you feel during all of the gas lighting and lies, and the sorrow of a long term marriage ending in divorce.

The title track song, “Gaslighter” kicks things off. You find the song playing on repeat in your head despite the subject matter. Natalie is bold and brash; she’s not holding back. She calls him out and lets him know she knows exactly what he’s trying to do. “Tights On My Boat” lightens things up a bit. I hope you die peacefully in your sleep. Just kidding- I hope it hurts like you hurt me. She also gives him notice that whoever left those tights on her boat can have him now. “Something Good” is more reflective. The singer begins by listing the things she’s doing to try to keep herself distracted before asking, “Should I have know? Should I have seen a sign?” Isn’t that what we all wonder? How did I miss those red flags? She then goes on to tell him: I hope it’s really worth it. Twenty years of hanging on. Now it all adds up to nothin’. Gave up on the moon and back. Thought you’d found a better half. Ah, I hope it’s something good.” The true gem though is “Sleep At Night.”

The song itself is far too uptempo for what’s coming. When it begins you think it’s just another song that you can bob your head to. Oh, this is nice. And then you listen to the lyrics.

Not that you asked

But I’m getting past everything, everything

I’m doing okay

Just glad it’s not yesterday, huh

Yeah, they never do ask us how we’re doing, do they? They don’t really care. They matter. Their happiness matters. We’re inconsequential.

My husband’s girlfriend’s husband just called me up

How messed up is that?

It’s so insane that I have to laugh.

I know that’s what I’ve told myself for five long years. The things he’s done are so horrible you’ve only got two choices- let it take you down while you cry, or shake your head and laugh about it.

Then she hits us with a bombshell.

But then I think about our two boys trying to become men

There’s nothing funny about that.

Oh. My heart. You try to roll with the punches for your own sanity, yet how do you protect your vulnerable children? How do you explain that this isn’t acceptable behavior while not standing in the way of them having a relationship with this person if that’s what they want?

It brings the fact that there are children living through this to the forefront. They are collateral damage in all of this. Yes, you go find your happiness. Turn my life upside down and force me to live in an alternate reality where your girlfriend’s husband calling me is the norm. While you’re doing that try not to forget that we have children and they understand what’s going on. They’re seeing everything.

The chorus asks:

How do you sleep at night?

How do you tell those lies?

Lookin’ me in the eye

Livin’ a double life

Tell me, how you sleep at night?

How do you sleep at night?

In the second verse she tells the story of how he brought his mistress to her show where the mistress gushed over her and how much she loved her and was such a huge fan.

I joked that you can love me as long as you don’t love my man.

There’s nothin’ funny about that.

The lies. The duplicity. Duper’s Delight, as Chump Lady puts it. Nothing more exciting than shoving your affair partner right under your spouse’s nose and knowing that person is so trusting and/or naive that he or she will never suspect a thing.

Again she asks:

How do you sleep at night?

How do you tell those lies?

Lookin’ me in the eye

Livin’ a double life

Tell me how do you sleep at night?

Confession time. I was singing along to this song yesterday and I was so angry. As I sang I envisioned myself demanding to know, “How do you sleep at night?” I actually got a little teary eyed wondering how Jerry Lee could sleep at night after all he did to us.

They’ve encompassed the pain and horror of betrayal so beautifully- all it’s absurdities, all the pain, all the horror, all the questions you want to scream out.

Sadly, after about the third time I sang along I shook my head because I realized the answer to that question, “How do you sleep at night?” is, “I sleep fine.”

They don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. The only person they’re worried about is themselves. Our pain doesn’t matter. Our children don’t matter. Only what they want matters.

Therein lies the catch-22. You could ask a normal person that question, and a normal person would be haunted by what he or she had done; then again, a normal person wouldn’t do those things. They wouldn’t think it was fine to bring their affair partner to meet their spouse. They wouldn’t think it was okay to cheat in the first place! A normal person would care about what this is doing to his or her children. A normal person wouldn’t inflict this kind of pain on another person. Lying wouldn’t be second nature to a normal person. They wouldn’t live a double life.

I still love the song. I think it’s powerful and emotional. Let it serve as a warning. Let it call out those who are doing wrong. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can shame a person like this. It can’t be done. They’re going to sleep like babies.

He Doesn’t Disappoint

Apparently Jerry Lee is going to take this all the way to the bitter end. It is after 9 pm on the 24th, the day he was to have his “lump sum” of $2000 paid to me. I said I wouldn’t be surprised if he waited until 11:59 to pay it. Looks like that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

I’ve already called my attorney; I waited until 5:30 and then took the plunge. Technically, he’s not late but why let him play these ridiculous games? She said to update her on Monday and if he hadn’t paid she’d put it back on the docket. Or, as she put it, “I’ll haul his ass back to court.”

Whenever it gets down to the wire like this I always start to worry. My daughter just filled out her application for an additional student loan. I told her I could pay her rent so she only took a loan out for the balance of her tuition. If he pulls some shit then we’re both fucked.

All I can say is he is one stupid motherfucker to sign a consent order and then turn right around and ignore it.

UPDATE: He finally sent it at 9:23 pm. Wow- 2 hours and 36 minute early!

An Ode To ID TV

If you’ve been reading here for any amount of time you know my guilty pleasure in the beginning of this journey through hell was watching ID TV. I’d joke that I was taking notes. Or was I…???

Today’s memes have a murder theme even though I no longer watch ID TV.  Maybe it’s because I’m mostly healed. Maybe it’s because I no longer have the time. Maybe it’s because he’s worth more alive than dead now. It’s hard to say. Either way I hope you enjoy my horribly dark humor! If murder is not your thing, stick around; there will be more light hearted memes later.

 

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I have to admit I thought the same thing. Actually, my thought process was more like, “Why are they advertising the fact that you can dispose of a human body with their product? Is that a selling point now?”

 

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I’m sure one had nothing to do with the other….

 

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Still Celebrating

Sorry I’ve been absent lately. I have no excuse. I’m just reveling in my victory. I still find it hard to believe I won.

Okay, maybe that’s not all that difficult to believe I won but after the last two years… it’s hard to believe it’s finally over. I’m enjoying the sweet, sweet victory. At least until he tries to do something else shady. Hopefully that suspended jail sentence will keep Jerry Lee on the straight and narrow.

A little over two years ago he couldn’t slash child support in half fast enough. I tried to tell him. I gently asked if he had talked to an attorney about getting it modified. He ignored me, then talked down to me, and then called me a cunt. In the end? He had to pay $1800 for the month of June 2018 (and July 2018-July 2020, but who’s counting?) instead of the $200+ he sent my way for her.

I remember him sending me that first post graduation child support, after I let him know it didn’t get slashed in half. He called it revisionist history and insinuated that I was only going after more money so that I could meet up with the mobster. Your attorney has not given me the new $$$ required… When that amount is determined… then the amount will change. So fucking smug. I should have written back, “Take your time. Until the order is modified you owe me $1800.” He wouldn’t have believed me, of course. Now I have the satisfaction of knowing his pomposity came back to bite him in the ass.

I think back to the first time my lawyer emailed him the new figures and how condescending he was. No, he didn’t agree. No, he wouldn’t pay the legal fees. He didn’t have any control over my business affairs. He didn’t tell me to hire a lawyer and he had no control over how long it took her to do her job. He didn’t want to use those numbers. He wanted to use whatever my new pay rate might be. It all needed to be “proper”. Health insurance seemed to be way too much. To be fair, Jane did calculate health insurance incorrectly and it was going to cost him about $200 more than this newest figure. But… $200 more for 3 years versus $900 more for just over 2 years. Hmmm… I think he should have taken the deal.

For the last three and a half years he’s been able to pay support whenever he wants. Schedule? What schedule? Let’s wait until the last day of the month to finish paying what I owe! Let’s not pay anything until the second half of the month. This will be fun!

He has one more chance to mess with me and then I should be paid directly from his employer. He is supposed to pay me the small lump sum of $2000 by the 24th. If anyone was wondering if he’s paid it already, he hasn’t. I’m willing to bet he won’t pay it until around midnight on the 24th. He’ll stretch it out as long as he possibly can because it will be the last time he gets to do something like that.

For almost three and a half years he’s harassed me with snide stamps on my envelopes and obscene emojis and nasty messages in his Venmo transfers. Now that is over. Like I said, he’s got one more chance to make some smart ass comment and then his employer does all the work.

And let’s not forget the God awful saga of going through the state child support enforcement agency. That was an absolute nightmare. First it was going to take 60-90 days. That turned into it will take 60-90 days to go from one state to the other and back again and then another 60-90 days to go to the next state. Then that turned into, “Oh, once the second state gets your information then the county has another 45 days to review the case and decide to file.” Not to mention two moves since March of 2019. Just as we were almost there to take him back to court in Mississippi he up and vanished again.

I suppose in the end it all worked out. While I may have still received the $900/month back support where he didn’t modify the original order, I’m not sure I would be receiving as much child support as I am now and I get that for another eleven months. I was also told by Jane that the garnishment would have only been in effect as long as there was child support to collect. Not to mention I wouldn’t have tax free spousal support.

I walk around and I’m not sure how I should feel. For the past year and a half I’ve been begging people- my lawyer, my caseworker- to help me get him garnished, to make him pay what he owes me. I’ve spent so much time sending emails, doing research, crossing my fingers, and pushing this along. Now it’s done. I won. I can’t say it enough. I won. There’s nothing to do now. Except finish paying my lawyer.

I’m really hoping this brings me to Meh. I’ve been over him for years. I’m slowly coming to terms with this new life I’m leading. I think I’m fairly happy except for the job situation. But even after kicking his ass in court at the divorce trial he has messed with me non-stop since December of 2017. It’s hard to be completely at Meh when someone is messing with you, and that someone holds your financial future in his hands. Now that I’ve got a suspended jail sentence hanging over his head, and the money will be automatically deducted from his check and deposited into my account I am hopeful that I won’t ever have to deal with him again.

Picasso is 18. He wants nothing to do with his dad. I could send him the bills for his therapy, and in many ways I really think he should pay for that because he’s the reason the kid needs therapy. But my peace of mind is worth more than that. I’ll pay the $22 each week and not ask for him to kick in $15.

God willing Picasso will graduate eleven months from now. At the rate we seem to be going who knows if they will even hold a graduation next year? They’re already pulling back from having the kids start in person classes. Picasso has already told me he has no desire for his dad to be there when he does graduate. This time around I will stay out of it. And after graduation day I’m deleting him from my contacts. I could probably do it now, not that we communicate much.

That’s where I am. Just wandering about, pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, but also wondering how exactly he’s going to fuck this up for me as well. Good thing I’m a fighter.

Patience While Riding a Roller Coaster

Whew! Do I have a story to tell you all. Sit down, buckle up, and maybe pour a stiff drink (or not so stiff) before we begin because this is a long one.

When I last left you I was playing a waiting game. Nothing was progressing. They’d seemed all gung ho to get this over and done with; Jerry Lee’s lawyer was constantly playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with no actual deal offered. Then- radio silence.

Monday afternoon, around 3:30 or 4:00 I got an email from my attorney’s legal assistant. She was asking for my pay information going back to July of 2018, which would have been the month after Rock Star graduated. What’s that you say? I lost it! It was one of those moments where I wish I had been wearing a mask at work because I was muttering under my breath left and right. Motherfucker!

Here my lawyer had not balked one bit at calculating arrears at the full amount of the court order. Now all of a sudden I’m being asked to submit every single one of my pay raises, you know the big fifty cent ones, back to July 2018. Now it seemed that perhaps they were only going to go after the difference between what he should have been paying and what he actually paid. Really?

Of course my phone was almost dead so I couldn’t return the phone call. I had to wait until after work and until I walked to my car so I could plug my phone back in and begin to charge it. To say I was on edge for the next 60 minutes was an understatement.

Once I talked to her legal assistant (let’s call her Sally) she quickly put my fears to rest- mostly. She said according to the law Jerry Lee should have to pay the $902.90 difference but the judge did have discretion in this case. She wanted to be prepared with all of the numbers in case he decided to do it that way. She didn’t want him to have to continue the case and have me have to drive back. She did say that more than likely that’s the way he would rule (for the entire amount, not the difference) but better safe than sorry.

I also got an email from my attorney (let’s call her Jane) letting me know that Jerry Lee was claiming poverty- only $2000 to his name. Funny, because according to his bank records he (they) just rented a vacation home for $1800… His best offer was to continue paying child support after Picasso graduated from high school. She also told me he was going to claim inability to pay seeing as how I take over 50% of his take home pay. He has no way to pay towards the arrears or towards the lawyer’s fees. I’m going to refer you to the sentence above.

He’s got money to pay for an expensive vacation rental. He’s got money to rent another amazing house. Oh yeah, we found that, too. At one point I thought he might have actually cashed in his 401k to put a down payment on it but I believe he’s still renting. They’ve got $900 to blow at Better Homes & Gardens. They got a stimulus check; yeah, he wasn’t making nearly as much as I thought he was at the second job. If you deduct the spousal support he paid he’s under the threshold needed to get a check. He gets a tax refund each year. In other words, he has money he could pay towards his arrears and legal fees, but he chooses not to. It’s more important for Harley the Hillbilly Whore to live in a better home than she’s ever lived in in her life and for them to go on vacation than it is for him to fulfill his obligations.

Essentially, we went from me getting a lump sum, plus an additional $500 and him continuing to pay that amount until all arrears and fees are paid, to him being willing to continue to pay child support after Picasso graduated- which the courts would make him do anyway. I let her know I was not feeling charitable and listed all the different means from which he should be able to pay, or could have been paying more towards all of this- his stimulus check, bonus checks, tax refund, 401k. I also reiterated that it seemed to me staying out of court benefitted him more than it did me.

I went to work on Tuesday a little dejected. Even though not going to court was more his benefit, I do get nervous about it. You never know what will happen. I was hoping we could reach a deal that I could control and stay out of court. Plus, I would be able to drive directly to the mobster instead of making a layover in Harrisonburg.

I left at noon on Tuesday. I got a phone message from Jane about 20 minutes before I was due to leave. I was pretty much finished with everything I needed to do so I returned the call immediately. She conferenced in Sally. Basically, Jerry Lee’s attorney was doing his best to reach a deal. The offer was now a lump sum of $2000 (all the money he has to his name), an additional $1000 a month towards arrears, and he would continue paying support after Picasso graduated (a given).

That’s nice but it’s not enough. I decided to go for it. I asked Jane if I could get it ordered for him to pay me through direct deposit from his company. I am done playing these games with him. I’m tired of never knowing when I’m going to get paid, how much he’s going to pay, if he’s going to pay… This way I would know exactly when to expect the money. I also wanted it put in there that the spousal support arrears are tax free for me. If he gets to pay me over a long period of time instead of coming up with a lump sum then he doesn’t get to deduct that from his taxes. Even better I don’t have to pay taxes on them. She balked a little on that one but I assured her it was definitely possible if he agreed. She said she’d put it in there.

Then she added in talk of interest on the arrears. I had completely forgotten about that.

Finally I mentioned when Picasso graduates next June. I told her I knew it was small potatoes compared to everything else but I wanted to know if we could put something in there about how to calculate that last month’s child support instead of going through him prorating the amount down to the half hour once again.

“Oh, we’re going to have him pay the entire amount for June.”

How you like that, Jerry Lee? Fuck me over and prorate support down to 8:30 the night your daughter graduates? Now you get to pay for the entire month of June when Picasso will actually graduate sometime between the 7th and the 11th.

She said she was going to email Jerry Lee’s attorney and try to get this done. I let her know that I had about 2 hours once I got on the road to make a decision as to which city I would be going to.

Problems ensued. The log I was supposed to send didn’t get delivered for some reason so I had to resend it while on the road. We still hadn’t heard back by the time I was supposed to exit to go to Fieldale so I continued on to Harrisonburg.

We stopped in Ohio to eat lunch. While we were eating I got a call from my attorney. He had agreed to everything! She was literally hanging up with the other attorney to take my call. His lawyer point blank told him he needed to sign or he was going to go to jail. My own attorney couldn’t believe it. As she said, “What an idiot!” I’m not sure if she was referring to Jerry Lee or to his lawyer. She said she would have never agreed to what we asked for.

I was breathing a sigh of relief. Thank God it was over! I couldn’t believe it either. I was almost giddy as the tension left my body. Onward to Fieldale- even though I was now about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, off track. We exited the toll road and headed towards the mobster. Sadly my victory celebration was short-lived.

Around 4:30 I happened to see another email from her. She was forwarding a message she had sent to his attorney. Apparently they were just now figuring out that the child support arrears were not being calculated at the difference between what he should have been paying and what he was paying, but the difference between the original amount ordered and what he had been paying. I thought it had been too good to be true. I was shocked that Jerry Lee wasn’t fighting me on that. His attorney was trying to argue that it wasn’t fair for him to have pay support for Rock Star because she had aged out of support. Jane went on to point out to him that she had told him there was no Motion to Modify; that was why we were now modifying the child support. More importantly, I was agreeing to modify it now at the same time we were getting this crap done instead of making him file his own damn motion. She was much nicer about it, of course, but that was the gist of it.

I had just finished dictating a response to my mom when my attorney called me. She told me the lightbulb had finally gone off for them (maybe just Jerry Lee?) and he was balking at signing now. He claimed we had an agreement. I told her we had never had an agreement. She was able to pull up all of our correspondence and see that that was true. He refused to accept the numbers she threw out in early December. By January I had decided to go with the state because it was free.

The difference between the two amounts was approximately $20,000. She wanted to know what I wanted to do. Did I want to secure the deal by taking $20,000 less? When I balked at that she offered potentially splitting the difference as well.

I had pulled into a gas station so I could take the phone off of speaker. A million different thoughts were running through my head. I could take the deal. Screw myself and my kids out of $20,000. You all know I’ve been back and forth about whether or not I was truly entitled to that money. It should have been modified. At the same time, he dug his heels in and refused to do so, putting it instead on me. The pro to the deal is I would have the money directly deposited into my account. The $11,000 in spousal support arrears would be tax free. That would be huge. I could also give a little and split the difference. Same pros, same cons. I took a deep breath and told her I wanted to go to court.

Fuck that! I’ve already made enough concessions. I was supposed to have $25,000 by the end of 2018. He never paid and he made it very clear he had no intentions of doing so. His email response to my request was a blunt, “I don’t have it.” Period. No offer to work with me. Not to mention he didn’t even bother to sign his damn name. If I went to court the judge would more than likely order at least 25% of the arrears. Even though my attorney pointed out that they would only calculate the actual arrears and not the legal fees, he would still be ordered to pay a minimum of more than $4000. He was offering up $2000. I had been as gracious as I was going to be. I knew that if I went to court I would lose the tax free spousal support. I knew there was a possibility he wouldn’t bother with ordering Jerry Lee to pay me via direct deposit because, as Jane always pointed out, a Georgia company doesn’t need to follow a Virginia judge’s orders. I had given as much as I was going to give. I might lose some things I wanted by going to court, but I wasn’t going to face an ass chewing either- or potential jail time.

She told me she was going to call his attorney and tell him we would see him in court. I wasn’t going to budge. She would call me back after she had talked to opposing counsel; in the meantime, I should set my GPS to Harrisonburg. I love a change of plans; don’t you?

I had the directions to Harrisonburg on my phone while my mom had the directions to Fieldale on hers. I was still hoping his attorney could talk some sense into him. At the moment the course we were on could take us to either Harrisonburg or Fieldale, but at some point that path would diverge and I would be forced to take one path or the other. Onward we drove.

6:00 I get another call from Jane. She had been talking to his attorney. She had forwarded him all the documentation proving that we never had an agreement about child support modification. She point blank told him she was going to show he had money to pay towards arrears. She was going to ask for jail time. She wouldn’t be offering to modify child support at this hearing; he would have to make a separate motion. The legal fees she had computed would also be going up. After her phone call to him she said he had told her he would be telling Jerry Lee to sign the papers or risk going to jail. Apparently his attorney knew this was not looking good for Jerry Lee. She told me she would call back and let me know if he followed his attorney’s advice but she was confident he would agree.

At 6:45 I get another phone call from her. He was refusing to sign; he was going to fight it. His attorney told him if he wasn’t going to sign then he needed to get in his car and get up to Virginia. He had to be at the hearing. No excuses this time. Damn! Even my lawyer sounded dejected.

I have to say I was pretty calm considering I had gone from an incredible high of getting pretty much what I wanted, down to a low of thinking there was no deal, back up when it looked like he was being advised to sign, and now once again being told I was going to have to appear in court.

As I told Jane I still remember going to court and having the judge modify spousal support back to June when Jerry Lee didn’t make an effort to modify it until November. I knew it wasn’t a sure thing. I knew there was a possibility that child support modifications could be scaled back by $20,000. I wasn’t going to get tax free spousal support arrears. I probably wouldn’t get my money via direct deposit.

As I drove on I practiced what I was going to say if his attorney asked me about my efforts to get child support modified. I was terrified the judge would say I knew it needed to be modified and I had somehow agreed to take on that task by starting the process. I was dreading being interrogated on the stand once again, although Jane had told me all I would be doing is going over my support log and answering the question, “Did you want legal fees from today’s proceedings?” Sounds simple enough but it was terrifying nonetheless. I told myself to buck up. I’m a goddamn warrior. If I was going down I was going down fighting. I would drag that sonofabitch through the mud. I hoped that at least I would get to witness the judge throwing the book at him. I wanted jail time!

Meanwhile, because of all the twists and turns during our trip the drive to Harrisonburg took an additional hour, at least. Plus I was driving state highways instead of toll roads and interstates. Why is that important? It’s important because instead of driving to the hotel from a nicely lit, straight interstate I was driving around a dark mountain from approximately 11 pm until 12:30 am. I am going to lobby to have mountains and countryside roads well lit! We counted at least 6 deer grazing along the side of the road, with one of them deciding to run across the road in front of me. Delightful! We finally checked into the hotel at 1 am. I made notes for court until 1:30 and then set my alarm for 6 am so I could get up and run 3 miles.

I didn’t run after a mere four and a half hours of sleep because I’m an exercise fanatic. I ran because I needed to alleviate my stress. Get it all out! I sweated for a good 50 minutes before heading back to the room to shower and get ready.

My mom and I arrived at the courthouse about 8:40. Court was at nine. We were sitting on the bench waiting for Jane. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. I dreaded seeing Jerry Lee. I didn’t think he’d bring Harley along. He’d waited long enough that I didn’t think she could reasonably accompany him if she had a job. Plus, even if she could have got the day off she probably didn’t have childcare for her youngest. He’s probably around 12 now but I still wouldn’t leave him home alone while I traveled 8 hours away. Then again…

We finally saw Jane coming towards us. She said she saw Jerry Lee’s lawyer enter the courthouse but she hadn’t seen Jerry Lee. We went on in and headed to our courtroom.

Inside the courtroom sat Jerry Lee’s lawyer. No Jerry Lee in sight. Maybe he was meeting him there.

He looks at Jane and says something about the signed Consent Order. She looks at him and says, “What?”

“I told you last night we had a deal.”

Uh, no. No you didn’t. She told him she must have misunderstood because she had been working on exhibits for court from 8-10 last night because he had told her Jerry Lee wouldn’t sign.

I’m a bit fuzzy on the details but I do know he mentioned something about Jerry Lee turning around and heading back to Georgia. It sounds like Jerry Lee was planning on fighting it but then decided it wasn’t worth it, or the pain that the judge was going to bring down on him wasn’t going to be worth the $20,000 he was going to save.

My lawyer apologized profusely and told me she didn’t charge me for the time she spent working on the exhibits. Hopefully that would offset the amount of money I had to pay for the hotel room.

By 9:45 we were out of there. The judge went over all the details of the Consent Order and made sure Jerry Lee was not claiming inability to pay. He did remember him from our trial almost 3 years ago. The case remains on the docket to follow up and make sure Jerry Lee is complying with the order.

Oh, and while I was reading the order I asked Jane if we were beginning the new amount next month or this month because the order said July 2020. She realized that was a typo and should be July of 2021. At that point she whispered, “I wish you lived closer. I would hire you in a heartbeat and I would pay you a lot better than what the bank is paying you.”

That’s my story. I WON! AGAIN! I didn’t cave. I’m so happy I didn’t take the reduced offer. Hell, I’m glad I didn’t take the “split the difference” offer. I don’t know and I don’t care what his thinking was. Maybe he figured he could bluff me and I would eventually back down and go the easy, surefire route. That might have worked if I had just as much to lose as he did. But I didn’t. I was willing to go to court and let the judge decide, even if it meant I didn’t get everything I wanted. I kept reminding myself that not going to court benefited him, not me. I was already being more than flexible. I was willing to let him pay me back $60,000+ over a period of years instead of having the judge order to him to pay me immediately, or at least a much greater chunk immediately. If he couldn’t see the allowances I was willing to make, well, he could try his luck with the judge. No. More. Concessions.

Now I get the entire $23,000+ in back child support plus interest. I get tax free spousal support arrears. I get an additional $1000 per month for the next 3+ years. True, it’s all going into savings, but I get it. Best of all he can no longer mess with me. I get that money directly deposited into my account every time he gets paid. No more nasty messages. No more obscene emojis. No more not knowing when or how much he’ll pay.

Oh, and I forgot. There is a suspended jail sentence in the order which means if he fucks up and decides to play games again he goes to jail. Jane told me to text him my account information and if he gave me any attitude to let her know. She also said that all the arrears were calculated through this month so I won’t receive any spousal support but I will receive the $2000 lump sum he’s supposed to pay. That’s okay. I have money set aside and it will only end up being an $800 difference. She told me to let her know if he doesn’t get it set up because she will haul him back to court.

I’m also very glad I advocated for myself and asked for the things I wanted, like the direct deposit and the tax free spousal support. I stood strong. I refused to take less than my kids and I deserved. I put my big girl panties on and I marched forward even when my heart was pounding out of my chest. It wasn’t fast.  It took a lot of patience and a lot of determination. God knows I have dealt with roadblock after roadblock.

This saga began back in June of 2018. He refused to modify support and refused to pay any more towards Picasso. Then he refused the numbers my attorney gave him, being an ass about it all the way. I’ve been trying to garnish him since January of 2019. What was supposed to take four-six months took over a year and then just dead-ended when he moved out of Mississippi to Georgia. I never heard from my caseworker after I last emailed her in March. Jane took over a year to get through all of her pending divorce cases and finally work on my contempt case. But dammit, I just kept pushing on; I saw it through. I didn’t quit. I never gave up. The asshole tax is real and Jerry Lee will be paying it for at least three years.

I didn’t get the life insurance clause added in there like I wanted. I didn’t get as big of a lump sum as I wanted. We also didn’t bring up him needing to pay me bonuses and tax refunds to reduce his arrears and fees sooner. I’m sure he has the ability to pay; he just doesn’t want to. According to their bank records they bring home over $14,000 a month. That’s more than when we were together and he was the only one working. Even with the $4000+ he’ll be paying out for the next 3 years he’s got as much income coming into the house as he did when we were together. I’d say they’re doing quite well for themselves. I don’t feel a bit sorry for him. I’m sure he’ll spin it to whoever will listen that I’m a greedy, gold digging, vindictive bitch that has poisoned his kids against him and tries to take every dime from him. I’m sure it’s all my fault that he owes this because I lied and told him I’d take care of it for him. Guess what? I don’t give a fuck. Go be happy with your whore. Leave me alone and make sure that direct deposit is set up.

This saga is over finally! Thank God! I’m going to say it again: I WON!

A Petty Confession

I have a petty confession to make. Rock Star and I were talking last week. I told her I had finally told her brother that his dad got married. It happened the same time we set up his Venmo account. He saw the picture of his dad kissing Harley and he says to me, “I suppose this is his pictures. The one of him kissing a ho.” It’s been two years and Daddy Dearest still hasn’t managed to tell either of his kids that he’s remarried.

She said their anniversary was a few weeks ago. I know that. I remember because my mother shared the news with me as I was on my way down to Virginia to throw the mobster his surprise party. I think their actual anniversary is the day before his birthday, so it’s kind of hard to forget. I don’t know the exact date but I do know it’s around the mobster’s birthday.  Anyway….

She goes on to tell me he announced it on Facebook. That was a whole other conversation because I knew she had told me before she wasn’t friends with him. Seems Jerry Lee has two accounts, not that I give a shit either way. Nonetheless, I was being snarky and asked, “So did he gush about how she’s the love of his life and he’s never been happier?” To which she nodded and said, “Pretty much.”

Why do I even care? I don’t want him back. I’ve spent almost five years coming to terms with the fact that I have mourned the loss of the life I had more than I have ever mourned losing him. I’m finally getting to the point where I’m focusing on what is right now, instead of what I had and what I lost. Yet, it still chaps my ass that he goes out of his way to do this shit for her. He never did anything like that for me. Sure, he was only on Facebook for three years out of the twenty that we were married. Technically I suppose we were married 23 years so he was on it for five years. But a review of the timeline shows I signed him up in 2012; by 2013 he was involved with Harley. After discovering I could see all of his activity if I had his Facebook archives I asked for his password. It didn’t work and shortly thereafter he supposedly deleted Facebook because it made him “so unhappy, comparing his life to others and all they have.” He stayed off until I found out about his second affair with Harley in 2015. In other words, he spent most of his time cheating on me when he had a Facebook page. In hindsight I can see why he wasn’t lovey dovey on it; it was his dating app.

December 2013 would have been an excellent time to toss out the “I love you’s” and “You’re the love of my life!”. Maybe even a, “I will spend the rest of my life making things up to you,” or “Thank you for putting up with me and all my bullshit.” Anything really. But nah, he never did. Not one time did he announce our anniversary or make a big deal of it on social media. But he’ll do it for the whore, the woman who actually was still fucking her husband behind his back while he handed her the remainder of his paycheck.

Just like despite knowing how much it bothered me that neither he nor his family ever commented on my pictures and complimented me, he still never bothered. Yet for Harley the Hillbilly Whore he can always find a spare minute to blow smoke up her ass.

On a scale of 1-10 I find this a solid 2. It irks me. It bothers me for some reason; I’m not sure why. It causes me to question how much is image management and how much is real, and if it is real why couldn’t he do that for me? Maybe that’s why it bothers me. Why couldn’t he do it for me? I was married to him for twenty years. I moved all over the damn country for him. I gave him two children. I fixed his fucking plate for him every night. So why not do something like that for me? It’s a big “Fuck you!” from him to me. For the most part though it makes me shake my head and say to myself, “It wasn’t you. It was him.”

It’s easy to fool myself into thinking that they’re just a better couple, more compatible. Good for them! The reality though is that if he had put one fourth of the effort into our relationship that he makes for her we probably wouldn’t be divorced. As much as he likes to lay all the blame at my feet (I wasn’t a good housekeeper. We never had sex. We grew apart. I focused too much on the kids. I treated him like a wallet and a handyman.) he was not a good husband. He made good money and that’s all I can say for him. Oh, he was handy around the house. But as far as putting any effort into me or our relationship? No. He fell short of the mark. Not only did he fall short of the mark, he didn’t care that he fell short of the mark! He was a shitty partner. He was rarely there for me. I was a wife appliance and he treated me as such. I went through most of our marriage alone. Reminding myself of all of that makes me shake my head and say to myself, “It wasn’t you. It was him.” So why does it gnaw at me, even the tiny little bit that it does? Hmmm….

It’s easy to say maybe he knows he’s married to a low down, trifling ho so he figures he better make the big gestures to keep her around. It’s also easy to say it’s like Chump Lady reminds us:  He’s got to make it seem like the love affair of the century to justify what he did to his wife and kids.

Then I look back on the Facebook messages I’ve posted about the mobster. They’re gushy. They’re loving. This past year on his birthday I told him he was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. The past two years I mentioned how even though it was his birthday I was the one that was receiving the gift. We wear matching t-shirts and post them on Facebook. Granted, I don’t post often on Facebook but what I do post is genuine. The mobster and I really are an adorable couple. We are over the moon thrilled to have found one another. No, we are thrilled to have found someone who appreciates the efforts we make and is willing to make an equal effort.

Maybe that’s how Jerry Lee feels as well. Perhaps he believes I just held him back and stomped all over him. I mean, I was emotionally abusive according to him. Plus, she’s probably a better housekeeper which… well, means zilch. Maybe what he really wanted was a wife who made money as well. A wife that wouldn’t put up with his bullshit. A wife who would ooh and ahh over every little thing he did and treat him like he was a king. Maybe she’s a better actress than I am, or was just hungrier for his paycheck than I was. Maybe he really is happier than he’s ever been. Maybe she is the great love of his life. It stings a bit, I suppose, knowing that I was nothing to him. Just a broodmare, a cook, a laundress, a chauffeur, and a bad housekeeper.

Like I said, it’s a solid 2 on a scale of 1-10. In the end it doesn’t matter. They’re two shitty human beings and if being with shit makes him happier then good for him. My guess is it’s a lot of image management. They’re two cheaters and one of them is going to cheat on the other in the end. I know he’s no prize. I know I don’t miss him or want him back. I also know I’ve got the best relationship I’ve ever had with the mobster.

Perhaps it all comes down to realizing that a twenty year marriage didn’t mean a damn thing. He cheated and left after all. Abandoned his kids. So I suppose it makes sense that this new life makes him happier than he’s ever been. If I am happier than I’ve ever been it stands to reason that perhaps he is happier than he’s ever been. Then again, he’s a lying asshole and I’m not.

I don’t think I’m going to get a resolution on this. The best I can hope for is to roll my eyes and let it walk on by. Not my circus, not my monkeys. Fear not, though. I’m not wanting him back. I’m not mourning his loss. I’m simply dealing with yet another slap in the face.

Now We Play the Waiting Game

Things were moving fast earlier this week. Jerry Lee was getting pay stubs to me, or rather to my attorney. I was submitting my information. My attorney told his attorney that I wanted a suspended jail sentence put into our agreement…

Now everything has stopped. I’m not sure what’s taking so long. It’s pretty damn simple. He agrees to pay $X amount of money in a lump sum. We modify child support according to my new pay rate and new insurance premiums. He pays that and an additional $500 per month to start bringing his arrears current. He agrees to use any bonuses and tax refunds to pay chunks of his debt off. He understands that my new legal fees are being tacked on to his “bill” and that failure to pay in a timely manner will yield a jail sentence. Additionally, I’d like for it to be ordered that he set up direct deposit so that I am paid when he is paid. It’s not difficult.

I emailed her Friday and asked her what was going on. I also told her that seeing as how court was scheduled for Wednesday and I was leaving Tuesday afternoon if he and his attorney wanted to wait until Tuesday to send me an offer it was going to be too late. This is ridiculous. Maybe my attorney is waiting to see what the all of the requested information tells her.

Speaking of the requested documents… Perhaps you remember the infamous job loss of 2019 which led to the equally infamous spousal support modification of 2019, which lasted until a few months ago when he realized I was planning on taking his ass back to court. Here’s a refresher for those of you who may be new to this sage.

Back on March 7th, 2019 I texted him to remind him that he still owed the second half of his spousal support for February. I asked him if he had a plan for catching up. His response was that he was busy searching for another job because his position had been eliminated. A few weeks later I emailed him to tell him he needed to send me something; although I didn’t say this directly to him I was not going to have a repeat of 2016-2017 where he paid no support for 10 months. I told him that if he had indeed been laid off that he should be receiving unemployment and a severance package. Much to my surprise he actually sent his self-modified child support that month. No spousal support but the child support definitely helped. In April he began sending spousal support again but he was paying me $700 a month less than what he was court ordered to pay. At the time I didn’t realize he had a job so I was thankful for any little bit he sent my way.

Now to present day. It turns out he was not lying about his position being eliminated. I think that’s a first! The not lying part, not his position being eliminated. His last day was two days before I texted him. Here’s where it gets interesting. He couldn’t pay the other half of his February spousal support because he was being downsized and yet he was paid the entire month of March (and February, as well). His last regular check in March was almost $2000 less but he got paid the entire month of March. So in March, when he sent nothing for spousal support, he was still getting paid. And in April when he decided to modify spousal support on his own? He already had his new job AND he was getting paid his entire paycheck from his previous company.

That’s right. He did indeed get severance pay. It wasn’t long- 6 weeks apparently- but he got it. And he chose to fuck with me instead of doing the right thing. He’s taking in almost an additional $8000 per month and he can’t catch up on spousal support. Hell, he couldn’t manage to pay what the judge ordered him to pay and instead shorted me $700 a month. He also couldn’t manage to begin paying the legal fees he was ordered to pay and for which he had an entire year to come up with the funds.

The income information from his last job and his bank records should prove interesting. I’m waiting to see what kind of a tax refund he got and why it never crossed his mind to use some of that to catch up on his obligations. We’ll see if he got two big moving paychecks as well, and what he did with all of that. Maybe there were bonuses. At the first company, the one that has already forwarded his records, he got small bonuses- like $2000. I wouldn’t sneeze at a $2000 bonus but I don’t make shit. This man, however, used to bring home a bonus check of over $30,000. Hell, I can’t remember the last time since he first started getting bonuses where he took home less than $10,000. Now he’s at $2000? Must be disappointing.

Meanwhile, I wait. That seems to be all I do.