The Incompetence Astounds Me

I know I promised you memes but something came up. I was going to write about it but I went to the gym and ran 5 miles so when I came home I took a shower and pretty much collapsed, and then I had to pack for my weekend away with the mobster. This isn’t what I was originally going to write about but it’s going to have to do.

I was having a lovely weekend with the mobster. Truly lovely. We drank three bottles of wine last night and ate a bowl of shrimp cocktail. We got up this morning and ran three miles. Came back and took a shower before leaving again. We had just visited one of our favorite spots in Chillicothe- New Systems Bakery- and had left with strawberry bismarcks in hand, along with an iced Milky Way latte for me. We were headed to this magnificent park to walk and play Pokeman Go when I get a text from Jerry Lee.

The fucking state of Mississippi garnished his goddamn check! This was AFTER the caseworker assured me they had dropped the case. This is also AFTER she had told me from the very beginning that any modification through the state has to go through a judge in the state where the non-custodial parent is residing. It is also AFTER Mississippi dropped the ball for six fucking months and did nothing. They were supposed to have this situation resolved in February. I went ahead and took matters into my own hands and paid out shit loads of money to get a new order.   I don’t know who the hell knows what the fuck is going on but I sure wish someone would get their head out of their ass and figure this out. I cannot believe how incompetent all of these idiots are. No one has any idea what’s going on and they’ve got it set up so I can’t call anyone directly and get answers.

I know what you’re thinking. Not my problem, right? Looks like I’m making $140,000 a year right now. Except I’m not. Yeah, he’s the one that has no money from his paycheck. I’m sure Harley is loving that right now.

He asked very politely if he could stop his direct deposit until we get this sorted out. I told him I would prefer to keep it in place and send him back the money. The man has a whole new attitude since court. I appreciate that. Seriously.

Why is this my problem? For starters, I don’t need Mississippi screwing up my arrears. Secondly, it doesn’t sound like Mississippi is garnishing arrears for the spousal support and I know they’re not doing it for the legal fees. Third, and this is the most important reason right now- I don’t have any of the money that is owed to me.

Because the state gets their cut first the amount his company directly deposited into my account, or will deposit on Monday, is approximately $800 short of what I was expecting. My daughter’s rent is due on the 1st of the month. I have a huge therapist bill to pay for my son. I took almost all that I could from savings to pay off my lawyer. Side note: Isn’t it great that I paid around $3500-$4500 for a new support order and now I’m dealing with this shit? NOW the fucking state finally wants to show up and get their hands in this?

I suppose I could send the money that his company deposited into my account back to him on Monday when it hits. But I have no idea where the money Mississippi garnished is. I have no idea when I can expect to receive it. I have no idea how I will receive it. Knowing those fuckwits it will take them another 6 fucking months to get something set up to get the money to me and meanwhile I either have no support, or Jerry Lee gets no paycheck.

I looked at the mobster this morning as we were driving and told him, “I’m a good person. Why does this shit keep happening to me?”

Maybe that’s part of the problem. I am a good person. I’m an honest person. So knowing that I’ve inadvertently taken every dime from Jerry Lee’s paycheck does not delight me as it should. It horrifies me. Because I’m a good person.

I should be sitting back without a care in the world. I’m not the one with no money in my paycheck, right? I’m getting money on Monday and somewhere in the universe I’ve got even more money. Don’t know when I’ll get it but it’s coming.

If I were a total bitch I wouldn’t care about this at all. You’ll get your money back when I get my money. I shouldn’t care about this. He didn’t give a flying fuck when I was working two jobs, getting up at 1:30 in the morning, working 21 straight days, stressing over bills and Christmas, or wondering how I was going to pay for college. He walked away without saying a word. When he lost his job it was a simple, “I lost my job today. I won’t be sending any more money.” That was it. I was on my own. And thanks to that I lost my home, I had to move my kids once again, I lost decent insurance, and I quickly used up my savings. I make a fraction of what he makes because I wasted 20 years of my life moving all around the country for him and raising his children. After all the nasty things he’s said and done, the condescending way he has treated me, and all the hell he has put me through I shouldn’t care one bit that he has no money from his paycheck.

Let Harley support the family. She can work overtime a month or two while this gets straightened out. Maybe she’ll have to give up tanning or getting her nails done. Stop blowing $900 in a single trip to a store. Stop renting out vacation rentals at $1800 a pop. Let her do without for a while. I’ve done without for five years.

Or, he can get a second job to bring some money in. Door Dash is always hiring, I hear. Let him feel the pressure of financial stress.

That’s how I should be looking at it. Unfortunately, I worry that this is somehow going to screw with our original order and I don’t want that to happen. At one point I told myself that Mississippi could garnish him until they’d taken what they figured he owed. After that they would garnish him for child support only and he could directly deposit the difference between what Mississippi was taking and what Virginia said he was to pay. I think that gets a little tricky; he could possibly try to have Virginia’s court order thrown out and abide by Mississippi’s ruling.

Needless to say I emailed the caseworker. I suppose I’ll wait another week until she finally gets back to me.

One day this nightmare will be over, right?

A Little Bit Of Whine

I’m going to do a bit of whining right now so pass on by if you don’t want to listen to me bitch for a moment. Tomorrow or the next day I’ll probably have some memes for you. But today I’m going to whine. I’m also going to coin a new term- financial exhaustion. Why? Because you guessed it- I am financially exhausted.

Financially exhausted? But Sam, I thought you won all that money in court?

Yes, yes, I did. Unfortunately, I took a hit in July. Instead of getting my usual spousal support plus the small $2000 lump sum, I got only the lump sum. Plus, I’m getting my money in smaller amounts over a three plus year period. Right now though I have a daughter in college and a son starting his senior year and who is in therapy. I have a car that is six years old and has over 130,000 miles on it. I have a lawyer that would like to be paid and she doesn’t want to be paid over a 3 year period. Imagine that!

That takes me right up to my whining portion of the post. I told Rock Star I would take care of her rent this year. I’ve already paid the first month, plus sent her money for groceries and utilities. I’ve also sent her $25 for sorority dues. She moved into a new house this year; she’s rooming with her two best friends. Unfortunately, this house isn’t furnished like her apartment was so she needed a bed and a dresser. She found a dresser and desk for free and only needed $70 for a mattress and the plywood for her frame. Next she needed specific shoes for her nursing clinicals; that ended up costing me $125. She also texted me the other day to let me know she needed to buy two access codes to two of her classes. That was $233. Per code. And then I received a final bill from the apartment complex. That is going to be over $300. Hooray! I added it up and I think she’s going to cost me about $1500 this month. Her alone. $1500.

The check engine light is on in my car. I took it into my mechanic last week. He was hoping I had recently bought gas and just hadn’t tightened the gas cap enough. Wrong! Several days after getting it back the light came on again. He’s already told me whatever leak there is is very small and that the smaller the leak the harder it is to find it. I am expecting to pay at least $300 in labor alone. I dropped the car off tonight after work. I’ll hear how much I owe sometime tomorrow.

I finally got up the nerve to open my final legal bill. I was psyching myself up. She only charged Jerry Lee $2500 total for the case. I knew I had around $700 sitting in trust with her. How bad could it be, right? Maybe $1000?

Oh no! That’s child’s play. Final bill- over $2300. And that’s after she applied the more than $700 she already had from me. That bill alone totaled more than $3100. How in the hell did she come up with $2500 in legal fees? I’ve been paying her since February. I think the total legal fees should have been more in the $3500-$4000 ballpark. It’s good that he’s got 3 years to pay the $2500 she charged him. I, on the other hand, needed to get almost that entire amount to her within a month lest I be charged an additional 18%.

Finally, I’m dealing with Picasso’s therapy bill. I’ve been paying $22 each time he goes. That’s what they told me my portion would be. It has taken my insurance company eight months to tell them that they won’t pay anything until I’ve met my $5500 family deductible. I now owe the therapist’s office over $1100. Isn’t that great?

My original plan was to save, save, save. Keep the spousal support each month and put everything else aside. Live only on the spousal support and what I make. Then I decided it would be a hell of a lot more prudent to get my car and credit cards paid off. It’s not a huge debt, especially considering what kind of balances I carried back when I was married, but for me it’s a lot. My first priority was paying off my car. I think the last payment is due in October anyway. I don’t owe a whole lot on it anymore. But once it’s paid off I can take the money I would have spent on the car payment and put that towards one of the credit cards. Now instead I’ll be putting out all these fires and paying off bills will have to wait.

Fortunately, this whole thing hasn’t got me too down. I do have money set aside- just not the $5000-$6000 needed right now. I also don’t want to use every single cent I have saved up in case Jerry Lee has stopped his direct deposit already. Instead I borrowed money from my mom to pay off the entire legal bill. I should be able to have it all paid back before the end of September; I’m hoping it will be sooner. I emailed Jerry Lee tonight to give him the invoice; our court order states he is responsible for just over 67% of the bill. Again, hoping to have it paid in full by the end of September. I’ll also be expecting Jerry Lee to pay his share of the $78 each time Picasso has therapy. I would have covered it at $22 a session. I have been covering it. But I’m not going to do it on my own when the cost is $78 per session.

This is just a matter of everything coming due at the same time. Next month I won’t have legal bills anymore. The therapy bills will be settled. Hopefully I won’t need car repairs again any time soon. And my daughter? To be fair, this, too, is a beginning of the school year maelstrom. But come September she’s going to get a set amount of money each month and she’s either going to learn to manage that, or she’s going to have to get her ass home and work some during the school year. My savings is dwindling but hopefully once all of this is over and I’ve made some progress towards paying off bills then I can build it back.

See? Not quite as much whining as you thought. Bonus time- I’m offering up solutions and not letting it get to me as much.

Oh, Mississippi

Is anyone curious as to what has happened with Virginia and Mississippi vying to garnish Jerry Lee?

I know I had a few people tell me not to worry about it; it was his problem. Take the money. Yeah, that’s not really how it would have worked. While I think he’s plenty scared of our judge I don’t think he would have continued directly depositing the agreed upon amount into my account if Mississippi came along and garnished him. And if I took it to court to complain he had stopped it I don’t think our judge would have been very sympathetic to my plight, especially when Mississippi was garnishing him at a higher rate (barely).

Come Monday or Tuesday (the 17th or 18th) I called DHS down in Mississippi. I got the automated system at first. Just for shits and giggles I went ahead and typed in my social security number as asked so I could see if they had any garnishments on the record. Yep, they sure did. And it was for a LOT less than what we had agreed to. In other words, if Mississippi took ahold of this I would be getting screwed out of a lot of money. It was also apparent they were only counting child support arrears. I would still need to go through Virginia for all my legal fees and for the spousal support arrears.

I finally got through to a customer service rep who asked me how she could help. After giving her my information she told me that because it was an interstate case she couldn’t give me any information about it and that either Jerry Lee or someone from the state would have to call.

Are you fucking kidding me? This is MY case! I am the one that is supposed to be receiving money and arrears but no one can tell me how much I’m getting or how they figured the arrears? That’s just dandy! Of course, I shouldn’t be too surprised because they couldn’t tell me how much he was making when I filed the interstate case. They like to keep you guessing! It’s all a big surprise- kinda like the big reveal on those home makeover shows.

At this point I’m panicking. There is an amount listed for arrears. I have a case apparently although no one can tell me anything about it. I am looking at losing around $15,000 and I could possibly have to go through the hell of getting a new order.

I called the caseworker. I told her I had already emailed her and I needed her to call Mississippi because they wouldn’t tell me anything. I needed to know for certain that Mississippi had indeed closed this case because I already had an order signed by the judge.

I finally heard back from her this past Wednesday or Thursday. She said that Mississippi had closed their case and they (the state of Indiana) had not received anything in the way of garnishment from Mississippi. She offered to call Mississippi again to make sure. I let her know that would be delightful. I don’t know how long that’s going to take her, though.

So, for now I’m not worrying. Anymore. I was very worried for a couple of days. Now I figure it’s been handled. I doubt he’s going to try to stop the direct deposit. I’ll be able to tell on Friday. After calming down I’m not sure how on earth Mississippi would have any kind of case to claim jurisdiction. The notice to Jerry Lee was dated August 6th. Our court hearing was July 15th. Virginia beat Mississippi and even if it hadn’t, he no longer lives in that state.

I’m crossing my fingers that the caseworker knows what she’s talking about and I no longer need to communicate with Jerry Lee. Well, except for the $1100 therapy bill I just received.

Yeah, they told me it was $22 a session. That’s what I’ve been billed since January. Apparently at some point my insurance company finally decided to get back to them and said, “Nah, we’re not paying that.” If it was only the $22 I wouldn’t bother with asking him for reimbursement. But we’re now talking approximately $1100 and it’s looking like each session is going to be around $100. $400 a month for therapy because his father abandoned him, or at the very least, passed along his mental health issues to him? Yeah, he’s going to help pay for that.

Thankfully this new court order states quite clearly that he’s responsible for something like 67.5% of the bill. I’ll give him time to pay up but I’m definitely going to make him help pay for it. It’s the least he can do for the son he hasn’t seen or spoken to in more than four years.

Dating While Divorced

I’ve seen over and over again women (it’s almost always women) say they aren’t going to date because they’re going to focus on their children and/or their children aren’t ready for them to date. Someone actually threw out this idea that once you divorce your focus should be on your children and you shouldn’t think about dating until they turn 18.

It’s a nice idea. I have no problem with someone choosing that for themselves. To be honest, before I got divorced I thought that same way. Okay, maybe not the exact same way but I did feel that there was no need to rush into another relationship right away; I also thought it was important to make sure you gave your kids the time and attention they needed instead of getting your own needs met. But as with most things there is the theory on how things should work, and then there is the real life application.

I think there is a huge gulf between jumping back into dating an hour after your spouse has left, and not dating for the next 1-18 years because you have minor children. I’m not suggesting moving the first person you meet into your home a month or two after your divorce is final. I’m also not suggesting that a person absolutely must date again after a divorce. If you have no interest in dating for whatever reason then I fully support your right to not date; this post is not about declaring that everyone should be putting themselves out there or that not dating is a horrible tragedy. It’s the opposite. I believe this notion that we do our children a disservice by dating before they graduate high school is kind of ridiculous.

As the mother of an 18 year old and a 20 year old I can tell you my kids don’t really have a lot of time for me anymore. My daughter has been exceptionally busy since beginning competitive gymnastics back when she was still in elementary school. Practice 3-5 days a week. As an optional she went to school and went directly to the gym where she practiced from 3-7. She came home, ate, did homework and went to bed. That was 6th-8th grade. As she entered high school she was busy with friends, extracurriculars and sometimes even a boyfriend. She added a job to that list of things that took her away from me when she turned 16. This summer I spent five days with her. Five. Out of the entire summer. Every weekend she was either running down to Muncie to spend the weekend with her friends and her boyfriend, or her boyfriend made the trip up here. The only reason I spent five days with her and not two is because one weekend I took her, her boyfriend, and Picasso to Ohio to spend the weekend with the mobster for his birthday. That was the weekend we rented a cabin, went fishing, and went out on a pontoon boat. Aside from that- nothing! She also spent the majority of her time in the house in her room where she kept the air conditioning on a chilly 64 degrees. It’s not that I didn’t see her. We just didn’t do anything together. She worked mostly 12 hour days when she was scheduled to work. I work Monday-Friday, 8-5. Weekends she was always busy with her boyfriend.

My son still spends most of his time at home in his room. His meds seem to be working and he’s much chattier lately but he would still prefer to spend his time playing video games, drawing, watching YouTube and hanging out with his friends.

My experience isn’t uncommon. The mobster has four children. Four! His oldest son lives in New Hampshire. He rarely sees him. A and his wife, Little Miss Sunshine, are busy with careers, each other, raising his son, and hanging out with their friends. Taking off for a long weekend to drive 13 hours and see his dad isn’t a regular thing. His next oldest is married as well; even though he lives in the same town as his dad the mobster rarely sees him. He’s busy with his wife’s family and they both work full time. His third son just moved to West Virginia, about 2 hours away. Even before the move the mobster said he didn’t see much of him; he spent all of his time with his live-in girlfriend. This is kind of funny in a sad sort of way because they lived in the apartment that is above the mobster’s garage. Finally, his youngest, his only daughter, is now 19. She works full time and she spends a lot of time with her friends. There are many times he’s all by himself in that big ol’ house because T is house sitting for her brother, or is off with friends. She’s also got a new boyfriend so she’s beginning to spend time with him as well.

The point of these examples is that our kids develop lives independent of us. If we decide we owe it to them to remain single until they turn 18 there is a great chance that we’ll be sitting at home all by ourselves, waiting for our kids to throw us a freakin’ bone in the form of their undivided attention for an hour or two.  Please, child, may I buy your dinner in order to enjoy your company?

Rock Star actually tried to pull that bullshit with me towards the end of the summer. When I told her I felt like I never really got to spend any time with her this summer she actually had the audacity to blame it on me being gone to spend time with the mobster. Oh hell no! I quickly pointed out that the time in particular that she was referring to was when I went to court. I didn’t exactly have a choice in that matter. I also invited her to come along (not to court but to Virginia) and she conveniently mixed up the dates. To put it into perspective she saw her boyfriend every weekend this summer. I honestly don’t think she went a single weekend without seeing him. I, on the other hand, saw the mobster three times this summer. Three whole times in the three months she was home. One of those times was the weekend I took Rock Star and her boyfriend with me. Another time I had to go to court.

Maybe she’s not representative of all kids but there are enough of them out there that would prefer their parents don’t have lives of their own so that they are better able to be at their beck and call.

It’s not just at age 18 that they’re off on their own, leaving you to find something to do in their absence. I’ve heard a lot of parents say that once the kid gets his or her driver’s license it’s a whole different ballgame. No longer are they dependent on mom or dad to take them from Place A to Place B. I spent a lot of time in the car with my kids, especially Rock Star since she always needed to be somewhere. Once she could drive that completely changed.

How far does this extend anyway? Is it anything that might take your attention away from them? Am I allowed to volunteer? What if my kids want me to take them over to a friend’s house at the same time I’m supposed to be packing backpacks for the local food pantry? What if I take a night each week to answer phone calls at the domestic shelter? Can I go out with my friends on a Friday night? Do I get to go to grown up concerts or movies ever? Can I go listen to a band playing at a bar? Is picking up a new hobby allowed? What if I join a community theater group and I have practice every night for three months? What if I immerse myself in knitting or playing hockey or paint pouring? Can I sign up to run a race? Can I even go running several times a week? I don’t see the difference between me dating and doing any of those things. All of those activities take time away from my kids. If I’m doing any of those things instead of spending it with my kids then I’m taking time away from my kids. Are we not supposed to do anything except sit around waiting for our kids to want to do something with us?

Look, I believe I was an involved mother. I’ve received some positive reviews from my own kids. I chauffeured them around plenty. Most summers were spent on the go- museums, amusement parks, water parks, lakes, rollerskating rinks, arcades. I took them to horseback riding lessons, we hiked in the mountains and toured caves, and on Rock Star’s late start Fridays I took her out to breakfast. We went shopping and got pedicures. I went on field trips and volunteered at their school. I took them to Moab where we toured Arches National Park and The Hole In the Wall, went white water rafting and took a HUMVEE tour up on the red rocks while Jerry Lee stayed behind in the hotel room. I took them to Yellowstone another year; we toured the park and went white water rafting (again!) and horseback riding. I took them to the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, and Florida. I even made a trip up to Twin Falls, Idaho to go camping. I made numerous cross country trips with them and always did my best to stop at attractions to break up the time and make things interesting for them. I took them to the movies and to play putt putt golf and bowling and a whole lot of other things.

Of course, that was all while I was married. Then I got divorced and worked two jobs and was exhausted all the time. Getting up at 3:30 in the morning will do that to you. Yet, even if I hadn’t gotten divorced my kids would still be growing up. They’d still rather do things with friends than with me.

I’m not saying you never see your kids once they get a driver’s license or once they hit a certain age. I am saying you’re a fool to think that once they’ve hit that magical age of 18 you’re suddenly free to go build a life for yourself independent of your children. It’s far better to have an actual life outside of your kids before they graduate high school and/or college and move away.

All of those things that are listed above- volunteering, going out with friends, hobbies- I did all of those things as my kids got older. When they were pre-kindergarten age I spent most of my time with them and didn’t do very much on my own at all. Then again, I didn’t have a supportive husband. But once they got a little older I started to spread my wings. Yes, most of the volunteering I did centered around their school and was done while they were in school. And true, most of the time I went out with friends I did so when they were in school as well. But there were the occasional times that I wasn’t around in the evening. They survived.

I wouldn’t recommend that a person who is married close themselves off that much and live a life completely dominated by child rearing. I sure as hell don’t recommend it for a person who has divorced and is forging a life with no other parent to help out.

I think the mobster and I have done a very good job of balancing our relationship and our kids. From the very beginning we agreed that the kids came first. That’s why no one moved when we had kids in high school. At our best we got to see each other every other weekend; that left plenty of time to do things with our kids. Most of the time we did not see each other every other weekend; it could be 4-6 weeks between get togethers. If either of us had a kid related event we scheduled around that. One weekend that meant meeting up on a Saturday instead of our usual Friday because my daughter had Prom on Friday night and I wanted to see her and take pictures. Another weekend he didn’t leave to meet up with me until after his daughter’s softball game. There were weekends we had planned to get together and he had forgotten it was his daughter’s birthday so the weekend together was canceled. We’ve stopped phone calls in the middle of the conversation because a child needed us, and we’ve delayed calling because we’ve been busy talking to our kids. It is possible to balance dating/being in a new relationship and raising your kids.

I want to say once more that I don’t think you absolutely must date. I know there are plenty of single women and men out there that have no desire to do so. They find the single life suits them just fine. For those people I say, “Good for you!” I wouldn’t advise that they change a thing. But I do have a problem with this idea that if you have children under the age of 18 and you choose to date, you are somehow not focusing on your kids and they are suffering for it.

If I can spend time with friends or take up a new hobby or spend time volunteering and not somehow take away from my children, then I can go on a few dates and/or begin a new relationship. And if the people who think you shouldn’t date also think you shouldn’t do anything lest it take away from your kids… well, I would advise everyone to have a life outside of their children. It’s not a bad thing for them to realize you are a person, too, and that you have things you like to do. Sometimes you might even do those things without them <gasp>! If you spend every moment of your life focusing on your kids, and only focusing on your kids, you are going to end up a very lonely person.

Your kids are going to grow up; they’re not going to live with you forever. They’re not even going to want to spend all of their time with you. Their own boyfriend or girlfriend, sports, high school activities, and weekends spent with their friends are going to take precedence. Getting their license is going to be a game changer. Enjoy them! Cherish all of those memories that you get to make with them. Gobble up every minute of time you get with them. Celebrate their achievements. By all means, put them first. At the same time, don’t be afraid to spread your own wings and develop a life of your own- with or without a new partner. It’s a lot of pressure on kids to be the center of their parent’s world.

One Hot Karma Sundae Coming Up

Remember all of those shit sundaes I had to consume over the last 5 years? Well… it looks like someone is getting a big ol’ hot karma sundae right about now.

First, I want to point out that August 14th was my first D-Day. Pretty much. I mean, he confessed to “texting” Harley back on Mother’s Day weekend but then I was contacted by her husband that day, letting me know they were still talking. Jerry Lee’s first big payment is coming out of his paycheck on the 7th anniversary of me finding out. I do believe that’s what they call irony.

Second, Jerry Lee has been very… what’s the right word for it? I don’t want to say kind. He’s still very robotic and business-like in his communication. But he definitely has a new attitude to say the least. No more snark. No more condescension.

He contacted me again today to see if the direct deposit had hit my account. This was at 8 in the morning. It has not hit yet, in case anyone was wondering, but I can see it pending in some ACH warehouse. I wouldn’t be able to see it if I didn’t work at the bank.

All of this is just background information. It’s not where he gets the hot karma sundae. This is.

I just received notice from Mississippi that you are garnishing my check. You cannot garnish my check AND have direct deposit from my employer.

Are you kidding me? For months I haven’t been able to get anything done and now you’re telling me I’ve managed to not only take him to court and get him to directly deposit payments into my accounts but also I’ve got Mississippi garnishing him for the other half? Well hot damn!

Also, WTF Mississippi? Did my caseworker not tell me less than a week ago that Mississippi had closed the case because he no longer lived in the state?

I will admit I got a chuckle out of that. I can only imagine the look on his face when he read the notice. I really wish I were there when it happened. Maybe the imagination is so much better.

The fun had to stop eventually. I’m not a cat toying with a mouse. I wrote him back and let him know that Mississippi couldn’t garnish him and that they had dropped the case. I really wanted to add, “Don’t stress yourself,” like he did to me so often, but I didn’t.

He continued on.

I just received it today and it is dated 8/6/20. Do you have any documentation of when they dropped it? And did the direct deposit go to your account today? I want to make sure it didn’t go to the wrong bank?

Seriously, Jerry Lee?  You think I don’t know my routing number? I type it in all damn day. I think someone is getting a little anxious. Couldn’t get him to pay on time to save my life before. Now he thinks I’m getting it early.

So I replied that I didn’t have any documentation per se but that I did receive an email from the caseworker about a week ago telling me that they had closed the case. Again I assured him that they had no jurisdiction over him.

Now, normally at this point in the conversation he would be very snarky and condescending. He’d probably be making accusations and calling me all sorts of names. This time though he had a different response.

Would it be possible for you to send the email to me so that I can send to corporate to stop the garnishment?

Wow! That’s a lot different than: UFC! It’s almost like he’s got a suspended jail sentence hanging over his head. And like he’s not going to have any money from his paycheck unless I give him some back.

About 30 minutes later he texts again.

I called the DeSoto County DHS and the garnishment is valid. They will begin to garnish and have sent to my employer.

Huh. Well, that’s news to me. No one has told me a damn thing, aside from, “Hey, they’re closing the case.”

Can you believe this shit?  I couldn’t get anyone to do anything for me for months and now that I finally have a court order in place Mississippi suddenly gets its shit together and wants to start garnishing him.

The idea of him getting fucked twice pleases me immensely but I’m trying hard not to gloat. This could all go very badly for me.

He ended the conversation by letting me know he was going to contact his attorney to see if the garnishment could be stopped. He actually thanked me for my help (he actually said he appreciated my help on this). I don’t know if he was trying to appeal to my sympathy or what but at the very end he threw in this lovely tidbit:

As you are aware, I don’t even bring home enough to pay you $4880 direct deposit and $4900 in garnishment.

Sounds like someone needs to get a second job.

I’m a nice person. More importantly, I’m an honest person. I’ll give part of it back if it comes to that but still… Oh God, I laughed so hard. Every time I would think about it I would smile and giggle a little. Then I would say, “I shouldn’t laugh.” My mom was right there though and she said, “Of course you should! He’s put you through hell for the last 5 years!” When I mentioned the second job she said it was about damn time he had to work a second job. She reminded me of all the months I spent working two jobs when I was getting nothing from him, or how I donated plasma for months on end to make sure I had money for Christmas when he modified spousal support. It’s about damn time he sweats it for a little bit.

I think that was the funniest part. He gets to sweat it out for a while. It seems like he’s afraid of terminating the direct deposit which means if the state does come after him I’ll take his entire check. He’ll give me half and the state will come in and take the other half. How ‘bout that? I couldn’t get anyone to help me for months and now I’ve got more help than I need. I may have managed to commandeer his entire paycheck. I know. I’ve said that three times now. I’m still amazed. He will be at my mercy to get half of it back. Because I don’t think he’s going to stop those direct deposits. I do believe he’s afraid of our judge. It seems his lawyer made a believer out of him.

You’d be proud of me. While I did contact the caseworker (more on that in a minute) I stopped short of contacting my attorney. I figured why should I pay for answers? I’m not the one paying my entire paycheck to my ex. Seems to me he should be asking his lawyer those questions. Not me.

I am hoping that the caseworker gets back to me soon. I only work about 2 blocks from her office so if I have to I’ll make a trip down there tomorrow afternoon. The only reason I’m concerning myself with this is because I don’t need Mississippi coming in and garnishing him.

Let’s face it. I’m not really going to get his entire check. Even if it’s somehow sent to me I know I’m not entitled to the whole thing. Right now according to our agreement through the court system in Virginia he’s paying $1000 more per month than what he should be. I haven’t seen the orders from Mississippi so I have no idea how they came up with $4900 but I know they didn’t calculate child support at $2100 per month. Even using his imputed wages it’s not that much. At most I could probably get $400 more per month in child support from them; however, from what my attorney told me they would only be garnishing him as long as I was collecting child support. That $4900 figure he quoted must include some of the arrears. Plus, as it was explained to me when it comes to arrears child support is paid first, then spousal support, then legal fees. What does that mean and why is important?

It means that as soon as he’s paid his arrears in child support they will no longer be garnishing him. If child support arrears are paid first, he will never be garnished for the spousal support arrears. They won’t even touch the legal fees. That has to go through the courts. If Mississippi somehow has taken jurisdiction then I’m going to get screwed out of more than $35,000. THAT is why I’m contacting the caseworker tomorrow.

Despite the fact that I assured him Mississippi has no jurisdiction over him I really don’t know that. I’m regurgitating a bunch of stuff I’ve been told.

From the very beginning the caseworker has said that the home state (meaning his home state) needs to take jurisdiction from Virginia. I don’t know how they do that. I don’t know how many hands are in the pot or how easy it is to take a case from one state and give it to another. I don’t know what kind of checks and balances are in place so that if you have an open case in one state another state can’t take it over.

I know that Virginia had jurisdiction as of July 15th. We couldn’t have moved ahead with our court case if they no longer had jurisdiction. I also know our case is still on the docket for review in about 8 months. With that in mind I’m not sure how Mississippi could have taken jurisdiction.

I got an email from the caseworker last Friday letting me know Mississippi couldn’t find him; he was no longer residing in the state. They were closing the case. That is what they told her and she in turn told me.

When he moved from Kentucky and I wasn’t sure if he was living in Tennessee or Mississippi the caseworker was adamant that we had to bring the case to whichever state he resided in. Where he worked didn’t matter nearly as much as where he lived. If that’s true then I fail to see how the state of Mississippi can possibly try to garnish him when he’s living in Georgia.

From all of the above I find it difficult to believe that they will be able to garnish him. I don’t believe they have jurisdiction. I suppose by some small slim chance Mississippi could have suddenly snatched jurisdiction away from Virginia after our court hearing in July. Hell, maybe Virginia just flat out gave it to them.

Mississippi: Hey, can we have Jerry Lee and his child support case?

Virginia: Sure. Don’t see why not.

My specific county in Virginia: WTF? I had that taken care of!

Virginia: Oops!

Mississippi: It’s mine now!

But our case is still on the docket so I don’t see how that would be possible. And similarly, if Mississippi had taken jurisdiction (and could keep it even after he moved out of state) before July 15th I wouldn’t think the court in Virginia could have heard the case.

Plus, I have to factor in that Jerry Lee already had moved by early January. My guess is that by the time the county finally got around to filing their case he was gone. The state had until approximately December 26th. I’m pretty sure Jerry Lee started his new job the very beginning of January. Don’t know when they moved but I would assume they all moved together. If he never got served and he didn’t even live in the state I’m not sure how they could go ahead with the case.

I will admit I did enjoy the thought of him sweating it out, envisioning his entire paycheck being given to me. I can only imagine the conversation he and Harley had at the idea they may only be living on what she brings home. Ultimately though I want Mississippi to stay out of it. It is much more advantageous for me to have Virginia in control. I suppose in a worst case scenario Mississippi does somehow end up garnishing him so the direct deposit stops. Once child support is paid up then we would have to sign another agreement to get everything else paid up. And then I would be seeking direct deposits for spousal support. It’s a little stressful for me. I thought everything would finally be moving ahead smoothly with no need for any interaction with him. It’s okay though. It’s still a delightful hot karma sundae being dished up. Potentially his entire paycheck being handed over to me. Huh. Ain’t that a bitch?

When It Rains…

You’ll never believe this. We’ve been waiting with bated breath to see if Jerry Lee will get that direct deposit set up and follow the court order once and for all. Well guess who I got a text from on Monday?

If you guessed Jerry Lee, you are correct! He texted me to let me know that the direct deposit was set up and ready to go. He also cautioned me that I may see a couple of less than one dollar deposits and withdrawals but not to be alarmed because most corporations do that nowadays when testing their direct deposit.

Dude, I work at a bank. I know this! However, the important part is that he did it and unlike messages in the past he wasn’t all snarky and condescending. There was no, “Since you’re keeping such a close eye on MY money I thought you’d like to know…” Nope, he just announced it was done and that was that. I even thanked him for his efforts. I didn’t get a response back but that’s okay. I know I was polite.

Then yesterday I get an email from my caseworker. You know, the one I sent an email to back at the beginning of March asking if she’d heard anything yet because the deputy who had tried to serve him reported it as a vacant address. Yeah, she finally got back to me and let me know he was no longer in Mississippi. Mississippi never filed the case and has closed the case they opened. She has a postal verification pending for the address the state of Mississippi gave her when closing the case. The next step is to verify his new address and then set a new interstate meeting to create a new document request. She also let me know she was very disappointed by all of this; it was not the news she was hoping for. She ended it by saying she knew I had been going back and forth over whether or not I wanted her office to pursue this so if I did want to continue to pursue it I would need to be at the interstate meeting. Otherwise, if I didn’t show up then the case would start closure and they would take no further action. Oh, and if I had new information to please update her. Huh.

I could briefly respond and let her know that everything has been taken care of. That would be the polite thing to do despite the fact that she left me dangling for five months. I so badly want to write back and ask her, “Are you telling me that it took the state of Mississippi over 10 months to figure out he was no longer living there? What happened to they have 60-90 days to take the case and get it into the system? Or, rather the state has 60-90 days and then the county has an additional 45 days. By my calculations that’s 3 1/2- 4 1/2 months. They’re just now getting back to me after ten months? They took an extra five and a half months!”

I probably won’t do that, but honestly, if the information she gave me was accurate and Mississippi followed the guidelines the county should have filed the case in February. They should have been serving him right around the same time my lawyer served him. No one can blame it on Covid-19 because that shit didn’t hit the fan until March.

More than likely what is going to happen is this: I’ll email back and give her his address. I’ll let her know that I do not wish to pursue this with her office because my attorney has already taken care of it. I will also let her know that even if it hadn’t been taken care of already I wouldn’t have pursued it with them because by the time they get the ball rolling again and Georgia finally takes the damn case and makes a decision they would only be garnishing him for a few months before my son graduated. There would be absolutely no point in garnishing him for two or three months.

At this point I don’t know and I don’t care if the state would continue to garnish him until his arrears were paid. I also have no idea if they would garnish him for spousal support arrears as well.

Sure, they could take his tax refund and if another stimulus check ever comes our way they could take that as well (let’s be realistic- by the time they finally had garnishment underway the second stimulus check would have already been sent out and spent by Jerry Lee and Harley). I think I have a much better deal the way it’s set up now. I know 100% that I am getting child support arrears on the full amount of support which he never bothered to modify. I know 100% that he’s being imputed at $170,000 instead of $140,000. I’ve already got child support modified finally. Our court agreement covers the $25,000 in legal fees which the garnishment case would never touch. It covers spousal support arrears. And, it gives me an additional $1000 a month. I don’t think the garnishment case would do that. Plus, with him being ordered to set up direct deposit and having a suspended jail sentence hanging over his head it’s as good as garnishment, I think.

So no, I do not need your help, Indiana Caseworker. I handled this on my own instead of hoping that the state would finally intervene. It’s done. Finished. I got a better deal than I could have hoped to have received with your office’s help. Thanks for finally getting back to me, though.

The Boston Marathon of Weight Loss

As most of you know I have embarked on a “lifestyle change” these last six months or so. Recently I came across an article that has completely changed my outlook on weight loss, weight loss goals, and how we define success when we talk about those things.

Yoni Freedhoff is an obesity doctor who wrote an article a few years back for Vox. It’s a long title but definitely worth the read- I’m an Obesity Doctor. I’ve Seen Long-Term Weight Loss Work. Here’s How.

I think what hampers people more than anything else with weight loss is how success has been defined. Whether that definition comes from the glorification of extreme weight loss on idiotic television shows, or from public health messaging around the risks of obesity, or doctor’s discussing “normal” weights or body mass indices with their patients, or from personally held desires, the shared goal post is one of losing every last bit of excess weight.

Wow! Like most people out there who decide to go on a diet or change their lifestyle, I tend to think in concrete, non-negotiable terms. I want to lose this much weight. I want to wear this size again. I’m not looking at it in terms of, “Hey, I lost 15% of my body weight. That’s awesome! I’ve lowered my risks for heart disease and stroke. Way to go, me!”

No! I look at it as, “I’m still fat. I still want to lose more. I’ve got x number of pounds to go before I finally feel like I’m at a respectable weight.”

He goes on to talk about a 1997 study done by Gary Foster and colleagues. In this study 60 women were enrolled in a weight loss program and prior to the start they were asked to describe their goal weight, their dream weight, their happy weight, their acceptable weight, and their disappointed weight. Disappointed was defined as “a weight that is less than your current weight, but one that you could not view as successful in any way. You would be disappointed if this were your final weight after the program.”

What happened? Nearly half of the subjects didn’t lose enough weight to even be disappointed. A quarter reached what they deemed to be an acceptable weight and only 9% reached a “happy” weight.

By the way… those goals? They represented anywhere from a 17% loss (disappointed weight) to a 38% loss (dream weight), with the average weight goal being a 32% loss. Acceptable weight loss clocked in at 25%. As a person who has lost somewhere between 35-40 pounds and is rocking a 16-17% weight loss I can tell you that this shit is hard! A 32-38% weight loss is a lot of weight.

Bear with me for a moment while I veer off to another point. I promise this is going somewhere.

He is a runner. This is fortunate for me because I, too, am a runner. I’ve long said running a marathon is on my bucket list. Did you know that in order for me to qualify for the Boston Marathon I would have to run it in 3 hours and 55 minutes? For comparison’s sake I run 4 miles in about 50-52 minutes on a good day. A marathon is 26.2 miles so multiply my 50 minutes by 6 and then add another 25 minutes. I’ve calculated 325 minutes. That’s 5 hours and some change. I’m nowhere close to running the Boston Marathon. Truth be told, I’m tired after five miles. I’m nowhere close to running any marathon. Shit, I’m not ready to sign up for a 10K!

Should I quit? Should I give up running? If I can’t run the Boston Marathon, or any marathon, or even a 10K, why should I bother?

How silly does that sound? I bother because I enjoy it. I bother because even though I’m only running 3-4 miles I enjoy challenging myself and seeing if I can get my time down. I do it because I’m hoping there will come a day that my limit isn’t 5 miles, but rather 6 miles, or 10 miles. I do it because there’s always the possibility that even if I don’t run a marathon I may still sign up for a 10K or a half marathon. My dream, even if it’s never realized, is to be able to participate in a Ragnar Relay.

Yet when it comes to weight, it would seem that everyone is trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon of weight loss, and society is not only not pointing out how backward that goal is but reinforcing it.

Truth bomb! Why is it all or nothing with weight loss? Either we go from a size 22 down to a size 2, or we’ve failed. Isn’t it a victory if you go from a size 20 to a size 16? Sure, it may not be where you’d like to be but it’s a win. You’ve lost weight. You’ve done something. Maybe you want to do even more. But maybe even when you do more you still don’t reach that size 2. Will a size 10 suffice? Can you live with being 150 pounds instead of 130?

…what if, like running, the goal with weight loss and/or healthful living was for people to simply do their best? For people to determine their own best efforts, and respect their realities?

There is so much truth to that. Some of us have physical ailments. There are genetics at play. Some people are dealing with illnesses or caregiving responsibilities or travel commitments. It is not a one size fits all. I also appreciate how he recognizes the very important role that food plays in our lives. As he puts it, “…food is not just fuel, but also something that we as a species use for comfort, for celebration, and as the substrate of the world’s oldest social network.”

So many diet gurus try to convince us that food isn’t important, that we shouldn’t use it as anything except fuel for our bodies. They try to guide us towards not indulging at the Christmas parties over the holidays, and not using food as a social gathering.

How do we do this, you may be asking? How do we do our best and determine our own best efforts while respecting our realities? Dr. Freedhoff points to another study, the Look AHEAD, study that explored the impact of weight loss and exercise on reducing heart disease risk among patients with both excess weight and Type 2 diabetes.

In this study patients were divided into two groups. One group called the intensive lifestyle group received what was described as “rigorous, frequent, and lengthy behavioral support and education” while the other group, the casual care group, received infrequent group meetings where diet, physical activity and social support were discussed.

The weight loss goals were a mere 10% of the participant’s body weight.

By year eight 50.3% of the intensive lifestyle group and 35.7% of the usual care group were maintaining losses of greater than 5%. 26.9% of the intensive group and 17.2% of the usual care group were maintaining losses of greater than 10%.

That’s eight years later! Long term weight loss is possible.

Furthermore, did you know that there is a National Weight Control Registry? In order to qualify for enrollment you must have lost more than 30 pounds and you must have kept it off for over a year.

There are currently more than 10,000 registrants on that list. On average they’ve lost 66 pounds and have kept it off for five and a half years.

The secret to their success?

…the one common theme is that while maintaining their losses requires ongoing effort, that effort isn’t perceived by these weight loss masters as a hardship but rather as just living with their new lifestyles, and lifestyles that they enjoy… Liking the life you’re living while you’re losing weight is the key to keeping it off.

That’s why it’s called a lifestyle change and why the word “diet” has become a four letter word. I can eschew carbs all day long but if I hit my so-called goal weight and go back to eating a spicy chicken sandwich, fries, and a small chili with cheese at lunch every day, followed by a bag of chips and salsa, plus eat a piece of cake every night, I’m going to put every pound back on.

The trick is to enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing to lose weight. It has to be something you can do forever.

Hopefully for me one of those things will be running. I’ve given it up several times but I always seem to come back to it.

Another thing I’ve been doing is drinking more water instead of focusing on diet Coke. It won’t help me if I turn around and start chugging diet soda once again.

Finally, I have long said that once I reach a weight where I’m comfortable my long term plan is to let myself eat carbs on the weekend but watch what I eat the rest of the week. Does this mean I’ll never have chips and salsa on a weekday? Of course not. But it does mean that chips and salsa on a weekday is a rare occurrence and not something I do all the time. Does it mean I can stuff my face full of carbs all weekend long? Well, ideally no. I’m sure that will happen on occasion, and the good doctor understands that. But, if I’m out camping and we’re all making S’mores, I’ll allow myself to have one. If I’m spending the weekend with the mobster and we want to go to a winery and have a dish of spinach and artichoke dip served with pita chips or bread, I’ll indulge. Maybe I’ll even have pancakes or biscuits and gravy on the weekends once in a while.

It just has to be something you can do long term. And what works for one person may never work for another. MyFitness Pal comes to mind. The mobster loves it. He is a fan of counting calories. I hate it. I much prefer watching my carbs. For others maybe it’s eliminating fat or going vegan. Whatever works for you and you can live with is the best plan for you.

The mobster has been asking me forever if I have a goal weight in mind. I like to mess with him and tell him I’d like to get down to my birth weight. His goal weight is 165. I think he looks fabulous where he is, which is about 10 pounds from that goal. But, it’s his goal and if that’s what he wants then I will support him. I don’t have a set goal weight. I’ve told him many times it depends on how my clothes look on me and how I feel. It could be 150; it could be 130. I could get crazy and decide I want to be somewhere around 120-125. We’ll see as the months go by. This is how Dr. Freedhoff describes it:

The term I coined to describe it is “best weight,” where you best weight is whatever weight you reach when you’re living the healthiest life that you actually enjoy.

If your efforts can be summarized as cyclical, episodic, concentrated bouts of suffering, during which your aim isn’t the healthiest life that you can enjoy but rather the healthiest life that you can tolerate, well, go figure you’re not likely to keep it off.

I love this. I also love how he tells us to embrace both reality and imperfections. He reminds us that our best efforts are going to vary. There will be times that life is challenging. There will be times when everything is going great. There will be times you are on vacation and times you are celebrating a birthday. He even says there will be times you are celebrating a holiday and that might mean indulging a bit.

He leaves us with this:

The truth is there will come a point where you can’t happily live any better- where you can’t happily eat less and you can’t happily exercise more- and your weight, living with that life, is your best weight. In every other area of our lives we readily accept our best efforts as great, and we need to do that with weight and healthful living too.

Those Magic Changes

Rock Star returns to college on Sunday. It was going to be Monday but she misses her friends and at least one of her roommates is moving in on Saturday. I feel like I’ve barely seen her this summer. Between 12 hour shifts at the hospital and every weekend spent with her new boyfriend we haven’t spent much time together.

I told her yesterday she was leaving me; she didn’t want to be with me anymore. Don’t worry. I’m only joking with her. But she told me, “I’m growing up. I’m spreading my wings.”

Yeah, she’s growing up all right. Until she needs cat litter, gas money, groceries, rent, cat food, books… Then she’s a wee wisp of a girl.

We’re supposed to go shopping Friday night after I get home from work. Saturday is Community Day for Pokemon Go but at some point we’re going to go get pedicures and do some more fun stuff. Sunday I’m going to load up my own car to help move the rest of her stuff down to her new house and then I’m taking her to dinner at her favorite Mexican restaurant down there.

She is growing up. Last year she didn’t come home for Spring Break. Hell, when the campus shut down she didn’t come home. She and her roommate remained down there until finals were over. She’s supposed to be coming home more frequently to work but I’m going to wait until I see that happen. I won’t be surprised when the day comes that she tells me she got a job down in Muncie and won’t be coming home over the summer.

I told her last night she was very lucky she had me as a mom because there was no way on earth my mother would have ever agreed to let me go back to school even a day early! School starts on Monday? You can move down on Saturday. Spring Break not spent at home? Oh hell no! That will not do.

It won’t be long until she’s gone for good. I know she has no desire to live in Indiana after school is done.  She’s talking about living in Michigan now but where she thinks she wants to move is still a good two hours away. I doubt I’ll see her much.

I’m not being ridiculous. I’m being practical. I still work Monday-Friday, 8-5. That leaves the weekends. If she’s working a 12 hour weekend shift I won’t get to see her. Chances are when she’s not working she will be spending time with her friends and/or boyfriend. I’ll see her at Thanksgiving and Christmas, if I’m lucky.

This was the child that I swore was never going to sleep in her own bed. She finally made it into her own room on a consistent basis around age 10 or so. I remember she insisted she wanted her room down in the basement. I swore up and down she was going to spend one night there and then move right back up. She proved me wrong, though. That’s where she remained until we moved to Virginia.

This was the child that showered with me until she was four or five. It wasn’t that she wouldn’t take a shower by herself. Oh no. She did that. She just didn’t want me out of her sight.

She refused to spend the night at anyone’s house until around the time she was in second grade. She wanted to. She actually went with the intentions of spending the night. But then she would talk to me and decide she missed me and start crying and beg to come home.

I remember telling people I didn’t think she would ever go out with friends. She’d be one of those kids that insisted I come along to the movies with her and her friends.

I took her and her friends to a wedding one time about six or seven years ago. They were discussing another girl who attended the same gym. I said, “Wow- I wonder what you say about me when I’m not around.” Her friend looked at me and immediately replied, “Oh my God! She tells us all the time how much she loves you. That’s all she says. ‘I love my mom so much!’” Ah, those were the days.

I know she still loves me. I just never see her anymore. And I will see her even less in the next few years.

It took her twenty years but she’s finally grown up and no longer needs her momma. This is one sucky change!

August and Anti-versaries

Holy moly! I can’t believe it’s August already. This year has been such a shit year. It seems like all we do is tick days, then weeks, then months off of the calendar, hoping against hope that our lives might return to something resembling normal. I’m not sure there’s anybody out there actually enjoying this year. Most are enduring. I know I am. Between checking off the weeks that I’ve been downtown and away from our regular spot, and weighing in on Fridays, hoping to see the scale go down, it’s been an entire year of getting from week to week.

Summer is always a little tricky for me. I do my best to not let Jerry Lee and his past behavior influence how I see an entire season but it can sometimes be difficult. I found out about his first affair Mother’s Day weekend in 2013. I spent the entire summer pick me dancing and holding my breath, not knowing whether or not our marriage would survive. All that culminated in me getting a message from The Saint the day of Rock Star’s birthday party.

It was August 14th, 2013. My stepfather had just died. I was in the middle of buying drinks and ice, picking up the big 6 foot sub from Walmart, grabbing cupcakes, picking up chips and cookies and candy, and getting things set up down at the reservoir for her party after gymnastics practice. It appeared out of nowhere: Did you get a good lawyer yet? That was the way I found out Jerry Lee was a bald faced liar and had been in communication with Harley the entire summer, despite swearing up and down he would end it with her.

Two years later the kids and I took off for Queen Bee’s graduation and then headed out to Utah for 2 weeks. Not long after we got back we took off to Florida. Jerry Lee couldn’t come with us because of a work obligation. While in Florida I saw a purchase made in Whore Town. That was also the summer of him wiring his “mom” money for groceries and buying “her” and his “stepdad” phones and paying their cell phone bill. Needless to say there was no work obligation and he wasn’t sending shit to his mom. It was all Harley.

August 10th, 2015 I got another message from The Saint: I thought you should know Jerry Lee has been spending his weekends in Whore Town with Harley. Just like that my entire life crumbled.

This summer has been interesting. It marks five years since my life as I knew it ended. I’m pretty okay with it this year. I forgot June 10th this year. That’s the day, four years ago, he informed me with a brief text message that he had lost his job and wouldn’t be sending me anymore money. Period. Nothing else to be said. Completely forgot the date this year.

I also didn’t notice the day, six years ago, that we moved into our new house in Virginia. Oh sure, I saw Facebook memories. There were pictures of us going to some of our favorite places one last time before we left. Pictures of us going out to lunch and dinner with friends. Pictures of me with people who were saying goodbye. Pictures of the moving truck the day they came to load everything up. But I forgot the day we moved in. Ironically, it was pretty much a year to the day that Jerry Lee was fucking Harley instead of going on vacation with his family. Good times, good times.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll even make the connection this year. I was in the shower this morning after my four mile run and I suddenly thought, “Oh shit! It’s August. Some serious bullshit went down this month in 2013 and 2015. I almost forgot about that.” That was the extent of my thoughts.

Earlier this year I was trying to remember a date. I was thinking to myself, “Was it the 10th or the 14th?” Then I suddenly realized it was neither of those two dates. Those were my D-Days! This thing I was thinking about was a good memory and it happened about a week later. Those dates were stuck in my head but I no longer associated them with trauma. Maybe this is what getting to Meh feels like. Maybe it’s a way to see that I’m healing. Whatever it is those dates don’t hold much significance anymore.

Wanna know something really funny? We’ll see if Jerry Lee is going to follow the court order this month. He gets paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. This month though the 15th falls on a Saturday. So I should be getting my first direct deposit from his company on August 14th- 7 years to the exact day since my first D-Day. That’s even better than all the times he ended up paying spousal support on our anniversary. Maybe another celebration cake will be in order.