It Brought Me To Where I Am

Oh cheaters… gotta love ‘em. Bless their selfish little hearts. I was reading on Facebook about “scandalous” cheating stories that rocked Hollywood. Spoiler alert: They were not that scandalous. Nor did they much rock Hollywood. They were all pretty run of the mill. What I took issue with though was Katharine McPhee and her response after being caught locking lips with her director.

He, of course, was married with children. Good ol’ Kat was simply married. Both marriages imploded. They aren’t together; I’m not sure the “relationship” lasted much beyond discovery. She was later quoting as saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, that she didn’t regret anything because it all led her to where she is today. Where she is today is divorced from her first husband and remarried to a man who is old enough to be her father, if not her grandfather. Her stepdaughters are older than her. But, he’s rich and famous and I’m sure her hope is that he will make her equally rich and famous. He tends to discard wives though so she had better be performing one hell of a pick me dance. I hope she’s able to keep that same attitude when her time as the latest Mrs. Foster comes to an end. Hey, Kat, it’s all leading you to where you are and were meant to be.

I’m pretty sure Claire Danes had the same attitude about her affair with Billy Crudup. He left his 7 months pregnant girlfriend for Claire. Shockingly, the relationship did not work out although they did manage to stay together for 3 years.

Actually, let me amend that. Claire’s position on this was that she was only 24 years old and in love; she felt she needed to “explore” those feelings, pregnant girlfriend be damned. She claims to have had no idea the repercussions that might come with dating a man who left his pregnant girlfriend in her last trimester of pregnancy. 

Really? Because I wasn’t even 24 when I had my first married guy come on to me and I was smart enough to realize that taking him up on that offer would have been the wrong thing to do. 

She said it was a very scary time in her life but she made it through. Whew! We should all give a sigh of relief at that blessing. She went on to say that everything worked out; thank God she and Billy are still friendly to this day.

A scary time in your life, Claire? I imagine it was a pretty scary time in Mary Louise Parker’s life, too. You know, what with being abandoned in her seventh month of pregnancy. After eight years with this guy. And having to see all the headlines and pictures of her longtime boyfriend and his new girlfriend together. Not to mention the amazing time she must have had handing her child over to his father, knowing that his home wrecking whore would have her hands all over her baby. Trying to co-parent with a fuckwit that puts his dick above his own child. Dealing with the public humiliation.

These people go through life acting as though they’re the only ones that matter. Broke up a family? Caused a woman to give birth by herself instead of with the father of her child by her side? Eh, it’s all good. It brought me to this awesome place in life. 

They really don’t give a moment’s pause to what they have done to anyone else. Katharine McPhee could not care less about the kids whose lives she affected. Does not care one bit about the woman she helped devastate. It brought her to where she is now. Claire Danes had no thoughts of pregnant Mary Louise Parker. Probably never considered what kind of a life their baby would have with his parents split up. No, she was in love and owed it to herself to “explore” that. Selfish, selfish people.

Low Carb Taco Soup

I had someone ask me for my low carb taco soup recipe so I thought I would share with the group. I found this recipe on Plain Chicken. The blogger shares a ton of yummy recipes. Most of it is not low carb but she does have a few things, including this amazing taco soup. She says it’s so good you’ll want to lick the bowl clean; I kinda agree with her. I haven’t licked the bowl yet but I do frequently go back for second servings. Another thing that makes this soup a winner is that it is so simple to make and most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this bowl licking soup:

2 lb. ground beef cooked

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

1 (8 oz.) package of Velveeta cheese or shredded cheddar

1 (1 oz.) package Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix

3 TBSP taco or southwestern seasoning (she uses Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning so that’s what I used as well)

2 (10 oz.) cans Ro*Tel tomatoes and green chiles

4 cups beef broth

How do you make this bowl licking soup?

Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. (The recipe calls for cooked ground beef but I don’t know anybody who buys it like that so step one: brown the beef! Step two: dump everything into the crock pot).

OR

You can also make this on the stove top. Again, dump everything into the pot (after you’ve browned the beef), bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Here are a few tips from me:

  1. I chose to cut the Velveeta cheese and cream cheese into squares.
  2. I found that when I cooked this in the slow cooker the cream cheese didn’t want to thoroughly melt. I scooped the pieces out along with a bit of the liquid and used an immersion blender to get it fully blended. You could leave it in the crockpot and use the immersion blender but I didn’t like the idea of blending up the hamburger. When I cooked it on the stove top I did not have this problem; the cream cheese was thoroughly melted and blended in. If you do find that there are chunks of cream cheese in your soup, even when cooking on the stove, feel free to get out your handy dandy immersion blender and blend away.
  3. I used the Velveeta instead of the cheddar cheese so I can’t vouch for how great that is. I’m sure it’s wonderful. I also couldn’t find an 8 oz. container of Velveeta. The smallest one I found was 16 oz. so I just cut it in half. I turned around and made this soup again a few days later so it didn’t go to waste.
  4. I’m a big baby when it comes to heat and food, but I used the original Ro*Tel instead of the mild version and it was fine.
  5. I’ve been serving this with sour cream and shredded cheese as toppings. She suggests sour cream, shredded cheese, and cilantro. You can add whatever you desire. I would add some tortilla strips if I wasn’t doing low carb.
  6. If you’re watching your carbs you want to be careful about the kind of taco seasoning you use. That is why she suggests Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning.
  7. If you’re not watching your carbs feel free to throw in a can of black beans and/or corn.

Welcome To the Tenth Circle Of Hell

It’s OCTOBER, everyone! October! It feels like this year is both flying by and like it will never end. Every month seems to go on forever and yet each month I find myself saying, “I can’t believe we’re into insert month already!”

I love this time of year. It’s finally getting a little cooler around these parts. I made a low carb taco soup on Sunday. It was delicious. We had leftovers for Monday lunch but only enough for all three of us to have a single bowl each.

I am doing a lot better with all of the fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations. I’m usually very triggered by them. It reminds me of my old life, although a life I only led for roughly two years. Like I’ve always said, I didn’t decorate a whole lot until we moved to Virginia. I didn’t have a lot to do there so I threw myself into holiday decorations. Found I really liked it. Then had to sell off everything. But this year I’m handling it much better. Finally. Only took five years. Hooray!

My daughter just came back for a visit for the first time since she left to return to school at the beginning of August. We got pedicures and ate out at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I ate way too many tortilla chips.

My son is still working at the grocery store. He is getting a lot of compliments for his work ethic. Makes a mother proud. 

I think my favorite part of his job is talking to him after bringing him home. He’s quite chatty most of the time. I always learn lots of interesting things from him during these chats.

We went to go visit my dad a few weeks ago. At some point that day he told me he decided he would like to change his last name to mine. After spending the day with my brother and nephew he realized he relates more to them than to anyone on his father’s side of the family and he identifies more as an Awesome than as an Asshat. So we’re going to start that process in the hopes that he’ll be changed over before graduation so he graduates as Picasso Awesome.

Neither one of us has mentioned it to Rock Star. I’m not sure how she’s going to feel being the only Asshat left in the family but I also don’t think she has any desire to change her last name. Honestly, she will probably get married one day and more than likely she will change her last name to match her husband’s. Why bother with changing it now when she’ll more than likely change it again in the next few years?

Little less than three months until we can usher out 2020 and timidly hope that 2021 promises better days ahead. It probably won’t but we can always hope. My county has been under a mask mandate since mid to late May and it’s staying in place at least until the end of this year. I don’t know why the county health commissioner doesn’t cut through the bullshit and just tell everyone he’s ordering us to wear masks for the rest of our lives. At least that way if we ever get to go out into public again without a fucking mask on it’ll be a great surprise, one that we weren’t expecting, instead of ticking off the days on the calendar until we can go without one only to be told, “Oops! Just kidding. Let’s extend it another three months.”

How are those holidays looking? My kids are too old to go trick-or-treating and we live on a very busy road that gets no trick-or-treaters so Halloween is pretty much a bust for me. I was never real big on it anyway but it seems to especially suck this year with so many debating if the kids should even be allowed to go out this year.

I’m hoping we are able to have a fairly normal Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s hard to tell though. Since this was the first time Rock Star had been home since August I had a family dinner. My brother and nephew were the only ones that were able to come. My brother has attempted to kill us all. He called us Sunday after we had picked up my nephew to walk around the park, letting us know his co-worker had tested positive for Covid-19 so we need to bring the nephew back. Now my mom, Picasso, and I are all in quarantine at the house. I’m working from home which is not my favorite thing to do. I let Rock Star and her roommate know that they should self-quarantine. We’re still waiting on my brother’s test results. That was with only half of the family. I’m willing to give it another go come Thanksgiving but I’m not sure how everyone else is going to feel. I can tell you this much though. I am not doing a fucking Zoom Thanksgiving. 

My daughter has informed me she’s going to Florida with her boyfriend and his family over Christmas. She’s not sure when. Only knows it’s not over the actual holiday because she knows her mother would kill her if she wasn’t home for Christmas. She also knows Santa would not visit. Not even a stocking filled. I’ve been very clear over the years. As long as you’re here with me on Christmas morning Santa will visit you. If you’re off somewhere else you are on your own!

The mobster is beginning the process of selling his business. He needs to find a buyer. He’s had several people interested. The first one fell through. He’s called the second one and hasn’t heard back from him, so now it’s onto the third option. He’s had several other people inquire as well so hopefully he will get it sold when he wants to. I’m crossing my fingers for him.

I was finally able to go back to my regular office after 5 months at our downtown location. I’m glad I’m back but it’s not the same. My direct supervisor retired in June and the other supervisor gave her 2 weeks notice the very day I went back. I’m not at my desk; I’m clear on the other side of the room. We still have 3 people working from home and another 5 still downtown. Still no ice machine. No place to sit in the break room. No salad bar at the grocery store. It’s a put your head down and get through it kind of atmosphere right now.

I’m still running. I’ve had a few moments where I didn’t run for a week but that’s only happened two or three times since I’ve begun. I signed up for a 100 mile challenge a few months ago. It ran from July 1st through September 30th. I originally was only going to log running miles but then decided to count deliberate walking miles as well. After I reached 100 miles I decided to go ahead and run the entire 100 miles so i added on another 14 point something miles to my log. It went well enough that I decided to sign up for another 100 mile challenge which began October 1st and goes through December 31st. I’ve only got 6 miles in so far but I’m not worried.

That’s all I have for you today. I know. It’s pretty lame. I’m pretty unmotivated these days. I think it’s a 2020 thing.

People Of Twitter

Oh, kids these days!
I feel ya, sweetie. It is terribly unfair.
That’s right; I’m talking to you, Mom!
I don’t know why, but this one had me laughing forever.
This reminds me of the time Picasso told me he was going to sell our Kirby vacuum cleaner when we died- because those were expensive and he could get a lot of money for it.
This is very true for me. I drive almost everywhere. My lovely friend, S, back out in Utah is like, “Anything over 6 hours I need to fly.” After driving back to Indiana from Utah I’m like, “Anything less than 12 hours is child’s play!”

All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 5

I freely admit I got badly burned. I barely made it through the first time. I don’t think I could take losing everything all over a second time. Financial independence is a must for me. I’m willing to downsize; I’m not willing to be homeless if I don’t live with my mom or someone else. I know that’s ironic considering I’m still reliant on spousal support, but if I remarry or live with someone I have to give that up. The spousal support I receive now gives me financial independence in my relationship with the mobster. I can afford to buy my kids things they need and want because of that money. I don’t have to ask the mobster for it. If I want to go somewhere or I want to buy something, I can do that. I am not reliant upon the mobster for it. Ultimately though I want to be financially independent even if there is no spousal support. Quite honestly, I would love to make more money than the mobster. He jokes about me being his sugar mama. I would love to be in that position.

I keep going back and forth. Is it important to be able to do it on your own? Yes, I think it is. Do you have more buying power when there are two of you? Yes, I think you do. How do you merge those two? That is the million dollar question. Maybe it comes down to not buying anything tangible that you cannot afford on your own but being willing to co-mingle money when it comes to the intangibles. Maybe. I don’t know. What I do know is I have no desire to lose everything all over again, and it seems like two becoming one is the surest way to do that. 

Maybe the real trick is to make sure marriage benefits both of you. Hell, even looking back at my own marriage I could see that it benefited both of us.

I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with my kids. That was my main benefit. I got to do all kinds of amazing things with them and I was very involved with their school. I’m sure there are many working women who can say the same. I’m not one of them. It’s like I told Picasso not that long ago, “I used to be a good mom.” I don’t have the time to devote to them. Period.

I also had 100% access to his paycheck. I could book tickets to fly back to Utah. I could pay for gymnastics for my daughter. I could pay for hockey for my son. I could buy them whatever they needed and plenty of it. I could also buy them most of what they wanted. I didn’t have to worry about money, and I never had to ask either. I was free to do whatever I wanted with it within reason.

As for him, he was able to climb the corporate ladder. He was able to make an excellent salary, far more than I will ever be able to earn. He never had to wash a dish, do a load of laundry, pick up a kid from school, take a day off work because a child was sick, run kids around for activities, make a meal, or even fix his own plate or put his own clothes away. He never had to worry about trying to juggle working full-time with raising his kids because I was at home taking care of everything. 

Obviously, the benefits were lop-sided, and he ultimately benefited a hell of a lot more than me in the end.

Perhaps the real indictment is against ever being a stay at home parent. I had nothing of my own to financially contribute. The entire financial burden was carried by someone else. Everything I had was paid for by someone else. And then- POOF- it all went away. Maybe if we had been bigger savers the hit might not have been so bad; there could have been money in savings to split- if he didn’t blow it all on Harley first. If our house didn’t go into foreclosure when he lost his job, or if he hadn’t walked out one fucking year after we bought the damn thing maybe we could have sold it and I would have had a little bit of money to sock away. Shit, I had over $10,000 socked away at the time he lost his job. If he’d kept working none of the bullshit that happened would have happened. I probably could have kept the house, even though it wouldn’t have been a prudent financial decision. My kids wouldn’t have been uprooted. I would have had a $10,000 head start in regards to my divorce.

It’s easy to blame it all on staying at home but even in the prior examples those people are taking risks. My best friend is earning a third less than what she could be and the longer she stays out of private practice the harder it will be to build up her practice again. My cousin might very well not find another job as great as the one she left behind to “take care of herself”. My co-worker could find that she’s no longer being considered for promotion because she no longer wishes to work full-time. All of those decisions require taking a risk and placing your faith in the person you’ve chosen to trust and share your life with.

Not to mention even if you’re both working you’re getting something out of being married in most instances. I make $100; you make $100. Together we make $200. Twice the money to put into savings, put towards vacations, pay household bills, raise children. I know it doesn’t work that way all of the time, but in a lot of cases it does.

Maybe another answer is this. Be able to be self-sufficient. Earn enough money to be able to pay a mortgage on your own. Be able to afford your car payment. Be able to fund your retirement and put money into savings. But if this marriage truly benefits both of you then you’ll both lose something if the marriage ends. 

Perhaps that would be the difference this time around. If I make $35,000 and the mobster makes $65,000 and we bought a house based on what we make combined, then it doesn’t matter if I can’t afford the house payment on my own; he couldn’t either. When I was married I could afford nothing and Jerry Lee could afford everything because I had no job. Maybe this time around I’ll be the one providing the insurance and contributing a good chunk of the retirement funds. After all, there was a period of time in the beginning of our marriage where both Jerry Lee and I worked. Our combined income didn’t come close to what he eventually made but we were young and had no children either. We didn’t stress about money. One paycheck covered our bills nicely and the other paycheck allowed us the freedom to go out, buy gifts, and do all of the little extras. It was a team back then. Honestly, I think we were much happier back then, back when we both worked. Him being the sole provider meant an immediate power imbalance. As much as I miss my free time and the ability to get shit done in the middle of the week I know I will never go back to that.

I don’t know why I puzzle over this so much. Even in this woman’s story, when it comes right down to it, she’s going to marry again- for financial reasons. It doesn’t matter that she can pay her rent, or that she refused to buy a home with her husband that she alone could not pay the mortgage on. It doesn’t matter that she didn’t rely on her ex’s $250 a month for child support. It doesn’t matter that she could support the family when her husband was out of work for a few months. It doesn’t even matter if she continues this mindset with the new husband, refusing to live in a house she alone cannot pay for, refusing to take on any bills she can’t cover. She doesn’t have a well funded retirement and she doesn’t like paying out hundreds of dollars a month for insurance. So she’s getting remarried. She’s teaming up with someone else. Where she falters, he will help her. She can continue to pat herself on the back for being self-sufficient and doing it all on her own, but in the end… she’s not doing it all by herself. She needed help and she’s going to get it- by getting married.

All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 4

When I first read Mandy’s story, and throughout the years, I always wondered what the point in being married was if you were going to live like she did. Marriage is supposedly about being a team and combining your resources. Not much of a team effort when everything is separate or must play to the lowest common denominator. Now, having had my life systematically dismantled by a cheating man who held the wallet in our marriage, I see the benefits. Despite the flaws in her thinking I admire how smart it is to never purchase anything you alone cannot pay for. I look back now and I realize none of it was ever truly mine. It was all given to me by Jerry Lee and when he decided he was done with me I lost everything. No more nice big house, no more pool, no more vacations, no more outings with the kids, no more shopping sprees for them, no more financial freedom.

Yes, I understand that me tending to the home while he went out and worked allowed him to concentrate on his career. I completely understand and agree with the idea that if not for me he might not have been able to climb as high and as fast as he did. I get the whole “we’re a team” thing. But when that team breaks apart some of us quickly realize that our contribution to “the team” didn’t mean squat in terms of financial security. Nobody hires us on our ability to help our spouse achieve career success. When you split up that career success all goes to the person who is actually working. They leave and continue to make big bucks. The person who supported them are left behind, scrambling to find a job and figure out a way to support themselves and their kids.

I’ve written before about never dating again, never marrying again, and me not wanting to lose everything because the next guy can’t keep it in his pants, or he just decides he’s tired of me. Well, you know how the “never dating again” thing has turned out. I’ve even relaxed my stance on never marrying again. But, losing everything because he walks away? That’s a huge fear I continue to have. I absolutely do not want to give up my spousal support, be completely financially dependent on the mobster, buy a house, create a fantastic life together, and then have him walk out the door, leaving me destitute again and knocking on my mother’s door because I can’t afford to live on my own. It terrifies me. Financial independence is an absolute must before I ever consider living with or marrying the mobster (and he knows that for those of you who might worry he’s just now learning this).

Then I zigzag right back and I think, “Why bother?” Why bother creating a life with someone else if everything is separate? Isn’t the purpose of marriage to be a team? To combine resources? All that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you. Those were my wedding vows twenty plus years ago. All in. Not half assed. 

If I make $35,000 and the mobster makes $65,000 together we have $100,000. Doesn’t that $100,000 go farther than my measly $35,000 or his $65,000? Or even if it’s a lot more equal and I make $60,000 and he makes $80,000 together we make $140,000. Sure, we could both do okay on our own, but wouldn’t we do a lot better combining our incomes instead of living like we were single? Again, there would be two incomes paying household bills, two incomes going towards retirement, two incomes to contribute to savings, two incomes to pay for vacations, two incomes to help put kids through college.

Lately I’ve been seeing lots and lots of benefits of being married. For example, a co-worker at the bank just got married a little while ago. She was able to move from her home in the city to an adorable little house out in the country with plenty of space for her 4 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 pigs. She loves it out there and is always posting cute pictures and videos of her animals in their new home. She’s also gone down to part-time instead of working full-time. All of this has been possible thanks to her new husband. He is why she can buy a new house out in the country before selling her old house. He is why she can work part-time instead of full-time. She definitely could not do that on her own.

I have a cousin who had an amazing job at this tony military retirement community as an activities director. She remarried a little over a year ago. I know this because her husband, for their first anniversary which is paper, presented her with tickets to Hawaii. Nice. She has now quit her amazing job to take some time to take care of herself. She’s busy posting pictures of the bread and other goodies she’s making and talking about all the projects she’s tackling. Again, this is made possible by a husband. A husband who has no problems supporting her and her son. I suppose we could switch it around and say a man could also do this if he had a wife who made good money, but most men don’t tend to do that.

I’m happy for both of them. Honestly. After what I’ve been through I’m also a little scared for them. I keep thinking, “You better hope the bottom never drops out because if that happens you are going to be screwed!”

Then again, neither of them is as stupid as I was. My cousin is in her 50s and has been married twice before this. She’s struggled and she’s worked. She’s done it on her own before and I have no doubt that if she had to, she could do it again. The co-worker has worked full-time since probably age 18; she didn’t marry until her mid to late 30s. I have every bit of confidence that she, too, can re-enter the workforce in a full-time capacity if she needed to.

It’s everywhere- this benefit of marriage. Partnership. I see person after person who is benefitting from being paired up.

I look at one of my best friends who is a chiropractor. Before meeting her husband she was a single woman in her late 30s, working 70-80 hours a week. Soon after meeting him she quit her job to go into practice for herself. She became a mom to his three children and was the one doing laundry, making dinner, and getting kids to school and sports. Now she is teaching at her kids’ high school for a discount on the tuition. Maybe it’s free. Nonetheless, she has gone from working 70-80 hours a week making almost 6 figures to a teaching job making about a third of what she was making but where she has summers off and plenty of down time during the school year. She leads a completely different life. Thanks to a husband.

Another woman from high school just got married. They’re building a house.

Another one of my best friend’s is thinking about letting her ex turned on-again/off-again boyfriend move back in with her because the little bit he contributes to the rent and utilities helps her out considerably.

Yet another friend lost her full-time job during the coronavirus shut down. She’s been living with her boyfriend in another state during the week and then coming back to our town on the weekends to work her part-time job which she really likes. From prior conversations it’s apparent that he wants to take care of her. I have no idea if he’s helping her with her bills during this time but I know she’s looking for a job in his state and would move in with him for good if she was able to find something there.

It’s a complicated situation. On one hand I don’t ever want to be financially dependent on a man again. On the other hand, I see by all the examples outlined above, how beneficial it is when you work as a team instead of as a single person against the world. But then I think, “What happens if I’m discarded again?” Yeah, it’s nice to have a home of your own. It’s nice to go on vacation and buy things you want and need. But when the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with walks out on you and drastically changes the socioeconomic path of your life you get a little gun shy.

All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 3

Like Mandy. She was super proud of the fact that she could cover the mortgage when her husband was out of work. Good for her. She was also “fortunate” enough to land a house that had been foreclosed on. Much nicer house for a lot less money. 

She was constantly patting herself on the back for not needing child support from her ex; she said there were times he would apologize for being out of work and not being able to send it and her reaction was, ‘I didn’t even realize he wasn’t sending it,’. What she didn’t factor into all her blustering was that her ex did a lot of extras for their son- bought him clothes, took him shoe shopping, took him on trips, took him on excursions, bought him a car. Plus, there was the fact that they kept everything out of the courts and they agreed on $250 a month for child support. Hell, if I was only getting $250 I could probably brag about not missing it, too. There was also the matter of her being in her early 20s when this all happened; she had plenty of time to build a career and find ways to make money. Nor did she go from living on six figures down to next to nothing. She lived with her parents for a period of time (probably until she moved in with her husband). 

She also didn’t give much credence to the fact that being married allowed her to be self-employed with no thoughts to how to pay for insurance. She might have been able to cover all the bills, but she couldn’t cover all the bills and save for retirement apparently. And, even though she could pay for everything by herself she didn’t have to. Not only were the bills split between them, I’m sure her husband bought her things she wanted, took her places she wanted to go. There were two paychecks paying for those vacations. Two paychecks contributing to savings. Two paychecks paying for home repairs. If one took on one burden, the other could tackle something else. In the end, despite being able to stand on her own two feet, she’s getting remarried for the financial benefits. She’s getting married again because she wants great, low cost  insurance and money for retirement. She can pat herself on the back and toot her own horn as long as she would like but she’s not doing it all on her own.

Little Miss Lululemon, from the same board, who can discuss child support and how it’s way too much until she’s blue in the face, also talks about how she and her husband both contribute to the cost of raising their child. They both contribute to the household bills. Unlike those slutty single moms who try to live off of those men they tricked into getting them pregnant.

Bull! She’s basically a teacher’s aide who works nine months out of the year. Her husband makes the bulk of their income. She doesn’t own a home in one of the priciest cities in North America because of what she’s done. She owns that home because she’s married. She’s not buying $80 t-shirts, $100 flip flops, or $90 leggings because of her job. She’s able to buy them because of her husband’s job. She doesn’t take $7500 vacations every other year because of her amazing job; they take those vacations mainly because of his job. If her husband ever decides to leave and take his good paying job with him, I don’t care what her Google search tells her, she’s going to be in a world of hurt.

I think it’s a fantastic idea to be able to stand on your own two feet. Sadly, I’m not there yet. I also think there are very few people who can truly say that they could.

I had one friend in high school whose parents both worked. They saved one paycheck and lived on the other one. I never thought to inquire if their paychecks were equal. Maybe they were. Then again, maybe they lived on the larger one and put the smaller one away.

There are definitely some people out there who ended up divorced and found they were able to save more money now that the spending spouse was gone. Ironically, I have more in savings than Jerry Lee does and he earns almost 5 times what I do. And he has a wife that makes around three times what I do also contributing. There are people out there who are the breadwinners and found themselves divorced and also found that life didn’t change that much because their partner hadn’t contributed that much. It’s possible. But I think the reality is that most couples tend to combine their incomes. You make $50,000. I make $50,000. Together we are a $100,000 income family. Of course, it gets a little dicier when you make $25,000 and he makes $75,000 and you’re a $100,000 income family. 

Then again, I think unless you are making a tremendous amount of money any money your spouse brings in is going to help. Jerry Lee makes $140,000 a year. I think most people would think that was great money, and would ensure you could easily stand on your own two feet. However, the fact that his wife works and brings home a paycheck means that even though he’s taken quite a pay cut his standard of living hasn’t changed because she can make up the difference and then some. 

Harley makes somewhere around $80-$90,000. Again, plenty of money to be able to stand on your own two feet; I certainly would be happy making that kind of money. But by marrying her cousin her household income has more than doubled. Together they’re bringing in over $200,000. As a bonus, Harley no longer has to worry about going to jail because she overspends and writes bad checks because she’s got another $140,000 coming into her household.

There’s also the fact that no matter how much money you make if you marry and your spouse contributes anything to the household you’re going to be worse off if that person leaves. Will you be destitute like me? No. But take another look at ol’ Jerry Lee and Harley. Because of what he needs to pay me he would be screwed if she left. He certainly wouldn’t be living in a huge house in a sweet little subdivision. Without Jerry Lee’s money Harley would be dodging the police again because she can’t stop spending money she doesn’t have, and she, too, would have to give up the nice house in the nice subdivision. She’d be back to renting junkers. Marriage benefits them, even if they both earn good incomes on their own.

Sometimes it’s not about the money. My former supervisor worked for the benefits. Her husband’s job did not offer insurance. She covered both of them. My brother’s ex-wife worked for benefits as well when he quit his full-time job and bought his own business. He has done very well for himself but until he got hired on at the fire department he didn’t have insurance. She did, so she was the one that covered the entire family. It’s not an uncommon thing.

There are other benefits as well. As yet another woman from the debate board once pointed out, having a stay at home wife can be a value add to a household. Jerry Lee never had to worry about turning down opportunities because he was saddled with child care. I was there to pick up any of the pieces. Me not working allowed him to climb the corporate ladder. And even if both parties in the couple are working, again, that’s twice the money to go towards savings, retirement, college funds, vacations, Christmas gifts, household bills and repairs, groceries, etc.

All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 2

I have met the most amazing man. I always like to say it’s too bad that Jerry Lee no longer feels Harley is worth the money he has to pay me each month. In my case, the mobster is worth giving up that money. And yet… I still hesitate. He says over and over again that we could build a beautiful life together, free from Jerry Lee’s money. Realistically though? Together I think we could do really well for ourselves, especially once neither of us has full-time kids to consider. If he decided to leave me, or for some reason I left him, he would be fine. He could make it on his own; he already is. We’ve discussed this before and he admits that his wife walking out the door didn’t affect his life financially, not the way Jerry Lee walking out on me had on mine. He still lives in the same house. He still has enough money to pay his bills. He went through a brief spell where he worried about losing his house but he refinanced and ultimately picked up several additional stops on his route; he’s actually doing better now than he was when he was with her. His job pays him enough that he wouldn’t be reliant on me. I, on the other hand, would be screwed if he ever decided to leave me. I’d have to sell off a house, sell my possessions, and move back in with my mom. There would be no spousal support to fall back on this time. I would have the meager paycheck I get from my full-time job and that would be it. I don’t make enough money at this job to pay a mortgage, even in the bad neighborhoods. There’s no way I could buy him out of our house. There’s no way I could buy another house, or even afford rent.

I’ve told the story before of the woman (let’s call her Mandy) who was so proud of the fact that she would not buy anything that she alone could not afford, even though she was married. The house they bought? She could pay the mortgage on it by herself if it came to that. She paid her car payment. For many years they split utilities and food. She was very, very proud of the fact that if her husband disappeared tomorrow it wouldn’t affect her financially.

When I first heard this I thought, “Wow! How incredibly sad. What an awful way to live when you’re married.” Then I got divorced and lost everything and I thought, “Wow! She is the smartest woman in the world!”

Here’s where it gets interesting. She and her husband divorced. She let him keep the house; she moved into a luxury apartment. Everything should be fine for her, right? Well, it wasn’t so much that she couldn’t do it on her own. She did, however, come to find out that paying for your own insurance can really suck. Despite all of her bravado over doing it all on her own, or being able to if she had to, she never factored in that her husband covered her and her son on his insurance. She was self-employed. She quickly tired of paying out a bunch of money for coverage.

A year or so after her divorce she ran into an old boyfriend. Keep in mind, this is a woman who swore she would never remarry if things didn’t work out between her and her husband. Hey, we all say things we don’t mean, right? Look at me! I said I would never date again. We also tend to find that we change our minds once a little time and distance has passed. Lo and behold they are talking marriage. Funny thing is she made mention of the fact that she didn’t think she would ever marry again but he had great insurance, and while she was able to meet her bills and her thrills with what she makes, she hadn’t put much away for retirement. You may have guessed it already. This guy has a lovely retirement portfolio as well. I’m not reading anything into this. She actually came right out and said, “I didn’t ever intend to get married again but I’m self-employed and paying for self coverage sucks; he’s got great insurance and he’ll put me on it. I also don’t have much saved for retirement and he does.” I’m sure that in the years to come she will still be congratulating herself on making it on her own and always being able to pull her own weight. When she’s living a comfortable retirement I have no doubt she will go on and on about all of her hard work and her efforts while ignoring the fact that she latched onto someone who could help her in the areas where she lacked.

What it comes down to is this: Marriage, with its benefits and its pitfalls, is a complicated beast. I really don’t know where I stand on this issue anymore. It’s easy to say, “I don’t want to buy anything that I can’t afford on my own,” but actually doing that is a lot more difficult. I know I want to be financially independent but is anyone who gets married really financially independent?

All That I Have I Share With You… Or At Least Split It Down the Middle, Part 1

Hi. My name is Sam. I’m 51 years old. I was married for 20 years. After our kids were born I became a stay-at-hom mom and my now ex-husband began climbing the corporate ladder. 

My daughter participated in competitive gymnastics, not an inexpensive sport. Towards the end we were paying over $600 a month for 6 months out of the year and over $300 a month for the remaining six months for her sport, plus travel expenses for out of state meets. Don’t even get me started on what I paid for new leos, grips, and miscellaneous supplies. 

My son played hockey. Not quite as expensive as gymnastics because he didn’t do travel league, but still not a cheap sport. His last year I spent over $400 on equipment for him because he had outgrown all of his old stuff. Before that he regularly played baseball, soccer, and even enrolled in karate. 

I could shop for clothes and toys and make-up for my kids whenever I wanted, without having to consider a budget. It wasn’t unusual for me to take my daughter on a shopping spree once or twice a year. If they needed new clothes I could easily go out and drop $200 at a single store in order to stock up. 

The last year of our marriage I lived in a 4000 sq. ft. home where my kids had their own rooms and their own bathrooms. We even put a pool in our backyard. 

We could go back out to Utah and to Indiana to visit friends and family. I could afford to take my kids and do fun things with them. It wasn’t uncommon for us to have season passes to the amusement park and water park every summer. I took my kids on vacation. I made sure they had everything they needed and most of what they wanted. I rarely worried about money and could afford to be generous to friends and family. And then… I got divorced.

I lost pretty much everything when that happened- my house, my furniture, 90% of my belongings, my children’s emotional security, my financial security. I didn’t even get to remain in the same city. My kids and I had to sell off everything, vacate the family home, and move 600 miles away in with my mom. That was a mere two years after he moved us two thousand miles across the country for his “dream job”.

Five years after finding out about his affair, almost 3 years after the divorce, I’m still struggling and he and the OWife are doing great. Pulling in over $14,000 a month together. Living in houses just like we used to do. In fact, the first one they moved into together could have been an exact replica of the one he left behind in Virginia. At least from the outside.

I made a vow after this happened to me that I would never be financially dependent upon a man again. This is actually kind of funny because I’m still financially dependent on the ex in the form of the spousal support he is supposed to pay me. Nonetheless, my vow was that I would never be financially dependent on another man again. Losing everything and being forced to move away from the place that I called home (even if I didn’t particularly love it there) almost killed me the last time. Most of my friends who went through a divorce right around the same time as I did have no idea what it’s like to go through your entire home and put price tags on almost everything you own. They have no idea what it’s like to have to leave the family home. They have no idea what it’s like to have to tell your kids that we are once again moving and I’m going to be uprooting them from their friends, their sports, and their schools all over again. I cannot do it a second time.

I believe we’ve covered all of this before so you may be wondering why on earth I’m writing about it again. That’s a very good question, and one that deserves an answer. I’ll do my best, although it’s going to be a circumbendibus story.

Resolution

Thank God! The support saga appears to be OVER! I got a text this morning from Jerry Lee letting me know he had received his pay stub and Mississippi had NOT garnished him this time around. Hallelujah! I will have my money as ordered on Tuesday.

Again, he was very nice. I told him that he should be getting the garnished money back within the next 30 days or so. Get this- he offered to try to get the money to me even sooner, before he got all of it back. Told me he didn’t want me to be in jeopardy because of all of this. Say what? When has he ever cared what’s happened to me? Um…. NEVER.

I don’t know what’s happened to him. I think maybe someone has taken his phone and I’m being punk’d. Or he really did get a lobotomy. Or he’s on some really good drugs after losing in court and having to sign his life away for the next 3 years. Or… maybe that kid they discarded somehow hacked into his phone and is promising me the moon in order to fuck with them. Maybe he is honest to God scared he’ll end up in jail. Truthfully, I don’t care what it is. I don’t want to give the impression I’m spending a lot of time trying to untangle the skein here. I simply find it curious and a little unnerving. As I’ve said before I know how to deal with him when he’s being an ass; when he’s being nice I’m totally thrown. Don’t worry, dear readers. We’re not being buddy-buddy. I’m being civil to get this shit done. I’m almost certain we will not have another conversation anytime soon.

I also received an email from the caseworker. She got permission from her supervisor to send me a paper to sign to close the case on Indiana’s end. She emailed and snail mailed the paper to me. I didn’t check my emails until late Friday or it would already be signed and delivered. As it stands I’m signing today and my mom will take it down to the office tomorrow. Done!

I was a little off put though because the form she emailed included the phrasing, “Please review and sign the attached case closure form by no later than 9/25/20. If you fail to sign and return the form, we will send a request to Georgia to enforce the order out of Virginia.” Say what? I told my mom what it said and her exact words were, “Tell them to eat your shit!”

I don’t know if “sending the request to Georgia to enforce the order out of Virginia” means they would take my new order and have Georgia enforce it, or if they were somehow planning on having Georgia modify my freakin’ order without me ever going through another interstate meeting. Regardless it pissed my mom off that they’re requiring me to get something done in 16 days when it’s taken them over 18 months to get him garnished (and then did so when they had no jurisdiction) and they generally can’t even reply to an email any sooner than 8-10 days. I’ll do it, of course, because I want this over, but the sheer hubris of giving me a tight deadline… it boggles the mind.

Anyway, it’s done. It’s over. It all worked out, which I figured it would. I’m deliriously happy that it only took approximately two weeks to get it all sorted once we found out they could really garnish him. I was truly expecting this to be an absolute nightmare that would take months to resolve. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Let’s hope it’s smooth sailing from here on out.