Reframing Things

Final post for 2020. 

Earlier this year, one day in the summer, I made some comment about Jerry Lee bulldozing my life. My mom replied along the lines of, “Why not look at it as a chance to redo your life?”

I had actually already been thinking along those lines so I didn’t take offense at the suggestion.

I suppose that’s the biggest change for me during 2020. I’m finally reframing what happened to me. I’m not always successful. It’s best if I don’t dwell on it too much, but for small moments I am able to reframe the betrayal and discard, along with the absolute destruction of everything I thought my life was.

When I do this I’m able to tell myself he didn’t blow up my life; no, I got a second chance at a much better life. Sure, there have been speed bumps- financial issues continue to stress me. My kids are in therapy. I’m working a job that isn’t all that personally fulfilling and I feel like I never have enough “me” time, or time to devote to my kids. But it’s not all bad.

I’m back in my hometown. I’m reconnecting with old friends. It’s familiar. I didn’t have to start completely over and figure out how to get around the town.

Living with my mom isn’t a death sentence. She hates it when I say, “I had to move back in with my mom!” or “I don’t have a home of my own.” The reality is she does my laundry which is great because I don’t particularly care for doing laundry. She also has dinner cooked most nights when I come home. I joke with her that it’s nice to have a wife. I realize why so many cheaters don’t leave one until they have another one! I am fortunate enough to be able to spend huge amounts of time with my mom. I get to shop with her, go out to dinner with her, vent to her, and laugh with her. I have too many friends that no longer get to enjoy that with their moms.

Ever since moving back here in 2016 I have seen it as a source of shame- I was too fucking pathetic to be able to stand on my own two feet. I had to move back in with my mommy. I couldn’t take care of myself or my two children. I needed help. It’s very humbling, especially when you’ve lived in your own home for 20+ years. You go from living in a huge home to not even having your own bedroom; I slept on the couch for two years. Perhaps it’s simply the passing of time, but I no longer care. It is what it is. Living at home with her allows her to spend much more time with her grandchildren, allows me to see her all the time, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a mortgage payment or rent somewhere. It allows me to be able to do more because my money isn’t wrapped up in housing. I’m finally accepting that this arrangement works for me.

When he left finding a new relationship was the last thing on my mind. I was in survival mode and honestly, I had spent so much time alone even while being married that I had no desire to ever pair up again. I was perfectly content to be alone for the rest of my life; I was good at it. Yet, him walking out the door finally allowed me the chance to experience a real relationship, one where I’m valued and loved.

The mobster and I have an amazing time whenever we are lucky enough to get together. He is the best and I would have never met him if Jerry Lee didn’t go off and fuck his cousin.

As for finances, well, I recognize that I don’t need as much as I used to have. I don’t need a huge house. I don’t need endless baubles. I do like shopping for clothes and my closet is exploding right now but I’ve always been a sale shopper. As long as I have enough to pay my bills, take care of my kids and spoil them some, and be able to have some fun with my friends, family, and the mobster I’m good. I’d like to be able to take a vacation here and there as well, but it doesn’t have to be an elaborate vacation.

I also realize it’s up to me to make that change as far as finding a better paying job. Writing about how awful it pays and complaining does nothing. I intend to change that this coming year.

Of course, my children and their well-being always weighs heavily on my mind. Fortunately, I am finally letting go of that as well. Not as in an, “I don’t care” way, but more in an, “I can’t change the past,” way. It still tugs on my heartstrings when I hear “Best Day Of My Life” or any of the songs I associate with Harrisonburg. The overwhelming desire to scream, “Why?” is always there, but that scream is slowly fading away. I do my best to reframe it as a wonderful moment in Rock Star’s life, one that wasn’t meant to last. Maybe the lesson to be learned was that her dad is an entitled jackass. I don’t know. Maybe it was to show her she was stronger than she knew.

My son seems happy and content. The medication has helped immensely. He has friends here. He likes his job. He likes living here. Hopefully therapy will soon be a thing of the past for him, but as long as he continues to get something out of it I will pay for it. He graduates this year and no one will be happier about that than me! He’s been complaining about school since second grade. I’m tired of fighting him.

My daughter has apparently resolved all of her issues surrounding her father and his abandonment in approximately three therapy sessions. She works fast, I guess. She has decided she is done with him and she’s no longer expending the effort to have a relationship with him. As she put it, “Why am I putting in all this effort when he’s the one that left?”

Despite Covid-19 wrecking havoc with her college life she is happy. She has a solid set of friends down at college. She loves her sorority and her sisters. She has a great boyfriend who treats her like she deserves to be treated. She is kicking ass in nursing school and will be a wonderful nurse in a few years.

She has said herself that everything she went through led her to where she is. If we were still married and in Virginia, yes, I would probably see her more and she would be happily reconnecting with high school friends over break, but she wouldn’t have this life she loves.

Despite the hurdles and all the worries these last few years my kids are okay. They’re not living the life I had hoped to have given them, but they are good. As my mom always says, “You guys had a helluva run.” Yes, my kids had an awesome childhood and they got to experience a lot of wonderful things. And then they experienced some really shitty things and a lot of loss. They lost their friends twice, and lost their mother in many ways. i wasn’t there the way that I wanted to be; I did the best I could with what I had and I hope in the end that proves to be enough. But ultimately they prevailed and they are both good and happy now. I have a great relationship with both of them, and that’s what counts.

I will never say that Jerry Lee cheating on me and destroying my old life was a blessing, or the best thing to ever happen to me. What I will say now though is he ended up giving me a second chance. He gave me the opportunity to live a much better life than the one I could have ever hoped to have lived with him. I get to frame this one. I get to choose. I can make this new life into whatever I want.

How’s that for change, 2020?

Christmas 2020

For being in the middle of a pandemic it wasn’t a bad Christmas. You don’t always know how the holidays are going to turn out. I think Christmas brings with it a lot of pressure.

Think about it. The stores start putting out Christmas decorations in September. I’ve actually seen Christmas displays in Hobby Lobby in July. Not large displays, mind you, but they definitely have stuff out. Then you have the Christmas ads that begin to run in September. Sometimes that’s just so they can say they’ve had the first Christmas ad of the season but they are definitely appearing by early November, if not in October. You’ve got radio stations that begin playing Christmas music on November 1st. Thanksgiving is treated like a precursor to Christmas a lot of times. There’s Black Friday for in person shopping and Black Monday for online shopping.

Speaking of which, did everyone prefer the way the retailers went about it this year? I was so glad not to be overwhelmed with deals and sales that one day on Thanksgiving this year. I liked how almost all of the stores were closed for all of Thanksgiving. I was never one of those who was planning on boycotting any store that was open on Thanksgiving (I’m also not a fan of Black Friday shopping and do most of mine online) but I thought it was a lovely return to times in the past where holidays were actually spent with family instead of rushing out to begin buying for Christmas.

Anyway, there is tons of stress surrounding the holidays and trying to make everything perfect. And with this year being a year of social distancing and sickness no one was really sure how this was going to play out.

My only disappointment this year was not being able to do the cookie exchange/white elephant gift with my friends. Covid hit a little too close to home right before the holidays so that was scrapped.

I did my Christmas baking and I think I made almost a perfect amount of food. There was probably a little too much and I have definitely been eating way too much. They call it Christmas crack for a reason.

I had a lovely time in Virginia with the amazing mobster earlier in the month. We played some Pokemon Go, did some Christmas baking, opened our gifts to one another, ate some great food, and just enjoyed each other’s company for a longish weekend.

I was a little bit upset about the short amount of time my daughter was spending at home this year. She didn’t come up until the 23rd. I thought she was staying until Tuesday or Wednesday, but it turned out she was scheduled to work so she left on Sunday the 27th. It all turned out okay though. It was good having her home and we have made plans for me to go down there to see her in January.

We weren’t sure how Christmas Eve was going to play out. Our Christmas Eve gatherings used to be so large that we would have appetizers for dinner because people came and went. Many years my mom and stepfather would invite friends over on Christmas Eve. Both of my brothers and their families were present. My stepsister and her kids started coming over. It was a big cheerful bunch. 

Over the years that has changed. The friends of my mom and stepdad have passed. My stepdad passed. My one brother has not been up for Christmas in close to ten years. My niece, Florence Nightengale, hasn’t been up for Christmas since she got married last September and when she doesn’t come up, her brother doesn’t come up either. My stepsister had to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Her daughter who is in grad school in Chicago opted not to come over because of Chicago’s Covid-19 restrictions. Her son and his wife had texted earlier in the week to say that they would be coming over but probably wouldn’t be staying long. My sister-in-law also worked on Christmas Eve.

It turned out to be a really good Christmas Eve though. My nephew and his wife ended up staying for several hours, and they were more talkative than they’ve been in years. Probably because they usually stick together in one little pod of four when they come together. This year they had no choice but to talk to the others.

My friend Sweet J is dealing with her crazy family so she opted to come over for Christmas Eve instead of dealing with them.

My son’s friend came by to drop off a gift for him. I asked him if he would like a plate of cookies to take home with him. He was hesitant to take it because he was dropping off gifts. I’m not sure if he thought he could only have them if he stayed and ate, but I told him I would be more than happy to fix a plate and he could take them with him. He is also friends with my nephew and said his was the last gift he had to drop off. I jokingly said, “If you’d waited until 5 he would have been over here and you could have killed two birds with one stone.” Well, that started off a chain of events that led to him being over at our house until 10:30 or 11:00 that night. He ended up staying for dinner and trying green bean casserole for the first time in his life. He sat with us while we opened gifts. I felt bad because there was nothing for him except for what my nephew had gifted him but it was pretty obvious his mom was not picking him up any time soon and we had a houseful of people waiting to open gifts.

Picasso and I pooled our money together and bought my brother a knighthood from Sealander.  Picasso asked him, “How does it feel Sir Uncle C?”

We had a feast of seven layer salad, deviled eggs, ham, Swedish meatballs, scalloped potatoes, corn casserole, broccoli, cheese and rice casserole, green bean casserole, and Texas Roadhouse rolls (yes, you can buy those suckers frozen and take them home!). There was pie but I don’t think we ever got around to eating it. We also had cheese and summer sausage and shrimp cocktail before dinner.

I got some amazing gifts, including a beautiful Mom necklace from my daughter, 2 bottles of my favorite wine from a local winery, and a giant stuffed Eevee from my son.

Christmas Day I had a full stocking. I had to have a little conversation with my kids about that because last year I was the only one without a stocking. I fill theirs and my mom’s and I had nada. But they made up for it this year. I got a huge coffee mug, another polar bear ornament (in addition to the two my mom gifted me), a wine journal, sugar free chocolate, and some gift cards.

Both of my kids loved their gifts. All of them. The gifts they opened on Christmas Eve and the ones they found on the mantle and in their stockings on Christmas morning. Picasso loved his record player and the vinyl albums he got and Rock Star loved all of the clothes, shoes, and jewelry.

I made a breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls in the morning. Queen B and my nephew (I need to give him a name- I think I’ll call him C2) came over a little later in the day to play Phase 10. My brother showed up as well.

You’ve never played Phase 10 until you’ve played it with him. He always wants to know who’s in the lead and how many points. Then he’s always sure to tell you who you should be skipping. This year he began the tradition of the Skip Box because people would forget they were skipped. Or rather, they would attempt to play when they were skipped and insist they had already served their skip. So he handed out the Skip Box. You can give it back once you’ve been skipped.

Picasso’s friend came over again because he was interested in playing Phase 10. He took my brother’s spot because he had to go back home. He and my sister-in-law were going over to the neighbor’s house for Christmas dinner.

Queen B left to go meet up with one of her friends and we ordered Chinese food for those of us remaining.

I sent Merry Christmas messages to my friends both near and far and got many back in return. Plus, I had a few video chats with the mobster and his Christmas guests.

It was a wonderful Christmas. I’m hoping next year will be equally wonderful. Maybe a little less food because we have so much left over. My mom and I both have said we are not cooking for several days.

Christmas 2020 is in the books. Time to start planning Christmas 2021.

It’s That Day Again

There were so many different things I thought I was going to write about.  I started off thinking I would write about the fact that no matter how much I try to train my brain that today is just another day there’s always a little part of me that recognizes today is the day I made the biggest mistake of my life, aka my now defunct anniversary.

Then I tried to find a new pair of jeans. I was going to write about that. Shopping in the age of a pandemic is not easy. All of my old jeans are too big; I really need some new ones. Truth be told I can usually wear the old jeans for about 30 minutes to an hour and then they begin drooping and falling off my ass. It’s a good problem to have, I suppose. Much better than the old problem which is where I couldn’t zip my jeans up because I was getting too fat. Nonetheless, I’d really like to find a few pairs that fit. After nearly two hours of trying to find a new pair of jeans, ones that would fit just right- not too tight, not too loose- I gave up and headed to the Chick-Fil-A in the food court at the mall. I was already there and my hope was that it would be less crowded than the other one.

As I waited in line for my food I got a notification on my phone. It was Jerry Lee. 

No, he did not text to commemorate our former anniversary. He was letting me know I should check my Venmo. Mississippi finally sent the money back and he was finally sending it back to me.

I find a certain poetic justice in that. Turning over a big chunk of change to me on what would have been our 26th wedding anniversary. I always find it humorous when he pays me alimony on our anniversary. I wonder if he realizes that? Do you think he’s connected the dots and ever thinks, “Jesus, Joseph, and Mary! If I’d just kept my dick in my pants and stayed married I could keep all of this money,”? Probably not. I’m sure if he even remembers the past significance of this date he feels it was a good deal. 

It won’t happen again though because it’s automatically deducted out of his paycheck now but you have to admit as far as anti-versary gifts go this one is a doozy. I got a nice big pay day and the saga with Mississippi is finally over. Plus, he has to pay me again on Tuesday. To cap off this fantastic day I’m getting on a plane tomorrow afternoon and flying down to see my love. Happy former anniversary to me!

The Kids Are All Right… Or Are They?

You hear all the time that kids are resilient. Maybe they are. Maybe they acclimate to change a lot better than adults do. But even kids have their breaking points.

Both of my kids are on anti-anxiety and depression medication. The last medication she was on caused her to have suicidal ideations and feelings of self-harm. Does that sound resilient to you?

Rock Star was a sophomore in high school when she broke down one day at the thought of getting a B in a class. She felt enormous pressure to maintain a 4.0 so that she would be eligible for scholarships. Getting a B in her eyes meant she was failing and she wouldn’t get any money for college. I would have no way to pay for it and she might never become a nurse.

My daughter has always been a high achiever but I had never seen her like that before. She was 15 years old and had the weight of the world on her shoulders. That’s what her father’s affair did to her. Harley may be happy. Daddy may be happy. But my kid was a tightly wound ball of anxiety already.

If that wasn’t enough she was forced to move 600 miles away from her new friends and her new life a few months later. She had to start all over.

She was never happy here. She rarely brought friends over. Her senior year she ended up in an abusive relationship. To this day she still won’t tell me everything that happened. Just says it’s okay because everything she’s been through has made her stronger and brought her to where she is now.

Last year she cried when she called me, asking for rent money. She freaked out about going to the hospital when she got sick and nothing seemed to be working on her.

If kids are so resilient then why, five years later, does it still hurt her when she sees a father actually being a father to his daughter? Why does she still ache at the realization that she will never have that with her own father? Why does it still hurt when she remembers him walking right by her and then out the door into a new life without saying a single word to her? He left that day and moved to another state. Aside from her graduation he has not once traveled up to see either of his kids.

When she was home a few weekends ago she mentioned finding a therapist and her nurse practitioner putting her on new medication because her old medication wasn’t working any longer. I asked her a question about it and her response was something about childhood trauma issues.

Now, my child has been very vocal about the fact that she had a wonderful childhood so I was worried that I had missed something big. No, that wasn’t it. Apparently childhood trauma can be anything that happens before the age of 18. 

Her response when asked, “What childhood trauma?” was, “My father abandoning me and walking out of my life when I was 15.”

Children are resilient and yet five years later my daughter still needs therapy to deal with these unresolved issues. Five years later and her latest medication, the one that is supposed to help with the depression and anxiety, actually caused her to want to kill herself. On a positive note, her daddy and his whore are happy. If destroying her life was what it took to bring them to this place in their lives then, hey, who are we to stand in the way of their happiness?

Maybe it was a coincidence but up until the time her parents were divorcing she didn’t deal with anxiety. She was never medicated for depression or anxiety. She was never a bundle of raw, fragile nerves all the time. She didn’t complain of things “stressing her out” on a regular basis. Perhaps even if Jerry Lee and I had remained together she would still need medication for anxiety and depression. But I doubt it. She led a charmed life and there was never a need for it up until this point.

While Picasso was not nearly as enamored of Virginia as Rock Star was he has had his own problems. I suppose it could be a giant coincidence. God knows he had his issues when his dad and I were together.

He is more of an introvert than Rock Star and he can get overwhelmed with large groups of people. He also had some serious meltdowns after moving to Virginia which I attribute to losing all of his friends that he had known pretty much his entire life. It was a lot to wrap his head around. He did not like Virginia and did not like most of the people he encountered.

He actually really spread his wings when we moved. He prefers being around my side of the family and he was quickly accepted at his new school. Then he entered high school one year later and everything went to hell.

Nonetheless, he was not on anxiety or depression medication before the divorce. Now, five years later he’s taking medication for both of those and has been regularly seeing a therapist for almost a year. 

I would imagine it can’t be easy to have your father pretty much disown you when you’re a 13 year old boy. One day your dad is telling you that your parents haven’t been happy since having kids and the next day you never speak to him again.

I remember taking him to see a therapist right before D-Day because of his meltdowns regarding school. The therapist asked him if he had a magic remote control what he would have it do. “I’d make it so that my dad was better and he would play video games with me again and we could do the things we planned to do, like building a theater room.”

I remember him asking me if we were still going to keep Granny and Poppy in our life. I told him that they were his grandparents and I understood if he wanted to see them but I wasn’t going to be around them because they had betrayed me. I’m not sure exactly how I put it anymore, but the gist of it was, “I’m not going to but you are free to; I expect it and I encourage it.” At 13 years of age he decided, “No, I don’t think I can ever trust them again.”

That’s the part these people don’t realize. Their lying, cheating love isn’t just lying to the clueless spouse. In many instances they’re lying to the innocent children as well.

Both of my kids sympathized with their father and his supposed PTSD. He even admitted later that he was “probably” trying to create a distance so that it wouldn’t hurt so bad when he lost them. So generous of him.

My daughter wrote a research paper on it. My son sympathized and comforted him. Hell, if he had a magic remote control he wouldn’t use it to gain material goods; he would use it to make his father better so that they could do father-son things once again.

The damage he did was enormous. Five years later it reverberates throughout their lives. Therapy. Medication. Shitty relationships. Anxiety. Depression. Suicidal feelings. Crying. Fear. Hatred. Indifference. A longing to matter.

I’m not so sure kids are resilient. I think they don’t really have a choice in the matter. For some reason that inability to choose, and therefore, the need to roll with the punches, is called resilience. I wonder how they spin the anxiety, depression, and medication…

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.

Hitting the Wall

It’s happened. I have finally hit a wall. I realize I have spent the last five years worrying. Constantly. Worrying about money. Worrying about what was going to happen. Worrying about my kids. But mostly worrying about money- when he would pay, if he would pay, how much he would pay.

I FINALLY got everything settled. After more than 2 years of him self-modifying child and spousal support, and almost three years of him paying whenever he felt like it, I FINALLY had an order requiring him to directly deposit a set amount into my bank account on set dates.

Much like my pool that I had wanted for years and finally got, only to enjoy it for a mere six days before my world collapsed, I got to enjoy my victory for a small window of time. One month between court and the day I finally got my first direct deposit. Even that was marred because Jerry Lee texted several days before payment was deposited into my account to tell me he was being garnished.

Six days of having my pool and one direct deposit. That is the story of my life.

I thought the days of waiting for a response and hounding people to get to my case were over. I have been working on this in ernest since January of 2019. I finally had my day in court on July 15th of this year. And now I am back on the hamster wheel trying to get shit done.

I am so tired. I don’t think I have it in me to keep fighting this.

It is Wednesday. The caseworker has not gotten back to me, despite the fact that I emailed her on Saturday morning. My lawyer has not replied to my email or returned my phone call from Monday.

Monday morning the direct deposit came in considerably short, as expected because of the garnishment. I received an email from my lawyer letting me know that she had received a phone call from Jerry Lee’s lawyer. He was informing her that his client’s paycheck had been garnished by Mississippi. Her advice was for me to send that money back, assuming he had paid the correct amount per our order. Isn’t that cute? If only it were that easy.

I wrote her back and told her I had no idea where the money was and that Mississippi had garnished him before his company could put the money into my account. I also told her I had already told him I would send him that money back.

I tried calling her to get a quicker answer because I didn’t know what to do. On one hand she’s telling me to return the money. On the other hand, she’s telling me to return it if he’s paid the correct amount per our order. Well, that’s the Catch-22. He couldn’t pay me what our order required him to because there wasn’t enough left. The part that Mississippi took is floating around out there somewhere. No one seems to know where.

I got her assistant who told me she was on her way to court but she could call me after 2 pm. I waited until after 3 before leaving for lunch.

Today I went down to the Child Support Enforcement agency on my lunch hour. I took my current order and I spoke with a very nice receptionist who seemed to know what she was talking about. Unfortunately, my case had her stymied.

She said there was no record of any payment to my state. She also said that the last correspondence between my caseworker and the state of Mississippi was when MS asked her if they could close the case, and her reply on Aug. 21st, giving them permission. Why on earth they garnished him when they clearly told her he was no longer living in the state is a mystery. She took my name and put me on something called a walk in sheet. I’m not sure I’ll get an email or a phone call any sooner because of this but I at least did something.

I also learned it could take up to two months to get this resolved. Why? Because it’s an interstate case. They have 60 days to respond to anything. Supposedly Indiana can’t be calling them up and asking them for a response any time sooner if they haven’t gone over their allotted time. So, she sent them approval to close this case on Aug. 21st. They technically have until October 21st to do anything. Two full months without a dime in child or spousal support. Potentially.

Right now I feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall. I can’t get anyone to respond and when someone does share information it’s even more disheartening.

I know I won’t be destitute. My mom has already told me she would loan me money. She feels I’m a safe bet because she knows where I live. The mobster has offered up money as well, if needed.

I’m thankful, but I’m also so frustrated. This. Was. Supposed. To. Be. Over. I’m not supposed to be borrowing money to make it through until I finally get payment. I’m supposed to be socking money away. And what happens if it takes them even longer?

I walked into her office on September 10 for my interstate meeting. She told me to give it 60-90 days. Eleven and a half months later they finally garnish him, despite the fact that he’s no longer living in that state and hasn’t been for more than 8 months. She called and left a message with the customer service rep in February, asking the caseworker to give her a call back. She sent them another email in June, asking for a status update because she had never heard back. They finally reply in August, and tell her he’s moved and they would like permission to close out the case. These are not people that are in a hurry.

You are probably wondering why I didn’t just keep the money and let Jerry Lee sweat it out. Well, as I wrote earlier my lawyer told me I needed to return the money. She’s not answering me once again so I wasn’t sure if she would tell me to keep what little money was deposited and let him worry about how to pay bills, or if she would tell me to return it in order to honor our Virginia court order.

I could keep it, I suppose. However, he’s just going to have his lawyer ask for an emergency hearing to have the direct deposit stopped until this mess is sorted out. Then I have to go through this all over again. I’m trying to avoid that.

There’s also the possibility that his lawyer could seek to have our order voided since Mississippi garnished him. I don’t think that’s as much of a possibility as I did in the beginning, but what do I know?

I think the biggest thing is I’m so tired of being called a bitch, a cunt, a whore, a selfish, money hungry gold digger. I’m tired of the obscene emojis and the hateful comments and the nasty stamps on the envelopes. This was supposed to be the end of that. I didn’t have to communicate with him. I didn’t have to deal with him. It was over. The money was being directly deposited and we never had to speak to one another again.

If I had kept the money I would be dealing with all of that shit all over again. It may come to that.

Strangely, he’s been suspiciously nice. He offered to pay me his share of Picasso’s therapy bill to help me out until this was sorted. He thanked me. I really figured he’d be cussing at me. He called Mississippi once again and was told Indiana has to stop the garnishment. He even told me that Mississippi either wouldn’t or couldn’t tell him where the money is. And, when I asked him if he would help Rock Star out if he could, he agreed to send her the money she needed for the third access code she had to buy for this semester.

Right now I’m simply overwhelmed. Rock Star has started a new semester and there are all sorts of expenses associated with that. I told her I would pay her rent this year and it hasn’t even been a full month back at school and I’m already in financial distress once again. Every time I turn around she has to buy a new fucking access code for one of her classes. They’re over $200 a pop. She’s bought 3 so far. Her sorority dues are coming in. They’d better all be $25 because they’re sure as hell not doing anything these days.

My co-worker was supposed to be on vacation next week. She works from home and her internet is out so took this week off instead. Charged off accounts are crazy this week. Normally I’ll have maybe 10-15 on a busy day. I had 21 yesterday and I’m scheduled to have 29 on Thursday. That doesn’t count any of the requests by people in the branches, or the business close outs, or those that are on mail return. And for some reason I had over 100 cards to close out as well yesterday. I did have help from the staff assistants in closing them, but I still folded all the letters and stuffed most of them. In addition to that I had 40 service fee closures. On a normal day I might have 4-5. A busy day might be 8-10. It’s been an overwhelming amount of work, just with the things that I would normally do; then I add in completing the NSF report every morning and trying to get the fee reversals done and logged for the student accounts.

I’m trying to squeeze in getting this garnishment mess cleared up in between doing my co-worker’s workload and my substantially bigger workload this week. I think I’ve finally caught up somewhat (until I’m stuck with 29 charge offs tomorrow). I’ll shoot off another email to my lawyer and ask her what I do until this mess is sorted out. And I suppose I’ll wait for my caseworker to email or call me back.

I’m so tired.

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?

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?