Merry Christmas, Love Dad

A Christmas miracle has occurred! Picasso and Rock Star both got envelopes in the mail from their dad. Same day! This never happens! The last time it did happen was December of 2015 when he could leave their gift cards for them. I honestly no longer remember if he put them in the mailbox or if he left them on the kitchen island, not that it matters anymore.

Another Christmas miracle- he used his real address! He didn’t try to hide out like he was still living in Kentucky. Nope, he put that fancy address on the envelope this year. I guess he figured the cat was out of the bag. No use hiding.

Strangely, he listed the return address as “The Jackasses” instead of using his full name (Jerry Lee Jackass), or only his last name. I don’t know if that was his way of finally telling the kids he got married or if it was an oversight on his part.

He sent them both a Visa gift card. Nothing else in the envelope. Not a card. Not a letter. No, “I miss you,” or, “I love you.” Not even a “Merry Christmas!” on the flap of the envelope. As Picasso said, “Good to know how much he loves us. Couldn’t even bother to wish us a Merry Christmas. This is more like an obligation than an actual gift.”

Even better? The gift card was one of those where you determine how much you want to put on it. The card said you could choose from $5-$500. He didn’t bother to tell them how much was on it. Rock Star called the number and found out her dad gave them $50.

I know Christmas is not about the gifts and it’s not about how much money you spend. Yet I still shake my head and whisper, “Jesus Christ!” under my breath. This man makes over $100k a year. His cousin turned wife makes somewhere between $75,000-$90,000 a year (last records I saw she brought home $5000/month). He lives in a nice big house in the most sought after subdivision in Olive Branch. Pretty sure he’s driving a new car, too. I know damn well the mulligans did not get a mere $50 spent on them. This man who whines endlessly about how I’ve turned his children against him gifts them a $50 Visa gift card with not a word said to either of them.

I sat with a needle in my arm twice a week for the last four months so that I could give my kids the kind of Christmas they remember. I almost fainted one time. Another time I ended up with bruises on my arm and had to use the other one to donate.

The mobster who is not even their father spent over $100 on each of my kids. He gave me $100 to put towards Picasso’s computer and then ordered a $50 gift certificate to a nail salon for Rock Star, plus he gave her a stocking stuffed with another $50 or so worth of little odds and ends.

My mom undoubtedly spent right around $100 on each of them.

When my kids went down to see my dad my stepmom gave both kids a $100 bill.

Again, I know it’s not about the money or the gifts; however, he doesn’t do anything else for them either. Out of all of the adults in their lives, with the possible exception of my dad, Jerry Lee is the one with the most resources and yet he’s the one that chooses to spend the least. This was a total fuck you gift. Like Picasso said, it was an obligation. He can’t admit to giving them nothing so he gives the least amount he can.

My mouth is still hanging somewhat open at his audacity but as I told the mobster, “They’ll remember which one of us donated plasma twice a week for four months so they could have a great Christmas, and which one of us gave them $50.” I went to great lengths to make sure my kids got the things they wanted for Christmas. They know this. It’s not just the money but the sacrifice, the willingness to do whatever it takes to provide for them.

I will never forget the look on my son’s face when he walked downstairs and saw the computer he so badly coveted sitting there, instead of a few hundred dollars in his stocking knowing he was going to have to make up the difference.

I know how much Rock Star loves her stocking; she has said many times it’s her favorite part of Christmas. This year it was bangin’! She was thrilled with the cosmetics and skin care products she received, along with the gift certificate for a massage and her Air Pods.

Every hour I spent in that plasma center was worth it. Every stick was worth it. My kids are worth it. It’s sad he doesn’t realize that.

This is not my battle to fight. He is who is and his kids are going to have to accept that. I would say that he’s going to have to accept responsibility for the state of his relationship with them but I think we all know that’s not going to happen.

A Whole New Decade

Happy New Year! It’s 2020. Others say it’s the end of the decade. I say 2020 is actually the end. The new decade will begin next year in 2021. Sorry to rain on your parade. Nevertheless, isn’t this exciting? All those years watching the show 20/20 (which the mobster was on, btw) and thinking about how cool it would be when it finally was the year 2020. What would they call the show then?

I like to say that this will be the year of hindsight. The mobster says it’s the year of clarity. Yes, we are that obnoxious couple that laughs heartily at our own corny jokes.

I’d like to tell you I had an incredible New Year’s Eve. The fact is I don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve. I feel like it’s one of those holidays where everyone wants you to think it’s this amazing time and everyone is having fun. I’ve never really had an amazing New Year’s Eve. Most of the time it’s disappointing and at best, it’s okay.

I think one of my best New Year’s Eve celebrations was back when we lived in Olive Branch and had a fairly large group of friends. We went over to another couple’s house along with a few other couples and we played board games and ate delicious food. It was low key and lovely.

Two years ago I was with the mobster. We were at WinterFest up at Liberty University. That was another good night, but mainly because of who I was with.

Last night I fell asleep sitting up on the couch at around 11:30. I woke up around 3:30 and crawled into bed. No ball drop for me this year.

I also don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions. I know they are rarely achieved. I know they are mostly forgotten within the first few weeks of the new year. When I do make resolutions I like to keep them something easy, like moisturize more, floss more regularly. Sadly, I can’t even get the hang of the flossing thing.

I do, however, like the thought of choosing a word for the year. Anne wrote about it on her blog earlier this week.

I’m not sure if the outcome will be any different because there is still a goal but I like it. I’ve decided that my word for the year 2020 will not be hindsight, as I originally thought, but change.

I need change. The post I wrote the other day turned into a pity party. It’s very easy to fall into that pattern when I think back to all the time that has passed. It’s been four years since discard and I don’t have an amazing new life. I have an okay life.

I mean, the mobster is amazing. I definitely have a fantastic new partner in my life but that is not something I control, if that makes sense. If he up and leaves me that one fantastic part of my new life is over and done. I’m back to my life being “eh”. To be clear I don’t think he’s going to leave me any time soon, if ever, but unlike something such as going back to school or getting a new job, I have no control over the outcome of our relationship. It is dependent upon him and his desires as well.

I am thankful for my children. I am thankful for my mom. I realize I’m very lucky to have a mom who is willing to house me and my kids and dogs. I realize I’m fortunate that I’m not dealing with kids on drugs or who are suicidal. They haven’t shunned me in favor of their father as some have experienced. All three of them are healthy, despite Rock Star’s recent repeat trips to the Urgent Care and ER.

I suppose I could heed Clarence’s words in “It’s a Wonderful Life”: Remember, no man (or woman) who has friends is a failure. I do have many remarkable friendships. That’s one of the things that has impressed the mobster. I do, and I’m very grateful for that, even if so many of them are so very far away.

I don’t want to give the impression that I have nothing to live for; however, there is much room for improvement. I want to be independent again. I realize I wasn’t ever truly independent once I married Jerry Lee. His job was what allowed us to live the way we did. It was never me. I can (and will) take credit for the fact that I was in the background doing what needed to be done and never prevented him from making those moves that afforded us a better lifestyle, but I never made the money.

I would like to either live in my own house with my own things once again, or live with the mobster, and know that if he leaves me I’ll be okay and can afford to be out on my own.

I would like to work at a job that pays me enough to live on. I realize that for what I make my car payment is way too expensive. We bought it less than a year before my life blew up. We took the longest loan with the smallest payment because we planned to use big chunks of his bonus check each year to pay it off. While the loan may have been for six years we planned to have it paid off in two or three. Nonetheless, it ended up being a $365 payment each month. That was fine when I was living on almost ten grand a month. Not so much when my entire paycheck for the 2 week period was somewhere between $550-$650.

I know this is long and rambling but my point is even dismissing my car payment I don’t have much to live on after the bills are paid. Once that is done and over I’ll have $640/month. Even paying off all of my credit cards still only nets me around $900/month. I have no rent or utilities to pay right now, so finding a place of my own with what I make would take every bit of that and probably more. My job does not pay me enough money to live on. Period. That needs to change.

I’ve mulled over career choices. I don’t know if going back to school for my Masters or a different degree is a viable option or not. I’ve given thought to going back to be a nurse, a forensic accountant, a teacher, a social worker, and a school guidance counselor. I’ve eliminated two of those.

Maybe 2020 will see me back in school. Maybe I’ll find something that pays more that doesn’t require a degree. Who knows. I just know it’s time for a change.

I need to lose weight. This isn’t the, “Oh, I want to fit back into my size 2 jeans,” kind of needing to lose weight. For the record, I was never a size 2, even at my thinnest. No, this is more of a, “I hate the way I look and feel and my blood pressure is out of control,” kind of needing to lose weight.

It’s the blood pressure thing more than anything. I used to have terrific blood pressure. I remember one time having my blood pressure taken and then the nurse took it a second time. Then she asked me if I was an endurance athlete because my blood pressure was so low. Even then I had to reply, “Do I look like I’m any kind of an athlete?”

I don’t remember for certain when it started to climb but I do know at my last exam before the discard it was higher than normal. But, the divorce diet led to a 20-25 pound weight loss and the next time I went in, which was December of 2015, my blood pressure was perfect. It’s definitely a weight thing.

My health is primary but I also hate the way I look anymore and the fact that I’m outgrowing the majority of my clothes.

The mobster would love to see me drink more water and less diet Coke. More change.

I still have running a marathon on my bucket list. Kinda tough to do when you don’t even run a mile.

I think about all the things I believe I would like to do- learn to play hockey, learn to knit and crochet. Wow- that was a shorter list than I thought. Still, those are things I could learn to do, even at my age.

Even in my current situation there can be financial change. Taking charge and making a huge effort to pay off everything I owe. Considering where I once was it’s not a lot. Considering how much I make it is a lot.

The big change I hope to see is finally having Jerry Lee garnished and finally taking him back to court for the court fees he owes. I’d like to have all of that behind me once and for all. No more need to text him to ask about payments. No more wondering when this would finally all be over. No more being frustrated over the shit he is allowed to get away with. No more having to do with hundreds, if not thousands, less whenever he decides he needs the money more than I do.

Anyway, that’s my word of the year- change. We’ll see if anything does change.

In the meantime I have managed to accomplish some things.

  1. I got Picasso into counseling. He had an appointment within a day after I finally reached someone at the counseling center.

    2. Rock Star has her sophomore year paid for. Yes, it’s due to loans but it’s paid for. And she will be applying to nursing school this upcoming semester.

    3. I got a new position in my department and I finally got to move over to my new desk. I don’t make much more than I did before but it’s a step up instead of a step down.

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping for some well-deserved change in the upcoming year.

A Toast

Today would have been my 25th wedding anniversary. I’m not bemoaning the fact that I’m no longer married to Jerry Lee, but it does seem that 25 years would have been quite the accomplishment.

I always used to like to tell the story of how I was almost late for my own wedding. The hair stylists were in absolutely no rush to get me, Jezebel, or my maid of honor done. They keep assuring me, “Don’t worry, honey. You’re the bride; they’re not going to start without you.”

Once we were finally finished my maid of honor and I were speeding down one of our main streets at about 75 miles per hour, trying to get to the church on time. We ran past guests arriving at the church.

On the plus side I didn’t have a lot of time to get nervous or emotional. It was pretty much get there, get dressed, walk down the aisle.

Despite how it all turned out December 10, 1994 was a pretty good day. I was young and thin. My entire life was ahead of me and it was filled with endless possibilities. Everything was good that day. Everything was untouched, unvarnished, unsullied. It was a joyous occasion.

Jennifer Ball of The Happy Hausfrau has a Facebook page as well. What would have been her 26th wedding anniversary was about 2 weeks ago. She wrote a brilliant post that day.

Today would have been my 26th wedding anniversary. And for a couple of seconds I thought about writing something. Something about could have beens and what ifs.

And then I said F THAT. I poured myself a glass of wine… and decided to make a toast.

Today I’m going to follow in her footsteps (minus the wine because it’s late and it will put me to sleep) and give a toast of my own.

This year, almost two years after being officially divorced and four years after having been discarded I’m raising my glass high.

I’m raising a glass to the fact that I have survived. I spent a lot of time crying and a lot of time wishing for death but I’m still here, stronger than ever. I have hated most of what I have gone through and the things I’ve had to do, the changes I’ve had to make, but I did it and I am stronger than he will ever be. He didn’t defeat me. Stupid little me who had been out of the workforce for 15 years and was dependent upon him filed for divorce and left his ass.

I’ve survived living under the same roof as him for six months after discovering what a lying, cheating asshole he was. I survived a divorce that went on for two years. I survived him not paying any kind of support at all for 10 months. I survived him slashing child support in half. I’ve survived him cutting spousal support down on his own as well. I’ve survived his slurs against me, him hacking into my Facebook account, him trying to turn my kids against me, and him harassing the mobster.

I’m raising a glass in my honor because I have continued to do the hard work of raising two children by myself.

There are a lot of people out there who will argue that if your ex pays support you’re not a single parent and you’re not doing it on your own. I’ll be the first to tell you that the money definitely helps. I’ll also be the first to tell you to shut your fucking mouth when you bring that shit around.

He sends money, when he wants and how much he wants. But he’s never the one leaving work and running down to the ER to be with a sick kid. He’s never available to leave work to take a kid that has missed his bus to school. He’s never there to talk to his kids. He’s never there to take them to a friend’s house or run them to the mall or to take them out to eat. He doesn’t pick his son up after his various clubs get out every night of the week. He’s not running to the store and picking up lunch supplies. He’s not the one they come to with their problems, their joys, their achievements.

Rock Star is almost through her first year and a half of college. She’s driven and smart and she’s going to be an incredible nurse one day in the very near future. Picasso is once again getting a D in math and somehow does not have an A in orchestra. Nevertheless, he’s a good kid. He’s funny and kind and despite his grades he is a very smart kid. One day I have high hopes he will get his driver’s license. When that day comes I will be here to celebrate with him; his father will not.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I have finally realized how toxic Jerry Lee was and how hollow our relationship was. I realize now how small I made my needs over the years of being married to him, and have resolved to never do that again. I have the absolute best partner a woman could ask for. I’m so lucky in that regard. I think that definitely deserves a toast.

For the first time ever I’m with someone who is happy. I’m with someone who makes me happy.  I’m with someone who thinks I’m amazing and can do all things. I’m with someone who is romantic and who enjoys pleasing me and making me happy. I’m with someone who appreciates the things I do for him as well. I’m with someone who laughs at my jokes and listens to me ramble on about everything- Candy Crush, bad traffic, stupid fast food restaurants that mess up my order, that guy on the bicycle who insists upon riding into traffic on a busy road with no bike lane. I’m with someone who let’s me vent and doesn’t expect me to be happy all the time or to never get upset or disappointed. He treats me like an actual person and not just an extension of himself or as a wife appliance. I’m real and I matter.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I’m back in the workforce for the first time in 15 years. My mom retired at age 52. I will have been working again for 5 years at that point. I’m starting over when others are at the pinnacle of their careers and/or looking forward to retirement. It’s not glamorous or fulfilling. It certainly doesn’t pay well. But I’m here. I’m doing it. Who knows? Maybe one day I will actually work a job that pays me enough to live on.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I don’t ever have to keep pick me dancing anymore. Those goal posts aren’t going to continue to move. I don’t have to feel like I’m never good enough or that I’m always a disappointment.

I’m raising a glass and giving a toast because I’m getting there. I’m getting to a place of acceptance. I’m letting go of my old life. I’m no longer mourning as intensely as I once did. I’m trying to see the positives. Like how I get to regularly see my oldest friends now that I’m no longer living hundreds of miles away. Like how both of my kids will graduate from my alma mater. Like how living with my mom isn’t a death sentence. There is definitely an upside to living with her and having three generations under one roof.

I’m raising a glass because I can finally look back on the many experiences I have had throughout my life and be grateful for them, even if they did end. I loved my life and friends in Olive Branch. I loved my life and friends in Utah. I even enjoyed my life in Michigan and Virginia. But those were just chapters, not the whole story. There will be more chapters. More adventures. Hopefully more friends.

I’m raising a glass to my dogs- Beau, Laila, and Milo. All three of them helped me get through those first few months when I found out my life was tumbling down. They slept with me in that big king size bed, making it seem a little cozier. They were all by side. Many a nights I would fall asleep in the recliner of our sectional with Milo on my lap, Beau right beside me, and Laila on the couch. I didn’t sleep a lot in those first few months- a few hours here, a nap there.

They watched me as I stomped on my cake topper and my wine glasses, as I smashed things to smithereens.They comforted me while I cried and calmed me down when I thought I was losing my mind. My sweet Beau Beau is no longer with us but I’m toasting him anyway.

I’m raising a glass to all my friends who supported me throughout this ordeal. So many people called and texted to check on me. I returned the favor and called and checked on those who were also going through the same hell. I’m forever grateful to those who cared and who to this day continue to check on me. I’m grateful for their anger on my behalf. I’m grateful to them for lifting me up and telling me how wonderful I am and how awful he is. I’m grateful to my favorite backyard neighbor who has faithfully done my taxes every year since I’ve been divorced (or at least trying to get divorced). I’m grateful for the two friends who sent me birthday flowers on my birthday from hell the year after I was forced to leave my house and move back to Indiana. I’m grateful for the friend who sent me a huge wine basket filled with wine and various snacks on my first single Valentine’s Day in 20 years. Those are the people in my tribe. Cheers to you!

I’m raising a glass to this blog as well. I love that I get to tell my story. I have a forum to say whatever I want. I can cut through all the bullshit that accompanies cheating and divorce and reconciliation. I actually have people who read this thing. Hell, this blog is how I met the mobster. Let’s do a double shot for that! Thank you to all of you who are reading.

Finally, I’m raising a glass to myself because I got rid of a lying cheater. I don’t have to wonder anymore if he’s still in contact with her. I don’t have to worry about triggers related to them. I don’t feel bad anymore about our relationship because it’s over. I don’t ever feel like I’m settling anymore. I don’t cry about our relationship. I am never hurt over his treatment of me. I never have to sit there and think, “How can he say he loves me and then turn around and do that?” I never have to feel like I’m wasting my life or wonder if it ever gets better. I’m free. I know it gets better. I know there is more out there. I have it now.

Cheers!

A Numbers Game

It seems apparent Jerry Lee will not be making another payment until he is officially garnished. This is why I’m always nervous when it gets to the end of the month and he hasn’t paid. He does not have a good track record. I thought it might be fun to do a little bit of math today and see how dismal his track record really is.

I could calculate it as one long time period. He’s been court ordered to pay support for 48 months now (I’m going ahead and counting this month; if that bothers you, subtract one from these figures). Out of those 48 months he’s actually paid his support in full for 20 of those months. I’m being generous because I’m still giving him credit for the months he paid his self-modified child support. If you take that away he’s down to 13 months. Wow- a whole thirteen months of paying your court ordered support over a four year period. He’s managed to pay his court mandated support in full almost 25% of the time! Not quite 50% of the time if we give credit for the months he paid his self-modified child support.

2016 was the first year he was under a court order. Back then I was still under the illusion the kids and I could remain in the house. I’d supplement my spousal and child support with whatever job I managed to find. We wouldn’t be living on anywhere close to what we used to have, but hopefully once the bills were split up and I was no longer responsible for 100% of everything we would be okay with less money. Oh, and did I mention I had a nest egg of about $10,000 back then? Yeah, until he started pulling his shit and stopped paying his support.

He paid five months of support in 2016. He paid the first five months. I only received 2 payments via direct deposit. Then he quit his job to run off to Ohio so he could be closer to his whore cousin. After that when I actually got the support check was anyone’s guess. What ended up happening is I would pay the bills from my nest egg and he would essentially pay me back.

I’m not going to count any back support payments. I will fully admit he has eventually paid in full, under the threat of a $10,000 fine levied by the judge. But, finally getting back support isn’t the same as getting what you’re supposed to receive each month.

In 2017 he paid two months out of twelve. After receiving my back support in April for the rest of 2016 and the first month of 2017 he made one full payment of his court modified support. The judge gave him a $3000 reduction in support and he still didn’t pay what he was supposed to.

He paid whatever amount he felt like paying, whenever he felt like paying it between May and November. I had two separate checks stopped and another one that bounced in that small timeframe. The most I ever received until the final judgement was handed down was a little over $2000. He was ordered to pay me $3600.

He also made a full payment in December of that year after he received the judge’s orders. That was the month of the infamous, “You should have a very nice Christmas because I just had to pay your mom a billion kajillion dollars and I will be paying that every month for the rest of my life! Plus, your mom is a whore and she’s doing the exact same thing I did.”

2018 turned out to be a decent year. He actually paid in full. Oh, again he paid whenever he felt like it. April was a bit rocky with him not being paid up until May. There were lots of snide comments and once June hit he slashed child support in half. But I’ll give him credit for the full year. In his mind he was paying all he owed. According to the court order he only accurately paid his support another five months.

I was hopeful that once the judge issued his final order Jerry Lee might stop fucking around. No such luck. I got my full support in January. I haven’t received full spousal support since then. So, he managed one month out of twelve. This has been his worst year ever.

Shall we review? 2016 he paid five months out of twelve. 2017 he paid 2 months out of twelve. 2018 he finally paid all twelve months. Unless you dock him for self-modifying child support, in which case he again paid five months out of twelve. This year he’s paid one month out of twelve and if we’re not giving credit because he hasn’t modified the court order, he’s down to zero months out of twelve.

I am praying and crossing my fingers and lighting candles that the universe takes care of this piece of shit, this sorry excuse for a human being. I so want to stand here in another 6 months or so and tell everyone that he got his ass handed to him once again. I want to be able to say that Mississippi assessed his child support at $1200/month or more. I want to be able to say they assessed his arrears at over $15,000. I want to be able to say our original judge ordered him to liquidate his 401k to pay me the legal fees and fined him on top of it because he was sick of him defying his orders. I want to be able to tell you his bank account got frozen and his tax refund was confiscated and given to me. I want to tell you that his life is spiraling out of control and he’s having to work an additional job or cut back drastically on expenses in order to make it work.

I’m not confident that any of that will happen. He always seems to circumvent justice. A girl can dream though.

Meanwhile, I had completely forgotten that Rock Star needs rent money. She’s got $25 in her account, won’t get paid for another two weeks, and needs money for groceries and gas. So, while I thought I had a nest egg in my primary account of about $1400-$1500, it turns out it’s only for around $900-$1000. On top of that, all the bills I will pay with my most recent paycheck are taken out automatically and they haven’t been deducted yet, so that’s another $350 or so coming out of my account. The cherry on top? She’s got another sorority bill due on December 10th.

Good times, good times. Yep, let’s go bake some Christmas cookies. Happy holidays everyone!

P.S. That motherfucker is not going to break me. I will survive this even if I have to drive out to California and serve his employers at their main office myself. Even if I have to take even more money out of my 401k to survive until they garnish his worthless, pathetic ass. I will not stop fighting for what is mine. If anyone’s going to break it’s going to be him.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your time with your family and friends. Have an amazing holiday. I wish the mobster were with me today but I’m glad he is surrounded by his parents, his brother and his family, and three out of his four kids.

Thank YOU! I appreciate all of you who continue to read what I write.

And for a little holiday cheer…

FB_IMG_1448666235821

Things I’m Thankful For- Milo

It’s November so you know what that means? Time for everyone to take to Facebook and list what they’re grateful for each day. I’m not going to name 30 different things I’m grateful for but I will write about a few of them.

I have two dogs. I used to have three but my sweet Beau Beau died. I have two now because around seven years ago my good friend’s then husband got two dogs on a whim. She wanted to give up one of them and Rock Star wanted it. I thought I was being sneaky and I told her to ask her dad. If he agreed we could take the dog. I think you can see where this story is going…

He did indeed agree to take the dog but they decided to keep her. Rock Star was so disappointed. She was looking forward to a little furry baby, as our others were Boxers. Then the female got pregnant. We ended up taking the only male in the litter.

He was a character even then. He would whine incessantly even as a tiny puppy, until my friend’s daughter would hold him and rock him to sleep. My friend would tell me he had such a big personality. I guess that’s one way to put it.

We named him Milo. I introduced him to the world as Milo Bear because he looked like a little teddy bear.

 

One day Picasso was introducing the dogs to a friend. He began with, “This is Beau Regard.” His name was indeed Beauregard; we called him Beau for short. Picasso apparently thought Regard was his middle name.

He went on, “This is Laila Renee.” Rock Star always called her Laila Bridgert, which I don’t understand. Jerry Lee always referred to her as Laila Renee. She’s now called Laila Lou and if I’m being very fancy she’s Luscious Laila Lou.

Finally he got to our little Milo. “And this is Milo Tim.”

Jerry Lee and I looked at each other as if to say, WTF? We had never called him Milo Tim. And yet somehow, the name stuck. When he’s being bad, which is pretty often, you can hear even my mom yelling, “Milo Tim!” Even the mobster got into it when we came for a visit.

20191012_002758

He goes by many names: Milo, Milo Tim, Milo Phyllo Dough, Buggy, Bugs, Polar Bear, Prancer, Mi Mi, My Mi, My Mi Mi, just plain ol’ Mi, Midy Idy Oh, Mr. Mi, or the more formal Mr. Milo. When he’s being real bad it’s Shithead, but with the French pronunciation- Sha-theed.

He’s my little buddy. When I was working at Target he would get up with me every day. It didn’t matter if it was 3:30 in the morning, or the even earlier times of 1:30 or 2:30. He would follow me downstairs each morning despite the obscene time while the other dogs slept, and then he would lay on my feet, keeping them toasty warm while I got ready for work. I have fond memories of brushing my teeth and washing my face all while he slept on my feet.

20191020_182708

Every day when I arrive home from work I see his little head popping up in the window, looking out to see for himself that I’m home. My mom tells me I’m not allowed to sit in the driveway once I’m home because they all go crazy with anticipation.

And he’s jealous. If the other dogs greet me on the stairs when I come home he wants to make sure he’s the first one to be petted. He’ll go so far as to grab my hand with his mouth if I’m petting one of the others.

One night I was helping my mom’s dog into bed and apparently Baylor couldn’t find a comfortable spot to settle in, as he started to whine. I patted the space beside me and coached him to come on over. Milo was having none of that! If someone was going to sleep beside me it was going to be him. He quickly settled into the space right beside me and poor Baylor was left to find a place at the foot of the bed (which wasn’t really a hardship; that’s where he usually sleeps).

He’s the one that will follow me wherever I go throughout the house. I’ve seen that dog jump up onto the bed while I’m doing something in the bedroom and jump down and follow me into the bathroom- which is right across the hallway. It’s probably less than 6 feet between the bed and the entrance to the bathroom. But he jumps down each and every time. And when I go back into the bedroom he jumps right back up on that bed.

We did an experiment one day. He was sitting on the bed watching me. I took a step back. Maintained eye contact. He continued looking at me. I took another step back. And another. At one point I even leaned my head forward so he could still see me. I wasn’t even out of his line of sight but he decided I was too far away so he jumped down off the bed and ran over to me.

He loves to snuggle up on the couch or the chair with me. He usually just presses his body up against my leg if I’m on the couch, or settles in beside me if I’m sitting in the chair. If I’m sitting at the table then chances are he’s right under my feet. Never far from me.

20141124_073448

Oh, he’s a little shit. He gets into the trash and climbs on tables. He’s even figured out how to use the step stool in order to get up onto the counters. He’ll lick the dishes in the dishwasher and even stand on the damn dishwasher door when it’s open. He whines to go out and then refuses to move from the deck. If you dare sit back down he’ll scratch at the door until you let him in. And he whines until he gets his way which is something he was taught way back when he was a tiny puppy. Whining works!

20141116_162158

Yet every day after work I see his head in the window, so glad to see me. Every day he cuddles up beside me while I watch TV. Every time I walk in the house he jumps up on me, so excited to see me finally. And every night he curls up beside me and we go to sleep.

I couldn’t ask for a better buddy. I’m so very grateful for him.

IMG_04221

20141015_09364720191012_183358

The Card Arrived

Hell froze over. Picasso’s dad sent him a birthday card. He got it on Saturday. Only five days after the fact. Better late than never, right?

In all seriousness I was happy for him. I wasn’t here when he actually received it but from what my mother said he wasn’t very impressed. He did cash the check, though.

The card was his typical, “I love you so much,” schtick. I try not to criticize. I know it’s preferable to him forgetting the child completely, but seriously? I’m supposed to give him credit because he managed to send a card to his only son on his birthday? Oh wait- he also gave him $100.

I swear to God, that man has a job again.

I took what limited funds I have and used it to take him out to dinner, buy him a small gift, and throw him a birthday party with his friends.

The mobster bought him a $100+ video game he’s been wanting (which doesn’t come out until September).

His sister bought him a pair of shorts and a shirt, took him out to lunch, and attempted to give him a driving lesson. “I could only stand 15 minutes. He’s horrible, Mom!” she told me afterwards.

His Nana bought him a birthday gift and went out to dinner with him, as did his aunt and uncle.

Sending a card and a check was the least his father could do. I refuse to blow sunshine up his ass and ooh and ah over the fact he managed to do the bare minimum.

I realize it may sound petty, or that I associate love with money, but this is a man who once had $5000 a month to blow on whatever he wanted. He had no bills. Just a whore and her mulligans. Not once did he slip his kids some extra money so they wouldn’t go without. He spent just as much on her kids at Christmas as he did his own. He never once offered to take them shopping for clothes or something frivolous. Every dime (and I do mean every dime- his bank account was down to $165 right before he had to finally start paying support) went to Harley the Whore and her kids.

I say again, however, that I am thankful he did not completely ignore the child. Plus, I think he managed to give both kids more for their birthdays this year than he ever has since our separation.

Hooray for Picasso. Hooray for both of my kids.

Picasso Turns 17

Did I ever tell you that CF wished Rock Star a happy birthday via Venmo? He didn’t send a card. Didn’t text her. Didn’t call her. Certainly didn’t arrange to come see her. I suppose I shouldn’t mock his efforts, though. He did at least wish his daughter a happy birthday and more importantly, at least to her, he sent her $100. Yet another reason why I think he has a job.

Today his son turns 17. Picasso doesn’t have a Venmo account. His father continues to sell the story that he doesn’t have his phone number, so texting or a phone call is out. That leaves sending a birthday card or coming up. I think we can all agree he won’t be making that trip. We are now down to our final option- sending a birthday card.

Sad to say there was no mail today. No acknowledgement of his son’s birthday. Perhaps it is still in transit. Perhaps. I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

For the life of me I don’t see how he justifies attempting to have a relationship with one child while conveniently ignoring the fact that he has another one. Out of all the horrible, selfish things that man has done ignoring his son is the thing that hurts me the most.

Fortunately for Picasso he has a kick ass mom. I love that boy with all of my heart, even when I’m tearing my hair out over his grades.

Also fortunately for Picasso he had a good day despite his father’s absence. I worked, of course, but his sister bought him a gift and on top of that took him out to lunch and even gave him a brief driving lesson. She said she could only endure 15 minutes. Hey- we’re up to 45 minutes. She said he told her he wants to get his license before school begins.

Tomorrow we are going out to dinner with the family and Wednesday night he’s having a get together with his friends at the bowling alley before heading back to the house for ice cream cake.

Now we wait to see whether or not his dad will choose to acknowledge him.

Into the Bowels of Hell, The Recap, Part 3

We’re up to the fifth and final hurdle. This ended up being a new one for me. I never anticipated having breakfast with her.

Fifth hurdle- breakfast the day after the party. Oh, Jesus, help me! Her sister apologized profusely the night before. She (the sister) had wanted to get together with her niece and nephews for breakfast because they were going to be taking off the next day. BSC heard them making plans and invited herself on over for breakfast with them.

I have to admit, for a small window of time I was kinda pissed at the mobster that he didn’t text her and flat out tell her not to come. You are not invited! You are not welcome. Stay away.

I got over it. I did not, however, make breakfast. Yeah, no. I’m not cooking breakfast for that woman. Instead, Mobster and his brother-in-law made breakfast.

It turned out to be a very interesting morning. I’m glad it happened because I learned a lot.

When I first came out of the bedroom BSC was sitting at the table with her sister. A’s girlfriend asked me how I was and I replied, “Fabulous,” and went about my business of grabbing a cup and making my coffee.

Thankfully, she spent most of her time outside with her sister. Hooray! I spent it inside (in the air conditioning) with the sons’ wife and girlfriends. Very interesting stuff.

I’m going to call the oldest son’s girlfriend Little Miss Sunshine, because that girl is so sweet and loving. I’m going to call the middle son’s wife CeeCee, because his first name begins with a C and her first name begins with a C, making her C’s C. The youngest son’s girlfriend I will refer to as The Dog Lover. Honestly, all three of these young women are dog lovers, but the other two have other nicknames from me. Now for the stories.

Story #1- A, the oldest, was asking Little Miss Sunshine what his mother was doing here. She told him she had no idea. I raised my hand and said I knew. I asked him if he wanted me tell him, which he did. So, I told him about her overhearing her sister when she was making plans for breakfast with them and her inviting herself over for that. He shook his head in amazement.

At another point C had to go outside and say hello to her. CeeCee was like, “Better him than me.”

It’s sad when your kids feel that way about you. Which brings us to Story #2.

I have to say I really enjoyed spending time with C and CeeCee this time around. Not that I didn’t enjoy it before. This time it felt more authentic, I guess. I learned a lot more. I feel like more barriers were down. I think CeeCee is just a much more reserved person. I think both her and The Dog Lover are a bit reserved, unlike Little Miss Sunshine who is bubbly and overflows with sweetness and kindness.

Anyway, CeeCee began talking about BSC. I forget what led to it, but basically she has no tolerance for her. She hates the way she manipulates her kids, especially C. As she put it, “She’s always the victim.” Exactly! That’s what we’ve been saying! Not that we’ve ever said that out loud to the kids, of course. She went on to say that it would be nice if she could take a step back and look at what she’s done to her kids, and see that maybe the reason her kids don’t want to have a whole lot to do with her has to do with her own behavior. She gave the example of BSC texting C late at night to tell him she got kicked out of the house and she was living in the woods. She said he would get upset and worried about her while CeeCee tries to remind him that it’s all lies.

I am a bit proud of this girl because she knows in her early twenties something that a lot of people don’t figure out until their forties or fifties. You can’t have a relationship with a toxic person. She said that. She even mentioned that she’s not sure she would even want BSC around her children, and cited that as a major reason they’re not sure they want kids.

At one point CeeCee said that BSC doesn’t like her and never has. She talked about how frustrating it was that BSC didn’t come to her bridal shower or anything else having to do with the wedding, but then showed up at the wedding, drinking, dancing, whooping it up and acting like nothing was wrong. Preach it, girl!

I took that opportunity to tell her that yes, I did actually have Garth Brooks’ concert tickets, but once I found out she was going to be there I decided not to come, or at least that had been a huge part of my thinking the entire time. I flat out told her I was worried that she would have shown her ass and I didn’t want them to have to worry about that on their big day. She agreed with me and said that’s probably exactly what would have happened. She also said BSC didn’t bother to show up until right before the wedding began.

I think this may have led into Little Miss Sunshine telling her that BSC had glommed onto her at the wedding and was trash talking her and A’s ex-wife. Seriously, who does that? You don’t go to a wedding and trash talk the bride! You may not care for the bride or groom, but you don’t pick their wedding reception as a chance to vent your frustrations to their other guests!

In addition to telling Little Miss Sunshine how much she disliked V and CeeCee and that Little Miss Sunshine was the only good girl in the family, she also took that opportunity to steal sips out of her drink. Like, she would reach over, take a sip, and put it back in front of her.

When BSC finally decided to leave the house and head back to her own place she came inside to say goodbye. We were sitting and standing around the table. I think C was there. A. Little Miss Sunshine. CeeCee was sitting on the end. I was beside her. Rock Star beside me. I think maybe the brother-in-law was next to her. Possibly the grandson. L was sitting slightly behind us, on the barstool and The Dog Lover was sitting next to him.

She hugs C. Hugs A. Hugs Little Miss Sunshine and makes a big deal of saying goodbye to “baby girl” and telling her to keep in contact and be sure to send those pictures of the grandson. She turns around, completely ignoring CeeCee, myself, and Rock Star. Pats L on his cheek before giving him a hug. Ignores The Dog Lover. Hugs the grandson and the brother-in-law and then heads out. Wow!

Come to think of it, after she left I looked at Little Miss Sunshine and remarked, “You must be something special. She didn’t say bye to CeeCee or me!” That may have been when she launched into her story about the wedding and all the trash talk.

Either way, this is your daughter-in-law. Your son has chosen to marry her. I’m not saying you have to hug her and love on her and act like you think she’s the best thing ever. But is it asking too much to say goodbye, maybe even a, “Nice to see you again,” regardless of whether or not it’s a lie? The brass balls on this woman is astounding.

When I look back on this weekend I will be able to say that it was a great weekend, despite BSC’s presence. For the most part we stayed away from each other. When we had to be close by, even passing right by one another, we didn’t look at each other and we didn’t speak.

His kids were amazing about accepting Rock Star into the fold. She was frequently called out to be on a team for volleyball. At one point she told me, “God, I always said I wanted a big brother and now I’ve got 3.” She’s not real sure about that.

The night after graduation we went over to C’s, as I mentioned, and we had a fantastic time. I know the mobster just enjoyed having all of his kids together. All his baby birds in one nest.

Saturday was spent at the house, enjoying the graduation party.

Sunday after the disastrous breakfast the “kids” all played volleyball, then we (C, CeeCee, A, Little Miss Sunshine, the grandson, Rock Star, Mobster, and I) went to grab snow cones. The mobster and I left the snow cone shack to meet his brother and sister-in-law at a winery here in town. My daughter left to go put gas in the car and buy herself a new pair of swim bottoms. The last remaining members went to play pinball and arcade games, although CeeCee went home to shower and do some homework. T, who didn’t go with us to get a snow cone, met her two brothers at the arcade. Then we all met up for Mexican food around 5:30.

I heard some incredibly funny stories about their childhood while we were there. The evening could be summed up as a lot of laughter.

We all went over to C and CeeCee’s house after dinner. They played yard games and volleyball. There was some more drinking, although not a lot.

For me, I felt like I really connected with his kids this weekend. A was very warm and welcoming. He is his father’s mini me. The mobster always said it was C, and while C never seems to meet a stranger much like his father, A is a carbon copy. Holy moly!

I felt very accepted and welcomed by C, and this was the most I have ever spent talking to CeeCee. She’s a very sweet girl. She loves C very much and I know she hates what he’s gone through. She’s a good wife. Very loyal to him. I’m sorry I missed their wedding and I wish I could have been there, although I absolutely know it was the best decision.

Monday morning A and Little Miss Sunshine were up around 5:30 to get the car packed and get back on the road. I got up with the mobster to send them off. I got hugs from all three of them, which was nice. A said, “I’m sure we’ll be seeing you again sometime soon,” which was also nice.

To sum up, there was a little drama but it was definitely outweighed by the goodness of the weekend. As always I bow to the mobster. He is the smartest man alive.

 

Into the Bowels of Hell, The Recap, Part 2

I’ve crossed the first three hurdles. They ended up being surprisingly easy. This next one, though… it was a little tougher. Little more drama. I took my first drink (punch spiked with vodka) around 1 and kept on drinking until late that night. Thankfully, it was spread out over 8-10 hours so I never even got buzzed, despite having 3 drinks in hand at one point in the afternoon!

Fourth hurdle- the graduation party. Sweet J nailed it. She absolutely, positively did show up. She was there all freaking day! The party started at 1 and I don’t think she left until 6 or 7. It might have been later. So much for not being able to bear seeing the mobster with me, huh?

Oh, and for those who doubt she’s batshit crazy and I’m just interpreting things from my point of view? She’s batshit crazy. 11:00 the night before the party she texts the mobster, “I hope you go to hell!” Who does that?

To her credit though she did bring 16 hotdogs and 2 packages of hot dog buns. Plus a watermelon. And maybe some potato salad, but I’m not sure.

Even better, at the graduation she tells one of his sisters that she dislikes the mobster immensely, but then shut her pie hole when her sister came up. Can’t let anyone see that she’s the instigator, of course.

Thankfully, her sister had already told Mobster that she recognized BSC always played the victim. It’s always someone doing something to her. It’s never her fault. In fact, later that evening after she went over to see where she was living they went by the site of her accident last year. She pointed it out and was laughing about it.

On top of all of that, according to various sources she spent a great deal of the party crying. Someone told the mobster the day of the party his ex was in the house crying and two days later someone else told me she had been bawling and carrying on pretty much the entire party.

Okay, the person who told me was the mobster’s mother. And the story I heard was that for some reason BSC yelled, “You don’t love me!” to her and then apologized for her behavior as she was leaving. Mobster’s mom said she was surprised because BSC had never raised her voice to her like that before.

There’s a very good chance she was drinking, though. She and the boyfriend’s sister kept going up to the car that was parked behind the house.

I have no idea what she was crying about and so far I have yet to hear a good explanation from anyone who might have been near her.

She is the one that was cheating. She is the one who left. She is the one who moved straight in with her boyfriend. You would think with all her crying and poor little me attitude that I was the other woman who had moved in on her husband while she was none the wiser and thought they had a blissfully happy marriage. Nope, not how it played out.

One of the mobster’s sisters swears she’s unhappy with her life and wants to come back to him and that’s why she’s acting like this.

I think she simply can’t believe he moved on. He was supposed to always stick around and be waiting, and he didn’t. She pushed him too far this last time and he was done.

But what would I know? We stayed in separate areas the entire time. Well, almost the entire time. At one point I was outside underneath a canopy with Mobster’s brother-in-law (not the one married to BSC’s sister) and a few other people. Mobster was playing, “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” by Motley Crue, and I was singing along. I was sitting in this comfy adirondack chair, my eyes closed, drink in hand. Someone called out to T and asked her to come over to where we were. I am singing the chorus: Girl, don’t go away mad. Girl, just go away. I happen to open my eyes, thinking T had come over, and who should appear but BSC. Oops!

I remained composed. It wasn’t intentional but it sure as hell was funny. The brother-in-law was looking at me like, “Oh shit!” Eh. She went away. Just like the song suggested.

Most of the time though if she was outside we were inside. Or, she was underneath a tent and Rock Star and I were in the garage.

The same brother-in-law who ended up enjoying my concert later, sat with me in the garage while we ate and asked me if it was awkward. I told him it was okay. He then went on to say she was walking around like she still owned the place. I wouldn’t know because I didn’t pay much attention to her.

I think when she first arrived she did come into the house with her boyfriend’s sister. We would just walk by one another. Never said a word to each other. His sister was plenty nice though and offered to help.

At one point Mobster and I drove up to his parents’ house because his son had inadvertently taken T’s phone with him. He agreed to turn around and drop it off at his grandparents’ house and Mobster would go pick it up.

When we came back we parked up behind the house. “That looks like David’s truck,” he says to me as we were walking back to the house. “It wasn’t here earlier.”

“Surely she wouldn’t attempt to bring him to this party,” I told him. I was thinking there was no way their balls were that big.

Alas, I was wrong and Monica nailed it. I’m not sure how we got separated but I walked into the house and saw him standing with her on the enclosed porch. I’m pretty sure my eyes got wide and I was thinking, “Oh shit! Mobster is going to lose his mind.”

I do remember walking into the house and preparing the Jell-O shots (not alcoholic; they’re actually pudding and Jell-O topped with Cool Whip.) and when his sister-in-law came up I said he was going to be pissed and then asked what the fuck was wrong with some people.

I shouldn’t have worried though because the mobster handled it like a champ. I think she wanted the drama and he didn’t give it to her. He ignored it all (aside from passive aggressively playing music). We didn’t even do grand gestures of affection in front of her.

At one point I know we were outside sweating our asses off while she and her boyfriend enjoyed the air conditioning inside.

There is a juvenile, petty side of me that would have loved to have seen the boyfriend escorted off the property, or for the mobster and I to have been kissing and hugging and making a scene. But, as the mobster kept saying, “It’s T’s party. It’s all about her today. I don’t want to ruin her party.” And he was correct.

Had we done either of those things it would have been playing into BSC’s hands. We would be seen as the unstable ones, the unreasonable ones, while she comes off looking like the victim. Sometimes you’ve gotta eat a little bit of shit, I guess. Really, it wasn’t that difficult. We stayed away from them. They stayed away from us. Although, there was a point where I told him I was going to go up to the two of them and ask them if they wanted to play cornhole. I didn’t.

Three other small things: #1- at the beginning of the party T came up to the mobster and I and put her arms around us both. She said thank you for her party. I told her she was welcome but that it was all her dad’s doing. Just between us, yes, I helped decorate but he bought all the decorations. I made Scotcheroos, beer bread, taco dip and Jell-O shots, which she requested, but he bought the hotdogs, the hamburgers, the buns, and the 6 ft. sub. Her grandmother brought potato salad and really cute sweet treats. T’s sister-in-law brought a pasta salad. We all pitched in a little to help him out but he did the majority of the work.

The mobster did mention he wondered if she did that to piss her mom off. I have no idea. I prefer to think it was genuine and that she was really grateful for the awesome party her dad put together and that I helped with.

#2- Later in the afternoon I was passing out the Jell-O shots when one of T’s friends piped up with, “Wow- Sam’s the good mom!” Disclaimer: This happened in the house in the living room. Mom was safely outside.

To be honest I was a little taken back. More like a deer in headlights. Oh shit! What do you say to that? All of her friends know the story but I wasn’t expecting that. I know there was a time when she had a few friends over and her mom was also over getting something and they all made it a point to say hello very loudly to me. I probably didn’t handle it the best way. I probably should have said, “Well, yes, I am a good mom, but that’s because I’m a good mom to my own two kids.” I guess that could have made things really awkward though. Instead I laughed it off.

His oldest son, the one I had just met the day before, was there in the living room, playing video games with the other kids, and he pretty much laughed it off as well and told her friend, “You know, in “The Good Mother” the mother actually wasn’t good so that’s not really the compliment you think it is.”

Then we both laughed about it and I made a lame joke about being evil.

#3- As I mentioned a moment ago I made beer bread. Turns out C is a huge fan. I’ve written before how I sometimes feel like some of Mobster’s kids don’t like me. This time though C looks at me and asks, “What kind of bread is that?” I told him it was beer bread. I was thinking he was going to tell me he was allergic or something and run to spit it out, but instead he got a big grin on his face and said, “I love beer bread. You’re the best!”

Yes! Success! Sam came. She baked. She conquered!