As Joe Kenda Would Say, “My, My, My…”

My, my, my… what do you know? When faced with a contempt hearing it turns out he can pay what he’s been ordered to pay. At least as far as spousal support goes. He’s still holding out on modifying child support, of course, but he is paying the court ordered amount of spousal support. For now.

Life is so full of mysteries. Like, how even though he’s making more money now than when the original order came down, he couldn’t seem to come up with enough money to pay what was owed. I wonder if that’s because he doesn’t take into consideration his court ordered obligations before he decides where to live or how much he (they) can spend. Or, how he’s suddenly able to pay the full amount now that a court hearing is on the horizon. Do you think I would have seen that full amount unless he found out he was going back to court? I don’t.

I would have loved to have seen the look on his face when he found out I was taking him back for the missing spousal support AND $19,000 in back child support where he hasn’t modified the order. Even if I don’t get it just the thought of what he must have looked like when he found out is enough to make me smile. That doesn’t even include the legal fees he has yet to pay.

Thank you to everyone who mentioned the possibility of me getting his stimulus check because of back support. I don’t think that’s a possibility for several reasons, the main one being he makes too much money. He supposedly made $100,000 at the job in Kentucky. I would bet dollars to donuts that he got quite the nice raise when he made the move to Mississippi and yet another nice raise when he went to Georgia.

Then I started thinking about the possibility of them filing a joint income tax return so perhaps the stimulus check would be based upon their joint income. I don’t think she makes enough to disqualify herself from getting a check but I do think she probably makes over the $75,000 threshold, and together they make more than a couple can make and still get a check. I did think that would be hilarious though if they did get a stimulus check based upon the fact that she might qualify and then I turned around and got their check. I mean, I would find it hilarious; I’m sure they wouldn’t think it was anywhere near as funny.

Plus, I’m not even sure he’s on record as being behind. I really have no idea the status of my case, or if they’re at the point where they could take tax refunds and stimulus checks. I submitted my garnishment papers and have stated he never modified child support which makes him, oh, around $19,000 behind, but I don’t know that anyone at the state has actually entered that anywhere. In other words, I don’t know if any official enforcement office considers him to be in arrears.

Speaking of the glorious state of Indiana… I still have not heard from my caseworker. I emailed her close to a month ago, maybe more. I don’t know if she’s still working there, been fired or quit. I don’t know if she’s ignoring me. I don’t know if she told others to ignore me. I don’t even know if she knows at this point that he no longer lives in Mississippi. If she does she sure as hell hasn’t informed me. Maybe she’s hoping I’ll just go away.

Quite honestly, she may be getting her wish. My lawyer can’t understand why a judge in whatever state needs to be the one to modify the court order. I’m not going through this shit again. I won’t be able to get anything in place until December or January at the earliest. Picasso graduates in June. I’m supposed to go through all this crap in order to get less than six months of a garnishment? I don’t think so. My plan right now is to sit my lawyer down once I get the new order and have her help me fill out the forms I’ve printed off. Then I’ll send it directly to his place of employment. Once I know how to fill out the forms I’ll just keep a set handy for the next time he decides to switch jobs and I’ll send them to the next place as well. I hear the turnaround for that is pretty damn quick compared to the six freaking months it took to get… well, nowhere really. All that time only to finally get to the finish line and find out the motherfucker has moved again and no longer lives in Mississippi.

Oh well, in a world where people are being laid off left and right I still have a job, he’s still got a job, and he’s at least smart enough to continue paying.

Will I Ever Catch a Break?

Yesterday I told you Jerry Lee had hired a lawyer for the hearing and that the sheriff’s department reported his address was a vacant residence.

I also got word from my lawyer that thanks to the lovely coronavirus all court cases have been continued. Fortunately, as soon as I sign and notarize the affidavit she sent me the judge will sign off on re-opening the case. So while the Motions Day is not going to happen I will get my case re-instated. That’s the good news. Probably the only good news.

She also told me that she talked with Jerry Lee’s new attorney. She’s not familiar with him and all she could tell me about him was that he was young. Yeah, I think we all saw Matt Damon in The Rainmaker. I’m not taking anything for granted.

They (the lawyer and Jerry Lee) are planning on sending a proposal for settlement, i.e. a payment plan (or so she believes). I personally think he’s going to toss out some ridiculously low number and expect me to take that.

Yes, I know that I owe you over $50,000. What I’m proposing is that I pay you $10,000 over the course of 5 years.

His apparent eagerness to settle this out of court had me curious. Why so eager? What are you hiding, Jerry Lee?

Turns out Jerry Lee and Harley have moved to yet another state! And they are down yet another child. Again, I would like to point out I started this divorce out with 2 children; I still have 2. Harley started out with 4; she’s down to 1.

You know what this means, don’t you? My whole garnishment case is down the fucking drain. I contacted the caseworker over the weekend. Well, I emailed her. I told her what the sheriff’s department had said and asked if she had heard anything from the state of Mississippi. I have yet to hear back from her.

Regardless, it’s all now a moot point. Mississippi can’t do anything. I have no idea what Georgia child support laws are like or how tough they are on parents who don’t pay. It doesn’t really matter though. I’m in the middle of getting it modified through Virginia. I won’t have a court date until July. Oh yeah, that’s part of the bad news. No court until July at the very earliest. Hooray!

I couldn’t get anything done for months and now I finally have a chance to appear before the judge and get arrears. Do I try to reach a new agreement with him and get things like insurance coverage and medical coverage for my daughter, only to turn around and garnish him in Georgia? If my dipshit caseworker is correct and we have to have the judge in Georgia modify the court order, even if we’ve reached a new agreement, will I end up getting screwed? What happens if the case goes to Georgia and the judge there uses his actual income instead of imputed income, assuming he’s not out earning his imputed income, of course? I would have done okay in Mississippi because they’re a single income state. They’re one of only four, so my chances of Georgia doing it that way as well is pretty slim.

In addition to those worries, if we reach a new agreement, and the judge only enforces it instead of modifying it, we still can’t move ahead with it until July. Then I need to give Georgia 60-90 days and the county another 45 days. That’s 4 1/2 months. After July. That brings us to the beginning of December at the earliest. My son will be halfway through his senior year by the time Jerry Lee is finally garnished at the rate this is going. Will they continue to garnish him for spousal support once the child support ends? I don’t know.  If they don’t it seems kind of silly to go through all this hell for six months of garnished child support.

I turned my garnishment papers in on January 25th, 2019. More than a year ago. I had my interstate meeting on September 10th. Over six months ago. He’s still not garnished. He’s not even close. He’s moved twice, each time to a different state, since I’ve started this. We’re back to square one. Now I get to wait. Once again. And be at his mercy. He gets to continue to pay what he wants, when he wants. It’s lovely. I’m going to go cry now.

The Wheels of Justice

The wheels of justice don’t seem to move one damn bit. Okay, I’ll start with the “good” news.

I got notice that my lawyer will be appearing in court to get my case re-instated on the 18th. It sounds like Jerry Lee was served right around Valentine’s Day, if not ON Valentine’s Day. I suppose that explains the new amount of spousal support he paid on the 29th.

He’s still off. As you may know he modified support on his own back in May last year. Upon finding out that he had had a job pretty much the entire time I let him know he was $700 a month short and asked him if he was going to continue to pretend like he didn’t have a job and was paying all he could, or if he would be paying the correct amount. From that moment he upped the amount he was giving me but he was still short by more than $370. Now, he’s taking the amount he has been paying me (the one that is $370 short) and then adding the $370 onto it. Of course, I don’t know if this will be a long term thing or not because he’s only done it once. If he is planning on keeping this up until we go to court then the end result will be I’m getting a little over $200 more than what he’s court ordered to pay. We’ll see. I don’t have high hopes for him.

Nevertheless, it’s a small victory of justice. It only took four months to finally get before the judge to put it on the docket, and it will probably be another two-three months before we actually have a court date, but those old, rusty wheels are moving finally.

Now for the bad news. I still have not heard anything from my caseworker or the state of Mississippi. Hell, it’s possible the judge there took jurisdiction and my attorney will go before the judge and he’ll have to throw out most of her case.

I’m going to do a little PSA right now. Start garnishment proceedings immediately after your divorce is finalized. Some people are lucky and their state requires payment to go through them. If you’re not one of those lucky ones run directly from the courtroom to the clerk’s office or wherever you need to go in order to get the payments garnished. Especially if you have a very special ex who moved out of state. Doubly so if not only did your ex move out of state but also if your ex forced you into leaving the state in which you got said divorce. That’s an even more special kind of clusterfuck.

I turned my papers in on January 25th. Back in 2019. It’s been more than a year and he’s still not garnished.

I realize I stopped the process in the summer based upon the information I was given. The caseworker scheduled the interstate meeting. I told her I was withdrawing my case. She told me all I could do was NOT show up. There is a month between my last email to her (June 12th) when I told her I was withdrawing and when I found out he had a job, and had in fact had a job the entire time (July 15th). My original interstate meeting was scheduled sometime in that month. In August I gave my caseworker the go ahead to set up a new interstate appointment so that I could move forward. And keep in mind, me hitting pause didn’t matter anyway. By the time I had my original interstate appointment and she sent everything off to Kentucky he was already living in Mississippi. We’d still be on the same time frame. Hell, we might even be a little further behind because Kentucky wouldn’t have been obligated to let her know he was no longer a resident for 60-90 days. That would have brought us to September- which is when I ended up meeting with her anyway- or possibly, October.

Now it’s been six months since my interstate appointment. When I walked out of her office she told me to give it 60-90 days. Maybe I’m a little fuzzy on the day to month ratio but I thought 60-90 days was basically two to three months. Not six.

Of course, once we get close to the supposed 60-90 day timeframe I’m told that now the county has another 45 days to make a decision. Again, a little fuzzy on the ratio but I could have sworn that amounted to approximately 6 weeks. Are these business days or calendar days? The caseworker has never said. Apparently they like everything to be a big surprise.

She’s never said if I’m notified, how I’m notified, what else I have to look forward to, what kind of timeline I should expect. I flat out asked her for a time frame on when I could expect garnishment to begin and her response was a decisive, “I don’t know. I don’t have a timeline for you.”

I, too, have a job. It might surprise her to know that I’m frequently called with questions. My answer has never been, “I don’t know.” If I don’t know the answer to a question I either ask around or I point them in the direction of the person or department who would know.

I’m not asking for a minute by minute play. I’d simply like to know what’s going to happen next and what is the general time frame for this to occur. For example: First, we need to do A. Then we will do B. Then C. Then D. Then E. Obviously I can’t give you an exact time that this will be over but A usually takes x amount of time, B usually takes Y amount of time, C usually takes about z amount of time, and so on and so on. That’s business days, not calendar days by the way, so you need to mark out all weekends and federal holidays. This is what you need to do at each step. You will be notified in this manner.

Is that so difficult? I don’t need hard and fast dates. Just a damn timeline. The 60-90 days has come and gone. The last time I heard from my caseworker was February 5th, over a month ago. She had called the Child Support office on January 29th and reached a person working at the help desk. The caseworker was supposed to call her back. Over a month later and I’ve never heard any follow up. Maybe the county decided not to take the case. Maybe all of this has been for nothing. Who knows? Not me! It’s one big surprise!

In the meantime I get to keep guessing when, how much, and if Jerry Lee will pay me what he’s supposed to. Actually I already know he’s not going to pay me what he’s supposed to. He hasn’t in almost two years.

My son graduates in 15 months. At that point this whole issue will be a moot point. I’m laying 50/50 odds on whether or not this is completed by then.

P.S. Also just found out the address I had for him is a vacant residence, which means he’s moved again. It also somewhat explains why he didn’t pay as he was supposed to in November. Sounds like he’s got a new job- yet again. If it’s in another state and I have to start this all over again I’m going to cry.

And… he’s hired an attorney for this show cause hearing.

Life’s About Changing… Nothing Ever Stays the Same

As you know my word for the year is change. Since choosing that word I’ve noticed how much change happens, regardless of what we may choose. Honestly, I’ve known that for a while but with this being “my” word for the year I will probably be writing quite a bit about it.

Change is inevitable. People die. People move. Friendships fade. New friendships are made. I’ve experienced a lot of that over the course of my life. When you move every 2 1/2 years for the first five or six years of your marriage you get used to the constant upheaval. Then you start to settle in after that 2 1/2 year mark and you begin to think, “Maybe this is it. Maybe this is the place I’ll remain.”

I thought that way after we moved to Michigan the second time. It was different. We had a child now. It wasn’t just the two of us. Jerry Lee settled in. Until that call came six years later, telling him they had an exciting offer for him. They wanted him to take over as the production manager in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City? I knew nothing of Utah except Mormons. I’d never lived west of the Mississippi. Nevertheless, I gave him the go ahead and we moved. I called my best friend crying only weeks before we moved. I watched my precious children flounder in their new surroundings. I missed having family close by and missing out on so much. Yet somehow it all worked itself out. I fell in love with the state. I made great friends. I got involved. My children made friends. Rock Star devoted her life to gymnastics. Picasso fell in love with hockey after trying out just about every other sport under the sun. We spent eight amazing years out there.

Jerry Lee always said we would never leave so I began to feel like Utah was the place I would remain. Until Harley came along.

But this isn’t about Michigan, or Utah, or even Virginia. It’s about my 2 1/2 years living in Olive Branch, Mississippi. It’s about the fact that living there was one of the happiest times of my life. It’s also about the fact that now Jerry Lee and Harley are there, defiling this place that I once loved so much.

We had been married less than a year when Jerry Lee took a job with PCA up in Michigan. While living there we took a week long vacation at the end of May and visited Memphis to see Graceland and the zoo, and then headed over to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. I’m sure the fact that Michigan was experiencing a very cold spring (that morning I left for vacation the wind chill brought the temperature down to zero) didn’t help, but we both fell in love with Memphis. I loved Beale Street. I loved the food. I can’t explain it; I just loved it. I didn’t even mind the humidity. A little less than two and a half years later he was offered a job in Olive Branch, which is right outside of Memphis, Tennessee. In fact, when I lived there I would often hear it described as, “Memphis’s fastest growing suburb”, which I always thought was interesting considering they were in different states.

We had an amazing group of friends. Jerry Lee was actually social. There were quite a few transplants working at the plant so they hung around together quite a bit. It was nothing for us to go out to dinner in a group of 12-14 people. Robert and Judy. Bev and Tommy. Arch and Alice. Kevin and Kelly. The good Aunt Judy (who would later turn out to be the bad Aunt Judy) and her daughter, Sheri. Julie. Eric. We went to each other home’s. Some of us bowled together. We had parties. We went out to dinner. We went to football games (okay, once we went to Knoxville to see a football game but we couldn’t get tickets). I had a key to Bev and Tommy’s house. We were such good friends we were at the point where we just walked into each other’s homes. I spent a lot of time in their above ground pool and hot tub. I went out to dinner with Bev, Judy and Judy every week while Jerry Lee and Tommy played golf. Arch and Alice trusted us enough to leave their son with us on the rare weekend they managed to get away. We exchanged Christmas presents and spent holidays together if we didn’t go home. We would go to the restaurant Robert and Judy owned, The Oasis, and eat dinner, talk with the locals. One time the place got overwhelmingly busy and neither Judy nor Robert was  there. Bev and I jumped up from our table and began helping out. We ran the register, got drinks, ran food out. I got pregnant while living in Olive Branch. I had three separate baby showers and lovingly decorated a nursery in classic Winnie the Pooh. I  brought my baby daughter home to that house. They had a brand new high school there and I envisioned my little Rock Star graduating from that high school one day. Rock Star was surrounded by people who loved her. Judy, Judy, Bev, and Tommy were all at least 10 years older than me, and in some cases 20 years older. A baby was a welcome addition. We finished our upstairs and now had a five bedroom house. I had a life there and I loved it.

Then Jerry Lee got fired. Seems he and his boss didn’t get along. So he was hired back on at PCA. He had an area VP that loved him and had stayed in contact since he left the first time.

At first he was assigned to Manufacturing Services, which is a team of people that travel to various problem plants and try to help them fix whatever issues are plaguing them. That lasted for four months before a position opened at one of the plants. As luck would have it we moved back to the same area and he was at the same plant as he had been before.

We moved, and despite the fact I would once again be only two hours from most of my family, I was devastated. I was losing my friends. I had to start all over.

Now, Jerry Lee and Harley are living there. Funny aside- I think he’s actually in the subdivision his old boss that fired him lived in. Her kids are going to be the ones graduating from Olive Branch High School. She gets to shop at all the great places in Memphis. She gets to visit Graceland and go down to Beale Street. She gets to marvel at those beautiful red clay roads. She can eat all the fried catfish and BBQ she wants to. She can go to the fantastic Memphis Zoo. In short, she gets to pick up where I left off, in one of my favorite cities.

When I first heard the news that they were living in Olive Branch I’ll admit it took me back a moment. I had this, “WTF” moment and probably a brief feeling of jealousy. They moved back to one of my favorite places and they replaced me with her. How did I feel about that?

I’ll be honest. When I heard that the Olive Branch Catfish Company was no longer in business I felt a little better.

Oh, such great memories of time spent there. Our realtor took us there when we were down looking for a house. If you like catfish you would have loved this place. It was amazing. And always packed. They had added on at least twice to the original restaurant. Our large group of friends would gather there on a Friday or Saturday night. Wait an hour or more to get a table. And then enjoy that amazing fried catfish (although you could have it grilled if you chose). We always took visiting friends and family there as well.

I’m glad Harley doesn’t get to experience the Olive Branch Catfish Company. I’m happy that Jerry Lee doesn’t have access to it either. Ha! It’s a small, selfish, silly victory.

That aside, I realize that my Olive Branch no longer exists. Kevin and Kelly moved away probably a year before we did. Robert and Judy, who had been together for many, many years, went their separate ways and Judy spent most of her time in Hot Springs, Arkansas after that. I found out years later that Robert had died. As I said earlier the good Aunt Judy turned out to be the bad Aunt Judy. She had an affair with Tommy, Bev’s husband. They divorced. Bev put the house on the market and it sold within 24 hours. I held onto my key to their house for years until finally I threw it away. Bev eventually moved down to Jackson. Judy and Tommy got married and then divorced 2-3 years later. Arch and Alice moved back to Chicago. Eric moved back to his hometown of Corinth, which was probably 2 hours or so south of Olive Branch. He got his ex-wife pregnant and married her again and then went on to have one more child with her. He left Menasha sometime after Jerry Lee got fired. Julie went to work at a different corrugated plant and then eventually remarried her ex-husband and moved back to Tennessee, although I’m not sure what order that took place. Sheri, who was just a young teen back then, is married with a daughter and a son on the way. She lives in Florida now and is a stepmom to two older girls.

Life’s about changing; nothing ever stays the same. Even if he didn’t get fired the Olive Branch I knew and loved wouldn’t be there. All of our friends are gone. We would have watched as Arch and Alice moved back home, and we would have had a front row seat as Bev and Tommy’s marriage exploded and we were faced with the fact that Judy was the other woman. And then I would have been left behind when Bev made her move to Jackson. Maybe there would have been new friends as Rock Star, and then Picasso, began high school. Or as new people were hired on at the plant. Then again, maybe those few years were like lightning in a bottle- never to be captured again.

That high school I envisioned my daughter going to? It had only recently been built and they were already using multiple portables because they had outgrown the building. Apparently a lot of parents were not fans of the Memphis school system. That high school probably doesn’t exist anymore. My guess is they have already built a new one.

If I were to visit I’m not sure I would know my way around anymore. It’s been 19 years since I lived there and 17 years since I last visited.

I can still see that shopping area with the Kroger, the cheesesteaks, Applebee’s, and Cookout. I think there was an eye center there as well. I remember where the new Wal-mart was built. But who knows what’s there now?

I would love to take my kids to Memphis one day because I love the city. Maybe I would take them over into Olive Branch as well. Show Rock Star where she lived when she was a baby. Show them where Bev and Tommy lived. Show them where the Olive Branch Catfish Company used to be.

I know it’s no longer the Olive Branch I once knew and loved; it’s only a treasured memory now. What made it so special was the people, and the people are all gone.

I’m fine with Jerry Lee and Harley living there. It takes nothing away from me and my memories. It won’t ever be replicated. I doubt very much that they’ve made friends, and that was the best part of it. Even if they have it doesn’t change the fact that they’re not living in my Olive Branch. My Olive Branch is gone. They can have this new one.

Two Weddings & a Funeral

I took a last minute trip to Virginia the week before Christmas. My great uncle died.

He was the last of nine siblings. At our last family reunion, which occurred 3-4 weeks after I found out my husband was cheating on me, there were two left. My Uncle Donnie and my Uncle Gene. Uncle Donnie was actually the youngest of the nine. He died a year later on Christmas Day.

I loved my Uncle Gene. He always told the best stories. He was an amazing storyteller. He spent over 30 years as a state trooper so he had a lot of stories. I hadn’t seen him since 2016, a few days before I moved back to Indiana. I went mainly to be a support for my mom. Originally I hadn’t planned on going at all. I didn’t really have the time to take off. But this was going to be difficult for my mom so I went. She drove and I flew. It turned out they planned the visitation on Tuesday and the funeral on Wednesday. I couldn’t take that much time but there was a flight that left here at 6 in the morning and would get to Virginia by 10:30 so I could make it in time for the graveside service.

Why am I telling you all of this? I will tell you why. The first thing out of the mobster’s mouth upon hearing that he had died and we would be attending the funeral was, “I want to be there for you; I want to support you and your mom.” He rearranged his route and put things off all so he could accompany me to this funeral.

To most of you that might not seem like anything out of the ordinary. To me, it was extraordinary.

During the twenty years I was married to Jerry Lee I lost both of my grandmothers and my sole surviving grandfather.

In 1999, almost five years after we got married, Jerry Lee accompanied me from Mississippi up to Indiana for my grandpa’s funeral only after my mother threw an absolute fit upon hearing that he might not come with me.

“What do you mean, ‘He might not be able to come?’ That’s your grandfather and he’s your husband. He should be by your side.”

Yes, you read that correctly. He wasn’t sure he could take that much time off of work. Ironically, my grandfather’s visitation was on a Saturday (could have been Friday and Saturday) and his funeral was on a Sunday. I remember because my dad and aunt talked about how my grandma paid more to have it on Father’s Day instead of waiting until Monday. So Jerry Lee wasn’t missing much work. Three to four days at the most.

The funny thing is this was my dad’s father, not my mom’s.  Yet, she was still incensed at the idea that Jerry Lee would allow me to travel 8-10 hours on my own and attend my grandfather’s funeral by myself.

So, he acquiesced and made the trip with me. Had my mom not thrown that fit, which in turn made me lean harder on him, he would not have gone with me. I have absolutely no doubt that if I hadn’t pushed he wouldn’t have gone. The sad fact is I’d come to expect that from him already at only five years into the marriage. It didn’t seem that unnatural for him to choose not to come with me.

My Mamaw died in 2007 when we were living out in Utah. I made the 30+ hour drive by myself. Well, with my two young children I should say. They were 7 and almost 5 at the time. Not big helps when it came to driving by any means.

I got the news on a Saturday that she had taken a turn for the worse and they didn’t expect her to live much longer. Father’s Day was that Sunday and so as to not ruin Father’s Day for him and take his kids away from him on “his” day I waited until later in the day on Sunday, probably around 5 or 6, before I finally left. I remember driving until around midnight and stopping at a hotel in Nebraska. Picasso had no interest in sleeping for some reason so I locked the door, put the chain on it and went to sleep, letting him stay up as long as he desired. I was woken up by a small boy straddling me and staring down at my face. When I reluctantly opened my eyes he greeted me with the chipper greeting, “Wake-y, wake-y!” It was five or six in the morning.

I got back on the road and discovered a few hours later that the air conditioning that had just been fixed was once again broken. The mechanic had warned me the belt might break. I forget why now. As luck would have it my father-in-law worked at the automotive center at Wal-Mart and if we could get to Kentucky and buy a belt he had a co-worker that could put it on for us. We drove from Nebraska to Kentucky with no air. I started driving at six in the morning and didn’t arrive at my in-law’s place until just after midnight. I was exhausted.

The belt was bought and replaced. I drove the remaining four to six hours and finally we got there. My Mamaw was still alive. She held on for four days, I think, if not more, before she finally let go.

He was not there with me. He didn’t even have his company send flowers. I made a 30+ hour drive to watch my beloved Mamaw die and he couldn’t be bothered to be with me. He had to work. We’d been married over ten years at that point.

Four years later my sole remaining grandparent died. We were still in Utah. Again, he couldn’t bother coming with me. He didn’t have the time to spare. So once again I grabbed the kids, put them in the minivan, and made the drive. This time the drive was only about 24 hours so I got a bit of a break. But once again I was alone while burying a loved one.

In contrast, when his father died in 2010 I got the kids excused from school, got their homework, boarded our two dogs at two different places, finished up the laundry, cleaned the house, put both kids in the minivan and drove all night long to get to him so he wouldn’t have to go to the family visitation or the funeral without me. I pulled over around 8 in the morning at a rest area to sleep for a bit. I left the van running, the air on, a SpongeBob video in the DVD player, and locked the doors while I took a nap so I didn’t run off the road and kill us all.

Twenty years and he went to one out of three of my grandparent’s funerals with me. Hell, he didn’t go with me to his step grandfather’s funeral. My mom accompanied me and a year old Rock Star. That funeral took place only a few days before 9/11. I remember driving home that day, wondering if we were going to be safe or if there might be another attack. I actually asked him if he thought it would be safe if we drove back or if we should stay there. Naturally he didn’t think there was any danger. Aside from one gas station with some high gas prices he was correct, I suppose.

The mobster has been with me for less than three years and he volunteered to go to a funeral with me. He brought it up before I ever had a chance to. His attitude was, “Of course I will be going with you!”

It wasn’t just that he was willing to go to this funeral with me either. There were many family members there that he had never met. Jerry Lee had never met them because he never went to Virginia with me. Yet here was the mobster. I was taking him by Mamaw’s house, sharing memories with him. He met my uncle (my mom’s brother). He met many of my cousins. He chatted with them. The restaurant was filled with family and the mobster didn’t bat an eye. He was amazing.

He kept asking me if Jerry Lee had been there or if I had shown him these things I was showing him. I had to keep reminding him that in 20 years of marriage Jerry Lee had never been to my Mamaw’s town with me. He’d never been to her house. He had never met any of my Virginia relatives aside from my Mamaw. He had no clue.

He was supposed to go to the cemetery with me that summer (2015) so we could plant flags on the veterans’ graves. That was something we had just started doing on Memorial Day. Most of my uncles served and my favorite cousin’s son was KIA 4 days after arriving in Iraq back in 2012. That year we would have been honoring my family. Of course, Jerry Lee was knee deep in his affair with Harley so he couldn’t come out of his room and be with us. I once again went by myself. Or rather, the kids and I went by ourselves.

That was all a foreign concept to the mobster. He kept saying he couldn’t understand that. Yeah, well, in hindsight, me neither. Probably should have been a giant red flag.

The mobster has been a godsend. My cousin adored him. Everyone I’ve ever introduced him to has come away with that feeling. They all tell me they really like him (and believe me- I’ve let them all know I’m vetting the shit out of him!). They comment on how easy he is to talk to. He really is. He’s one of those guys that never meets a stranger. He can always find something to talk about. And it’s not in that fake, schmoozy way either. He has a genuine interest in people and can always manage to find a topic to talk about. You never get the feeling that he’s making small talk to kill time or because that’s what he’s supposed to do; he’s trying to find a real connection with the person he’s speaking to.

It’s been two and a half years for the mobster and I. In that time he’s been to two weddings and a funeral with me. Jerry Lee has him beat on the weddings so far. We went to six together, I believe. Then again, he had 20 years and most of the time he was more of a pain in the ass than as asset.

These few short years with the mobster have shown me how a relationship is supposed to work. At least for me. Maybe other people enjoy doing everything on their own. I did it because that was the hand I was dealt. I did it because that’s what I saw in my parent’s marriage for the most part. I did it because I didn’t think it was all that unnatural. I did it because “I didn’t need anybody holding my hand”. Well you know what I’ve discovered? Having someone hold your hand is pretty nice.

I’m rambling now. The point is the mobster is once again showing me everything I missed out on in my twenty years of marriage. He shows up. He wants to be there for me. He is amazing and I am the luckiest woman in the world.

He Paid

I do a great job of ignoring his shit. but I’m human. I’m not proud of this but I lost it a little bit on Wednesday.

Rock Star texted me and asked if I could send her some money so she could buy groceries. This was four days after the end of the month when I was fairly certain he had found out I was taking him back to court and he was refusing to pay. I had just paid her rent on the 1st and given her about $35 extra, which I found out she used to buy gas to get back to school. The girl has taken out approximately $16,000 in student loans; she’s paying her entire tuition, all of her books, and has paid all of her rent up until this point. She works on her weekends home and on her breaks. I don’t want to put anything else on her; she’s already doing enough. Nevertheless, I was losing it.

My nest egg keeps getting smaller and smaller. Cello lesson here. Grocery money there. Dog grooming. Oil change. It never ends.

I sent her the money. It was only $25 but that’s what she asked for. I Venmo’d it to her and in the section that asks what’s it for I wrote: Food, because even when your ex refuses to pay his support your kids still need shit.

It was set to public because I don’t care if people read it and see what a shit he is. I want them to know when he’s being a deadbeat. Frankly, I hoped he would see it.

Oh, he saw it. I happened to notice a text message which said I had a comment on a Venmo story. Naturally, I thought it was added under my comment on Rock Star’s account. He had written back: Because sometimes the pay cycles are off and you happen to be 6 days off on paying. Grow up.

Then I realized his comment wasn’t attached to mine. He had actually sent a support payment. Holy shit! It’s a Christmas miracle!

Seriously? I’m expected to believe somehow his pay cycle is off by 6 days? I’ve got bad news for him. The court order states he’s supposed to pay in full on the 1st of the month, or he’s supposed to pay every other week. He does neither of those things. In fact, despite asking for the every other week payment schedule based upon his pay schedule, he has never paid every other week. He typically waits until the second half of the month and then he pays the entire balance over three payments.

I love how he conveniently ignores the part where he is currently not paying what he is ordered to pay. I guess going to court to plead your case is for pussies. Real men like him just do some calculations, come up with what they’re comfortable paying, and then do it. No judge needed.

I also love how he justifies his behavior by saying his pay cycle was off so I should be understanding of that, yet he never once communicated that. That would have been helpful. He didn’t even need to explain what happened. “Hey Sam, I’ll be sending the remaining support for November a little late. You should have it before the end of the first week of December.” Yes, that would have been a huge help. Oh silly me! I forgot- I don’t count. I’m not worth communicating with. He owes me nothing.

Let’s not forget his track record. It’s not good. Between this upcoming court hearing and the reality that he has no problem not paying what he owes, I don’t think I jumped the gun. I gave him until the very last day of the month. Then I panicked.

I feel no guilt and no shame in calling him out. What I do feel bad about is blindsiding Rock Star. I honestly thought she knew he wasn’t paying. Her last day at home before returning to school we were going to go out for dinner. She asked if we even had enough money to go out. So I thought she knew.

When she saw my comment she asked me if he wasn’t paying again. At that point I told her he was not. She told me she thought he was paying which meant we were more financially stable. I told her I did, too. She also told me that if she had known he wasn’t paying she would never have asked me for money, which made me feel like a complete failure as a parent. I told her I thought she already knew and that if she didn’t know I didn’t want to tell her because it stresses her out. That’s when she let me know she wanted to be kept informed because it affected her life as well. Then she said she was going to be working a ton over her Christmas break so she could make some decent money. Again, I felt like a total failure as a parent.

Without his money I can’t do anything for my kids. It pisses me off. I’m so disgusted with my life choices sometimes. Instead of focusing on a career I stayed at home with my kids, moved all around the country, and helped to support his career. Now I’m 50 and barely above the poverty level. If only I had been smarter.

The story doesn’t end there. Jerry Lee texted her. Of course he did.

Just so that you are aware of the truth, I pay your mother over 50% of my salary every month. She gets $XXXX from me each month. I just wanted to make sure you knew the truth and not whatever she tells you. I don’t expect you to respond, just wanted you to know.

You know the funny thing? I give him credit all. the. time. They are both completely aware of the fact that his support payments are what give us any kind of financial security. They both know that my job pays the bills and that’s pretty much it. They know that him paying support is what allows me to do extra for them. Hell, they watched it play out during the ten months he wasn’t paying a dime. They’re teenagers, not toddlers. They knew I was working two jobs to make ends meet. They knew I was exhausted all the time. They saw me fall asleep sitting up in a chair. They knew when he began paying and I could do more for them. They knew that I was finally able to quit my second job because he was paying support.

He doesn’t pay? Picasso stops taking his cello lessons. I can’t pay Rock Star’s rent. There’s no money to go out. I worry about how I’ll buy groceries. I again start looking for a second job. Lots of fun things happen when he doesn’t pay support. Stress. Tears. Angry outbursts. So believe me he gets all the credit for paying.

That’s the problem though, isn’t it? He wants credit for paying (and I have no problem with giving that to him) but he doesn’t want to have to face the consequences when he doesn’t pay. It’s easier to portray me as a liar who tells the kids all sorts of falsehoods about him. It’s easier to believe that I never give him credit for the support he pays and that I take all the credit for everything they get. He can’t accept that if he’s going to get the credit for paying then he’s also going to have to take the blame when he doesn’t.

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.