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.

My Mobster

Can I just tell everyone what a difference having someone like him in my life makes? It makes me a little sad, honestly, that I settled for so little for so many years. My biggest regret is that I met him when I was 48 instead of 18 or 25 or some other random number that would have given me many more years with him.

He texts me every morning. Good morning, beautiful. Hello, gorgeous. We still talk all the time. He’s usually the last person I talk to before I go to bed. I tell him every mundane thing that is going on in my life.

He drove 10.5 hours up to see me 2 weeks after “meeting” me. He’s made that trip 3 times now.

He sends me song lyrics that remind him of me or us. He even created a private Pinterest board for the two of us. We always joke that we are the exact same person. Seems only fair since our exes are the exact same person as well!

He thinks I’m funny and laughs at my jokes. We’ll be talking late into the night and all of sudden he’ll say, “Holy crap! When did it become 12:30?” and I’ll reply, “About a minute ago.” And then we both laugh and laugh. I’ve heard through the grapevine that we are exactly alike. We laugh at the same jokes, we have the same sense of humor. We think about the same weird things. It’s wonderful.

Towards the end of September I made the impulsive decision to go visit him at his place. I hadn’t seen him since Labor Day weekend and I missed him like crazy. Originally all of his kids were going to be gone- his two boys would be watching three MLB games in another state and his daughter was going to the beach with one of her friends. There was a small hiccup in the plans and his daughter ended up not going to the beach but I went ahead and headed on down to his place.

One night as we were talking he rustled some papers and asked me if I knew what they were. Of course I didn’t. He told me I would soon find out.

As I pull into his driveway at 4 am this is what I saw…

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As I walked up to his house I saw this…
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And as the weekend progressed I found out he had printed out my list of 100 things I love and had bought as many of them as he could. That was what those rustling papers were. There was chips & salsa, Moscato, diet Coke, dill pickles, vanilla chai, Earl Grey tea, and cheesecake for starters. He told me he was hoping that it would rain because the smell in the air after it rained in the Blue Ridge mountains was one of the things I loved. I told him I had no doubt that if he had the ability to make it rain that he would.

I was absolutely amazed. I can’t recall anyone ever doing anything like that for me before. I appreciated it so much.

We had a great weekend. Saturday evening we went out to eat with his youngest. I was telling some really bad jokes (you can find most of them here) and she was laughing. We were both ribbing him about ordering coffee at the restaurant. He told me later he loved that. He thought he’d never experience that again and he loved the way we interacted with each other. Sunday morning before going to breakfast we took the dogs for a walk. He showed me around town and we were out walking for probably an hour. I left them with taco dip and scotcheroos, which they loved.

It was a very short visit- only about 36 hours, but it was definitely worth it. I had to get my mobster fix!

I’m telling you a good man makes all the difference in the world. I think he’s a keeper. No, I know he’s a keeper.

I’ve wondered many times if I could give him what he wants. I know he’d love to get married. He wants to live with me. And yet I am constrained by spousal support. I feel bad that I can’t move ahead like he’d like because I need whatever spousal support is coming my way. I have to think about my kids and what they’re going to need. He’s said many times he knew what he was getting into when he got involved with me. He says he knows it may be 20 years before we can make anything official. He’s said on more than one occasion that it’s okay if we never legally marry. Or if we do marry he’s willing to do a prenup so that I’m protected.

He’s put up with my crazy. He’s been sympathetic to my skittish behavior. He understands and he lets me be me. If I’m upset or I’m angry he doesn’t take it as a personal insult.

He is making plans to move up here in June of 2019.

Why didn’t I meet and marry this guy the first time around? Would we have appreciated each other as much as we do if we hadn’t endured what we did? I’d like to think we are who we are, not because of the horror that was foisted upon us, but because we are good people. I’d like to think that if we had met up many years ago it would have still been magical and wonderful. Regardless, I’m glad he’s in my life now, even if it is only sporadically. We are the sane parents after all.

I trust this guy. I know; I know. I trusted CF, too. This is different. I had no reason to trust CF. I guess maybe hearing his friend tell me he would never cheat, or listening to Tammy Faye tell me all he wanted was a family, or looking at his golden pedigree and his West Point credentials made me think I could trust him. None of it meant squat. He lied. He cheated. He stole. He abandoned his kids.

The mobster has been through this. From his own lips and his own writings I have heard the horror that was his marriage in the last few years. I’ve heard and read about the lies, the despair, all the tears, the pain he was put through. I also heard and read about how he hung in there, trying to make it work, convinced that they could make their marriage work if he just tried hard enough, if he could just change enough to make her happy. He did his best to ensure his kids grew up in an intact home.

He and his wife went on a blind date and basically never left each other’s side. He did consider calling it quits but she got pregnant and they married. CF and I met through the personals, got engaged 6 days later and got married 7 months later. By all accounts neither of those relationships should have lasted. And yet they did. For 25 and 21 years. The mobster has said on more than one occasion that our marriages would have continued to last if our spouses had been willing. We didn’t leave. We didn’t quit. He has been known to say, “Why in the hell didn’t I leave 12 years ago?”

Make no mistake though. He will freely admit that there were things he could have done better, or that at least there were better ways to handle the situation. He talks about his own bad behavior in retaliation to the things she did and he admits his own faults. He has told me the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel like I have reasons to believe him. Not just the above paragraph but also the willingness to meet me where I am. The willingness to forego ever getting married again even though he really would love to. He doesn’t quit. I’ve heard about all that he did to try to make his marriage work and I have no reason to believe that if he worked that hard to preserve a relationship with someone who treated him so badly that he wouldn’t work equally as hard, if not more so, at a relationship with someone who adores him.

You know what? Add that to the list. When I am going to write a post about something in his life I will run it past him. I never want to put stuff out there that he doesn’t want shared. You know what he always tells me? He always says I can write whatever I want. He tells me it’s my blog and I don’t need his permission, even when I’m writing about him or things going on in his life.

I look back on some of my earlier entries where I was convinced I would be alone forever. I really did believe that. And my mindset hasn’t changed all that much. This guy came from out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. If it all ends tomorrow I don’t see myself getting involved with anyone again. I wasn’t looking this time and I don’t intend to look if he should ever leave me. I’m okay being alone. I really am. The mobster brings me out of my shell. He ticks off pretty much every box on my list for the ultimate man. I can’t think of one criteria he doesn’t meet. I’m glad I have someone to spend my time with. I’m glad I have a real partner.

Here’s one final story for you. When I was steeling myself for the worst case scenario in my support trial the mobster would ask me, “Sam, are we going to be happy?” I’m being my petulant self and grudgingly replying, “Yes, we’ll be happy but I’m still going to be pissed!” He goes off on this tangent about how we will be happy no matter what, even if we’re begging on the streets.

We’ll be out on the streets with our little tin cups. And once they’re filled I’ll run and get us coffee. Do you hear that? I’ll go get us coffee because I love you. When I come back you’ll be waiting for me in our cardboard box, and it will be the best cardboard box out there. And we will be happy with our coffee in our cardboard box.

There was more to the story. Apparently, that was our second home because I had burned the first one down. Sounds about right. Anyway, I was laughing so hard I really did feel better about everything. That man makes me laugh. Like, really laugh. He makes me insanely happy.

Thank you, Mobster; thank you for being you. Thank you for being there for me, even when I’ve been crazy, even when I’ve hurt you, even when I’ve been a pouting little brat. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for making me smile again. Thank you for waking me up and thank you for believing in me. You have given me things I didn’t even know I wanted. I love you. 4evah!

An Open Letter to Cousinfucker, Part 1

January 2016

I wrote this shortly after I received the famous text from CF.  I never sent it.  It got to be way too long; I essentially vomited up twenty plus years of rage and frustration and I figure if I was lucky he might read two or three sentences.  Nonetheless, I’m quite proud of it and I thought I would share.  Most of this is undoubtedly a repeat of things I’ve already shared.  There’s only so much that happened in the beginning and since I don’t speak to him if I can help it I don’t get a lot of new material.  Anyway, here it is.  Enjoy!

Sam, let’s try to figure out a way to make this less stressful for all involved. I am saddened that you felt compelled to toss out all of my memories and my clothing.  There are so few of them in this house.  In spite of all that has happened we have a history and that cannot be erased no matter how badly you want it to go away.  So you have a choice.  You can be bitter and hateful toward me, or respect the fact that I am setting you free of the burden of being my wife.  I know you will take a hit financially but you will be well provided for, we both know that.  My attorney has you covered for the rest of your life.

So stop all of this foolishness.  Let our children know I love them and let’s act like adults and come to a healthy relationship apart from all of this.  I respect you as a mother and you have followed me around the country and I am grateful to you for that.  Let’s build a future relationship that we can both be happy for each other and our children and show them that happiness and being whole are vital to a person’s future.  I read everything you wrote on your fake Facebook page.  I know you have been very unhappy.  It’s evident in what you wrote and your depression has heightened in the past two years.  I know you will be whole without me, we aren’t good together.  So all that said I want you and I to work on this.  To be grown up about it for the sake of our children.

I am not even sure where to begin with your long rambling text so I suppose I’ll begin with the obvious.  I’m not sure who you wrote that for but it wasn’t for my benefit.  Quite frankly, I’m not even sure you wrote it yourself. Secondly, you are not a victim so it would be refreshing if you could stop acting like one.  You are also not a hero so please stop acting like you’ve somehow done me a favor by cheating on me.  Again.

Do not patronize me with your “Let’s stop this foolishness and figure out a way to make this less stressful.”  Do you know how you could have made this less stressful?  You could have refrained from having sex with your cousin while you were married to me.  You could have refrained from having sex with your cousin while your children and I were on what was supposed to be a family vacation, a vacation (and family) you blew off so you could have sex with your cousin.  You could have refrained from moving me and your children 2000 miles across the country, uprooting our lives for *your* happiness, only to turn around and start up yet another affair with your cousin.  You could have been an adult and talked to me instead of turning to people who have never been there for you during your many crises.  You could have refrained from siphoning off thousands of dollars to your mistress while you lied about it and fed me a line of bullshit about it being for your mom.  You could have stood up and tried to act like a man instead of trying to convince yourself and everyone around you that you’re some hapless victim.  And as far as making this less stressful for everyone… what on earth about this is stressing you out?  You do whatever you want!  You live here during the week not caring whether there is enough in the bank account to pay bills or not, and then you take off every weekend to be with your mistress and her kids, spending money like it’s growing on trees and having yourself a fine time.

I have spent the last 2 years walking a tightrope for you, protecting you and being respectful of all your “issues”. I hid your affair from everyone in my family.  I let you get away with directing how I was allowed to heal.  I was even at the point where I was accepting the fact that your mom was going to continue to have a relationship with your mistress.  And what have you done?  You’ve thrown me under the bus time after time.  Not only that but you’ve actually had the audacity to act like you were somehow protecting me while throwing me under the bus! Half the time (if not more than half) you’ve told outright lies about me. Let’s not forget the biggie- you started screwing your cousin!  I don’t know why I continue to be amazed at how you can cheat on me, not once but twice (and with the same “woman” no less!) and yet still manage to act like you are the injured party.

To be continued…

 

A Tale of Two Sams

Catchy title, huh? My ode to Dickens. A tale of two Sams, you say? Tell me more!

This is the way I feel most days. There are two different sides waging battle inside of me. There is the happy-go-lucky Sam that does her best to forge ahead, be positive, and have faith. This Sam chirps cheerfully, “No use in crying about the things you can’t change. Just put your head down and plow through it!” I sometimes hate her. She’s way too cheerful for me and she’s going to end up on her ass because nothing ever goes according to plan. Then there’s the pessimistic, defeated Sam who is still convinced she will live in poverty forever and that life isn’t really worth living anymore. “Dear Lord, just kill me now!” she begs through her tears. Honestly, I can get behind this Sam. She’s very comfortable, like a warm sweater. She doesn’t ask anything of me except possibly a Kleenex so she can blow her nose. Occasionally I have a third Sam. Let’s call her psychotic Sam. She spends her days weighing the pros and cons of life in prison and taking careful notes while watching ID TV. I’m just saying… if I can get him to Corsica somehow it’s possible I’ll only serve about 7 years if they catch me. Yeah, Psychotic Sam is also weighing the pros and cons of trying to get away with any shenanigans versus just taking the prison time. Usually Psychotic Sam is kept waaaaaay in the back but sometimes she manages to fight her way up front, knocking Happy-go-lucky Sam down onto the ground, stepping on her back and grinding her face right into a big ol’ patch of mud and grabbing Defeated Sam and telling her, “Wipe away those tears and watch this!”

Truthfully it’s difficult to believe anything good is ever going to come of this. It often feels like he set up his whole new life and then abandoned all of us and I’ll never get a chance to make a new life because I’m always ten steps behind. Then there are the days I feel like Monica on Friends. Do you remember the episode where her identity was stolen and she eventually befriends her identity thief? She loved hanging out with her because she took all of these crazy risks and lived life to its fullest (until she went to prison, of course). At the end of the episode she’s in a tap dancing class and the instructor yells out, “You’re doing it wrong!” and Monica replies, “Yeah, but I’m doing it!” Or maybe it was, “Yeah, but I’m here.” Either way, Monica showed up, she put herself out there, and even if she wasn’t doing it as well as everyone else she was there and she was trying. That’s how I feel some days.

I’m barely hanging on most days but I’m here. I show up. I’m doing it. I’m tired. I get my ass up on a good day around 3:20 in the morning so that I can go in at 4. On other days I go in anywhere from midnight to 2 am. Right now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m only functioning because my dear mother is helping to pick up my daughter, do my laundry, cook most evenings, and wash dishes. I have no idea what I’m going to do when January rolls around and she’s no longer here and I’m working TWO jobs.

Yes, folks, I managed to get hired at Kohl’s for the holidays. I interviewed on Monday, found out I got the job on Tuesday and I should be starting sometime next week. So, this means that my job at Target generally covers my monthly bills and the job at Kohl’s will allow me and my kids to eat! I was excited about that. Plus- employee discount!

I’ve also interviewed for a full-time job. I’ve had interviews with three different people and just sent off my pre-employment stuff so they can interview references and do a background check. I applied for the same position at 3 different places and apparently they are considering me for 2 of them. I am hoping for one position over another just because the hours are better and the pay is more since you’re not at a sole location. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll take it if they offer me the permanent location. It’s only $10/hour and the hours are terrible for trying to work a second job. Unfortunately, I will still need to work a second job because neither position pays me enough to only work 40 hours a week.

I’ve also taken an exam to work at the post office. I haven’t been called in for anything yet but I took the exam and I passed. Plus, my sweet J has a long-term boyfriend who has an aunt that works there so hopefully something will pan out with that.

The other job at Aldi’s didn’t pan out. They advertised for a big job hiring event and it was basically going in and filling out an application.  Apparently I was not Aldi’s material because I didn’t even get called in for an interview. Normally, Defeated Sam would be moaning, “I can’t even get hired as a stupid cashier!” and, “You went out of your comfort zone and took a chance at applying for a manager trainee position when you clearly had no business trying for anything like that! You’re a cashier and nothing more! You got your hopes up and then they were shot down! This is why we don’t try things!” but here is where Happy-go-lucky Sam took over. For some reason I didn’t dissolve into a heap of tears at being passed over as a cashier or a relief supervisor or a manager trainee. I just kind of shrugged and said, “Oh well. I guess I need to apply for more stuff,” and then went on my way. I’m surprised by my attitude, too, because a cashier at Aldi’s makes $12 an hour! A relief supervisor makes $16! Those in the manager trainee position make around $22.50 an hour. That’s nowhere close to what I was living on but it would make a world of difference to Broke-Ass Sam.

I feel like I never see my kids anymore. The week of Thanksgiving I was going in at 1:30 in the morning, so I’d go to bed around 6 so that I could wake up around 12:45. I guess they’ll live but I find it sad that their father isn’t worth a shit and now their mom isn’t around much to participate in their lives either.

Let’s see, where else does Happy-go-lucky Sam pop up? Well, I was briefly filled with hope when I read someone’s status on FB. Eight years ago she was going through a divorce and believed she would be alone forever. But, she met someone and she’s been married for 3 or 4 years now. Good for her. Bonus points for the fact that she isn’t some lithe size 2 either and yet she still found someone who loved her. That gave me hope for a millisecond, not that I’m looking for love or that I ever want to remarry; then I realized she was about 30 when she went through her divorce. I’m 47. I’m fairly certain my dating years are over and honestly CF has damaged me way too badly for me to put myself out there any time soon. But for a millisecond, Happy-go-lucky Sam was in charge. She pokes her head around occasionally, pointing out various people that have found love later in life. Hey, look at that one! He’s remarried. Look at her! She’s fat and she’s married. Hey, don’t mean to rub salt in the wound but Jezebel got married for a third freaking time at age 47 and Cousinfucker managed to find someone at his age and with all his problems! But then Defeated Sam stops bawling in the corner long enough to pipe up, “Yeah, but Jezebel is very pretty and she always loses weight before she cheats on her husband so she’s thin when she snags the next one! Cousinfucker found someone else because his gold digging whore of a cousin latched onto him, thinking she had found a sugar daddy. All these people you see around you who have someone new in their life are younger and thinner. Men always have it easier when it comes to remarrying so don’t look to them for examples.” Then Happy-go-lucky Sam pops her head up and cheerfully chirps, “If you think you need to be thin in order to ever date again you can always start going to the gym. Eat better. Lose weight.” Then Psychotic Sam clocks that bitch and laughs.

I do feel a small sense of accomplishment seeing as how I am indeed taking care of all that needs to be done, albeit with help from my mother. I mean, if I had to live on my own we would be in a homeless shelter because I just couldn’t make enough to make a mortgage payment or pay rent. I readily admit that living with my mom has been a lifesaver. But I am doing what needs to be done in order to pay my bills, buy a few Christmas gifts for my kids, and purchase food and essentials for the three of us. I probably still won’t make enough to be able to go to the movies or out to eat with them, but we’ll have food. Maybe if everything works out I can work a third job for some extras. But here’s the thing. As much as it sucks (and it does indeed suck so much!) I’m doing it without Cousinfucker’s help. I am so much stronger than he is. Yes, he made good money but he also had a wife that was his biggest cheerleader and who made numerous sacrifices so that he could climb the corporate ladder. I’m sure he wouldn’t like it put this way but he wouldn’t be anything more than possibly a first shift superintendent if he weren’t married to me. I always agreed to move whenever he got an offer. I was the one who left behind friends and community and activities; he didn’t make friends or socialize much. It was no big deal for him to leave an area. I was the one who always got involved and made the new location a home. He went to work and once a week he would mow the lawn. Sometimes there would be a household project. He had me to take care of everything else. I made dinner, I did the grocery shopping, I washed and put away his clothes, I made his doctor’s appointments and picked up his prescriptions, I fed and watered the animals and cleaned out the cat boxes. Most importantly, I was the one responsible for our children. I bathed them, I got them ready for bed, I fed them. I took them to school and I picked them up. I took them to and picked them up from their extracurriculars. I volunteered at their schools and went to parent-teacher conferences and helped out with the PTA. I signed permission slips, gave them lunch money, made them breakfast, and took them out to get school supplies for projects. He didn’t have to lift a finger. He went to work and that was pretty much it. Hell, he even outright stated that if I got a job it couldn’t interfere with his job and he wouldn’t be helping out around the house or with the kids.

I’m working and I’m still taking care of my kids. When my mom goes to Florida it’s going to be tough but I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to figure out how to get my daughter to school, whether it’s coordinating rides to school, putting her in charge of getting rides, or just relying on the bus. I’m going to drag my tired ass over to her place of employment at 10:00 at night when I need to get up at 3:20 in the morning to go to work seeing as how she still doesn’t have her license. Because I’m her mother and she’s my child and it’s my responsibility. I don’t have the luxury of walking away and pretending like I have no obligations. As much as it pisses me off that I have to do this instead of her being able to drive herself, thanks to him forcing us out of our home and out of the state, I’m not going to bitch and moan; I’m just going to do what needs to be done. As always. I’m going to figure out how to feed them when I’m working 2 or 3 jobs. I’ll probably resort to doing a bunch of cooking one day and then relying on the crockpot for the rest of the week. Laundry will get done. The house will be picked up. The dogs will be fed and watered. There may be cleaning charts involved. Who knows? What I do know is that it will all get done. And Cousinfucker can’t lay claim to any of it. I’m doing it without his help just like I always knew I could. I’ve always been the stronger of the two of us. I’ve always had it more together. I’ve always been the one to take charge and take care of things. I can do this! I might not want to but I can, and that’s the important part. I might be poor. I might be barely hanging on. But I’m not relying on him for anything. I never will again. I don’t care if he starts paying child support and spousal support. I will continue to work whatever I need to work to cover my bills and take care of my expenses because he has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that he cannot be trusted to do what needs to be done. That’s not Happy-go-lucky, look to the positive, always cheerful Sam. That’s Kick-Ass Sam. She’s wearing her sassy little kick ass boots, too.

I’m also trying more to adopt ifonlymommy’s philosophy. She’s always so sweet and positive. She tends to believe that things will get better and that it won’t always be like this. Happy-go-lucky Sam is doing her best to get me to look at life that way. Yeah, I’m not making great money right now but maybe one day it will be better. What I have now isn’t necessarily what I will have in a year. Things could get better. This full-time job I’m interviewing for doesn’t pay all that great but there are advancement possibilities and more money in the future. I try to remind myself that my mom has helped me out a tremendous amount since I had to move back home so maybe even if I can’t do much for my kids right now when they’re older I might be able to help them. Maybe if I have grandchildren one day I can spoil them like I used to be able to spoil my own kids. Maybe if my son or daughter finds their lives upended by a cheating spouse I’ll be able to give them refuge.

That’s where I am today. I no longer cry every day. And most days when I do cry it’s for a short period of time. I’m at kinda-sorta okay most of the time. The days when I’m praying for an aneurysm or a massive coronary are getting fewer and farther between. I still don’t have hope, nor do I think I’ll ever have much of anything, but I’m learning to live in poverty without crying all the time. I feel small bursts of pride when I realize that shit eating chimp I married isn’t supporting me or my kids- I am (with a great deal of help from my mom). I doubt that life will ever be good or that Happy-go-lucky Sam will ever be the dominant personality, but I’m alive. For better or for worse, I’m alive.

How I Am

We’re settling in here. Boxes are slowly being unpacked. The kids both have their rooms unpacked and everything put away and fixed up just like they want it.  Picasso told my mom that he likes his room here even better than his old room, even though it’s smaller. Rock Star has said she likes her new room but she misses the size of her old one.

I don’t know how we’re going to fit everything into this house.  I swear most of what I packed up was pictures and clothes. I grabbed movies, puzzles and books by four of my favorite authors. The kids have their stuff, including furniture. I ended up bringing the magnolia painting with me. Aside from that the only furniture I brought was my jewelry armoire and my cedar chest. I was going to bring my sofa table but the person who bought our sectional really loved it and I finally caved and sold it. I also brought a pizza pan, a muffin pan, 2 baking dishes with lids, one big plastic bowl, my blender, my Keurig, some plastic utensils and other kitchen do dads, a few of our favorite mugs, even fewer cups, and a plate I made for my daughter years ago. For any of you wondering why I didn’t make one for my son, I did but he broke it before we moved the last time. I might have brought my brand new hand mixer that CF bought me our last Christmas together but I haven’t seen it so I’m not completely sure it made the move. I did bring some beach towels and aprons, plus my cookbooks. I’m still not sure where we’re going to put everything and I pared down to next to nothing!

I went to the store yesterday to grab some fruit and muffins; I almost broke down crying right in the store upon seeing some of their inspirational signs.  I had bought a few of mine there on trips back home and saw at least 2 that I had sold. I still have some rough moments. We’ve been walking the dogs along this crazy busy street and I realize that I’ve spent almost 20 years living on either quiet side streets or in subdivisions.

My dogs are eating all of my mom’s dog’s food. His bowl is still in the kitchen but my mom didn’t think there would be room for four food bowls and four water bowls so mine have theirs down in the utility room.  They don’t like going in there so now I have to chase them out of the kitchen constantly and in order to get them to eat I have to stand in the room with them. Delightful!

I worry about getting a job. I don’t just worry that I’ll be working for almost nothing and won’t be able to support my kids; I also worry that I won’t even get hired to begin with. It’s been 17 years since I’ve worked outside of the home. What the hell do I even put on a job application after all these years? It’s like I’m starting all over again with absolutely no job experience. Hooray!  Thank you, Cousinfucker, for waiting until I was almost 50 before you decided to go off and fuck your cousin.  It might have been ridiculously easy to get back into the work force if you had done this when I was 30 so thank you for providing me with this wonderful challenge.

I still need to register the kids for school. It’s only been two years since I’ve done this but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what all I need to get them registered. I’m hoping I don’t need any kind of proof of address because I don’t have any mail yet and I obviously don’t have a deed or a lease agreement.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to court later this month. As those of you who have been following along at least since the beginning of June know, CF “lost” his job and let me know he wouldn’t be sending me anymore money. He did offer to let me throw him in jail so that was something. Actually, I believe what he said was something along the lines of, “I guess you’ll just throw me in jail now.” Anyway, my lawyer filed a motion to relieve me of paying the household bills and marital debt. Per our temporary support orders he would pay me and I in turn would pay all of the bills. Now with him no longer sending me anything I don’t really have a way to pay all of the bills. I’ve kept the utilities going and supported the kids but I couldn’t do everything the way I had been. According to his lawyer he will agree to everything in the motion; however, he wishes to suspend his support obligations until he either finds another job or receives disability. His lawyer’s reasoning is that if he is now paying all of the household bills he shouldn’t have to pay spousal support on top of that.

Now, first you need to know that he resigned from his current job; he did not get fired. This makes two jobs that he has quit in 6 months since agreeing to our temporary support order. When my lawyer passed along his lawyer’s comments I was nearing a nervous breakdown. I’m thinking that once again he’s screwing me over and after he gets out of paying spousal support he’s going to be fine; he’ll be off spending thousands every month. That seems to be his M.O. Any time a money issue comes up he retreats and has a mini breakdown.  Once the crisis is averted he’s fine.  He’s done it before when our house appraised at about 40k less than what we had refinanced it for only a year prior.  He was curled up in a ball in the bed all weekend, practically catatonic while I made phone calls and tried to make everything better.

When he thought I was going to leave him he ended up in a psych ward. His first words to my brother were, “Are you here to pack up my shit?” The irony here?  He wanted my brother to come visit.  I asked him if he wanted him to come down and he said yes!

Now these two idiots were spending money like they had a money tree growing out in their backyard. Once he had to write that check for the final pool payment and my half of the bonus check he suddenly found their bank account depleted. Suddenly they might have had to watch what they were spending instead of living it up. How do you keep your gold digging whore happy when she can’t spend willy nilly? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he supposedly fell apart one month after he finally coughed up my half of the bonus check (once I got my lawyer involved) and two months before we could officially file for divorce. Many people say they believe he has a plan and it starts with getting his obligations suspended so he isn’t on the hook when we do a final settlement. That will also mean that I will have to track his ass down to find out whether or not he’s working.

After I send my attorney this rambling email where I’m explaining how I’m not sure I want to go along with this and give her all the reasons I don’t want to, she responds by telling me she wouldn’t suspend his obligations; if we do it gives him no incentive to get a job.  Plus, since he resigned it will be on him to prove that his “medical condition” makes it impossible for him to work. So I’m going with that which means I think we’ll be in court later this month so he can try to convince a judge that he shouldn’t have to pay me anything.

Can I just put a little plug in here for my lawyer before I go?  Obviously I’m not going to use her name but I’m so relieved I switched attorneys when I did.  I can’t imagine having to go through this with my former attorney. I’m fairly certain that at this point in the journey he would have told me that CF makes a really good point about the spousal support being suspended and he might have the judge’s ear and things might not go our way so we should probably agree to this. Then again, he was also the one that thought it would be a wash between what CF spent on the whore and what I transferred over from our joint accounts into my own account. When I told my new attorney that she was astounded. “No, it is not a wash! You spent that money on the household. He spent his on another woman. He should be reimbursing you for your half.”

That’s my life right now. Trying to fit my stuff into a house already stuffed full, worrying about finding a job, needing to register my kids for school, still crying, and probably headed to court. Cross your fingers, say a prayer, and/or send me positive vibes that the job search and court both go in my favor.

6 Months Later

I was reading through the Chump Lady archives again when I came across a comment.

I remember six months ago, my best friend said to me as I was sobbing on the phone with her, “In six months you will feel so much better and your life will be so much better.”… sure enough, on the six month anniversary of DDay I had an insanely fun first date and didn’t even realize that the six month “anniversary” of the emotional apocalypse had passed until the next morning, when I woke up laughing hysterically. It’s amazing what getting a vampiric asshole out of your life does for your happiness.

When I look back at my own six month “anniversary” I realize I was finding out he had quit his job of fifteen years. I was finding out he had moved out of the state.  I spent a week crying, not knowing if I was going to have to pull my kids out of school, completely upend their lives, and move in with my mom. I had no idea if he had received his bonus.  I had no idea if he was going to screw me over when it came to me getting my half.  I didn’t know if we were going to be able to pay off the pool as outlined in the court order. No insanely fun first date for me! Nope, just tears and fears. Hey, that would make a great name for a band!

Ten months after DDay (to the exact day!) I found out he’s lost his new job and isn’t planning on sending me anymore money. About a week later I realize he’s going to play the long con and do outpatient therapy until we get in front of a judge. I have to break the news to my kids that they are going to be uprooted again. And not only are we moving but we are going to leave behind almost everything we own!  I sure could use that insanely fun date, or a fantastic dinner out with a great group of friends.  Instead I get, “Hey, how about another shit sundae?”

Perhaps it is because now, at the eleven month marker I am currently going through all the rooms in my house and deciding what to discard, what to try to sell, and what I’ll take with me and store, but I am not feeling like my life is so much better and I certainly don’t feel so much happier than on that evening back in August when my life was blown apart.  In fact, I’m looking at working a low paying job that will barely pay my bills, even with overtime, much less feed my kids or God forbid, allow me to buy them something they need or want! Perhaps I’ll make some new friends but I’ll be so fucking poor I won’t be able to go out and do anything with them.  I listed all those great restaurants we have access to now, but again, I’m going to be so fucking poor I can’t take my kids out to eat. I’m going to be signing up my kids for free lunches and waivers on their book fees.  Oh that is the life!  Welcome the poor kids to the neighborhood, everybody!

My kids and I have no home to call our own; we are moving in with my mom.  It is her house, not ours.  I will probably never have a home of my own again. I am selling off almost all of my possessions and the few that I am keeping are going into storage. So no, I am not feeling so much better nor am I any happier at the six month mark, or the ten month mark, or the eleventh month mark. He keeps shitting all over me and any plans I make. I am not holding out any hope that things will magically get better at the twelve month mark, or the thirteenth, or the eighteenth or even the twenty-fourth. I pretty much expect things to just keep sucking from here on out.

I would love to think that in another 3 or 6 months I’ll be here raving about my new life.  I’d love to think I will find a great paying job that I love and that my kids are happy and thriving. I would love to be able to tell every one of you that I’m doing well with no help from CF and while we’ve had to adjust our lifestyle a bit we’re doing just fine. I would like to be able to report that I’ve made new friends and I’m volunteering and I’m just so busy and happy and my life is oh so full.  I’d love to tell you that maybe things won’t be so much better at the six month anniversary, but at twelve months or eighteen months life is fantastic. Maybe it will be but I’m not holding my breath.  I know I’ve been fairly upbeat these last few entries so I’m sorry to bring anyone down.  It’s probably just the reality of having to go through all my things and sell off everything I’ve accumulated over the last 20 years. Oh well, fresh start, right? Thanks, CF!  I hope you get one of those one of these days!