Quarantine Craziness!

If any of you read Chump Lady then you probably saw Thursday’s post about Bruce Willis self-quarantining with his ex wife, Demi Moore, and their three adult children. If you’re familiar with Chump Lady then you can probably guess her reaction. She thought it was crazy and stupid.

I, personally, don’t care whether they’re all stuck together or not. Bruce and Demi have always had a crazy type of post-divorce relationship. They’ve always made a show of being a united front for their three girls, at least publicly. Hell, maybe privately too; I don’t know them so I can’t say with certainty. They were the supposed goal of post divorce relationships, even when she got together with the much younger Ashton Kutcher. It was all one big happy family with the girls calling Ashton “MOD”, or, my other dad. I did feel a bit vindicated when it was revealed after Demi and Ashton broke up that Bruce had always thought the guy was a jerk. I also feel fairly confident that “their other dad” doesn’t have much of a relationship with “his” daughters now that he has remarried and has two children of his own.

Tracy did bring up one valid point though, which I hadn’t really thought about. Bruce is remarried and has two young daughters with the current Mrs. Willis. Why is he not with them?

I don’t really care. Honestly. What I did find interesting in all the comments was someone who decided to chime in with the news that she had left Chump Nation because it felt like a cult. Despite being cheated on she and her cheater remain friendly and she felt like Chump Lady didn’t approve. She went on to say that Chump Lady wants everyone to hate their ex and basically shames those who don’t. Another commenter chimed in with, “Exes CAN be caring friends. It DOES happen.” And then went on to imply that Chump Lady wants everyone to be pissed off at their ex.

Um… no she doesn’t. She’s pretty clear on this. Does she want you to get angry and use your anger to propel you through the hard parts of this shit show? Absolutely! Does she want you to stay there and wallow in your misery and the unfairness of it all? Not at all. Her standard go to advice is that the pain is finite. It hurts like a sonofabitch but it will end. On some random Tuesday. Her goal for her readers? To reach Meh, that glorious state where you don’t care what your fuckwit is doing or who they’re doing it with. You’re not angry. You’re not vengeful. You are way too busy living your new amazing life.

I can believe she doesn’t see the point in remaining friends with your ex. Then again, her first ex, the father of her child, is a hoarder with mental issues who sued her pro se for custody continuously despite rarely seeing his own child and being financially negligent; and her second ex was a serial cheating sociopath. Not a lot to work with.

She’s also not a big fan of the whole “conscious uncoupling”. I’m right there with her. If infidelity wasn’t a part of your divorce I can see perhaps remaining friendly. Otherwise, my question has always been: Why would I want friends like these?

She firmly believes you don’t have a lot to work with when your spouse cheats. She doesn’t think most of them are genuinely remorseful; they just don’t like consequences so they’ll say or do whatever is needed to prevent said consequences. And she has said many times that cheating is not about the marriage rather it’s about entitlement and shitty character.

I understand she’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ll even let you in on a little secret: I don’t agree with everything she says. The Bruce and Demi self-quarantine? I don’t care. And despite her insistence that they’re probably having sex and the new wife should file for divorce, I don’t think that’s true. Her views on emotional affairs? Don’t necessarily agree, although she has changed her stance over the years. This idea that a 50 or 60 year old has just as much of a chance to find love again as a 20 or 30 year old? Nope. Don’t agree. I also don’t think she necessarily gives credence to all the different variables people have in their lives. It sometimes feels like it’s a one size fits all approach. I tend to think that obstacles facing a 60 year old whose marriage has disintegrated after 35 years are probably different from the 30 year old who is divorcing after five years. I tend to think that the woman who has been a stay at home mom for 15 years is going to find it financially more difficult than the woman who is the main breadwinner in her family. Despite my minor disagreements I’m not offended by her or her message. I take what I can use and I leave the rest. Her tag line is very clear: Leave a cheater, gain a life.

Apparently though there are some people out there that are very, very offended by the fact that Chump Lady exists. They’re offended by the fact that she preaches leaving instead of reconciliation. They’re offended that she doesn’t encourage friendship and “cooperation”, but rather gray rock and no contact. They’re offended at the thought of no longer untangling the skein, or giving up their spot on the marriage police. They also seem to be offended by the fact she believes instead of investing in a relationship with a person who has lied to you, cheated on you, and stabbed you in the back you should invest in yourself.

My first thought on the commenter who was complaining Chump Lady wants everyone to hate their ex and all of those who are offended by the fact that she doesn’t believe in reconciliation is, “Who the fuck cares?” Seriously! There are 11,569,214 websites out there devoted to reconciling with your lying cheater, aka your wayward spouse. There are almost as many blogs written by betrayed spouses who are reconciling after infidelity. Chump Lady is ONE website that doesn’t preach reconciling at all costs. Actually, if you read her you know she doesn’t preach reconciling at any cost. But it’s one website! One website out of millions. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find blogs written by divorced women? Most of the blogs I have found are written by women (almost overwhelmingly women) that are reconciling. Most websites are geared towards reconciliation. It’s a foregone conclusion that you want to save your marriage.

As for being friends with your ex? That is the message we are bombarded with every. single. day! Friendly exes are held up as the golden standard. Look, they vacation together! They spend holidays together! I believe in putting my children’s needs ahead of my own; that’s why I threw the OW a baby shower. We’re besties now- because it’s best for the children. I live with my ex on the weekends- for the children.

We get literally one website that tells us it’s okay to not be buddy buddy with someone who has abused you. One website that tells us it’s okay if we don’t want to double date with the ex and the replacement, or host parties together, or vacation together. We get one website that tells us it’s okay not to engage, to not waste our breath. One website out of 11,569,214 that tells us it’s not us, it’s them. That we don’t control them and there wasn’t anything we did or didn’t do to make them cheat on us. And even there you find people who want to talk about forgiveness and thinking of the children. Like those of us who aren’t willing to have our ex and the OW over for dinner must not love our children. Like those of us who would rather crawl through raw sewage than sit with our ex and the affair partner never think of our children or refuse to put their needs ahead of our own.

There’s a woman who is hosting dinner for her husband (not divorced yet) and his pregnant girlfriend/mistress because custody orders are still in place and if she does dinners with them then Daddy Dearest won’t push the issue and insist they transfer the child between homes during this pandemic. Many people have responded with, “No. Not gonna happen.” She continues to insist she is putting her child’s needs ahead of her own and doing what it takes to help her child be comfortable. Then along comes someone who tells her what a wonderful thing she’s doing, how it’s so great that she can put her child ahead of her own ego and anger.

There it is again. That assumption that people can’t let go, that they’re mired down by their anger. If only you would forgive everything would be wonderful. Adult children of divorced parents NEVER complain about their parents being civil to one another. They are only grateful Mommy and Daddy could put aside whatever petty issues they may have had which led to this divorce so that everyone could go to Benihana’s after the school play or they could have both of their parents there on Christmas morning.

Ah yes, the kids are rubbing the sleep out of their eyes as they roll out of bed in their matching pajamas. They run down the stairs to the sight of their giant Christmas tree decorated to the nines and full of blinking lights. Presents overflowing. There’s Mommy in her sweats and t-shirt. She’s been up all night getting things ready for the big reveal and has been busy making breakfast for everyone. And then there’s Daddy and his whore, both dressed in their Christmas finest, with her practically sitting on his lap, her hand firmly holding onto his as if to claim him. Mommy is dutifully serving Daddy and the whore that helped demolish her family like the good subservient loser that she is. They all laugh and coo over the kids as they open their gifts, patting themselves on the back because they’re so evolved and love their children so much more than those bitter exes that spend the holidays in separate homes. Then Daddy and the replacement say it’s time for them to go. Maybe they take the kids with them for more festivities. Maybe they head home to their own quiet, clean house to spend the rest of the day in bed, fucking like rabbits before going out for Chinese food and going to the movies. Meanwhile, Mom is left to clean up the kitchen and the mess of wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows and assemble the toys or find batteries. Wow- sounds like an amazing holiday.

The sad part is that this is the narrative preached by so many. This is the only way to teach civility, letting go, moving on, exhibiting grace. It’s also the only way you can demonstrate that your children’s well being is the most important thing.

You know what? I AM a child of divorce. I never once wanted those things. I never expected my parents to act as a unit now that they were divorced. I don’t know who all these kids are that think even though Mommy and Daddy are divorced they’re still going to do everything together. My dad cheated on my mom. For years my mother could not stand him… or her. I still remember after Rock Star’s fourth or fifth birthday party when everyone had gone home my mom telling me she had been talking to my dad and she had to find something else to do because she was having a good time talking to him and it almost made her forget how much she couldn’t stand him. They separated when I was in fourth grade. I had my first child at 31. This was twenty plus years later.

I’m not damaged by the fact that we didn’t spend holidays together or that my parents weren’t super chummy. It was just the way it was. My mother was civil when she had to be. She preferred to not be around him. He and the OW turned wife were invited to her home for my graduation party. I think that was probably the first time they were in the same space for a prolonged period of time. I’m not sure they said a single word to one another at my wedding. You know what? I didn’t even notice. It did not affect me or my big day. They were able to be in the same space when we started having kids and the kids had birthday parties. Again, she was civil when she had to be. She was not friendly. She kept people around her and kept busy when they were there in the same space. I’ve never had a problem with that. I’ve never thought less of her. I’ve never wondered, “Gee, why didn’t my parents take us on a family vacation after they got divorced?”

I have always believed you do not cease to be a person with feelings and emotions once you have children. Yet, so often what we’re told is good parents eat shit sandwiches. Good parents let people walk all over them for the sake of their children. You don’t get to feel hurt. You don’t get to feel angry. You don’t get to draw boundaries. You’re a parent. Whatever your kid wants you should give them. Don’t worry about the psychological toll it may take on you.

I say, “Balderdash!” I much prefer Chump Lady’s message. Let us have our ONE damn site out of millions. If we’re all wrong who the fuck cares? It’s not like there aren’t millions upon millions of websites and blogs that are going to push reconciliation and friendliness between exes.

To be continued…

FAFSA Hell

If you are a parent and you’ve had to fill this ridiculous thing out I salute you. It always takes me at least an hour to do what should take me 10-15 minutes tops.

This year was no different. We started off with the username and password from last year not being correct. So I had to first change my username. Then find out my password wasn’t correct. Change my password. Then find out I can’t even get to the fucking site because my browser isn’t compatible. I updated that three or four times. Still couldn’t get in. Then I finally get in and I can’t upload my tax information to her form. Of course I can’t! Why would anything go smoothly? I then spend almost an hour looking up my tax information from 2018. Thank God for that interstate meeting that never went anywhere back in September.

All of this hell and my guess is, after asking me how much I received in child support (Child support? Really?) and how much I currently have in the bank and then needing to give them my adjusted gross earnings for 2018 I’m fucked. No, my daughter is fucked. I would be surprised if they even offer her loans this coming year.

I swear to God before this is all over I’m going to march into that financial aid office and tell them to take her goddamn name off their call lists. She doesn’t need to give that fucking a school another dime once she graduates. She gave them all their money upfront. Call all the kids you gave a free ride to; leave my kid the fuck alone!

One Angry Rant

I was going to write something completely different. Then I sat down to do my taxes and I didn’t have what I needed, and I was looking at all the medical bills from my daughter’s trip to the ER and the doctor back in November, including the financial assistance form the hospital sent to her. The end result is I’m pissed.

I try to be in a good mood. I try to focus on the positives. Then real life storms in and I’m knocked on my ass.

Taxes? Well, I thought I had all of my documentation. I was going to do my own taxes this year instead of sending them off to my friend. I had what I thought was a tax document from my money guy who now has my IRA. I took money out to pay to break Rock Star’s housing contract back in June. I knew he had taken taxes out for that. I thought that was what the form was. But no! It was actually a tax form from Jerry Lee’s old employer where the 401k had been. I’ve got a tax document that shows me making 3 times my salary because I withdrew the money from the 401k. I don’t have a document showing where I put the money into an IRA. So I have to go look for that. That’s going to be fun. If I can’t find it I’ll have to call my money guy and have him send me another one so that the IRS doesn’t think I’ve made over $100k this year.

The other document that I thought was my W-2 from work was actually just documentation showing I had health care coverage. Thank God! I don’t have a W-2; I’m pretty sure I threw that away when the other form came in the mail and I no longer have a working printer.

I still have to submit my tax forms for Rock Star’s FAFSA. That will take an hour or more. Every year it does. What should be a simple task that takes five minutes max always turns into a clusterfuck that leaves me fuming for an hour or more. This year I’m prepared for it to take an hour. I’m also fully prepared to put in my password and have them tell me it’s incorrect and for me to try to get into the site for, well, an hour. All the while cussing up a storm because what should be so fucking simple takes forever.

Next on my agenda is to pay these medical bills that keep coming in. $5 here. $25 here. $200 there. Oh, and let’s not forget the $4200 ER bill.

If I get COVID-19 and have to go to the hospital I’m telling you right now I’m returning back home and dying. I don’t have the fucking money to pay yet another $5500 in deductibles. Hell, if Rock Star gets it she’s going to have to either pull through on her own or fucking die. I don’t have the goddamn money.

They sent the financial aid form to the house. It looked exactly like another bill. It’s to her but I’m fairly certain I’m considered the responsible party. They want my tax forms from last year (or this year but we’ve already established I haven’t done them yet and I don’t have a printer anyway). They want W-2s. They want income of everyone in the house. Long story short, I don’t believe they’re going to give us any kind of financial help. I’m going to be stuck with this entire bill.

Apparently when your yearly earnings, including spousal and child support, fall right around $50,000 you are rich beyond measure! You can pay a $4200 medical bill- on top of all the other small bills here and there that add up.

I would consider taking her off of my medical insurance but I don’t think that would help. It could help me, I suppose. Every time she gets sick she ends up going to the Urgent Care center because she doesn’t have a doctor down there. I don’t think that goes towards my deductible. I just have to pay out of pocket. If I took her off my insurance I’d probably get $65 more per paycheck. $130 a month x 12 months. That’s $1560 I could put aside for all of her doctor visits. Since I still claim her as my dependent I don’t think she can get Medicaid but even without it- an additional $1560 in my pocket for the year? Unless she continues to go to the ER on a regular basis, of course.

Every time I get just a little further ahead my kid needs something. I’ve been faithfully putting the child support away so that I don’t have to quickly budget to live on almost $1000 less when Picasso graduates. I guess I could take the entire amount I’ve built up in savings and send that to the hospital. Start all over at zero. I was thinking maybe I could pay off some credit card debt or pay more towards my car so that it’s paid off before October. Nope. I’ve got a $4200 ER bill to pay. That $1200 stimulus check I was going to use to either cushion my savings or again, pay off some debts? Yeah, that’s all going towards her fucking ER bill. I haven’t even paid this off and she’s already whining, “I need to get my wisdom teeth out!” She probably does. She’s been complaining about it for about two years now. I don’t have the fucking money for it.

On top of all of this wonderful news she didn’t correctly calculate how much she was going to need for rent. Probably because she insisted her lease ran from August-May. I repeatedly tried to tell her I didn’t think that was correct. But no! She insisted it wasn’t a full year long lease. Well guess what? It is.

I paid her rent in December when she ran out of money. I just paid her rent for April. She’s got no money in her account. It looks like I’m going to be paying her rent in May as well. So that’s another almost $500 I get to come up with. Thank God Jerry Lee is paying because if he doesn’t? Well, Rock Star’s going to need to get her ass up here and work at the hospital.

I feel bad bitching about this. I am the parent. I should be the one taking care of her. She spent 15 years never needing to worry about any of this. Then her dad walks out and life has never been the same. I’m pissed off that I’m in such a shitty financial situation that I actually want my kid to avoid medical care because I can’t afford it. What kind of a decent parent tells their kid to suck it up and not go to the ER when their symptoms aren’t improving? Hell, what kind of a decent parent tells their kid they need to wait yet another year to get their wisdom teeth out because they can’t afford it?

I’m pissed that I have such shitty insurance and that I’m court ordered to maintain it, although not for her. It’s ridiculous. I pay what amounts to over $430 per month and it covers almost nothing. Oh, I can get a flu shot for free every year. I didn’t until last year because I needed the points for the extra money, but I can. Immunizations are free. As I saw with Picasso’s original bill, that would have been over $1000. Then again, I could have paid for that in roughly three months. I can get a Pap smear and a mammogram. Don’t care. I went 3-4 years without getting one. I’m probably getting a deal on high blood pressure medication. And her anxiety medication. But that’s it. I’m pretty sure for what I pay in premiums I could set that money aside and still have more money in my account.

I’m also pissed at myself that I made such horrible decisions- the decision to marry him, the decision to have children with him, the decision to move all over the country with him instead of focusing on a career of my own, the decision to stay at home with my kids. All horrible, horrible choices. He couldn’t have left back when I was younger and still had a chance. Nope, he had to wait until I was almost 50, had been out of the workforce for 15 years, and had almost no chance of ever getting a decent paying job. Thanks, asshole!

I’m mad and frustrated with my daughter because of shitty choices I’ve made and shitty circumstances; it’s not her fault. I’m the one that didn’t teach her to budget. I’m the one that hasn’t put the brakes on her spending. I’m the one who tries to keep doing for her. I’m the one that doesn’t want her life to completely change.

She’s a good kid. She’s a hard working, driven kid. She’s been working since she turned 16. She is generally very responsible. She’s taken out student loans to pay for her college education. I couldn’t even help her with that this year.

The first year I paid the remaining $4000 balance that loans and scholarships didn’t cover, and gave her money for books. Her second year, as I said, I couldn’t help her at all. Her student loans paid her tuition and paid for her books. They paid for her rent all first semester except December. Second semester they’ve paid for her books, her tuition, and apparently 3 months of rent. I was paying $500 a month last year when Jerry Lee was paying what he was ordered to, so this shouldn’t be any different.

I know it’s not what I wanted to spend the money on but I suppose I’ve got it. I may as well pay her entire bill so that the hospital can continue to cover those who get all that free medical care.

Small Victories

I was in the break room when she called. My daughter.

The last few weeks have been one frantic phone call after another. Flat tires, towing bills, car repairs, sorority drama, taxes, stress.

I answer. “Hey! What’s up?”

“Mom, guess what?”

She sounds like she’s near tears. Oh God! Now what?

“I give up. What?”

She’s full on crying now. “I got into nursing school.”

I hear the words but the crying is throwing me off. Maybe I heard it incorrectly and she’s crying because she didn’t get in. I decide to repeat what she’s told me.

“You got in?”

“Yes!”

Tears begin to well up in my eyes as well. I know how hard she’s worked for this. I know how she’s stressed herself out about it, how she doubted herself, how she thought she wouldn’t get in because she didn’t get A’s in everything. “B’s don’t get degrees!” she told me once.

Well, that’s ridiculous. Of course they do! I remember giving her a pep talk back in November when she was stressing out about narrowly making it in. “You know what they call the person who graduates last in their class from medical school? Doctor.” The key to that speech was no matter if she was admitted as the top student or the last one on the list she was going to make a kickass nurse.

She did it. She got admitted to the nursing program. A year and a half of hard work, tough classes, and endless stress thinking she wasn’t good enough has resulted in this amazing announcement.

She is one step closer to realizing her dream. She’s one step closer to financial independence and no longer relying upon her father via his spousal support paid to me.

I was the first person she told. Of course, after I verified that she did indeed get in I had to tell her, “I told you so!” And I had. I never for one moment believed she wouldn’t get in. I always knew she had what it took.

My baby is going to be a nurse. She’s going to be able to support herself and her children, should she decide to have them. She’s not going to make the same mistakes I did. At least not that one.

On the home front my son came up to me last night and declared he wanted me to take him out driving. He said something about not putting it off and confronting his fears.

“What the hell did you guys talk about in therapy today?” was my response.

He assured me it had nothing to do with therapy. This was not an assignment.

This is the boy who has had his learner’s permit since October. Of 2018. He’s driven exactly 45 minutes in that time. He says it terrifies him.

Tonight I came home, changed clothes, ran my entire 28 minutes (yea me! I’m very slow, though) and then we went out driving.

I took him to a parking lot so he could get comfortable with everything, seeing as how he hasn’t driven since July. That lasted for all of 5 or 10 minutes. He was ready to try the actual road.

“Before we begin I just want to make sure. We drive on the right side of the road in this country, right?”

Oh sweet baby Jesus! I thought it was bad enough when I had to clarify yet again which pedal was the brake and which was the gas.

He begins driving in the slower areas of the subdivision. After another 5-10 minutes of this he’s gaining confidence. He tells me he’s feeling pretty good about this driving stuff. I offer to let him drive around in the parking lot some more.

“I’m liking the roads. It’s like a track. It keeps me in line and gives me a guide.”

Yes, the road is very much like a track.

By the end of it he had driven 40 minutes. He nearly doubled his driving time. The most important part though is he was feeling much more confident about driving. He was even offering to go drive somewhere to get food.

Perhaps we will tackle that task in the next lesson or two. I think I will soon have another driver in the family.

What Ever Happened To…

I came across one of my old posts, Living With a Cheater on the Weekends… For the Children (Of Course!) and I got to wondering what had happened to that writer, Jaimie Seaton.

If you missed it the first time around the story is this: Daddy cheated, got his much younger mistress pregnant, and left his wife for the mistress. One day when Mommy was dropping the kids off in Daddy’s new town one of the kids wanted to know why she wasn’t going to accompany them on their adventure. And thus set off the new direction of her life. She began going with them on their weekends and letting him stay in her house for the weekend when he came to see their children.

People were divided over whether she was a saint who put her children’s needs ahead of her own anger or if she was a controlling nutjob who was depriving the new baby of her daddy every weekend and denying the OW a chance to bond with the kids.

That was written back in 2016. I found a podcast that featured an interview with her about that article so I had a little more background info. Nonetheless, I was curious so I googled her.

The daughter is off to college in Europe but Daddy Dearest still visits every other weekend and still stays with Mommy.

A little over a year ago she wrote a new piece entitled, How My Ex-Husband Accidentally Became My Good Friend.

Six years later we’re divorced, and he still drives up, alternating weekends between his new home and family, and our children. He arrives on Friday night or Saturday morning and comes straight to my house, parking his car and letting himself in the front door. When he calls out his arrival, the dogs rush to greet him, and my son darts from his room and into his father’s arms. When he arrives on Saturday, he makes himself a cup of coffee and we sit outside and talk about the week: how the children are doing, changes I’ve made to the house, the latest happenings at our jobs. Invariable, we fall into a discussion of the week’s news; dissecting the latest nugget of information from the Mueller investigation, or weighing the chances of various candidates in the midterm elections. We linger so long in these conversations that my son has to interrupt to remind us that his father came to see him, not me.

When he’s here, our home feels complete. For two weeks at a time, I am alone, struggling to juggle a full-time job with taking care of the children; driving my 15 year old son to activities, trying to snatch a few moments of conversation with my perpetually on-the-go 18 year old daughter. I do my best to keep up with the house, with cooking, with mowing the lawn, but I always fall short; it’s too much for one person. When he is home, I have a part-time partner to share in discipling the kids or helping with homework. There is someone to run to the store for milk, or cook dinner. I am finally free to go to a movie or simply sit outside and write. In the afternoons I often fall asleep on the sofa reading a book. Because I can. Because my children have their father.

Oh my. Where to start?

Look, if you want to remain friends with a person who lies to you, cheats on you, throws you under the bus, and blows up your entire life after creating a new family, be my guest. I don’t claim to understand it but if it works for you, awesome.

But let’s get real. He is not “home”. His home is in Manhattan with his mistress and their new shared child. He’s visiting. And the youngest kid is at least 15 at the time of this writing. She can’t take a nap or go to the movies without another adult in the home? Is she afraid her 15 year old is going to wander off, dump out all the shampoo, or get into the household poisons? Since my youngest has been 15 he spends the majority of his time in his room. I go out to dinner. I go to the gym. I go out with my friends. Never once have I thought, “I can’t leave my little baby alone. Who will watch him?” He’s 15. He’s going to watch himself.

She claims she doesn’t want him back and perhaps she doesn’t. As she has said in podcasts and in other articles she misses the life she had. So maybe this is a way for her to get that back for a little while. They sit around drinking coffee, discussing the nearly grown children, their careers, and current events. Their son has to pop in to remind them that Dad is here to see him and not Mom. In fact, in a podcast interview she admits that now when she asks if she can go with them to dinner or breakfast her son frequently responds with, “No!” with the follow up that if she comes along he won’t get to spend any time with his dad because they’ll spend the whole time talking.

She talks about a recent event where the two of them went car shopping together and how she later told him she was never going to do that without him again.

She says they talk almost every day.

He reads her work and gives his opinion on it, which she appreciates because in the very beginning of their relationship he was always her proofreader and proved to have a valuable eye when it came to such things.

He readily acts as her handyman and fixes stuff around the house. Apparently cooks dinner and runs errands as well.

One of the things that she mentions is that this didn’t happen overnight. She had a lot of anger and says it remains a very painful situation. But she also didn’t want her kids to deal with parents who couldn’t be in the same room. She didn’t want her kids to have to spend their weekends in hotel rooms with their father.

Personally, I feel that’s one of the consequences of cheating on your spouse and leaving them and your children behind to create a new family. Kids might have to spend the weekend in a hotel. Kids might get dropped off at Starbucks to spend the weekend with one parent and then the other parent picks them up at the end of the weekend.

I don’t think it’s a horrible thing to explain to your child that when people treat you badly it is okay to no longer want that person in your life. It’s okay and healthy. Nothing wrong with explaining, “Daddy hurt me very badly. I don’t choose to keep people in my life that have hurt me and lied to me and betrayed me. There will come a day when someone in your life does something very hurtful and if you decide their behavior is a deal breaker you have every right to no longer let that person be a part of your life.” I think teaching children about boundaries is a good thing.

I also feel you’re almost setting your kids up for failure if you teach them there are no consequences to cheating on your spouse.

These kids have seen their mom open their home up to their father, engage in long conversations with him when he’s clearly moved on (he lives 5-6 hours away), treat him like a spouse as opposed to an ex-spouse, and eat shit sundae after shit sundae all in the name of making sure her precious darlings never have to suffer the consequences of having divorced parents. What happens if the lesson they internalize is not grace under pressure but rather they can do whatever they wish without consequence? And what happens further if the person they cheat on isn’t as noble as their own shit eating mom? That’s a hard lesson to learn on the fly.

A lot of people commented about her controlling nature from the first article and believed that Daddy should be able to pick up the kids and take them to his new home with the OW and the love child.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, Daddy is perfectly comfortable with the way things are. I cannot imagine that there is any judge out there who would order visitation take place apart from the new family forever. Yet here they are, six years later, and he’s still leaving the new family to go spend the weekend with the ex and the originals.

I’ve got to hand it to her. Most people are not so fortunate as to be able to keep the OP away from their kids. I don’t know how she got him to agree to it but she did. It sounds like those kids have never met the OW or the new sibling. Just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with that.

Naturally, she speaks of how exhausting it is to carry that kind of anger around forever. I disagree. It’s not exhausting at all. Because it’s not about going around angry forever. It’s about getting the toxins out of your life and living a life free of that.

Later on in the podcast interview she talks about how difficult it is to find someone with whom she can share her life, and in the same breath says it’s a huge red flag for her when men talk ill of their exes.

You know, at one point I thought the same way. I guess I’m not sure where to draw the line. I don’t have particularly nice things to say about Jerry Lee. He cheated. He moved us across the country to get closer to his mistress. He cheated again (if he ever stopped). He abandoned his kids financially and emotionally. I’m not sure what kind things I should be saying in this instance. He made good money. That’s about all I’ve got. He had a great sense of humor when he wasn’t moping around. Sometimes there really is nothing good to be said.

I do give him credit for the few things he did. I do my best not to speak ill of him but I’ve often said my kids are older and it’s a hell of a lot harder to lie to them. I don’t have the time or energy to try to make him and his behavior look good. I’ve reminded them of good things he’s done and vacations he took with them. I’ve corrected misinformation. I’ve told both of them that I understand them wanting to have a relationship with him, that he’s their father and it’s not a betrayal of me if they wish to have a relationship with him. That’s as far as I can go because I’m not going to lie for him and I don’t think it does my children any favors to lie for him.

I think the biggest reason she doesn’t have anyone else in her life is because her life is filled up with the ex. He’s the one that goes car shopping with her. He’s the one she talks to about her job. He’s the one that gives her advice on her articles. They talk almost daily. He runs errands. He cooks. He lets himself in and the dogs greet him before he goes and fixes himself a cup of coffee and they spend the next hour or two shooting the breeze. How would she ever fit another man into this? She even admits that some of the men she’s dated have told her she needs to get him out of her life.

Her philosophy is that it is a good thing when the exes have a good relationship. I can see that to a certain extent. Would I want to be with someone who’s ex shows up on their front porch, screaming obscenities and calling the police on them on a weekly basis? It would not be ideal. Is it easier if you can have a civil conversation and be flexible with the schedules? Absolutely. Is it easier on the kids if you can both be in the same room without flinging insults or acting like the other doesn’t exist? Probably. But I can assure you I would take the mobster’s ex sending crazy, threatening texts any day over the mobster going out to dinner or spending the weekend with her. That is a flat out no. If he remained that embroiled in her life then he would not have time for me.

I find it interesting though that in all this talk about how her kids never have to choose between their parents and how both of them are invested in the two kids and are able to attend all of these important events in their lives there is never talk about the OW joining them. That is a very important piece of the puzzle. It works because she has managed to exclude the OW and the love child and Daddy has gone along with it. Yes, she is proud of the fact that she planned a graduation dinner for her daughter and instead of her daughter having two separate celebrations for this milestone, she had one with both of her parents there. She’s proud of the fact that she can sign her ex-husband up to help with her son’s drama/singing activities. They sell tickets and concessions together, and sit together at the performances. Yet, in neither of those situations does she have to deal with the OW. Mom and Dad are at these events and OW is conveniently edited out of the picture. That doesn’t usually happen. Most of the time the cheater insists upon including the OP. In Jaimie’s case she’s not only able to put aside her anger to come together and do these things together for her children, but also she’s able to pretend the OW doesn’t exist and they’re still a couple, albeit a divorced couple.

I think when it comes down to it that’s the driving force behind this. She disclosed in the podcast interview I listened to that her ex and the OW are still not married. She also admitted that the OW hates the relationship Jaimie shares with her ex, and that she (the OW) often sends profane laden texts to her, telling her that they need to act more like a divorced couple and that he’s not her husband anymore.

There you have it. A delicious triangle that will go on and on. Her ex is a cake eater extraordinaire. He dumps his wife for the pregnant mistress. The wife eats shit sundaes on behalf of her children, letting Daddy Dearest camp out at her home while he dodges any kind of consequences. This, of course, does not sit well with the OW. She’s now forced to dance, dance, dance to get this buffoon to pick her once and for all because let’s face it, even though he “chose” her he hasn’t completely discarded the wife and he’s not marrying her, even after the divorce. Why do you still talk to her, dammit? And why won’t you marry me? Your divorce took four years and I waited patiently but now you’re free. You have no excuse! Meanwhile, the wife, who has been humiliated and discarded, gets the chance to stick it to the mistress every other weekend; you know she’s got to be uncomfortable with their weekends spent together. She knows he’s a cheater because he cheated with her. Now he’s spending every other weekend in his ex-wife’s home, letting himself in with his own key, greeting the family dogs, and chillaxing with a cup of coffee while he and the ex spend hours chatting. All for the children of course. Plus she also seems to get to call the shots when it comes to the children; she has effectively banished the OW and her child.

Ex-Wife: No, you will not expose my children to that cheating whore. If you want to see your children you will see them without her or her child around.

Ex-Husband: Okay. Sorry, love of my life, nothing I can do. She won’t bend.

Mistress: But I’m your partner now!

Ex-Wife: Ha ha ha- we’re out car shopping and having lengthy discussions on the Trump impeachment hearings.

Mistress: You need to act more like a divorced couple. He’s not your husband anymore! He’s my partner.

Ex-Wife: Bless your heart. Couldn’t get him to marry you, could you? Always the mistress, never the wife.

Mistress: Why are you talking to her anyway? You left her for me. You act more like a married couple with her than you do with me!

Ex-Husband: Baby, it’s for the children! It won’t always be this way. Only three more years!

Mistress: Stay away from my man!

Ex-Wife: Shouldn’t have fucked my husband, you trollop. Buffoon, come fix my kitchen sink and read my newest article.

Ex-Husband: [to the ex-wife] Yes, dear. [to the mistress] Dance, bitch. We’re not married yet. I could still go back to my ex.

Rinse and repeat. Yes, one fine triangle.

When Your Kids Take the Hit

It’s getting down to crunch time. I’ve got 3 blog entries in my draft section; I still need to work on one of those. Normally, I would have just replied but since, as I said, I’m down to crunch time and needing some material I’m going to write a blog post.

I wrote about Rock Star calling me, crying, worried about rent money and worried about school. Ainsobriety commented that she believed this conversation would have happened even if Jerry Lee and I were still together. I agreed at first but the longer I’ve thought about it the more I’ve come to the conclusion that no, we wouldn’t have. We wouldn’t have had that conversation at least.

Yes, I am her sounding board. I always have been, even when her dad and I were together. I was the one that drove them to practice and attended almost every single game, competition, recital, and program. I was the one who took them to school, stayed home with them when they were sick, took them to visit family, and planned fun outings all summer long. I was the one who cooked for them, cleaned for them, washed their clothes for them.

When Picasso was in second or third grade he had to write a letter saying what he was thankful for for Thanksgiving. He said he was thankful I cooked for him because otherwise he would starve. The thought that his father might actually take care of him in my absence didn’t even occur to him.

When Rock Star was three I had Jerry Lee pick her up from preschool one day because I was tied up at the doctor’s office with a baby Picasso. She asked where I was/why he was picking her up, and after explaining that I was at the doctor’s with Picasso she replied, “Wow- I’ve never stayed at home by myself.” She was three! He quickly assured her that she wasn’t staying home by herself that day either. But how sad is it that even at that young age she couldn’t fathom her dad staying at home with her?

So, yes, she would have called me if she was having trouble with school, or was simply feeling the pressure of it. I’ve always been the sounding board; she’s always felt comfortable falling apart on me while keeping it together around everyone else. That time she got her hand pinched in the vault at the gym and everyone was commenting on how brave she was and didn’t cry once? Yeah, she got into the safety of my minivan and burst into tears. Mom’s here; I’m safe. But I also don’t think she would be under so much stress if not for her father and his shenanigans.

The reality of the situation is if Jerry Lee and I were still together she would have no financial stress. You can argue whether that’s good, or bad, but it’s a fact. His bonus check alone was enough that we could have paid her full tuition, no loans required, and her room and board (or rent for an apartment), and still had money left over to put into the bank. Her books would have been covered, any additional schooling expenses would have been covered and I would have sent her money each month to cover incidental expenses. She wouldn’t have to worry about working enough over her breaks to cover rent, books, or spending money.

Money is a huge stressor. Without having to worry about student loans, coming up short on rent, cost of books, and a variety of other expenses, she would be able to fully concentrate on her classes. Instead, she worries about things like whether or not she has enough gas money or grocery money. She worries about costing me money that I don’t have.

Hell, she was reluctant to go to the urgent care center even though she was sick. She didn’t want me to have to spend the almost $200 it was going to cost. I had to assure her that I had the money and that I could pay the bill. The girl was crying and telling me she felt nauseous, was in pain, and was running a fever. She never runs a fever. She didn’t think it was a UTI and feared it might be a kidney infection instead. Still, she was reluctant to go because of the money.

Thank God her big [sister, in her sorority] insisted she go because they were very concerned about her at the urgent care. They’re still waiting on test results but they are treating her as though she has either a kidney infection or a bladder infection. They gave her two shots in her booty, three prescriptions and instructions to go straight to the ER if she got any worse.

I wanted my kids to have easy lives. I wanted them to be able to have it all. I wanted Rock Star to be able to go to college, have her tuition and books paid for, and join a sorority if she wanted. I wanted to be able to send her spending money and buy groceries for her and slip her some gas money as well. I wanted her to have no worries in the world. I wanted her to just have to concentrate on getting through nursing school and having fun.

I know she’ll be okay. I know that she’ll be stronger for it. I also know I hate him for what he’s done to us. And I know we wouldn’t have had that exact same conversation if he hadn’t left.

This Is Why Tuesday Never Comes

My daughter called me at work today. I had just clocked back in from lunch when I noticed she was calling on my cell phone. I quietly answered and told her to call my work phone. She told me it was something serious and she would just call me back after I got off of work.

Um, no. I stepped away from my desk to find out what was going on with my girl.

“You can go back to work, Mom. I’m not hurt. I can talk to you later.”

I assured her that I could talk to her right now and I wanted to know what was going on. At which point she burst into tears.

She was freaking out about rent. She’s coming home over Thanksgiving break and working at the hospital but she doesn’t get paid until after her rent is due. She was going to be $200 short.

I reminded her that I already knew she was going to be short and I had been planning on helping her pay it. I just needed to know when she needed it.

She kept telling me she was stupid and felt bad for asking me for help.

I had to tell her once again that I was not dead broke. I am not living pay check to pay check. I am being smart and I’m being cautious, which is why I try not to spend a lot of money, but I have money in my account and I can help if needed.

The next crisis was school. She has two papers and a test due before she goes home next week. She told me she didn’t think she could do it anymore and she wanted to come home.

Once again I remind her that she is the most organized, goal oriented person I know. I tell her she can do anything and I have every confidence that she will get through this. I tell her to break it down into little pieces. Write down what needs to get done. Tackle whatever is due first. Then move on to the next thing.

I told her she needed to focus on getting through these last few weeks of the semester. Once that’s over the hardest part will be done. No more five hour credit classes. Chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology will all be done. She can breathe a little more next semester. She’ll apply to nursing school, get in, and from there on out she’ll be working with patients, which she loves.

I made her tell me she was awesome and then I made her tell me she could do this.

By the time we got off the phone I felt she was doing much better.

And then I got the messages from her two best friends. They both reached out to me in a group text to tell me they were worried about her. They said she had been very closed off, wouldn’t talk to them, and hadn’t been herself lately. They wanted to know if there was anything they could do to help her.

My stomach dropped. It must be bad if her friends are contacting me.

I keep telling myself that she is fine. She has her ups and her downs. She’s always been a perfectionist. She’s always been driven. This is the kid that placed 2nd in the state on balance beam and was pissed because she didn’t take home first.

“Rock Star, out of all of the girls your age in Utah you placed second! That’s amazing.”

“I didn’t come to take second. I came to win.”

I can handle her freaking out and crying. I know she can fall apart on me and pick herself back up and continue on.

When I’m getting messages from her friends telling me they’re worried about her… I begin to freak out a little myself.

For any of you who follow Chump Lady you know that one of the things she’s often asked is, “When will it stop hurting?” Her reply has become, “Tuesday. It will stop on Tuesday.” She’s not sure which Tuesday, of course, but it will eventually stop.

To be clear, I am not pining away for the ex. Sadly though, he still has the power to hurt me through my children. Fearing that my daughter might end up a suicide statistic hurts me.

My daughter should not be worried about how to pay her rent. She should not feel as though she has somehow failed if she needs to come to me and ask for financial help.

I hate him for that. I hate him for not making sure his kids have everything they need.

You want to make sure I never get another dime of your money? That’s fine. Pay your goddamn kids directly! Give them what they need instead of trying to bribe someone else’s kids. It doesn’t matter how fucking good you are to the mulligans. You have failed your own kids.

I’m going to take my own advice. Break this up into little pieces. Survive one crisis and then tackle the other. By all accounts it sounds like she is doing much better. I texted her friends back and let them know what was going on. By the time I finally had a chance to get back to them they told me she was more like her old self and she was laughing and talking to them.

The mobster called her and talked to her. He reported that she sounded better as well. Of course, as he acknowledged it’s a lot easier to fall apart on mom. He didn’t expect her to open up and fall apart on him. But he gave her a pep talk and let her know how worried I was and how worried her friends were.

One foot in front of the other. Tuesday will come one day.

Enjoy Your Weekend

I have always said I would give Jerry Lee credit when it was due. This is not a huge thing but considering how every little tiny thing turns into a huge thing with him I’ll go ahead and give him credit.

That medical bill for Picasso got whittled down to $87. I texted him and told him that, gave him his total. I didn’t have a copy of the bill with me because I was on the road at the time. I fully expected him to ask for proof. Instead, he merely thanked me and told me to enjoy my weekend.

Hmmm… what does that mean? I was a little suspicious because I was on my way to see the mobster at the time. My thoughts turned to, “Is he being sincere, or is this a subtle dig? Oh my God, is he tracking me again? Has he infiltrated my Facebook or texts? Does he know I’m on my way to see the mobster?”

Regardless, he paid the bill already. Hooray him. Hey, he doesn’t frequently do what he’s supposed to. Let’s celebrate the little moments when he does.

When You Feel Like You’ve Failed

I have days when I doubt everything I’ve done throughout this divorce. Was I right in cutting off communication and going no contact? Should I have eaten shit in the hopes that he would spend more time with his kids? Was I too open, too honest, with my kids? Should I have instead lied or hid the truth about what was really happening from them? Should I have pushed them more to have a relationship with their father? Should I have begged and pleaded for him to be more involved with his kids? Pushed Harley on them even though I didn’t want to? Hell, should I have made him his fucking spaghetti after that first night and carried on like normal so that the kids would have known it was fine for them to have a relationship with him? Hey, if Mom’s still making dinner for him and fixing his plate then we can surely go out to eat with him and have a fun time with him.

These thoughts have not come out of the blue. Rock Star was home a few weeks ago for Fall Break and on one of those nights she had a slight breakdown. She complains of constant stress and feeling like the weight of the world is on her shoulders. It’s hard to tell how much is drama and teenage angst and how much is real.

Some days it seems like she’s got the world by the tail and she’s so very happy and content. Then other days she seems to fall apart.

She didn’t get a “little” this year. Littles and bigs, they’re called. I suppose once upon a blue moon they were labeled big sis and little sis but now they’ve dropped words to make it easier to say. It’s like KFC and Dunkin’.

Earlier in the process she had complained that it was moving so quickly and that she didn’t really feel like she had a great connection with one specific person. Then came the reveal that she didn’t get picked to get a “little”.

She played it off like it was a relief because of all of her schoolwork but when she had her breakdown it all came tumbling down. She felt like she let her own “big” down. She felt like she wasn’t enough. I’m sure the rejection stung, although the reality was there were simply more girls available to be bigs than they had in the pledge class.

She thinks she’s stupid, too stupid to get into nursing school. I have been telling her for at least two years now that her cousin, the one who graduated a year ago as a nurse, isn’t one bit smarter than her. She had a 3.8 GPA in high school, for crying out loud! And yet she continues to say her grades are awful, they’re not good enough on their own to get her into nursing school and she knows she’s too stupid to pass the nursing school exam.

She’s always been a perfectionist, though. She has a 3.3 nursing GPA right now. I have had the conversation with her that goes something like this: I find it very hard to believe that only straight A students get into nursing school. The kids that aren’t getting in are the ones like the girl in your biology class that was rockin’ that 1.8 GPA.

When things calmed down I did suggest she go talk to her advisor because surely he or she could let her know what she needed in order to get into nursing school. Maybe the advisor can lay her concerns to rest. I also reminded her that she’s always been hard on herself and that her version of bad grades probably means she’s getting a B in something, which she did admit.

She told me her anxiety and depression are getting worse, despite being on medication. She says she doesn’t have much of an appetite and that she can make a single cup of coffee last for about four hours because she just can’t drink it that fast anymore.

And always there are the issues with her father.

I’d like to knock the shit out of any of those people who say that affairs are between two consenting adults, or who try to sell that bullshit that as long as you’re happy your kids will be okay. I’d like to run over the next person who dares utter the phrase, “Children are resilient.”

Yeah, they’re so fucking resilient that that evening when she was having her meltdown all I could do was think, “Oh God, please don’t let me get a call from the university informing me they’ve found my kid’s body after she’s committed suicide.”

Hey, her dad’s happy and that’s all that matters, right?

A little back story. My aforementioned niece, the nurse, just got married last month. My other niece, Queen Bee, was invited to be in the wedding. Rock Star was not. She’s been wanting to be in a wedding ever since her childhood best friend was in her sister’s wedding back when they were probably only 13 years old. Rock Star, Queen Bee, and Florence Nightingale have done almost everything as a trio throughout the years so I think it was yet another rejection.

Nonetheless she put on a brave facing, declaring it was no big deal and that she would undoubtedly be in a lot of weddings in the upcoming years because of her close ties with her sorority sisters.

Then came the big day. Florence Nightingale made the decision to walk up the aisle unaccompanied. But later that night at the reception there was the Father/Daughter dance.

I was keeping an eye on Rock Star and checking on her reaction. Nothing seemed amiss that evening but the night of her meltdown she told me she was bawling during it. In my defense I was across the room from her.

It hurts her to realize she will never have that. As she said, “My dad doesn’t care enough about me to do something like that for me.” At one point during the conversation she mentioned him abandoning her without saying a word, not loving her enough to stick around, and spending the last four years making her life a living hell.

I gave her the same speech I gave to her brother a little while ago.  He is your father. I understand if you want to have a relationship with him. You aren’t being disloyal to me by having a relationship with him.

“I don’t want to have a relationship with him!” she replied, still crying. There was something in there about him “making” me suicidal and how she couldn’t lose me. I stressed to her that I’m doing fine and that once I was away from him I no longer felt like that. Of course, that’s where the guilt kicks in again. Maybe I should never have opened my mouth. I’m too damn flippant sometimes. When I mentioned that in passing one time (and I don’t even remember what brought it up) she got a shocked look on her face but nothing else was said. I assured her at the time that I was fine and no longer felt like that. But in hindsight that was a terribly heavy burden to place on her and I’m sure the fear is always there that something else he will do will end with me wanting to end my life. He does have a habit of yanking the rug out from under us every six months to a year.

I’m pretty sure she went on to say that he was a horrible person and he continues to make everything about himself. Hmmm… that does sound familiar.

I think she’s between a rock and a hard place. She wants something she knows she can’t have. She wants to be a daddy’s girl, even though she never was even when we were together. She wants that close relationship but she realizes it’s never going to happen. He’s not that person. And ultimately she knows exactly what kind of a person he is and knows that’s not the type of person she wants in her life. Sure, he would walk her down the aisle. Hell, he’s already told her that he wants to do exactly that when the day comes.

I know I moved you 2000 miles across the country, away from the only friends you really remembered, and away from your true love, gymnastics, only to cheat on your mom and leave you all behind. I realize I put my own wants and desires and pursuit of happiness ahead of you and anything you might have needed as a young teen. I conned you into believing I suffered from PTSD so you would feel sorry for me. I moved out of our house and out of the state without saying a single word to you or your brother. Bummer that you had to move out of your new home and leave your new friends behind. I know I spent years whining about having to switch schools every year when I was younger, and I know I insisted we move when we did because I was supposedly so concerned about not moving you once you began high school but it turns out it doesn’t concern me at all that you had to switch high schools right as you began your junior year. I don’t care that you had to move in with your grandmother and don’t have a home of your own; I’m rocking that five bedroom home in the “most sought after subdivision”. I don’t care that you didn’t get your driver’s license when you were supposed to, thanks to me and Harley, or that your last two years of high school were awful. I’m not willing to help you out with college or to pay your medical insurance or help with your phone bill or your car insurance. But I want you to know it would mean the world to me to be able to walk you down that aisle on your wedding day.

Yeah, that about sums it up. He would be there with bells on if she asked him to be.

Unfortunately I don’t think that’s what she really wants. I think she wants him to want to have a relationship with her. She wants to know she’s loved and missed. She wants to be able to reject him and hurt him, the way he has hurt her these last four years. She wants to know she matters. Sadly, I think she knows that she doesn’t matter to her dad. He’s way too busy with his whore cousin and her kids.

He couldn’t be bothered to come to any of her events but he can put on a damn Cardinal t-shirt and support the whore’s daughter. Guess those crowds at the gym didn’t give him the heebie jeebies like he claimed they did when it came to Rock Star’s gymnastics. He couldn’t be bothered to send extra money so I could buy her a Homecoming dress only weeks after he was discovered. No, he was too busy spending $4400 on an engagement ring for his cousin that month; but two months later he could spend $300 on a dress for the whore’s daughter. He couldn’t buy his own daughter a car but he sent $500 to the whore so she could pay for repairs for her daughter’s vehicle. And on top of that, he made big promises about buying her a car as well. He was so busy buying the affection of Harley’s kids that he neglected his own. Just like he could make a 12 hour round trip drive to go see the whore every single weekend and yet the only time he has ever made the drive to see his own kid(s) was Rock Star’s graduation. I think that was solely so he could know the precise time to cut off child support for her.

Maybe it would be better if he would disappear altogether. Instead he randomly pops back up. He’ll send a text designed to elicit sympathy. He’ll say something negative about me. He’s always oh so sad and he always wants her to know he loves her to the moon and back.

She feels guilty about “being mean” to Tammy Faye, the person who engineered Jerry Lee and Harley’s hookup. She didn’t call her when she was dying. She feels like she’s a horrible person for not responding to her. There is always all this guilt heaped upon her.

I reminded her that aside from Facebook, and maybe one holiday card, Tammy Faye had never reached out to her. She never bothered to call or text after the very first episode when the kids found out, when she demanded to talk to her and then threw the phone on the ground as she walked off crying. It was all postings on Facebook about how she loved her so much and she was her flesh and blood. That’s not really all comforting considering she was crowing her unconditional love for her new “grandkids” as soon as Jerry Lee replaced us all.

Even if The Saint lied and Tammy Faye didn’t encourage Harley to call Jerry Lee she still had absolutely no problem with what they were doing. She went as the third wheel to a fucking funeral with the two dipshits, for crying out loud! She never told Rock Star she was sorry about everything that had happened or expressed any sympathy about everything she lost due to her father’s behavior. There was never an, “I’m sorry you didn’t get your license on time,” or “I’m sorry you had to move out of your house,” or “I’m sorry you have to move again and leave behind all of these new friends you’ve made.” Not a one of them know the hell she went through her last two years of school.

I reminded her that having boundaries wasn’t “mean”. She distanced herself for a reason. She really only had two choices. She could maintain her boundaries, which pretty much boils down to, “Anyone that doesn’t have a problem with what my dad did is not someone I want in my life,” or she can cave to the pressure. If she wants to pretend it’s all fine and that she has no problem with what her father did then that’s up to her.

Most recently she was invited to the Jackass family reunion (paternal side of the family). Oh, not by him. She was invited by his sister-in-law, the one I recently unfriended. “Why won’t they leave me alone?” she asked me.

The short answer would be: You’re still family. 

The slightly longer answer would be: They love you. You’ve never come right out and said to any of them, “Leave me alone!” or, “If you are okay with what my dad did I want nothing to do with you. When you support him and his whore, you’re not only supporting what he did to my mom, but what he did to me and my brother as well. You can’t tell me you love me and care about me when you don’t have a problem with what he did because his behavior has destroyed my life.”

I know the guilt should not be mine to bear. It should be his! But he’s totally oblivious. He never has to see her in pain. He never looks into her face when she is disappointed yet again. He is unaware of the stress and the struggles, the anxiety and the depression. He lives in a make-believe world where his happiness justifies everything.

I will always feel guilty when these things come up. When my child hurts, I hurt. And as always I am left wondering, “Was there anything else I could have done? Was there anything I could have done differently?”

Fortunately for me, the answer is always, “No, he’s an asshole. Nothing you could have done would have changed that.”

I’ll Review

One final entry for September.

I was going through mail yesterday. I opened a bill, which I thought was for Rock Star, but instead turned out to be for Picasso. $1282 for a doctor’s visit that included 2 or 3 shots. Let that sink in for a minute. Almost $1300 for one visit.

Folks, I make less than $15/hour. I pay over $400 a month for insurance. After I’ve paid all of my bills I have about $300 left over from my paycheck. This bill will take me take me a year to pay off. Or, it would if I had to pay the entire thing myself.

After I briefly spiraled into hysterics I suddenly realized that this bill was for Picasso. He is the child that is still covered by the court order. Because Jerry Lee hasn’t gotten around to modifying the support order he is still on the hook for 71% of that bill. Now, whether or not he’ll actually pay it is another topic altogether.

I put on my big girl panties, took a picture of the bill, and sent him a text. Basically, I told him I had received the bill, he could pay the doctor’s office directly instead of me if he preferred, and that I didn’t expect him to pay it all at once. I told him I would like to get it paid within 3-4 months.

His first response? I’ll review.

Review what, motherfucker? You owe 71% of your son’s medical bills. Are you thinking that the entire bill is not for him? That maybe I snuck in a charge or two for myself or Rock Star? That maybe I don’t know how to compute 71%?

Well, as it turns out I stupidly got my figures transposed so instead of $910.22 I told him it was $922.10. So maybe he was correct in reviewing me. Nonetheless, I realized my mistake while I was ranting to the mobster and I quickly gave him the correct amount.

His next text? That is what my math calculated as well.

Really? You got a new method of computing 71% that somehow doesn’t add up to what I just told you? Is your 71% different from my 71%? I don’t think so.

I’ll just sit here rolling my eyes. As long as he actually pays I’m happy. Of course, Jerry Lee and I will be going back to court anyway to settle up on the court fees so if I need to tack this on I will.