Here’s What I’m Willing To Do For You!

I have court in a little less than 2 weeks. Supposedly Jerry Lee and his new lawyer were going to write up an offer. I haven’t seen one yet. I did get an email from my attorney today, though.

Apparently in reviewing his client’s file he “realized” that Jerry Lee was due a reduction in child support because Picasso had turned 18. Jerry Lee is generously willing to continue paying what he’s already paying and apply that to the balance owed. That’s his amazing offer so far.

Never mind the fact that yes, his son did turn 18 yesterday, but he just finished his junior year of high school. Never mind the fact that he won’t begin his senior year until next month. Never mind the fact that he doesn’t graduate until June of 2021. He’s 18 now so he’s on his own as far as Daddy is concerned. Oh, and never mind the fact that a quick Google search clearly spells out that child support stops at age 18 UNLESS the 18 year old is a full time student.

His big offer is he’ll stop paying legitimate court ordered child support on his son who has not yet graduated from high school in order to make up for the two years where he self-modified child support the moment his daughter graduated. It’s a two-for, if you think about it.

One, he gets out of child support actually being modified and reflecting what he should be paying for his son. Two, he gets to forego actually supporting his son and instead get a head start on those arrears he built up by being a stubborn, know-it-all ass.

Yeah, no. That’s not going to happen. I emailed my attorney back and informed her that Picasso was not due to graduate until next June. I’m not taking some half-baked offer to make his life easier. That man knows his son did not graduate, and he knows it’s not because he flunked his senior year. He is perfectly aware of the fact that we delayed sending him to school for an additional year. I cannot believe how stupid he is sometimes.

No, I can. He’s “conveniently” stupid. He doesn’t bother to research the law when it might not benefit him. He’ll just play dumb instead and see if I’m as dumb as he’s hoping I might be.

I am a little nervous about court. You never know how it will play out. I feel like I have the law on my side. Jerry Lee has not done the right thing at any point in this. But you never know. Cross your fingers for me, say a prayer, put it out into the universe, light a candle, meditate, do whatever you do to bring peace and luck to someone. Please and thank you!

Merry Christmas, Love Dad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He Paid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Numbers Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There Will Be Bad Days, Part 2

As of Thanksgiving Day I was still waiting for my prescription. My mom let me know she had a blood pressure cuff so I’ve been taking it. My lowest reading was something like 167/102. I had a high reading of 177/114. Not good. I’m sitting here wondering if I’m going to stroke out and leave my kids orphans. And, I can’t donate plasma if my bottom number is over 99 so it’s costing me money as well.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but the 60-90 days timeline I was given after I had my interstate meeting back in September is coming to a close early in December. I emailed my caseworker to ask her what exactly happens in 60-90 days. Is it over and a decision has been rendered? Do they have until that time to set a hearing date? What exactly happens in 60-90 days?

It turns out the state has 60-90 days to receive the case, record it in the computer system, review it, and get it to the appropriate county. THEN, the county has another 45 days, she believes to review and file the case.

Bonus points because Mississippi is having technical issues with their website so she’s not sure where they are in this process. So, maybe they’ve passed it off to the county; maybe they’re still thinking. I don’t know.

I emailed her back and asked her what happened after that. After the county has their 45 days to get their act together then what happens? Then we do the hearing? Then he gets garnished? How many more days, or rather months, is this going to take?

I also mentioned that I had heard it was possible to download garnishment papers from the internet, attach the court order, and send it directly to the company. I told her I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my case and asked if she had any idea how a judge would take that. I figure she’s been around this sort of thing a lot. Maybe she has some anecdotal stories she can share.

The next email back ignores my question about what happens after 45 days and is centered around how she can’t give me legal advice. If I choose to go with sending the papers directly to his company she advises I keep very careful records and keep her informed so she can communicate with the state of Mississippi.

At this point I’ve pretty much had it. She can’t give me legal advice and yet she’s the one who was adamant that I could not submit a new court order from Virginia to whatever state Jerry Lee was living in. Oh hell no. It had to be modified by a judge in that state.

I again asked what I could expect once the case was forwarded to the county. I also told her that the timeline of this process always seems to be changing. First it was 60-90 days period. Then it was 60-90 days to get it to one state and back, and then another 60-90 days to get it to the next state and back. Now I’m being told it’s another 45 days after that. So how much longer after that 45 days? I asked for an approximate end date of all of this bullshit and for some idea on how much time could potentially pass between him finding out he was being garnished and him actually being garnished.

That was the 22nd. I have heard nothing since. She’s probably on vacation this week. Hell, why not? It’s not her kids that are going to go without. It’s not her trying to figure out how to pay her bills and feed her kids. She’s got all the time in the world.

I’m so tired of being invisible. I’m just twisting in the wind. It goes all the way back to my interstate meeting and being told she can’t tell me how much he makes at his new job. He owes me money! The amount of money he owes me is dependent upon his income. I’m expected to go into this hearing blindly, not knowing if I have been jumping through hoops so that he is legally allowed to pay me less in child support. I’m expected to sit back and be patient. However long it takes, it takes. No use rushing it.

Zen can fuck right off. The last time I tried being zen it blew up in my face. That would have been my pool. Construction was supposed to take three weeks. It took ten. Every time we hit another snag, or it rained again, or the die blew up I would tell myself, “Sam, take a deep breath. I know it’s taking forever but once it’s done you’ll have this pool for years to come. You won’t have to go through this again and you’ll have a pool to enjoy every summer from here on out. Next summer it will all be worth it and you can just jump in.” Yeah, that didn’t work out.

I am pretty sure I wrote about my lawyer getting back to me pretty quickly once I told her that while I didn’t want to have to change lawyers I didn’t want to wait another six months with his unpaid legal fees hanging over my head. She apologized profusely, let me know that all of her cases have been going to trial and she hasn’t taken any new clients in months, and that she wouldn’t be able to work on my case until January. She gave me the names of a few lawyers, and said she would forward anything they might need if I would like.

I wrote her back about a week later and told her that if she was confident she could get to my case in January I would be willing to wait. That was November 18th. I’ve heard nothing.

The easiest solution would seem to be to make a call to one of the lawyers she suggested. One of them is a brand new lawyer that interned with her. She may trust that she can handle everything, but I don’t. The other option is well respected and is even on the list of Super Lawyers.

Unfortunately, I’m sure they’re also going to require a $3000 retainer and they will probably charge more per hour than my current lawyer.

It’s easy to say spend the money; it’s worth it; however, my daughter’s medical bills are going to sink me already. I feel guilty enough using my plasma money to buy Christmas presents when this medical bill looms over my head. In addition, it is almost the last day of the month and Jerry Lee has not managed to pay the second half of his self-modified spousal support.

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not enough that the motherfucker shorted me $700 a month while acting like he was out of work. It’s not enough that even when he was called on it he still refused to pay his court ordered support but instead did some strange calculation and paid me that. It’s not enough he has the gall to think I should be grateful for whatever he pays me. No, now he’s not even going to pay the amount that His Highness decided upon.

Sure, maybe it will come on the last day. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the best track record so whenever I don’t have the money in hand before the end of the month I get nervous. Plus, I have the garnishment hanging over my head. I don’t know if he knows and he’s punishing me by not paying, or if he’s just being his typical asshole self.

Once again I’m sitting here thinking, “I’ve had a needle stuck in my arm twice a week since August for Christmas gifts, and now that it’s here I probably shouldn’t buy Christmas gifts. Instead, I should be using that money to buy food and put gas in my car.”

He always finds a way to fuck with me. Every goddamn time I have a plan he finds a way to fuck with me.

First it was when I was trying to figure out how I was going to pay for a graduation party or a gift for Rock Star when she graduated. I finally realized I could use my share of his restricted stock. He would owe me for the next four years. Only he quit his job so he could be closer to the whore. Poof! All that money up in smoke. Back to square one.

Then it was when I finally figured out how I was going to deal with insurance for myself once the divorce was finalized, and when I figured out the logistics of getting a job to supplement my support and getting both kids to their various extracurriculars. That’s when he lost the new job.

The kids and I ended up losing a whole hell of a lot more. We lost our home. We were forced to move out of the state. We were forced to move back to Indiana and in with my mom.

I knew how I was going to pay to break my daughter’s housing contract and I knew how I was going to pay my taxes and he fucked that up when he lost yet another fucking job! He has yet to go back to paying what he is supposed to.

God, I hate him!

There Will Be Bad Days, Part 1

For any of you out there just starting this infidelity/divorce journey I am here to tell you that there will be bad days. It’s a process. One day you will wake up and everything will seem to be going swimmingly. You’ll be in a great mood and feel blessed to be alive. Then the next day you wake up and everything will come crashing down. Doubts will wash over you. You’ll feel like you’re at a standstill. You might even shed a tear or two. Hopefully, it passes quickly and you’re back to feeling grateful and blessed, and pretty darn content.

I had a moment like that on Thanksgiving morning. I was overwhelmed and worrying about things that don’t improve with worry.

The unfairness of it all welled up in me and I wanted to scream. I’m over here in Indiana, living with my mom. My son is dealing with crippling anxiety and I don’t know how to help him. It’s bad enough that even though he’s doing poorly in pre-calculus he can’t ask for help. The nurse practitioner who was willing to dispense anti-anxiety medication to Rock Star like it was candy is reluctant to prescribe it to him. As he said, “When I finally do open up and tell someone about my anxiety I’m told, ‘Well, you’re able to talk to me,’ and nothing else is done.”

I’ve been donating plasma twice a week since August to build up a Christmas nest egg so I’m not going into debt or worrying about how to pay for Christmas gifts. Then my daughter gets sick with some mystery illness.

When she called me crying on Saturday, not wanting to go to the urgent care because it would cost too much, I urged her to go. I have a check on my dresser for an overpayment of a previous medical bill. I have about $120 in my HSA account. Paying for that visit wasn’t going to be a problem.

But now she’s been to the emergency room. I don’t even want to know how much that visit is going to cost. I keep envisioning around $1000, but that’s probably going to turn out to be low. I have no fucking idea how I’m going to pay it.

Then on top of that she’s been to the regular doctor’s as well, which is another $87 I’m going to have to pay.

Meanwhile, Jerry Lee is living in his luxurious 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with a fireplace and granite counter tops, in a sought after subdivision.

He has no legal obligation to his daughter. He won’t be contributing to these medical bills. They all fall on me while he continues to pay whatever the fuck he wants to pay, whenever he wants to pay it.

So I envision my plasma Christmas money going down the drain. Instead of spending two days a week, every week, since August with a needle in my arm so that my family has gifts for Christmas, instead it will go to pay for an ER visit.

It doesn’t stop there, of course, because by this time I’m drowning in all the fears and doubts.

It moves on to the mobster. I fear that we are never going to be together, that I am doomed to never be with an every day partner. I spent 20 years married to a person that didn’t share life with me, and now I’ve found the love of my life and he lives 10.5 hours away from me. We do not spend day to day life together. We don’t spend holidays together. We’re not able to be together for the big events in life because of the distance. We see each other every two to three weeks, if we’re lucky. His kids live in Virginia and have no desire to move to Indiana. My kids live in Indiana and at least one of them has no desire to move back to Virginia. In order for us to be together one of us needs to move to where the other lives, and that means one of us is going to have to leave our kids behind.

Don’t get me wrong. I would rather spend every third weekend with him than 24 hours a day with someone else. I know what I’ve gotten myself into and I’m fine with it. As I’ve told him before, if we never live in the same state I’ll be okay with it. I’d rather have that little bit than to have nothing at all.

His new plan is to begin doing in home care. His parents used to do it and all three of his siblings do it now. It is a lot of money and you have a very flexible schedule which would be great, considering the distance. The downside is, unless the family of this person or persons, was willing to let him or her move he wouldn’t be able to bring this person with him when he moves up here. That means he will lose his income stream.

The bottom line is this: He’s got a house where he lives. He’s got a job that pays the bills and lets him buy pretty much whatever he needs; there’s a possibility he could increase his income by several thousand dollars a month. Three out of four of his kids live in his small town that I nicknamed the armpit of Virginia. He has to give all of that up in order to move up here and start all over. It’s crazy and it makes so much more sense for me to move down there.

I don’t need to sell a house. I don’t need to sell a business. It’s not like I’m working my dream job and there’s no way I’ll find another job making as much. But if I move I either need to get a place of my own which means I’m going to be living on a shoestring budget seeing as how I’m now paying rent, utilities, and all food, or I move in with him and must give up spousal support.

He knows I don’t want to rely upon another man once again. I cannot go through losing everything again if he decides he’s tired of me. Until I can live comfortably on my own I am not giving up spousal support.

On top of the money and the mobster fears, I’m frustrated and feeling invisible. I’ve been trying to get my high blood pressure medication called in since last Thursday. I’m still waiting to hear back from my case worker to learn what the hell happens after the county gets the case. After my lawyer quickly got back to me once I asked for her to refer me to someone else if she couldn’t take the case, I am again dealing with radio silence. And, Jerry Lee still has not sent the other half of his self-modified spousal support. Put all those together and you have one very frustrated Sam.

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.

For My Daughter… & My Son

Have you heard Kane Brown’s newest single? It’s called, “For My Daughter” and it’s his  promise to his daughter to be the dad he never had.

I’m not going to lie. I teared up a little bit listening to it. It tugs at the heartstrings. I hope he lives up to all of his promises. That little girl will be incredibly lucky.

I did like how he acknowledges that they say the past is supposed to shape you, but then goes on to say, “Well, I guess that’s up to me.” Far too often what we get are excuses instead of explanations. His father left him. He survived an abusive stepfather. He could easily shrug his shoulders and say, “What do you expect from me? I don’t know any different.” Instead, he tells his daughter, “I learned what not to do. I grew up without a dad. I’m gonna be the best one I can be.”

You know, when my daughter was born I remember Jerry Lee crying, his voice full of wonder as he said to me, “We have a daughter.” My friend reminded me of the story of all of us going out to dinner and him remaining focused on Rock Star the entire night. Apparently I said something to the effect of, “If nothing else I know he will always be a great dad to our children.” I honestly thought I had picked someone who would never abandon his children. Someone who wanted to give his own kids what his own father never gave him. Someone who wanted to coach Little League and teach them how to hit a baseball. Someone who would be there to cheer them on in whatever they chose to do. Someone who would want to spend time with them and create family memories. I thought he loved them.

Since I made such a colossal mistake in choosing a father for my children I’ve taken to re-writing the lyrics a bit. To both my daughter and my son:

They say dads are supposed to shape you, in a way I guess yours did.

You know what not to do if you ever have a kid

They say history repeats itself

Well, I guess that’s up to you

Yeah I’m sorry ’bout your dad

but I’m gonna be the best mom I can be.

That’s how I sing it now. Chin up, chitlins. You both know what not to do- from cheating on your partner to abandoning your kid. You can let this change you for the worse or you can tell him to suck it and be the best damn people you can be. Don’t let him win. It sucks to be abandoned and discarded by your dad, but your mama loves you. I’m going to do my best to make his absence go unnoticed. I’m going to love you both so hard you’ll hardly miss him. I’m going to do my best to make up for his failings.

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 Roll My Eyes

It’s always an adventure. I’m talking about CF, of course.

At the end of last month, you may recall, I emailed him regarding alimony. He’s a self modifying fool when it comes to my money. I reminded him of what he actually owed, gave him the monthly shortage and asked him if he was finally going to pay his court ordered amount or if he was going to continue to pretend like he didn’t have a new job and he was sending me all he could. He never did reply to the email.

This month, when he sent his first payment, he sent a new amount. No explanation. No acknowledgement of my email. This one included change, as in, cents. Imagine a judge court orders your ex to pay you $2000 in spousal support. Now imagine, instead of sending half of that, a person sends $827.56, or some other random, bizarre figure. That’s what CF did.

Was this going to be it for the month? Was he punishing me for daring to question him? One never knows with him.

Fortunately for me he sent yet another payment. Same amount. This time, though, he had to write something. Alimony, grateful or otherwise.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it? I’m supposed to be grateful he’s doing the little bit he’s doing. He slashed child support in half and then dared me to come after the correct amount. Now he’s modifying spousal support on his own, as well. What are you going to do about it, Sam? I’m supposed to shut up and take whatever scraps he throws my way.

Normally, I ignore him, but I think that emboldens him. He begins to believe he can say and do anything he wants and I’ll let him. So this time I briefly commented back: I’m not sure you understand how court orders work.

That’s the big joke, though, isn’t it? He understands only too perfectly how they work. He knows they can be manipulated and ignored. A court order means nothing to him. He does what he wants. He’s gotten away with it since June of 2018.

In other exciting news today I got a call at work from Rock Star. I sent her $25 last night through Venmo. She didn’t even ask for it; I wanted to do something nice for her. She replied through Venmo, “You’re the best!”

Unless I mark the transaction as private CF can see who I pay and what it’s for (as provided by me) but he can’t see how much. I marked last night’s transaction, “More food.” He turned around and sent her $50 for “weekend fun”. Oh brother! As she put it, “I cannot even with him.” I think translated that means: He is so ridiculous and I can see right through this charade. I joked with her that I should send her more money and see if he ups the ante. If he does, we could split the proceeds.

At least she’s getting something out of it, right? His motives might be all wrong and the way he’s going about trying to repair his relationship with her is ham handed, but he’s sending her money which she can always use. Hopefully his next step will be to realize he also has a son.