Damn You, Facebook!

I hope everyone reading my blog by now knows that I am completely over Jerry Lee. That shipped sailed the moment The Saint told me he had been spending his weekends with Harley while he lied to me and made up story after story. And I am probably somewhere in the 95-99% range of being over all the shit he put me through and the havoc he created. With that said Facebook can be a real meddlin’ bitch who stirs shit up!

If I let triggers rule my life I would have to be put into a coma somewhere around the beginning of May and be kept unconscious until the end of August. That’s pretty much when Jerry Lee pulled all his shit- both times! Much like my children have June and July birthdays which means I can pretty much always say, “They’re two years apart,” Jerry Lee was “kind enough” to make sure that both of my D-Days were in August. Four days apart! Except for the original D-Day which was not much of a D-Day because I was so stupid. That one happened in May- hence the medically induced coma beginning in May.

I looked on my Facebook memories and was treated to pictures of my kids and I on a “family” vacation in Destin with my mom, brother, sister-in-law, 2 nieces, and a nephew. I’m not triggered by the pictures of us on vacation so much as I am by what was going on behind the scenes.

See, poor Jerry Lee couldn’t come with us because he had to go on a “business trip” to Tennessee. That was the trip where his counselor and I both coached him on the arduous drive that he was unsure he was going to be able to make. We cheered him on and gave him all the atta-boys his little heart could handle. And then while the kids and I were in Destin Jerry Lee drove to Tennessee and met up with Harley. We’d been in Virginia one year exactly.

I look at those pictures and I see me and my kids enjoying our vacation, having a great time, with absolutely no idea what was ahead of us. We were carefree and happy. Approximately two weeks later I would find out my husband was a lying, cheating shit eating chimp, and about two weeks after that his kids would find out that the family they grew up with was no longer. In a 10 minute come-to-Jesus confessional they both found out not only had their father been spending his weekends hanging out with his new girlfriend in Kentucky but also his entire family knew about it and condoned it. His mother organized it and went on a date with them. It was to a funeral but still…

While the kids and I were on vacation, thinking that life was going on as normal, my husband was busy stabbing me in the back. I look at those pictures now and I think, “Oh my God! You were completely clueless.” And it makes me kind of sad.

Of course, this was also the trip where I spotted the Walmart purchase in Whoreville, otherwise known as Winchester, Kentucky. Looking back on it it’s quite insulting how stupid he thought I was. “D’oh, I gave my debit card to my mom so she could get a new tire for her minivan. That’s why that’s on there. I don’t know why it says Whoreville. She bought it in Lexington.”

Actually looking back it’s kind of insulting how stupid I allowed myself to be. In my defense I thought he was a whole lot smarter than that. Who in their right mind moves their family across the country, buys a brand new house, fills it with brand new furniture, buys their wife a brand new car, and agrees to install a brand new in-ground pool in the backyard which takes almost all of your stock options and requires a loan, and then turns around and cheats with the same damn whore you cheated with 2 years prior? Even more stupid than that, who in the hell buys the whore something from Walmart and uses their damn debit card when they know damn well that the other spouse can see the bank transactions and is checking on a regular basis because they’re on vacation with your kids? I do remember saying to myself, “He can’t be that stupid. He’s a smart man.” Not smart enough apparently.

God, he was such a shit. I remember being in Florida and him telling me the trip lasted longer than he expected. Then he told me that since he was already in Tennessee he was going to “try” to drive and see his mom. Would I be okay with that?

Would I be okay with him seeing his mom? Absolutely. I said as much. Something along the lines of, “She’s your mom. Of course I don’t have a problem with it. How could I say no to that?” Would I be okay with him fucking his cousin? No. I had no idea that to him they were one and the same. Okay with him continuing to slough off on our family vacation? Well then I must be okay with him fucking his cousin. And going to a goddamn family reunion that was set up knowing his wife and kids weren’t going to be there. It was probably their fucking engagement party knowing those inbred motherfuckers.

I don’t remember what set me off. All I remember is thinking that if he could spend money freely on his “mother” then I was no longer going to be keeping the purse strings closed for my kids. I took Rock Star on a very nice shopping spree. All the clothes she wanted. A Coach purse. Another Coach purse for me… after I had already bought a Kate Spade purse and wallet because the Coach purse I liked was a little too expensive. Oh you better believe I went back there a day or two later and bought the one I wanted. It was an outlet mall; it wasn’t that expensive. I bought for Picasso as well, but he had no interest in coming along.

I guess that seeing these memories pop up so close to my return trip to Utah has hit me in some way. I don’t want him back and while I freely admit I miss the lifestyle I used to have I can’t envision still being with him. The thought of being married to him and living life with him makes my skin crawl. I am 100% happier in this new life. Yet I look at those pictures and I can’t help but know that I thought I was happy and I was definitely a lot more innocent. I had no idea the hell that was about to be unleashed. I had no idea the changes and the hardships that were about to befall me. I was a sheltered, pampered stay at home mom with no financial worries and plenty of (maybe too much) time on my hands. Those pictures represent me before life kicked me in the throat. They’re a reminder of my old life, a life where I didn’t struggle and where I thought things were okay, maybe even mostly good. Those pictures are me and my kids before our lives were imploded and we were forced to change everything.

It’s not a bad life anymore. I’m not even sure I’m sad about it. It’s more like seeing a picture of a loved one shortly before they die. You look at that picture and you think to yourself, “I had no idea at the time that this would be the last time I saw them.” That’s what those pictures do to me. I look at the happy faces, the smiles, and I think, “That’s the last time my life was normal.” Approximately two weeks later I would join the ranks of women whose husbands had cheated on them and were planning on leaving for the other woman. I went from being a stay at home mom to being a working mom. I went from being a great mom to just being a mom. I went from living in my own home to living in my mom’s house. I went from no financial worries to worrying about money constantly. I went from being married for 20 years to being single. I went from living in Virginia to moving back to Indiana. I went from having furniture and dishes and towels to getting rid of probably 95% of everything I’d ever owned. Absolutely everything changed. Those pictures are the last pictures taken of me before I died, along with my old life.

Oh, don’t worry. Like the Phoenix I rose from the ashes. Maybe I’m even better than I was before. All that forged in fire shit. Not waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain. I did that. I’m still standing. But that woman in those pictures? She’s gone forever.

On the Stand

If you’ve never been through a divorce trial you are missing out on quite the experience. Your every little flaw is put through the wringer in the hopes that your fuckwit can discredit you and keep more of their money. I don’t know why I was thinking about this but I was. Maybe I have some PTSD from the experience.

I think I’ve shared before that Jerry Lee and his attorney decided that the best approach to take in their defense of his indefensible behavior was to portray me as a slovenly housekeeper who did nothing except spend money. I was questioned endlessly about my spending habits, my poor housekeeping, my laundry schedule, and how often I made dinner. To hear him tell it the reason we never had people over wasn’t because he was an anti-social asshole but because he was embarrassed about the state of our home. I’m still not completely sure what they thought this was going to accomplish but it suddenly hit me that what they were really trying to do was prove that I was just a lazy woman who was unwilling to work and was used to being supported by my husband’s money. I didn’t really do anything to justify him supporting me. I was a drain. A huge taker who gave nothing of use to her family.

Well, fuck that! Again, I’m not sure why I was thinking about it or why it pissed me off in this way but it got my back up. I wholeheartedly reject his portrayal of me.

Am I the best housekeeper in the world? No. It’s not even a goal of mine. I have my moments where things are very clean, and our homes were no exceptions. in fact, I would go so far as to say I kept a fairly immaculate home when we lived in Virginia.

But for the love of God, give me some credit! It’s not like I sat around doing nothing every day. Did the laundry ever pile up? Sure did. Did I ever go out and buy underwear or undershirts in a pinch if I couldn’t get to it? Maybe a handful of times over twenty years. But I also did the fucking laundry. I did it more often than I didn’t. I did his. I did mine. I did our kids’. Not only did I do his laundry I put his fucking clothes away. Man child didn’t even have to take the clean clothes that I washed, dried, and folded, and put them into the correct drawers, or hang them in the closet. I did that. 

I wasn’t sitting around navel gazing all day either. I ran my ass off for our kids. Taking them to school. Neighborhood car pooling. Early mornings for orchestra. Early dismissals for gymnastics. Running kids to gymnastics, tae kwon do, soccer practice, baseball practice, hockey practice. Picking them up from school. 

I made sure our kids were up and ready for school. I made their lunches if they ever chose to take lunch to school. I stopped and picked up food for Rock Star before gymnastics practice on a daily basis. I went on field trips. I volunteered at their school. I attended their programs and assemblies and parent/teacher conferences. I kept them busy with a stream of activities whenever they were out of school. I played games with them. I read to them. I was the parent while he sat in his bedroom or down in the basement and watched TV.

I made vet appointments and took our pets to them. I did all the grocery shopping. Whatever was needed for the house I bought.

Did I ever grab fast food or order a pizza? Hell yeah. In fact, one of my best, laugh out loud moments was when he asked when dinner was going to ready and I told him about 30 minutes. I had just ordered a pizza. I pulled that off with a straight face and didn’t even blink when I brought him his plate. But you know what else I did? I cooked! Hell, I rarely left him alone without making sure there was either plenty of ready to make stuff like frozen pizzas and burritos and his favorite canned goods, or prepared casseroles for him to heat up. 

Fuck him and his portrayal of me. I know the truth. I know I worked my ass off for my family.

Hitting the Wall

It’s happened. I have finally hit a wall. I realize I have spent the last five years worrying. Constantly. Worrying about money. Worrying about what was going to happen. Worrying about my kids. But mostly worrying about money- when he would pay, if he would pay, how much he would pay.

I FINALLY got everything settled. After more than 2 years of him self-modifying child and spousal support, and almost three years of him paying whenever he felt like it, I FINALLY had an order requiring him to directly deposit a set amount into my bank account on set dates.

Much like my pool that I had wanted for years and finally got, only to enjoy it for a mere six days before my world collapsed, I got to enjoy my victory for a small window of time. One month between court and the day I finally got my first direct deposit. Even that was marred because Jerry Lee texted several days before payment was deposited into my account to tell me he was being garnished.

Six days of having my pool and one direct deposit. That is the story of my life.

I thought the days of waiting for a response and hounding people to get to my case were over. I have been working on this in ernest since January of 2019. I finally had my day in court on July 15th of this year. And now I am back on the hamster wheel trying to get shit done.

I am so tired. I don’t think I have it in me to keep fighting this.

It is Wednesday. The caseworker has not gotten back to me, despite the fact that I emailed her on Saturday morning. My lawyer has not replied to my email or returned my phone call from Monday.

Monday morning the direct deposit came in considerably short, as expected because of the garnishment. I received an email from my lawyer letting me know that she had received a phone call from Jerry Lee’s lawyer. He was informing her that his client’s paycheck had been garnished by Mississippi. Her advice was for me to send that money back, assuming he had paid the correct amount per our order. Isn’t that cute? If only it were that easy.

I wrote her back and told her I had no idea where the money was and that Mississippi had garnished him before his company could put the money into my account. I also told her I had already told him I would send him that money back.

I tried calling her to get a quicker answer because I didn’t know what to do. On one hand she’s telling me to return the money. On the other hand, she’s telling me to return it if he’s paid the correct amount per our order. Well, that’s the Catch-22. He couldn’t pay me what our order required him to because there wasn’t enough left. The part that Mississippi took is floating around out there somewhere. No one seems to know where.

I got her assistant who told me she was on her way to court but she could call me after 2 pm. I waited until after 3 before leaving for lunch.

Today I went down to the Child Support Enforcement agency on my lunch hour. I took my current order and I spoke with a very nice receptionist who seemed to know what she was talking about. Unfortunately, my case had her stymied.

She said there was no record of any payment to my state. She also said that the last correspondence between my caseworker and the state of Mississippi was when MS asked her if they could close the case, and her reply on Aug. 21st, giving them permission. Why on earth they garnished him when they clearly told her he was no longer living in the state is a mystery. She took my name and put me on something called a walk in sheet. I’m not sure I’ll get an email or a phone call any sooner because of this but I at least did something.

I also learned it could take up to two months to get this resolved. Why? Because it’s an interstate case. They have 60 days to respond to anything. Supposedly Indiana can’t be calling them up and asking them for a response any time sooner if they haven’t gone over their allotted time. So, she sent them approval to close this case on Aug. 21st. They technically have until October 21st to do anything. Two full months without a dime in child or spousal support. Potentially.

Right now I feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall. I can’t get anyone to respond and when someone does share information it’s even more disheartening.

I know I won’t be destitute. My mom has already told me she would loan me money. She feels I’m a safe bet because she knows where I live. The mobster has offered up money as well, if needed.

I’m thankful, but I’m also so frustrated. This. Was. Supposed. To. Be. Over. I’m not supposed to be borrowing money to make it through until I finally get payment. I’m supposed to be socking money away. And what happens if it takes them even longer?

I walked into her office on September 10 for my interstate meeting. She told me to give it 60-90 days. Eleven and a half months later they finally garnish him, despite the fact that he’s no longer living in that state and hasn’t been for more than 8 months. She called and left a message with the customer service rep in February, asking the caseworker to give her a call back. She sent them another email in June, asking for a status update because she had never heard back. They finally reply in August, and tell her he’s moved and they would like permission to close out the case. These are not people that are in a hurry.

You are probably wondering why I didn’t just keep the money and let Jerry Lee sweat it out. Well, as I wrote earlier my lawyer told me I needed to return the money. She’s not answering me once again so I wasn’t sure if she would tell me to keep what little money was deposited and let him worry about how to pay bills, or if she would tell me to return it in order to honor our Virginia court order.

I could keep it, I suppose. However, he’s just going to have his lawyer ask for an emergency hearing to have the direct deposit stopped until this mess is sorted out. Then I have to go through this all over again. I’m trying to avoid that.

There’s also the possibility that his lawyer could seek to have our order voided since Mississippi garnished him. I don’t think that’s as much of a possibility as I did in the beginning, but what do I know?

I think the biggest thing is I’m so tired of being called a bitch, a cunt, a whore, a selfish, money hungry gold digger. I’m tired of the obscene emojis and the hateful comments and the nasty stamps on the envelopes. This was supposed to be the end of that. I didn’t have to communicate with him. I didn’t have to deal with him. It was over. The money was being directly deposited and we never had to speak to one another again.

If I had kept the money I would be dealing with all of that shit all over again. It may come to that.

Strangely, he’s been suspiciously nice. He offered to pay me his share of Picasso’s therapy bill to help me out until this was sorted. He thanked me. I really figured he’d be cussing at me. He called Mississippi once again and was told Indiana has to stop the garnishment. He even told me that Mississippi either wouldn’t or couldn’t tell him where the money is. And, when I asked him if he would help Rock Star out if he could, he agreed to send her the money she needed for the third access code she had to buy for this semester.

Right now I’m simply overwhelmed. Rock Star has started a new semester and there are all sorts of expenses associated with that. I told her I would pay her rent this year and it hasn’t even been a full month back at school and I’m already in financial distress once again. Every time I turn around she has to buy a new fucking access code for one of her classes. They’re over $200 a pop. She’s bought 3 so far. Her sorority dues are coming in. They’d better all be $25 because they’re sure as hell not doing anything these days.

My co-worker was supposed to be on vacation next week. She works from home and her internet is out so took this week off instead. Charged off accounts are crazy this week. Normally I’ll have maybe 10-15 on a busy day. I had 21 yesterday and I’m scheduled to have 29 on Thursday. That doesn’t count any of the requests by people in the branches, or the business close outs, or those that are on mail return. And for some reason I had over 100 cards to close out as well yesterday. I did have help from the staff assistants in closing them, but I still folded all the letters and stuffed most of them. In addition to that I had 40 service fee closures. On a normal day I might have 4-5. A busy day might be 8-10. It’s been an overwhelming amount of work, just with the things that I would normally do; then I add in completing the NSF report every morning and trying to get the fee reversals done and logged for the student accounts.

I’m trying to squeeze in getting this garnishment mess cleared up in between doing my co-worker’s workload and my substantially bigger workload this week. I think I’ve finally caught up somewhat (until I’m stuck with 29 charge offs tomorrow). I’ll shoot off another email to my lawyer and ask her what I do until this mess is sorted out. And I suppose I’ll wait for my caseworker to email or call me back.

I’m so tired.

August and Anti-versaries

Holy moly! I can’t believe it’s August already. This year has been such a shit year. It seems like all we do is tick days, then weeks, then months off of the calendar, hoping against hope that our lives might return to something resembling normal. I’m not sure there’s anybody out there actually enjoying this year. Most are enduring. I know I am. Between checking off the weeks that I’ve been downtown and away from our regular spot, and weighing in on Fridays, hoping to see the scale go down, it’s been an entire year of getting from week to week.

Summer is always a little tricky for me. I do my best to not let Jerry Lee and his past behavior influence how I see an entire season but it can sometimes be difficult. I found out about his first affair Mother’s Day weekend in 2013. I spent the entire summer pick me dancing and holding my breath, not knowing whether or not our marriage would survive. All that culminated in me getting a message from The Saint the day of Rock Star’s birthday party.

It was August 14th, 2013. My stepfather had just died. I was in the middle of buying drinks and ice, picking up the big 6 foot sub from Walmart, grabbing cupcakes, picking up chips and cookies and candy, and getting things set up down at the reservoir for her party after gymnastics practice. It appeared out of nowhere: Did you get a good lawyer yet? That was the way I found out Jerry Lee was a bald faced liar and had been in communication with Harley the entire summer, despite swearing up and down he would end it with her.

Two years later the kids and I took off for Queen Bee’s graduation and then headed out to Utah for 2 weeks. Not long after we got back we took off to Florida. Jerry Lee couldn’t come with us because of a work obligation. While in Florida I saw a purchase made in Whore Town. That was also the summer of him wiring his “mom” money for groceries and buying “her” and his “stepdad” phones and paying their cell phone bill. Needless to say there was no work obligation and he wasn’t sending shit to his mom. It was all Harley.

August 10th, 2015 I got another message from The Saint: I thought you should know Jerry Lee has been spending his weekends in Whore Town with Harley. Just like that my entire life crumbled.

This summer has been interesting. It marks five years since my life as I knew it ended. I’m pretty okay with it this year. I forgot June 10th this year. That’s the day, four years ago, he informed me with a brief text message that he had lost his job and wouldn’t be sending me anymore money. Period. Nothing else to be said. Completely forgot the date this year.

I also didn’t notice the day, six years ago, that we moved into our new house in Virginia. Oh sure, I saw Facebook memories. There were pictures of us going to some of our favorite places one last time before we left. Pictures of us going out to lunch and dinner with friends. Pictures of me with people who were saying goodbye. Pictures of the moving truck the day they came to load everything up. But I forgot the day we moved in. Ironically, it was pretty much a year to the day that Jerry Lee was fucking Harley instead of going on vacation with his family. Good times, good times.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll even make the connection this year. I was in the shower this morning after my four mile run and I suddenly thought, “Oh shit! It’s August. Some serious bullshit went down this month in 2013 and 2015. I almost forgot about that.” That was the extent of my thoughts.

Earlier this year I was trying to remember a date. I was thinking to myself, “Was it the 10th or the 14th?” Then I suddenly realized it was neither of those two dates. Those were my D-Days! This thing I was thinking about was a good memory and it happened about a week later. Those dates were stuck in my head but I no longer associated them with trauma. Maybe this is what getting to Meh feels like. Maybe it’s a way to see that I’m healing. Whatever it is those dates don’t hold much significance anymore.

Wanna know something really funny? We’ll see if Jerry Lee is going to follow the court order this month. He gets paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. This month though the 15th falls on a Saturday. So I should be getting my first direct deposit from his company on August 14th- 7 years to the exact day since my first D-Day. That’s even better than all the times he ended up paying spousal support on our anniversary. Maybe another celebration cake will be in order.

Now We Play the Waiting Game

Things were moving fast earlier this week. Jerry Lee was getting pay stubs to me, or rather to my attorney. I was submitting my information. My attorney told his attorney that I wanted a suspended jail sentence put into our agreement…

Now everything has stopped. I’m not sure what’s taking so long. It’s pretty damn simple. He agrees to pay $X amount of money in a lump sum. We modify child support according to my new pay rate and new insurance premiums. He pays that and an additional $500 per month to start bringing his arrears current. He agrees to use any bonuses and tax refunds to pay chunks of his debt off. He understands that my new legal fees are being tacked on to his “bill” and that failure to pay in a timely manner will yield a jail sentence. Additionally, I’d like for it to be ordered that he set up direct deposit so that I am paid when he is paid. It’s not difficult.

I emailed her Friday and asked her what was going on. I also told her that seeing as how court was scheduled for Wednesday and I was leaving Tuesday afternoon if he and his attorney wanted to wait until Tuesday to send me an offer it was going to be too late. This is ridiculous. Maybe my attorney is waiting to see what the all of the requested information tells her.

Speaking of the requested documents… Perhaps you remember the infamous job loss of 2019 which led to the equally infamous spousal support modification of 2019, which lasted until a few months ago when he realized I was planning on taking his ass back to court. Here’s a refresher for those of you who may be new to this sage.

Back on March 7th, 2019 I texted him to remind him that he still owed the second half of his spousal support for February. I asked him if he had a plan for catching up. His response was that he was busy searching for another job because his position had been eliminated. A few weeks later I emailed him to tell him he needed to send me something; although I didn’t say this directly to him I was not going to have a repeat of 2016-2017 where he paid no support for 10 months. I told him that if he had indeed been laid off that he should be receiving unemployment and a severance package. Much to my surprise he actually sent his self-modified child support that month. No spousal support but the child support definitely helped. In April he began sending spousal support again but he was paying me $700 a month less than what he was court ordered to pay. At the time I didn’t realize he had a job so I was thankful for any little bit he sent my way.

Now to present day. It turns out he was not lying about his position being eliminated. I think that’s a first! The not lying part, not his position being eliminated. His last day was two days before I texted him. Here’s where it gets interesting. He couldn’t pay the other half of his February spousal support because he was being downsized and yet he was paid the entire month of March (and February, as well). His last regular check in March was almost $2000 less but he got paid the entire month of March. So in March, when he sent nothing for spousal support, he was still getting paid. And in April when he decided to modify spousal support on his own? He already had his new job AND he was getting paid his entire paycheck from his previous company.

That’s right. He did indeed get severance pay. It wasn’t long- 6 weeks apparently- but he got it. And he chose to fuck with me instead of doing the right thing. He’s taking in almost an additional $8000 per month and he can’t catch up on spousal support. Hell, he couldn’t manage to pay what the judge ordered him to pay and instead shorted me $700 a month. He also couldn’t manage to begin paying the legal fees he was ordered to pay and for which he had an entire year to come up with the funds.

The income information from his last job and his bank records should prove interesting. I’m waiting to see what kind of a tax refund he got and why it never crossed his mind to use some of that to catch up on his obligations. We’ll see if he got two big moving paychecks as well, and what he did with all of that. Maybe there were bonuses. At the first company, the one that has already forwarded his records, he got small bonuses- like $2000. I wouldn’t sneeze at a $2000 bonus but I don’t make shit. This man, however, used to bring home a bonus check of over $30,000. Hell, I can’t remember the last time since he first started getting bonuses where he took home less than $10,000. Now he’s at $2000? Must be disappointing.

Meanwhile, I wait. That seems to be all I do.

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.

Two Years Divorced

Two years ago today my kids and I were in Virginia with the mobster and his kids. I was out with him on his route when I got the call from my lawyer’s assistant letting me know I was no longer married to Jerry Lee. Hip hip hooray! The divorce papers had actually been signed the day before. December 28th, 2017 I became a divorced woman.

I was 48 years old, 2 months away from my 49th birthday, almost down to the exact day. I had been working at the bank for almost a year. I was finally up to a whooping eleven dollars and fifty cents an hour. Days prior to this I had received my first alimony check and my daughter had received her father’s poor-pitiful-me text, letting her know she should have a great Christmas because he had just paid alimony and child support and he would be paying me over $4600 a month for the rest of his life. He also took the time to tell her that I was every bit as bad as he was because the mobster wasn’t divorced and he hadn’t even filed yet! Plus, he was abusive. He knows that for a fact because he got it straight from his not-quite-the-ex- a lying, pill popping alcoholic who cheated on the mobster and left him for another man- the one with whom she promptly moved in after vacating the family home.

It’s been two years since that phone call. Not much has changed. I don’t have some fantastic career. I haven’t received an amazing promotion. I haven’t bought a cute house. I haven’t gone back to school (not that my original college degree has done much for me). I haven’t traveled to exotic locales or taken any kind of vacation with my kids in ages. The closest I’ve come to vacationing with my kids is going out to Utah for 4 days for a wedding eighteen months ago.

I still live with my mom. She does my laundry and most of the cooking. I suppose that’s a perk of living at home. It somewhat offsets the fact I have no actual room of my own, no place to put my own stuff. My polar bear collection continues to collect dust and will probably never see the light of day again. The thousands I spent on photography for my babies are tucked away under Picasso’s bed. I should just throw them away because I never see them and they’ll never grace my walls again.

I still sleep on the couch. Now that Rock Star is away at school I sleep in her bed when she’s gone and only have to sleep on the couch from May-August and on school breaks. That’s a turnaround from when I only had a bed to sleep in from January-March when my mom was in Florida.

I’m now making a huge impressive fourteen dollars and seventy-five cents an hour! That translates into an equally impressive $30,680/year. Of course, I’m also paying out over $200 a paycheck for insurance so I’m actually bringing home less than I was 2 years ago.

I was curious so I googled, “What percentage of the U.S. population makes $30k a year? Turns out I’m decidedly lower middle class now. I’m not even middle class anymore. I make less than half of the median household income. I’m in the bottom 25% of all households in the United States. I used to be in the top 8.5%. Only 19% of the population in my country makes less than me. Of course good ol’ Jerry Lee is right back up there. Between him and the whore they’re bringing home around $200k. Good to see shit floats upward.

To be fair though, that amount does not include any of the spousal or child support I receive. When you include that in I’m probably more in the $60-$70k per year range. Of course, that also changes depending on Jerry Lee’s mood. He pays what he wants, when he wants. I don’t feel comfortable basing any life decisions upon what he’s supposed to be paying me because he so rarely does what he’s supposed to do.

As far as Jerry Lee paying me almost five grand a month for the rest of his life… well, as you all know that ended six short months later and remains a legal headache to this day. He couldn’t slash child support in half fast enough, even if he wasn’t legally allowed to do so! He was so successful at doing whatever he wanted that he slashed spousal support this year.

That’s right. I got one full year (plus two months) of spousal support before Jerry Lee decided that was too much money and modified it on his own. It’s almost a year later and I’m still trying to rectify the situation. Currently he’s shorted me almost $11,000 this year.

I’m also still trying to collect the $25k in legal fees he owes me. Waiting to hear back from my lawyer. Supposedly they had a docket hearing on the 18th of December. I’m thinking my case didn’t get put on the docket because I can’t imagine I have a court date and they haven’t bothered to let me know.

I’m still with the mobster. He’s the one bright spot in all of this. For some odd reason he thinks I’m amazing. He makes me laugh. We meet up in exotic towns in Ohio. That’s a lie. There are no exotic towns in Ohio. Yet, we still manage to have fun when we’re together. He’s supportive and kind. He loves me. God only knows why. He’s still not divorced although he has definitely filed. She’s still crazy. And greedy.

To sum up, year two as a divorced woman is no different than year one. Only more hassles with the asshole I divorced. Hopefully 2020 will see him in a courtroom several times. I’m crossing my fingers that he will be ordered to pay me the 25k finally and that he will finally be garnished and won’t get away with his bullshit he’s pulled since June 2018.

Radical Acceptance- One More Try

I admit I began feeling a little mopey while writing about this so-called radical acceptance earlier. I’ve thought about it some more and I’m going to give it another try.

I still think radical acceptance is about finally acknowledging and accepting that the life you once had is no longer. It’s a completely different looking life that you are leading. You lean into it instead of fighting against it with everything you’ve got.

It’s easy to feel sorry for myself. My God, I’m 50 years old and I am living with my mother. I don’t have a bedroom of my own. I own almost nothing anymore. My standard of living has decreased by probably 75%. But you know what? Everyone has a sob story. I’m not the only person who has lost everything thanks to a divorce. So what to do now?

Years ago Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” In many ways losing everything has freed me. You learn very quickly what’s important and what’s not when you’re forced to leave almost everything behind. The good news is I don’t have anything left to lose. I’m not chained to the bullshit. I can speak my mind. If they want to fire me at my job who cares? I can replace that job easily. At about $30,000/year it’s not like it’s the job of a lifetime. I will never be thinking, “Oh my goodness! I’ll never find anything this good again!” 

I can lament all that was lost or I can celebrate the freedom to recreate my life. For the first time in a very long time I get to be in charge of my life. I don’t have to move because someone else got a job. If I want to move to New Orleans I can find a job and move there. If I want to stay here for the rest of my life I can. If I want to go back to school to get my Masters I don’t have anyone discouraging me from doing so. All these decisions are mine to make now. No one else.

I’m not sure that’s what Janis had in mind when she sang that but that’s how I choose to look at it. This is my life and I’ll live it the way I want to.

I can focus on everything that was lost- my home, my pool, my furniture. Pretty much everything I’ve ever owned. I can dwell on how I moved back to my home town, in with my mother, completely defeated. Or, I can celebrate how I survived that hell. I didn’t just survive it. I rocked it. I got shit done.

I was 46 years old when I realized my life as I knew it was going to radically change. I had been a stay at home mom for 15 years at that point. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. I knew I would end up on aid and that we would pretty much be living in poverty. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: If it weren’t for my mom, my kids and I would have been out on the streets, or living in our car or in subsidized housing somewhere.

Even knowing how badly life was going to suck I continued to put one foot in front of the other. I continued to do the things that needed to be done. I interviewed lawyers and filed for divorce. I fired my first lawyer and hired my second lawyer. I continued to take care of my kids.

Later, after moving back to Indiana, I continued to do what needed to be done. I got my kids enrolled in a new school system. I applied for Medicaid and free lunches and textbooks for my kids. I took a seasonal job at Target, unloading trucks and stocking shelves that had me getting up anywhere from 1:30 to 3:30 in the morning. And then I took another seasonal job at Kohl’s where I worked from noon until 6 or 8 pm. That’s right. I worked two jobs while he worked none. Do you know why? Because it needed to be done. I had two choices. I could cry and bitch about it, or I could do something about it. I chose to do something about it. Yes, it meant I fell asleep sitting up many a nights. It meant I relied on my mom to get my kids where they needed to be. It meant that there were days my feet and back hurt so badly after working both jobs that I limped out to my car at the end of the night. It meant I woke up at ungodly hours and I worked 21 straight days before finally getting a day off. But I did it. I did that. Chumpy little me. A stay at home mom for 15 years with no great job prospects.

Then I pushed for a show cause hearing to get the support my kids and I needed and deserved. And then I hired an expert witness to counter his PTSD bullshit and I kept going through all of it.

I did all of that, and I did it without someone by my side telling me how wonderful I was and how I deserved to be happy. I had many days where I would cry all the way to Target, wipe my tears and go to work; then come back home, pick up my daughter, take her to school, get ready for my full-time job, and cry all the way to that job as well. Once again, I would wipe my tears, put a smile on my face and go to work. The biggest compliment I ever received was a co-worker telling me she would never have known I was going through all of that because I was always so sweet and cheerful, always had a smile on my face.

Radical acceptance means saying goodbye to your old life and embracing this new one. It means celebrating all that you have accomplished instead of focusing on what was lost.

I did so many things he never had to do, things I don’t think he has the balls to do. I raised our kids with no help from him while working two jobs for a while. He can’t say he’s ever done that. He can’t even say he worked and raised his kids because all of their care fell on me. He never took a single day off because a kid was sick. He never had to tell his boss he couldn’t go in early, or that he wouldn’t be available to go out to dinner with the bigwigs from corporate at the last minute. Because I was there, making sure everything went smoothly for him.

Today I no longer work two jobs but I donate plasma twice a week so that my kids can have a nice Christmas without me stressing out over it. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it anywhere close to what my life was like five years ago? Oh God no. But you know what? Christmas will be paid for and I won’t be running up any credit cards or worrying about how far my paycheck will stretch. I am free to concentrate on the fun parts of Christmas. Ultimately, fair or not, I’m getting it done. I could cry (and believe me, I did a lot of crying in the early days) or I can choose to celebrate the badass I am.

Am I where I want to be? No, I’m not. But again, I can cry and gnash my teeth over my poor paying job, or I can do something about it. Radical acceptance, to me, means accepting that it’s not going to be handed to me. It doesn’t mean lying down and playing dead; it doesn’t mean I accept this as though it’s my fate. If I want a change I need to go after it. Maybe that means going back to school. Maybe it means getting a different job.

It’s so easy to get sucked into that cycle of feeling sorry for yourself. Look at all that I’ve lost. Look at what I’ll never have again. At some point though it’s necessary to give thanks for what you do have.

I have two great kids who love me. There are those out there who have been cheated on and discarded and their children have turned against them as well. I have been fortunate in that my two have remained steadfastly loyal. They demonstrate on a regular basis how much they love me and how important I am to them.

I realize he does not value the same things I value and yet I still feel fortunate to be able to say I am a large part of their lives. They talk to me and tell me things, I get to laugh with them and make new memories with them. I get to be with them and be a part of their lives.

I have a mother who has gone above and beyond for me. She’ll take Picasso his lunch if he’s forgotten it. She’ll get him where he needs to be after school. She’s provided a home for us these last three years. When I was working 12+ hour days she would take Rock Star to work or pick her up so I could sleep. I am truly fortunate; I know many others do not have the luxury of going back home.

Divorcing Jerry Lee meant that I was free to pursue a relationship with the mobster. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know I happen to think this man hangs the moon. He is a much, much better partner than Jerry Lee ever was.

No matter how sorry I’m feeling for myself every time I talk to him I’m filled with happiness, and am so overjoyed he is in my life. That other stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I would rather live in a one bedroom apartment with him than in a mansion with Jerry Lee.

If I were still with Jerry Lee, living in my big ol’ house with my brand new furniture, and my luxury pool, I never would have met the mobster. I’d never have experienced all the wonderful weekends we’ve spent together. I wouldn’t know the joy of Athens or Columbus or Chilicothe. I never would have known a man would actually rinse your jeans out for you when you shit yourself on a bike ride. I wouldn’t have my cute little glitter jingle bell elf slippers. I wouldn’t have been kayaking or visited wineries or gone geocaching or known anything about Pokemon Go. I would have missed out on a lot.

I have amazing friends, both near and far. So many people rallied around while this was happening. And moving back to my hometown has allowed me to spend more time with my oldest friends.

I once wrote about going to Holland when you thought you were going to go to Italy. Radical acceptance is a lot like going to Holland. My hometown isn’t a horrible place. It has lots of great things. It has wine walks and Jeff Dunham shows and cool movie theaters. It’s close to Chicago and Lake Michigan. It’s just not what I had planned.

I won’t ever live in another 4000 sq. ft. home unless something very unexpected happens. I don’t think I even want another house that big. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever have a home. Hopefully one day the mobster and I will share a home. It will be quaint and charming and homey. It will be a haven for us and our combined six kids when they choose to visit. Except for Picasso. I’m pretty sure he’s going to live with me forever.

My job isn’t horrible. It doesn’t pay very well but it has a few other perks, and it turns out I’m pretty decent at what I do. Like I said earlier, I can always get another job. Right now I’m lazy. I haven’t looked because I haven’t had to.

I may not be able to buy my kids all the creature comforts that I once could but a little hard work won’t kill them. I’m extremely proud of my daughter and how hard she already works. She sets a goal and she goes for it. She got a job at age 16 and has been working ever since.

Plus, if the mobster and I were to ever marry I feel like I’m contributing equally to the relationship. It’s not him going out to work and providing for the family while I stay at home and do nothing (at least that’s how Jerry Lee viewed it). He’s self-employed so I always figure at least I can bring insurance to the table.

I can’t say that I’m all the way there, or even that I won’t backslide now and again, but I do feel like I’m further than I’ve ever been before.

Time Flies When You Forget Stuff

Today is August 10th.

As I’ve said before I work at a bank. I have to know what day it is all the time. I’ve got holds to place. Forms to fill out. Service requests to fulfill. These all require dates.

So, I knew when August rolled around. “Oh wow! I can’t believe it’s August already!” I got a little hung up on the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Kept mixing them up. Never sure if I was a day behind or a day ahead. Not a good thing to admit. But I have a calendar- a huge calendar- on my desk so it worked out okay. Then today, the 10th, rolls around. I’m not at work; I’m home, checking out Facebook while I cook breakfast. More specifically I’m looking back at my memories on Facebook.

The most recent memory? This little ditty: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Oh crap! Today is D-Day #2, the D-Day that ended my marriage and completely changed the trajectory of my life. Our lives really, because that jackass deeply affected my children as well.

Another momentous occasion that I have forgotten. Had I not checked my memories on Facebook I doubt I would have made the connection.

It’s strange though because only six days ago I came across the memory of our pool finally being filled. There was a picture of Rock Star and Picasso shivering in the cold water, so happy our pool was finally finished. A few days later came the picture of the deck jets working. I’m quite familiar with that timeline and how my enjoyment was so short lived.

Yet, somehow this date completely slipped my mind. Sitting here typing this I feel nothing. I’m not happy. I’m not sad. I still feel like I haven’t made proper progress in four years but that has nothing to do with him.

Hey, come to think of it I forgot my three year anniversary of moving from Virginia to Indiana, as well. Wow- I’m losing it.

Or maybe the significance of all of those dates are simply losing their power over me. They don’t really mean anything anymore. I’d rather concentrate on dates like August 15th, which is the date my son begins his junior year. Or, August 13th which is the date Rock Star has to return for her sophomore year. Or May 23rd and 24th, which are the two anniversary days of the mobster coming into my life.

So fuck you, horrible anti-versary dates. You mean nothing to me anymore. I barely even recognize you. Four years ago today my life fell apart. I had no idea what was going to happen to me and to my children. Today, I am with the love of my life, my kids are doing well despite whatever hurdles are thrown our way, I have a job no matter how little it pays, and I no longer have to worry about a fuckwit and his whore. Tonight I am going out dancing with two of my friends from high school. We’re listening to a band that someone we know plays in. I’m going to have a few drinks, maybe enjoy some appetizers, and dance the night away. Even if I don’t dance I’ll be with friends. Maybe I’ll mention the date’s former significance to them. Maybe I won’t. It’s possible that between now and then I’ll have forgotten about it once again.

Wise Advice From Sophia

I wrote this year about June 10th passing with barely a notice from me. Sophia commented and something she said really resonated with me. It turns out she was in an automobile accident 19 years ago and it has fundamentally changed her life. This is the comment that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go: I had to throw out every plan, schedule, routine, hope and dream and make a new one for the new life I had to live. Most importantly I had to stop thinking of how it was before so I could be happy where I’m at, because that was the worst of all.

I struggle with that to this day. I try hard to let it go. I try to focus solely on my own life and the things I can control, instead of thinking about CF and all the horrible things he has done and put us through. I try to count my blessings and be thankful for the good things in my life.

Yet, I vacillate between daydreaming of karma and justice, and resigning myself to eating a giant shit sundae by dropping the rope and doing my best to let all the injustices pass me by. I can’t control it so I may as well accept it.

It is still very difficult to look back on past memories and see pictures of my house, my pool, my furniture. It’s hard to see me back in Utah, celebrating our return, hanging out with friends, having a great time, completely oblivious to the carnage that was happening. It’s still painful when I see those stupid, inspirational signs, like the ones I hung up all around my kitchen and throughout my home. It is still very hard to hear certain songs or to look back at everything my kids lost due to their father’s poor choices. Some of those memories bring on a shot-in-the-gut, stabbed-in-the-heart, heart-in-my-throat, shortness of breath type pain.

It’s been almost four years since I found out my life as I knew it was over. Four years since that message popped up on my phone, letting me know I wasn’t crazy. Letting me know that my husband of twenty years was spending his weekends with Harley, instead of visiting his mom and his best friend like he claimed.

It’s been three years since that fateful day he completely immolated my life and the lives of my children. I remember only too clearly getting that text, letting me know he had lost his job and he wouldn’t be sending me anymore money. And then silence. No need to let me know what was going on.

I have tried writing this post a few times but I always seem to get stuck. An earlier version focused on why I thought it was so difficult to move on.

No surprises here- it’s a combo of CF never tiring of fucking with me and not doing what the court order tells him to do, not being financially secure on my own, and still mourning the life I left behind.

As I wrote about CF in an earlier version:

It’s always something; I can never settle down into a comfortable, boring existence. He’s always in the background doing something. It’s been over a year and I still don’t have child support modified. He still has not paid the legal fees he owes. And he’s now decided to modify spousal support. Each time I think I’ve finally got that sonofabitch up against the rope I’m told, nope, he gets away with doing what he’s doing. It’s exhausting.

I would love to no longer have to deal with him. I would be ecstatic if the man paid what he was legally required to pay on a timely, consistent basis. But that’s not happening. So, I keep fighting the good fight. I keep insisting upon holding him accountable. That’s a choice I’m making because God knows I could throw up my hands and just say, “Do whatever you want, Jackass! I’m not coming after you anymore. I’m not going to fight anymore. Pay whatever you want, whenever you want to.”

I can try to minimize his effects as much possible. I can be miserly. I can refuse to spend a penny. I can figure out how to survive on the whole $200 I have left over each month. I can make sure I’m never looking to the current month’s support payment to pay for the current month’s expenses.

Eventually I am going to have to find another job or I’m going to have to get a fantastic promotion at my current job. I do realize I cannot rely upon him. He has absolutely no respect for the court order. I will spend the rest of my life chasing after him.

In many ways that pisses me off. If I decide to forgo any of that money I want it to be because I decided to tell him to fuck off, not because I’ve finally given up fighting him on it.

The above also plays into point #2, which is not being financially secure. A day or two after I wrote my post about almost missing June 10th I  realized three years had passed and I had not made the progress I had hoped for. As I was voicing these concerns to the mobster he commented that I couldn’t expect to be where CF was in only three years, maybe not ever.

Here’s the thing- I don’t expect to ever make as much money as CF does. I do think I should expect to be able to make enough money to support myself and my kids in my own home. I’d like to make enough money to live in a house of my own and still have enough money after paying bills to go out with friends, travel, see the mobster, buy things for my kids, go out to dinner, help my daughter with college, go on a vacation or spend a weekend away.

Again, I know I’m going to have to find a new job or get a fantastic promotion because $14/hour is not going to do it for me. Not without CF’s financial aid.

Point #1 and Point #2 are small fries compared to Point #3- mourning what I have given up.

When I tried writing this the first time I focused on the fact that I don’t mourn him. I don’t miss him. I don’t want him back.

I don’t mourn the house or the new furniture. Sure, there are days when I’m looking around for something I’ll think to myself, “Damn! Why did I get rid of that?” But it’s not like I tell myself that if only I could move into another 4000 sq. ft. home with brand new furniture and a pool and a hot tub and a game room, everything would be great.

Because I didn’t focus on the man, or the house, or any of the other tangible elements I could delude myself into believing I had let go of that old life.

It wasn’t until many paragraphs into it when I wrote:

In many ways I am still mourning and grieving everything that was taken from me. Mostly I mourn what was taken away from my kids.

I know I should let it go. I’m sure that my kids have already done so. It wasn’t that long ago that Rock Star told me not to worry about it; she loves her college and her sorority and she realizes she wouldn’t have any of that if her father and I remained married and/or we hadn’t moved. Picasso seems to have a great group of friends and he has no interest in moving out of Indiana.

Maybe that’s the downfall of being the grownup. I know what they lost, and for me I didn’t get to replace it. My husband cheated and left, and we were forced to move out of our home. That was the end of my normal life as a mom. I became a working mom and was no longer around for my kids like I was. There was no more hockey, no more gymnastics, no more kids ringing my doorbell and staying at my house for hours on end. There was no more car pooling, no more driving kids to practice and games/meets. It just all evaporated and was replaced with… nothing.

I re-read it and realized, “Holy shit! I’m not mourning what was taken away from my kids! I’m mourning what was taken away from me!” Talk about your epiphany! This was exactly what Sophia was talking about!

Don’t get me wrong. I do definitely mourn the fact that my kids had to leave behind not one life, but two. What has me stuck though is everything I left behind. My kids are doing fairly well, all things considered.

It was a double whammy, really. Hell, some could consider it to be a triple whammy. I still mourn the life I left behind in Utah when CF convinced me we had this great chance to start all over in Virginia. More money. Bigger house. A pool, finally. Job satisfaction for him. A fresh start away from where he began his affair with Harley. I barely had a chance to catch my breath and begin to acclimate to life in this smallish southern town before I found out the last twenty years of my life had been a lie. This whole move had been a setup. My husband was cheating. This time there would be no reconciliation. I was heading full steam ahead towards a divorce. I was suddenly on my own- cut off financially and left to deal with the kids, the pets, the house all by myself. And then the following year I was forced from my home and had to uproot myself and my kids once again.

That’s what has me stuck. Money and memories. Financial insecurity.

I’d like to say that knowing that I am finally on my way. I have a plan. I’m embracing all the new aspects of life today. That would be a lie. When you are financially insecure your life is in turmoil.

I can say, however, I am slowly letting go of what was. It’s gone; it’s over. I’ll never get it back. Time to stick it in a scrapbook. Log it as a chapter in my life. Instead I am doing my damnedest to look ahead, to believe that eventually I will be self sufficient and that everything will work out in the end.

Sophia, your words resonated. Now to put everything into action… hmmm… easier said than done.