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 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.

Always Something There To Remind Me, Part 2

I don’t know why I’m shocked by this but it’s been almost four years since my life exploded. Well, that’s not accurate, is it? My life didn’t mystically “explode”. It wasn’t something that just “happened”. Oops! My husband of twenty years deliberately firebombed my life.

Some days I feel stuck. I feel like I shouldn’t ever give him a single moment of headspace. He should be a distant memory. Who?

Some days I feel like I haven’t accomplished a damn thing in those four years. I mean, look at me. Aside from the mobster, who is a definite upgrade, what have I done with my post-divorce life? I’m working for less than $30,000/year. I still live with my mom. I still don’t have a room to call my own. I’m still poor and I still depend upon him to pay child and spousal support in order to live anywhere close to a decent life.

It’s easy to beat myself up about this, to think I should be further ahead, to think he should never cross my mind and to never have imaginary conversations with him, or be testifying in court in my mind.

Jenny put it so well when she wrote (and I’m paraphrasing slightly) that even though the divorce was final in 2006 it didn’t really end in 2006.

Preach it, sister!

Yes, I found out almost four years ago that CF had firebombed my life but that wasn’t the end of it. It wasn’t even close. Hell, I kicked his ass in court in November and the divorce was final in December 2017. That wasn’t the end of it either. It’s always something with that disordered nitwit.

It’s been that way since the evening I was told my husband had been spending his weekends with his cousin. BAM! Knocked right off my feet. After telling myself he couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to move his family across the country, buy a new house, fill it almost completely with new furniture, buy me a new car, and a put a $57,000 pool in the backyard, I found out he really was that stupid! On top of that brash move he had also been siphoning off money from our account to give to her and her kids. I steadied myself, called the attorneys for the consult, found out what I was entitled to… I’m on solid ground again. Feeling better.

WHAM! I find out in quick succession that the phones he purchased for his dear old mom and stepdad were actually phones for his whore and her kid. I had been the one getting online and paying the damn bill. He had cashed in the remainder of the stock. He had a secret bank account I knew nothing about. He had been taking money out of our savings account to fund his trips to see her. He had taken a $5000 loan out of his 401k. Oh, and he had gotten engaged. I’m taking hits once again.

This whole time he’s living it up with Harley and her kids. I’m watching American Express statements and can see the $300 he’s paid for a dress. The $4200 he’s paid for the engagement ring. The trips. The restaurants. The Christmas gifts. They blow through $30,000 in a span of four months while my kids and I are living off of savings. This entire period I’m biding my time and hoping I will be vindicated in court when we go for our temporary support hearing in December. Until then I have no idea what’s going to happen.

I steady myself again though. Can’t keep me down, you sonofabitch. Six months later our world is rocked once more by him when he takes off, quits his job of 15 years, and moves out of the fucking state! That was a fun week. I spent it crying and worrying myself sick over what was going to happen to me and my kids. Would we have to move mid-year? Was he going to continue to pay his court ordered support or did he figure he was safe from any consequence now that he no longer lived in the same state?

Got through that one. He finally starts sending his support checks again. Bills are paid. Kids are still in their schools. Things are gelling for all of us.

I’m six months out from D-Day at this point. I’m doing mostly okay, but every now and then he likes to throw a monkey wrench into things- like the whole up and moving without saying a word to any of us. I learned he had moved when my support payment wasn’t directly deposited into my account, and after I had to text his boss to see if he was still at that plant.

By May I’m feeling pretty good. I have a plan. My daughter is soon going to be able to drive, which means she can help transport her brother while I work. I have $10,000 in the bank for emergencies. If the furnace goes out I’ve got money for it. When taxes come due, I’ve got money for it. I even go to the Chump Lady book signing. I’m rocking the single life. We’re all doing fine.

Naturally, CF has to toss a grenade our way. Surprise! He’s “lost” his job. What exactly has happened? Is he in the psych ward again? Who knows? Because I’m certainly not entitled to any of that information. Why would I need to know any of that stuff? Like it really concerns me, right?

By the end of year one I had been forced out of my home, had to sell off almost all of my belongings, and move in with my mom in Indiana. I had to move my kids AGAIN, only two years after uprooting them from the only life they had really known.

Meanwhile, as the one year anti-versary crept up on me I was busy enrolling my kids in their new schools where they, or at least Rock Star, did not want to be, and applying for Medicaid seeing as how I had no job and no money coming in.

He firebombed my life, first with the affair and cutting me off financially, and then turned around and came back to do it again!

I can take a deep breathe and start all over, right? We’ll just call Year One a trial year. Year Two is going to be the real test. Now I can get on with my new and improved life. I’ll get that awesome job. Start dating an amazing man. My kids will blossom in their new environment. Right?

Wrong. On one hand, because he was no longer sending me any money he had no way to further fuck up my life. I think he was at least smart enough to know it would be a stupid move to try to go after my kids. Honestly though I think he didn’t give a flying fuck. On the other hand, I was desperately trying to find a job. I was on Medicaid. My kids were getting free lunches and textbooks. I was living off savings until I could find a job.

I found one job which covered my bills and nothing more, so then I found a second job. I began working 14-16 hour days, usually starting somewhere between 2 and 3 am, and making shit money. It was horrible. I finally get a full-time job but it, too, does not pay well. I continue to work two jobs- one full-time, one part-time.

Because I’m not digging this whole “working my ass off while I live in poverty while my STBX shacks up with his whore and spends his fucking days watching TV and sitting on the couch” I take the asshat back to court to get him to pay support. Just another “thing” to remind me. It’s always something. I’d love to get busy with that “new life” thing but I’m kinda busy trying to keep my head above water. Plus, I’m back in court. Hooray.

Technically, I “won” in court; however, I lost a big chunk of money. CF’s plea to have support modified was acknowledged and approved, despite the fact he didn’t bother to show up for the hearing. There’s another blow. $3000 a month wiped out. That caused me to wobble a bit.

As always I rise. I have no financial security. I have no idea what’s going to happen when we finally face off in court. Everything is up in the air.

I do get my back support but CF declines to pay any regular support now that it has been modified. I get a check here and there. It’s for various amounts. Whatever he feels like. Whenever he feels like it. Sometimes he puts a stop payment on it. Other times it outright bounces.

We’re almost two years out and I still wasn’t divorced and I still didn’t know what was going to happen. I lived in fear that he was going to get away with everything.

Even after I won in court the fight with CF still raged on. He hacked my Facebook. He tormented the mobster. He loved flinging insults my way, whether it was through nasty text messages, mean stamps on the support envelopes, obscene emojis, or snotty messages through Venmo. Remember, folks, he was the one that had the affair. He’s the one that left. He’s the one that had someone else from Day One.

He also continued to pay when he felt like it, and God help me if I mentioned he was behind.

I got a promotion but first the insurance premiums and then the extra taxes to account for spousal support ate up the extra earnings and actually ended with me bringing home less money than before the promotion.

There was also the fight about child support and how it was modified once Rock Star graduated. More legal fees. More of CF thumbing his nose at the courts and doing whatever the hell it is he wants to do. More shitty texts from him when he realizes he’s not going to get his own way.

And then there are the legal fees he has yet to pay. Hey, he just doesn’t have it, and according to CF, that’s how court orders work. If the judge tells you to pay something and you don’t have it you no longer have to pay. The end.

Even better, once I finally wised up and realized the games were never going to stop I began the garnishment process. Checkmate! Or so you would think. But no. He evades me once again by somehow losing his job.

So, I’m coming upon the 4 year anniversary of D Day and I feel like I’m right back at the beginning.

I’ve written this all out and yet I can sum it up in one short sentence: It never ends.

It’s difficult to move ahead and try to forge a new life when the ex continues to try to knock you off balance. You just start to hit your stride when something new pops up.

Is it that difficult to pay your damn court ordered support and go about your business? Is it that difficult to keep a fucking job? He managed to keep one for twenty years while he was married to me. I’ve had the same damn job for over two years now, which is no record by any means. It’s still longer than he’s kept a fucking job since we separated.

Logically I know I need to create a life that does not involve relying on him for anything. Realistically that’s a lot easier said than done. It’s not like people are lining up to give me great paying jobs. Hell, I’m finding it difficult to get a mediocre paying job! Right now I have a shitty paying job. And I’ve done the math dozens of times, especially when I figured he wasn’t going to part with a single dime. Even paying off all my credit cards and my car, plus canceling Hulu and my gym membership and then switching phone plans, I am only gaining $900 per month. Call me crazy. Call me cynical. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to pay a mortgage or pay rent, plus utilities, plus food, plus gas for my car, plus pet food, plus household supplies on only $900. Much less have anything left. Kid needs new pants? Too bad. Maybe we can find a pair at Goodwill for $5 or less. Kid needs new shoes? Sorry, there is no way I can help you with that. Kid needs college tuition money? Oh please! That is never going to happen.

Perhaps Year Four will be my year. Maybe he will get a damn job and the state will be ready to swoop in and garnish his ass. I won’t have to communicate with him. Maybe I’ll find an outstanding job that pays me enough to stand on my own two feet. Maybe I’ll be really smart and just stash away most of the money the state garnishes. I’ll live like a fucking pauper (unless I get that great paying job) so that the next time asshat loses his job I won’t be fucked. Maybe I’ll be able to take him back to court and get the judge to order him to pay me the $25,000 he owes me and he’ll actually do it. Maybe in Year Four he’ll decide to stop trying to mess with me. Perhaps the idea of torturing me will lose its luster. Maybe I’ll finally be able to stop paying my lawyer. That would be heavenly. Maybe I’ll finally find direction and discover my purpose.

I sure as hell hope so because I’m really tired of yet another thing. I’d love for this to finally be completely over. Sadly, I think as long as he has to pay me a single nickel he will be playing these games. It will never end.

Always Something There To Remind Me, Part 1

Jennifer Ball hit it out of the park last month with her blog post, Haunted (by) Houses. If you haven’t read her blog you should.

The inspiration for this post? Her desire to buy a home of her own and the realization that she probably never would be able to because of what her ex did to her when he left.

You think CF is bad? I think her ex has him beat. He left her with four kids and “a mountain of debt” for his secretary. They are now married with two children of their own. While he does on occasion see his children it’s at their discretion and as Jenny has noted, “They don’t have much time for someone who doesn’t have much time for them.”

Like CF, her ex had some difficulties with paying support. Apparently it’s hard deciding which Audi to buy, getting your pool fixed, AND paying support. Something had to go! Not only did he somehow manage to get out of paying child and spousal support for quite some time, when she finally got awarded child support again that motherfucker somehow managed to make it tax exempt for him which meant she had to pay taxes on it.

Like me she lost her home to foreclosure. Unlike me she did not have a mother to turn to. She’s worked three and four jobs at a time, shopped at the food bank, declared bankruptcy, and has lived in poverty, or pretty close to it, since her divorce. As she puts it:

Every time I get a little bit tucked away into savings there is something that needs to be taken care of: one of our ancient cars breaks down, a tooth cracks, someone’s tuition is due, we need heat in the winter, etc.

Her ex? He and the OW turned new wife bought or built a million dollar home shortly before his youngest child with Jenny turned 18 and aged out of child support. Some guy, huh? If it’s possible I think I hate him more than I hate CF.

She writes:

This is what I want to tell people who insist that I’m bitter. Who tell me to get over it, who shake their heads and say, “I can’t believe you still think about this.” Who look at my ex, in his million dollar house, livin’ the dream and then at me, livin’ the nightmare of financial insecurity and terror over things like, “where will I live when our sweet landlord gets smart and decides to sell?” and see nothing unfair or unjust.

“Jenny, he’s moved on. Why can’t you?”

Because every.single.day there is a reminder. Some days I’m SO GOOD at ignoring them. I line up my blessings and kiss them on the forehead as I count them. I laugh and curl up with the good fortune I do have and the reminders slink away.

But the houses. Shit. The houses, they won’t be ignored (I wonder if they sound like Glenn Close). They are structures built of possibilities and dreams. They are carnies calling out to me as I try my hardest to just keep walking, eyes focused on the sidewalk, the sky, anything but these homes. “Step right up! Feast your eyes on this little beaut! Too bad you can’t qualify for a gd thing, Jenny! This coulda been yours if only you’d made some better life choices! If only you’d ignored that tall asshole singing along to REM at the bar that night!” (it was The End of the World As We Know It, hahaha) (cry)

I lost the home my dad bought and remodeled with his own two hands thanks to my ex husband’s fuckery. A home that welcomed our new babies, that was framed with plants and trees we put into the ground with love, that kept us safe and warm through seasons of cold and rain. A home I had planned on living in for the rest of my life. Gone, because some dude couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.

God, I get it, Jenny. I really do.

“He’s moved on and you should too,”? Really? These helpful “friends” don’t seem to grasp that subtle difference where our exes had their new lives all planned out before we ever got wind that anything was wrong with the old life.

Jenny and I were both stay at home moms. Our husbands both made decent money. So when they decided to “move on” it was quite easy for them. They weren’t suddenly going to wonder where the hell they were going to live. With the whore, of course! They didn’t have to worry about those pesky kids. They were our responsibility. We’d figure something out. Two, three, four jobs- whatever it takes.

Neither of our exes have dealt with the utter destruction we’ve been forced to face. They had jobs, new partners, new kids, new homes. Everything nice and new and shiny.

Their lives have gone on with very few missteps and when one occurred they’ve both managed to quickly turn it around for themselves.

It’s not so easy when you’re the dumped spouse, forced into an unforgiving workforce after many years of raising your kids.

CF had a twenty year head start on me when it came to being financially independent. I spent those twenty years following him around the country and raising his children. If someone offered me a job paying $100,000 like he was offered I would take it in a heartbeat (the usual disclaimers of no illegal activity and no killing or torturing animals apply). The reality is I’m a middle aged woman with very little recent job history and a useless, outdated degree. I can give myself pep talks about increasing my pay almost $3 more per hour in the two years that I’ve been with the bank, but $11/hour wasn’t enough to live on, much less support two kids, and $13.77/hour isn’t much better.

Move on? Oh, I think I have. But “stop thinking about all of that,”? Yeah, no. I’m not sure that will ever happen. I think it’s very easy for the person who was cheating to not look back. But in my case, and in Jenny’s case, our lives as we knew them were destroyed.

I lost my home. I had to go back to work. My household income plummeted. I farm out childcare duties because I can’t do them.

I don’t see myself ever being able to afford a home of my own. I will probably work until the day that I die, and I don’t see my household income increasing much from what it is now. I guess the good news is if I work until I’m 75 and get those huge 50 cent a year raises by the time I retire I’ll be making over $50,000. Of course, by then $50,000 will be equivalent to $35,000 today.

One day I was buying all new furniture for my new house and putting a $57,000 pool in my backyard. The next day I’m living off of savings and the day after that I’m forced out of my home, out of the state, and working two jobs.

CF’s new life? As my lawyer put it so brilliantly in court: You used to live in a nice big 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. You still live in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. You had a wife that cooked your meals and did your laundry. Now you’ve got someone else to cook your meals and do your laundry. You had 2 kids. You still have 2 kids. Not your two kids, but two kids nonetheless.

Nothing’s changed for him. What does he need to get over? What does Jenny’s ex husband need to get over? The fact they both cheated on their loyal wives or that they discarded their own flesh and blood? I don’t think it bothers them. They are far too entitled to ever feel guilt.

Both of them stepped right into ready made lives that were no different (although they might argue they’re so much better now) than the ones they had before. They just switched out their wife appliance.

I’m as over that piece of shit I married as a person can be. The thought of him touching me makes me physically ill. I realize he was a total mental drain. Hell, I was recording suicide messages for my loved ones after they found my body only four months before finding out about Harley the Whore. I’m completely over him. Don’t want him back. Not a bit jealous that she’s got him and I don’t.

She didn’t just take my husband, though. She took my life. She took my security and that of my children. She took our home from us and then took their mother away from them. I used to do everything for them. I used to be there for them. Anything that needed to be done, I did. Now that’s no longer true. I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t have the time or the money.

The two of them took everything that used to mean something to me and destroyed it. I enjoyed my life in Utah, and I was beginning to enjoy my life in Virginia, but those motherfuckers took that from me.

They took my identity, that of a mom, and crushed it, while they retained their own identities (those cousinfucking baboons). My life has completely changed and it’s a change that was forced upon me. It was not something I sought out.

The two of them irreparably damaged me. Maybe if I had been younger. Maybe if we had had more assets. Maybe if I had always worked and had an excellent career myself. Maybe then the damage wouldn’t have been so great.

I will adjust. I will acclimate. I will lower my expectations. I will endure. But it will never be okay and I will NEVER get over what those two assholes did to me or how much they took from me.

That sounds dark and angry, doesn’t it? I don’t mean to imply that there are no charms to this new life I’m leading. If not for him firebombing my life I would have never met the mobster. He is a gem; I have a much better relationship now. It has definitely shown me what was missing in my marriage and how dysfunctional both CF and the relationship were. I cannot stress how thankful I am that the mobster is in my life.

My kids both seem to be doing well despite my greater absence. Sometimes I forget to pat myself on the back for the things I do manage to accomplish in spite of no longer being a stay at home mom. I pick Picasso up from after school activities 2-3 days a week, and once a week I get him to cello lessons. I still attend his concerts. I’ve been at the family events that Rock Star has invited me to down at college. I’m told I’m an honorary member of her sorority because so many of the girls think I’m awesome. Plus, the entire four months my mom was gone I managed to do laundry, go grocery shopping, and cook meals for my son.

I have the opportunity to live close to my family again. While CF could manage to make his way back to his home state I don’t think he would have ever been inclined to make it back to mine. Or even close to it for my sake.

None of the above makes what CF did to me okay. He and his choices altered the course of my life. If you’re going to tell me I need to “get over it” then I think it’s only fair that you understand that.

Oops, He Fucked Me Again

Can this man never stop fucking with me? Seriously.

I left off with me talking to my mom’s financial advisor. What he suggested was moving the 401k over to an IRA and then taking small monthly amounts of cash from that. Like an allowance. Yes, it would add to my income and I would have to pay taxes, but it wouldn’t hurt me the way taking a big lump sum would, especially if CF gets a new job soon. Additionally, he assured me that even if I was taking some money from it I should be safe from touching the principle and should still be able to grow the money that was already there.

Next step is to actually do that. I’m trying very hard to locate letters that might give me a password or something so that I can get online and start this process. In doing so I open a few of the statements that I’ve received since being awarded my portion of the 401k. I never bothered to look at them because I wasn’t planning on touching the money for another 20 years. Or at least another 15-18 years.

My 401k has lost $13,000 in the last quarter. $13,000! How in the hell did this happen, I wonder?

I’ll tell you. Upon closely examining the statements I discover that Boy Genius had 47% of his 401k tied up into his company’s stock. 47%! Who the fuck does that?

If you’re getting paid mostly in stock shares I suppose it wouldn’t much matter. Oh, my bonus is only $20 million instead of $35 million. Whatever shall I do?

Everyone else needs to diversify!

Now I wait. The stock was at a high of approximately $125 and toppled to $83. It’s already risen back up to approximately $100. Analysts seem to believe it should reach $107 within a year. Hell, I’ve got plenty of time. It’s not like I’m short on cash or anything.

I wait until it climbs to a number I’m comfortable with and am willing to sell, knowing I will lose money. The hope is that whatever the remaining money is invested in will recoup that loss.

I wait to see if he sends me another $900 this month, or if he’s stretched too thin paying for something for the new family. If he doesn’t I’m back to needing a second job, or living on approximately $200 a month.

I wait knowing I have taxes to pay, that Rock Star’s car needs brake pads (or something like that), that the fee to break her contract will be due in a few months, that Picasso will once again have to stop cello lessons, and that I’m dead broke.