The Card Arrived

Hell froze over. Picasso’s dad sent him a birthday card. He got it on Saturday. Only five days after the fact. Better late than never, right?

In all seriousness I was happy for him. I wasn’t here when he actually received it but from what my mother said he wasn’t very impressed. He did cash the check, though.

The card was his typical, “I love you so much,” schtick. I try not to criticize. I know it’s preferable to him forgetting the child completely, but seriously? I’m supposed to give him credit because he managed to send a card to his only son on his birthday? Oh wait- he also gave him $100.

I swear to God, that man has a job again.

I took what limited funds I have and used it to take him out to dinner, buy him a small gift, and throw him a birthday party with his friends.

The mobster bought him a $100+ video game he’s been wanting (which doesn’t come out until September).

His sister bought him a pair of shorts and a shirt, took him out to lunch, and attempted to give him a driving lesson. “I could only stand 15 minutes. He’s horrible, Mom!” she told me afterwards.

His Nana bought him a birthday gift and went out to dinner with him, as did his aunt and uncle.

Sending a card and a check was the least his father could do. I refuse to blow sunshine up his ass and ooh and ah over the fact he managed to do the bare minimum.

I realize it may sound petty, or that I associate love with money, but this is a man who once had $5000 a month to blow on whatever he wanted. He had no bills. Just a whore and her mulligans. Not once did he slip his kids some extra money so they wouldn’t go without. He spent just as much on her kids at Christmas as he did his own. He never once offered to take them shopping for clothes or something frivolous. Every dime (and I do mean every dime- his bank account was down to $165 right before he had to finally start paying support) went to Harley the Whore and her kids.

I say again, however, that I am thankful he did not completely ignore the child. Plus, I think he managed to give both kids more for their birthdays this year than he ever has since our separation.

Hooray for Picasso. Hooray for both of my kids.

A Word About Being Angry

Fellow blogger, Reformed Cad, just gave me a shout out on his blog. It was a very nicely done post and I very much appreciated it. I always like it when people take the time to reblog something I’ve written, or take the time to tell others about my blog. I think he has a closed blog so I’m not going to try to link to it. If he comes over and says it’s open to the public I’ll link to it, or he can link to it in the comments.

I am, however, going to quibble with one thing he says. She is angry. And if you read her journal it becomes obvious why.

Let the record (or blog) show I am not angry. It always baffles me when people say things like that because I think I keep it pretty light hearted when it comes to my situation. I think if you asked my mother she would tell you I didn’t get angry enough. I did indeed get dealt a shitty hand.; however, it’s better than what some other people are dealt. He didn’t attempt to poison me (as far as I know). He didn’t try to pay someone to take me out. He didn’t get physically violent with me once the divorce began. He didn’t kidnap and kill my children. He didn’t threaten me with a weapon or set me up for a domestic violence charge. He didn’t leave me after I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. He didn’t leave me with a nasty STD. And yes, I realize those are the extreme situations, but I’ve heard every one of those over on Chump Lady except the one about paying someone to kill me. I got that one off of ID TV, where it happens quite regularly.

He also didn’t fight me for custody of our children. Granted, that would have been a tough sell seeing as how he moved approximately 300 miles away from them and left them behind, but I know that others are having to fight for custody even when the only reason the ex is fighting is to reduce or eliminate child support.

And, while he did indeed cheat again I only lost two years of my life “wreck-onciling” with him, instead of five, or ten or twenty.

I know that I have written a lot about all that my kids and I have lost. That’s a fact. It has nothing to do with anger. He screwed us. We invested everything into this new life he said he so desperately wanted. He threw it away, and in the process the kids and I lost our home and were forced to move. Fact.

With my daughter graduating recently I was continually reminded of everything that we lost. Again, that’s a fact. It happened, and no matter how happy I pretend to be about everything that was lost, it doesn’t change that.

That’s not anger. If anything it’s sadness. Sadness that my kids had to go through that because of their dad and his crappy decisions.

I wrote the other day about the triggers that still come. It’s not anger. It’s continuing to mourn the life I had. Imagine spending twenty years with someone, living a certain kind of life, and then one day having that ripped away from you. I defy anyone to say it would be no big deal. It’s one thing to decide you are going to make big changes. It is a completely different animal when those changes are made for you.

Even when you’ve accepted that life is gone you still mourn at times. There are still things that smack you in the face and cause you to feel that loss. I’m not angry. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the life I lived for twenty years is gone, and that it was all a lie.

Do I continue to write about CF? Sure, I do. He keeps doing shitty things. I mostly shrug it all off. Nothing he says or does really angers me. Well, except for the fact that he has yet to acknowledge he has a son. That does piss me off. But the shit he says whenever he has to pay me? That’s comedy fodder for my blog. I give him about as much importance as I would a two year old throwing a tantrum.

I did ask my mom if I seemed angry because, as I said, it always perplexes me when people give me that label. She was pretty quick to answer. “No, you just call bullshit when you see it.”

That’s a pretty good explanation. I’m not angry or bitter about my situation. I continue to write because it does make me angry when I hear stories of others who are going through this same thing. It makes me angry when I hear about a spouse who is so desperate to keep a marriage together that they accept bullshit excuses and tolerate the so called “trickle truth” and evasion of questions. I know what I went through; I hate to see others go through that same thing. If I can be a sane voice out there asking, “Is this acceptable to you?” and leading someone through the dark I’ll keep writing.

As Chump Lady reminds her audience over and over, there are many avenues for those who want to reconcile. She is pretty much the only voice that tells people it’s not their fault their spouse cheated and there is a better life out there without a cheater. I don’t go so far as to encourage people to leave; I think that’s an individual choice and everyone has their reasons for staying or going. I will, however, point out when the cheater is blowing smoke up your ass. I’ll tear apart all the psycho-babble explanations for why people do the heinous things they do, and I’ll mock the “affair-y tale” love stories that mistresses share on a regular basis.

I will also never accept the idea that both parties had a part to play in an affair. Both of you were in the same marriage. Only one person cheated. I fully agree with Chump Lady when she says that you may have been the worst spouse on the planet; you may have truly, truly sucked. But you did not deserve to be cheated on and you did not cause your spouse to cheat.

Furthermore, I’m not one who believes you need to be a martyr for the sake of your children. You don’t need to celebrate birthdays with the cheating ex and the new spouse, or go on “family” outings, or look after your ex if they get sick. Your kids will survive even if you’re not pretending that the other parent is the best-est person in the whole wide world.

I’m willing to tell people you don’t have to, and in fact shouldn’t, gaslight your children. Tell them the truth in age appropriate terms. It’s not your job to be your cheating ex’s PR agent. If they didn’t want their kids to know they were lying cheaters maybe they shouldn’t have been lying and cheating. Nothing good ever comes from hiding the truth. It will always come back and bite you in the ass one way or another.

I let people know they don’t have to be friends with the ex. If that’s something you want I think you’re a little bit crazy, but okay. If it works for you more power to you. However, I refuse to perpetuate this idea that’s the way it should be. When you’re dealing with adultery you’re dealing with a person who lied to you and betrayed you. They were supposed to have your back and instead they stabbed you in it. Welcome home, Michael Myers! As Chump Lady always asks, “Would you be friends with the guy who mugged you?” No? OK, then why are you trying to maintain a friendship with someone who essentially mugged your life?

I advocate gaining a support system and leaning on them, instead of relying on someone who betrayed and abandoned you. Even in so-called “good” divorces I advocate for that because you never know how things are going to change once your ex partners up again.

I believe that no contact is a wonderful thing.

I believe that you can focus on gaining a better life without the person who cheated on you and hurt you while still remembering exactly who they are and what they did. Getting on with my life and living a much better life than the one I had with him does not equal forgiving him.

I don’t think that’s being angry. I think that’s using common sense and speaking the truth.

Graduation Day aka The Day Hell Froze Over

If you know me in real life you’ve probably heard this story.

We moved from the Memphis area up to Michigan when Rock Star was 7 months old. A few months after our move I saw many signs advertising for graduation open houses. Her birthday is in early June so it coincides with many graduations. I had been driving by these signs and I told CF one day, “That’s going to be her someday.” He looked at me like I was crazy.

“She’s not even a year old yet. You’ve got some time. Let’s focus on her first birthday party before we begin planning the graduation party.”

These weren’t exact words (well, mine were; I absolutely remember saying that to him), but you get the gist of it. Here I was, a young mom of a not quite one year old, and I was already getting wistful about the day she graduated.

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I remember reading articles from moms who were sending their babies off to college at the same time I was sending Rock Star off to kindergarten. My eyes would well up with tears because I knew, although it was new, this starting school thing, it would pass by in the blink of an eye.

I remember holding back tears as she climbed on that school bus the very first time, waving to her before the doors shut, and then driving up to the school so I could take pictures of her very first day of school. Hey! I was not the only parent up there that day!

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I remember the fear I felt when she began middle school. My little baby girl going off to the big school with all those older kids. Why I didn’t fear my kindergartner going off to school with all those big kids, I do not know. But I do know I worried about the beginning of middle school. Maybe it’s because I never thought about a sixth grader picking on a five year old; I guess I didn’t ever think it happened. Maybe it’s because they’re so much more segregated in the elementary school years. Or because the “dangers” aren’t as plentiful. Maybe it was because you end up getting very familiar with elementary school. They remain there the longest period of time. Maybe it’s because you think of all the kids in elementary school as kids, regardless of age, but those kids in middle school… well, they’re teenagers and you all know the dangers of the older teens! They might lead your baby into temptation.

Finally, I remember her high school orientation. They talked about how this would be a great four years and how this high school would feel like home to them by the end of it. Seniors spoke of their time at the school and how quickly it had passed by. The speakers even talked about what was to come in the later years- perks like the senior parking lot and the seniors only outside area. They encouraged them to get involved. Assured them they would love it there. My baby was entering high school! Only four more years and she would leave the nest.

She was the new kid at school. Nervous. Shy. She wanted us to go with her but they separated the students and parents and that’s when an angel of a teacher stepped in and took Rock Star under her wing. She introduced her to her daughter and her daughter’s friends and by the time we were brought back together for dinner she was off with her new friends. She never looked back. I’m sorry she had to leave it behind.

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What a beautiful segue way into CF and his attendance. He is, after all, the reason she didn’t graduate from that high school.

I was all set to write a blistering post about him not being there and how he should have been. I was composing it in my mind when he went and messed that up. Good for him. It wasn’t much but it was better than him not showing up at all.

Shortly before graduation Rock Star announced to me that she thought her dad had contacted her to ask if she had a ticket for him so that he could attend her graduation.

“What do you mean you think he contacted you?” I asked her.

She goes on to tell me that she had deleted him from her contacts list so she wasn’t sure it was him (like so many random people text her and ask her for a ticket to her graduation). She told me the area code and I confirmed that it was him (based on nothing more than the area code, but again how many random people are texting and asking her if they can attend her graduation?).

I asked her what she wanted to do and she told me she didn’t care but she didn’t want to deal with him. It was left to me to put on my big girl panties and text him, letting him know that if he wanted a ticket there was one available. Honestly, ticket availability was not an issue. I also offered to mail it to him because I didn’t know the best way to get it to him. I didn’t know if I would hear back from him or not. Remember, he typically tends to ignore me. I wasn’t sure what I would get if he responded. I also figured it was a pretty big if.

He surprised me and replied to my message eventually. About seven hours passed between me texting with the offer and him taking me up on it. But he did reply. Told me he would love a ticket. He said mailing it would be fine if I thought it would make it there on time. It turns out he had taken some initiative and had done some research because he also informed me that from what he had read on the website they wouldn’t get their tickets until they did their practice graduation the day before.

We had a polite exchange which ended with him agreeing to meet me at work at noon when I got off the day of graduation and I would give him the ticket then.

I did let my co-workers know I was going to be meeting him so if someone found my dead body in the parking lot they knew where to look, but it never came to that. Obviously since I’m writing this.

He texted to let me know he was there. I texted him about 15 minutes later to let him know I was on my way out. He met me in the parking lot. I gave him the ticket. He asked me if I would give Rock Star the two cards he had for her. I said yes; he said thank you and turned and walked back to his car. That was it.

I don’t know what I was expecting. It’s not as though I wanted to go grab a coffee and reminisce with him. I found it somewhat odd, though, that a ten second exchange was the extent of our conversation on the day our daughter graduated from high school. That day I had tearfully lamented only weeks before her first birthday back when we were new parents was finally here and instead of celebrating together or sharing our pride in her or making any kind of conversation about her, we were reduced to a ten second superficially courteous exchange.

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I’m not sad. Again, I didn’t want to go off and have drinks with him. I didn’t want to pretend that we were best buddies. I don’t know what I expected. Maybe I thought he might try a little bit harder. Maybe I thought he would comment on Rock Star and how our daughter was graduating. Maybe say something like, “It’s hard to believe she’s graduating; do you remember how you were freaking out about this 17 years ago before her first birthday?’ or, “Our daughter did it. She graduates today. Can you believe it?” or, “Did you ever think this day would come? Where did the time go?” Hell, not to go off the rails but possibly I thought he might thank me for raising her and getting her to this point in her life. “Thanks for standing by our kids and doing the right thing after I walked out on them.” I know- crazy talk!

Instead he thanked me, as one would thank a cashier or a server, and turned and walked back to his car. He was wearing a shirt I had bought him years ago, and flip flops with jeans. In all my years of being with him I don’t recall him ever wearing sandals or flip flops with jeans. He barely wore them with shorts.

He has put on weight. He had lost about 50 pounds when a doctor told him there were fatty deposits on his liver and if he didn’t lose weight he would have to have his liver biopsied. He’s gained it all back, although I wouldn’t call him fat. I never thought of him as fat.

I did drive around to pass by his car to see if he was alone or if he had brought the whore with him. I knew she didn’t have a ticket but I didn’t know if she would be accompanying him up to the city. Spoiler alert: He was alone.

He had said in a text when trying to arrange a meeting time for the ticket that he would be coming up the day of graduation, and that his room wouldn’t be ready until 3, but that could have all been a lie and she might have been tucked away at the hotel for all I know.

My mom informed me when I arrived at the graduation site that she had seen him and that he was wearing a suit and tie. For some reason this really irritated her. How dare he dress nicely!

I later spotted him from our seats. He was two or three sections over, sitting by himself. I was with a group of nine other people, not including Rock Star or Picasso. He, btw, was down in the orchestra pit, playing Pomp and Circumstance as his sister graduated. Very cool.

At one point the principal asked all parents, grandparents, and guardians of the graduating seniors to stand. I glanced over in his direction to see what he would do. He remained seated.

It might have been my mom, but it could have been a friend, who was appalled at the idea he remained seated. At the time I was thinking, “You better not stand up, you sonofabitch! You haven’t done a damn thing to help raise this kid.”

“But he’s her parent! Why wouldn’t he stand?”

Because he has played no part in getting her to this point! Perhaps if we considered more than just the high school years he could have made an argument about standing. But if we’re going strictly by the four years of high school? No, he has no right.

He moved her across the country and made her give up everything she loved, and once she adjusted and found a new life, an awesome new life, he yanked that away, too, by cheating on me and opting to destroy her family. He cut us off financially and while he gave Harley and her kids everything he possibly could, he let his own kids suddenly struggle. While Harley’s kids were living a dream life filled with puppies and expensive dresses and every little fun thing under the sun thanks to new Daddy, his own kids were having to cut back and do without.

He barely played a part in her life her first year of high school. He was engaged the first half, but the second half he was too busy feeling sorry for himself and checking out of the family. He completely checked out her second year, not having a single conversation with her despite living in the same home until February, and choosing to move six hours away without saying a word. And for the last two, after ripping this new life to shreds and forcing her to start over yet again, he hadn’t set eyes on her.

I asked her at one point how she felt about her dad attending graduation. Her response was that she didn’t really care. “He can’t just show up for the big days,” she told me.

I later found out that he had texted her while he was up here. I guess he told her that he was available if she wanted to talk. From what I heard she ignored him and never responded.

I also learned that after we were done taking pictures and most of us had taken off to go to the restaurant her dad came out of the shadows to get a picture with her. She said he approached her crying and then apologized for crying. She was over it (all his tears) by then. She might have mentioned something about rolling her eyes, but I’m not sure if she really did, or if it was a mental eye roll. She did agree to have her picture taken with him. He looks serious and somber. She is smiling, a photogenic beauty. It’s what she does when the camera is pointed her way.

Why would he not be grinning from ear to ear? It’s a fantastic day! His daughter has just graduated from high school. This is a huge milestone in her life. He should be delighted. He should be happy and smiling and eager for what is next to come.

Instead it’s all about him. His sadness. His pity party. If I thought for even a moment his sadness was because of all that he’s missed out on with his piss poor choices, or that it was regret for all that he threw away, I might have a tiny bit of sympathy for him. I know it’s not. It’s all about acting pitiful in the hopes that she will feel sorry for him and kick everything under the rug.

The mobster has said it’s sad. He quickly assures me that he doesn’t feel sorry for CF; oh no, he chose all of this. But he still thinks the whole situation is sad. He says it shouldn’t be awkward to have both of your parents at graduation; it should be a happy time and we should be celebrating together. In an ideal world, of course. I’m rather “eh” about it. None of this should have happened. Yet it did. You deal with what you have and try to make the best of it.

I know this has been a rather long post to say pretty much nothing. It was an anticlimactic event. I was shocked he reached out to her, even more shocked that he replied to my text. I found our 10 second interaction to be a little weird although I’m still not sure why. There was no other interaction between him and anyone else. My mom didn’t shoot him. My brother didn’t end up in fisticuffs with him. No shoot out at the OK Corral between him and the mobster. I do find it a little creepy that he was probably watching all of us as we gathered around Rock Star and took pictures. He had to have known the mobster was up for her graduation. I also find it a little sad that he had no interaction with Picasso. Granted, my mom took him with her to the restaurant and they left even before we did, so he didn’t have a chance to say anything to him. He had to have seen him though when we were taking pictures.

In the end I’m glad for Rock Star that her dad showed up. Even if she says she doesn’t care or that she didn’t want him there I know it would have been a hell of a lot harder on her to realize her dad didn’t care enough to even bother to attend. I know she thought that was the way it would happen, so I’m glad for her sake that she was wrong.

Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t think what he did took a hell of a lot of effort. I don’t think it took much effort at all, in fact. Sure, he had to take a few vacation days and spend money on gas, but it really was the least he could have done. I don’t think he’s turned over a new leaf or that he will be one bit more involved in his kids’ lives. This was the first time he set eyes on them in over two years and my guess is that it will be another three years before he sees either of them again. If he bothers to attend Picasso’s graduation, that is.

Considering he claims he doesn’t know his son’s phone number, and doesn’t have a clue on how he could possibly get it, my hopes are not high that he will come through for his son. And that makes me very sad.

 

 

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My Life As a Hypocrite

For years I read a debate board for moms and step moms. Rock Star would ask me why I was reading it and I would tell her I was taking notes for when she got her own stepmom. Little did I know…

I was always solidly on the side of the moms. I had very strict lines drawn in my own imaginary life as a divorced mom with a step mom for my own children and a potential stepfather for my own kids.

I remember being amazed at the women who would admit that their step kids didn’t like them. I could never understand why they would put themselves through that. I told myself I would walk away because I didn’t need that kind of drama.

Or they didn’t like the kids. I found those women to be horrible, like they were putting up with the kid in order to get what they really wanted- the man.

I was disgusted by the men who would put the new wife or girlfriend ahead of the existing kids and I felt bad for the kids of the first marriage when they were replaced by the new family.

I always said I would never date a man if his kids didn’t like me. I refused to be the reason a father walked away from his kids, and I would never want to put someone in the position of having to choose between me and his kids.

I always said I would never date until I was legally divorced, and I promised myself I wouldn’t get involved with a guy who had only recently divorced, much less one who hadn’t even finished the process.

I still rail against cheaters who believe their happiness is the be all and end all, not caring at all about the damage left in their wake.

Yet, here I am. I began dating before I was legally divorced. Who the hell knew it was going to take over two years and three court dates before I would be free? The guy I ended up falling head over heels for wasn’t divorced yet; his own wife had left him and moved in with her boyfriend only two months before I met him.

Let me give you some friendly advice. Do as I say and not as I do! The beginning of our relationship was filled with insecurities for me. Chief amongst my worries? Was I a replacement? Was he comparing me to his wife, and if he was, did I come out ahead? Did he miss her? Did he wish I looked more like her? She may be a lying, cheating alcoholic who is batshit crazy but apparently she’s thin and petite.

I remember one particular afternoon he was having a meltdown over a picture that was posted on Facebook. She was floating down the river in a bikini (so I was told; I never saw the picture) and he was seriously losing his shit. I think it was because she was out enjoying herself while he was left with all the responsibilities but it’s been almost a year now so who knows? I cried myself to sleep that afternoon, thinking he wanted some alcoholic chic thin woman who could parade around in a bikini. That’s not me. It will never again be me. Who wants a faithful fatty when you can have hot, thin, and batshit crazy? They always say the crazy ones are the best, you know!

He got through their anniversary like a champ. That didn’t trigger him at all. Her birthday, on the other hand? I was once again wondering what the hell I was doing.

As I told him later, I knew what I was getting into when I started dating him. Although I wasn’t divorced I did have almost two years between D-Day and the time I started dating. I had already worked through many of the things he was now dealing with; I had to remind myself of that quite often.

Here’s a funny little story for you to add to the above. He recently learned that his STBX came over to the house on their anniversary and left him a note telling him that she loved him, along with a disc of old pictures. His son found it and took it because he figured his dad didn’t need to deal with the craziness.

Even now I wonder- why would he take it? Did he think his dad would run back to her? Did he think he would be heartbroken by the message? At that point we had been seeing each other for three months. Did he not see the changes in his dad? Did he not truly believe he was over her? Was there something there that told the kid if his mom opened the door his dad would rush right through in order to get back together?

This is why my advice to those of you freshly divorced or separated is to not date someone who is in the beginning stages of this shit show. Even as fantastic as the mobster is I was still flooded with insecurities and feeling like a replacement. It’s one thing to be told you are not a replacement; it’s another thing entirely to believe it. There were times, especially in the beginning, when I felt like I had absolutely nothing to offer and that everything I did offer she already did and did it better. When those triggers hit him it was hard to remain strong and have faith in what we had. It’s hard to “compete” with 25 years of memories, especially when a lot of that was spent as a happy couple and doing things as a family. Even now I sometimes think it would have been better if we had met this May instead of last May. It would have given him time to process this enormous loss and I wouldn’t have ever felt like a replacement. It would have given his kids more time to adjust to the idea of their father dating someone new. It would have “looked” better. I would have been completely divorced by the time I met him; he would hopefully have been in the process of it.

Really the kids have been the biggest issue. Specifically his kids. Maybe mine are just wired differently. At first I thought it was because they had had almost two years to get used to the idea that their parents were apart and dating, but honestly, within days of me making the announcement regarding the divorce my kids were asking me if I was going to start dating and if I was planning on getting remarried. They were also fine with me dating and not fine with their dad and Harley because they knew he had cheated and I had not.

His on the other hand? His oldest is fine with it. Of course, his oldest has also been through a cheating wife and being left, so he understands. His middle son originally was okay with it, or so we thought, and then decided he wasn’t ready to see his parents with other people. He also apparently was very concerned with whether or not I was fat.

Yes, his mother might have been a liar and an alcoholic who was passed out drunk most of the time. She may have cheated on his dad at least twice, brought her lovers around and passed them off as “friends”, and disappeared for days at a time this last affair. She may have thrown him under the bus during the intervention they held and texted suicide threats to him and his siblings. She may have told him numerous times that she was no longer his mom or that she was “done” with him. But by God she’s thin so that makes her a much better person than me, or at least a much better partner.

He’s getting married in October and after informing the mobster that he and his fiancee were still mulling over whether or not they were going to give both of his parents a plus one, or neither of them would be allowed to bring someone, I took myself out of the three ring circus and let the mobster know I wouldn’t be attending even if I were invited. There was more to it than just that. He had also let his dad know that they had people ready to escort anyone who was not behaving out and away from the reception. Yeah kid, I think you might have to worry more about your thin, alcoholic, crazy mom than your dad and his fat girlfriend. I know how to behave. She does not.

Ultimately it boils down to this: He doesn’t really want me there; they would both be merely tolerating me. And truthfully I do worry about Batshit Crazy causing a scene simply because I’m there. This will be one less thing they have to worry about on their big day. Thankfully they have bouncers in place in case anyone does act up.

Things aren’t much better with the youngest son which is a pity because he reminds me so much of Picasso. He has told his dad that he will be cordial to me (and he has been) but he wants no relationship with me.

Well that’s hurtful! I’m a divine person.

We were all together over New Year’s and I thought things were going well. I guess he told his uncle that it was “awkward”. I think the only thing I could have done to make it less awkward would have been to have not been there. Seriously! I am a low pressure kind of gal. It’s not like I was falling all over myself trying to make conversation and be relevant to his life. I didn’t urge him to sit on my lap and call me Mommy! I hung back. Made conversation when it was relevant. But that was awkward.

I do have one success story. His youngest, a daughter, started off not wanting to know my name. A few months ago she sent me a picture of her in her prom dress the day she bought it. A month ago she sent me a sweet message thanking me for everything I had done for her since I entered her life. I guess I’m not all bad.

This is where the cognitive dissonance comes in. I don’t want to be one of those women who causes a rift between a great dad and his kids. I don’t want his kids seeing me as the woman who took their dad away. I don’t want to be one of those women who only thinks of her own happiness and everyone else be damned.

I guess we could argue that the fact I even have these thoughts running through my mind means I’m not one of those women.

The reality is I no longer care what his kids think. Don’t get me wrong. There is still a part of me that wants everyone to be happy and get along. Note I’m not saying we would be one big blended family; I really think our kids were far too old for that to happen. I would like to think we could take a vacation together or spend a holiday together though. But the biggest part of me says: I’m over it. They can get on board or they can get left behind. I’m too old for this shit. I went through hell in my first marriage and for the last 2 1/2 years of my life. I’m not dealing with crap from anyone anymore.

That makes me feel guilty. Because I don’t want to think like that. I don’t want to be like a cheater who does everything according to what feels good and who thinks only of his or her happiness, never weighing the toll it takes on those around them. Yet at the same time what are my other options?

I could leave him. What would that accomplish though? I could be a martyr, sacrificing my happiness for his kids. He has already said he would be miserable. And his kids? The sad truth is it’s not like they would even care. The fact that I walked away because they weren’t comfortable would not even register with them. They certainly wouldn’t be shamed into feeling bad about the fact their behavior has led to their dad being miserable. Not to mention, they’re not around that often. Me leaving him wouldn’t suddenly result in either of his boys dropping by more often.

The other reality is his kids are not small children. They won’t be living with us. The middle son who finds it so difficult to not have his parents together and to see them with other people is engaged and getting married! He just bought a house. He rarely sees his dad- by his own choice. Because he’s always so busy. This is not some 13 year old who would be trapped with an evil stepmother.

I also know that he has practically begged his daughter to move up with him, and would take his youngest son with him in a heartbeat as well. His door is always open. They are the ones who don’t want to move. His son, in fact, is thinking about moving back to their home state where the oldest resides.

The other angle to this is that I didn’t do anything. I didn’t break their family up. Their dad wasn’t sneaking around behind their mom’s back to meet up with me. He wasn’t spending afternoons or weekends away with me and then going home to his clueless wife, telling her he loved her and wanted to grow old with her. She was living with her boyfriend at the time we met. She had already left.

Sure, some could argue that he wasn’t divorced yet and if I wasn’t in the picture then maybe he would have taken her back every time she attempted to keep him hooked on her line. What kind of life is that though? What kind of message is that? I think so little of myself that I allow my spouse to go off and fuck whomever whenever and when my spouse decides to come back home I’m always ready and willing to forgive and forget and take that lying cheater back. Until they go off and do it again. Of course, I’ll be here waiting because that’s my role in life. To wait patiently for my cheater to get bored of fucking strange people.

Then I look at CF, going to cheer competitions and show and tell. Her kids have accepted him and he broke up their family! A key difference could be he was buying them off…. nonetheless, he’s the cheater and her kids are fine with him.

I’m not the cheater. I’m a good person. I’m kind and funny. I’ve been told I have the patience of Job. His siblings see the difference in him. Why can’t his kids? He’s gone from being a heartbroken, sobbing mess into what he is today. My own daughter says, “What’s their problem? Why don’t they want their dad to be happy? I know when you are sad or stressed out it makes me sad and anxious. I prefer it when you are happy.” I’ve told him maybe he wasn’t miserable long enough. Or maybe he did such a bang up job of putting on a happy face and shielding them from the fallout of their mother’s behavior they didn’t realize how unhappy the union was.

I hate feeling like I’m coming between a man and his kids. I worry about how they might feel with him moving up here and hanging out with my kids. Will they think they’ve been replaced? Will they resent me for taking their dad away? That cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

At the heart of it all I just would like to be accepted. I’d like for them to get to the point where they realize I’m a good person and I make him happy. I’d like for them to wrap their minds around the fact that their dad is a more pleasant person to be around now that he isn’t trying to police his wife and keep her from drinking. He doesn’t wake up with a pit in his stomach because he has no idea how the day is going to unfold. Will she be drunk? Will she be sober? He doesn’t have to search the house for bottles of alcohol. He laughs. He’s in a good mood. He’s more patient. I’d like for them to think, “Wow, she’s a really funny, happy, awesome person. She’s always warm and welcoming. She never pushes too hard to be in our lives. She doesn’t try to be my mom. She doesn’t try to influence my relationship with my dad. She lets us solve our own problems between ourselves. She always buys great gifts at Christmas and has the cupboards filled with our favorite foods when we come to visit.”

Is that too much to ask?

CF Comes Through… Sorta

My daughter is off visiting friends in another state. My daughter is a walking disaster. Put her up on a four inch wide beam three feet in the air and she can work her magic. Put her on the ground and she can’t walk without tripping over her own feet.  I got a frantic call from her, followed by text messages from her friends, letting me know she thought she had broken her arm.

Oh, it gets better. Not only did she think she broke her arm, but she had been riding in a golf cart which went into a ditch, throwing her out of it. The final injury tally? Another broken nose, facial lacerations, a possible broken bone in her hand, a sprained wrist and a concussion. Plus, she hit so hard her contacts were knocked out of her eyes and we now need to order new ones for her.

Being the good mom I am and the good future ex-wife I must be until after the divorce is final I text CF to let him know our daughter had been injured. That’s the right thing to do, right?

Funny story here. I asked the mobster his opinion because I really didn’t want to and I figured he would tell me I should tell him. Instead he replied, “Nope. It ain’t life threatening.” He said later he was being a smart ass but I was completely surprised. As I said, I figured he would definitely vote for tell.

As you can imagine my mom was firmly in the camp of, “Why in the hell did you need to tell him?”

So I told him. A little more than 30 minutes later he finally texted back to express his concerns, to ask that I keep him updated and to repeatedly thank me for letting him know. Yes, because I am such a monster I would just let a kid die and not bother to tell him. I told him that I would update him on whether or not she needed surgery on the nose or wrist but that I wouldn’t know anything until next week.

At the time I didn’t know about the concussion so today I had the pleasure of contacting him again to update him. This time he replied pretty quickly. Of course, today he’s at work (unless he’s been forced to resign again) and the other day was a holiday so I’m sure he had to consult with Harley to see if he should reply and if so, what he should say.

Yes, her uncle and grandfather/my stepmom both texted sooner in reply than her own father did but he did somewhat come through for her. I don’t think he’s contacted her directly although I haven’t asked either.

Now if I could just get the sonofabitch to pay his actual court ordered support….

The Kool-Aid He Drinks

I’m beginning to think he’s certifiably crazy. Oh sure, he’s got the PTSD stuff going on supposedly, but I am beginning to think the man has just lost his damn mind. He’s delusional.

I got a text from one of his sisters, wanting to meet up. Not Jezebel, of course. She had a lot of interesting information.

I think my favorite part was when she talked about how she went off on him. Apparently he asked how the kids were (because, you know, he can’t pick up a damn phone and CALL THEM!!!) and she told him they were fine but to never expect them to be in his life again. She said she couldn’t hold her tongue anymore and she flat out told him that he was a disappointment. She told him he was the worst father in the world. Wow! She told him he had ruined our daughter’s dreams of college gymnastics and ruined her chance at getting a scholarship for that as well, and that he left Picasso at a time when a teenage boy needs his dad the most. And she told him that despite all of their father’s faults he looked like a saint compared to Cousinfucker; CF actually made their father look like a fantastic father. She finished it up by telling him that what he had done to his own kids was far more detrimental than anything their parents had done to them and that she hoped her harsh words and keen disappointment in his behavior would knock some sense into him.

No luck on that! But thanks for trying.

Naturally, his response was that I had poisoned the kids against him. Yes, it was all on me. I’m sure walking out the door like you were going to work and moving to another state didn’t play any part in it. Or not calling your daughter back or even bothering with checking up on her after she called you crying upon finding out her parents were getting a divorce. She hung up on your mother and yet no one bothered to call her back and find out if she was okay. Nor did you bother with checking on her in person once you got home from your weekend fuck-fest. But I’m sure that’s my fault. Just like it’s my fault that you couldn’t be bothered to walk into their rooms and ask them how they were doing. You couldn’t be bothered to invite them out for an ice cream cone or to dinner or anything really. You couldn’t come up with $80 for a Homecoming dress for your daughter but spent over $300 on a dress for the cunt face cum dumpster’s daughter. I’m also certain it’s my fault that somehow you could find the strength to drive 12 hours round trip every weekend to go fuck a whore but you couldn’t bother to drive even one weekend to see your children. Yes, yes. I’m sure that was my fault. Just like it was undoubtedly my fault that you couldn’t be bothered to attend one single high school gymnastics meet, one single cheer competition or watch one single football game where your own daughter was cheering, but you could buy a fucking t-shirt with the whore’s daughter’s school’s name on it and go to cheer her on… because you wanted to support her. I’m sure it’s my fault you didn’t attempt to communicate with them for months after you forced us to move out of our house, or that you’ve never bothered apologizing for everything you’ve put us through, or that you’ve never set eyes on your kids since you took off. Yep, all my fault. You’re the poor misunderstood victim.

Thankfully this particular sister told him to knock it off. She informed him that I didn’t need to say a word about him. His own actions sealed his fate and his kids could see on their own how selfish he was.

She also mentioned something that I had completely forgotten and which might shed some light on why Harley the Whore is sticking around despite his alcoholism and unemployment. CF’s dad died a few years ago. As far as I know the estate has not been settled, at least it hadn’t been when I was still with him. She asked if we ever received anything and I was honest- told her we hadn’t and I thought it was all pending the sale of the house. So…. while I’m not saying it definitely did happen if he did in fact receive money from his father’s estate that would explain why the gold digger is still hanging around. It explains why she didn’t cut bait and run once he lost his job. It explains how he’s able to continue to pay his lawyer, despite being unemployed for 9 months. I know that according to our state law I am not legally entitled to any inheritance he may have received, so I’m not upset about that. If he has been living off of it though I hope he has a good time explaining to the judge how it is that he could continue to support his new, fake family but he could’t send a dime to his actual family.

Furthermore, she told me his FB page is full of pictures of him and his new family. She thought it was sickening and told me she hoped the kids hadn’t seen it. Hey! We’re in agreement. I find it sickening and ridiculous, too!

And, as I already suspected, he had a difficult time finding work because he refused to look outside of the state or leave her behind. I find it so comforting to know that he could move me and our kids around, disrupt our lives and never for a minute think of us but the whore and her four kids are the only thing he takes into consideration now. Too bad he couldn’t have exhibited such care and concern when it was us.

Do you want to hear something really ironic? The company that ultimately “fired” him (forced him to resign) was the same company that he originally worked for. Actually, the first company he worked for was bought out by another company. That company was eventually bought out by this newest company. So in a bizarre sort of way he ended up working for the very first company he ever worked for, which means he could have remained in the same town where we met. I never would have needed to move. I wouldn’t have needed to reinvent my life over and over again. Ain’t that a kick in the teeth? Oh well, as long as he’s happy….

He Makes Me Sick

I was all set to write about interrogatories and taxes on Monday. That day has come and gone. Interrogatories suck! It has been a test of patience to not just let loose with every nasty thought that plagues my mind.

Fast forward to today. I’m sending some more documentation to my lawyer’s assistant. I had found the message from The Saint where he stated that Cousinfucker was paying for their divorce. I decide I may as well send along the lovely pictures they’ve been plastering on Facebook. You know, pictures of the two of them posing together happily, despite his grueling battle with PTSD which rendered him unable to work. Pictures of him and her youngest child posing for Show and Tell, an activity in which he never indulged his actual children. What do I come across?

Oh yes! It’s the profile picture of the two of them which I had seen before. This time though I read the comments. Harley tells people to keep in mind that they had just been at her daughter’s cheer competition. People make comments about the t-shirt he’s wearing because it appears he is wearing a t-shirt in support of his favorite team’s arch rival. No, no, no! It’s her daughter’s school mascot. It was sooooo painful to put that shirt on but he wanted to support his “step-daughter”. The whore chimes in, “You know he must really love her to put that shirt on!”

You two are so adorable! Do I even need to point out that that cousin fucking piece of shit never once attended a single cheer competition for his own daughter?

Hey! Maybe that’s the reason his kids have nothing to do with him. He was a piss poor excuse of a father and now he’s strutting around like Daddy of the Year for four kids that have a father. An involved father at that. Nah, I’m sure it’s because I have poisoned their minds. As he’s whining to Rock Star that he hopes she will talk to him once again he forgets that actions speak louder than words. His words say his children are very important to him. His actions say, “You kids don’t mean shit to me. I couldn’t be bothered to go to your competitions or participate in your lives. Now excuse me while I show up at my ‘step-daughter’s’ competitions and take my fake son to show and tell. I love them and need to support them.”  Wouldn’t surprise me to find out he’s coaching one of their teams as well.

Even better are all the comments about how happy they look! Oh, and Jezebel loves them both! Someone told her she deserved to finally be happy.

Really? She’s just entitled to take whatever the hell she wants? Because it makes her happy? Fuck the two families they destroyed! Fuck the betrayed husband who has to watch as his whore of an ex and her mentally unstable lover/cousin play house with his kids! Fuck the betrayed wife who has lost her home, who moved her kids once again, who has lost everything, who works two jobs just trying to feed her kids. They are happy and that trumps everything! You don’t even want to know what would make me happy and I’m 100% sure none of her friends and relatives would tell me I was entitled to make myself happy at her expense.

Then again that seems to be the common refrain. As long as the two cheating lovebirds are happy then all is well. No one wants to look around and see the damage caused by the cheating and the lies. Being unhappy is a perfect justification for being a cheating asshole. Who can say it’s wrong when they’re so happy? Life is short! Too short to do the right thing apparently. I hope they all burn in hell.

Chump Lady is so correct when she says no contact is the only way to go. Having to dredge all this crap up in order to prove what an absolute asshole he is only makes my blood boil. I already know he’s an asshole! Why do I have to prove it to everybody else?

The Wacky Things Cheating Women Say

I was perusing WordPress, trying to catch up on sites I follow when a title caught my eye. I only saw, “I Gave Myself to My Children Completely” and clicked on the link, thinking, “Wow- we might have something in common.” I thought perhaps I might learn something. I, however, didn’t catch the remaining part of the title which was, “… But I Never Thought They Would Hate Me.”

Anyway… I click on the link, head on over to the site and begin reading. I’m feeling all sympathetic because the story she’s telling is one of divorce and her son turning against her. I’m thinking I know where this is heading: Husband cheats, leaves wife, and turns son against her. Poor woman! I’m pretty sure it was the line: I was a good wife right until the very end that made me think this was a story of her being her husband’s victim.

But no! In fact, she was having an affair. She wanted a divorce. The day came for her to sign the papers and she changes her mind. Oh no! I can’t leave my family. I’m not ready to do that! Only guess what? By this time, her husband who had been willing to reconcile with his lying, cheating wife had had enough and he said, “No thank you,” to her reconciliation plan.

This is where it gets so so fun! “Sylvie” gives us such gems as:

My ex wanted to work on our marriage. At the time, I didn’t. I’d been seeing Brad for a couple of months and things were going well. When everything blew up, I felt- weirdly- special. I was getting a lot of attention. I felt wanted, worth fighting for. But I didn’t have the strength to fight anymore. I wanted out of the marriage. I was excited by how new and good things were with Brad.

Oh, you were “seeing” Brad for a couple of months? Hmmm…. I’m not sure about where you live, dear Sylvie, but where I live “seeing” someone else when you are, you know, married, is called having an affair. You can stick a bouquet of flowers up your ass but it’s still not a vase.

And yes, Sylvie, things with a new lover generally are exciting and new. You don’t know about any of his bad habits. You haven’t yet begun to be irritated by all those little traits of his that once were endearing. Oh, and because you don’t actually live with him or do anything for him aside from fuck him, you get all the fun times and none of the responsibilities. Affairs are the epitome of thrilling, titillating and scandalous.

But let’s concentrate on lines 4, 5, and 6: When everything blew up, I felt- weirdly- special. I was getting a lot of attention. I felt wanted, worth fighting for.

Oh, you delightful little sociopath, you! You felt special having an affair? You’re not special because you’re fucking some strange guy named Brad in the backseat of your minivan. You’re not special because you’re lying to your husband, ripping your kids lives apart, and rutting around like a pig in mud.

You were getting a lot of attention and you felt wanted and worth fighting for? How very nice for you. You sure do like making your husband jump through hoops for you, don’t you? All that dancing. All that begging and pleading and praying you’ll pick him. That must have been so wonderful. So intoxicating, Sylvie.  All so that you can say, “No, I don’t want you anymore. I want Brad. He’s shiny and new. You’re old and boring and I have to do your laundry.”

I know I made a mistake, a really big one. I shouldn’t have had an affair. I should have ended our marriage decently, with a civil conversation or a nice handshake. But that wasn’t my reality. I’m not perfect. And while I may not have always been a great wife, I was always a great mom.

Po-ta-to, po-tah-to. It was just a mistake. She’ll cop to the fact that it was a really big one, but hey, let’s not get carried away! It’s not like she’s pretending to be perfect.

Oh Sylvie, once again you try to lure us into this false dichotomy. You are either perfect or you’re a lying, cheating whore. No, no, Sylvie, there are other options. You can be imperfect and still not cheat! For example, I have a lot of road rage and I have a potty mouth. I still don’t cheat. I forgot to write a note for my son’s absences for, like, three weeks. I wasn’t able to go my daughter’s first track meet. That is not perfect. Yet, it’s still not riding some other guy’s dick.

We can even go back to the original line that threw me in the beginning:

I was a good wife right until the very end.

Sylvie, do you understand what being a good wife even is? I’m not sure I can quantify it but I sure as hell know you can’t cheat on your husband and then claim to be a good wife right until the very end.

That’s like someone saying, “Yes, I killed those girls, but I was a good person right up until the very end.” Um…. no. Just no.

Or a drunk driver who has slammed into another car saying, “Hey, I was in control of my vehicle right until the very end.” Again, I’m going to have to go with no.

Good wives and husbands do not cheat. Period.

This one is my favorite:

I thought that Alex would get better- that maybe, with time, he would come to see that people in happy marriages don’t cheat on each other. He would understand that my actions stemmed from a very deep unhappiness- and that I could not keep punishing myself for wanting to be happy again.

I’m sure you were hoping that good ol’ Alex would just get over his mom being a lying, scheming, cheating, selfish bitch. Just get over it, son! Can’t you see Mommy is happy? Don’t you know that Mommy being happy is the most important thing in the world? Aren’t you happy now that I’m happily screwing some guy who isn’t your dad? I realize I’ve torn your life apart but I’m happy now! Geez, Alex, can’t you just get over it and think of someone besides yourself for once in your life? I can’t imagine why Alex isn’t getting over it and isn’t thrilled that his mom has found love and happiness with her affair partner. After all, it is all about the cheaters and their happiness.

I’m going to have to call bullshit on this though, Sylvie: … maybe, with time, he would come to see that people in happy marriages don’t cheat on each other.

Yes they do, Sylvie. All the time. People cheat for the thrill of it. They cheat because they can. They cheat because they have no empathy and no idea how to interact socially with others. They cheat because they believe they are entitled to cheat. They cheat because they have crappy character. They cheat because they are selfish.

As for your unhappiness argument, grow the fuck up, Sylvie! If you were unhappy you had many choices. It wasn’t a matter of being unhappy or having an affair. Stop with your damn false dichotomies.

And am I the only person who doesn’t think Sylvie would ever be willing to punish herself? That sad little drivel about not continuing to punish herself for wanting to be happy is absolute rubbish. Sylvie comes across as a total narcissistic sociopath who only thinks of herself and her happiness.

She reminds me of Jezebel whining to her mom: Will I ever be happy? She’s asking this as she’s fucking her pastor, a man married twenty plus years and twenty years her senior. She asks this as she and her pastor are pulling the wool over the congregation’s eyes, leading them to believe that nothing is going on between them and that it’s all nasty rumors even while they share a joint checking account and make plans to run off to another state. Hmmm… that sounds familiar. Like brother, like sister.

These people are disordered fuckwits. They take and take and take, and then when they’re caught they whine about their unhappiness and bravely declare that they will no longer punish themselves for wishing to be happy. No matter who pays the price for their happiness!

This was brilliant:

I didn’t take a thing from that house. I left behind my career to take care of Anna and Alex. I gave myself to them completely. And even after things ended between their father and me, I thought only about them. I let my ex keep the house, and the kids stayed with him so that the disruption to their routine was minimal. They were surrounded by their things, their dog, and their friends. Maybe it was a mistake, losing myself in them. But I just never thought that my own child would hate me.

First of all, as a very astute reader over on Chump Lady observed once upon a time: Good parents don’t napalm their children’s lives. Second of all, if you decide to leave behind your career to take care of your kids you might not want to fuck around on your husband seeing as how he supports you. Now that those two points are out of the way we can move on.

She makes it sound like she was being so selfless and so brave. She just walked away with nothing. She surrendered her children so as to not disrupt them. What a brave, loving mom.

No, if you read a little further I think it’s safe to come to the conclusion that Sylvie simply walked away from her old life. She shed it all like a snake sheds its skin and started over completely with no remnants from her old life. Oh, also familiar! Hey, Cousinfucker, is that you, telling your story under an assumed name and as the opposite sex? Clever!

Kids and pets take time out of your day, time that could be spent fucking Brad. They represent real life and responsibilities and Sylvie doesn’t seem to do much of that. She needed a change. She didn’t have time to be a mom. She had a new life with Brad! Kids were a buzzkill. And if she couldn’t be bothered with her kids then she sure as hell wasn’t going to be bothered by a damn dog! Her kids and pets and all the responsibilities that come along with them being with you full-time were holding her back and taking valuable time away from her fantasy life with Brad. How can you pretend they don’t exist if they’re right there in front of you, reminding you of what you’ve done and all that you’ve taken away from them? Hey- she will not punish herself for wanting to be happy anymore, people! Stop trying to make her unhappy.

It’s been five years since the divorce and so much has changed in my life. I’ve gone back to school. I’ve started my own successful business. And I just got married- to Brad. My ex recently got engaged, too.

Oh, I see. You getting married to the douche that you tossed aside your family for is equal to your cheated on husband finally finding someone worthy of him. Yes, you marrying your fuck buddy is absolutely the same thing as your husband getting engaged five years after your betrayal. And hey, that just makes it all better, right? It was for the best. Now your ex-husband has finally found happiness, too. Gee, that sure is a pretty package all wrapped up with a shiny bow. Happy endings for everyone!

My son is in college now, and my daughter is in high school. Parts of us have moved on, but parts of us still live with the sadness accumulated during those years.

I have a feeling Sylvie doesn’t live with any sadness. She got exactly what she wanted.

I try to see Anna as much as possible. She’s become a beautiful young lady.

Yes, she sees her daughter as much as possible, which isn’t much because she’s so busy running her new successful business and fucking her new husband, Brad. Don’t try to guilt her, Anna! Your mom will no longer apologize for wanting to be happy. If she needs to step on your neck to reach that elusive happiness then you stick it out there for her with no complaints. Maybe one day you can grow up to be as selfish as her.

I sent Alex a text a little while ago. It said: I love you, I will continue to love you, no matter what you say or how you feel.

His response: I’m sure you will; I’m familiar with that sentiment. Now for the final time you need to Leave. Me. Alone. That is the best thing you can do for me.

Unfortunately for you, Sylvie, I think your son has got your number and knows exactly who you are. He’s a smart boy. I’m pretty sure he knows to steer clear of any women who remind him of his mom.

Inadequate Mom

I like to think I’ve somewhat got this whole working mom thing together. Don’t get me wrong. It sucks and we’re poor but I’m getting it done. I actually made dinner Sunday through Tuesday and then we had leftovers on Wednesday. I think tonight (Thursday) I’m going to make breakfast for dinner because I didn’t have time to get anything into a crockpot this morning between Job #1 and Job #2.

Normally though I feel a great sense of inadequacy. I don’t say this so that everyone tells me I’m doing a great job or that I’m superwoman. I honestly feel like I’m failing my kids at every angle.

I was having a conversation with Picasso, asking him how he liked living here. He mostly likes it. He just misses having friends who live down the street (or right across the street). He misses being able to hang out with friends after school. I told him I would take him wherever he wanted to go.

“I know, Mom, but you’re never home.”

Ouch! And even worse is the fact that even though I’m never home, even though I work two jobs, even though I have to go to bed around 9 pm, like a damn toddler, I still don’t make enough money to really be able to provide much aside from food.

If he misses the bus I’m not around to take him to school. If the school calls and tells me the bus is running late I’m not there to pick him up. I did manage to return a few calls to the school and at one point one of the ladies in the office joked with me, “We know there’s no use in calling you about something because you’re at work and can’t talk on your phone while you’re there. So we know Picasso will just have to sit here and wait an hour until the bus gets here.” Double ouch!

I get cranky when I have to pick Rock Star up from her job at 10:00 at night because it means I get less than five hours of sleep that night before I need to go in and begin my thirteen hour workday. I missed more of the games that she cheered at than I attended. I did make it to the parent meeting for track this week but it’s anyone’s guess how many of her meets I’ll actually be able to attend. We are trying like hell to get her driving test scheduled and that is going to take coordination not seen since the Seal Team 6 strike on Osama bin Laden. It’s exhausting.

I can’t financially provide for them, despite working constantly, and I’m no longer available to do the regular “mom” things I used to do. It is so frustrating. This was never how I intended to raise my kids. If I had known this was going to be my life at age 48 I never would have had them because what’s happening is definitely not fair to them.

A Tale of Two Sams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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