I’d Love To Be That Naive Again

I’m jealous, folks. I don’t spend much time on Facebook anymore. I get on to check in on the Chump Nation page and take maybe 5-10 minutes to scroll through my feed. I send out a few birthday wishes/happy anniversary wishes, etc. Even with the limited amount of time I’m on there I still see the feeds of seemingly happy couples.

The co-worker I mentioned a few months ago is pregnant and quit her job; she’s going to be a stay at home mom. She’s living the life she’s always wanted to live- living on a farm surrounded by animals with the love of her life and a new baby. My cousin is still at home, baking bread, knitting, and being all domestic. She is honestly rocking this stay-at-home thing. The meals she cooks, the desserts she makes, the fucking artisan bread she bakes, the projects she takes on… it’s amazing. Truly.

I’m not jealous because they’re able to do those things. I’m happy for them. No, I’m envious because they, for whatever reason, have the luxury of believing that this new life they’re crafting with their partner won’t go belly up; the thought that things might not work out and they could lose everything doesn’t even cross their minds. I don’t blame them. I didn’t spend any part of my marriage thinking, “Oh my God! What if he leaves me?” I didn’t prepare for a future without him. I certainly didn’t live my entire life with him in preparation for a divorce. That’s the root of the envy.

I learned the hard way that you can’t ever rely on the other person doing what they’re supposed to do. I learned you need to be prepared to do it all on your own because when you don’t, you’re completely blindsided. I’m envious because they don’t seem to know that; they can throw caution to the wind and depend upon another person. They are quitting their jobs. They are without an income. And they’re fine with it because their husbands will support them. They’re able to take this new life they’re creating for themselves and not think beyond now. It’s all excitement- new houses, new lifestyles, babies, new pets, photo shoots, artisan bread, home projects, and vacations. They’re building a fantastic new life with someone, and they are able to throw themselves whole heartedly into this new chapter of their lives. There is no, “What happens if I quit my job and this person leaves me?” It’s simply a brand new life where they can depend 100% on another person and trust that that person isn’t going to betray them. I really wish I could be that naive again. That is what makes me envious. All that I am I give to you and all that I have I share with you. I wish I still believed that without reservation. I wish I could put my life in another person’s hands and have faith that he will always have my back. I wish I still believed that you work as a team, you build a life together, and you reap the rewards together. You don’t have to keep a tally sheet of who does what and how much your contribution is worth.

Now I see people working as a team, building lives together, making the decision to stay at home, and I think, “You better hope he doesn’t leave. If he does your life is going to spiral out of control. Everything you know to be true today will be over in the blink of an eye. Better yet- you’d better have a backup plan so you can take care of yourself if he does leave.” 

Even worse, I can’t allow myself the luxury of thinking of myself as part of a team. I am horribly aware of how no couple is really a team. You say the words, but the reality is, when that new person catches your eye, you don’t give a fuck about your former “teammate” and you’re certainly not trying to give them a fair share of everything “the team” has accumulated through the years. The team member that was making a six figure salary gets to walk away and move in with the new teammate while still making six figures; their life goes on as normal. Meanwhile, the teammate that wasn’t making the money but was raising the kids, cooking meals, doing all the grocery shopping, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, running the pets to vet appointments, running the kids all around, and generally supporting the money earner from behind the scenes is left alone with no income. Their life changes dramatically.

I know this probably sounds odd coming from me. Or maybe it doesn’t, which is even scarier. I’m very happy with the mobster. Far happier than I ever was with Jerry Lee. I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. I still can’t get comfortable with the idea of giving up spousal support in order to marry him or even live with him. Every time I think about it and start to believe that this time would be different because he’s the right person that little voice in my head says, “Listen up! Don’t be an idiot! You’ve already learned the hard way what happens when you can’t stand on your own two feet. You would have to be amazingly stupid to voluntarily give that up and depend on him. You don’t make enough money to be able to afford anything on your own without spousal support.”

That little voice is right. I do know what happens when you depend upon another person. I know what happens when you can’t support yourself. You wind up moving in with your mother and getting rid of almost everything you’ve ever owned and sleeping on the couch. I wish I didn’t know that.

Things have changed a bit since I first began writing this way back in October. The biggest change, of course, is my new job. I actually could support myself now if I gave up spousal support and moved in with or married the mobster. It’s still a good chunk of change though so I’m not eager to give it up. It would also be rather tight because as I said I’ve almost closed the gap. I haven’t done it completely. And when you look at actual take home pay… well, let’s just say I’m not where I want to be without that extra boost.

I like to think I’m mostly unscathed from my divorce; however, I can’t shake that idea that if I can’t afford it on my own then it’s not really mine. It was a hard lesson to learn and I’m not sure if it will ever be unlearned. The funny thing is I think that the mobster and I really would make a great team and could build a fantastic life together. That little voice in the back of my head continues to question though: What if he leaves you? Can you still afford that? Will you be able to take that (whatever “that” happens to be) with you? Will you be able to stand on your own two feet or will you have to return to your mom’s house? Funnier still is the fact that I have no reason to believe he would do that to me. He’s been through all of this himself. I don’t spend time worrying that he’s got one foot out the door or that he’s checking out other women. Hell, we live 600 miles apart and I have never worried about him cheating on me. Maybe that’s stupidity on my part, or maybe it’s a testament to the strong foundation of our relationship. Either way, it’s not something I worry about. And yet… I’m not able to fully commit to joining finances and letting Jerry Lee off the hook.

Fortunately for me the mobster understands. He recently said to me, “You’re terrified to give up spousal support, aren’t you?” Oh yeah. That’s my safety net. I lost everything. I’m not prepared to do that again.

I really wish I could be as naive as some of the people I know when it comes to relationships. I wish I didn’t feel like I always needed an exit plan in case I get discarded. On the other hand, I’m really glad I’m in a position finally where I can stand on my own. I don’t see myself ever giving that up.

Why Do We Force It?

Following up on my lovely post about parental alienation, I’m going to tackle the subject of forcing a relationship between the abandoning parent and the child one more time.

So often I see others admonishing a parent to extend grace to the abandoning parent. They’re told to offer up an olive branch, be the bigger person, love their child more than they hate the ex. Make that phone call. Offer up that extra time. Remind them of the school conference. The dance recital. The football game. The Honors assembly.

You hear over and over again: That’s still their other parent. You should encourage a relationship between the two of them. It’s the only mom or dad they have.

Why? Why does everyone put so much stock into this idea that because you share DNA you must have a relationship with that person regardless of how poorly they treat you? Why do we continue to sell this idea that abusive behavior is love?

I’m not suggesting that you tell your kids to cut off their other parent. What I would suggest is that you listen to your children when they tell you they want nothing to do with the other parent. You don’t force it. You don’t lie to them and tell them that this other parent loves them; you don’t know that. And even if it’s true what a shitty example of love. Love is not putting the other woman/other man ahead of your children’s feelings. When the amount of time that has passed since you last saw your child face to face can be measured in years, that is not love. Love is not telling your child you hated every minute of being a parent. Love is not walking out on your responsibilities because you put your happiness ahead of all else. Leaving your child’s other parent, moving out, disrupting their lives as they know them, moving in with another person and their children and/or having another baby, all in the time span of a few months while your child’s head is still spinning is not love. Love is not disappearing and never being heard from again. You don’t get to put another person’s kids ahead of your own, do things with them and for them that you didn’t do for your own, and then get to claim you love your children. Love is not waiting for your children to call you or text you, to reach out to you.

It’s no wonder so many people end up in dysfunctional relationships. We are sold this idea that when people love you they treat you badly. They ignore you. They minimize your needs. They put everyone and everything else before you. Then when you get into a relationship and that person does those things you think, “Oh this feels familiar. It must be love.”

It is okay to have boundaries, even at a young age. It is okay for a child to say, “This is unacceptable behavior. I don’t want to be around this person.”  As the sane parent I think it’s inappropriate to try to convince them that those feelings are wrong, or should be stifled so as to not damage a potential relationship. When someone has done something wrong admit it! Stop trying to whitewash it and convince your child that it’s completely reasonable to do the unreasonable. 

It’s also perfectly fine to tell your child, if they ask, “I don’t know why your other parent does those things,” instead of rushing to assure them that the other parent loves them. As my own son says, “He loves me? Really? He’s got a funny way of showing it.”

Again, I’m not trying to encourage people to damage a healthy relationship between a parent and child. I’m not encouraging anyone to badmouth the other parent or to create chaos where there is none. But for the love of all that’s holy, please stop trying to convince your children that people who don’t behave as though they love them, who actually do things that are very hurtful to them, love them. Stop selling abuse and toxicity as love. Stop telling your kids that people who love them hurt them and that’s perfectly normal and acceptable. Give them a chance at a healthy relationship.

A Whole New Decade

Happy New Year! It’s 2020. Others say it’s the end of the decade. I say 2020 is actually the end. The new decade will begin next year in 2021. Sorry to rain on your parade. Nevertheless, isn’t this exciting? All those years watching the show 20/20 (which the mobster was on, btw) and thinking about how cool it would be when it finally was the year 2020. What would they call the show then?

I like to say that this will be the year of hindsight. The mobster says it’s the year of clarity. Yes, we are that obnoxious couple that laughs heartily at our own corny jokes.

I’d like to tell you I had an incredible New Year’s Eve. The fact is I don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve. I feel like it’s one of those holidays where everyone wants you to think it’s this amazing time and everyone is having fun. I’ve never really had an amazing New Year’s Eve. Most of the time it’s disappointing and at best, it’s okay.

I think one of my best New Year’s Eve celebrations was back when we lived in Olive Branch and had a fairly large group of friends. We went over to another couple’s house along with a few other couples and we played board games and ate delicious food. It was low key and lovely.

Two years ago I was with the mobster. We were at WinterFest up at Liberty University. That was another good night, but mainly because of who I was with.

Last night I fell asleep sitting up on the couch at around 11:30. I woke up around 3:30 and crawled into bed. No ball drop for me this year.

I also don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions. I know they are rarely achieved. I know they are mostly forgotten within the first few weeks of the new year. When I do make resolutions I like to keep them something easy, like moisturize more, floss more regularly. Sadly, I can’t even get the hang of the flossing thing.

I do, however, like the thought of choosing a word for the year. Anne wrote about it on her blog earlier this week.

I’m not sure if the outcome will be any different because there is still a goal but I like it. I’ve decided that my word for the year 2020 will not be hindsight, as I originally thought, but change.

I need change. The post I wrote the other day turned into a pity party. It’s very easy to fall into that pattern when I think back to all the time that has passed. It’s been four years since discard and I don’t have an amazing new life. I have an okay life.

I mean, the mobster is amazing. I definitely have a fantastic new partner in my life but that is not something I control, if that makes sense. If he up and leaves me that one fantastic part of my new life is over and done. I’m back to my life being “eh”. To be clear I don’t think he’s going to leave me any time soon, if ever, but unlike something such as going back to school or getting a new job, I have no control over the outcome of our relationship. It is dependent upon him and his desires as well.

I am thankful for my children. I am thankful for my mom. I realize I’m very lucky to have a mom who is willing to house me and my kids and dogs. I realize I’m fortunate that I’m not dealing with kids on drugs or who are suicidal. They haven’t shunned me in favor of their father as some have experienced. All three of them are healthy, despite Rock Star’s recent repeat trips to the Urgent Care and ER.

I suppose I could heed Clarence’s words in “It’s a Wonderful Life”: Remember, no man (or woman) who has friends is a failure. I do have many remarkable friendships. That’s one of the things that has impressed the mobster. I do, and I’m very grateful for that, even if so many of them are so very far away.

I don’t want to give the impression that I have nothing to live for; however, there is much room for improvement. I want to be independent again. I realize I wasn’t ever truly independent once I married Jerry Lee. His job was what allowed us to live the way we did. It was never me. I can (and will) take credit for the fact that I was in the background doing what needed to be done and never prevented him from making those moves that afforded us a better lifestyle, but I never made the money.

I would like to either live in my own house with my own things once again, or live with the mobster, and know that if he leaves me I’ll be okay and can afford to be out on my own.

I would like to work at a job that pays me enough to live on. I realize that for what I make my car payment is way too expensive. We bought it less than a year before my life blew up. We took the longest loan with the smallest payment because we planned to use big chunks of his bonus check each year to pay it off. While the loan may have been for six years we planned to have it paid off in two or three. Nonetheless, it ended up being a $365 payment each month. That was fine when I was living on almost ten grand a month. Not so much when my entire paycheck for the 2 week period was somewhere between $550-$650.

I know this is long and rambling but my point is even dismissing my car payment I don’t have much to live on after the bills are paid. Once that is done and over I’ll have $640/month. Even paying off all of my credit cards still only nets me around $900/month. I have no rent or utilities to pay right now, so finding a place of my own with what I make would take every bit of that and probably more. My job does not pay me enough money to live on. Period. That needs to change.

I’ve mulled over career choices. I don’t know if going back to school for my Masters or a different degree is a viable option or not. I’ve given thought to going back to be a nurse, a forensic accountant, a teacher, a social worker, and a school guidance counselor. I’ve eliminated two of those.

Maybe 2020 will see me back in school. Maybe I’ll find something that pays more that doesn’t require a degree. Who knows. I just know it’s time for a change.

I need to lose weight. This isn’t the, “Oh, I want to fit back into my size 2 jeans,” kind of needing to lose weight. For the record, I was never a size 2, even at my thinnest. No, this is more of a, “I hate the way I look and feel and my blood pressure is out of control,” kind of needing to lose weight.

It’s the blood pressure thing more than anything. I used to have terrific blood pressure. I remember one time having my blood pressure taken and then the nurse took it a second time. Then she asked me if I was an endurance athlete because my blood pressure was so low. Even then I had to reply, “Do I look like I’m any kind of an athlete?”

I don’t remember for certain when it started to climb but I do know at my last exam before the discard it was higher than normal. But, the divorce diet led to a 20-25 pound weight loss and the next time I went in, which was December of 2015, my blood pressure was perfect. It’s definitely a weight thing.

My health is primary but I also hate the way I look anymore and the fact that I’m outgrowing the majority of my clothes.

The mobster would love to see me drink more water and less diet Coke. More change.

I still have running a marathon on my bucket list. Kinda tough to do when you don’t even run a mile.

I think about all the things I believe I would like to do- learn to play hockey, learn to knit and crochet. Wow- that was a shorter list than I thought. Still, those are things I could learn to do, even at my age.

Even in my current situation there can be financial change. Taking charge and making a huge effort to pay off everything I owe. Considering where I once was it’s not a lot. Considering how much I make it is a lot.

The big change I hope to see is finally having Jerry Lee garnished and finally taking him back to court for the court fees he owes. I’d like to have all of that behind me once and for all. No more need to text him to ask about payments. No more wondering when this would finally all be over. No more being frustrated over the shit he is allowed to get away with. No more having to do with hundreds, if not thousands, less whenever he decides he needs the money more than I do.

Anyway, that’s my word of the year- change. We’ll see if anything does change.

In the meantime I have managed to accomplish some things.

  1. I got Picasso into counseling. He had an appointment within a day after I finally reached someone at the counseling center.

    2. Rock Star has her sophomore year paid for. Yes, it’s due to loans but it’s paid for. And she will be applying to nursing school this upcoming semester.

    3. I got a new position in my department and I finally got to move over to my new desk. I don’t make much more than I did before but it’s a step up instead of a step down.

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping for some well-deserved change in the upcoming year.

It’s a Good News/Bad News Kind Of Day

Guess what? I got a phone call AND an email from my lawyer’s legal assistant. They are FINALLY moving ahead on my case.

I also got the skinny on what’s been going on. They’ve had four lawyers who have left family law practice (or maybe the area) so my attorney, and I’m sure other attorneys as well, got swamped with their active cases.

The good news remains that my case is finally going forward. They are going before a judge on the 18th to get a hearing. The last time we had a separate show cause hearing my lawyer went before the judge in November and our hearing wasn’t set until February. I figure we won’t be back in court until March.

I talked to my attorney’s legal assistant. In a roundabout way I know her personally. Her daughter and my daughter were on the same cheerleading and gymnastics teams. She’s already got it in the pleadings that he moved out of state without informing me or the courts. I’m still waiting to hear about whether or not we’ll be asking for the back support or if we’re going to leave that up to Mississippi. Which brings up the bad news part of the day.

My caseworker emailed me back. The last time we had communicated she had said she was waiting on an email or some sort of notice from Mississippi seeing as how the state computer website is still down. I replied that if there was a number I would be more than happy to call and see what was going on with my case.

Good Lord, you would have thought I volunteered to piss in their Cheerios. I was told in no uncertain terms that I should not do that because this was an interstate case and if I called they could dismiss my case. It’s part of the UIFDA guidelines! Oh my! If only I knew what that was.  Apparently it’s a guideline that states you’re not allowed to ask any questions about your own damn case because why on earth would you be concerned about any of that? God forbid you have an interest in your future or your life. Then again, this is the same agency that “can’t tell you” how much your ex-spouse is making because they wouldn’t want you to go into any situation with all the facts.

For those of you not up to date on this saga I was told back in September that I should hear something in 60-90 days. A week or two before what I thought was the 90 day period I asked what exactly I would be hearing and what would happen after that. At that point I was told the state had 60-90 days to review the case, put it into the computer system, and get it to the appropriate county. THEN the county had another 45 days to decide what the fuck they were going to do. What happens after that is anyone’s guess because no one seems to know. And since no one else is being held hostage by Jerry Lee, they really don’t give a fuck. Oh yeah, also the statewide website is down so no one can check up on any progress. Please don’t ask any questions about that, though.

She did let me know that Mississippi received the case on the 26th of September. That’s a little more than 2 weeks after my meeting. She admonished me to remember that they have only had my case for two months. Wow- only two months! How long does it take to get it into the computer and get it to the correct county? Frankly, in this age of electronics I am amazed it takes as long as it does to get this crap done. Only two months? Why not phrase it as, “They’ve had two months!”?

She goes on to inform me that they are not allowed to contact them until Mississippi has had the case for 90 days. She also lets me know she has no timeframe on anything although she presumes a court date will be set within the next 30 days. And she finishes it up with saying she understands that I’m in a rush to get this done but to please give the case additional time.

So, we’re now pushed back to December 26th. At that point the county gets the case. They have an additional 45 days to make a decision. Let’s face it. They always take the full amount of time. Now we’re looking at mid-February. No one knows what happens after the county sets a trial date so maybe we have a trial date set for the end of February. Maybe it won’t be held until April. We don’t know what happens after that either. Is he garnished right away? Does the judge rule right then and there or does he take a month to make his decision? We don’t know. Isn’t it more fun this way?

Maybe I’m an extraordinary employee but when I don’t know the answer to someone’s question I find out. I don’t simply reply, “I don’t know.” If I don’t know I do my best to try to find out. 99% of the time I’m successful. I’m also not dealing with people’s lives. Yet, my caseworker, who cannot give me legal advice, or even tell me what she’s seen in her job apparently, has no problem at all saying, “I don’t know how any of this works,” and not feel one ounce of obligation to actually find out the answer to any of these questions.

I realize I can be a pain in the ass. I fully acknowledge I can be like a dog with a bone. This stuff is scary, though. I’m going into this blind. I’ve been floundering for damn near a year. If you really think about it I’ve been jerked around by Jerry Lee for 2 years now. I never know when I’m going to receive a payment. I don’t know how much it will be. I don’t know if he will suddenly modify it. It’s terrifying. I have no idea what’s going to happen and I have no idea when it’s going to happen. A little bit of understanding would go a long way.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

 

20191103_210250.jpgThis picture is the essence of who my daughter once was. It was taken just a few months after we moved from Virginia to Indiana. A few months after gymnastics was taken away from her forever.

She started gymnastics the first time around as soon as she turned three. It lasted about 3 months. The class tended to take place at the time she was just waking up from her nap and she was a beast upon waking. I decided it wasn’t worth it.

Fast forward almost a year. Her preschool class took a field trip to that gym. She loved it. I asked her if she’d like to take lessons again. She enthusiastically replied, “Yes!”

Her coach was a real cutie patootie. After she had gone through the entire program for kids her age it was time to decide if she wanted to sign up for some more recreational lessons, or if she wanted to start training for team gymnastics. I explained to her that if she wanted to do rec Chad wouldn’t be her coach any longer because he taught the preschool program and the team girls. She wanted to do team gymnastics.

“Do you want to do team gymnastics because you really like gymnastics, or because you really like Chad?” I asked her, knowing that participation on the team would require a much bigger commitment.

“I really like gymnastics,” she replied. “But I really like Chad, too,” she admitted.

That’s how we ended up spending tens of thousands of dollars on gymnastics over the years.

She made the transition from the gym in Michigan to the gym in Utah with a few tears. It was difficult starting over. Meeting new coaches. Getting used to them. Meeting new teammates.

She was at that gym for 8 years. She spent countless hours there. Gymnastics was her life. Her final three years in Utah she was an Optional. She was at the gym no less than 20 hours a week. In the summer it was 25. Her friends were her gymnastics teammates. Very few people outside of the gym permeated that friendship circle.

For eight years she lived and breathed gymnastics. She progressed from a little girl who couldn’t do a cartwheel, much less a back handspring to a young lady who was doing whips and fulls on floor, back tucks on beam, giants on bars and a Yurchenko on vault.

Then we took it all away from her. We moved to Virginia to a town that didn’t have a JO gymnastics program. They had high school gymnastics though and she dove into that. At one point she even did Excel, saying all she wanted to do was compete. But once again she was being asked to trust new coaches, only this time around the skills were a lot more challenging than a cartwheel.

That lasted for two years. We had to leave our home shortly after she found out she was being named co-captain for her high school gymnastics team. There was no high school gymnastics and I couldn’t afford competitive gymnastics any longer. It was over. Twelve years of gymnastics, over in the blink of an eye. Her love, her passion, was abruptly taken away. She never replaced it with anything else.

I love that picture of her. It captures who she was so perfectly. You could take gymnastics away from her but she would always find a way. She lost competitive gymnastics but embraced high school gymnastics. Then that was taken away from her when we moved from Virginia to Indiana. Yet, out there in a cornfield she used a log as a balance beam and leaped.

I feel like this picture represents something I can’t put into words. Perseverance? The ability to soldier on even when everything you care about has been taken from you? The ability to get back up when life knocks you down? A strong will? Loss? Refusing to be defeated? I don’t know.

What I do know is she loved this. It was her life. And now it’s over. Her father took it away from her to meet his own selfish needs.

Keep leaping, my beautiful girl. Keep dreaming and improvising.

P.S. She nailed the landing, in case you were wondering.

When You Feel Like You’ve Failed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And always there are the issues with her father.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Another Take On Graduation Weekend

Obviously this was written before she went on her texting spree. I’m finding it hard to muster any sympathy for her now. I’ll write tomorrow about the second text she sent, soon after she sent the first text.

I wrote earlier about the mobster’s ex crying at the party. I don’t know anything about it except what I was told, and that’s not a lot. I never saw her crying. I’m also fully aware that the woman, much like CF, is a professional victim so I take her tears with a grain of salt.

I suppose that the mobster and I had a chance to switch places this weekend. Last year it was him feeling somewhat sorry for my ex because it shouldn’t have been that way. He shouldn’t have been sitting by himself, away from the rest of the family. We should have been together as husband and wife, celebrating with our extended family the graduation of our smart, beautiful, talented daughter. At least according to the mobster.

I get it. CF shouldn’t necessarily be pitied because he chose this, but the situation is sad. It shouldn’t have been like that. It’s a situation that should never have occurred. But because he made really bad choices there were consequences; the fact he made those bad choices is sad. The fallout to his kids is sad.

I think, too, that for most of the population who has a heart it can be hard to see a person suffer, even if they are suffering due to consequences levied because of their own behavior. I’m not a heartless person. The mobster is not a heartless person. Therefore, when we see a person suffering it is difficult to rejoice even when that person has brought the suffering upon themselves.

I don’t generally feel sorry for the mobster’s ex. She chose to drink. She chose to ignore the help offered at every turn. She chose to cheat. She chose to lie. She chose to walk out on the mobster and their kids. She helped turn their lives upside down in every way imaginable.

Yet I understand what the mobster felt when he attended Rock Star’s graduation. It’s a sad situation. It never had to be like that.

For all of the snarky, condescending things I could have said to her what I think I really would have said, given the chance would be this:

How could you give all this up? He loved you. He adored you. He never would have given up on you. I never would have been here if you had done what you were supposed to.

Do you have any idea how many times I have felt like I couldn’t compete with the memories the two of you made together? You were a family.

He did so many things for you. He bought you a new stove when you got out of rehab because you loved to cook. He bought you roses and painted cityscapes on snow banks.

He worshiped you. He didn’t want a divorce. He wanted you to get better and to be the woman he married so long ago. If you hadn’t made the boneheaded choices you made along the way there would have been no room for me. He defended you at all costs. He was willing to separate himself from his family for you. You always took precedence. He even valued your well-being over that of your children. You were always the first priority. He was a man who absolutely believed that you leave your family and become one with your spouse. He absolutely believed his wife came before anything. He lived that and you didn’t appreciate it one little bit. You took it for granted.

You had a beautiful home back in New Hampshire. You had a pool. You had four amazing kids that loved you. Your husband worked hard to support you and those kids so that you could stay at home and take care of them and homeschool them. Do you have any idea what a gift that was? Yet you threw it all away- first with the drinking, and then with the cheating. He even forgave you but you continued with both.

The ex in my situation provided for us financially but that’s about all I can say for him. He didn’t run around doing sweet, romantic things for me. He didn’t want to participate in family life. He had no interest in doing things with me as a couple. It was like pulling teeth to get him to do things with us. Surprise me with a new stove? Hell, show up unexpectedly with flowers? Never in a million years. He bought me some nice Christmas presents but he never went that extra mile, like the mobster did for you. I could barely get him to participate in date night.

If I had had your life I never would have messed it up the way you did. I would have been so grateful to have a man who loved me, who spoiled me, who put me first, and who wanted to be a partner and a family man. You had all of that and you threw it away like it was nothing.

I don’t hate you; I pity you. You had everything and you didn’t appreciate a bit of it. Now you’re finding out the grass isn’t greener and that must really suck. But I didn’t do that to you. You did it to yourself.

It should have been a happy day. T shouldn’t have had to deal with her mom showing up to her graduation drunk. She shouldn’t have to worry about conflict between her mom and her dad’s girlfriend. She shouldn’t have to hear her friends make jokes about me being the good mom because the reality is I’m not the mom. No matter how much she may come to love me, no matter how big of a role I may end up playing in her life, I am not her mom and that is a loss she will always feel. That beautiful young woman deserves a mother who is fully present and can participate in her life with her, not show up on the outskirts of it.

Her sons shouldn’t dread having to go outside to talk to her. For the most part they stayed away from her. Their girlfriends or wives shouldn’t dread seeing her, or completely dislike her because of her odious behavior. Yet that is a reality. She has failed all of them in astounding ways.

And you know what? It makes me sad. It makes the mobster sad. He never wanted any of this. He wanted to raise his kids in a two parent family and grow old with the woman he married. It’s the difference between what should have been and what is. He tells me he is so much happier and he should have divorced her sooner; yet, he wishes it didn’t have to be that way. In a perfect world both of our spouses would have done right by us, and right by our children. We’d be happily married to the people we chose over twenty years ago. Unfortunately, that’s not our reality.

The mobster’s reality is that his wife walked out and she walked away from her kids and any responsibility she might have had. On one hand she was bawling and carrying on; on the other hand she was walking around the place like she owned it. She was in many respects an outcast at her own daughter’s party while I was busy setting up and preparing food. Yet, she felt entitled to bring her boyfriend, the man she was fucking behind her husband’s back, to the party the mobster was throwing and paying for. Her kids reluctantly went outside to talk to her. His family awkwardly made conversation with her. The day of the breakfast she sat outside with no one unless her sister was with her. She had to deal with seeing me walking around her old home, fixing myself a cup of coffee and playing hostess. She had to deal with the knowledge that her sister and brother-in-law were spending the night in the same house as the mobster and I were. None of this would have been palatable to me if the roles were reversed. So I have a bit of sympathy for her in that regard. However, I also know she was sending the mobster messages telling him she hoped he went to hell the night before the party. I know she loves to play the victim, just like my ex. I know she’s manipulative and lies. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if none of this bothers her. Oh, I can believe it bothers her she’s not the center of attention, and that her kids aren’t fawning over her. But I don’t think she really cares about everything she lost. If the mobster were still mourning her and begging her to come back… if her kids were still begging her for attention… if everyone had made all over her and acted like they were so happy to see her… she wouldn’t have shed a tear. She wouldn’t have given a single thought to everything she discarded.

If I’m completely honest I’m pissed that she threw this all away so easily. Perhaps she simply figured that he would always be there. He would endure endless amounts of her shit to keep her in his life. I don’t know. What I do know is she got to live the life I always wanted. She got the four kids I wanted and was denied. She had someone who loved her, who put her first, and who always defended her no matter what. CF didn’t do that. He threw me under the bus every chance he got. She had someone who wanted to do things with her and do things as a family. Again, CF didn’t do that. It was rare. The mobster gave up a seven figure profit sharing plan and a lot of money in order to be there for his kids. To this day they are his pride and joy and he doesn’t regret giving that up one little bit (although he does say it would be nice to have that profit sharing right about now).

I also know she brought all this on herself when she walked out. In the end, I guess I don’t feel all that bad for her. I mean, I do when I think about it from my perspective. Her kids want nothing to do with her. She’s lost the most amazing man. But then I remind myself she doesn’t think the way I think. What’s important to me or to the mobster, isn’t what’s important to her. She made her choices and she gets to live with them. As Justin Timberlake would say, “Cry me a river.”

Being a Rule Follower

I am a rule follower. Some of my friends tease me about that. If a sign says, “No one admitted beyond this point,” I don’t go beyond that point. If they say, “No food or drink,” I don’t bring any food or drink. It’s not that I don’t have a rebellious streak. It’s simply that I always get caught so I figure it’s easier to just follow the damn rules.

I remember one time in college a friend was talking about scamming the people at food court. He bought a chicken sandwich and told the cashier it was a hamburger, which was cheaper. Well, yours truly tried that a day or so later, and I got caught. Somehow the cashier knew it was chicken and not beef. Lesson learned. I follow the rules.

Back in January when I found out the state of Indiana would go after CF for the full $1800/month in arrears (so really $900 for each month he had “self-modified”) I debated making him an offer instead of going after the full amount. I felt bad letting the state go after him for the additional $900 when I felt like I was really only entitled to the additional $200 or so. But I didn’t. I figured I would let the chips fall where they may. Sucks to be him and all that. It was his responsibility to get it modified after all.

I should have made him a damn offer because it’s all coming back to bite me in the ass, just like I feared it would. I even said I don’t gloat because it never works out for me.

The caseworker contacted me last week. After talking to her supervisor she said it might be possible that Kentucky would enforce the spousal support order but there were no guarantees. She also said that more than likely the judge in Kentucky would use his current salary instead of the higher wages imputed by the Virginia judge. It was possible the judge would impute, but not guaranteed. She didn’t sound like it would even be likely.

End result? The rule follower is going to get fucked up the ass once again and the goddamn cousin fucking piece of shit gets to do whatever the fuck he wants to do with no consequences.

I told the caseworker I was withdrawing my case. I am NOT going to go through the hassle of getting him imputed so that I can actually save that asshole money! I didn’t seek a fucking modification for his benefit. According to the support calculator he will end up paying me $200 less than what he is voluntarily paying me now with his self-modified support. It’s about $400 less than what he is supposed to be paying.

In the end, if I go along with the caseworker I will actually owe him about $1400, or two month’s worth of child support. I am not assured of getting spousal support, which is 75% of what he owes me. And I am not even guaranteed arrears for the months he refused to get the order modified.

Now I’m back to relying on my lawyer to get this damn thing done. More than likely he will refuse to sign the new papers because he doesn’t have a job, as far as I know.

I will continue to be at his mercy for the next fifteen years. He gets to continue to pay spousal support whenever he wants. He gets to continue to pay child support whenever he wants and he gets to cut it off whenever he wants as well. Once again that fucking asshole gets to calculate child support down to the fucking half hour when his son graduates.

I was going to conclude this rant with questions of why couldn’t I have been a widow, but that wouldn’t have been nice. It would have been true, but it wouldn’t have been nice. Instead I’m going to once again tell myself that I have choices. None of them are palatable but I have choices. I merely have to be content letting him get away with murder. And that pisses me the fuck off!

Seriously. He cuts child support in half, refuses to get it modified, tells me if I want it I’m going to have to force him and pay for it, and in the end, he gets away with all of it.

My lawyer will take probably another six months to get anything before him. I’ve already lost money yet again because I’ve had two raises (small raises- less than $1/hour combined) since the last time she calculated the child support. He’s lost his job, supposedly not due to his own incompetence, which makes things a little tricky. Plus, I can’t really hold him in contempt because he is doing as I asked and paying something, even if not the entire amount.

It’s not like the last time where he just said, “I lost my job. I won’t be sending you anymore money.” He’s paying his self-modified child support. He’s even sending additional money for spousal support.

The state of Indiana, who was supposed to hand his ass to him, is basically going to be cutting him a huge break because they’re turning it over to Kentucky. Kentucky will more than likely say, “Oh, you poor thing. The mean old judge in Virginia imputed you. We’re going to only count what you actually make. You shouldn’t be forced to get a comparable job to support your kids. True love and fucking your cousin is so much more important!” And that’s with the supposition that they will use his former salary and not use $0 since he’s no longer got a damn job!

So I’m back to my lawyer in Virginia, taking forever while she charges me $300/hour to do so.

Of course, I could always say, “Fine. Pay me whatever you deem acceptable, Cousinfucker.” Then I’m only out the original amount of money I paid my attorney to get this shit modified. Is approximately $185 more per month really worth it? Hell, at this point it could be even less. It undoubtedly is.

Then he wins. I hate it when he wins. I feel like this entire time he’s been winning. I know; I know. My kids love me. I’m the real winner. But that only means something if he lost something he actually cared about. He doesn’t care about his kids. He wouldn’t have done what he did if he cared about his kids. He doesn’t value the same types of things that normal people do. So, he’s won.

He won the entire time leading up to our temporary support orders. Blew through more than $30k and never had to account for a penny. At least not a penny I saw. It all got wrapped up in the settlement. Speaking of which, he won in the settlement. After being told that since the money I took and used to support us was spent on the household I wouldn’t have to account for it, I had to account for it. He took on 60% of the marital debt which he never plans on actually paying, but it sure did cut him a break on what he had to pay out. He won after the divorce as well. He has absolutely no responsibilities as far as our kids go. He still is able to make good money. His lifestyle hasn’t changed a bit. He lives in his own home. He’s remarried. He’s got two replacement kids.

I, on the other hand, live with my mom. I have all the responsibilities of our kids. My lifestyle has changed dramatically. I will never be allowed to remarry unless I would like to be completely dependent upon another man because I make shit money and cannot support myself without the child and spousal support he’s ordered to pay me.

It’s times like these I have to tell myself to let it all go. It is what it is. No use in tilting against windmills, right? That in itself is a giant shit sandwich I am forced to swallow. People like them never suffer the consequences.

Me? I deal with the consequences every single day. I’d love to know when it will finally be my turn.

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.