Thursday, May 26, 2005

I realized I forgot to mention

That my car was broken into....again.

It just so happens that on the same day that CP found out my lawyer wanted his bank records, tax records, invoices, general ledger and contracts my car gets destroyed. I'm not pointing any fingers, but it's quite a coincidence. Isn't it?

I woke up on Friday morning late and went out to get in my car and drive to the store and as I was walking down the patio I noticed that the passenger side front door of my car looked open. My car was broken into last November, so I thought I knew what to expect. Nope.

Whoever broke into my car used a crow bar to pry open the passenger doors up high where the window frame meets the car. This crow bar action pushed the doors off the frame so the doors didn't even shut and caused the windows to break and glass was everywhere, even all the way over in the driver's seat. My dash was again ripped out, but only the face plate for my stereo was missing, they left the stereo. They took everything in my glove box including my insurance information and my registration, so had to go to the DMV and pay for a replacement copy. They took my new Lifehouse and Counting Crows CD's. Then I noticed that my steering wheel looked weird. They stripped the area around the steering column and it looked like they tried to hot wire my car.

To put it mildly, my car was a mess. Completely undriveable.

Note: I can add this in now, but the words "bitch" and "whore" were scratched with a crowbar or something else very sharp into the hood and trunk of my car. At the time, my lawyer told me not to mention those things or to cast any blame on CP or any of his friends for this car "break in."

And so my day began. I was going to read and catch up on school work and chill out. It was not in the cards. Six hours later, I had my car in the repair shop and was driving a rental off the lot.

It's all good now and it worked out and it's fixed, but I had to pay my deductible and pay for the rental car, oh and while driving the rental I got a rock chip in the window and had to pay to fix that....but again, this is just my life right now.

Life 2.0. Living life outside the box and doing it on my own.

But don't you just wonder "who" did this? Isn't it just a huge coincidence?

Even my son tonight, when I was telling them my car was done and I was getting an alarm system installed, said, "yea, so some guy named Chris won't come over and wreck your car again."

Oh. I never said a word, not one... to the kids. And this is my 12-year-old putting two and two together.

I cannot even begin to express how insane my life feels to me right now. I remember blogging once about how if the girl I used to be could see me now (referring to me settling in my marriage) she would be terribly disappointed in how I turned out to be. I don't think she would be disappointed in me now.

I think she'd think I kick ass.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

When do you cross the line...

between being vindictive and just getting what you deserve?

I was out Friday night with friends and had a great time until I was getting ready to leave. These are my friends, TP and SP, who CP and I have known for over 14 years. They are married and we all used to hang out together all the time. When CP went back to Mormon church, I kept going out every once in a while with T and S.

So I was getting ready to leave Friday night and TP, who is like my big brother and also my CP's best friend tries to tell me that I'm being too hard on my CP. That I'm asking for too much money and tells me "not to screw him over." I told him I'm not, I'm just trying to get what is fair. I mean, I was a stay at home mom for 16 years and all of a sudden because I won't go back to the Mormon church, CP doesn't want to be married to me anymore, just tells me he wants a Mormon wife so he's done with me. It hurt, you all know that, but it was way past time and I'm glad it's over.

TP just didn't know a lot of the details from my side, he only knew CP's side. So I told him that CP filed for full custody of the kids and for me to pay him child support and alimony, carry health insurance on the kids and get a life insurance policy on myself that he is the beneficiary of. TP was shocked and his exact words were "what the hell is he thinking?" CP told him I'm being a terrible bitch about the whole thing and I told TP that I'm not being a bitch, but I'm not crying and falling apart, I'm standing up to CP for the first time in my life and CP doesn't know what to think of that, so he thinks I'm a bitch. I'm OK with that. TP said that CP is feeling rejected by me and is actually shocked that I'm glad our marriage is over.

Then I told TP about the last time CP and I had sex and that CP said he was using me and then changed his tune to get a roll in the hay one last time and then laughed at me later when he told me he wanted a divorce and I asked him why we had sex if he knew he was done. Again, TP was surprised that CP had done that. So I explained to TP that I'm angry about that and I'm not going to back down on this divorce. TP offered to be a go-between. I tell him what I want from CP money and custody, and TP goes to CP and sees if he can get him to agree. I said I'd think about it, but that first I wanted an honest and sincere apology from CP for using me. TP agreed that he should apologize.

TP also told me that CP is selling his trailer, his extra truck and a lot of his tools just to pay his attorney.

Anyway, we're standing in a busy dance club at 1:30 AM and TP and I are having this intense conversation. TP kept telling me over and over again, "CP is a good guy, don't screw him over just because you're angry." TP was telling me I'm asking for too much money and asked me to be the bigger person and walk away without being vindictive. To get what is a fair amount of money and let it go. TP also said that in his opinion, CP has no idea what he's doing and no idea what he's throwing away for the Mormon church.

It was an intense half hour and TP started to cry, because he was so hurt for me and yet, is trying to still speak for CP. Then I started to tear up and then all of a sudden this guy I know at the bar, G grabs me away and pulls me into a dark room at the back of the club and closes the door. My heart almost pounded out of my chest.

G instantly put me at ease and sat me down and asked what was going on. I told him everything. And I told him that I wasn't trying to screw CP over, I only wanted what was fair. And G told me to go for that. Then he told me that he didn't allow crying around him and that made me laugh. Big hugs and then G helped me sneak out the back door of the club and get to my car. It wasn't that wanted to avoid TP, I just couldn't deal with it anymore.

I left feeling more angry than I've felt in a while. Not at TP, but at the whole situation. I shouldn't be made to feel bad or guilty for wanting full custody of my kids and the money to support them. I was married for 16 years, why just give up and walk away with the kids and nothing? Or very little? I don't think that's what TP wanted to make me feel like, but it just got intense.

So I called SP, TP's wife, the next day and we talked. She actually thanked me for telling TP everything that was going on, because now that he's heard it from me, he has a more clear picture of the mess and can maybe help both of us out more. It also opens the way for SP and TP to talk more openly about it, because they were talking to each of us, but not to each other but everything.

I worked on Saturday morning and then picked up my kids. They spent yesterday and today with me. They told me that when CP gave them hugs goodbye he said that they just didn't understand how hard it was for him to know he was going to be all by himself that night. Oh, boo hoo. And that is just like CP, to try and get the kids to pity him, without even thinking about how hard being without them for two months has been for me.

He also told them that since they all want to live with me, when the judge or our attorney's agree on a date when the kids move in with me, he won't help them move. He said he wouldn't lift a finger, just watch and make sure I didn't steal anything.

I find it hard to fathom that I was married to this horrible man for 16 years. Where was my brain, my heart, my soul....my head was up my ass. Some days, I feel like such an idiot for staying around for so long.

Dropping off my kids back with their dad and driving back over here...well, it makes the day hard to get through.

A year from now I wonder what I'll think and feel when I look back and read these "divorce diaries."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It is what it is

That's my new motto for life.

I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I had to give an oral presentation in one of my classes last week. It was a Powerpoint presentation that accompanied the written assignment for the midterm. I was so nervous.....so nervous. I used to be the girl who got up on stage and sang in front of hundreds of people. I was in the plays Carousel, The Sound of Music and Camelot. I loved performing, and was even in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat after I got married. But something happened, all the crap in my marriage happened, and I felt incompetent in front of people. I got nervous, my face got red and my voice shook. And now almost 14 years later, I had to get up in front of 30 people and give a ten minute presentation ... and I did and it went well. It was a huge thing for me.

Last week was crazy, I started work at my new job, finished two midterms, my daughter had the run of her ballet, I had an argument with CP and I stood up and gave a presentation. I was wiped out. And pleased, because I got through it all and even though I let CP get to me, I did what I needed to.

After my "talk" on Sunday evening with CP, he went inside and flipped the entire conversation around and told the kids that I was a bitter, angry woman and that I told him I was going to keep the kids from seeing him as much as possible. He told them that I said I wasn't going to let them go to taekwondo and I wasn't going to let them see him on the weekends. Then he told them that we were back to fighting for custody and we'd see who got the better lawyer. He also told them he wasn't going to let them move in with me.

He's a peach, isn't he?

But he should have dealt with it a little better, as I got some good news from my lawyer yesterday. I took the bank records in on Monday afternoon. I told my lawyer about CP's offer of $1500 a month. He said he'd look at the records and let me know, but that he thought I could do better than $1500.

And indeed I can. It turns out the bank records are entirely damning to CP. My lawyer called me yesterday and said they prove he's lied on his taxes for years. They also informed me that he has a lawyer now and is claiming he only made $26,000 last year. His lawyer asked for reasonable time to file a response to my divorce petition and that alimony and child support be adjusted based on his taxes.

Then I got the good news. It turns out that those bank records I copied off show that CP makes a hell of a lot of money. I was even surprised when I looked them over because he always told me we were broke. Not so. My lawyer said that now that CP has a lawyer he's going to "nip the taxes issue in the bud." He said he's going to call CP's lawyer and let him know that we have proof he's lying on his taxes and they are going to offer him a deal for child support and alimony.

And the even better news, the bank records, when put into the child support and alimony calculator come out to even more than $2500 a month. So I'm glad I didn't take CP's offer. My lawyer is going to let CP's lawyer know the amount we're asking for and make CP agree to not adjust the amounts in any succeeding years, because it's already proven that he lied on his taxes and we'll fight it if he tries to readjust. My lawyer's going to make the offer of how much we want for child support and alimony, throw in full custody of the kids and try to nail down a deal with CP.

So I'm waiting it out right now. I wonder when CP's going to get the phone call from his lawyer where he says, "look dude, they have your bank records. You're pretty much screwed and you don't want this going to court or you're going to be in huge trouble for lying." Oh, I'd love to be a fly on the wall during that conversation.

I don't have to work for the rest of this week, because they are still working out the schedules, which gives me time to catch up on my reading, write another paper that's due tomorrow and get my utilities at my new apartment scheduled for hook up.

I feel like my life is a Nationwide commercial... "Life comes at you fast."

It is what it is.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I should never ignore my instincts

So I had the kids today (they told their dad they didn't want to go to church and he gave them a lecture about making bad choices, but that's another story) and we went to my youngest daughter's final ballet show. It was great. I saw it on Thursday and took the kids in Friday, too. Great community ballet production.

Here's a couple of pics. The first is of my daughter after the show. The next is of my daughter and her dance partner.



The kids told me over lunch that they wanted to move in with me when I moved into my new apartment. I told them their dad might not let them, but then my youngest asked if I was going to be home a lot. I said, yes, I was only going to work part time over the summer and take on more hours when they went back to school. She said she wants to live somewhere where someone is going to be home, they all said they are tired of being home alone so much. My son also mentioned that he's sick of feeling bad for not wanting to go to church.

CP probably won't let them move in with me unless we agree on something before our July court date, but I'll see what I can work out with him. That makes me laugh just thinking about CP and I being able to work out anything. We have 16 years of a bad track record there.

Anyway, the point of this blog, even though I said I would write about something else....when I dropped the kids off at the house, CP came outside and wanted to "talk." Let's just say, he hasn't changed. Within minutes of listening to him, I could hear the same old patronizing tone, saying things to try and make me feel stupid and unsure of myself. I told him I didn't want to talk to him anymore, so he changed his tone, but told me I should be listening to him and not reading more into what he says. OK. Whatever.

Anyway, he tried to scare me, saying he could drag this out for years and that would make my life miserable. That he would hide his income. That he'll claim poverty. I said that was fine with me, because I would then to go the state welfare office and I know that they will go after him for the benefits they pay me. And that would make his life miserable. He made an offer again of joint custody and said that meant he would pay me nothing, I told him again, not true as he still far out earns me. He laughed.

He actually said that he thinks I'm angry and acting out because I'm upset that he rejected me. Then it was my turn to laugh. I told him I'm not angry, just trying to get what's coming to me and that I don't feel rejected, just glad it's over.

He said, "Who filed for divorce first?" I told him I did, because he said he was done being married and wanted a Mormon wife. So then he actually had the nerve to say I rejected him when he was still trying to work things out.

Oh my goodness.

Anyway, let's just say it ended badly. I told him I was done talking, because when I tried to answer his statement, he interrupted and made a rude comment about what I was trying to say and again started laughing at me. I put on my seat belt and drove away.

I'm trying very hard not to be upset by this encounter. But I should have told him I didn't want to talk to him in the first place, that was my instinct and I ignored it.

So I think, unless he makes an alimony offer more in line with his actual income, we're going to have a long and nasty battle. He told me again today that he can't afford a lawyer, so I think time is on my side.

Oh, and when I was at the house today picking up the kids to take them to the ballet, CP was at church. So I found his business records in the boxes he stores them in and photocopied off (thank goodness for that little printer/copier I bought a couple of years ago) his bank records from 2001 to the middle of 2003, everything I didn't have copies of. In three month in the summer of 2003 he put over $65,000 in his bank account and he only claimed a gross of $40,000 on his taxes for the entire year.

We'll see how it goes.

I've been up since 6 AM this morning, as I had to get into work by 8 AM for new hire orientation. I'm beat. I think I'm going to sit down and watch some mindless TV like the Survivor season finale and then my new favorite, Grey's Anatomy.

Bless you all for continuing to read.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Too good to be true

When hit with the child support and alimony figures CP did, indeed, shit a castle. It's the thing about people who are self-employed, especially those who work in the construction trades. They make a lot of money, some of it goes to materials and tools, but most is pocketed. The trick is getting that final check made out in the contractor's name, not the company name, so they can cash it out. Now I am not saying that all contractors do this. I'm sure many are honest. CP....not so much. But he also didn't get the final check made out in his name.

And so what we have here is a man, who made well over $120,000 total last year, had about a 60% profit margin on every job, but who only claimed a gross of about half of the total and then wrote in only a 40% profit margin.

And then he files his taxes and our family gets things like free lunches at school, etc. I knew how much he said he made and I knew what he filed on his taxes and I knew it wasn't accurate. But we couldn't afford to pay the hefty tax if he'd been honest.

But beyond that, CP handles money very poorly. He made a lot of money last year and what did we have? Not a lot. We didn't own a house, he doesn't own a nice work truck, but a heap instead. He does however, own a lot of guns and he buys a lot of tools. He always told me we were broke, yet he always had crisp $100 bills in his wallet. A lot of them.

So the point of my rant, that probably shouldn't even be up here anyway, CP told me to go to hell with the alimony amount. I expected that. He said he's going to stick by his net income on his taxes of $27,000 and that he wants all amounts based off of that figure.

What CP doesn't know is that I have an ace up my sleeve.....and I'll leave it at that. Ah, maybe I won't. I have a safety deposit box and into it every month I put copies of papers that document in full CP's total deposits and copies of the checks he wrote and total withdrawals, including many checks written recently to "cash." I photocopied said documents and gave them to my lawyer. We're pretty confident we can sink CP should he choose to fight me.

Am I a bitch? Hmmmm. CP seems to think so.

Am I being unfair? I don't think so, I'm playing the game using his rules for tactical manipulation and control.

Months ago when I considered that a divorce might get this bad, I didn't think I had it in me to fight this hard. I've surprised myself. And I'm glad.

The only downside, and one I expected as well, CP told the kids that now they cannot come live with me when I move into my new apartment. He told our oldest daughter that he was going to fight. But then he told her the day after he'd have to work something out with me. He's wavering, he knows that I know how much money he made.....only because he told me. He's told me every year that he's filed his taxes for the last 16 years that if he ever gets audited he's going to owe over $50,000 and probably have to do jail time.

Maybe, he realizes that if he does fight me on this, it's a sure bet he'll be audited.

I'm also seriously considering another letter to my husband's bishop, who is a different man now, to let him know what CP is doing. You see in the Mormon church, men who are separated or divorced have to be current on their child support and alimony to get a temple recommend, that little piece of paper that gets you into the temple. CP goes to the temple every week. And he told me he wants a divorce because he wants a wife who can go to the temple with him. The church looks very poorly on men who don't contribute financially to their ex-wife and children's lives.

I could make his temple recommend go away. Maybe. It's worth a shot. I could certainly make it go away after our hearing in July and the kids are in my custody and he's ordered to pay me the money anyway.

Am I a vindictive bitch? I'm OK with it if I am.

I promise I'll try to write about something else next time.

I started work a couple of days and I did an in-class presentation that went well. I have way too much reading to do and not enough time to do it. I can write about those things. :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Holy Alimony, Batman!

I'm wondering if CP knew before he called me last Thursday just now much alimony I could get. I'm wondering if he called and offered a neat and tidy solution, hoping I was still the meek and wounded woman who would just agree with whatever he said.

Because damn!

I went to see my lawyer yesterday morning and we talked everything out, went over the joint tax returns, CP's bank statements, and business assets (CP owns two businesses) and then my lawyer turned to his little MAC computer and typed a whole bunch of numbers into a long list on the "Child Support Calculator."

I mean, does every state have one of these? Or just Oregon? Because the little program not only calculates child support - it calculates alimony, based on years married, whether or not I worked during those years, how much I'll be working now, it even had a place to enter figures on my graduate school expenses and years I'll be attending. That calculator....well, I could kiss it and caress it and other fun things. :-)

And it popped out a number and I about shit a brick. And if I about shit a brick, CP when he finds out is going to shit a whole castle!

So what it told me, that fabulous calculator, was that child support comes in at $700, a figure I completely expected. Alimony, however, was a whole different deal, it came in at $1800 for the first three years (until I finish graduate school) and then $1000 for another five years. All told, CP would be paying me for eight years, half the number of years we were married.

Now what I'm wondering is if I'm a complete bitch for being excited about this. I know there are men (Pops might be the only one) who read this blog and I know some of those men (but not Pops) might have been through a divorce and been soaked by their own ex's for alimony. So their take is going to be very different from mine. All I kept thinking is that I can keep working part time, spend more time with the kids, keep going to school which I love and I don't have to go down to the welfare office and get on Food Stamps or Medicaid.

Isn't that the point of child support and alimony? To keep the kids and I in the financial state we were accustomed to when we were all a family?

Beyond that, CP makes a lot of money, a lot of it. And I know this because he constantly told me we were broke and didn't have any money and then I went online to look at his bank account (which he didn't know I could do) and he had thousands of dollars. Even today, a quick check reveals he has over $6000 sitting there in the bank, yet just a couple of days ago he told me he was broke and couldn't pay the bills. Hmmmm. And he always has fresh, crisp $100 bills in his wallet. Sometimes so many of those damn bills that his wallet barely folds in two. I had a don't ask, don't tell policy about the weird money situation because I figured the more in the dark I was, the better it would be if investigators came to our door.

I still find my mind wandering to what CP must think of all of this. He wouldn't compromise for his religion, yet look at what he's going to be losing now. It just keeps compounding and compounding. But for me there is no looking back. In fact, at times I feel like I deserve all the good things coming my way. It's like Karma. Mine is coming around for me finally blessing me for all the shit I went through with CP and Karma is coming around his way finally biting him for all the shit he dished out. Maybe Karma will come back to me for this alimony thing, I don't know.

I was expecting maybe $600 a month in alimony, so needless to say, I was shocked off my little ass at the amount of money CP is going to be ordered to pay me. And yet, it is a huge relief, because I didn't want the kids to deal with the stigma of food stamps. I didn't want to stress endlessly for money and not have enough to buy new tennis shoes or back to school supplies or ballet slippers. My job, plus my student loan money, plus money from CP and the kids and I will be good.

We might even be able to go to the coast for the weekend every once in a while. We love the beach, but haven't been in years.....CP was always too busy to go.

How do you like me now?
Now that I'm on my way?
Do you still think I'm crazy
Standin' here today?
I couldn't make you love me
But I always dreamed about you
How do you like me now?

~How Do You Like Me Now - by Toby Keith

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mother's Day weekend post

So I had my kids with me for a good part of Saturday and they spent the night and we hung out on Sunday, which was great because it was Mother's Day. When I talked to CP on the phone about the weekend he wanted me to pick them up late on Saturday evening and bring them home so they could go to church with him. I sort of laughed when he proposed the time frame and asked him why he didn't want me to have the kids on Saturday afternoon and through to Sunday - early evening. He said he wanted to spend more time with the kids and then I pointed out that he's had a hell of a lot more time with them in the last six weeks than I have. But then he wanted them back so they could go to church with him and I said, "OK, then so on Father's Day I can have them with me during church?" And he finally backed down.

I get where he's coming from. For him it's now a countdown of the weeks left until they come to live with me. But I'm not allowing myself to feel badly for him. In reality, he chose this, for a lot of reason, but mainly because he wants a Mormon wife. And in retrospect as hard as it was to hear that, I'm so glad, because I know I've made the right decision in getting divorced.

About a month ago, when I still wanted to move back home, he was laying down all these rules and telling me what I had to "do" to move back home. I told him that all I wanted to hear was that he loved me, accepted me for who I am and that he wanted me to move back home. I didn't want it to be about what I "did," but who I was as a person. And thank God he couldn't find it within himself to say he accepted me for who I was. I probably would have gone back. And things would have returned to the way they always had been.

Having my kids with me was so wonderful. We went shopping for Mother's Day gifts and ate dinner. Over dinner I told them that they were probably going to be living with me full time and spending every other weekend with their dad. They were really excited about it. I told them my new apartment was within walking distance of their schools and then told my son that he would be going back to school and not being home-schooled anymore. He sunk down in his seat and got upset, but then the girls and I pointed out the positives - friends, after school activities, etc. He perked right up and got excited about making new friends and joining some after school groups.

They made me gifts for Mother's Day. My daughter made coupons for things like a manicure and pedicure and hugs and "I love you's" that I can use. And they drew me a picture of myself that say "super mom" on it. The picture is great. I have awesome hair, no boobs, I'm really thin, yet I have really great arms. I love it. And they got me a charm for my charm bracelet that says "Greatest Mom." And we went to McDonald's for breakfast....my kids favorite place to eat.

Over the course of the day with them, they mentioned some things to me, mostly in passing, that were interesting, but I just let them go, because I know more will come out. My son mentioned that their dad imposed some hard core rules on them when I moved out. I didn't ask what, because I didn't want to put him on the spot, plus I'm pretty sure more will come out as time goes on. My oldest daughter said something that hurt my son's feelings, I got involved and let them know that what we all need now is love and support. If someone says something that hurts your feelings, let them know and they can say "I'm sorry." I let them know that negativity about anyone is only hurtful and then we talked about it.

I've also decided that starting now, I'm going to talk to all my kids at the same time about the big stuff. When they are moving in with me, schools stuff, church things, etc. And I then let them ask questions of me about anything. So that all four of us are talking openly, honestly and to each other, I'm hoping it helps them feel more a part of a family and more accepted.

The church thing was interesting, because I told the kids that if they wanted to go to Mormon church or any activities, I would be happy to take them and they all declined, saying that they really didn't want to go to church anymore. They will obviously, be going with their dad on the weekends they are with him, but other than that they have no interest.

I wonder if CP will ever realize that by pushing the church on all of us the way he did, what he did was drive them all away from it. I also realized this weekend that the main lesson my kids are getting from this divorce is that their dad picked a religion over the family. My son at one point said the divorce was stupid. I asked him why and he said, "because Dad wants to be Mormon more than he wants us to be a family." It turns out that my kids understand more about all this than I realized. So I tried to explain to my kids that their dad loves them very much and regardless of the religious issues, we will be happier people without each other. There will be no arguing or tension in the house and what they will get is two happy parents who are divorced, as opposed to two married parents who are miserable together.

I realize it's going to take a long time, but we're going to get through this together. No more of me sobbing in my bedroom hiding from the kids because I was in too much pain and them hiding in their bedrooms because they can't take the stress in the house. They will have a safe haven and a loving home and a place of peace.

Can you tell I'm excited to get my place and have my kids living with me? I'm counting down the days. Now, anyone want to volunteer to help me move? :-)

It's midterm week at school and I've written two midterm papers and totally forgot to do the reading for my classes. But hey, it's all about prioritizing.

And I start work this week. Yeah!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Let me show you what I'm made of

So let it be known that after 16 years of a nasty marriage, of CP's anger and manipulation, of him thinking he was the freaking damn "leader of the household" because of his righteous Mormon ways and 16 years of my weakness at standing back and letting him do whatever he though was best, it only took less than two weeks for the wind to leave CP's blustery sails. He was all piss and vinegar that Friday night at the karaoke bar, he was going to fight me for sole custody of the kids, etc, etc, etc. But I stood my ground, signed my papers and he was served. He met with his own lawyer on Wednesday.

And on Thursday evening, just a couple of days ago, CP called me, with his hat in his hand, completely defeated. I didn't want to talk to him, plus CSI: was on so I declined the call. He called again and again and again. I finally answered thinking one of the kids was sick, because I let him know I was pissed that he didn't call me when our son was in the hospital.

CP said, at first, that he wanted to talk about "us." I asked what about us and he replied, "you know, you and I." I reminded him that there was no "us" anymore and he sighed and said, "OK, so we're done, then lets talk about the kids." I get the feeling he was on a fishing trip, seeing if I was open to the idea of an "us" so he could avoid the whole divorce thing altogether.

He proceeded to tell me that he doesn't want to pay a lawyer the outrageous fee they want him to pay. He also asked me who was bankrolling me to pay for my attorney. I was quiet and didn't answer. CP then said it's silly for us to be emailing each other and talking through lawyers, which he can't afford to do, and suggested we just talk about working something out. I told him I'd have to think about it.

He asked if it would help if he told me what he was thinking. I said OK.

He said after talking to his attorney and some other people, he realizes that if he fights me for sole custody, he's going to lose. He said, "The courts in Oregon don't care about the father or how much he wants his kids. All they care about is the mom." I let him know that I already knew this, but didn't mention that this was the reason I felt so confident in filing and asking for sole custody. And then he said the greatest thing.

He told me he would give me sole custody of the kids, with him getting visitation, and pay me child support. I asked him about alimony and he sighed again. He said, "if you want alimony then I suppose I'll pay you that." And I replied, "I think I deserve that at the very least."

He just said that we have to agree on what his salary is/was last year. Implied in this statement is that he's worried I'll spill the beans about his taxes and the discrepancy between what he claims as gross income on his taxes and what he actually puts through his bank account. BIG difference. He was letting me know, in a not so subtle way, that he wanted me to stick with the tax figure, not the real figure. But the gross income figure off his taxes should work just fine on the child support payment scale. Now for alimony, that amount is up in the air and really depends on just what I want and what I think I deserve. Hmmm....how about $3000 month.

That might make a dent in paying me back for trying to steal my soul, telling me I was worthless, a piece of shit and oh, oh....his personal favorite, calling me a "selfish cunt." Yeah, that one was extra special.

And so, it's too soon to get my hopes up too high, because if we can't agree on money, then the whole thing will fall through. But as it looks right now, I'll get my kids, some money from CP, I have a job, and a new apartment. I can do this. I have a new life. It's so exciting.

He thought two weeks ago at the karaoke bar that I would cave in and cry and sob and fall apart. He thought he could scare me enough into giving him the kids. He didn't scare me.....in fact, he gave me the greatest gift, he made it easy for me to let go. He set me free and in that freedom I stood up for myself and my kids and took that big first step.

My step was forward and now he has to step back.

"Let me show you...what I'm made of." ~ In This Life by Chantel Kreviazuk

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I have to keep reminding myself

I want to apologize in advance if my blog is becoming the "Divorce Diaries." I'm sure at some point I'll be able to move on to other areas like dating blunders, work worries and grad school thesis ideas, but for right now, my brain is consumed by protecting my kids.

And yes, you might say that how can I possibly be concerned now with my kids when I moved out and left them with my bastard of a husband. May I kindly remind you:
  1. I was so emotionally distraught that I believed what CP had to say. I believed him when he said I could come home. I only intended to be away for a couple of weeks to pull myself together.
  2. I believed my kids were in no physically or emotional danger, as CP's anger and resentment was focused on my because I am not a Mormon. The kids go to church with him.
  3. Until you've walked in my shoes or another person's who has been yelled and screamed at for years and years and told you were garbage until you believed it, you cannot know how difficult it is to just get up every day and live, much less be a mom.
  4. I'll never....EVER....be sorry that I moved out. Because though it was hard to be away from my family and especially my kids, I needed those two initial weeks to cry, sleep and find my soul again. I needed to have peace and quiet. I needed to go a whole day without someone (read CP) telling me how worthless I was because I had a migraine or didn't cook the right dinner or didn't get around to printing out his business cards. I needed time without someone yelling at me constantly. I walked on eggshells, trying to be perfect and at my mother's house, there were no eggshells, and there was only acceptance. And that time allowed me time to heal and time to find my center and time, ultimately, to see that I needed to get out of that relationship. It was terrible and all I had been doing was making excuses for that relationship. So moving out meant that I found myself, learned to love myself and put me in a place where now I can hug my kids, feel how much I love them, cry with them instead of hiding my tears from them, and most important, I'm strong enough now to fight for them.

(I realized when reading this later in the day that it does sound like I'm defending myself. No one on this blog, no comments or anything has made me feel judged by anyone. Only a few people I know in person have made judgments, but they are people who do not know the true hell I went through in my marriage.)

OK, so moving on. I'm still spitting mad that CP had my son in the hospital and didn't tell me about it. Everyone I've told about it is shocked and pissed at CP. It was despicable.

My oldest daughter called me to let me know, but she had to call her dad to find out if my son was still in the hospital and when she asked her dad, he asked her why she wanted to know. And she lied to him and told him she just wondered if he was in the hospital.

So then I sent CP an email and let him know that if anything like that ever happens again, he is to call me immediately. That I am our kids mother and he will not shut me out and I also happened to mention that I had documented the event and already called my lawyer.

CP came home read my email and immediately went in my oldest daughter's room and grabbed her phone. He tabbed through her phone call log and found that she'd called me. He got pissed at her for lying to him about why she wanted to know if my son was in the hospital and told her if she continued to call me secretly he would take her phone away.

Then on Tuesday evening at taekwondo, CP pulled my oldest daughter into his office and proceeded to try and mind fuck her, using the same tactics he used on me.

"I love you and will miss you, but it's obvious that you love your mother more than you love me so if you want to live with her I'll let you go so that you can be happy and I'll be happy that you're happy."

"You're mother is lying about me in the divorce papers. And even though she's lying the courts tend to give kids to the mother, so if you go live with your mother, chances are she'll get your brother and sister, too, and then I'll be alone, only because I'm a dad and not a mom."

"But I suppose if you want to live with her even though she's lying about me, you can do that and I'll just live with however it turns out, but when you discover that she really is a liar and she hurts you, you won't be able to come back to me."

And it went on and on and on.

So I told my daughter that the minute I'm in my new place, she can come live with me. Why not now? You might ask. I live 25 miles from her high school right now in a small apartment in a retirement community with my mom. And yes, I could get up very early and get her to school by 7:10 AM, but picking her up would be hugely difficult since I'm in classes in the afternoon. Add to that the price of gas and the fact that I'm broke and that CP didn't pay any of the bills last month that had my name on them and that the people in this retirement community would boot my mother out in a minute if my daughter moved in, I just can't have her here right now. But there are only three weeks left until I move into my place.

And yet, I'm wondering. Once my oldest is with me, who will CP "mind fuck" next. My son? Or my youngest daughter? I'm thinking it will be my daughter, because CP has serious issues with women. His mother hated him from birth and I think in some twisted way, he's acting out against the women in his life in a retributional type way, treating those women who genuinely love/loved him as he wishes he could have treated his awful mother. So rather than finally love and be loved in a good relationship with a wife and daughters, he instead in some sick fantasy world , treats us like he wishes he could have treated his mom.

He will drive the kids away, one by one, it's already happening....and then he will be without someone to manipulate and control. But it won't be long and he'll find a meek, trusting Mormon girl and she's going to be in for a world of hurt.

So I talked to my daughter yesterday, we have a plan if CP takes her cell phone and we have a plan to get her out of there. And I have a plan to get her in therapy.

I just have to keep reminding myself, I'm ready for the battle now, I wasn't ready before. And I'm strong enough to fight it and I never would have been had I not moved out and found my heart and soul.

It's always in my mind right now, because the kids are suffering so much. At least now, I can be there for them.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice

....shame on me.

So for weeks, GB and I have been talking and emailing and text messaging and I thought things were going well. I guess, as well as they can be considering we are both coming off of pretty messy past relationships. We agreed to be friends, keep in touch with no future plans for a relationship. But yet, leaving it open to see what happens in a year or two.

And yet, a few weeks ago, I noticed that on a couple of websites we hang out on, i.e., www.friendster.com and www.tribe.net, his relationship status had changed to "in a relationship." Which surprised me given how much he'd told me he didn't want to be in a relationship and wanted to take time to be on his own and figure things out.

When I asked him about it, he told me he'd changed his relationship status to keep women from contacting him who were specifically searching. He wanted people to contact him because they were interested in friendship and thought the best way to do that was for people to think he was already involved.

That should have been my first clue.

But on www.tribe.net yesterday, I joined a tribe called "Love Cursed" for people who continually make the wrong choices in a mate, people who get involved with people who are all wrong for them, but get wrapped up in the bliss of the new relationship.

And in looking over the posts for Love Cursed, I saw a post by none other than GB, in it detailing how he's been involved in a relationship, since last December, with a woman who is perfect for him, but has lied to him and now that the trust is gone and he's realized once again that another relationship isn't going to work, he feels like an idiot for sticking around for so long and is hurting that he is ending the relationship.

Yet, just last week, he emailed me and told me he was dating, but definitely not in a relationship.

Ah, yes....fool me once. And I was fooled again, so this time, shame on me.

I sent him a message letting him know that I'd joined the tribe, had no idea he was a member of it as well, and stumbled upon his post. I haven't heard anything back. And I don't expect to.

My friendship with him, while a good thing and something I enjoy, is now tainted. He speaks of the lies his girlfriend told him and his own lies of omission (which might or might not have anything to do with me considering we've seen each other three times since December) and how now he is distrustful. Yea, I know how that feels. So whatever friendship we might have left, it is now tenuous at best.

Switching to a different subject, I just got a phone call from my oldest daughter a few minutes ago who told me my son was rushed to the emergency room early this morning with a high fever and terrible belly pain. My mind instantly went to appendicitis. And yes, he has the tissue around his appendix inflamed by a virus and might need surgery.

But what is really crucial here. CP did not call me. Not when he took my son to the hospital at 5 AM, not when they came home late this morning, and still not now. I heard from my daughter who called because she thought I should know.

I wonder if CP has any idea what a giant hole he is digging for himself. He is proving himself over and over again to be manipulative, inconsiderate and acting only in the interest of himself and not what is best for our kids.

If you were a judge, who would you give custody to? The man who takes his son to the hospital and doesn't call his wife to let her know? The man who offers up the divorce papers to his kids to read? The man who asks his children to choose which parent they would like to live with?

Does he have any idea how he is making himself look?

I certainly hope not, and I hope he's narcissistic enough to just keep on doing it. Because I'm strong enough to be there for my kids to help them pick up the pieces and help them through this difficult time.

Monday, May 02, 2005

And the stars just seem to be aligned

I went to a follow up interview on Friday for a job and left a half hour later with a job offer.

I have been looking for work, on and off, for three years and in the same week that I file for divorce and have CP served, I get a job.

Life is amazing - the way things work out.....

So my mom and I went out to celebrate by having a great dinner. I text messaged most of my friends and let them know and today I go in to take the drug test required for my employment, but I have no worries there.

I went out Friday night to celebrate with friends too, to my favorite bar and danced the night away. Now these are the friends, who have been friends of mine and CP's for about 14 years. They are still sitting on the fence, trying to be there for both of us. But I don't tell them a whole lot, especially not TP because he and CP are like brothers. But then TP tells me often that I might as well be his little sister.

All TP said to me was that Friday afternoon he had to talk CP through a difficult bit. He said he was having a hard time and needed a friend. I said, "good, CP needs a friend right now." Then TP said, "I still think he's a good guy." And I replied, "You can go on thinking that, but I don't think that anymore." And we left it at that.

Then my friend MH, of the job offer fame from a while ago, called me Saturday night. And we talked for over two hours on the phone. He told me that he'd talked to TP and TP told him all about what CP was going to try to do to get the kids from me. It wasn't anything I didn't expect. CP is going to try to prove I abandoned my kids by moving out. He has no leg to stand on there. He's also going to try and prove me unfit as a mother, because I like to go out dancing and because I'm not a Mormon mother. Again, he is without a leg.

And then on Saturday, I had a date with my kids to take them to the movie, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but TP called and invited CP and the kids up to play paintball and rather than tell TP that my kids were spending the evening with me, CP let the kids choose.....again. Spend an evening with your mom or go play paintball with your friends. My two oldest chose paintball and my youngest, was again, left crying.

But I took the kids to the movie on Sunday and my oldest told me that after a few minutes of playing paintball, she felt bad and sad that she wasn't with me and went inside and just hung out until they were ready to go. I told her it was OK, not to feel badly and just said "next time, when we make plans, let's stick too them. " I even told her that if they really wanted to play paintball on an evening they were with me, I would take them up there to play.

My oldest has been having a hard time for a while, given how much she dislikes the Mormon church. She also told me that she thinks she might be a lesbian. And even though that is a tough one for me, thank God, she felt comfortable enough with me as a mom and trusted me enough to tell me. CP is saying all kinds of things to her and then she's left with questions and every time I see her, we talk about her questions. I can see the light leaving her eyes and none of my kids smile much right now.

So hugs and love and laughter are always the plan when they are with me. And once I get my apartment, we can just spend a lot of time together and just "be."

I've rambled a bit here, and I wasn't planning on typing this much. But it's been quite a weekend and I'm thrilled with the job.

I'll be working at Best Buy. Member of the Geek Squad. At your service.