Planning Ahead…Part 2

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When Dick came home from work the next day, he was in a dither.

He approached me and told me that he needed to speak with me.

*Never a good sign!

Dick then proceeded to inform me that he had a long talk with Josh earlier in the day.

Apparently Dick was caught completely off guard by the email. I couldn’t figure out why! For some strange reason, he was shocked that Ashley and I were planning to attend Josh’s graduation.

Honestly, did he really think I wouldn’t be at my only son’s college graduation?

Truth be told, I knew that was exactly what he thought, hoped and prayed for. Then he could gloat and tell everyone what a horrible mom I was for missing such an important occasion and how he was the parent extraordinaire.

When the reality set in that Ashley and I were going, the conversation convoluted down a new twisted path.

Dick made it clear that Ashley was not staying both nights in the hotel with me; nor would she be driving with me in both directions.

As he put it, “You are not taking precedence over her. She will spend equal time with both of us. You will take her to the university and she will spend Friday night in the hotel with you.  Then she will spend Saturday night in the hotel with me and I will drive her home on Sunday.”

On top of that, he declared that he made it clear to Josh and now he was doing the same with me (so there would be no misunderstanding at the graduation), that he would pay for his and the kids’ meals and I would have to pay for my own.

There was no way that he would cover any of my expenses. How I would pay for the weekend would be my problem. He was not giving me a dime.

Without missing an opportunity to throw in yet another dig, he finished his diatribe with, “Go get a job like everyone else and quit mooching off of me.”

Then he walked away.  As usual, there was no discussion. This was what he wanted and this was how it was going to be.

I was in a state of shock and totally livid.

What I just heard was completely incomprehensible. How could he be such a nasty, completely deranged SOB?

Attempting to soothe my wounded soul, I imagined running after him, grabbing him by his neck and strangling the living daylights out of him. To finish him off, I pictured myself beating him,  relentlessly pounding out all the pain he inflicted on me throughout our long, bitter marriage. Then I would watch him die a slow, painful death.

Wait! What was I thinking???

I quickly came back to my senses. An image of me spending the rest of my life in jail flashed before my eyes.  Not only was he not worth destroying my future over, but drab, shapeless prison jumpsuits wouldn’t do a thing for my figure. So I quickly banished those ideas from my mind.

Well… I didn’t actually eradicate those concepts from psyche.

I just chose to file them away until I could deal with the situation in a more mature and loving manner.

 

License To Move?

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For quite some time I’ve had my suspicions that Dick was planning  to move out west. However, aside from my gut instinct, I really didn’t have anything concrete to go on.

That all changed in a heartbeat. The sign that I was praying for finally appeared. It was plain as day. Unmistakable. I’d even go so far as to say it was heaven-sent.

To this day, I still get goosebumps just thinking about how this message arrived. Actually, it came right to my mailbox. Imagine that! Now that’s what I’d call “Special Delivery.” What else would an over-sized envelope addressed to Dick with the return address from the state medical licensing board where Juanita lived be?

With my heart pounding thunderously and wildly, I wrote down the info from this governing body and quickly ran upstairs to my room to do a google search on my computer.

What should I do with this information? was the question that began racing through my mind. It was clear that I needed to know if Dick was planning on picking up and moving out-of-state. After all, he was one tricky guy and he had promised me repeatedly that he would leave me with absolutely nothing.

It would be just his style to quit his job, pack up and leave no forwarding information to avoid paying maintenance and child support. After all, his hair-brained schemes have worked for him up till this point. Why should his luck change?

He’s definitely been on a roll—finding a  wealthy physician who has fallen in love with him (or at least with the lifestyle she thinks he’ll provide for her) who happened to live in the city that Dick could see himself adjusting to very comfortably and finally realizing his dream of having a hard-working woman who does well financially support him in the manner he’s always dreamed of (or so he thinks). All of his ducks were lining up very nicely. It was hunting season and Dick was going in for the kill.

With the belief, attitude and new-found guts that I had to do whatever I could to protect Ashley and myself, I decided to call this agency to find out if Dick was authorized to practice in that state.

While the phone was ringing, I was reminiscing  back to the call I made to Juanita. I wondered what the outcome of this conversation would reveal. Finally I was connected to the department that handled his specialty.  The woman introduced herself and I proceeded to ask if Dick had a license to practice there. Flustered, she told me, “No.” I then continued and questioned if one would be issued in the near future. Becoming belligerent, she queried who I was and why I was requesting this information. I told her the truth. At that point she became irate and told me in no uncertain terms to keep my divorce out of her office and never to call back there again. I thanked her for her time (thanks for nothing!!!) and hung up.

After I put the phone down, I became outraged. How dare she speak to me like that! Se was totally out of line. All she had to say was, ” I’m sorry but I can’t give out that information.” End of story…end of conversation. She didn’t have to be rude or threatening. I didn’t commit a crime by calling a government office for information. Nor did I try to cover up my intentions by claiming I was Dick’s secretary , assistant, etc., calling on his behalf. So much for honesty being the best policy. I contemplated calling her supervisor to complain about how she handled the matter, but common sense finally took over and I decided to drop it, forget about it and move on.

It quickly became obvious that she didn’t share my sentiment. That night, Dick told me he needed to talk to me. I was in Josh’s room with the door locked and I had no intention of getting into anything with him at that point. Then he told me that he needed the checkbook. I should have told him to bug off, but against my better judgement, I opened the door and handed it to him.

Immediately, he started in on me. He asked me if I knew what I was doing. I responded that yes I did. He proceeded to tell me that he knew what I was up to and I wouldn’t get away with it.

I was thinking, Did this woman really call Dick  to tell him about our conversation? Didn’t she have anything else to do all day or didn’t any other doctors need her attention? Apparently not! He continued his rampage with, “What you did today is now in the courts. One more phone call and you will be prosecuted.”

Of course Ashley was in her bedroom at the time and took all this in. Like a broken record, whatever Dick asked, said or threatened me with, I answered expressionless and emotionless, “I’m not going to discuss this with you.” While I sounded and acted like I was in complete control, inwardly I was a mass of quivering jello.

He was standing in the doorway and wouldn’t budge. I asked him repeatedly to move out-of-the-way so I could close the door.  Several times during our altercation, I became fearful that his anger would escalate, he would take things  a notch and become physically abusive.

Fortunately, after what felt like an eternity, he realized that he wasn’t able to make me go berserk. His efforts were fruitless. Finally he backed away and left the room. While his angry tirades scared the living daylights out of me, I did realize that what he was threatening me with was a bunch of bullsh&t. I knew without a doubt, Dick was bluffing big time. Did he honestly think I’d believe that his attorney would drop whatever he was doing and run down to the courthouse to file a complaint against me because I asked a government employee a simple question? Nevertheless, watching Dick go bonkers like this was petrifying. Looking at his sardonic gaze, I honestly believed he is the devil.

Totally exhausted but overstimulated from all the adrenaline that was deluging  my system, I was unable to calm down and go to sleep. Just another typical rough night in my home sweet home. I didn’t know how many more of these I’d be able to take before they’d start taking their toll. I wished that I could just pack my bags, get away from this hell-hole, unwind and enjoy myself for a few days.

Literally, it would have been a blessing if Dick would be out-of-state, out of mind and out of my daily life. As long as he would pay what he was supposed to, when he was required to, I’d be a happy camper. Who was I kidding!!! That was the last thing he intended to do.

Trying to keep my fears, worries and concerns about how things would play out down the road from spiraling completely out of control, I repeatedly told myself that everything happens for a reason, things will work out exactly the way they are meant to and better days are coming.

Maybe one day I’ll actually believe this.

Like Father Like Son

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Since Josh came back for his extended winter break in mid-December and Ashley was off of school for the holidays, “The Battle of the Breakup” saw an increase in casualties as a result of the relentless and dangerous fighting on the home front.

Dick, in his self-appointed role as “Commander-in-Chief” was ruthless in his attacks. Of course, the targeted enemy in this scrimmage was me and his first recruit for this mission was our son.

As Josh’s first semester of his last year of college drew to a close and he was gearing up for three weeks of R & R, there was a change in his tone of voice and his demeanor whenever I spoke with him on the phone.

I knew he had mixed feelings about what would await him upon his arrival back at the homestead. While Ashley deals with the day in and day out drama that plays out here, Josh is far removed from the situation, both physically and emotionally.

During one of our conversations, he had expressed to me that as the day quickly approached when he would once again walk through our front door and into the line of fire, he was filled with apprehension, fear and anxiety over what would transpire during his visit.

His premonitions did not disappoint.

Dick wasted no time monopolizing all of Josh’s free moments, energy and loyalty, as he quickly and secretly  filled up his social calendar personally, monetarily and emotionally.

Starting with securing prime seats at a Bulls game for the two of them and whisking Josh away almost as soon as he pulled up in the driveway that very first evening home- to paying for his trip to Vegas with his frat buddies at the end of break- Dick did everything in his power to make sure every micro-second of Josh’s life during his visit home revolved around him.

Of course, these perks weren’t offered out of the goodness of Dick’s heart and his intense and burning love for his only son. NO WAY!!!

In fact, there was a very high price to pay for all this attention, affection and indulgence.

So to speak, Josh had to sell his soul to the devil. In return for all that was bestowed upon him. He became Dick’s little puppet, being manipulated and coerced into treating me exactly the way his father did.

Josh was a good student, learned well and was rewarded handsomely for his accomplishments.

Every day when I would ask  Josh if was going anywhere, he would tell me he didn’t know. As soon as Dick would walk in the door, the two would take off. Daily, they would go for lunch, out to dinner, to movies, shopping, etc. It was getting harder and harder to communicate with Josh and I began to wonder if he really was so brainwashed that he couldn’t see the situation for what it was.

Worse than that, I feared that when my son would get married and raise a family, he would become the spitting image of his father. I cringed at the thought of how miserable his life would turn out if he didn’t wake up, develop some backbone, think for himself and stand up to his papa.

Realistically, I knew it was too much to ask for now. Josh is in many ways still a child. He wants what he wants and will do whatever it takes to keep the good times rolling for himself. The kid is not stupid. He’s figured out early on that in order to maintain his father’s love, interest and financial support, he has to jump high, often and on a moment’s notice.  Among all his other natural talents, Josh has proven to be quite the athlete!

All hell broke loose the Saturday prior to New Year’s Eve. That morning, I asked Josh if he was going anywhere for dinner. I wanted to spend some time with my son while he was in town!  As usual, his answer was an abrupt, brash I don’t know. Later in the afternoon, I meandered into Josh’s room and again posed the same question, to which I received the same response. As soon as I stepped out of the doorway, Dick walked in and announced that he made dinner reservations for 7:00 pm.

That was all I had to hear. My blood began to boil. As Dick passed me in the hallway, he maniacally glared at me with a smirk on his mouth that reeked of Ha-Ha, what are you going to do about it? I win…you lose. I eyed Dick back with a poker-faced expression, walked back in, closed the door behind me and in a very controlled, soft-spoken, non-threatening manner asked Josh why he just lied to me.

Just like his father, he looked at me stone-faced and replied in a condescending tone that he didn’t know what I was talking about. It was simultaneously sickening and disgusting to look at the expression on his face and hear the words that were coming out of his mouth.

Had he not been my son whom I carried for nine months, sick as a dog for most of the duration of the pregnancy, labored for nearly two days to deliver him, nursed , nurtured, loved and cared for him with all my heart and soul and would have given my life for, I could have murdered him on the spot.

How dare he treat me this way! I told him how disappointed I was in how he was behaving and how he was choosing to speak to me. I reminded him that I am his mother and I deserve to be treated with respect. *At that moment the Saturday Night Live skit in which the mom repeatedly kept telling her son, I AM YOUR MOTHER, popped into my head.

I fervently continued…When I ask a question, I expect an honest answer from you, not some made-up BS that you mistakenly think I would accept. With that I left his room and went downstairs. He followed me to the next location and had the audacity to continue his diatribe with… I thought you were asking me what I was doing LATER tonight after dinner. I might get together with some friends, but I’m not sure what the plans are yet. You never specifically asked about where I will be eating. I told him to stop talking to me like I’m a moron because this treatment is totally unacceptable.

Amazingly, he has no problem opening up his mouth to me, but with Dick he becomes a wimp. Maybe I should take it as a compliment, that he feels totally comfortable expressing himself to me without worrying that I will withhold my love from him regardless of what he says.

For now I’ll hold on to this notion.

 

 

Taking Stock of the Situation

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Looking back over the past several months, one of the hardest things about this whole divorce process is that I have to continue to share the home with Dick.

From what I’ve been learning, (and I’ve been getting quite the legal education) is that it is very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to get the husband to move out of the house, unless he is physically abusive or threatens with a weapon.

Believe me, I’ve discussed how to make this possibility a reality with my attorney. He refused to consider it at all. Of course, he’s not the one subjected day and night to this inhumane way of life. Maybe if he were in my shoes, he would look at things differently.

Being the Pollyanna that I am, I had to find the silver lining in my current status.

I decided that living with Dick post filing for divorce has its advantages and disadvantages. Granted, there’s very little to sugarcoat here. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the negative certainly outweighs the positive. Even Pollyanna realizes that!

However, had Dick moved out of our home like any self-respecting, jerky,  low-life who used his wife until he found someone better should have, I never would have found out about Juanita and what the two of them have been up to.

So, do I consider this a good or a bad thing?

From the standpoint of it totally destroying my self-esteem and self-worth, it is beyond horrible.

Obsessing over the numerous ways I envision Dick suffering throughout eternity for the way he is and has been treating me and for dissipating marital assets, (or in layman’s terms–spending an exorbitant amount of OUR money on his new girlfriend) has some therapeutic benefits.

Being able to document (this is where my newly acquired super-sleuth skills come in) and prove that he is doing what I think he is doing which should help my case and sway the settlement in my favor is definitely priceless.

Geez, this almost sounds like an ad for MasterCard.

Actually, it probably could be…attorneys take credit cards as a method of payment for their services.

I could see it now…

Twenty-six years living with an abusive spouse…

Tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and still counting…

Finally getting rid of the scumbag–priceless!!!

For times like these…there’s MasterCard

For now, I have to hang tight and wait things out.

Or as my yoga teacher always says,  Life is perfect just the way it is. If you weren’t meant to be where you are, you would be somewhere else. Learn the lesson you are supposed to and move on.”

From that perspective, I must really be a slow learner.

It’s taken me 26 years to get to this point!

The Pollyanna in me says, “Better late than never.”

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

No matter how miserable, nasty or painful our situations become, the truth is we all have much to be grateful for.

On this Thanksgiving Day let’s take some time to reflect on and express appreciation for all that is good in our lives and the people who make it all worthwhile.

What are you grateful for? Please comment below.

 

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Where There’s Smoke…There’s Fire

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Dick has become quite the traveler.

A few days ago he returned from yet another “business trip” to the west coast. Ever since I filed for divorce, these jaunts have become a regular deal. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of work requires him to get a complete body wax before he leaves and demands that he packs his swim suit, sun screen and tennis racquet.

Last night, while I was in the kitchen washing the dinner dishes, Dick came up to me and asked if we could talk. He then added that he didn’t want to argue with me.  Oh joy, what a relief!!! I asked what he wanted to discuss.

He said, ” Do you want to end this already or do you want to keep dragging this thing on and on. My attorney sent your attorney two requests for discovery and he didn’t get any response. We could keep extending this 30 days here and 30 days there or we can end this right now if you’ll only cooperate with me.”

I replied, ” You have the nerve to talk to me about dragging anything on and on when you placed numerous calls to your lawyer about a loaf of bread that wound up costing a small fortune.”

He said, “Forget the loaf of bread.”

I answered, ” I can’t forget that loaf of bread. You made quite an issue over nothing. If that is your answer, then  this discussion is over. You have your attorney who is advising you and I have my attorney who is working with me. I have told you repeatedly that after you took the money out of our account behind my back, I have nothing more to discuss with you.  As I’ve said many times already, I will only communicate with you via our lawyers.”

With that, I went upstairs.

He came up right behind me and said, “You are impossible to talk to.”

I went into Josh’s room and closed the door. Ashley was in her bedroom.

Dick stood outside the door and yelled, “If that’s the way you want it, you’re going to see what’s left when the smoke clears.”

Thankfully the door was closed and he couldn’t see how badly I was shaking. My heart was pounding so loudly, I’m surprised the neighbors didn’t call to complain about the noise.

Not daring to leave the room, I was wondering what Ashley was thinking as she listened to Dick’s threat and what long-term effects this would have on her.