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Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

The Dream Is Over

I remember the time I pulled the rear bumper off of my car thinking I had the perfect solution.

A neighbor from across the street at my old house had purchased new property and they were about to begin construction on it. Knowing how much I loved gardening she suggested that I get to her new property and take as many blueberry bushes as I wanted. All I had to do was dig them up. I was chilled, that’s how excited I was at the prospect of having mature blueberry bushes! I arrived at her property with a pick, shovel and well-worn work gloves.

Surveying the bushes, I appraised a few that looked well-rounded and plump and began digging around the roots. Trouble was I soon found out, wild blueberry bushes have deep and hearty roots. For a few hours I picked, shoveled and tugged at a few bushes but still couldn’t pull one bush fully out of the ground. So, I had an idea. I would wrap some rope I had in the trunk around the exposed roots, tie the other end to my car’s rear bumper and simply pull them out! Why didn’t I think of that before?

Sweating, but determined, I tied the knots as tightly as I could on both ends, took off my gloves (which revealed a few open blisters on my right hand), and started up the car. I gently pulled forward so I could see that the slack in the rope was gone and carefully pushed down on the accelerator. After a few tentative rocking motions nothing happened. I could see as I leaned out of the driver’s side door that the rope was taught and that the bush was slightly leaning toward the car, but no hint of uprooting showed itself. So I pressed heavier on the gas pedal. Still, no giving up the ground for that blueberry bush!

Bolder, I backed up maybe ten feet and decided that building some speed would pluck it out of the ground as easily as plucking one of the juicy berries would be. One foot on the gas, the other halfway out the door and my head cocked toward the rear, I bolted. The ten feet took only a slight moment to cover, but I remember the sharp buck of the car at the end of the ten feet and the slam of the brake at probably foot number fifteen.

I hurried out of my car and could see the damage I had done even before I strode to the passenger door. Fifteen feet away, the blueberry bush stood – still solidly rooted in its original spot. Tied to its exposed roots was the rope. On the other end of the rope was my car’s rear bumper, pulled much closer to the bush than to my car by the force of the pull.

Eventually, I decided that with all the investment of time and effort I had put in, not to mention my car’s rear bumper, that bush was going to be mine no matter how it happened. I left the site, drove back to my house, came back with an old saw and cut those roots one at a time until I could pull out the bush and hoist it into my trunk – dirt, stray leaves, bugs and anything else that was attached.

I planted that bush in a special spot in my beloved garden and tended it daily for most of the first few weeks in its new location. In the next few years it prospered, giving up wonderfully deep blue/purple berries that satisfied both the wild life that happened upon the free feast, local kids that regularly came to pick a mouthful (and stained their clothes) while playing in the neighborhood and enough left over for my own family to incorporate them into pancakes, muffins, ice trays and daily round the clock snacks.

I remember my little girl, who must have been about four or five at the time, in a billowy yellow sundress and a white, wide-brimmed sunhat jumping sideways, circling the bush singing “Here we go ’round the blueberry bush, the blueberry bush …” and laughing her little girl giggle as she sang and pulled berries into her mouth.

I remember both of my boys helping me dig a pit to plant the huge bush in. And after the initial deluge of water for the bush, how we swung into an impromptu water hose fight. We sat down in the wet soil, shared sips of iced tea and I remember hugging them both – one on either side of me.

I loved that blueberry bush.  Read more…

When I Win

I mentioned before that I’ve teamed up with a woman who has been unbelievably lucky at the lottery. She’s won mid-level prizes in the past year which include a scratch for $10,000. It’s uncanny how often, and how much, she wins.

So I offered to go in with her. I’d pay the same amount as she would and we would split the prizes. I started off by giving her $20. I figured that we would play a few times a week and go from there. In total, I believe that since we started doing this at the end of January I’ve given her an out-of-pocket total of $60 – far more than I should be giving out.

As I think while sitting here, I am unable to come up with the total amount that we have won. But I can tell you that the two largest tickets that we’ve hit on are a $1,000 ticket and two $500 tickets! In between we’ve been playing constantly – daily … with money that we’ve won! Each and every day we win between $20 – $100 dollars. Each day! And we continue to play every day – with money that we keep winning!

When the amount of the daily winnings get to about $75 or so, we play smart. Half of the winnings gets split between the two of us, and we play the other half. So, for instance, two days ago we won $110, we split $60 between us, $30 apiece, and played the remaining $50. Every day I’m getting cash amounts ranging from $20 to $75 or so handed to me. Cash. Cash that I put away in a safe. A dollar amount that is large enough for me to pay cash for two items that I’ve long lusted after. A large screen TV to replace the old one that was given to me (which sports in the upper left hand corner a permanent splash of green from the aging picture tube), and a new computer to replace the one I use now that is slow, painfully slow.

She keeps saying that we are about to win a large amount. A really large amount. I’m excited within reason of course, but I occasionally let my mind wander.

People often ask each other what they would do if they ever won ‘the big one’. I already know what I’d do.

Read more…

Divorced Barbie

One of the large components of starting my own blog was the inspiration I found while reading existing blogs that seemed to have similar general overtones about divorce and a wholesome life that can follow.

There were a lot of blogs to weed through at first when I searched for blogs that were similar to what I was looking for, but a large amount of them seemed to center on either hateful themes (such as women bashers) or who after a few years (or more) were still grappling with how to put together their lives. I can’t read a blog continually and permanently bashing anyone or anything, and though I’m here to tell you first-hand about self-pity, it does get stale after an unnaturally long period of time.

So it was refreshing to land on the sweet shore of blogs who though they were still occasionally smarting from post-divorce wounds, had found a way to cope and even thrive. It is these select blogs that write with such determination to continue their lives in a rich and rewarding manner (and even in joy), that have helped me (and I’m sure many, many others) come to the realization that my experience is not unique in a general sense. By my reading these positive-light blogs, I have found community, strength, determination and wisdom along with a steady diet of intellectual enrichment.

One such blog that I read yesterday comes from The Divorced Encouragist who authors Relative Evolutions. She wrote about a forwarded joke centered on the Barbie doll and why it is so expensive to purchase Divorced Barbie. You can read the post here and I urge you to read it through before reading more of my post.

What prompted me to comment was the fact of how true it is that men are still trapped in the divorce laws from an earlier legal age. While laws are continually being updated to insure the post-divorce rights of women and the couple’s children (and rightly so!), laws that keep up to date with regards to the post-divorce rights of men, and men that are fathers, have been allowed to remain stagnant and are antiquated. Thus, these laws are unjust, causing severe and lasting emotional trauma and suspend a lot of males in a refined purgatory of needless suffering.

Do not mistake the meaning of this post. My meaning is to heighten the awareness in the inequity of 21st century divorce laws, and through intelligent commenting following the post, to bring to light  aspects of what is just, what might be wrong, what might be perceived to be wrong, and to bring into focus ideas and actions that might spur change of these laws – real or not.

Again, I ask that you read the original post from which the idea for this post came from before continuing, and rather than to originate more content, I will end with what I wrote as a follow-up comment on the blog.

I wholeheartedly invite your thoughtful, and tasteful, comments.

More, after the Break

Temp Help

Well, that about says it all.

After the devastation of not being tendered an offer after my second interview last week, I was in an orientation class for three days. It’s an orientation that will only lead to a per diem job and who knows just how many shifts I’ll pick up? It’s not full-time or even part-time, so no benefits and I’m still in the same position.

This morning I received a call to fill in a call out. Temp help. I must take it. I must take anything I can at all.

And so, Christmas looms large. No tree, no presents, no cheer. But my children – they’re so young! How can I decide between presents for them and rent?

God help me.

I dreamed of my ex last night.

Thanks

I have my angels until Friday at 5:00 PM.

Although life would be more sustainable with them as inspiration if I were with them 24 hours a day, I will try today to imagine – suspend reality, that this is just what I have. Intercede their constant bickering with a gentle reminder of the joy of being with one another. Accept the nano-syllables or silence of my oldest when I talk to him, ignore the smart-aleck under the breath comments from my middle one and politely ask my daughter to put down her game player and interact with us.

I didn’t have a family growing up.

I shuffled foster home to foster home until I was old enough to be on my own. I sorely see the result of never acquiring the wisdom that comes from guidance, someone to steer me away from bad decisions and the pain of suffering in silent, solitary, mental confinement while others always had someone to help ground them. My experiences have always been as an individual apart – not with a relative, even a distant one, to help steer me one way or another. So, I’ve the proclivity to self-isolate. To live through joy or pain alone.

But my children, the only family I have ever known, are with me today.

They have each other and I hope that they need me. I see it as a twinkle ever so often, but sometimes I have the overpowering sinking feeling that because of divorce, they are quite used to, and adept at, being without me. Someone they must shuffle to from time to time. You can see how my past has affected my present.

But, today, I will endeavor to induce a chuckle, try to get them to watch part of a parade on TV, see if I can entice them to put away the games for a short while, try to play a board game with them, prod them to come outdoors and toss a football, help in preparing the turkey and fixings and make it a goal to capture a smile on film.

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my children and the opportunity to teach them how monumentally important it is to have family. A lesson that nobody was able to teach me.

God help us, everyone.

My Forced March into Madness

I had such a bout of panic and anxiety yesterday, that at times I seemed to have been surgically spliced and lightly lifted out of my own body. I was terrified.

I couldn’t find my professional license. I need to prove that I am able to work in my field, and that proof is my professional license. I looked in my small safe that I keep in the closet that holds other important papers that I need to keep, and it is also the most logical location for where the license would be kept. I was wide-eyed and stilted after I opened the safe only to find that it was missing!

I rifled through my tall bureau where there’s a shelf that I use to keep other important documents such as the divorce agreement, my bank checks and assorted papers. It wasn’t there! I then quickly tore at my nightstand where I keep various saved papers from the kids’ schoolwork that they’ve given me from time to time, allowing me occasional cool comfort and the slightest of illusion that I am an involved parent within their presence in school. Nothing there! I looked in my kitchen ‘junk’ drawer, I ripped through the drawer in the small table that used to be my nightstand when I was married, but is now the catch-all at my apartment door. Nothing in either!

I felt the panic as a dizzy menace spreading as quickly as though it were colored dye spreading through my mind – filling my head, narrowing my thoughts, trembling my fingers, my heart overextending to accept blood and forcefully plunging closed – the center of my life was clawing through piles of scattered documents, circulars, magazines and miscellaneous opened and unopened mail that now lied in a wide circle around me as I knelt, centered amid the paper debris. I rapidly and savagely reopened envelope after envelope where it might have been, separating contents from their proper container without rejoining them for later use and throwing them aside, tossing them even further away from me and creating an even larger circle of print matter that in the end had me perfectly centered, fully surrounded and piled on all sides, mocking me for my inept ability in keeping something so important within easy grasp.

I placed my forehead down on the floor as if I might do for eastern meditation as I began to cry silently in raging frustration and blinding panic, As I raised my head to breath, I happened to glance under my bed. There, I could see boxes of storage items – photo albums of relatives I never knew, a box of glasses that I won at a work raffle last Christmas, a old colorful basket, and a plastic shopping bag filled with papers. I reached shoulder-length under the bed and pulled quickly as if I were saving the bag from harm under the bed. More of the same filtered out – old bills, old magazines, circulars from last year and articles that I never read. But, somewhere near the middle of the plastic bag was an envelope with my handwriting on it. I opened it, and there, nestled between my social security card and three small wallet sized pictures, was my professional license.

My overpowering relief was met, at that very same exact instance, with a rapidly ballooning despair. The three pictures were the pictures taken of my children at the hospital the day they were born – their newborn pictures! I found myself holding in my left hand my most precious, most treasured above all lost past, and in my right, my needy, bleak and uncertain future.

My thoughts couldn’t distill my elation for finding my professional license from the jarring jolt of electricity that thundered through me at seeing my babies as newborns, and I continued kneeling, sitting on my heels in the ring of torn, mismatched, scattered papers, sweating through my shirt, hands twitching, barely sane and exquisitely solitary.

Much later, last night at about 8:00 PM, I received a call from a realtor – my house is being put up for ‘short sale’.

This morning I found out via email, that I am not eligable for financial assistance if I want to go to school this coming year.

I am out of work, my home where my children live is to be taken, I am not able to receive assistance to better myself in school and, again, I am alone.

Is there anybody out there?

Non-negotiable

Our divorce agreement states that she would take control of, and pay, the mortgage on our home.

I called CitiBank mortgage company last week to ask about the status of account.

Long months ago she told me that she wanted to restructure the loan to make it more affordable for her to pay. She filled out the application and needed me to sign it to make it legal. I stated that if she wanted to change part of the agreement, I wanted a chance to change part of it it also.

I wanted the chance to see each of my three children individually, every so often – alone. I’m in a continual struggle to find anything to do that would satisfy three radically dissimilar children in differing developmental stages – a fifteen year old boy, a twelve year old boy and a ten year old girl. There’s no appropriate movie for an ten year old girl that a fifteen (almost sixteen) year old boy wants to see. And there’s no movie for a fifteen year old boy that’s appropriate for an ten year old girl. Let alone movies, what activities do I choose for the three of them that would keep all three satisfied, curious or simply be fun? Each weekend that they’re here, as they are now getting older and establishing individual identities, it gets razor thin to impossible to stop the arguments, confrontations, bitterness and resentment that they feel toward me and even more so, toward each other, for having to attend something, or do something together, that they don’t want to go to. So, I wanted the chance to see each child, alone, at least once a month.

The chosen date would be one of my weekday nights and it would come out to three and a half hours per month for a chance to see my only daughter alone, see my middle boy alone and time with my fifteen year old alone. For each child that would come out to a total of only fourteen hours a year! It would be a time for us to do something age or gender appropriate that they alone wanted to do with their father without the pressure of having to be coerced into something generic for the three of them. This is something that married parents never even think about when they take one child alone to the store for shopping, go to an age appropriate movie, attend one of their team sports events … the others can be left alone at home, at a friend’s house, a neighborhood friend if they want to be, and still remain content. I don’t have that option or luxury.

On the Tuesdays and Thursdays that I see them, I travel about twenty-five miles one way to pick them up at 4:30PM. Then I drive the four of us twenty-five miles back to my apartment. By 7:30PM, I have to bring them twenty-five miles back home again, and then twenty-five miles back for me. For one night, that’s one-hundred miles. For the two day weeks, it’s two-hundred miles. On the opposite weeks when it’s Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, it’s two-hundred and fifty miles for a two week total of four-hundred miles. I asked if she could pick them up only one night a week from my apartment for a total of fifty miles a week, or one-hundred miles total over two weeks.

I also asked if I could get access to my storage area (in the basement room that holds my clothing, books and various other items) once a month. Come fall (like it is now), when all I have are summer shirts and light jackets, I’m usually freezing and dressed inappropriately. Same for when spring hits – I’m still in winter clothes. I wanted to be able to quickly sift through boxes and gather belongings that I needed and drop off boxes with what I didn’t need. I don’t even venture up the stairs into my own home when I’m there.

Lastly, I asked that the difference between what she was supposed to pay for the mortgage, and the new payment amount be deducted from her side when the house was sold. I didn’t think it right that when the house was sold – having less equity because of the restructured payment schedule, that I should be penalized in profit. I wanted to have enough money to put a down payment on something small for my kids and myself and because of the restructuring, I would have substantially less.

 Those were the four items I asked in exchange – see my children alone once a month, have the children picked up once a week, get stored items when I needed them and not suffer economic penalties for a restructuring of the mortgage in her favor.

More, after the break

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