Friday, February 11, 2005
A Day Of Highs And Lows....
Also this morning I worked very hard as well as took a few minutes to cruise a few blogs. I discovered this link on Spare White Guy's blog and discovered that I will die at the age of 68. Hmmm, that is interesting. I have always thought I wouldn't make it past 53. I guess that is good news.
The biggest part of my day was my lunch date with the ex wife, F.A. Before I begin let me fill in those of you who may not have been reading my old blog since the early days. FA and my divorce was final within exactly 42 days from the time she originally filed the papers. My biggest concern was getting primary custody of my two kids. When, in March of 03, she put me in the E.R. one night the finale was pretty much complete. I had my attorney draw up the papers and she fired her attorney, all to avoid being prosecuted for what she had done to me. Her one request was that I help her out financially with alimony for five years till she could get through nursing school and make something out of herself. I, wanting to get this over quick and keep the kids, agreed. Well five months later I am married to Susan and that promised alimony of $500 a month begins to weigh pretty heavily on us. Three weeks ago Susan and I met with my attorney about getting rid of the alimony and possibly even taking total custody of the kids and getting child support from her. We learned that in the state of Alabama two years is the accepted norm for alimony since most normal people can manage to get on their feet and support themselves in that time. In almost two years FA has done practically nothing to help with her children financially, has refused to find a normal job and has lived off the support of us, her Mother and random boyfriends. Meanwhile we have been strapped trying to raise two kids and have a normal and happy life while paying this woman to sit on her ass and go to tanning beds, hair salons and nail places all while not working to support herself. This has not only been a drain on us financially, but a stress in our marriage as well. We were ready to press on with the legal action. The attorney wanted $1500 as a retainer, plus court costs, and I made an appointment for next Tuesday to go in, pay him and get the ball rolling. Yesterday Susan and I were talking and I mentioned how I had been wondering if we might be able to save the attorney money if I were to just have a heart to heart with FA and present the case to her. Maybe she would see reason and agree to release us from the alimony obligation. Susan agreed that it was worth a shot and I called the ex and set up a lunch date for today at noon.
I arrived a couple minutes early to the agreed upon restaurant and was seated. At ten minutes after 12 I see, through the window, FA pulling into the parking lot. She parks, adjusts the rear view mirror and messes with her hair. A few seconds later my cell phone buzzes. It's her. She wants to know if I am here yet and I tell her that I am sitting in a booth watching her as we speak. She laughs and says she will be right in. She comes in and flops down in the seat across from me. I notice immediately how thinner she looks. I had already ordered an appetizer and we look through the menus and decide on what to eat. After giving the waitress our orders she began to unload a shit load to me. She told me how depressed she has been lately. How for two weeks she has barely been able to get out of bed, and she hadn't eaten. She tells me that her married boyfriend has began to call her again and mail her money. She tells me that her Mother is paying every single bill that she has. She informs me that she is seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist and that they are having trouble adjusting her meds. She may need to go into the hospital psyche ward to get a couple weeks of constant treatment. She also tells me that for the past two weeks she has been too depressed to even go to school. The whole time I am thinking, "God how am I going to tell her what I have come here to tell her after all this?"
Then she looks me in the eye and says, "I never told you what it was I did that day last May that caused them (her now ex church pastors) to send me to the psyche ward, did I?"
I said, "Well I know you tried to kill yourself by taking a lot of prescription drugs and drinking a bottle of vodka. Is that it?"
"Well that was part of it. But this was the main thing." She proceeded to pull up the sleeve on her right arm and there under the fake tan was probably 10 or 12 scars on her arm, from her wrist to her elbow. She then told me that she had taken a knife, and in the presence of the senior pastor, had began cutting herself over and over. "That," she said, "Was what made them have me admitted." What made it even worse was when she told me how, in a way, it kind of felt good to her. I shuttered at the thought.
Okay, so by now I am really dreading what it is I have brought her here to say. The only thing I can think to say to her is, "You know you are supposed to cut length ways instead of across." We both laugh at this and the mood is lightened some. Meanwhile I am thinking, how am I supposed to follow that with what I have to say?
The waitress returns with the check and I lay a credit card down for her to take as payment. I look at FA, clear my throat and say, "Well I guess you are wondering what it is I asked you here for?" She nods and I begin telling her how difficult it has been for Susan and I financially, how we have to pay 4k for T's braces in a couple weeks, how the kids don't have decent furniture in their rooms, how L should be going to school more so he can learn and catch up with others his age. I tell her how Susan has taken all of her 401k money she saved prior to our marriage, to buy things for our house and the kids. I totally unload all that I had been keeping note of mentally then say,
"We can not continue to pay you the alimony. On April 1st it will be two years and that is all the court usually allows. I want to work this out with you as adults and remain friends, but I will take it as far as I have to if necessary. I will subpoena everyone, your Mother and your married boyfriend (she shared his name with me and I know everything about him thanks to his church website, he is a church staff member). You have had two years to get on your feet and you have chosen not to. We can't continue to pay you and cause us and the kids to suffer because of it."
She sat there for a few seconds, her eyes beginning to tear up and told me how she needs that money. She said her Mother pays her bills; rent, utilities, cell, car, car insurance, but she needs my $500 for spending money. I looked her straight in the eye and let her know that she could easily get a part time job, 20 hours a week, that would pay her the same amount for her spending money. She looked down in her lap for a few moments, then looked up and said,
"Okay, what if I move into your guest room for a year, me and Susan could become best friends and you wouldn't have to pay me anything."
I shook my head, trying not to laugh, and told her that I doubted that would work. She sighed and then told me that maybe this would be for the best. She said that she couldn't get Medicaid before because of the alimony, but if she could prove legally that she received none she could qualify. That seems to help her see the light and she ended up agreeing that she didn't want to have to fight this out, she wanted to remain friends, and she would agree to releasing me from the burden of alimony.
Praise the Lord!!! I was so happy. This was what I had hoped for. I had just saved us thousands in legal fees just by having a simple open and honest conversation with the ex and she was receptive. I will still pay the attorney to write up the paperwork and I will have to pay the court costs to have it filed properly, but it will be a hell of a lot cheaper than a long drawn out battle. We parted ways at the restaurant and I told her that I wanted to help her in anyway I could. I assured her that I wanted to be friends, and I wanted her to get herself well. I let her know that our kids depended on her as their Mother, and I meant every word I said.
I headed home and called Snagley and filled him in on the news, since he has known both of us since college. I also called Susan and my parents. I got home and went back to work.
Tonight was my daughter's first real dress up dance at school...The Middle School Valentine's Dance. She had plans to go to the dance then spend the night with one of her friends. My ex wife wanted to come by and help T get ready for the event so she showed up here at the house around 4. FA got here and seemed in pretty good spirits. She mentioned nothing about our talk and even joked a little with me. She helped T get her hair fixed and I took pictures of my baby in her beautiful dress. Then FA took T to her friends house so they could be taken by the friend's Mother to the dance. FA took L home with her and I headed out to meet Susan for dinner.
Susan and I ate and had a beer while talking about the events of the day. Seems she shared the snoring story in a group sales meeting today and was awarded two $50 gift certificates to a nice restaurant for her efforts. Glad my "alleged" defect can score us some free food! After dinner we walked next door to a "pet superstore" and bought $170 worth of supplies for the arrival of our new son Trooper tomorrow. I am really looking forward to the new puppy. I know he will be a ton of work, but it will be nice to have something soft and fuzzy to pet while sitting on the sofa, other than Susan's kitty....(does he mean the cat or her crotch? I will let you decide, but you should know that the cat is totally an outdoors pet). Okay, that was stupid....
One last thing. One the way home from the pet store tonight I called FA to see how she was doing. She was crying and saying how she didn't want to live. I told her that I was turning around and coming to pick up L, and she begged me to let him stay. She said that she wanted to lay in bed with him and read books and watch television. She said that he would help her to get through the night, but she did request that I pick him up in the morning. Yes I most certainly will. I told her to call me tonight at anytime if she felt like she couldn't cope and I would come up there and take the boy. Although she may try to hurt herself I have no fear that she would ever do anything to hurt the kids. That I am sure of. I am hoping that they are both sleeping soundly now, as I think I will here very soon.
Thanks for taking the time to read all this. It has certainly been a interesting day. Tomorrow is the arrival of Trooper. I can't wait for him to be welcomed into his new home. I will explain the choice of his name later. Got to go to bed now.