Category Archives: mad as hell

Counterstrike

With the Boy’s Easter break  about 6 weeks away, I called the STBX last night to discuss visitation.  Here’s a paraphrasing of said conversation – to the best of my memory:

Me:  So the Boy’s Easter break is coming up.  Under the separation agreement that you had written up, I get him for his entire break, right?

X: No, that’s not what I remember.

Me: Well, I don’t have it in front of me, but that is what it says.

X:  We don’t have an agreement.

Me:  We’ve been going by the agreement that you had written up.

X:  You never signed it.

Me:  Really, X?  You’re gonna do this every time it’s my turn to see him? Fine.  I’ll call my lawyer first thing Monday morning and I’ll set up a visitation hearing.

X:  I already made plans to take him to Legoland that week.

Me:  Maybe you should’ve checked that with me first.  I’ll have my lawyer set up a hearing.  We’ll get all this set in stone.

X:  Be sure to talk to him about child support too! hangs up phone

Typical.  Whenever she gets frustrated, she hangs up on people.  Her parents, her siblings, me.  I’m not really sure why she wants me to talk to my lawyer about child support.  That would be like a murderer asking his/her attorney: “hey how much time should I do?  10? 15 years?”

Again, she tries to go back on a separation agreement that SHE had written up.

She doesn’t get it.  She’s not in charge of this thing anymore. And that scares the hell out of her.

All in all, this is a week I would really like to forget.  SHG blows me off.  Ivy makes her move.  The STBX descends further into the role of the stereotypical bitchy ex-wife.  Never have I ever looked so forward to Monday…

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Reflections in the aftermath of the Newton, CT shootings.

I wanted my next few posts to be about non-legal proceeding, non-divorce related, non-sad stuff.  I wanted them to be somewhat light-hearted:  an analysis of askmen.com 99 women of 2013; a review of  “the hobbit” and others, but then a horrific tragedy took place yesterday in a town I had never heard of…

It's so much simpler in comic books.

It’s so much simpler in comic books.

I suppose as an educator and a parent, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about my feelings on the events of yesterday in Newtown, CT.  For the record, I do support the second amendment AND stricter gun-control laws, but that’s really not the point here. Well, maybe it is.

Personally, I hate guns.  Maybe it’s because I’ve read too many Batman comics. Maybe it’s because one of my parents is a former police officer.  Maybe it’s because my other parent was involved in a lock down-type situation a teenage neighbor ultimately took his own life. This is not a judgment made out of ignorance or fear.  I’ve fired handguns, rifles and shotguns in the past.  Knowledge of how they work, caring for them and the prospect of owning one legally does not put me at any more ease with them.

I’ve never felt the need or desire to own a gun.  I’ve lived in relatively safe, suburban areas my entire life.  However, I have also at times lived in areas where gangs and arson were prevalent and it was not unusual to see and/or hear gunfire and shootings.  I worked, gone to school and spent a good portion of my leisure time in some of the rougher areas of  one of america’s most violent cities – Detroit.   In spite of all of this, I have no intention of ever owning a firearm.  Perhaps it is my own naivete.  I think sometimes as a white male in America, I do feel inherently safer than women or people of ethnic minorities may generally feel.  Of course, all I’ve ever been is a white male, so it’s not as if I have any real frame of reference to make such an assessment.

The truth is, guns kill people.  In the least, they make it VERY easy for people to kill people. A death or injury by gunfire is more likely occur in a home that owns a gun than in a home that does not; that’s just common sense.  The thoughts of someone getting injured as a result of a gun accident, or someone stealing a gun from my home only detract me from purchasing a gun even more.

Gun advocates inevitably will cite the 2nd amendment‘s right to bear arms.  While I do support this right, I truly question it’s relevance in 21st century America.  In the Founding Fathers‘ time, it made sense – allow the people to be armed in the event that the government breaks down and/or becomes a dictatorship.  Today, however, I think it would be virtually impossible for the citizens of this country to overthrow the government in the event of such a catastrophe. Furthermore, the actual wording of the 2nd amendment is, at best, vague and open to interpretation.  “A well regulated militia…” could be construed to me something as simple of your state’s chapter of  National Guard.  Finally, the Founding Fathers lived in an era of muskets and cannons.  They did not and could have imagined a world  of armor-piercing bullets and assault rifles.

There are no simple answers to this ongoing debate.  If there was a quick-fix, i’m sure people on both sides of the political spectrum would rally behind it. The events of 12/14/12 will for many of us, only serve as more fuel for the ongoing debate.  To be honest, I don’t think that politicians on either side of the aisle are willing to take the drastic steps necessary to either weaken OR strengthen gun-control laws.  Sadly, I think we will continue to live as we always do – as a society on the brink.

As a person who has  virtually no connection to the tragedy of Newtown, CT, the most difficult part of yesterday was not being able to see my son.  I would have loved the chance to hug him and look him in the face as I told him that I love him.  But I was able to speak to him – via telephone, and tell him that I love him;  and remind him that I will be seeing him when I pick him up at the airport on Friday.  And that Santa will be coming to see him both in Michigan and in South Carolina.  That is a hell of a lot more than the families who lost their loved ones yesterday can now say.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Damn.  I just made myself cry.  Well, maybe it wasn’t my writing…

The Bachelorette Party Quandary

Originally Written 11/25/12

Yesterday was my first pub crawl.  It was for a great cause, Toys For Tots; but let’s face it, I would have gone even if it wasn’t for charity.  The event had us go to 6 different bars, but Sis and I also went to a seventh bar with a bunch of people from the social club. Needless to say, my liver got one hell of a workout yesterday. Oh yeah, I finally learned (re-learned?) SHG’s name.  I was afraid I would have to start calling her “Mulva“.  And no, she was not a the pub crawl.

At the final bar of the night, I was once again forced to face the bane of the single heterosexual male’s bar/nightclub experience – and the subject of this blog:  The Bachelorette Party Quandary.

I’ve been to a lot of clubs over the years and I’ve seen many a bachelorette party at said clubs.  Bachelorette parties are easily recognizable by their obvious characteristics.They are an odd contradiction of terms and elicit a series of mixed messages.  Their appearance and their actions demand guys’ attention, yet when approached they typically want to be left alone.  For the single heterosexual man, Bachelorette Parties (hereafter referred to as BPs) are the Kobayashi Maru of the nightclub experience.

They stick to the pack.

Members of a BP  typically remain together for their entire stay at a club.  To their credit, party members are driven by one goal undeviating goal:  enabling the soon-to-be bride to have as much fun as possible.  I can respect this to a point.  Now, I am a firm believer in the wingman (wingmen) strategy; however I have found that the larger the group you approach, the less effective wingmen are.  Any time you get more people involved in the mix, more variables are introduced.  Some of the Party members may already be in a relationship, married, the gay friend, or just not interested in you or any of your wingmen.  Occasionally, you may see one or two mavericks who stray stray from the group; but these are typically  the socially inept, the non-drinkers or the tribal elders.  Even if the cast-offs are more one’s speed, these breaks from the formation are short-lived at best.  This pack mentality makes any individual member of a BP unattainable and an utter waste of time.

They are consistently overdressed for their surroundings

A CONFESSION:  I don’t typically go to clubs or bars that have a dress code.  It just ain’t my thing.  Back in my Samurai Days, going out mean wearing typical grunge gear, which only slightly evolved into the classic t-shirt and jeans ensemble.  It is only since I have adopted the Contrarian Principles of George Costanza that I have even begun wearing collared shirts to bars with any regularity.

Okay, the bold statement above isn’t true of all BPs since I obviously can’t speak to the behaviors of every BP in the world.  The bars I frequent are not dives (usually) nor are they “upscale” but when a BP enters dresses like their going to a rooftop party at the Palms in Vegas, like these ladies…

Bachelorette Party

No, I’ve never encountered this particular group of  women, but they perfectly illustrate my point.

It’s simply too much. I almost feel sorry for the brides in these BPs that I’ve encountered over the years.  For my bachelor party, my groomsmen and I, literally, left the country.  These poor saps I’ve encountered go to the same bars I visit on any given night – and act like they’re in the nexus point of all hedonism in the space-time continuum.  I mean, Christ, the least these maids-of-honor could do is get the brides out of town for the night!

Perhaps I should give these bridal parties the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they are vaguely cool and realize that they’re not going to find the second coming of Studio 54 ten minutes from their suburban homes.  It could be that the ladies don’t have the means to put together an extravagant, or creative bachelorette party; after all, Michigan is practically a third-world country now.  But even if I concede these possibilities, I’m left with one conclusion…

They are desperate for attention

Try and tell me I’m wrong, but ask yourself: how often do the women you know wear sashes and tiaras as they’re falling-down drunk?  Like a butterfly or a peacock, their outlandish appearance demands your attention;  while wanting nothing to do with you or your friends unless it involves free alcohol.

Conclusion:

Bachelorette parties are an series of odd contradictions: uninhibited,  yet prudish.  Social and outgoing, so long as no one dares invade their inner circle.  Guys, you’re not going to get a phone number, let alone hook up with, a member of a bachelorette party,  no matter how many wingmen you fly into battle with.  Let them enjoy their moment.  Indulge them in their fantasy that they are the cast of “Sex and the City” for the night and just walk on by.

END OF RANT

compromise, settling and Fixer-Upper Syndrome

originally written October 24, 2012

I was driving over to my brother’s house Monday morning to babysit my niece and nephew and I stumbled across one of the ” a guy and a girl” morning shows that currently proliferate corporate radio, but i digress.

Anyway, DJ guy poses the question to the female listeners – something along the lines of “did your man mature fashionably or did you have to step in and dress him”  – or something even less eloquent.  DJ woman tells about how her husband used to be a terrible dresser – citing a ratty college sweatshirt (for a school he never attended) that she eventually made him get rid of.  DJ Woman talks of this as if this is some landmark victory in the battle of the sexes.

Having been marries and also in previous relationships, I know that this kind of thing goes on.  What is it about  women that they feel that they need to take a “Mr. Maybe” – a man who may be not-quite-perfect in their eyes – and turn him in to what they want him to be?  perhaps these same women were discouraged from taking vocational classes in high school and really just want “fixer-upper” projects.  I honestly feel that if a male called into this radio show and said that he tried to get his wife to dress more provocatively, he would be demonized as a sexist, a chauvinist, and seen as trying to crush his wife sense of individuality.

A great example of the fixer-upper syndrome is the “bad boy”.  it has been said time and again, by thinkers far more intelligent and eloquent than I, women who are attracted to “bad boys” are so because they (the women)  wants to be THE ONE.  I mean THE ONE as  in the one women who will show him the error of his ways and inspire him to change.   In this scenario, the reforming bad boy will be indebted to woman for everything he  has now become.    Thankfully, it seems that as women mature, they come to realize that they Bad Boy Crusade is a futile one. This is around the same time that the less-than-beautiful-people and the nerds have the last laugh.

But does the fixer-upper syndrome every really die?  It would seem, from listening to DJ girl, that the battles simply take on a smaller scale.  Some would argue that the Fixer Upper Syndrome is simply a case of a woman trying to make her man live up to his full potential.  Maybe this is true to some degree; but it seems to me that too many people are willing to settle for “Mr/ Ms Maybe”  instead of  “Mr/Ms. Right”.  Is the relationship landscape so bad for women out there that they’re willing to settle for less than what they want – or worse, what they truly deserve?

Of course, there are those  who will chalk all this up to the ramblings of a soon-to-be-divorced man who’s still a little hurt and a lot angry.  By no means is this post meant to be thought of as “women bashing”; men do the same things. The terrible secret is that most of us are so afraid of being alone that we resign ourselves to compromise; sacrificing what we want for what we think we can get.

I’m done settling for anything less than exactly what I want.  Sure, there are things I’m willing to compromise on – personality quirks that I can live with

flashpoint

As I was doing some editing on this blog earlier today, it occurred to me that I’ve never written about the impetus of this blog.  Obviously, telling the story of my impending divorce is the purpose of this blog.  There was, however, one moment that completely set me off.  One incident between the STBX and I that pushed me from being hurt to being angry.  One conversation that convinced me unequivocably that we would never reconcile.

About 3 weeks after I moved back to Michigan (or about 1 week before I started this blog) I received a call from the STBX.  She was furious because the cable and internet service had been interrupted for non-payment.

I let her vent because I knew i didn’t have the money to pay the bill.  I was straight with her about not having the money.  She, of course, didn’t want to pay the bill despite the fact that she was working and she was the one benefitting from said cable and internet service.

When it seemed that she had gotten everything off of her chest, I said to the STBX “Let me speak to [our son].  I want to speak to [our son].”

“As soon as you talk to cable, you can talk to [our son].”  She then hung up on me.

My first thought was “Great.  Less money, more problems”.  Then it hit me.  She had just prevented me from speaking to my son.  Furthermore, she used our son as a means to an end.  She wanted me to pay the cable bill and was using our son as a means to make that happen.

That moment was probably the closest I’ve ever come to experiencing a blind fit of rage.  For me, it felt more like an out-of-body experience.  I was pacing, saying things, throwing things.  Quite literally rampaging, It was as if I was watching this monster who bore a striking resemblance to me; but totally unable to stop it or control it.

My Dad was ecstatic just to see me finally get mad at her.  I’m sure my mom and my sister felt the same way, but they were much better at hiding their feelings.  That was the day that I finally contacted my lawyer.  At long last, I was past the proverbial point of no return.

An open letter to the soon-to-be-ex

There’s so much I want to say to you, but doing so seems so pointless now. On second thought, I wanna get is off my chest and I don’t care if you see/hear it or not.

I want to apologize for my part in the dissolution of this marriage.  When I decided to marry you, I didn’t go in thinking it would end in anything other than one or both of our deaths.  I don’t think most people enter into marriage intending for it to ever end; but as we know, good intentions aren’t always enough. Don’t think I’m assuming sole responsibility for anything here.  As I told you before “it takes 2 people to ruin a perfectly good marriage”.

Somewhere along the way, these last few years to be more specific, I turned into someone I despised.  I lied to you and I lied to my parents.  Finances got tight and I was desperate.  I took a lot of chances and pushed things to the absolute limits in several areas of my life.  I made it hard for me to live with myself, and I’m sure it was no easier on you.  At the end of the day I knew I was doing it for our family. I think that’s the only way I was able to live with myself.  Even now, I know in my heart that I did absolutely everything in my power to maintain our family.  If it wasn’t enough – and apparently it wasn’t – I could live with myself knowing I gave it my all.

I’ve told you before that communication broke down between us years ago, long before the events of the last year or two.  In hindsight, I think that was the beginning of the end for us.  I specifically remember one day (and I know you’ve heard this before) that I was complaining about work, and you accused me of “bitching”.  I can tell you that that was the moment I stopped confiding in you – about my hopes, my dreams, my fears and my thoughts on anything of any real significance in our lives.   Looking back now, that conversation was a red flag.

Being separated for the last few months has allowed me the time to reflect not just on the last few years, but also the entirety of our relationship.  Since the day I met you, you’ve had this “me against the world” mentality.  You believe it is a source of strength for you; and to some extent, maybe it is.  You were always so scared of showing the outside world any sign of weakness or pain that you built up these walls around yourself.  To strangers, family, friends and foes alike, your words, actions and body language all said to the world: “I am who I am, and I will mow down anyone who stands in my way”.  And for the most part, it has worked out for you.  I’ve had friends of ours, acquaintances and strangers say that they were intimidated by you.  I’m sure on many levels, that’s just stroking your ego.  You thrive on people being afraid of you.  You think that that is your greatest source of strength.  On the contrary, it is your greatest weakness.  You probably describe yourself as being “assertive”.  Others would describe you as being a bitch.  Rather than showing any signs of vulnerability, you push people away. You keep everyone, including your loved ones at arm’s length.  I call it being a coward.

Maybe you and I were a bad combination from the start.  I was always the more passive of the two of us.  “diplomatic” and ” the good cop” are two expressions that I remember being used to describe me.  Maybe in this relationship, I played the role of the good girl who as determined find the sweet, sensitive guy buried far below the surface of your Bad Boy persona.

(Updated 10.1. 12)  It is occurring to me you simply didn’t want to be married to me anymore.  In fact, you haven’t for a while. I wanted to think that our separation was a result of my actions of the last several months  regarding money, etc.  Not because I wanted to blame myself; but because I wanted to “connect the dots”.   But the reason for our divorce no longer matter to me anymore.

I would’ve done anything to work things out between you and I – for our son if not for us.  But in hindsight, I’ve realized that we passed the “point of no return” too long ago.  You, me, time and our feelings for one another simply passed each other by too long ago.

I hate the fact that we failed The Kid.  If  I ever thought for one second that we would one day divorce, I never would have started a family with you.  That is not to say that I have any regrets.  Far fro it.  The Kid is the best thing that ever has or ever will happen to me.  As much as it hurts me to say that I am not in his life everyday, I am absolutely honored to be his father.  No job I ever take will be more important or more prestigious than being his father.

I hate the fact that I was a part of a failed marriage.  I hate the fact that we are now among the majority of American married couples.  And I hate the fact that I stood before my family, my friends, and yes, my God and said that I would be with you for the rest for my life; when that was obviously not to be.

Feeling Lando Calrissian

“this deal is getting worse all the time!”

As I write this, my son and I are on our way into Myrtle Beach where the STBX will be picking him up.  Our plane out of Detroit was already 30 minutes late, so he may miss “meet the teacher night” altogether.

I truly enjoyed my time with my son.  I fear I will miss him far more than I even realize now.   I cried a little as we left my parents’ house today; but I’m doing better for now.

Last night, the STBX tells me that she’s going to need me to pay her in order to stay on her insurance. With each passing day, I’m feeling more like Lando Calrissian: this deal is getting worse all the time. It seems like every day, she goes back on one more thing we agreed upon.

I know things could be far worse, but they could be better.  Jesus, I’m gonna miss my son.

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