Last night, The Auteur and I went to a surprise birthday party for my
oldest longest-tenured friend in this world: I’ll call him The Apostle. I call him this not to be blasphemous or sarcastic, but because he has stronger religious convictions than anyone I’ve ever known. I’ve known The Apostle since kindergarten. We went to elementary, junior high and high school together. We discovered girls together. He was the best man at my wedding.
In an interesting aside, he met Jabba during his “born-again” phase. When he learned about her religious beliefs, he told her to her face that everything he had ever heard had told him that she would go to Hell.
The Apostle’s wife, with some help from his sister and brother-in-law, put together a phenomenal birthday event. It was at a banquet hall that was better suited to a wedding reception. They had a few of his close friends give speeches about him and put together a video including greetings from some of his long-distance friends. One of the speakers brought up a quote that he credited to the Apostle – though I have seen it used by others on the web:
Crave your future.
One of the things I really took from last night – and the birthday video in particular – was that The Apostle has truly made an impact on the lives of his family, friends and loved ones. That famous Jackie Robinson quote ran through my head as I heard person after person sing the praises of The Apostle: “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives”.
Watching that video and processing all this information, I’m forced to wonder: what impact have I really made on the lives of others? I know that it often takes time for a person to rebuild their life after a divorce. Hell it has taken my brother and sister years to get themselves back to where they are now, but it’s more than that. I need to be more involved – maybe even more active in my community. I want to be more well-rounded. I’m not saying that I want to be involved in a church like he is; I just want to feel like I make a difference in peoples’ lives.
I crave my future. I obsess over it. Sometimes I think so much about it, I don’t do enough to actually work toward it. Everything I want is within my grasp: my career, the woman of my dreams, my son, the future life that I’ve sought for the last two years – it’s all mine for the taking. I just have to do it.
It’s funny, because The Apostle and I were SO very competitive growing up. We used to push each other. A lot. At various times throughout our lives, I think we envied each other. I haven’t seen the guy in 2 years – since our 20 year reunion – and he’s pushing me once again.
Why, may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?
(Hamlet, 5.1.97), Hamlet to Horatio
Friday, I finally heard back from The Kid’s “counselor” whom I shall call The Headshrinker – no disrespect to psychologists intended. I told him the situation involving the Kid, Jabba and my thoughts on it. He told me straight-up that The Kid’s name did not ring a bell. He said that that could be a good thing or a bad thing. He wasn’t in his office at the time, and said that he had his office people double-checking his records to see if The Kid had, in fact been in to see him. He also promised that he would be back in touch with me , whatever he finds out.
To be honest, I was amazed he discussed as much with me as openly as he did. I half-expected him to tell me that he had to verify my identity; or that he had to talk to Jabba before he could say anything to me. I was a little taken aback when he described his experiences with that which I’m convinced has happened here: that Jabba is making this whole thing up and that The Kid has never been in to see him; or The Kid has been in to see the Headshrinker only because Jabba put him up to it.
Maybe I’m looking to into the conversation, but I feel like I gleaned a whole lot from very little factual information. My gut tells me that this guy hasn’t even seen The Kid. When he was running through the different reasons/scenarios as to why he might not remember the Kid’s name, it felt like he was trying to tell me something without actually saying it.
Please don’t misunderstand me: my worst fear is, of course that The Kid did in fact say that the he wishes he was dead / wants to kill himself. But again, I do not believe it. Nothing I’ve seen or head thus far has me suggested to me that Jabba is telling the truth.
This wasn’t the only big news of the last few days. Monday I decided to start making some phone calls, in the event that I have to put together a custody case. I called a few lawyers here and was told I would need to talk to a lawyer in South Carolina, as my divorce took place there – unless I can get the case moved here – which would probably be next-to-impossible.
I decided to call Greenie’s office – to see if they would send a letter to my ex-landlord as I’m still on the lease for the house Jabba and The Kid live in. The paralegal informs me that since our lease was only for one year, I’m basically “in the clear”. When i asked her to have Greenie write a letter to my landlord, informing them that I’ve been out of the house for 18 months, she informs me that Greenie died last week.
I was stunned, in that way that people are when they hear something come out of left field like that. Instinctively, I asked “are you serious?” which I’ve always thought was a really stupid question at a moment like that. Fortunately for me, my divorce case is final – as far as I know. I was planning to file a grievance with the South Carolina Bar Association for the way in which he handled my case; but that’s irrelevant now. I didn’t really know this guy personally, and I can’t stand him professionally; but I’m amazed at how much Greenie’s death has affected me personally.
I think in moments like this it’s normal to think about one’s own mortality. Greenie was 31, or 8 years younger than me. I’m assuming he was never married as he was dating one of his paralegals. Thinking about what little I knew about Greenie personally forced me to reflect on my own life. In spite of how many years I’ve spent in school and feeling like I’ve been spinning my wheels – at times – with teaching, I feel that if I were to die tomorrow, I’ve lived a pretty good life. I had a dream job; I pursued it, and I became a teacher. Sure, I spent too many years in a failed marriage; but I got the greatest son in world out of it. Today, I’m in a fabulous relationship with The Auteur. We love each other, and we share the same view of what love is and what love should be. We are both finally divorced and are absolutely psyched about the future. I have absolutely no plans on checking out anytime soon.
Picard: Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe than time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment because they’ll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important how we lived. After all, Number One, we’re only mortal.
Riker: [smiling] Speak for yourself, sir. I plan to live forever.
Captain Picard to commander Riker: from Star Trek: Generations
This is the second part of a two-part entry. When I originally wrote part one, I had a decidedly different article in mind for part two. Given today’s events, it seemed entirely appropriate to re-visit this entry. Click HERE to read part one.
The Auteur and I were up late last night and in turn, slept in late today. When i first checked my e-mail today I saw an e-mail from my attorney’s office. The attachments on said e-mail included the final settlement to my divorce proceedings.
Maybe I should provide a little back-story before I go on my rant here:
One of the biggest hang-ups during these settlement negotiations – at least on my side thus far – has been a “personal loan” that Jabba had included and insisted that I pay back to her. Now, admittedly, near the end of our marriage, there were a few bills that i asked her for assistance in paying. These were utility payments – not credit cards or other personal bills that I had; household bills that we, as a married couple, were both getting use of.
Fast forward to Summer 2013 as we were inching toward an eventual court date. Greenie asks me about this “personal loan”. I explain to him that the amount Jabba and I agreed to was $583.00. Again, I wasn’t crazy about it, but I was willing to cut my losses to move things along. Greenie seemed surprised at the amount. He told me that Jabba’s lawyer told her in was approximately $2000.00 – which, coincidentally, sounds to me like the amount of Jabba’s legal fees. At this point, Greenie assured me that he would insist on paperwork to back up Jabba’s claim.
September 2013: Our day in court. I had planned on visiting and taking The Kid to Myrtle Beach when I received a summons to appear in court just before said visit. The day I arrive in South Carolina, I get a call from Greenie claiming that he and Jabba’s lawyer have reached a settlement and our court appearance will now be for a final hearing. He gives me a rough summary of the settlement over the phone. I ask to see a copy of the settlement before going into court. He gives me a story about how it hasn’t been written up yet, but it will be drawn up by Jabba’s lawyer.
We go into court, and I , essentially, lie under oath – telling the judge that I have read and agree to the terms of the settlement even though I have not seen the final agreement. The judge declares the divorce to be official. It is, literally, all over except for the paperwork.
Almost immediately upon leaving court, I begin pestering Greenie about seeing the final agreement. He tells me that he doesn’t have it – as Jabba’s lawyer has to write up the actual language of it.
October 2013: When I once again ask Greenie for the final agreement, he explains to me that it was sent on to the judge; but not to worry because we’ll have 10 days to review it once it comes back from him.
December 2, 2013: I receive an a-mailed copy of the Final Order. It makes no mention of the few concessions I have asked for from Team Jabba. Neither Greenie nor his paralegals will return my phone calls.
I am absolutely beside myself. Jabba is about to get everything she wanted – and then some. I’m about to get hosed. I walked away with and am now getting nothing. I’m not sure if I even have a leg to stand on, but I am considering filing a grievance with the state bar association for how ineffectively he has handled my divorce since day one.
I’ll save my rant on Christmas visitation for another post.
- Divorce – Financial Affidavits and Knowing Your Current Financial Situation (thinkingaboutgettingdivorced.com)
I am officially a single man, effective today – at least by a decree from a Berkeley County Judge. It is literally all over except for the paperwork. My fourteen month odyssey is over, but not without a few last minute Jabba hijinks.
I got to court at 1:30 for my 2 PM appearance. As I walked into the courthouse, I saw Jabba pull up, which caught my attention, since I was curious if she would even be in court today.
I got there before Greenie (my lawyer) did. Jabba’s lawyer saw me sign in an introduced himself to me. I found it odd that he mispronounced my last name, especially since it is also Jabba’s last name. At best, he made himself look ignorant; at worst he made it appear as if he didn’t know his client well enough to learn how to pronounce her last name.
The court appearance was originally set up as a hear for 13 motions that Jabba and her lawyer were filing. however when we got there, both lawyers agreed that they wanted to change this hearing to a “final hearing”. The entire procedure took, maybe, 15 minutes since our lawyers had hammered out an agreement yesterday.
I did have to interrupt briefly to ask my lawyer about the weekend visitations. Jabba’s side agreed. The judge said he would need a signed affidavit stating that I was no longer living in South Carolina before writing up the final papers. Otherwise, it is done.
My lawyer and I spoke for a few minutes on the way back to our cars. As we finished, Jabba approached me and asked if I wanted to go to Ben’s swim practice. She then asked if I would want to take him to dinner. I agreed to both and asked about having him for the weekend. She asked me if I had the affidavit yet. I explained that I just heard about it. She told me in her -roundabout Jabba manner that I could not take him without the signed affidavit.
My response was, “Let’s see what my lawyer says about that.” She left, as I called my lawyer from the parking lot of the courthouse. after taking part in an intense phone tag session, Greenie’s (my code name for my lawyer) paralegals got in touch with Jabba’s attorney, who explained to Greenie’s paralegals he and his client (Jabba) had “a small communication error” regarding this weekend and that I would be able to have The Boy for the weekend.
Could it be that this fourteen month odyssey is finally coming to an end?
I am currently blogging from Moncks Corner, South Carolina, where I will be appearing in court tomorrow. Last week, I was informed by my attorney that court appearance I was supposed to have back in June was rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Apparently Jabba and her attorney got their shit together and submitted files their motion (motions?) with the court, so I made plans to come down for the court date.
after landing in Myrtle Beach and getting my rental car, I got a call from my attorney. He explained to me that he & Jabba’s attorney have reached a settlement. He didn’t go into too much detail; but what he did described sounded pretty good. I’m going to try to read the settlement before we go into court tomorrow.
In equally good news, The Auteur signed her divorce papers on Monday. According to her attorney, she should have her final papers in about 60 days.
Her and I have both been living with these divorces hanging over our heads for so long now that I almost feel like I’m used to them (the divorces) just being a lingering thing. It’s not unlike when Rob says to Mikey in Swingers that “you’ve lived with it for so long, you almost miss the pain”. Howerer after talking to my lawyer, I quickly found myself adjusting to the idea of “No More Jabba”.
With all due apologies to any native Virginian who may read this post…
The Boy finally calls me back at 10:30 last night, only to tell me that the STBX is taking him to Jellystone Park (A Yogi Bear theme park) in Virginia today. As we conclude our conversation, I politely ask him to put his mother on the phone. He agrees.
I ask her if it would be too much to ask if she could give me a “heads up” when she and The Boy were leaving the state. She gets all defensive, about child support and visitation, etc. At which point I finally ask her, “what’s going on with our court proceedings”. She goes on to tell me that her lawyer is waiting to hear back from my lawyer. The entire reason I even brought up our courtroom drama is because I haven’t spoke with my lawyer since before the July 4th holiday.
I explain to her what happened in court last month – as it was explained to me by my attorney. She tells me flat-out that everything was discussed in court, including the amount for child support payments. In turn, I tell her flat-out that my attorney gave me a radically different story; explaining how her lawyer went on record stating that he had nothing and was not prepared for court that day. To me, that suggests that the STBX has not paid her lawyer, thereby holding up the entire proceeding. I didn’t call her a liar per se, but I made my thoughts very clear without doing so.
All that she has ever been about is money. I told her as much and said that she wouldn’t be happy if I was sending them $1000 each month, which sadly is true. I just want this divorce settled, so I can move on with my life.
The song in the video is really speaking to me right now…
Time, as it often tends to do, has snuck up on me. Two days from now is The Boy’s last day of school. Three days from now will be 11 months since the day I left Charleston; and I don’t feel any closer to being “officially divorced” than I did then. It feels as if my attorney, and the STBX’s attorney for that matter, is dragging his heels through this.
I got an e-mail from the STBX about a week-and-a-half ago asking about my plans for the summer. I didn’t even respond to her – I forwarded it on to my lawyer, whose done virtually nothing about it. I think I’m gonna have to pull the trigger on this one myself and take the 4 weeks that the STBX is willing to provide me The Boy, at least for this summer anyway.
And that’s only part of my problem: I’m broke. Much like my lady-love, The Auteur, I’m looking for work. I don’t even have the money to go pick him up, that’s how pathetic I am right now.
Although I’ve made it very clear to the STBX that I want The Boy for 6 weeks during his summer break, I’ve been preparing myself for the reality that I may not get him for that long until this divorce is finalized in court. I’m ready for that. I’d hate it, but I can deal with it. My problem is that I’m looking at the calendar and nothing seems to have been done.
I guess that leads me to an even bigger question: What have I accomplished in the last 11 months?
- I’ve returned to school, with some mixed results.
- I’ve made a few unofficial child support payments to the STBX – albeit upon advice from my attorney.
- I’ve brought The Boy up here to Michigan and made a trip to see him in South Carolina on my own dime.
- Six months ago, I started working out and have never felt better about my body.
- Most important of all, I’ve met an amazing woman with whom I want to spend the rest of my life…
- And in doing so I accomplished something I didn’t think was possible in Michigan: I got comfortable.
The Auteur sees me in a bit of a rut and she’s right. She summed it up best when she said “You’re comfortable. You hate your situation, but you’re comfortable”.
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…
On Monday morning, I got an e-mail from my attorney, stating that the STBX was served on Friday night. It was anti-climactic to say the least. For all of my thoughts leading up to it happening – the screaming match I imagined, the idle threats for which I mentally prepared myself, the thinly veiled Facebook postings alluding to our relationship – there was no reaction from her. Nothing. I’m not complaining. I’m just surprised.
Equally surprising have been my feelings about it. I thought I would be excited about it. I thought it would feel empowering. I thought I would be gloating. Instead, I feel none of that. When I saw it, it was just another e-mail.One of my favorite sayings is “the opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference”. Maybe I’m just indifferent to the whole thing at this point. For some time, I’ve been telling myself, and anyone who would listen, that I just want to move forward. I guess I actually meant it.
Maybe she didn’t actually get the letter yet. Maybe she’s keeping quiet to mess with me. The one constant in her personality has been her inability to think before opening her mouth to speak. Maybe getting served knocked her off of her high horse.
Okay, I REALLY doubt that last line.
As the calendar creeps ever-closer to Halloween, it has occurred to me that I need to start making travel plans for the holidays, either for my son, myself, or for both of us. About a month or so ago, I suggested to the SBTX that we alternate visitations for Thanksgiving and Christmas – as most divorced families do. She was okay with it, and that was the last we said about it.
Last night, my son called me crying. Sobbing actually, asking me to “come home” because he wants to see me. I explained to him that I needed to talk to his mom about that very thing. He was pretty worked up and tired so he got off the phone. Since I’ve been looking into making a trip to South Carolina sometime in November, I decided to call the STBX a little while later. She seemed okay with me making a trip down next month, but somehow we got on the subject of lawyers, and how neither one of us have been served papers yet. Like most conversations with her, this one left me frustrated.
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: I‘ve been saying to my family for the last several weeks that I didn’t think the STBX had filed any papers with her lawyer. In fact, I’ve begun to doubt if she even retained a lawyer as she claimed.
As these thoughts weighed heavily on my mind, I decided to e-mail my attorney. I asked him straight-out Where do I go from here. Thursday morning, they e-mailed me saying they hadn’t heard from the STBX’s attorney. The e-mail also included papers for me to sign so that I can file for the divorce.
ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: Before I moved out of the house in South Carolina, we had discussed how we were going to proceed with the separation and divorce. Initially, we had agreed to a no-fault divorce. She wanted to go through a lawyer she had chosen. I told her there was no way I was doing anything without my own representation. She resisted this idea, saying that two lawyers would make this a “contested” divorce and it could get expensive and “messy” in her words. When I suggested we could go my lawyer (the one I ultimately retained) she vehemently refused arguing that she was “the one who had been wronged” and insisted on filing the divorce herself.
Back to the present: Since nothing has been filed yet, I have the opportunity to “flip the script” (as the kids would say) on her. The only reasons I could think that she wouldn’t have filed are:
- she didn’t want to spend the money
- she never thought I would leave in the first place
I’ve stated on here before that I don’t see us ever getting back together. For me to even consider reconciling with the STBX, our relationship would have to undergo a seismic shift; not only in what our relationship currently is, but also what it once was. I would not and will not consider returning to the status quo. Frankly, I don’t forsee such an event occurring. Furthermore, i haven’t even given it the notion very much thought.
In any event, this is an unexpected development. One that I wasn’t prepared for. This could make for a bumpy holiday season.
- Wevorce – A startup that hopes to make divorce easier (i453ethics.wordpress.com)