Monday, May 08, 2006

Oooooh, so much to say, so little time!

Wow, some little things have really begun to hit me about my newfound freedom over the past few days. The fact that I'm sitting here right now with all of my windows open and shades up, is just unbelievably wonderful and rewarding to me. Bub never wanted the windows open, and preferred the shades and curtains drawn at all times. He expected very regulated temperature, which open windows could not guarantee, and he despised bugs, particularly spiders, and couldn't stand for a breach to the outside world (like the windows being open) to be made available if it wasn't completely necessary. I stopped trying to open the windows about 5 years ago, but I did go back to opening the curtains in the last two years or so, much to his disdain. Toward the end though, he expected the shades to be drawn and the air turned down cooler by the time I picked him up from work because I "always kept it so damn hot in there" and he shouldn't be expected to live like that just because I wanted to open the curtains during the day and heat the whole damn house up. What ever! Anyway, I'm sitting here by the open window, enjoying the fresh Spring air, and I gotta tell ya, I'm lovin it!! Gawd, you should see me, I've had this big ol' cheesy grin plastered on my face practically all weekend!

The cheesy grin is due to other things as well though. I feel like I'm starting to get a handle on the Em situation, y'know, with the rages and disrespect and all? Number one, I laid out my expectations for her. No hurting people (namely me) or destroying property, and any disrespectful behavior simply will not be tolerated. When she feels out of control and is wanting to do something physical to release her emotions, she is allowed to squeeze the hell out of a big wad of bubble wrap that I got her, or beat the tar out of a pillow or couch cushion, etc. I figure, and Mellany agrees, that as long as she's not hurting anyone or anything, then taking her aggressions out in a safe way is completely acceptable. And hopefully, her apparent need to do so will soon subside. She also knows that there will be consistent punishments for disrespectful behavior now. Even if she goes into one of her rages about accepting a punishment, she still has to complete it once she's finally calmed down. Used to, the original problem would get lost in the rage, and never dealt with sufficiently. Now she knows to expect it, and that little bit of structure has already done a world of good. So, while it's still a work in progress, I am at least optimistic and a little more confidant in my ability to do this thing.

So Em got a double dose of fun this weekend, and I think she's really starting to warm up to the idea of being a kid of divorced parents. Our town had an annual festival called Toad Suck Daze this weekend, and she got to go with Bub on Saturday and with me on Sunday, for twice the fun, rides, and games! What a lucky, lucky girl! You know what's funny? I told her that she could pick one of the unique carnie-type foods to indulge in for a special treat, y'know like deep fried snickers or oreos, ewwwww! But guess what she ultimately chose instead? One of those big corn on the cobs with the husk still attached. Instead of a deep fried twinkie or chocolate covered frozen banana? Who'da thunk it? She did have some Dippin' Dots too, but she'd had those before, so it was nothing new. Of course, that doesn't mean she didn't choose powdered sugar covered funnel cake, nachos, and lemonade when she went with daddy the day before, but hey, you can't win 'em all! Anyway, we had a great day, spent way too much money, (yikes!) but since it only comes once a year, I can't see the harm in a little overindulgence and going slightly over budget.

Speaking of budget, there is a little issue that I suppose needs addressing. Bub is wanting us to have a little sitdown about the state of our joint and otherwise financial affairs. Nooooooooo! Precisely the type of conversation that I have so much difficulty in with him. He wants to lay out everything that he thinks we should both be responsible for so that we can come to an agreement in terms of our separation and impending divorce. Basically, he wants to make sure I know and agree to the financial obligations that we're both responsible for, and get it in writing so there's no question. Of course this is a very practical and logical idea, and something that definitely needs doing, however, I know that I don't have enough of a backbone yet to stand up for myself and not just agree to stuff for the sake of keeping the peace. I'm sure I could very easily say that all the debt that's in his name is his responsibility, and the same for me as well. But he would never go for that because most of the big debt in his name was incurred due to marital decisions that he has no reason to believe that he didn't have my full support on. As you'll recall, every major decision he made, he did so only after ensuring my full and complete support, which I, of course, always gave whether I truly agreed with it or not. Talk about making your bed and lying in it! Now we're neck deep in debt that I always conveniently agreed to incurring, NICE! So even though I don't personally think that I should be held responsible for any of his hair-brained notions (like thousands in student loans for a degree that he was never disciplined enough to finish), numerous failed business attempts, and other loans and various debts, I know that I am partially responsible for them regardless, and it freakin' sucks ass! Man! If only I had been able to say no, this is ridiculous and unnecessary, and I'm not agreeing to it! If only I had left when I first knew I should, years ago, then I wouldn't have gotten myself into this particular situation to begin with. But I am, and I'm gonna have to face it, take ownership of it, and figure out a way to compromise with him on it, ug. Which, believe me, is no easy task, and one of our very biggest communication concerns. Because I guarantee that he's already got an idea in his head of how this should go down, and every intention of making sure it happens that way. So, my question is, how much should I just bite the bullet and take responsibility for things I technically agreed to? Because if I don't, things will undoubtedly get very nasty, very quickly. And I just can't justify going there over some freakin' money and bills. I was more than up for the fight when it came to Em's best interests, but for money issues? There's just no way, it's not worth it. But I also don't want to just bend over and take it either, and quite frankly, I'm still unclear as to where that line is right now. Compromise, what a pleasant and noble idea, huh?

Okay, now for something a little more interesting, and then I'll be through with this long ass post, I promise!! My copy of 3 Fat Chicks On A Diet: Because We're All In It Together that I ordered from Amazon arrived today (along with a copy of PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives, oooooh juicy!! Which, BTW, was the one and only thing I actually asked Bub to get me for Christmas, but since he didn't seem to deem it gift worthy, I never got it. So by golly, I splurged and got it for myself dammit!). Anyway, I must admit, Im more than a little excited to be quoted in it, (in 3fc that is, not PostSecret, darnit, maybe next time though!) and I was even quoted more than once in it too! My goodness, what an absolute honor and privilege, and quite honestly, I'm so proud to be even a small part of such a monumentally powerful thing as 3fc. It was also so much fun to see the quotes from all the others that I've come to know and love from this hugely extended family. You know, like seeing your cousin's name in the paper for winning the county spelling bee, you just want to buy up all the copies and hand 'em out for everyone you see. How freakin' cool is that? And Jilly, I'm pretty sure I saw one from you in the Weight Watchers section, didn't I? Or is there some other impishly witty and insightful Jill from Canada that I am, thus far oblivious of? Nah, couldn't be, you're one of a kind babe! Anyway, I'm totally cheesing, and can't wait to settle down for some highly anticipated reading this evening, YAY!!


Blogger Jen said...

So glad you are enjoying your new found freedom! Just a couple of friendly suggestions from one divorced woman to a nearly divorced one:

1. Watch your spending. I remember how I felt "entitled" to buying myself things, and ended up way over my head in debt. Budgets are good things IF they are followed.

2. LET YOUR LAWYER HANDLE YOUR FINANCIAL NEGOTIATIONS. Period. No meetings with Bub. Keep your communication about Emily only until things get settled. Trust me on this.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Dawnyal said...

That is so awesome. I too would rather save a few bucks and enjoy the fresh air than have the recycled air. :)

So glad to hear things are working out better with Em.

I'm quoting Jen above me because this is exactly my advice too.
2. LET YOUR LAWYER HANDLE YOUR FINANCIAL NEGOTIATIONS. Period. No meetings with Bub. Keep your communication about Emily only until things get settled. Trust me on this.
This is what your lawyer is for. I would express your wants and needs to him. I wouldn't budge on Bub's student loans. Those are his and his alone and you shouldn't be obligated for them. I would also let your lawyer know that you are willing to help with some of it but much of those he bullied you into agreeing to take them out. I'm not sure how the laws are in your state though.

11:02 AM  
Blogger BethK said...

What she said... (Jen that is!) Please, please, please let your lawyer work it out with his lawyer.

And Yay! You go with your open windows!

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with those above. Do not talk to Bub about money. Do not agree to anything, do not sign anything! Call your Attorney and tell him that Bub wants to talk $$$. Let him handle this conversation.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone is right, let the lawyer deal with the money. Don't kick yourself for being bullied into agreeing to his hair-brained money ideas. I'm sure that if you had said no... he would have done it anyway... or found a way to bully you into it. And student loans... c'mon, that's ALL him. Make sure to explain to your lawyer about how you really didn't have a choice in going along with money decisions. And, don't agree to pay for more than you can reasonably handle.
Mmmmmm... funnel cake.

2:09 PM  
Blogger B said...

We took most of the student loans after we were married and used them mainly for living expenses and a new/used car, etc. So even though they're in his name, we still used the money jointly as a married couple. And even though they’re technically not my problem, morally they definitely are.

Also, we hope to achieve a mutually agreeable separation with as little outside involvement as possible, in an effort to keep this out of the court system as much as we can. Like I said, I only had my boxing gloves on when it came to Em, and as it appears now, custody is not going to be an issue. So, if I were unwilling to work with him on the financial stuff personally, then he would take that as stonewalling and putting us through unnecessary legal proceedings. He doesn’t want to just let the lawyers handle it; he wants us to handle it ourselves, quietly and discreetly. And I agree, as long as it’s fair, but our ideas of responsibility are so different that I can’t help but anticipate problems. But I also don’t want to be the one that drags us through court either, especially over money, y’know? At any rate, we haven’t had this discussion yet, and I asked him to first email me a list of the money stuff that he knows of and a brief outline as to how he thinks each should be handled, just so I will know ahead of time where he sort of stands on everything. But to be quite honest, I’m really just more inclined to be agreeable (to a certain extent) about this financial stuff in order to keep the peace. I simply cannot risk getting into a court battle with this impossible man. It’s only money, and it’s just not worth the mental anguish, IMO. Maybe I'm nuts, but it's how I truly feel.


2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never commented on your blog before, but I've been reading for a while. First, congrats on your escape and your fab new life! Way to go!

Regarding finances, one other issue to consider is taxes. I remember reading in one of your previous posts that you and your soon to be ex-husband had not filed taxes in a while. Now is the time to fix that. Make sure your taxes are up-to-date, filed through tax year 2005 so that you can start out fresh with the IRS. You DO NOT want the IRS coming after you for back taxes a few years down the road. The IRS will garnish your wages and they apply stiff penalties and interest on back taxes. You may need to involve an accountant to straighten out your tax situation, but if I were you this would be one of the top issues on my list.

Good luck.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least get your lawyers opinion on how you are intending to go about sorting your finances with Bub.

I wish someone had given ME that bit of advice when I was in your position.

And don't let guilt trip you into taking responsibility for more than you should financially. You are entitled to be where you are - enjoy it, don't feel you owe him for your freedom.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous jilly said...

I can just picture you sitting in YOUR apartment with the curtains drawn wide, basking in the sunlight and breathing in the fresh air ~ ahhhh, so much better than that dark, cold, cave he kept you in!

Sounds like the Em situation is working out nicely. Yes, it won't be immediate, but I'm sure having set rules will have the effect of making her feel "safer" knowing someone other than her is truly in control.

Having to deal with the money issues is a necessary evil, naturally, but I trust you'll show the same strength you have thus far and make him see that he can't manipulate you into accepting his version of how everything should be sorted out. No doubt you do have some financial responsibility (especially if you co-signed or signed as guarantor/surety) but that doesn't mean he gets to decide everything! While I'm in favour of having the lawyers work it out, I do understand where you're coming from. However, I definitely agree he should submit all his thoughts and ideas as to financial matters to you via email for your consideration rather than having a long-drawn out face to face meeting where he can attempt to sway you his way. If you have any comments, objections, etc. you can let him know (hopefully after having had at least a consultation with your lawyer to make sure you know your rights). If you do encounter problems and don't want to consider going the court route, perhaps you can have an arbitrator or mediator settle the matter (a lot less costlier than lawyers).

Ugh, divorce is a pain ... but keep in mind that once you're over the rest of these hurtles (and look how many you've sailed over already), then you can put that marriage behind you for good! xox

9:28 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

"I asked him to first email me a list of the money stuff that he knows of and a brief outline as to how he thinks each should be handled"

Brilliant! Thank goodness you're going in prepared. If not a lawyer, any chance of talking things out in front of some other impartial 3rd party? Someone who can step in if things tip toward unfair, or at least clarify why things are being split in a certain way? Minister/Counselor/second cousin/Em's teacher/whatnot?

12:51 PM  
Anonymous paulina said...

All these ladies have said exactly what I was going to type with regards to consulting your lawyer.

Stick to your guns, and take your time. I was in such a hurry to be away from my husband that I didn't fight for what I could have and should have had. In hind sight I should have been tougher and stuck it out.

My husband also had huge debt that was HIS. Of course he wanted me to be responsible for half, but my lawyer was able to get me out of it. Not everything has to be split 50/50.

Good job on being a tough loving mom. Your daughter will feel much safer knowing her limits and the expectations you have for her behavior. With the rule that no one gets hurt on the outside or the inside (words, etc.) you will have one harmonious family in your airy open windowed apartment.

Keep up the good work!

5:00 PM  

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