Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More Blessings Than Curses

There’s a lot of ground to cover in this update. It’s a tossup as to where to start, so I’ll start with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Divorce. I spoke with my attorney last week, and she’s ready to strangle my STBX. She told me that at some point there would be a sit-down with the four of us (Myself and my attorney and my STBX and her attorney) to go over the issues. I say “at some point” because my STBX has managed to avoid being tied into committing to a date. She’s made a lot of claims about our financial situation which we’d love to see her proof for because they are utterly ridiculous. She is once again claiming that a fair financial settlement would be for me to take ALL of the marital debt and for her to take ALL of the marital assets. She has been making various claims to support this, including that she had supported me for seven months, that I had some kind of “secret” debt, that she used up all of her savings etc.

One of the things I want to go over is the money that disappeared out of our accounts both just before I was served and a couple of months later. My STBX is adamant that she did not withdraw the money, so my attorney and I are going to let them know that we will believe her and file a police report to report what would have to be a theft. Since it involves thousands of dollars it is in the felony range – she would have to make a statement to the police and if it came out later that she did take the money she could be charged with making a false report at the very least. I haven’t figured out a way to convince them to charge her with Manslaughter, but give me some time…

I would love for all of this to be over, but it seems that my STBX is going to fight over every single little point, all the while telling family and friends that I’m the one causing all the problems. The long-term stress of this is turning into a psychic animal that will take the equivalent of an elephant gun to kill.

My son is doing unbelievably well – we went to Friendly’s for lunch the other day and he wanted Mac ‘n’ Cheese again. He loves the stuff, wants it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He ended up getting sick because he ate to fast, but I was much better prepared than last time. I saw it coming and managed to get him out of his high chair and into the bathroom before it happened, and ended up with it all over the front of my shirt instead of all over the table in front of everybody else. It took me about 10 minutes to clean him, me and the floor in the bathroom up, and when I came out I found a woman waiting there for me to tell me that she thought I was an amazing father. Ego inflation? Check. She had been watching me play and talk to him while we were waiting for our food, and she watched me help him eat (he likes to take enormous spoonfuls and I push some off the spoon each time). She had witnessed the whole “about to get sick” incident and had expected me to jump back out of the way, but I surprised her. Just so you know, this woman was in no way hitting on me, it was definitely just something nice. It all comes around sooner or later.

So, what’s next? How about my love life – that’s as good as it gets. I’ve been on several dates with the College Professor and each one has gotten better. I really impressed her with our second date. I found an indoor go-kart track and we did some racing. Then we had a really good dinner at a local seafood place. We’ve been taking turns planning dates, and she pulled ahead even after the go-karting with the one she planned. She had it all planned out and sent me hints all during the day via text messaging about what we’d be doing. I was doing an evaluation at a customer site and I had a group of them helping me figure out the clues. They were mostly women and were very impressed with my date – they said she was very smart because she had me thinking about her all day. It was true – it really made my day. We met a couple of times between that, mainly during the day when we’d go for walks at various places.

Our next date was at her house. I waited until she put her two youngest to bed (both girls) and we watched the Cirque du Soleil marathon on Bravo which was great. I met her two sons – one was a bit standoffish, the other was quite friendly. We had another date at her house last night, and we had a great time yet again. It ended badly however, the phone rang. It was her ex-husband (actually STBX, like mine) who had driven by and seen my car in the driveway. She did not answer it, and it was time for me to leave anyway. She was very nervous that he would be waiting outside (with good reason, he’s a big guy, a pipefitter of some kind, and tends to get quite angry) but he was not around. She called me on my way home and asked if she could talk to me, of course I said yes. She told me that he had called four times after I left and she finally ended up talking to him. He was furious, and was screaming at her that she had better get her boyfriend out of the house because he didn’t want men in the same house as his little girls. Her divorce began even before mine did, and it started with her moving out into her own place with the kids. She actually called me to tell me that she knew that angry ex-husbands were not good news and that she would understand completely if I decided it was too much to handle. I was very touched, told her so, and told her that I knew her situation when I “signed on” (as she put it), and nothing had changed. I’m not letting her STBX dictate to me that I can’t see her. She ended up crying about the whole situation, and I can’t blame her. Despite all my STBX has done to me I can’t see getting angry if she starts dating somebody.

From what she’s told me she’s had little luck with men accepting her situation – four children and divorce. It’s funny – to me, the fact that she has children is not a problem, and as for divorce – who am I to judge? What matters to me is that she’s very intelligent, funny, affectionate, sweet, a great mother, and to top it off, she’s a beautiful woman. We have a lot in common, including that we are both major computer geeks. We enjoy each others company immensely, and that’s what I’d like to concentrate on.

The next in line on the list of the updates is one of my brothers. I stopped drinking when I was 17 because somebody showed me a family tree with all the alcoholics labeled. The familial link of alcoholism was enough to scare me, so I stopped drinking and haven’t had any alcohol since. One of my older brothers is an alcoholic, and in the recent past he has hit on some very hard times. Well, on Friday evening of last week he attempted to commit suicide. He ran a hose from the tailpipe of a car in through the window, but was found before he lost consciousness and was pulled from the car. Several of us went and visited him on Sunday and he seemed to be doing as well as he could given the situation. The nurses and doctors felt he was doing well, which is good news. My brother suffers from depression, much as I do, but he is untreated, or was. There is also a link between depression and alcoholism, so I guess as a family we hit the jackpot. I love my brother very much and I hate to see him suffer. If it comes down to it I’ve decided that I will have no problem going to live with my brother for a little while to help him get through it. A while back I might not have thought that was a feasible thing to do, but maybe after my experience with hardship I’ve begun to realize that one of the most important things when dealing with hardship is to have the support of friends and family. This man helped shape who I am and that gave me a lot of strength when I needed it – how can I not do the same for him?

So let me ask you all a question – what does a 36 year old man with a Pathobiology degree do to change careers? I’ve got some ideas, but there are a few hurdles, the biggest being child support. I have no problem taking a cut in pay if there’s a secure, long-term benefit, but I have to make a minimum amount in the meantime to make sure I can meet my obligations. Believe me, it can be done. If the woman I’m dating can take four children out into the world, struggle for months to find a job and end up where she is, there’s no way I can not do this.

Before I bring this to a close I had a couple of little things. I’ve decided to start writing – mainly at the urging of the woman I’m dating. I’ve showed her a couple of the things I’d already written (not this blog, however, still too personal), and she thinks I should write more. I’ve decided that one thing I want to write is a continual story about a little boy modeled after my son who does things in a dream-world when he sleeps. It will have to be pretty simple to begin with, but as he grows I can make it more interesting. The other thing I wanted to say was Thank you to all the people who’ve left comments. I usually try to answer all of them personally, and I will get to them, it’s just been a struggle getting everything done I need to get done.

If you’re the praying type, pray for my brother, if not, wish him well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Interesting Times

There's a saying I've heard, and I've heard it called an ancient Chinese curse, and as something to say to somebody to be nice. It's "May you live in interesting times". Right now I feel I'm living in those interesting times, and it's a combination of both ways of looking at that statement.

First, the date. For everything that went on beforehand, this went very, very well. In the morning I had the run-in with the waffle-iron-laptop. The day went pretty well, but then it was time to get home and get ready. Of course I showered, but the real fun didn't begin until I shaved. Men will agree that the risk of cutting yourself shaving is directly proportional to how much you want to impress somebody. However, I really outdid myself this time. Somehow, and I cannot for the life of me explain how, I managed to cut my nose on the left side (the front of my nostril, if you must know) while shaving.

Ok, I'll wait. Finish laughing, get up off the floor - I'll be here waiting.... now breathe....

Medically speaking, it is very interesting just how much a nose can bleed, and just how difficult it is to get it to stop. I tried direct pressure, a little piece of tissue paper, a styptic pencil and a sacrifice to the God of Nosebleeds. Nothing worked. It got to the point where I was seriously considering heating something up and cauterizing it. That's pretty desperate. The only thing that actually stopped it finally was some of that super-glue spray on bandage. I retained enough presence of mind to spray it on my finger and then apply it instead of spraying it up towards the wound, where I would have inevitably glued my eye shut.

The problem was that now a tiny cut looked like some kind of serious injury. I decided to clean it up and reapply the spray on bandage. Alcohol removes this kind of bandage, but I didn't have any, so I drove to CVS. I brought a myriad of first-aid material with me to aid in the cause.

My fears were confirmed as I approached the register with the alcohol swabs. The girl behind the counter looked at me and said (with a fair amount of concern in her voice) "Did you know your nose is bleeding?"

It took about 10 minutes in the car, but I managed to clean up and completely stop the bleeding. This was a big relief as you can well imagine. We met and we had a great time. Her pictures do not do her justice, and she is just as smart as she seemed on the phone. At one point as we walked, without even thinking about it I held out my arm and she took it. Later on we actually ended up holding hands. Eventually it was time to go home - I told her that I was not going to kiss her goodnight because I wanted her to feel comfortable. She had just met me, after all. I guess that was the right thing to do - I've heard since then that one of her friends thought that was a wonderful gesture.

I was supposed to have lunch with her yesterday, but the events I'll narrate later will explain why we didn't. So today I brought her lunch. It was going to be a surprise, but she figured it out on very few clues - she's definitely smart. Lunch was a lot of fun. She admitted something that made me laugh because I was doing the same thing - having trouble speaking. I find myself mispronouncing words when I'm on the phone with her and when we've talked in person. You sit there and wonder if the other person thinks you're an idiot when this happens, and both of us were apparently doing it. As we started back to where she works, I got the kiss I let get away the Friday night before. It was short, but very nice.

So, on to the Chinese curse side of the saying. Yesterday morning I got a voicemail message my manager had left the night before telling me that we were scheduled to ride together. I didn't have it on my calendar - I thought I remembered him cancelling this day a couple of weeks back. I called him and told him where we could meet and we had a decent day working together. Late in the day, however, we had long talk. It appears that my position is not as secure as I would have thought. I won't go into the details, but for business reasons (having nothing to do with my divorce etc) my position might be eliminated. It was not good news to be getting, of course, but I've got to give credit to my manager and the company. The last time a restructuring cost me a job I was given less than 12 hours notice - that one was tough, it was the first time in my life I had ever lost a job for any reason. My manager told me some things he admired about me which is something that you don't always expect from your manager. I think that would be the worst part of it all - he's a great manager and I like working for him.

In my industry, unfortunately, layoffs, restructurings, reorganizations etc are not all that uncommon. It is one of the things I dislike about my career the most. I was thinking about this on the way home and how I could go about changing careers to something more stable. I was deep in thought when my sister-in-law called me to say hello. She asked me how different things were going, and when she got to my job I just said it was going fine - no need to worry her and my brother over something that might not even happen. However, she had called for a reason. She had been thinking and started telling me she thought I should get out of my industry because she thought I worked too hard at it and it was nowhere near stable enough. She has a lot of experience with colleges, having been the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at a major university, so she is an excellent source of information. She told me I should get a job at a university and go to school at night, as most schools offer courses free to employees.

This appeals to me because since my son came into my life I've worried about the stability in my industry. Of course, I'd have to figure out what I wanted to get a masters degree in, and what I'd do with it, not to mention actually finding a job at a university.

So, some really good stuff, some not so good stuff. At the very least I'll have some great stuff to write about.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The "Laptop"

Sunday, April 10, 2005

You Know It's Going To Be One of Those Days...

I have to say that before I get a cup of coffee in me I sometimes do some interesting things. This morning was even a little worse than usual. I somehow managed to stumble into the kitchen to make my cup of coffee. As I weaved back and forth I noticed that my landlady had bought a new laptop - I mean new to her not new. It was obviously quite old, and I wondered if it would even run windows 3.11.

Something was odd about the laptop - after some thinking I finally realized what it was. The keyboard was on top. Something was just not right. It dawned on me. I was not looking at a laptop. It was a square waffle-iron. Is this what LSD users experience?

I went to my little one-cup coffeemaker and started setting it up to make my coffee. I grabbed my coffee cup to fill it with water to put in the coffee maker, and found that for some reason I had reversed my normal coffee-making procedure. It became apparent when the water I had already put in the coffee cup ended up all over me and my pyjamas.

And it just got better. My next post is about the preparation for my date on Friday night and the actual date.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Back To Square One

I had two conversations with my attorney today, the first good, the second maddening. The first call went very well, she said that I could be finalized this month, which was amazing to me. She told me that my STBX wanted to file taxes jointly, which was also good news. I told her about the mediation session and she was happy to hear about that. We went over what the limits of a financial settlement would be for me - I'm willing to give up a lot just to get the ordeal over with, but I'm not willing to go further than a certain point. The basics are that I will give up all equity in the condo that I am entitled to (about $30,000) if she keeps all her debt (somewhere between $15-20,000). That has me on the losing end of $10-15,000, which I think is much more than fair. I got off the phone in a pretty good mood, feeling like maybe things would draw to a close. Ha.

I decided to call my attorney back because I thought of a question I had forgotten to ask her. It was only about an hour later, but what a difference! She had spoken with my STBX's attorney, and told me that:

  1. My STBX says that she has given me all the tax paperwork, and that I am procrastinating actually filing the taxes. I explained that I had asked for them (I later forwarded the email where I asked for them and my STBX's response) but had not yet been provided with them. My attorney told me that she insisted that she had given them to me.
  2. My STBX is again claiming that I am not paying her on time. I explained that I have actually paid early and made the extra effort to deposit it directly into her account. This is easy to prove - so I'm not worried at all. I have all the deposit slips, and of course the banks keep records.
  3. I am told that my STBX is disputing the accuracy of the mediation agreement that was sent to us by the mediators. She claims that it is different than what she agreed to. I'm not sure what this means, as there were no specifics.
  4. My STBX is again saying that the only fair financial settlement would be for me to take on ALL of the marital debt and for her to keep all of the marital assets.
  5. Finally, she is flatly denying that she cleaned out the bank accounts just before I was served and also flatly denying that she withdrew an extra $1000 later on. I had an idea on this. My thought is that we should accept her word on this and report the theft of the money to the police. It will be interesting to see her reaction if we do this.
By the end of the phone call my attorney was getting angry - she is as tired of the idiotic games as I am. She wants to have a meeting of us all next Friday, so I'm going to collect whatever financial paperwork I have proving my points.

I decided to take my match.com profile down for a little while. I can barely keep up with the email of the people I want to talk to, and I keep getting email from overseas, a lot of which is scammish. I'm looking forward to my date on Friday night - we have a great time hassling each other on the phone, so I think it'll be fun no matter what.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I Promise, More Soon.

Life is very fast-paced right now - there is a lot of good stuff going on, but not a lot of time to write it yet. Just a quick note - I have a date Friday with a very interesting woman. Extremely intelligent. As big a computer geek as I am. Funny enough to keep up with me. Mother of four (yes, four) children (this is not a problem for me at all). A professional at one company, a professor at a college. Very, very interesting. I think we'll have a very good time. And don't worry about rebound - remember I've already dated two women and done just fine. Quit snickering Chuck.

Attention! Attention!

One of my personal blogging heroes, Janet, is working on setting up a blogger get-together in June. Read about it here. I am planning to go - it looks like a lot of fun. Unless Chuck shows up. While we're on the subject, Chuck, just how did you come to be the butt of all these jokes?