Saturday, July 30, 2005

Stress and Games

I am getting so tired of the stupid little games the STBX keeps playing. Today was not a good day for me in dealing with her. You need to know a little bit of the background on this one. Several weeks ago the STBX came to me with a problem. She told me that she was going to have to go to a trade show for her new job, and she needed me to take my son for the entire weekend of August 5-6-7. I told her that it would not be a problem – I kept it to myself, but I was thrilled. She suggested that I visit my brother again, since our son had such a good time there, but it turned out that they were going to have a full house. We’d just have to have a good time in my little apartment.

So since then I’ve been looking forward to that weekend. Today I get there to pick up my son and the STBX starts acting strangely. She is acting over-the-top nonchalant, if that makes sense. She hands me a piece of paper, and as I read it I started to get angry. It basically said that next weekend one of our mutual friends would be picking up our son at daycare and that I could pick him up for my normal visitation from them. I asked her why she was doing this when we had already arranged for me to have our son. Her nonchalance disappeared in a split second. She claimed that we had not ever talked about it and definitely not made any arrangements. She went on to claim that she would not have because she wasn’t going to be gone the whole weekend. I couldn’t believe it.

I asked her how I would know about the trade show if she hadn’t asked me and she ignored the question. I asked her why I’d call my brother about the weekend if we hadn’t discussed it. She didn’t answer that either. She just kept arguing, but she doing it while laughing and smiling. I decided it would be best if I left, so my son and I started moving towards my car. She followed me as we walked, trying to get me to argue with her. I told her I wasn’t going to talk about it and that we could talk it over by email. I did not want to argue with her for two reasons. I felt like she was trying to provoke the argument because she was clearly having fun with it and I was afraid she’d make more false accusations. The second reason was that I didn’t want to have an argument with her in front of my son.

I drove away, and I was definitely upset. It wasn’t long before my phone started ringing. The first call I made it clear I wasn’t going to argue with her about it and hung up. She called again. She now claimed that I had not gotten back to her about the weekend so she had been forced to make other arrangements. I asked her “What happened to us never talking about it?” She was silent for a few seconds, couldn’t come up with an answer, and just started repeating that I had not gotten back to her. I told her that since I told her I would take him for the weekend when she asked me there had been nothing to follow up on.

She started claiming that it was her job to make sure he had a place to stay. I wanted to say “No shit”, but I refrained. What I did was ask her if she didn’t think I followed up and didn’t know if I was planning to take him for the weekend, why didn’t she call me or email me. I was met with silence. When she finally said something it was to offer to let me take him for the weekend. I’d won.

From the moment I drove off I was choked up and tearing. I am so tired of the constant harassment/gameplaying she seems to delight in. The lies she tells do nothing to make me want to trust her more. She went from claiming that we’d never even talked about it to claiming that we did and that I hadn’t gotten back to her. The enjoyment she got out of telling me I couldn’t take him makes it even worse. Thankfully, my son had fallen asleep not long after we drove off. He didn’t see me crying after the calls as I drove. I was upset because she’s turned my life upside-down, she’s harassed me at every turn in the divorce, and now she’s playing games with my visitation. Of all the things she’s pulled the only thing that I consider worse than this is the false charges she made at the beginning.

My son and I had a good time today and I’m better now, but it’s just another thing added to the stress list. I can’t imagine the amount of exercise I’d have to do to get rid of all this stress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Where's The deux ex machina When You Need It?

I’m in a lot of pain right now. I want a job – I never thought it would be so difficult to find one. I understand now why so many men feel worthless when they’re unemployed. The vast majority of the jobs I put my resume in for never even bother contacting me. It’s very frustrating.

Everything seems to be piling up. My STBX’s actions to start everything (the false charges) have been weighing on my mind lately for some reason. I get upset thinking about what she did, even if mental illness was a part of it, and as you’ll read below, it might have had less to do with it than I originally thought. It makes me angry – being a victim, that is. I wonder sometimes what I did to deserve all of this. Intellectually, I know it’s not a matter of “deserve”, but I can’t help thinking about it anyway.

I feel like I’ve fallen so far in the world. This time last year I lived in a nice condo and had a job I liked. I took my son for walks when I got home from work, I played with him before his bedtime and read him a story (well, showed him the pictures, anyway) before he went to bed. I often gave him his bottle before bed and put him down to sleep. I just loved spending time with him. I was concerned about my wife’s mental health, but foolishly thought that it would work out.

In August it all came apart. Not long before dinner one night my STBX told me she was taking our son to visit with a woman from our church. She was taking the dog too, which was not unusual, the dog loved this woman. I kissed her goodbye and waved goodbye to my son as she drove off. Right after she left I went to Lowe’s and bought a new bookshelf to put up in my office. I got back and started putting it together and the phone rang. It was the STBX. She asked me what I was doing. I told her I was putting the shelf together. She asked me where I was and I told her I was in my office. She told me she had called to ask me about dinner. A few minutes after we got off the phone there was a knock at my office window. A man asked me to come around to the front door. I had no idea who he was.

He told me he had divorce papers and a restraining order to serve me. He told me that I had to leave the house immediately and that I could not come back. He also told me that I had to give him my keys. I was standing there in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. I didn’t have my wallet on me or my keys. I asked him if I could go in and get some things, and he told me that I could. He gave me five minutes, which he didn’t have to do. I think it was because I wasn’t getting upset with him and giving him a hard time.

I collected what I thought I’d immediately need, basically not much more than my overnight bag, a change of clothes and a suit for work. I drove away, not knowing what I was going to do or where I was going to go. I also didn’t know what the restraining order had been issued for, but I did know the basics behind why restraining orders were issued in general. I knew I’d been accused of something, I just didn’t know what. I quickly found out that she had cleaned out the checking and savings accounts and had been paying my credit card bill with the monthly minimums for months – it was close to being maxed out. Basically, I had no money.

The next morning the police called me. They told me that they wanted me to come in and tell “my side of the story”. I put that in quotes only because I didn’t know what story I was supposed to be telling – I didn’t know what was going on. He told me that he was particularly concerned with “the time you had your hands around your wife's throat”. I remember distinctly the moment I was told this. I found I couldn’t say anything. I just could not digest what he had just told me.

Every so often I’ll hear something from a friend or my attorney that will put something in perspective. Sometimes it just confuses me further. In the days after I was ambushed my STBX called me repeatedly. I would not answer it because she could claim whatever she wanted about what was said. I find it surprising and ridiculous that answering my phone, even if I didn’t know it was her calling, could be construed as harassment, thus violating my restraining order. Over the next few days her messages got more frantic, telling me that her attorney had said it was “ok” for me to talk to her on the phone. My attorney was adamant – do not talk to her on the phone. Up until a little while ago I didn’t have any idea what she wanted to talk about. I was talking with a mutual friend and I told her that I would now talk on the phone with the STBX since the restraining order had been long ago dismissed. She told me that she remembered talking with the STBX around the time I wouldn’t answer the phone. From what I can understand about their conversation, the STBX wanted to discuss what I could do if I wanted her to drop the charges (which, incidentally, she could not do without being charged with making a false report). I’m quite sure she had ideas of forcing me to accede to her financial demands (she wanted all equity in the condo and wanted me to take all of the debt). I’ll never know for sure what she wanted, but it infuriates me to know that she did all of this to me as a power play – a way to get me under her thumb so she could get what she wanted. I think she knew that given an level playing field I’d win custody of our son which played into this also. I know that custody and financial issues are the main reason false domestic abuse charges are made, but I had always believed she did it because of her mental illness. I feel even more betrayed now.

Writing this out helped some – I really need to get out of this dark mood. The last few days have been very difficult for me, it seems as though everything I’ve worked for up until this point have been taken from me. I don’t even have many of my old friends anymore. My STBX’s paranoia effectively separated me from many of them. I haven’t talked to some of my friends in years. I took an online stress test tonight. It was no surprise when I pegged the “meter” high. It advised me to reduce my stress level immediately (as if I have a choice) and get help and exercise.

I suppose I should just post this and be done with it. I could keep rambling for another hour if I don’t. According to WebMD I should go get some exercise, though.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Most Annoying Dog in the World

Her name is Lilly, and there are times I plot her death. Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but I certainly plot her maiming. Lilly is a Bichon Frise. Which I’m pretty sure is French for “Yapping Fur Which Must Die”. SOME of her annoying traits:

  1. Poorly housetrained. This is a reflection on her owner (my landlady), who definitely takes a soft stance on punishing the dog. Many puppies have accidents, but this dog is now two years old, and is well past the age where accidents should have stopped. There have been times when I’ve tried to put her out when, instead of actually going out, she’ll realize what the purpose is, run over to the nearest carpet and pee there. Then she’ll look at me as if to say “No thanks – I don’t need to go out right now.” I can actually see targets appear in the patterns of her fur over vital organs when this happens.
  1. She yaps. And yaps. And yaps. For hours. Then, before you know it, it’s 7am. Never has a shock color looked so good.
  1. She thieves. She took a liking to my goose-down-filled slippers not long after I moved in. I remember one night I heard something as I was typing, turned around in my chair to find that she was craning her neck out with her mouth open towards my slipper. She was also watching me out of the corner of her eye. The craning was that thing animals do when they want to keep the majority of their body away from you, but want to take something anyway. I realized that she’d snuck down and had been, bichon-ninja-like, sneaking around behind me in order to find my slipper. When she realized she had been spotted, she threw down one of those ninja-smoke bombs and disappeared. I saw a white flash running for the stairs as the smoke cleared.
  1. I catch her on the table and kitchen counters. Another display of her ninja skills. The table is bad enough, but the kitchen counter? I don’t even know how she gets up there. The closest I can figure is that she jumps from the table to a room divider, then jumps from there onto the counter. From there she steals the food my landlady sometimes leaves out.
  1. She will not eat dog food or treats. My landlady is one of those people who believe that the ultimate show of love to an animal is to feed it a diet of people food. She will routinely buy chicken, hamburger, steaks (no joke, steaks) for the dogs. Also, hot dogs and cat food (canned). She will cook this up and serve it to them, making no effort whatsoever to feed them dog food. I shudder to think of the health problems this will cause for the dogs long-term. In the short-term, however, it makes the dogs picky and very difficult to train. They will literally turn their noses up at dog treats, making the usual reward system virtually useless.
  1. No training. She does not know sit, come, lie down, stay or any other command. This is a direct result of #5, in my opinion.
  1. She escapes. This is highly annoying. She has learned how to move the gate just right so that she can get off the porch. Since she does not know any commands and doesn’t like treats, she has no incentive to come back when you call her. She just runs around. Chasing dogs is a great game for them, and she takes full advantage of it. As you are trying to convince her to come back in, she will run full-tilt by you, often swerving in to nearly touch you as she goes by you as an added taunt.
  1. She shrieks. Well, it’s not really a shriek, it’s more of a continuous cry/whine/yipe. Now, if she were in pain, I could understand this. However, this horrendously loud shriek she does only occurs when she wants to get you in trouble. I’ve surprised her a few times with my reflexes. As she was doing her taunt flybys in #7 I timed it and snatched her up as she ran by me. From the resulting noise you would have thought I was ripping her front legs off. Maybe she’s a mindreader, because I will admit it was along the lines of what I was thinking about at the time. Anyway, in the short time it took to walk her back into the house, two neighbors (that I saw) had opened their doors to see exactly how I was torturing this small dog. This happened again the next day as she tried to run by me as I opened the door. I saw her coming and caught her on the way by – again, the Shriek of Ultimate Pain was unleashed. I didn’t see any neighbors this time, but one did call and leave a voicemail on my landlady’s phone. I don’t know what she said, but since the call came in within 30 seconds of the shrieking I have my suspicions.

One of these days the police are going to come knocking on the door asking if the dog is still alive. Luckily I’ll know exactly where she is hiding – underneath the couch. She somehow flattens her body and worms her way under to hide when she’s upset. She will do this for me telling her “no!”, a cat swatting at her, thunder and even a cough. If the police ever do come, I’ll be sure to tell them that I think she’s armed and that she said something along the lines of “any cop who comes in is going to die!” Then, as they cautiously look under the couch, I’ll yell “She’s got a gun!”

She recently got beaten up by a neighbor dog. I say “beaten up”, but that’s not really accurate. The other dog was being walked by his owner on the other side of the street and the rat dog in question ran out the door, across the street and attacked. When I heard about this later, I could not believe it. This pansy-ass ball of fur ran across the street to attack a 40 pound male dog? Then came shrieking home when he fought back? Any lingering suspicions I had that the dog had even a semblance of intelligence were quickly dispelled.

I can’t describe to you how many times I’ve looked longingly at the microwave oven when she’s been annoying me. Or considered ordering landmines over the internet to plant on her favorite escape runs. Maybe I’ll have some fun and plant speakers around the house so I can play thunder sounds from my computer at will. Does anybody know if funeral homes offer prepaid plots for pets?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Scammers Abound

I did a little research before I went to pick up my car. I decided to check and see how much a AC compressor actually cost, because the auto repair guys were a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to let them fix it. I couldn’t find any new compressors for my car, but I did find remanufactured ones. There were two types, one was the factory air compressor, the other was a company called Visteon. The more expensive of the two was $395 – the other was $248. That’s both the compressor and the clutch. The auto body shop was telling me that the compressor would be $595, and were going to charge me for the clutch separately. I didn’t ask whether or not the compressor they were offering me was remanufactured. When I got there they again tried to convince me to do the repair, telling me now that I wouldn’t have power steering if I didn’t do the repair. They went on to say that they could get used parts (which I’m pretty sure are not the same as remanufactured) and bring down the price $150 or so. I still declined.

Then came the bill. It was a little more than I thought it should be – mainly because they tried to charge me over $100 to remove the belt that caused the problem. They charged $71 per hour for labor, so that meant that it took them about an hour and a half to remove the belt. I told them that there was no way I was paying them to remove the belt – I had planned to just cut it off myself, which would, at most, take 5 minutes. They tried to tell me that it was difficult to get it off, which I thought was interesting, since it was nearly off in the first place. Since they didn’t give me an estimate OR get my permission to do the work they had to relent. They weren’t happy about it, but too bad. It’s illegal to try to charge for work like this and I wasn’t about to let it go.

I ended up walking out having paid $119 total, including the tow. I have to admit, the car is a lot harder to turn without the power steering – harder than I expected. I drove a car for years without power steering, but it’s substantially harder than that car was. I’ll have the whole thing fixed sometime, but it’ll be after I have a job and a decent income. And I’ll have it done on my terms – meaning I’ll pay what I should.

In the meantime I’ll take Dewdrop’s advice and buy a spray bottle and drive naked.

Good News and Bad News About My Car

I did get a phone call yesterday from the Auto shop, but it was only about 20 minutes before they closed (which was much later than I thought it would be), and I was upstairs and missed the call. By the time I found out they had called, they had already closed, so I didn’t find out until this morning what was wrong with my car. There’s good news and (sort of) bad news.

First, the good news: The water pump is fine, so it doesn’t need to be replaced.

The (sort of) bad news: The compressor for the Air conditioning seized, which is why the belt was squealing and smoking. The cost of the new compressor alone would be $595. Then you have other things that need to be done and other parts, and the total comes to $1050. That doesn’t include the cost of the tow. Why is this “sort of” bad news? Because I can drive the car without the repair. I can live without air conditioning for a while.

So today I’m going back to drop off the loaner and pick up my car. I know that the women in my neighborhood will be disappointed that I will no longer be driving such a hot car, but they’ll just have to get over it.

In case you’re wondering, I did go to Autozone and look up replacing the AC compressor in the Vehicle Repair Guides they have on their website. This is what I found:

Repair or service of air conditioning components is not covered by this information, because of the risk of personal injury or death, and because of the legal ramifications of servicing these components without the proper EPA certification and experience. Cost, personal injury or death, environmental damage, and legal considerations (such as the fact that it is a federal crime to vent refrigerant into the atmosphere), dictate that the A/C components on your vehicle should be serviced only by a Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning (MVAC) trained, and EPA certified automotive technician.

I didn’t think it would be something I could do, but I had to check anyway. They had me at “risk of personal injury and death”.

The Scammers At Best Buy II

Here’s a link to the original, where I described how I “won” a “Free subscription” to Sports Illustrated. On reading my receipt I found that in “winning” this free subscription I gave Best Buy permission to pass on my credit card information to Sports Illustrated AND permission for Sports Illustrated to charge me every six months to renew my subscription after the free eight weeks had ended. At no time did the cashier ever tell me that my credit card information would be passed on to Sports Illustrated. At no time, including on the receipt, was the cost of the subscriptions ever mentioned.

I called the manager of the Best Buy store, which was in itself a difficult task, and she eventually told me that she would cancel the whole process right away. I decided that, in addition to that, I’d go to the Sports Illustrated page and cancel it myself, but it had not gone through yet.

The other day I received a big postcard in the mail from Sports Illustrated, telling me that I was SI’s Newest MVP! Boy, was I thrilled. I especially liked the part when they told me that since I got the subscription through Best Buy, Sports Illustrated wanted to let me know about some stuff I could buy there. At no discount. They just wanted to make sure I knew it was there. It was actually listed under a section entitled “You’ve scored M.V.P. privileges! In addition to “Blockbuster Special Issues” (including the Swimsuit issue), Unlimited access to and a “Free Subsciber-Only E-Mail Newsletter” (which I’d better make sure I wouldn’t get charged for after everything else I got, free my ass), I got “The hottest new releases on CD and DVD available at Best Buy now!” What makes me laugh about this last one is they imply that I couldn’t get these “hottest new releases” if I weren’t a Sports Illustrated Subscriber. I’m sure Best Buy will be checking my SI identification if I want to buy them. If you don’t have that SI identification, watch out! They’ll call for Security, detain and question you, and eventually let you go for “free”, and you’ll find out later that they also gave you a free subscription to the other SI (Shoplifters Illustrated) which you’ll be charged for on a semi-annual basis.

The post card told me how I could cancel the whole thing, so I went to their website and did that. Today I’m going to call Best Buy and ask for the manager again. I’d like to find out why she never cancelled it like she said she was going to. If the last time I tried to call her is any indicator, I’ll actually end up calling 8 or 9 times and pretending to be happy so she’ll pick up the phone.

Damn scammers.

Monday, July 11, 2005

You can sort of see the rusted roof here. What you can't see is that the dashboard is separating. The passenger side of it is kind of hanging off. I'm thinking of going cruising for babes in this car. Posted by Picasa

The Loaner car. Keep in mind, I'm not really complaining. The shop gave me this car for free to drive while my car is waiting to be worked on! And it runs, so currently it's a step up from my car. I just get an immense amount of amusement out of it. Posted by Picasa

This is a big bug that my son and I found as we were walking. You can't tell from the picture, but it's about 2 inches long from the head to the tip of the wings. It's a Cicada, and I found this page (Note the link to eating them) this morning. I also found this page, which is quite funny, even more so because of the commenters who got mad at the guy for writing it! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Email For My Son

I have no idea if this will work out the way I hope it will, but I’m giving it a shot. I sent myself an invite to gmail and set up an account for my son in his name. I like the idea of him having his own email address that’s his name when he gets old enough to use it, and it allows me to do something else. I’m emailing him.

I’ve sent him a couple already. Basically, they go into things I would tell him now if he was old enough to understand. It’s part journal, part letter. I’m hoping that someday he can read through it when he gets older and see some of the things that went through my head and some of the things that he did that I want to remember. I’ve sent him a couple of funny stories already, things I might forget in a couple of years.

I’ve got to say, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

One Hell of a Weekend

On Saturday I got up and got ready to go see my son. I was all kinds of excited – it was going to be a beautiful day and I had great plans. I was thinking of taking him to a museum where there was a good dinosaur exhibit and some other kid’s stuff. Not that it really mattered what we did, he and I always have a good time.

My car has been making some funny noises lately. I’m sure you see where this is going. There’s been a loud whirring noise and sometimes I’ve heard a ringing noise. Sometimes I smelled burnt coolant. I was thinking that the water pump was going, but when I looked under the hood I found the radiator hose was not on all the way and it had been leaking coolant. I reseated it and bought a new one to put on, but hadn’t had enough time to do it, and it hadn’t been leaking since I pushed it back on anyway. I had some delusions of replacing the water pump myself until I actually looked into the engine compartment. I need to take a car repair course.

So, I’m driving, and I’ve got about thirty minutes left – it’s an hour and fifteen minute drive total. I suddenly hear the belt start squealing again. It’s never done that before at speed. It’s only done that when I start the car. The engine suddenly quits. I head for the breakdown lane and try to start the car. It starts and then quits when I let it idle. Then I see the smoke. I pop the hood (the car is off and the smoke has stopped) and see that the belt that runs the compressor for the AC is almost off and is the source of the smoke. Time to call for a tow truck.

The first shop I called told me there’d be at least a 3-hour wait, but the second place said they’d be right out. I got even luckier. They had a loaner, and it was free! The only thing was that the loaner was quite possibly the ugliest car in the New England Area. I look it over and decide that the lack of the seat belts in the backseat preclude me from putting my son’s car seat in, but I’m not going to complain. It’s a car.

Let me describe this car – I fully plan on posting a picture of it soon. It’s an old Chevy Celebrity. It’s got about 167,000 miles on it and the body is full of rust and has a couple of holes in it. The roof is one big patch of rust. The temperature and oil gauge have no needles. There’s a handwritten note next to the gas gauge that says it runs out of gas when the gas gauge shows ¼ tank. The key only opens the driver side door, and only if I wiggle it just right.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see my son on Saturday because of all of this. Because I was unable to drive on Thursday (the vertigo) I didn’t get to see him that day either. I was a little depressed on Saturday – not only did I miss my son but I didn’t know how much the car was going to cost me. I’ll find out tomorrow (Monday) when they take a look at it.

Today was a much better day, however. I picked him up at nine and since I couldn’t drive with him without the car seat, I put him in his stroller and we headed out. We walked to the park and were going to fly his kite but the STBX forgot to give us the cross-stick. We played at the playground, examined many bugs in detail and chased each other around. We discovered that his toy truck went down the slide quite fast. It was an unbelievably beautiful day and there was a heavy breeze which made it even better. He took a two hour nap lying down in his stroller while I sat with him at a picnic table. When he woke up he opened his eyes, looked around, and found me sitting here smiling at him. “Hi Daddy!”

On the way back the STBX called and told me she was going to be about a half hour late. I didn’t think that was a big deal, it just meant more time with him. When she got back (it was actually an hour late) she went up and started cooking him some macsheese (macaroni and cheese for those of you new here) while he and I played with his new ball. He’s learned to kick it so we were kicking it back and forth, with periodic time-outs when a good bug was spotted.

When his food was ready it was time to say goodbye. It was a great visit, so I was in a pretty good mood as I drove the monster loaner home. My neighbors looked closely as I drove by – the car is that noticeable. So today was a pretty good day – lots of fun with my son and no breakdowns on the side of the highway. Hope you all had just as good a day!

Uh-oh. Daddy, A Car Is Coming!

“Uh-oh. Daddy, a car is coming!”

I looked around and saw no car. “Where’s the car that’s coming?”

Looking around: “It’s hiding!”

“Oh? Where’s it hiding?”

Pointing to his right: “In the house!”

“The car that’s coming is hiding in the house?”



“Uh-oh. Daddy, a car is coming!”

I looked around and saw no car. “Where’s the car that’s coming?”

“It’s hiding!”

“Where’s it hiding?”

“In the trees!”

How can you not enjoy kids at this age?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Divorce Delays

This week my divorce could have been final again. For the first time, however, it was my idea to hold off on it. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the four-way meeting with myself and my attorney and my STBX and her attorney. In this meeting the possibility of her filing for bankruptcy after the divorce was final was discussed. My attorney asked her attorney if her creditors could come after me, and he seemed to indicate that they could not. However, when I look back on what he said, he never actually gave a firm answer. Somebody mentioned in a comment, and I’m too lazy right now with only half a cup of coffee in me to go and find out who (my apologies), that the laws in their state allowed the creditors to come after either party if the debt was incurred during the marriage. That made me think.

The STBX was very upset about this possibility, as money has always been one of her biggest stressors. In the time since then she’s been remarkably calm, and even chipper when I pick up and drop off my son. One thing about the STBX is that she doesn’t act like that unless she’s hiding something. It is not in character for her to be relaxed in the slightest if there is the possibility of financial hardship of any kind in her life. Her attitude made me wonder what was going on there.

I decided to do some research and found numerous instances of creditors going after an ex-spouse in the case of bankruptcy, and there’s no clear-cut way of finding out the rules and regulations on my own.

This is what I think could happen if I allowed the current agreement to go forward: The agreement would have me giving up all of my equity in the condo (each sides estimates vary, she says it’s nothing, her attorney says it’s about $15,000, my attorney and I say it’s between $15-20,000) in return for her keeping all of her debt. My half of her credit card debt would be around $10,000. That means I’d be giving up an extra 5 or 10 thousand dollars, but I really don’t mind that – if she feels she got the better of me in the divorce and relaxes it will only help things in the long term. However, I don’t want to give up that extra money to be rid of that debt if the creditors are going to come after me later for the money. That makes no sense whatsoever. That means I’d be paying her for my half of the debt, an extra 5 or 10 thousand dollars, and then being stuck with the debt again anyway. This would be ideal as far as the STBX would be concerned. She'd benefit financially from the settlement, file for bankruptcy, then watch as the creditors went after me. She wouldn't lose the condo or her car and would end up with lot more money at my expense.

My attorney tried to tell me on the phone that this wouldn’t happen, but based her argument in common sense rather than in legal research or knowledge. She basically said “your name isn’t on the credit cards, right? How would they come after you?” She deflated a bit when I said something along the lines of “well, there are cases I’ve found, even in our state, where credit card companies have come after ex-spouses even years after a divorce was final, and I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to me.” I think she was thinking that the whole thing didn’t matter to her because once the divorce was final it wouldn’t be her problem anymore.

If you’re wondering why she’s still my attorney, there are reasons. I’ve talked with my dad about the mistakes she’s made and he feels that I should be very careful following her advice. There isn’t much more left to do – the only thing is making sure my STBX’s possible bankruptcy can’t come back and bite me later. For that I’ve decided to contact a bankruptcy attorney to get reliable advice. So basically, I’m checking on everything my attorney is telling me. She hasn’t mentioned her bill once since being confronted on her “advice” before.

I’m sure I annoyed everybody else (including my own attorney) by delaying things, but I figure after all the ridiculous delays the STBX has caused my delay is more than reasonable. I’m wondering what her attitude will be today when I pick up my son – it might give me some more insight into what she’s thinking.

Friday, July 08, 2005

What A College Degree Gets You…

I suddenly thought of a couple of my favorite words tonight. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about, a word that just cracks you up because of the way it sound. My personal favorite is the word carcass. There’s just something about the way it sounds. Car-cass. Say it with me.

Another is the word Shenanigan. Whenever somebody tells me about their “antics”, I tell them that I stay away from antics, and that I’m strictly a shenanigans man myself. They usually look at me like I might have had a stroke or, more likely, a lobotomy. Regime – another good one. Maybe because I’ve always had a fascination with world domination. I like to joke sometimes that I’m going to leverage email (or some other inconsequential thing) into world domination. Yet more lobotomy stares.

One word I heard that I thought was outstanding really isn’t a word. It’s Dorktacular. I read it in a profile many, many months ago. I wrote her an email (she was an opera singer) and mentioned how much I liked the word Dorktacular, and mentioned that I might steal it for my profile. She never wrote me back. Shouldn’t have mentioned the shenanigans thing I guess.

The Hot Librarian mentioned that she liked the word Hobnob the other day. She’s certainly got a shallow cool-word vocabulary. Anybody will tell you that Hobnob is nowhere near as cool a word as Carcass.

I used to like Moronathon, until I heard that Beavis and Butthead marathons were called Moronathons. I was pissed – I mean, those two clowns steal my word?!?

The last one I’ll leave you with (in order to save your sanity and any credibility I might still retain) is not really one word. I’m sure many of you have heard the term Power User used to describe somebody who is knowledgeable about computers and uses more of the features than most. The term describes somebody who is on the other end of the spectrum from the Power User: the Power Loser. Yes, this is the kind of person a Writ of Habeus Loser would be issued for (see this post).

I’m sure many of my old English teachers are experiencing a mysterious pain about 2 inches in from the center of their foreheads as I write this. So, to make my vengeance complete, I think I’ll repeat all the words, sit back, and imagine them suddenly grabbing both sides of their head and wincing.

Oh, Mrs. Morgan (my second grade teacher, and yes, she's still around. She's undead): My latest shenanigan involved a dorktacular carcass and a Power Loser. And by the way: Moronathon.

Ahhh, sweet justice.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Bombing of London

As I watched CNN report on the terrorist bombings of London this morning I heard Robin Leade ask: “Does it strike you as amazing the composure with which these people are able to describe what’s happened to them?”

No. Not at all. I’ve always had an immense respect for Great Britain, and it’s based not just on their words, but on their actions. There’s an irrational belief by some in the U.S. that the men of Great Britain are weak, and it’s based on the most ridiculous of proof: their accents. The men and women of Great Britain are an incredibly strong people, all you have to do is take a look at history if you want your proof.

I think one of the best “recent” examples of the strength of Britain is the Battle of Britain, which was followed by the Blitz of 1940. In the Blitz London was bombed on an almost nightly basis from September 1940 until November 1940, then continued (just not on as regular a basis) until May 1941. Think about that.

I take this next paragraph from All Info About:

The resilience of Londoners in the face of this nightly onslaught has passed into legend. Ordinary men, women and children showed amazing and sustained courage just by carrying on with their daily lives in spite of the nightly bombing raids. In the end, many people became so habituated to them that they just carried on with what they were doing. For example, cinemas would continue to show films during raids and the audience would remain to watch them.

I look at the United Kingdom as one of our country’s parents. One of the reasons we make such good allies is that we are so much alike. I think the bombings today in London will have exactly the opposite effect the terrorists wanted - bombing London will not demoralize Great Britain, but actually strengthen their resolve. Great Britain is one hornet’s nest I am willing to bet the terrorists will soon wish they had left alone.

A splinter group of Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for these attacks, and an unconfirmed statement posted on a web site linked to Islamic extremists links the attacks to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. To me this is a sign that what we are doing in these countries is a good idea. The terrorists obviously don’t want their allies, like the Taliban or Saddam Hussein, removed from power because it removes a source of support and a base of operations from them.

The bombing of London is a tragic event, but it is hardly crippling to a country like Great Britain. It will just unite Britain’s citizens, and hopefully others, in stopping Al-Qaeda from spreading it’s message of death and fear. I, for one, will stand beside you.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

King Erasmus, Esquire (whatever that means)

One of my fantasies is to become a lawyer. Not the kind that works hard, long hours, but the kind that gets to throw his weight around like on some of the TV shows I watch. “What would my friend the Mayor think if I got a ticket, officer?”.

I’d love to be the kind of attorney who hammers the jackasses of the world. When I or my friends have problems with companies, I’d call, give them a hard-ass time, talk about suing, and settle for the GDP of a small Latin-American country. “Yes, that’s correct, my brother did not receive his rebate. Send the settlement check, plus $5000 for my fee by courier to my office. Oh, wait. While I’ve got you on the phone, Verizon Wireless, let’s talk about enabling all the Bluetooth functions of my V710 phone…”

Ahhh, this could be fun. I could also make up insulting legal terms for people who annoy me. “Your Honor, I would like to ask the court to issue a Writ of Habeus Corpus, or in the case of Mr. Jackass, a Writ of Habeus Loser.” I could sue with impunity, tying my enemies up in court until they capitulate. That’ll get my hedge trimmers back. Stupid Flanders.

Yes, it’s time for me to head to bed. When I get sleepy the delusions of grandeur just seem to come out of the woodwork.

Dogs, Dinosaurs, Monsters and Daddy

I’ve decided that I’m going to write a series of stories for my son. I thought that if I were going to be reading to him in the future I wanted it to be something special, something just for him. I also thought it could be a great way to teach him things like honesty, honor and whatever else I find he needs to hear or learn. I remember hearing stories when I was little that were exciting and had monsters and animals and heroes. I can’t imagine how much better a story would have been if I were actually in it.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to start out with and I have some pretty good ideas. I started on the first story the other night, and it took a lot out of me. I slept for days afterward… I’m going to start out pretty simple since he’s young and I can make it more complex as he gets older. Luckily I remember a lot of the things that young boys find exciting. The first story is going to have his dog and me and my dog (though I don’t have a dog right now), and as the stories progress I’ll add some of the things I found interesting when I was little and some of the things I find interesting now. They’ll definitely have his dog, but in the future I’ll add fencing, other animals, adventures and, of course, Daddy saving the day every once in a while. When he gets old enough I’ll add some monsters and dinosaurs, but right now he’s a little too young for that.

At least one story will have to have words I’m stealing from LaLa: “Since I was a small child, kidnapped by apes” – I think they’re quite funny. My apologies if you really were kidnapped by apes, LaLa.

I think I’ll have fun writing them, but I’ll have considerably more fun reading them to him.

The Great Power Struggle

Now before I get too far into this I want to say that despite my constant battle with my STBX’s actions, I do think she is a very good mother. That’s one very important thing that I don’t have to worry too much about. However, here’s where my son benefits from having two parents, whether he realizes it or not. This post isn’t a complaint about my STBX, it’s a post about stepping up to the plate when your co-parent (how’s that for a word) is having trouble.

My son is now two and a half, an age I’ve heard strikes fear into some parent’s hearts. Luckily, he’s a great little boy and gives me almost no problems. I find that not approaching most things as a “do as I say” situation helps a lot with him when I need him to do something. He doesn’t like to take medicine – no matter how good it tastes. The minute he sees the little medicine syringe come out he says “No!” and won’t let it near his mouth. If you somehow do manage to get the medicine into his mouth, he immediately spits it out, usually all over you.

Saturday I went to pick him up and the STBX told me that he still had an ear infection and that he was on another course of antibiotic, mainly because he refused to take his other courses. She was telling me how difficult it was to get him to take the medicine and that it was a “serious power struggle” between them. I asked her what she was doing and she said she’d just keep trying until he took a little bit of it. She had brought out the medicine and the syringe, and, of course, once he saw it he ran to me for “protection” from the medicine.

She handed me the syringe and said that maybe he’d take it from me. I knew the chances of this were small, and my guess was right on the mark. I decided that this would never work and asked her to get his sippy cup for me. She told me that it would never work because he’d know it was the medicine, and that even if it did he wouldn’t get enough medicine. There’s always a little bit of liquid that cannot be gotten out of the sippy cup. I asked her if she’d diluted it and she said that she hadn’t because it wouldn’t work.

I finally convinced her to go fill the sippy cup about three-quarters full with his juice mix, and I poured the medicine into the cup. He took two sips and screwed up his face as he looked at the cup suspiciously. He knew something was different, but wasn’t sure what. STBX was now angry, claiming we’d just wasted his medicine, but I told her that I’d take it with me and he’d drink it with lunch. It worked like a charm. Once he got thirsty he just drank it, similar to what he does with milk. I just didn’t make it a big deal. I just set the cup in front of him and let him take it when he wanted. By the end of the meal he’d finished it and I’d refilled it so that he got the majority of his medicine.

This time I was able to successfully avoid the power struggle, but I know that it won’t always be possible. Like when he tries to put the proverbial peanut butter sandwich into the VCR. You pretty much have to act on that one right away.

The strangest thing to me is that when the STBX heard that he’d taken all of his medicine she got angry. At the time it made no sense to me at all that she get mad, but now that I think about it maybe it was that she was embarrassed that she hadn’t thought of the solution. Or maybe she thought that my solving the problem made her a bad parent. Of course, she shouldn’t feel embarrassed or feel that she’s a bad parent, but I guess that’s unavoidable sometimes.

I’m wondering if the whole ear infection thing is what hit me. I’m still quite tired, but I’m able to move around much more now. If I don’t get completely cleared up soon, though, I’ll have to go to the doctor and get a sippy cup full of medicine.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

My Experience With Brain-Sucking Aliens - I Blame Tom Cruise

They’re coming. I’ve lost track of how many days I’ve been down with what could only have been caused by some kind of Alien ray-gun. I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve slept most of the last week away. In the last few days it got worse – I was experiencing vertigo. If I sat up in bed I’d suddenly find myself staring up at the ceiling because I’d fallen back down. The room would be spinning and I didn’t dare get out of bed unless I crawled. I’m not kidding, I literally could not walk. Add that to the utter exhaustion and a mild, constant headache and I just didn’t want to move. I remembered earlier today that my son has had a rather constant ear infection the last couple of weeks, so maybe that has something to do with it. My ears don’t hurt, so who knows. I’ve decided to blame the entire thing on an alien ray-gun. If I didn’t have an FBI file already, I’m sure I now qualify. I awoke today still a little out of it, but able to walk and get around. And I was ravenous. I made a really good Indian dish (Chicken Khorma) that was both my lunch and dinner. I could go and eat more right now.

Combined with the exercise I’ve been doing the last few weeks and my Sleeping-Beauty experience has been an effective diet. Before today I’d eaten very little over the last week or so. Some here and some there. What’s really strange to me is that I recovered enough to see my son on Saturday. Maybe part of me just needed to see him.

In other news, I became the uncle to a new baby girl this last week. I was going to go and see my brother’s new little girl on Sunday, but I literally slept right through Sunday and Monday. I’m sure they have more family than they can deal with right now, so a little delay won’t hurt. There’s another problem: I think the water pump in my car is going. I’ve been hearing a ringing noise and on Saturday I started smelling burnt coolant. I want to check that out before I try to drive any real distance.

I have to pace myself to get caught up in posting – my current delicate constitution only allows so much exertion right now. I’ll have to post news on the power struggle my son recently had with the STBX, but that’ll come when I have more energy. Nothing like a good taunting, eh?