Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'm Not In Contempt...

So today I went to court. It could not have happened on a worse day, weather-wise. I looked at what we had coming in for weather in the Northeast last night so I could figure out when to leave. I was not pleased with what I saw. Basically, I’d be heading into the storm at the worst possible time. To give myself the best chance of getting to the court on time I left at 6am this morning. Court wasn’t scheduled to begin until 9:30.

I had tried to organize myself as much as I could in preparation. I had written out all my reasons for what was causing the problems with me getting the rest of my belongings out of the house and printed out emails I might need. Usually, I can put stressful things out of my mind, but last night I had a very difficult time. I went to bed early, failed to get to sleep, got up and read, then went back to bed. I woke up at 2am, went back to sleep, finally waking up at 5 so I could get ready to go.

The drive was not fun at all. It didn’t start out all that bad, but about 20 minutes after I left it started getting really bad. Visibility was very poor and it was very slippery. There were lots of accidents along the way, but somehow I avoided any major traffic jams. I arrived with just minutes to spare.

I had no idea what to expect. Was the judge going to give me a chance to explain my side of things? I thought he would, but how much time would he give me to explain things. Should I bring up mental illness? It turned out to be very different than what I had thought might happen.

We were seventh on the docket, but the weather had kept lots of people from showing up, so we were actually the first case where all of the parties were present. We had not even gotten to the tables when the judge asked if an agreement had been reached. I had no idea what he was talking about. I said “no sir” (see, that military training came in handy!), and he immediately sent us to the Family Relations office.

The Family Relations Counselor we met there sat us down and asked each of us about why we were there. The Ex’s version was short – basically, she wanted all my property out of the condo. Then came my turn. I told him that I wanted it out too, but that I didn’t feel safe (not physically, but legally) entering the condo. This got a snort out of the Ex. I went on to say that the people who were going to help me move didn’t feel safe entering either. I also said that I had tried to get the police to escort me, but they had refused. I said more, but that was the most significant of it all.

To make a long story short, he told us that we had to work out an agreement on how I was going to get my belongings out of the condo. I am to show up on this coming Sunday (the following Sunday in case of inclement weather) and take my belongings. I have a list of everything that is supposed to be taken so that I can’t be accused of leaving things behind or of taking extra. She is to stay upstairs and not enter the garage where we are working. A neutral third party is to be present in the garage. If I take everything, we don’t have to show up to court again.

Sound good? It did to me. The Ex wasn’t as happy with it. She had come in thinking that she was going to get permission to sell or throw it all out immediately. When she found out that things weren’t working out that way she wanted to be able to stand in the garage and supervise things. When that didn’t get approved she wanted the agreement to say that I had to take everything she wanted me to take or nothing at all. That didn’t go over since there was already a property list. So at the end of it all, the only thing she got that she wanted was that my property would be out of the condo.

I’m not sure she realized the significance of some things. If I get everything out of the condo that I’m supposed to, then I won’t be found in contempt. That means I don’t have to pay for being served or anything else. When she realizes that I’m sure she’s going to be furious. I also think that the importance of the property list slipped by her. She’s not going to be able to dump a ton of junk on me (which she definitely has in her garage) by claiming it’s mine. She also won’t be able to claim that I left it and take me back to court (well, she can take me back to court, but the list will protect me).

I was disappointed that I didn’t get to put forth my favorite reason. The last time I tried to get stuff from the condo, she brought me out a box with some shale rock in it, about 30 small stuffed animals, three blankets and a big toy that belonged to our son. She said she “couldn’t reach” anything else. None of that is on the list.

Some other fun stuff has been happening. I received an email from a mutual friend concerning the Ex. It was a warning. She told me that the Ex had called her and told her that she’d been grilling (the friend’s word, not the Ex’s) our son about women he might have met while with me. So far she had two names. One was the woman I’m involved with (which just gets better and better, by the way), the other was Donna. Who’s Donna, you might ask. Good question, I don’t know either. But then, our son is not even three years old, so his accuracy might not be perfect. I’m just waiting for the Ex to figure out a way to ask me about them, or make an accusation. The way the friend was talking about it, the Ex was of the opinion that these were women that I’d been cheating with during our marriage. Ahh, the joys of paranoia.

Today I had a thought. It was something the Ex said at some point, and I can’t even remember exactly what it was. I suspect that my son is no longer in daycare. That would make sense, since my Ex is currently unemployed, but she should have told me. If he’s been out of daycare, then there aren’t any daycare costs, of which I’m responsible for half. That really bothers me, because I’ve been very generous. I’m going to find out if he’s still in daycare, and if I find out he isn’t, I’m going to force her to pay me back. If she’d told me up front I would have continued paying it to her to help her out, but something needs to be done to show her that cooperation is much better than harassment and lying. I think I’ve been more than generous, more than patient, and more than kind in all of this and I think this is a good time to push back. It’s not a lot of money, so it won’t be a huge blow to her, and it will make the point that she needs to be honest and much more cooperative.

Well, it’s nice to finally have internet access back and a few minutes to type out some words. I’ll have to write something about Christmas this year, since it was such an improvement over last year. I’m very confident that 2006 will be a much better year than 2005 was for me – I can hardly wait.