Closing Scene…

Open on a shot of a nondescript courtroom in Pierce County Washington.

A few dozen people sit on uncomfortable benches, waiting to stand before the court commissioner.

One by one each player is asked to come before the court, paperwork in-hand. Each scene unfolds with alarming regularity. Each player is found to have some issue or other that causes the commissioner to send them away to either fix or add to their pleadings.

Some are even told that their case will not be completed because they are too far off the mark with their attempts at supplying the correct legal documents. Some should clearly not even be in the courtroom.

The cameras, as they are lurking in every corner of the room, all pan towards me- The Petitioner in case 17-3-01458-2, Dissolution of Marriage. I begin to worry that after countless hours and checks and rechecks that I may have forgotten something, or left something out. I wait as each name is called, equally anxious to be done but also dreading that I may be one of those who is sent away with unfinished documents. My brain cannot grapple with the fact that I may have to return to this room another day.

My case is called, and like everyone before me I proceed through the swinging gate and step to the microphone in front of the clerk and commissioner.

“Please raise your right hand and repeat after me…”

“Right? Which one is my right?”

“State your name.”

“Already too many questions. Can’t he see that I don’t want to get sent away. Just sign      the papers, please”

Most of the rest is a blur. I was asked basic questions about the marriage. I was asked numerous questions (probably about 4 actually) about the division of assets. I was not scolded about my paperwork being messy or inaccurate. I was not sent from the room to add to or fix anything. I watched the clerk place a large letter G next to my name on her list. It only struck me later that she was signifying for her own notes that my decree had been granted.

Pan to the commissioner’s desk. One by one he signs off on all 5 documents that I had put in front of him. He announced his signature with each one, and as those before me had done, I politely said “Thank you, Your Honor.”

With the signing of the final decree it was announced to the room, “You are now divorced. Thank you and have a good weekend.”

The lights begin to dim as I collect my notebook and purse and move back through the swinging gate, already forgotten by the commissioner and those players still waiting for their turn in the spotlight. I exit the courtroom with the realization that I am now divorced.

And we close the scene at 10 AM July 21, 2017 on what was just over 34 years of marriage.

Curtain.

**This process was probably the most surreal experience I have ever had. The reality for me is that this entire marriage was truly over so long ago that this was a formality. The emotion levels of this process have come and gone, climbed up and down, and been a constant presence in my life for so long that earlier today, and even now almost 4 hours later, I feel emotionless. It is just another day and nothing feels any different. I wonder how long this will take to really sink in. Maybe when I move into my new apartment and can just sit, quietly and alone and reflect. Or maybe this is all there is. Maybe there will never be anymore to care about or reflect upon. Maybe I can just move ahead now because this is finally, unquestionably over.

Thank you all for reading, and supporting, and being willing to stick through this process with me.

 

 

Catching up

So the whole new home thing…it has to be the biggest encounter I have ever had with being in the right place at the right time. By chance I ran across the listing for this apartment just 2 hours after it went online. I viewed it the next day and had my application in that afternoon.

I grew up in what once was a small town. It grew and branched out into strip malls, and busy highways, and subdivision after endless subdivision. It was once rural enough that there is still a seemingly endless amount of farmland to be bought up and incorporated into more malls and subdivisions going in almost every direction.

The next town over is another story. Highways border the west, industrial complexes border the north, a large plateau borders the east and a river cuts off the south. This little town is isolated and unable to spread and that has been the saving grace for the place that is now my new home.

It’s called Sumner. It has one main street filled with little shops. It has one supermarket. It has places like Subway, and McDonalds, and more than one bank. Unfortunately it does not have cultural and ethnic diversity, as you will note by the statistics if you read the link, and that is, for me, a definite downside. I would describe Sumner as about 2 steps higher on the diverse communities scale than say, Mayberry.

It is, however, a place that I have long wanted to live in. It is quiet, quaint, and full of both historic homes and small town oddities and events. I just learned that it has been named the Rhubarb Pie Capital which is apparently why the streets were closed off and cars were everywhere when I drove through today.

My new apartment lies along Ryan Avenue, named for the man who originally platted the land. The streets in this area are tree lined, the canopies on the maples and oaks grown big enough to touch each other and keep the street in constant shade. I am in a 1959 four-plex, all brick. Brick homes, and these single-story, multi unit structures are a hallmark of the oldest areas of the town as they sit among the ramblers and Craftsmen and Victorians. I am two blocks from Main Street, and 1/2 a block from the police station. People walk everywhere. The neighbors cat wandered out to meet me on the day I signed my rental agreement. Finding a home was a big step. Finding the perfect home, in a place I never expected would be available to me, is amazing.

From my phone

The internet connection at my temporary home is being very negative right now so this post is coming from my phone….being typed with one finger so most of the words make sense as autocorrect likes to work overtime.

In short, as of yesterday morning with the signing of my rental agreement, I HAVE A HOME!!

The keys are mine on July 29th.

Shhhhh…

Let’s just keep this between us, but I think (fingers and toes crossed) that I have found a new home…

More details to come, but I have this naggy anxiety that, until I have a definite confirmation, I can’t let myself believe that perhaps, just maybe- I can cross one more roadblock off of the list on my pathway to complete freedom.

I can share though, that as of 2:34 this afternoon, the sale of my home of 24+ years has closed. My proceeds should be in my account tomorrow or Thursday. I drove away Sunday after doing a final cleaning with no regrets and no desire to look back.

Getting so much closer…

The Finish Line

Tonight will be the last night that I sleep in this house I’ve co-owned for nearly 25 years. I head to the oldest daughters house (mom to Miss G and Miss C) tomorrow. As I still have to hang out in limbo before I can prove I have enough income and find a real new home, I get to have a really long sleepover with the girls, much to Miss G’s delight.

I have no feelings of sadness as I anticipate tomorrow. This change is just one more step bringing me closer to my ultimate goal.

Speaking of that, I went to schedule my final court hearing today. At 9AM on July 21st I will deliver my final papers, stand before a commissioner, answer a few questions and (barring some horrid, unforeseen issue) watch as he signs my divorce decree.

2 WEEKS PEOPLE!!!

We close on the sale of the house next Tuesday. That’s step 3 in the race towards the goal. After that I can just concentrate on enjoying the start of my new job, and looking for a place to live.

That finish line is finally visible and I can’t wait!

 

Test anxiety

I got to pee in a cup today. A very controlled, very precise, very directed drug screen was called for by this new employer. Today’s event was just one of a number of changes that this company has implemented since I worked for them four or five years ago.

I’ve never had to have a drug screen for a job before.

I was asked to lock up my purse and check my pockets so that nothing untoward would enter the restroom with me.

I got to pick out my very own collection cup and watch while the technician showed me that it was completely sealed.

I was asked to wash my hands.

I was instructed on exactly how much of the specimen I was to provide. I didn’t ask what the consequences would be if I couldn’t muster the required amount. Drinking copious amounts of water 30 minutes prior to the donation took care of any issues with that. I was relieved in more ways than one.

I was told firmly -twice- not to flush or to wash my hands after collection. Only after I handed off the cup could I wash my hands.

Did you know that they actually check the temperature of the donation?

And what are the very vivid blue drops that they place into the toilet water?

I had to watch each step as the specimen was processed and at times even initial certain parts of the procedures.  Only when the donation was finally sealed in a plastic bag and initialed by me did I get my ID back and the key to the box to unlock and free my purse.

It wasn’t until I was walking out of the office that I realized I had no memory of the technician wearing gloves when she took the specimen cup from me. No memory of her washing her hands after she went into the restroom to flush for me. Nor do I have any memory of her washing her own hands throughout the rest of the processing.

Gross.