Tuesday

I want to get my weather whining over right away, because I really have no reason to whine given what others are facing both across my state as well as to the south. It is too hot, too humid, and smoke is blanketing this area like a winter quilt. My eyes hurt, my nose itches, and I’m coughing. Plus I break out into a sweat if I walk from the kitchen to my living room. I don’t like it.

Okay, I’m done with that part.

Do you remember some of my brief mentions of Sam, the neighbor in Apt. 2? The crusty old curmudgeon. The guy who has had some sort of monopoly over the laundry room electric meter for ages. The guy who cared for his mother for years after her stroke until she died. The man who has taken over 4 months to move out of here and back to his own apartment.

Sam is out, but Sam left with a bang. Literally. Sam and his friend Eve left (we assumed) for good on Saturday. I won’t lie, Apt. 1 tenant Nancy and I had a little happy dance outside when we believed him to be gone. She has her reasons, and my reasons developed quickly as I learned just after moving in that curmudgeon or not, Sam is a controlling abuser. His control and his verbal and emotional abuse were always directed toward Eve. I don’t have to go into detail regarding the things I heard in the last month. You are all intelligent enough to figure it out. There is a backstory there, concerning Eve, but I have no idea how or why she came into the picture, nor do I know anything about her or her life. While I fear for this woman, and grieve for her in her choice to stay around this man, I also selfishly rejoiced on Saturday that he had moved on.

Then Sunday night happened.

Their car drove in and they began to haul the remaining crap from the apartment. The landlord had come over early that day. I assumed, after seeing what was left, that he had contacted Sam and told him to get the crap out, but no, Sam still had his keys and still had intentions to linger and take his time removing the leftover junk.

Eve was set to work, hauling and dumping and removing while Sam, in his typical manner, sat back, or wandered around checking for what I can only assume to be things he deems to be out of place or not meeting his demands. About 1 hour into this return visit the loud, hateful words began toward Eve. I was just beginning to text the landlord, when I heard the laundry room door open. Sam was checking (as he always had) to see if laundry had been done in the 24 hours that he had been absent. Apt. 1 Nancy, who finally felt as if she was free to use our own laundry room and not the local coin-op facility had done laundry Saturday night, after they left. She never does laundry here…ever.

Sam immediately assumed that it was me. I know because he stood outside my open kitchen window and loudly announced, “You did laundry again and DIDN’T PAY!” He moved on to call the landlord and scream the same thing to him, again outside my window. As my fingers hovered over 911 on my phone the laundry room door slammed shut and there were bellows for Eve to “come now!” The apartment door was slammed so hard I expected to see glass on the sidewalk. The car roared off around the corner and we haven’t seen Sam since.

The landlord has been back, changing locks just in case, and apologizing more than is necessary. He has a major job ahead to get that apartment ready for someone new. Sam has been threatened with police action should he appear here again. I have been told to call 911 immediately if I see him. Nancy feels bad because the use of her own laundry room led to some of this chaos. I’ve tried to assure her that Sam could and would be able to create chaos regardless of the laundry situation. I cannot begin to imagine what life will be like for Eve should she continue to stay with Sam, and I believe she will.

Apartment life in what I believed to be a small, quaint, community…

 

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Happy Father’s Day

26

This picture was taken on April 30th, 1983. My wedding day. Even though so many changes are imminent when it comes to the marriage aspect of this photo it brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

I cannot tell you how much this moment meant, this walk with my dad, who had gone through so much himself over the years. I give him full credit for the strength I have to move forward each day. I wish that I could spend this day with him, but he’s been gone for over 20 years.

I love you dad.

SOLD!

Our house went on the market Wednesday. We accepted an offer Thursday night. The new owners (barring unforeseen issues) will take possession on July 11.

We moved into this house 24 1/2 years ago. Pregnant with my third baby, it was November, and I vaguely remember the rush to get things in some sort of order before the holidays. I don’t remember very much of the actual process of selling our first home and buying this one, but sometimes I can’t remember what happened 24 hours ago, let alone 24 years ago.

I’m grateful that things went quickly. I didn’t enjoy the phones calls for showings, the need to do multiple spot checks to ensure the rooms were always staged and ready, or the need to remember to turn on every single light in the house to provide that sunny, warm, homey feeling. I wasn’t very good at being polite after making myself scarce for what seemed like an appropriate amount of time only to arrive back home to find an agent and client who were supposed to show up at 3:00 pm, or at 6:00 pm still inside because someone was late, or had the time wrong entirely.

I am pleased with the final agreed upon selling price. We definitely benefited from the fact that the neighbor down the street sold his home for more than his original asking price. That gave us the impetus to price ours a bit higher to start with.

July isn’t far away. So much of the final work with this home will coincide with all the final aspects of my divorce so I feel as if much of life will be a blur for some time. Being the person that I am, I know clearly that I will be on edge until this is all over.

As I sit here now, writing this post and looking around at the freshly painted walls, the familiar scenes outside my windows, the sad and overused furniture, there are memories that come back to me. Most of them involve my kids. I wonder what I will remember of this process 24 years from now. I will be about 82 years old so I doubt any memories I may have will be very clear.

Better, I think, to get started on making some new memories.

Whirlwind

For some time there’s been nothing much to tell. Plodding along each day, waiting. Then, with one phone call, one meeting, the wheels begin to move, things start to take shape, and the to-do list is seeing more checks than empty boxes.

I hesitate to go backwards here, with my words. The working relationship between myself and my soon to be ex-spouse has been congenial. We have a shared goal now, one that ironically has made even simple conversation easier to come by. I have witnessed a willingness in him that previously was buried under mountains of obstinate refusal. One thing that has not changed however, is the very way we approach the getting things done part of all this. Simply put, we live on opposite ends of the spectrum in that arena.

Saying “I told you so” is counterproductive, but with all the good happening, I fully admit that lurking underneath any positivity, those words were ready and waiting to bubble to the surface. They have, but quietly and directed more to myself as an affirmation that, while outwardly some things can appear to change, the core of who a person is stays steadfast and real.

Being trapped in the immovable  sludge of “let him do it his way” was killing me and so, (here’s the I-told-you-so part) I jumped in, took responsibility once again, and within the past week we have a listing agent, a newly painted interior to our home, clean vinyl siding and deck, and are now only waiting on some landscape bark. Do I want to point out that I have been waiting for all this to happen since… oh- April 1st? I do, but pretend that I didn’t just write that, because you know- positive thoughts and shared goals, right.

My now very real expectation is that this home can finally be listed for sale within the next 7 to 10 days. Our agent is out of town (with my blessing) for vacation, but upon her return we will be ready for pictures, signage, marketing, and offers, offers, offers. I think that I mentioned the house two doors down in a previous post, the one that was listed well above what I thought might apply to our home. I just found out yesterday that it sold (less than 24 hours after listing) for almost $15,000 over asking price!

Real estate is crazy here- too many buyers and too little availability of homes on the market. Fingers and toes crossed that this means an upcoming happy dance for us.

happy-dance-animated-gif-image-46-2

 

Busy work

Don’t know that I have all that much to report, but I’m enjoying my morning coffee, on this, an extra day off, and it just seemed like an appropriate time to see what might appear on this screen.

The sun is out, and our weather folk say we might see 70 degrees by Thursday. The sun inspires me to do stuff, and so I’ve been trying to do stuff, mostly just to keep busy and avoid counting every second of this wait-to-be-divorced few months.

So, the major weeds have been pulled, and the tiny weeds have been sprayed. Bark mulch will come at some point because it’s always easier to cover up than put my joints through hell trying to pull every last offending, unwanted foreign invader.

Still we wait on painting. One bid was way more than we intend to spend. We wait on a return phone call from another painter. At the rate things are going, my spouse may be painting these rooms himself. He hates to paint. I am steering clear of the whole thing.

My latest project is cleaning up the rooms that aren’t going to be painted- tackling cobwebs and dust, wiping down doors, just generally trying to make the spaces appear as if they aren’t 25 years old. Today I’m going to start on the under-sink areas. They’re pretty well cleaned out of stuff, but they do look somewhat beaten up and used. The white paint has seen better days, so my answer is to place some of that non-adhesive, grippy shelf-liner stuff down to mask the major scratches and marred areas. mN8slVTn04gwEXAITyd17ag

I purchased a few new entry rugs, and some pillows for the horrid gold couch that my spouse wants to keep and take with him. Of course, those things are waiting until the painting is done.

Time to get busy I suppose.

Oh, and on a bright note- one of my favorite spring activities is happening this coming weekend. The local Historic Homes Tour is back! Alison and I have gone for the last few years and we almost thought we missed it this year. It is supposed to be sunny and mild this Sunday so I think that will be our day to walk, tour, and dream of life in one of these homes. This year apparently they are huge homes, some well over 4000+ square feet. Unfortunately no pictures with that link, just descriptions.

I can hardly wait…

 

Divorce Stories

Since I have all this time on my hands I’ve decided to share some of an interesting/disturbing/disgusting incident surrounding this divorce process.

It was right around the time that I was finally prepared to tell my spouse that it was time to end our marriage. I had made an appointment with our long-time financial planner so that we could get our taxes prepared- close to the end of March it must have been.

I sat down and before anything else, told him that we had agreed to divorce. The man nearly became unhinged. Now this was a person who had come well recommended years ago. We began our relationship with him when both of my parents passed away within a few months of each other and there was inherited money that needed to be dealt with.

We have kept that relationship going for 20 years or so and have had no complaints about how our money has been managed, or how he has helped us navigate through things like college student loan issues for our kids as they all moved through higher ed. This person has always been soft-spoken, knowledgeable, sort of nerdy, definitely focused on facts, and never pushy about any decisions we have made.

I’m not sure that I can even begin to describe the person who presented himself to me on that day in March. It was not the man I had known for 20 years. I understand and acknowledge concern. I comprehend shock over the news that I had just shared. I can even accept, to some degree on his part, a sense of disappointment or failure that the future we had been growing was going to undergo a significant change. I am still in disbelief that I became the victim of a tirade for most of that tax appointment.

I listened to him tell me, over and over, how he had seen the lives of clients fall apart after divorce, how the process would be contentious; how it would be a struggle at best; how it would go on for a year or more; how no matter what we may believe there would always be something that would come up to cause disagreement or even open warfare.

He stressed, almost vehemently, just how much attorney’s set out to line their own pockets, caring little for their clients, and how they clearly delighted in pitting party against party in a divorce.

He felt the need to assure me, repeatedly, that there would not be enough money to live. I assume he was speaking about me (rather than us) with that comment because of the fact that I no longer work and my spouse has an income.

He felt the need to tell me the story of his own parents horrid marriage…tell me 4 times that they were married for over 50 years and readily admit that the marriage should have ended decades earlier…except that they would never have been able to live. They stayed married, living in separate areas of their home until his mother died.

He liked to stress that line, “you won’t be able to live” along with his constant observation that “I’ve seen this so many times” or that “it always happens this way.”

He shared the horror stories of just how much healthcare would cost me each month, based of course on the fact that he supports a family of 4 and that I had only 3 choices of plans. It made no matter to him that neither of those facts applied to me.

He encouraged, between the dire warnings, that my spouse and I go to counseling. Again, it was no interest to him that with each cajoling plea to seek guidance I stressed that we both clearly know our own mind and our decision would not change.

Intermixed throughout all of this was the clear insinuation that I would do myself a great favor if I simply settled in for the long haul, forgot about my own happiness and needs and rode out the rest of my marriage until, like his parents, one of us passed on. He even, without any subtlety or grace, noted that my only alternative was to find myself “someone with money to take care of me.”

**I must inject a note to my dear blogger pal Alice at this point– calm down dear. I have ranted and raged over this man enough for both of us since this day happened. I am almost to the point that I can find a pitiful sense of amusement in the story now. Don’t waste your time or energy.

I had a rather bad cold that day, so I think that much of what he was spouting off about actually didn’t faze me at the time, or I was just more focused on trying to breathe and not cough myself out of the chair. Believe me, I heard his words, over and over, but it wasn’t until the drive home that they actually began to sink in.

A few times during the 45 minute appointment I remember looking at him incredulously. I asked him at one point, after the 3rd time around with his parents story, if he was honestly telling me that I had two choices: stick it out and be miserable for 30 more years, or find myself a cardboard box to live under the local overpass. After a shrug, and likely his interjection of one of his favorite ‘you can’t live on that amount’ replies, I clearly remember telling him I would gladly choose the box.

The irony of that meeting is evident in the fact that nothing that he predicted, at least so far, has come to fruition. We discussed, agreed, moved forward, continue to make progress without lawyers sucking our money from us or being involved at all, have made quite equitable decisions that will allow us both to live, not in a box, but between walls and with a roof, and remain amicable.

I have had to have email contact with him a few times since that day. I remain coolly detached, ask my question, and move ahead. Today in fact, in a reply to me, he managed to throw in one of his favorite statements when answering my question- the one about how he’s seen it happen before, so many times.

My amateur psychology degree tells me that there’s something underlying these reactions. There are some deeper issues here that this man cannot move beyond, that this man must project on to others. Or perhaps he was just a misogynistic horse’s ass all along…

I have to admit that I find myself feeling rather smug during those moments when I can share with him in an email just how easy this process has been, just how smoothly we are moving ahead, just how things like his dire prediction of an $800+ health insurance bill per month will actually be a mere $25 per month- all thanks to my spouse candidly and openly reminding me that I can take advantage of the fact that I am still covered by the military healthcare system, and will be for life.

The best day, I predict, is yet to come. That will be the day when all of this is over and I walk into his office for the last time. I plan to leave him a small cardboard box and perhaps a tarp as my final goodbye gesture prior to firing him as my CPA.