Twenty six years ago today, I signed my marriage certificate. Today I signed divorce papers.
Shocker! My ex showed up at court. He has never attended a hearing for any court application that I have had to file due to his breach of contract. There were two hearings in 2016 and this was the 4th hearing for the application that I filed in December 2018. He never attended any of them. When I saw him, my heart started beating out of my chest. I thought, “What tricks are he and his lawyer up to this time?”
For about 2 1/2 hours he had to sit and listen to how his behaviour was “egregious” and “inappropriate”. After our last hearing in October 2019, the judge ordered him to pay the child support amount he owed after filing his 2018 taxes. He did not comply. He never did provide an accounting of what happened to the RESP money for our children. He never provided any banking information about his rental property, just receipts showing maintenance that was required on the property. He tried to show losses but failed to provide an accounting for any rental income. He listed the value of his share of the rental property as $40,000 yet he conveniently sold it to a business partner, the day after our January 2019 hearing, for just $4,500. He also failed to provide documentation surrounding other income he received during his employment.
His lawyer had no submissions. His lawyer didn’t have much of a defense for my ex’s behaviour except to say that he could have done better with his accounting and that he knew he owed me support payments and had no problem with my lawyer’s numbers. Yet, he chose not to pay the arrears. He could have made a “Without Prejudice” payment as far back as December 2018 when he acknowledged his income increased significantly.
Instead, his lawyer tried to discredit my character by saying that my 2019 tax return failed to show all of the support that I received in 2019. My ex didn’t even show up to court with a completed 2019 tax return (despite the reason we are at court is that he failed to exchange tax information with me, as per our agreement, for 3 years, now 4 years, knowing his income increased every year) and yet they are picking apart mine, an area that does not even affect anything that my ex owes?
I could see my lawyer’s frustration and she explained to my ex’s lawyer and the judge that I have no idea what the actual support amount should be because my ex failed to provide the information for it to be calculated. The judge agreed and indicated that it is between me and my accountant and is irrelevant.
At the time I filed my taxes, I had no idea what the support amounts were as my ex hadn’t completed a tax return for 2016, 2017 and 2018. The judge was not able to rule on spousal support owing until my ex provided the accounting he had requested which he did not. The judge ordered my ex increase support payments to me by paying $8000/month until spousal support could be calculated. My ex couldn’t even manage to obey that order for an entire year and arbitrarily decided to reduce the payment by $800/month just in time for Xmas, I filed my taxes with a support amount as per our last court order. If he is ordered to pay more for subsequent years then there is a specific CRA form my ex is required to complete. I have to submit that and have my taxes recalculated for all of the years so that I am not unfairly penalized in the tax year I receive an arrears lump sum amount.
The judge mentioned three ways he could award me and penalize my ex for his conduct. He mentioned applying interest to the outstanding support payment. He mentioned not allowing my ex to receive the tax deduction for spousal support and not requiring me to have to claim the lump sum spousal support figure as taxable income. He also mentioned my ex having to pay my legal expenses.
Just before the lunch break, the judge did ask us to try to settle the matter because he said that he did not believe the court could grant me the justice I probably deserved. I learned afterwards that it was unlikely that I would be awarded all three things discussed because the judge would not want to leave it open for my ex to appeal. If it was deemed to be too punitive towards my ex, he may have a case.
My ex offered to pay the full amount of arrears for spousal and child support for our younger daughter only–$125,782 for spousal and $4016 for our daughter and special expenses of $1716. (The judge had already ordered him to pay the outstanding child support for our younger daughter in the order received in July 2019, which was about $17,000 and he had been paying me around $5000/month more for the 12 months after our first appearance for the December 2018 court application and then $4200/month more for the last 6 months). If he had not made any increases, and he only did because I filed the court application, arrears would have been significantly higher. He also agreed to pay $23,486 towards my costs.
Having him acknowledge he owed me costs was important and is reflected in the order so if we have to go back to court again it shows that my ex agreed his conduct was improper.
My lawyer felt that I would receive more if I left it with the judge but last time it took 6 months for a decision and it has never been my intention to punish my ex, no matter how deserving. Practicing mercy is good for me and even though I thought it might soften his heart and that he might show some humility and appreciation, his actions following this have shown there has been no change in his attitude. He is digging his heels in further and it is highly likely we will be back in court again.
I was on my way to get something out of my bedside table when I saw a little face peering in my window. I noticed the coloring and saw that she was standing on her hind legs trying to look inside. Coco? The long hair, her tail…I scanned her and was obviously squealing in delight. It was her! Coco! I yelled for my daughter who was all ready on her way to my room hearing my excitement. She told me to calm down that I was so loud. I ran passed her to go to the patio and the little cat came right to me. I scooped her up, squeezing her and telling her how happy I was to see her. My youngest daughter had followed me outside and we were both loving up on her. I brought her downstairs to see my oldest daughter who bolted up in her bed when I told her who was in my arms. I called the owner to make sure she knew she was back. She was gone almost a month.
I was so certain that Coco was dead. I envisioned many scenarios of harm befalling this poor sweet animal. I relived the horrible sound that jolted me from sleep; the sound of something being killed. I spent days trying to recollect the day that happened. I went over texts to people who I thought that maybe I shared that with to see if there was a timeline that could correlate to Coco’s disappearance. I shed many tears. I looked for her every day; out my windows, going to my car, driving home. I prayed but I confessed to God my lack of faith that she was alive.
This situation is a perfect representation of what Eckhart Tolle talks about in A New Earth.
The voice in my head, a thought, created a situation out of my perceptions and emotions that was not true. I was simply observing possible facts: outdoor cat, busy street, fast cars, heavy vehicles, eagles nesting over our houses, cougars, racoons, worry I already had had about her safety, etc.
I was angry with my neighbour, “How could she just let Coco roam around in a dangerous environment. How could she think her cat is too heavy for an eagle to pick up?”
I judged the owner, “I have cats and I would not let them roam the neighbourhood. It is irresponsible.”
I personalized the cat’s disappearance.
Eckhart says, “Every ego confuses opinions and viewpoints with facts. Furthermore, it cannot tell the difference between an event and its reaction to that event. Every ego is a master of selective perception and distorted interpretation. Only through awareness–not through thinking–can you differentiate between fact and opinion. Only through awareness are you able to see: There is the situation and here is the anger I feel about it, and then realize there are other ways of approaching the situation, other ways of seeing it and dealing with it. Only through awareness can you see the totality of the situation or person instead of adopting one limited perspective.”
For the most part, I consider myself aware. After Coco’s disappearance but before she returned, I felt compassion for Coco’s owner. She put flyers up everywhere and handed them out to each home on our street and in the large subdivision located behind our houses. She is a nurse who works long shifts, day and night, and she lives alone in a tiny basement suite. Of course she loved Coco and didn’t want to leave her inside, alone, for hours on end. Coco was the neighbourhood cat. She would sleep in another neighbour’s sunroom and in another neighbour’s tree house. There were 2 other outdoor cats, Max and Minnie, and the 3 of them would congregate in my backyard. The other 2 were still present. It broke my heart when I heard my neighbour out calling Coco’s name. I put on my shoes and went to her to offer support and encouragement. I told her that my cat escaped and went on an adventure for 7 weeks before coming home. I stopped crying about it. I also started praying and begging God to please just bring Coco home.
It is just easy sometimes to get caught up in our emotions, our stories and sometimes our perceptions are not real; they are just illusions that we created. It can rob us from joy and turn us into compulsive thinkers. Coco’s disappearance and return was a huge light bulb reminder that I still need to check in with my ego, especially in times of stress, conflict and emotion.
It has been a tougher few months than normal and sadness has crept in.
I was off work for 3 weeks with my hospitalization and recovery and then laid off due to Covid 19. My youngest daughter’s 19-day trip to Tanzania was cancelled less than 48 hours before she was set to leave. We moved and with Covid we could not have much outside help. All of my younger daughter’s dance classes, competitions, festivals, shows, and her grade 12 graduation cancelled. School moved to online. My youngest daughter sank into a depression and I couldn’t get her out of bed. She slept on a bare mattress and did not unpack one single moving box. They were piled around her bed practically burying her inside her room. My older daughter was suffering her own serious illness and my ex did nothing to help us. Instead he chose to blame and sow division.
One of our unexpected joys after moving was a little cat named Coco. She would visit and sit at our back door all the time waiting for us to come out and see her. When we got out of our car she would come running to welcome us back home. She would follow us to our car whenever we were going somewhere and she would sit on top of our car when we were home. My youngest daughter would sit with her on our front porch or our back patio and just pat her and talk to her. Our cats would sit at the door and wait for her to make an appearance. My older daughter even found her in our garage one night. We were concerned about eagles nesting in the trees by our house and the busy street below our property so we did worry for her. We wouldn’t let our own cats outside.
A couple of weeks ago I woke up suddenly to a terrible cry that sounded to me like an animal being killed. My cat sleeping with me in bed jumped to the window as well. I didn’t see anything and went outside to see if I could help. I thought it might have been a cat catching a baby bunny. A week and a half later my next door neighbour left a poster on our front step that 2 year old Coco was missing. I burst into tears and so did my older daughter.
There was also the typical angst with my ex who would not provide details of my younger daughter’s RESP. I has having to put money out to accept her offer to attend university and to apply for residence. He refused to provide any details of how much money was in her account. He would not forward payment for his share of any of the school expenses I was incurring and told me to take it out of child support. It appeared as though he had not only withdrawn all of her RESP money 5 years prior to the fund maturing but that as a result of him doing that we incurred penalties that involved losing the government grant money and all of the interest accumulated from day one. It also appeared by his responses to my inquiry that he had spent whatever was left. There was no money for my daughter to go to university.
The George Floyd killing was the final straw. I could not stop crying.
In my grief, I contacted one of my favourite friends for help. He has been in the entertainment business since he was 18. He lived in Hollywood for years. He had his own business, wrote a screenplay, directed, produced and was cast in his own movie that was nominated for several awards. His film won “best documentary” at 3 film festivals as well as the Orson Welles Award. We reconnected 2 years ago and have had some very memorable dates including one that ended at the house of David Foster’s first wife. Prior to Covid our dates centred around trying to watch all the Oscar nominated movies. He knows me, knows my situation, knows what I like and he knows entertainment. I needed a Netflix series to escape and his immediate recommendation for me was ‘Glow’–Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
Season One, Episode 3: The Wrath of Kuntar (pronounced Cunter)
“Men walk in fear through these city streets for it is there you may meet me. And though I am only moderately attractive I am desperate. And there is nothing more dangerous than a desperate woman. And there is no woman more desperate than the Homewrecker.”
I am not sure why this just popped into my head. I was doing a jigsaw puzzle with the TV on in the background at 1:15 a.m. and something reminded me of a conversation I had several months ago.
I was at a table with a bunch of people at a large event. I could see that someone kept leaning forward, three seats down from me, whenever I started to talk, trying to listen to my conversation. We were all just talking randomly about nothing private or personal that I remember, laughing, but I was aware of her interest in me.
People shuffled in to find a seat or out to get food, drink and to use the bathroom. This woman was now closer to me with someone in between us. Eventually she leaned forward to introduce herself and to tell me that we share a connection. I exchanged pleasantries with her but in my mind I am processing that she knows who I am because the connection she mentioned was not at the event.
I was up and down a few times myself and when I came back to the table I was seated beside this woman. Finally she tells me, “I know Janice Andrews.” She was very kind to me and told me how sorry she was and that people initially were shocked to find out about Janice and my ex. She told me that they later learned that Janice’s intent was very calculated. I did not engage. I did not know this person or trust this person. I simply thanked her for seemingly sympathizing with me. I had no idea what she knew or who she knew it from. She then asked me if I was on Twitter. I said that I was not. She said that Janice goes by the name Smeeps. I remembered that word. I feel like my ex had used that name in his phone as her contact to hide her true identity, ‘Ricky Smeeps’. She asked me if I knew what it meant. I said that I did not. She said that it is a seductress. I joked something to the effect about Janice at least naming herself appropriately and then thankfully there was more shuffling and I was pulled in one direction and she in another and that was it. I don’t remember her name and I haven’t seen the friend that we have in common but I would never say anything to her about my encounter anyway.
So tonight, after that popped into my head, I grabbed my phone to look up that word and there it is in the urban dictionary, “highly seducing woman”. The entry is dated March 3, 2009, four years before my separation in March 2013. I looked down further and there is another definition with the entry of April 19, 2011: “One of those involuntary farts a male gets when his buttocks are in the air with legs spread out and the warm fart gently ruffles his scrotum. Few true smeeps have been recorded in human history. Only the great masters of flatulence can produce such pungent pearls of fragrance.”
Hmmm, I wonder what definition she named herself after?
Just before midnight on February 24, 2020, after 11 hours in the ER, I was wheeled up to my room. I had been on IV fluids since I was admitted. IV antibiotics were started and I had a chest x-ray.
I was drinking water, cranberry juice and apple juice but nothing quenched my thirst. The nurse helped me into bed, brought me more fluids to drink and cheese and crackers to eat. Every 2 hours they took my blood pressure, temperature and pulse. Before 7 am they took more jars of blood so they could continue to grow cultures. I did not get much sleep and was sitting up when the doctor came to see me at 8 a.m.
He looked at me and said, “Are you (my name?)” After I replied, “yes” he told me that he was surprised because based on the lab report he was reading I should not be able to sit up. I told him that I had some fluids and food in me so I was feeling way better than when I arrived. He told me that I was very sick and mentioned some numbers regarding my blood panel that meant nothing to me. He told me my CRP was 400, I was completely septic and they needed to figure out why. He was ordering an ultrasound, echocardiogram, CT scan with contrast, nasal swab and blood thinner injections daily in my belly. I was considered “precautions” and everyone who came to see me had to wear full PPE.
My best friend’s husband is a physician in Ontario. He was asking questions by text about my blood work and even offered to call the doctor directly. He asked me to inquire about another blood indicator and when I told the doctor the next day about the number my friend wanted to know, the doctor responded, “He will be so freaked out by it.” He obviously told my best friend how sick I was because she wanted to fly out and she contacted the other 4 friends in our tight-knit group. One of those friends pleaded with me to transfer to Vancouver for care. I assured her I was in good hands.
On Day 3, I started to develop a rash over my entire body and I was having difficulty breathing. I wore a ‘penicillin allergy’ bracelet and was certain I was having an anaphylactic response to the meds especially when they told me that one antibiotic was in the penicillin family. The hospital’s clinical pharmacist came to see me and he couldn’t understand the reaction. Firstly, the rash was blistering, on my palms and elbows especially, and it was very painful with raised bumps; not itchy and flat. He said even though one antibiotic was in the penicillin family it is commonly prescribed to people with penicillin allergies and shouldn’t cause a reaction. At this point they were confident that I had a bacterial infection, not viral, and the combination of antibiotics were having some positive effect on my blood cultures so he didn’t really want to change them. The pharmacist now had to figure out what med was causing the reaction because I was currently on two antibiotics and I had been given two different antibiotics in Emerg. He was going to contact the Infectious Disease Specialist again for input. He put my antibiotics on hold and I was prescribed nebulizers that they administered by mask immediately for my breathing.
Word was getting out that I was in the hospital. I received many visitors, flowers, calls, texts, food for both me and my girls, books, magazines (although I did not even turn a page until day 7 of my stay because I was too sick to even care to look at pictures) and a pile of hand-made cards from my daycare kids. I was most grateful though for the kindness that people showed my kids. People were inviting them to dinner and offering their services and support.
My sudden illness was a huge burden on my children. They had no other parent to take over those responsibilities. They had to take care of the house, the pets, a new roommate was moving in so there was cleaning and prepping for her arrival as well as the fact we were moving to a new rental in less than a month. They had to bring me clothes, toiletries, my phone charger and whatever else I realized I needed each day my stay was extended longer and longer. They had to bring me the mail to open and then they had to deposit money into my account and pay bills. On top of that my youngest daughter was preparing for a dance show with a long rehearsal the day before and 2 performances the next day as well as trying to prepare for a school trip to Tanzania. She still had things she needed to buy for the trip. Most of the burden rested with my youngest daughter as the hospital was on her way to school and close to her dance studio.
I was very surprised that my kids didn’t tell my ex or his parents, who were visiting from Ontario for several weeks, that I was in the hospital. I told my younger daughter to let her dad know that I couldn’t do the things that she needed me to do and to ask him to take her places to get what she needed. She wouldn’t do it. I told her that her grandparents would probably love to help her out but she would not tell them and she would not ask them for help. Although my girls talked to my birth mom by phone, she was in Florida on the other side of the continent and I have no family living here.
On Day 4 the doctor greeted me with, “How is the most interesting patient in Island Health Authority today?” We had a diagnosis: rat bite fever. I didn’t have an anaphylactic reaction. I had pneumonia as confirmed by the CT scan and the rash was one of the symptoms of my diagnosis. The Infectious Disease Specialist came to see me and she took photos of my rash for her medical book and teaching tools. The clinical pharmacist also paid me another visit to make sure I was doing okay on the meds. I was still coughing but I was able to have “precautions” lifted.
Days 5 – 7 my pressure was bouncing around. It was as high as 220/105. That concerned me but my doctor said the low blood pressure concerned him much more. I still had a fever but it was much lower. I was starting to walk a little bit. I was told I had a beautiful heart to photograph and there were no vegetations on the heart valves which was a good sign. I was still having blood taken every morning.
On Day 8, my family doctor came to visit me. My liver numbers were the latest concern and they were afraid of permanent damage. My fever had finally normalized. The infectious Disease Specialist came to see me again and advised they were going to switch the IV antibiotics for oral antibiotics to see if I could keep them down.
They took me off all IV fluids on Day 9. I was still having nebulizers 4 times/day. The clinical pharmacist came in to see me again to make sure I was doing okay on the oral antibiotics. They were making me nauseous so he said I could take them with some food, just not dairy. They were going to let me go on Day 11 or 12 but I asked if I could go home the next day. I was starting to feel the stress of all that I needed to do at home and I knew my kids were needing me. I had to wait to see what the doctor said in the morning. He reluctantly agreed, gave me a 10 day supply of the antibiotic, I called a friend to pick me up, they took out the IV line and I was discharged.
I quickly realized that I was definitely still sick and could do very little. I had no energy and basically traded the hospital bed for my own bed. It took another 2 weeks to recover. I had my blood retested and there were 3 areas that were still way out of range.
My follow up appointment with the Infectious Disease specialist was changed to a Telehealth call on April 15. I am not to work due to compromised health with Covid-19 risk but there is nothing more they can do for me unless my condition deteriorates. There could be permanent damage but I was also told my inflammatory condition was so severe that it is not unexpected that I have areas still out of normal range.
I was advised to take care of my health and avoid stressful situations. Needless to say the stress just kept coming.
I had cold symptoms for 2 weeks that started with a sore throat but mostly involved just a dry cough. I continued to work but towards the end of the first week of symptoms, the cold seemed to move to my right side; I had a swollen eye and my ear was plugged. Two days later my left eye also was affected. My eyes were red but it didn’t feel or look like pink eye so I continued to work through the second week with no improvement but no new symptoms. I was still running, swimming, socializing and found a new place to live for me and my girls for April 1.
Saturday night, February 22, I walked into our downtown and back (an hour total). It was 10 pm when I returned and I felt a bit chilled. It had been drizzling, I walked home quickly so just thought I was little sweaty and cooling down. I sat on the couch and put a blanket around me and then I got a bad headache, which is very rare for me. I found some Tylenol but it did nothing. Three hours later I took Ibuprofen. I was still chilled and shaking and thought I was definitely coming down with the flu.
I continued piggy backing between Tylenol and Ibuprofen getting no relief. I had no appetite all day Sunday and mostly slept but managed to have some soup Sunday night. It did not sit well. I called in sick for Monday. I slept 10 hours through the night and into the next morning. Monday at noon I tried to make a smoothie. I would get up from the couch and put one ingredient in the blender and have to sit back down because I thought I was going to pass out. I did this 3 times for each ingredient. My oldest daughter came home for lunch and blended it for me and brought it to me. I could barely drink it. I slept and then threw it up. I was not able to eat anything else after that and by Monday night I couldn’t even keep fluids down. I texted my boss that I was not able to come in Tuesday either.
Late Tuesday morning my boss contacted me to see how I was doing. I had slept 11 hours, had no energy or appetite and was still nauseous. I told him I thought I should go to the hospital. He offered to drive me. I told him that I thought I needed to call an ambulance because there was no way I could even sit up to be a passenger in his vehicle, i was still vomiting even though there was nothing in my stomach and I could not envision being able wall into the hospital and wait.
The paramedics tried to measure my pulse and oxygen level in the ambulance. They placed the oximeter on every finger and thumb of each hand and were not able to get a reading. They took my blood pressure when I arrived at Emergency and it was 82/51. My temperature was 38,3. A nurse was assigned to stay with me and she said she would not leave my side. They placed me in an isolation room, started IV fluids and they took blood. They moved me to another room where the doctor came and told me that I was a very sick woman. She said that my kidneys were shutting down. She said for a young woman like me that was very concerning and that I would have to stay in the hospital for at least a couple of days until they figured out what was going on. They started me on 2 different IV antibiotics.
I remained in Emerg for 11 hours. I texted my girls and my boss and then I had a long time to just lie and think. I thought about my life and was very grateful for the life I had been given and the life that I led. There was no one that I felt I had wronged and needed to apologize to or that there was anything left unsaid in any of my relationships. I was concerned for my girls and what they would do without me. We were moving April 1, would they still go; I hoped my ex would pay for their needs but I had my doubts and I wondered how they would pack everything themselves. I suspected my friends would step in and help. I wondered if my ex and Janice would move into my place and look after my girls but I doubted that. I was disappointed that I never did get the money my ex owed me and wondered what would happen to our court case; maybe my lawyer would carry through on behalf of my estate so she could get her bill paid, too. I wondered if anyone would step in to advocate on behalf of my youngest daughter to ensure she received from her dad everything that she needed and was entitled to receive. I knew there was nothing in him that would say, “I calculate that I owe your mom $117,000. I will provide each of you with half of that money.” Nope, he would be dancing on my grave and would not give up a dime without being ordered by a judge to do so.
These were all just thoughts that didn’t matter. They floated through my mind and left. I never wanted to leave my girls or leave them in a precarious position with a parent who didn’t want to parent but I was content to die. I was at peace. There was nothing I felt I still had to do. I tried my best to do what was right for me and my girls in the time that I was given and I did my best. I wondered if anyone at my volunteer job, as an advocate to help others fight poverty, would know what happened to me. I didn’t want them to think I just quit. I left all my unfinished business behind though and started to focus on the hope of seeing my parents, my grandmother, my dog who just passed in the summer and my pets before him and my very good friend who had just passed 2 months earlier as well as 3 other friends who were in my mind at that time. As sick as I was, I was ready to let everything on this earth go.
It is difficult to believe that it has been over a year since we applied to go to court and we still have no final resolution. This is the reality of dealing with a bitter ex who is not interested in resolving issues and dissolving the marriage. His behaviour from 7 years ago, when I first found out about his affair and we split immediately, has not changed. In all of his bluster, repeatedly admonishing at the end of each of his emails for me to move forward, he is the one who is stuck. He is either so damaged, broken and paralyzed that he cannot let go or he is just plain evil acting out against me and in spite of his children with vindictiveness, bullying, control, intimidation, anger and abuse of power. Whatever the reason, he is blind and cannot see.
When the final decision comes in, I will outline everything. It is a stark warning for any couple who cannot work out their differences fairly and honestly with the best interest of the children, and the partner who stays with the children as the primary caregiver, in mind.
We appeared before the judge at the end of January 2019. The judge released a partial decision in July. It is common for a decision to take up to 6 months. There are procedures in place if the decision has not been received by then but if you go to court don’t expect a quick outcome.
My ex was ordered to pay me $17,700 in back child support for our youngest child. He was also ordered to pay Canadian Revenue Agency $8544.84 directly under my name for tax debt that he caused me by claiming he paid spousal support when he did not.
The mediated agreement that was put in place in November 2014 is the biggest regret of my life. Part of that agreement allowed my ex to claim support he didn’t pay but he was required to pay any tax implication that claim created. He did not do it at the time it was incurred. He needed to be ordered to pay this by a judge and as a result there is a large amount of interest outstanding. That is an issue that I may now have to deal with in another court with a tax lawyer. Calculating daily interest back to 2015 is another, separate issue.
At the end of our court hearing in January 2019, my ex was also ordered to continue to pay me $8000/month for child and spousal support. This was the amount my ex voluntarily started to pay in December 2018 at the advice of his lawyer so he would not look as bad to the judge for not providing income information for the previous 3 years. He knew that his income had increased substantially. He had been paying $2728/month.
We will likely not appear before the judge again until the new year. I will go through the entire decision once it has been received in full. I think it will be helpful to anyone considering court. It should only be a last resort option for sure. The entire $17,700 that my ex owed for support for our child went directly to my lawyer and it only paid for 50% of my outstanding legal fee. Not to mention what I have paid in fees over the past 7 years and what my ex has paid.
It is clear that the financial burden of going to court is why many single parents left to care for their children are not able to hold their ex’s accountable for support payments. I think it is wrong for any spouse and parent to abandon their obligation to their family. My conscience compels me to stand up for myself and my girls. It would be a disservice to me, my children and to society as a whole who ends up burdened in social services costs and the consequences of poverty and lack of hope, especially with our youth. That is a whole other blog topic.
To say there was angst amongst our family prior to the grad is an understatement.
My grad daughter wrote a very mature group email to her dad and me simply expressing her wishes for the day and asking about the plans. Instead of responding to her direct questions my ex started to talk about me “suing” him; the “utter crap” I write in my blog; stating that I have “lied to the kids for years to gain favour”; that I have “lied for financial gain at (his) expense”; that “(his) parents are well aware of (my) actions and they have no interest in spending a second with (me)”; that “you are disgraceful and will never sit at a table with my family again.” There is much, much more but you get the gist of his rant.
On top of this, I went to his place in person to talk to him. He saw me and knew I was there yet he sent Janice to answer the door. I asked to speak with Dave and she said, “No!” She shut the door and walked away. I simply left. I have never gone to his place in 6 years to talk to him about anything. As soon as I got home my grad daughter texted me asking if I went to Janice’s place to “confront” her. Firstly, I didn’t know it was Janice’s place and that he moved in with her, neither did my kids. Secondly, confront her about what? Thirdly, my ex and/or Janice texted my child to involve her in something she didn’t need to know. He put our child in the middle yet again. They told my grad daughter that I only knew he moved in with Janice because I hacked into one of his accounts. Then they texted my younger daughter accusing her of brining me to Janice’s place. She knew nothing about it so now both my kids are terrified I am dying or something as they would never think I would go there unless it was a matter of life or death. Not only that, Janice Andrews called the police to report an “incident”. They wanted the police to call me to say that I wasn’t welcome at their place.
My kids were losing sleep, crying and extremely stressed over this entire grad fiasco. And yet when it was all over what does my ex write to both my children? This:
“Below was a post I read from a woman I’m a friend with on FB. Couldn’t have been said any better.
When Mike and I divorced things weren’t pretty, feelings were hurt, on both sides…one thing I knew was in-spite of how we ever treated each other, or how ugly things got between us…I took a vow on the day I got married…”in good times and bad”. The bad had happened we divorced our family unit split up…why should that vow cease to matter in divorce? Ego should never be bigger than the love for our children and what is best for them…we don’t have the right to make them uncomfortable, or choose, or see their other parent painted in a bad light fueled by our hate. I had an amazing day spent with my ex husband sharing “our” daughters graduation. Family came together… My ex Father in Law and Mike’s ex Mother in law and we sat after all of us and enjoyed a meal together and family photos…creating more memories for our daughter to take along with her for a lifetime. It was her day..she earned it, worked for it…and that’s why we were there to celebrate her and that our efforts combined as her mother and father helped get her there and not create unnecessary obstacles and emotional long term damage along that journey of her life. I am fortunate to have married a man that in divorce has been able to also put ego aside and love his daughter first and foremost and be a supportive ex husband and friend. Just because. Marriage ends a family does not…relationships don’t end, they change. Their dynamic changes…and we have to ask ourselves what you want that dynamic to look like and is my ego really more important than my child’s overall well being for a lifetime to come…do I want a life time hating and fighting and never winning battle. No body wins…not him, not me, not the children when you spread hate. Just because an ex may have been a bad wife, or bad husband doesn’t mean they are a bad parent…focus on rebuilding even better and not what was lost. Thanks Mike for being an amazing dad and friend!”
Janice Andrews responded: “Beautiful” with a heart beside it.
My kids did not respond.
My daughter graduated from university. My ex specifically tried to make it as strained and negative as he could for me failing to see how strained and negative he also made it for my children.
As previously shared, he planned a celebration; a celebration for him. There was no consideration of anyone else’s needs or wants; just his own. He insisted on being on the 9 am ferry to Vancouver the day before the grad. He refused to wait for my younger daughter to finish her first class at school, Math, her lowest mark. She could be picked up at 10 from school as soon as her class was finished but he told her she had to go with me because he wasn’t going to wait for the 11 ferry. He also told her I had to drop her off at his hotel for 4 p.m. She gave me a heads up about this a couple of days in advance and I made it very clear that I was not going to do that so she better make alternative plans with her dad. I was not allowing my ex to continue to think he could dictate to me what I was to do on his schedule without even asking me directly. I also made it clear I was no longer going to cover up for his behavior. The gig was up. At 21 and 17 years old, my girls are old enough to deal with the reality of their father. I was no longer serving any of us by trying to protect my girls from hurt feelings.
My ex would not even tell her where his hotel was so I could see if it even made sense for me to accommodate him. He only told her when we were in line for the ferry because he didn’t want me to stay at the same hotel. I explained that it was opposite to where I was going. I had dinner plans of my own with my 2 nieces and brother-in-law. Since my ex refused to allow me to be part of the my daughter’s graduation dinner I was certainly entitled to make alternate plans.
For 5 hours my daughter agonized and cried and was angry that he had no intention of picking her up from anywhere so she could meet them. She was angry at me that I wouldn’t drive her and she would not allow me to take her to the Skytrain to figure out how she could travel to get to her dad’s party. He finally told her at 3 p.m. that he would pay for a taxi for her to get to the patio where everyone was enjoying drinks. I took her to my hotel and arranged a cab.
The next day I arrived at my daughter’s campus at 7:30 a.m. for her 8:30 grad. My car died just when I arrived and had to be pushed into a disabled parking spot until after the ceremony. My grad daughter saw me and came over to say “hi” and to take a photo. She placed her wallet and tea on top of my car and then texted her friend to see what she should do with her phone during the ceremony. She ended up giving it to me and ran off to line up for her procession. My other daughter was texting me that she and her dad were in line and needed to know the ticket numbers so they didn’t use my ticket. I quickly threw my stuff in my car and went to meet them in line. I shared about my car trouble and my ex said, “It sucks to be you.”
I was surprised that my ex followed me so we could sit together. I asked him and my daughter which door we should enter and they didn’t care so I went to the one with the least traffic. We were directed to go to the end of the row so we were seated in the middle of a long row of people. The procession of faculty and honorees started and then the grads came in. We waved to my graduating daughter. She then signed to my younger daughter that she left her wallet on my car. My younger daughter failed to get the rest of the message. My grad daughter said it was no longer on my roof. My ex however insisted that I needed to get up immediately to go find it. I actually considered this but there was no way I could get out without major disruption and the ceremony was starting. He was livid I wasn’t going to go. I told him that he could go and I told him my car was right out front. He was so angry with this suggestion that my younger daughter was telling us both to be quiet to not discuss this further. My ex then called me “a giant turd”.
When the ceremony was over my ex left to find his parents and his girlfriend, the OW Janice Andrews. My younger daughter and I found my grad daughter in the rose garden and took pictures of her with her friends. When her grandparents appeared they were very cold towards me. I was the one that said “hi” to them first. I took pictures of them with my daughters using their camera. When my ex came he gave my daughter a card to call ‘Lost and Found’ about her wallet. It wasn’t there. She burst into tears. She was leaving the next day on a trip and had no ID, credit or debit cards now. I consoled her and said someone has it and it might just not have been turned in yet, not to give up hope and then I left to see if could do anything. The security guard that had helped me with my car saw the wallet and held on to it thinking it was mine. I brought it back to my daughter and we continued to take photos. While my grad daughter and I were having our photo taken I asked her if she would like a photo of her parents together with her and she said that would be nice. Her dad joined the photo and then so did her sister. I invited my ex’s parents to come in to the photo as well so she had a photo of her parents and grandparents but her grandmother instead said, “I would like a picture with Janice.” I left the photo and used my grad daughter’s phone to take those photos as well.
Afterwards, my younger daughter and I stayed on campus to await the tow truck and my grad daughter and her friend went back to her place by bus to pack for their trip. I was going to hopefully pick them up and take them to the ferry pending my car operating. My grad daughter texted me while we were waiting thanking me for being so nice to everyone. I told her that I always am nice to them but she is just never there to see it. When my ex, Janice and his parents come to my younger daughter’s dance or come to my house to pick her up I have never done anything or said anything. I have always been kind and courteous, took photos of everyone and even would take my mother-in-law to see my daughter back stage before her show.
Parallel Universe–see next post……