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?
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.
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.
I had two court dates scheduled in November and December 2018 to pursue money owed to me by my ex. Both dates were adjourned and we are now scheduled to proceed on Monday, January 28, 2019.
It is interesting to me that the word of the year for 2018, as chosen by Merriam Webster dictionary was in fact “Justice.” Apparently the search for this word increased by 74%.
In keeping with the theme, I just returned home from watching the movie Serenity starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Matthew’s character just happened to be trying to catch a monster tuna fish that he named “Justice”.
Here’s hoping I finally catch this fish!
Oh, the sentimental cliché that was uttered to me by my mother-in-law in the weeks following her realization that her son had in fact been cheating on me with another woman and had walked away from me and our children to pursue a relationship with Janice Andrews.
Fast forward 5 1/2 years and in that time there has been one phone call by my mother-in-law with my father-in-law on the other end and they brought me a birthday gift when they were in town 4 months later to see my daughter dance. Then…crickets. I reached out once by email to my in-laws, including my brother-in-law, about my ex’s disturbing behavior and my concern but no response. They have been to visit their son at least once/year and never once have they called or wanted to see me. I have seen them in passing at my daughter’s dance recitals during their visit but that was it. My father-in-law, in particular, especially during his visit this year, was extremely cold.
Two things got me thinking about this phrase. Firstly, I had coffee this morning with a friend of mine in her late 70’s and her husband in his 80’s. I have know their son and daughter-in-law for over 20 years. Their daughter-in-law had an affair on their son over a year ago and destroyed their marriage. There is no chance of reconciliation. Yet, even though their son was betrayed (and the details and consequences for him as a result of the affair were severe–he lead a church and lost his job) have indicated she will always be their daughter-in-law and they have proven it by continuing to have a close and personal relationship with her. My friend told me, “I forgive her.”
We talked about another couple that we both know, who are my age with 2 girls the same age as my girls. They are part of our little circle of church connections who migrated to Vancouver Island at the same time and who have also recently split. She told me that my girlfriend told her mother-in-law (we are also friends with her mother and father-in-law) she was so afraid she would lose her in the split. Her mother-in-law replied, “You will always be my daughter-in-law” and they continue to hike and kayak together even though her mother-in-law has fallen into a deep depression over the split and also as a result of her husband’s recent Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis.
My friend asked me this morning if I had a relationship with my in-laws. They had met them at our house during one of their visits. I told her that I did not. She was sorry. I didn’t cheat on their son so why did they betray me too? Why is that my friend is still able to embrace the daughter-in-law who has hurt her son and grandchildren and the rest of their family so cruelly and my in-laws don’t care about the mother who is trying so hard to raise their grandchildren despite everything their son has done to tear apart their lives.
Secondly, my ex sent me a bizarre email. This was a comment that he wrote at the end of a long rant about something completely unrelated:
“Do you think (my mom’s name) would act or request the things you do? She was selfless and always acted with kindness and regard for others. She always made a point of being inclusive when others were trying to exclude, such as (my brother-in-law’s name). You should try acting and honouring your mother rather than being the antithesis of everything she was and stood for.”
I have no idea why my ex suddenly brought my mom into his email and I was trying to understand why he was feeling excluded. He is correct that even after my sister and her husband separated my mom invited my brother-in-law to every birthday and special occasion dinner. It caused tension sometimes, especially for my sister, but we all see now how beneficial it was to everyone in the family in the long run and how amazing my mom was to put her relationship with my sister on the line to do what she felt was right and loving for her grandchildren especially but for the family as a whole because we are all still family. My mom practiced love and would have without a doubt, if she was here, done the same for my ex. I don’t think, however, he would have had the courage to step into her circle of love. A lot of my family did reach out to my ex after our split but he didn’t answer or return any of their calls. My girls have asked him to do things with me and them together but he has always refused. I told my ex, I would do things with him and our girls and put everything aside for those moments they needed for their well-being but he would not even try. He excluded himself. If he loved my mom so much as he claims that he did, why isn’t he honouring her by acting the way he says she acted. He loves to tell me what I “should” do and hold me to some standard while ignoring it himself. It is he who is the “antithesis”.
When I told my ex that I had no understanding of his comments about my mom and his feelings of being excluded in context to his email subject he responded:
“You’re exactly right you don’t understand. My point was that your mother didn’t take sides. She didn’t get caught up in the politics. She didn’t hold grudges. She didn’t try to paint people in a negative light. She looked for ways to try and draw people together despite difficult and challenging life situations. (My brother-in-law’s name) was a perfect example. He didn’t pay a dime of child or spousal support. Your sister didn’t want him around for family functions but your mother would always invite him. Make sure it was about the children and there being able to spend time with their Dad. Despite the fact that she may not have agreed or been happy with (my brother in-law’s name), she never spoke negatively in front of the kids and was trying to make the best of the situation. Completely opposite of what you have chosen to do.”
He praises my mom’s behavior but it is the complete opposite of what he and his family have done. I have no intention of ever doing anything with Janice Andrews but I have offered on many occasions to do the “family” thing for my girls. Maybe my ex should be sending his praise of my mom’s nature to his parents. After all, it was his mom that told my daughter this summer, “Your mom will always be our daughter-in-law but your dad is our son.” In reality her words are backed up by “Your mom will always be our daughter-in-law but we choose to wish the mistress Happy Birthday on Facebook instead.”
My ex treats both kids the same. No favouritism for letting them down. If it doesn’t work for him, they can forget it. I thought because I just posted about his treatment of my youngest daughter, I would share what happened 2 weeks ago with my oldest daughter preparing for back to university.
My ex would not help move our 20 year old daughter back to Vancouver over the long weekend as he had plans but said he was going over to Vancouver the next weekend with Janice Andrews to see the Foo Fighters in concert so he could drop off her stuff then.
On Sunday night, I suggested that he come over during the next couple of days while our daughter was still here so she could give him all the boxes that she wanted sent. I was taking her to the ferry on Wednesday morning so he still had 2 full days to make plans to get them from her and Monday was a holiday so he wasn’t working. I suggested that way he didn’t have to make any plans with me and could stick with his own schedule to get over to Vancouver plus they were calling for rain that morning.
“Thank you for the passive aggressive email (my name) where you try to dictate and control when people do and don’t do things.
….In case you may have forgotten, I’m offering to assist (older daughter) in delivering her belongings to her residence. I’m sure if you’re not around, you can leave them out front for me to pick up. You have lots of other items sitting out front that don’t seem to have any weather related issues.
I’ll be having dinner with (daughter) tomorrow and will pick the items up at that time, otherwise if that doesn’t meet with “your schedule”, you can deliver them yourself.”
Well I didn’t see his email until the next night. It was our younger daughter who told me that afternoon that he was coming that night. Of course Wednesday night was the one night I had plans (that is the night my ex usually has dinner with my daughter so that is the only night I make plans). I told my daughter to text her dad that I could be back by 8:45 p.m. to give him the boxes but he would not wait so my younger daughter, thinking she was being helpful, put all the boxes out for him. She realized afterwards that she had missed the 2 most important boxes that my daughter needed with her as they were upstairs and the other boxes were downstairs. She told her sister that her dad didn’t have room to take them. My older daughter was very upset so contacted her dad that she really needed those boxes. He didn’t even know they existed so he texted my younger daughter back furious that she lied saying he didn’t have room for the boxes. She said that she was “joking” and apologized. He sent her the following text:
“(daughter’s name) while I appreciate you apologizing I don’t for a minute think it was a joke. You didn’t want to take responsibility for forgetting and I’m sure you did or were going to tell Mom that story which is really unfair because you know she’d be upset at me when I had no knowledge of those boxes.”
I didn’t care about any of this. I only cared about getting the 2 main boxes to my older daughter and I was also hoping to get a Rubbermaid bin returned to me that my daughter put out by mistake.
My email that night:
“I am only seeing your email now and didn’t know you were planning on coming on Wednesday to pick up her boxes. It was the only evening this week that I was not able to be home until 8:45 p.m. When (our daughter) told me you were getting the boxes I told her that I would be home at that time to give them to you.
There are 3 very important boxes that still need to go to (our daughter). Two have more than $300 worth of food and necessities and are open (Costco Boxes) so I don’t want to leave them on the driveway. There is another box of her belongings here as well that she wants you to take over. The only thing I have on the driveway is waterproof and if it does get wet it doesn’t matter. These items of (our daughter) in cardboard boxes will be ruined and spoiled if they get wet and I certainly don’t want anyone to take them. (Younger daughter) gave you one box by mistake. I need the Rubber Maid container that has her microwave in it. It was supposed to come out of the container. I just kept it in that so it wouldn’t get rusted outside. I have no storage space here and you refused to allow her to store anything at your place.
Also, please help her move her bed. She told me that you said, “No”. Please be helpful to her as she has asked around and can’t get anyone to help her. That is the only thing that she needs your help to move. She even offered to rent a U-Haul to get it to her place but she needs your help to move it. It is just a bed and easy to lift, certainly between the 3 of you, but she needs help to do it and needs a larger vehicle to do it.
It is your weekend with (our younger daughter) so I trust you will be taking her to dinner on Friday night since you will be gone on Saturday and Sunday. I will make sure that I will be here to give you the 3 boxes and if you can kindly return the Rubber Maid bin for me that would be very much appreciated. If you plan on bailing on (younger daughter’s name) on Friday night, too, then please come by on Saturday before you go to the ferry and I will see if I can put the groceries into smaller (bags…). They are calling for rain so I can’t leave them out before.”
Silent treatment. I sent this email in follow up:
“If you had have just extended me the courtesy of arranging a convenient time for us both to pick up (older daughter’s name) boxes I would have made sure you had the correct boxes. You have taken boxes that were not meant to go and you have left important boxes here. It is supposed to rain on Saturday so I can not leave boxes for you on the driveway and I need to take out the boxes that weren’t meant to go. I have plans on Saturday morning but obviously these boxes are imperative for(daughter) to receive so please let me know what time you can come by here on Saturday before you go to the ferries to exchange and get the correct boxes.
It is your weekend with (younger daughter) so I trust that you will be having dinner with her on Friday and we could even make the exchange then.”
I didn’t receive a response. The next morning I had an appointment downtown. I had no desire to go to his office but in an effort to make this easy for him I sent the following email:
“I have an appointment downtown this morning…I will text you as I don’t have email access on my phone. If you are going to be in the office let me know and you can come down and move the items to your car. The boxes are way too heavy and big for me to take up the stairs to your office. Hopefully you will have my Rubber Maid container as well to give me.”
I’m not getting caught up in the ridiculousness of your last 3 emails.
I told you I was coming Wednesday to pick up the belongings. I work full time, I don’t have the luxury of going to Sidney and spending an hour out of my day to run around because you messed up what is or is not to go over to (older daughter).
There were boxes that were neatly set up on the driveway when I got there last night. I packed all of those boxes in my vehicle. If you put out the wrong boxes, or failed to put out others you wanted to go that is your issue. I have no more space. I do not have the time to drive to Sidney nor do I have the time to deal with you today on this issue. I’m headed out to Metchosin and will be on the Westshore the majority of the day. I’m in a golf tournament tomorrow, the same brokers tournament I’ve been in for the last ten years so I do not have time tomorrow. As well, (younger daughter) has known for several weeks that we aren’t getting together because of that.
I’m on the 9am ferry on Saturday. If (older daughter) doesn’t have what she needs, I will take her shopping or give her money to do so. It’s not the end of the world. She can get these things either next time she is over, or (boyfriend) can take things over in his vehicle as I’m sure he will go over and see her at some point. Or maybe you’ll feel the need to see where your daughter lives and go yourself.
So save your time and don’t contact me about this again.
Just a reminder, you’ve been blocked from my phone for well over a year so your texts will not be received.”
Now this is where I thought his response was odd. He knows that our younger daughter put the boxes out, not me. He sent her a text prior to this email admonishing her for forgetting to put out some boxes and then lying and telling our daughter her dad just didn’t take them because he didn’t have room when he instead he just didn’t know they were there. Now he is saying he doesn’t have room to take them and thinks I put them out and made the error?
I didn’t put any boxes out. I did NOT know you were coming. I was not here at all during the day and just got home last night at 8:45 p.m. When (youngest daughter) texted me that you were coming I told her to tell you that I couldn’t be back until 8:45 p.m. She obviously took it upon herself to try and put (older daughter’s) things out but she forgot some items and gave you my rubber maid bin by mistake. I didn’t know you weren’t seeing (younger daughter) on Friday either. She doesn’t tell me anything about whether you bail on her or not anymore. It is old news. I only know when I have to drive her or pick her up because you made alternative plans.
This is a huge waste of money if you don’t take the food that she wants to take over to Vancouver and a waste of time for her to have to go and try to replace it. Some items are refrigerator items. She needs her bedding and the things in her printer box. You might have money to waste but I do not. I can’t afford to go over to Vancouver and spend $200 in travel expenses to take her $200 in food. (Plus I have to arrange for someone to let the dog out when I am gone all day) You are going over so please come and get her things. I highly doubt your vehicle is full and can’t take a few more things. You can take the items out of the boxes.
(Daughter’s roommate’s) dad drove up from Seattle to move her into (older daughter’s) place last minute. They took 5 trips to bring her stuff back and forth. You aren’t going out of your way at all to stop by here on the way to the ferry and you are acting like you have to drive across the country.
You can use blocking me on your phone as an excuse all you want. It only shows the judge that you will do anything you can to avoid being needed for something for your kids or having to do something.”
I contacted my older daughter to give her a head’s up that it did not look like her dad was going to bring all of her things to her, especially the items she needed the most. I then emailed my ex with her reaction and response:
“(our daughter) is very upset you can’t stop by my place first to get the things she very much needs and wants. (Her boyfriend) never takes his car over as it is too expensive. These are not things she can carry on the ferry back with her either.”
His Response and this is when it becomes clear this is more about trying to punish me than it is about doing anything for our daughter:
“I’m not playing this game with you. As stated, I’m not coming to your house. I’m not going to have anything to do with someone who is actively and continuing to make attempts to attack me by email, telephone calls, online etc. I’m not putting up with your ongoing behavior, harassment etc. I do not have room for her food end of story. Ask (youngest daughter), she saw what my vehicle looked like and I have my own personal belongings and Janice’s to take as well. It’s not my issue that you didn’t have things ready. I told you when I was coming and if you didn’t read my email or have things ready to go that isn’t my fault, that’s yours. You tried to make this difficult by demanding when I was or wasn’t going to pick things up. I have a job. I work 6 days a week and I have a life that does not include you. I’m not jumping when you demand. I have come to the house when I stated and picked up what was left for me to take. If that isn’t sufficient, you can drop off the comforter and sheets to my home and leave them at the back under the awning and I will pick them. Anything else that is left there that does not fit in my vehicle will be thrown in the garbage regardless of what it is. My home is not your dumping ground.
What (our daughter’s roommate’s) Dad did or didn’t do has nothing to do with me. I don’t have the luxury of being told the day before that (our daughter) needs to move to cancel my appointments and go to Vancouver. Rather than point the finger at me, why didn’t you take the initiative and do something about it? You don’t work, you could have easily gone to Vancouver and assisted (daughter’s name) at any time. Rather than point the finger at others and question them, take a look in the mirror and ask what you could do.”
“You are ridiculous. You chose the one day of week that I wasn’t home until 8:45 p.m. I offered to accommodate you at that time but you made (our youngest daughter) bring out boxes instead before I could be there. Now, you want me to pack up the rest of (older daughter’s) things and drive them to your place and leave them where you want and then anything else that doesn’t fit in your vehicle you are going to throw out? What kind of father are you? You have an extra bedroom at your place that you said was there in case the girls ever decide to stay at your place, with nothing in it, and you won’t even store (older daughter’s) things there? That is why I am pointing out to you what (daughter’s roommate’s) dad did. Now compare that to what you are saying you will do.
I contacted you this morning the only way you will allow, by email, and told you I was driving downtown today to an appointment. I offered to drop off the rest of (older daughter’s) stuff to you. I could have left the stuff at your place today. Then I followed up when I was on my way downtown and spoke with your secretary who said that you were in. You wouldn’t take my call so I left a voicemail and you still didn’t have the courtesy to call back and offer a solution for (daughter’s) belongings. I told you I could be here tonight and Friday night but you wont’ make an extra trip this way? You are coming right by here on your way to the ferry. Literally a 1 minute detour for you and you say I am being difficult with demands? Yes your life does not include me but it should include your girls. Unfortunately, you also seem to think that my life should include you and I should continue to jump through your hoops and wait around on your schedule.
This has NOTHING to do with me. This is for (older daughter’s name), your daughter! I have a million grievances against you. Your inability to help meet the needs of your children is just one of them and this a perfect example of your controlling behaviour that makes zero sense.”