Archive for July, 2008

Big D, little d

July 30, 2008

I’m learning much more about the legal system in the Wilds of Ohio than I’d ever intended, especially with respect to Divorce. Not that I haven’t dealt with blood sucking, money grubbing leech attorneys before (remind me to tell you that story sometime… *)

So I thought I’d share the process, both as an educational thing and to help me better understand it myself. I’m one of those people that learns better writing things down… often requiring numerous times doing so to really sink in.

The end result of a Big D—Divorce–or a little d—dissolution—is the same. The marriage is terminated and both now-ex-spouses are free to go their own ways. So why the different approaches?

With a Big D, each party** claims what they want out of the marital assets and the lawyers duke it out Mike Tyson-style in their smoke-filled offices and, ultimately, in the court room. Any disagreements in what asset goes to who results in countless hours of paperwork flying back and forth (which, with lawyers, immediately translates into money). If the disagreements are big and no one is willing to compromise, this can go on for quite some time and drain the bank account. Often, with smaller kids, you have no choice but to go the Divorce route.

So, what if both spouses (spice?) can agree up front? That’s the little d – – dissolution.

In a dissolution, both parties sit down like adults and compromise over each asset owned. Lawyers are not even actually required if you feel comfortable doing legal paperwork yourself. You list out all agreements, take them to court, and, when it’s your turn in front of the judge, he asks both husband and wife if they agree to the split of assets and to the termination of the marriage. With affirmatives on all questions from all parties, the dissolution… and the marriage… is done. Much quicker and, theoretically, much cheaper.

But, comma, if you pursue a dissolution and both adults (sic) cannot agree, it can go on interminably and painfully (and, if still supported by lawyers, costly). I’ve heard from friends and acquaintances on both ends of the spectrum… two of whom finished up in just a matter of weeks, while one is in the third year of their dissolution process.

Still, I’d like The Wife and I to avoid the Big D and work out a little d agreement. It will require compromise on my part and hers. That becomes an emotional issue, so, therefore, I’m not hopeful.

Cross your fingers or other body parts for me that we can work out a little d…

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On the really plus side? I went dancing tonight… my Native American name is “White Boy Dancing”, but i went to a local restaurant that had Latin dancing and danced… happily, smiling, lost in the moment, and, honestly?, not all that bad… there is hope, irrespective of the what i said in this post… there is hope. I. Had. A. GREAT. time. [Big smile]

=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
* And, no, I did not mean for you to immediately put in your comment below, “Hey, GnuKid, tell us that other attorney story…”. Yeah, I’m a spoilsport.

** I’m a little intrigued about use of the word “party” or “parties” when referring to the affiant and defendant in legal matters. It sort of implies that it’s a good thing–with hats, balloons, jello shots, dancing, ice cream, and maybe even a clown. In reality? It’s a bummer. Not a party at all.

Transitions

July 30, 2008

separated… on my way to a divorce… it’s lonely at night… i count the ceiling tiles in my motel room, pondering how to count the ones on the edges that aren’t a full tile… listening to the clock tick and the faucet drips to see if i can find a rhythm… hearing the neighbor peeing in his toilet, the walls being so thin… wondering whether my life will eve be normal again… HA! what is normal?…

Okay, enough of that tripe. And with apologies to all the cheesy writers and singers who used cheesy lines like that.

but, yeah, i’m in a motel to help defuse emotions while The Wife and i sort out the best way forward – divorce or dissolution. will talk more on that in a future post. i’m not finding i have enough time to lay around feeling sorry for myself and count ceiling tiles. well, for one, there are no ceiling tiles here. but, mostly, it’s because i still have stuff to do that keeps me busy and, admittedly, happy at times.

there’s the obligatory work. i still have to pay bills. but it is a distraction at worst and satisfying at best. then there’s the hunt for a new place to live. The Wife decided she wants to stay in the house, at least until the Daughter Person finishes university. i’ll likely find a temporary rental, then look for something more permanent (knowing full well, through recent experience, that “permanent” has no meaning other than “…for now”). then there’s exercise, even more necessary now that i’m eating out quite a bit more. that also means i’m more likely to cave in to desires for the unhealthy fast foods. thus, the exercise. biking, walking, and even Latin dance aerobics, which just makes me smile whenever i do them. and my friends are very supportive… here on the web, especially, but at work and play as well… i am blessed.

all will be fine… it’s just a transition from one phase of life to another. and trying to take care of myself in the process.

but, this is a cheap motel and i can hear the neighbor peeing in the toilet… [shaking my head]… ewww… at least i don’t have to listen to them having hot and noisy monkey lovin’… yet…

off to work and another day into my future…

Scammed

July 28, 2008

A side track from… or confirmation of (?)… “Who needs soap operas when you have real life?”

The GnuKid’s credit card was scammed.

No, it wasn’t The Spousal Unit. No way she could have… or, honestly, would have… acted that fast or vindictively.

Living here in the Wilds of Ohio, and for the past week in the opening round of a divorce, I got a call from a credit card fraud alert firm. Seems that my credit card was used five times at Wal-Mart to buy stuff… lots of stuff… in Florida.

For those geographically challenged or just unfamiliar, the purchases were made some 700 miles from where I live and work. About as far from London to Madrid… or Johannesburg to Cape Town… or Sydney to Adelaide…

Ah! I hear the Sally Sleuths and Doug Detectives amongst you saying, “Yes, but GnuKid has a pilot’s license and could get there in just a few hours!”

Damn, I would have gotten away with it were it not for you meddling kids…

Okay, not really. Besides having multiple witnesses in The Wilds of Ohio of my whereabouts throughout the day, I also have the credit card records showing I made purchases here as well. The point is, I’m not trying to scam the system… someone scammed me.

The weird thing, and the caution to you gentle readers, is that the credit card was swiped in Florida… no, not “swiped” as a synonym for “stolen”. “Swiped” as in a credit card was actually run through a card reader machine to make the purchases. Whoever did this had a duplicate card.

Yes, I checked that I still had my card in my possession. No, I don’t know how “they” [ominous music plays] got my card information and made a new card. No, neither does the fraud alert agency, though she did use the word “clever” in describing the perpetrators. No, neither does the credit card agency know for sure how this happened. Wild speculation is that there may be hand held card readers that can scan and store information just by brushing up against pants or purse (Yeah, I carry a purse… what of it?).

In other words – – – “Wah!!”

So, yeah… emotionally drained from the initial salvos of a divorce and I get to add this to the list of stuff to take care of…

Consider this a cautionary tale to any and all of you who have credit cards. Keep your eye on the bills, as the fraud alert folks don’t always. Be ready to cancel immediately if there are problems. If you do get scammed, put a fraud alert on your credit via the credit report people so that no one else can open an account in your name. Drink heavily and often to shield yourself from the reality of the shitheel assholes in the world who would steal.

And, yes, for those who are wondering… the main story line of my true-to-life soap opera continues on… check back…

The D Word

July 25, 2008

Despicable? Despondent?

Yeah, feeling all those too, but I’m talking the “Divorce” word.

…it has started…

I finally gathered up my courage, grew a healthy set of balls, thought of myself and my needs, and talked with The Wife. Actually, it didn’t go down quite that way. I’d set myself a goal of talking to her later in the week, to have the weekend to process and recover. But she walked in and asked, “I’ll ask once and then leave you alone… is there something wrong that you want to talk about?” A brief moment for some prayerful advice and request for strength, and we were off and talking.

Yeah, I’m still struggling with the long term habit of considering other’s feelings over mine. She was calmer than I expected. But, likewise, I obviously hurt her. Yes, she knew something was wrong—and for quite awhile–but not to the depth that I’d be leaving her without “talking it out and trying harder”. So, now, we grapple with the immensity of the divorce ahead of us (hopefully without either one of us feeling screwed over by the other).

Daughter Person and Boy Child notified, again painfully on my part. It was a surprise to neither of them. As expected, Girl Child was more emotional about it; Boy Child more matter of fact and accepting. It will take longer for her to process and resolve the news. But, I know they’ll both be fine in the long run.

Had to share one other tidbit… right after the talk with The Wife, I needed to talk to my brother and sister.

Called my brother first. He expressed his sorrow that I felt I had to come to this decision, but was very supportive and asked what he could do to help me. He offered to listen any time I needed someone to talk to. Then he asked me to pass along his love for The Wife as she goes through this process. Finally, he gave me some words of advice, words of hope, and words of strength to help me.

Called my sister. You may remember her from here . I gave my news. Details were added as the ‘conversation’ went on, but this was the basic extent (with a tiny, but not much, literary license on my part) of her side of the conversation:

“Wow… what is The Wife going to do?… wow… your Girl Child will be very upset by this news… wow… where will The Wife live?… wow… let me know what happens…”

[blink… blink… blink…] Yep…

So, now I struggle some more. I am absolutely convinced I did the right thing for my health and happiness. Yet, I do not like and feel badly for the hurt I have caused with this ‘right’ decision. And there’s this nasty legal process still ahead of me to get to the end of this phase of my life.

BUT… i did it… for me…

So… off to it… off to my new life…

Update – Assassin Squirrels

July 24, 2008

We interrupt the whimsical, comedic hit soap opera which normally airs at this time to bring you this serious news update to our Assassin Squirrel story – –

The Assassin Squirrel scourge is, unfortunately, still with us. However, an elite Homeland Security organization is taking steps to track down these furry terrorists and dispatch them. With swift and lethal action, this team is ensuring our safety and future livelihoods. God bless them…

The self-declared evil leadership responsible for the legion of Assassin Squirrels, purported to go by “UK”, could not be reached for comment.

We will keep you apprised of further updates to this important, serious news story.

…and now, back to the comedic stylings of GnuKid’s popular “Life’s Soap Opera”…

Health Issues – Recap

July 22, 2008

Yet another installment of “Who Needs Soap Operas When You Have Real Life” – –

Ed. Note: This post is written to wrap my own brain around all that’s been going on in my life the last 15 years. It is not intended to garner sympathy or validation from others (though I’d be lying to say I didn’t appreciate it). It’s really so I can recount my life experiences in order to validate my thoughts and move forward with my own life.

Okay, so let’s recap…

GnuKid’s marriage loses its heart and soul.

GnuKid and The Wife hit the counseling circuit, marriage and personal.

The Wife contracts leukemia.

GnuKid takes on caretaker role through leukemia treatment.

The Wife contracts toxoplasmosis.

GnuKid’s tenure as caretaker is extended.

Yep, that’s the quick summary of the last few posts (and some of you may be wishing I’d left it at that level of detail…tough, this isn’t about you…Nyaah!!).

The addendums: some other personal issues going on through this 15 year time frame which may have had a mild influence on my mental well being (presuming there was any to begin with)—

GnuKid’s left eye gets a detached retina. They have to pop it out, freeze dry the rips to keep them attached, put a band around the ol’ eyeball, and put it back. My vision is saved, but my prescription goes way up.

Most likely due to stress, GnuKid develops a bad case of Urticaria (otherwise known as “Hives”). Swelling (and not in the good place), itching, and general misery. This lasted about three months, during which there were quite a few meds.

GnuKid’s right eye gets a detached retina. First fix attempt is to pump a huge gas bubble into the eye to hold the rips against the eyeball, requiring me to lie face down for 48 hours. When that doesn’t work, they resort to lasers, welding the rips back into my eyeball.

Mom passed away.

GnuKid is diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart which reduces its effectiveness. (See? I knew I had a big heart.) Luckily, in my case it is mild and its effects are controlled with exercise and diet.

One of the hives medicines, a steroid, resulted in my developing nasty ass cataracts, first in my left eye, then a few months later in my right. Both cataracts removed surgically… thankfully on separate occasions. (On a good note to this, the doc inserted intraocular lenses which meant no more glasses [other than reading glasses which I would’ve ended up with anyway]! And, it adds a certain twinkle to my eyes as well!).

And you already know about my sister’s lung cancer (remission) and my brother’s brain cancer (still fighting)…

So… I think I’m quite ready for some health and happiness in my life, thank you very much – – –

 

Health Issues – Recovery

July 21, 2008

“Who Needs Soap Operas When You Have Real Life” continues – –

While still working towards the leukemia remission, the wife was also recovering from the toxoplasmosis talked about in the last post, which gave her stroke-like symptoms. She worked on doing better at the mundane tasks of daily life, but her real goal was to be able to drive again [blood runs cold here still]. Let me say that again… with problems with memory and controlling her right arm, hand, and leg, she wanted to drive again…

She convinced herself that all she needed to do was get a new pair of glasses to fix her vision and she would be cleared to drive. Not true, unfortunately. The challenge was getting basic skills relearned.

An example of the memory issues–while away on a business trip one time, I got a call from the Girl Child. “Mom drove today.” Undisguised panic and anger ensued from the GnuKid. Seemed The Wife ‘remembered’ that her oncologist (no, not her neurologist) had said she was good to drive. GnuKid called the oncologist who categorically denied giving any such approval. Rather, he confirmed that was the neurologists call. Once calm and home, I had to ask three times before The Wife would agree not to drive again before getting the neurologists okay.

Neurologist demanded therapy and training for that approval, not to mention the need to equip the family van with hand controls. Getting The Wife to practice her therapy was challenging to say the least. Girl Child was particularly Mom-like in getting her own mother to “do her chores”. There was improvement… slowly and not without understandable trauma. Some of the trauma was in the form of emotional outbursts at not being able to do things as easily as before. Other trauma was associated with relearning other daily tasks, for example, knife-sliced fingers or burned hands as she relearned her way around the kitchen.

While I thought I’d, thankfully, seen the last of the high school parking lot where Boy Child and Daughter Person did hour upon hour of driving practice on the way to their licenses, I found myself out there again with the Spousal Unit. Every practice found me gritting my teeth.

Finally, the neurologist approved her to attempt the driving test. After our last session of practice in the parking lot, I was convinced she wouldn’t be able to pass the test, but still deathly afraid she would. Off to the state license test facility. She left with the examiner and came back 15 minutes later in tears… I felt bad for her, but was secretly glad she wouldn’t be on the road. Imagine my shock and surprise, then, when I found the tears were of joy for passing her test. And more shock when she told me she’d actually flunked, but the examiner took pity and let her retry parts of the test.

But, on the positive side, this also meant she was returning to self sufficiency. Still a ways to go, she was nonetheless making progress. She could drive, she could shop, she could cook… basics for living.

Now, I’ve heard that some couples find that under the stress of a shared challenge they regain lost love and can renew their relationships. I actually was looking for that… and never found it. I felt like, and remain to this day, a caretaker of a sick person who happens to live with me.

Maybe not so obviously, but this also added a worry to my wanting to leave the relationship. Here I am, contemplating leaving a partially disabled woman. Not severely handicapped, but still… can I live with that (knowing full well she’ll be taken care of financially, if not emotionally).

It has been almost 14 years since the audible pop… almost 9 years from my finally deciding to go… a bit shy of 9 years since her leukemia diagnosis, 7 years since the toxoplasmosis; Continuing to deal with short term memory issues, stubbornness, and other recovery issues. All the while still struggling with my own demons of worry – about the kids, about what family and friends will think, about taking a chance again to be happy…

…but it is time…