Unfinished business. If I speak it, maybe it is now finished. They say, “let go or get dragged.” So I spill the words out and then let go.
Stipulated Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is helpful but investment companies supersede the State of California. California says 50% for 34 years and 11 months of marriage. Big Investment Corporation says 38.5%. Go ahead and say it, “money doesn’t matter.”
Mr. Ex is agreeable to the 38.5% but will never pay a dime of the court-ordered spousal support. He lost his job within a month of the first court-ordered child and spousal support checks being delivered to me by the county. So, I’m wrong. He paid more than a dime of the spousal support. But he will not pay another dime.
Fortunately for us, one thing this county does quite well is follow the money of deserting fathers. Mr. Ex has moved along from job loss to unemployment to collecting Social Security. He claims to have some other irons in the fire but those would be under the table and I’ll never see any of that. Still, our youngest son will receive some support, not matter how Mr. Ex doesn’t like it.
The judge ordered Mr. Ex to pay the family law attorney. He will never. The divorce was finalized a year and two months ago and I’m continuing to pay the bill that was bloated by my naivety and his lack of cooperation.
In his own unique way of seeing things, Mr. Ex seems to think I may owe him something. He tracks my professional development site. I don’t have premium service, so I can’t block him. Every so often I have to see his face pop up when I click over to make a change or add something to that site. What does he hope to find? That I’m not one of so many PhDs scrambling for a full time position in this era of higher education? That I’ve landed some position and will morph into his goose with the golden egg?
What’s done is done. Or maybe that’s what is is.
But wait. There’s more.
Big Investment Corporation says that when Mr. Ex dies my portion of the retirement disbursement will cease. There’s a story here.
Back in 2006, when Mr. Ex now claims he was already well into the planned departure from this marriage, he lost his job thus taking a monthly disbursement of said retirement package. He came to me one evening and presented me with the paperwork. He showed me that he could take the full amount (he likes money, now picture Frito – Dax Shepard – in the film Idiocracy, saying that and you’ve got Mr. Ex) or he could take less. The second option would keep the check coming to me were he to die before I did.
Given that I had put my career objectives on the back burner to be Wifey, mainly at home with the eight kids and making him a comfortable nest to return to each evening, I believed him when he said he would chose Door Number Two and “take care of me.” He took care of me, alright.
It took me until a week or so ago to realize that he had signed us up for Door Number One. After two calls to Big Investment Corporation, I discovered that they have a signed form, with my signature and his, requesting that they send out the full amount, monthly, to be discontinued at his death. If I should die first, my portion will not go to the numerous children of Mr. Ex. They will revert to him. I guess he took care of me for sure.
The attorney who handled the QDRO tells me I should get a copy of the paperwork to see whether Mr. Ex forged my signature. And then we can take it from there. Sure. I live on subsistence wages. Like I can pursue legal options. I am choosing to look at this in these terms: not being part of the 2% simplifies my life. I cannot do anything about this. I can live the life I have, that’s all.
I do know what happened. I was well into my fourth decade with a con artist who forged and deceived his way through life. Sometimes he did it well; often he sucked at it. Sometimes the cons were petty; sometimes they were quite big (IRS big). I was acclimated to blindness and denial even when he sucked at it. What happened in 2006 was that I signed the paper before it was filled out. “I’ll finish it up at work tomorrow, babe, and we’ll be all set.” He sure did finish it up.
These days, I still sometimes find out the extent of my own blindness as I moved through life with Mr. Ex. It’s nothing like the initial broadsiding I took in 2011. The summer of 2011 knocked the breath out of me.
So here I am. Here on this minifarm of my own making.
What would I change now? I’d like to get rid of my bed. I want to take the marital bed out into the desert and use it to generate a huge bonfire. Burn it to dust. The one thing that allows me to wait peacefully until I can afford a new bed is that three of my children were born on that bed. I have a friend who immediately got rid of her bed when her sociopathic ex left with his lover of 20 years. It did her a world of good, she says. I’m sure I will be glad when I can do the same thing. Meanwhile, I prefer to think of it as the 20-something year old birthing bed.
I might want to move. I’m willing to sit with that one. Moving is tied up with work and kids and grandkids and farm issues. We’ll go there when we do.