Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thanks for Giving me Something to Write About?

Because the economy sucks and the housing market sucks and life sucks, I'm not going to be able to sell my house since I owe more than what it will sell for. Not to mention the fact that houses are on the market for a good year or more around here. My options are limited now and it just sucks.

While cleaning out and decluttering, I found a box of Joe's stuff (high school yearbooks, photo albums of his baby pictures, etc.) According to the divorce agreement, everything left here is mine. He took what was his and made no accommodations to retrieve anything else. I considering having a bonfire, and burning him in effigy. I also thought about writing up stories with all the details of his horribleness and listing the items on eBay. In the end, I opted to text him and let him know I had a box of his stuff if he wanted to come pick it up. That was my good deed for the year.

He stopped by on Saturday, handed me some papers because he's apparently taking me to court, trying to get his obligation to pay child support modified instead of being responsible, getting a job and paying more than $0 a month to help support his six children. Then, he took his box of stuff, yelled at me for throwing out one of the kids' broken old toys that he suddenly wanted to give his niece, and left without a word to the kids. He didn't say a single word to any of them. He didn't ask to see any of them. Nothing. Later, he texted me that it just never occurred to him to say hi.

What kind of parent does this?! What kind of parent goes months (years, in some cases) without seeing the kids and then doesn't even bother to say hello? I'm just floored by his selfishness. I can't fathom any parent acting like this. I just can't wrap my brain around such behavior.

Then today, he texts and out of nowhere, asks me if I can drop the kids off to see him later this week. Well, we already have plans then, and honestly, Brooklyn is the only one willing to see him now. Lexi and Brooklyn have been the only ones who don't hate him, but after leaving without a word to Lexi, he just alienated her. The rest of the kids have had enough of his behavior. They see how he's left them. They're not stupid. They're done with him. It's only a matter of time until Brooklyn sees through his bs, as well. There's no more of me making excuses for him and trying to convince the kids that he loves them. I don't talk about what a deadbeat he is, but no longer do I try to cover up what he's doing to them. He's made his choices and has pushed the kids as far away as he can. Only time will tell if they'll ever have any kind of relationship at all.

When I told him that I didn't think we'd be around for me to drop the kids off and that Brooklyn was the only one who would even want to go, he blamed it on me. He said that "my opinions of him made it difficult for him to focus on the kids". Oh sure, because I think he's a deadbeat loser, he can't focus on the kids. The fact that the reason I think he's a deadbeat loser is BECAUSE he abandoned the kids, doesn't matter in his little world. Of course, he's always blamed everything on me. It was my fault he got his third DUI this summer because if I hadn't divorced him, he wouldn't have had to go out drinking. It was my fault he spent thousands of dollars a month at strip clubs because I drove him to do it. It's my fault he lied to me constantly for 20 years.

So now I'm considering my limited options as far as my house is concerned while trying to ignore the insanity that is my ex-husband. And, of course, most importantly, trusting God to get us through this, and showing my kids every day just how much they're loved. Most days, I get up and keep on going, without any problems. I know that even the most stressful, hopeless-seeming situations are only a drop in the bucket. While in their midst, it's easy to get discouraged and give up hope. It's easy to be overcome with fear. But I know, in the end, one day, when the tough times have passed, I'll look back and see that it was just that - a small section of my life that had tough times. Nothing more.

Of course, other days, I want to lie in bed and cry. Thankfully, those days are few and far between!

When I first got a copy of the book, Pearl Girls (it's a great book compiled by Margaret McSweeney, filled with essays by some of the most awesome Christian women writers AND with all proceeds going to charity), I read through the stories. Many of them brought me to tears. I thought, Wow, these women have really been through some trials in their lives! Then I got to my silly essay and I thought, Nothing bad has ever happened to me. I admit I was a little sad that I had nothing profound to write because nothing bad had happened. Now, I'm pleased to know that I'll have a great story of triumph because I am going through some really rough times now. Okay, no I'm not. I'm not pleased at all. I'm kicking my butt because, clearly, I jinxed myself by saying that nothing bad had ever happened to me! What the heck was I thinking?!!! In the future, if I ever get the notion that nothing bad has happened to me, I'm simply going to say, "Praise the Lord! Thank you!" and be done with it!

38 comments:

Krys72599 said...

You are SO not alone. My sister's ex owes over $150 in child support.
Their divorce was final 10 years ago. His kids are now 20 and 18. My 20-year-old nedphew would love to have a relationship wit his dad but except to call and say "I don't want you to hear this from someone else, but I'm in Riker's Island because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," there have been a grand total of, oh, 5 phone calls in 10 years? And he doesn't call his 18-year-old daughter at all, who wants nothing to do with him. He had the nerve to put me down as a job reference at some time in the past (without my permission); every once in a while I get a call looking for him. I tell whoever it is that "if you find him, he owes my sister $ and there's a bench warrant out for his arrest and he'd better remove MY name from wherever it is and if you find him call the police." Usually those people don't call me back....

Sara said...

I just wanted to say I am sending hugs and prayers for you and your family. We had to move for work recently from the Chicago area, and I am sure you don't need me to rehash all of the bad options we had when selling our house. Your amazing faith and the love of your kids will get you through this.

Raevyn said...

unfortunately, he will ALWAYS blame you for his actions. My father STILL blames my mother & grandmother for "turning his children against him", more than 30 years after the divorce, almost 20 years after my grandmother died, and almost 9 after Mom died. The saddest part is that he has missed out on knowing his 2 oldest grandsons, and virtually all of his children, and the 3 grandchildren he has gotten to know spend as little time as possible with him because he is nuts & they've long been aware of it.
Your children know that they are your priority, and in the years to come they will know that YOU are the one they can count on.
God doesn't ever give us more than we can handle (though sometimes I wish he didn't have so much faith in my abilities so I wouldn't get the tests I do ;)), and He'll get you and the kids through it, somehow.

John said...

My step-daughter's mother was one such parent. I came into her life when she was 12, and she'll be 21 in a month. I cannot tell you how many broken promises, downright lies, and just hurtful crap she put her own daughter through for those years that I've been here. My husband assures me it's gotten BETTER since she was little. He had full custody for a reason. As a mother to my own 2 and helping raise my step, I would always ask "what kind of parent.." and the answer is always "THAT one." A BAD one. Her mother still blames my step kid for how SHE acted, and shows up only for the high drama moments: graduations, birthdays and soon-to-occur wedding. But my kid had her pegged a loooong time ago. I don't know that it ever stops hurting, but I do think having even ONE strong, loving person can overcome a whole lot of damage by one of THOSE parents. Prayers and love your way, hang in there.

ckbentle said...

Would it be possible to rent your house for the mortgage amount each month and then find something cheaper and smaller for your family? Just an idea!

Laura~peach~ said...

hugs Dawn, he is reaping what he has sown, and unfortunately the kids are the ones who suffer most for it... but Thank God for you and the internet because they have people they have never met who love them and pray for them and you daily.
Hang in there momma you are good and your kids see and feel your love :)

The Gibson's said...

So what are your options? Can you modify your payment to stay? Or will you let the house go? I hope that you can find a solution that works for your family. And WOW what an idiot that ex of yours. I feel sorry for your children because that is so unfair.

C and E said...

Honestly, WTF is wrong with this man?! Thank God you are not in that relationship anymore! Stay strong and best wishes!

~Erica

Suburban Correspondent said...

They teach MBA's in business school that "rational decisions ignore sunk costs." So it may still make sense to walk away from the house if it is costing you too much in upkeep.

Hmmm....maybe you could find some older Austrian widower with kids who needs a governess and teach them all to sing and...

Mom Taxi Julie said...

((Hugs))

ashley nicole said...

I don't know if you've looked into it, but you could try a short sale. I don't really know much about them other than it's selling your house for basically what is still owed on it.

My dad had to sell his house that way because of a few things, and luckily, his house sold quickly. That was probably due to the school district he lived in and the fact that the house was in really good condition.

Sorry for all the rambling. Good luck with everything! From what you write, it sounds like in the end everything is going to work out for the seven of you. :)

Terri said...

Hey Dawn,

Have you talked to your bank about mofifying your loan? Maybe they can streamline it for you or something. I know there is a site where you can look up your loan and find out if it is "owned" by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. We did that and were able to drop our payments by over $400/month. With Obama's "making housing affordable" there must be some program you can get on.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry Joe is such a horrible guy. I cannot even IMAGINE a sperm donor (he doesn't deserve the word "father") behaving that way towards his children. Really - and then if that's not bad enough, he says it didn't OCCUR to him?!?!?! No words. Very sorry about the house, too. :( :( You have a great attitude and you're right, you are going to make it through this and have an even more powerful ministry than you already do...but that doesn't help how bad things are now or how you feel. Will be praying - hang in there.

Cheryl said...

Can you put your house in a management company and rent it out to cover the mortgage and then you rent somewhere cheaper?

And let me blow some sunshine up your skirt. Isn't the worst day with these struggles better than the days with DUIs, lies, stripclubs and ragers? XXX - those are hugs right, don't want to overstep my bounds ;)

Katie Lee said...

I am so sorry about your ex-husband. I cannot even comprehend his behavior. It is totally inexusable and very very sad.
Have you tried refinancing instead of selling? If your house is worth less than you bought it for, it's worth a shot.
I have confidence you will sort this all out because you are so tough.
I will be keeping you in my thoughts.

haggardmom said...

A number of colorful phrases describing what Joe has done to you and especially the kids, came to mind when I read this. However, I am sure you've thought all those things before. :-)
You're always in my thoughts, Dawn. I sure hope things turn around soon.

Anne said...

Dawn.. you are an amazing Mom doing right by her kids! Hang in there! Remember.. "don't let the turkeys get you down! (or is it chickens?) Sounds like your ex is a real turkey (or more like a jacka**).

Notsopc said...

I really hope that things turn around for you..Lotto is up to 250 million, I played three tickets, and like before if I win, I'll help you out. You just seem like a nice person.. And a mother not seeing her child, here's one. My husband's mom hasn't talked to my husband in 16. years. All for something so stupid.. and my husband is a pretty decent guy. amazes me... Hope things get better for your kids.. Thoughts are with you!!

Amanda Armstrong said...

When I read your post, I think about the book of Job. For all of us, when we are in the middle of our own hell, it is good to look towards someone who has been through that in a biblical sense and relate that to our lives.

You do seem to have amazing strength to get up and carry on each day as if it is a normal day. I will pray for you to have continued strength - as much as you need to survive and thrive!

a blogger said...

I'm a teenager and I came across this blog a few weeks ago. The absence of your kids' dad struck a chord with me. My parents haven't been together since before I was born, and I still haven't met my older siblings from my dad's side. So while the situation is completely different, I know how it feels when someone who is supposed to be important in your life just isn't there. Sending all of you love. x

Amy said...

Just keep trusting in God Dawn. My ex's latest insanity has him blocking my kids from him on fb after spending days on his page whining about the lack of relationship he has with them and how I "brainwashed" them. Because of course it all has nothing to do with 7 years straight on absolutely no contact- no calls, no cards, no nothing or the 64 grand he owes in child support or the fact that he's out on bond for dealing cocaine to an undercover police officer.

You're doing the hard thing- being a single parent. Your kids will be fine and you'll find your family grows closer as you make it thru this together. Sending hugs and prayers

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings said...

I am praying for you...lifting you up!! Praying for peace that surpasses all understanding!

Lisa said...

It wasn't the kids' fault that their father lost his job, got a DUI and hasn't bothered to become legally employed again and that's who the support is for. Perhaps a judge will remind him of that when he tries to have his child support modified.

jessica said...

Hi Dawn,

Look into doing a short sale with your house. I got divorced almost a year ago and neither my ex or myself could afford to keep our home. We had a shitty agent so it stayed on the market for a year and a half, BUT, we got a GOOD agent who put it up for short sale, and we had an offer in about 10 days.

Short Sale is when you sell your home for LESS than market value, even if it's less than you owe. Then your agent negotiates with the lender to accept the offer and forgive most if not all of the rest of the debt. We even did this having a second mortgage as well. it's a hit on your credit, but not as awful as foreclosure. And with your financial situation the bank will see that you can't afford the house and a short sale will get THEM more money than foreclosing and auctioning it off.

good luck!!

Megryansmom said...

I'm crying all over again because you are living my past life. Hang in there Dawn, somehow God always provided for us and he will for you too.

Melissa Shough said...

Dawn, I know exactly where you are coming from!! After 6 years of fighting my ex for support (he owes me close to $10,000), I finally had the pleasure of seeing him sent to prison. Sure, I probably shouldn't be glad about it, but after years of receiving NADA from him, I was glad for some justice. He too practically abandoned our son and took me to court saying that I was "keeping him away," and of course because I couldn't prove otherwise (except for the 14 pages of notes I kept over 2 1/2 years), I was found in contempt of court. He came and seen him a handful of times, and hasn't seen him again in a year and a half. I said all this to you to say this...YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! I know it seems like your entire world is falling apart (and your kids too), but God said he wouldn't put more on us than we can bear. I know it may seem like you can't handle this, but I have been following you since the beginning, and I know that you CAN!! You are a strong and intellegent mother to 6 beautiful children!!! God knew this was going to happen and he has been shaping you and molding you for the great future that is to come. So what that Joe doesn't do his share (he is just another deadbeat dad)...he will reap what he is sowing in the end. It WILL come back to him and the biggest price he will ever pay will be the strained relationship with his children. I will be praying for you hon!! Just keep your head up - blessings from above are coming your way! :)

Amanda said...

It's so frustrating to deal with an adult who still blames others for their own actions. I go through this with my mother. She was that divorced mother who bad mouthed the dad (and it was uncalled for). She did a lot of other things during my growing up years that a mother who loves her child just shouldn't do. Then she blamed the rest of the family for saying bad things about her and not supporting her in dealing with me and my difficultness (for lack of a better way to put it), once I was old enough to see her for the person she really is. I'm now 31, and she still blames me and everyone else in the family for her choices. I haven't had any contact with her in 8 years or so for my own sanity, and that of my kids, but it's a small town I'm from. I still hear it's my fault (everyone knows it's not). I'm glad for your kids that they are living with what sounds like the more responsible parent. The one who is trying their best to meet all of their needs instead of blaming the world.

*Sorry for the long post. Your ex really reminds me of my mom, and it just breaks my heart for your kids.

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

What an absolute a$$!!! I am totally disgusted at his response. How could a father NOT think about saying "Hi" to his kids. And taking you to court??? Insane!!! I am still praying for you guys.

Nicki said...

I'm sorry, the man is an ass of epic proportions. My biological father was a similar ass, and even at a very young age I caught on to that even though my mother never bad-mouthed him. Thankfully, I had a better step-dad. Your kids are incredibly lucky to have you as their mom, let me tell you.

As far as housing goes, it never hurts to try looking into refinancing, short-sales, or renting. We had to move for work and could not sell our house, so we ended up renting it and then a year after that finally selling it at a loss, but at least it finally sold.

I know you will be fine no matter what, but I will still keep all of you in my prayers.

me said...

Have you considered tutoring? You have very good writing skills and vocabulary. You should explore options for tutoring for English creative writing, SAT/GRE/GMAT English. That way you can work out the hours around your schedule, and also have a side source of income to take some pressure off.

Sharon said...

Your ex was/is really a piece of work! You are lucky to be rid of him and good things will come your way because you are stronger and better for having lived through this experience. Hang tough for a while longer, things are going to change!

Nicole said...

I'm sorry you have to deal with all this. Thanks for being so open and sharing your story. Don't feel bad about thinking that nothing bad had ever happened to you while you were reading Pearl Girls. I've noticed that many times other people's problems seem worse to us than our own problems. I'll keep you in my prayers.

SpaceyMom said...

Dawn,

Hang in there!

I wanted to comment on your housing situation and those saying consider a short-sale.

First, for those saying it's not "as bad as" of a hit on your credit, they are wrong in some cases. Right now banks are viewing short-sales the same as a foreclosure in terms of future buying potential. That will obviously have to change at some point but short sales DO damage your credit and DO make it harder to buy in the future.

Another thing to consider with a short sale: most banks will not even consider allowing a short sale without you proving a hard ship. And by most, I mean I've never heard of a bank allowing one without a proven hardship.

Do some research. It may or may not be in your best interest to short sale or walk away. Renting it out may be a good idea but you'll be taking on renters and that can be hard too.

A place to start is http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspx

You might qualify for something there. And even if you don't, you can talk to one of their professionals who can help you with ways to save, etc and may have other suggestions. I started there and even though I didn't qualify, I was very thankful for their advice and assistance.

Also check out http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx and http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/exit-gracefully/Pages/hafa.aspx

V1nce said...

Ok now that explains it. You did what you had to do for your family and he did what he had to do to risk innocent people's lives on the road drink and get lap dances. Nope he's a total a@@ an you're way more man than he will ever be. (It's a complement)

Marcie said...

Wow, I just discovered your blog and am already hooked. And man do you put things in perspective. My alcoholic/addict ex-husband put me and our son through hell and then just disappeared only to call on birthdays and want to spend 45 min with his child while I continue to chase him down for a bit of measly child support here and there, meanwhile he is already over $10,000 past due after just a hear and a half. Not to mention all the debt he left me with, all of MY stuff that he took and the house that I can no longer afford and have been trying to sell forever. I thank God for my blessings daily and that he left me with the one thing I cherish the most, my son. And without him, nothing else would matter. So thanks for keepin on. I will continue to read and pray for you and everyone else dealing with these situations. We are strong women and our children will be amazing for it!

Mimicutelips said...

You are doing a great job Dawn. My bilogical whom I call by his first name was so busy being an alcoholic he didn't have time to be a parent. He would fill my head up with empty promises and I would believe them. I would then get mad at my only parent who loved and cared for me. Once I got older I realized he wasnt worth my time, love or engergy. I just wish my mom didn't have to spend so much time wipping my tears away. Tears caused by him. I know that had to be hard for her but like you she was strong and never said anything bad about him to me. She took him to court for child support and he denied me as his child. JUST A MESS.

I am now a 31 year older mother of a 6 year old son. I still have zero contact with the man that was supposed to be my father. I've done well for myself and now my son. I think its pathetic that he doesn't know me any better than a stranger on the street does. HIS LOSS.

I give you major kudos for hanging in there. Your reward is going to come.

Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) said...

Wow Girl, I am soooooo sorry!!!!!

If there is any way I can help ever, please let me know.

I'm happy that you at least have such an awesome, supportive readership here.

Hugs.
Susan

Tara said...

My ex-husband hasn't seen his two kids since May 2007. Not even in passing - he's 2000 miles away. Worse, he never even bothers to ask how the kids are doing, send them a birthday card, nothing. Zero contact with me or the kids. I really don't care if he hates me and never speaks to me again, but he was a stay-at-home dad for pretty much the entire time we were together (roughly seven years), and he can just ignore them like that because the marriage didn't work? And he IS working, and he DOES have money, because he blogs about the promotions he gets and all the cool stuff he and his girlfriend are buying (top-of-the-line cell phones, video game consoles and games, new cars, etc.), yet he's about $15,000 behind in child support (but not in jail because he's in Canada and it's harder to do all that legal stuff across borders). Possibly the very worst part, our two children are both special needs. They both have autism, and my youngest (age 5) is very low-functioning.

I don't usually bother complaining, because it doesn't do any good, and I don't know if anyone will even read this, but I love your blog and letting out the pissiness every now and then actually helps it from spreading into my everyday life. Just being able to vent in a comment on someone else's blog post, knowing that someone else is in a similar situation and still staying strong even though life sucks at the moment, helps.

So, thank you for sharing, and for providing the opportunity to let other single moms know they're not alone in all their struggles, and for all the entertainment and smiles you've provided me over the past few years. And for letting me vent a little of my frustration... you just spared my friends the agony of having to hear about it again. ;)

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