Saturday, October 27, 2018

Dating Again

"No one can anticipate how much of  the journey will be alone." The Romanavs

It's been over 7 years since I decided to get divorced. Eddie left my life in Sept 2016. He didn't want to commit to the kids and I. He didn't want to move in or get married. After 5 years and being in my 40's I had to wonder why we were wasting our time.

I had a brief stint of dating a guy named Brent who I realized we were more friends than anything and remain that way till today.

I then gave up on dating and went to India for work. I wanted to start over fresh upon my return. It was then that I met Steven. I really thought he was the one. I even got engaged. Only to find out when we started life planning that we had some fundamental differences.

I called it all off and spent the summer alone.

It was not easy.  I had a breakdown in the middle of my vacation with the kids. A full on hard cry. Sobbing. Because I am tired of steering this ship alone. I want someone in my life. I want to love someone and have them love me.

Dating sucks. It's hard to be in your 40s and a full-time single mom. After 4 months I found someone I really liked. We have so much in common and a great time together. But, we live an hour away and both have kids and that posed issues for him that he felt he couldn't overcome. I disagree and feel if you want it you make it work.

I apparently don't think the same as these guys I find to date. It's completely frustrating the lack of true effort put forth by them to make things work or the decisions they make that I just don't get.

My greatest fear is always being alone forever. While I am strong and independent, I want companionship. I want to be loved and love someone.

It just never works out. I am so tired of steering this ship alone.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The men didn't take me down. They lit a fire!

This is a story of an incident at work that I have shared personally a few times. Now that time has passed, I feel it is time to share it publicly. This happened the summer of 2016.

At the time of this incident, I had been working almost 20 years in several different industries for several different companies. Never had I encountered what happened to me in this story in all those years.

It was my 6th year at this particular company. I had been bypassed a few times for a management position due to the good old boys game. I just let it go. Because I didn't see myself going anywhere on the team I was on, I decided to look elsewhere in the department. There was one particular guy I would not go work for. His name for this story will be KS. He had the worst reputation in the department as not only a horrible person to work for, but notching his headboard with the young girls in the department. You will hear more about him later.

I landed in a new area for a guy who was my customer. He was so excited to have me on board. I changed to his team to learn something new and within 5 months on the job as a project manager, I was promoted to supervisor of a development team. Within a year, I was promoted again to Manager of a development team.

He and I got along splendidly. We worked well together and became friends. During my 2 years with him, I had to have a few private conversations with him about the way he treated some of the women on our team. Since we were close, he seemed quite receptive to our discussions. He even said he would read a book I recommended. Some of things I discussed with him is how he bragged in meetings with vendors about making a woman in another department cry. Another one was letting all our India employees go to India for extended stays except one woman who he just didn't care for as much. He made a joke at a staff meeting in front of everyone that she was not allowed to go to India for an extended stay. The kicker was, in private he had already told us managers he was going to really tell her she was not granted the same right as everyone else. I discussed how that was not fair practice and also inappropriate to joke about at a staff meeting.

As time went on, he one day ridiculed me in front of my peers about my kids. Now, he often said he knew what it was like to be a single mom because he and his wife had three kids and there wasn't enough of both of them to go around. I used to just ignore those comments. This time, a few of us were getting promoted and needed to write our bios for him to send out in the announcement. The bio includes your work history. There was a period of time that I stayed home with my kids and freelanced. So for that period of time in my bio I started the paragraph with "While raising my kids,  . . ." In our leadership team meeting, he said, "The bios are ready to go out and of course Amy had to talk about her kids." I shot him a questioning look and said, "No I didn't." He said, "Yes you did. There was a line about raising them and I removed it. We have all raised kids Amy. It's no big deal." Needless to say, I was infuriated. I was so upset by his ridicule that I wouldn't even look at him the rest of the meeting.

He tried to come and talk to me after but I told him I could not talk to him at that moment. I felt like my head was going to explode. In truth, I was ready to quit. It was a Friday when this happened and I had the worst weekend. I cried all weekend. I felt betrayed, ridiculed and disrespected. This man had no idea what it was like to be me. He had no idea what it was like to be a single mom or work from home to raise kids for part of your career. His words told me he had no respect for the most important job in my life and therefore I realized I could not respect him as a person.

On Monday he called me to his office. He said he was so upset that I wouldn't talk to him that he called the CIO and HR over the weekend. He didn't know what to do. So once again I had to school him on his inappropriate words. Over time things smoothed out between us but I would pay for this incident months later.

Jump ahead about 6 months. This guy I worked for is leaving the company. I found out that KS (See 3rd paragraph above) will now be my boss. While I had never personally worked with him on anything at all, I knew enough about his issues at work and how many times HR had to get involved. There is no other way to define him other than he is a pure asshole.

With my boss leaving, the natural next in line for his position is myself and the other manager on our team. She was younger than me by 10 years but just as mature, capable and experienced as me; if not more! I strongly felt she should get the job.

Typically, when a position on a team opens up, they encourage anyone currently on the team to apply and usually interview them out of a courtesy; especially if they are inline to get promoted. My co-manager and I expected this to happen. One day during a routine call with KS, he tells us that he wants us to meet with a candidate he has selected to fill the open position. We both sorta look at each other. She puts the phone on mute and says, "Did you know anything about this?" I shook my head no.

After our call, she and I discuss. We didn't even know the job was listed. Nothing! This was not normal protocol. So I volunteer (being the more outspoken one) to shoot an email off to KS to find out more.

I inquire about the job listing and why were were not notified. I get a reply back from him basically saying we are welcome to apply if we want. I have to send another email back asking for the job reference number because after her and I both look in the system, we can't find it. He sends us back a number and it is listed under a title that we would have never guessed or discovered. We believe in hopes that we would not apply.

After reading the job description, I get on the phone and call him. I have questions. Is this the same job? Is the job changing? Etc, etc. He says, its the same, he just stuck it under that job title because he already had a job created in the system and it was easier. (I knew enough about how that all worked to know that was a lie.) He then added, "You gals can apply, but you won't get it. I already have someone selected." I asked why we would not get the job. He said, "Because you both need grooming on how to be managers." I said goodbye and hung up. I was infuriated again!

How could someone that has never worked with me in any capacity what so ever know that I needed grooming as a manager? I had just received the highest rating from my team in the entire department of almost 400 people. I had received an 86% satisfaction from my team. The next highest in the department was in the 60% range. I gave it some thought and realized that he had never even been in a meeting with me (outside required dept. meetings for everyone or leadership meetings) for a project or anything in the 6 years I had worked there.

So naturally, I sent off a well worded email inquiring about his knowledge of my skills, management style, work history and need for grooming. I questioned if he had even seen my resume? I ended the email with that I would bet money that the person he was going to hire was a male that was his buddy because this wasn't my first rodeo.

Well, he didn't like that email and scheduled a meeting the next morning at 8am with HR. He was particularly offended by the "wasn't my first rodeo" sentence because he brought it up. I repeatedly questioned why myself or my co-manager were not qualified. He had no real answer other than we needed grooming because were weren't real managers. I kept asking why. All he could say was he just knew. Well, naturally, that wasn't a good enough answer for me.

So I pushed further. Finally, the HR lady said that I needed to work on my image. To which I looked at her in shock. I asked her to elaborate. She said I didn't have a good reputation in our department. I laughed. I stated my recent high satisfaction score with my team. I also brought up that the VP of Marketing who was my client on my old team requested from the CIO 50% of my time to come lead a project for her. So where is there a problem with my image? She couldn't say. I asked what was in my employee record. She said nothing. I asked her to give me examples. KS stepped in and said that the word around the water cooler was that I was difficult to manage. I laughed again. I said, show me that in my employee record because I have had nothing but "Exceed Expectations" in the six years that I worked there. KS countered with I have not been evaluated properly. I shot back that I have had 4 different bosses in the 6 years that I worked there and they all evaluated me wrong. He said yes.

I was so angry. I went off on how I was right though. (I had confirmation his friend was getting the job and he ultimately did) He was hiring his buddy and that it was a good ole boys club where only friends get the job. He said I was wrong and told me to go home and think about if I wanted to work there anymore. I stood up and said, "I don't have to think about it. I will find a job and leave." I walked out of that office, got in my car and cried the whole way home.

My parents were at my house visiting. I just cried on my porch with them. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't quit but I also couldn't work for this guy.

Then, something occurred to me. I got out my phone and dialed my old boss who just left. As soon as he said hello, I said, "What did you tell them during your exit interview?"

He admitted he told them I was difficult to manage because I called him out on the treatment of women and his comments about my kids. He also told them that neither myself or my co-manager were of the caliber to replace him. I hung up. I was mortified. How could he do that to us. He basically sabotaged us. Two women who were dedicated to him and the team. Two women who gave our all. Two women who supported him in difficult times the dept faced.

A fire lit within me and I refused to believe this bullshit. I was better than this garbage they were spewing and I knew it. I have never had issues anywhere I worked. I have never even met with HR before in my career. No one in 20 years of my career ever told me I was difficult to work with, let alone manage! I wasn't going to let the fact that I spoke up for myself and other women be the end of me.

I made finding a job my second job. I put endless effort into it. I put 90% of my time in the project for the VP of marketing and let my team run on autopilot. I didn't care anymore. My team handled it just fine as I had all processes in place for them already.

I was determined to find a kick ass job and knock the project for the VP of Marketing out of the park.

And I did.

I landed an incredible job at a global company; a company I had been trying to get into for five years. I knocked the project out of the park for the VP. So much so that when I gave my notice that I was leaving she contacted me the same day and offered me a job to come work for her.

The icing on the cake was when the interim CIO asked me to go to lunch before I left. He and I had always gotten along. He was on his way out too. He was there to fill the void until they found a permanent CIO. He knew my work ethic, skill set etc. He was the one who the VP of Marketing went to requesting my help on her project. So we had many interactions, he sat in many meetings I lead, etc.

During that lunch we talked about a lot of personal things around growing up, family, etc. Near the end, he said to me, "I know what happened. What you need to know is that there are people at this company who are like high school jocks. They have never grown up. This company does not do justice for women. I have been working 40 years in this industry and this is one of the worst places for women in leadership. Where you are going will benefit you in the long run. What happened is a glitch. Put it behind you and forget it ever happened. That is not who you are. If you ever in need a reference, call me. It will be my pleasure."

That day the self-doubt that was lingering left. It's like the sun came out and everything was ok.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Divorce Part 7 - Finding Love Again

It’s been written in the scars on our hearts / That we’re not broken just bent / And we can learn to love again - Pink

I’ll never forget the reaction I got from one person who found out I was dating again after my divorce. She told me I should take some time for myself like she did. She told me she stayed single for a year to prove she could be on her own and support herself.

First, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Secondly, I have been on my own before and supported myself while single. Finally, I wasn’t looking for someone to support me and my kids. I had been doing that already. I was constantly saving our asses financially the best I could while dealing with Scott’s job losses and business failures. 

I wanted companionship. I felt like I had been single for two years or more already.

One month after I decided to get divorced I joined I wasn't looking for a relationship. I wanted someone to talk to. Someone in a similar situation with whom I could be friends. I didn't want to go to bars. I didn't want to get involved with someone from work. I didn't have any single guy friends outside of work locally so . . . it was.

I spent a couple months just emailing with guys exchanging divorce stories. Occasionally, I would text with a few. I met a few for lunch or a drink. The funny thing was, I wasn't desperate and if they showed any trace of my Ex's personality or behaviors I stopped being friends with them. I wasn't about to even waste my time or energy.

Then, one night I got an email from Match with "potential matches" within my area. I took a look. On the side of the page were just other random people outside of my designated area. I clicked on one of them. I read his profile. Studied his only photo of himself - a selfie - and then sent a wink to him. He sent me an email via Match introducing himself. I replied back and then didn’t hear from him again.

I was intrigued by Ed based on what he wrote and his one single photo of himself. He obviously held the camera out in front of himself while grinning in a faded blue t-shirt with a tattered collar and one of his closet doors open behind him. It told me so much about him. Here was this guy who wrote about how he lived all over the world, retired from the Navy, was looking for someone to just get him out and have fun. But, his photo said I am not into image. Take me as I am. It made me chuckle.

Finally, I got an email from him saying he was on vacation. We texted for 2 hours the very first night. He just kept making me laugh. I loved it. He just seemed so genuine, quirky, funny, sincere.

We spent the next two weeks talking everyday on the phone and texting all day long. It was the most I had talked to anyone I met on Match. After two weeks, we finally decided to meet. We met at a restaurant and he instantly hugged me. We both agreed we were nervous. I was more nervous meeting him than anyone else I had previously met from Match. We had dinner and at one point I said, "Can I hold your hand?" I just felt like I needed to touch him. I loved his eyes, his smile, his skin color. His hands were so soft but he was shaking a little. It was when he started singing along (loudly) to the song "Time of my life" by Patrick Swayze that I looked at him, laughed and thought to myself “this guy is different”.

So began our relationship. At first it was mostly by phone. I didn't have a lot of free time and wasn't on the every-other-weekend schedule yet with the kids. I think it was 6 more weeks before we went out again.

I was amazed at how fearless he was about my situation. He was taking a huge risk. I wasn't divorced and was just at the beginning of the process. For all he knew I could have changed my mind and decided to go back to my ex. I once asked him why he took that chance and how he knew that I wouldn’t change my mind. He told me because there was a time he was with me when Scott was giving me hell via text and he said he could see the hurt in my eyes. He said he knew I was done with him.

There were many times that he saw that hurt. He held me up throughout the entire process. There were times I was crying and blubbering on the phone so hard that he had to tell me to slow down because he couldn’t understand me. There were times I showed up at his place in tears. I even had a telephone code setup with him too because divorces can cause people to get violent and unreasonable.  I sometimes feared that Scott would hurt me. So Ed knew if I dialed him two times in a row and didn’t say anything when he answered that he needed to come quick.

I look back at the early days and realize how much he took care of me. While I wasn’t looking for someone to take care of me and the kids and support us, I did find someone to take care of me emotionally. It was a life saver. I am not sure how I would have made it through the divorce like I did had he not been there to hold me up. 

My mom used to ask me what Ed said or thought about some of the crap that was going on during my divorce. The truth of the matter is he didn’t have a lot of opinions. Or should I say he didn’t share them with me unless I pressed him to do so. He left me to the decision making. He would occasionally offer things to consider or think about. However, when it came down to it, he left it all up to me. He stood there supporting me along the way and helping me move forward. And despite how badly Scott treated me, he rarely said nasty things about him.

During the early days, his goal was always to make me smile. He told me that too. He tried to make our time together as stress free and calm as possible. He wanted me to smile and relax. I remember a lot dinners out and lying on his couch watching movies. Sometimes I would just nap at his house. He would let me sleep because the stress would get to me more than I realized.

One time he said, “We need to get out of town.”  He let me pick. I wanted to go to the beach even though it was winter. I knew the beach would be relaxing. So he booked a weekend at Orange Beach. We talked and sang to the radio the whole drive there. When we got there we spent three days wandering around the shops, eating out, renting movies, playing multiple games of putt-putt and walking the beach. We did whatever we felt like. My favorite was the night I woke up in the middle of the night with a belly ache and asked him if we could just sit on the balcony. So there we sat wrapped in blankets on the balcony and talked while we looked out over the moon reflecting on the ocean.

It was so completely different from traveling anywhere with Scott. Ed was so calm. It was like night and day. In fact, I had to get used to not being on guard when I was out with Ed like I had to be with Scott. With Scott I was always worried something would set him off or go wrong that would cause an uproar – like u-turns or not so perfect service.

The thing that made me the most happy was that Ed insisted and preached to me that my kids always come first before him. That was probably the only thing he had a very strong opinion on and wouldn’t waver. I never had to feel like I had to make a choice between my kids and him. He made it for me. He always told me “You are worth waiting for.”.

It was almost a year before I introduced him to my kids. We had a plan that we followed. We would slowly introduce him. We went to extremes sometimes to make it happen. It was thought out and gradual. Now, almost 3 years later, the kids like him, he vacations with us and we still only see each other every other weekend. On the weekends I have the kids, he sometimes spends at least one day with us doing something but not always. It works for us and that is all that matters.

My brother told me one day that I went from one extreme to another in men. I have to agree with him. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. I have learned that the little things I thought I could live with in Scott when we were in our mid-twenties (job hopping, not valuing his family, not paying bills very well, his desire to be rich and his arrogant personality) became BIG issues as we got older.

So when I met Ed I saw the opposite. He once asked me what attracted me to his Match profile. I said it was because he actually accomplished something – a 20 year career in the Navy. I was serious. He also had taken care of himself all that time – like paying bills. He called him mom and twin sister every day! He adored his family and was close to them. He helped his mom care for his dad his last two years of battling cancer. He saved his money and didn’t care about status. Arrogant wasn’t a word I think anyone would ever use to describe Ed.

Most of all, Ed became my valiant protector. He protected me and my heart. He still does. I always thought I was this strong, independent person who didn’t need anyone to take care of me. What I didn’t realize is that every woman needs someone to take care of them emotionally, regardless of how well they can support themselves financially.

It wasn't always easy finding love again. I had a lot of bitterness and betrayal to deal with. Many times I took it out on Ed. He stood strong and was secure enough in himself to realize it wasn't him. He understood I needed to heal.

I often get asked if I would marry again. Maybe. I am not that bitter about marriage.  The next question is when will Ed and I get married. I can’t answer that. We joke it will be when both kids are graduated from college. We say until then we will continue living in our respective homes and seeing each other on every other weekend.

It works for us. We are both happy.  I often ask in return “What is the rush?”

UPDATE 10/1/2016 - Ed and I went our separate ways. He was not interested in moving in or getting married. After 5 years of dating, I felt it was time. So, we split up. I wanted someone that wanted to be with the kids and I full-time and he did not want that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Divorce Part 6 - After the move out

"Might not have so far to go / Just to leave the mess behind / I see the sun coming up / I know it's worth believing" The Used

A lot happened after the move out. The next year was a year of adjustments. We had to figure out how to take care of the kids as a divorcing couple. It was a trying time as well. 

I let him continue to get the kids off the bus and come into my house and start homework with them as he always did. This caused many issues. He was always going through my stuff - mail, paperwork, looking in my room, etc. He thought I was too stupid not to notice. He even opened a gift card I had hidden behind something on the windowsill to see who it was from. My son was upset because it was a Starbucks gift card for his birthday from the kids. So of course I heard about the snooping from my son.

He made comments about fresh flowers I had at the house. He even accused me of having a party one weekend when he had the kids. Why? He had to stop at the house for something one of the kids forgot. I wasn't home.  He went into my son's room and found one of my shoes in the middle of the room! I swear I laughed about that one forever! I have no idea how it got there but it was ONE shoe and perhaps the dog drug it in there? Who knows and who cares? Most importantly, how does that indicate a party?

He still comes to my house after school a few days a week. I had to threaten to not allow him into the house anymore and would change the locks if he didn't leave my stuff alone. He finally stopped and for the most part it works now. It is good for the kids.

Then, there was the legal stuff. I hired a lawyer. He represented himself. So he paid ZERO dollars for the divorce.  He thought he was a lawyer and wanted all kinds of crazy shit. My lawyer laughed at him. She wanted to know where he got some of his demands and requests. He would threaten me constantly. I just kept plugging forward legally. 

There were lots of fights and I was regularly called a bully. He wasn't getting his way like he was used to and therefore I was a bully. Interestingly enough, it was him that was acting bullish. I was simply implementing boundaries and legally proceeding. He did not want me to use a lawyer. He wanted him and I to write up our own agreement. I am glad I didn't go that route.

Then, there was the insanity. He demanded to speak to the children every single night. He would get so irate if I missed a night. Well, sometimes I was busy with them at night and forgot or just didn't have time. It was a big change for us and it required adjustment learning to balance getting home at 6 pm, dinner, homework, bedtime. For awhile my son threw hour long or more fits at night before bedtime. It was hard for me to deal with. I was often just mentally exhausted at night. 

Well, one night during a massive fit with my son, Scott kept calling. I answered angrily and told him it wasn't a good time and to relax. He proceeded to text me. I told him to back off, put my phone in my room on the charger and silenced it. I didn't need him on me while I was trying to get my son to settle. 

About an hour later, my son was settled and asleep. I was in my daughter's room tucking her in when there was a knock at my door. It was 9:30 pm. My dog went crazy barking. I flicked on the light and there in the dark with a flashlight was the Sheriff.  I answered the door. He told me that my husband called them to check on his kids. That I was not answering the phone and he thought they might be in danger. My response was "Are you kidding me?" He asked if I and the kids were ok. I said I was just fine. My daughter was behind me and he saw her. I turned around and asked her to go back to her room. I stepped outside and closed the door behind me. He said "I am so sorry to bother you on a school night at this hour ma'am."  My reply "He is no longer my husband, nor does he live her anymore. We are getting divorced." He said, "We will make note ma'am. We have on record that he contacted us before." I asked "He did?" He said, "Yes ma'am, he wanted us to escort him here to check on his kids because I wouldn't let him come by one day. We told him we don't do that." I shook my head in disbelief and wished him a good night. 

I checked my phone and had 30 missed calls and text messages threatening to call the police. I went into my daughter's room and had to comfort her. She heard us talking she said and asked why Daddy called the police. "I don't know" was the only answer I could give her. She was very frightened.

Things got better as time went on. Craziness ensued on occasion. My kids did relatively well considering. I am very proud of them. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Divorce Part 5 - 5 months till move out

"So I made up my mind / Made up my mind / Gonna move on ahead / Instead of lagging behind - David Grey

After I found out about the affair, there was no turning back. My mind was made up. I recently spoke with a friend who went through a divorce and she said once she made up her mind finally to take the leap it was like a light switch went off. There was no way she could go back. That is a great way to describe it.

We agreed that he would move out January 1. That meant we would live together for 5 months. We had some financial things to take care of first before we split residences. 

This became a very difficult time. We slept in separate rooms. He hated this and would sometimes beg me to come sleep in the same bed with him. It was pretty pathetic. 

We basically worked and took care of the kids. We did not speak to each other unless it was about the kids. 

I also did not wear my wedding ring anymore. As far as I was concerned, I wasn't married anymore. This drove him crazy! He continued to wear his. I refused. I put it back in the box and tucked it to the back of a shelf in my armoir. At one point he accused me of pawning it. I am not sure why he thought that but I often didn't understand the way he thought. He got so aggressive about me pawning it I ultimately had to show him that I still had it. He claimed it was community property and if I pawned it I owed him half the money. Honestly, that didn't even cross my mind, but this is the insanity of his brain. The things he would be concerned about. 

Several weeks later he accused me of stealing his passport. (He was planning a trip with Kari out of the country I now know). I asked him why he needed it suddenly? He said none of my business. I then asked why would I want to steal it? He said nothing and just started digging around. He found it of course. 

It occurred to me one day to check on my ring in it's hidden spot. It was gone. The box was there but the ring was missing. I confronted him. He acted like he had no idea what I was talking about. I gave him 24hrs to return it. I probably put some ultimatum on the line but don't recall what it was. The next day I was outside with the kids and he walked out and said, "I found your ring." I said, "Oh yeah, where?" He said, "Go look in your room. You had it hidden in the back of the drawer wrapped up in a nightgown." WHAT? Insane I tell you. I went in my room and he literally had staged it like he was looking for it. He pulled the drawer out of the dresser and dumped it's contents on the bed. There sitting on the foot board ledge was my ring. Now, tell me how my ring got out of it's box in the armoir and made it's way into the back of my dresser drawer wrapped in a nightgown? 

Yeah, my thoughts exactly.

Other things happened. During a fight one time he said he recorded things I had said during a previous fight and would use it against me in court. I lunged at him to grab his phone he was waving in my face and he jumped backwards hitting his elbow on the edge of the towel rack. I gave him a knee to the thigh and walked away. He left the house and drove to the police station to file a domestic violence report. He came back and claimed they were at the corner waiting for his call to come arrest me if I harmed him again. I left the house for the weekend. It was worse then it had ever been.

He becaming raging jealous. He started looking at my phone when I wasn't in the room. I was never like him where I had my phone on my person 24/7. I had to start keeping it with me at all times and locking it down. He would hear me on the phone and hear a male voice. He would confront me right there on the spot. It was my dad!

I befriended another guy online who was going through a divorce. He lived locally and we shared a mutual friend, but we never met in person. We talked a lot about our divorce and kids. We shared a similar profession. One day he texted me while I was cutting the grass and I had my phone on the bumper of my car. Scott walked out and picked up and saw the contents of the text message that said simply "Just got home. You watching the game tonight?" That was it. I was having an affair with this guy. I didn't hear the end of it. 

So one weekend I made plans to stay downtown with a friend. Scott was convinced it was this guy he saw the text from. The guy has a unique name and he looked him up online and called his house. His ex wife still lived there and Scott told her we were spending the weekend together. He had called every hotel downtown asking to be transferred to this guy's room. One hotel transferred him to a room so he was convinced that is where we were. The guy texted me the next day and said "What the hell is going on? Why is he contacting my ex wife?" I apologized and said he is going crazy. I asked if he happened to be downtown the night before and he said he was not. He also told me that he couldn't talk to me anymore because his divorce was civil and he did not need anyone messing it up. We never talked again. However, I never heard the end of this guy I have never met in my life from Scott.

I started going to see a counselor. More just to talk then seek help. It was good for me. She didn't give advice really but just listened and asked questions. She gave perspective sometimes that helped digest what was happening. One time he asked to come with me to talk to her. I didn't want this of course. He wanted to talk to her about how to tell the kids about the divorce. I thought this was stupid. It was our decision and we were capable of figuring that out. He insisted that I was being selfish and again threatened to hold it against me in court if I didn't seek out this professional opinion. ugh. Always threatening me. 

So I gave in.

I told her he was coming. He wore a suit of course! I walked in and sat down in my usual spot on the couch across from her desk where she sat. He sat in the chair. He did all the talking. I just sat there. He asked her about how to tell the kids. Her response was "You two are very intelligent people. You know your kids better than anyone else. There is no right or wrong way. Just tell them the truth. Don't sugar coat it." So that was that and he spent the rest of our hour giving her an ear full about me. 

On the way out the door, she called me back in and said "Can you please setup an appt with me to meet next week by yourself?" I went in the following week and she had a lot to say this time. She talked about my demeanor with him present. She said that at first she was confused by my behavior as it was not similar to our previous appointments. I was sitting there with my arms and legs crossed, coat still on and staring at her the whole time. She noticed my body was twisted away from him. After he just kept talking, it occurred to her that it was him. His presence had a profound effect on me.  She said that his personality was so apparent to her and that I could choose to stay with him and work through it with him. Or, I could just leave him. This was the first time she ever said anything like that. She warned me that someone with his personality would not change unless he wanted to and it would require years of therapy/work. She said, I should not feel guilt leaving him if that was the decision I made. She also said, that based on her perception of his personality, the reason he wanted to meet with her was to get his jabs at me, not to ask about the kids. She believes he can't stand that I was talking to her about him and he wanted his opportunity to tell her about me.

The holidays were approaching. I don't recall what we did for Thanksgiving at all. I do know that he went on a cruise with Kari for 10 days right before Christmas. He literally came home on Dec. 23rd. He of course said it was for work. I could have given two shits where he was and if he ever returned. My family was all at my house. They all knew at this point too. It was sorta uncomfortable but more for him than me. The reason I know about his cruise is because he never went away for 10 days for work, I literally didn't even get a text about the kids from him one time, she worked for a luxury cruise line out of Ft. Lauderdale, he needed his passport,  I found receipts for the Ritz Carlton in Ft. Lauderdale in our luggage and finally, tell me the last time you heard of any work convention taking place for 10 days before Christmas? I swear he thought I was a complete fool.

It is important to note here that during these 5 months he begged me to not end it and then finally asked me to let him stay and continue to live with us. He proposed we could lead separate lives and maintain the home for the kids. He used to try to guilt me in that he couldn't afford a nice place to live and that he would have to live in a cave. He said the kids can't see him living in a shoebox. Blah, blah, blah, blah.... I didn't care and I didn't give in. He said I was evil because I didn't care if he was on the street. I didn't. Once I found the receipts to the Ritz, I sent him a picture of them via text and said "For someone who says he wants to make things right, you sure didn't pass up the opportunity to take a 10 day cruise with your mistress!" And I just laughed.

It turns out he supposedly got his best friend/boss to get a corporate lease at a fancy place to live. I know how much he was making and his pay would literally be consumed by the rent of this place so there was no way he was paying for it. His credit was so bad he couldn't get a place that would let him rent that would meet his living standards - luxury, pool, fitness room, security, gated, etc. So he worked his magic on someone of means to make it possible for him. That's how he always worked. 

We agreed to tell the kids together. We agreed on what we would say. The truth. Except when it came down to it, he took over the conversation and made it sound like it was temporary - not following the professional opinion he sought out. I of course over time had to clean up that mess with my kids.

Like my entire marriage with him. I went behind him with a shovel cleaning up his messes!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Divorce Part 4 - The Back Story

"Funny you're the broken one but I'm the only one who needed saving / Cause when you never see the light it's hard to know which one of us is caving." Rhianna

Things were not right with Scott and I after he got fired about two years after moving to Louisiana and the day before our second child was born. I won't get into all the details of his job loss, jumping and quitting throughout the duration of our relationship. But, this time I had quit my career and was a stay at home mom. I depended on him to make it right this time.

After getting fired, he passed up some decent opportunities (didn't pay enough for what he felt he was worth) and  started a business with two other guys. Again, I put my faith in him. I helped him with the business until I was forced to start working and the money was running out. It was very hard for me. I am a gal who needs financial security and every month it was getting harder.

I started doing whatever I could work-wise considering I had two very young kids and no money for child care. I worked at the preschool my son attended a few hours a week. I worked for an account scanning documents for $10/hr. I was freelancing in web design at night and on the weekends.

Finally, I landed a part-time consulting job where I could work form home and my freelancing started to take off. However, by this time, Scott was not even making an income anymore as the business was failing. Eventually it closed. I begged him to find anything! I told him to go be a bartender till he got something. He promised me daily but did nothing. Meanwhile, I got a job waiting tables on the weekends. I consulted during the nights after taking care of the kids during the day. I was the only one carrying us with a very unsteady and low income.

By summer I was ready to leave the marriage. I had enough with how he was letting our life crumble and doing nothing. I know now he was already talking to Kari at this point. One day we got in a huge fight because I wasn't allowed to cry about our financial situation. I left the house after telling him I want to leave our marriage and planned to go home to visit my parents like I did every summer but this time I wasn't coming back. I intended to find a job there and start my life over.

He got desperate and begged me to come home. He drove around town with the kids looking for me. He contacted my friends. He found one at the church and begged her to tell me not to leave.

That was two years prior to me finding out about the affair.

I went to a Beth Moore lecture with my girlfriends about a month after that episode. At the end, Beth said something that struck a cord so hard with me that I sat down in the pew and sobbed. I don't recall what it was but it was something about identifying and ridding the negativity from your life. I knew at that point the negativity that was destroying my life was my husband. It was crystal clear. My friends finally got an earful of the truth of what was my life. Most didn't know how bad it was. How we were on the brink of losing everything. It was very hard to admit what was going on in my life out loud.  They were very supportive and held me up the way good friends do and in their own ways.

One friend referred us to marriage counseling. The first time we went, the counselor asked me if I loved him. I sat silent for some time thinking of how to answer. Scott just stared at me in disbelief. I finally answered "I don't know." He was very upset by that. The counselor ultimately told him that he needs to be the man of the family and provide the support that a man should to his family. A wife does not want to bear the burden of everything. She basically told him to get a job and help me out with the home and children.

A month later I landed a full-time job. I also landed a large freelance job.  Shortly after, Scott finally got a job. Things were looking up. 3 months later he got fired. He told me the new boss didn't like him because he was a male and she was cleaning house. I now believe it was because he needed to have a valid driver's license for his job. I've since learned he got a ticket that he never paid and then his license was revoked. I learned this from his mother who said they lent him the $650 to pay the ticket fees so he could get his license back but they weren't supposed to tell me because he was afraid I would divorce him.

So again, he was unemployed. He had to take care of the kids because I was working full-time now. After a several months of it he got depressed and needed that weekend getaway with his buddies that I wrote about in a previous post. Ya know, the one where Kari flew him using her miles, he charged $200 on our credit card for hotel room and he didn't go there to sleep with her? While he went out of town, I had to drag the kids to work with me because I couldn't afford childcare. My boss later told me how he thought that was so shitty of Scott to "have to take a vacation" while he was unemployed. I concur.

Eventually, I got a very good job and was back into my career! At the same time, Scott was trying out another business venture with his friend Richard. They kept flying to Florida a lot to "learn about the industry" and go to conventions. This is also when he interviewed with Kari's company. Even his mom started questioning why he was going to Florida so much. I basically didn't care.

Christmas was always as stressful time for me because Scott always caused issues with my Dad. I begged him this particular Christmas to not start trouble. He promised me he wouldn't.

He did.

After that, I regulary thought about leaving. I basically had one foot out the door. I waivered and thought and thought and thought about it. I talked to others who recently divorced for advice. Most said don't do it because of the kids or save your money for a lawyer fees before you do anything. Every time he called me at work it was trouble. An accident, a ticket, a problem at work, a flat tire, blah, blah, blah. I would cry a lot at work after talking to him. Sometimes I wouldn't take his calls out of fear of what the bad news was.

Our financial situation was getting a little better but still very poor. A car got repossessed and shortly after returned because the payment and court order got crossed in the mail. We were trying to repay everything but at the same time he was having an affair and living the life. Everything was Richard. He came home with a pair of shoes. "Oh Richard ordered them online and they didn't fit. So he gave them to me." Or if he was texting while we watched TV, it was Richard about work. I find a Michael Kors cologne bag in the closet. "Richard got it as a gift from a customer and doesn't like how it smells so he gave it to me." Everything that was Kari, was covered up by saying it was Richard. I even caught him on the phone outside behind the shed one night. He was in his pjs. When I approached and said "What are you doing?" he put the phone in his pajama bottoms pocket and I could see it was still lite up and on. He claimed he was talking to a co-worker who had the hots for his buddy. I told him that was the stupidest lie I ever heard and walked away. I just didn't care.

So one day while really having a hard time at work and crying in the break room about my marriage with a female co-worker, a male co-worker who overheard told me he fixed his marriage after 8 years of trouble. So naturally I sought him out privately to find out how. I think I still wanted that last attempt at salvaging before I jumped ship. He gave me advice and encouraged me to try for my kids sake.

We talked a lot via IM about what happened to him and what was happening with me and compared notes. It was hard to talk in person about that stuff at work (very little privacy) and we didn't see each other at all outside of work. So we IM'd daily about how things were going and he suggested new things to try. He repeatedly told me I had to make it work for my kids. He was right. So I tried and took a lot of his advice.

One day he said, "You loved him at one time because you married him. Why? Try to go back to that reason." That  threw me for a loop. I didn't know why. I couldn't remember why. I went home that day and went for a 2 hour walk and cried because I didn't know why I loved him and married him. The next day Scott left for his "week long convention" (aka a week in Orlando with Kari) and I had time to myself at night to think. I was digging through my nightstand looking for a notebook to start writing in and out fell a piece of paper. I started reading it and it was from the year before we moved to Louisiana. I wrote about loving Scott. I was stunned. I didn't remember writing it but I guess I did and there it fell into my hands at a time I needed an answer.

I went to work and immediately IM'd my friend and told him. He was ecstatic for me. He said "When he gets back from his trip go outside on the patio and have a drink together. Just talk." So that was what I did.

And that is when it all started . . .

We talked awhile and he said to me "You have been awful nice lately." I admitted how I was feeling and how I consulted my friend and he was giving me advice. His first question to me was "Do you like this guy?". I just looked at him with a quizzical look on my face and said "No?" He said then why are you talking to him? I explained how it all started and said that the guy was encouraging me to save my marriage. He then said, "Well, I have someone I talk to as well and she has really been supportive and helping me" (Kari!) But he wouldn't tell me who because he said I know her. (Lie. I didn't and still don't.)

That conversation didn't end well and the next day I demanded to know who. I didn't think it was fair that he couldn't tell me and I wondered why. I told him the name of the person I was talking to. I had nothing to hide.

So since he was being secretive I started to dig. There was no way in hell I was going to put anymore effort into my marriage at this point if he was cheating. A co-worker heard my story and was convinced he was cheating and encouraged me to keep digging. She told me I had to figure out the password to his phone and she believed the answer was within. She was right.

He discovered I was digging and got angry at me and started to threaten to call the wife of the guy at work who I was talking to and tell her we were having an affair.

So I finally gave him an ultimatum. Tell me who it is or I will start contacting every female I know. He said it was someone he went to college with and she was married to his college buddy so he didn't want to tell me her name. He feared I would get jealous and contact her and cause trouble in her marriage. He told me her husband is a super control freak, that she works for his families' business and has two daughters. I asked if he ever traveled to where she lives. He said no. I asked if she ever traveled to meet him. He said no and that she can't travel anywhere without his family knowing since she worked for their business.

All of the above was a complete lie.

He described someone else that I did know that wasn't Kari. So I naturally figured it out based on the info above and confronted him about that person. He said, "what if it was? how would you feel?" I don't recall the conversations after that but I do know it drug out awhile and he ultimately promised to stop talking to her. And important to note, somewhere in that conversation he said he doesn't keep her name in his phone, just her number. And that he never intiates texting, only she does because if her husband found out he would kill her. So he waits for her to text.

Between the above incident and the night I checked his phone in the hotel room different things went down. He started cleaning out his nightstand that was stuffed with all kinds of papers, business cards, etc. I had asked him for like a year to clean it out and suddenly he did. I asked him if he was clearing it out so I wouldn't search it and potentially find anything. He got really mad at me.

He got a text in the middle of the night and picked up his phone to read it. I pretended to be asleep and could see it was just a phone number, not a name. I confronted him and he got all upset and said it was his cousin sending him porn links. And then he went into this crying fit saying he needed help because he was addicted to porn and that was why he stayed up late at night after I went to bed. I told him I didn't believe him. He put on quite an act. I said, "Then prove it to me. Get help." He never did and I never heard another thing about this porn addiction ever again.

So then comes our night out in the city while the kids are at my parents. He picks me up at work at 5:00 pm. He texted me he was downstairs waiting. We go downtown and end up at a bar owned by his high school buddy who moved to NOLA too. We eat dinner and drink for awhile with them. It's Essence festival weekend so hotel prices are jacked up high but his buddy knew someone at the hotel next door and got us a room for the normal rate of $120 a night.

We weren't planning to spend the night so Scott volunteers to run home and get our stuff. I stay at the bar with his buddy and his wife just hanging out. He arrives back with our stuff and $650 in cash! We were pretty broke so swinging the $120 for the hotel was a stretch. I asked where he got the money and he said Richard always carries around a lot of cash (he is a millionaire) and he gave it to him after work and told him to take me out so we could enjoy ourselves. I was very skeptical . . .

We tried to go out on the town after that but it was miserable. We argued and disagreed about everything. We didn't have fun and just decided to go back to the hotel and sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night to pee, checked his phone and saw the blank (content deleted) text message at 5:05 pm to a just a number (not a name) with the area code of Ft. Lauderdale - 5 minutes after he texted me he was downstairs at my work to pick me up. He had been to Florida at least 10 times in the past year "for work". My heart sank, my hands quivered and eventually my whole body shook. It was over.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hurricane Katrina - Our Story - Part 6

So the adjusters show up. It is a nice sunny day. It is a husband and wife team from Pennsylvania. She examines the inside of the house. He the roof. They seem cordial and all. The apologize for our loss and leave. I feel uneasy. Not sure why.

So now, all we could do was wait . . .

We returned back to Dallas. We still were unsure what our next step was. Do we get an apartment or not? Where is his company going to send us? One day we are going back to New Orleans the next day we are not. In the meantime, things are getting tense at the in-laws.

At one point my mother-in-law had a little bit of a heated discussion that sent me over the edge. She left the house and in the 30 minutes she was gone I packed up every single item we owned that was at their house and moved us out. Remember my husband rented a UHaul to go back to check on the house, well, he brought a lot of stuff back with him.

I had enough room in my Yukon for my daughter to sit in her carseat and me to sit in the driver's seat and I couldn't see out the rearview mirror!

I drove south into Dallas because I knew my husband was working in Dallas. I called him on my cell and asked for directions. I think he was in shock that I made such a drastic move so suddenly but he handled it well and was supportive of my decision despite how rude I was being to his parents. He told me how to get to him and made reservations for us to stay at the hotel directly next door to his temporary office.

We moved in and I settled down. I spent time shopping with my daughter, watching movies, going to Chuck E Cheese and hanging out with my old college roommate Liz. She let me use her washer and dryer and we had dinner over there a few times.

Then, we were told we were to go back to New Orleans. Despite the condition of our home. Hubby's job was returning to the city the following week.

I was on the phone A LOT making preparations for our return home, etc. My best friend Jen offered up her camper still parked in Ohio (she had moved to Florida the year before). That way we didn't have to wait on FEMA to get us one. I called my parents and asked them if they would tow it down for me. Jen went to work trying to get a current license & registration on it as it had expired since the trailer was in storage. It was a lot of back and forth and coordination between her and I and my parents and her parents. Jen was awesome and patient despite the quick turnaround time needed.

One random day in that week at the hotel, I got a phone call. I was in a mom's club back home that happened to be an international club. The woman calling me was from the headquarters. She got word from our chapter president of the damage to our house. She said they have a fund to help out their members in times of need such as this. She informed me that they were mailing me a $5000 check and needed to know where to send it! I was in my car and luckily I was parked because I just started crying. I had two feelings: guilt and humbleness. I felt guilty for being in need and humble for their generosity. I couldn't thank her enough. What do you say to someone who you don't know that is going to make getting those trees off your roof a reality?

We eventually made it home and met my parents with the trailer to live in. Before we could move back in, we had to clean up the house from the flea treatments and get the rooms with mold secured with plastic so it didn't spread. We also had to gut the walls and treat the studs to remove mold.
My parents stayed with us for a while helping us get things handled. Kate at 2.5 locked herself in the camper while we were all outside. It is a fun story to tell today but a little worrisome at the time. Roof has a blue tarp all across the front. Found a guy to remove the trees from our yard with his industrial size chain saw and front loader. Dad and his normal chain saw was not able to handle 50-60 year old 70-100 feet tall pine trees. The entire frontage of our almost 1 acre property was piled up 10-12 feet with tree debris. I used to have a picture of it using my mailbox as a reference for height!
Several moms from the Mom's Club I was a member of brought us meals during that time. It was so nice to get home cooked meals instead of eating out! My parents brought down tons of gifts from family and friendsfor Kate. It was like Christmas for her. We did have to throw out a lot of her stuff because the toy room was one of the rooms that got damaged badly.
A check from the insurance company arrived. $20,000. Really? Did they see my house?

So my parents eventually went back home. We were able to live in the house. Scott was working. I was trying to lead a normal life with Kate and find a contractor to fix our house. It just seemed to be one thing after another.  We needed to buy a new fridge but it was hard to find appliances after the storm for obvious reasons. They were sold out EVERYWHERE. So we ordered it online from the same place in Chicago we ordered the first one. Because the mail, let alone shipping was a total mess in New Orleans the 2 week shipping turned into months and we didn't get that new fridge until 2 weeks before Christmas! The first fridge got lost and then was later found sitting on a dock somewhere. The second fridge got sent back to Chicago after arriving in New Orleans. It was a mess. To get by I was using the camper fridge for veggies and fruit and a 1950s beer fridge that was plugged in outside the back door of the house in the carport.
What I didn't tell Jen about one of my dogs was that she only had 6 months to live. She had lymphoma for the second time. We treated her at age 3 for it and spent $5000. It bought us 5 more years with her. This time we passed on the treatment as $5000+ was not feasible anymore. She called me one day and said that Dakota seemed sick. I counted the months backward. It was about month 5ish. Crap. So I decided to drive there and get the dogs. Well, lo and behold, Hurricana Wilma was headed straight for her in Florida so I had to delay my trip! I didn't make it there in time. My best friend had to put my Dakota to sleep for me. I remember having to make that decision at an iHop. Jen called me two days before I was leaving to go to her house to say Dakota was in bad shape and what did I want her to do. I was having breakfast at iHop and was standing outside the restaurant on my cell phone crying telling her not to wait for me.
Two days later I left for Florida. I decided since I was by myself and not in a hurry I would drive through Waveland, Bay St. Louise, Gulport areas. I got off at Waveland, MS and took the route I new to get to a beach house owned by Scott's boss. As I drove south towards the water through the neighborhood there were boats in the roads, houses off their foundation in the road. There were dirt paths around everything. This was early November. The only people I really saw were the utility companies in their trucks working Then, out of nowhere it was like the whole environment got eery. It was devastating. There was nothing. All of sudden like that. Nothing. There was a definitive line where the surge clearly took everything away. It was ground just covered in mud. As I drove through the streets, you would see an occasional lawn chair or something that didn't wash out to sea. Someone found a picture of a couple with their child and set it up against a tree.
I came to the ocean. I could go right or left. I knew the house I was looking for was two houses to my right. I could see from the corner the lot. There were no houses either direction. I turned left and headed toward Bay St. Louis. I saw a U-Haul truck on the beach covered in sand almost to the roof. The only way I knew it was a U-Haul was because of the coloring and partial lettering sticking out.
I saw a woman outside by two tents. There weren't many people so I stopped to talk to her. I asked her a lot of questions and asked her if I could bring her anything on my way back from Florida. She said Second Harvest was setup in town and feeding everyone. Walmart was open again. She had everything she needed. I asked about a FEMA trailer. Now, this is where everyone needs to listen up and forget what Oprah and the news told you about no one getting FEMA trailers . . . What I didn't realize and learned that day from her is that you could not get a FEMA trailer until you had approved electrical and sewage hookups for safety and obvious reasons for the sewage. She had an electrical pole erected and was waiting on the utility company to make it's way down to her with electricity so she could hook up to it. There were utility trucks everywhere and from all states. She was just waiting her turn. She was generally pretty happy and content. She had quite a spread. Two big tents, Water jugs everywhere. A tent for sleeping. A tent for food/living, etc. Now, that is a survivor. (Side note: FEMA called me two weeks after getting home and offered me a trailer. I denied it as I had one and didn't need it.)
What everyone needs to understand is that the infrastructure of the gulf coast was destroyed. I don't know the specifics, but their sewage and water lines could have been destroyed as well. That takes time to fix people. When Oprah rolled in 6 months later reporting on the lack of progress I almost punched the TV. I was seeing it first hand how bad it was. There is no bouncing back FROM NOTHING overnight. They weren't even cleaning up a lot of stuff or worrying about the houses in the middle of the roads. They just worked around all that. I saw them working on getting the necessities back in order - like electricity.  I returned in February and saw a lot more progress and cleanup. My parents were with me and they just couldn't believe it. The one thing my dad and mom commented on was the amount of FEMA trailer parks. Yes, that was the easiset way to get them setup with proper electrical and sewage instead of on individual lots. I also took them through Lakeview  (New Orleans neighborhood that rarely is covered because it's not the ninth ward) where there were FEMA trailers on almost every lot as their utility infrastructure was intact but their houses were completed flooded.
I spent a week at Jen's to relax a bit and I needed that. I also found out I was pregnant with Jack while there. It was a funny story. I was complaing how about a week or so ago I felt like I had the flu and how it only lasted one day. She reminded me that happened when I got pregnant with Kate. She asked me how long it was since I had a period. Lord, I had no idea. I was so distraught I wasn't keeping track. She stopped off at a Walgreens to get me a pregnancy test. It only took 1 second and that thing was screaming PREGNANT! lol! She got to enjoy me calling Scott and my parents to tell them. What a crazy ride.
I took my 1 dog home and continued to look for contractors and wrangle with the insurance company for more money - which was a documenting nightmare and full time job. We had to have a second adjuster come out. The insurance did not want to replace our entire roof, just the front! Are you serious? Contractors were telling us the whole roof needed to be replaced because every single tile was unglued from the winds and many were broken. So the morning of the adjustor coming, Scott gets a ladder out to have a look at the roof himself. I am inside with my back to the patio doors folding laundry when I hear a loud crash and him screaming. I turn around and there he is laying on the driveway under the ladder. The neighbor behind us was drinking coffee in his breakfast nook and came running. He heard him and could see him laying there. (First time we met the neighbor because there were no privacy fences anymore.) The ambulance came and he ended up with a very sprained ankle and broken arm. The good news is the second adjuster agreed we needed an entire new roof. Thank god.

One day at the end of November I walked out of my front door and smelled gas really bad. A few months earlier a runner told us he smelled gas everytime he ran by in the morning. We had the fire department come out and check. Nothing. Well, I finally smelled it. We believe because it was now winter and the winds had changed pushing the gas toward my house and it was getting caught up in the alcove by the front door. I called the gas company. They found it right by the connection to my house. The guy unhooked my gas meter out front, put it in his truck and said "Call a plumber." I had no gas to my house that fast! As my luck would have it the first two weeks of December were frigid cold for Louisana. I was wearing my old wool sweaters and ski parkas from my up north days IN THE HOUSE! We had to go by 4 space heaters and all sleep in one room at night.

I called the plumber. He told me the gas line to my house was most likely cracked when the trees fell during Katrina. He said it is only 6 inches underground. He proceeded to tell me it would be about $2400 and whatever it cost to break up my driveway as it ran under my drive. I said, "You are going to have to break up my driveway?" He said, "Yes ma'am." With that I did an about face and walked into my house and slammed the door in his face. I didn't care about the money. I didn't want one more thing broken. After I regained my composure. I called the plumbing company and told the lady who answered to apologize to him for me. She said, "Honey, please don't worry. We will help you." The owner called me back and said he found someone who could tunnel under my driveway but it would cost more money. I told him I didn't care and to get it done ASAP. Unfortunately, I had to go two weeks without gas, heat or hot showers.
Christmas arrived about two weeks after my new fridge and my gas was fixed. It was the first time we didn't spend it with my family. It was quiet but nice. Kate got so many gifts it took us all day to open them. Scott cooked and we sat around finally in peace because we had secured more money from the insurance company and a contractor who was going to start the 3rd week in January.

Rebuilding the entire front of our house.

To wrap it up. The last and final thing to be fixed was our ornamental pond under the palm tree you see in the pic above. It was detroyed by the trees falling on it. It was the end of June before that got done. Scott came home from work on July 13 and told me he lost his job. On July 14th I gave birth to Jack.

Related: 31-17 . . . and then we danced.