My kid’s aren’t Irish, but you couldn’t look or be more like a leprechaun than my youngest. So much so, that he has been a very convincing leprechaun for many halloweens, random times in between, and has declared himself Irish. He say’s if you can choose your religion, you can choose your identity, and he identifies as Irish. In these days of LGBT awareness, I agree, he can identify however he pleases.
I have friends over, his fairy-art-parents, to be exact, who are happily doing St. Patrick’s day arts and craft projects in the dining room while I cook my version of an irish dinner. Corned beef, naturally, roasted crunchy potatoes and cabbage lightly sauteed with onions and garlic.
All the while my free-floating anxiety is rooting to the point where I snuck upstairs for a clonazapam and am sipping ginger tea to try to settle my stomach. I’d be this way regardless, so at least I’m hearing happy sounds from the other room instead of television or computer games and will soon have a holiday themed front door. I have to be in family court at 9a.m. I can feel a black-cloaked shadow stalking me and tomorrow, bright and early I’ll be laying my head on the chopping block, because the laws of my state are not, in my humble opinion, fair or just.
It’s a long time coming, yet my feelings of being untethered have been increasing. Life is too damned complicated not to partner up, I feel quite completely alone and on my own. After 20+ years of marriage, jointly paying my spouses undergraduate debt, supporting him financially and logistically through law school at the expense of my own educational advancement, and years of a dual income household, and then staying home to raise the kids, both because we both wanted me to and because it was cheaper than childcare, I am according to my state, not an equity partner in his career. In Massachusetts I surely would be, receiving 30% of his pay for life. I am not even receiving that now, with two kids at home. Unlike in Massachusetts, the working father has no obligations to pay for college, even though his high income counts against our kids in terms of financial aid. According to the State of Rhode Island, in 7 years, at 57 years old, there is a salary out there waiting for me that is comparable to my attorney husband's, despite having few marketable skills and 57-year old women who have been out of the workforce are not high up on the hiring food chain. His first lawyer suggested I work at McDonalds, sorry, that’s not happening.
He and I had a mediated agreement, but after my illness, I didn’t sign it fast enough, and so he retained a lawyer and decided to offer me a fraction of the mediated settlement. When one party lawyers up, the other has to as well, and so I have been forced to spend $10,000 to get back to our mediated agreement, more or less... a tad less actually. He doesn’t even have to pay my lawyers fees when I never wanted a lawyer to begin with. It’s all revolting. I depleted my business account and don't know if I can pay my studio rent through the summer and fall, the quiet seasons.
I recently qualified for Medicaid, I’m only masquerading as middle class at this point and it’s going to get worse. I’m really afraid, I’m waking in the middle of the night in cold sweats. It’s a terrible feeling not to be able to support yourself, when you feel like you've worked really hard your whole life... just at the wrong things. I worked at my marriage, but I was the only one. At the moment with everything I’ve been through, the last thing I want to be doing is working some shit job 24/7 for minimum wage, I’m not going to do it, so I’ve really got to get creative. I want to go to Honduras, to Costa Rica, I want to take Jonah on his dream trip to Rome and London because that would be my dream trip too.
It’s a new day, 11:52 a.m. and I had my proverbial day in court, I am now carrying my head around in a bowling ball bag, the mani/pedi place was closed and my favorite café has discontinued my favorite tea.
It’s very strange how you go through this court event with a gallery full of, whoever the heck happens, or wants to be there, although I don’t think anyone is enjoying being there. The wife of the couple who went first looked like one of the real housewives of beverly hills. Cat slit eye’s from a bad facelift and swollen lips, many times disproportionate to her face. They’d been married about 25 years and despite her coif and makeup and clingy dress, she looked 20 years older than me and she was probably only a few. Plastic surgery seems counter productive. She got $750,000 in cash, near $6,000 a month, health insurance, country club membership and a few other amenities for the rest of her life. I felt like a little bug under a rock.
My husband’s lawyer is the biggest prick (probably with the littlest prick) I have ever met. He just goes out of his way to be a mean-spirited douchebag every chance he gets. He added all kinds of language to our agreement about parenting skills and obligations, which yes, apply to my husband as well, but as I’m the custodial parent with far, far, far greater time with the kids, I found that odd and condescending. Then, while on the stand, the customary language is to ask the person if the marriage is broken due to different life goals, different interests and breakdown of communication. But this jerk off throws in “differing parenting philosophies", which to his credit, my husband said, “uh, no”. So he did this on his own, if nothing else, I know that my now ex, respects and appreciates my parenting. That guy should really take a shower along with everyone who comes in contact with him. I want to kick that guy in the leg and watch him fall down and whimper.
To add insult to injury, his lawyer also didn’t just say we have two children, he said “is it correct that there were two children born of this marriage?” To which there was a “yes” and a serrated knife lodged in my sternum and twisted, it's as if he knew and he probably did, he's just that awful. When I went up, I said that out of respect I needed to clarify that there were three children born of this marriage with one of them being deceased, and in her wrap up, the judge made that clear and that’s the only thing I have appreciated about her.
I was supposed to say that the agreement was fair, but I said that “within the context and confines of the laws of my state, I accept that this is considered fair.” I know, I should’ve been the lawyer.
I left the courthouse and unceremoniously dropped in an a friend, what the hell to you do after you get divorced? She was on the way out, so I ate a banana and left. I went to the mani/pedi place, which was a big deal because it wasn’t discount Wednesday, but it was closed. So I went to my favorite café and learned they’d discontinued my favorite tea. So now I’m sitting in my studio typing this, in the cold, because I forgot to turn the heat on when I left on Saturday, but the heat is too damned loud to have on when you’re here.
Maybe I’ll get a little work done, maybe I won’t. I want to get home in time to bake banana chocolate chip muffins so that when J and the little monday homework club we’ve got going, gets there, they’ll be happy, and I need to be around happy. And J will say “you’re the best mom” and I could stand to hear that right about now. 24 years, blink, snap, gone.