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Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Move ...

So this will be a lot of venting I think ... plus a chance for me to tell the entire story to the best of my knowledge.

When I first became separated from my ex, I asked my dad to co-sign on an apartment for me. I fully intended to be able to pay the rent, between my paycheck at the time and my child support, I would have had the money to pay the rent and the utilities and everything with no problem. My father agreed stating, "you have so many other things going on in your life, so many unsures, you need a stable place to live, and where you and your mother won't kill each other." ... I had moved from my house in Castle Rock that I shared with my husband to my mom's house and now, in June 2008 was getting ready to move to an apartment in Parker.

Two months after I moved in my ex was laid off, I lost my child support. For the first few months I just needed help with the rent. All this time I was looking for full-time work (my job at that time was part-time retail) ... my work history is all retail and accounting, but I came into a job market where CPAs are applying for accounts receivable jobs, there were no jobs for someone that had some accounting experience, but hadn't worked in the field in 6+ years, especially when you factored in that I needed benefits and an income to help cover the childcare.

I had chosen to be a stay-at-home mom ... a decision that I do not regret, however it did not help my post-divorce circumstances.

After the Christmas season was over, my retail hours dropped tremendously, to the point that I earned a bonus, but wasn't bonus eligible because I hadn't worked enough hours. So, now, no child support, my paychecks had been cut in half from what they had been, I was desperate. I upped my job searches, started selling things on ebay, I sold jewelry off to jewelers to pay the electric bill ... I needed more and more help from both my parents ... in March 2009 my dad told me I had to find a cheaper place to live if he was going to continue to pay my rent.

Within the dollar amount that he gave me, I could either move to the slums of the Denver metro area or I could move to a smaller town, so I chose to move closer to him, to be closer to his help, to be in an area that has a lower cost of living, where the rent amount he was willing to help me with did not mean I would be fearful of my children playing outside.

I had been researching nursing schools & programs and had found out that the CSU-Pueblo program attached to Pueblo Community College was one of very few public schools in the state that didn't have a long waiting list to get into their nursing program ... I wanted to be a nurse for a while, but just hadn't pursued it.

When the time came to find a place in this lovely city that my father lives in; we found a house that was for rent or sale ... my dad figured out that buying it would actually be cheaper per month than renting it ... so my dad BOUGHT me a house ... I thought this finally meant stability for me and my children, that there would be no more school changes, no more friends to say goodbye to, that they would have the one thing I wanted for them; a place to call home ...

So, when I moved closer to my dad, I had to quit the part-time job I had, something that was hard for me, and literally moved with no income ... no job, no child support ... nothing ...

Luckily about a month later my ex found employment and started paying me a decent amount of child support. I started school to get my CNA certificate. I started searching for jobs before I even moved, I submitted resumes, online, in person, by mail ... I applied for every job I remotely qualified for and never even got a call back, by November I was getting very discouraged, but I was weeks away from a CNA certificate so I saw light at the end of the tunnel.

This entire time, my father seemed to be very understanding .. telling me he knew the job market was tough, and he knew it would take me a while ... at one point even saying, "I know it may take you until March or so to be able to pay rent."

In December I was having a hard time getting my bills paid, I couldn't even think about Christmas shopping; I sent an email to both my parents, my mom wrote back that she would help me with what she could, my dad wrote back and harshly told me that my kids and I needed to learn we couldn't have everything we wanted. That we had to learn to live without ... this was something I never understood ... we live without a lot ... sometimes power, sometimes hot water, sometimes phones, sometimes food, sometimes medicine ... trust me, even my kids weren't being greedy that Christmas ... I didn't know what it was he thought we were spending money on that we shouldn't .. food? electricity? .. heat? ... I didn't understand. It made me leery of asking for any kind of help though.

I started applying for CNA jobs in late November, I received my certificate in the beginning of January, which opened up a lot more jobs to apply for.

In February my father and I had a misunderstanding about him dropping off Valentine's for the kids which escalated ... on a Monday he had left me a message that the long-term care facility where his wife worked was hiring CNAs and I should call ... I was hesitant, I admit fully, because they already owned my house, paid for my school, had a ton of control over me, the last thing I, or they really, needed was to be MORE involved in each others lives. I was planning on calling anyway, I was sick, my kids were sick, my son was on oxygen at home ... I was going to call, but as of Wednesday morning when I hadn't called yet, my dad decided that I "wasn't trying" ... that I "didn't want to work" ... this started a slew of emails back and forth ... and while my tone may have been off in some of them, there was nothing I said that wasn't true ... he said many hurtful things to me and things that were absolutely ridiculous; like I "expected (him) to fully support me until the last kid was out of college," which is absolutely untrue, first off; he NEVER fully supported me ... second ... I was trying SOOOOO hard to find a job, get on my feet and support myself ... there was so much else that was said about how awful a person I was, about how I made a series of "bad choices" including having my children ... and staying home with them ... and that I had nobody to blame but myself in this ... real supportive parent, huh?

Now, mind you, to those that are reading this ... outside of asking him to co-sign for the initial apartment, and the rent he had to pay as a consequence of that, I asked for nothing ... when my lease was up at that apartment, I could have moved in with my mom .. I had other options as well. I could have kept my job, my ex would have gotten the same job he got, child support would have played in too. I could have continued my job hunt up there, that at some point in time would have HAD to come up with something ... I am 99% sure that I would have been self-sufficient long before now had that happened ... it was a risk moving me down here ... and it was expensive. I discussed these things with my father before he moved me, that there would be deposits on utilities, costs of moving trucks, movers (because even my dad said the only way I was moving out of a 3rd story apartment was with professional help) ... I was taking the ONLY income I had and getting rid of it ... it was a risk ... I was cautiously optimistic ... I don't know what he was in all honesty, maybe no matter how many times I discussed the risks, the costs, maybe he just didn't get it ...

In late February I received a very legal letter in the mail telling me that I must be out of the house by July 1, 2010. I was in shock ... I moved here with a promise of stability, with hope for my future ... with basically my dreams laid out before me ... all to watch it go up in flames in front of me ... I took some time before I responded ... I waited about three weeks ... I typed, I revised, I sent it off to my mom, to several others that know my dad, and some that don't, I typed more, I revised more ... in the meantime ... I had a job interview .. the only one in 2 years ... and low and behold a job offer ... as a CNA ... making enough money to afford rent, and with my child support to squeeze by every month ... so I sent the letter.

My dad asked me to go out to lunch with him, I agreed ... we sat down and he asked me almost immediately about job hunting, I told him that I had a job ... he preceded to tell me that I still must get out of the house, but that he would help with deposits or something if I needed help with that. This all left me with a feeling of "what's the point?"

At first I was ready to just set my mind on finding a new place to live here ... keeping this newly found job etc., ... however when I sat down with pen and paper and worked the numbers, I realized I was setting myself up for failure. I would be able to handle all the expected stuff, however, anything unexpected, including unpaid leave from work because of a sick child, or an extra tank of gas, or some fee the school needed for a field trip, or medicine for sick kids, would put me in a spot where I couldn't live ... nonetheless ... if my ex was laid off again ... if I stayed here, my backup plan would be 120 miles away and a school change. I would have been setting myself up for failure and for making that 120 mile move on the spur of the moment with no resources and probably mid-school year ... it was a risk I just wasn't willing to take.

So .. I decided to go with the backup plan as the main plan ... move into my mom's house. This is a place where I know I will have stability, it won't be fun, it won't be pretty, there will be times I will feel like my "adultness" has been stripped away ... it WILL give me motivation to get out ... but I know the floor won't be ripped out from under me ...

I could have been there a year ago, I could have never left to move into that apartment in the first place ... there are a ton of what ifs ... but this is where I am now ...

For my oldest, getting ready to start her 4th school in 4 years ... for my middle .. her 3rd in 3 ... this is NOT what I wanted for my children ...

My anger and frustration is only exacerbated by the fact that when my father came to pick up my daughter to take her camping this weekend he went over to the neighbor and told him that once I was out he would fix up everything ... weeds in the rock drive etc ... I would have taken care of some of that except I can't afford anything beyond basic necessity, including weed killer & gas for the lawnmower, and honestly I don't care at this point, however, it makes me mad that he will "fix things up" once I'm out ... so it's okay for my house to be all nice and white trash while I'm living here ... but not once I move out? Why did he not want to help me with these things while I was still here ... rather than waiting until I was out ... I understand it's to make the house more sale-able or rent-able ... but really, why not help make it look decent for your daughter and grandchildren, while they are living in it? That doesn't seem that far-fetched to me.

I just have lost a lot of faith in the meaning of family ... in promises ... I have lost a lot of trust period over the last few years ... friends that were lost as a part of divorce ... my husband that was lost as part of a divorce ... and now my father seems to have forgotten why he helped me in the first place ...

I completely understand that I am responsible to a large degree for my own circumstances, however, I keep ending up in situations where I am given just enough rope to hang myself with and not enough to pull me out of the hole that I'm in ... if you're not going to stand by a "handout" ... then don't give it ... you only hurt everyone in the end ...

2 comments:

Erica said...

As an afterthought of sorts, I do not want to come across as ungrateful for the things that my father paid for the things he had done ... I just wish he would have seen it through until the end, rather than giving up so quickly and harshly ... without really talking to me ...

Erica said...

This was feedback I received on this post, outside of my blog, but felt I could share it anyway ... it is from someone that has had a lot of experience with my father ... and while my goal is not to show him in a negative light, it is to let light in on the truth ...

"Given my own experience with the same person, I do appreciate it and I do not doubt what you say for a minute. I can also feel all too well the hurt and disappointment that broken promises or at least intimations, have caused. I think sometimes people feel if they give money then they don't need to give TIME, and that is at the heart of the problem in your relationship with him. He has never really given you the most precious thing anyone has to give. I think what he told the neighbor just about sums it up. If there's a financial reason to spend time there, he'll do it. Or if someone would give him a fancy plaque at a ceremony thanking him for the hours of service to his family it might be worth his while. But just to come over on a Saturday to visit and ask you "what needs doing around here that I can help you with?' just isn't his idea of fun. He'd rather be off motorcycling.

He doesn't see the value in your having been a mother three times over or staying home to really be there for your kids, when it was never important to him to do the same. This is the man who boasted to me (and others) "I never changed a diaper." That one statement spoke volumes about the kind of man he is. Don't waste any more time on looking backward or trying to win his love in the future. He can't give it because love is caring more about someone else than you do for yourself and he himself has admitted that he's a completely selfish person. Give your love to those, like your mom, who have been there time and again for you. I hope you two can one day patch things up if he can ever say "I'm sorry" and mean it, but for now concentrate on getting yourself into financial health. As one of his friends told me "live well, it's the best revenge." "

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