Dumb@ss Syndrome

September 19, 2008

(Post #4 of 4) (This is the final of 4 posts about my ex-husband from 10 years ago.)

Now that I had my personal protection order, I could legally go home…and Mark couldn’t legally be there.  But somehow I knew better.  I called the police and told them I was going home.  They assured me he had been served the papers and would most likely be gone.  I just had a feeling he was still there.  The police went to my house ahead of me to see if he was there while I waited at a neighbor’s house. 

Sure enough, Mark was there.  With self-satisfaction, he produced his copy of the personal protection order…and the area for the judge’s signature was blank.  It took a few phone calls, but the police were able to confirm that the order was legally valid and that he had to leave.  They also checked for outstanding warrants.  He had outstanding warrants in a neighboring county for unpaid child support for his two older children.  Nice.  Anyway, that ended up being a good thing, because they were able to haul him off to jail so I didn’t have to so much as think about him for a few days.

A police officer told me all of this after they had taken him away.  As I was coming in the house, I noticed a half-packed duffel bag on the floor.  One of the police officers noticed my perplexed look.  He told me that Mark had started packing the bag when they told him they were taking him into custody.  Apparently, he got halfway through packing the bag and got cocky and said he didn’t need this stuff…because he would be coming back.

I was really glad he left the stuff because Mark had packed MY duffel back with things he regularly used that were MINE.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, a couple days later, I had to deal with his Dumbass mother bitching me out for putting her son in jail.  I said I didn’t put him in jail.  I told him to move out and he wouldn’t.  I had to call the police to get him out of the house.  He was in jail for not paying child support for his older children.  That was his choice not to leave and his choices and behavior set these events in motion.  I know to respect my elders, but I had to make an exception and hang up on her.

The icing on the cake was when Mark called to ask me for a ride “home” from jail.  What?!!  People’s stupidity never ceases to amaze me.  Someone asked me the other day if I have ever wanted to kill someone.  They laughed when I said yes.  Towards the end of that relationship, I really wanted to kill Mark.  I thought about stabbing him to death, but I’ve seen enough TV to know getting rid of a body is no easy task.  And he wasn’t worth spending a moment in jail over.

Husband Removal 101

September 18, 2008

(Post #3 of 4)

The day after discovering the best (or should I say only?) option for getting rid of my husband, I took Baby Bear to my sister’s house 40 minutes away.  I dropped him off, then came right back into town and went directly to the courthouse.  I waited in lines and filled out paperwork.  When I finally met with someone one-on-one, she reviewed my written statement and asked me a few pointed questions.  “Has he ever actually hit you?”  “No.  He pushed me down once, but he has never actually hit me.”

She told me that she could submit my statement to the judge for review, but it was unlikely the judge would order a personal protection order against my husband.  There had to be more concrete evidence of physical abuse.  She said she would go ahead and submit it today, or I could come back if anything happened.

So, I went home to see if I could “make something happen.”  I tried to open the front door, but it was locked.  He (I guess I’ll have to give him a name – Mark) came to the door.  He was more intoxicated than I’d ever seen him.  He normally held himself together pretty well despite drinking beer like it was water, but he was disoriented.  He thought I had been gone for 2 days…and he was disgruntled about it…and he wasn’t about to let me in the house.  (The house for which I had paid rent for 12 out of the last 14 months.)  I saw my opportunity.  I knew he wouldn’t let me past the front door, but I started to walk in the front door anyway.  He physically blocked me and I kept forging ahead.  Finally, Mark shoved me (really hard) backwards into the doorway.  Ouch…but victory! 

For having my first official experience with domestic violence, I was pretty content with myself.  It was too late in the day to go back to the courthouse, so I went back to my sister’s house and spent the night there.  The next morning, I went straight to court and successfully got my very own personal protection order.

Life Without Father

September 17, 2008

(Post #2 of 4)

I actually used to have a book by this name, Life Without Father.  I still have a book called The Way We Never Were:  American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.  They were books from a graduate class on family policy in the US. 

I think that life without a father is supposed to be a bad thing.  The books explored the notion of the nuclear family and how it is idealized, for better…and worse.  The Way We Never Were deconstructs the idealized “American” family and illustrates how this idea of family has never existed at any single point in American history.  Life Without Father presented a lot of data to support the idea that fathers are a good thing.  That’s fine and great…except for when they are really, really bad fathers.

Once I told Baby Bear’s father that he had to move out, he seemed to go deaf.  I told him this a number of times.  “You need to move out.”  “You need to find a place to live.”  The more I pushed, the more defiant he became.  I hadn’t seen him pissed off too many times before, but I had given up on predicting what he was capable of (oh, let’s say something like giving an infant beer).  One day, when he was at work, I started flipping through the phone book.  This was before the days of wireless internet and Google.  It was so surreal…what was I looking for?  Pest management?  Not exactly.  Pizza delivery?  Nope. 

How do you get rid of a useless husband and father?  I finally came across the number for the local domestic violence shelter.  This wasn’t a direct hit, but I figured it was as close of a hit as I was going to get from this phone book.  I called the number and proceeded to explain the situation to the counselor on the other end of the phone.  She wasn’t sure what to tell me.  My relationship had signs of trouble, but no clear history of physical abuse.

Her only suggestion was to go court to request a personal protection order.  That would legally force him to stay away from me (the net result being he would have to move out).  She was not sure if I could get a personal protection order without clear evidence of physical abuse, but I tried anyway.  I couldn’t think of anything else.

(Heavy) Baggage from Past Relationships

September 16, 2008
(Post #1 of 4)
Once upon a time, I dated someone who reminded me of a combination of past love interests.  I guess that was somehow comforting.  I was also drinking a lot of alcohol at the time.  I mistakenly interpreted that familiarity as a good sign.  Fast forward 12 years and I’m taking care of the child we conceived together…all by myself.  I kicked him out when our son was 6 months old.  By that time, it was already painfully apparent that he was going to be a terrible father.
I have yet to receive a penny of child support.  He must owe me somewhere around $50,000 by now.  One of the reasons I started this blog (and I have to remind myself every so often) was to share things I am ashamed of or things that are embarrassing.  So, here goes.  This is a story that I have not told many people and it is still a painful story to tell.
When Baby Bear was 4 or 5 months old, I left him with his father for a few hours while I went to see a girlfriend of mine who was in town.  It was the first time I left him alone with his father for more than a brief time.  When I came home later that evening, Baby Bear was sleeping.  I knew Baby Bear’s eating and sleeping schedule like the back of my hand.  I asked how long he had been sleeping.  He had been sleeping for an unusually long time.  I asked about his last feeding.  Apparently he had not eaten much.  I instantly knew something was wrong…there was no way he would sleep that long on anything less than a full stomach. 

I rushed upstairs to check on him.  He was asleep, but breathing.  I quickly picked him up and immediately noticed the front of his outfit was wet.  I brought his chest to my nose and took a deep breath.  His shirt smelled like…beer.  As it turns out, his father had given him “sips” of beer to get him to fall asleep.  I had no idea he was capable of such unbelievable idiocy.

Baby Bear was sleepy, but otherwise he seemed okay.  My first instinct was to take him to the Emergency Room to be evaluated for alcohol poisoning.  But then child protective services would automatically get involved…and I could lose custody of Baby Bear…immediately.  I’ve heard of people losing custody of their children over lesser things (like simple misunderstandings) for years at a time.  Once children go in the system, it’s hard to get them out.  Even though I didn’t do this to him, I was too scared to take him to the hospital.  That was an unthinkable position to be in as a mother.  I never left him alone with his father again and kicked him out soon after.