Monday, June 09, 2008

And ex-wife makes 5?

We went out to the swimming pool yesterday (Sunday) because it was hot enough that we were hoping that the temperature on the swimming pool water was above hypothermia levels and to work on our tans. I know; not a wise idea in this day and age, but whatever. There were a few other skinny bitches young ladies there, also courting skin cancer, but no one was in the water.

Anyway, the water was marginally warmer than last weekend, and we got in (and quickly out). After awhile, a family group came in and got into the pool and started swimming. I was lying on the lounge chair, frying sunning myself, and being the people watcher that I am (I had Bill's hat over my eyes and was peeping at them from under the brim. Well, not peeping necessarily; that just sounds creepy!) Spying, perhaps; or observing? Anyway, I was starting at them, mm-kay??

There were five of them -- an adult male, two adult females, and two little kids probably about 7 and 5. I observed the kids calling the adult male "Dad," and one of the women "Mom." The other lady the guy called "Babe" and I never heard the kids call her anything, although they interacted with her. The woman he called "Babe" had wedding rings on, and the man had a wedding band. The woman the kids called "Mom" had no rings on. The best I could figure, was that this was the most civilized divorce I'd ever seen!!

I couldn't quite figure out who lived at the apartments. Was it the man and his new wife? And the kids were visiting for the weekend, and the wife came over to have a swim before taking them home? Or perhaps the ex-wife and kids live at the apartments, and the Dad and wife were dropping off the kids at the apartments and stayed for a swim? I dunno, but it was really unusual. Apparently the wife's cell phone was in the ex-wife's car, and when the ex went to the car she asked the wife if she wanted her to bring her the phone.

I was just sort of dumbfounded.

You know what was really weird? The new wife looked exactly like the ex wife. Same color hair, same height, same body style. Makes you want to yell, "Dude! Can't you see you married the same woman?!?" Do they not see this?!? What is it about men that makes them get divorced from one woman, only to marry another one that looks like the ex?

What is that about?

Anyway, the kids seemed happy and well-adjusted. Well, except for the little girl (the younger child), who was "swimming" with Daddy and totally had this guy bamboozled. She was apparently scared to death of getting her face in the water, and every time Daddy tried to get her to swim, she clung to him like a monkey and whined. Oh, and one time she got water on her face, she shrieked like a banshee. Good Lord, you would have thought the child had a spike sticking out of her head. Geesh. Five years old, and already a drama queen?!? She so played her Daddy, too. I heard the mom tell the new wife, "She's so faking it." The new wife says, "Yeah, she doesn't do that with me, either." The ex goes, "Yeah I'd just tell her to knock it off."


Personally? I can't even imagine being all buddy-buddy with my ex-husband's new wife. We've been divorced 16 years and I can't imagine it. They've been married 16 years. Yeah. The ink on the divorce was barely dry before they got married. I can see you're getting the drift as to why we got divorced? Yep, you'd be right. But I'm not bitter.

But to be friends with them? Uh, no. I mean, more power to these people, but it's kind of creepy, don't you think??

Or is it just me?

Probably just me, because I'm envious. To be honest, I'd have given anything if my husband's wife had accepted my kids and treated them as her own. As it was, my ex handed over his cojones at their wedding and she put them in her pocket, saying, "You won't be needing these anymore." And there they've stayed for 16 years. My ex was perfectly happy being a part-time dad, and made sure that the kids didn't ever interfere in their lives.

Just so you know, we've been divorced since the kids were 8 and 3. They're 25 and 20 now. Fortunately, I met and married a wonderful man nearly four years ago, so I totally got the better end of the deal there.

But anyway.

Here's a couple of examples:

When my kids were in 1st and 4th grades, my ex worked as a custodian for a school (still does in fact). At that time, he worked swing shift, meaning that he didn't go to work until 2pm. I worked from 8am to 2pm. I called and asked him if, during the two week Christmas vacation, if the kids could come to his house while I was at work, and he could drop them by my work on his way to work at 2pm. I was working only part-time and wasn't making much money, so I really couldn't afford childcare when they weren't in school. Plus, I figured this would be a great way for him to spend some quality time with the kids. I mean, the single dads I know would JUMP at the chance to have time with his kids, right? Right. So he says he'll think about it and call me back. Which translated means he has to ask his Mommie wife and see if it's okay. My friends and I called him the Ball-less Wonder.

Anyway, he called me back and said that he would do it if I paid him for childcare.

For reals.

I was aghast! I was so appalled, I was speechless. This was a new low, even for him! Then I said, "You want me to PAY you to watch your OWN CHILDREN?!?!?" My voice trailed off in an incredulous squeak. As soon as I said that he realized how ridiculous it was and I could tell because he backed off immediately. I'm sure that he thought it was ridiculous also, and he was only saying that because his wife told him to. Because he has no cojones.

His wife was of the opinion that the $300 in child support they were paying met their parental obligations. This was in 1993. Even then that wasn't enough to pay half of two children's expenses. Who are they kidding?!? I never went back to court to get that changed, btw, because I knew that as soon as I did go to court and get more (and I could have gotten much, much more) their dad would tell our children that he could no longer afford to see them because their mom was a greedy bitch. I'd rather my kids have the one day a week he begrudingly gave them (he never had them overnight because that would involve feeding them a meal other than lunch).

However, when my oldest son graduated from high school in 2002, my ex said, okay now I only have to pay you $150 a month because I only have to pay for youngest child now, and half of the $300 is $150. I said, "But I haven't raised the child support in 10 years, and oldest child is still living in my home. How about we keep it at $300 because that is less then you'd be paying if we went back to court." He said he'd get back to me (i.e. has to ask Mommie his wife). He called back and said, "No."

Okay, then. Homie don't play dat. I consulted with an attorney, who said according to the Dissomaster (some weirdass computer program that decides these things), my ex should be paying $385 for one child alone (if I'd changed it before oldest child left high school, he would have been paying $750). So I took him back to court (youngest child was 16 years old at the time) and the judge assigned him $385 in child support!!! His wife was FURIOUS!!!! I just smiled at him and told him that if he'd just agreed to stick with the $300, he'd have been better off. But since he'd been such a butthole about it, he was now going to have to pay $85 more for the next two years. And since youngest child's birthday is in November? He was not only going to have to pay more, but he was going to have to pay all the way past when he graduated from high school all the way through his 18th birthday that November. (The kids are 20 and 25 now). Of course, when I told him that I'd actually "saved" him money by not taking him to court earlier, he didn't seem to appreciate that perspective!

But I digrees. Back to the story when the kids were in 1st and 4th grades.

So he agreed to watch them during the two week Christmas break. But the very next day he called and said their daughter was sick and the kids couldn't come. The day after that he called and said they had an important appointment they'd forgotten about, and so forth. This went on for the whole Christmas break. He managed to find "excuses" for every single day, and didn't have them once (except for his obligatory Saturday from 9 am to 5pm). That wasn't my doing, either, btw, in case you think I'm a bitch for only letting their dad have them for 8 hours a week. Oh no. The visitation agreement we signed with our child support papers (and not once did he ever follow) involved a very generous visitation schedule, including every other weekend, birthdays, holidays, and three weeks in the summer. Did he ever follow that schedule? Oh no.

Their dad and wife and daughter live five minutes away; always have all their lives. His wife didn't want to have to pay for any food for them. The couple of times I insisted they stay the night (because I had plans for the weekend), they would fix them box Macaroni & Cheese for dinner. That cost what -- 50 cents? Geez.

Anyway the second example was about four years ago, when I heard my ex on the radio. He'd won tickets to some family thing. The DJ asked him how many kids he had. My ex said, "I have one, a daughter."


Apparently he forgot about his two boys. But that pretty much sums up exactly how he allowed his wife to push them out of his life.

Sad, isn't it?

So maybe these people had the right idea, after all. I'd have given anything for my ex and his wife to make my children feel welcome in their home.

Come to think of it? As weird as this situation at the pool seemed me? This is really, really good for the kids. That ex wife has NO idea how lucky she is, that the dad's new wife loves and accepts the kids and allows them to be part of their lives.

Maybe it's not so weird after all.


That Chick Over There said...

Maybe they were swingers.

B&K said...

HA!!! Never thought of that one. Maybe you're right!

I'm thinkin' ewwwwwww but whatever blows your dress up . . .