Thursday, September 30, 2010

Round one......

I was extremely lonely through the week. I looked forward to Wednesdays and the weekends. When I didn't have the boys for that weekend, I would leave work on Friday, hop on the bus from work to the downtown depot and take the train into the city. Then, once I was in the city, I would walk 6 blocks to the Randolph station and take that train to University Park where Brian would be waiting for me. Then we would spend the weekend together. Sometimes, we would spend Sunday in Chicago, that way all I would have to do is catch the train from Union Station to go home. This became a regular routine for us. A routine that I was enjoying and looking forward too. I did this every other weekend from the time I moved in my apartment until I moved out.

By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I was already without a job. I was also about to loose my apartment if I couldn’t pay the rent, and I was about to loose my attorney. Since the Verizon job was only temporary, I was let go. I struggled to find another job. It was becoming more and more difficult to use the bus as a means of transportation to look for jobs. It would pretty much take me all day just swapping buses to get to my destination. I would walk to most of the local places. The store, bank, McDonald's, and even the movie theater. I was becoming quit the independent gal. It was a whole new world for me. After all, this is what I wanted, right? Yes, but with the kids.
During that first hearing, my attorney set up a date and time that let me go back to my old house and write down all things that I wanted from there. Things that were very important to me. Memories that I had made throughout the 7 years of blissful marriage. NOT! Just all the important things like, books my mom gave the boys. The outfits they came home in. Pictures and my baby books. And things that I had received as a child from grandparents, and my dad.
Well, when the day arrived, it was so cold, wet and rainy that I didn't go. It was also dark, and I didn’t want to walk there in the dark. Needless to say, I never did get those important things back. All of it, gone. It still bothers me to this day that I never got back those baby books. I had every milestone written down in those books. First word, first haircut, first smile. All the milestones of a baby's life. Of my babies lives.

During Thanksgiving of 2000, my parents came to visit me. They were also bringing me their van to borrow until I was able to get my own car. I was scheduled to have the boys that year for the holiday. But once again, T didn't “understand” how to follow the order. My parents came in on a Wednesday, and I was scheduled to have the boys for Wednesday night starting at 6 and through the entire holiday weekend. Well, since he didn't exactly know or “understand” what I was entitled too, he decided to interpret it the way he wanted. Therefore my Thanksgiving went like this:
Wednesday November 22 – T dropped off boys at 6pm. Picked them up at 8pm (should havestayed the night)
Thursday November 23 – Thanksgiving Day – he dropped them off at 8am and picked them up at 8pm
*Friday (day) wasn't on “his” schedule, so he dropped them off at 6pm that night. They stayed the night with me Friday night and he picked them up at noon on Saturday.
(how do I remember all of this? I kept a journal. Remember?)

When I was able to finally talk to my attorney about what had happened, and asked her if what he did was wrong, she said absolutely he was wrong. The boys should 've stayed with me for the entire Thanksgiving weekend starting with Wednesday night and actually ending on Sunday at 6pm, my normal visitation schedule. She went on to say “when the parent who has the kids for the holiday, they have them for the entire weekend of that holiday, regardless of who's regular visitation weekend it falls on.” She also wanted to point out that, the order does state “not limited too” just those hours that is on the order. Which means, that I am “not limited” too just the 6pm drop off time on Wednesday and the pick up time on Sunday at 6pm. The phrase “not limited too” would be a phrase that I would use for the next 6 years when explaining to T that I am not just limited too the times on the order.
My attorney said that she would make sure that his attorney would know what happened, and to please make sure that he is told how to follow an order. But, that conversation, as far as I am concerned N E V E R took place. If it had, I wouldn’t have had to deal with the same crap for the next 7 years.

After my parents left, I pretty much packed up my things and moved in with Brian. I don't know why I didn't stay, look for a job and make things work in Dundee. I don't know, I can't answer that. Maybe, at the time I just needed a new start. A fresh start. I needed to be in a different place. I couldn't bare the thought of me being in the same town as my kids, within walking distance of them and not be able to see them everyday. Not have a relationship with them. It was hard for me. I had been pretty much abandoned by my family. My parents were driving me crazy, and I had other family that thought I was an alcoholic and drug addict..and pretty much believed everything that T told them. Eventually, he turned them against me. It would be years before I would be able to repair what he had done. Even to this day, I still think they believe him and think that I was the worst mother in the world. But more on that “family issue” later.

December 2000 was very hard for me. I can't explain what happened, all I know is that was the first year that I didn't spend Christmas with my kids. Not only did I miss celebrating birthday's in November with 3 of the boys, I was going to miss Christmas too. A holiday that is suppose to be happy, full of Christmas cheer, and family. Basically, what I believed happens was the same crap that happen with Thanksgiving. T always celebrated Christmas on the “Eve of” with his parents. And since Christmas Day didn't fall on “my” schedule day/time/week/ on the order, he didn't let me have them. This would be a repeat of Thanksgiving basically, except I wouldn't get them at all.
This was the month, I believe that left a nasty message on his answering machine using some not-so-nice words. Which would be used in court to show my “character.” Give me a freaking break would ya!

I didn’t let this incident slip by without writing it down in my journal.
Brian and I celebrated Christmas and New Year with his family. It was nice. They made me feel very welcome. I never felt out of place with them. Which I loved. Not to mention, it was a good distraction. But, it was still sad. I missed my boys.

I wrote in my journal that night;

December 2000

Dear Cody, Brandon, Austin and Dalton,
Merry Christmas! I miss you so much. I hope that you had a nice Christmas. I hope that Santa brought you everything that you wished for this year. I know that it has been a hard year for you, but I hope that with the new year, it will bring better times for us.
Always remember, no matter how far away I am, no matter what you hear, I love you always and forever.
Happy New Year....and welcome 2001
Love Mommy

I also sent them a Christmas card, which contently was returned “no such address.” This would also be something that I would get use to seeing over the years. And yes, if your wondering, I still have that card too.

The new year would hopefully be a much better one for me and for my kids. Or so I hoped.
Brian and I were doing well. Things progressed with us quickly. I guess it had to, we now lived together, and I wasn't going anywhere this time. I was on a mission this time too, I was looking for a job. It would take me 6 months before I landed a job. I needed a job really bad. I wasn't able to pay the child support that my attorney volunteers me for with my “temporary” job. So I was in arrears’s with that. I also lost my attorney because I couldn't keep up the payments with her. So I needed a job like yesterday.

I was on a pretty good schedule with visitation by now. We were still on the every other weekend schedule, but since I lived to far away, I decided I would forfeit my Wednesday nights. I would try and call during our separation time, but I would just get the answering machine. I would leave a message and never return my calls. Anyway, I looked forward to my visits with my kids. And they looked forward to them too, so they said. I knew by some of things they would say, and the attitudes I would get, they their dad was putting things in the little heads. This was all part of his sinister plan to sabotage my visits with the kids. Which worked for a little while. Until I finally caught on to it. But after I would take the boys home early on Sundays because one or the other would cry and say they hated me and wanted to go home. Or, “well dad said if I wanted to go home you have to take me.” I didn't want to keep them against there will, but I also didn't want to take them home early and miss my time with them. But, after so many tears, cries and sneaky calls to their dad, and whispers and secrets I started taking them home earlier than my “drop off time.” Again, his plan to sabotage me in court. I should've known. He made it sound like it was my fault. That I just couldn't handle the kids for that long. That I decided to bring them home all the time, was my idea. I didn't catch on to this game.

I made sure that all their needs were met while with us. I bought clothes, shoes toys and books. I wanted them to have a place of their own.
Brian's house was only a 3 bedroom, with one bath. I made one room all for the boys. But most of the time, they just wanted to “camp out” in the family room. I let them do whatever made them comfortable. They enjoyed coming to our house. Well, sometimes they did. As long as they didn't focus on what their dad planted in their heads before they left. It went something like this.. “don't have fun at mom's, make sure you act like you are not having fun.” “If you have fun, it will hurt my feelings and I will think that you want to live with your mom.”
Do I know this for sure? No. But, knowing what I have learned about Parental Alienation, this is how it works. And looking back at those tough times with the boys, its a textbook case. I just didn't know that at that time.
The boys played in the pool all the time. That is what kept them busy. Brian would swim all the time with them. They played ball, went for walks in the woods. Hiked, road bikes. I just didn't understand, at that time, why they didn't want to be there with us?

I finally landed at job at Kankakee Community College. I had the interview in April, the same week that Good Friday fell on. The lady who interviewed me said that they would call on Friday to let me know when I would start. Well, since Friday was a holiday, I never got that call. So first thing Monday, I called her. We played this phone tag game for a while. We also played this, “I haven't got all your paperwork together yet” game too. After about a month of the games, I called this lady up and asked her, “do I have this job or not?” She said “you have the job, I just need to turn your paperwork in to HR.” Well, I said “I’m starting Monday and I will be there at 9am.” The rest is history. I was there for 6 years.
It was good job. I would be working as a Home Visitor, working with teen moms during their pregnancy. Making sure they have signed up with WIC. Teaching them about pregnancy, etc. I would be going through all sorts of training, including training with DCFS. Which I was very happy about. I thought, if I had this training under my belt, T wouldn't get Sole custody of the kids. What judge would do that to me with all this training? “Ahhhh, ya right!!!”

Soon after I started my job, we had another court date. But this time I was going in without my attorney. I decided that I couldn't afford another one so I was going to represent myself. Yep, all the schooling that attorneys go to, the tests they have to take to pass the BAR...yep, they had nothing on me. I didn't need to pass the BAR, this was simple common sense stuff.
I went to the library, I sat in the courtroom in Kankakee to watch and listen. I did research, I started to enjoy all of it. This was easy. I was even able to talk to T's attorney. Which didn't last long, T fired him after he found out he was giving me “inside” information. It wasn't so much inside information, his attorney didn't understand why T was out to nail me to the wall. I wasn't the one who had committed adultery 2x, or accused of rape. His attorney and I talked, and we tried to figure it out. He was a super nice guy, he didn't need to be an attorney. I believe in my heart that he wanted to do the right thing by me and the kids and T wasn't going to have any of it. He wanted me wiped out and I didn't know why.
After he fired his “nice” attorney, he hired a very cocky, hard assed attorney that had a reputation like the devil. He was Italian, stocky guy with and an arrogant attitude. He would chew you up and spit you out like it was nothing. I didn't like him at all. But thought, he's a cutie! No, really I did. Not only did I think that, but I also thought I might be able to use that to my advantage. If I tried to flirt with him in a not so noticeable way........ya forget about it! This guy was smooth! I think that’s what I liked about him though. He chewed gum with an attitude, propped his leg up on the chair with the confidence of
dictator. He walked with a swagger....he was one good looking guy! I grew to hate him very quickly. And I knew he was getting paid to make me look like the bad guy. When I wasn't the bad guy at all.
When I found out that my Uncle (yes the one I stayed with, the one that gave me that contract to sign)
that he was going to testify against me, I was livid. I didn't understand how he could do such a thing.
What had I done so bad that he felt he would benefit from. I have had my suspicions all along about that whole situation. T had been chummy with them after I left. Filling them with lies and telling them all these bad things. I hadn't talked to them since I moved out of their house. We were not exactly on speaking terms. But, anyway, my theory behind his rush to testify against me, is that T's mom paid him a nice amount of money to make her son look good. But, that is just what I think happened. This had never been confirmed. But sure is a coincidence don't ya think?
He had no right do to what he did. Even though T had him served with a supeona, he could've pleaded the 5th and refused to say anything derogatory about me. But he choose not too.
Since I was my own attorney, I was able to question him on the stand. First I asked him, “have yo ever been to my home and observed me with my children?” He said “no.” I then asked him “have you ever been to T's house and observed him with the children?” He said “no.” Then I said “why then are you being asked to testify on behalf of our parenting skills if you have never observed either one of us?”
Pretty good right? That was a good time. I was on a roll!! My uncle didn't have much to say after that. I even questioned him about money that T was suppose to be sending me while we all lived in Florida. He said he was aware that I had some difficulty obtaining money from T....but knew that it was resolved. I asked him if he was aware that T cheated on me 2x and the 2nd time he was being accused of rape? His attorney objected....he said “the plaintiff's adultery isn't in question and should be stricken from the record.” I needed to somehow get that in there. It was. And that made him mad.
I didn't stop there though, I finished my questioning and asked my uncle, “ were you aware that T was court martialedfrom the Marine Corp?” “Objection, your honor, defendant need to stop, plaintiff's military history isn't on trial.” But once again, it was out there.
Dang it, I shoud've been an attorney!!! I pretty much did the same questioning when I was able to cross examine T on the stand. It was good times. Once again, it was out there. If he hadn't told his attorney about his adultery and the rape accusation, then I just opened up a whole can of worms for that boy. But, none of that mattered. NONE!!!

That court date didn't go well at all either. Even though, I did what I practiced, and tried to remember all the episodes of “The Practice” how could I go wrong? Before the court date, I would receive more accusations from stating that I “contumaciously, willfully and knowingly” failed to pay child support (the first round from the attorney that volunteered me with a temp job) and now I was in arrears’s $7000.00 and that jail time was possible because it was considered “contempt of court.”
Okay, those words “jail time” scared me to death and “contempt...” Holy crap!
So I went back to the library and did some research to defend myself. I was able to find some sort of defense with that, since I wasn't working and I didn't know, at that time, to contact the Child Support division about my joblessness. NOT that it would've done any good.
I was able to establish a better visitation schedule with the boys. Being awarded summer visitation, and the times were more clear. FOR HIM to understand. However, they screwed that up too. Which worked in my favor, just one time. When his new attorney gave the “new” orders to his secretary to write up, she conventleywrote that I can pick up the kids at 6am on Friday and drop them off on Sunday at 6pm. Boy, you better believe I took full advantage of that. I went to pick the kids up at school one day, with order in hand, it clearly says my time starts at 6am, therefore it was now on my clock....T of course threw a fit. He showed up at the school with a cop, and the cop told him that if the court order says 6am, then she has them starting at that time. I was able to leave with the boys that day from school. Ha-ha, sucker!!!!
It didn't take long before I receive another notice of motion in mail to correct the times on a previous court order....the times were back from Friday at 6pm to Sunday at 6pm. Grrrrrr.......!!!!
He said we can leave it at 6am if you would like to come pick up the kids and take them to school then...of course that wasn't going to work since I live 1 ½ hrs away, and he knew that.
During that court date, they established new child support for me. It went something like this:

  1. On the charge of contempt, we find the defendant, (which was me) guilty. But the Plaintiff doesn't seek jail time. The defendant will pay back the arrears’s in the amount of $50.00 per pay period. Which will be set up through the courts.

  2. The defendant has been found to be willful and contumacious and without regard to the child support order that was entered September 2000.....bla bla bla..

  3. No jail time is being sought at this time

  4. defendant has secured a full time job with Kankakee Community College, the amount of her net pay....bla bla bla....therefore defendant will pay the sum of $645 per month which will be $322.50 per pay period with the amount of the arrears’s is a total of $347.50 per pay period. This will also be set up through the courts and automatically taken from her check each pay period.
T was also asking that I pay for child care for the twins too.....which was ludicrous, since I was already paying child support. But, wouldn't ya know it, I was ordered to pay ½ of the day care expenses too.
Oh, this just keeps getting better. Remember the car that was repoed? Well I was also ordered to pay ½ of that too. But the court didn't have the “right” to say how much a month I was to pay, but that ½ was my responsibility. I would have to call the credit union where it was financed and get the ½ that I owed and make arrangements with them. I only paid $5.00 a month on that. He couldn't do a dang thing about that. In the end I would end up paying close to $800 per month in child support. I would be working 40 hours a week to bring home $400 a month.
I didn't get any sympathy. I had moved away, and I lived with my boyfriend. Which for some reason the judge didn't like. “Well, at least I didn't rape anyone.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

no place to go....

Moving in with Brian was a big deal. I needed a place to live, a roof over my head. My parents lived in Tennessee, and I wasn't about to move that far away from my kids. At least being in Kankakee, I was just an hour ½ drive to them.
I had no other options. So I just showed up at his house one afternoon. By this time he had changed hours, and was working days. When he got home, that's when I told him that I had no place to go. I needed to stay with him for a while. He was OK with that.
When I moved in with Brian, I didn't no what to expect. We had only known each other since April. But from that 2nd day, when I drove to Kankakee to see him, we seemed to be together every time we had the chance. I would drive down to his house almost every Friday night after I knew T was getting the kids. So we had 2 months together, and now I was moving in with him.
I called my attorney and let her know my whereabouts, since she was the only one who needed to know. But eventually, I had to tell her that I was living with a friend, who just happen to be a man.
We were not exactly an item, just yet. We hadn't officially called each other “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” He would joke and say we were just roommates with benefits. He's so funny! She didn't seem to think that me living with a friend that happen to be man was a big deal. Well, if she did, she sure didn't tell me that it was an issue, or that it might pose an issue later on.

It had been 2 weeks since I was made to leave my home, and I was suppose to go to court for that order of protection, but since I had an attorney, she was going to take care of all that court stuff for me. When she did, she and T's attorney came up with a schedule for me to see the kids. I hadn't seen them for 2 weeks, or since that incident. I was sad, and missing my babies. Later I would find out, that after the 2 weeks was up, and since my name was still on the lease, I would’ve moved back in . But, that was something my attorney failed to tell me. Go figure! It would take over another month + for the attorney's to get a visitation schedule that HE agreed on. I just didn't understand why HE had to be in agreement with me seeing my kids, it was making me so mad. What was I paying my attorney for if she was not fighting for my rights. It was simple, every other hard is that? It was all part of the plan..

I would drive back and forth to see the boys every other Saturday. I hadn't exactly felt comfortable with bringing them to Kankakee just yet. After all T was not exactly OK with the idea and he fought me every time I tried so I just let it go, and went and saw the boys every other Saturday, well until my car was repoed. Those trips I tried to make meaningful. I would take them to the park, or McDonald's or the library. I was that “visiting” parent and it was hard to just be “that.” It made me sad every time I had to leave them. I stopped off at another Aunt's house one day to let the boys play with her kids. While I was their, I remember my Uncle asking me, what makes me think that my relationship with Brian was going to work, when my relationship with T didn't. I honestly didn't know how to answer that...but I wish I would've said “what makes you think it won't.” But I didn't, I just let it go.

I would always take pictures of my boys too. Places were we went, and what we did. I would also come back home and journal about the day, and what we did. I also made sure I wrote down how the transition was during drop offs and pick ups. I would journal about things the boys would say, and if they had a bad attitude or gave me a hard time. But that was very rare. They really never did give me a hard time, that wouldn't happen until waylay later on down the road. One time, when I was dropping them off at T's house, I was getting things out of the trunk, and Cody jumped in it and started to cry and say he wanted to go with me, and he wasn't going to get out of the trunk. That killed me. My heart broke when I saw him do this. My son was hurting, and T didn't seem to care, he didn't even know that what he was doing was hurting our boys. But eventually, Cody got out, but not without a fight. As I held him, I would make sure that he knew that I was coming back and we would have another day together. But to a little 7 year old, that means forever. (I am so sorry Cody that you hurt so bad.)

I was finally getting comfortable in the place where I was. Brian and I were in a good place. However, I wasn't working, and I had no money. I was being a mooch, I guess. But I couldn't help it...what was I going to do? During one night in July we had a knock on the door. I got up to answer it, it was a repo company, they were taking my car. The car that I trusted T was taking care of. Boy was I stupid. I should've known. So they told me to take out of it what I wanted and gave me a number of where it was going to be sitting. I was devastated, that was my only transportation to and from my boys, now what?
I couldn't believe that he was doing this to me. But, it was just another one of his plans. Now, not only was I homeless (sorda) and jobless, I was now car-less. Life was just great!!!! NOT!!

Although things were going well with me and Brian, he thought that it would a better if I moved back up north to Dundee, so I could get a job and get myself back on track. Obviously, I wasn't going anywhere sitting at his house. I understood his reasons, but I was still hurt, sad and not ready for that step yet. For the last few months, I was someone else. And I didn't exactly want to leave that. But I did.
On August 19, 2000 Brian drove me up to Elgin where I moved in with my aunt and uncle. It was a very sad day. I didn't want to stay there, and I didn't want to leave Brian. He had been the best thing that had happened to me the last 4 was going to be hard to leave that. He helped my uncle bring my things into the house, then they gave us some privacy to say goodbye. We both cried. I didn't think that he was capable of that, but he did. Then he drove away. I didn't know if or when I was ever going to see him again.

Once I moved in with my aunt and uncle, they let me settle in for the weekend, before they made me sign a contract with them. Yes, I said a contract. But I will get to that in a minute. The next day was Sunday, and I wanted to see my boys. My uncle had made arrangements for T to meet us at church with the boys and I would take them from there. But, instead of waiting for me to show up he dropped them off at church expecting someone to just watch them until I showed up. I was furious. Not to mention, the clothes he had them in where awful. They didn't even match. I was embarrassed for them. My poor babies.
After church we went back to my aunts house where she took a cute picture of me with the boys.
And this is where I guess my family was able to “observe” me with my kids to see how exactly I would act with them. Apparently, they had heard to many rumors from T regarding my parenting skills, or lack thereof. Not only did they think I was a bad parent, they had also been told, or thought, or speculated that I was an alcoholic and used drugs. This was the most ignorant thing that I had ever heard. I thought who in the world actually said all that? Give me a break. Later I would find out, that one night while my cousins husband was on patrol, he spotted a similar car as mine in a parking lot of a bar. I will admit, I was a a bar and grill one night after work with a few friends. But if they were actually in that bar with me, they would've seen that I was drinking water. But I didn't care what anyone thought, I knew they were lies. I had never been drunk in my life, and I never did any form of drugs.
(In glad I have finally cleared the air on that rumor)

On Monday evening, my Aunt and Uncle sat me down in the family room, and gave me a list of rules that I was to abide by while I was living with them. Or should I say, staying with them. They gave me 2 weeks to find a place to live. I was to find a job, and make myself familiar with the bus schedule and or train schedule. To start me off, my uncle was so kind as to bring me the schedules. The contract that I was made to sign, had some rules on there. Only a few I a actually remember. One of them was I wasn't aloud to access the internet without permission, and it was only to look for a job. Another one said, that I was not to leave my laundry in the dryer.....what? Another one was, that I wasn't NOT to call Brian. He was off limits. Why? I wanted to ask so bad, but didn't. To them, he was the bad guy, he broke up my family, he came between me and T. But they had that all wrong too.

I signed that contract, and agreed to the rules. I felt like I was being admitted into an institution or something. I was 27 for God sakes, not a crazy lunatic. I felt like I was being treated like I had committed like the ultimate crimes and I was being watched. Let's just say, that I didn't feel welcome. I felt like I was in the way, a burden and that out of sympathy they had to help me out. (if you are reading this, I am sorry, but that’s how I felt)

(by the way, I still have that contract too)

I just needed to play by the rules until I moved into a place of my own, then I could play by my own rules. Everyday I would look in the paper for jobs. I would line up interviews and figure out how to work the bus system. I have to say, I got pretty good at it. Talk about independence.
I finally got a job through Kelly Services working at Verizon Wireless. That was a good start, but it was temporary. And soon after that, I was in my own apartment. Things were falling into place.
As soon as my attorney knew I was working and making money, she immediately scheduled a court date so that T could start receiving child support. That angered me. I was just getting settled into my own place, and just starting a job, I thought just let me build up a little savings first. But nooooo! Grrrrr!!!!
This is where things start to get really difficult. Rent was $675 a month + utilities, and groceries.
I got paid $12.00 hour and worked a 40 hour week job. (do the math) Child support was set at $600 month which was $150 a week. The attorney said that I wouldn't have to worry about giving the money directly to T, that she would set it up that it came directly out of my check and straight to Kane County where they were send him a check. I was good with that. But funny thing, she never did set that I waited, and waited and waited. I eventually started giving him a money order for that, but I was already falling behind waiting for her to “set it up.” But, I did manage to pay I him what he was owed.

That first experience in court was rough. I hated it. It was the first time I had ever been in a courthouse before. It was so intimidating and sad. I watched people come and go, wondering what they were there for. I saw women coming out of the court room crying, men pissed off and attorneys just doing their jobs. Each attorney looked the same, each in a suit and tie, except for the women, some had pants on and some wore suits too. But all of them had the same arrogant attitude. I would watch each one talk to clients and each other with no sense of respect or sincerity. They would laugh and walk like they had no care in the world. In the court room they would put on a whole other demeanor. They would argue with each other, and interrupt with an “objection” and then claim that one attorney needed to do more research was awful. But very interesting, I found it amusing. But, overall it was just down right sad, so many peoples lives were falling apart, and it was left down to one person to make the final decision. The judge. That cocky, arrogant man sat up higher then anyone in the court room as if he were a God. He would walk in with no look on his face. He wouldn't make eye contact with anyone, he would just look at the papers that were in front of him, and then ask a few questions to the attorney's from time to time. After he would here each argument, he would make his decision. When he spoke, no one else did. He didn't like to be interrupted. I remember one time, an attorney did' t like what the judge had to say, and he talked over him and the judge told him that when he was speaking, that he is not to interrupt. What an ass! I hate judges. I hate attorney's. I hate the courts. I hate the judicial system.

Once everything was done, I just cried. My attorney took me into a room and sat with me. She didn't have much to say. It was business as usual for her. My tears and sadness had no effect on her.
It was just to much for me to handle at one time. The papers, the rules and regulations, the stipulations the child support,and the visitation schedule. All if it in one day was just to much for me to soak in. I just couldn't believe that I was now following a court order that regulates my time with my children. I found this to be the saddest of it all. I was once a mother with 4 kids. Waking them up, seeing their smile. Making breakfast for them, bathing them, feeding them hugging them and talking to them on a daily basis. But now, in my hands I held an order that said these were the times that you had with your kids. How is that fair to any parent? How is that fair to a child? A schedule to see my kids. It's a crap system. But after it was all done for that day, I felt a little better that we were finally getting the ball rolling.
During the hearing that day, she also adjusted the visitation schedule. Since I was now living in the same town as T it was still every other weekend, but I would also get them on Wednesday nights. And T was ordered to drop the kids off and pick them up. He wasn't to happy about that, but he actually screwed him self when he didn't pay for my car....not only was it in his name, but now, he had to bring the kids to me. Ha ha ha!!!

It wouldn't be until the next year when we would have another court date. By then, so much would change.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An internet connection

I don't exactly remember when I purchased my computer, if it was after he left, or right before. Nonetheless, I had my hands on an open invitation to a whole new world. The Internet was new to me. I had never actually logged into AOL or a chat room, but once I did I found myself hooked.
It was so fun to sit and chat with people all over the world. I was able to travel with my imagination into other places without leaving the confines of my chair at home.
After T moved out, and I knew that separation and divorce were awaiting us, I was moving on. I will admit, I may have gone about moving on in a whole different way then some would, but I was still young. I was lonely, and I was looking for a friendship. I was looking in all the wrong places.
I did start talking to a few guys, one in Jacksonville FL and one in New Orleans. I am going to be honest too, yes, I wanted to meet these guys. But I never did. The chats would be as far as it would go. The guy in New Orleans was an attorney, so he was interesting to talk too.Although lived in New Orleans, he did try and give me some divorce advice. The conversation with him, or the chats with him didn't amount to anything but idol chit-chat. Same with the guy in Jacksonville. It was very interesting however, to talk to so many different people.
I bought a scanner to scan pictures of me so that I when I am talking to someone, they could see who I was. It was a good way for me to see who I was talking to as well. But not everyone had a picture posted. So that made it difficult.
T and I were still on the same schedule, he would come to sit with the boys while I worked, and leave when I came home. I wasn't to educated on how the whole computer thing actually worked, so I didn't know how to erase history or anything, but leaving him alone in the house with my computer would turn disastrous for me. Little did I know, T was already trying to bust me out on anything and everything he could. I was so naive, that I didn't think twice about what he was capable of. He had been a wuss of a guy when it came to confrontation. So what he had been doing to incriminate me, and build a case for himself was the last thing on my mind. In my mind he didn't have the balls or the brains to figure anything out. Boy did I underestimate him. Or should I say, his mom.

On April 4, 2000 I was on AOL chatting online in a Chicago chat room, everyone was talking about the plans they had for that night. Since it was a Saturday, everyone with a social life had something to do. My social life was sitting in the family room watching cartoons with the boys and chatting online.
I knew my plans were not that exciting to chat about. So I just watched, and made a comment from time to time. Then I heard a “bling.” It was a guy named Brian. He said “hi!” I said “hi” back.
I asked where he was from and he said Kankakee. He said I probably hadn't ever heard of it. But I quickly told him I had. (Which I had) We talked about how old we were, what we did for a living..etc. I told him I had 4 kids. That I was separated from my husband and a divorce was in the near future.
I sent him a picture of me, and asked him to send one of him, but he didn't have a scanner and wasn't able to send one. Needless to say, he liked my picture. Right before T and I separate, I had went to a local photography studio downtown Dundee and had some really cool pictures taken of me. I was feeling very confident, and pretty and wanted some pictures done. Those were the ones I used online.
The funniest thing happened, and we still joke about it to this day, we were talking about the music we liked and when he said he listens to the 80's channel, I had no clue that in his area he was able to pick up on a station that played 80's music only. But during that conversation, he had said that the song that he was listening to at the time was “Say my name, Say my name.” But I didn't catch that he said that's what was on the radio at that very when he said “say my name say my name..” I laughed and said “Brian” “Brian.” We still say “say my name, say my name” to this day and laugh whenever we here it on the radio. The connection we had was like no other. It was amazing.

We chatted for the rest of the day, even exchanged phone numbers and by the early afternoon we were on the phone making plans for him to drive and meet me. Our phone conversation went extremely well. We both talked about our families, and our childhoods. He had never been married, and was looking for friendship. Perfect, because so was I. Given the distance between us, 1 ½ hrs I knew that meeting him that night was going to be the last. This was my first experience meeting someone online, as was his, so we both decided what the heck, let's give it a try. We had no plans to leave my house, since I had the 4 kids, and it was going to be late before he arrived. So we decided to rent a movie and order pizza.

When he arrived the boys were already in bed. The house was quiet,and I had picked up the toys that the boys had left out. I took a shower and made myself look HOT! Well, I put on a long sleeve pink t-shirt with a pair of tan cargo pants. I fixed up my hair like I normally did.,and put on makeup. I didn't want to portray something I wasn't. I was anxious, and nervous all at the same time. But more anxious then nervous, since our conversation earlier, we had talked and shared so much that I felt so comfortable with him and wasn't afraid at all to meet him or let him in my house. He was wearing a pair of tan cargo pants had a maroon shirt, with brown shoes. He was very good looking and he smelled wonderful.(it had been a while since I had a man smell so nice) He wore glasses but had them on his shirt. So he was sqwinting when he met me. I shook his hand and invited him in. (shook his hand, who does that?)
We talked and talked...then I ordered pizza and waited to start the movie until the pizza came.
We watched “Double Jeopardy.” Interesting!
While we waited we started talking more about life, and things we talked about earlier. We had an instant connection. I found out that he liked to R/C race, but hadn't done it for a while. He as going to school and working, so his R/C hobby was placed on hold. He told me about his job, and that he worked 3rd shift. That hes been doing that for 5 years and was hoping to get on 1st shift soon.
He had a good head on his shoulders, knew what he wanted. Had goals.He was smart, and had a few bucks in the bank. He was going places.... I liked all of the above.
Lucky him I thought. We even talked about what was or wasn't going to happen that night.
We both agreed that nothing was going to happen. NOTHING!! We even said that we could remain friends, and chit chat over the phone and via Internet, but nothing further was going to amount from it.
We both knew this. After all, he lived far away.
The pizza arrived and we started the movie. I turned the lights down, just a bit to add to the mood. Hahahaha!!!
Then we made our way to the floor. Before you knew it I was kissing him. Then he was kissing me and then we kissed...and kissed...and kissed!!! The movie was really good.
We both knew that he was going to stay the night, since he drove such a long way. He made that clear. But we agreed that he would sleep on the couch. Which he did do...but it would be 3am before we actually did go to bed. (separately)
The next morning, we said our goodbyes, and said we would call. Maybe he said, he would call. Or did I say I would call. It doesn't matter...I was going to call him again regardless. I liked this guy. But in the back of both our minds, we knew we would never see each other again.

After he left, I went back to bed. It was still early and the boys were still in bed. It was also Sunday morning, and I knew that it wouldn't be long before they would be up. T was suppose to come pick them up for the I knew that I had to have them ready.
By the time T arrived, I had the boys ready to go. I think that we had a few words too while he was there, I think he wanted to know who was at the house last night. I couldn't exactly lie, since he knew someone was there, but I wasn't about to say who. I just said a friend, and left it at that.
After he left, I took a shower and made that phone call to Brian. I told him I was coming to see him, and which exit was it once I got into Kankakee? With that, I was on the road. It took me 1 ½ hrs to get there. Once I did, I didn't feel nervous or scared. It felt right. It felt comfortable. It felt like home.
But why was I feeling this way, this is crazy. This won't work. I kept telling myself.

When I pulled up at his house. It was exactly as he had described it. The lawn was perfect, which was a plus. I always had to remind T to mow the lawn or trim the bushes. Or, if he didn't I would have to do it. So when I saw that Brian's lawn was manicured and the bushes were trimmed, I knew that I liked this guy. He welcomed me into his house. I was taken back at how well maintained it was. How clean and well decorated. Either he had really good taste, he was gay, or he was married before. Well, one out of three....he just had really good taste! He had it all. A pool, jacuzzi, a boat. But honestly, that all did nothing for me since I had all that growing up as a kid. So that wasn't impressive and certainly didn't lure me to him by any means. Even if he didn't have all that, I still would've fallen for this guy.
After he showed me around, we talked more. Then he said that he had to work tonight and had to leave at 10pm. I said that was fine, that I would leave when he did, if that was OK. He said that he did have to sleep before he left, and I said that was fine too.
We stayed at his house most of the day. Then he took me to this little restaurant near his house. He warned me that it wasn't the best place in the world, but it had good food. When we arrived, we sat across from each other in a booth. He ordered a bacon cheeseburger and I ordered a baked potatoe.
Like it had been 24 hours earlier, the conversation was great. We laughed, and talked and shared stories about our lives.
After we left, we made our way back to his house. It was getting late, and he knew that he needed to go to bed. So, I laid with him and talked until he fell asleep. Then before we knew it, it was time for him to leave. We said good-bye and this time he promised to call me. I followed him until he got off at his exit and I headed home.
It was 12:30 before I made it home. T was there and the kids were sound asleep in their beds. He didn't leave when I arrived. But was asleep on the couch, so I went into my room and crawled into bed. But couldn't fall asleep, I was still on a high from that last 2 days.
Eventually I feel fast asleep, and before I knew it I was up and getting Cody off to school and back to my normal routine. But it was different this time. I had a quicker step in my walk. I had a smile on my face...for the first time in a long time I was happy. Until the phone rang. It was my dad. Apparently, T had called them, or something... and told him that I hadn't come home last night. I wasn't a child, I didn't need to call and check in. T had the kids for the day, I was on my own. We were separated, I didn't need to call and let him know where I was. And I certainly didn' t need my dad calling and asking about my whereabouts either. So I lied. I didn't care, I didn't need to share all my personal life with them. So I kept everything as quiet as I could.

In May 2000, I was still working at First Card. The schedule that we had made was still working out.
Or so I thought. One night while I was at work, my supervisor came and excused me from my desk. She said that I was needed out in the lobby. So I walked to the lobby, and there before me stood a women dressed in a nice pantsuit, and handed me a brown envelope. She said she was from an attorney's office and that I was being served divorce papers. This was not surprise, but it was a surprise that I was being served at work. What a jerk! I was home all day long, why would he serve them to me at work? Anyway, as she handed me the papers, she also handed me a card for another attorney's office.
I thanked her and walked away in shock. It was finally hitting me that I was getting divorced and he wasn't playing.
The papers were cold, formal and very scary. The words were intimidating and harsh. He was seeking full custody of the boys. I was scared out of my pants. How dare he even try and get full custody of the boys. There is no way he was going to get full custody of the boys, what was he thinking? We are both the parents, therefore we would have joint custody. This is not what we talked about. We promised that we wouldn't fight over the kids, we promised that we would work together for the kids. All of a sudden he had a set of balls that he hadn't had before. They must have been his moms balls, because he wouldn't have thought of any of this.
Come to find out, I was a little panicked. I called the attorney that was on the card the messenger gave me, and made an appointment. She told me that the papers were just normal lingo, and if I would've first mine would've said the same thing. OK, that made me feel better. Then we talked about how much she charged to represent me. It was very expensive. I had no money saved, so I had to get money from my parents. They sent the attorney $1500.00 to get started and the rest would be paid by me through a payment plan after she used the $1500. I knew T's parents were footing the bill for him, and money was no object for them.
Anyway, I hired that attorney, and she started my paperwork. I hated every single minute of this process. The financial parts, the not answering my questions and phone call parts. I hate attorney's. I didn't realize how much I disliked them until I had to start dealing with them.
I told her that he moved out on March 22 of 2000. (that year) and that I had been at home with the boys and got them off to school and picked them up. Then since I worked in the evenings, he would come and sit with the kids until I got home. She asked me “is this working?” I said “it has so far.”
Then she said “we will keep it this way until we need to change it.” She wanted to know who took the kids to the Dr.'s appointments and I said that I had been doing that.
Then I started telling her that he had cheated on me 2x, and I have proff of both. She wanted all the information. I told her that he was arrested and accused of rape, and was discharged from the Marine Corp. She assured me that I wouldn't have a problem establishing that I was the primary caregiver and the this would be a simple divorce as long as he didn't drag it out over the kids. But, given that you have been the primary caregiver, we would probably get joint custody with the primary care with me and he would have weekends, holidays...bla bla bla...that would be figured out later she said. Let's just get the basics out of the way.
She took a few notes, and then my “free” consultation was over. I was on my way to becoming a divorcee! I was feeling a lot better to now that I had an attorney, and she was confident that this would be simple, and it would be just another divorce for her. “Simple my ass!”
I would guess that T's attorney's strategy wasn't quit like my attorney's was. He was out for blood and I was about to be stabbed to death.

I had taken the day/night off from work so I could get a few things done that needed to be done. So when he came to sit with the kids, I was home, and he didn't know that I wasn't leaving for work. There were no cell phones, and I was asked not to bother him at work. So I didn't.
When he arrived, he had an agenda. For some reason, he wasn't leaving and he was staying to take a shower. Which I found odd, because he never liked to shower before, why start now.
So I kept asking him to leave, but he refused. By this time, T knew that I had a temper. I wasn't afraid to throw a few punches at him, and after about the 5Th time I asked him to leave, I hauled off and slugged him. But I couldn't stop hitting him. He didn't fight back, but this was part of his plan. His attorney had told him to provoke me so that I would hit him. In doing this, he would be able to have me removed from the home, and therefore establish himself as the primary caregiver. With me out of the house, he was sure to get custody of the kids. He went next door and called the cops. No sooner they showed up, his parents were right behind them. If I didn't know any better, which I didn't think about it that night, but they were in on the little plan too, because they seemed to have showed up in no time, to stand by their son. I was asked to leave the home for the night to “cool off” and he didn't press charges. Which was odd, but all part of the plan.
I think I called my dad, and he called my uncle or I called my uncle then I called my dad...I don't know, but all I know is that I stayed the night at my aunt and unlce's house that night. It was a long, stressful night. This is where I screwed up. When I allowed him to corner me, and provoke me into hitting him. So many things went wrong that night, and I have had to live with those decisions to this day. That night not only did he establish the primary caregiver status, but I was now going to find out what the term noncustodial parent meant.
By morning, I was driving back to my house, and I let myself in. He tried to push the door shut, but I let him know that I was only told to stay gone for the night to “cool off,.” I wasn't told I couldn't come back. So I marched myself in the house and went to bed. He got up and left.
I was back at home and my routine was the same. Cody off to school, then Brandon....

Somewhere in here, I quit my job at First Card, or I was let go....not really sure...but nonetheless, I wasn't working anymore. One night, while I was at home, alone..T had come and picked up the boys and took them to his parents house, which again was very odd since it was a school night and Cody had to be up for school. But thought nothing of it. I got comfortable, and put my pj's on and watched TV.
Then I heard a knock on the door. I opened it to see two police officers asking to come in. They had an order of protection, and that I needed to get a few things that I needed and then I had to leave the house.
(I think this happened near the end of my early June.)
This was the last time I was ever in that house again. If I would've known I would have tried to grab more things, like my baby books, some photo albums and a few other mementos. Oh, and more clothes.

For the next 2 weeks I stayed with my aunt, an old friend of the family and then eventually, on June 13, 2000, I moved in with Brian.

Monday, September 27, 2010

moving out.....

It would be a few months before we were actually able to move out of the apartment. So, T started his job with the park district, and I stayed home with the boys. Then in June 1998, I finally had my tubes tide. We were finished having babies. Our hands were full, and we were happy with the 4 little guys we had. It was a fun year. Four boys running around our little apartment. Once the twins started moving around, the pressure was on to find another place to live.
I was on a mission, I had to find another place for us to live. A place with hopefully more room, and preferably a house and not an apartment. I finally found one in Carpentersville around the start of the fall school year. Cody would be in kindergarden and I needed to have him settled in a place before the start of school. He started kindergarden at Meadowdale Elementry. It was great, my cousin also had a daughter the same age as Cody, and they were in the same class.
We moved in shortly before the start of school. I signed Brandon up for pre-school through the Park district. And for a few ours during the day, it was just me and the twins. My days were very busy. When I was at home, I would do laundry and clean. Then I would have to turn around and pick up the boys from school. On the weekends, T would take the kids out to his parents to hang out. I would go from time to time. Things were still very uneasy with us, and I still didn't fit in with them. Luckily I was keeping myself busy, I picked up a part time job at Kohls.
One weekend, my dad was in town, and he stopped by to visit with us. Unfortunalty, I had to work that evening, and was unable to visit with him. But he stayed with T and the boys. Before I left, I had asked T to take the clothes that I had folded on our bed, and please help the boys put them away. I was asking him to help the boys learn how to put their own clothes away. My dad heard me ask him this simple little task. By the time I got home, all the toys were everywhere, and the clothes that I had folded up earlier that day, were scattered all over the place. I was livid. He had no respect for me, and had no desire to help me out. So, I had to explain to him, like a child that what he did was unexceptable. That he can learn to help, since I was also working. But that went through on ear and out the other. I was talking to a wall. I was loosing my mind. I was starting a new job, and I was going to need him to act like a grown up, and take on some responsibility at home, not just work and come home and act like a babysitter.

The summer of 1998, I started working at First Card in Elgin. This was a much better paying job, and I was able to choose my hours. I needed evening hours so we wouldn't have to pay for a sitter, and I would have weekends off. So I started working part time. I was feeling very independent by this time. Even more so then I had before. We had purchased another car, so we would both have a vehicle. Things seemed to be going just fine. It was like clock work. We had a wonderful routine. We didn't have to see each other. I guess that may have been the best part. I would leave when he got home, and I didn't see him, if I was lucky, until the next day when we passed each other on the way out the door.
We didn't have much of a sex life by this time either. I didn't have time, besides when we did seem to be together at the same time, he hadn't showered in several days and I didn't want too. I would always tell him, I don't want to have sex with you if your not going to shower. This was a constant battle.
I was getting tired of all of this really quickly. This shower thing was going on for all of our marriage now. Well, at least the time we had actually been together. I was noticing a lot of changes. I was noticing, that we didn't have much in common. We didn't have a marriage, it was just a convence for the both of us. And he wanted to go to his parents house all the time. That was getting old quickly too.

As I started feeling this burst of independence, I also I wanted to loose weight, so I started working out in the mornings after I would take Cody to school. But I was also having a hard time getting my self motivated in the mornings. I would cry over the strangest things, but thought nothing of it. I wasn't getting home until 11:30 at night, and trying to get to bed before 12:30 was impossible. I needed some downtime. By doing this, I couldn't get up in the morings...I was dragging. Eventually, Cody was gettting himself up and ready for school and he even started walking to school. I would wake up in enough time to get Brandon to pre-school, but I didn't feel like walking him up the stairs to the door. It was becoming so much work to take the twins out and walk up this flight of staris. So I would just drop Brandon off and watch him as he made it to the doors. Eventually, the teachers would call T and tell them what I was doing. He told me that I had to walk Brandon to the doors....whatever!! So I did. I just didn't know what was happening to me. I mean how stupid was this. I was watching him up the stairs..give me a break. He was safe, I was watching him.

It was November 1999 Cody turned 6 and the twins were 2. I was falling apart. I was miserable.
I was playing the part of the good house wife who had it all together, but deep down inside I was crying for help. I was looking for something, but just didn't know what. I knew that I was in a loveless marriage.
For new years his mom gave us to wine glasses and a bottle of wine to toast in the new year. I honestly think something was in the wine. Because once the new year hit, I was falling off my rocker.
I was going in so many directions I didn't know if I was coming or going. My marriage with T had been falling apart for years now, I was just going through the motions. (it was a curse that she put on me...just kidding. But one would wonder)

In February I decided that I needed to work less hours and try to figure out what was wrong with me. I Decided that I needed to talk to someone. So I found a therapist. Needless to say I went one time and never went back again. When I told her what I was experienceing, and told her how my husband wasn't showering like a normal human being, she looked at me and said, “sounds like it might just be you.” She went on to say, “that her husband didn't shower everynight either....” I never went back to her again. I convinced myself that his mom found out I was going to see this therapist and she paid her to tell me this stuff just to make it sound like I was crazy. Well it didn't work. Yes, I knew that something wasn't right with me, but I knew that a normal human being would shower on a daily basis. I was at least doing this on my own. I was functioning. Stupid therapist.

By this time, I was crying over everything, but found that working out was paying off. I was starting to look better and feel a little better too. T and I were actually starting to enjoy each other. He
would wait up for me and I would bring Taco Bell home for us.We sat and talked about our marriage. We talked about where we were going and not going. I told him I felt like I was stuck, trapped and I needed space. It was a sad moment. I tried to hold on as long as I could. I wasn't holding on for me, I was only doing it to prove his mom wrong. I didn't want her to win. But, that was all over. I was thinking differently.

I was finally snapping out of whatever it was I was snapping out of, and I was feeling like I needed to be free. I needed out! I was honest with him and told him that I wanted out of this marriage. But he begged me not to leave him. He was crying, begging. “I love you” he said. Whatever I need to do I will do. I told him it was too late. I needed room to breathe. I was discovering that we were both going into 2 different directions, and I wanted something different. It was time for a change. Our marriage was over.

It would be a few years before I realized that all that emotional mess I was going through was actually post partum depression. I had no idea. It was such a revalation when I did finally realize what I was going through. But, by then it was too late. Quietly I was dying inside and no one recognized the signs.

For my birthday, in March, he bought me flowers and a card. It was a nice gesture, but this had been the first time in 7 years he had bought me flowers. I was done. On March 22, 1999, T moved out. Actually, from what I found out, he once again couldn't face his parents about this failure so he decided to sleep in our van, in their yard. I guess he drove around until they went to bed and pulled in without them knowing. What a loser. It was a sad moment though. It was sad to see him pack up his things for the night. But once he was gone, I finally felt a breath of fresh air. It been lifted off of me. We both deserved so much more. I wasn't giving him what he deserved as a husband and vice versa.

We had discussed that I still needed to work and he still need to be here to help with the kids, and when I would get home, he would have to leave and go to his parents.
We were seperated. Finally I was able to breathe. I can't tell you or explain how this bittersweet moment felt. I just knew I was on my own. On my own with 4 kids. Our little arrangement worked for a while.

Then I bought a computer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What the hell were you thinking?.......

The military had come and packed up all of our stuff for us, which was a great thing. They moved it straight to his parents house in Illinois. Which was a bad thing. Which was also were I was going to stay until I found a place of my own. (a very bad thing)
After the wedding, we drove through Tennessse, were my parents had been living now for a few months. We stayed the night, but we couldn't stay long, T was on a tight schedule. (little did I know at that time, how tight his schedule really was)
After T left us in Illinois, I didn't waste any time before I packed up my little minivan with all that I could, and me and my boys took off. I wasn't going to stay with them. It just didn't feel right. I didn't feel comfortable. I didn't exaclty get that litte warm fuzzy feeling and I wasn't going to tolerate that uneasy feeling from them. So, I left and didn't say a word. I was moving to Tennessee with my parents.
It didn't take long for me to find an affordable place for me in Tennessee. I moved us into a nice little duplex and once again made it a home. Even with all my stuff in boxes in his parents garage in Illinois.
We only needed the basics. Besides, I was expecting T to be home with in a few months anyway, and we could just go get our stuff. I wasn't going to move back to Illinois. I was going to make it work in Tennessee, and he would either be in or out.
By May, I was anxious for him to come home on leave. I was expecting him to come the weekend of Memorial Day. But he said that he wasn't able to take leave being that it was so close to his release date. I thought that was a little odd. But again, didn't think much of it. What did I know about the rules of the military. Later, I would find out, that during Memorial Day weekend, he did take leave. He went to New York City. But I never found out with who. Thing just kept gettting better.
After I found out about his little trip to NYC, I kept asking him about his release date. He never had an answer for me. Just that they haven't started his paperwork yet. I let that go for a little while.
By August 1, 1996 I was gettting very frustrated, especially after his story had changed the last few times I had talked to him. He was now telling me, that he was a “witness” to a fight that broke out when he was on “24 hour” duty back on February 11. He had made up some elaborate story that how he had to stay and testify for the guys as a witness. By this time, I had a larger set of balls then he did, and I wasn't buying any of this crap. After I got off the phone with him one day, I called his commanding officer. Yep, the big guy! I wasn't quiet prepared for what I was about to hear.
I explained to him what T had been telling me. I could hear the anger in his voice, and then out of the blue, he said to me “Mrs. Collins, your husband hasn't told you anything that has been going on?” I said “no, what is going on.” At this point, he had yelled at another officer in the room for him to go get Corproal Collins ass now! He apologized to me, for screaming in my ear...I could deal with a DUI, I could deal with drugs. But what he told me, I will never forget. He said, “Mrs. Collins, your husband has been arressted for rape.” “He was arressted for what?” I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
He went on to say that that not only was he in trouble for that accusation, but he is being court martialed as well for leaving his post while on duty. He called is duraliction of duty.
He had an attorney and his court date was just a few days away. I was speechless. Frozen. My heart fell out of my chest. I was devistated. He told me that he was going to talk to T himself, and that as soon as he was finished with him, T would call me and tell me everthing.
While I waited for his call. I made a few calls myself. The first one was to his dad. Who, surprisingly told me that if I needed anything not to hesitate to ask. He would do whatever he neede too. I was so thankful for his comforting words. He was schocked just as I was. He said “what the hell was he thinking?” I didn't know how to answer that. I did'nt know myself.
The 2nd call was to his mother. She wasn't as compasionnate as his dad was. As a matter of fact, she said to me with an evil little laugh, “this marriage was made in hell anyway. I figured it would've been you to pull something like this.” Excuse me? Oh no she didn't! Bitch! We hung up the phone.
I was now on a mission to make this damn marriage work, even after this little episode. I was determined to prove her wrong. How dare she tell me this marriage was made in hell! I'll show her!
When T finally called me, I didn't want to hear anything he had to say to me. All I need to know from him was when was the court date? I got on the next flight to NC to bail “his sorry cheaten for the second time ass out of trouble.”
When I arrived in NC I had our friend pick me up. Unfortunalty T rode with him. He brought me a rose. Too late buddy, this isn't a social visit, or a booty call either. The night before the hearing, I wanted to meet with the attorney that was handling his case. It didn't look good. But, I was there to tell the judge what an outstanding guy he was, and that he has a family to take care of. That's all I cared about. He needed to be home with us to work.
I stayed the night with our friends, that we had meet when we lived there. It was nice to see them. They made me feel very welcome.
The day had arrived. We would be in court for ½ of the day. By the end of it all, I had found out that the young lady that accused him of rape hadn't actually been examined right after it happened. So they ended up throwing that out. He did admit to having sex with her. They had been drinking in her room, which was a huge no no while on duty. (see, I said that married men don't need to babysit the barracks. It's not a place for a married man to be) I made sure that once I was able to be on the witness stand, I was going to share my feelings about that. And I did. Not that it did any good, but at least it is something for them to think about. Maybe something like this won't happen again. Ya right!
Anyway, after it was all said and done. He as dishonorably discharged, was demoted to “private” and lost all of his VA benefits. Basically he got a slap on the wrist for rape. Nice!
My day was only getting better. After we spent all moring in court. We went to a company battalon picnic on the base. I had ran into a girl that I had met, she was also a marine. She was a tough gal. But nice. As she and I talked, she just so happen to point out the “young lady” that accused T of rapeing her. I was stunned. She was not a very good looking girl at all. I could understand if she was like drop dead gorgeous barbie doll type, but she wasn't. I would give him the benefit of the doubt, and totally understand if he wanted to tap that ass, (not really) but she wasn't exactly what I would call a pretty girl. She was a dog. Im not just saying this cause I hated her at the time, she was bad. Trashy. “what the hell were you thinking?” Ok, he was drunk, and it was night time...I'm sure the lights were out.
Ok, ok …!!!!

I finally made back to Tennessee, with the hopes that he wouldn't be far behind me. But, once again, I was wrong. But this time, I was on a one on one with his attorney, and his commanding officer.
After about 2 weeks of his dicharge papers not being filled out. I had called is CO and demanded that T be put on the next flight to Nashville or I would go the my congressman about this runaround.
He was on the next flight out of Jacksonville within one day. “Darn right. Don't mess with a women scorned!” I was a mix of emotions during this time. Trust me, I knew that divorce was an option. But, I wasn't working and I knew that getting a job that only paid minumum wage in this small little town wasn't going to cut it for me and my boys. So I needed T to work and provide for us. And besides that, I wanted to prove his mother wrong. I didn't really “love” him anymore, I just needed him.
After he arrived in Tennessee, I kept tight tabs on that boy. While he was still in North Carolina facing possible jail time, I was in Tennessee trying to line up work for him for when he came home.
I had lined him up with a local heating and a/c company. He started that as soon as he stepped foot in town. He had the training from the military for this industry, so it worked out great.
I would take him to and from work. He wasn't going to be able to have much freedom for a while.
Things were going great. We started going to church, and he was even thinking about switching to another local company that was going to pay him more, which was good. But we still need something else, and I didn't exactly know what at that time. But we carried on.
Then in February of 1997 I found out I was pregnant, again. It was unexpected, but cleary something we didn't anticipate, but what are ya gonna do? Around that same time, things just didn't seem to be working out for us in this small little town in Tennessee. The job just wasn't paying the bills, and with another baby on the way, we just needed to make some major changes. We moved out of our duplex and into my parents house with them to save some money, then we planned on moving back to Illinois.
In May of that year, we packed up our life in Tennessee and moved to Illinios. T was suppose to have called and talked to his parents about this, but like always, he couldn't face them. He didn't decide to tell me this until we were in there driveway. It wasn't good. Here were are, in a moving truck, sitting in their driveway...what next?
Well, things didn't go exactly as planned for about a month. They didn't know I was pregnant, now just wasn't the time to pop that surprise on them. We stayed in a hotel the first few nights, and then finally they realized that staying in a hotel just wanted to go last long, so they offered to let us stay with them until we found a place of our own. Well, before we did that T would have to find a job.
It didn't take long before he was working with another local heating and a/c company. He was really hoping for his old job back with the park district. But that wasn't going to happen right at that very moment. So he started working for a company in Elgin. I would drive him back and forth to his job, and during the day I was out looking for apartments to rent. It wasn't easy living with parents. I hated it.
They didn't exactly make it easy for us either. Even though they had a 3 bedroom home, they made us sleep in the breezeway. Not exactly a 5 star rating, but I wasn't going to complain. But I did to T every day.
Finally, I had found an apartment to rent. It was in Elgin, and it was close to his work, so it worked out well. We finally told his parents that I was prenant again. They were so excited....NOT!!!
We setteled into our apartment, and once again I made it a home. I established a Dr. and started making my regular appointments. I was really hoping this baby was going to be a girl. I had made an appointment for a visit and and ultrasound and brought a friend with me, so that when I was told it was a girl, she was there as my witness. Well, the day of my visit, I wasn't expecting what I was about to hear. As the lights went down in the ultrasound room, my friend, held Brandon, and Cody stood next to her and we all looked up at the monitor. The Dr. said, well do you want to know what your having and I said yes....he said, well it looks like your having another boy. Really? Well, I wasn't to disappionted, boys were great and I was blessed with two great little guys already, one more couldn't be so bad.
Then as the Dr. was still checking out the size of the baby, he said “oh my God.” Ok, you just don't say that during and ultrasound...I said “oh my God what?” What's wrong? He said, nothings wrong, it looks like your having two.....your having twins! “WHAT, SHUT UP!!” Please tell me this ones a girl....I laughed, with shock....he laughed, and said well, no, no its another boy! OH MY GOD, I was having twin boys. That was better then having a girl.....I was having twin boys. I was excited.
I explained to him what had happened to me when I was pregnant with Brandon, and I wanted to make sure that everything was going to be ok during this pregnancy. I instantly became a high rigsk pregnancy again, but since I was already 5 months along, he said that I didn't need to worry about really loosing one at this time. He was more worried about birth weight, and keeping them in as long as possible. Every week I had to drive to Rockford hospital for and ultrasound. I guess this was just a litte more invassive then the ones in Elgin. Really? But I did what I had to, to ensure that me and the babies were doing well. The Dr. gave me a due date of November 22. He was hoping that I would make it at least to 32 weeks.
As soon as I left the Dr.'s office, I went straight over to a pay phone and called my mom. She knew I was going to the Dr. and knew I was going to be finding out what I was going to be having. When I told her, I said, are you sitting? She said, oh my God, its a girl.....I said, well not having twins. “What?” That's all I needed to say. She was excited, and promised to share the news with my sister and my dad. T's parents were another story.
My pregnangy progressed well, and things once again were going great. I stayed home with the boys. As I got bigger, my trips out became less and less. I would sit outside with the boys while they played, and I would walk to McDonalds with them from time to time. But one time, was one to many.
After walking to and from McDonalds one day, I felt wet. I called my Dr. and he told me to go the the ER right away. So, T drove me straight there. They placed me on the monitors and check to see if I had dilated, and to see why I was leaking. Come to find out, one bag of water had broken and I was loosing fluid. They said if that didn't stop, they would have to deliver “baby A” and since “baby B” was still fine he would stay in until he was ready to be born. All of this was just to much. They did an amnio to check for lung maturity, they gave me steriods, and now, all I had to do was wait. After a week in the hospital, I was gettting restless. I was only 30 weeks and they said I could be induced at 32 as long as everthing looked great.
T brought the boys in just once to see me. He took them to his parents house every night for dinner. And I even asked him to bring them up so I could see them and he didn't. One time I even remember him saying something to me about being to demanding and bla bla bla...he only said that stuff because he was with his parents, and he needed to act tuff.....I just didn't understand why he was keeping the boys from me. Something just wasn't right with the way he was acting. (red flag) but I thought nothing of it. But I was devistated, I missed my boys and I wanted to see them. During the day, I would keep myself busy doing small projects. I made welcome signs for the twins, and I decided on names while I was in the hospital.
So I sat in a hospital for another week, and finally after knowing that all was good, the fluid was replenishing and the babies looked good, I checked myself out and went home. I was given restrictions...bedrest! Ya right...I had 2 kids at home....! Needless to say, I didn't stay in bed.
When I finally made it home, I was in pure utter shock at what I saw. The apartment that was clean when I left, was now it was a garbage dump. Cereal, clothes, toys and food everywhere. I was livid. I was so mad, that I started cleaning as soon as I walked in the door. So much for those restrictions.
Call it nesting, call it compulsive, call it whatever you want, but this was unexceptable living conditions. 2 weeks and he had the kids living in filth. It was back to normal by the next day. But it wasn't without a fight. Im sure I said a few choice words to him. If I wouldv'e thought about it, I would have taken pictures....ya know, just in case!!!
On Halloween, T and I took the boys to our church for a Halloween party. When I arrievd, T took the boys downstairs, and my cousin pulled me aside and told me that my grandpa had an accident and he was in a coma. I was devistated. I had just seen him. We just had lunch together. He and my grandma had been driving back and forth from Indiana, to Illinois to be with my aunt, who was also experiencing a tragedy in her life. Her son, my cousin of 16 months was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was only a baby. Our family was dealing with the news of baby Ryan, and now we were facing the loss of our grandpa. On November 1, 1997 my grandpa died. It was so sad for all of us. And it was so unexpected. The sadness was just the beginning. Since I was due anyday with the twins, I was unable to make the trip to Tennessee for his funeral. He was buried on November 5. Which was the same day that my sister gave birth to her first daughter. Life and death....! But my sister alomost died during the delivery....they called my parents and told them that she may not make it. This was all happening in the same day. But thankfully, my sister pulled through. She was going to be ok. She had a beautiful baby girl.
On November 12 we celebrated Cody's 5th birhtday. Then 2 days later we would be celebrating the birth of our twin boys. On November 14 , 1997 Austin Jeffery was born at 2:50. He weighed 6 lbs 12oz. Then a short few minutes later, at 3:10 Dalton Jon joined his brother and our family. He weighed 6 lbs 14oz. Both of them perfectly healthy babies. Both of them absolutely perfect. It was the most awesome experience ever. It was such and easy delivery. No drugs, no was all natural.
I planned on getting my tubes tide, but that had to wait for another 6 months.
2 days befor Thanksgiving, we burried my cousin. He had lost his fight with cancer. That was the saddest moment I had ever faced. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen.
November had been a very trying time for our family. Life and death all I one month for our family.
Before we knew it, it was Christmas and with the new year aproaching, we needed to make some changes. Our apartment was going to start getting smaller the more mobile the twins became.
And T was anticipateing the start of a new job. He had finally got the position with the park district.
We had 4 beautiful little boys, his parents finally were coming around, and T and I would be celebrating 5 years of marriage in the new year.
What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

once a cheat.......

(Bob is now T)

I was 19 years old with a 10 day old baby, traveling alone. I was becoming very independent quit quickly. I had too. I was left with no other options.
Cody was 10 days old when he took his first flight. He was such a good baby on the flight too. He slept most of the way. It was a long flight. I had a lay over in Dallas, and my parents were expecting me in Ft. Lauderdale. The flight was going to be delayed. There were no cell phones back then, so I couldn't exactly call and let them know. But it all worked out just fine. When they arrived at the airport, they were aware of the delay. Both my parents were worried and excited all at the same time.
When I finally arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, it was around midnight. But all I remember was the look on my parents face when they saw me for the first time as a mom. My dad just took the car seat the Cody was in and looked at his face, and just cried. Those were tears of joy, and happiness. They were proud grandparents. They just took him and loved him up. It was a wonderful moment. I was back where I belonged. With my parents that loved both of us.
My mom had a room all set up for us. She even bought Cody a crib with all the cute little bedding.
We were home. It just felt right.
Time flew by and before we knew it, it was Christmas. T wasn't allowed to take leave for Christmas since he had taken extra leave a month earlier for the birth of Cody. But he would be home for spring.
Cody received gifts from his grandparents in Illinois. I received nothing. I did send them a Christmas card with a picture of Cody. But that was it. I didn't think they deserved anything. But I was trying to do the right thing, whatever that was.

Spring time rolled around and I was anxious to find out where T was going to be stationed. I didn't plan on staying with my family long. I knew that once T was finished with all the training, he would be stationed somewhere. The day that I found out he was going to be sent to Japan for a year, unacompanied, I was devistated. I couldn't believe that once again, we were going to be seperated. But now, it was for an entire year. I was more upset that I had to continue staying with my parents. (remember, I didn't want to move to Florida, and I didn't want to live with my parents) but, I guess that's what I get, right?

During February of that year, 1993, I flew to North Carolina, where he was finishing up some schooling. It was a fun trip. For the first time I was able to see what type of things he had been doing. What the base looked like, what I had to look forward too. I found out a lot of other things too.
I had noticed that he had become a heavy drinker, and a smoker. He denied the smoking, but later I would bust him out on that with a picture he sent me. Anyway, I didn't like this “single” lifestyle that he portrayed himself as. I thought he wasn't being all that truthfull with me either. But I overlooked a lot of things and just enjoyed the short time we had together.

A few weeks after I left North Carolina, T came home before he was shipped off to Japan for a year. It was nice to have him around. We made the most of our time.And we had our first family picture made during the time he was home. One day, while I was cleaning up his bags, and folding clothes, I came across some letters. I opend them. They were written in his handwritting, and they were not to me. They were too antoher girl. A girl named Allison. (I do remember her last name, but to be on the safe side I will not mention it) Anyway, the letters were very explicit and very detailed. This young women, whom he met in San Diego, seemed to have made quit the impression on the new father, and married man. He told her that he “wasnt” married, and that he was very lonely. He went on to thank her for such a wonderful night at the beach. The bonfire, and the closeness he felt. That he had never felt this way about anyone ever. “Really, ummm have a wife!”
I confronted T about this and he had the balls to lie to me. (red flag) He said that the letters I found were not his, he didn't write them. That he wrote them for a friend who just didn't know how to express his feelings. Bull crap! I wasn't buying any of it.
How was I suppose to feel? What was I suppose to do? There I was, a new mom, a wife, and I was already facing my husband and his infidelity, which he lied about. And now, he was being shipped of to Japan with this lingering over our heads? But, what could I do? Well, the little detective in me couldn't let this go. So I tracked down this “Allison” and wrote her a letter. (were was the internet when I needed it? It would've made my searh a lot easier)
She responded and told me that she didn't know that he was married. She apologized and that was that. I wanted details, more proof. But in my letter to her, I promised that once I found out that they did in fact have an affair, I would leave her alone. And I did. I had all I needed. I got her letter as proof. (guess what, I still have it too) In one of my many letters to T, I sent him a copy of it. He never said another word. He just knew.

Cody was growing up fast. I wrote down every single milestone in his baby book. I kept up with all his “firsts.” I made a video of him and sent it to T too. He was a great baby. I loved being a mom.
My parents were supporting me and my son. I wanted to work, but my mom had made it clear that if I had a job, she wanted to be paid to watch Cody. I thought that was a dirty thing to do. So I decided not to work. However, I wasn't getting any money either from T. He was suppose to send me money when he got paid. We even set up a bank account for me so when he got paid he could just deposit it in the account for me. But that never happened. I would be lucky if I receive $100 a month. And he would send it Western Union, which cost a lot more to do. I tried to make it simple for him. But as I would find out, he hadn't told the Marine corp that he was a married man with a child. (red flag) my dad was finally getting tired of him not sending money, so my dad called up a few people. And whatya know, I started receiving money on a regulare basis. I don't understantd why he didn't tell the Marine Corp he was married, but he didn't.

In October of 1993, his cousin was getting married. So I decided to go. I packed up Cody and we flew in for the wedding. I was nervous, I knew his parents were going to be there, and I hadn't spoken to them since the day I left almost a year ago. On the day of the wedding, I was dressed really nicely, and I made sure that Cody looked his best too. We sat next to his aunt. As we chatted, and they talked to Cody, in walks his paremts. They sat right behind us. They didn't even make eye contact. They didn't talk to me or even acknowledge Cody. This was a sad moment, and honestly, wasn't expected.
Cody even dropped a toy and they didn't even bother to pick it up and hand it to him. I was stunned!
After the wedding, as everyone was heading to the reception, his aunt approached me and asked if I wanted to leave Cody at GG's. I wasn't sure that I wanted to do that, given that I didn't really trust his parents and what they might do if they found out that I left Cody with a sitter. But, I eventually caved, and I left Cody with a sitter at his great grandma's house. I was nervous, but tried to enjoy myself anyway. It all worked out well. I picked up my baby without incident.

After I arrived home, Cody was about to celebrate his first birthday. T's parents sent Cody a package for his birthday. Toys, clothes and books. Along with a nice letter, addressed to addressed to Cody, but meant for me to read. The letter read “it would've been nice to see you while you were here. To bad you were to busy to stop by and visit with your grams and gramps.” I was livid. How could they?
They had every opportunity to talk to us, to ask us to stop by, but they didn't. So I wrote them a letter back. (email would've been nice then too) my letter short and to the point, but I let them have it.
I said, “ If we would've felt welcomed we would have stopped by. You sat right behind us and didn't even say hi, you didn't even aknowledge us.” I went on to say, “if we were invited, we would have stopped by.” I made a copy of both letters and sent them to T. He needed to know how his parents were treating us, how they had treated us.
I was done with them. I didn't want any part of them.

In April of 1994, T had his orders, we were moving to North Carolina. He was still in Japan, with only a few more days left before he would be home. I was packing up our things in Florida and looking forward to finally staring our life together.
But before he even came home, I was lining up housing for us. By the time we arrievd in North Carolina, I had names of apartments and realators lined up. It didn't take long before I had a place picked out and lined up to move into.
Saying goodbye to my parents was hard. But we knew this time was coming. It was especially hard for them to say goodbye to Cody. He was their baby, their first grandson. They love him so much and had taken care of us for over a year. But my parents knew this was the right thing to do. They knew, it was time for me to go and finally start my life. It was time for us to finally be a family.