Child Support Surrealism

This is me calling Child Support Enforcement. This is after speaking to the rep and waiting for the supervisor. Can you read my mind?

This is me calling Child Support Enforcement, on hold for a supervisor. Can you read my mind?

To call or not to call, that is the question.

Oh Miami Dade County State Attorney’s Child Support Enforcement Office, I just can’t decide if you improve or deteriorate my quality of living.

I called them today. I’m still unsure whether or not that was a good idea. I’m still unsure whether or not my calls actually matter to anyone other than myself. I’m still unsure whether my calls affect anything else other than my sanity.

I was on hold for 27 minutes which I guess isn’t bad compared to the record of one hour and one minute hold time in December. This time, it was Warren on the line which brought this to mind

Empire Records

Empire Records

Warren let me know that the gorbellied common-kissing jointhead (thanks Will) went into the Enforcement Office on January 23. He went in to negotiate a lower payment to have his license reinstated and was denied because when they pulled him up in the system, he had multiple child support obligations.

Pause. What!?

Apparently there is a note in the file that they denied him renegotiation because he has other cases that are delinquent. As in other children.

Now listen ladies and gents, this clouted fat-kidneyed boar-pig maybe a compulsive liar with a penchant for pulling cons, but if there is one thing I am 99.9% certain about him is that there are no other children. Previous pregnancies prior to mine? My understanding is yes and that it was terminated. Warren was all skeptical of me and my insistence on this and I knew with this horrible cold feeling in my gut this must happen all of the time, so I dropped it.

Warren said they were still waiting on that Income Deduction Order to go into effect. He also reassured me that they made sure to tell him he had to continue making child support payments until the Income Deduction Order went into effect. Ohmygodthankyousmuch for telling him that!! I bet you anything you guys changed his ways and made him realize what a horrible misunderstanding it was!! And clearly it worked well because I have gotten zero payments except for the $100 payment he made that day to get his license reinstated.

So you know, I had to wait until March but then not really because at that point they would send a follow-up letter giving the company another 20 days to comply and do you guys know what they do after that? They… send another letter… giving them another 20 days to comply. And then they would go and try and find a different employer he might be at. Oh and by the way, little known fact here– when an Income Deduction Order is pending, like this one, all other enforcement efforts stop. In other words, even if he doesn’t make the payments he was instructed to, they cannot proceed with enforcement until the total 100 days have passed.

So I’m all dismayed and stuff and about to hang up and then I’m like, “I need a supervisor please.” And then Warren was like, “Not a problem but I need to explain to the supervisor what the call is about” which I think is their way of asking “Sh!t am I in trouble? You’re not gonna tattle on me are you?” And then I was all like, “I just want to go over this enforcement stuff and the thing with the multiple obligations stuff or something.” “Oh ok sure” which means “Oh my god I’m not in trouble thank you lord jesus”.

So then, I got put on hold again but was so dismayed I didn’t even care about how long it was for and took that picture up there instead because I felt like this was crazy and worth documenting and it wasn’t even that long really before Ray was on the phone.

Do you remember Ray? I remembered Ray. Ray was the supervisor I spoke to the day I had a horrible experience with one of the customer representatives who was just telling me complete and utter nonsense and acting like she knew exactly what she was talking about when it was obvious she totally didn’t. Ray was all like “What the hell is going on with this case and why are people telling you crazy stuff!?!?! I will fix your case!!!” Which you know, A for effort on that one Ray but…

“Wow this case has only gotten $100?” he asks me. Yup. Ray turns out to be my senior case analyst and I really like him because he digs and finds things out and makes me feel like someone is actually caring about my case and is going to help things get done but it also makes me completely curious just how the hell these people do their job because no one knows what anyone else is doing and yet it seems like fifty million people can affect one particular case.

So Ray gets caught up with the case, because let’s be real– the guy hasn’t looked at it since the day I called him in November for sure. And then Ray lets me know what really happened. Are you ready? Are you sure you’re ready? Do you have a tasty snack? Do you want to get a cool beverage, or a hot one if you’re freezing your bum off somewhere?

And get ourselves a snack!

And get ourselves a snack!

Ok

On January 23, the beslubbering beef-witted barnacle did indeed come to the Child Support Enforcement Office. They updated his information because he informed them the Employer information they had on-file (yes the one with the pending Income Deduction Order) was out of date and he gave them new Employer Information. He said he needed his license back. They told him that was fine, he just had to pay $1028.00. He said he didn’t have that kind of money. They said too bad. That’s where the story should end. Right there. But it doesn’t.

He explained that he has a new job but that without a valid license, he could not have this job. He probably explained what the consequences of not having a job would be as far as possible future child support payments go. Maybe he lamented the economy and told them about how much horrible stress he’s been on lately and how absolutely dreadful he feels about not being able to support his dear children the way he wishes he could, nay the way they deserve.  I don’t freaking know. But whatever he did, he convinced the person to take it up with a supervisor, who is not Ray because these negotiations happen “downstairs” and they are not involved with them, and then he convinced the supervisor to help him out.

So they said if he paid the $100 he claimed was all he had, they would reinstate the license. This is the bit where they also explained they would be sending the new employer the Income Deduction Order but that he must make child support payments until the Income Deduction Order went into effect. They probably thanked him for coming in. They probably wished him good luck with this new job and hoped times would be better for him. I don’t freaking know.

All I know is he walked out of there with a reinstated license and put a freeze on all enforcement efforts again for up to another 100 days. For $100. With an arrears amount over $19k and a past due amount that is now over $11k. After going six months without making any type of payment whatsoever.

Did they verify his claim of employment before agreeing to his offer of $100 to reinstate the license? Did they verify the other employer is indeed invalid? No. They don’t do that. They take their word for it.

They. Take. Their. Word. For. It.

They take their word for it!!!!

There are a couple more minor surreal notes to add to this already surreal story.

First of all, I explained to Ray that I know crazy things happen all the time but I was pretty confident that my children were his only children and that I was concerned that note was on the case file because what if it were to start complicating other things? Ray was hesitant and he clarified he could only discuss MY case information with me. But he looked up his social. And guess what????????

My kids are his only kids. So what is that note doing there? Was it an error? Did someone just look up his name, which also happens to be kind of common? Or did he maybe lead them to believe he had other children he was having trouble supporting? I have no idea but someone put a total bullshit note on my case file.

Second of all, he went to the Child Support office on January 23rd. He gave them the information for the new employer which most likely triggered the close of the other employer’s case. They sent the Income Deduction Order today, February 15. Twenty three days later.

He has had a valid license and a new job for twenty three days, has made no payments at all, and they just sent the Income Deduction Order that gets the 100 day process started, today. So he got himself, potentially, 123 days.

It amazes me, time and again, how inefficient something critical can be. I called the company I had information for, aka the apparent now Former Employer (seriously I lost track of how many jobs he’s had since we split). The receptionist informed me that although she was new, she was pretty certain he didn’t work there because she couldn’t find him on her listing. It took less than two minutes. If I was actually calling for someone else as part of my job, I would have left a message with the HR woman she transferred me to just to be absolutely sure and to get some real closure on something.

I love technology. I love automation. I really do. But we must always remember that computers, as brilliant as they are, are actually stupid. And as efficient as automation can be, humans are not automatic. In other words, when applying technology and automation to a human problem, one cannot simply remove a human from the process. My frustration lies with the fact that I am working with a group that does not (for whatever reason) do the work needed to actually address the problem of non-paying non-custodial parents. Every time I call, I am forcing a human into the process. And there is resistance. That is why the first layer is the representatives who answer the phone. My experience tells me they are often poorly trained, have no power, and don’t really comprehend the majority of their job. It is almost as if they are trained to be the buffer against reinserting humanity into an automated process.

This issue burns me up. It’s not even on a selfish, personal level either. Every time I call and deal with the incompetence at the Enforcement Office I am reminded me of the (now cruel) words of the intake coordinator who processed my case in the beginning– “Oh your case is an easy one!” And the fact remains, despite the insanity that I have been going through with this case, there are by far worse situations that end up there. There are non-custodial parents who flee the county, state, even country. There are non-custodial parents with children with three, four, five different custodial parents. There are non-custodial parents who intentionally leave the workforce and go on benefits to not pay child support. And so I burn inside for those cases too. Because if they can’t get mine straight and mine is really not that complicated, then surely there is no way a meatier case ever  gets close to resolution.

And so I hate calling because there is just never a positive experience with Child Support Enforcement. But I also must call because no one at that office cares about my children and their needs and no one at that office is doing the actual complex work that needs to get done to care for the children of this state. So I’ll keep nagging and pushing and escalating. I’ll keep getting worked up and I’ll keep fighting those frustration tears and I’ll keep trying to make a connection with someone, anyone, there.

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Single Parent Stories: Not Your Average Single Mama

Explicit Single Parent Stories

CC writes a very raw personal blog at Not Your Single Mama about life after being married to a meth addict and raising her 10 year old daughter, the PIT (princess/punk in training). So raw, in fact, she gets her very own Single Parent Stories header with bonus Parental Advisory sticker on it. 🙂 Here is her incredible story.

I can’t say exactly when my journey to motherhood began. I mean obviously there’s pregnancy, that’s a start- but the start of the roller coaster that is pregnancy which is a walk in the park compared to the unexpected tsunami of reality my life had once become but we’ll get to that eventually.

(I’m an expert random rambler. Enjoy.)

The reason I can’t say when my journey to motherhood began is because I was never going to have kids. I was never going to get married. I was also 17 and an absolute clueless know it all snot with a weakness for a bad boy.

(Teens, pay attention. Now is not the time to convince yourself they’re THE ONE. You’re a teenager. You should feel butterflies in your belly, not babies. TLC once said “protection is the priority”. It still is bitches, wrap it up. End random rant #1)

Turns out, you don’t know shit when you’re 17. I thank God every day for that simple fact. Also turns out that bad boys who choose to live the thug life, are not always the best long term partners. Prison doesn’t pay your child support bitches.

Why am I talking about the 17 year old me if I wasn’t a teen mom? Because, that’s technically where all of this began.

I was 17 when I met my future ex-husband and at one time, we were so in love it was intoxicating. We made plans for our life together…we bought a car, a cute house with lots of windows, we got an adorable puppy I named Sir Winston Duke, we talked about someday raising kids together, building the kind of life for our children that we had wanted….

We had plans, dreams, goals… none of which included meth addiction, affairs, and abuse but that is where shit once ended up. I wrote about my life with a meth addicted he-whore of a husband once. I typed it all from my phone, emailed it to myself and eventually started my therapy, aka my blog. I only tell you this because if you want the details, you’ll have to go there to get them. I wrote it, published it and never read it again. I felt a huge relief when I got that story out of my head where it constantly played over and over like a broken record, wearing me down daily.

I’ll give you the short version.

It was 9-11-01 the first time I saw her little heartbeat on the screen. I bawled with joy, awe and fucking fear. I was 22 when my daughter was born. She was 2 days old when I brought her home, kicked my so-called husband the fuck out and cried my eyes out, cradling my baby in my arms, apologizing to her over and over again,

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I’m so sorry. This isn’t what I meant it to be”

What it is should never be.
Except when it is.
Then it simply is what it is.

At the time I apologized not knowing, not trusting, that even though things were clearly falling apart, they were falling perfectly into place. A place I never imagined.

Fast forward ten years… welcome to the perfect chaos that is my present life. It’s still just me and the PIT, plus 10 years’ experience and 1 crazy ass bastardcat. I never remarried, I’m not even open to the idea right now, and I’m in absolutely no hurry to redo any part of my life as a Mrs. as I did it all wrong the first time round. Since I went from a meth addict to an abusive alcoholic to a married man, I don’t date. I don’t know how and honestly, I don’t want to. Maybe my mind is warped, haha ok, it SO is, but to me dating seems like a charade….

You know what? Let’s stick to the topic- single parenting, not “the thousands of excuses CC has for not ever dating or even leaving her house”. I should really keep that shit on my own domain.

As I was saying, I tried marriage and failed, I tried dating and failed. I’ve been on my own for long enough now to realize I didn’t do it wrong; when I love…I love with all my heart and soul. That’s the way you should love. Fierce. The trick is knowing who is worthy of your fierce love because even the fiercest love can’t make them love you like that back.

I haven’t mastered the art of knowing yet. At first, to protect myself, I’d just shove everyone away. “I’m fine. I got this shit” I’d tell em. If they didn’t leave, I’d get simply vicious and without a doubt, I’d drive them right out of my life. I couldn’t let anyone in my life without it directly affecting the PIT so…I just didn’t. I don’t. I’m better than I was 10 years ago. I’ve met people. Awesome people who have helped me tremendously once I let them. People who have re-established my faith in loyalty and friendship. People who GET me….that helps when you’re as insanely difficult to be around.

I bet this will be the last time Mutant Supermodel asks for my opinion as I cannot stay on track to save my ass (Editor’s Note: I like your off-track, on-again-track just fine).

So basically, I’m still a single mom. I have been since day one. Some days…it fucking blows goats. Other days…there is nothing greater. It’s a roller coaster to say the least.  Ten years later, I can say with confidence, Hang in there mamas. Keep those heads up. You’ll see why…all your hard work, sleepless nights, tears and fears are going to grow up into a phenomenal human being…because of YOU.

You’d think that after ten years of this I’d have some solid advice or wise words but I don’t. I don’t have any idea what I’m doing here. In all honesty, none of us do. The ones claiming to know it all are assholes and probably childless. People have ALL the answers till the kid falls out their vaginas.

Then shit gets real.

People like me are too lazy to bullshit & prefer to keep things real.

Parenting, single or not, is a hard fucking job. One that should be taken seriously but not too seriously or neither of you will enjoy it. The PIT is a good kid, a damn good kid and people ask me “How’d you get a kid who’s so polite and well behaved when you’re so…”

I’ll tell you how.
I raised her and I take my parenting responsibility very serious but rarely ever to never take myself serious.

We laugh, a lot.

We play, we learn, we are a team yet I am still very much Mom and she knows it. I am without argument, a bitch.
I struggle with depression and anxiety daily. The stress and pressures of being a single parent fuel that fire but over time I’ve learned to channel some of the frustration into motivation.  There’s Xanax and good friends for the rest.

It’s utterly mind blowing to think back to where I was when I was given the greatest job I never knew I wanted, to where I am now……it’s still the greatest fucking job EVER and I am honored to have this beautiful little person call ME “mama”.

I leave you with this, the three most important things I’ve learned over the past 10 years are simply this:

  1. Laughter really is the best medicine
  2. Love (as in a parental kind of love) will conquer
  3. When shit is falling apart, give it a minute… shit might just be falling into place.

Remember that being a single parent doesn’t mean being alone.  There are A LOT of us out here…reach out. And if you think you fucked up….spend an hour over at NYASM and you will see you are not alone….I have fucked a lot of shit up…a.lot.

Ten Things I’ve Learned From Single Motherhood

Ten

1)      Nothing lasts forever. And I mean nothing—not the good and not the bad. This is just a matter of fact and it’s something to never forget. When things are oh so good and wonderful, keep yourself lightly grounded. And when things are crushing you, keep yourself hopeful.

2)      Control is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. We are never in control of anything—not our money, not our health, not our homes, not our children, not even of ourselves. Yes you can have an effect on things but you can’t control them no matter how much you want to. Accept it, don’t fight it, and things get a lot easier.

3)      Negative talk is a waste of time. Whether it is directed at us or at others, it does nothing for anyone. It might give you a momentary reprieve to spew out all the really bad stuff but the crap that follows is way worse. If you need to get something out, take it out on a wall. It’ll give you the proper response for negative talk.

4)      Problems are a heck of a lot easier to create than they are to fix. People who have been licking the same wound for many years know this one well. Think carefully about your decisions and understand there will more likely than not be consequences you can’t even imagine on top of the ones you can. And also understand everyone screws up and if you at least learn from your mistakes, you’re a little better off for it.

5)      There are a bazillion ways to cut down costs. Every time I think I’ve just about reached the complete bottom, something else gets yanked and we survive. There is so much free or super cheap stuff out there, it’s mind blowing. We live in a time of oversupply and its evident in the Freecycles and the Craigslist and the human networks. Open your eyes and you’ll see it all slowly emerge.

6)      Good people exist. They really do. People who send you just because gifts. People who do you a favor. People who let you vent. People who cheer you up. People who care about you sincerely. People who want you to succeed. People who believe in you. People who want to help any way they can. They are there. And there are more of them than you’d think.

7)      Kids are easy to please and tougher than nails. They want your attention and they’re going to get it one way or another. Try and choose positive attention every time but know negative attention is probably going to happen too.  But they recover fast. We are way more fragile than they are. We underestimate them because we are overly aware of our own fears, doubts, and problems. They haven’t lived long enough to have all that baggage.

8)      No one cares your house is messy. Maybe people expect war zones when there are small children in a house but they really don’t care they left the clothes in the bathroom or that the play room looks like a piñata of toys exploded. As long as their feet don’t stick to things and they aren’t being assaulted by insects, they tend to be cool. There is an exception to this rule for Cuban Abuelas.

9)      Kids make fantastic assistants. They are the best personal assistants ever and every year that goes by they get better! They can do a lot of chores around the house at least at the Passable level and that is better than not getting done at all. And they have excellent ideas. Ask them for their input on something and be amazed!

10)   You are stronger than you can possibly imagine. I can’t tell you how many times I felt I was at the breaking point. I just knew “this” was it, “this” would break me. I wouldn’t be able to get past “it”. But I would. Sometimes more gracefully than others, sometimes with a scar or two but I’d survive. And the more I share on here, the more of you come out with your own stories and your own breaking point scars and you’re here and you’re alive and you’re telling your story and you’re better. When you ask yourself, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this” the answer is always “You just will.”

They have been told

Last night I called a family meeting and talked with the kids. I explained to them the change in income. I showed them four pennies and told them to pretend that was all the money I used to get every month and now I only get this much, and I took away two of the pennies.  They looked a bit shocked so I told them we were going to be fine but that I am going to need their help to be very cautious with money. We cannot be wasteful and have to be very careful with what we have.

Then I talked about this weekend. I told them there wasn’t enough money for any park but that I asked around and a friend of mine gave me free tickets for one of the parks. So I scrounged together some money and we would be going to one of the parks this weekend. I told them it was Universal. I told them we would not be going to Disney this weekend. Baby started to cry. A little bit, and I could tell he was fighting not to do so, burying his fists into his eyes.

So I explained Disney was not cancelled. We would not go this weekend but that we would go. I told them we needed to save money for the trip. They asked me how much. I explained the cost of the tickets and the hotel (Daughter thought hotels were free!) and the gas and the food and said to be absolutely safe, we would need one thousand dollars. The number was met with wide eyes and wows and then they started suggesting different ways to make money. Eldest thought he could sell comics he draws out in the front of the house. Daughter suggested we hold a garage sale. Baby just watched and got excited because they were excited and that was good.

So I calmed them down and said that we would save the money and I would draw a thermometer and we would track the money and when we filled it to the top we would go. And then I told them I needed to measure them and that they should go to Universal’s website to see what rides and shows they liked the most and that was that. After the meeting, I drew the envelope and showed it to them. After Universal, we’ll start saving somehow some way.

It’s funny, yesterday I felt SO good. I mean I felt really powerful and ready– for anything, for everything. Today I’m sort of hovering. Not bad not great just sort of in the middle. But it’s weird because I can’t seem to push myself over into really excited and happy while at the same time, I feel it’s too easy to fall the other way.

Their dad sent me an email last night that he was going back to working for a company, that he already had two offers on the table, and was in the process. he said things would be back to normal soon and he was sorry. I just shrugged.

What exactly is normal anyway?

The Compromise

On Friday, I let everyone in on the stressful situation that is going on in my life right now. And there was this huge flood of amazing support and words of advice and encouragement. Thank you to the Grumpies, by the way, for steering so much of it this way. You two are my Cheerleaders but totally awesome feminist ones.

I have been reading, and responding, to your comments all weekend. You are a very wise bunch. And what I decided was to compromise.

This trip does mean a lot to me. It’s not as simple as Take Kids to Theme Park. It’s more layered than that. And one of the things it means to me is keeping promises. I hate broken promises, I really do. Probably because I’ve been the victim of so many in my own life.

So I thought about it and vented on Stallion in a big, big, big way. I pretty much threw my tantrum with the tears and the boogers and the, “It’s not fair!” Very classy. And after he hugged me and told me it’ll be ok I calmed down and made a decision.

We are not going to Disney, but we are going to Universal. The tickets for Universal are free, they are for both parks, and their confirmation number was sent to me last week. They are there waiting for me. And it is scheduled for the 12th of August, Eldest’s birthday. As I had mentioned, the kids received money for the trip, and my grandmother and mother have told me they will be giving me Eldest’s trip money as well. With that money, I have the cost of the hotel covered, the gas, and I think even the food. The only big ticket item that is not yet covered is the one ticket for Stallion’s daughter which is her birthday present as well. Her mother is giving her money for food so that should be perfect.

As for Disney, it is not cancelled, but it is postponed. I am going to work my little tookus off and see if I can manage to put together enough to fund a trip to Disney in December when it’s all decorated for Christmas. We’ve never seen the park that time of year, the weather will be nicer, and the two littlest ones will get their birthday wishes filled then. That will be the new goal– survive and Disney in December.

Like I told Stallion, the reason this has been so hard for me to let go of is because how long I’ve been working at it– and how close I was. I have been diligently saving and saving and saving. Over half the child support payments have been going to saving up for things like the school’s $2700 registration fee (private school, my parents pay the tuition if I pay the registration) which I paid in full at the beginning of the year. When my tax refund came in, I did the math and put a portion of it into my emergency fund, a portion into my big ticket savings like the summer camp, the trip, and Christmas, and sent a huge chunk to my credit cards. You know, the responsible thing.

And it was working!

When my car broke down in March I had enough money to pay for the repair. When school let out, I had the $3000 to put them in summer camp. When I woke up one morning to find my cat had been vomiting everywhere and had a fever, I had the $450 to cover the vet bill. I think I might rename my cat and call her Disney.

The big thing now is what I am going to tell the children. My kids are pretty young. The youngest just turned 4 and 6 in June and the oldest turns 9 this Sunday. Money is really hard to explain to the youngest ones and unfortunately, they are the ones who wanted Disney. Eldest is the one who wanted Universal as he is obsessed with Harry Potter.

I’m thinking of going about it this way.

First things first: Be (vaguely) Honest. I’m going to explain that I had to make changes to the trip this weekend and that one of the parks is going to be postponed. I’m going to explain I am not making as much money every month as I used to. I might use coins to explain this. Show them four coins and explain that’s how much I was making, take away two coins and explain that’s how much I’m making now. I am extremely wary resistant to the idea of explaining their father’s role, or lack thereof, in all of this because of how young they are, how sensitive a topic it is, and how complicated it may get to explain. Eldest can probably handle it and maybe he and I will have a separate conversation later, if he wants one. I think I’m just going to explain that there were two ways I was making money and because the economy is bad, one of them isn’t making money right now. It might start making money again one day, but I’m not sure when, etc. etc. etc.

I am then going to explain we are going to Universal Studios only because the tickets were free. I did not choose which park we went to. I asked around my group of friends and the connection that came through was for Universal. I want this to be clear because I don’t want them to think I was choosing favorites or anything and besides it’s completely true. If the tickets to Universal weren’t free, we wouldn’t be going anywhere.

I’ll then lay out my plan to try and make more money so that we can go in December to Disney to see the park at Christmas time. And then I’ll ask them to please look at the Universal website with me and try and get them fired up about what we’re going to do and see there.

The bad part is, it’s the youngest kids’ trip whose getting postponed. The good part is, they are distracted easier.

I feel a lot better about this weekend now that I’ve made this decision. One of the things that struck me after reading your comments and throwing my tantrum was the reason I’m so frustrated and angry about postponing part of the trip is exactly the reason I need to postpone part of the trip.

I have been doing things the right way for so long, why blow it? If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that it’s far easier to create problems than to fix them. The right way worked. It did what it was supposed to do– I just hadn’t been able to fund it long enough to cover me more than it already has.

The wrong way, I’ve already done that before. I know where that goes and what it does to a person. So thank you for helping me get to this place I am in right now. I’m not going to lie, I’m still a bit down at the mouth and I would really like to practice some sort of physical violence, but I am trying very hard to pull up and out and I just wanted to thank you all for the boost.

And here we go

This is a money post. And it’s not a pretty money post. It’s actually one of the worst kinds of money posts I’d ever want to make. So you know, if you’re not in the mood for that on a  Friday, feel free to skip out and look at something else somewhere else. No offense taken, seriously!

Today marks the day I am officially, totally, and completely broke. Almost every single August bill is paid for except two. I think I can cover one but I’m not sure about the second one. I get paid once a month, on the last day of the month, and that paycheck covers most of my bills. Actually it used to cover all of them but recently my car insurance and my electric climbed up so it doesn’t cover everything anymore. I have absolutely no idea if or when I will see another child support payment. Last week I’d sent him a stern email that was very polite but expressed the direness of the situation. He never replied. I actually haven’t heard a peep from him in over a week. But the kids are really excited because he got a puppy. Just this week.

I could go on. I’ve heard a lot lately about the extravagant purchases he’s been making ever since he quit the job that had an Income Deduction Order garnishing child support from his paychecks. I could tell you all about those but frankly they make me sick and really angry and it just doesn’t help me in my current situation. At all.

So I won’t.

Today is the day I start living solely on credit. I have two lines of credit that I’m planning on depending on– Target and Chase. They both have high APR’s but Target’s is lower and you also get 5% off your purchase which helps barely mitigate the APR ouchies. The Target card will be for life’s necessities that can be bought there like upcoming school supplies, certain clothes items, etc. Chase is going to be for everywhere else. Oh yeah and it’s going to be for the Orlando trip as well.

Yes. I am making a very dumb decision. I am still taking my kids to Orlando next weekend for their birthday gift. They received money for the trip for their birthdays. They got small birthday gifts to save money for it. And I did have every dime of that trip saved up for. Until the money dried up.

I can’t take it away from them. I just can’t. A friend gifted me the tickets to Universal. I have to pay for Magic Kingdom and for the hotel. I have the money that was given for the trip. And the rest is going on the Chase.

As absolutely illogical as it may sound to many, it’s worth it. I can pay for that trip for the next 18 years and it’ll be worth it. But to take it away from them? Less than two weeks away? I can’t do that. I simply cannot do that. Maybe I lack a spine. Maybe I’m just dumb. Maybe I’m materialistic and don’t really get it. At this point, I honestly don’t care.

I am in the dark as to what the future holds. School starts for me on the 22nd. Stallion starts school the 29th. Stallion is trying to get a second part time or a full time job and is willing to go to school almost full time and work more hours. I honestly sat down and considered a part time job for myself. But I don’t see how I could do it. The next four months are my busiest months of the year work-wise. People have suggested freelance writing to me. I think that is awesome, I do; but I have no clue where to start and not get taken advantage of and honestly, I don’t have that much confidence in myself. Especially right now when I feel incapable of making a good decision.

The state got in contact with me. They have enforcement orders for him. I don’t really know what that means or how that works. They mentioned something about their first step being to try and track down the employer listed but I warned them that itself is a very bizarre thing. The company has a website but it doesn’t exist in the state’s business listing. And every business in the state has to be in there. And the address for his employer is the same address as a different company that does the same thing. But at this point, it’s their turn to play detective.

The website says this about enforcement:

Some of the ways we get parents to pay are:

  • Notify the parents when they miss payments
  • Suspend Florida driver licenses
  • Take IRS tax refunds
  • Take Florida Lottery winnings if over $600
  • Take support payments from workers’ compensation and reemployment assistance (formerly unemployment compensation)
  • Tell employers to take payments from paychecks
  • Place liens on the parent’s car, boat, or other property
  • Report past due support to credit agencies
  • Place a hold and take money from bank accounts
  • Take the case to court because the parent did not do what the order says
  • Work with the court to issue a writ, also known as an arrest warrant. If you would like to see if there is a writ on your case, please use the Department of Revenue’s Writ Search Site.
  • Collect Medical Expenses Not Covered by Insurance

I don’t think he’s hiding money. I don’t think he’s making money. I think he quit a job that paid him enough for child support and living expenses plus gave him medical benefits and other perks because he didn’t like the amount that was leftover after child support. So he got the idea to go into business for himself. And I don’t think he’s doing too well. And he didn’t save up a dime to do it, he just jumped ship and did it. Maybe he got fired. Who knows?

What I do know is the income is gone. Pretty much the way I imagined it would go. It’s happened before and I have tried so hard to protect myself for when it would happen again. And I think I did a pretty good job. The last month child support was being paid regularly was in April. So I got through a few months you know? That’s something.

Up until this month, I’d paid way higher than minimum amounts on my credit cards. And when I used my Express card for work clothes, I paid the full amount off. But now, it’s back to minimum payments only. And I’m turning off my retirement contributions to get me about $190 a month.

The light at the end of the tunnel is a dim speck in November. Because you see, I should make my very last car payment in October. So that should free up $400 a month and it should also allow me to get a lower insurance. Oh and there’s Tinsel. She’s pretty heavy and should cough up a few dollars. That might be helpful for Disney actually.

So, three months I have to depend on credit. Maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe some kind of child support will come in. Maybe Stallion will get more work. Maybe I’ll get more work. Maybe the Lottery fairy will leave me a winning ticket under my pillow.

Maybe I’ll wake up and it’ll have been a really really bad nightmare.

I know this is long. And I really don’t expect anyone to actually read all of this. I write this for therapy more than anything else. And that’s why I’m going to say one more thing.

I’m not giving up on myself and my financial goals. I’m not going to embark on a shopping bonanza to end all shopping bonanzas. I’m going to cover our needs for three months and one biggish want. It’s less than $1k so it’s ok to call it biggish, right? Whatever, it’s still a selfish want and I know that and I’m going to have to deal with it.

What hurts is knowing that three months could easily set me back three years.

And ok, yes the fact the kids’ dad is who he is and how he is hurts too.

And that I still need something from him to survive. That I am not 100% independent. We’ve been separated for three years and still… That hurts.

I appreciate all the support I’ve gotten from everyone on here in the past. I really hesitated coming here to begin writing this but I felt like if I just kept this secret, I wouldn’t be true to me. And I wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors either. Yes, here is more proof that divorce does not get easier after a few years pass. And I’m not sure I can argue it’s gotten better because it hasn’t. Communication is the worst it’s ever been. Believe it or not, now is when I get upset when my kids leave me for his house. Because before I used to trust him as a father. Now I don’t.

Would you trust a man who puts his children on a big and fast boat with no life jackets on? You should see how Daughter came back from his house a few weeks ago– her face swollen with some sort of allergy. Baby came home with sneakers two sizes too big that his little friend that lives on their block gave to him. He’s sent the boys to school without underwear. Their clothes comes back reeking of cigarettes. Baby asks every day if he’s going home with Daddy and if the answer is yes he cries and clings to me and says that no he doesn’t want to go, he wants to stay with me. And some times it’s Daughter that asks and gets very sad when the answer is yes, it’s Daddy’s turn. Eldest is the only one that seems unfazed. He actually seems hurt by his brother and sister’s negative reactions. Baby now tells me he’s going to miss me. I remember the divorce class teaching us, DON’T SAY I MISS YOU. What do I say then? “I love you. Call me whenever you want.” “But Daddy forgot your number.” “Daughter knows it. And Eldest too. They will help you.”

And all that heart wrenching knowing they are going with this man who shows through his actions how very low on his list of priorities they are.

Something’s got to give. I just hope it isn’t me.