Shannon came to visit last Saturday. She had cleaning to do, so I didn't get to Sacramento to pick her up until around 5:00 PM or so. Her sister was actually doing some heavy cleaning, also, and begged off because she had schoolwork to finish, so it was just the two of us. As I am never tired of noticing, Shannon is quite a trip. She's smart, funny and very original. Of course, that's like saying that I like strawberry icecream because it has strawberries in it. She has a very unusual perspective that is an absolute joy to which to listen, and I love conversing with her.
Lately, she's developed at thing about noticing cars with the blue headlights, and she kept pointing them out on the way back to Livermore. Mostly, we did laundry while she was here. She brought a ton with her again. We spent a lot of time chewing the fat and just hanging out. It's good to have her and her sister around. The strangest thing about being single now is the idea that I'm living in my house alone. You get used to having the family you put together around you almost every day, and it feels really weird to have the realization that they are not there most of the time anymore strike me at odd times.
You can't catch me 'cause the rabbit done died.
I got another surprise out of Crystal Saturday. This is getting ridiculous. The ex is pregnant
. When I've gone to pick up Jackie and Shannon, I had noticed the weight gain. It seems to be just a little fast this time. When I saw her I asked if she were still swimming, because I know that she's usually attempting to stay healthy by having a rigorous swimming regimen. She obviously knew where I was going with the question, so she just blurted out that she was pregnant.
Now, I had been wondering about the weight gain. The ex has thyroid problems and when her hormone levels get out of whack, she completely falls apart, so I had been kind of worrying about that, if for nothing other than the girls' sakes. Of course, she didn't show any other symptoms of that, in that she wasn't sleeping most of the day and she didn't look run down like she did when her energy was shot. I started wondering if she might be depressed too, and I really didn't want Jackie and Shannon having to deal with that mess, either, (nor was it something that I'd necessarily wish on Crystal, for that matter, but of course, that didn't fit the data, either. She seemed reasonably healthy and happy -- just like she'd stopped caring about her weight and started to eat a bit unhealthily -- which is something surprising for her. She does try very hard to manage her health.
Well, I got good news, she's a real good liar (not)
So she's pregnant. For the first few seconds after this little flaberghast was laid on me, I wrestled the idea around. I asked her how her blood sugar was doing, because she had problems with it with Jackie, and it was even worse with Shannon. I had flashbacks to those times, all those worries about eclampsia, and nausea, and water weight, and hormone changes, and aches and pains, and all of the fun stuff you learn about, and some of which you worry about too, when your wife is going to have a baby. It's fun, but it's full of it's apprehensions and anticipations, as well. I had inadvertently found myself slipping, like a chump, into "concerned husband mode." When I realized what I sounded like, asking her things about it, it kind of shorted out my brain, like cognitive dissonance. Ha! It was somewhat emotionally confusing to hear the news. I pulled skepticism out of my hat, and told her "yeah, right" just to stir the conversation a bit while I considered this information. There was a lot going through my mind all at once, and I am a congenital ruminator. It's always been one shock after another, living with Crystal. Of course she insisted that she was not pulling my leg, but I knew that it was the truth as soon as she said that she was pregnant. Crystal usually carries her weight really well. She can be very out of shape and still look really nice, and attractive, but she was carrying it lower than she does when she's just put on a few pounds. If the idea hadn't been so unexpected, I should have realized what her new shape implied, after all, I've seen it before. I knew she was telling the truth as soon as I heard it because the evidence suddenly made sense, and Crystal is a very poor liar.
Surprise! I thought she was done surprising me. I've certainly toted up that factor -- no more outrageous shocks -- in the positive column when considering our parting. She has been one piece of shocking or disturbingly surprising information after another for as long as I have known her. It really did damage my trust in her, never to know where I stood or what kind of circumstances were going to hold for any length of time. It may be unfair, in light of other people's perspectives of her, but she has always struck me as one of the most deceitful people I have ever met -- even if she couldn't lie her way out of a paper bag. She can't. It shows in her face like twenty-point newsprint, and in the way she speaks and in the words she chooses when assembling her sentences. She's awfully good at lying by omission, though. Usually, I was left to discover her cheating by a process of inductive and deductive reasoning -- intuition. It wasn't just the cheating though -- I always felt like I was in the dark with Crystal. In some ways, and at some times, our marriage was like living with a flaky roommate who would constantly do things you weren't expecting or didn't even like.
Anyway, the real problem I had with this turn of events was that she didn't tell me. She is three and a half months along now. (She seems rather big for that.) Gah, this kid is probably going to be bigger than Jackie and Shannon ever were. I do hope she's up to it. As wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling as childbirth and motherhood seem to be, from an observer's perspective, being pregant is work and worry. I wouldn't wish complications or difficulties on any woman going through it. Mistakes and bad circumstances and mishaps are just too horribly tragic to contemplate. I don't know how women wish things like, "I hope the kid comes out with skates on," upon one another. I can't conceive of it. I can't imagine hating any woman bad enough to wish such a tragedy upon her or the child either. Life is too damned fragile as it is. No, I certainly wish her well with this, but I am still angry to get the news, for other reasons.
I can't say, Baby, where I'll be in a year.
I've been paying her "spousal support" since April now. It's coming out of my check. She's getting a little bit more than half of what some people would consider a good salary -- and she doesn't have to do a thing to get it. She gets about $1300 a month, for five years, or until she re-marries, whichever comes first. That's in addition to the somewhat larger amount which goes to support my daughters -- money I do not begrudge at all -- upon whom in fact, I would spend more, if I could. When I found out Crystal was pregnant, I asked her about when she was getting married. She said not for a year! Of course, that could change too, if she decides in a year that her budget just won't allow the loss of my money. Jackie was something of a special circumstance. We married a year after she was born, but this is just silly.
She's going to have that guy's child without being married to him, merely to keep money to which she otherwise wouldn't be entitled. She's twisting the letter and the spirit of the law, assuming it were applicable in any way to the circumstances at hand in the first place. Once this realization dawned on me, I began to get irritated. Hell, I don't like the idea that she's drawing support from me when she's as much as married to someone else in all but name as it is, but this is just flaunting it. What's worse is that she had the court automatically garnish my check for it, like I was some deadbeat debtor who abandoned her
, after I had been bending over backwards, driving up to Sacramento, to hand-deliver her cash every month without any court settlement in place at all. I will never forgive her for that, not that she will ever apologize to me. In eighteen years of knowing her, she has apologized to me maybe a handful of times. She never says, "I'm sorry." Surprisingly, those rare occasions when she did were none of them occasions when she had been running around on me -- even after baldly admitting to doing so. No, shockingly and disgustingly enough, she always felt justified in doing that, and disturbingly enough, I accepted that, and tried to love her anyway. Nevertheless, if it hadn't been for the fact that we have two daughters, I would have divorced her long ago -- or so I console myself with thinking. Even now, sometimes I find myself wishing that she had left me just a couple of months earlier than she did -- it might have made some significant differences in some of the ways life has played out for me this past year. Of course, that is a useless speculation, and totally unproductive, but still... At any rate, her little garnishment trick was low, even for someone who understands me as poorly as she does. That woman can be such a user. Sometimes it makes me sick, contemplating the ways she's just used me during the years of our marriage. I know for certain that I will never hear an apology from her about it. She's brilliant at rationalizing the most unethical behavior.
The point is, spousal support is supposed to be for women who have put off a career to be a homemaker and then have a husband who leaves them with reduced career potential and no income. I can understand the idea. I can understand contracting up front to cover such a contingency in a marriage agreement contract. There is some validity to some of the compensations for considerations made by one spouse for the good of the family, but of course, she took the family with her. It's not like I'm paying her a refund for something she returned to me. She's got the whole enchilada. The fact is though, she left me and it was a no-fault arrangement. It was also uncontested by me, as well. She also left me to move directly in with someone else, whom she had already been seeing. With a little detective work, I could have divorced her, with grounds. She's not out trying to make herself an independent person with a career. I don't think she's ever been outside of a relationship with somebody for more than six months since she was sixteen. She's started herself a new family. She's not having to struggle with living on her own. She has the resources of two families now. She's buying furniture, and a minivan, and she and her whatever-you-call-him are looking for larger living accomodations. She didn't divorce herself from me; effectively, she merely divorced me from my family and replaced me with someone she liked better -- while keeping her hand in my wallet, no less. She's not homeless and starving. She certainly wasn't abandoned. She's just mooching, and using, because she can, and it's going to stop. I told her Saturday that she has another family now, she does not need to bleed me for resources any longer. I can think of people and things for whom/which I care, and upon which I could spend some of that. I deserve a life too, and I'm going to have mine back.