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Things have been beyond rough the last three months.  It was all kick started by a surprise visit by the landlord and two of his sons and then the news that he’d conveyed this property to his oldest son who intended to raise my rent without fixing the major issues.  That was promptly followed up by my first husband’s death, which set in motion my daughter’s desire to reverse her step-father adoption.  This, of course, would require “poking the bear” by taking my second husband back to court and telling the world that the only reason I agreed to him adopting her was because I was afraid he’d kill me.  (That’s not true, by the way.)  She claims she’s been suicidal over what she witnessed growing up and needs his name off of her birth certificate that she has to present to the DMV every few years for renewal. It’s too upsetting to her.  She isn’t concerned at all about him being angered and taking it out on my youngest children who still are forced on visitation alone with the man.  She insists CPS will do the right thing, once the kids have been traumatized and wounded, and force him into parenting classes and return the children to me after a brief investigation.

The tub backed up full of sewer again, as it did last summer.  It’s too cold to bathe in a stock tank outside (thought we’ve been without heat for a month now, so inside isn’t any better) while I wait for a plumber to finally get around to coming out, so I spent $300 on a water ram and fixed it myself.

In between all of this I’ve received multiple calls requesting my cleaning services, which is great, but I’m exhausted and there aren’t enough hours in the day.  I don’t know how to accommodate everyone, but I’m trying my hardest to make it all work somehow.  And, I feel like my work isn’t up to par.  I’m too tired.  My eyes burn, and my vision is blurry.  I need rest.

Without functioning, safe electrical to the dryer, I’m driving the 10 miles in to the laundromat several evenings a week where we witness drug deals and hide in the car from the gang members and other ruffians patrolling the joint.

Without heat but with plenty of stress, we’ve all been sick all winter long.

And, I’ve spent the last three months sorting through and boxing up every single belonging of mine, my children, my parents, and my ex……EVERYTHING left in this house has been sorted through and either disposed of, prepared for a yard sale, given away, or boxed for an eventual move to God only knows where.  I contacted a lender last week, but he basically laughed at me.  At my income level I only qualify for $70 to 80,000.  Rents here have been driven up by the influx of Californians and the pot growers.  A client told me I’m going to have to bite the bullet and pay the $1600 a month.  I don’t make $1600 a month!  I have no idea where we’ll go, but I’m preparing my stuff to go and waiting on the Lord to open up an all out miracle.

Yet, still, I pick up my sword and shield and battle my way through every day.  There is no time for self-care, working out, or rest.  I war on valiantly.

But, days like yesterday drop me.  Like a fierce blow to the gut that knocks the wind out of me, days like yesterday leave me on the ground gasping for air.

I screamed at the kids for nearly an hour.  I shouldn’t have, but I did.  “Come on!  We have to go!  NOW!!!”  The teenager disappeared into a black hole in his room.  The youngest couldn’t come out of the bathroom.  The youngest boy got ready but wandered around as though he didn’t understand what was going on.  They had visitation, and they always get like this.  As though if they drag their feet long enough, they won’t have to go.

Everything was frenetic.  Nothing got done.  We just ran to the car and flew down the driveway.  My throat has been sore all week, fighting the last thing the kids had, and that screaming only worsened it.  The guilt over yelling at kids who just didn’t want to go on a forced visitation with their abuser hurt even worse than my throat.

We pulled into his driveway at 9:15.  That gave me 15 minutes to get to work.  I could do this.  I prayed silently that the kids would be okay.

No truck!  I texted their father.  No response.  I called.  No answer.  I texted our son who lives with him.  He was sitting in a Humvee 500 miles away at drill, but he took a minute to call his dad.  No answer.

I called my client.

At nearly 10 o’clock I left his driveway, with my children, and stepped on it.  A quick stop at the store for snacks and activities and $30 later I was on my way to work.  Almost an hour late.  With three kids sitting in my car.  Very professional.

Then, the incessant calls and texts began.  He wanted me to call him.  Could I bring the kids now; he was home.  He’d come get the kids from my client’s house.  Call, text, call, call, call.  I ignored them and took out my anger on her floors.

My youngest daughter-in-law also began texting and calling one right after the other.  When I didn’t answer my ringing phone she would hang up and call right back.  After three or four rapid fire calls, I picked up.  I needed to finish the kitchen, and my client was home.  I’d been an hour late.  This was NOT looking good for me.

She was crying.  My grandson had a high fever and appeared to be having a seizure.  She didn’t know what to do.  I told her to take him to urgent care!

I finally finished, and my client was cool.  Though she did mention that she fired her last lawn guy for chronic lateness due to family issues.  I got the point.  I assured her that my new policy for the ex was to leave by 9:15 if he had not shown up by that point.  I wouldn’t wait again.

Pulling off alongside the road a short distance from her house, I began returning calls.

The ex had calmed and apologized.  He forgot.  He thought it was the next weekend.  He wasn’t gone long; he just ran to a plumbing store, no, a farm store, for a few minutes.  The lies and excuses were varied.  All I could say was, “It doesn’t matter now.  It’s okay.  Would you like me to bring them over now that I’m off work?  At least you could spend a few hours with them and have dinner together.”

No.

He was an hour away.  Now, he was at work.  On Saturday.  For a company he doesn’t work for.  When I hadn’t returned his calls promptly (because I was at work) he went ahead and took the work at noon.   He asked for the kids on a different weekend.  I hesitated, and he said, “I know I’m asking that right now when you feel the way you do about me.”  I hesitated because we have plans for the next few weekends.  I can’t just rearrange my life on a dime because he chose to not be home on the one day of the month he has visitation.  I told him I’d try to figure something out but I should probably let him get back to work.  I suggested he call me when he got off work, playing along as though I believed that particular version.  He said he’d get off work in an hour and a half and call me then.

Four hours later and still no return call to reschedule.  And, as we sat in the drive up of a coffee stand, we saw him ride his motorcycle past, coming from the direction of where his mother and brothers all live.  The complete opposite direction from where he was supposedly working.

We rented Hidden Figures, and I made a salad for dinner.  We sat down to cuddle and relax when my daughter-in-law began texting again.  She and my son were fighting.   The texts were more like short chapters from a novel.  But, she’s estranged from her own mother, and I’ve tried very hard to fill that void.  I really love that young girl.  I love her like she’s my own.  All throughout the movie, all evening long, the texts kept coming.  I tried to be supportive and loving without getting in the middle.  I repeated that I love them both and pray for their marriage.

Then, a text came from my son asking me why I’d told his wife that she could just come stay with me.  His texts were lucid and respectful, nothing like someone who was staggering drunk as she’d claimed he was.   I told him I never said, and he said that he figured I hadn’t.  He just needed to confirm she was lying.

At midnight, as I was locking up and finally crawling my aching body off to bed, she sent me a rage filled, accusatory text, telling me off in no uncertain terms for calling her names, tearing down my character and putting her own up.

I texted her that I had not ever said any of that stuff, but I did not try to communicate further with her.  Instead, I texted my son and told him that I did not want to be in the middle of their fighting.  I want to support both of them; I love both of them; but after all of the time, money, and energy I’ve invested in her I didn’t deserve the way she “talked” to me.   And, then, my daughter messaged me that they were home from their trip to take her dad’s ashes to his mother and that they’d see me later today.   It was 1 in the morning.  I didn’t realize we had plans to see each other today.  It’s my only day off, and I was hoping to catch up on laundry and………rest?

I tossed and turned until 2 a.m. and awoke at 6.   I want to run away.  Actually, I want to be left alone to rest for a while.  I want to be free to build a new future.  I want to be treated with the love and respect I offer others.  I want my young children still at home to be safe and just enjoy their activities, like normal kids.  I want others to be responsible for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions.   But, that seems like a lot to ask for.

I have lost more than a few friends post divorce.  I’ve received some cruel admonitions.  I’ve heard the talk behind my back.  I know that some people think I’m just bitter, unforgiving, lazy, or not getting over this and moving on.  I’m trying.  I’m really trying.  You just don’t see all that I’m battling against.

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