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Pennies on the Side

July 22nd, 2015 at 09:21 am

The kid and I have been traveling for the past week and a half, and are finally due to head back to CO today.

I had a conference, and so I dropped Voldemort off with my sister and her family so he and his cousin could run wild. We both had fabulous times, although mine was frequently interrupted by phone calls and negotiations with CO friends in dealing with the male type person who had decided to stay in my house while I was gone, get REALLY drunk, and is supposedly starting inpatient rehab today - which I will believe when I see monkeys and pigs fly past the airplane later today.

While this was an expensive trip, I've done what I can to reduce that - we're taking the bus to the metro, which will take us to the airport, which will take us back to CO and to a car that I am currently hoping does not have a flat tire in the parking lot.

I did have a question, though - I've been wanting to do Financial Peace University for years and have never been able to convince the male. Now that we're getting divorced, I don't have to take him into account anymore. Any experiences with taking Financial Peace as a single parent? I'd love to hear how it was helpful.

Paying for Divorce

July 5th, 2015 at 09:07 pm

After the hell that was this past week, I've decided to go forward with the divorce. I was hoping, I really was, but he still doesnt even understand the full mess that he is in.

He called me Thursday night from the emergency room. He'd be picked up where he was "sleeping it off" in hais truck. I have no idea if he pulled over to drink, or if he was drinking and thought driving would be a super swell idea.

That was upsetting enough, as he had just hit a full 60 days sober, but he called again at 5am on Friday, asking for me to come and pick him up.

If I had been more awake, I probably would have told him no and had him call an AA buddy. But I didn't.

Instead, I put our eight year old in the car and drove 40 minutes to go pick up his still drunk daddy from the hospital.

When I picked him up, the nurse said his BAC was currently .16. When the ambulance had brought him in, his BAC was .435.

Just to clarify, legal blood alcohol content level is .08. At .36, you have the same level as sedation for surgery. At .4, you're at high risk of death.

I can't live like this. I can't be dreading every phone call.

So, divorce it is. I've already spoken to a lawyer and I can do a little of the paperwork myself. However, because it does involve me wanting the courts to monitor B's visits with the Dark Lordling, as well as insist on breathalyzers before seeing him, a lawyer is necessary to make sure I don't screw something up horribly.

And the lawyer needs a $5000 retainer.

Following Up

May 13th, 2015 at 12:21 pm

I've had a few questions about brandus and plans and alcoholism and stuff, so I figured I would put the answers in one new post instead of trying to answer in comments.

1. Yes, Brandus usually goes to daily AA. Sometimes. When he hasn't gone for several days, I usually expect a relapse. I'm not paying for his hotel, so I'm trying to stay out of it, other than offering to help him find a place. He is unwilling to contact his friends to ask for help, so.

2. I've gone to Al-anon in the past and hated it. I did have a family support group through health insurance, but it was cancelled last month due to low numbers. It was very helpful, so I was very unhappy at it closing. At the moment, I go to individual therapy and couples. I can't find an al-anon that works with my schedule, as i can't take the kiddo - regardless of my feelings, I don't think he needs to know the nitty gritty of his father's issues. I AM looking for a group I can attend.

3. I am keeping Voldemort as shielded as I can from all this. Brandus is not allowed to drive him anywhere, and I'd prefer they be somewhat supervised. I have family and friend support, thank goodness - family is far flung, but we're working on figuring out how to make sure the kid is somewhere safe and cared for the brief times I am scheduled to be out of town.

My BFF is coming to visit in June, and we're scheduling her return home to coincide with my trip out, and she will escort kiddo to my parents' house.

The return trip might be un-escorted minor, so if anyone has done that with a kid, please share!

My other sister has a good friend in Denver who has a kid a few years younger, and we've been trying to set it up so that we can trade the kids back and forth and give both of us a breather.

We've got two week long summer day camps set up for him as well (robots! space!), and there is Michael's Arts and Crafts summer program that he can participate in, which is low cost and easily available.

The nice thing about being a teacher is having some wiggle room in the summer for scheduling - I'll probably still have him in child care two days a week or so to give him a chance to spend time with other kids, but mostly, he can be home with me.

I hope that answers some questions!

Turn It Off

May 12th, 2015 at 12:25 pm

The husband and I are still separated, and he swings back and forth between understanding and totally ass. He's managed to find a long term stay hotel, which is still pricey, but not as bad as a hotel room every night.

It feels like we're moving closer to divorce, instead of moving towards healing.

He's cancelled cable entirely - he kept wifi, which is what I mostly use. I don't really watch tv.

He cancelled the local dairy delivery.

He's cancelled the weekly cleaners.

All of these are things that impact me more than him, as he's not at the house, but they are all things I've okay'd for him to do.

And I have to admit that those things together are a good size chunk of money that will no longer be outgoing.

But it's still weird and hard. I've noticed that we turn the lights off when we leave, and the heater/ac stays at the level I put it before bed.

The bed stays made. The dishes get done.

But I also make the kid's lunch and get him to and from school. I check all the homework, deal with all of the whining, do all of the laundry.

I feel off balance. I'm still looking for my new normal.

Some Found Money

May 7th, 2015 at 01:42 pm

Over lunch, I pulled out a stack of medical bills from Brandus' seizure - ambulance, ER doctor, substance abuse evaluation, etc - and prepared myself for pain and agony. Last time I called, we had realized that our insurance hadn't been applied, so I was calling to see if it had gone through, and what the balances looked like now.

I thought I had maybe $300 in my flex account for medical bills, but I had $841!

I immediately paid off my personal medical balance, which was a little over $300 - I had an ultrasound and some fun additional uterus related testing a few months ago, and those add cost fast.

I then called about the ER doctor, which was originally $1200. After insurance went through, it was knocked down to $112! I paid that one off in full!

I called on another two as well, but the insurance was still processing, so there was nothing I could do today. The ambulance had only sent the cost to insurance on May 1st, so who knows how long that will take.

But we still have $429 in the flex account, which means I can take care of a chunk of Voldemort's lingering medical bills (it's been a rough few years. Seriously) when I get home. We had that one set up on a payment plan, but I managed to space when the payment was due, so I have to call and what I can do about that.

Yikes. So many medical bills!

Another Day, Another..Wait, Where are My Dollars?!

May 7th, 2015 at 07:34 am

I checked my bank balance this morning, and SURPRISE, we're down to under $300. And it's only the 7th.


Admittedly, Brandus did text me last night and told me he would transfer money from his account into the joint account, as he had accidentally put his hotel for the past few nights onto our card instead of his. So that's a little over $300 back in.

But still. I double checked the numbers, and it seems to be pretty in order.

These medical bills are killer. I'm going to have to call and redo our payment plans on some of them.

I am proud that I managed to talk myself out of fast food last night, and instead made sandwiches and packed them for the kid and I to eat in the car (the plan was the park, but it was raining) before taking him to his piano lessons.

I had nearly convinced myself to grab fast food for lunch today, too, but at the last minute, I went with a sandwich again. I packed Voldemort a simple lunch out of what was in the fridge, so it wasn't anything special, but he's generally happy with pepperoni, crackers, and fruit, and then I threw in a homemade banana bread muffin that I had forgotten we had in the fridge, so yay for no spending on eating out!

I'm still working on cutting down our spending, too. We do have several things we can cut entirely, but some of them do require TIME, like the violins that Brandus rented for him and the Dark Lord to learn to play. We've had them 5 months, and except for the first two weeks or so, neither boy has touched them. They're a $37 each rental, but the rental place is 45 minutes away from both my work and my house, and this week has involved a lot of after school running around, so I haven't been able to do that yet. And until this past few weeks before we separated, I had been asking Brandus to take care of it. He's unemployed, so he should have the time, but oh well.

Hopefully on Saturday I'll have a chance to take that $75 monthly charge out of our spending, which would be a relief.

Still Juggling

May 6th, 2015 at 09:24 am

Couples counseling last night was hard. I told Brandus that I needed to see him complete either an inpatient or intensive outpatient program before coming home. He was upset and even with the counselor helping facilitate the discussion, it was still hard and he was angry and I was crying.

But I feel ok.

He did text this morning and apologized for how he acted, and I told him I still want us to go see Annie as a family, as we got tickets a while ago, and I think it would be a low stress way to spend time together. I'm not backing down on what I need to see from him, and I have an individual appointment with the therapist next week, and another couples in two weeks.

So, another month, at least, of solo parenting, depending on how long it takes him to follow through on completing a program.

I had told him I want to spend time with him, and I want Voldemort to spend time with him, but with him being so incredibly out of it the other day I don't feel safe with them just being left alone, and I sure as HELL don't feel safe with him driving the Dark Lord around.

So I'm trying to figure out how to juggle family prior plans and the Dark Lord's schedule and still have time to take care of myself, which is all very complicated.

I forgot to pack Voldemort's lunch last night, and we were rushing around this morning to get to work on time for professional development, so he had to buy lunch today. He has the money in his account, but I try to pack his lunch most days.

I did pack my lunch last night, as we had ravioli with zucchini and brown butter for dinner, and I made off with ALL of the leftovers, because it is delicious - and because, Voldemort, of course, turned his nose up at the zucchini.

Regardless, I am managing to keep us both fed and the house vaguely clean, so I'm counting the sudden solo parenting to be going successfully, although any and all advice from anyone who has gone through anything similar would be awesome.