Putting things in perspective

About 2 months ago, one of my sons was housesitting for my BFF.  I was driving back and forth down the highway 45 minutes each way about 8 times, because he was also taking a summer class and sadly, BFF doesn’t live too close.  On the first trip I got pulled over.  I was in a cluster of cars, in my minivan, traveling up a hill, in the dark and going about 70ish.  Low 70’s.  That’s what my speedometer said.  The cop, on the other hand, announced I was doing 83.  He also had no interest in anything I had to say about it.  The ticket was $300.

I pleaded not guilty and sent it in.  I have been driving since my 16th birthday – 32 years – and even well before that with my mother in the car, and have been pulled over three times, none recently.  Never once have I had an accident.

Once, I was required to send half of my fine to a charity of my choice, as a way of a ticket not showing on my insurance – but that was several years ago, and that option was not offered this time.  I got a court date.

So last week, I went to traffic court, an hour away.  Strangely, it was not in the county I live in, or the county I got pulled over in, but the horrid, awful county that I was divorced in.  The same bailiffs from family court were there.  And it was packed.

There were five prosecutors calling people.  I was sitting towards the front and could hear everyone getting shot down and told to pay on their way out from the two meanest looking ones.  I was called after an hour by a different one.  The first thing she said to me was, “how fast do you think you were going?”  I told her and she proceeded to lecture me on how minivans have tires not appropriate for their axels and if I don’t replace my tires every six months, it can alter the speedometer about 10 mph.  She said she didn’t think I knew I was going that fast, that all of the cars around me were speeding, too, and that from now on I should try to go 10 mph under.  She also said that I still have to be responsible and the best she could do was cut the fine in half.  She asked if I needed time to pay.

I said I needed as much time as humanly possible, because I make $250 a week, have eight kids at home, am a full-time student trying to better my life – because the child support enforcement office, attached to this building, hasn’t gotten me child support in 7 years.

She looked at me.  Then she said the she hasn’t gotten child support in 10.  She told me she knows how hard it is.  She told me to go, I was clear.

The point of this story – if a prosecutor working for the same system, in the same county, in the same town, in the same building, can’t get child support, then I obviously don’t have a prayer.

MIA

It’s been a while.  Momma always said, “If you don’t have anything good to say…”

School started a couple weeks ago.  It’s a little overwhelming, to put it mildly.  There are 5000 pounds of books, 58 different computer applications to know and use, a bunch of clinical skills to get down, long, long days of power point lectures, and today I am going to the Senior Center to learn process recording.

I have to go to traffic court, an hour away next week, for a $300 speeding ticket I’m fighting.

I got a letter from the state saying that tbj was served “abode” to appear in court on October 7th, and it’s in my best interest to be there.  Apparently he’s not dead.  Although, let me refresh your memory: “abode” means a letter was mailed to him and not returned saying he had a court date for not paying child support.  That could really mean anything.  And nothing.  What it means, and actually says in small print on the bottom of the letter, is that if he doesn’t show – and really, does he ever?! – then nothing whatsoever will happen to him.  $98,000 on record and not even warranting a sheriff.  Or a threat of jail.  Nothing.  As usual.

The state cut me $300 in food money.  Back to school means the older kids don’t eat.  That also means that I have $29/day to feed the people I am allowed to feed – $4.14 a person – or $3.22 a day each in reality.  I never made it to the last week before the cut.  No idea what we’re going to do.

I did find out one good thing – I don’t have a convalidated marriage.  An annulment is a simple formality.

Reason 958

To have a man in my life.

Finances.

Can’t do it alone any longer.

I have two more long, hard years of school before gainful employment.  I have $300 in the bank.  I have been written off the work schedule because they don’t like my school schedule.  I make about $30 a week working in the lab.  Gas money to get there.  I have expired my cash assistance. And child support?  Yeah, we all know that story.  I’m claiming him dead.  Might as well be.  But it takes seven years for benefits.  Then I will only have two minors.

In the meantime, I am eligible for a loan.  It’s $4500 a semester.  And you have to go to a class at my school and take a test, wait for two emails and submit a zillion papers.  So, we’re looking at a minimum of October. I can’t not go to school after everything I went through to get in.  If I don’t go, I will ALWAYS be struggling.  Until we all die. But who’s going to hire me when my only availability is Friday and Saturday.  And sometimes we have class on Friday – if Monday is a holiday.  Starting August 22 and continuing with August 29.  So where can I work on a Saturday that will pay the rent and utilities?

Just when I think things will be fine.  They aren’t again.  It’s been over seven years and I am so, so tired.  So tired. So what do I do?  Another campaign?  Beg?  I’m quite sure people are sick of helping me.  But what do I do for two more years to help myself?

I don’t want to be 11 on my own anymore

Not that I’m really eleven on my own, anyway, it’s more like six now.  Eight still live here, true, but they have jobs and licenses and college and they pretty much buy their own stuff, and think on their own, too.  It’s great.  They are awesome friends, as well.

I don’t want to be 11 on my own anymore, because I don’t want to be on my own anymore.  I really, really thought I did.  Like forever.  After tbj left, how he left, what he did after he left, what he did while he was still there, what our marriage was like, what the last one was like, and how that one ended – I never, ever thought I would ever want a man in my life again.  No, not a woman, either.  Geez.

I spent the last 7 1/2 years avoiding men, being in a situation where I could possibly be hit on, or asked out – I went out socially with my adult sons, priests, or married girlfriends.  Very, very safe.

So what changed?

Well, my oldest three got married.  Happily married, to their best friends.  The parties in our social circle are all full of couples, and me.  All of my closest friends are happily married to men who *gasp* treat them nicely.  My younger children have been overheard to say they wished they had a father.  No, not that father.  A nice father who will actually acknowledge their existence – like their friends’ fathers.  All great guys.

There may be great guys out there.  Other people I know have them.  My cousins do.  My aunt does. I want one, too.  In fact, I have been praying for one.  A lot.

My children are getting older.  Almost half of them are adults, and a quarter of them are living their lives with their spouse.  I don’t want to attend another one of my kid’s weddings without someone to share it with. I want to dance and celebrate with someone of my own.

Pretty soon there will be no one left here but me.  That depresses me to death.  I don’t want to die alone.

I know there are a couple of my kids who don’t understand this.  I struck out, why would I want to risk putting myself out there again?  How much pain can I take?  They are overprotective of me, these children who have their own lives and don’t understand how I can feel lonely in a house full of people.  I appreciate it, I do, but I think after 15 years with a sociopath, and 7 1/2 years with myself and my thoughts, and my God I wouldn’t make the same mistake.  I also know that there are people in the community who don’t think I should ever be married again – they’ve told me so – and it is really none of their business how I live my life, no matter how much they think it is or try to make it.

I have a beautiful family, wonderful kids, a Nursing School admission, a promising future career.  Much to be thankful for.

Yet, I would never need anything else if I could experience happiness and grow old with someone who loved me because it’s all around me and it gets really, really hard to always be just me.