I originally asked for enough child support for Othello’s groceries. Zelda did her thing, and, in the end, irritated my lawyer enough that she stepped up and requested the court award support in accordance with normal guidelines, backdated to the date of filing — more than double what I’d asked for.
That hasn’t been paid. I’ve been … all right with that. Zelda will view her non-compliance as an axe I hold over her, and will behave as her fear dictates. She has, in fact, been very quiet. That should make me very pleased; quiet & absent is the best she’s been for years.
And yet. I rousted myself from the warmth and comfort of my willful inertia, took me down to the DA’s office, and spent hours filling out the stack of papers necessary to forcibly collect the monies. Othello’s education is going to require more cash than I will be able to muster. I know I will need outside assistance to get him there.
I could ask her to help. Then I could have the conversation with her that would include the sparring and recriminations. Then we could spend some weeks or months going back and forth over who should be doing what in exchange for what was or wasn’t done over the last 20 years. And in the end, I would file the papers and stage the collections or bend and tell Othello that he will not be graduating, he will need to find a no-money way to get on with his life.
I knew where this would go. So I agonized for most of a year and wrote endless journal entries, wept with remorse over … no, I didn’t. I just quietly got on with the paperwork.
Working gently together has never worked for Zelda and I. Politeness has only worked to my detriment between Zelda and I. So, the paperwork.
Then days on end of breast-beating for my sin of doing what I felt was appropriate but didn’t like doing.
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Jumping sidewise to another track, Bridgette has been stacking up the Ridiculous Task List for this year. She dreams big, I like the dreams or modify them, then we strive and fall short of achieving anything meaningful in those directions, but spend much time and effort in our failure.
This year, as she notes (for instance) that she would like the property uprooted and turned 90 degrees to enlarge our Eastern exposure, I (smilingly) say, “no.”
Scott Shanks, professional wimp, years of experience in bowing to whatever wind is blowing nearest and overextending himself, said “no”, and expanded on that with an explanation of priorities of work and reasonable expectation of energies and time available.
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I appear to have found some modicum of spine. Something that, suddenly, makes it all right for me to shield myself from foolish exposure to the sometimes malicious whims of others — even my wife. I just don’t know how else to read the results.