When Reach Extends Beyond Ability

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Before the final order of the custody battle, Zelda was in a tizzy. I wouldn’t fight with her. I wouldn’t talk to her. My last words to her were “speak to my lawyer. I will not discuss this with you.”

She wouldn’t talk with my lawyer, for reasons best known to her…no, not known to her, either.

She couldn’t discuss it with Cinderella, because Cinderella said, “this isn’t anything to do with me. I won’t talk about it.”

That left Othello.

Othello saw his mother hurting, angry, and afraid. Very afraid; a custody battle includes possible money losses, and that equates to a threat to security for Zelda for whom money and security are equivalent. Othello (I learned last night) tried to calm her, saying, “I don’t think Dad is doing this for the money. Accept the court decision and just don’t pay the support.”

And she took his advice.


I found out today that the State of Oregon billed Zelda before I put in paperwork for them to do so. Apparently they are taking an active interest in delinquent support payments. Well, good.

I wish Othello had spoken to me about this months ago; I would have pointed out that his expenses are high, and his make-up schooling will be higher. I would also have pointed out to him that 17 year old boys should not give legal advice.

I am appalled that Zelda took legal advice from a teenager. More appalling is that she called him yesterday to chew him out for giving bad legal advice. It is now his fault that she is in for heavy payments (not he fault for leaving him alone in Corvallis, not her fault for screwing with the process, which raised the payments twice).

I was very careful, last night. I did very little talking. I pulled Bridgette back from talking. We let Othello talk; he had a few things to say, which is unusual. The gist is that he is resentful of the position he is in with her. It isn’t clear where he is assigning blame.

I did tell him that her decision to follow his advice was her decision, not his. And, that teenagers are not generally knowledgeable enough in the area of law to be a reliable source of guidance. Then I shut up, and spent the rest of the evening not wallowing in guilt and not fixing problems that weren’t mine.

Wish I could, though.

6 thoughts on “When Reach Extends Beyond Ability”

  1. Aha, that’s at least fathomable. Which is a huge improvement.

    At least this provides a large focal point for Zelda’s hatred which is moderately valid – I can understand someone being bitter about paying child support. This is a step up from her inventing new focal points whenever she needs one. I’m always happier to be chastised for something I did, and am not guilty about, than for something imagined that I would have felt bad about if it were true.

    Othello should resent his position. I resent his position. It’s crappy. Not your fault. Like Johnny Cash used to sing, “I don’t like it, but I guess things happen that way.”

    1. Johnny Cash was an optimist. πŸ™‚

      In fact, I consider the support payment Zelda’s been assigned to be excessive. Bridgette has agreed in theory that the monies rec’d that are more than Othello’s expenses should be set aside for his moving-out expenses (in the far-off future) or his schooling. We’ll see how that holds up in practice.

  2. Zelda did not take legal advice from a seventeen year old. Zelda allowed herself to hear the one person who said what she wanted to hear, and did what she wanted to do carte blanche with the added benefit of being able to now blame it on somebody else. I can’t blame him at all for being resentful, mind you, because she’s a shit. I mean, of course it was bad advice, but it’s totally reasonable from a 17 year old’s point of view, because there’s not that much consequence in the world yet when you’re 17. Even for a charming, intelligent kid like Othello, knowing Dad’s not doing this for the money trumps the legal ramifications. I see where he’s coming from. But she would’ve found a way to do this anyway, because he only told her to follow the path she wanted to in the first place.

    Poor kid. πŸ˜›

    1. Zelda allowed herself to hear the one person who said what she wanted to hear, and did what she wanted to do carte blanche with the added benefit of being able to now blame it on somebody else.


      You Irish artists are an insightful bunch. Must be the influence of the fey.

      Yes, of course that’s what it was. She wasn’t an idiot, she was continuing her dysfunction & denial, and Othello agreed to pick up the check. That I can help him with. Recognition of proper allocation of blame responsibility has become one of my better skills.

      1. It’s true. We Irish artists are an insightful bunch. I hope you are in fact able to help Othello through this, now. πŸ™‚

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