Saturday, April 12, 2014
Dealing with divorce isn’t easy. Dealing with children during divorce is hard. Dealing with an ex-husband who doesn’t care about his kids is almost impossible.
How do I know? I lived it. After fifteen years of marriage and two kids, my ex walked out. Left us on our won, almost penniless to deal with life without him. Not only that, he left me to tell the kids. How do you tell an eight and ten year old, their father’s gone and not coming back?
Not that he was a great father to begin with, the kids rarely saw him, but he was their father. I’ll never forget the day he told me he was leaving. It wasn’t working for us, he said. He found someone else. You could have knocked me over with a feather. But I should have known. All the signs were there, working late, lipstick on his collar. How could I have been so stupid to ignore it?
He wanted a quick divorce to marry his pregnant secretary. Can you beat that? He never called our kids, never visited. The worst part, he refused to pay child support. I’d about had enough, but what was I to do? How do you force a man to pay?
I know, I could take him to court, they’d tell him to pay, but how to make him. Worst part, he was a lawyer. They tended to stick together no matter how wrong they were.
So I formed a group with a few friends who’d gone through the same thing. I was shocked to see how many women experienced the same thing. Had the men of this town gone crazy? How does anyone walk away from their kids? How does an self-respecting, responsible man refuse to pay child support?
I didn’t have the answer, but there were a lot of them. Now if we could figure a way to make them pay. Many of these men had disappeared. No one knew if they were alive or dead. Women who supported these men through the hard times were now left to deal with life on their own. I discovered most of these men were controlling. Not only didn’t they allow their wives to work, most of them weren’t allowed out without their kids, except for school functions.
I finally decided to take matters into my own hands. I’d demand my ex pay child support. I’d had enough. So, I went to his work and waited for him in the parking garage. We were going to have it out once and for all and I wasn’t leaving without some money.
What happened next tore me apart. Read about my experience in Deadbeat Dads available for 99 cents for a limited time from Amazon.
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“Okay ladies,” I looked at the women gathered around me. Lisa Daly, who encouraged me to start this group, was here and Nicole Brown. Poor thing never went out while she was married. Oh, and Louise Conners, I still couldn’t believe her husband ran off with his receptionist, and now they were going through a nasty divorce. Not sure why that surprised more than the others. It shouldn’t. There was quite a turn out. Half the women I didn’t know.
I brought my attention back to the meeting. “First order of business, a name for our group, any ideas?”
“Deadbeat Dads Anonymous,” someone called out.
“Wives of Deadbeat Dads,” someone else yelled. “Or Women Against Deadbeat Dads.”
“Better yet, how about Mothers Against Deadbeat Dads. MADD!” Lisa Daly shouted.
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of names. “We’re mad for sure but that sounds too much like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.”
“ADD,” someone else yelled. Against Deadbeat Dads.”
Nicole Brown’s hand went up. “Nicole, what’s your idea?”
“How about Wives Enraged at Deadbeat Dads. W.E.D.D.?” Nicole’s voice barely reached above a whisper.
Poor Nicole. Her ex-husband had knocked her self confidence so low. I was surprised to even see her here. I met her at a school function. Nicole’s daughter, Cindy, was in the same class as my Josh. I had heard through the grapevine that Bob, Nicole’s ex, had run off with a stripper. Talk about humiliating. I shivered at the thought.
Suddenly everyone came alive. Shouts of “Hey, that’s great, I like that,” sounded throughout the room.
“Okay then it sounds unanimous, Wives Enraged at Deadbeat Dads it is. All in favor raise your hands. W.E.D.D.” Kind of funny when you thought about it. None of us were wed any more.
Twelve hands went up. “Motion carried. We are officially Wives Enraged at Deadbeat Dads. Now we need to set up a schedule for our meetings and discuss our agenda. First, we need to choose a Chairperson.”
Nicole’s hand went up again. “I nominate Erica Morris for chair person.”
“I second that motion.” Lisa Daly raised her hand. “This group was your idea. I think you should chair it.”
Me as chair person? I wasn’t too crazy about the idea. “Any other nominations?” I hoped someone would raise their hand. No such luck. Heat rushed into my face. I had a feeling it turned as red as my hair, which was pretty red. I wasn’t used to being the center of attention. Never liked it and sure didn’t care for it now.
The room remained quiet.
No other nominees. “Okay then, all in favor, show of hands. Motion carried, I guess I’m the chairperson. Thank you, I’m flattered.” Flattered but a little taken aback. Hopefully, I wouldn’t let anyone down. “Let’s break for refreshments and we can continue our discussion while we snack.” I needed a moment to myself.
I never expected the group to name me chairperson. I’d never chaired anything in my life. In fact, the parents group at my children’s school was the only other group I had ever joined.
Johnny didn’t like me to go out and do things. He expected his wife to stay home, and God forbid, I even suggested going out alone while he stayed home with the kids. Anger flared in me as I recalled how often he came home late. Working, yeah right, spending time with his playmates was more like it. How could I have been so stupid? I remembered the day he told me he was leaving. Just like that out of the clear blue sky.
“It’s not working for us, Erica,” Johnny said. “I found someone else.”
Oh, he found someone else all right, his young, sexy secretary. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I should have known. All the signs were there, his late hours and lipstick on his collar. He was comforting the wife of a friend, he lied. I did a slow burn as the memories returned. And then he left, packed his clothes and just walked out without even a goodbye to the kids, left me to deal with them as usual.
Katie and Josh woke up the next morning expecting to see their father. Not that they saw much of him, but sometimes he ate breakfast with them and made polite conversation. That was nine months ago, and he hadn’t been back since, not even to visit the kids. He wanted a quick no fault divorce so he could marry his pregnant secretary.
I almost refused, but figured why fight it? The kids and I were better off without him, but how do you explain to an eight and ten year old that their father doesn’t care about them, that he had a new life with a new baby? It was one thing to forget about me, but not the kids. And I haven’t received even one of the child support payments he agreed to pay in the divorce settlement.
“Erica, hey are you okay?” Lisa’s hand on my shoulder startled me. “You look mad enough to spit nails. Thinking about Johnny, I bet.”
“Huh, oh yeah sorry, my mind was wandering. Yeah. I was thinking about Johnny. I just can’t believe he doesn’t care about the kids. He’s missed every scheduled visit. He doesn’t return my calls, and of course I can’t get past his secretary, uh wife, at the office or at home. I could have him arrested, but with his connections he’d get off Scott-free. I know it.”
“Well that’s why we started this group isn’t it? Come on if we all put our heads together we’ll come up with something to make them pay.”
The rest of the meeting involved mostly chit chat about this ex hubby or that one and how rotten they all were. It was small consolation to know others had the same problem.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Fate, kismet, or whatever you want to call it, it turned Interior Designer, Wendy Seidel’s world upside down. From a chance meeting at the airport to Florida and back to Ohio, she can’t believe the strange circumstances that throw us together, after I literally knocked her off her feet at the airport
Hi, I’m Bill Johnson and I thought I’d take a minute to talk about Wendy Seidel, heroine of Designed for
I’ll never forget my first meeting with Wendy. Yes, I literally knocked her off her feet in the airport, accidentally on purpose. Oh, I didn’t mean to knock her over, that was an accident. I just meant to bump into her. But she darned near stopped and wham, I blasted into her.
From the minute I saw her, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. That red hair and those green eyes mesmerized me. I never went in much for red heads, too hot-tempered. But this chick hypnotized me or something.
So, there we were both hurrying to catch our plane and bam, I knocked her over. Talk about a temper. Phew, let me tell you, she could freeze a glass of water with that look and cut you to the quick with a few words.
Okay, I have to admit, getting knocked down would have put me in bad temper too, but gees, I did apologize. Not that it mattered, she was off and running lickety split. Yep, hell-bent on her mission. So much for meeting her.
…as luck would have it, there she was sitting at my departing gate. Well, heck, how could I resist talking to her? Not that she was much for talking. Had her nose stuck in a book and wasn’t about to take it out. At least not until I kept up my end of the conversation, but she wasn’t responding. I think I annoyed her more than anything.
Before I knew it, they made an announcement that our flight had been cancelled. So much for spending three hours trying to get to know her. At least that was my plan. I was going to con the person sitting next to her out of their seat. Instead, I had to make arrangements to stay in a hotel. Hey, maybe I’d get lucky and she’d do the same.
If you want to know what happened, you’ll have to read Designed for Love available at Amazon.
“What the hell?” My carry-on bag slid across the floor and slammed into the wall. My feet slipped out from under me, I landed flat on my back, and someone fell on top of me, pinning me to the floor. The breath knocked out of me, I lay still a moment.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I finally caught my breath and pushed him off. “Everyone’s always in such a big hurry.”
“Why’d you slow down? You darned near stopped in front of me.” He stood up, brushed himself off and held out his hand to help me up. “Sorry.”
I knocked his hand away, got to my knees and stood. I didn’t need his help. Not his or anyone else’s for that matter. What I needed was to find my bag and get on to my gate.
“Look, I’m sorry. It was entirely my fault. I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry.” He held his hand out to me again, but I ignored it. “Here, let me get that for you.” He hurried to pick up my bag, but I grabbed it first.
“Look, Mister, I have a plane to catch, so excuse me if I don’t have time to chat.” I straightened up my bag, grabbed the handle and started toward my gate. Good looking in a rustic sort of way, I had to admit. Probably worked outdoors or at least spent a lot of time outside. Not that it made any difference. I didn’t have time for him. Or any man for that matter. I had a career to build, and men didn’t figure into it.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like men. I did. Even dated occasionally. Eventually I’d like to have a relationship, even get married. But relationships and marriage took time, not a priority right now. My career came first. Something about him, though.
I couldn’t resist looking back. Great. He stood watching me with a silly smirk on his face. Nice eyes, soft gray. I loved gray eyes. Maybe because my grandfather had gray eyes. He lifted his hand and waved at me. Heat burned my face, and I hurried off in the direction of the gate, looking at the signs above. Only at Gate 2. Not even close. Of course my gate was at the farthest end of the airport. Thankfully, there was plenty of time to get there.
I avoided a heavyset man, hell bent on his mission. I hated this time of year. Everyone was in such a big hurry.
To make matters worse, my butt hurt but I resisted rubbing it. Didn’t need to look like any more of an idiot. Ah, Gate 11, finally. Now I could sit down and relax, since there was still forty-five minutes before my flight. I took a book out of the side pocket of my carry-on and settled back to wait. Not that I could concentrate, anger at my boss raged inside me. Who in their right mind set up a meeting with a client right before New Years? And in Florida, no less. Obviously, Nick didn’t care that I had plans for New Year’s Eve.
So I was getting out of Ohio, big deal. Sure, my friends thought I was lucky, especially with the predicted snowstorm. Didn’t make any difference to me, I liked snow.
I glanced out a window. Already it was coming down pretty heavy, and there was still a good half hour before my flight.
Damn it, I hated flying. I could have sent the samples just as easy. What was so important they required me to personally bring them? I thought we’d settled everything before the client left. Why the sudden change? They could have at least waited until after the holidays.
Nick, my boss, promised I’d be home by New Year’s Eve. Yeah right. I knew how these things went. First this problem, than that one. I’d be lucky to be home in time for my nephew’s birthday on the sixth. Nick better not have any funny ideas. This was strictly business. I’d heard about his reputation with women. So far he hadn’t shown an interest in me, and I certainly didn’t have a problem with that. Good-looking though Nick was, nothing about him attracted me. Definitely not my type. Not that I had a type.
“Looks like we’re on the same flight,” a masculine voice said.
I looked up and almost groaned out loud. This couldn’t be happening. What were the chances we’d be on the same flight? I tried to ignore him, but something drew my eyes to his.
“Bill Johnson.” He extended his hand toward me. “I really am sorry about knocking you down.”
I shrugged and shook his hand. “No problem.” A quiver started deep in my stomach when he held my hand a bit longer than necessary. Rough, calloused hands. Does hard work. Maybe construction. I pulled my hand away and turned my attention back to my book. I hated talking to people at airports. Lord, please tell me he doesn’t have the seat next to me. I couldn’t be that unlucky, could I?
Of course I could.
Taking a peek at the ticket sticking out of his coat pocket, I groaned. Seat 16A. No way, what were the chances? I hoped he’d take the hint and leave me alone.
“Are you staying in Fort Myers?” He sat down next to me.
Figured, no such luck. I nodded. Maybe if I didn’t contribute to the conversation, he’d go away. I kept my eyes on my book but couldn’t concentrate. I had the irresistible urge to look at him, but ignored it. What was it about him?
“Visiting or business?”
I looked up from my book. He just wasn’t going to quit. “Business, no time for pleasure.” Maybe that would shut him up.
He smiled. “Everyone has time for pleasure. All work and no play...” He let the rest of the saying hang.
I put the book in front of my face. “I guess I’m a dull boy then.” Why didn’t he just let me read in peace. I couldn’t be much ruder. Some people just couldn’t take a hint.
Bill laughed. A big hearty laugh that caused people to stare. I wanted to crawl under my seat. “What’s so funny?”
“Honey, you look like anything but a boy.” His gaze took me in from top to bottom and came to rest on my breasts.
Okay, I’m well endowed and wished I had left my jacket on. Not that there was much to see through my bulky sweater, but enough. Heat rushed to my face again. Crap, why did I blush so easily? My face was probably as red as my hair. “Okay, so I don’t look like a boy. Just finishing the saying. And DON’T call me honey!” I put the book in front of my face, turned away from him, and tried to read. Lord, spare me friendly people. Especially men.
The last thing I needed was a man trying to pick me up. I wished he’d just go away. I could call airport security, but didn’t want to cause a scene. He’d done enough of that.
“Since you won’t tell me your name, I don’t know what else to call you.”
“Don’t call me anything.” I slammed my book shut, stood, and walked to the window. What more did I have to do to let him know I wasn’t interested? I stared out the window. Things didn’t look good outside.
“Full blown blizzard.” Bill’s deep voice came from behind.
I felt his breath on my neck and shivered from the warmth of it. Or was it from his nearness? Whatever it was, I didn’t like it. I looked at my watch. Still almost a half hour before take off. So far they hadn’t cancelled the flight.
As if my thoughts magically conjured it up, a voice came over the PA system. “We regret to inform you that all flights to and from Cleveland Hopkins Airport have been cancelled until further notice. New flights can be rebooked as soon as we resume our schedule. Sorry for the inconvenience. Airport shuttles are standing by to take you to a hotel. If you can’t get a room, you’re welcome to stay at the airport. Concession stands and restaurants will remain open for your convenience.
Great, just great. What more could go wrong? At least I could go home. If I could get a cab, that is. With the way it looked outside, I had a feeling most of the roads were closed, too.
I moved away from Bill and took my cell phone from my purse, got the number for the cab company from information, and punched it in. Crap, a recording. “No cabs due to weather.” Terrific. I punched in information for the number of the Sheraton Hotel. Hopefully, they still had a room. Spending the night sleeping in an airport wouldn’t improve my mood.
“Sheraton Hotel, how can I help you,” a female answered.
“Yes, I’d like a room for the night.” Please don’t tell me they’re all booked, I prayed. I didn’t care what kind of room as long as it had a bed.
“Yes, I have one room left. Two double beds. One hundred and fifty dollars.”
I let out a low whistle. A bit more than I cared to spend, but no matter. “I’ll take it.” I read my credit card number, grabbed my bag and raced to the exit while I spoke. Now to find an airport shuttle. Talk about luck, a shuttle parked just outside. I pulled the door open, and someone bumped into me.
“We have to stop meeting like this.”
I turned and looked into familiar soft, gray eyes. “Are you following me?” This was beginning to feel creepy. What was with this guy?
“Don’t flatter yourself.” Bill let out a low chuckle. “We can share a ride if you don’t mind. Give the driver a break.”
He followed me into the car. “Sheraton Hotel and...” He looked at me. “Where to?”
What were the odds he’d be going to the same hotel? This was getting scary. “Sheraton.”
“No kidding. Hey, maybe we can get together for a drink or something.”
Like I couldn’t guess what the or something was. I shook my head. Jerk. What made him think I’d even want to have a drink with him? “No thanks, I have work to do.” I looked out the window. How the driver managed to see where he was going was beyond me. All I could see was white. Thick, white, blowing snow. This was by far the worst snow storm I remembered. I just hoped it let up by morning like the weatherman promised.
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