January Journal Continued . . .
I needed a break and I needed to get my finances in order which meant meeting with our bank branch in Chicago. Road trip time. For the first time in months I actually smiled and felt a thousand pounds lighter leaving behind all that baggage — and Scott. I couldn’t wait to be free.
Before I left, Scott sent a text demanding I leave the master bedroom door unlocked. It was His room, His bed. Of course I refused. I hadn’t worked hours upon hours moving all his belonging to the guest room for no reason. Who knows what he would do now – possibly start selling off my jewelry? Hack my files? Who knows! His erratic behavior and outburst were anything but status quo. Scott scared me. And he didn’t like it when I didn’t obey his demands.
Another text from Scott followed with, “Don’t tell anyone while on your ‘visit’ that we’re getting divorced. It may impact my career.” I’m sure Scott doesn’t want me telling any of our friends about our impending divorce. Besides, I don’t believe for one moment that a major Fortune 500 company will fire an employee for getting divorced. It was all about his ego, and Scott’s need to maintain the perfect image.
I went to stay with our friends Tim and Alyssa Johnson. We met 26 years ago when Scott started working for “The Cereal Company” the same time as Tim. They have continued to be our dear friends ever since. We visited them constantly over the years after we moved away. They even managed to visit us while living abroad in both Ireland and the Caribbean.
Now while staying with them in Chicago, I confided in Alyssa about the divorce. She wasn’t surprised having known us for so many years and the struggles I’ve endured. I asked her not to tell her husband, Tim, initially about the divorce. First, I wanted to quiz him about the various savings and investment plans The Company offered. Tim was close to the same level in The Company as Scott and I needed to know exactly what investments that entailed. So, over the next few days I cleverly worked in various questions about the plans and retirement programs that they were both participating in and took meticulous notes.
Shortly after filing for divorce I’d reached out to another Company wife, Kim who had recently signed her Judgment of Divorce. She had a difficult divorce as well, and warned me early on, even bringing me a journal instructing me to write down everything during the process. I am forever grateful to Kim for her advice and gift that day. It’s the same journal I am referring to now. She indicated that her ex-husband had failed to disclose a few of those retirement plans during their divorce. To her dismay, there was nothing she could do now to recoup those lost funds. Knowing what had happened to Kim, I wasn’t about to let that happen to me as well and so I drilled Tim for information as best I could.
Scott continued to inundate me with messages while I was in Chicago, now proclaiming that he was taking the kids to Florida for spring break among other things. We had discussed this before and had agreed that, because our daughter had won the state competition for DECA, she was going to go to California for the national competition. We simply couldn’t afford to do both. Besides, we had agreed that she couldn’t take that much time away from both her high school and college classes. Scott just wants to punish me for going to Chicago. It was ok for him to travel and go on numerous “guy trips” each year. But not ok for me to even take a weekend away. That was his retaliation.
(Scott claimed later that every time I left the house I was abandoning the family – even when I would drive an hour away to meet with my attorney. He would state this repeatedly in our child custody and arbitration hearings.)
I spent a few blissful days with the Johnson’s free from obligations and divorce able to exercise my free will and just go with it. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I also made the rounds and visited a few other friends from the old neighborhood where we used to live in the Chicago suburbs. Finally I met with our banking account executive and got access to the accounts online and a working ATM card. I informed him of our divorce and asked that he alert me if Scott made any other changes to our account.
(I am surprised that our bank neglected to inform me that Scott had made special arrangements to cash out our E*Trade stocks at that local branch receiving $71,000 in cash just a few days prior.)