The Ex-Files – The Van

You may recall my post about my ex and his so-called automotive paint job. You ain’t heard nothing yet. Hold onto your hats, boys and girls. I have many stories to tell.

I can’t recall the exact year, but I think it was around 1989-1990, and CP was laid off again. I was still doing Day Care in our home, working my ass off trying to keep us fed and the lights on. All the while CP sat on his ass doing absolutely nothing. When he did do something, it was usually just to go “shoot the shit” with his cousins. Even if he had a job to do for someone, like the van he said he could get running for the friend of a friend of his.

I don’t remember all the details but I do remember the van needed the drive shaft installed. CP had made a deal with the owner that if all of the parts were supplied then he would do the work for (I think) $100 and it would have been a great deal but it didn’t work out quite right.

CP got most of the work done but left the drive shaft laying under the van because he needed a bolt or two to install it. He told the owner of the van he needed the bolts, where he could get them, and how much they were. Just a few bucks apiece, mind you. CP waited a few days for the owner to bring him the bolts. He called him again and reminded the guy that he still needed those bolts. (I think the owner told CP to just get the bolts and he would reimburse him later.) This went on for months. I don’t know what was said in the phone conversations but someone was an asshole and I’m sure it wasn’t the owner of the van!

The drive shaft lay under that van for several months. CP waited for the bolts. One time, my Dad asked CP what he needed and how much it might cost. CP told him the bolts were just a few bucks apiece. Dad asked him why he didn’t just go get the damn bolts himself so he could get the job done. CP told him, “That wasn’t the deal. The owner was supposed to get all the parts and I was supposed to do the work.” So, the van sat there.

One Fall afternoon, I was cleaning up the yard. There were leaves and debris everywhere, including the driveway. I raked up leaves and then got the hose out to water the flowerbeds and rinse down the driveway. CP had a freakin’ conniption fit about me getting that drive shaft wet! I just stood there for a few seconds waiting for him to think about what he just said. Nothing. I said, “Do you honestly think it doesn’t get wet when it rains? Water flows downward and the driveway is sloped! Do you think the rain goes around the drive shaft?” Sheesh. I mean, seriously. The drive shaft may have been protected from rain falling directly on top of it but t’s not like I was aiming for it. I was hosing around the damn thing. Sure, I was getting it wet, but no worse than if it were raining. And it was already a bit rusty from sitting out in the weather for months!

CP never did get the bolts that were needed for that job. The owner came with a tow truck to get the van months later and never paid CP a red cent, regardless of the work he may have done. Serve CP right. He made his own bad reputation by the way he did things, or didn’t do things, as in this case.

The Ex-Files – “It Hurts Me Too Much”

When the kids and I left CP behind in California, we had no idea what was ahead of us but we were hopeful. I was hopeful in a new beginning for me and the kids were hopeful that their “Pop” would be coming soon behind us. I knew that wasn’t going to happen but I let them hope. They were excited about the plane trip, the 3 week stay at my sister’s house, and our new house when it was ready for us to move in.

We moved into our new home (which was built in the 50’s but had been remodeled) in early September and the kids loved that they had a huge yard (many acres) to run and play in. The house was small and they had to share a room, but they were little yet. They didn’t care.

I had written CP a letter while we were staying at my sister’s house in August to say a few things that I needed to get off of my chest. I made it perfectly clear that it was over and if he chose to come out here, he would not be living with us. I encouraged him to call, send cards, gifts, etc., to the kids because after all he was still their father. I offered to send him newspapers from the area with truck driving job offers in case he did move out here to be close to the kids. I would never try to keep a man from his children unless he was a sexual predator or a murderer, or something equally as sinister. CP wasn’t a bad person; he was just a dumb ass who never learned how to be a parent, or an adult either for that matter.

Our first Christmas in Missouri, CP sent the kids bicycles. I was surprised, as you can imagine, and hoped that this would be the start of him actually trying to be a parent. I wasn’t working yet so I was broke but I made sure the kids made their “Pop” Christmas cards and other artwork as gifts. He managed to call and wish them a Merry Christmas, which made me happy for the kids. They were excited to hear from him. When we had our first snow that year I sent photos of the kids and their very first snowman! We didn’t have snow where we lived in California, so the kids were excited. They were equally excited to share the photos with their “Pop.”

Each holiday that rolled around, I made sure the kids took the time to make cards and other artwork for CP. It didn’t matter what the holiday was; they sent him a card on Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, etc. I sent him school photos, photos I had taken, and copies of their report cards and notes from teachers, etc. We even picked out little gifts for his birthday. He sent a card or two and called a couple of times but the times we heard from him was few and far between.

SR’s first birthday here in Missouri was a fun one. We went to the Animal Paradise, which is a drive-thru zoo! My daughter had chicken pox and I didn’t realize it until late in the day. I always wondered how many kids she gave it to! My son, CF, had it within the next couple of days so they were completely covered with pox and calamine lotion! CP called them during that week, and they were so excited to tell him about their “spots all over” and the trip to the zoo! After they finished talking to him it was my turn. I knew he would have questions because they were talking so fast he probably couldn’t catch half of it!

I answered his questions and told him how much the kids missed him and that he really should try and call more often because they really enjoyed talking to him. His response: “It hurts me too much.” I about came unglued. I responded back in a not-so-nice tone of voice, “YOU? It hurts YOU too much to call and talk to them? How the fuck do you think THEY feel when they don’t hear from you? Do you think it makes them feel good that their Pop doesn’t call or send them cards anymore?” He started to speak but I cut him off because I knew what was coming. “Don’t you dare put the blame on me! Yes, I took the kids and left you. That’s no excuse for you to not stay in touch with your own children!” The conversation, as you can imagine, didn’t last long after that.

I continued to encourage the kids to draw pictures and make cards. I continued sending CP photos and report cards from school. We were here about 2 years when I finally stopped. As I mentioned before, he never acknowledged anything we sent. If the kids came up with the idea on their own to make “Pop” something, then I helped them in doing so but I stopped dropping the idea in their path. He never acknowledged any of the gifts, artwork, or cards anyway. Not once. Not one thank you. I didn’t expect him to thank ME but it would have been nice for the kids to hear those words!

We never heard from him again until he called regarding his court ordered child support 10 years after we had been here. You can read about that here. Now the kids are grown with children of their own, and he hasn’t made any effort to get in touch with them. He most likely never will.

The Ex-Files – The Bath

When my daughter was about 3 and I was pregnant with my son, I was running a Day Care in our home. CP wasn’t working (what else is new, right?) and I was bringing in enough money to keep the family fed and keep the electricity on. I had to put aside money each week to make the rent each month. Things were extremely tight.

While I was wrangling 5-7 kids Monday through Friday, from sometimes 6am to 6pm, CP was off visiting (or shootin’ the shit, as he called it) with his cousins. I was exhausted at the end of the day! He would come home and go to bed, sometimes without dinner, as if he was exhausted. So many nights I wanted to coldcock him upside the head with a frying pan while he slept. But that’s just not who I am. I mean, who the hell would take care of my kids if I went to prison for murder? But I digress…

One Saturday morning, I figured I’d better go get some groceries with the week’s pay because I was going to have one of my Day Care kids on Sunday morning for most of the day. My daughter wanted to stay home and her “Pop” was home so why couldn’t he watch her for an hour or so? He agreed although I’m sure he would rather be doing something else. Before I left, I asked him specifically to please not let SR play in the dirt because she just had a bath the night before. I didn’t think he needed any further explanation and he didn’t ask for one either. I left after telling SR to save the playing in the dirt for another day.

I was gone maybe an hour and a half. About the time I had finished lugging the groceries in, CP and SR came inside from the backyard. She was covered in mud. She had dirt in her hair. She was wearing semi-decent clothes that were now covered in filth. I was pissed off, to say the least.

I asked CP why he let her play in the dirt when I asked him not to. He said, “She wanted to play in the dirt and I didn’t see any harm in it.” And then he added, “I made a decision as her father.” To that I replied, “Well, since YOU are her father and YOU let her play in the dirt when I asked you not to, then YOU can give her a fucking bath!” I also explained the reason for not wanting her in the dirt was because I was exhausted and didn’t want to deal with a bath since it was my only day off that week from Day Care. He acted like I was over-reacting and that a bath wasn’t that big of a deal.

I was busy fixing dinner while he was giving SR a bath. I thought it was going smoothly, but then I heard crying. I heard CP talking sternly and then SR cried more…and then more. I stayed out of it though. I wanted HIM to take care of this. I was sick and tired of always being the one to take care of everything!

Soon SR came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her and streaks of muddy water running down her face. She had gobs of shampoo still in her hair; it was all sudsy and muddy. I asked CP, “Why didn’t you finish washing her hair?” He angrily said, “I washed it but she wouldn’t let me rinse it so she can just sit in it and suffer.” He walked away. Dumbass, I thought. I took SR back into the bathroom, ran clean bathwater, and started over. Oh, I turned dinner off and decided that CP can just starve. I’ll make SR a sandwich or something after her bath. Screw dinner.

Image by Eduardo Davad from Pixabay

In the tub, SR was crying. I told her, “It’s ok Baby Girl. Momma will get the soap out and get you all cleaned up.” SR kept crying and saying she was sorry. I told her again, “It’s ok, Baby Girl. Pop just doesn’t know how we do it, that’s all.” She was very cooperative when washing and rinsing hair. You just have to use your brain. The way I did it was with a big cup that was always in the tub specifically for that use. I’d tell SR to “look up at the birdie” as if there was a bird up on the ceiling. She’d look up and I’d remind her to keep looking up at that birdie, as I used the cup to pour water over her hair. My hand placed upon her forehead along the hairline helped guide the water back instead of towards her face. Easy peasy. That’s how the momma does it. A washcloth quickly run over her face at the end, finished the process and she was happy as the invisible birdie on the ceiling.

After my son was born and I was still in the hospital recovering from a C-section, I had to depend on CP to take care of SR. I knew that wasn’t going to go over well with SR but I had no choice. Since my C-section was planned, I was able to make sure SR had a bath the night before, and that pajamas and clothes were laid out. I knew she’d want to come see momma and her baby brother. The morning after my surgery, in comes CP with SR and she was a mess. Her hair and teeth hadn’t been brushed. She had pancake syrup on her face. She was in the clothes she had on the day before, which were covered in dirt. That fucker let her play in the dirt again! He didn’t bathe her. He didn’t put pajamas on her! He just stuck her in her clean bed even though she and her clothes were filthy. I couldn’t do anything about it because I was in no shape to do anything major for at least a week. His excuse was that she was too tired for a bath, and fell asleep before he could clean her up and put her pajamas on her. That morning, she wanted to come see momma and the baby. He told her they’d come after breakfast so after breakfast they came! He didn’t even bother to wash breakfast off of her face or change her clothes. I mean, come on!

I never, ever again asked CP to give either of our kids a bath. I never expected him to do anything regarding the care of our children. I saved myself a lot of work just doing things myself. I learned along the way that the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” is absolute truth.

The Ex-Files – My 1962 Cougar

Back in the 80’s – I’m how old? – CP bought an old 1962 Cougar. He knew I wanted one, still do as a matter of fact. It wasn’t in bad shape but needed an engine. He said, “That’s no problem.” I was so excited! I love the sleekness of that car and I chose a ’62 because that’s the year I was born. Shhhh…you don’t need to know how old I am. Lol.

For my birthday that same year, he asked me to choose a color for my Cougar. He wanted to take me to pick out paint so that when he was finished fixing her up, he could also paint her. Note: If you missed my post,The Paint Job, you should check it out but be aware that my Cougar was purchased long before that fiasco.

I knew I wanted my Cougar to be a shade of purple, so when we went to the shop to order the paint, I was able to look through binders with many different color samples. That helped a lot. I chose a striking shade of medium-dark metallic purple. I could barely wait to see my purple Cougar and finally drive that baby! No one else had a purple car! I would be the envy of the entire town, I thought! (Actually, people would have thought I was completely bonkers because purple was not a cool color for a car back then.)

My Cougar had followed us from place to place as we moved, but CP never did a damn thing with it. He never bought an engine to rebuild. He never painted it. He never did anything. 10 years passed and it still sat. I had given up, no doubt.

As I was searching for a photo today, of a 1962 Mercury Cougar to share with you on this post, I became increasingly baffled! It appears that in the early 1960’s, Ford had a design contest. The winning design was originally called the Cougar but later became the famous Mustang that we are all familiar with! The Mercury Cougar (that I adore) in a much different design, came 3 years later. Here’s a photo of the original Ford Cougar – see the Cougar emblem on the grill? That is definitely NOT the car of my dreams.

Photo from: http://www.motor1.com/photo/3164336/1962-mustang-cougar-proposal/

Below is a 1967 Cougar and it is definitely the one I dreamed of having for so many years. I don’t know where I got my information about the year of the car. Most likely, from CP and I just took him for his word because I thought he knew cars. Hahaha. My Papa (paternal grandfather) had a Cougar in a kind of piss green. I wanted it so badly (and imagined it in purple) but I thought it was a ’62. The body design is just amazing, in my opinion! Maybe someday I’ll get my Cougar, ‘eh?

Photo Credit: GPS 56 from New Zealand / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

The Ex-Files – The Paint Job

CP was known to take on odd jobs, from replacing a carburetor to painting houses to doing a complete overhaul of a car’s engine. One time, being the “Jack of all trades” that he thought he was, he took on the job of painting a car.

He told a guy that he could paint his car for half of what the professionals quoted him. He said that would include banging out the dents, the whole 9 yards. Please understand that CP did not have his shop at this time. Where was he going to paint this car?

The guy took a chance – I can’t tell you why, other than he wanted to save some money. I had never seen a car that CP painted, nor had I ever heard of a car that he painted. I had a bad feeling right from the start.

CP took 6 weeks just banging out the little dents, that seemed to get worse as he fucked with them. I saw him sanding and buffing and whatever the hell he was doing, on our front lawn. He stripped the existing paint and got it ready to be primed. That car was an eye sore from the moment CP got his hands on it because we had a big picture window in our living room, which overlooked – you guessed it – our front yard. For 6 weeks, CP went out after he got home from work and on the weekends, but mostly the weekends because he was too tired during the week.

He proceeded to prime the car, sand a few rough spots and of course, this took him a few more weeks. So, now the owner of this car (if memory serves me correctly, it was a Mustang) has been waiting for 2 months for his car to be painted.

He finally finished prepping the car for paint, and I thought to myself, I wonder where he’s going to paint it? Well, take a wild guess. If you guessed our front yard, you are absolutely correct! In our front yard, right under the tree. Now, I know nothing about painting cars but any dumb fucking idiot could probably tell you not to paint it a) outdoors, b) under a tree, or c) when the wind is blowing. I guess he thought he could outsmart the wind, the birds, leaves, bugs and any other debris falling from the tree.

To my utmost horror, CP began painting that car, a very pretty blue, I might add, and even though the wind wasn’t blowing, there was just enough air movement to cause a problem. By the time he finished spraying that car, there was over-spray almost everywhere and bits and specks of this and that all over that damn car! He thought it looked great but it was a disaster. I felt bad for the owner of the car!

The car sat overnight, thereby collecting more bits and specks of this and that from the air and from the tree. After a few days, he called the owner of that poor Mustang and told him it was finished. I was mortified.

The owner came, looked at the car, and although I was in the house I could tell by his expression that he was not happy. Who in their right mind would be happy about such a shitty paint job? CP gave him excuses about not having a place indoors to paint…blah, blah, blah. I was so embarrassed to even know CP at this point I didn’t even dare let myself be seen by the owner of the car. I wonder if he asked CP why the hell he took on the job if didn’t have a place to paint inside? I guess I’ll never know!

Needless to say, CP didn’t get paid for that job. The only thing the owner of the car paid for was the paint. I’m surprised CP wasn’t sued over the whole thing but honestly, I think the owner of the car never wanted to see CP’s face or hear his name ever again!

Image by Folgt bitte meinem Account: Elionas from Pixabay