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

The Ex-Files – The Wooden Clock

The first year CP and I were together, I still lived at home with my parents and he lived with one of his uncles. He was broke all the time because he couldn’t keep a job for very long. Of course, it was never his fault…but that’s another story.

When Christmas rolled around, CP didn’t know what to do about a gift for me. He supposedly wanted to do something special but he had no idea what since he was broke. Somehow, between my mom and CP, they came up with an idea. My mom gave him a big chunk of wood that was going to be used for firewood but it was small enough that it wouldn’t be missed. I had no idea what was going on but CP took that block of wood (approx. 6″ x 8″) and decided to carve that block into a heart. He worked on it for weeks but he was slower than a seven-year-itch, with anything he ever did.

Come Christmas time, it wasn’t finished. He still wrapped it up and gave it to me on Christmas Day. When I opened it, I sat with a dumbfounded look on my face because I had no idea what the hell it was. He told me it wasn’t finished (hmm, never would have guessed that) and that it was going to be a heart-shaped clock. He would buy the clock workings when he had it shaped just right. It didn’t even look like a heart yet, but it was a nice gesture. I thought it was a beautiful gift, finished or not. In fact, it was probably the nicest gift he had ever given me…

But as the years went on he never finished it. It sat on the bookcase holding books steady or the top of my dresser or some other spot I decided to put it, moving it from house to house as we moved. I had hoped he would someday pick it up and finish it. That day never came. That unfinished clock meant the world to me for several years. When I left him in California, I left the unfinished, heart-shaped wooden clock there, on his dresser so he could see it.

It no longer meant anything to me.

The Ex-Files – Tomato Soup

Back in the early days with CP, I had to learn quickly how to stretch a dollar. We were poor; sometimes having only $50 for food for the entire month! Prices were much lower back then but it was still tight. I became very frugal and many people were amazed at how good I was at stretching each and every dollar.

Normally, I made soups and stews from scratch. Big batches. It was the best way to stretch meat and veggies to feed us for more than one meal. I sometimes purchased canned soup, but I made sure it was on sale and/or the store brand. Tomato soup was a favorite lunch when CP was home and not working, and he was home a LOT, but that’s another post.

food chef kitchen soup

Photo by Timur Saglambilek on

One day CP was in a mood. I could always tell by the look on his face and/or his body language. I had served up some tomato soup and crackers for lunch. CP decided halfway through that the soup wasn’t good enough. He said, “I don’t know what brand this is but it doesn’t taste right.” I said, “It’s the same brand we’ve been eating for months. It’s the store brand.” He said, “Well, stop buying it. Buy Campbell’s. It’s much better.” I just rolled my eyes, and said, “Ok, whatever.”

So months later, we had soup again. Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Just as he requested/demanded. It had been a while since we had it because of CP’s demands and me wanting to stretch our budget. I had to make sure I got it on sale because it was Campbell’s. It could sometimes be found on sale at 3 or 4 cans for $1.00 back then, so that’s what I waited for. I served up the soup for lunch and then…

CP was in another one of his damn moods. Half-way through lunch, he gets pissy and I wondered what the hell it was going to be this time. Wait for it…

appetizer bowls cream creamy

Photo by Pixabay on

All of a sudden, he blurts out, “I thought I asked you to buy Campbell’s and not the cheap stuff?” I looked up from my soup and said, “It IS Campbell’s soup!” He looked at me like I was lying through my teeth. “It is not. This tastes like shit like the last time,” he bitched. I got up, went to the trash, and pulled out the empty can of tomato soup. I brought it over to CP and slammed it down on the table. “It IS Campbell’s!! AS I TOLD YOU!” I was pissed and I let him know I was pissed. He didn’t have the balls to say anything else, other than, “Well, they sure don’t make it like they used to.”

And that was the end of me buying Campbell’s soup unless it was on sale and IF I wanted to buy it. It was also the end of him bitching about what brand I bought…of anything.

The Ex-Files – Green Potatoes

Back in the day, CP and I lived in a small, upstairs apartment. I loved that apartment but it would have been better if I had lived alone. You live and you learn, right? Anyway, we were poor and didn’t have a lot of food in the house. We did have potatoes, eggs, flour, and cheese. I decided to make fried potatoes, cheese omelets, and pancakes. I had to make a LOT of food because CP was such a pig.

CP asked if he could do something to help. I thought about it a minute and asked him if he wanted to peel some potatoes for me. He said he would but he never came into the kitchen so I brought him a bowl with 6 large potatoes and a paring knife. We were so poor I didn’t even own a potato peeler! CP sat in his chair and worked on the potatoes while I made the pancakes.

He yelled into the kitchen, “We can’t eat these potatoes!” I ran into the living room and asked, “Why not?” He said, “They’re green.” I told him once you peel them they aren’t green. He pitched a fit explaining that they were still green and therefore poisonous! I told him if they were poisonous he’d be dead already because I always use potatoes that might have a little green on the skin. He was in shock! This was back before the internet so I really had no way of reassuring him that they were safe to eat. They weren’t green all the way through, after all.

I had made a double batch of pancake batter (again, pig in the house) from scratch. I made at least 2 dozen pancakes, if not more! So, I asked CP, “Are you done with the potatoes?” He said, “No.” I was thinking surely he must be almost done because it doesn’t take that long to peel potatoes. I walked into the living room and he had 2 fucking potatoes peeled! I couldn’t believe it! I watched him. He was very carefully cutting the brown peel off the potatoes as to not get any of the potato itself. Unbelievable. When I cut potatoes (remember, we were using a paring knife) I cut the peel off and probably a little potato with it but it was done in just a few minutes with very little waste. I had made a double batch of pancakes and he was only on his 3rd potato! I think he was taking his damned sweet time for spite.

I couldn’t start the omelets until the fried potatoes were nearly done but it must have been an hour (if not longer) before I could start them. I waited and waited and waited.

Finally, he had finished. He informed me that he’d better not get sick. I rinsed the starch and dirt off the potatoes and showed him, “You won’t get sick. Look. They’re white inside. The skin was just a little green.” I even cut one of the potatoes in half, and then in half again and showed him, “White,” I said.

I finally got our omelets and potatoes done and CP barely ate any potatoes. I said, “Good. More for me!” as I shoveled a few more pieces into my plate.


FYI: Green potatoes can be toxic. However, most of the toxin (solanine) accumulates in the skins and the eyes, so once the potato is peeled and eyes plucked out, you’re good to go. If they are green all the way through, you should throw them out!

The Ex-Files – You Made Your Point

CP never sent us a dime when we left him behind. I didn’t care. I didn’t want his money. What was sad was that he made my daughter feel so bad that she sent him a quarter! He had sent her a card in the mail and told her in the card that he may not be able to write to her anymore because money was tight. She asked me what that meant and I told her, “It means he may not have the money to buy a stamp.” The cost of stamps that year was .29 cents. I guess she figured he could at least come up with .04 cents to get a stamp. When she wrote him back, (which was basically just a picture she had drawn because she was just 6 years old) she taped that quarter to the paper. He never wrote her back after that. He never ever attempted to write to my son.

One time, prior to the above-mentioned occurrence, he had called to talk to the kids. They were excited and if I remember correctly, they babbled on and on about how they both had the chickenpox and they were speckled with ‘cammamine’ lotion. That’s what they called it. After a bit, CP asked to speak to me. Yippee-ki-yay! I don’t remember why but before hanging up I asked him to please call them more often. Do you know what he said to me? “It hurts me too much,” he said. “It hurts to talk to them but never get to see them.” “Really?” I said. “How the hell do you think it makes them feel when their father doesn’t care enough to call them? They’re just kids. You’re an adult.” He refused to talk about it anymore and we just hung up. What a pathetic piece of dogshit, I thought.

For the first 5 years or so after we left CP, I made it a point to send him school pictures, crafts made especially for him, and copies of the kids’ report cards from school. We sent Christmas cards, Easter cards, Valentine’s Day cards, and even St. Patrick’s Day cards! Each time his birthday rolled around the kids each made him a card. Sometimes we bought small gifts to send him along with the handmade cards. One year, we sent him a bandana filled with candy stuffed in a super large coffee mug for his birthday. He never thanked the kids for any of the gifts or cards. He never even acknowledged receiving them. I stopped encouraging the kids to do these things for CP. I would have gladly helped the kids do whatever they wanted to do had they ever mentioned it. They didn’t, so I never sent him anything again.

About 10 years after we had left California, the state of Missouri finally got a local attorney to handle the child support cases for the county. I had been called into several different offices in different counties prior to that to give information for the collection of child support, but they never had enough manpower. I never expected to see one red cent anyway because CP had always told me that he would just quit his job and find another if they caught up to him and then it would take them more time to find him again. Anyway, the local attorney was on top of things. Before I even got the paperwork, CP called me. Oh, you can imagine how that went!

CP: “You’ve made your point.”

Me: “What point?”

CP: “I can’t afford to pay what the state expects me to pay.”

Me: “And this is my problem, how?”

CP: “If I have to pay that much I will lose my truck, my job, and the $100,000 life insurance policy I have on myself for the kids in case something happens to me.”

Me: “I’m not going to fall for that bullshit. I know you better than that. You don’t have any such policy for any amount for the kids. You’re just trying to manipulate me.”

CP: “We can work something out.”

Me: “I don’t even have the paperwork back on this yet.” (I had no clue how much they were trying to get from him, he didn’t say and I didn’t ask.)

CP: “Let’s work something out!” (With a little more desperation in his voice now.)

Me: “It’s too late for that. It’s between you and the state now.”

CP: “You made your point! What do you want from me?”

Me: “You should have thought about this day a long time ago. You’ll have to work it out with the state!”

CP: “You won’t see a nickel if I lose my truck and can’t get to work.”

Me: “I can’t do anything now; you’ll have to work it out with the state!” I was getting more and more irritated because he wasn’t getting this through his thick skull. I couldn’t intervene because the state was involved. If he were to work something out with me, the state would still expect him to pay the figure they had requested. I hung up because I was sick of listening to him.

The next week, I received the paperwork from the attorney’s office. They were sticking him for $945 per month! Of course, this figure included arrears. I just laughed at his predicament.

Before long, I received papers from a paralegal, which had been filed with his county’s clerk’s office. My memory is a bit foggy on the exact details but…CP was requesting that his payments be reduced because of hardship and…GET THIS: He was demanding that I pay his legal fees! Can you believe that shit? I contacted the clerk’s office and I was told that no judge in his right mind was going to make me pay CP’s legal fees, which I figured. She suggested that I send a certified registered letter to her office, to counter his ridiculous demands. I did. I stated in the letter that a reduction of CP’s payments was entirely up to the judge and I would be fine with whatever that was. (Frankly, I didn’t want a dime from him. We were just fine without his assistance.) I also stated that I was in no position to pay anyone’s legal fees.

Eventually, I received papers indicating that his payments were reduced to $334 (and some change) per month. He had to pay his own legal fees and I’m sure he was pissed. The thing is, he wanted his payments reduced so bad and then he wouldn’t even pay them! His wages ended up being garnished, and I was sent $167 every pay period for a few months.

Then one day his mother called me. She called me every so often so it wasn’t really a shock to hear from her. It was also not a shock when she told me that CP was fired because employers don’t like the paperwork involved when wages are garnished. I told her, “He may have told you that he was fired, Ma, but I know him better than that. He QUIT his job so he could avoid paying child support. That was something he told me he’d do and it was something he had done before, with his first wife’s child support case.” She was shocked, of course. I never heard from her or CP again after that.

He ended up living with his mother and I’m pretty sure she regretted it after she saw his manipulative behavior and bad habits, including coming home drunk with the cops on his tail. I felt bad for her but couldn’t help think, “I’m glad it’s not me.”