A better plan: anybody? anybody?

I have committed another (hitherto) unthinkable act. Also, I have used the word “hitherto” in a sentence. Sometimes I challenge myself to use a neglected word more often. I had vowed around Christmas time to raise the profile of this perfectly-good-word. This is the first instance. Still, it’s relegated to brackets, and quotation marks, but it is a step.

(I have, recently, become much more productive in general. Again, thank you, Dexedrine.)

Steps, I have learned – even small ones – really are an important part of any journey. People have told me this me since I was a child. I may, at some point, start to listen to people when they provide these little gems of wisdom. What the heck – I’m only about half way through my life.

Steps! Right. Back to my aforementioned (another neglected word, but one I don’t care about one way or the other) hitherto unthinkable act.

 I spoke to my ex for two hours last week.

It was rocky, but civil, and I think we made progress. We are at the beginner level of communication. It was a scheduled phone call. He does not want to meet face to face, and spontaneity is definitely out. I don’t blame him. Okay, I blame him a little, but we have to start somewhere.

One step at a time.

So much has happened in the last year. I recall that at this time a year ago, I was excited about the possibility of a new career in funeral services. Yes. In case you ever wondered, there are people who get excited about this sort of thing.

My goal was to become a funeral director. I researched the possibility and learned that I’m okay being in a coldish room with, um, the deceased. As I learned more about funeral services, I stumbled upon an opportunity to be a cemetery director – a profession I had never considered. I got distracted from becoming a funeral director by curiousity and a need to have an income right away. Essentially, cemetery directors help families pre-plan their final arrangements. It is a sales position.

It is full commission.

I landed a job at a great company. In May, I started the job. I was a licensed funeral professional by June. I loved the work.

It is full commission.

 I worked hard, and in the beginning I did well. Then, the “so much has happened in the last year” bits (hitherto undisclosed) began to happen.

What to say? The details are fascinating to me, but not, I have begun to realize, all that interesting to the bystander. How to skim through events so as to convey my road to Psychiatric Outpatient and lawyerless divorcee-in-waiting without losing the reader?

Perhaps a short musical interlude:

Not sure that helps, but I do love Spike Jones. That’s him in the plaid suit, conducting the band, by the way.

Yeah, so anyway, I’ve described Collaborative Divorce in another post (http://wp.me/p4mXV3-o). This process was pretty much a disaster from the beginning. We hung on, though, until I fired my lawyer in February. Ex wanted me to find another collaborative lawyer. I found one, and he fired his, thus ending the collaborative process.

Well done.

Now we are in a catch 22 situation; he refuses to discuss anything with me except through lawyers, and I have no lawyer.

Not realistic, practical or sporting.

We’ll get to that some other time.  First, the how did we get here part.

Maybe a list. Quick and to the point. Basically, one that describes a bunch of little, every day stressors, combined with some major life events to push me over the edge.

The “so much has happened” bits on my path to mental illness (and recovery) and to my distaste for Collaborative Family Law

I imagine it sung in the style of Gregorian Chant, like so:


Try it! It’s impossible to feel unhappy when singing a list Gregorian Style. I promise.

  1. Ex tells me that he will wait until I settle in my new home before he finds his own. I believe him.
  2. Marital home is put up for sale.
  3. We reach a property agreement. Signed, sealed and delivered.
  4. Ex announces at a collaborative divorce meeting that he has purchased a home – somewhere next to “The Jonses”. I use the term “he” loosely, since everyone knows it was his parents. They will be living in the basement. Ex does not own an XBox at this point, but then again, they are living in his basement.
  5. I lose a portion of my marbles and behave very badly at the meeting. Meeting is ended. Trust on both sides is shattered. Marbles remain scattered.
  6. Communication breaks down between me, my ex, my lawyer, his lawyer, my divorce coach, my favourite grocery store clerk, and a cast of other characters too numerous to mention.
  7. I obtain a mortgage with usurious rates in order to buy a house far, far away from “The Joneses”. It is one I can afford (provided my job goes well).
  8. My job does not go well. It is full commission.
  9. Middle of July, I take possession of my new home. The move costs much more than expected (as moves tend to do).
  10. Musical interlude number two:
    1. This is taking longer than I thought. Spike Jones did a few versions of You Always Hurt the One You Love.
    2. This is my favourite:
  11. Job does not improve financial situation. I start to live using my savings, credit card and line of credit.
  12. School starts. I must leave work during the day to pick up children from school, at the opposite end of the city.
  13. Job does not go well. It is full commission.
  14. Debt which had been erased is increasing at an alarming rate, as I continue to live using credit.
  15. I go to another city to help prep my parents’ home for sale (Dad passed away in 2012 and the house is vacant). I fight with one of my brothers. I think it was over a glass castle and pink stickers. I yell and throw something at him (a well chosen object, tactfully aimed). He attacks me. We currently don’t speak (yell, or throw things at each other). Further isolation.
  16. October 9, 2013: On the drive to work, I have a breakdown. I can’t continue the drive to work. Lawrence comes to pick me up in a parking lot. We have Indian food for lunch and spend the day wandering hipster ville.
  17. I tell my lawyer I need to postpone collaborative meetings for a while. Ex is angry.
  18. I spend two months sleeping in my basement.
  19. Ex purchases Xbox 1.
  20. I get help from my doctor, who sends me to a psychiatrist, who changes my medication.
  21. Musical Interlude Number 3:
    1. This is taking a long time.
    2. This song has no direct relationship to situations real or imagined, or to any persons living or dead.
  22. I start group therapy in January, 2014. First program runs six weeks, to be followed by a twelve week program.
  23. I start to become functional. Start.
  24. I fire my lawyer during a conversation in which he responds to one of my comments (okay, rants, but based on a legitimate point) with “yeah, whatever”.
  25. Ex refuses to speak to me after I “throw” a back pack at him. It was more of an underhand “toss”, really, but some consider that detail moot. When he drops the kids off, he now leaves their bags on the sidewalk and drives away.
  26. Weeks pass. Nothing happens to move forward in the divorce. I am getting groceries from the Food Bank. Benefits have run out and I am waiting for Medical Employment Insurance to kick in. Bills are piling up, of course.
  27. Ex is frustrated and angry. He doesn’t know what is happening with me and seems to think I am putting him off while curled up on the couch eating bon bons and watching Ellen. He tries to re-engage me in legal process (maybe he’s not a fan of Ellen. Who doesn’t like Ellen?).
  28. I text him and suggest we talk. He is reluctant, but agrees.
  29. He calls off his lawyer, for now, so that I can complete my treatment.
  30. There is an eerie calm in my life. I am relieved and nervous for what may come next. Still, it is a step.
  31. Finale:
    1. Well, since I’m on to Spike, you need to see this!
    2. Take your time. It’s worth savouring.

I’m okay with eerie calm. It is a change, and it beats the deafening white noise of depression, anxiety and confusion that comes with mental illness – or emotional flu, as one therapist called it. She asked me:

You don’t run marathons when you have the flu, right? Well, what should you expect of yourself when you have an emotional flu?

Well, my fever has broken, I think. It’s chicken broth and crackers for me, but I’m definitely on the mend. I can do things hitherto unimagined. I can take hold of the helm and steer through the coming  storm, if not around it.

I wonder, though – does Ex run a fever today? We shall see…

4 thoughts on “A better plan: anybody? anybody?”

  1. You have this glorious ability to present pain in a overtly light-hearted way. It’s a gift. (Cold has left me with too stuffed a head to make coherent comments)


  2. Okay, I didn’t grasp every last one of the painful ins and outs, but: The whole concept: Fantastic. The Gregorian Chant? Genius! Plus, shout-out to someone else who even knows who the Ink Spots were, much less appreciates a parody of them : ) (Grew up listening to my parents’ Ink Spots (and other) records. So cool, mega years later, to have the son of a Spot as a co-worker. Even he was surprised I’d heard of them…)


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