This is another inappropriate post. You probably won’t be interested.
Okay, if I’m honest, I couldn’t resist finding out what a Funko is. I will reveal it further downpost. First, I want to issue a report.
I need to write something kind of funny today, because I had a pretty rough night last night. Arran had his latest chemo treatment and seemed to suffer from side effects. I wrote about it here, for those who are interested. Now I’m suffering a bit. I’d make a terrible nurse. I’m glad Bill is coming home tomorrow.
I’m almost ready to write a new book review. I might even get to it today. First, I want to write about Funkos and other fuckery found on Ex’s Twitter. When last I posted about her, I wrote about how she’s convinced she’s a Scot by blood. Now, she’s back to hinting for stuff. One of Ex’s Twitter buddies posted a GIF from Outlander. Ex added her giddy response beneath it.
This isn’t too cringey, I guess. I mean, it’s definitely icky, but it’s not too bad, as Ex goes. What gives me a fright is the suggested post beneath it. This isn’t one that Ex posted on, but it is related to Outlander. I’m surprised Ex didn’t respond to this, to be honest. She’s into this kind of stuff, according to Bill.
Yikes! I know… some people enjoy this kind of attention. I think I’d probably reflexively kick the guy in the face. I’m very relieved that Ex didn’t reply to this post. I’ve already had one dry heaving session this morning.
The next post is a familiar one. Ex reveals a little about herself, and says she’d “kill” for a pool. Actually, she’d kill for a lot less than a pool. I know this for a fact.
I’d kill for a pool. I love to swim and can go for hours!! Alas, it is not anywhere in my near future!! Sigh but then, neither is a new Peaker subscription. Which is killing me!!
I already knew about Ex’s love of swimming. Bill told me all about it. Ex is also a Pisces, which is the sign of the fish. Hmm… that seems to go hand in hand with the above pic, doesn’t it? I know… that was mean. I’m usually only mean to people who ask for it. As far as I’m concerned, Ex’s conduct over the past 33 years or so have made her someone toward whom I don’t feel guilty about being mean. Anyway, she makes my head swim, so why wouldn’t she be a fan of swimming?
Bill and I had a pool at our last US based rental house. It was nice. I think if I ever have to live in Texas again, I will insist on having another pool. However, I know there is a drawback to that. In our last US neighborhood, one of the neighbors wanted us to let his kids use the pool. That was a big, fat, awkward NO, for so many reasons, starting with liability and ending with the fact that I don’t like sharing and feel no obligation to, especially with a total stranger who has the nerve to ask for access to our backyard. The pool was kind of a pain, too, because a pipe broke, and it took the landlord forever to get it fixed.
The next part of her Tweet is a lament that she can’t afford a “Peaker” subscription. This is a reference to Sam Heughan’s “My Peak Challenge”, which I looked up because of Ex. Apparently, it’s a wellness thing. For $149 a year, you get videos, recipes, and a t-shirt. I can’t help but think about how I just ordered a new computer for a couple thousand euros, which I have the money to pay in full for, when the charge posts on my credit card. It wasn’t always like that. For a good portion of our marriage, Bill and I were strapped for money, too. We worked hard to get to where we are now, and we also know that but by the grace of God, we could easily wind up broke again.
For over ten years, Bill sent Ex $2550 a month for three kids, one of which wasn’t even his child. He also spent a long time climbing out of the financial hellhole Ex left him in, due to her outrageous spending habits. For that, she denied him any access whatsoever to his kids, and she tried to ruin his relationship with his own parents. And, she also had the nerve to shame Bill for buying a cheap palm pilot type device, back when they first split up, and she was still trying so hard to control him. Of course, now that the child support gravy train is long ended, Ex can’t satisfy her desires so easily. I’m sure she’ll find a way to buy her subscription for Sam Heughan’s “Peaker” club, though. She always does.
In fact, in the very next post, Ex posts this:
So… she doesn’t have money for a My Peak Challenge subscription, but she DOES have money for TWO signed copies of Waypoints, a book by her beloved ideal man, Sam Heughan. That’s not such a big deal, as I see that the books retail for less than $20. But two of those cost between $30 and $40, which is a significant chunk of the $149 she would need for her subscription. And a Jamie Fraser Funko Pop, which she says she wants for her birthday next month, is not so cheap, depending on who’s selling it.
What can a Funko Pop do, anyway? At least a subscription to the My Peak Challenge might contribute to Ex’s health and well being. This is just a fucking toy… and not even the FUN kind she can use between her legs. I’ve got nothing against buying “toys” to make one feel better about life. But we have it on good authority that Ex doesn’t cover her own needs before she buys this kind of stuff.
Of course, it’s none of my business or concern… except for the fact that all of this stuff is publicly posted. I am reminded of certain other women I’ve known who had serious problems with shopping addictions. They are people who must have what they want when they want it, no matter what. And a lot of them wind up with pretty dreadful credit ratings. Sadly, they often brazenly financially abuse their loved ones, too.
And finally, the last of her latest tweets are about Alexa “wake up” calls by Sam Heughan. I guess #3 isn’t doing it for her anymore… and obviously, based on her newfound interest in Scotch whisky, neither is Mormonism…
Well… that about does it for my latest Ex inspired snarkfest. I feel slightly cheerier now. It’s a dreaded Thursday, which means I get to vacuum. And then I expect I’ll finish my latest book, so I can write something more people will want to read. Have a happy Thursday.
Last night, I read a news story about how some conservative groups, post Roe v Wade, have decided that it would be a good idea to have “drop boxes” for unwanted babies to be placed in. These boxes are supposed to give people a way to surrender their babies with “minimal interference”. It’s seen as an expansion of the “Safe Haven laws”, which have already been around in all 50 states for a couple of decades now.
The Safe Haven laws were enacted to discourage people from dumping their babies in unsafe places, such as trash receptacles or public restrooms. Instead, parents who want to give up their babies are encouraged to take them to any emergency room, fire department, or a law enforcement agency. According to the link I provided, in four states, Guam, and Puerto Rico, only the mother is allowed to relinquish her infant. In the District of Columbia, infants can only be relinquished by residents of the District. Twelve states already allow so-called “drop boxes”, which are devices that would trigger a 911 call to emergency services when the box is opened.
Personally, I am not a fan of these “boxes”, mainly because I don’t think that people who are relinquishing a baby should be able to do so anonymously. Some of them simply need help, which they won’t get if they are encouraged to anonymously drop off their babies. I know the boxes exist in other countries and are supposedly “life savers” for the babies. But it seems to me that it would be better to 1. prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place, and 2. provide appropriate healthcare to women who want or need it. Sometimes, abortion is healthcare. Sometimes, it’s the kindest, most responsible thing a person can do. And all the time, it’s an extremely personal decision that should not involve anyone but the already born person who is directly involved. I agree with this point, which was made in the article I linked (and unlocked):
“Is this infant being surrendered without coercion?” asked Micah Orliss, director of the Safe Surrender Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Is this a parent who is in a bad spot and could benefit from some time and discussion in a warm handoff experience to make their decision?”
As I was reading up on “baby drop boxes”, I found this letter to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. It was sent by an adoptee rights group called “Bastard Nation”, which opposes use of the baby drop boxes. I think they make good points in their letter, as these are people who are adoptees and have to live with issues surrounding being adopted. I’m going to have to read more about Bastard Nation later, when I have more time.
Later in the article, Dr. Orliss is mentioned again:
Because of the anonymity, there is limited information about the parents who use safe havens. But Dr. Orliss, of the Los Angeles safe haven clinic, performs psychological and developmental evaluations on some 15 such babies annually, often following them through their toddler years. His research found that more than half the children have health or developmental issues, often stemming from inadequate prenatal care. In California, unlike in Indiana, safe haven surrenders must be done face-to-face, and parents are given an optional questionnaire on medical history, which often reveals serious problems such as drug use.
The article also explains that mothers who abandon their babies and have a change of heart may have a hard time reclaiming their infants. They are also not immune to being subjected to legal sanctions, particularly if there is evidence that the baby they drop off is unhealthy due to drug or alcohol abuse. It’s potentially risky for them. See below:
In Indiana, which has the majority of baby boxes, state law does not specify a timeline for terminating birth parents’ rights after safe haven surrenders, or for adoption. But according to Don VanDerMoere, the prosecutor in Owen County, Ind., who has experience with infant abandonment laws in the state, biological families are free to come forward until a court terminates parental rights, which can occur 45 to 60 days after an anonymous surrender.
Because these relinquishments are anonymous, they typically lead to closed adoptions. Birth parents are unable to select the parents, and adoptees are left with little to no information about their family of origin or medical history.
Mr. Hanlon, of the National Council for Adoption, pointed to research showing that over the long term, birth parents feel more satisfied about giving up their children if biological and adoptive families maintain a relationship.
And in safe haven cases, if a mother changes her mind, she must prove to the state that she is fit.
According to Ms. Kelsey, since her operation began, two women who said they had placed their infants in boxes have tried to reclaim custody of their children. Such cases can take months or even years to resolve.
Birth mothers are also not immune from legal jeopardy, and may not be able to navigate the technicalities of each state’s safe haven law, said Lori Bruce, a medical ethicist at Yale.
While many states protect surrendering mothers from criminal prosecution if babies are healthy and unharmed, mothers in severe crisis — dealing with addiction or domestic abuse, for example — may not be protected if their newborns are in some way affected.
The idea of a traumatized, postpartum mother being able to “correctly Google the laws is slim,” Ms. Bruce said.
But then… the article also points out that some of the babies do well, and turn out to be healthy. I have been thinking, though, that all of this focus on babies being born could lead to less freedoms for potential birth mothers. Are laws going to be changed that force potentially pregnant people to get prenatal care, since their bodies are basically being thought of as akin to vessels now? If a woman doesn’t regularly see her OB-GYN, is she going to be punished? If she does something considered unsafe, will she be at risk of arrest or incarceration? That’s another thing– why are so many Americans so hot on jailing people? We have so many incarcerated people in the United States, and some of the anti-abortion folks just want to put more people behind bars. What kind of life is that?
There’s something really sickening about the fact that drop boxes weren’t acceptable to many conservatives for collecting votes, but they are for babies. It’s like dropping off a book at the library, or something. There should be more to relinquishing a baby than simply dumping off a kid in a box. Maybe something can be done to make the situation less dire for the natural parents so that they don’t feel compelled to abandon their offspring. In any case, I would hope that people are made aware of the fact that there’s a window of time in which the parent can reclaim the baby, if the situation is such that they’ve panicked or had a change of heart.
Anyway, once again, I expressed my opinion. I immediately got an inappropriate laugh reaction from someone I quickly blocked. I noticed two other “laugh” reacts, both from obvious MAGA trolls. Then I got a nonsensical comment from someone. I wrote “huh”, because I genuinely didn’t get what they were on about. That person came back and said they didn’t have the time or crayons to explain it to me, so I blocked them, too. If your response to me is immediate rudeness and insults, I don’t see why I should waste any time with you. If you choose to interact with me unsolicited, and all you have is mockery, then welcome to my block list. I don’t have the energy for it. I wonder, though, is that the overall goal for these people? To be so insufferably obnoxious that they immediately get blocked by strangers on social media? I think a lot of them make rude comments for attention. If they get blocked right off the bat, they don’t get any attention. So what have they accomplished, other than looking like assholes?
I’ve decided to be a lot more aggressive about blocking people who deliberately annoy me. I think the current political climate calls for it. There’s no reason to engage with people who are disrespectful and immediately make personal attacks against others. That doesn’t mean I block people who simply disagree. It means I block people who are sarcastic, rude, insulting, or just plain mean. I don’t deserve to be treated that way. No one does.
This one guy was going on about killing babies in the “whom”. Seriously, that was how he was spelling “womb”, as he sanctimoniously lectured us all about how babies shouldn’t be denied all of the “wonderful and beautiful” things in life. Yeah… like climate change, poverty, housing shortages, inflation, gun violence, domestic violence, political nightmares, rampant crime, extreme debt, and every child’s special hell– abuse. There are worse things than not being born, and I’m so sick and tired of reading comments from pro-life (birth) men, whose lives will never be personally affected by pregnancy or childbirth. A lot of them are only “pro-life” because they are upset about not having the choice to opt out of parenting and resent being forced to pay child support. See this video from a West Virginia legislator for more on that phenomenon:
It’s not just the men, though. On Twitter this morning, I read some MAGA woman’s comments about how miscarriages that require D&C aren’t abortions. Except a miscarriage is LITERALLY referred to as a “spontaneous abortion” in medical parlance. She also went on about how necessary medical treatment for situations like ectopic pregnancies aren’t abortions. Except they are. If there is a heartbeat in the embryo that is lodged outside of the uterus, and the pregnancy is terminated for medical reasons, it’s still technically an abortion. Abortion isn’t a “dirty word”. But these MAGA people want to term it as “murder”, which it’s not, and refer to it as a specific action involving ending a “healthy” pregnancy. People get abortions for all kinds of reasons that are important to them, none of which are anyone else’s business. Calling abortion “murder” is just a way to rile people up and get them to think irrationally. Murder is a legal term that involves people who have already been born.
I didn’t engage the MAGA woman, but one look at her Twitter page was all I needed to know that she isn’t someone I want to have anything to do with. So I blocked her, too. I considered blocking a guy who was demanding “proof” of a Twitter user’s story about a friend whose pregnancy ended in the 7th month of gestation and she couldn’t get appropriate medical care before she got sick. The guy actually demanded that she “prove” it to him. So, she blocked him. He was whining about being blocked, but other people were telling him that she doesn’t owe him personal information about her friend. Besides, there have been enough recent news stories about people being denied appropriate medical care in deep red states when they are miscarrying. That is a situation that will only get worse. And this is a world we want to bring innocent babies into? Where the females will be obliged to stay pregnant or denied medical assistance when they are in trouble because doctors are now terrified of being sued or arrested? Or the babies can be anonymously “dropped off” in a depository box, instead of handed to a human being? Maybe the boxes have saved lives, but I still don’t like them. I should be able to state that without some stranger laughing at me or calling me “stupid”.
I am all for allowing people to have abortions when they want or need them. It’s a personal healthcare decision, and restricting it causes a whole host of slippery slope situations that will cause big problems down the line, as well as a loss of privacy and freedom for already born people. People don’t seem to realize that forcing people to gestate will result in a lot of social problems that will affect everyone on every level. Because those new babies being born will have many needs… and we don’t meet all of the needs of people who have already been born as it is.
Moving on… a little levity for Monday…
I suspect Ex must be starting a new cycle of abuse, as she posted a picture of a man who appears to be #3 on social media with the following comment:
Oh how this touches my heart. I was adopted; my reunion was like this with my birth father, except he then refused to acknowledge me to his family. I am fortunate to have had a real Daddy to raise me and love me. He’s passed and I miss him so much! Hubby has to fill in on hugs! (interesting how she values her adoptive father, who by Bill’s account, was kind of non-commital to her and was always out at sea, but she denies her children access to their fathers, or replaces them when she gets divorced with inferior models, like #3)
My guess is that she and #3 may have hit a rough patch and she’s now making up with him… the cycle of abuse is starting again. But who knows?
I was also amused to see this comment from Ex, who apparently hasn’t heard of Duolingo… Duolingo does, in fact, offer what she seeks.
[her favorite author] does her homework and makes us do ours!!! I want to learn Gaelic but cannot find a program, not even BABEL has it. Anyone know of a good app or website or person I can learn SCOTTISH GAELIC, not Irish, from?!?! I’m of Scottish descent and want to know my own tongue!!!!
Anyway… Ex was born in Texas, not Scotland. I have lots of Scottish ancestry myself, but I am an American. So is Ex. And plenty of poison has come from Ex’s tongue, whether it’s through speaking, kissing, or giving someone head. So I think she knows enough of her own tongue, and should keep it to herself. 😉
Hello again, folks. Bill and I are now on our third day in Florence. Tonight, our wine tour begins, which I suspect is going to be quite the adventure. It runs from dinner tonight, through tomorrow in Cortona, and then most of Sunday. We’ll come back to Florence for one more night, then head to Vaduz, Liechtenstein, for two nights to relax until it’s time to go home to Germany. I’m already annoyed today, though, because my backup bank’s stupid two party authorization system is worthless and ineffective, and I’m going to have to call them AGAIN later to get it straightened out. I can’t log in to my account, because they don’t want to send a text to my German phone number, and for some reason, my fingerprint and/or email don’t suffice. As much bitching as I’ve recently done about USAA, at least they will email me a code so I can access my money. Americans abroad really need a decent bank that will work with us. Local banks don’t want to deal with Americans because of our tax laws.
Anyway, enough about off topic subjects. I came here to vent, once again, about certain men who want to take on Democratic politicians like Amy Klobuchar, who are dedicated to preserving women’s rights to privacy and healthcare by fighting against draconian rules intended to force them to birth when they don’t want to. Yesterday, Ms. Klobuchar posted a couple of statuses about her work in blocking Republicans from abolishing access to abortion. Below are two posts she made about this subject that is near and dear to my heart… and uterus.
Naturally, there were many comments from men about this, as well as a few from anti-choice females who want to “slut shame” and harass people who would like the government to stay out of our uteri. It always amazes me when I see comments from men who think that the prospect of making humans is a 50/50 proposition. It’s really not. I mean, do men really think that their part in making babies is equal? A man’s part in fertilizing an egg takes a couple of minutes. The woman’s part takes nine months. Moreover, a man can go out and get a different woman pregnant every day, if the opportunity arises and it’s something he wants to do. A woman, once she’s pregnant, is going to literally be “occupied” until the developing fetus turns into a baby. But based on the comments on Amy Klobuchar’s Facebook page, some men have either not considered the “heavy lifting” aspect of babymaking, or they are choosing to ignore it. So I’m here to remind the willfully ignorant, once again… 100 percent of unintended pregnancies are caused by men.
Face the facts. No matter how “loose” and “trampy” a woman is– not that I like to use those terms myself– she CAN’T get pregnant without a man’s literal input. And it doesn’t actually matter if she “wanted it”, or the input was forced upon her. If a man’s sperm fertilizes a ripe egg at the right time of the month, the woman will get pregnant. If not, then the woman won’t get pregnant. It’s as simple as that. But, even though pregnancy is not possible without a man’s input, his part of babymaking is pretty small. After he does his part, his body will stay the same. He won’t suffer health problems, be inconvenienced or uncomfortable, or be forced out of work. And, quite often, after the baby is born, he won’t be the one who does the primary caregiving. He certainly won’t be breastfeeding, unless he’s trans.
Even though these are facts, though, some men just can’t help themselves and feel the need to respond with outrage about abortion. And for some of them, it’s not even because they are “outraged” over the loss of potential human life that comes with abortion. They are upset because the woman gets to make a choice “denied” to them. In other words, they resent having to pay child support if the woman decides to maintain an unintended pregnancy. And they also resent that a woman can choose to terminate a pregnancy without the man’s consent.
To those men, I would like to say… you and your ilk can make plenty of choices that will help you avoid this scenario. You can use a condom when you have sex with a woman with whom you don’t want to make a baby. Condoms are pretty damned effective at preventing pregnancies. If you don’t want children at all, you can get a vasectomy. Personally, I’m not a fan of vasectomies, but I understand that they are a great option for men who want them. Or– here’s a novel idea– you can opt to keep your dick in your pants! You can use a blow up doll or “rosey” to satisfy your sexual needs. A blow up doll can’t get pregnant, so you don’t have to worry about child support. Ditto to using your hairy palms. 😉
Another guy made a snarky comment that read “If only there was a way to stop unplanned pregnancies”. It was accompanied by a picture of three blind mice. Indeed… guys like him can easily do their part to stop abortions. They can opt not to have unprotected sex with a woman with whom they don’t want to make a baby. They can decide not to sexually assault or rape women. They can realize that they have choices before the pregnancy begins. Once the pregnancy begins, sorry guys, but it’s not your body, health, or livelihood on the line. And no, you should NOT get a say in whether or not a pregnancy continues. Especially when the pregnant person is a total stranger.
I really don’t understand why some men feel like having to pay child support, for a child that originated from a pregnancy they caused, is a huge imposition. Women don’t get pregnant by themselves. I think if men got pregnant or had to deal with periods, PMS, or menopause, they would have abortion clinics on every corner, coupled with sports bars and shooting ranges. Having to pay money every month to a woman who put her life, health, and livelihood on the line to bring their baby into the world is the least they can do.
Now… I do think that fathers should have equal say when the baby is outside of the womb. At that point, fathers can and should contribute equally to raising their children. But until that baby is born, it’s part of a woman’s body. The mother is the one who feels the baby dancing on her bladder at night. The woman is the one throwing up due to morning sickness, developing cankles, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids, putting herself at risk of pre-eclampsia, diabetes, and post-partum depression, abstaining from smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, and eating “risky” foods, and dealing with the trauma of having her nether regions or abdomen permanently changed after birth. It’s also the woman’s name on the medical bills, and the woman who has to deal with intrusive questions, unsolicited advice, and scrutiny from perfect strangers. Until that baby is born, the man’s contribution is a few minutes of fun… and if he’s a decent guy, maybe financial.
So, given all of that, I think it’s high time that more men trust women to do what’s right for their own bodies and healthcare. And I think that men, once again, should respect women’s rights to their own autonomy. Above all, men who don’t like abortions and don’t want to pay child support should stop having sex with women who can get pregnant or use effective birth control. Problem solved.
Yesterday, I reposted a couple of articles that were on my original Blogspot version of this blog. One of those posts originally had a link to the post I’m rerunning today. I’ve decided to repost this because I think it has relevant information to my recent Ex bashing theme. So, if you read this, keep in mind that it was originally written in 2010, and things have changed somewhat since then. I like to try to keep reposts as unedited as possible.
I know this is a subject that has come up on my blog before, but since no one reads the damn thing anyway, I might as well vent.
I have a hard time dealing with entitled people, especially when they’re family members. Now, I do realize that I was once one of those entitled people. It seems to be a rite of passage when you’re growing up. Sometime in my 30s, I guess I started to realize the error of my ways and changed my attitude somewhat.
But seriously, I have noticed a startling attitude of entitlement in certain age groups. I guess that’s a sign that I’m turning into a crotchety old fart.
Take, for instance, my husband’s kids. Of course, I guess we can barely call them his kids, since they haven’t spoken to him since 2004. But he has faithfully paid child support for them anyway, at least until the older one turned 18. Originally, my husband was supposed to pay until each kid was 22. And, in fact, he did pay child support to his former stepson until the lad was 21 years old. It’s a long story as to why my husband paid support for a kid that wasn’t his. Suffice it to say that my husband has a huge heart and thought of the boy as his son. Bio dad was out of the picture.
Anyway, this kid’s name was legally changed to my husband’s name when he was a young lad. My husband, stupidly, had nothing to do with this name change business. His former wife had handled the whole thing and convinced my husband that it was all for the best. The boy was calling him “daddy” and all…
Well, when things went south with my husband’s first marriage, the ex decided he needed to pay. And so she set up a divorce decree that awarded her a sizable amount of child support that would be paid for many years, even beyond each kid’s 18th birthday and even for the boy who wasn’t his (hubby never adopted him). Again, stupidly, my husband agreed to it. On the other hand, maybe he wasn’t so stupid, since their decree was not drafted by a lawyer.
Because my husband is a decent guy, he fully intended to keep paying support for these kids, even as they became more and more alienated. The day came when his daughters disowned him and refused to call him “daddy” anymore. I suspect most of their problems stemmed from half baked bullshit they were hearing from their mother, their own anger and abandonment issues, and the fact that their father had married me. Now, before anyone tells me I’m to blame for this, understand that I have only met these kids once over the almost eight years I’ve been married to their dad. I haven’t had the ability to fuck up their lives in any way. And their dad has not missed a child support payment, at least not until the older daughter turned 18 and continued to refuse to communicate (not even to give her dear old dad a bank account number so he could send her the money he’d promised to pay).
So… last year, we discovered that the former stepson, who was 21 years old and itching to take a trip abroad, had finally gotten back in touch with his biological father. And he found out that bio dad wasn’t such a bad guy after all. My husband was actually happy about this because, aside from bio dad not paying any child support for all those years, he never had any real proof the guy was as bad as his ex had made him out to be. And since ex’s third victim was now being called “daddy” by my husband’s kids and victim’s own two kids with ex, my husband could see how the first victim must have felt to be outcast all those years.
Sometime in 2008, then 20 year old ex stepson told my husband that come June of 2009, he could stop paying him child support because “he wouldn’t need it anymore”. My husband was impressed by what looked like an act of maturity until a few months later. I happened to be looking around on the Internet and ran across some information that indicated that the lad was planning to change his name. This wasn’t such a big deal… again… the name never should have been changed in the first place. But that boy didn’t mention a word about his plans to my husband, the man he had been calling “daddy” for so many years. Hubby gave him plenty of opportunities to tell him, but the lad must not have gotten the hint.
So… my husband decided to cut the boy off, since he wasn’t coming clean. Kid confronted him. Husband confronted him right back and busted him for what he was trying to do. The first thing out of that kid’s mouth was not “I’m sorry” but, “How did you find out about that?”
My husband told the young man that he had until Easter to get his shit together and he wanted to know when the name change was final. The kid agreed, sending the following crappy email.
April sounds fine dad. I am leaving for China in May and I was planning on having one last installment while I am there, but that is fine. I have given it alot of thought, and even though I use the money. I should start living on my own. I do have some debt, but i will be able to take care of it. I don’t want this relationship to be solely monetary. I don’t always have time to write and email, and I do not have a phone number for you. Do not be upset that we rarely speak. I have not replaced you with [bio dad]. You are both my dads in different ways. I love you Dad, and I always know you are there. Give me some insight as to why the installments were not automatic as you said they were. I do not understand the reasoning for that. I mean everytime you are out of town, they get set back. Like this month I understand Feb. ended early, but I am trying to get my car fixed and I am dependent onthose funds for the time being. It is just a curiosity factor. After April.I will have diff!!erent plans for money, but as of now. I am depending on timelyness dad. I want more than just this keeping us in contact, but how am I supposed to contact you. Please Write back and know that I love you and look up to you as a father. because you are my father.
Aside from atrocious writing skills, the kid seems to think that I’m behind my husband’s decision to cut off his money. While I certainly supported my husband’s actions, I am not the one who cut off the boy’s funds. That was entirely my husband’s doing and his decision.
And then we found out the name change had gone through and we didn’t hear a word from the boy… who, incidentally, was also driving a car that my husband had given him free and clear.
So my husband cut the kid off again, sending him this note.
A, I’m sorry to hear about your car. That’s just how life is sometimes.
I was clear when I told you that I needed to know when you changed your name. After not hearing from you for nearly eight weeks I surmised that your name change was final and you no longer wanted my help. Your bank account and email address haven’t been changed, so I stopped the allotment to protect myself.
I’m glad you don’t want our relationship to be about money and that you are ready to be on your own. Good luck in China. As always, I’d love to hear from you when you aren’t so busy.
Now, when my husband is kind and forgiving, it takes the boy weeks to write. When he’s a little impersonal, it takes hours. Next thing we get is this…
I was too shocked and hurt during that time to reply to your emails Dad. My name change is final and for your record my name Is […] I am still your next of kin, so im sure you need that information. until my legal proceeding I am in quite alot of debt. There is no more money I would ask for, but I have maxed my credit card. As one last installment, would it be possible just to receive 500 dollars. that is all i ask from here on out dad. I love you and will always stay in contact with you. Love, A
Needless to say, this email really pissed off my husband. Nevertheless, he did try to help the boy, not by sending him money, but by giving him some information and advice. “A” didn’t want to hear it, though, and refused to answer phone calls or emails. To this day, we haven’t heard a peep out of him. Actually, I’m kind of glad about that. Even though “A” and his sisters probably think I am the world’s biggest bitch and, I’m sure, think I’m behind what they perceive as my husband’s “meanness” (though it’s actually just a sudden growth of a spine plus a set of balls), I’m actually kind of enjoying the silence. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to embrace one’s inner bitch anyway.
I still can’t believe that a 21 year old man would expect child support, especially after pulling the stunt he did and especially when it was coming from his former stepfather, who at this point, legally can’t be anything more than a good friend to him. Clearly, my husband’s relationship with his former stepson was entirely about money.
And as for victim #3, I hope he’s been taking notes.
This is an as/is repost of a book I reviewed on September 26, 2015.
In April 2014, I blogged about a man who apparently committed suicide after being “broken down” by the family court system. Chris Mackney was married to northern Virginia jewelry designer Dina Mackney. He had two kids with her, a boy and a girl. They split up and Mackney was both separated from his children and obligated to pay an oppressive amount of child support. He spent time in jail when he couldn’t come up with the money. He was repeatedly hauled into court and harassed by child support enforcement officials trying to get “blood from a stone”. He lost job after job, and finally sank into an abyss of pennilessness and despair.
Like me, Mackney was a blogger. On his now defunct blog, Good Men Did Nothing, he posted about his situation as it became more and more dire. Finally, on December 29, 2013, Chris Mackney had reached the end of his proverbial rope. He sat in his car and placed a rifle under his chin, and pulled the trigger. In the wake of his suicide, his ex wife became executor of his estate, which basically consisted of his car and his computer. He had lost everything in his divorce, including his grip on his sanity. Mackney’s ex wife then sicced lawyers on everyone who posted about Mackney’s suicide. She also managed to get his blog taken down. Dina Mackney’s lawyers also supposedly had every comment Chris Mackney ever posted on the Internet wiped out. It was as if his presence on the Internet was being systematically erased.
Not long ago, Michael Volpe, author of Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney’s Kafkaesque Divorce, left me a comment on my blog post about this case. I usually erase comments that consist of sales pitches, but I was interested in Mackney’s case. So I went ahead and downloaded Volpe’s book and just finished it last night. I mostly thought Volpe’s book was a very interesting read.
Volpe explains that decades ago in Texas, Dina Mackney’s father, Pete Scamardo, hired a hitman to kill a former business partner and friend named Sam Degelia, Jr. The hitman, who was paid $2000, was none other than Charles Harrelson, actor Woody Harrelson’s father. Once Degelia was successfully offed, Scamardo moved to Virginia where he proceeded to make a fortune in building. Apparently, Dina Scamardo grew up privileged in northern Virginia. She married Chris Macknij and then got him to legally change his name to Mackney, because it was a better name for her jewelry design business.
Volpe writes that Dina Mackney came from a family with ruthless and criminal tendencies, which may have made her especially likely to go after her ex husband with zeal. According to Volpe’s book, there was little left of Chris Mackney when she and the Fairfax County family court were finished with him. He saw no way to salvage his life or climb out of the bottomless financial hellhole he was in. So he decided to kill himself.
Volpe’s book is perhaps misnamed. I purchased it thinking it would be only about Chris and Dina Mackney and their relationship. That was probably a naive assumption on my part, since Dina Mackney seems clearly against getting her late ex husband’s story out to the masses. In fact, I think Volpe may be pretty brave to have written this book, since Dina Mackney has established herself as willing to litigate. Bullied to Death doesn’t include a lot about Chris and Dina Mackney’s marriage; it’s more about what happened after the marriage and what led up to Chris Mackney’s decision to kill himself. I’d say that makes up a good third of the book.
Another third of the book consists of Volpe’s thoughts on the family court system and how it’s unfair to non-custodial parents, usually fathers. Volpe has some rather radical ideas about how post divorce parenting and child support should be handled. At times, the writing is a bit emotional and disjointed and I spotted more than a couple of places where some editing would have been beneficial. On the other hand, I appreciated that Volpe was gutsy enough to write Mackney’s story to the best of his ability.
While I didn’t always agree with some of Volpe’s ideas, as someone who watched her husband get screwed over by an ex wife and saw him lose contact with his kids, I had some empathy for Volpe’s viewpoint. While Bill was not hounded by child support enforcement or lawyers, he did pay out the nose in child support for kids who eventually dumped him. Attentive fathers should not be treated like sperm donors with open wallets.
Something does need to be done about how divorcing couples with children are handled in the United States. While I am not at the point at which I’d say child support needs to be abolished, I do think that the system should be more equitable and flexible. Chris Mackney’s child support was established when he was employed in real estate and had made a lot of money. Not long after his divorce, Mackney’s business took a downturn and he could not pay the child support ordered by the court. He quickly went into arrears and was soon completely buried in debt he’d never be able to repay. He had no contact with his children, whom he dearly loved. It’s no wonder he became so desperate.
The last third of the book consists of notes, appendices, and citations. They are useful for those who want to do some follow up research on this sad case and others involving men’s rights in divorce situations.
Volpe’s book was apparently self-published, so it lacks the polish one might expect in something published by a big name outfit. Moreover, I think it would have been a stronger book had it included more information about Chris and Dina Mackney’s relationship and why their divorce was so acrimonious. Volpe seems to infer that Dina Mackney came from a family accustomed to resorting to criminal behavior, but everyone knows there are always at least three sides to every breakup story: his, hers, and the truth.
I’m not sure we quite get the whole truth about the Mackneys in Bullied to Death. However, I do think Volpe basically did a good job writing about this case as much as he was able to. I doubt he got much cooperation from the other interested parties, so naturally that affected how much of the story he was able to share. I also think this is a case that needs to be publicized. While I’m not sure what happened to Chris Mackney or even my own husband is the norm, there are men going through divorce becoming so hopeless that they turn to suicide or other drastic measures. Their lives matter, too.
For those who are interested, here is a video of Victor Zen reading Chris Mackney’s suicide note.
Mike Volpe later left me this comment on my original review:
This is a fair review of my book. I’m glad you liked and I wish you loved it. I only have two small points to make 1) I never suggested mostly men get screwed and in fact, I was careful in the book to show stories from all angles and 2) while Chris’s ex-wife wanted to remove even all his comments from the internet that failed miserably and most of what Chris has written has remained intact. You are correct that the marriage was not described in too much detail and that’s because one person was dead and the other one didn’t share any of their details. While divorce is he said/she said by nature, I feel comfortable that I presented an accurate description of what happened and not simply choosing Chris’s side. I presented his flaws, including his adultery, but committing adultery compared to covering up a murder are not, in my opinion, in the same league.
Chris Mackney’s story is an extreme example of what happens to fathers (and sometimes mothers) in family courts EVERY SINGLE DAY. Family Court is a place where corruption reigns supreme – malicious spouses, dirty lawyers, and apathetic judges often join forces to destroy one of the parties. Once they decide which parent is on the losing side, there is often no recovery. This is a system that NEEDS to be fixed.
Those of you who have been regular readers of my blog may know why this subject interests me, although I don’t have the same level of interest in it as I once had. I do think domestic violence against men is an often overlooked and ignored problem. I applaud any author who is brave enough to take it on, even if they self-publish their work.
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