In today’s fresh post, I mentioned a post I wrote in 2013 that appeared on my original blog. It was called “Ripple eff-Ex”. I indicated that I might repost that entry today, but now having read it, I don’t think it would add anything new to this blog. So, instead, here’s a post from August 2013… I think it offers more information about the type of person we’re dealing with. I warn you that this is really long and kind of fucked up… I completely understand anyone who doesn’t want to wade through this shit. But I also know I have a few readers who might find this an interesting read.
I found a bunch of old emails from Bill’s ex wife today… Since I’m in a mood, I think I’ll post them for shits and giggles…
This first one was written after the kids’ one and only visitation with us. It was sent on August 18, 2003, almost exactly ten years ago… before the shit really hit the fan in a big way. Notice that she insults me by implying that I’m going to manipulate my husband into not taking care of his kids. She also demands more money in the form of life insurance. Bill had about $750,000 in insurance for ex and the kids. She had wanted $1 million, but USAA would not insure Bill for that much. So she’s basically saying that she wanted him to replace the then $250,000 SGLI policy if he decided to make me the beneficiary. And she also wanted him to give her the original $1 million in coverage she wanted… We did the math and determined that had Bill suddenly died back in 2003, ex would have missed out on about $300,000 in child support– and that’s if he had paid until each kid was 22, which he ultimately didn’t. If he had died young, she would have stood to get quite the windfall. We ended up making me the beneficiary of the SGLI policy, while ex had $500,000 in coverage until each kid came of age. Now, I am the sole beneficiary of the insurance.
Just a quick note about a few things, it is practically impossible to talk privately on the phone and I imagine you have the same situation at your end as well. = )
1 – I have not asked for you to help with the kids’ medical bills for some time, as I have been able to manage them. The girls have not been ill to speak of and [ex stepson’s] prescriptions and visits to the Dr., albeit numerous, are not exorbitant, though I have spent a few hundred dollars on his medical bills just recently due to office visits more often and changing prescriptions frequently. He is now seeing a dermatologist and I have not yet received a bill; if it is outrageous and I cannot afford to pay it all, I will let you know, but I do not anticipate it being so. I generally pay only about $50 per visit for [ex stepson] to the Doctor plus his prescriptions that run me about $25 a month. However, the girls both need new glasses. I picked up [older daughter’s] this week and [younger daughter’s] will be ready next week. Could you help me pay for them? They are a couple hundred dollars each; [older daughter’s] were $211 to be exact. This was the cost after insurance coverage that I purchased because Tri-West does not cover eye exams. [Younger daughter] will not be getting her second stage of braces quite yet, so we have a reprieve for a little while. Please drop me a line and let me know.
2 – I know we forgot to do the bank paperwork and ID for [younger ex daughter] and [ex stepson] while we were there. I am sorry. Please let me know what information you need in order to get the paperwork at your end so I can provide it to you. I will then take them to the nearest military installation or (hopefully) reserve unit here to get them processed. If you will sign your portion and send the paperwork for the bank, I will be happy to sign it for you and submit it to USAA thereby removing me from your bank accounts. (Note– this was over two years after their divorce!!!)
3 – Now that you are married, I realize you may need to adjust your life insurance policy needs to account for added responsibility. Please keep in mind our agreements and consider having separate policies for knotty and us as it would make life a lot simpler for knotty and myself should anything happen to you. If you wish to change the SGLI to show knotty as beneficiary, I would understand, as long as you have a separate policy, as agreed, with me as the executor on behalf of the children and for the appropriate amount, including what would have been covered by SGLI. I recall that you originally only took out a policy for half the amount we agreed upon for the children only, as that was all that you could manage at the time. I received information from USAA recently that their policy rates have dropped dramatically and hope that you will consider checking into it before they increase again. Additionally, I wish you would extend the life of the policy from 15 years to 30. It would be nice to have something for the kids …when we are gone. I have similar arrangements myself because they deserve it and because I know how it feels to have no one at all to depend upon for help. I’ll soon have “trust” accounts for each of them through USAA so that I will have a place to put money for them, for college, etc., both from the money you send me and from myself, until they are of an appropriate age to manage it for themselves. I understand, from what the children and Papa and Mimi have said, that knotty is quite adamant about how things should be most of the time. For this reason I am glad we made the provisions in our paperwork that we did; it will keep you from having to battle your wife over providing for your family. I am truly glad for this and hope that the children are never a bone of contention in your relationship; I want you to be happy, always. If you wish, we could set up the policy so that I could make the payments myself and you could slightly adjust the allotment I receive accordingly to cover that amount. I am not sure how USAA would set it up logistically, but I am certain that they would allow me to be the responsible party for the policy though you were the insured party and let me do some sort of auto withdraw from my account for the premiums. Please let me know your thoughts on how best we should proceed and how best to insure the children’s long-term future is stable.
Lastly, I am truly sorry we did not get a chance to talk while we were there but it was a wild and crazy trip, just no down time. So much I wish I could say but…I won’t. I do want you to know the kids are doing well.
Younger daughter told me your dog was injured; I hope she is all right (C.C., our blue eyed beagle mix got very sick with a mycobacterial infection after their visit. Sadly, he died a few months later.). I know they have told you about the guy at my office who looks just like you. They are driving him nuts, pointing and giggling, poor thing!! It is highly amusing, I must admit, although it was a bit unsettling for me to be introduced to you from 15 years ago, mannerisms, looks, demeanor, he’s even a writer …although he has pursued it diligently and has been published where your path took you to the Pentagon instead …it is all a bit bizarre!! The kids are all doing well in school so far. The girls are in new schools this year, older ex daughter in Middle School and younger ex daughter in a school closer to home and where some of her church friends attend. I became aware of some negative influences at her old school that I was afraid for her to have to deal with since older ex daughter was leaving for Middle School. Ex stepson will be starting Aikido lessons in about a week and I am hoping the girls will attend as well. They are tired of dance classes and can take gymnastics and swim through the YMCA membership I bought them; this would be a great extra curricular activity for them. Ex stepson is buckling down and studying …at last …because he has decided he wants to try to get into BYU and is requesting transfers into several honors classes to try and improve the looks of his transcript and boost his GPA. If he loses the $100 calculator I bought him he’s dead meat!! ::laughs:J. He had a wonderful experience on his kayaking trip and was quite impressed by the BYU campus; he seems quite serious.
Thank you for calling them this weekend, they are always glad to get to talk to you and catch you up on what is happening in their world. Please reply when you have a chance. If email is the only way you and I can talk, then …email it should be.
I hope and pray that you are well …and happy,
As ever, Ex = )
Bill sent his ex an assertive response to this email, which pissed her off.
Good Morning. There is a lot to cover here and I’m afraid I’m quite busy today. I have a meeting with “now” BG Durbin, who was LTC Rossi’s XO back so many years ago in Germany. We certainly live in a small world. Let me know ASAP what you need for the girls glasses. We are going to Dad’s next weekend, so I have to plan finances. Also, I’ll send out the paperwork for USAA this week for you to sign and drop in the mail.
The kids look great! I was very happy to see them, although our time together was limited. They told me they liked Virginia, and would like to visit again. Ex stepson also said he was interested in a career in acting, and was even looking at schools here in Virginia. As it happens, the son of one of the contractors I work closely with is an actor, has done commercials and has a cable TV show in NY. He recommended JMU and I forwarded that information to ex stepson.
Recently, I looked at the life insurance situation, and my responsibility to cover knotty as well as the rest of the family. Currently, the children (with you as the executor) are covered by a combination of $750K of life insurance. Should anything happen to me, that would cover their support payments almost three times over, maxed out till age 22. Concurrently, I’m maxed out with USAA (500K maximum on AC soldiers), although they will review my file for a rate reduction this December.
I honestly feel since the dynamics have changed all around that we should reevaluate this situation. I think that right now, the 500K I have with USAA will sufficiently cover the children. You are remarried, and have a good job. I don’t know if your husband is working now, but that is a second source of income as well. Given this, I want to make my wife the beneficiary of my SGLI. I have a responsibility to cover her as well.
I know full well we have a legal agreement, and I’ve done my best to adhere to all of the tenets within that document. You’ve always gotten support on time, without any complaint from me. I’ve always been ready to help with medical bills whenever you should ask for that help. Please recall that I helped with younger daughter’s braces while in Kansas, paying child support, alimony, and a mortgage. I think we’ve seen a lot of give and take with that agreement–we’ve both done things above what was agreed, and failed to adhere to some things as well. I’d like to think of it as a “living document” amongst the two of us. I’d prefer to avoid having it formally reevaluated.
Vacation is an additional matter. I’d like to see them more often, and I’d like to bring them to Virginia, or be the one who brings them to see their grandparents. I’m prepared to put them on a plane either up here, or with Dad’s permission, down there for the holidays. I don’t think any threat of terrorism is a viable excuse to avoid this. They have traveled on aircraft before. Last year was the safest year for air travel in this country. Let me know your thoughts. I’m sure we can come to an agreement here.
knotty is just clear with her thoughts and feelings. I don’t have to play any guessing games. We are a partnership. She has never attempted to persuade me to neglect the children, in fact, she’s always on me to call them, Dad and my stepmom, and Mom. I think the kids benefited from meeting her. It helped to dispel the “evil stepmother” motif that seems to run through children’s minds. Papa and Mimi have met her twice personally, although they have talked with her on the phone several times. I’m hoping they will have a chance to form a deeper relationship as the years go by (sadly, that never happened).
You should understand Ex that I know my responsibilities. I don’t think that is in dispute here. I understand (as do you) that I have to care for the children. But I also have a responsibility to care for my wife, and together, we have a right to start our own family. You have done the same with your new daughter, through your husband. This will sound cold, but if I died tomorrow I’d have no faith that the kids would get $250K a piece. I’d know instead that they’d be “cared” for, in the general sense of the word. Any financial obligations benefiting you personally are ended on my part. This may be hard to swallow, but it’s how I feel. I perceive that you are in better financial shape with career and husband than you were four years ago.
I think the idea of trust funds for the kids is a good one…one that I was going to recommend but you beat me to it.
Bottom line, I want the same opportunity. The opportunity to see the kids more, on different soil, and the opportunity to provide for a second family that I have started.
Think about it and write me again. But let’s take care of the glasses issue right away. I’ll also see about extending my coverage out to 30 years. If ex stepson wants it, I’ve got a 2MB Handspring Visor PDA that I’ll send him. It’s more than what he’ll need for school/work/personal use, and runs on Palm software.
This was her response.
I would like to take a little while to absorb all that you have said. It would seem my email to you was set in a very different tone that what I perceive is coming from you. After all that you have done to the children, and me I find this …quite frankly …unbelievable and would prefer not to comment without having time to carefully choose my words. You will hear from me again.
Bill wrote this.
But I recommend you take a moment and read both emails in entirety. I didn’t have a problem with what you said until I read it again more carefully. You are reminding me of my obligations to the children and to our agreement. I don’t need this reminder. I’ve been faithful as best I can be, and I’ll continue to be faithful to them long after they leave home and are free to chose to visit me anytime and anywhere. I believe they know I love them, and wouldn’t want to hurt them in any way. They are still under the impression, by the way, that I just up and decided one day to leave them, and that I’m consequently lost to them forever. What a cruel uncertainty for them to have to face, and it places the burden all on me. I think you know I’m not a deadbeat dad. You get (on their behalf) 30% of my salary. You get all of the tax breaks as well, including the big one this year! I’ve always been there to help with unexpected bills whenever you’ve asked. I’ve put up with your reluctance to let me visit our kids on my own terms, and to see my parents visited by my ex-wife, with our kids, while I am unable to. Also, I’d like to heal the rift between the kids the their other grandmother. Granted, a lot of it is self-inflicted on her part, but I think they have a right to settle any problems they have with her before it’s too late. Recall as well that I covered your move to Arizona for almost a year. What I paid into the house (equity that neither of us realized) could have covered braces for the entire family, or nearly all the 15K of their inheritance from your father that you intended to recoup by selling the house yourself.
Later, in your letter, you insult my wife. You insinuate that she’s manipulating me into breaking obligations with you. You also allude to observations that my parents and my kids have made about her. Dangerous, and potentially embarrassing if I were to ask my mom and dad what if anything, they’ve said about knotty. Let’s leave her out of this. She came into the picture well after our marriage ended. In fact, our marriage was over long before I even met knotty. She never lived in our house nor came to visit while we were still married, she didn’t break the two of us up, and she certainly hasn’t influenced me to be anything but a stronger father, and a better son. If the children should think she’s a bad influence, then I’ll work through it with them personally. They have a right to meet with her and make their own assessment of her character. I expect my parents will be honest with me concerning their feelings as well.
Interestingly enough however, if she were to meet you, she’d probably thank you.
All I want to do is work with you where our children are concerned. I don’t want to fight with you at all over any of this. It was my sincere hope that we could work together as two more stable, and stronger adults, but you reacted to my letter with a lot of scrutiny and anger. You are immediately on the defensive, when you shouldn’t be. I am asking for equity, that’s all. After all you call all of the shots here.
You leave me with the impression that I should do whatever you say out of guilt, and that if I don’t, I’m a deadbeat. That it’s all about money, and that I don’t care about my children. Sure, I plan to have something for them in the future. I’m not going to forget them. When I’m gone, there won’t be fights over inheritance, no ugly situations similar to what you had to go through with your father. I just don’t want to be ordered to be generous to my own children. I will no longer be manipulated by you or anyone else. You act as if I have no right to life and happiness, as if that is an adequate penance for whatever sins I’ve committed in my past. That my wife and potential family should do without, and have no say in our finances, when there is plenty to go around– especially since you’ve covered them as well against your own life. That’s good to know.
These are my feelings, and I have a right to them. I have a right to be angry, to be hurt, and to be frustrated.
Regardless, I still want to work with you. Again, let me know what you need for glasses and I’ll have a check in the mail either next day or same day.
Let all of me go, Ex. Accept that things happen for a reason and move on. Father (he’s referring to Heavenly Father– Ex claimed that when she went to the temple, HF said she wouldn’t be alone) told you you wouldn’t be left alone, didn’t He? When our children have left, you’ll still have a husband and child unique to the both of you.
Several years later, the shit really hit the fan when ex stepson decided he wanted to move out of his mother’s house and go to Chicago. I think it was because he didn’t want to go on a mission. But Ex called us all upset and tried to strong arm Bill into getting him to stay in her home. He refused. The first two sentences of the email are about getting ex stepson’s bank info so Bill could pay him directly. Apparently, Ex had been on ex stepson’s bank account and was helping herself to the money Bill was paying him. Of course, Bill shouldn’t have had to pay for ex stepson, since he has a real dad. But real dad wasn’t making the same money as Bill, so there you go.
Thanks. I can make the change online and parse it from the rest. I’ll do that either today or tomorrow.
I didn’t sleep well last night after your call. I imagine you’ve had more sleepless nights than usual lately yourself. I will talk with ex stepson again, and reinforce my feelings with him. I’ve told him before, he has several options…he doesn’t have to go through with this plan to move to Chicago. I sense there is quite a bit of tension in your household at this point, and this facilitates his want to leave.
For what it’s worth, I asked him earlier last week if he’d spoken to you of his plans. When he hesitated, I reminded him that he’d regret any “midnight moves”, and that regardless of any differing points of view the two of you might have, you are still his mother, always will be, and deserve respect accordingly.
Ex, you and I are not on good terms. Our relationship is tenuous at the very best. However, when I’ve had contact with our children, I’ve always supported you as their mother. I don’t feel that you can say the same of me.
I’ve gone over our conversation in my head these past few hours. You alleged that I didn’t care, that I wasn’t interested, and that I encouraged ex stepson to blow his money. I’ve done nothing of the sort. I reminded him that it was his, because I wanted him to establish a separate account that wouldn’t involve yours in any way. But I recommended he save his money and put it toward college, or a house, or a future marriage.
In five years, younger stepdaughter will be 18. Sooner than that for older stepdaughter. If you perceive that there will be problems similar to what ex stepson is encountering now, and you want my help, then we have to make some changes. Ex stepson and I have remained close enough that I believe he will listen to me. After our discussion last night, I’m not so sure about the girls.
Consider this. Over the past six years, they’ve never called me, even though I’ve given them more than one phone number. Since I remarried, I haven’t received a Father’s Day card/call, Birthday card/call or a call on Christmas. I’ve never failed to send them a card or a gift or call them on special days. That’s my job as a Father, but if I’m not to be treated as such, at least they should have the courtesy to thank me for a card or gift with another card, or even an email.
This is partly your responsibility as a parent in direct contact with them. If they aren’t going to treat me as their father, then they should at least learn the courtesy to say “thanks” as if I were a friend. I’m not telling you to force their hand, but I will tell you this: If our children have given their stepfather one Father’s Day card, or Birthday card, or Christmas gift and either of you not asked them to consider the same for me (even if they refuse…it’s all about asking), then both of you are passively alienating them from me.
The fiasco that was Christmas 2004 is a perfect example of actively alienating me. I wanted to take the kids to the movies. Very quickly your husband turned an opportunity for me to spend time with our children into a “supervised” event. On another occasion, younger stepdaughter called her stepfather “dad” within earshot of both him and me and he said nothing. With exception of your summer trip to DC three years ago, the only way of spending time with them has either been in Arizona, or Tennessee. Again, all of these amount to “supervised” visits where either you or my parents are nearby. Your telling the girls that they should never “separate” around me only adds more relevance to the argument. The fact that you won’t send them on a plane to see me, for danger of terrorism, but allowed ex stepson to fly to NY drives the point home quite loudly.
Please try to be objective and see things from my foxhole. I’m not here to start a fight with you, I’m just being honest. We don’t have to be friends, but if you consider me their father, then at least give me a little respect, and encourage them to do the same.
Also understand my skepticism. You say ex stepson has all but dropped out of school? School ends for him in a month. Why haven’t you asked for my help sooner? If ex stepson is having trouble, what about the girls? You never speak to me of such things. Equally, I’m guilty of never asking you. But I can only help when I know the whole story, and early on.
I am not the same man you used to know. Our children are missing out on what I can offer them, and even on what knotty and her family can offer them. There’s 350 years of Virginia history in her family. She’s a classically trained vocalist, writer, and former Peace Corps volunteer who served in post Cold-War Eastern Europe. We’ve got two beagles that love kids and plenty of room in a secure location. They really enjoyed their time here three years ago, although very brief. They seemed to bond with both of us. I don’t know why all of a sudden, they won’t talk with me. Only you can tell me.
I really didn’t want this to turn into a rant. I have as much responsibility for the way things have turned out as you do. I’m only advising you to consider that I’m virtually ineffective as a father/mentor to the girls. If that’s never been your objective, then tell me now that I’m wrong, because every indication is that I’m not. I won’t be able to help you at all with them in the future if you consider me a threat.
I have to get back to work. Please read this carefully and thoughtfully if you intend to respond in anger. I’ve written this as detached and objective as I can. I just want you to understand that for all intents and purposes, I feel that over the years you haven’t thought of me as a capable parent, (in fact the word “unworthy” has been used more than once). I wanted you to see the impact of that impression…it severely limits your freedom of maneuver.
Regardless, I’ll do what I can for ex stepson. And I would very much like to be a better part of the girls lives. After all, I could be gone tomorrow. I know for a fact that you’ve been angry with your father in the past. But I also know you love him and miss him. I ask you to consider our children’s feelings accordingly.
The above email caused Ex to really go on the warpath. She sent Bill an email that basically said the kids hated me and didn’t want to have anything to do with me. She also asked Bill not to tell me any of this stuff, in order to “spare my feelings”. Bill immediately shared the email with me, which got me really pissed. So I wrote to Ex and ripped her a new asshole, then let her know that the kids could feel however they wanted to about me, but they shouldn’t throw away their father. I also let her know that I have seen her emails, know how she feels about me, and didn’t appreciate her asking my husband to keep secrets from me. There was no point to doing that because he doesn’t hide things from me; he has no need to, because I don’t go ballistic when he’s honest with me.
A couple of months after that, Bill’s daughters disowned him… So Bill wrote a letter to them.
Dear older daughter,
I’m saddened to read that you don’t want me to be your dad anymore. I will not sign anything that would allow your stepdad to adopt either you or your sister because I don’t feel that it is the right thing to do. I told this to your mother several weeks before you wrote to me. It’s a shame that she would lead you on this way. You must think that I don’t care about you or your sister. Nothing could be further from the truth.
You write that you want an “everyday” daddy, not a “once in a while daddy”. I agree with you, but “everyday” daddies do more than help with homework, chores, and spend time with their kids. They also have responsibilities to others outside their homes—they work to provide and protect their families, and see to their futures. I am still your “everyday” daddy even though you don’t see me. When you and I were together, I spent time with you, helped you with schoolwork, dressed, cooked for, and cleaned after you. When you went to bed at night in Arkansas, I went to work to make sure our family would have food and a place to live. When I returned every morning, I took you to school and I was there to pick you up most days.
You and I have a connection that your stepdad will never have. As my daughter, you are a part of me. We share similar characteristics of both mind and body and this will never change. I was there at the moment of your birth. I named you and was the first of us to hold you in my arms. For the first few months of your life I checked on you every night. I stayed up with you when you couldn’t sleep or were sick, and took you to the hospital more than once when you needed a doctor. This all true, and even though you were too young to remember, it did happen and I remember it.
I’ve never stopped being your daddy, nor was it ever my intention to do so. I returned to the Army because I knew I could provide more for all of us, not because I wanted to leave you and your mother. I asked your mother to come with me to Kansas, and she refused, telling me that I’d make a better father to another family. Despite this, I had to go and leave you and your siblings in Arkansas. In the beginning, I thought you might join me, but this didn’t happen. Since then, I’ve provided for your food and clothing, housing and healthcare every month without fail. As I said before, this is what daddies do. You must understand that if your stepdad adopts you he will have to do the same since it will no longer be my responsibility. You will probably see less of him than you already do.
Over the past six years I’ve tried to have a relationship with you. You’re smart enough to know that I can’t be there with you very often. My duty to the Army won’t allow me to leave at a moments notice, although I would have liked to be with you on your birthday or at other special times. Instead, I’ve called at various times to speak with you. I’ve tried to discover your likes and dislikes so that I could give you meaningful gifts at Christmas and your birthday. Mostly, my conversations with you have been “one-way”. You are old enough now to write, call, or email me anytime you want. You and I share responsibility for our relationship, despite what others may tell you. You will be considered an adult in three short years, and this is how adults behave.
There are aspects to adoption that no one has shared with you. Adoption is not a matter of simply changing your name. If you think it is consider this: when you marry you will change your last name anyway. If your stepdad adopted you, I would no longer legally be your father. Your birth certificate would be changed to reflect your stepdad as your natural father, and it would be as if your last name was always his. Legally, my parents would no longer be your grandparents. Your stepdad would have to provide for your future as you would not be my heir anymore. Adoption is serious, but even so it wouldn’t change the fact that I’m your father and always will be.
You write that I will feel better if I allow you to be adopted. That’s a lie and if anyone led you to believe otherwise they are lying to you. Your mother may have said that this was my idea and I did make a remark to that fact in an email to her, but I was angry after reading that you didn’t want to see me. Have you ever said or written anything that you didn’t mean? I have and I wrote your mother later to tell her that I wouldn’t consent to your adoption. I won’t change my mind.
Older daughter, I can’t control you, nor would I ever want to. If you still feel the same way about me in three years when you are 18, then you are free to let stepdad adopt you. It will be your decision as an adult. You should consider however that your sister will still legally be my daughter, since she is three years younger than you. Regardless of your decision, I will still consider you my daughter and that will not change.
Despite what you write, your letter is filled with anger. This is a good thing. If you didn’t care about our relationship at all I don’t believe you would have written as much as you did. I told you that I would always listen to you, and would never leave my door to you, even if you were angry with me. This hasn’t changed. I would still like to talk with you. There is still time to work through your anger with me. Only then will we truly feel better. Call me and I will talk with you, write or email me and I will answer you back. If you want to see me, then I will arrange a meeting with you.
Daughter, I am your father and your daddy. I am not Bill to you, nor will I ever be. I love you very much, and I will not sign you away to stepdad. Someday you will understand.
Of course, there was no response. After younger daughter turned 18, they apparently changed their names and/or got adopted. I wish to God Bill had never laid eyes on his ex wife. This is why Bill felt compelled to trash those photos (referring to a post I wrote about how he had thrown out old photos that caused pain). The above letter was written in 2006.
On the original post, Alexis left me a comment asking a bunch of questions. I answered them in a separate post, which I have reposted here.