Ten Years Stalled

Belated realization.

I recently blogged about the feeling I got walking through my new home under construction. It was a feeling of happiness at moving forward again, a feeling of achievement, a feeling of a good future ahead of me. In that post, I mentioned that my life had been stalled not for the 2 years of my ongoing divorce battle but for at least 10 years.

It was back in the mid 2000s that I began hitting hurdles erected by the man who called himself my “partner” in life, the man I was foolish enough to marry after 23 years together.

At the CabinI bought a truck to leave at the cabin so we could come and go by helicopter. Back in those days, I had plenty of money to burn. My wasband never stopped me from spending my money on things he could enjoy.

It all started when I couldn’t get him to work with me on putting a vacation home on our Howard Mesa property. We had two separate sets of drawings made, spending well over $1,000 in the process, before he admitted that he “couldn’t live up there” because it was “too remote.” This was after dumping thousands of dollars into a fence, septic system, and water storage tanks. The compromise was a “camping cabin” that we bought and had brought to the site; I spent much of the summer of 2005 insulating it and framing out the wall between the kitchen and bathroom, joined by him on weekends for other construction work. The resulting structure was used infrequently over the following six or so years — but I still cherish great memories of weekends and holidays there with him and our dog and our horses.

Jack at Howard Mesa
Our dog, Jack, at Howard Mesa. I was always a sucker for a good view; it was the views, the privacy, and the silence that sold me on the 40 acres we bought north of Williams, AZ.

In the years that followed, he continued to hold me back from moving in one direction or another. I wanted to move out of Wickenburg, which had become a sad retirement town that almost all of our friends had already abandoned, but I couldn’t get him to work with me to find a new place. I wanted to expand my business so we could work together, but although he occasionally went through the motions of helping me out, his contributions were so minimal as to be non-existent — and I usually couldn’t rely on him when I needed him most. I spent a lot of time waiting for him to do what he said he’d do. Lots of promises, no deliveries. I was patient — too patient! — but by the winter of 2011/2012, my patience was wearing very thin.

I also wanted to help him achieve his goals — opening a bike shop or developing solar energy products or becoming a flight instructor — but he kept dropping the ball. How many business cards and web sites did I create for him? How many letters did I edit? How many brainstorming sessions did I share with him? I wouldn’t mind if they led to something, but they only led to dead ends. I became tired of putting time and energy into projects that he never took to completion. He wasn’t just holding me back, he was holding himself back.

He was stuck in a rut and he apparently expected me to stick there with him.

Although I didn’t realize it at first, my summers in Washington doing cherry drying work not only made my business prosper but they were a welcome relief from a boring life in a dying town with a man who seemed satisfied to live out his existence in his own daily grind. I made new friends, I did new things. I learned about agriculture and wine-making. I experimented with video production. And I fell in love with the area — with the mix of happy people of all ages, the wholesome farmland attitudes, the river and mountains, the recreation possibilities. There was life in Central Washington — a lot more life than there was among the angry old people in Arizona.

One of the last times I spoke to him, in July 2012, I brought him by helicopter to see the place I wanted to buy and make our summer home. I envisioned him opening that bike shop he claimed he wanted to open along the bike trail in Wenatchee and working there with him on sunny days to rent bikes and maybe even do Segway tours. (I even had $25K saved up and was willing to spend it to buy 5 or 6 Segways.) I envisioned me flying on rainy days, drying cherries, and perhaps doing the occasional wine-tasting flight. I envisioned afternoons spent on the deck together with a glass of wine overlooking the Wenatchee Valley. I envisioned returning to Arizona in the winter, hosting couples with horses in the guest rooms of our house via Air BandB, making a little money while he continued his flight training and realized his dream of becoming a flight instructor.

It was all possible. It was all doable. With our financial situation at the time — a paid for house and very little personal debt — it would have been easy. I saw a great life for both of us — a sort of semi-retirement in our 50s, moving with the seasons between two beautiful homes and realizing our dreams instead of grinding away at unfulfilling jobs and dealing with company bullshit.

Jake
Jake, the horse I bought for my wasband before we married. Does he need to see the cancelled check for $1,100 to remember who paid for him?

On that day in July 2012, I didn’t realize that he’d already made his bed with another woman and was planning to cash in on our marriage to finance his life with her. I was a fool to think that he loved me and he wanted a good, honest life. In reality, I was nothing more than a meal ticket, the provider of horses and helicopter trips and fun toys to play with. And because I didn’t play by his restrictive rules, he was finished playing and ready to cash in his chips.

And that’s my big realization.

I realize now that he married me for my money — I was earning a lot of money right before we married in 2006 and had accumulated quite a portfolio of assets. His attempts over the past two years to claim ownership of my personal and business possessions, investments, and retirement funds prove this without a doubt. There was no love, at least not when we married. He was locking himself in, banking on community property law to half of everything I owned, earned, or acquired. Everything he’s done since he asked for a divorce on my birthday in June 2012 proves it.

Phoenix Sunset Flight
Flying over Phoenix at sunset. Who’s he flying with now? He sold his plane so he’s not even flying himself around.

Those of you who have read my other divorce posts or have spoken to me about this know the personal pain my husband’s dishonesty and betrayal has caused — and continues to cause — for me on an almost daily basis. My biggest problem is that I simply can’t believe that a man I spent 29 years of my life with could turn on me as he has. I know he’s mentally ill — the things he’s done to me and said to others and in court are a pretty clear indication of that.

Every day, I face an unbelievable amount of sadness and pity for the man I love. And pretty regularly, that pity is rewarded with yet another personal attack through the court system — appeals, false claims, accusations, stalling tactics. It never ends.

Well, that may never end, but his ability to keep my life in a perpetual stall has ended. I’m moving forward with my new home and my new life. Since 2012, I’ve lost weight and regained my health and self-esteem. My flying business is going better than ever — mostly because I don’t have to say no to out-of-town jobs to keep my wasband happy — and I’ve refreshed my writing career with a series of new videos for Lynda.com. (Meanwhile, my divorce book is on hold, waiting for the end to be written.) I’ve made lots of new friends to keep me company and share my joy and adventures.

Legal fees for the divorce dealt a severe financial blow to me, but because I’m not dependent on someone else for my living — I never have been — and I live within my means, I’m recovering nicely. Although I don’t like living in my RV (the “mobile mansion”) — as my wasband absurdly suggested in a court document — it has enabled me to live cheaply so I can save money for my new home.

Getting ahead means working hard and making sacrifices. I understand that and am willing to do what it takes.

It’s sad that the man I married and still (unfortunately) love has never understood that. All his talk about “making things happen” was just that — talk. I took it to heart and made things happen for myself — and him, for a while.

I only wish that my love for him over all those years hadn’t clouded my view of the kind of man he really is. I could have prevented that 10-year stall by making my exit a lot sooner.

Bad Advice Ruins Lives

Sad to see the dreams of a good man destroyed by taking bad advice.

I got some sad news not long ago. A very close former friend of mine sold his airplane.

He’d owned the plane for more than 10 years and had often told me of the role it would play in his retirement: he planned to become a CFI (certified flight instructor) and use the plane to do biennial flight reviews and some flight training. It was a goal I thought suited him and I supported it to the best of my ability — although there was nothing I could do beyond offering moral support and advice to help him achieve it. My advice: fly as often as you can, build time, build experience.

He didn’t take that advice.

I thought he was serious about that dream — like so many of the others he shared with me. But he never moved forward with any of them beyond making some notes on paper and buying domain names he’d never use. Maybe he wasn’t as serious as he led me to believe. I thought aviation, which we’d discovered around the same time, meant something to him. But apparently, it didn’t.

When he pissed off a friend whose hangar he was sharing and got the plane kicked out, the hangar he got in Scottsdale cost him far more each month, making the plane suddenly very costly to keep. (Some people just don’t know a good deal when they have one.) I suspect that was a factor in the plane’s sale in November 2013.

Not long afterward, he sold a condo he’d bought in Phoenix back in 2008. He’d bought as the housing market was falling but hadn’t quite hit bottom. He got what he thought was a good price, but the thing came with outrageous monthly maintenance fees that, when coupled with the mortgage, was a real financial burden on him. And, in all honesty, the place wasn’t very pleasant — its windows looked out onto a courtyard so there was no privacy unless the blinds were closed — which only made it darker and drearier than it already was. Most of the other units were owned by speculators and either empty or inhabited by renters. I’d advised him to buy the other condo he’d been looking at, a bright and airy second floor unit not far away.

He didn’t take that advice.

When he lost his job and got stuck in one he grew to hate, it seemed to me that he was working primarily to make payments on that condo. He was miserable most of the time, living in the condo part-time instead of the house he owned half of and used as his primary address. The house was completely paid off and far more comfortable, and it had a heck of a lot more light and privacy.

In 2011 and early 2012, I advised him to sell the condo, despite the fact that he owed a bit more than the market value. The loss would help on his tax returns and the sale would stop the bleeding of money for mortgage payments and maintenance fees. It would relieve his financial burden so he could live within his means and wouldn’t be a slave to the job he hated.

He didn’t take that advice.

I even offered to buy the place for what he owed. I’d take the loss. (I was a very good friend.)

He didn’t want to do that, either. Instead, he claimed he wanted to keep it as an investment and rent it out. And he expected me to help him.

But I’d already gone through the nightmarish experience of being a landlord and wanted no part of it. My refusal to get involved was one of the things that began the destruction of our friendship.

When I learned in March that he’d sold the condo in December, it made me sad. I knew that if he’d sold it when I advised, before he turned his back on our friendship, we’d still be friends. I don’t think he ever put a tenant in there, but I really don’t know. I can imagine him stubbornly paying the mortgage and taxes and maintenance fees on the place, month after month, before finally giving up.

The sell-off of his assets doesn’t really come as a big surprise. Nearly two years ago, he initiated a costly legal battle to end a long-term partnership and take possession of assets that weren’t his. He misunderstood the law governing the case. The very last time I had a chance to speak to him directly, back in December 2012, I tried to reason with him. I tried to make him understand how the law would be applied. His angry and defiant response proved that he had no idea what the law was. I urged him to talk to his lawyer, to have his lawyer explain it. I urged him to take the counteroffer he’d received from the other party — a counteroffer I know that party’s lawyers thought was far too generous.

But he didn’t take that advice.

It frustrated me. He’d always been so reasonable. He’d always understood the difference between right and wrong. He’d always had morals and principals that I could respect and look up to. But now he was acting unreasonably, doing something stupid and hurtful that was so obviously wrong. What had happened to him?

It didn’t really matter. By that time he was no longer my friend and never would be again.

AdviceInstead, he listened to other, newer friends — including one he’d only recently met — friends who apparently either didn’t know the law or didn’t know the facts of the case. They told him he could get so much more if he just kept fighting. They fed him lies about the other party, convincing him that the other party had been using and manipulating him for years, convincing him that the other party was now an enemy and couldn’t be trusted.

So he kept feeding his lawyers money — tens of thousands of dollars, month after month. (I don’t know why the lawyers didn’t set him straight; maybe he wouldn’t listen to them, either?) And he kept harassing the other party with legal action, hoping that other party would give in to his outrageous demands.

And while all this was going on, my old friend began to take on the financial responsibilities of his new friend, helping her with mortgage payments and the like. He likely justified this by living with her, leaving the condo that was costing him so much money every month empty. She kept urging him to fight, to take one action after another to wear the other party down. She even began directly issuing orders to his lawyers and feeding them incorrect information that she misinterpreted from things she read online. She was rabid in her hatred, insanely jealous — or maybe, by some accounts, just insane.

But the other party in this legal battle was in the right and wasn’t about to give in, especially after investing in a costly legal defense. The other party needed to win. And unlike my friend, the other party was living within their means so there was money to pay lawyers for the fight. And to keep paying as long as necessary to bring an end to the battle and closure to the wounds it had caused.

In the end, my old friend lost his legal battle. The other party was awarded far more than the December 2012 counteroffer would have given. (After all, it really was a generous offer.)

I suspect my friend thought he would pay his legal fees with the proceeds from his win. I suspect he and his new friend looked forward to celebrating their victory over the other party.

But there was no win, there was no big settlement. Even later accounting for other matters proved disappointing. There was no windfall coming. My friend had acted on bad advice and had lost all the money he’d spent on legal fees plus the additional amount he’d have to pay over that original counteroffer.

Ah, if only he had taken my advice!

My former friend’s downfall fills me with pity for him. Not only do I care very much for him and value the years of our friendship, but I’m sad that he remains so close with the people who led him astray, friends and a lover so full of hate and anger and greed that they can’t see facts and listen to reason. I’m sad that they have his ear and are likely, to this day, giving him advice that will only cost him more in the long run. I’m sad that a man I once thought the world of has become a greedy and delusional puppet.

So he sold the airplane that would give him his retirement “job.” And he sold the condo that he claimed he wanted to keep as an investment. And now he’s trying to sell the house he has part ownership of. Liquidating his assets — one can only assume that he has money problems.

Meanwhile, he’s failed to comply with court orders regarding the case and has to defend himself against legal action related to that. More legal fees because he failed to do the right thing. What will happen next? Who knows?

It’ll be interesting to see if the friends who led him astray step up to the plate and help bail him out of the mess he’s in.

I know that I won’t.

I Am NOT the Woman You Are Looking For

And feel sorry that you thought I might be.

Dear John,

Yes, I know that isn’t your name but I certainly don’t want to embarrass you in public. What follows might indeed embarrass you if people connected it to your real name. I don’t want that to happen.

I thoroughly enjoyed most of our day and evening together yesterday. Lunch, wine tasting, walking around town to look at the odds and ends in Wenatchee’s trendy consignment shops. Lots of conversation and laughs. Fun stuff — very promising for a second date.

I looked forward to our dinner together as I drove the winding roads to my temporary home with you behind me in your car. I appreciated you helping me with the groceries and my unexpectedly malfunctioning smoker. (Honestly, if the thing had worked properly for the entire time I was out yesterday, those ribs would have been much better.)

But it was during our conversation while I made dinner that things started to go south. You see, you originally represented yourself as “divorced.” I was very surprised to learn that not only was your divorce not finalized, but you haven’t even filed for divorce yet.

News flash: You are married.

You told me about your troubles with your wife — although I’m not sure why you referred to her as your “ex-wife” when you’re still legally married. I understand that things are not what you want them to be. You told me that she kicked you out, although you also said that she refuses to admit that she did so. Maybe she didn’t? Maybe she was giving you some freedom so you could get your head together?

And I think you need to get your head together on this.

When I asked you outright whether you would go back to your wife, you had to think about it before replying.

And what’s with the apartment without furniture? You say you have furniture in storage — why not move it to your new home? Is it because you’re not committing to that as a new home? Is it because you think there’s a chance that you and your wife might get back together and you don’t want to go through the process of moving twice? You did say more than once that you could pack up everything in your apartment into your van. Are you thinking of moving back in with her? Be honest with yourself! What are you really thinking?

You tell me that you send her money, so you’re still supporting her. You refer to your house that’s up for sale — don’t you realize that she owns half of it? In fact, because of the length of your marriage, that she probably owns half of everything you own? And, until you file for divorce, she can lay claim to half of everything you earn?

You tell me that your separation went smoothly and that you and your ex-wife remain on good terms. But she’s not your ex-wife! She’s your wife! Wait until you finally file for divorce — if you ever do. Things will turn ugly very quickly if you have something that she wants and you’re not willing to give it up. And how do you think divorce negotiations will go when another woman is involved? (Ask my ex-husband. He threw away any chance of the “amicable divorce” he claimed he wanted when he lied, cheated, harassed me, and made unreasonable demands for money and property. He turned what could have been a quick, civilized proceeding into a costly, never-ending war.)

And what about your kids? Do you really want them to remember you as the man who cheated on their mother?

I’ve given all this a lot of thought since you left last night on your long drive home. I realized, with a great deal of sadness, that you’re playing the same game my ex-husband played: poking around on dating sites to see whether you could replace your wife before doing the paperwork to legally end your marriage. You’re showing the same weakness he did: a fear of facing life alone. I honestly believe that you’re suffering from the same kind of confused thinking that plagued him in the final year of our marriage. That midlife crisis gone horribly wrong.

Yes, as I mentioned to you last night, my ex-husband also signed up for an online dating site while he was still married, before there was any talk of divorce. While he was talking to me on the phone about spending the summer with me in Washington, he was dating other women in Arizona, actively looking for my replacement. I can imagine him telling those women the same thing you told me: that you and your wife were separated with no chance of reconciliation. Is that really the truth? It wasn’t the truth for him.

But unlike the desperate old whore my ex-husband wound up with — what else could you call a woman who sleeps with a married man and takes his money and gifts? — I don’t date married men.

I have morals and principles. Being “the other woman” does not fall within the realm of what I’m willing to do for companionship and a warm body beside me in bed. And I’m not looking for a meal ticket or someone to tackle a “honey do” list.

Unlike the old woman who seduced my weak and morally confused husband with her sweet talk, 30-year-old lingerie photos, and god knows what else, I am not desperate enough to compromise my principles. And I never will be.

I do appreciate your honesty, even though it was belated. I’m just not the kind of woman you might think I am.

I’m disappointed. I really liked you a lot after our first date. So much, in fact, that I as I showered and dressed for yesterday’s date, I considered the possibility of asking you to spend the night if things went well. I even made appropriate preparations for whatever that might entail. But your revelations about your true marital status put any such thoughts out of my mind.

I’m also a little angry. I feel misled, manipulated.

So I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I say that I’d like to end this now, before it goes any further. I don’t need to make another bad emotional investment — I’m still reeling from the last one.

And do you know what’s crazy about all this? If the woman my husband left me for had half the moral fiber I have and had walked away from him as I am walking away from you, my marriage might have been saved. Maybe I’m saving yours.

And yes, I’ll speak to you in person before I post this online. It’s not my intention to break this kind of news in writing, especially in a public forum. Only a coward would do that — and although I’ve been called many things, coward is not one of them. This blog post is a reminder to me — and others in my situation — of how misguided some men can be. I’m so sorry that you’re one of them.

With sadness but no regrets,

Maria

Closure

Unfinished business stirs my subconscious mind.

This morning I was awakened by my mother-in-law’s voice calling for help. I hurried to her. She was lying in the bed I occasionally shared with my ex-husband, her son, in our Wickenburg home, propped up on some pillows. She was talking on a speaker phone to her daughter, Suzie. She wanted me to tell Suzie something.

I never found out what. The whole thing was a dream. When I woke, I woke from that dream to find myself in my own bed in my current home 1200 miles away.

My mother-in-law, Julia, is dead. She died earlier this summer. No one in my ex-husband’s family had the common decency to tell me that the woman I’d known for 30 years had passed away. I found out through a mutual friend.

I know my husband lied to his mother about the end of our relationship. I know he painted me as an evil monster who ruined his life and abandoned him in Arizona. I know he told her that because that’s what he believes. It’s part of the delusions that drove him into the arms of the desperate old woman — his new mommy — who he now lives with. It’s part of the delusions that drove him to subject me to mental abuse, unreasonable demands, and harassment during our year-long divorce process. He believes this to be true so he tells his friends and family members.

Anyone with knowledge of the facts, however, knows better.

I wanted to say goodbye to Julia but wasn’t allowed to. When I sent her a birthday gift for her 90th birthday last September — a framed photograph of me and her son taken many years ago that I know she admired — I was accused by my ex-husband of “harassing his family members.” So I never contacted her again.

And then she died.

I tried to get some closure with a blog post written to her. But she’s dead. I don’t believe in heaven and hell so I don’t believe she knows what really happened or can read, from beyond the grave, what I wrote. She never knew the truth.

Why does it matter to me? I’m trying to understand that. It could be because of how I value the truth.

I know how he lied to her and “bent the truth” for the last five or more years of her life. To protect her, he’d say. I know that he did the same to me — although I didn’t realize the extent of his lies until much later. I don’t understand how a person could lie to someone he claims to love. I don’t understand how a relationship can be expected to survive when its fabric is punched with holes created by untruths.

But then again, our relationship didn’t survive. He saw to that by signing up for an online dating service only a week after I left for my summer job last year and moving in with the first woman who would sleep with him. Asking for a divorce came later.

I wonder if he remembers that chain of events as well as I do? Whether he was honest with any of his friends and family members about how he betrayed his life partner of 29 years?

I wonder how much he still lies and who he lies to.

But most of all, I wonder how many of those lies he believes. How far his delusions have taken him. Whether he wakes in the morning feeling the overwhelming hate he must have for me — nothing else could explain his actions over the past year or so — and how much that drives him.

But I’ll never know because I’ll never get a chance to ask. His mommy won’t let him talk to me.

And that’s a good thing. Clearly, the man I loved is dead and buried — killed as a result of a mental illness that drove him to madness and an odd form of suicide. The man who looks like him is a foul impostor I have no desire to hear from.

That’s my closure: knowing that that the man I loved is gone for good.

Expensive Delusions

When verifying the reality of a delusion gets expensive — and makes the deluded people look like fools.

I have to blog this. It’s the funniest thing that has happened since my divorce turned ugly last August.

The Back Story

As many readers know, I’ve been planning to buy and build a home on a lot in Malaga, WA. What some readers may not know is that back in July, when I thought there might be a chance of reconciliation with my estranged husband, I took him to see the lot I wanted to buy.

I envisioned us building a summer home there where I was making 80% of my income during three months. I envisioned him opening the bicycle repair shop he’d talked about on more than one occasion, possibly with bike rentals, along the nearby 11-mile bike trail in Wenatchee. I envisioned us living back in our paid-for Arizona home during the winter, taking it easy with a semi-retired lifestyle that would leave him plenty of time to fly his plane and build skills for his retirement career as a certified flight instructor.

I really thought that if he saw the land and the view that he’d envision the same life I saw for us. A life that didn’t include him being a slave to pay for a condo he didn’t need and I hated. A life with new, fun challenges in a beautiful place that wasn’t overrun with cheap retirees and rabid conservatives. A life with lots of recreational opportunities and a sunny future.

I didn’t realize then that he was already under the thumb of a desperate old woman who had seduced him with 30-year-old lingerie photos. I didn’t realize that he had stopped thinking for himself and was only doing what his new mommy told him to do.

That’s the back story: I found a 10-acre view lot in Malaga and I showed it to my future ex-husband, foolishly thinking he’d like it, too. Then I waited until the divorce was finalized and I got my settlement to buy it.

Fast Forward, May 7, 2013

My husband and his girlfriend/mommy managed to drag the divorce process out to April 2013. Other factors dragged it into May. On May 7, we had the first of two half-day sessions in front of a judge.

I was on the stand most of that time. During the cross-examination, their lawyer — I can’t really call him my husband’s lawyer since his girlfriend/mommy has been giving most orders to him since at least November — asked me a curious question:

“Isn’t it true that you own a home in Washington state?”

The question really took me by surprise. Me own a home in Washington? If that was the case, then why would I be living in Wickenburg, AZ, in a home filled with memories of a life I’d lived with the man I loved? The home I’d been locked out of by the man who obviously now hated me and had been harassing me since my return in September?

I answered truthfully: “No.”

He pressed on: “Isn’t it true that you have been living most of the past six months in Washington?”

I might have laughed. “No,” I replied. Other than a few short trips to Washington and California and Florida, I’d spent most of the past six months stuck in Wickenburg. Packing.

Afterwards, I talked about that question with my lawyer, family, and friends. It had seemed so out of left field. Did they honestly think I was living in Washington? If so, my testimony, under oath, should set them straight.

At least that’s what I thought.

Another Court Date

After another delay, we had our final appearance before the judge on May 31. My future ex-husband testified. Although most of his testimony was irrelevant and complete waste of time, he did manage to convince me that he’s become quite a liar. Or he’s more delusional than I thought.

My favorite piece of fiction: That during the six years of our marriage, he’d helped me with my helicopter business at least 100 times. That’s quite a feat for someone trapped in a 9 to 5 grind who uses his vacation time to visit family in New York and spends most of his other free time watching television. I was able to get back on the stand and insert a dose of reality for the judge’s consideration.

When we left the court, we all let out a sigh of relief. Now that it was in the judge’s hands, it was finally over. They’d finally stop harassing me.

At least that’s what I thought.

The Abuse Continues

The first indication that I was wrong came the day after the court appearance. He transferred the the balance of our joint checking account, which has always been equally contributed to and used for household expenses, to his personal checking account.

It’s not the money that bothered me. Frankly, it isn’t worth spending time worrying about the $445 that was my share.

What bothered me was the fact that the account was being used to pay our sole joint liability: the home equity line of credit. When the automatic payment came through, the payment would bounce and the account would be charged $35.

I knew this for a fact because I’d been watching my husband’s old checking account, which I could see when I logged into Bank of America. He’d drained that, too, but had stupidly forgotten to stop automatic payments from that account. Since September, he had bounced five checks and had been hit with a $35 fee for each one. (I knew because I still got low balance alerts for that account with all the others I monitored. That’s how I found out immediately about his withdrawal from the house account.) Some people just can’t manage their own finances. Good thing I was in charge of paying the bills all those years.

So by removing the money from that account, he’d set us up for bank fees and a possible hit to our credit scores for late payment of a loan.

And let’s not ignore the fact that he had no legal right to remove any funds from that account without the permission of the court unless it was to pay for house expenses. This money was true joint funds used for a specific purpose. Half the money was mine. He was stealing from me.

What a freaking idiot.

Amazing that it took him less than 24 hours to prove again how stupid he could be.

And Now for the Funny Part

On June 5 — still less than a week from that final court date — I was sitting at an outdoor restaurant, having lunch. I’d just spent the morning traipsing all over that 10-acre lot in Malaga with two surveyors, identifying property corners and the northern property line. I wanted to make sure I could visualize what my future 10 acre lot looked like. I wanted to see what land I had to work with.

(I was very pleased with the results. The lot appears about three times the size I’d visualized, working from incorrect corner markers.)

As I sat eating lunch, I checked my email. And that’s when I saw the latest bit of nonsense from my husband’s side of the divorce: They were insisting that I had already purchased the lot. In fact, they insisted that I had closed in January and that I was already developing it!

I really didn’t have any idea where they’d gotten these specific details. Although the email communication I’d been forwarded — from my husband’s mommy/girlfriend to their lawyer to my lawyer — mentioned tweets, I can’t remember having ever tweeted anything about having bought the land. Why? Well, I’d never bought it. So how could they have information about a closing date? And what made them think I’d started developing the land?

An earlier email message answered one of those questions. Apparently, back in early April 2013, they’d hired an “investigator” to snoop around the property I planned to buy. He’d photographed an RV (not mine) and cargo trailer (not mine) on a lot with a view a lot like the one I’d soon have. He’d provided details about septic system takeouts and obvious earthwork. The investigator’s report and some of the photos were included in the email forwarded from my husband to his lawyer to my lawyer. This was their proof that I’d lied in court — that I owned a home in Washington and was building on it!

Click play to cue soundtrack for this hilarity. (Many thanks to Facebook friend Dean for offering up this very appropriate music track.)

The only problem is, the photos showed the lot next to the one I was planning to buy.

You cannot imagine how hard I laughed when I realized this. My husband and his girlfriend/mommy had spent hundreds of dollars hiring an “investigator” to photograph my future neighbor’s property!

How they screwed this up so badly is beyond me. Who gave the investigator the address? Where did it come from? That has to be a story in itself.

How Delusions Become Costly

You realize that to find out what property I own in Malaga, all a person has to do is go to the Chelan County Assessor’s Office website and do a parcel search for my last name. If my husband or his girlfriend/mommy or their lawyer or the investigator had spent about 5 minutes doing this, they would have concluded that I didn’t own any land in Malaga or anywhere else in Chelan country. And if they thought they got the county wrong, they could have done the same for Douglas and Grant countries.

But the trouble is, they weren’t interested in reality. They were interested in producing evidence to back up their delusion.

They were convinced that I owned land in Washington. That was their delusion.

Maybe they did try a property search. They would have come up empty. But in their deluded minds, they knew I had property in Washington. They would have made excuses for why the tax rolls didn’t reflect their idea of reality. Perhaps they hadn’t been updated lately. Perhaps I’d bought the land in someone else’s name. Perhaps the Chelan County Assessor’s office was conspiring against them to hide the truth about me and my vast Washington real estate holdings.

Hey, anything is possible when you don’t rely on facts.

So they hired an “investigator” and told him where to take photos. Maybe they told him approximately where the lot was and he did some “investigating,” coming up with the only lot on that side of the road that was being developed. Having an RV on it must have sealed the deal that it was my lot, even though the tax rolls said it was owned by someone else.

Never mind that the RV on the lot wasn’t the one I owned, the one he claimed in court to have installed $5,000 to $9,000 of improvements in. (Another lie.) It wasn’t even the same make and model. And even though the “investigator” took photos of the Washington state license plates on the RV and the cargo trailer, no one had the idea to run those plates and see who they were registered to? If they had, they’d see that they were registered to someone other than me. Probably the people who owned the lot.

But that would shatter the delusion. Can’t do that. Delusional people only want evidence to support their delusions.

And apparently, they’re wiling to pay to get that evidence.

What Now?

Well, I’ve informed all parties that they investigated the wrong lot. I made it quite clear how amusing I think this is and how incredibly stupid I think my husband, his girlfriend/mommy, their lawyer, and the “investigator” are. I haven’t heard anything more about it.

But I suspect they don’t believe me. After all, they are delusional. I said in court, under oath, that I did not own a home in Washington. I said this on May 7, 2013. I did not lie in court.

But they obviously didn’t believe I was telling the truth then, under oath. So why would they believe me now?