About three months ago, Josie decided that the homestead desperately needed a makeover...or at least, vinyl siding. Being the dutiful ex, she called me up, and proceeded to make a deal with me: I find a way to get funding for her home improvement, and she would take care of camp arrangements for the kidlets.
Well, the kids didn't end up going to camp, but I did end up securing a nice deal on a home equity line of credit, right before the real estate market curled up like the Wicked Witch of the East under a Kansas farmhouse. And since that time, we've managed to gleefully blow through $27,000. It was some summer.
Oh, except for a small amount. You guessed it...$1,600.
At this point in time, the siding is basically finished, and Josie called me today, asking me to hand over the final payment to our contractor.
"But what about the deck?" I asked.
"Ted," Josie said, sounding weary from a long day. "I don't think we have the money to finish the deck. I think we're going to hold off on that."
"But we have to do something," I replied. "The old deck's been torn down, and you're at least going to need stairs. And the contractor said that materials would only be $1,000. We could build it ourselves..."
"Ted," said Josie, repeating her tone. "I don't think we'd be able to build anything that would last for ten years." Ah. I could hear the sub-text. When she said ten years, she meant something that would last for ten minutes. We're a bit Humpty Dumpty, we are. "And besides, I don't think we have much money left."
That's when I checked, and discovered that we still had $1,600. So, lovable ex-partner and father of her children that I am, I called her back up, to harrass her. I'm wonderful like that.
"So, we could do that. Or..." I paused for a moment, to give the dramatic organ from soap operas past time to play. "We could use the money to finalize the divorce."
"That might be nice," she said.
"Everyone else has gotten it done," I said, as if we had a need to keep us with the Joneses in this area. "Tommy's almost all set with his divorce, and he hasn't even stopped sleeping in the same bed as Mal."
"And I think $1,600 would be enough to do it," she said.
"But a deck would be nice," I said.
"Yeah. And he might be able to do it for that amount..."
"I think so. He said that his hunky sons might be willing to do it under the table."
"He called them hunky?"
"No," I grinned. "I did."
She laughed. "They are handsome, aren't they?" She thought about it, for a minute. "Well, I could just ask him how much it would cost..."
"No harm in just asking," I said.
But it made me wonder: why are we so biologically incapable of cutting the cord? It's been almost five years since we first started on this journey. Okay, I know that I always say that financially and with regard to the children, all the loose ends have been resolved--and for quite a while, too. So, why not sign the piece of paper, and terminate the ties that bind once and for all?
I'm sure Corb would appreciate it. The other day, we were bickering about the condition of the apartment, and out of the blue, he said "You should talk, Mr. 'I never divorced Josie.'"
And I thought: Oh. I was wondering when you were going to bring that up...
He did apologize for it, later on, although he really shouldn't have. Even so, not divorcing Josie is definitely not a sign of my not loving Corb. It's more a sign that our money seems to be put to other uses (such as Oliver's recent hospital stay), and I'm not sure that either of us, either Corb or myself, can really complain about that.
Having the $1,600 brought it to the forefront, though. The lady or the tiger. What a choice.