It also meant one other thing: the Dance of Pain performed by all divorced or soon-to-be-divorced dads.
For me, it's not that tough a blow any more, since Josie and I worked out our financial arrangements years ago. For my friend Dave, on the other hand, who is just entering this House of Horrors and hasn't even had his first hearing date yet, it's been a difficult transition.
"Pay day today," he said, during lunch. "I wonder how long it will take Erin to call and demand my entire paycheck?"
"Don't you have to pick up your daughter for your theater rehearsal tonight?" I asked.
"Oh, that's right." David frowned, picking through a plate of chick peas. "That means Erin will find some excuse to run out to my car and remind me she needs all my money by tomorrow morning. And, what a shit I am for not paying it faster."
"Maybe she'll dress Esmerelda up in rags. Just so everyone at the theater can see what a bad father you are," I suggested.
David smiled. "Maybe she'll dress her up in only a barrel. And put a sign on it, 'You may know him as the lead in the play, but we know him as Deadbeat Dave."
Then we both laughed, the cruel bitter laughter of divorced dads.
If it sounds cruel, the truth is, even though Josie and I have worked things out amicably, I firmly believe that the divorce system is quite unfair when it comes to fathers. What I could have given my kids had I not been forced to pay what I pay, month after month! How much anxiety and stress it's caused me over the years, wondering how in the hell I'd be able to make ends meet. The whole system needs to be overhauled, if you ask me. That's something I plan to be more vocal about someday, when this is all behind me.
Until then, at least I have someone to commiserate with, each and every payday.