Recently, I looked at the generic, snowy-treed WordPress banner at the top of this blog and decided it had to go. So I hired a reasonably-priced website designer to design a logo that actually evokes the tone of my blog.
In the next few weeks the face-lifted Perils of Divorced Pauline will appear. Without tipping my hat too much, I will reveal that the logo will feature a vintage damsel-in-distress image in keeping with the original Perils of Pauline serial that inspired this blog.
A few days ago, I was musing over the mock-up of the new logo, wondering if the damstrel-in-distress image comes off less as vintage camp, as it is intended, and more fragile and wimpy.
Several people, including a troll, have told me my blog title indicates that I am stuck in a years-old divorce and I need to move on. One divorce blogger, whom I respect, suggested that the title doesn’t do my innate chutzpah-ness justice.
So I started to think about their comments, and I wondered if I should jettison the distressed damsel…
…for something more superwoman-ish, to show that I have weathered one gnarly divorce and even gnarlier custody battle, and have come out the other side all I-am-woman-hear-me-roar.
And then, when I was musing on this, I found an envelope inside my daughter’s backpack. A large manila envelope with the ominous words “unpaid medical expenses” scrawled on top, in Prince’s handwriting. This was not good, I thought, because I always reimburse him for my half of the kids’ medical expenses.
I felt the familiar mixture of stomach-lurching and blood-pressure-spiking that had been my daily companions during the custody battle. I took a deep breath and opened the envelope, extracting a half-inch-thick stack of papers.
Disclaimer: if you have not been through a bad divorce, a bad divorce that clings to you like a lifelong bilious hangover, the rest of this may not interest you and you may want to return to Facebook, or Twitter, or your job. I will not be the least bit offended.
If, however, you have had the kind of divorce from which you can never truly move on, you will want to keep reading. What follows is right up your Xanax-strewn alley.
Prince claims that I owe him close to $10,000 for the family therapy I have participated in since Luca went to wilderness camp. Despite the fact that our stipulation states, practically in neon letters, that Prince is solely responsible for every last dime of Luca’s school costs, from mandated therapy down to #2 pencils.
This agreement is fair for a couple of reasons. Prince has school choice, and can enroll Luca anywhere without my consent. He has chosen to enroll him in a school that costs $120,000 a year — and that’s just the tuition! Prince, who you may recall, doesn’t actually work, also doesn’t pay the tuition. His phenomenonally wealthy parents do, as they do for all the Machiavelli grandchildren.
But what are reason, rules, and court orders, to Prince? Laws are for the little people!! Of which I am one, and he is not.
You have to be rich to have a child whose behavioral issues are so significant that residential treatment is necessary. Because, not only do you have to pay for residential treatment, but you also have to pay for psychological evaluations and school placement specialists, and consultations with psychiatrists, and God knows what else.
But all of these things, according to the stipulation, are things Prince has to pay for. The other thing he has to do is to facilitate my involvement in Luca’s treatment.
Which is why I found it infuriating, but typically Prince-like, that he is charging me for being interviewed by the psychologist who tested Luca. It is true, as Prince wrote in his letter, that the psychologist didn’t ask for my involvement initially. But he didn’t ask because Prince had told him I was “mentally ill” and “out of the picture.” Once I faxed the psychologist the stipulation and chewed his negligent ass out for lack of due diligence — meaning he never read the custody order to substantiate Prince’s claims — he was more than happy to interview me.
Because I am, you know, Luca’s mother. So my input is actually important.
Prince is also stating that I shouldn’t have my own family therapy sessions with Luca, one, because I am irrelevant, and two, because this is an extra charge.
We have separate family therapy phone sessions because the psychologist who evaluated Luca as well as his current therapist recommended that we have separate sessions.
If we were both in the same session, Prince would argue with anything I said. And Luca is quite open at this point that he feels stressed out when he’s with the two of us.
Every mental health professional who is aware that I exist and am not, in fact, running a meth lab in my basement or shacking up with registered sex offenders, has told Prince that my involvement in Luca’s treatment is necessary for his recovery.
But, again, why should Prince heed the advice of the experts in charge of Luca’s care? They are just more of those “little people” to be flicked away like gnats.
So Prince has informed me that his lawyer will be calling my lawyer to deal with the “fact” that I am in contempt of the court order. Which I am not. If anyone is in contempt it is Prince, who has obstructed my involvement in Luca’s treatment at every turn.
What Prince is really saying, beyond his belief that I owe him this ridiculous sum of money, is that I must pay for the right to have a place in my son’s life.
Which is just the slightest bit insulting.
So after I turned to Atticus in a hyperventilating panic, he, in his Atticus way, gently peeled me off the ceiling and assured me that, should Prince actually make good on his threat, we would go into court, win the case, and ask the judge to order Prince to pay for my attorney’s fees.
That’s what should happen, but will it? As far as I’m concerned, a trip to Family Court is a trip down the rabbit hole. Logic is often defied. Crazy rich people often win. Non-crazy, non-rich people often go bankrupt.
And that, my bloggy friends, is why I’m keeping my damsel-in-distress logo. Having children with Prince means that I can never truly have a moment’s peace or a good night’s sleep because danger does lurk at every turn.
Even when the kids are grown and out of the house, he will just find more insidious ways to undermine me. Like luring Luca and Franny from my deathbed with a chartered space shuttle to Mars that just happens to coincide with my impending demise, and a shrug that says: you wouldn’t want to deny the children this one-time-only trip, would you?
The other reason I’m sticking with my logo? Despite all the distress, plucky Pauline always finds her way out of seemingly impossible jams. She may be running from dastardly villains in her petticoats and lace-up boots, but she ultimately outpaces them, or wrests herself from their grasp.
At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Stay tuned for the next installment of Prince-drags-Pauline’s-Ass-Back-to-Court — and for my awesome new logo!