There were very few times that I could laugh in the days following his departure. Looking back, I can now laugh about more of my I Love Lucy moments trying to fix things around the house, but at the time, I was just trying to survive. One moment at a time.
He had a day and a half to clear the house. He spent a Saturday and then a Sunday afternoon/evening with his friends getting whatever he wanted from the home. By Sunday afternoon when he came to the house, I had placed a lock on the bedroom door so that all the family photographs would hopefully be safe from theft.
He planned this whole thing months in advance (likely over a year). He stashed money. He rented a place to live.This particular Saturday was well planned. Lined up a friend and his trailer. I should have figured it out when I received a mysterious text, “Pattie is leaving, you can come by now.” or something like that. When I asked about that text, he made something up and I believed him. The next day, he knew that I would drive my middle son back to college after church, so it gave him plenty of time to finish the deed.
By the following Tuesday, all the locks on the home were changed and my lawyer had sent his lawyer a notice that if the ex came on my property it would be considered domestic criminal trespass. At some point during the week, he sent a text asking for more stuff. In his haste to get items from the home, he somehow forgot to get plates, forks and knives. Oh, and the chairs to the dining room table he took. He forgot the chairs!
In the year prior to his exit, I had been learning to make cocktails. I learned to make his favorite, a Tom Collins, complete with homemade sweet and sour. Friends had given me a few bottles of alcohol for my birthday and a good friend who was in our wedding and I started having “cocktail week”. The man took almost all of the alcohol from the house, including the gifts from my friends! It wasn’t until cocktail week in 2017, while standing in the ABC store, that I blurted out to my friend, “The bastard took the Tanguary! That’s what I’ve been missing!”
Not one fork, though. He took all the financial documents, two guns, the dining room table (with no chairs), all the good bookshelves, clothes, the 52″ flatscreen TV and the entertainment center, bed, nightstand, <insert long list of items> AND almost all of the alcohol. I don’t know about y’all but before I absconded with almost all the alcohol, I would have gotten plates, forks, and knives. If I had bothered to take the dining room table, I would have taken the chairs, for sure.
There I stood late one night in the WalMart parking lot with a box full of stuff he requested, not knowing in the days and weeks to come that he would refuse to return items of mine and my father’s he had stolen from the home. I was too nice–to the point my lawyer told me to stop giving him stuff!
Three months later, I started what has now become an annual tradition. I hosted my first annual Christmas party. My friends all showed up that first year with bottles of alcohol to replace what the cheater had stolen. One of my besties bought some 8 bottles of liquor that Christmas and placed the wrapped bottles under my tree. The Smirnoff Grape vodka still sits on my shelf mostly unused, save the one drink we made from it. It has a Mad Dog 20/20 kinda smell to it (I remember this from my Army days) and it is rather off-putting. The annual cocktail week tradition has turned into two cocktail weeks each summer with my wedding BFF. This year’s date and theme have been chosen and the airline ticket has been purchased. July can’t come fast enough! If you haven’t started or expanded any traditions since your ex left, now is the time to do it! You’ll be happier for it.
A year and a half later, the wasband walked through the house with a police officer to see if there was anything else he might like to take from the home. Sometime after the walkthrough, in an email he meant to be cutting, he mentioned that I should go have a drink from my rather large bar while referring to me as being a lush. If the bottles had been in the trash or almost empty, I might see his point, y’all. Instead I laughed because I have some really amazing friends who helped rebuild what he tried to destroy (my life, not my bar). All while he’s supposedly the “sober pilot” who couldn’t even remember to get plates, forks and chairs to go with the dining room table he absconded.
Not even ONE FORK, but most of the alcohol. There’s something hysterical in that.