Wrecking Balla

Solitude and Solace

Many of the qualities that come so effortlessly to dogs – loyalty, devotion, selflessness, unflagging optimism, unqualified love – can be elusive to humans.

-John Grogan

Dear Readers:

I met with a reporter on Monday and it was clear to me why he had won every major award a journalist can win:

He knows on a visceral level which are the most meaningful questions to ask and how to probe more deeply to get to the truth.  Although I had only met him briefly once before, he had me spilling personal information and revelations within 30 seconds of our being seated at lunch.

I suppose it hardly takes Edward Murrow to get me to talk.  But still, the reporter jumped right into the heavy stuff with nary an apology or explanation, and his ease and style of questioning led me right along the garden path to Truth.

Whose Truth?  Why, mine, of course!  


Truth is as unique in interpersonal relationships as is our DNA: we may all look similar on the outside, but in truth we are all vastly different in ways too numerous and complex to list.

My Truth is that in 2016, every fiber of my being has been changed and morphed into something completely different than it was before.  Everything I believed in on a cellular level – love, family, marriage, friendship, commitment, honesty, fidelity, honor, and decency – has been challenged.  The presidential election was the final straw, and for a time afterward I believed that the world had truly turned upside-down and there was no going back to the happy blinders I used to wear.

I’ve had to rethink my pessimism lately.  My friend Isaac keeps telling me, “You have no idea how strong and smart you are.  I can’t wait for you to find out.”

To which I usually reply, “I hope you’re right.”  He always assures me he is, and since he’s the smartest man I’ve ever met, I’m choosing to believe him.

Monday the reporter asked me, “What has surprised you most about this whole experience?  What friends have surprised you, in ways good or bad?  What about life has surprised you most?”

Here is what I told him:

  1. Friends I would have bet all my money on to support me ($345 at last count) have suddenly disappeared.  I do hope their family has reported them missing to the proper authorities.  One “friend” in particular neglected to tell me some very important information that could have prevented me from living next door to a home frequented by a man neither my son nor I ever want to see again.  Yeah, Portland is actually THAT small.
  2. Other people have stepped up in ways that fill me with humble wonder and remind me that when you choose your friends carefully, rather than based upon things that don’t matter, they will prove their mettle when times are difficult.
  3. I don’t like being alone.  I’m alone a lot.  It’s lonely.
  4. There are some who seem to take pleasure in reporting things back to me I’d rather not hear.  For the record, I am not interested in the goings-on of people with whom I used to live.  If you are tempted to share with me, please do not.  I’m living in the present and the future and frankly, you are jacking my happiness ride.
  5. People are idiots.  Here are two examples of recent events, both of which took place at my gym, because: of course they did.

A. Poor Lady Has a Rough Life

I’m on the treadmill, doing my daily five miles, and onto the machine next to me hops a woman I know from my former existence. She’s never worked a day in her life, she spends all of her time at either Nordstrom, the gym, or the golf club, and while she is perfectly nice, she’s also a bit dim.

“How are you doing?” she asked me, with a slightly pained expression, as if she didn’t really want to hear the answer.  I wondered why she was speaking to me at all.

“I’m OK, I guess.  Things aren’t easy, that’s for sure.  But I’m doing my best.”

“I know what you mean,” my treadmill neighbor sighed.  “I’m starting to lose it with Christmas preparations.  I feel as if I can’t possibly get everything I need to do done in time!”

Her tone was as dramatic and woeful as if she were describing a recent diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer.  I just looked at her.  I may have blinked sarcastically, but I don’t really recall.  What I do recall is a burning desire to say this,

So, has Pampered Bitch magazine called you yet to get your story for the cover?  Will there be a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz?  What does your therapist say about your troubles?  Will your next trip to Hawaii make you feel better?

I didn’t, but I wanted to.

B. Insurance Guy Thinks He’s Funny

Yesterday found me feeling extremely grouchy.  I have spent several months trying to explain a very simple concept to a lawyer and his lawyer client, both of whom put the “douche” in “fiduciary.”  I have asked repeatedly for communication, but both these men seem afraid to engage in talks.

It’s funny how people go through life trying to project an image that is contrary to their own core.  But I digress…

So I’m frustrated and a little bit angry yesterday, and I run into someone I considered a friend for the past ten years, but who really wasn’t.  Like all of the very few “friends” I met through my former roommate, I haven’t heard a peep from him or his wife since June.  

This guy, I’ll call him “Steve,” is an insurance agent.  He sold me a long-term disability policy that a certain someone cancelled after starting his new life. Steve asked me not how I am doing, or if I am OK, but rather, this:

“You didn’t want that long-term care policy, did you?” 

I responded, “What difference does it make?  It’s cancelled.  It’s gone.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t want it, right?  Did you want to keep paying for that policy?”

I wasn’t sure what his point was, but since the fidoucheiaries mentioned above have struggled to understand another insurance policy, insurance was a button-pushing topic that morning.

“I don’t see how it matters, but I certainly can’t afford any extras like that right now.”

At this point, Steve laughed.  He actually laughed and said, “Yeah, that makes sense!”  He said it in a cheerful, upbeat tone, as if I had just told him a saucy joke or complimented him in some way.  

His casual chuckles did not sit well with me.

“Yeah, that’s fucking hilarious, Steve.  I can’t afford my rent, your buddy is off for his third vacation since he left me and my son without a dime, and you are laughing.  I’m glad you think this is all funny.  I’m glad my problems amuse you.”

He looked like someone had just shit in his Cheerios.  I guess he wasn’t expecting honesty and being called on the carpet for acting like an insensitive ass.  

Or maybe he’s not getting the full story.  

Maybe he doesn’t know about the lies and the mistress next door and the money hiding/gifting to others and the information I’ve uncovered that has given rise to my potential ability to secure an annulment, rather than a divorce.

Why get an annulment?  Why not?  Fraud is fraud, and I’d like to undo this marriage so when I get my next divorce, I can claim to only be a two-time loser.

It’s important to think ahead to future failure, you know.

Back to lunch with the reporter…

“I guess the thing that has surprised me most, even more than the disappointment I feel over being let down by so many people, is the pride I feel in myself.  I’ve taken control of my life and I’m working 12 hours a day in my efforts to go from no income to fully-self-supporting overnight.  Necessity really is the mother of invention, I’ve found, and I’m reinventing myself like a mother fluffer.”

“Speaking of reinvention, that’s one of the reasons I asked you to lunch,” he said. And with that, he began a conversation that was exciting and motivating and which I cannot tell you about.




This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Suzy Q

    Robin your true friends are there for you no matter what, and doubly so when chips are down. You have an unmatched wit and charm. Portland in particular is small, and as it has so few (and compared to bigger and richer cities, kind of pathetic) “social clubs” that these folks cling to their crowd like a heroin addict clings to the needle. They worry they will “catch” nasty things from you. Like work. Or divorce. Or honesty. So glad you are staying true to who you are.

    1. Robin DesCamp

      What a beautiful and helpful comment. Thank you!

  2. KWB

    I am going through a divorce and I look forward to every post you write about yours. You say a lot of the things I wish I could say. I especially can relate to how friends disappear overnight and people say incredibly stupid and insensitive things. I wish I had your sense of humor about it all.

    1. Robin DesCamp

      Thank you. Try to be funny about the shit you are going through. It can help, and it certainly can’t hurt.

  3. Mark

    Every time your write about what a pain in the ass your life might be right now, you get stronger. I enjoy that aspect of all this. As we used to say in Al-Anon, (which I attended to help take the edge off a poor excuse for a marriage) “Name it. Claim it. Now give it away.”

    You are doing that. Problem (soon to be) solved.

    1. Robin DesCamp

      Thank you! I love that expression.

  4. Presby '66

    What are your grounds for annulment and what’s the upside to getting one? We are going to miss you at the meetings, Robin. Stay in touch…I sent you an email this morning. Let me know how I can help.

    1. Robin DesCamp

      Hi! So, so good to hear from you! I think about you often and I’ll miss seeing you too. I will explain annulment in a blog next week. Thank you so much for your comment and your lovely email. You are a true gentleman.

  5. Meg

    My mouth was literally hanging open as I was reading. Keep up the kick-ass work, Robin. I’m exploring the annulment option, as well, but in a religious context. It’s giving me a different look at the marriage, helping me own (in a non-punishing way) the things I brought to the marriage that were unhelpful, and most importantly, showing me why there was no way in hell this could have been a truly successful marriage (although I would never give my kids back, so I have no regrets in a big-picture way).

    In terms of “People are Idiots” my personal least-favorite thing is Friends of the Ex who continue to send hand-addressed Xmas cards to him at this address, even though last year I contacted every one of them and asked them to please update their mailing list. Have some empathy, people! Some decency! Some…something you don’t have.

    1. Robin DesCamp

      At least I know now what desperation smells like. May I never need a man that much. I “need” a man like a toaster needs a lifejacket or a box of crayons.

  6. Tracy W

    I’m sorry, let me get this straight: your “friend” knew your husband was fucking your soon-to-be-neighbor and didn’t tell you? She knew you were about to move into the house next door and she didn’t tell you? How long have you been “friends” with this person? What fuckery! I’m sorry you’re going through this. Maybe you should move…?

    1. Robin DesCamp

      1. My “friend” knew. Her husband knew. Her husband is the girlfriend’s brother. And the girlfriend knew I was moving in next door and said nothing when I communicated with her about the move and how excited I was to be moving in next door to her. See, I sort of knew her. And of course, my husband knew. The “friend” was never a friend, just a person posing as one for photos. It took me many years to figure that out. It’s funny though, Mr. P&U talked for years about how he couldn’t stand the couple, especially the wife because of how she treats her husband, and now they are all hanging out together like family. Go figure.

      2. I’m not moving again. Moving is gut and heart-wrenching and it ain’t happening. Jake loves it here, with the exception of our little situation next door, which he labeled “gross.” I’m not even moving despite this woman laughing at me an hour ago when I ran into her outside. She literally laughed right in my face, and all I could think was, “What in the ever-loving fuck is so funny? Who are you? Who does that? Shouldn’t you be like, really ashamed of yourself right now?” And then I remembered who she is dating and what she knows about him, and it all made perfect sense. Hopefully they will get married and move away together so I can enjoy my new place in peace.

  7. Snoopy

    To look back on all that you have accomplished in the months since Mr. PU deserted is inspiring. You recreated a loving home for your son, took your passion and made it into a business that will be able to support you for the rest of your life. You have found new, real people to replace the old, fake ones and will walk away with your head held high and your heart stronger. I am proud of all that you shown you can do, Robin! Congratulations and here is to 2017!

  8. SalemLawyer

    What you have gone through this year would have devastated a lesser woman. I marvel at your strength and ability to pull yourself up and literally make lemonade from all those lemons. (I’ll be over sometime soonish and we can add some vodka to that lemonade!)

    That you have not lost your sense of humor is amazing, and that you have found the time to continue to keep us amused and informed with the blog while constructing a new career from the ground up deserves applause and approval from every single reader of the blog.

    Think about it, people–she had to move on very short notice, with very little cash, only to discover that the house she HAD ALREADY MOVED INTO was next door to her can’t-be-former-soon-enough husband’s mistress’s house! Then, while dealing with the bar complaint from hell, which hung over her for an unconscionable 8 1/2 months, she reactivates her bar license and starts her practice which has a completely different way of representing divorcing parties, not billing them by the hour. All the while, she’s dealing with her divorce from a well-known trial lawyer, who is represented by two other big-time trial lawyers. Oh, and doing an awesome job as a parent. And managing to write this blog regularly. Give this woman an award!

  9. Melinda DesCamp

    2016 was a shit show for sure. 2017 will be better simply because your life is finally on an upward trajectory. Don’t lose momentum! And don’t forget your sister is always here for you too. I get the “lonely” thing, trust me, but you have so many friends and family that are true and honest and real….don’t forget that.

  10. 19th Hole Habitue

    Your true friends know the difference between what matters and what is merely social fluff. Even at PGC we can tell. You matter.

  11. Kristi

    I’m so glad this didn’t break you because my selfish ass would be super upset not reading your blogs and advice.
    You have a great gift for putting things in perspective. I would not be happier than I’ve very been right now if it was not for you.
    I wish I lived closer so I could help you deal with all this fuckery. I’m really good at shading lying, psychotic, thirsty bitches so that would have been a fun thing to do on your driveway.
    Stay strong and awesome!

    1. Robin DesCamp

      Thanks! I am sitting here with fuckery next door and instead of being annoyed, I am so thankful I do not have a thoughtless, selfish, self-centered, and insecure man in my life. It’s much, much better to be alone than to be alone and tethered to an awful match at the same time. He’s someone else’s problem now.

      1. PGC Wife

        Did she buy her ball gown at Goodwill?

        1. Robin DesCamp

          I wasn’t there – I have no idea what you mean. And sorry, I don’t care. I have bigger fish for the pan right now.

      2. Walker, Texas Ranger

        I wouldn’t have pegged him as insecure. He struts around Portland like he owns this town, in my opinion. I never saw what you saw but I’m glad your “blinders” are off. He’s a shitty golfer, too.

        1. Robin DesCamp

          Being intensely competitive with your partners, one in particular, and pretending to be friends with them while luxuriating over their inability to get into certain organizations (ACTL) is a good example. Being gleeful when they fall from the Top 10 to Top 50 in meaningless “best lawyers” lists and writing emails about such glee is another. Why not just enjoy your own accomplishments? Why obsess over wanting someone else to somehow be beneath you? I just don’t get it, but that’s me. I think there is tremendous envy, especially financial and who gets the most “press” and recognition, going on there. I’ll be exploring that next week.

          1. Robin DesCamp

            Just received via FB messenger:

            “Good luck. I’ve never met you but through reading your work I feel as if I know you. I went through a terrible divorce three years ago and I know how awful it can be. May mediation and whatever comes next be filled with peace, hope and love for you and your son. I feel certain that 2017 will be your year!”

            Keep these great comments coming. When I feel the most scared and vulnerable they truly help.

  12. A Friend

    When do you go to court to figure things out, or mediation or whatever? I saw your FB post about the little Christmas tree and it really struck me as poignant. How are you and the kid doing these days? Chins up?

    1. Robin DesCamp

      Mediation, a process I will have to go through with no lawyer or discovery, is this coming Wednesday. We have a hearing the first week of next year to determine whether I can get a small percentage of what Mr. Wonderful is paying for his attorneys. I’d like to either be able to pay myself or retain an attorney, as I am spending a LOT of time on this case. Sometimes I think about how surreal it all is, and then I go back and look at emails that are almost ten years old, an electronic marital autopsy if you will, and all the red flags were there. I was too stupid and blindly in love to see them.

      My little tree gives me hope and makes me and Jake happy. Thanks for noticing it. I may not have a huge circle of friends, but the friends I do have are amazing, thoughtful, generous, kind, empathetic, and add great meaning to my life. I am no longer tied to vacuous and vapid relationships. That’s a gift, in and of itself.

  13. PDX Attorney

    We’ve been following your filings at our office. You are making real progress and the learning curve is short for you so keep your confidence up! Will you be summarizing those for the blog, or posting them?

    1. Robin DesCamp

      One of my favorite commenters is back! Thanks. I have learned a lot very quickly, both in this case and another. I will be posting the filings themselves. I hope to start with that tomorrow morning but right now I am putting out fires in other arenas so please be patient. Also, let’s have a drink or lunch soon?

  14. Robin DesCamp

    As I suspected, mediation was fruitless. In fact, it was a farce. I will be posting recent filings and an update tomorrow. Thanks for your continued interest in this comedy of errors and mirages.

Comments are closed.