Taking Out the Trash
My lawyer contacted me about a week after school started. Bubba’s lawyer had sent him a list of possessions that Bubba was demanding to take with him immediately. Since visitation was coming up and it would be the first time the children would be in Bubba’s new place, he wanted some things.
Some of the items Bubba wanted were:
Our huge dining room table (that seats 8-10 people)
The huge flat-screen t.v.
The blu-ray player
All of our tools
Various pieces of furniture
His personal belongings
I told my lawyer that I wanted to keep the dining room table. I had the kids and why did a man, who lived alone, need a table that could seat 10 people? I had people at my house at least once or twice a week so I needed that big table. My lawyer said, “But when you move, you will have to move it and hope your new place is big enough for it.” I immediately said, “He can have the table.”
I told my lawyer that Bubba absolutely could NOT have my bed. It was one of my non-negotiables and it had been a gift. For so long I’d slept on a donated mattress that was about 20 years old when we got it. A few years prior to this, Bubba had gotten a bonus and wanted to buy me a laptop. I told him that a new bed would mean so much more to me. I was stiff and sore every morning and I never slept well.
At that point, I was hoping a brand-new, good mattress would help. Bubba was furious that I didn’t want the laptop. I actually fought him on this. I told him that he said he wanted to buy me a gift. He wanted to buy me a laptop for the gift but I would rather have a new bed. Since I was the one receiving the gift, shouldn’t it be something I desperately wanted and needed?
Bubba reluctantly gave in. I didn’t care how mad he was at me because I wanted a bed more than I wanted to keep the peace. Now here he was, demanding the bed that I’d fought so hard for. NO! Bubba was not getting my bed.
Arcadia questioned this. She was worried about all the negative memories in it. She asked me if it wouldn’t be better to let him have the bed that he raped me in. Wouldn’t it be better to get rid of it and get a new one. I thought about it, and realized that Bubba and I never slept in that bed. He always slept with the boys and I always slept in it alone. Besides, I was hoping to make new memories in it someday. Until then, I would just think of it as MY bed. And Bubba was not getting my bed.
When I saw that he wanted his “personal belongings” I asked Arcadia to help me box up everything of his. If he wanted his personal belongings, he was going to get every last thing that belonged to him. He was going to get the boxes and boxes of stuff we’d been moving for over 15 years. He had tons of boxes that he refused to go through.
Every time we moved, I would purge and get rid of stuff we hadn’t used since the last move. He just would not do it with his stuff so we continued to move it around and store it, neither of us knowing what was in any of those boxes. Now, I had the chance to get rid of years worth of worthless junk.
Arcadia and I had our work cut out for us. The plans had been made that Bubba would pick up his stuff at the same time he was picking up the children for visitation and he had not given me much notice. I boxed up everything he owned in the house (which wasn’t actually very much stuff – a few boxes) and moved those boxes, along with the furniture, into the living room. The furniture and boxes took up most of the living room.
On the day I cleaned out our closet another friend was visiting me. I greeted her at the door in my cut-off shorts, an old t-shirt, and my stilettos. She looked at me questioningly and I told her that I was wearing my heels to pack his stuff because it made me feel powerful – knowing he’d never see me in them ever again. I remember how we laughed about it. I was certainly walking around the house in my freedom that day.
Then, Arcadia and I started the daunting task of going through all of his boxes. I wanted to double-check that nothing of mine was actually in any of his boxes. Besides, I was insanely curious what he’d been carting around all of these years. What I found was enough to make me want to scream. It was truly junk. We found so many boxes of paperwork from jobs he’d left years ago that it was mind-boggling. We found boxes of old cassette tapes. We found boxes of office supplies and two old computers. It was all worthless and it had been taking up so much space in our lives that I was happy to see it go.
Two days before Bubba was scheduled to arrive to pick up his stuff and the kids, he called to let me know what time he’d be arriving. I asked if him he was bringing a U-Haul and what size he was bringing because I wanted it all out of the house. He said he was just bringing one that would attach to the back of his truck. I couldn’t help it – I laughed. I told him he was going to have to bring a bigger trailer than that. He asked why, because he hadn’t asked for much. When I informed him of the sheer amount of stuff he actually requested, he got mad at me for expecting him to actually pick it up. He immediately got off the phone.
My phone rang about 30 minutes later. It was my lawyer trying to tell me that Bubba only wanted the things on the list and nothing else. I patiently explained to him that Bubba had indeed requested his “personal items,” I’d gotten them together, and I fully expected him to stick to the agreement and get the stuff out of there. I told my lawyer that the kids and I could barely walk around all of his stuff and it was too hazardous for the children for Bubba to not take it. My lawyer told me he’d try but he couldn’t promise me anything.
I informed my lawyer that either Bubba got his stuff or I’d dispose of it as unwanted. I was finally growing a backbone! I had reached down and borrowed some of Fluffy’s strength and anger. I hadn’t done all that work to let Bubba dictate what he was and wasn’t going to take with him that day.
My lawyer told me he’d talk to Bubba’s lawyer but I couldn’t make Bubba take his things. I told him that I had it in writing that he wanted all of his personal items and what day he was picking them up. He either took them or he didn’t, but they weren’t staying in my house one day longer.
Bubba showed up that morning with a policeman in tow. The policeman said he could only stay for a few minutes and that he was not happy that Bubba had chosen to do this when the children were around. I stood there and listened as Bubba tried to blame it on me. I actually could’ve gone out and kissed the policeman when he put Bubba in his place. The policeman told Bubba that he was a grown man and he knew exactly when his children would be home and to not blame me for him showing up when he did. Yep, I definitely wanted to kiss that policeman for standing up to Bubba.
Since Bubba had only brought the U-Haul that attaches to the back of a truck, he had to make multiple trips to a storage unit he had to quickly rent. I actually had to go back to my bedroom and dance happily around the room that I’d won one small victory.
All of his stuff would be gone by the end of the day!