Monday, June 01, 2009

mediation and getting my stuff back

had a mediation session on friday

it was the first joint mediation session. she went in at 9 a.m. and i went in at 9:45 a.m.

each of us had a private session with the two mediators first - there are now two mediators assigned to our case because they expect it to be difficult to handle (and least that's what i found out during the various sessions that morning).

i had already prepared my agenda

i was asking for a series of items. my plan was that i would start with things she couldn't say no to and then work my way into stuff that was more controversial.

we went into to joint session. they explained the rules of how everything works, and then had us sign the mediation agreement. it's court ordered and the government pays the whole shot. it's cheaper than court, and has a more successful resolution record than people going straight into the courts.

they talked to us about not discussing the mediation or negotiations with the kids. the stbx was full of platitudes about letting children be children, blah, blah, blah

they put up our respective wish lists for mediation outcomes on the wall.

my wish list started with me getting back various of my personal effects that i have been unable to collect for the last three years - items that i brought into the marriage. it then dealt with the other aspects of the settlement.

the STBX's list dealt entirely with joint parenting issues

it was funny because the mediators asked for us to decide who was going to go first. the stbx said i should go first since she had gone first every other time.

i had no idea of what she was talking about, but i went first (she later complained that all the discussion was about my issues and not her's...)

i asked for my personal photos back (pre-marriage), and a number of other items i had brought in with me. i also asked for various items my family had given us.

the stbx just about had a shit fit. she didn't want to give anything. she snorted and was dismissive of my requests - saying that anything i was talking about was all junk and old and that it wasn't worth anything anyway so why would i want it. she belittled the property issues i raised as being not worthy of consideration when there were weightier matters of child rearing to be considered.

except she started crying and yelling when i raised any of the property that i wanted to get or discuss.

the mediators told her that whether she thought it was important or not, eventually it would have to be discussed and that she had granted me the opportunity to speak first

she went completely ballistic when i asked to be able to go through to house to see what stuff was there because i didn't remember what all we had, and i thought a walk through would jog my memory. the stbx offered to take and send me pictures and i could try and remember what i want from them.

i said that was unacceptable and that it would hardly facilitate being able to look through a few of the drawers and shelving units.

i wanted to be able to tag items for discussion of disposition

she started accusing me of having robbed her numerous times already and that me entering the house would "violate" her. she complained that she didn't get to walk through my place and see what i had taken from her already.

when i asked what i had robbed her of she backed down and said she was speaking about being robbed emotionally and robbed of the life she had planned to live. she said i had already taken everything i wanted but kept coming back for more. i asked her which items that i had taken to set up my apartment that she had an issue with - the answer: none. she couldn't answer why she would say that i had everything i wanted when i had documentation and her own admission that she had stalled for almost 3 years on even giving me back my personal effects...

she started raising her voice more and crying and crap

the mediators had to ask me to leave the room so they could talk to the stbx one on one.

they got her calmed down

they were going to shut down the session for the day, but i told them that is they wanted any buy in from the stbx she had to be allowed to say her piece or she would them torpedo the whole process as biased against her

so she did her rant. she is still on the joint parenting thing and wanting to be able to call me at any time on parenting issues

i put the kibosh on that citing her past misuse of such calls to bring up relationship issues and history instead of dealing with parenting issues

she wants to send daughter out of province for most of the summer to her sister's place.

the mediators kept telling her that she couldn't change her requests and demands in the middle of the session - that she had to ask for something and stick with that request


blah, blah, blah

it was the usual stbx insanity


she finally capitulated to all of my requests - almost screaming she doesn't care and that she can pick up replacements for everything at the salvation army

she kept mentioning this dresser set that my parents gave us that she refinished - she has been supposed to give it to me for just about 3 years now - saying that it isn't worth anything and she doesn't even know why i would want it or anything else in the house and that it's not even worth discussing so why are we discussing it

as i said (the old saying) to the mediators after the session was done "If they say it's not about the money - it's about the money"

the stbx has been bagging about money since the day we met - and certainly since we got married. it's almost all she ever talks to the kids about - that she's terrified she'll have to pay support

she got daughter to ask me not to tell the mediators that daughter is staying with me more time than the stbx - because then stbx would have to pay child support. i did not bend to that request and even brought up that she had already been trying to negotiate through the kids - a nice contrast to her mealy mouthed platitudes from earlier - about not involving the kids

she ranted and we talked about talking

talked about parenting

and that was that


the outcome that i got was that she agreed to give me my stuff back - the stuff i had listed. they pinned her down on a day and time - sunday 12 noon - she tried so hard to resist setting a time and date but capitulated because she knew she couldn't get out of giving my stuff back

she tried to say i could have picked it up any time in the last three years, and that she didn't know why i hadn't just come over and gotten it - but then tried to get out of actually setting a date and time for me to get it

really - that kind of digging in her heels over a carved african chest and my personal pre-marriage photos, a food processor, and some chairs. I asked for a warming oven my mom gave us and an antique table she had loaned us.

you'd think it was the end of the fucking world

most of the stuff i asked for was in the storage room anyway - so it's not like i was taking something she needed

i even offered that she could keep the dresser and chest of drawers until she had obtained replacements.

it occurred to me later in the day that her emo shit fit and tearful breakdown had conveniently and successfully derailed the setting of a day for me to come in and tag the place


anyway, when the session was done they asked me to stay and her to leave - saying that they have a rule (which they do) about not letting clients leave at the same time

they talked to me a bit more about the stuff that had occurred. here i'm munging some of the conversation while the stbx was having her emo fit and the end talk, but they discussed various things with me.

i think that because i am SOOOOOOO level headed and calm in such settings, and because i know all the jargon they use for mediation, they stepped outside their required neutrality and let some of their opinions show through

some money quotes/paraphrases:

"I think you are over this... but she's certainly not."

"We are having difficulty figuring out what she wants because she changes what she says between intake, her solo session earlier and during the joint session."

i had to explain that stbx often has 4 or 5 different opinions on any subject (often opposed to the other opinion she holds) and that she will pluck the position and idea out of midair at any moment that it is convenient to back up whatever she thinks she wants at that moment - and that she will change in a minute and think nothing of it

we talked a fair bit more about some of the behaviours she had displayed and that i predicted she would display during intake and the solo time

i had predicted most of them accurately

they said they thought i was exaggerating at the time, but not anymore


i went over to the stbx's on sunday to pick up the stuff and discovered that she had left the garage filled with shit

i assumed she wanted me to take it all, because it was stuff i had bought or had been given by my family - or that she just didn't want anymore

i only took the items we had discussed (i additionally took a couple of very small things that my mom had given me - childhood memory stuff - that had not been formally discussed). i left everything else.

i figured:

1) it was a trap

2) it was a passive aggressive tantrum

3) i had not allocated time to move all the crap she had dumped in the garage

i took the agreed stuff

as for the rest, i left it there

i also figured it would infuriate her

which it did

i was amused to receive her phone calls later that day. i hit ignore on my cell phone.

i picked up a message later on in which she said she had put the stuff out there and that if i didn't pick it up that day (the same day) that she would call junk removal people and have them haul it away

i called her and told her that if she did that i would file theft charges with the police, as well as a complaint of destruction of property

she beaked away at me and i stuck to my lines

- we hadn't discussed it
- she didn't leave a note
- she didn't call me until after the fact to tell me she thought i should take it, even though she had phoned the day before (saturday) to tell me she was putting the dresser, chest of drawers, and night table out.

i then told her that i would assume that i should consider all the aitems she put in the garage as tagged by her as for discussion of disposition and that we would discuss them at the same time as i came over to inspect and tag inside the house

she said "you mean you still want to do that? i put everything you would want out there already. there's nothing left that you would want."

i said that i thought it was pretty presumptuous for her to assume she knew what i would want

she snarled "well, if you're still going to do that, it had better be in the next couple of days so i can get on with the rest of my life."

i said "sure" and dropped the call.


FYI - the idea of tagging the items in the house is meant as both the quickest way to take care of the discussion and as a method of infuriating her


my flip commentary and aggressive (well, for me, agressive) attitude exhibited above did not in any way lessen the emotional impact of all of it

my poor writing and description in this post does it all a disservice as well

but that's where things stand

ugly, but moving ahead