The day that changed my life started out as a normal day. It was not until I returned home after work that I got the bad news. My wife Karen was waiting for me at the kitchen table "Please sit down Rich, we need to talk." I knew right away this was going to be bad.
"I'm very sorry but I have already moved out of the house and I have filed for divorce." Karen was talking fast and not looking at me, her words seemed rehearsed. She slid a manila envelope across the table to me.
"Where are the children?" I was in shock at this point.
"I moved the children out and they will be staying with me. But don't worry, you will be getting plenty of visitation. I have met someone else, you know that things have not been good between us for some time. I'm sorry, but there is just no easy way to tell you this."
"How could things be good between us with you out fucking someone else?" At least she had the good grace to look guilty and sad at this point.
"I'm sorry about this Rich, really sorry. I wish things had been different. I have to do what is best for the children and me."
"What is this assholes name?" I asked, my anger growing.
"I'm not going to tell you that. It would only cause trouble."
"So this asshole is making me a cuckold and taking my wife and children from me but you think you are going to be able to avoid any trouble? Get a clue!"
"If you're going to talk like that I'm leaving." she said as she stood up and walked out the door.
Her actions were a shock but not really all that unexpected. We had not had sex for months and had not been getting along like a married couple for almost a year. I had suspected something was up and had tried to talk to Karen many times. She always told me there was no problem, that it was my imagination. Ya, right!
Karen was a beautiful woman in anybody's book. Tall and sultry with a great body. She had great taste in clothes and knew how to wear them. I should have been watching her more carefully instead of working 6 days a week to make a life for us.
We played golf at the municipal course but she preferred the country club when she went there with a friend as a guest. We had an ongoing argument about joining the club. I wanted to wait a few years but Karen wanted the good life now. I was willing to bet her new man was a member or would be soon.
I had considered having her watched by a private investigator but never did it. Perhaps I should have. Then again what difference would it have made? Our marriage was over the first time she gave herself to another man.
The next day I called the attorney I use for my business and he referred me to a divorce attorney. I was able to get an appointment the next day. I told him my prime concern was my children. I wanted to know where they were and when I could see them.
From my wife's attorney we learned she and the kids were living in a house owned by a Gary Anders. He was about ten years older than her and was one of the Country Club set, old money. It seems Karen had decided to trade me in for a husband with more money, a bigger house, and a Country Club membership.
My attorney sat me down and gave me the bad news. Karen was a stay at home mom and she would get the kids, half the value of our home and probably half my business.
That night was the low point in my life. I was living alone in an empty house. My children were living in another man's home and my wife was sleeping in his bed. I had spent years working my ass off to support my family and make a better life and future for them. Now I had been tossed aside, my family gone. I heated up a frozen diner but found that Karen had taken all the knives, forks and spoons. I looked around and found a plastic fork and sat down to eat my meal. That plastic fork was the last straw. I swore an oath to myself right there and then that this situation would not stand. No matter what I had to do, no matter what the cost or who I needed to kill, this would not stand!
I had been operating my own equipment rental business since or marriage eight years before. Business was really good but I was not taking much money out of the business. Except for a moderate salary and bonus for myself, all the profits had been reinvested back in the business. I was buying new equipment as fast as I could.
I had told Karen a hundred times that we needed to economize a little in our private lives for a few years. Every dollar invested in new equipment would come back tenfold in equipment rentals. Karen preferred instant gratification, flying first class and getting a massage at the club.
Karen was pretty good about allowing me access to the Children. Cheryl 7 and David 5 were at my house every other weekend and I took them out to eat usually one night a week. Not what I wanted but my attorney pointed out it was better than most fathers got.
My attorney gave me a little advice. Don't get mad, get the house! Kind of a divorce attorney's play on words. He told me she had the legal high ground but I had the moral high ground. Playing around on me and walking out with the children and moving in with her lover was not going to go over well in our community. I needed to use that to my advantage. If I resorted to violence and vindictiveness I would lose my moral position.
He also pointed out that in this situation my wife had to feel guilty. And she was probably getting a hard time from friends, family and our kids. These were advantages for our side. I took his advice and tried as best as I could to swallow my anger. It tasted pretty bad but one day soon I would turn the tables on her and lover boy.
My attorney was right about the reaction of friends and neighbors, they were shocked. Karen's own family was against her. Her parents called me to ask about a reconciliation. I told them I had no part in the break up and that it was their daughter they needed to talk to.
Karen came back to the house one night to "talk" to me. She was actually trying to convince me that our break up was for the best. That we could talk things out and everything would be okay. "Karen look around this house. It's an empty shell. I have no wife anymore. I have no children anymore. I don't have a life anymore. This isn't a home anymore it's just a house. Karen you fucked everything up so you could get rich quick with your new man!" Karen was crying at this point so I asked her to leave.
The kids were a source of information as to what was going on in Karen's new and improved life. However my best information came from friends. Typically Karen told a girlfriend, who told her husband, who told me. I was careful to play golf with my friends on a regular basis. I didn't need to ask questions, my friends were dying to pass along what they knew. Our break up was the hot topic for months. I found out that Karen was not the one that went looking to cheat. Anders had his eye on her for a long time and worked his way into her affections over time.
Karen's attorney offered me a 60 percent split of our assets. My attorney new this was a gambit for a quick settlement. Karen didn't need my money, Gary Anders had more than they could spend already. We decided to wait a little and see if we could do even better.
I learned through the grape vine that Karen and Gary were planning a June wedding. The Country Club had already been booked. This was Gary's first wedding so he was pulling out all the stops. He could afford to.
Under normal circumstances there was plenty of time for Karen to get a divorce and have a June wedding. But my attorney was pretty confident he could drag things out till then with a few tricks. He asked me if I needed to go to Europe soon on business. I told him I think I needed to investigate a new line of generators made is Scotland.
Karen's attorney saw through the stall tactics pretty quickly and asked what it would take for a quick divorce. I wanted to say she walks away with nothing but my attorney said that would not go over well in court. "Better to give her something or we look like we are taking advantage."
We offered Karen 50 percent of the value of our house when it was sold or in 10 years, whichever came first. No cash, no alimony, no child support, no part of the business, now or ever.
She took the deal in a heartbeat. They must have already printed the wedding invitations. At my insistence the language of the agreement made it plain that this was a "final deal" I didn't want Karen coming back later for more money.
I had stopped buying large amounts of equipment right after Karen moved out. The few things I purchased were on credit. I started putting away cash as much as I could.
The divorce was final in February, in plenty of time for the wedding. As soon as I was free I started looking for a house. I soon found a 5 bedroom house with a pool and in-law apartment over the garage. It had a large yard for the children and backed up on woods. I took a large bonus from the business and paid cash for the house. The old house I put up for rent so as not to have to pay Karen her 50 percent until the 10 years were up.
I picked up the children at school one Friday and took them to the new house, they loved it. I called Karen and told her the new address for her to pick the kids up on Sunday. When she arrived and saw the house she was dumbfounded. "How can you afford a house like this Rich?"
"I always told you the business would pay off someday Karen. Did you think I was kidding you? You should have hung in a while longer."
"But Rich the mortgage must be a killer!"
"I paid cash for the house Karen. You should have paid more attention to the business. The rental inventory alone is valued at over 5 million."
.... There is more of this story ...