Saturday, February 18, 2012

Husband #3 (the most awful one)

His name was Bob. Well, his real name was Behdad (he was from Iran originally, but was shipped  by his parents to US to live with his older married brother when he was a teenager,so he adopted a western name).
I met him when I applied for a job as a Restaurant Manager at Denny's Restaurant in California: he was the one to interview me, as he was a District Manager.
He told me later the only reason he chosen me from a dozen or so applicants were my long legs (I was wearing a short skirt) and not my resume...
The job was pretty intense: 10-14 hour days in a very busy restaurant which was open 24/7. According to our contract, as managers we couldn't leave if the place was busy,even if our 10 hour shift was over (we were salaried). Most of the time we spent on our feet, helping on the floor,at the register or in the kitchen. And then there was paperwork and stocktaking to do as well.
Basically, I had no life:I was so tired by the time I got home, all I wanted to do was sleep and when I woke up it was time to get back to work.
I had a boyfriend, but he was a married man and I hardly saw him: he would come over my place from time to time and we'd have something to eat and some sex (it wasn't particularly good).
So when Bob started coming over to the restaurant where I worked (it was his job as a District Manager  to visit all the units in his assigned District to make sure everyone and everything was working as it should) more often and asked me to sit down for a meal with him, I was flattered. It was something new and exciting for me, it broke up the routine of seemingly endless hours at work and I felt quite special.
We talked about our lives and Bob told me he was divorced and had two sons who lived with their mother full-time.
Soon Bob asked me out. I agreed: I liked him and was excited by the prospect of a new relationship.
The night we went out Bob drank quite a bit, but I'm from Russia, where all men drink a lot, so I didn't think much of it..
After  few dates Bob and I had sex (nothing special) and soon we were seeing each other all the time,spending our days off together. It only seemed logical to move in together because of our hectic schedules, so we did (I broke up with the married guy by then). We rented a townhouse which was was equal distance from work for both of us (as dating co-workers was prohibited by the company, and we had to report our relationship, I was transferred to a different Denny's, outside of Bob's District).
As I've always been organised with money, I took over finances for our household. That's when I discovered that Bob's life was a mess. Although he was making pretty good money, he had a lot of debt (various credit cards). He was also paying hefty child support.
I made it my mission to straighten out Bob's situation: he gave me his paycheck every week, I combined it with mine and  was paying off his debts,taking care of all household expenses and making sure his child support was paid on time. Obviously Bob's paycheck wasn't covering all of his expenses(thus his massive debt), so I had to supplement a lot of it from mine. But I figured we were partners working towards a common goal and building a future together, so I didn't mind...

Bob was a dream of a boyfriend in the beginning: he often stopped by my work just to say "hi" with flowers for no occasion, "just because", he gave me a lot of jewellery (it was his grandmother's-she left it to him), he was attentive...
Things started to change slowly when we moved in together,though.
First of all, Bob drunk A LOT. He would get home and start on a bottle of vodka (which he drank in shots, straight up) and would finish it by the time he went to bed.
He also started to exhibit the signs of possessive and controlling behavior. First he said that he'd rather I didn't wear high heels,as he was a little shorter than me. I didn't think much of it and agreed readily.
Then came requests regarding the type of clothes I wore.
I remember one time we were getting ready to go to a company function and I had on what was called "car wash" skirt: it was just above the knee in length and the bottom of it consisted of overlapping panels which weren't sewn together, so they just flapped around when you walked, showing a bit (not much at all) of a leg. Just as we were going through the door, Bob asked "What is it you're wearing? Are you going out like that?" I was taken aback,as he used to compliment me on my "sexy' clothes. I asked him what the problem was. Bob was furious. He told me that it would be embarrassing for him to walk around with me dressed like a "slut". He added that no girlfriend of his was going out in public looking like that.
I had no idea where all that came from and the conversation escalated into an argument by the end of which I was in tears. We ended up staying at home and not going anywhere.
We've made up later that night, but the issue never went away: Bob wanted me to dress in a demure fashion from then on.
Then there was a huge argument we had on the way back from LasVegas,when Bob demanded I stopped the car (we were on a freeway in the middle of the desert), got out and started walking. It took me about 15 minutes of begging (although he was clearly in the wrong) to get him back in the car-he always manipulated things so everything was my fault and I was the one asking for forgiveness.

There was never a formal proposal, but we've been talking about the future and I said that I wanted to be married. Eventually, Bob and I just went to a jewellery store and bought a simple gold band for him (I paid). I started wearing one of the rings I've already had on my "married" finger. So it was understood that we were engaged.
I've met Bob's parents (they lived right there in LA) and my parents came from Russia to spend a month with us. Bob was on his best behaviour while my parents were staying with us.
We set the date (about 6 months ahead) and I started preparations for the wedding (booking the venue,shopping for a wedding gown,ordering invitations,etc).
In the meantime, Bob was unhappy at work and so was I. We also found CA real estate to be way too expensive and I wanted to buy a house. We decided to start looking for jobs in other states.
When we saw the ad for a restaurant manager for a well-known chain (Red Lobster) for Las Vegas, we both went in for an interview. Right away we were told that they don't employ husband/wife teams, so I let Bob go through with the interview: he was quite a bit older and his options were somewhat limited, while I was young and didn't mind going back to waitressing.
The way it worked out, we had our wedding and honeymoon and moved to Vegas right after that, as Bob had to start his new job the next day.
Our wedding wasn't a particularly huge affair: about 60 people were invited, we had a formal church ceremony and then reception in a Russian restaurant.
I remember sitting at home waiting for the limo to arrive to take me to the church (Bob was already there waiting for me). My hair and make-up were professionally done and I was wearing a dressing gown, as my wedding one was to be delivered to the church by the dry-cleaners who steamed it, so it wouldn't be wrinkled. My Dad flew from Russia for the occasion.
An overwhelming feeling of dread and foreboding came over me. I just sat there, on my living room couch, staring into space. My Dad said "You know, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You can just cancel the whole damn thing". But I was always practical and realistic "that firm grip on reality" quality of mine: I thought about all the ramifications of cancelling and they seemed overwhelming. I've decided to soldier on (decision that almost cost me my life). I got into the limo and plastered a brave smile on my face.
Things turned really ugly pretty much as soon as we said "I do". Bob got really drunk at the reception and was acting like an idiot, embarrassing me in front of our friends. Then, on the second day of our honeymoon (we were taking a Mexican cruise) we were seating in one of the ship's bars. It was a bit dark and I was idly looking around (I wear prescription glasses for distance, so don't see well beyond couple-three meters,especially in the dark).
Suddenly, Bob was hissing in my ear "What the fuck are you looking at?! Are looking at other men?! Do you want to fuck them?? Is that it?!" I was shocked-I didn't even know how to reply to that. We were on our honeymoon, for crying out loud!
As you can imagine, honeymoon was miserable: Bob was drunk and verbally abusive most of the time. It was all downhill from there.
We moved to Vegas, Bob started his job and I found a job as a waitress almost immediately in Tropicana Hotel.
It was in Vegas when I found out what really went on between Bob and his ex-wife and children.
He always told me that she was a bitch and a money-hungry whore who turned his children (they had two sons) against him. Bob's youngest son (he was about 12) used to come and stay with us some weekends and holidays, but he was growing up to be a mini copy of Bob (manipulative), so he used situation to his advantage, to get presents,money,etc from ALL of us (he constantly played the three of us: Anita (Bob's ex), him and myself against each other). So he never told me the true story.
Here's the truth: Bob was an alcoholic and at one time a drug user as well. He was emotionally and physically abusive towards his ex-wife. One time, while under influence of various substances, Bob has beaten his wife so badly, she couldn't walk. She crawled from the house to the 7-Eleven down the street where their eldest son worked as a clerk. He was the one to call ambulance. She ended up with 44 sutures.
Although she filed a complaint with police, she withdrew it later. Bob was still charged by DA, but received only probation  as  sentence. His eldest son hated him with passion, sending him a hand-made card one Father's Day,all coloured in black and full of messages like "I hate you!" and "I hope you die!".

Bob was a gun collector (we had 8 guns of various calibers in our house) and held a permit to carry a concealed weapon. He went to a shooting range regularly and was a pretty good shot.

As Bob's drinking got worse and worse, it was harder and harder for him to hide. He would buy a bottle of vodka on the way home from work and finish it in a couple of hours, then get another one.
I woke up one night to see him sitting on the floor cross-legged,shot glass in hand,staring at TV with the sound turned off and mumbling to himself.
He took very long showers in the mornings before work (up to 45 min) trying to get the stench of alcohol out of his pores. He also used copious amounts of eye drops in an attempt to get the redness out of his eyes.
I tried everything: I wouldn't give Bob any money, so he couldn't buy alcohol, I searched for unopened bottles throughout the house (he hid them in old suitcases,in the crawl space,in the toilet tank,at the back of the closets) and poured the contents out, I begged him to get help...
Nothing worked. Bob told me I would have to handcuff him to the railing to prevent him from drinking. He even suggested he start using drugs instead of drinking!
He started drinking alcohol at work (restaurant where he worked had full bar),putting his job in jeopardy.
Bob's mood swings were getting extreme as well. He was picking fights with me out of nowhere.
One time I came home after a hair appointment to find Bob in a sullen mood. He demanded to know where I've been. Then he said "Why would you go off by yourself and don't take me with you?" I explained that I was in a salon for 3 hours getting my hair coloured,cut and blow-dried-he would be bored silly sitting around waiting for me. "That's not the point", he screamed "You should have invited me". We ended up in a screaming match and,like in every other argument, a lot of other issues were dredged up.
I know I have a sharp tongue and I know all the buttons to push on a person. When I get angry, there is no stopping me-I can inflict serious damage (verbally). I've gotten a lot better in recent years, learning to keep myself in check, but back then I just saw red and went for the jugular.
I remember screaming at Bob "You can't even screw your way out of a wet paper bag with that limp noodle of yours!"
That was like waving a red flag in front of charged-up bull: Bob always wanted to come across as a "manly man" (I am pretty sure he had some issues with his sexuality that stemmed from his adolescent years spent in closed-type military school in English countryside).
Bob charged after me. I tried to get away, run into the bedroom and locked the door. He tried to barge through it, but then went away.It was quiet for a while. I thought that maybe he went out.
Next thing, Bob was kicking in the door-it was a flimsy generic one,so he got through it in a matter of seconds. In his hand he had a gun from his collection-9mm Beretta handgun favored by US policemen at one point. I screamed and tried to run, but there was nowhere to go: Bob was blocking the doorway. He lunged at me as I was trying to climb across the bed,grabbed a handful of my hair and hit me on my back with the butt of the gun. The blow landed on my spine between shoulder blades. It hurt so bad, I thought I was going to black out. But that was not an option, as I knew Bob might just kill me then. I kicked at him with my elbow as hard as I could and he let go of me. I run out of the room,down the stairs and out of the door, grabbing me purse from the little table in the foyer on the way.
Thankfully, my car keys were in it. I drove away, sobbing,my spine throbbing with pain.
I drove aimlessly for a while,then stopped in one of many Las Vegas coffee shops to think. I knew I had to go back, even if only to figure out what to do next.
When I walked through the door, Bob was sitting on the couch. I went straight into the bedroom upstairs without speaking to him. He came up and asked me where I've been. He started crying, begging me for forgiveness,blaming his behavior on alcohol and telling me that he wants to get better (a pattern that would repeat itself many times).
We made up. But,of course,nothing changed.
It was becoming obvious to me that Bob wants me as his possession, and will go to great lengths to tie me to him.

He had a really complicated, hard to pronounce Iranian last name, so, in the beginning, I thought I'd just keep mine, because it's so short and simple.
Another huge fight erupted over that: Bob was telling me that I don't respect him, that no wife can ever refuse to take husband's name, that it was insulting to his honor (as if he had any:/)
I agreed to change my last name to his, but in order to do so, I had to request a copy of our official marriage certificate from the State of California (a lengthy process which takes over a month). In the meantime, Bob was accusing me of stalling and lying.
I did change my name-what a pain that was, only to change it back in less than a year when I finally was rid of Bob.

Bob kept talking about having children. I've explained my position on that in my other post

, so I had no intention of getting pregnant. Bob constantly tried to pressure me by laying guilt trips and starting arguments.
One day I was absolutely horrified to discover that my birth control failed somehow and I was,in fact,pregnant.
I knew I had to take care of the situation immediately and I couldn't tell Bob about it,as he would've made me keep the baby.
Abortion clinics are plentiful in US and it cost $200 for DNC (early-stage pregnancy termination).
Trouble was, they put you completely "under" and it was an outpatient procedure, so you had to come to the clinic with someone,as you couldn't really walk, much less drive yourself afterwards.
I've only been in Vegas for a short time and didn't have any friends yet (Bob discouraged me from meeting people of either gender and forming friendships-it was part of his controlling nature).
When you arrived at the clinic in the morning of the procedure, nurses asked you if there was someone there with you before they started the paperwork.
I've decided to "wing" it.
I scheduled the procedure on my day off, when Bob was at work. I wore a skirt with elastic waistband and hid my car key in it. As waiting room was fairly full, when nurse asked me if I had someone with me, I said yes and pointed in the room's general direction. They didn't inquire further.
I was sedated and procedure was done (they don't make you undress, just pull your skirt up). After procedure, all women are wheeled to a room where nurses wake them up almost immediately. Obviously, you are really, REALLY drowsy still and it's extremely hard to keep your eyes open. I was put in a wheelchair and wheeled by the nurse to the back door. She went to fetch whomever she thought was waiting for me from the waiting room.
I got up and walked out in the parking lot. I got into the car and tried to summon all my strength and willpower to stay awake. It wasn't easy. I was falling asleep at every traffic stop. It is sheer luck that I didn't get in an accident or wasn't pulled over by a cop. I've made it home and went to sleep.
I only had about 3.5 hours of sleep before Bob got home and I had to be alert and look presentable.
When Bob arrived, he announced that he'd taken next 2 days off and wanted us to go to California to visit his parents. He wanted to leave that night and I was to drive,as he was tired and I didn't have to work that day. I was still a bit drowsy (but not nearly as much as before) and sore from the procedure, but I had no choice: I couldn't tell Bob what I have done.
So we've made the trip, me driving, Bob sleeping in the passenger seat.

Things came to a head a few months later. During another violent argument Bob went after me with a fireplace poker. He was drunk, so I knocked it out of his hand, grabbed him by the ears and kicked him in the face with my knee. I broke his nose. For all his "manliness", he was crying like a baby, clutching his nose, while looking at me in disbelief-I've never reciprocated his violence before.
To get back at me, he started smearing his blood all over one of the white walls in the hallway (he knew it would upset me, as I am very pedantic about cleanliness and tidiness of my house).
I've had enough of Bob: I called the cops. They arrived fast in two cars. I told them Bob tried to assault me and I had to defend myself. Bob was handcuffed and put in police car, still in his bathrobe and sweat pants. He was trying to yell that I've broken his nose, but one of the cops just said dismissively "You'll live".
During the interview with the police I've told them about other incidents and showed them the guns. They confiscated all of them. They also provided me with a number to call 24 hours a day for an emergency restraining order, which I've done.
Then they took Bob away to jail.
The phone calls started 3 hours later (in the middle of the night). Clark County Detention center has a phone in the cells where inmates are kept (they put up to a dozen of inmates together in a relatively small cell while to wait for arraignment). The phones are there so people could let their friends/relatives know they've been arrested and ask them to post the bail.
Bob was calling every 20 minutes, crying, begging me to bail him out, telling me how sorry and scared he was.
After 3 hours I caved in. My biggest motivation was the fact that if Bob missed several days of work, he'd be fired and then I would really be stuck with him,as he had no place to go and no money.
I went to bail bonds agency and put our house up as collateral plus forked over quite a bit of cash.
Bob was suitably remorseful and tearful when  I posted his bail and picked him up from jail.
He was on his best behaviour for a few days. Then things went back to the way they were before.

A few weeks later Bob drove to CA to see his parents. By himself. Although his father was well aware of his alcoholism, he poured him few drinks (vodka straight up) at lunch and let him drive back to Las Vegas clearly intoxicated (about 6 hour drive). As Bob clearly lost all concept of common sense, he stopped at Nevada border to gamble (there are 2 casinos there). According to eye witnesses, he was stumbling on the way back to his car and someone called the police.
Bob was pulled over and arrested for DUI. The car he was driving (mine) was impounded.
When Bob called me from jail, I was livid. This time I flatly refused to bail him out and called his parents to inform them of consequences of their decisions/behaviour. I told them they have to bail him out, otherwise he'd loose his job. I told them I was changing the locks and wouldn't let Bob back in the house, so if he ended up unemployed, he would be their responsibility.
After trying to manipulate me into bailing Bob out for quite some time (over 24 hours and a dozen phone calls), his parents drove to Las Vegas and took care of the bail.
I had to pay to get my car back.
I told Bob we were done. Finished. This time it was final. I did change the locks. As I owned 2 cars, I told him he could have the little one (the one I got from the impound), but that was it. I was filing for divorce.
Bob rented a small apartment.
He tried to turn on manipulation full force: guild trips, begging,phone calls in the middle of the night,alternating crying and threats.
Although I had a restraining order against him, Bob came to the house once when I was at work, called locksmith,pretending that he lost his keys (his driver's license still showed my address). The key was replaced and he drew a very crude picture of a crying dog (he was lousy at drawing). He attached the picture to the upstairs landing and drew several tears on separate sheets of paper, stringing those together, leaving a trail of "tears" all the way downstairs. He left a note asking me to forgive "my bad doggie" (puke).
Several times Bob conned me into seeing him by calling and claiming that he came to terms with my decision and wants to meet to discuss "property division".
Usually in the first 5 minutes of those meetings he would start on how he knew "we'd always be together" and even if I divorced him, we would re-marry (what  a scary thought). I stormed out of two such meetings (one was in a restaurant and I got up so abruptly that my chair flew to the floor).
That's when I had a fleeting thought of "dealing" with Bob in different ways.

As I was working full-time and odd hours (at the time I was a waitress at the coffee shop in Tropicana Hotel which operated 24/7), Bob actually beat me to filing for divorce (he just wanted to punish me and make me feel bad,as divorce papers are served on you by Constables in US and it's quite an unpleasant procedure,especially when unexpected). I think he was also hoping that he'd get a better divorce settlement this way (he was wrong).
I've got my own lawyer. Ultimately, Jim (the lawyer) and I became good friends (NOT romantic or sexual). Jim (his full name was Jim Brown,now deceased, sadly) was actually quite famous in Las Vegas. At one point he handled the estate of infamous Ted Binion, the owner of The Horseshoe Casino, up until Ted was killed by his girlfriend Sandy Murphy

In fact, Jim was the lawyer Ted called few days before his death, asking to re-draft his will and saying that should anything happen to him,  Sandy was to blame.
But I digress.

Divorce proceedings took months,as Bob would not settle on property division and  was making unreasonable demands. The main point of contention was the house, as Bob knew I wanted to keep it and was bound and determined to prevent that from happening.
I was emotionally and physically drained. I've called my Dad in Russia and he flew over for a few weeks to support me.
During Dad's visit, when Bob asked me for a face-to-face meeting yet again, my Dad went with me. Sitting in there stone-faced he calmly and very clearly told Bob that if something, anything should happen to me, if even one hair falls from my head, he would hunt Bob down, cut his balls off, stuff them in his mouth and watch him choke slowly. Bob went white as a sheet. He just sat there motionless. My Dad asked him if he understood the message. Bob swallowed hard and nodded. With that Dad and I were gone.
In the meantime, I hired a Realtor to do evaluation on the house. That's when I found out that I would most likely lose money on the sale, as the area was deteriorating slowly, but visibly.
I've changed my strategy, but, of course, didn't tell Bob.
When yet another one of seemingly endless settlement proposals arrived from Bob's lawyer, offering me a cash settlement in exchange for Bob taking possession of the house (Bob never thought I would agree, so the proposal was actually reasonable), I accepted it in it's entirety, without amendments.
Bob had no choice but proceed.
While awaiting the actual court date (set for several months in the future), I bought myself another house.
Finally, the court date came. Four of us were in a small conference room inside the courthouse: myself, Bob and our respective lawyers. The Judge (a woman) came in and asked us for the last time if we were willing to settle amicably, without her interference. I was happy to, but Bob dug his heels in. Judge shrugged and told us  she'd see us in the courtroom.
My lawyer, who knew the Judge personally, went into her chambers to give her a bit of a background on the situation (all divorces are considered "no-contest" in US these days, siting irreconcilable differences,but he wanted to tell her about Bob's behavior leading to the divorce).
During proceedings Bob was acting petty and vindictive, showing everyone present just how small and petty of a man he was. He demanded the ownership of a particular vase...VASE, of all things (it wasn't even valuable-he just knew I liked it) and things of that nature.
He wanted to take possession of the house within a week and wouldn't let me stay there for another month needed for my new house's closing,although I was willing to pay the mortgage. I didn't care anymore, I just rented a temporary apartment for 3 weeks...
Finally, it was over.
The last thing I had to do was go through the inspection of the house with Bob and his lawyer, at Bob's insistence, to make sure I didn't inflict any "malicious damage" (clearly Bob measured other people by his own standards). That done, we were free of each other forever.

Bob had one month to come up with cash settlement stipulated in the divorce agreement. When the money didn't arrive, my lawyer sent him a letter of demand and my father attached a hand-written note. I received the check for the full amount in 3 days.

I've never heard from Bob since (and I am very happy about it). As he worked in a restaurant that I liked and it was situated close to my house, I was annoyed that I couldn't go there (I just didn't want to see Bob or talk to him).
About a year later I went into that restaurant and asked the manager if Bob still worked there. I was told that his "employment ended by both parties mutual agreement"-that's  lawyer speak for "we discovered he was drinking on the job and told him to write the letter of resignation".
I have no idea where Bob is now or if he even still alive.