When I met Julian, I knew he was going to make a great father. Having grown up in a family without a dad, this was high on my list of prerequisites.
Julian seemed to fit the bill perfectly — he was good with kids and spent lots of time with his nieces and nephews. I knew he was a workaholic too, but was sure that he would stop to make time for his family.
By the time we had our second child, I knew our “perfect family” was in trouble. Julian returned to work at his restaurant straight after the birth and after that, we hardly saw him.
He went to work early to start the breakfast shift, came home briefly for lunch and to see the children and returned to work until late in the evening, when everybody was in bed.
When the kids reached school age and weren’t home in the middle of the day, they never saw their father at all. Julian brushed off my complaints with reminders that he was working so hard for them in the first place, but I knew this wasn’t really the case.
The restaurant was doing well and we’d always been good with money; there was more than enough room for Julian to take a few days off here and there.
But it never happened and so by the time our kids had almost reached high school, we’d never even taken a family holiday together.
I knew I had to do something drastic, so I left my husband. But that only made things worse.
I got custody of the kids and Julian never even saw them! Infuriated by his apparent lack of concern and remembering my own childhood with a dad who lived two states away and didn’t care, I decided it was time to teach Julian a lesson. And I knew just how to do it.
Julian had a good business going with his restaurant, but I knew he was a bit shifty in how he ran things. No one who worked for him received proper training, for example, because it cost too much.
One day, I anonymously rang the council and made a complaint. I said I’d recently eaten at the restaurant and had wound up incredibly sick.
I told them that I had watched the preparation of the food and noticed some very poor hygiene practices from the chefs. I hung up the phone, knowing that Julian was going to get a call from the local health department.
What I didn’t know was that Julian had already been in trouble and fined for similar infringements. For example, his staff didn’t store food correctly, didn’t label expiry dates, check temperatures, wear gloves or even clean adequately! I had no idea things had been this bad.
I only wanted Julian to get a fine, to pay him back, but it was a long way past that. When the health inspectors paid my husband a visit, they found enough wrong to shut him down. And it was all my fault!
It was a blessing in disguise, though. Out of work, Julian came grovelling back to the family. I took him back on one condition: I would go back to work and he could become a stay-at-home dad.
He accepted begrudgingly, but every now and then he still talks about opening up his own business. I always manage to talk him out of it, but he has no idea how far I’ll go to make sure he doesn’t!