When I met the guy who would later become my husband, It became quite clear to me….as we discussed our lives, our backgrounds and our past relationships….that when he cast his net into the relationship sea for a second time….he not only chose another sea….he chose a sea on a whole other planet.
My husbands ex and I could not possibly be any more different.
I’m adventurous, outdoorsy, laid back and low maintenance with fairly simple ideals.
In my experience, I’ve known the Ex to be an indoor kind of girl. Uptight, self-righteous, hypocritical and wholly pretentious. My first encounter with her was at my step-son’s eighth birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.
The Ex breezed into the kid-centric establishment packed with pizza and soda splattered children and their frazzled parents, with Burberry paper shopping bags in hand. They were the kind of bags you would be given upon making a purchase in the store.
It seemed odd considering the event and then odder still when she proceeded to pull from each bag, party supplies I’m pretty sure aren’t stocked at Burberry….Star Wars themed paper plates, napkins, party hats and favors….that were likely never a part of the Burberry spring line.
I found it to be a bit of a desperate showing….a pathetic attempt at establishing some sort of relevance. “Look at me everyone! I shop at Burberry!”
Considering her unemployed status, I also likened it to loading up a Mercedes with groceries you purchased with food stamps.
I wasn’t impressed and that really hasn’t changed….a feeling, I have no doubt, is mutual.
After all, I’m a cannonball from the high dive….she is a sprinkler in the kiddie pool.
My idea of adventure, is hiking the Appalachian Trail or the PCT, rafting the Colorado, cross country road tripping, backwoods camping and exploring as many new places and things as can be crammed into a lifetime.
Her….checking out the truffle of the month at Godiva.
So, when I met the kids, it was obvious they had rarely left the sidewalk of life.
Over the years, I would like to believe and have often been told, that I’ve had a positive influence on the kids….specifically with regards to broadening their horizons.
When I met them, their diet consisted primarily of instant oatmeal, PBJ, grilled cheese and white refined pasta with butter.
Slowly but surely, I introduced them to the exotic, (heavy on the sarcasm here), world of American fare. Scary foods like baked chicken, pork chops, mashed potato’s and corn snuck their way onto the kids plates despite their initial scowls and protests.
From there, it was no time at all before they were braving meals with foreign sounding names like chicken parmesan, lasagna, taco and….wait for it….fajita.
Smart-assness aside, I have enjoyed introducing the kids to a diet consisting of actual food groups and a caloric intake greater than 30….and I have regularly looked for fun, new recipes to try on my now, much more willing, taste testers.
More than a balanced diet though, I have slowly introduced the kids to the pleasures of a life lived….rather than a life spent cowering on the fringes….terrified to try anything.
I had a very difficult time in the early days of our blending, as I tried to figure out how to connect with them. I didn’t understand their general trepidation as it related to EVERYTHING in life.
When I met them, they seemed like two kids living in a world they feared. I often felt like I was hanging out with two geriatrics….afraid to break a hip….rather than two, carefree, well-supported kids with the world at their fingertips.
It was, at times, maddening, but it also felt sad and boring and I knew it wasn’t the kind of life I could adjust to living. So, I made it my mission to grab hold of their pale, little hands and leap into life….from the shallow end of course.
Over the years, they’ve been exposed to hiking, rock climbing, camping, travel, ATV’s, water tubing and most recently, golfing.
I recognize that golf is not exactly synonymous with adventure. But, when the baseline is staying at a hotel….with a pool….20 minutes from home….the bar isn’t exactly set at a challenging height.
Personally, I’ve played golf for about 15 years now and while I’m no professional, I’m a decent player and I love to play. So, when the kids expressed an interest in learning, I was more than willing to get them out on a course.
Most recently, my 13-year-old step-son and I played 18 holes at a public course where I have played for years and become a bit of a regular. It’s a relatively laid back place to play where people tend to be patient and much less focused on time and strict golf etiquette than they are at stuffier courses I’ve played. In short, it’s a good place to learn.
“Will we get a cart?” My step-son asked when I confirmed we had a tee-time.
I prefer to walk, but it makes for a long day for a beginner golfer who is likely to take two to three times the number of swings per hole than a more experienced golfer. Also, what kid isn’t intrigued by the lure of a golf cart?
“Will I get to drive it, do you think?” My step-son asked when I confirmed I had also reserved a cart for our outing.
“Yeah, of course!” I told him without a second thought.
As a long time player, I am well aware of the fact that course rules and regulations require a licensed driver behind the wheel of a golf cart. But, as a long time player, I am also well aware of the fact that adult supervised, under-age cart driving, is practically a rite of passage.
In the beginning, my step-son drove with all the skill of your average 13 year-old….herky-jerky, cautious, but also liberal at times with the gas and brake pedals. As he got used to the feel of the cart, I limited his driving to open fairways and the straightaways on the cart paths.
For the most part, he did well….and even in those moments when he didn’t, I remained calm and offered gentle instruction. With less than three year’s to go before he obtains an actual driver’s license, I considered the day both a practice in golfing and a practice in driver’s education.
When I learned to drive, it was like learning under threat of immediate death….my mother would scream obscenities, rant and rave, gasp dramatically, grab at the steering wheel and apply massive amounts of pressure to the imaginery break pedal on the passenger side floor….all at the same time.
Had I not already been largely traumatized, damaged, but also not exactly a novice since I’d been driving since the age of 13….when I began stealing the car for trips into town for boxes of Hamburger Helper and gallons of milk….I might have bagged the whole notion of ever getting a license.
Having vowed to break the cycle of crazy with both my own and my acquired off-spring, I played it cool as my step-son gingerly drove us from hole to hole…..even when we ended up in a ditch.
It happened in the most undramatic of ways. We were making a wide, right turn on our way to the 15th hole, when my step-son gradually veered off the pebbled path and into a very shallow ditch-like dip just off the side. No one was injured and nothing was damaged, but the cart came to rest at an inconvenient angle. One of the back tires was just slightly off the ground and we were unable to get the traction needed to back it out.
I could tell right away that my step-son was worried….worried he would get into trouble….worried I would be mad….and worried we wouldn’t be able to play any longer.
“This is no big deal! I told him. “Trust me, this is no where near the worst thing they’ve ever seen. I’ve seen people have too much to drink and end up driving carts into ponds. I’ve seen people forget to set their breaks and then stare, helplessly, while their carts roll backwards into deep ravines. When I played here last year, the beverage cart girl took a turn too fast and did a Dukes of Hazard (had to explain what that meant) right into the woods, so deep, a backhoe had to come and fish the cart out.”
“Well, have you ever done this? Crashed a cart?” He asked.
“No.” I said. “But there’s a first time for everything.”
After a quick call to the clubhouse and a few photo’s for Facebook, we were delivered a new cart and on our way to finish up our game….the “crashed” cart required about two minutes of muscle to shimmy out and was damage free.
No one had been injured, no damage had been wrought and I considered the day a great time with a funny’ish story to tell.
Until we returned the kids to their mother and it became a really funny story to tell.
Click the images for a smoother read!
Sigh….is this what it’s like to have literally nothing else to do with one’s time?
My husband responded with a somewhat mocking retort that outlined reality and questioned hers.
She responded with:
She’s also a conservative Republican who believes certain ethnic groups are all thieves and that the poverty line is net $80k a year so….
And oh yeah, a hypocrite:
Check and Mate!
After all this….imagine then, my utter shock and disbelief, upon learning from my step-son that he had won money gambling with his maternal grandfather on the horse races this past weekend.
A child raised by such a moral, rule following, superior human being wouldn’t possibly have allowed illegal, underage gambling….would she?
Hmmm….I think I’ll place a call to the Commonwealth’s Investigation and Enforcement Division.
Moral of the Story: The Green Eyed Monster reigns supreme in the Kingdom of Hypocrisy.