For about a year before I actually left my ex, we had been making plans to leave California and move to Missouri or Arkansas. Dad was planning the move himself (cheaper to live and buy property in that part of the country) and he didn’t want to live alone so he invited us to go with him. CP was excited about it. I was unsure but went along with the planning.
CP insisted that it wouldn’t take him more than a couple of weeks to find a job, once we moved. At that time, he was driving a truck for a local company so he was sure he could get another truck driving job quickly. Every couple of weeks my Dad came from San Francisco to visit and we always talked a lot about the move. Each time we had one of our discussions, CP would change his timeline for finding a job. First, it was 2 weeks and then it was 2 months. Then it changed to 4 months. Next time, it was 6 months. It seemed to me that he was trying to weasel his way out of working and doing his fair share when we moved! I was worried and I knew I was either going to have to tell him in no uncertain terms how things were going to be or I was going to have to UNinvite him completely.
Dad was going to retire very soon and the plan was that he would haul a trailer with important belongings, some furniture, etc., put our things in storage and then start the hunt for a house that was large enough to accommodate CP and me, our 2 kids, my grandmother and of course, my Dad. Dad had purchased plane tickets for me, my kids and my grandmother before he left. We were set to leave in July. CP was going to follow by car later in August and with the rest of our belongings. This would give him the chance to tie up loose ends.
My Dad left in May. He put our belongings in storage as planned and began his hunt for a house. He stayed in hotels off and on, mostly for a shower every few days. Other nights, he stayed at roadside rest areas, to sleep and sometimes he bought meat at Walmart to take to the rest area to cook on an open grill. He was essentially homeless. He eventually found the small home we are now living in, but it took until July to find something in our price range. The kids and I had to stay at my sister’s house for 3 weeks because we were still waiting for closing on the house.
Back on the homefront, prior to the move in late May, CP invited his aunt and uncle over for dinner. I tried my hand at homemade manicotti. I made the pasta by hand and it turned out fantastic! That evening, my daughter wanted to play with her Lite Brite set and CP had a fit about how she would dump it and not pick it up. She promised she would pick it up when she was done so he let her have it. She played and played while the grown-ups talked. She finally got tired of it and was picking it up but her little brother wanted to play with it. They began screaming and fighting and I stopped them. SR was picking up her mess, as she had promised but since brother wanted to play, too I told her she could let him play with it. She started to get upset about the promise she had made to her pop. I said, “I’ll tell pop that your little brother wanted to play and that you were picking it up like you promised. I’ll help brother pick it up when he’s done.” She was worried that she was going to get into trouble. (She was just 6 years old.) I assured her she would not get into trouble. I didn’t think this would be a problem.
In the meantime, CP calmly mentioned in front of his aunt and uncle that he would be following us on our move, but it would be a few months later than originally planned, December to be exact. This was the first I had heard of it and he only mentioned it in front of his aunt and uncle because he knew I wouldn’t cause a scene. He knew I wouldn’t question him in front of his aunt and uncle. I didn’t disagree with him and let it go, just as he predicted I would. It was this precise moment that I knew CP had no intention of following us on our move. It was just one stall after another. First, changes in the amount of time it would take to get a job, and now this.
After another hour or so of visiting with his aunt and uncle, CP came through the house and saw my daughter’s Lite Brite pieces all over the floor. He was pissed off and started yelling at SR and really piling it on thick because his aunt and uncle were still there. (I wasn’t aware that little brother had finished playing with it or it would have been picked up already.) I tried to explain to CP what had happened; that I told her I would help little brother pick them up after he was done playing. (He was just barely 3 years old.) CP was showing off, trying to show his aunt and uncle who’s boss when he yelled, “I told her to pick up the mess and what I say goes!” He refused to hear what I was saying. That’s when I started picking up the mess. My blood was starting to BOIL. He tried to push his weight around even more and I stood up, and I told SR and CP to go to their rooms to play. I stared him dead in the eye as if the glare would kill him instantly. (I wish it would have, to tell you the truth.) Then I got back down on my hands and knees and finished picking up the goddam pieces to the Lite Brite set myself. Aunt and uncle watching, of course. He is NOT going to treat me like that, or my kids over something so insignificant. There was no reason for CP to make a scene and act like a complete asshole over the whole thing when it could have been easily put to rest. Sometimes circumstances change and as parents, we have to make quick decisions and change the rules a bit. Maybe I made the wrong choice in the first place but I honestly didn’t think it was going to be a big deal. To this day, I still wonder….
Anyway, aunt and uncle finally left. I enjoyed their company but thought when they left, CP and I could talk about what happened. But no. CP went to bed, without a word to me or the kids. Naturally, it’s still early enough that the kids were still up and I still a kitchen to clean, kids to bathe, stories to read, etc., etc.
Stay tuned for the next installment.
This is the sixth installment of a series. If you missed the first five installments, you can find them here: The Break-Up & The Concert, Finding My Own Place, Financial Burden, Spite, and Accusations.