The Ex-Files – The Bath

When my daughter was about 3 and I was pregnant with my son, I was running a Day Care in our home. CP wasn’t working (what else is new, right?) and I was bringing in enough money to keep the family fed and keep the electricity on. I had to put aside money each week to make the rent each month. Things were extremely tight.

While I was wrangling 5-7 kids Monday through Friday, from sometimes 6am to 6pm, CP was off visiting (or shootin’ the shit, as he called it) with his cousins. I was exhausted at the end of the day! He would come home and go to bed, sometimes without dinner, as if he was exhausted. So many nights I wanted to coldcock him upside the head with a frying pan while he slept. But that’s just not who I am. I mean, who the hell would take care of my kids if I went to prison for murder? But I digress…

One Saturday morning, I figured I’d better go get some groceries with the week’s pay because I was going to have one of my Day Care kids on Sunday morning for most of the day. My daughter wanted to stay home and her “Pop” was home so why couldn’t he watch her for an hour or so? He agreed although I’m sure he would rather be doing something else. Before I left, I asked him specifically to please not let SR play in the dirt because she just had a bath the night before. I didn’t think he needed any further explanation and he didn’t ask for one either. I left after telling SR to save the playing in the dirt for another day.

I was gone maybe an hour and a half. About the time I had finished lugging the groceries in, CP and SR came inside from the backyard. She was covered in mud. She had dirt in her hair. She was wearing semi-decent clothes that were now covered in filth. I was pissed off, to say the least.

I asked CP why he let her play in the dirt when I asked him not to. He said, “She wanted to play in the dirt and I didn’t see any harm in it.” And then he added, “I made a decision as her father.” To that I replied, “Well, since YOU are her father and YOU let her play in the dirt when I asked you not to, then YOU can give her a fucking bath!” I also explained the reason for not wanting her in the dirt was because I was exhausted and didn’t want to deal with a bath since it was my only day off that week from Day Care. He acted like I was over-reacting and that a bath wasn’t that big of a deal.

I was busy fixing dinner while he was giving SR a bath. I thought it was going smoothly, but then I heard crying. I heard CP talking sternly and then SR cried more…and then more. I stayed out of it though. I wanted HIM to take care of this. I was sick and tired of always being the one to take care of everything!

Soon SR came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her and streaks of muddy water running down her face. She had gobs of shampoo still in her hair; it was all sudsy and muddy. I asked CP, “Why didn’t you finish washing her hair?” He angrily said, “I washed it but she wouldn’t let me rinse it so she can just sit in it and suffer.” He walked away. Dumbass, I thought. I took SR back into the bathroom, ran clean bathwater, and started over. Oh, I turned dinner off and decided that CP can just starve. I’ll make SR a sandwich or something after her bath. Screw dinner.

Image by Eduardo Davad from Pixabay

In the tub, SR was crying. I told her, “It’s ok Baby Girl. Momma will get the soap out and get you all cleaned up.” SR kept crying and saying she was sorry. I told her again, “It’s ok, Baby Girl. Pop just doesn’t know how we do it, that’s all.” She was very cooperative when washing and rinsing hair. You just have to use your brain. The way I did it was with a big cup that was always in the tub specifically for that use. I’d tell SR to “look up at the birdie” as if there was a bird up on the ceiling. She’d look up and I’d remind her to keep looking up at that birdie, as I used the cup to pour water over her hair. My hand placed upon her forehead along the hairline helped guide the water back instead of towards her face. Easy peasy. That’s how the momma does it. A washcloth quickly run over her face at the end, finished the process and she was happy as the invisible birdie on the ceiling.

After my son was born and I was still in the hospital recovering from a C-section, I had to depend on CP to take care of SR. I knew that wasn’t going to go over well with SR but I had no choice. Since my C-section was planned, I was able to make sure SR had a bath the night before, and that pajamas and clothes were laid out. I knew she’d want to come see momma and her baby brother. The morning after my surgery, in comes CP with SR and she was a mess. Her hair and teeth hadn’t been brushed. She had pancake syrup on her face. She was in the clothes she had on the day before, which were covered in dirt. That fucker let her play in the dirt again! He didn’t bathe her. He didn’t put pajamas on her! He just stuck her in her clean bed even though she and her clothes were filthy. I couldn’t do anything about it because I was in no shape to do anything major for at least a week. His excuse was that she was too tired for a bath, and fell asleep before he could clean her up and put her pajamas on her. That morning, she wanted to come see momma and the baby. He told her they’d come after breakfast so after breakfast they came! He didn’t even bother to wash breakfast off of her face or change her clothes. I mean, come on!

I never, ever again asked CP to give either of our kids a bath. I never expected him to do anything regarding the care of our children. I saved myself a lot of work just doing things myself. I learned along the way that the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” is absolute truth.

The Ex-Files – My 1962 Cougar

Back in the 80’s – I’m how old? – CP bought an old 1962 Cougar. He knew I wanted one, still do as a matter of fact. It wasn’t in bad shape but needed an engine. He said, “That’s no problem.” I was so excited! I love the sleekness of that car and I chose a ’62 because that’s the year I was born. Shhhh…you don’t need to know how old I am. Lol.

For my birthday that same year, he asked me to choose a color for my Cougar. He wanted to take me to pick out paint so that when he was finished fixing her up, he could also paint her. Note: If you missed my post,The Paint Job, you should check it out but be aware that my Cougar was purchased long before that fiasco.

I knew I wanted my Cougar to be a shade of purple, so when we went to the shop to order the paint, I was able to look through binders with many different color samples. That helped a lot. I chose a striking shade of medium-dark metallic purple. I could barely wait to see my purple Cougar and finally drive that baby! No one else had a purple car! I would be the envy of the entire town, I thought! (Actually, people would have thought I was completely bonkers because purple was not a cool color for a car back then.)

My Cougar had followed us from place to place as we moved, but CP never did a damn thing with it. He never bought an engine to rebuild. He never painted it. He never did anything. 10 years passed and it still sat. I had given up, no doubt.

As I was searching for a photo today, of a 1962 Mercury Cougar to share with you on this post, I became increasingly baffled! It appears that in the early 1960’s, Ford had a design contest. The winning design was originally called the Cougar but later became the famous Mustang that we are all familiar with! The Mercury Cougar (that I adore) in a much different design, came 3 years later. Here’s a photo of the original Ford Cougar – see the Cougar emblem on the grill? That is definitely NOT the car of my dreams.

Photo from: http://www.motor1.com/photo/3164336/1962-mustang-cougar-proposal/

Below is a 1967 Cougar and it is definitely the one I dreamed of having for so many years. I don’t know where I got my information about the year of the car. Most likely, from CP and I just took him for his word because I thought he knew cars. Hahaha. My Papa (paternal grandfather) had a Cougar in a kind of piss green. I wanted it so badly (and imagined it in purple) but I thought it was a ’62. The body design is just amazing, in my opinion! Maybe someday I’ll get my Cougar, ‘eh?

Photo Credit: GPS 56 from New Zealand / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

The Ex-Files – The Paint Job

CP was known to take on odd jobs, from replacing a carburetor to painting houses to doing a complete overhaul of a car’s engine. One time, being the “Jack of all trades” that he thought he was, he took on the job of painting a car.

He told a guy that he could paint his car for half of what the professionals quoted him. He said that would include banging out the dents, the whole 9 yards. Please understand that CP did not have his shop at this time. Where was he going to paint this car?

The guy took a chance – I can’t tell you why, other than he wanted to save some money. I had never seen a car that CP painted, nor had I ever heard of a car that he painted. I had a bad feeling right from the start.

CP took 6 weeks just banging out the little dents, that seemed to get worse as he fucked with them. I saw him sanding and buffing and whatever the hell he was doing, on our front lawn. He stripped the existing paint and got it ready to be primed. That car was an eye sore from the moment CP got his hands on it because we had a big picture window in our living room, which overlooked – you guessed it – our front yard. For 6 weeks, CP went out after he got home from work and on the weekends, but mostly the weekends because he was too tired during the week.

He proceeded to prime the car, sand a few rough spots and of course, this took him a few more weeks. So, now the owner of this car (if memory serves me correctly, it was a Mustang) has been waiting for 2 months for his car to be painted.

He finally finished prepping the car for paint, and I thought to myself, I wonder where he’s going to paint it? Well, take a wild guess. If you guessed our front yard, you are absolutely correct! In our front yard, right under the tree. Now, I know nothing about painting cars but any dumb fucking idiot could probably tell you not to paint it a) outdoors, b) under a tree, or c) when the wind is blowing. I guess he thought he could outsmart the wind, the birds, leaves, bugs and any other debris falling from the tree.

To my utmost horror, CP began painting that car, a very pretty blue, I might add, and even though the wind wasn’t blowing, there was just enough air movement to cause a problem. By the time he finished spraying that car, there was over-spray almost everywhere and bits and specks of this and that all over that damn car! He thought it looked great but it was a disaster. I felt bad for the owner of the car!

The car sat overnight, thereby collecting more bits and specks of this and that from the air and from the tree. After a few days, he called the owner of that poor Mustang and told him it was finished. I was mortified.

The owner came, looked at the car, and although I was in the house I could tell by his expression that he was not happy. Who in their right mind would be happy about such a shitty paint job? CP gave him excuses about not having a place indoors to paint…blah, blah, blah. I was so embarrassed to even know CP at this point I didn’t even dare let myself be seen by the owner of the car. I wonder if he asked CP why the hell he took on the job if didn’t have a place to paint inside? I guess I’ll never know!

Needless to say, CP didn’t get paid for that job. The only thing the owner of the car paid for was the paint. I’m surprised CP wasn’t sued over the whole thing but honestly, I think the owner of the car never wanted to see CP’s face or hear his name ever again!

Image by Folgt bitte meinem Account: Elionas from Pixabay

The Ex-Files – The Wooden Clock

The first year CP and I were together, I still lived at home with my parents and he lived with one of his uncles. He was broke all the time because he couldn’t keep a job for very long. Of course, it was never his fault…but that’s another story.

When Christmas rolled around, CP didn’t know what to do about a gift for me. He supposedly wanted to do something special but he had no idea what since he was broke. Somehow, between my mom and CP, they came up with an idea. My mom gave him a big chunk of wood that was going to be used for firewood but it was small enough that it wouldn’t be missed. I had no idea what was going on but CP took that block of wood (approx. 6″ x 8″) and decided to carve that block into a heart. He worked on it for weeks but he was slower than a seven-year-itch, with anything he ever did.

Come Christmas time, it wasn’t finished. He still wrapped it up and gave it to me on Christmas Day. When I opened it, I sat with a dumbfounded look on my face because I had no idea what the hell it was. He told me it wasn’t finished (hmm, never would have guessed that) and that it was going to be a heart-shaped clock. He would buy the clock workings when he had it shaped just right. It didn’t even look like a heart yet, but it was a nice gesture. I thought it was a beautiful gift, finished or not. In fact, it was probably the nicest gift he had ever given me…

But as the years went on he never finished it. It sat on the bookcase holding books steady or the top of my dresser or some other spot I decided to put it, moving it from house to house as we moved. I had hoped he would someday pick it up and finish it. That day never came. That unfinished clock meant the world to me for several years. When I left him in California, I left the unfinished, heart-shaped wooden clock there, on his dresser so he could see it.

It no longer meant anything to me.

The Ex-Files – Tomato Soup

Back in the early days with CP, I had to learn quickly how to stretch a dollar. We were poor; sometimes having only $50 for food for the entire month! Prices were much lower back then but it was still tight. I became very frugal and many people were amazed at how good I was at stretching each and every dollar.

Normally, I made soups and stews from scratch. Big batches. It was the best way to stretch meat and veggies to feed us for more than one meal. I sometimes purchased canned soup, but I made sure it was on sale and/or the store brand. Tomato soup was a favorite lunch when CP was home and not working, and he was home a LOT, but that’s another post.

food chef kitchen soup

Photo by Timur Saglambilek on Pexels.com

One day CP was in a mood. I could always tell by the look on his face and/or his body language. I had served up some tomato soup and crackers for lunch. CP decided halfway through that the soup wasn’t good enough. He said, “I don’t know what brand this is but it doesn’t taste right.” I said, “It’s the same brand we’ve been eating for months. It’s the store brand.” He said, “Well, stop buying it. Buy Campbell’s. It’s much better.” I just rolled my eyes, and said, “Ok, whatever.”

So months later, we had soup again. Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Just as he requested/demanded. It had been a while since we had it because of CP’s demands and me wanting to stretch our budget. I had to make sure I got it on sale because it was Campbell’s. It could sometimes be found on sale at 3 or 4 cans for $1.00 back then, so that’s what I waited for. I served up the soup for lunch and then…

CP was in another one of his damn moods. Half-way through lunch, he gets pissy and I wondered what the hell it was going to be this time. Wait for it…

appetizer bowls cream creamy

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

All of a sudden, he blurts out, “I thought I asked you to buy Campbell’s and not the cheap stuff?” I looked up from my soup and said, “It IS Campbell’s soup!” He looked at me like I was lying through my teeth. “It is not. This tastes like shit like the last time,” he bitched. I got up, went to the trash, and pulled out the empty can of tomato soup. I brought it over to CP and slammed it down on the table. “It IS Campbell’s!! AS I TOLD YOU!” I was pissed and I let him know I was pissed. He didn’t have the balls to say anything else, other than, “Well, they sure don’t make it like they used to.”

And that was the end of me buying Campbell’s soup unless it was on sale and IF I wanted to buy it. It was also the end of him bitching about what brand I bought…of anything.