Today was the big cookout at my husband’s sister’s house. Actually, her significant other’s house. You would think that having her son get married the day before would be enough for any woman, but his sister is a superwoman. One of those women who have endless energy. I was never like that, even when I was young.
I wasn’t looking forward to this one, either, even though I’d been pleasantly surprised by enjoying the wedding yesterday. I woke up feeling really bad. The cold was enough, but this was the fibromyalgia acting up, too. Nasty pain in my neck, shoulders and head. The kind of pain that can set in for a week if I’m not careful. Great! I was supposed to read the scripture lessons at church and serve as Eucharistic minister. When we got to the church, things got worse, because no one had opened up the church in the cooler hours and it was like an oven after yesterday’s heat and humidity. My husband turned on the ceiling fans – on high speed – I’m surprised they didn’t lift the roof off. It helped only a bit. Even my husband, Mr. It’s-never-too-hot, was a little wilted by the end of the service. So I decided there would be no vestments for me. I sat in the pew with my husband, went up to read, sat back down and just went up at Communion time to assist. After the service, I left immediately and went straight to the car. Didn’t stick around to chat with anyone – unusual for me. Picked up an iced decaf on the way home. After half the coffee, I put the rest in the fridge and took a nap in the air conditioned bedroom before leaving for the cookout.
Since we knew we’d be outside all day and since there’s never been a mosquito who wasn’t attracted to me, I spruced up with “eau de bug spray” before we left. Love the smell of that stuff! I figure I have enough health issues without worrying about West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Fibromyalgia and fat are plenty.
We got to the party about 1:00. Everyone else was apparently early. My mother-in-law had brought cheese, crackers and grapes. Good thing, since I could tell we weren’t going to eat for a while. There were ten of us in all, including 3 kids aged 11 to 15. Small talk centered around food. My mother-in-law had decided that some topics were to be taboo, like lawns and planes. That put a crimp in my father-in-law and brother-in-law participating in the conversation. The kids didn’t have much to say.
Folks went for rides in the speedboat and one of the kids went “tubing” behind the boat. I opted out of the boat rides due to my pain. No need to make matters worse. I did encourage my husband to go as long as they had a PFD (life preserver) for him to wear (they did). He loves the water but he can’t swim. Never could. Something scared him when he was a kid and he never was really able to overcome it. He enjoyed his time out on the boat.
We didn’t eat until after 3 PM. Wow, was I hungry by then. Cheese and crackers only last so long. We had typical cookout fare: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chips and macaroni salad. The food wasn’t bad but not memorable either.
Other than the food, this was really a boring event. The conversation dragged and my mother-in-law was a bit touchy – must be tired because she has the family from Michigan staying with her. Gratefully, the sun didn’t show it’s fiery face much. Mostly cloudy, so the temps stayed more moderate. When the sun did come out, it started to heat up very quickly. Could I have wished those clouds back? I know I did wish for them. And they did show up. So I must have done it, right?
We left about 5:00. My back was not happy with the lawn chairs and my cold medicine was wearing off. The first thing I did when we got home was take a shower to get all that bug spray off. That’s not something I’m willing to wear to bed! While I did that, my husband returned a call to his son, who had called while we were out. That’s when the fireworks started. I could hear something from the shower, so I knew my husband was upset. He’s usually pretty quiet.
Well, he gave me an earful when I got out. My husband and his ex-wife, in the divorce decree, had agreed to cover their son’s college expenses. They’d agreed to each take every other year. Last year, year 3 of college, was our year. This year was supposed to be his ex-wife’s year.
You did catch those words “supposed to be?” The reason my stepson had called was to ask his father what he needed to do to get a loan on his own, because his mom had informed him she couldn’t get a loan to cover his last year. He wasn’t asking us to do it. It was something he would do. But it is crunch time – classes start tomorrow!!!
My husband went ballistic!!! He doesn’t get angry very often, but it’s a good thing his ex-wife was nowhere nearby. I think he’d have wrung her neck. This isn’t the first time she’s let her son down, but maybe this one will help him understand why my husband couldn’t live with her any longer than he did.
What really had my husband going was the way she has spent money in the past year, instead of saving it for her obligation to her son. Just this past month, she took my stepson and his girlfriend to a lobster buffet – total cost for the 3 of the $200. And last Christmas, she decided to take my stepson on vacation – to Hawaii! Now he’s not a stupid kid, he said he’d go of course, even if it was with his mother. But I don’t think he realized that she was doing that instead of paying for his education. It very likely cost her $5000 for the two of them on that vacation. The loan my stepson had to take out was $6000. You do the math!
My husband is very good at math. He is so steamed that she thought of herself – she got to Hawaii and she “showed off” to her son – instead of thinking of their son. I told him we shouldn’t be surprised. She’s been like that for the past 12 years. She is consistent, if nothing else.
I remember when we were first married and had taken our combined family on vacation. When we got back, she was supposed to pick up my stepson (then about 10 years old) at our house. He called her when we got home and she refused to come to our house. He could have his father meet her in the K-Mart parking lot near our home or he could stay. What kind of position is that to put your kid in? That was another time my husband got steamed. We did meet her because we didn’t want to upset my stepson. But he did stay in the car with me until his father let his mother know exactly what he thought of her immaturity and poor parenting skills.
I was the winner in all this because he was so steamed, he needed something to do. So he washed the dishes for me! I’m such a lucky woman. There are so many negative things people do when they get steamed like that – drinking, destruction, spending too much. My husband washed dishes.
What more could a woman ask for – I didn’t have to cook dinner and I didn’t have to wash dishes. Maybe it was a good day after all.