But, c'mon -- that's not why you're here. You want to know about the Urban Mama Drama. And shame on me for letting you hang for so long.
This road trip involved a lot of the American West -- a lot of northern Arizona and southern Utah. Over the last few years I've learned that I loooove the state of Utah. BYOB 'n' all, but OMG it's almost too much for the eyes to process.
It's also about visting the in-laws. Urban Dad's family is just about all well west of the Mississippi. And the longer I'm married to U-Dad, the more I get why he is in Chicago. And I get his boundary issues that mystified me when we first met. And five years later. And why he thinks Best Namma Ever!'s geneology project is nice 'n' all, but doesn't really get it.
First, let me excuse the FIL and his wife from this. They are lovely people.
Now, a sample of the weirdness......
BIL #2 lives just outside of Denver, has a nice house, works his ass off and has two kids. Just about three years ago, he and his wife divorced, as she decided to start sleeping with Neighbor Guy.
This unfolded after all of us having to play nicey-nice at a family Thanksgiving visit while I was out-to-here preggers with U-Kid 2. (a visit with a novella's worth of drama that resulted in U-Dad apologizing all over himself to me for bringing us out there in the first place because this crap always happens and his wife doesn't deserve it)
Did I mention that Neighbor Guy's ex-wife can have him tested before dropping off their kids in order to make sure that he's on his meds???????
So we arrive at BIL #2's house after a nearly five-hour drive from MIL's. He's not home. But he's left the house unlocked for us and will be there in ten minutes. We run in to find bathrooms, but aren't too sure about where to settle in.
BIL #2 arrives at home, but no kids. He's been at a bar listening to a local band. He's a divorced suburban dad looking down the barrel of 50yo, but hangs out in bars with sub-30yo's. Fancies himself quite the hipster re: the local music scene.
Anywhoooo, turns out that he still has to go get the kiddos. That he's never gone to the house where ex-SIL & Neighbor Guy live now, which is now about 20 minutes away. That his son and daughter have some rabbits that they've been wanting to show him.
That we all get to go.
Keeeee-Ryyyst. Are you kidding? We have to go to ex-SIL's and her luvah's house? And after five hours in the car with a 5 1/2 yo and a 2 1/2 yo, we get to drive more? To the woman who's known for screaming and throwing things during fights with him? And for dissing MIL in MIL's own home?
So off we go, following BIL #2. And following him. Across town. Up a mountain road. And up. And up.
U-Dad & I put on the annoying kids' music in order to distract the U-Kids and talk. Well, so that he could mutter expletives. He has nothing nice to say about ex-SIL. I just wanted to skip all of this and head to Denver to see our next set of friends. U-Dad commenced apologizing all over himself again and promising a hasty escape in 36 short (?) hours.
I'm going to demur from saying too much about where we finally arrived, lest I fully disclose the judge-y jerk that I may truly be at my very core.
But BIL #2's barefoot, dirty, long-tangly-haired son waved us over. We pulled over to the side of a busy, windy road in a wide spot just past a blind turn.
We meeted and greeted, made nicey-nice polite talk and ascended stone steps to the house. Turns out that the rabbits are up the hill some more. So we ascend exactly 37 rickety wooden steps with only a thin metal rail on one side. I carried U-Kid 2.
We made chit-chat while we carried on some weird, dysfunctional, unnecessary rendition of Of Mice & Men. Honestly, all I could hear in my head was a Lennie-like voice... "let's pet the rabbits, George. i wanna pet the rabbits..." BIL #2 had to shake hands with Neighbor Guy. I couldn't tell is he wanted the ground to swallow him up right there or if he wanted to break NG's neck with his bare hands. NG offers BIL #2 a beer, which he, of course, accepts.
We ooooh-ed and aaaaah-ed over the stupid rabbits. Ex-SIL offered us something to eat or drink. We declined. She ooooh-ed and aaaaah-ed over U-Kid #2, whom she had not met before that day, since she had kindly relieved us of her presence around the time of U-Kid #2's birth. She again offered us somthing to eat or drink. BIL #2 then disappeared into some other wooded area so the kiddos could show him some few surviving koi fish (seems the local raccoons have found them to be easy pickin's -- and hey, weren't we supposed to be seeing rabbits and leaving? remember the 2yo who's been in a car all day and is sans nap?) More idle BS chit-chat. Ex-SIL offers us something again. We resisted the urge to say, "seriously, do you not get that we do not want to be here? and why would you want us here? we've been dragged along to cover BIL #2's back and see the damn rabbits. can we go now?" But BNE! raised me right, so I remained polite.
We finally got the hell out of there (U-Dad carried U-Kid 2 back down the 37 Steps of Doom) and told BIL #2 that we should hit Noodles & Co since the kids are likely starving. We herded U-Dad's niece into our car and followed BIL #2 and his son. And followed him. And followed him to..... the trendiest part of town. On a Saturday night. U-Dad started muttering, "oh hayle no! we are not waiting for a table, waiting for menus, waiting to order, waiting for food and waiting for a check while listening to his damn bands and watch him drink. he can do whatever the hell he wants. we're going to Noodles & Co and putting U-Kid 2 to bed. this day needs to freakin' end already!"
Thank you, God, for Urban Dad. Yes, you gave me weird in-laws. But you gave me Urban Dad. YouDaMan, God.
U-Dad got out of our car, went to BIL #2's car and explained as much. We all headed to Noodles. As we went in, BIL #2 joked that we should send the kids in while we adults all go next to to the .... you guessed it .... bar. Frankly, I think BIL #2 was due some food in his stomach.
And Noodles worked out beautifully. Just as we were wrapping it up was when U-Kid 2 finally went over the edge and needed to be taken outside. I happily obliged.
And when we got back to BIL #2's house, I happily offered to put her to bed. Since it was a new place, I stayed with her til she was asleep. It took over an hour. (honest!!!)
When I emerged, BIL #2 had a beer in his hand.
And U-Dad's nephew proceeded to whine at me about U-Kid 1. He and U-Kid 1 can't stand each other. And Nephew has a way of approaching me with a friendly smile and nervous laugh as if he's just oh-so-puzzled by something as he tells me something that U-Kid 1 has done. And every single time, no matter what it is, I kindly tell that little punk-ass some perfectly good reason for my daughter's behavior. Because BNE! raised me right, I will not tell my husband's 9yo Grandma's-Golden-Boy-nephew to take his whiny passive-aggressive little attempt to snitch back to the TV room. I will wait at least a few more years for that.
Oh man, it is good to be home!
(We're considering going east next year.....)