Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Dawn Of Something Different

The following life story is the next in the series of our life we have been writing. If you  haven't read the previous ones you can locate them here:

...within this entry are links referencing some of the above stories, if you'd rather read them out of order.
We graduated from culinary school, bought a house and started our own catering company, which meant we had a lot of time on our own and we didn’t have to spend everyday interacting with people face-to-face, which was great. Most of our communication with people, except for business, was done on Facebook, and spending nights on the weekend with friends, drinking and socializing.

Significant Other was working at a local high end restaurant so he was out of the house quite a bit during the day, but he still didn’t work as much as we would have liked him, especially towards the end of his employment there, but that just meant he was home a lot. While he worked we would get our catering work done - developing menus, seeking out advertising opportunities  taking free courses through the city on starting a small business, researching and created recipes. Spending a lot of time on our won, which we liked.

When he got home from work we would play video games, watch movies and smoke about 20-30 of grams of pot, from the minute he walked in the door from work, until we were passed out nearly drooling (this was good Canadian pot, by the way…there IS a HUGE difference in quality/potency compared to that of American pot) and made our way to bed.

As our relationship progressed we would smoke even more, and on weekends the amount would increase, and we would go to parties where it was shared by all. There would be the usual drinking don at parties, but more, Canadians can out drink most any American, we would put money on it. Sometimes at these parties there were other drugs, but The Other Girl kept us away from them in the beginning. She had to be responsible.

At parties The Other Girl would try to alternate with Significant Other for Designated Driver responsibilities, but he would consistently fail at being able to drink one or two drinks and then stop to sober up, and forget not drinking at all…there was very few people who was willing to do that at the parties we went to, let alone our 23 year old boyfriend.

The Other Girl was super responsible, on many levels. She go the nickname “The Water Nazi” for the first year or so of partying with her Canadian Friends because she would try to get them to drink more water while they abided in alcohol; she knew it would prevent them from being as hung over the next day as they usually got. They very rarely took her advice, but when they did they felt better the next day, and let her know.

We’re not talking light drinkers here. We’re talking about people who at the extreme are the kind of “social” drinkers who are not a stranger to a vomit in between bringing, and at the least extreme of course they were drinkers at home, during the week. Before hanging out with these people we hadn’t been much a of drinker at all, we’d been drunk less times than we could count on two hands by the time we started partying with them at the age of 27.Two and half to three years, a few of us can drink like champs (we all have different tolerance levels however); this is not to meant to sound like we blame them, we had a great time with them, and we know how to say no.

But during the relationship with Significant Other the drinking was heavily controlled for the most part, it had to be, because like with so many other things, he was hardly responsible enough to tie his own laces (he tucked them in his shoes). He was a heavy smoker, sometimes a chain smoker, and a wake-and-bake and go to work pothead. He had poor hygiene practices, so much so, in fact, that The Other Girl discussed with Significant Others mother why she thought we had to beg him to brush his teeth before bed, or take a shower after working in a kitchen all day before we crawled beneath the sheets. He binge drank to the point of blacking out. He was a lot to be responsible for.

We have stories that make people laugh, thinks he did, sometimes when The Other Girl's friends were around, sometimes after they had gone home. Stories they thought so funny, despite our speaking of them in private, that they would share them with their families, of who we were also associated, to get a good laugh.

No matter how drunk we ever where, even in the privacy of our own home (where we could drink as much as we want because we didn’t have to drive), we never thought Significant Others inebriated antics were funny, of course we look back on them now and I chuckle when I think of The Other Girl and how much she was willing to put up with while she was in charge and I'm happy we no longer have to deal with it.

One evening Significant Other was standing on the stairs porch with a friend while we had a few people over. The Other Girl stepped out to share a cigarette with him and say something, we can’t remember what, and as he’s looking at us and nodding, listening to whatever she was saying, he nonchalantly turns his head and vomits over the side of the railing, then he looks back at her, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and continues to listen, expecting her to keep talking.

“You just did that, didn’t you” The Other Girl says to him, we cringing and thinking about how much we hate him, how disgusting he is, and she turns around and goes back in the house.

He grins stupidly, swaying, too stoned and drunk to recognize disgust.

We go back in the house to talk to people who we don’t want to immediately shove over the side of the railing.

Another time, after a “few drinks” we were laying in bed, him nearly passed out, and could feel him get up, but not go far enough to make it to the bathroom, only to hear the sound of liquid splashing against the bedroom wall. He thought he was in the washroom.

Springing out of bed The Other Girl yelled “You’re pissing on the wall!”

“Easy come, easy goes” he drunkenly mumbled, turning to look at her and grin stupidly as he continued to piss, standing about four inches from the bedroom wall, right next to the doorway.

The Other Girl grabbed his arm and shoved him towards the bathroom across the hall. When he came back she took his hand and stuck it into the urine saturated floor.

“See what you did!” she told him, like we were scolding a puppy, and pushed him towards the bed where he passed our snoring.

The next morning he has no recollection of what happened.

Once, while some friends were over drinking, they and The Other Girl were all standing in the front porch, a large fully contained space with windows all along the front, the only place people were allowed to smoke cigarettes in our house, and of course Significant Other was high, when he stumbled over the threshold into the front porch, he clumsily tripped and put his head through a front window, breaking it into pieces. He backed up and just stood there looking shocked and stunned afterwards. Everybody thought it was hilarious.

That window was never fixed.

All these serve as a snapshot of what The Other Girl was willing to put up with, she thought she could somehow get him to grow up, “change him” we suppose.

He wasn’t all bad.  With anything bad we could say about him, those were basically character traits, not personality traits, he was a nice young man. The Other Girl was his first girlfriend, even at the age of 23 when they first met; she was first woman he had been with. He loved her/us so much. He was caring, gentle, patient and kind and loved people, and his friends and family.

While he wasn’t very smart, as burnouts by the age of 23 so often aren’t (he’d already had 10 years of smoking pot under his belt by the time our relationship ended), he had his bright moments, and he was creative and talented. He wrote skits with his friends which they intended on videotaping and putting on YouTube, and they were good skits too. He loved music and wrote songs….unfortunately it was mostly rap and hip hop. He was known for getting drunk at parties and doing freestyle-beat-box-hip-hop-rap renditions based on people and things that were going on at the party. He was talented at throwing out the most random well articulated vocals stoned out of his mind.

Significant Other also cooked for out catering company, even though we got no more than ten gigs the two years we kept our business open. Having met in culinary school, he had the ability to help us execute big events, like a wedding reception for 100; and assist with tasting parties where we would experiment with at least a dozen recipes we’d created for the catering menu and people/The Other Girls friends would rate their opinions on a several points form we created from taste to creativity in plating. He was also skilled at having patience when we were stressed from executing catering events.

Significant Other helped us start a bathroom remodeling project on the house that The Other Girl had bought, though he wasn't very knowledgeable about such things, not like us who have a very good grasp on things like that, being raised by a father who was contractor and working with him as a teenager in the summers, and untimely the project never got finished because we dropped the ball over the summer and spent the weekends at one of The Other Girls close friends lake cabin, and he spent most of his time being high.

In the summer of ‘09 we got back in contact with old friends from high school, the girl (First Girlfriend) and guy (Gay Ex-Boyfriend) who we had had a three-wayrelationship with in high school. In addition Gay Ex-Boyfriend had also been our first real high school boyfriend back in those days.

Over ten years after high school First Girlfriend was married, unhappily and having an affair with one of her old boyfriends from high school, who was bisexual but from anyone’s view, totally preferred men; Gay Ex-Boyfriend was divorced (from one of our best friends from high school) with two kids under the age of 11, and remarried to a man ten years his junior. They were a mix of unhappy people trying to rediscover...something.

We had fun getting to know each other again after so many years; at first it was like the friendship picked up right where it left off, we were all a bunch of silly kids again. The Other Girl got to know his children and his 9 year old daughter took to her. The Other Girl was a nurturer, she cared far too much and it had been clear from anyone’s view that this little girl sought attention. The Other Girl enjoyed the week with the young girl holding her hand and looking up to her and she felt like she had missed out on something by not yet having any children. We had just turned 30, and The Other Girl had always wanted to have children before that age.

The week we spent with them was fun, The Other Girl, First Girlfriend and Gay Ex-Boyfriend went to the local Gay Pride Parade and took part decorating, and then throwing candy, from the float for Gay Ex-Boyfriends business; they went to the Gay Pride concert and watched a famous drag queen on stage. In high school First Girlfriend had gotten both us, and Gay Ex-Boyfriend, our first tattoos, so to celebrate their newly growing friendship and all got variations of a matching tattoo together. Wishing for more time together they made plans to all come back and spend New Year’s together 4 months later.

It was between that trip and New Years, during our relationship with Significant Other, that we got the opportunity to take our first trip to Europe and see Egypt, which The Other Girl did a great job of detailing in her travel journal, the contents of which can be located on this blog (for a link to the several travel journal entries please see our Recommendations page, scroll down the ‘The Other Girl - Stuff She Wrote’ section). It was an eye opening, and at some points, a heartbreaking experience for us, as anyone who has read, or decides to read, may notice.

In November, a month after we can back from Europe, our last, and favourite Grandpa died. We spent hours crying in front of the computer hundreds of miles away, wishing we had gotten to spend more time with him. The Father hadn’t let us know how quickly he had gotten sick, and nobody in the family had even realized he was sick, and it being the time of the year where we were afraid to be on the road (because of a car accident we had had years prior), we didn't get to him in time. We thought he would hang on until Christmas.

Grandpa was an amazing man in so many respects. The father of seven children, he had dated our grandmother in high school and they had been married ever since. His children loved him, looked up to him, and many of his sons, and even some of his grandsons, tried to pattern their own marriages after the love and patience they had witnessed him show to our grandmother. He was a God-loving man, and a hardworking farmer who hunted religiously ever fall, literally up to the day he died. He was sick during his last hunting season, refusing to let anyone fuss over him, even though they could all tell he was ill, he finished out the season with his skin turning yellow, and shortly after died in the hospital of pancreatic cancer with our grandmother holding his hand.

On the several hours drive home from the funeral in early December (because we were NOT going to let ourselves be too afraid of the road to miss Grandpa’s funeral) The Other Girl and Significant Other started talking about a future, seriously for the first time. They had been together over a year, and while he was still a bit young, by then close to 25, The Other Girl had just turned 30 six months prior and felt she didn’t want to wait to have kids too much later in life. They talked about getting married and agreed that it would be fine to start planning for children, maybe even get pregnant before they got married. When we got back to the city The Other Girl switched our lower estrogen birth control pill in preparation of going off of it the following year, and started planning for a wedding slated for the following year.

The week of New Years arrived and The Other Girl took a bus all the way back to the city where we had graduated High School, several hundred miles away, to spend the week and a half or so with First Girlfriend, who was coming in on a plane from another state, and Gay Ex-Boyfriend.

It was the worst New Years ever, but in many ways started off 2010 with exactly what I needed.

The details of everything that happened are hard to explain, but The Other Girl began to have growing concerns about Gay Ex-Boyfriend’s nine year old daughter. She acted out a lot, he yelled at her a lot…he was not sensitive to the fact that she was still adjusting to her dad, fairly newly divorced and remarried, now kissing, and being openly sexual with a man, and not her mother.

He had only recently gotten married, and his husband was much younger, and they were very “affectionate” and verbally sexually suggestive with each toher. Things that got said in the presence of the children were alarming to us.

Being a child of a mother who was in a lesbian relationship for over 8 years, who was wildly inappropriate with her girlfriend (more inappropriate than straight couples generally are), in addiction to the other things she let happen, we recognized some of the pain and confusion his young daughter was going through, the sadness...and the frustration. 

When Gay Ex-Boyfriends sister showed up to join us for the evening, dressed for a night on the town to celebrate New Years Eve, we were aghast by her slutty attire, we commented on the fact that her husband was away, in the military, and how it seemed inappropriate for her to dress that way, and also about the impression it must give his daughter, and his sisters’ own daughter, who were at an age where the only female influences in their lives, “hip and cool” (their grandmother, however, is an amazing woman) was, really, this woman dressed like a porn star prostitute. We couldn't help but think all the situations going on were the perfect blend to raise future porn stars, strippers...or worse....woman with daddy issues.

Of course we were less eloquent in how we said it, more Frank I suppose (I had just started becoming an stong influence) about our opinion on how his sister was dressed, having had a few pre-New Years partying drinks, and it hit a sore spot with Gay Ex-Boyfriend, and shoved a wedge in the evening between us, Gay Ex-Boyfriend, and First Girlfriend, who didn’t want to take sides by having an sort of opinion, which was typical of her, and everyone else involved.

We tried to have fun, first going to a local gay bar, and then changing plans and deciding to go to a more popular “sports” dance bar in town. Gay Ex-Boyfriend’s husband had not brought his ID out, and being barely 21 was required to have it to get into the “straight” bar. We all planned to head back to the house, so The Other Girl waited in the entry of the bar for them to bring the car around, because it was cold out and she had stupidly not brought a jacket. They took their time getting the car, and as the New Years music began to play and whistles blew she spent New Years Eve in the entrance of a bar, nearly alone. The Other Girl yearned to be back home. As she turned to walk out the door she told the only other person standing  in the entry “Happy Fucking New Years”, we got into the vehicle, tears streaming down our face, nobody saying a word to each other.

A day or so later, after a fun day of snow tubing and sledding, The Other Girl spent hours making dinner for her everyone, Gay Ex-Boyfriends daughter, when presented with dinner, pushed the plate away, wrinkled her nose, and said “ew”. 
It hurt The Other Girl, but she calmly said “You know, when someone spends hours making a nice meal it’s not very nice to say that, without maybe trying it first”, smiling at the nine year old girl that she had grown fond of.

This comment made Gay Ex-Boyfriend angry, and he responded with saying something rude and inappropriate to The Other Girl, indicating she had no right to say that to his daughter. The Other Girl was confused and responded by explaining that if his daughter were in a school that is exactly the way a teacher would approach her behaviour.

After that dinner incident The Other Girl locked herself in one of his bathrooms where she sat on the floor to think, and cry. She was hurt by the way he talked to her, made her feel like a fool in front of all of the children, his husband and First Girlfriend, while inadvertently encouraging his child to be rude and treat others in such a way.

We stayed in that washroom all night; he never came to talk to her. He sent his husband to the door once, and another time his son, but it had gotten to the point we had been in there so long she was embarrassed to come out. She lay on the floor and cried for hours, waiting for them to go to bed so she could make the move safely, without having to see anyone, from the bathroom to the bedroom in the basement where she had been sleeping.

The Other Girl lay on the floor and began to recall things that pissed her/us off about Gay Ex-Boyfriend and how he not only treated his daughter, but was letting even his foster kids treat other children, and act rude to each other. She recalled how the day before we had been playing on the floor with his young foster child, and his friends foster child, how he had dismissed his son grabbing toys away the other child, ignoring that the other child was hurt and confused about all of his toys being snatched out of his hands. We began talking to the children explaining sharing, and how sharing is a way to make friends; concepts that they responded to by sharing with each other immediately, instead of fighting. While it made us happy, that we could make an impact, we also knew that that small seed would never flourish.

As she continue to lay on the bathroom floor, The Other Girl contemplated calling The Father, who lived in the same city, to come and get her. The next morning she waited to hear everyone leave the house, to take the kids to some sport activity, and she called him and asked him to please come pick her up.

We spent the remainder of the trip with The Father, and The Step-Mother (with whom we had never had a good relationship with, until recently), staying in thier guest room. It turned out spending that time with The Father was the best thing that could have happened to us, and really opened up our relationship with him.

His father, our Grandfather, was the one who had passed away a month prior and so we skipped the bus we were supposed to take, and instead The Father drove us to The Mothers house, where we planned to take the next leg of the trip to home.

On that five hour drive in January '10 to The Mothers house we opened us to The Father and he opened up with us. We talked openly and honestly about a lot of things in our life, we asked him questions about our childhood, about his marriage to The Mother, about not understanding how he hadn’t seen how mentally ill she had been, about our views on religion,  we talked him about things we had experienced in the last ten or so years, things he had never known about, like our bad marriage and getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder and social anxiety disorder, about moving back from The Mountain State and being diagnosed with schizophrenia…because we had spent so much time running, and hiding, and it was time to stop; and we wanted their to be time to have a good relationship with The Father before it became our first regret.

We never really talked to those friends again, First Girlfriend and Gay Ex-Boyfriend, we got a message from him a week later that was a half asses apology, but we decided right there that we couldn’t have anything to do with someone that close minded who was selfish and had no shred of respect for people; and given our past with him (he had been one of the friends to laugh about us being molested when we were a teenager), the disrespect that ran through the entire history of our relationship made the choice easier.

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