It started innocently enough, as most terrible ideas often do. My girlfriend and I were sitting on the porch, sipping coffee, and reading the paper, when she glanced up.
She said, “Let’s invite my ex and her new girlfriend up for the weekend.”
“Sure,” I said.
And, thus, our awful fate was sealed.
On the surface, this might seem like a perfectly appropriate act of lesbian nonsense. You suffer through years of a bad relationship; barely escape with your life following a bloody divorce; vow never to speak to each other again; and then, a few months later, decide to spend a weekend together with your new lovers.
But in our case, it was complicated even further, because my girlfriend and I were racing to complete the renovation on my cottage, the very one that would host my girlfriend’s ex, and would need to be perfect—perfect!—in time for this historic visit.
In addition, we never had met the ex’s new girlfriend, and I had spent only limited time with the ex. I mostly was watching my girlfriend and the ex having whispered screaming battles over the care and feeding of their son, while I stood in the background, wringing my hands, and desperately trying to change the subject.
So, yes, children also were involved—not only my girlfriend’s son, but also the ex’s new lover’s two kids. And, reports from the field suggested that the merging of families was not going particularly well.
Oh, and did I mention that my very own ex was watching events unfold from her perch across the street?
My cottage conveniently is across from the house my ex and I shared for nine years. She was none too pleased that after two years in exile, I had moved into my cottage with my new girlfriend.
In spite of this brewing stew of discontent, we merrily began planning the weekend. Menus were drafted. New cocktails were tested.
All our friends warned us that it would end in disaster. My own mother begged me to cancel the weekend. But we persevered.
“It’s so French of us,” I said smugly, after my girlfriend finalized the date with her ex. Now, all we had to do was finish construction on the cottage.
So, yes, a contractor also was involved. Anyone who ever has had one will know exactly how this story will end. You pay these people lots and lots of money to raise your hopes, and make lots of empty promises.
Long story short, the day before the ex, the girlfriend, and the kids were due to arrive, the contractor had not finished the house. In fact, he had not even bothered to show up.
We arrived at the cottage after work that evening, expecting to see a finished product. Instead, we found a mess. We stood in the living room, dumbfounded for a moment. Then, the screaming began.
My girlfriend, who is not normally a screamer, and, thus, awkward with this weapon—like a newly-born superhero who just has discovered her magical powers—crashed around the cottage, causing an even bigger mess, blamed everything on me, and stormed out. She returned an hour later with armfuls of my belongings from her home, and stormed out again.
Across the street, I spotted my ex, peeking out her window like a batty, meddling sitcom neighbor, cackling loud enough for me to hear.
Wearily, I opened a bottle of wine, collapsed on the couch, and stared blankly at a pile of sawdust for several hours.
Stay tuned for the next episode: Things go from bad to worse; my contractor shows me a naked photo of his girlfriend; and it all ends in a cookout!