Monday, November 7, 2011

put your feet up, and your expectations down

It's been awhile since I've shared a good story about the Ex that made my life kind of miserable interesting. Some people might say it's because I've now matured and no longer feel hurt or betrayed by many of the things he did because I now realize they were his issues and not mine.

Those people are wrong.

More than likely, the reason I barely think about this Ex any longer is because I'm way happily married and satisfied with everything that Hubs provides me(without me begging)and I no longer require a glance into the past every four minutes.

But last week I was driving by one of my old workplaces, singing along to Rihanna on the radio and trying to make a list of things that last longer than Kim Kardashian's marriage (bananas, a sun tan, my nail polish, days between eye brow waxes) when all of a sudden-


- there it was. A memory I had long since forgotten brought to the forefront of my brain by simply seeing a building at which I was once employed. I sat back in my seat and thought over the memory, and though I remember being incredibly sad when this happened, I couldn't help but now think-


So here we go.

It's 2005. I'm 24 years old working at a job I love with people I respect and adore. I've become good friends with several gals in my department, and we tell each other stories.

(Actually they're all married and settled, and my life is a hot mess, so really I just tell them my stories.  And they're fine with that - I think.)

Anyways, they're all more than familiar with the five years of drama that is Me and Ex. Sometimes he calls, sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he wants to hold my hand, sometime he wants to date other people to see what else is out there but asks me to please stick around and not date anyone else because he knows he'll be back after he gets it out of his system and he's really sorry but he has to do this and I understand, right?

It's an all too familiar tale.

But on this particular day, I'm excited. For one thing, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have just announced they're divorcing, which means I can get Season 1, 2 and 3 of "Newlyweds" at a seriously discounted rated.

Yes, I liked that show. Shut up.

But more importantly, the weekend is near. And just last night I had a very interesting phone conversation with Ex.  It went something like this:

Me: (winding up our long conversation about how awesome it is to fish in the summer. It was a mostly one-sided conversation.) Well, I gotta get to bed, Ex.

Ex: Okay, yeah. Cuz you have to work in the morning and all. Are you excited about this weekend?

Me: (shrugs shoulders) I mean, yeah I am.

Ex: (voice hardening) Why don't you sound excited?

Me: (takes a deep breath) Well Ex, it just seems like I'm always driving the 60 miles out to your Dad's house to see you. I live in an apartment alone here. It just seems so weird driving that far to stay with you at your Dad's. We'd have a perfectly great weekend here...alone.

Ex: (sighs audibly) We've talked about this. Gas is expensive and you have a way better job than me and you get great great gas mileage. Besides, we have the fishing pond here.

Me: Right. I forgot.

Ex: And - I have something for you that I think you're really going to love.

Me: (putting down my ice cream to listen carefully) You have something for ME?

Ex: (smiling through the phone) Yep. Just got it this week. You're going to be pretty excited.

Me: Now wait, this is something you bought? Like, with money? Or did you steal it like the Dr. Pepper and the cactus flower on Valentine's Day?

Ex: (snorts in disapproval) Ha ha. No. It's something you've been waiting for a long time...let's just say that.


So after the conversation, I'm feeling more than excited. Ex is not a gift buyer. At all. This has to be something that has him pumped.

The next day I rush to work to discuss it with my girls. We go over every detail of the conversation.

Friend 1: Did he sound uncomfortable, like he spent way too much on whatever it is?

Friend 2: He never buys you anything. Did he actually refer to the gift as "it"? Because that sounds like jewelry to me.

Friend 3: I think you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

We go at least 18 rounds deciding that if he bought it with his own money, it can't possibly be anything over $40. BUT, if he used a credit card, then it could be a big gift. Like, one that requires some deep thought and preparation. I'd take a bracelet. Or earrings. Or something that doesn't come in a Victoria's Secret box that he got with his mom's discount. And that she picked out.

Friday arrives. All day long I'm a basket case. I have not only convinced myself that tonight is going to be a great night, but it's going to be a night I'll never forget. My boyfriend is going to give me a gift without me asking, begging or hinting. He's finally growing up.

At 4:45, I've already shut down my computer, packed up my purse and am sitting in my task chair, my legs bouncing up and down at the anticipation of 5:00.

Friend 3: (rolling her eyes) Seriously, I can't believe you're this excited. I've never seen someone so worked up over a gift.

Me: I know, but you don't understand. I have this weird...feeling.

Friend 1: It's indigestion, we had Mexican for lunch.

Me: No, it's something else. I feel like this gift is going to be a strong indication of the coming year for me and Ex. Like a pace setter, ya know?

Friend 2: Well, we're all so excited to find out what it is!

Me: (leaping out of my seat) It's 5:02!! I could have left two minutes ago. Bye guys! See you Monday!!!



Friend 1: (bouncing over to my desk) SOOOOO????

Me: (faced away from my friend, staring out the window) Hmpgh.

Friend 2: Uh, what does that mean? Did you have a good weekend?

Me: Hmpgh. (flops head down onto my desk, burying my face in my arms.)

Friend 3:  Oh no. What happened?

Me: (muffled) Hrmph drff refaph mrff wrrp chrr.

All three friends: Huh?

Me: (sitting up and spinning around to face them.) He bought me a LAWN CHAIR.

Three Friends: (blank stares)

Me: That's right. I went to his house on Friday, so excited at the possibilities. He led me into the garage and said he apologized that it wasn't wrapped, but it was too big, right?

Three Friends: (nodding eagerly)

Me: We get to the garage and I see two boxes leaning up against his Dad's wood shop bench. And they're lawn chairs. LAWN CHAIRS.

Friend 1: (optimistically) Wellll, did you ask for a lawn chair recently?

Me: (nodding, fighting back tears) Apparently so. A few months ago my Mom got one of those new types of lawn chairs that you can lean back and recline, ya know? So I said it was pretty cool. And apparently THAT means I want one.

Friend 2: So, wait, why were there two?

Me: (throws head back laughing) Because HE needs one, too! This way we can both benefit and be comfortable when we fish.

Friend 3: (puzzled) You like to fish?

Me: (eyes narrowed) I. Hate. To. Fish.

Friend 2: (sighs) Well, look on the bright side. He did finally buy something for you. And without you asking!

Me: His dad bought them for us.

Friend 2: Oh.


And so it was, in fact, a pace setter for that year with Ex. It turned out to be the year of the forced ring shopping and the proposal that never happened (which is a story I've yet to tell).

If I had been smarter, I might have ended things after the lawn chair debacle. But I'm a stubborn gal, and decided to let it ride. Maybe I was a glutton for punishment. Maybe I was just insecure. Either way, I know the gals I worked for got a kick of that story, and I bet they never looked at lawn chairs the same again.