Monday, September 25, 2006

Family outings

In the two or so years following our separation, ex, J, and I would go out to eat sometimes. Occasionally, it would be McD's and revolve around kiddie sports. Other times, it was more along the lines of TGIF, good food, but not too fancy. If memory serves, it'd been over two years since that'd had happened. Both of our lives had changed dramatically around then. Usually when J went with his dad, I was quickly out the door, too, so there was less lingering or opportunity.

True to his ADHD form, ex got his days mixed up on Friday, prepared for the Scout camping trip that wasn't until Saturday. He needlessly took off work to hurriedly pack gear, then arrived here after school to take J.

Okay, I'll admit that I'm glad the overnighter fell on his weekend. A year ago when ex took him, it was the first time they went camping together and ex was like a kid being able to (over)buy gear in preparation. J and I had been successfully going out for several summers. Yeah, I loved that he associated camping with his mom, not his Eagle Scout dad.

When ex realized he had his days confused and a free evening (his wife had gone to her son's game an hour away), plus he didn't want to battle traffic home, so he invited us out to dinner and a movie. It took a lot of suggesting back and forth to arrive on a consensus. My ever responsible lush self wanted to go someplace we could hit a happy hour, drink beer, and walk to the movie. This could have been done where my new movie crush worked, but that would have been too complicated, so I chose someplace else that has incredible appetizers for $2.95 during happy hour. We got four - (cough) variety for the kid (cough) - and we were well satisfied.

The movie we'd agreed on was J's choice, a cartoon, of course. The movie I wanted to see was the Jet Li one; J and I have been on a NetFlix Kung Fu kick (ha!) lately with Jackie Chan. However, when we got in line to buy the tickets, I saw that the flick ex wanted to see, Flyboys, was starting soon. Before going out, I'd ruled against it, 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, but when I got home and looked again, it was up to 30%. Of course, hard headed ex didn't care about anyone else's evaluations, so he wanted to see it anyway. The dialogue and much of the acting deserves the <30%, but the aerial dog fights were a lot of fun. That it's based on fact is gravy.

I have found many times that if I let someone else choose the movie, I get something unexpected out of it. Not only did I get to see Jean Reno (I whispered to ex, "Remember that assassin movie with the girl and the plant?"), I got to share in something J really enjoys, flying. He's flown planes on computers most of his life. It was also good witnessing some of the history of early military flying. And it was great hearing the bits of French and translating for J.

Best of all, my son sat between his two parents, alternating between our arms during the movie and between our booth seats during happy hour. I realized that he does do more baby talk/baby act junk with his father, then I pointed out to them both that I suspected it and how it should change. That was the best benefit, to realize how much more mature my nurtuing makes him, although I'm sure part of what he is experiencing there relates to competing for attention with a baby sister.

Just for the record, when I went to the one hour meeting that was at the beginning of the Scout camp out on Saturday and contemplated how I was spending entirely too much time with him over the weekend, ex oddly complimented me on my khaki jacket. It is a magnet.


DD said...

That's really nice that you made it a family-night. I would hope that ex could see fit to do it more often than he has. And why not go to a movie you may not go to on your own, especially if ex did the right thing by buying your ticket (but even if he didn't, wha'eva'). Even if it was a total dog, you got to enjoy it all together.

And you don't have "HOT MAMA" rhinestoned on the back of the jacket, do you?

Anonymous said...

Link to the khaki jacket please!!

Kellie said...

Umm, yeah it's time for us to see that jacket.

I think it's great that you guys went to the movies together. That's awesome. That's the kind of relationship I had always hoped to have with my ex... you know, before I remembered he was an ass. Still, J is SO much better off with you two acting "human" to each other. You've done a great job. I'm curious, what does his new wife think of these little "outings"?

PS. The Professional with Jean Reno is one of my fave movies. My ex looks a ton like Reno... right down to the little weird round glasses. Plus you have to love any man than takes care of a plant like that...

Cricket said...

Okay, I wasn't going to bring up payment, but with you alluding to it, DD...

Ex offered us dinner and a movie. I didn't see the total for dinner, but the appetizers were only $12 total and we each had two beers at happy hour prices, so not bad.

He'd noticed a sign at the restaurant for buying discount movie tickets there, so he bought three, even though J wouldn't need an adult one. So I profited one movie ticket. Call it my senior citizen discount.

We were doing well with him paying until I had to stand in line at the theater to exchange the coupons for tickets and to get J's kid one. That only cost me $6, but apparently his offer didn't include the goods inside, him saying that he was almost out of cash. Well, he wasn't out of card, but mine seemed to be the one he wanted to work, to the tune of $26. We each got a drink and a "food" item. Ridiculous.

So I call it even, even though he's in his mind taking "credit" for providing a dinner and a movie - I paid $32, which probably equaled the dinner and part of the movie. He paid for his and my movie tickets, but I paid for J's, so it was very evenly divided.

Yeah, I'm bitching a little in the comments, although I know fully that the goal was J having a good time with his parents. I know he revels in it; on his birthday morning, he woke up saying, "I'm the luckiest boy in the world because I get to have lunch (in the cafeteria) with both of my parents." I was nice and invited ex; will admit to not having thought of it in previous years.

Kellie, I have no idea what ex's wife thinks of it; she wasn't even home that evening, so it didn't take time from her. However, ex is an escapist type (four hours would be nothing in the waning years of our marriage) and I found it very odd that he now uses me for escapism from his wife. Last year, he insisted upon cutting my grass and rebuilding part of my fence.

I have the impression she doesn't like her ex much (he's a control freak), but they all do a lot together, much more than I do with them. Besides one t-ball game a few years ago, I don't remember her trying to do much with J and I, not even birthdays, although she goes to her ex's for her son's parties, games, etc. I guess I'm not sad about her boundaries, as I have yet to see their child and it would be mighty awkward for that to happen for an evening's worth of activities.

If you wonder about competition or attraction, I will assure you that any time spent with him reminds me quickly why we are divorced and I quickly question the brains of any woman wanting him or attracted to him.

Pictures of the rather ordinary and completely unrhinestoned khaki jacket to come.

Kellie said...

I was curious about what his wife thought because my ex's wife would have been pissed beyond belief. She would have been convinced we had slept together and surely the whole outting was my way of "trying to get him back". In the beginning of their relationship, whenever I needed to call him - she always picked up an extension so she could make sure we weren't making plans. She's the same age as my ex and I'm YEARS younger than both of them - she was jealous of my *youth*. LOL

I still think it's a great thing you guys did and it sends a really good message to J.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did you know the girl in the Jean Reno assassin/plant movie is Natalie Portman? I love that movie.

We have family dinner occasionally as well. It's nice, as it's not very often.

And yeah, I need a link to the magic jacket, please.

Klynn said...

My ex and I have not done anything together any more involved than standing in a parking lot or my mother's yard for the 15-20 minutes it takes to make the exchange of TJ and a little semi-polite conversation, since I started dating Bob, and the divorce was final. He has his time, I have my time,and never the twain shall meet.

Oh, and does the khaki jacket come in a 2x? Or would that be putting lipstick on a pig?

Cricket said...

Shoot, the jacket is 1X, so I am wearing lipstick, too.

Post tomorrow.