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The Ten That Should Have Been Seven

September 2, 2011

The thing about living with your ex-in-laws for ten nights—especially when it was only supposed to be seven nights—is that it takes about two weeks of distance before you’re ready to write about it. Trust me on this. I am the canary that flew out of the Black Thunder mine, hacking and spewing and sputtering in a plume of yellowblack fuzz.

OK, it wasn’t that bad. But I think all interested parties are glad it’s over.

Moxie and I were each combating our specific stresses. She, after all, was trying to maintain her usual life of working a full-time job and maintaining her studies, while 1) living with her parents, who were 2) being so nice to her ex-husband. In contrast, I was biding my time between freak-outs over the simple ideas that 1) I was ending just about everything I knew, and 2) I was destined to live under a bridge somewhere. (Hopefully near Zingerman’s.)

And when it came to any “discussions,” I knew I didn’t have any friends in the room. So I’d made a point of keeping my mouth shut, and my head nodding its way out the door, in order to stay as un-underfoot as possible. (Overfoot? Is that a thing?)

All of this is a recipe for disaster on its own, even if we had been visiting as an intact family. That we aren’t anymore raised the Scoville scale by a few degrees. But my having to extend my stay to ten days instead of seven before I was able to rent my house was the final shovelful of Scotch bonnets in the bubbling cauldron of million-alarm chili.

This two-week break has been the soothing Pepto that all of us needed. And now that the Ten That Should Have Been Seven are over, after all the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth that tested the limits of mutual empathy, we’ve got what we wanted in the first place: two houses within walking distance of school and each other.

After her buying attempt fell through, Moxie had two rental houses to choose from, and she went with the one that is about a quarter-mile farther from mine.

Well played.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2011 2:17 pm

    I’m really impressed by the grace both of you have exhibited through this move. It’s a testament to how much you want to make co-parenting work.

  2. famousamy permalink
    September 2, 2011 3:13 pm

    I don’t know how they’re acting now, but your kids are going to appreciate this so much when they realize how much work you’ve gone through for them. My parents divorced when I was 7. It was mostly civil, but we lived a half hour apart and even that amount of distance was hard.

    • September 3, 2011 1:55 pm

      I don’t know how they’re acting, either, since I haven’t seen them in over two weeks. I haven’t cooked Chockfula Burgers or washed any Spider-Man underpants or shoveled up a few dozen quarts of LEGOs. I don’t recognize me at all.

  3. Brooke permalink
    September 2, 2011 3:33 pm

    My wife stayed with my mom and step-father for a week while we were moving back to Michigan. When asked how it was, she pauses, and says,”It was like living with your in-laws.” It sounds like living with your ex-in-laws is like living with your ex-in-laws.

  4. September 2, 2011 3:35 pm

    Cheers to both of you for committing to making it work. And I think that ten days in anyone’s home besides one’s own is a long time and could start to feel awkward. It’s hard to feel displaced. I’m glad you’ve both found good homes in good locations. 🙂

  5. michelle k permalink
    September 9, 2011 6:18 pm

    I just took my ex-father in law on vacation with my son to visit my ex- brother in law. I won’t do it again.

    That said, I’m taking my ex mother in law to cabo in three weeks and neither one of us can wait.

    Life is weird.

  6. September 15, 2011 9:57 pm

    The proper term for ex-in-laws is outlaws.

    • September 16, 2011 11:40 am

      Thank you for the image of Moxie’s parents as mangy, ornery fugitives from justice. To which they are completely antonymous.

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