kids

"I went on holiday with my husband's ex. Then I heard noises from the bedroom."

This is the story of the time I went on holidays with my now ex-husband’s second ex-wife, because #modernfamily.

It involves snow, chicken curry, vats of wine, and too many bare butt cheeks.

So buckle yourselves in.

I’ve been reminded of this moment in my history because Mayim Bialik, who played Blossom in the 90s (and yes, less importantly is a star on the Big Bang Theory), this week posted an Instagram of her talking about “Family vacations after divorce.”

Her caption reads, “So, my ex-husband and I just took a huge divorced family vacation together with our kids. Is that weird? But I wanted to talk about why we feel it’s important to still have this arrangement even after divorce.”

Don’t worry, Blossom, we all know why. Every divorced parent gets the theory behind showing a united front for the kids. A lot of us have tried.

It’s not easy, but many of us have given this united front schtick a red-hot go. We do joint birthdays, and even Christmas dinners, and awkwardly pose in family photos at school presentation nights…

And then there are the crazies, like us,  and Blossom, who attempt to do family holidays.

My tale starts when my husband’s ex – let’s call her ‘Morag’, just as a random suggestion – invited us to go to the snow with her.

She’d bought a weekend at a snow villa at an auction, and insisted we come along as there was “plenty of room”.

We had a decent relationship with her, but I suspected her invitation had less to do with how nice it would be for their shared 8-year-old daughter, Janey, and more about a little showing off (that was her trademark style)…But we thought it would be nice for Janey, and fun for us, so we accepted.

This is how it went down:

We arrive at the beautiful snow fields of Falls Creek, and no sooner have we unloaded the car than Morag greets us with her “House Rules”:

  • NO television (this is back in 2006, so there’s no issue of iPads or even people on smart phones); and
  • NO leggings as pants, despite it literally being the après-ski uniform (I shit you not – that was a rule).

Morag and her boyfriend, (let’s call him Harold Bishop), had taken the master suite upstairs, and we set up downstairs next to the kids’ (his sons’, and Janey’s) bedrooms. Fair enough, it was Morag’s gig.

On the first morning, Morag appears at the breakfast table in a slinky dressing gown which keeps falling open, making her exclaim how good the heating is. I quite simply don’t know where to look, and wonder if this is a little too close for comfort.

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She then also announces she’s going to the village spa, and that my husband and I need to take the kids to ski school. I’m all for this – we share 50/50 in real life, and I love Janey, and understand it’s Morag’s holiday, too, and we are her guests…

Yes, I get all of that, but it dawns on me suddenly that we are not here as equals on a family holiday, but we are ‘the help’.

My husband and I take the kids – including Harold’s – to get kitted out at the ski shop. We take them to the ski school. We collect them from ski school. We feed them. Yes, we are there to spend time with Janey, but Morag has disappeared, with no discussion. I find it…problematic. Unless we were taking it in turns?*

*Narrator: they would not be taking it in turns.

When she appears at about 5pm, I cook the chicken curry that she insists I make, because “I keep hearing about how amazing this curry is, so I think it’s time I tried it for myself.”

Which of course is code for, “Let’s see if you’re really as good as they say you are.”

Much to no one’s surprise, Morag hates my curry. She takes a bite and shrieks about how hot it is. But yet…the kids are happily eating it. In disgust with my failure, Morag makes a big deal of cooking herself some…toast.

I’m mortified.

I manage to keep it together until after dinner, at which time I cry in my bedroom like the courageous soul I am. My husband is furious, but as usual, doesn’t say anything.

I can’t sleep that night, I’m so angry. My chicken curry rocks.

Around 1am, I decide I need to watch some god damn TV, so I head up to the open plan kitchen/living area, which is adjacent to the master suite. I don’t turn on any lights so as not to attract attention, and settle on the sofa. I’m about to pick up the remote control…then I hear noises.

Sex noises. From Morag’s bedroom.

I vomit in my mouth a bit, but am also frozen to the spot. Of course, Morag has a sex life. But that doesn’t mean I want to know anything about it. And I’m especially infuriated because after being mean to my curry, she doesn’t deserve to have sex.

As I’m about to quietly sneak away, Harold comes out of the bedroom. Completely naked.

But also thirsty. He happily pours himself a glass of post-coital something.

I smoosh myself further into the sofa to disguise my presence, and am very glad I had defiantly changed into super comfortable and non-squeaky-on-leather leggings after dinner.

Harold’s white butt continues to glisten in the moonlight.

When he merrily makes his way back to the bedroom, I bolt out of there – and I have never been happier to lie next to my snoring husband.

Morag didn’t ease up on her vacay dictatorship for the rest of the week – but after that night, I did find the courage to wear leggings as I did her bidding – and at least I got myself out of cooking, too.

And that, my friends, is the tale of the one and only time I went on holidays with my husband’s ex. It was a little awkward, a little power play, and a lot TMI.

I’m glad the “family unity holiday” went better for Blossom.

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