Monday, September 11, 2006

holy freakin' crap

Man, did I get the shock of my life on Friday afternoon.

Okay, a bit of background is necessary here for those of you who are new to these parts, and for those of you who need a refresher. (Speaking of refresher, you might want to grab a beverage, as this is going to be long.)

Several years after my mom died, my father, aka Daddy-O, decided to dip his toes back into the dating pool. But what to do? He's an HR rep, so dating a coworker was out of the question. He's not into the bar scene, he doesn't go to church, and his pastimes were solitary ones, so he wasn't going to meet any women that way, unless some chick happened to fall through the roof while he was sitting at home reading or watching TV.

This left one possibility: a personal ad. Since Daddy-O is a neo-Luddite, he wasn't going to go the internet route, and he signed up with a prestigious Twin Cities dating service. He went on a couple of dates with pleasant but unexciting women before he met G. (Obviously not “my” G, but that’s her first initial, so G in this entry refers to her.)

Ah, yes, G. I used to refer to her as "Our Lady of the Pantsuit" because Daddy-O could NOT stop raving about how gorgeous she looked in the pantsuit she wore on their first date. "She looked like she'd just stepped out of a magazine ad! She looked so pretty and crisp."

"I don't think you should use that adjective for anything but crackers, Dad," I commented.

There was just one nasty fly in the ointment of their potential love: she had recently gotten divorced from a Grade A prick. I only have her side of the story to go upon, of course, but if only half the stories I've heard are true, then he deserves his own plaque in the Asshole Hall of Fame. Anyway, she was emotionally fragile, which to her credit she admitted up front, but she said she knew she had to get on with her life.

I think I met her after they'd been dating for about two months. I liked her well enough, but there was a definite air of entitlement about her that I didn't much care for. She'd been born into a wealthy family, married rich, and divorced even richer; we’re talking monthly alimony in the five figures here. She expected nothing less than the best, and it showed. Daddy-O, while not rich, certainly isn't hurting for money, but he's been dirt poor---stories of having to make one can of tuna and two boxes of macaroni and cheese last for three days during the early years of my parents' marriage are legendary---and he's about the least pretentious person you can imagine. He's just as happy eating pulled pork sandwiches at Famous Dave's as he is dining at some fancy restaurant, and if he's not at work or out with G, he's chilling in his Indiana University t-shirt and well-worn jeans. But I digress.

Anyway, I don't remember how long they'd been dating when Daddy-O came home and told me that he and G had broken up. I was absolutely shocked, especially since I'd never seen him look so old before. He said, "You know, little Ro, this is nothing compared to losing your mom, but my god, this hurts." I hugged him and I didn't let go for a very long time.

About two weeks later, they were back together. I was pleased, because the light was back in his eyes, and I felt better about my impending move to California, knowing that he had someone to take care of him.

Aaaaaaaaand...they broke up again.

Daddy-O didn't sit on his hands this time. After a brief wallowing period, he took his membership at the agency off hold, and he started dating in earnest. He started seeing a younger (not grossly younger, mind; she was in her forties) woman that I dubbed Legs because he couldn't stop raving about her legs. He came out to visit and brought her along, and she was fun and bubbly and MILFish, but man, did she have scheming eyes. I ain't sayin' she was a gold digger, but you know she wasn't hangin' with no broke-ass...

Ahem. Yeah, you know how the rest of that song goes. But seriously, whenever she looked at him, I swear I could see dollar signs in her eyes like some old Warner Brothers cartoon. This impression wasn't helped by the charming anecdote he told me about how she told him what kind of engagement ring she wanted...on their second date. Guys sure love that!

Legs was, needless to say, short-lived. Not only did she obviously want a sugar daddy, but she also wanted a DADDY daddy for her two kids. I was talking to Daddy-O on the phone and he said, "They're great kids, but I raised my two kids, and frankly I'm too old and too tired to do that all over again." Plus word had gotten out on the grapevine that he'd been seen out on the town with a curvy blonde, and G started calling again. He'd never gotten over her, so they started dating again.

And they broke up again.

And they got together again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The last time they broke up was last year, and he told me, "This is definitely it. Jesus Christ, I'm just so sick of the emotional roller coaster."

"You'll be back together within a month."

"No, seriously, this is it."

It wasn't a month; actually it was several months. But yes, they did get back together.

< / Cliff's Notes >

Okay, fast forward to today. I was sitting in my cube, clockwatching, when my phone rang. I picked it up, went through my phone spiel, and Daddy-O ripped a huge belch.

"Niiiice," I said, not without some admiration. "How was your trip?" (Note: he'd taken G to a resort in Wisconsin for her birthday)

"It was good. VERY good. As in, your old man just got engaged."

"WHAT?!?” I shrieked, causing coworkers to prairie dog over the tops of their cubes.

"I asked G to marry me, and she said yes."

"Wow," I said dazedly. "I can't believe it! Congratulations, I guess."


"You guess?" Daddy-O said in a hurt voice, and I felt terrible.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean that the way it sounded," I said, which was actually true. "I'm just so overwhelmed! Congratulations, honestly."

He went on to tell me the details of the proposal. He arranged with the hotel staff to fill their room with roses while they were at dinner, and when they came back, he popped open a bottle of champagne and then got down on one knee, slipped a diamond and sapphire ring on her finger, and asked her to marry him.

"Have you set a date yet?"

" could be next month, it could be next year. But obviously I'll keep you posted." Daddy-O paused and said, "I know you know this, but this doesn't mean I don't still love your mother. I don't believe, and never have believed, that there's only one person for you in this world. I could never love anyone as much as I love your mom, but I do love G very much, and she makes me so happy, which I never thought I could truly be again."

My eyes misted up, and I frantically scrabbled for my box of Kleenex. "I know, Dad."

We chatted for a few more minutes, and after I hung up the phone, I immediately called K. "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, you're not going to believe this," I wheezed, and then I told her.

"Shit! I thought I was gonna marry your dad!"

This is all so weird to me still, but I really am happy for them. It's just going to take some time to wrap my brain around the thought that I'm going to have a stepmother.