Step Parent Blues
One of the worst things in the world to be is a step-parent. You never receive accolades for a job well done. No matter the deeds you do, no matter how nice you are, you are never given any respect. Indeed, you receive nothing but loathing and contempt.
One day, one cold February day, I gave in to my common sense, and allowed my very pregnant step-daughter, Jennifer, to stay in my spare bedroom. Yes, the same Jennifer who falsely accused me of molesting her (instead of her father) when she was 13. After 12 years, I wanted to be the better man, and put the past behind me. All was indeed well, and the sad events faded into history. She gave birth to a cute little girl, but, still wary, I would not be alone with the child, nor allow her to be anything but fully clothed in my presence (no changing her diapers). Some eight months later, in November, Jennifer was lucky enough to win some "grant-for-a-day" program, and was awarded $2,000 on the premise of using the funds to get her own place, and Christmas presents for her children. Days after winning the money, Jennifer elected to use some of the funds to rent a car for thanksgiving. She and my wife headed down to Enterprise, and rented a large, dodge truck that would seat 6, for $250 a day.
As soon as I heard, I asked the Charlene if she used any of our credit cards to secure the car or could we be held, in any way, responsible. My wife assured me all was well, we were completely safe. The days rolled into weeks, and then months. Jennifer assured everybody who asked that she was paying Enterprise. Since she had the money, and a good paying part time job, nobody questioned her ability to pay. Late one morning, at 2 am, Charlene wakes me and tell me Jennifer can't pay the balance due on the rental. No sooner do I express how little I care about Jennifer's fiscal short comings than I am informed, Charlene DID use one of our credit cards, agreed to pay all fees, and even used our insurance to cover the vehicle.
Yes, dear reader, as you can suspect, I went insane at the deception, and quickly set about discovering how much Jen had paid . . .nothing. Not a dime. Where did the money go, you ask? Well, after a good deal of screaming and yelling, I discovered it went to buy marijuana for Philip, Jen's looser boyfriend and the father of her first child. I had to pay the entire two months, $1,940. Just to add icing on this great cake of fun, at some point, Jen had a minor little accident with something or someone that she kept to herself. The incident sliced the right front rim enough so the tire couldn't hold air. She had the brilliant idea to put on the spare, which was much smaller (and only intended for a short, emergency drive). For a month, she drove around, with one tire smaller than the other on the front set. So, in addition to having to pay for the rim, and bumper, I also had to pay for the wheel alignment, bringing the total due to $2210, and my insurance picking up any remainding costs.
I know what you are thinking, and what of Jennifer? Surely, she agreed to pay something? When confronted about the huge bill now due, the failure to pay anything, the accident, and the money going up smoke, Jen stormed off with her kids in tow. She screamed that she didn't have to pay; it was her mothers responsibility. She threatened that unless Charlene (and I) cheerfully pay the bill, Jen would never allow Charlene to see her grandkids again. Children as a weapon, sounds insane, doesn't it?
We turned the truck in, and on the rental agreement, nary a sign that Jen was even involved. Charlene's name was every where. So, the rental place charged my card, smiled, and said thank you.
And what of Jennifer? Well, she sang a song of woe and pity. Tearful eyes looked upon her an wept. They paid for her to stay a week in a two bedroom suite, then another, until her little sister took her in, out of pity I suppose.
After all that, letting her stay rent free, maxing out my credit card so she could watch her boyfriend smoke pot, doing my level best to put on a happy face, I was made into the ultimate villain without even a thank you. Life goes on for Jennifer as if it never happened. She smiles, and receives warm and comforting feelings from her family. I, on the other hand, well . . .well, Jen trained her children to recoil in horror at the mere sight of both Charlene and I.
Word of advice, never, ever, be a step-parent.