Chapter Ten: The plan for a cruise
With my wife's controlling personality she held control of all the family money. She had seized this control by claiming that my handwriting was unreadable. I cooperated by switching to printing in the check register. She then claimed she could not read my printing either. In the six years I spent teaching at the local junior college no student ever claimed that my printing was not clear and legible. All of my blackboard work and over 80% of my overhead projection slides were hand printed by me.
Her control was so complete and her accountability to me was so low that as our daughter turned eleven my wife opened an account in her own name that I did not know about. She was squirreling away money for a cruise vacation. A support group for parents of cleft effected children called "Widesmiles " had organized a three day cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines departing Long Beach, California in early December with stops at Catalina Island;; Ensenada, Baja, Mexico returning to Long Beach.
I had by this time started working for a different computer company that sent me all over the country installing computer networks. On one of these trips the client had put me in a hotel across the street from Disneyland in Anaheim, California. I did not take the opportunity to go to the happiest place on Earth because it would have provided my wife one more reason to yell at me. But I did spot a budget price hotel in the neighborhood and thought of it when my wife told me about her secret account to pay for the cruise.
She wanted just us two to go on the cruise. That made no sense to me. If the cruise was about supporting parents of cleft effected children didn't it make sense to bring along the cleft effected child? So she needed to save more money for our daughter's cruise fare.
She also wanted to drive from our home in Eastern Iowa to the departure port of Long Beach. Having flown over the Rockies in the computer network installation I didn't want to drive our twenty year old 1976 Plymouth Volare over that two thousand mile trek. I said if we were going to go we would get out to California and back by air. I had a friend at church who ran a travel agency and he set a good price for the flight and my wife saved a bit more to cover that too.
The ship held a formal dinner each evening. I had suits for my work. My
wife had outgrown the girth of all her previous gowns and our daughter had
never needed formal wear. So both of the ladies in my life needed evening
wear for the cruise. Our town had a very limited selection. So we made a
trip to the capital city to get both my girls formal wear. My wife found a
gown at a plus size store and then ask them if they had anything for our
eleven year old.
She tried on a gown that covered her from her chin to her feet but didn't like the way it looked. I liked it because I didn't need her showing things to remind me of what had gone on before. She tried on another gown that covered her from the base of her neck to the floor. She thought it was okay but wanted to model one more for her mom and me.
This gown was completely inappropriate for an eleven year old child. It had sheer nylon from her neck to just above her breasts and the back was sheer all the way to her waist. It could not have been sexier. The front showed cleavage! Cleavage on an eleven year young child is not appropriate. I did not want her in this gown. But there were three people involved in this decision and I was outvoted. So she got the sexy gown. Both of them denied that it showed cleavage.
When we returned home my daughter put on the gown to show her brother. While she was changing in her room I told him I wanted his opinion on whether the gown showed cleavage. My son told me his sister didn't have any cleavage. As soon as she came into the room he exclaimed "S-----a, you have cleavage!" So it wasn't my imagination.
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