Mixing Old Fashioneds
11/10 Trading Spouses Recap: Weissmeyer – Kahn-Robson Swap, Part 2
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Last week, we saw Laura Weissmeyer go to Boulder to swap places with Wendy Kahn. Laura met Wendy’s boy-toy second husband Michael and her daughters Vanessa and Natalie, and found Michael to be a bit lacking in the parenting skills department. Outside of Boston, Wendy met Ed, Laura’s husband, and their three kids, Eric, Lauren, and Kurt. Ed put up with Wendy’s antics on the lobster boat, but became outdone with her neglect of dinner preparation in favor of drinking with the girls. Tonight we get to see the end of this drama unfold, and, most importantly, the allocation of the $50,000, which is surely the reason anyone would do this show.
Puttin’ on the pig.
We join the swapped couples mid-week and Ed is at home working on his lobster traps. He reflects that his wife Laura cleans and cooks and works around the house, while Wendy does not do anything. Ed is still miffed that Wendy skipped out on the family before putting the dinner in the oven the night before. Succinctly, Ed says that Wendy is getting on his nerves. He’s got a pig roast planned for the next day and he’s going to need Wendy’s help.
Wendy sees things a bit differently; sure, it’s been difficult and exhausting, but she’s convinced she has the joie de vivre, enthusiasm and kindness to have a positive impact on the family.
Ed comes to tell Wendy that they are hosting forty to fifty people the next day for a big pig roast. Privately, Wendy says she’s never in a million years wanted to participate in a pig roast. But, Wendy, with her transparent salesman ways, fakes up a big pile of enthusiasm about roasting a pig and, in one of the goofiest gestures yet, shakes hands with Ed on the pig roast.
Putting together the pieces.
Over in Boulder, Laura continues to contemplate the situation with Wendy’s girls and Michael. Laura really wants to get through to Michael that he needs to grow up a bit and see that he’s being too tough on the girls, and take a good look at his parenting skills. Before she has a chance to talk to Michael, he tells her that she is going to go over the Wendy’s office for the day. It turns out Wendy’s ex-husband is also her boss and the owner of the real estate agency where she works. Wendy as surprised to learn this as I am; she says the whole situation is like a soap opera, and I couldn’t agree more.
Laura gets to the agency and meets Tom. Wendy must have shown us a bad picture of Tom last week, because he looks like an older (well, older than Michael) guy, a little follicularly challenged, and seemingly in pretty good shape. He takes Laura to see several multi-million dollar properties he has listed, and Laura gets a “good guy” vibe from him. She’s itching to find out why it is that Wendy dumped Tom, who seems to be a good guy, for the complete tool that Michael is. She finds out that Tom and Wendy were married for ten years, and then hears the same story we did last week: Wendy met Michael on a bike trip, and fell in love. Tom puts up with Michael because he thinks that keeping family harmony is good for the girls. Laura privately says to the camera that she finds the whole love triangle thing selfish and tough on the kids.
The kids, particularly Vanessa, are still Laura’s biggest concern. She goes for a walk with Vanessa to a local bagel shop, in the hopes that she can get Vanessa to open up a bit, which she does. Vanessa admits that she doesn’t really talk to her dad about how her mother and Michael treat her. Laura says that Tom is a nice guy and his world revolves around the girls, so she should open up to Tom. Vanessa seems to consider this idea; she appeared to have enjoyed her time with Laura.
Preparing the Pig
On the day of the pig roast, Ed sets about preparing the fire and the spit where the pig will be turned and roasted. The pig is delivered—thankfully already dead—and some of Ed’s buddies are hanging out with him. Ed retrieves Wendy from the house and tells her that she needs to help get the pig ready. Ed and his friends hold the pig down and make Wendy force the long pole part of the spit through the pig lengthwise. Ed and his friends really enjoy making Wendy do this fairly nasty business. They get the pig on the fire, which Wendy finds stinky and gross.
Laura is still searching for a way to talk to Michael about the way he treats the girls. Randomly, Michael asks Vanessa from the kitchen if she wants a cinnamon roll or something else starchy. Good grief, this guy snarky, especially for someone sporting a beer gut. Vanessa doesn’t want anything and ignores Michael after she tells him she doesn’t want any food. Laura takes this as her opportunity to talk to Michael, suggesting that he back off of Vanessa, because she’s a good kid. Michael goes off on a tangent, saying that Vanessa is borderline problem child and he doesn’t want her to keep pushing people away, lest she become an emotional cripple who won’t have any friends in college. Laura says that he isn’t describing the Vanessa she knows, and that she’s a go-getter, a self-started, and all-around good kid who will go places in life. She also tells him that she bonded with Vanessa. Michael looks perplexed, as though, for the first time he’s considering this for himself, rather than letting Wendy tell him what to think.
Beer: Uniter, not Divider
Back at the pig-on-a-spit party, Wendy says the whole place smells like a wet dog and is just nasty. I’m going to have to agree with Wendy; at one of the places I used to work, they would do a cochon de lait, where you roast a pig in a hole in the ground, and it was just disgusting. Here it was even worse, as the pig was out turning on the spit in the open. She tried to get Ed to change out of his grubby clothes for the guests, of which there are many, but he refuses.
Anyway, Ed and the guys take the pig off the fire and slice down the meat. Wendy tries to dress up the plates to make it look more appetizing, but with a dead pig head staring at you, it’s a difficult task. We then get to hear from several of Ed and Laura’s friends about Wendy. The consensus is that she’s uppity and is rude for pointing out everyone else’s unhealthy lifestyle. Wendy is also not winning friends, as she constantly turns down beer, as one of the worst things a person could drink, and tries to convert everyone to drinking white wine. Laura comments that she usually interacts with professionals, like engineers and educators, so she finds it hard to relate to Ed’s friends. What happened to that “I’m a chameleon” crap we got from her last week?
The party goes on, and a bunch of folks are playing horseshoes. Wendy just stands and watches a while, then one woman gets her to play. Wendy is horrible at horseshoes, but with some pointers, she gets better The better she gets, the more she decides she wants a beer, and finally has one. Once Wendy is drinking beer, she loosens up and everyone seems to like her a whole lot more. Wendy says she had a good time after all.
Never underestimate the power of brownies.
Time with the swapped families is winding down, and Laura decides to make some brownies and other food with the girls in the morning, while Michael is still sleeping. Laura, Vanessa, and Natalie work in the kitchen; Laura provides gentle instruction and praise at the job the girls do, and soon enough Michael is up, sipping coffee, and watching the scene unfold. He says in an interview segment that maybe Laura is right and that he needs to be gentler with the girls. He says he is concerned that they feel they are OK with the family situation. Michael eventually joins the women in the kitchen, licking the spatula and bowl from mixing the brownies, and he seems to get along with the girls, at least for a while.
Time to say good-bye.
The swap has drawn to a close. Wendy is excited that she got to impart all of her great wisdom to the Weissmeyer family (which undoubtedly did not take more than 30 seconds, let alone the whole week). Laura didn’t foresee how hard it would be to leave, saying she’s bonded with Wendy’s girls. Vanessa is sad to see Laura go because Laura said so much that helped her.
Meeting of the Moms
Laura is nervous about meeting Wendy, and wants to talk about the Vanessa-Michael situation. Wendy arrives to the secret meeting location first. (Where is this place anyway, and why is it so empty and abandoned feeling?) Laura arrives and Wendy is off yapping about everything that she did, saying Ed is just a big teddy bear, her friends are great, the house at the shore is wonderful, blah blah blah. Laura can hardly get a word in edge-wise and finally just cuts Wendy off. She complements the girls, and in much nicer terms than I would muster, essentially says that Michael needs some parenting skills. Wendy immediately shuts down, pulls all sorts of rather unpleasant faces, and then gets really bitchy. They swap envelopes and go their separate ways.
The real pig comes out.
With the moms on their way home, each family prepares for their arrival. Michael and the girls decorate the house with tea lights and rose petals and a tent in the back yard. They dress up, and Michael even puts on a suit, which somehow makes him look even younger than he is. Wendy is super excited to get a long, meaningful hug from her…everyone reach for their barf bags… “Australian love muffin.” Oh, yeah, she actually greets her kids too at some point before sucking face with Michael.
At Laura’s house, Ed is excited to see her, and the kids are too. We haven’t seen much of Laura and Ed’s kids this whole swap, but chances are they didn’t like Wendy all that much but had the good sense to lay low.
Finally, it is time to find out how the money was divided up. First, let’s talk about Wendy’s division of the money: she decided to give each kid $100 for each year they’ve been alive, so Eric got $1300, Lauren got $1100, and Kurt got $800. Wendy allocated $15,000 for the kids’ college funds and $30,000 for home improvements. Ed and Laura are thrilled, and Ed is particularly happy for the college fund money.
Things aren’t as peachy over at the Kahn-Robson abode. Everyone is in the back yard in the tent (what is up with the tent thing anyway?), and Wendy reads the list: $1000 each to the girls for laptop computers; $500 each to the girls for spending money; $2,000 for Wendy and Michael to spend on remodeling the girls’ bedroom (I hope sound proofing is installed); $3,000 for the girls to spend a week on vacation with their Dad; $30,000 for the girls’ college funds, and $6,000 for Wendy and Michael to spend as needed.
As Wendy read each item off the list, she got increasingly angry. Why didn’t they tell Laura they wanted to remodel the kitchen? Didn’t you tell her that the girls’ grandmother just died and left them money? Wendy is fuming and Michael looks like a scolded child. Michael says in an interview that they are bleepin’ poor and the girls have tons of money from their dad. Wendy says that the girls already have more money than god from their dad, and she is plainly jealous. It just goes to show that you win more with kindness than by being a jackass. After all is said and done, Wendy and Michael head upstairs, with the admonishment to the kids not to follow them.
Still think that some of the cash should have gone for family counseling in the Kahn-Robson household? Send me a PM.
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