Does anyone really want to read this?

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I need some advice!
So, Dad and Ruth are back on and stronger than ever. She'll be coming with us to the seder at my aunt's house on Monday. Fortunately, since she works on Mondays, Dad will be dropping me off there first, and then going back to pick her up after she gets off work, so at least I won't be stuck in a car with her for a while.

That brings me to Tuesday, which is where the advice comes in. Dad is planning to take Ruth to Lion Country Safari, an animal preserve/zoo/amusement park in Palm Beach. It's an amazing place- I went once, with my grandparents, sister and cousins, when I was 18 (20 years ago!). Both Dad and Ruth have invited me to go with them. Therein lies the dilemma- should I go? I really want to go back there, but is it worth dealing with Ruth? Besides the ride to West Palm, you actually drive through the preserve. It will be quite a bit of time in the car. But I want to go there! WHat should I do? I don't want Ruth's presence to hold me back from doing the things I want to do, but I'm leery of going with her. I'm so confused.

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Oh, FCOL... :-\

My first instinct is to say don't go. I understand you not wanting to limit yourself just because of her, but in the first paragraph you're pointing out how lucky you are not to be stuck with her in the drive to the seder - and then you're contemplating the drive to West Palm, through the preserve, and back home again. Think about it honestly - can you put up with her for that long in close quarters?

I told Dad we'll see how tomorrow goes, and take it from there. I'm just so confused right now, Suz.

I would be too :-\ *cuddles*

This yo-yo relationship thing - I'm so so sorry your Dad is putting you (and everybody) through this. I don't know if I'd want to spend a whole day in a car with this crazy woman, but maybe if things go well at the seder, it would be OK. Otherwise, do not put yourself through this.

That's pretty much my thought. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Don't go. I understand that you like the Safari and don't want to let Ruth make you limit your enjoyment, but you aren't going to enjoy yourself on that trip -- Ruth will make sure of that, I guarantee it. There's really no win for you in this situation, unfortunately.

I hope your dad comes to his senses, soon. *hugs*

No win at all, absolutely. I'm so tired of this. *Hugs*

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I know. I just hate having to deny myself something so enjoyable, even though I know it could lead to utter chaos.

I totally understand that you want to go. But I agree with the comments above that she will probably not be able to be civil with you. And then you'd have to endure her craziness until you can get out of the car.

I am so sorry this keeps going on. *hugs*

Thanks, sweetie. *Hugs back*

Like the others, I'd say don't go.


But maybe she'll get eaten by a lion.

Oh that would be nice, wouldn't it? Not that I'd want to witness such a gory event, I'm sure it'd give me nightmares.

Also, I'd feel bad for the lions, I'm sure Ruth would give them indigestion!

I'd feel so bad for the lions, though. Maybe a rhino.

I've been thinking about this for quite a while now, as I read the question, went off and read a few other things, did some laundry and some knitting, and now I'm back. I think I'm almost as torn as you are. I went through a Safari park down in Florida during one of my childhood summer vacations -- I don't remember much about it, other than we were in the family car and I felt safe. I vaguely recall being told not to open the car door or windows no matter what happens during the drive. My strongest memory concerns the lions: all of them were lounging -- on the ground, or draped over tree limbs. I was surprised by how lazy they were, and, in retrospect, I think I felt disappointed. I think that as a child, I'd expected more excitement, perhaps the lions chasing the zebras or something similar.

Anyway, would I visit the park again given a choice? I sure would if I didn't have to pay for it or, if I did have to pay, the price was not exorbitant. I'd be curious to see what it was like these days. Not that the one I recall is necessarily the same one you're talking about. I have no idea what it was called nor where it was located other than somewhere in Florida. Not to mention this was 37 or 38 years ago.

But back to your dilemma. I read all the comments and, after reading them, I think I'm going to side with the people who say "Don't go." I totally get why you'd like to see it again but I think the folks who expect Ruth to begin picking on you the second the three of you pass the point where you could bail out gracefully are probably right. That is the sort of thing Ruth would do and your dad does not appear capable of silencing her when she's on the attack.

I think what you really need are friends in Florida. I wish I were there right now, as I'd say "Don't go with them, I'll take you."

Sound advice, sweetie. I wish you were here.

I went to a similar thing years ago - we have a park here called Orana Park where you once were allowed to drive through the lion enclosure, though not any more - and I found it rather scary. Because. They only let you in after they've been fed, presumably so as to ensure they don't take one look at your vehicle and think "WHERE IS OUR MEAT?" but the time I went with my brother, a young male and his girlfriend were engaging in some lion Afternoon Delight. My brother being a sort of bogan Attenborough was all "OMG they are mating let's get closer so I can take a photo!", we drove close by. Male lion is not impressed and decides to abandon his sexytime to come and check us out. He walked up behind our Mini van (which he could have opened with his paw at the back if he'd wanted HORRORS), walked around the front giving us the eyeball, sat down on the passenger side, ie right next to me, looked at me, looked at the tyre, at me, at the tyre. CHOMP. Sudden kittenish leap back from air squirting out of innertube. Sits down to chomp.

They are HUUUUUUGE. And the thin metal between me and the huuuuuuge lion's teeth and paws did not feel very secure-making all of a sudden. It was very unpleasant indeed. VERY. I mean, it was also kind of awesome but it only became truly awesome after we had *escaped* on our flat tyre.

That is amazing, suzcat!! Terrifying, but amazing!

Oh my. That had to be terrifying. But what a great story you got out of it. Also, did you have to come and be rescued, or did you drive out on the flat tire? Inquiring minds want to know!

We drove out on the flat, which was less problematic on soft ground I imagine, but when we got out my brother was horrified to learn the park staff had no puncture repair kits or anything and were supremely indifferent, citing "no responsibility". But they organised for us to return to town on a tour bus that was coming later. It kind of ruined the rest of the trip, because my brother was so annoyed.

I think what you really need are friends in Florida.

I second you on this, and I told her the same thing.

I have to go with everyone else and say don't go. I feel like she might be setting you up - - being "nice" and inviting you, but you *know* she's gonna start some shit. I wish your dad would come to his senses already. *hugs*

I'm pretty sure she asked because she knew I'd say no- it makes her look like the bigger person, although she's so obvious I don't know how Dad can miss it. I told him that I'd like to go, but I'm very leery about it, and he said "I don't blame you." He knows the truth about everything, I wish he would just do the right thing. He still hasn't told her we're going to NY in August.

Andi, I'm going to agree with whate you've already been told, and suggest you not go. I'm also going to second something mrs_sweetpeach said. You need to start building your own circle of friends in Florida so you're not 100% dependent on your dad if you want to do something or go somewhere. I don't know how you feel about doing things on your own, but since you don't drive, and you've said there's no convenient public transportation, it's kind of a moot point (unless you're willing to use taxis). But you ought to be building some kind of life that's independent of your dad, because somewhere down the line that might change from an option to a necessity.

I've actually been much more independent lately. I've been taking a local bus service called Palm Tran, which does door to door service. It picks you up right at your house and takes you to your exact destination, at only 3 dollars a trip.

As for tomorrow, I think the trip is off. The seder was very nice, but when Ruth learned from a cousin that Dad and I are planning trip to NY for a week this summer, she flipped out. I wasn't planning to go anyway.

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