Jeff Lewis and Gage Edward are new parents, thus they are a little insane at the moment. And this week’s Flipping Out highlights how each father’s insanity manifests differently. For Gage, it’s all about micro-managing the baby, and for Jeff, it’s more about micro-managing his business – and his imaginary divorce from Gage. Yikes. Good times at Valley Vista!
Jeff doesn’t plan on being at Valley Vista much longer though, because he’s New Hollywood bound, come hell or high water
damage. Since no one apparently predicted a baby would be uncomfortable living in a construction zone, everyone is scrambling to get the hell out of VV before little Monroe levels the place with her screams. But Jeff doesn’t see himself as the center of all of this chaos – no, no. He’s the glue that holds this family together! At least that’s what his pediatrician told him. Gage now wants to murder this pediatrician.
Monroe is five months old and is seriously the MOST ADORABLE little doll baby ever! But her cuteness only lasts for a nanosecond before we hear her piercing screams ripping through the house again. Poor baby has reflux and colic, so life has been no picnic lately for Jeff, Gage, the office staff – and even the animals.
Gage is still trying to find the balance between being Monroe’s main caretaker and Jeff’s right hand business man. Jeff knows Gage is caught between the roles, wondering what he’ll choose in the end – and what he’s willing to support. I’m just gonna go ahead and throw my two cents in here: Someone (Gage) needs extended paternity leave, or Jeff Lewis Design needs to move to a non-home office location. Of course Gage reacts when his daughter screams! He’s the primary caretaker. It’s just too much.
In the car later, Jeff admits to Jenni Pulos that this baby stuff is exhausting. Jenni is not surprised that Monroe is a difficult baby who’s loud and throws tantrums “just like her father.” She’s enjoying every minute of it, in fact. On the way to see Lea Black to consult on her new Franklin property, Jeff and Jenni stop off to shop for some New Hollywood furniture. Jeff wants to go clean and modern, but not cold. Gray will, of course, abound.
At New Hollywood, Gage meets up with them to half listen to renovation plans while he checks the baby monitor on his iPhone. Since Jeff now owns two properties side by side, he jokes that it’ll be perfect when he and Gage get divorced! They can co-parent in adjoining homes. Gage guffaws a little too heartily at this prospect.
Back home, Jeff shows Megan Weaver the plans for his New Hollywood office. It includes actual desks with individual drawers! Except we all know Jenni will still sit in the naughty student chair right smack next to Jeff, so she can dream on about that desk and drawer of her own. She can also keep hoping Gage will stop “Shhhhhhhhhhhh!”-ing her because he’s all about that move right now. He’s also obsessed with the baby, and is only partially present when Jeff asks him business related questions. This does not make Jeff a happy boy.
On other unhappy fronts, Chaz Dean’s endless bungalow project has new setbacks after water damage and fire destroyed a sh*t ton of the property. Instead of blaming Chaz’s bad juju for the disaster, Jeff offers his sympathy, but can hardly stomach the thought of doing YEARS of work all over again. Building the same damn thing twice in a row is demoralizing, to say the least. Also, demoralizing is the penny fountain Chaz wants Jeff to make for good karma – a fountain literally made of pennies in “only good years.” Chaz is insane, and Jeff knows this. But for some reason he likes The Chaz, so The Chaz will get his crazy a$$ fountain.
As Jeff, Megan, Jenni, and Gage check out their new office digs at Hollywood, Jeff takes a moment to scold the painters for nearly killing themselves on a 3-story ladder. Where’s the scaffolding?! Not cool, dudes. Jeff does not have the time nor the inclination to be sued at this juncture. He also thinks Gage isn’t paying enough attention to the contractors or the project itself, and that’s why all hell is breaking loose. Gage thinks Jeff is an a$$hole. And if Jeff thinks he’s such a terrible employee, Gage sighs, “then replace me.”
At Lea Black’s new house, Jenni and Megan are regaled with stories of Lea giving her poodle mouth to mouth resuscitation. Megan looks for the exit from crazy town, while Jenni just smiles her “I’m used to psychos!” smile. Jeff loves Lea, though, and wants to keep her and her precious dog happy because she has oodles of money and referrals at her fingertips. Outside, Jeff continues to berate Gage, who is totally over Jeff’s tantrum and not about to proffer the apology Jeff expects. More to come on that later.
Luckily, Jeff is distracted by Lea’s nonstop chatter in the car on the way to shop, so his bad mood will need to be put on pause. Shopping with Lea makes everything better! Even though she’s all about the Miami glitz and glamour, while Jeff is more into minimalist decor. What Lea is good at is spending money, so that works for everyone.
And when Jenni, Megan, and Jeff move it all into Lea’s fab home, it ends up looking very hip, very posh, yet still classic. Lea is thrilled, and Jeff is certain that there will be more business to follow. He also likes the fact that he can spy on Gage in the Hollywood properties just down below. Better to harass him from near and far!
In the car later, Jeff gets a text from Gage that I’ve sent to my own husband at least five times a day when I was home with a baby: “Dog downstairs barking, baby won’t sleep. Wtf?” Jeff somehow thinks this is abnormal behavior. Um, earth to Jeff: THIS IS EVERY MOM’S SOS TEXT. (Can I get a witness?) And it will pass, as every stage of child-rearing does. It’s tough when you’re new at it though, and Jeff and Gage will just have to duke it out in this sh*t-tastic arena for a while longer until they’ll emerge into the light. But Jeff is in a very dark place currently, actually ruminating on having to be a single parent at some point.
Jenni tells him to cut out the jokes about this! But Jeff’s only half joking. He doesn’t like this new arrangement, and his control issues are raging. The divorce he’s planning in his head, for instance, is going really well! He hopes Gage’s imaginary divorce is going the same.
Back at Valley Vista, Gage loads up the car for a trip to Hollywood. They’re moving in! But when Monroe screams from inside, he looks like he can barely pull out of the driveway. It’s the push-pull of work versus parenting that never ends. But Jeff more easily compartmentalizes it all, focusing intently on getting the new house and office perfect. He does have enough time to poke Gage into a fight, which Gage finally responds to by poking back. Instead of devolving into an all-out brawl in front of the movers, they keep the war cold…for now. Jenni senses a blow up later. And even Gage admits in his confessional that he would “love to leave right now” if he could. Leave his life, that is.
With those warm and fuzzy sentiments in mind, it’s time to celebrate Valentine’s Day! After Jeff deadpans “Happy Valentine’s Day” to the love of his life, he and Gage bicker over why the dog’s barking. Which transfers to bickering over their relationship. At the end of his rope, Gage finally just walks away, pondering fifty ways to leave his lover.
At therapy later, Jeff ponders this also. He’s at a breaking point, admitting that he’s nearly ready to call the lawyers and draw up separation papers. “I can see why people stay together for the kids,” he admits, but he doesn’t want to be one of those people. Although he understands that this is a tough time, Jeff thinks Gage is depressed and unappreciative of his contribution to the relationship. He also thinks Gage is fence-sitting on the work vs. parent role and just needs to pick one. He’d let him stay home if that’s what Gage wants, but Gage claims he still wants to work. “If this gets worse and I don’t want to do this anymore, what does that look like?” wonders Jeff.
But in the end, Jeff doesn’t really want to break up his family. He just feels lonely in this new threesome they’ve built, and wonders how he ultimately fits into the strange scheme. He also wants to feel close to Gage again, who’s been more of an irritating roommate (in Jeff’s eyes) than a partner in love and parenting. Finally admitting that he is part of the problem, Jeff vows to make more of an effort to heal their relationship. So he buys Gage flowers on the way home and confesses all of his feelings over dinner that night. Although it might have felt a little like explosive diarrhea, Jeff is glad he let his emotions out. And Gage is too, despite the mess.
TELL US: CAN YOU RELATE TO WHAT GAGE AND JEFF ARE GOING THROUGH? WILL THIS TOUGH TIME PASS, OR IS THEIR RELATIONSHIP NOT BUILT TO LAST?
Photo Credit: Bravo