Pour Me

With all the advances we’ve seen in medicine, science and technology wouldn’t it be nice if someone could figure out what makes some people prone to self-pity?

The “poor me” mentality may not be rampant in the world as a whole, but in my little corner of it I’m practically buried in the bullshit. Between JD and his mother I’m not sure who would win if it were a contest. Yesterday was the first day in a long, long time that I seriously asked myself what I was still doing in this marriage. For those of you not paying attention, yesterday was Christmas – a day of supposed joy and love. Uh huh.

Not being tuned in to their conversation, I wasn’t sure what happened this time, just that JD went out in the back yard where the dogs were, shutting the sliding door with a louder bang than necessary. And dear MIL sat there justifying whatever it was she said to him. Inside I felt the Grinch get a grip on my heart and I cringed.

A short time later JD came back inside and immediately went through to the front door and walked back out. My first inclination was to go after him but since that has always worked so well in the past I opted to stay inside, where I whined out loud that I was sorry I hadn’t brought the bottle of wine I had at home. Within a couple of moments I had a glass of a nice white zinfandel in my hand. I was enjoying the grandchildren and seeing my favorite daughter’s new beau win points with the rest of the family who were meeting him for the first time. If JD wanted to sulk in the truck let him.

Then apparently he started the truck and drove away. I didn’t see this, but a few others looked puzzled and one of the daughters wondered aloud where he was going. I can’t remember what I said but it was the equivalent of a verbal shrug. I do remember feeling so done. But I’d stopped at the single glass of wine. Sure it was more because the bottle was already nearly empty and others might want some. But I could easily have told myself “screw them” and finished it off.

When I finally texted him to see what he was doing, he responded back “gas” meaning he was filling the truck’s tank. Then he parked the truck back in front of the house and sat out there a bit more. When people started loading plates with food I texted him to say we were starting to eat and was he coming inside. His one word response was “maybe.” So I went ahead and got food for myself.  He’s a grown-up, numerically anyway, and can fend for himself.   When I finished eating and got up to carry the paper plate to the trash JD came in the front door muttering something about finding our dog wandering around out front.

We’d earlier put the dogs outside briefly and while we were eating our Beagle made her escape from the backyard.  I mentioned that I’d seen her in the backyard right before I started eating. It wasn’t what JD said next but his tone was sharp almost like a reprimand. He repeated that he’d found her wandering around outside and had just brought her in.   Like maybe I hadn’t believed him or I was disagreeing with him.  What the hell, I could see she was right there.  At the end of my patience I snapped back that he didn’t need to bite my head off and he said “fine” or something similar and went back out to the truck.

The rest of the day was much the same. When I went out a bit later to see if he was coming in for opening presents we disagreed about the interaction in the house and it was going nowhere fast so I went back inside. The daughters brought out dessert and someone found more alcohol so I added a healthy splash of bourbon to my coffee.

He did finally come back inside in time to watch the grandkids open their gifts. I think he even forced down some food. He didn’t speak to anyone though unless they asked him a direct question. And when his mother and sister left I don’t think he said goodbye.

Favorite daughter and S were planning to stay and watch the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with daughter A and her hubby and son so we said our goodbyes and headed out. It was a nearly silent drive and when we got home JD went to bed. And I let him.

Now that’s I’ve thrown up all that family drama I wonder what good it will do. The drama will subside eventually; JD will likely make up with his mother. But he’ll nurse the incident, build it up into more than it was and mitigate his own part in it. And somewhere down the road it will happen again.

It’s been like this for the eighteen years I’ve known this family. So what the hell am I still doing here? I think that’s something which needs further exploration because I’m not sure I know.

Suggestions?

Not to step on Gibber’s toes but I have a need for answers.  Over the weekend I called the other grandpa of two of my grandchildren who live a couple of hours away.  The kids live with him and his wife because neither my daughter nor their son has what it takes to parent.  So now that the kids are close enough to visit we took them camping during the summer.  It was much too short a visit but we promised them we would see them again.  I recently asked if we could have them visit over Thanksgiving weekend.  My request was denied with a comment that they were expecting family to come into town.  I thanked him politely and said that was great and I didn’t want to ruin a family time.  I asked if there was another weekend between then and the end of the year when we could have them visit and was told no.  No explanation, no nothing – just no.  Then he appeared to realize how bad that sounded and he backtracked and said something about he’d have to see.  Yeah, right.

Saturday, I asked whether we could have the kids visit us for a couple of days after Christmas so we wouldn’t interrupt their holiday.  With Christmas on a Thursday this year we were graciously* given that Friday off.  It would make for a nice couple of days with the grandkids and they could still be home by Sunday.  Well Grandpa Dickhead said no.  Again.  In fact, he flat out lied, saying that “everyone thinks they have two weeks” of school vacation but they only have one.  Hmm.  I didn’t call him on it because what the hell do I know for certain?

This morning though I called the district where they attend school and asked about their holiday schedule.  LO and behold!  They’re off from December 22 to January 2.  That’s what?  Two weeks?  Amazing.

So now I need a little assistance.  Tonight I plan to call dear old Dickhead and ask whether we might at least take the grandkids to dinner one night between now and Christmas.  I want to make sure they get the gift cards we have for them and I don’t trust that jackass even a little bit.  I’m not a pessimist most of the time, but realistically, based on our last two conversations, I believe he’s going to find a way to deny our request.

In case that happens, should I call him out for lying?  Call him a dickhead jackass son of a bitch?  Or should I remain polite and try to negotiate with him?  What say you all?  Geez, I’m starting to get a complex here; you’d think I was the Wicked Witch of Seattle or something.  😦

 

 

*When the hell is someone going to come up with a sarcasm font!?

The truth can be ugly

It turns out that I’m a liar.  Not just white lies or little fibs either.  This was a blatant, though not face to face lie.  I’m a lousy liar.  My face turns red and I can’t look the person in the eye.  Lying via email is soooo much easier.

JD’s daughter (let’s call her A shall we?) emailed this morning to let the family know her youngest is being dedicated at church next month.  She hoped everyone could join them and maybe have a potluck at their house afterward.  I emailed back by replying all (so JD would see my response and not rat me out by mistake), and said we were going away that weekend because we didn’t get to go camping.

You have to understand something here in order to “get” why I lied outright.  JD is Jewish through and through.  On the surface you would never know it.  He doesn’t attend a synagogue or practice his faith openly that I’ve ever seen.  The only time he plays the Jewish card is when he’s joking about getting something cheaper.  But it is his heritage and it’s in his blood.  It hurts him that his daughter chooses the Christian faith over her birthright.  I think he should just suck it up and be happy she’s a woman of faith.

He sees it as disrespecting him.  Wait, what?  That makes no sense and it’s futile to expect a child you weren’t allowed to raise to follow your path; especially when your path isn’t all that clear.  In my opinion, respect has to be earned and with an attitude like his he isn’t earning any points toward that goal.

Let’s move on before I digress into a tirade about his attitude; none of us want that.  We did attend the dedication for A’s son a few years ago.  They belong to a nice church.  As a formerly regular churchgoer myself, I enjoyed the atmosphere that imbued the service.  I could see myself going to services there, if I were to ever decide I need that in my life again.  The entire time we were there JD was on a slow boil.  He didn’t say anything to the daughter or other family but I definitely heard about it both before and after the service.

Every time we meet up with this daughter and her family there’s always something that sets off JD.  It could be as simple as them saying grace over the meal we’re all having.  Before JD agreed to go to Passover with Mom, he demanded that grace would not be said before the meal or he would get up and leave.  He would have too.  On this point I agree with him.  Passover is Jewish and therefore Jewish traditions should be honored.  Here’s where I think A has a lot more class than JD.  She worked with her son N, who would be the youngest male there to teach him the questions which are traditionally asked.  To my knowledge, she didn’t grumble or whine about not being able to pray as she is accustomed to doing.  In my mind (and after some of my experiences with The Church), A is a good example of what a Christian should be.  I would be proud to call her my daughter.

JD thinks if one of my kids chose to be a Rastafarian, Buddhist or some other faith that I’d understand his disappointment.  I hope I would be more tolerant (and I abhor that word) if they chose to practice a different faith.  Being spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean being religious and I’m the first to admit I’ve been lacking in the faith department lately, which is completely beside the point.

It isn’t only the daughter’s choices that irritate JD.  He personally doesn’t make the effort to celebrate Hanukkah for example, but grouses when we’re invited to “Christmas” at his sister’s.  She still goes to synagogue – once in a while anyway.  But she too married a Non-Jew and her husband’s daughters celebrate the holiday with their father so they have a tree and exchange gifts.  I’ve tried to work around JD’s animosity about the family celebration by making sure the grandchildren get both a Christmas gift and a Hanukkah present.  It has not helped.

He acts as if everyone is out to make his life completely miserable.  And in the process he makes mine miserable.  I used to enjoy the holidays but I often dread them now because of how JD reacts.  It’s pointless and a complete waste of time and energy.

Is it any wonder then that I lied about having plans?  I think not, and I’d do it again.

Best Friends

I’ve had a few BFFs in my lifetime, though I suppose they were more BFs since nothing lasts forever.

In high school my best friend was Marta G.  We all called her Markee and she was probably the sweetest girl in our clique.  She didn’t join in when there was gossip or backbiting – at least I don’t remember her participating.  Perhaps she did and my reminiscence has colored the memory.  One particular memory I know is not complete.  I didn’t follow our high school sports much but one year a few of us went to one of the home football games.  Markee was sick with a nasty cold but she showed up anyway, a bottle of Nyquil® in tow.  By the time the game ended she was completely wasted on cold medicine and the part I don’t remember clearly is how we all got home that night but I do know she survived so she must not have OD’d too badly on the nasty stuff.

Not long ago I found a photo of her in a jumble of memorabilia.  The cameras back then did not take the masterpieces we can get with even our cell phone today.  But while it was grainy and a bit blurred, it was unmistakably Markee.  Her light brown waves were pulled back into a loose tail and she was looking over her shoulder at someone or something in the hall at school.  Looking at the familiar face, I ached just a little for the loss of her friendship since we all went our own ways after graduation.

One marriage, four children and many years later I met Deb.  Bold, brash, and blonde, Deb was as tall as I, but slender where I was more curvy.  We worked together and she brought me out of my shell.  I’d always been sort of quiet, afraid to risk rejection or make waves.  Deb had no such fear.  She was funny and cheeky and loved a good time.  After she started working in our office a group of us would go into The City to dance and drink beer.  As the adult child of an alcoholic, I was playing with fire, but it was so freeing.  I don’t know how else to explain it – it just felt good to go out and play.  Deb was the friend who recognized the symptoms of my child abuse (another survivor often can see what others cannot) and recommended a book that changed my life.  I went back to the therapist I’d seen immediately after my divorce and I started meeting with a group of other survivors.

I thought Deb and I would be friends forever.  She and her husband moved out of state and not long after I moved to the same state and went to work at the law firm where she was employed.  Even though we didn’t live all that far from each other we didn’t do much socializing outside of work.  Eventually, they moved again for her husband’s work and we lost touch for a bit.  During that time she went through breast cancer treatment and I followed her progress via email, the occasional phone call and Facebook posts.  Then a couple of years ago they moved yet again, back to the Midwest where the rest of her family lives.  If I got back on Facebook she’d “friend” me for sure.  We still email once in a while. But we’ve lost touch overall.  I’ve come to believe the chief reason she came into my life was to steer me toward therapy.  Once I was on the road to recovery, her work was done and she moved on to others who needed her.

Another several years later I started an anonymous blog.  I wanted to keep it under wraps from family because it was where I would rant about issues that drove me crazy.  Unfortunately, there was this fear that JD would discover it or I’d let it slip or something and because of that fear I never really unloaded all the frustration, grief or anger there.  But by being online and following other blogs I met L, who is now one of my dearest friends.  Chatting about husbands, daughters, grandchildren, we’ve developed a relationship different from my other friendships but so much richer in my mind.  We’ve actually had the great pleasure of meeting in person a couple of times and we’re in touch by email and text somewhat regularly.  So even though we’re don’t live close enough to meet up often, we still reach out and support each other.  We make each other laugh and we listen when the other needs to vent.  She is the only person in my life who knows about this new blog and knows who Janey really is.

I know nothing is forever but I hope and pray with fingers and toes crossed that L and I are friends for a very, very long time.