Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Annual Anonymous Winter Holiday Blog of Familial Hostility, Part One

Last year, I invited the readers to post what they wished they could say at the holiday table when it came time to say what they were thankful for.  Then it became clear that people were reluctant to do that in public with their names attached (and rightly so, as you will soon see).  So, I thought, hey, how about an anonymous forum where people could PM me and I would post their thoughts on the page? The response was overwhelming and I decided to take all the PMs and turn them into The Anonymous Thanksgiving Blog of Family Hostility.  An online Airing of the Grievances, if you will.  Two hundred and thirty-seven messages later (and about twelve hours of editing, laughing, crying, agonizing, and rejoicing), I came up with the first of probably three segments.  I think we have enough to take us through to New Year's.  And I'm toying with the idea of a monthly sweep.  Almost all of the PMs ended with:  "I feel so much better."  And some even said, "You don't have to post it, just to write it was enough."

So I have dusted off last year's offering and added a few more.  Before I get to the messages themselves, I have a few observations about what people wrote to me.  There were a few common themes, and to conserve space and time, I'll summarize them rather than post every message.   People were thankful for their meds.  And booze.  (But please, not in combination because death.)  People were glad they only had to do this once a year.   Other people were glad they didn't have to do Thanksgiving with <person> any more, due to death, divorce, etc.  People wished for drama-free holidays, and were thankful that either distance or meds or booze or time passing or what have you were making that possible.   Something that resonated with me:  People were thankful to family members who taught them what NOT to do with their lives, in their personal relationships, as parents, as sons and daughters.  

Many people were witty, some on purpose.  Some of the funny ones were unintentional, that corkscrew to the gut.  You smile until you realize THAT REALLY HAPPENED.  Celebratory post-rant passing of food was a theme.  There was lots of profanity because awesome.  Some people edited their profanity, and I corrected the euphemisms.  Some messages really needed some good swears, so I added them.  (THAT was fun.  Who knew Gramma had such a mouth?)    

(As usual, I hope you'll enjoy my parenthetical assholery.  In BOLD, you guys.  All the best assholery is in BOLD.)

I'm thankful I'm only forced to spend two days a year with my sister-in-law.

(Surely we can whittle that down to one.)

I'm thankful for the booze, pie and xanax that will make the day tolerable. And that there aren't more people in the family that I have to pretend to like.

(Seriously.   Walking advertisements for birth control, the lot of them.)

I really want to say I am thankful I have decided to leave your mentally abusive ass after 20 years. I’m not sure how, but I am done. Thankful that I will have a life of my own next Thanksgiving.

(Your keyboard to God's ears.)

As soon as grandma dies, I'm not coming to this stupid dinner any more.

(She's the only one I really like.)

I’m just here for the food.

(And even that's not all that great.)

Spending the holidays with "family" always brings out my deepest wish -- that I was adopted.

(Good one.)

I hate Thanksgiving food. Mom, your house is fucking hot! And my brother is an asshat.

(Seriously, Mom.  It's called a thermostat.  Thermasshat.  Okay, I'm going.)

To my lovely family: I have worked hard to shop for, plan and prepare this feast for us. You applauded my efforts with a rousing chorus of "Is it ready yet?” After we all eat ourselves into a stupor, do not (once again) decide it’s time to grab your shit and leave me with all the clean-up.  Because, seriously, for Christmas I might just make a big fat saliva pie for you all.

(My favorite kind.)

To my baby're a spoiled rotten 29-year-old woman, engaged to the wrong man and we all know it. You need to get your priorities straight and remember your sisters will always be here for you when your future husband is long gone.

(Because family can't get a pre-nup.)

Here's to the tryptophan kicking in before somebody mentions politics and religion.

(And by "tryptophan" you mean "Sominex")

Next year y’all need to come up with some cash cause I'm tired of spending $300 on Thanksgiving. Does it occur to you bitches that now I'm broke so we need leftovers?

(Yeah, pony up.  Losers.)

Why are you all such a bunch of unhappy, miserable bitches?

(It's a fair question.)

YOU are not the star of this show. The rest of us are here to enjoy a nice meal and conversation. Stop throwing around the threat that you are going to cut us out of your will if you’re not made the center of attention. We already know you have! Touche!

(En garde, motherfucker.)

I love you kids, but if given the opportunity to go back in time, I would NEVER have married your father or had any of you.   I would just have had goldfish -- when you get tired of them it's not illegal to flush them.

(NOW you tell me.)

Thank you, God, for my mother-in-law FINALLY showing her true colors at her job so now they know what she's really like. A bitch.

(Just between us, I knew it all along.)

To my parents: I've had enough of your irresponsibility and immaturity. You've ruined enough of my holidays; thanks to you guys, I haven't had a happy memory of a holiday since I don't know when. Go screw yourself. Take your guilt trips, your drama, your alcohol, and your negativity and go away.

(I went with the Oxford comma on this one.  Judges?)

I don't want to hear you bitch and moan about my mother anymore, because you are the dumbass that married her lying and cheating ass not once but twice.

(Twice.  Fucking *twice.*  Come on!)

As cold as it sounds, I'd like to tell my daughter’s mother-in-law to shut the fuck up and die already. She has cancer and every minute of the past seven years they have catered to her needs because she's dying. Buy the fucking farm or move on.

(It does sound cold.  But you did warn us.)

Why did you marry that bastard?

(Well?  We're waiting.)

To my brother: I'm sick of Thanksgiving Day drama during which the police have shown up to arrest you, you've made our mother cry, and you've gotten high and upset your son and mine. And this year you are bringing a girlfriend?   Give me a break.   FFS

(Whoa, dude, way to front-load that holiday weekend.)

I'm thankful my wife is no longer in my life.   I'm thankful I will be spending my Thanksgiving alone, instead of being with all the drama stars from her family.  I'm VERY thankful for my Klonopin.

(This one's going out to Roche Pharmeceuticals -- y'all rock.)

To my ex-husband -- thanks for being the ultimate asshole. The upside, I've lost 65 pounds and I look fucking great. SO SUCK IT, ALL OF YOU. Sincerely, Your Smokin' Hot Ex Wife Who Was Always Too Good For You

(I did not write this.  But I could have.  Except I only lost 20 pounds.  Beautiful.)

Your kids are ugly, your turkey is dry, the Christmas grab is stupid, if you actually looked for a job you'd find one, nobody here likes you!

(And let's be honest.  Can you blame them?)

I'm thankful I left the selfish, shallow asshole I spent far too much of my life with. I'm thankful I'm not married to the racist, misogynistic asshole whose house I'll be eating dinner at and I'm ever so thankful this dysfunctional day happens only once a year.

(I will definitely drink to any toast with "misogynistic" in it.)

You are all grown, though you act like a bunch of kids. Be grateful for what you have.  Some folks are cold and hungry, yet they don't complain. Your sister is the one you say has mental illness, but she is the only one that has her shit together.

(Lunatics are the true poets, and you know it.  Bam.)

I can't stand any of you. Really. I would be happier eating a turkey sandwich alone with a glass of wine watching mindless TV, than have to spend one minute with any of you.  And discipline your kids.  FFS.

(Agreed on all counts.  FFS indeed.)

Do you think for once someone could ask what's going on in MY life? Just because your job rules your life and it's all about you, doesn't mean my kids and I don't exist.

(You know, a lot of Narcissistic Personality Disorder gets diagnosed during the holidays.)

I would like to thank my mother-in-law for raising a selfish, alcoholic man child that has no concept of money, and my husband for wasting eleven years of my life. Cheers!

(In other words, MIL, you should have swallowed.)

So there you have it, boys and girls.  There's plenty of Familial Hostility for seconds, but finish your plate and let's open some presents.   Wait, that's next month.    Ugh.  See you on the therapy couch.  As if.

Look for Part Two next week.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Discovering the Savings Bonds

Once upon a time there was a woman who found a fat stack of her
husband's savings bonds in a paper bag on the shelf of the walk-in closet.  She scooped them up and hid them away because she was in the middle of divorce proceedings.  Because she lives in a community property state, each party owns half of all the assets (and liabilities) they acquired during the marriage.  Her please-would-he-sign-the-goddamn-papers-already-so-he-would-be-her-ex had a tendency to move money around even though he is enjoined from doing so under something called a "temporary QDRO," which he claimed not to understand.

So, to protect her half of the small fortune, she hid the savings bonds, so well that even she couldn't find them, and now, instead of having half a small fortune, she has lost the entire thing, because now she will have to reimburse him for the loss of his half.  The money will have to come from her half of the proceeds from the sale of the house, because she has no ready cash.   She had been trying to keep the house, even though that would be extreme folly because the cost of living in their area is exorbitant.  But events such as the disappearance of the savings bonds have coalesced, almost conspiratorially, to force her to face the inevitable.  She insists that they wait until June.  She is resolute that they not disrupt her son's sophomore year of high school.  But come summer, the house will be sold.

Until then, she is limping emotionally, marking time, sharing a roof with her ex, to the consternation of her therapist, her attorney, her boss, and her internet community, over 100,000 strong.  It's a Herculean task to maintain the distance she needs to heal and grow.  To take the straw of the painful lessons she has learned and, squaring shoulders full of false bravado, spin it into the gold that surely must be her due when this nightmare finally recedes.

Yesterday her ex found the savings bonds, a miracle that inspired the woman to write a blog piece to tell everyone on the internet about her relief.  She has never had friends in real life that she truly felt comfortable talk to.  Not coincidentally, her isolation has worsened almost in lockstep with the mudslide of her intolerable personal life.   And so she spends hours daily writing for strangers, entertaining and inspiring them (their words) as she surfs the waves of her treacherous, disordered moods.

The steadfast weight she currently carries varies in density with her mercurial state of mind, but the discovery of the savings bonds has lightened it, at least a little, at least for now.  And now, buoyed by this relief, galvanized by it, she lifts her head, and shuts her Chromebook for a few hours, and resumes chipping away, task by task, at the monolith that stands between her and the fulfillment that she knows is hers to claim, with trepidation, with hope, and ultimately, with joy.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Five Minutes Timed Writing Ready Go

Here's one of those stream of consciousness dealies.  I'm just going to write for five minutes straight and see what comes of it.  I promised you Nutjobs a funny blog about court and I do want to put that together.  I made some notes on my phone during The Proceedings (tm) or should it be My Day in Court (tm) but quite honestly (and sheepishly) I never saw the inside of the courtroom.  The attys went in, one BAMF, one jackwagon, proving that birds of a feather truly are BAMFs and jackwagons, respectively.

Anyway, the attorneys went in and dicked around for a while.  We had sent our draft agreement over to their side on Friday, but Dick Brain, Esquire, wouldn't read it over the weekend and so was pretty much useless during The Proceedings (tm).  All that really happened was we agreed to sit together again in two weeks, by which time Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Douche would presumably have a response to our proposal.

There was a lot more but I'm having trouble clearing more than five minutes at a time to concentrate on some real writing.  Meantime I wanted to kind of catch you up because I know some of you are actually interested in these shenanigans that you think are really happening to a real-life person that I apparently have convinced you that I am.  ; )

And that's five.  Well, actually it was eight, but Mahalo crawled under the covers and was being super cute, so of course I had to stop and take a photo.

Namaste, good people.  Thanks for hanging around and whatnot considering, as it's been pointed out several times lately, I'm kind of an asshole a lot of the time.  Funny tho, I think.  That Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Douche was inspired.