Friday, August 19, 2016

Couple Attempts to Head off the Inevitable

I've written about my in-laws, especially my father-in-law, a fair amount in the past. Not so much in the present, as I have not really written much of anything since the boy alien came along.

J's birthday was this week, and fell over a workday. Due to demanding work schedules we decided to push any celebration to the weekend. J wanted to go on a drive "somewhere" with no definite destination in mind. Since taking a meandering, hours-long drive with no set destination is a six year old boy's definition of hell and boy alien was scheduled to spend most of the week with his grandparents anyway, we asked J's mom if we could bring him a day earlier then original planned. My mother-in-law checked her schedule and said yes.

And in the background, during a recent call, J could hear his father asking when J was coming, as he had work that he wanted J to do.

My father-in-laws' standard operating procedure in circumstances such as described is to wait until J arrives with the boy alien and then drop a set of chores on J that need to be done before J can leave. He rarely gives advance notice that he needs help, always underestimates the amount of time these tasks will take and usually drops these need bombs on days when he knows that we (as a couple or as as a family) have time sensitive activities planned.

It is galling. It is especially galling because he does it on purpose to create havoc and drive a wedge between J and myself. He has pulled this stunt numerous times during the course of our marriage. He takes advantage of the fact that J is too nice to say no. He takes pleasure out forcing me into being the bad guy as it gives him an opportunity to complain to other members of the family about how difficult I am behaving and how ungrateful I am.

Since we had some advance indication of the inevitable, J called his mom this morning and asked if he could bring boy alien this evening. He explained that since he had no idea how long it was going to take to do the things that his father wanted done, he would rather bring boy alien down early then watch our plans blow up and put me in the position of being the bad guy again.

J asked if I was interested in going with him tonight and attempted to bribe me with wings from one of our favorite wing places. I turned him down, as I am irritated with his father and have little desire to put myself in the position where he can give me a hard time this evening.


I don't even know where to start with this.

I had a truly awful high school experience. I have written about it in the past, but not recently.

The short version is that I was not verbally bullied (although there was an element of that) as much as I was socially ostracized. I was not invited to parties, to the movies, to go bowling, on sleepovers or to just hang out at the mall for a few hours on a weekend night. I had one close friend, but even our time outside of school was limited due to the fact that she lived 20 miles away, in another town. My class was very small and I spent the better part of six years very unhappy, including a stint in therapy for suicidal ideation.

When I graduated from high school, I made no effort to keep in touch with my classmates. As of today I am in regular contact with a total of 2 former classmates (3 if I count my brother) and the above mentioned friend is not on the short list, due to my realization that her social views had hardened instead of evolved.

After I graduated, I made no effort to keep my mailing address up to date and ignored reunion invitations. When mom and dad downsized to a smaller house last year, I destroyed my high school yearbooks, as I did not want a reminder of how unhappy I was.

I don't even hate my classmates. It is just as a group they represent a very painful part of my life that I prefer not to remember.

Thanks to technology, a former classmate found me on Facebook last week and sent a friend request, which I accepted.

The next morning she added me to the class reunion page and I learned that the next reunion is in a couple of weeks.

Since then, I have wrestled with whether I want to go or not. Part of me does, out of prurient curiosity and I admitted this to Jeff a couple of nights ago.

The other part of me is dealing with a mild anxiety attack, manifested as an inner shakiness, which started last evening at dinner and has continued unabated for most of today. It is not paralyzing, just the sensation of inter vibration coupled with the feeling that if I don't get up and move I will come out of my skin.

I don't know what to do with this anxiety. Even after 25 years I am not emotionally equipped to deal with a class reunion and I should pass on this one. But I feel cowardly.

79°F Sunny

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Miscellaneous and More to Come

Mainly about our lovely, lovely neighbor, who will henceforth be known as "AN". I'll leave up to my one astute reader to determine what the "A" stands for.

AN especially enjoys throwing parties that start in the wee hours of the morning, after the bars close

I have sampling of his behavior, courtesy of one of his guests. At 7:30 on Sunday morning. But the video is not working right now.

I also have to fix a syncing issue with my journal application, as there are more details to come.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Every Day Something or Other Ouch

I try very hard not to write at work, or at least to write on my journal app during a break. But I had conversation with my mother this past weekend that has been gnawing at me in a small way that spotlighted the ongoing issue I have with feeling like she does not listen.

Mom and I were revisiting an old discussion about our schisms with the Catholic church. My issues go way back to grade school (I think) and I fell gradually away as soon as I felt I could do so without negative repercussions, starting in college.

Mom's last straw was seeing the implosion (for the lack of a better word) of a priest she truly admired and the revelation that the Catholic church covered up decades of sexual abuse of children.

It was in this context that she told me that my younger brother, when tapped to serve the early mass (as the Catholic school in which we attended was a great resources of involuntary servitude for the young men of the school, who were required on a rotational basis to serve at the morning and noon masses) refused to serve morning mass said by a specific priest unless my mother attended the service. This priest unsettled my brother out to the point that he would rather serve detention.

When I was young, there were times when I was forced to allow myself be manhandled by adults who made me feel distinctly uncomfortable under the guise of being polite. My protestations about my discomfort were set aside, I was told to "be nice" and that those individuals "meant no harm".

In short, under very similar circumstances, my brother was listened to. I was not.


Monday, February 08, 2016


I dreamed of Squeak Saturday nigh. I took him to the vet. I had to park my car in a space without feeding the meter. I stood in line to check him in, realized that I had forgotten some papers, so I had to retrieve and stand in line again. He was sick, I would have to leave him overnight. The kennel section at the vet had a window facing the street. As I walked past, I could see a tech cuddling him. He was happy, snuggled against the tech's shoulder. He saw me as she it him down and looked at me. I held my hand up to the window, then walked away.
Now I am in tears. It has been a long time since he died. I miss him terribly right now, but I am strangely happy that my brain bought forth his memory so I could see him again.

27° Clear

-- So it has been a day and Squeak is remains in my thoughts. It was around this time that we bought Wigford home from the shelter, several months after Squeak died.

I still feel guilty about missing how sick Squeak was at the end of his life. He should not have to suffer the way he did. I've tried very hard not to make that mistake again. Letting go of Axel and Lucy Snowe was difficult, but there is not a moment that I doubt that I did the correct thing.

I have one photo of Squeak, an analog shot taken of him as a half-grown kitten sitting in a basket of clean laundry, being scratched behind his big ears by an old friend. I don't have his ashes (there was no money at that time for more than basic cremation). All I have is memory.

Twelve years and I still miss him so much.

Thursday, January 14, 2016



I normally don't become sad when I learn about the death of a famous person. It always struck me as unseemly to invest emotional energy into mourning an individual that I don't actually know in real life.
Alan Rickman is different. I absolutely adored him as an actor and I am terribly sad to hear of his death. He one of my fantasy husbands, along with Martin Straka and Colin Firth. He was riveting onscreen. From all the stories I have read today, he was also a stand-up human being in his personal life as well. 
My first Rickman movie, was Die Hard. I did not know him as the Alan Rickman then. He was just this great British actor with amazing presence who made a run-of-the-mill action film extraordinary.
When I saw him again in Robin Hood, I did not recognize him as the same man who played Hans Gruber. I adored every single scene chewing moment he was on-screen. But I still had little idea of how good he was.
My eyes were opened in An Awfully Big Adventure. I rented the movie to watch Hugh Grant, but it was Rickman's performance, as an emotionally wrecked drunk who begins an affair with a young woman who does not love him and turns out to be his daughter, that caught my notice and Rickman's character who I connected with emotionally.
Sense and Sensibility left me officially smitten. From then until now, I knew that I would enjoy any movie in which he as a part and that has turned out to be true.
I've spent most of today reading through the conversation of his death on Metafilter, watching clips of his movies and public appearances and trying very hard not to cry.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Tequila Sunrise and More Contemplation

Back in the office today. It was nice to interact with grown adults, even if most of my day was spent looking at data tables, trying to ascertain which needed updated to complete updates the data model I work on.

Still wrestling with whether to invite J's family to dinner. The more I think about it, the more I would rather just limit it to my family. I don't think I can deal with the bullshit and inviting four to six additional people to act as buffers would not be a solution, just piling on additional stress.

In truth, the anticipation is probably worse than what will happen in real life. Or not.

I'm having a lot of moments of silently simmering anger towards J and I don't know what to do about that either. I anticipate another one occurring shortly as I hear the garage door going down, which means he is done working on the kitchen table for the night.

I can't quite pinpoint where this round of frustration is coming from, just that it is here. Today it was walking in the door after work and seeing the sink filled with dishes, even though I've asked him repeatedly to keep in clear so I can cook more easily. Then him asking, *while I'm in the middle of cleaning up something* if there is anything he can do for me. If I tell him the truth, to look around, see what needs done and *just do it* he'll just get pissy and complain.

Then there is the fact that when he gets a DVD from Netflix, it can linger around the house for a week and it is not a big deal, but when I get one he goes two days maximum before he starts nagging me about watching it.

Either that or this is displacement anticipatory stress of having to care for Linus by myself for 11 days manifesting itself in some strange, strange ways.

Like the burning desire to order the medium 1904 Porter Rough and Tumble bag in Tabasko waxed cotton canvas, the same style I saw in Toad & Company in Freeport. Roughly three weeks and I am completely obsessed with the silly thing. To keep myself from buying it, I paid all the bills (credit card with the new bed tomorrow) and moved $500.00 into savings. Now I just need to freeze the credit card to keep myself from charging it.

It does not help that the bag is EXACTLY the size I have been looking for and would make an amazing replacement for my nylon Fossil bag, which is s.l.o.w.l.y falling apart. Or that I just spent a goodly amount of money on a leather Frye satchel that suits all my needs very, very well and has garnered quite a few compliments since I purchased it with some of our tax refund money last spring.

The mantra that I don't need the bag, I just want the bag is not helping right now, no matter how true it is. I honestly don't need this bag. I have the Frye, the Fossil will survive for several more years, the Sherpani Verona is an excellent replacement for the Fossil, the Timbuk 2 is holding up phenomenally well, and I have an additional bin of miscellaneous purses and totes that need to be discarded before I buy anything else.

What I need is to figure out what I'm trying to fill by buying the bag, and take care of that instead.

Sunday, August 30, 2015



I am contemplating a dilemma this evening.
Family (my parents, both siblings, siblings spouses and possibly two dogs) are coming to the house to celebrate an early Thanksgiving, the weekend before Thanksgiving to be precise. Since we no longer exchange gifts (or try not to at any rate), my father's only desire for the holidays is that we share a meal together.
So we shall, in my big comfortable house. With new furniture in the living room and refurbished dining room chairs.
The dilemma? Should we invite J's family to this dinner? Have I lost my mind?
The instinct of general etiquette suggests it would be a decent and honorable thing to do.
The instincts of past history of hosting my in-laws are screaming “hell no”. The last time we hosted J's family, his father waited until an hour after I put the food away (which had been sitting out untouched for over an hour before I cleaned it up) to pull out two frying pans and cook hamburgers he had bought with him “because he was hungry again”. Which meant another hour in the kitchen cleaning up the pans, silverware and additional dishes.
We have kicked around some ideas that might make it easier, such as inviting the parents of both my sister in laws. But then it also occurred to me that I both my brothers that it was ok for them to bring their dogs - which means that I have to allow J's niece to bring her dog too. And if what J's parents are reporting is true, her dog is showing signs of aggression towards other people and I don't want an aggressive animal in my home.
(You know what pisses me off? When I clearly state to J that I am writing, only to have to deal with him being affectionate towards me even though attention from him is the last fucking thing that I want at that moment. I don't want loving gestures, I want to be left the fuck alone to think and form sentences.) 
– End rant. I love J, but I really wish that he could hear “I'm writing” as “leave me alone right now”.
So I did what any sane person in this day and age would do. I wrote to the hosts of the podcast Awesome Etiquette to see how they would answer the question.
In the meantime, I will consider my options.