It’s about a Mouse

Last September, we had to do it. One can take one’s children to the beach only so many times before they start chanting like deranged lunatics about what they REALLY want to do. So, we did it. And it wasn’t too bad.

We did Disney.

We’d been holding them off for a while because we’re of the mindset that if you take a toddler to Disney, you’re a fucking lunatic. Taking kids…taking ANYONE there is a chore. But a slobbering pants-crapping kid? No thank you. I’ll handle those 2 areas on my own thank you very much.

Like all things, we planned the trip. My parents belong to a timeshare thing. They bought it in 2004 for reasons unknown and have been adding points to their account at a pace unknown to mankind ever since. They’re all platinum level and have 80,000 points per year to play with. What does 80,000 points get you as a platinum member? Enough to spend 8 weeks in Hawaii in the high season in an oceanfront deluxe condo.

Or…it’s enough to buy a resort in the Disney area.

Over the years, whenever they didn’t’ know what to get us for any occasion, my parents gave us “a week of points” knowing damn well we’d never use them. So, while we had probably 4-6 weeks of points in our Christmas stocking, we had never cashed them in. Now was the time to do so. But, we did so with great trepidation because nothing in this world is free. I tried to convince myself that we could stay on the grounds in a discount hotel. I tried…and failed. We were stuck.. Basically, we couldn’t NOT ask for the points because we’d be in BIG TROUBLE if we went and didn’t use the points.

So I asked. In a “Well…if you have any extra points available and might be able to spare them, and it wouldn’t be too much trouble, we’d be really grateful if we could have some points…but really…only if you have plenty to spare”. They said yes. I was only using like 1800 points so my father laughed at me for even asking.

Then it was time to pay. “So Mom…do you want to come too?”

JewelrySlut and I cringed as she said yes. We’d discussed this too and knew that this was, at least, a double-edged sword.
Pros: We had an extra adult and could split the kids up and handle them separately
Cons: Have you met my mother?

We booked a 3BR condo and bought the admission tickets.

And wouldn’t you know it, as we got closer to the trip, the other shoe fell. JewelrySlut and I are not stupid; we were ready for these shoes because we KNEW this was coming.

“Your father wants to come too. “

Of course he does.

“And, he can come mid-week and bring C”

Of course he can.

C, you see, is Shmuppie’s best friendboy. We’re not allowed to call him a boyfriend. He’s a friendboy. So, why the hell not, let’s take a family vacation for 4 and turn it into a 7-person circus.

We has some old passes that we hoped my father and C could use.

So, we had quite a mission on our hands. We had 2 kids to deal with all week and then a cranky old man and another kid arriving on Wednesday. To say nothing of my mental state in 2013; this trip could not have come at a worse point in the project schedule, but I didn’t care. I was going away for the week and the world probably wouldn’t spin off of its axis. But, fingers crossed!

So, that’s all you get for now.

Though, the week down there led to this picture
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Big Trouble Again

I wonder if I possess the strength to beat my head against my desk enough to actually give myself a concussion. Because, I could use one right about now.

We’re in trouble with my parents again. What a shock.

This is why:

For her recent birthday, Shmuppie wanted to see a Mudcats game with the whole family. So, all 6 of us went…and the rain started. The game was eventually called when local animals and fat people started lining up 2 by 2 in the outfield.

From what I understand, JewelrySlut and I were not pleased enough to see my parents. They apparently felt slighted.

Let’s see. We were standing in a damp, cold, concourse, watching Moo run amok while waiting for Shmuppie to blow a gasket because her birthday was rained out. And, we’d gone out to lunch and were full. As a result, we weren’t our usual beer-guzzling selves.

When they finally called the game, we decided NOT to go back the following day because my parents could not make it. They’d been sniping at each other all day about power washing. In fact, when they called that very morning, neither had wished Shmuppie a Happy Birthday. They had taken turns complaining to me about the other. We decided to go this coming weekend.

We also mentioned that we were making the birthday feast on Sunday. Shmuppie had requested Korean-style pork and BBQ fixins. We didn’t invite my parents because we were pretty sure they would not eat what we’d made. It is a tad on the odd side.

MISTAKE!

Time pasess…

Now it’s Mother’s Day weekend. My mother had invited Shmuppie up to MD for the weekend to watch by brother and SIL run in one of those Tough Mudder things. We reminded them both that it was Mother’s Day weekend and that, perhaps, Shmuppie should stay home. No harm, no foul…as far as we knew.

So, on Mother’s Day, the 4 of us went to brunch at a dim Sum place (yes…we are total food snobs). Since my parents were away, we never mentioned it to them. Even if they’d been home, we would not have mentioned it because they’re not quite the chicken feet and pork bun crowd. We called when we got home and left a message (confirming, to us, that they were not home). They called back at about 6:00PM and missed us because we were walking to a nearby store to get some bread (man…we just sound like awful foodies here. Then, I jumped in my Hybrid and joined the Occupy Movement). They left a message and we all moved on.

Or so we thought.

On Monday, I went to St Louis and Shmuppie started a few days of her End of Grade Exams at school. And, bedlam ensued at home.

Still…as far as we know…all is well.

Then it started.

I had posted pictured from Shmuppie’s birthday dinner, including the nifty ice cream cake JewelrySlut had made. My father mad his monthly visit to FB and commented on the cake picture. He said how much of a shame it was that, despite living only 6 miles away, they could not share such a special occasion with their beautiful granddaughter.

Ah…the passive aggressiveness of the NoGoodFamily has now come out.

In fact, a FB friend messaged me to say “Wow…you’re in trouble now”.

Now we know we’re in the shit…we just haven’t realized how deeply we were. By mid-week, my brother had posted a message saying that he was ready for his mud run.

Oh. Fuck.

My mother had the weekends wrong (shocking) and they had been home for Mother’s Day…and we had ignored them.

JewelrySlut and I could sense the cloud of bad hanging over Raleigh. So, on Monday, I had Shmuppie call her grandparents. She missed them and left a message. My mother called back and got me; Shmuppie was outside playing. I could tell that she was pissed but, in typical fashion, wasn’t saying anything. I confirmed that we were on for Saturday’s game and was told to call my father.

I emailed him (not wanting to do this over the phone) and we got a long reply this morning outlining all the bad things we’d done (as shown above). He suggested that we all get together so JewelrySlut and I could explain why we were acting the way we were and explain why we had so many problems with them.

Allow me to also mention that, recently, we switched from AT&T back to Time Warner for our internet. That’s not an important detail other than to say that we were able to reactivate our old TW email addresses. Guess whose mother has been emailing her daughter-in-law on the unmonitored email address for some time now. And who is unhappy that her daughter-in-law’s been ignoring her through email and not responding to invites for social gatherings. Yup…so we’re in trouble for something we didn’t even do or know that we didn’t do out of no fault of our own.

In essence:
They watched the girls in April while we went away: something they offered to do and strongly suggested. We have not appropriately paid them back yet
We were not happy enough to see them at the rainout
They did not come over the following night for dinner or cake
We didn’t do anything on Mother’s Day
We just suck, in general.

This is how it goes; they offer to do something and we accept. Then, we are not made aware of the strings that are attached and end up in trouble for something we didn’t know that we did or didn’t do.

They fester.

They fester some more.

We go on with life trying to maintain sanity in the face of what goes on at our house from 5-9 every night (utter chaos).

They fester some more.

Then, they start sniping.

You’d think that, at any time in the past 3-4 weeks, they could have called to ask what was wrong; why we weren’t happy enough at the game.

No…they prefer to let it build. I’ve actually been told that I’m supposed to call them when this shit happens because, as the son, it’s my responsibility. As I’ve said “I’m supposed to call you because you’re mad at me about something I don’t even know about”. Yes. That’s how the parent-child relationship works.

Maybe they could have called for Mother’s Day to see what was going on. No, that’s MY job. I’m supposed to coordinate all holiday gatherings. I didn’t even try this year because, as far as we knew, they were not at home. I didn’t think to call them earlier in the week to make sure that their schedule hadn’t changed. I’m gonna have to take a hit for that; for not checking up on their schedule.

JewelrySlut will take a hit for not taking the girls to their house the day after Mother’s Day. The kids didn’t need to say goodbye to me before I left for the airport; that was not as important as seeing my mother.

However, whenever they decide it’s time to talk, I think JewelrySlut is gonna blow. I try to keep her from these sit-downs because they just end up sucking.
But she’s had enough.
Enough with them creating these scenarios where we’re the bad guys.
Enough with letting these things stew.
Enough with the online troll attacks.
Just enough.

Whenever this powwow happens, it should be buckets of fun. We can either just accept the blame for everything and roll over…which will give us 4 months until the cycle starts again or maybe everyone can agree not to do this anymore.

I doubt that will happen. We’ll just start the cycle again. The only problem is that, with every cycle, my scar tissue builds. I’m tired of this and really have next to no patience for it anymore. I wonder how badly I need to have my parents involved in our lives. With more of these episodes, I’m going to wonder if I need them at all.

My money-making scheme

In these apparently troubled economic times (seriously, I am so removed from normal society that I’m only vaguely aware that “something” is going on. I just keep my head down and keep working) I have come up with a way for us to pad our household income.

But I digress.

Last night, Shmuppie and I were at swimming. She swims, I exercise. Normally, I bike and then run. This allows me to catch up on magazine reading and allows me to convince myself that I don’t need to run as far because I’m up against a time limit to pick her up from swimming.

But, on Monday, I had a horrible run. I had indigestion after eating at my parents’ house the night before (first time we were there for dinner since Christmas Day), I didn’t eat breakfast and it was stiflingly humid. My 3-mile jaunt turned out horribly with me having to walk most of the last mile. I was ashamed.

So, on Tuesday, I decided to run first. I did a nice little 5K and then biked. I was soaking wet but felt OK and had redeemed myself somewhat.

On the way home, I was taking stock of life.
(PS…If you haven’t noticed, the theme here has gone from getting chased by midgets to babbling about health and fitness…sorry)
I had just run and biked. I’d met my latest goal on the Wii and had kept my weight low for the 3rd straight month. The radio was on and I could actually identify some of the songs.

I suddenly felt less than old for once.

Then we got home.

JewelrySlut had assembled dinner.
Moo was running around the house in a diaper. She was holding toy phones to each ear and dancing and yelling. Music was on. It was like walking into a tornado.

My point is…this is my money-making scheme.

I want to sell seats in our house. You can come by between 5:00 and 9:00PM and watch what happens. The target demographic is married couples without kids. If you can survive watching what goes on, you MAY be ready for children of your own.

As I said…we walk into the house:
Shmuppie immediately does the opposite of what she’s supposed to do. She’s supposed to put her towel in the dryer and go change into clothes. Instead, she stands, alack-jawed, in front of the computer, backpack on, staring at Pandora.

Mo is still running in circles yelling at her phones. She’s also trying to jam one into my pocket and swap it for my Blackberry. She wants it so she can see “BABY!” (Her as my wallpaper).

I’m holding my gym bag and sweating. All I want is to change shirts (I take 3 to the Y) and eat.

We get everyone to the table. Moo wants everything on the table and nothing (at the same time). She’s rejecting food left and right while asking for it 2 seconds later. Mostly, she wants “beeboos” (strawberries). She lets us know this by yelling “beeboo” over and over again while doing the sign for them (in case her dipshit parents can’t understand).

I relent and get the beeboos. I plop 2 on her tray.

“Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet”
“Yes…the beeboos are wet” Now she starts crying for her wet beeboos.
“Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo”
“Your beeboos don’t need a tissue. You’re fine. Eat”

“I have a social studies quiz tomorrow” (JewelrySlut and I exchange horrified looks)
Oh…what’s it about?
The regions.
The regions?
Yea…the regions.
The regions where?
In North Carolina. (Duh)
Oh…what are they?
Coastal Plains, Piedmont and Mountains (I knew this and was testing her)
Oh…what about them
Well…we need to know what jobs people have in them.
Like what?
In the coastal plain, people fish.
That helps…seeing how it’s near the ocean
In the Piedmont, people make furniture and work for banks.
Oh…I guess I’m not doing it right then seeing that I do neither. What about the mountains?
I don’t know. I think they work at places where they use wood to make paper.
Paper mills?
No.
Well…I don’t think they call them “places where they use wood to make paper.” They call them paper mills.
We have to write a paragraph and say where we’d like to live, in what city, and what job we’d want.
OK…where do you want to live?
I could live in the mountains and whitewater raft (a kick she’s on lately. She wants to go whitewater rafting)
In what city?
Boone.
OK…so you’re moving to Boone to be an outdoor guide of sorts. Can you name any other cities in the state?
Raleigh?
Yes…that’s one. Any coastal cities?
We don’t know any Pacifically
JewelrySlut: That’s good, but do you know any Atlanticly?
(Blank Stare)
Raleigh is in the Triad
No it’s not.
Yes it is.
No it’s not. Raleigh is in the Triangle along with Durham and Chapel Hill (We do love us some shapes here in NC). The Piedmont is Greensboro, Winston Salem and someplace else.
No it’s not.
Trust me.
Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo
NO MORE BEEBOOS!

Shmuppie now sulks because we’ve shattered her perception of North Carolina.
Moo is yelling for fruit but is ever so sad that it’s wet.
JewelrySlut is drinking wine and crying.

I finally decide that dinner’s over. Moo has been released from her chair and has managed to bring every toy she has to the table. She’s also banged her head on the table 47 times and fallen down 13 times. She’s howling in pain and asking for teeshoos. All I want to do is get the 2 of them to bed so I can shower and wrap things up at work. JewelrySlut is eating still. If you ask me, she’s dawdling over her salad to avoid the chaos.

Shmuppie is sent upstairs. I start clearing the table. Moo is now climbing the furniture. I just start yelling at everyone. I’m now pissed off and want the night to be over.

10 minutes later, we get Moo moved upstairs. She barges in on her sister. Shmuppie is in the shower. I happen to notice that she’s also completely dry. In the shower. 10 minutes after we sent her upstairs.

*SNAP*

There goes my sanity. Moo has managed to run into the tub and is howling again. JewelrySlut is only now making it upstairs, having SLOWLY eaten her salad.

I grab Moo and pull her from the bathroom.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING? HOW CAN YOU BE IN THE SHOWER AND BE DRY? WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME?

Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo
Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet
SHUT UP YOU! (To the 2 year old)

I slam the bathroom door before Shmuppie can answer. I don’t want to hear the excuse. I don’t want to know what she had been doing for 10 minutes that didn’t include showering. (She claimed the water was too hot).

JewelrySlut now appears and is yelling at me.
Moo is trying to pull her diaper off.
The bird s flying in circles in her cage.
We can her Shmuppie form the shower cursing my existence.

All I want to do is get them to bed.

See…if you had bought a seat to this and could survive it, you’d know if you had what it takes to be a parent. Because, that was not abnormal. That was Tuesday. Today will be just as fun but for a host of different reasons.

I need a vacation. Not any vacation. As I tell JewelrySlut, I need a vacation where she and I can go to a nice hotel, stay in a room with a king-sized bed and lower the A/C to 68. We’ll sleep all weekend. That’s all I want.

Of course, I’m a parent so that’s not always an option. Especially in 2011. Shmuppie no longer permits us to do anything without her. We can’t get a babysitter and go to dinner and we certainly can’t send them to my parents’ house.

2-3 hours would be nice.

We get to do it all over again tonight at 7:30. I can’t wait.

Go away if you’re squeamish

Obviously, life changes when you’re a parent. Uh-doy.

But, let’s talk about sleep. You start off, after the baby is born, sleeping whenever you can. Once the baby starts sleeping, you wake up every time he/she sneezes, moves, coughs, farts, etc. These noises, of course, are all signs that your baby is deathly ill and will cause you to not sleep as a result.

Then they move down the hall. Now, you don’t hear every cough and fart, but most of them. No matter how deeply asleep you are; you hear it.

CREAK!

Shmuppie’s door opened. The 3 bedroom doors upstairs all stick somewhat, so JewelrySlut and I have excellent early warning detectors. We heard a creak and I shot awake.

You know when you wake up sometimes from what’s obviously been a deep sleep and you have to really stare at the clock to decipher the rune-like symbols on it? Yea…that was this morning.

My brain churned for a few seconds and came up with 1:48 as the answer. Awesome…

Despite her ninja skills, I can usually hear her if she’s making her way to our door. I didn’t hear said sounds so I drifted back to sleep.

“OOMPH”

JewelrySlut and I are now sitting up in bed. I stumbled out of bed and went out into the hallway. The bathroom door was open and the light was on.

“Shmuppie? Are you O…?”

There was a lake of vomit on the floor outside the bathroom.

So…we had a problem on our hands. I went back to our room and more or less stood in one place while my brain tried to wake up. I suspect it looked a lot like me when I’m trying to start the leaf blower.

“Set the lever halfway between the rabbit and the turtle…remind self to look up what ‘choke’ means on Wikipedia some day, pump the little thing…pull the string 47,000 times”

That was my brain. I knew we had a situation in the hallway that needed cleaning, but I lacked the mental capacity to determine how. I knew I needed rags but my brain could not process where to get them. YES! The linen closet! They’re in a bag on the floor! “Way to go, Brain!”

JewelrySlut was now up and had thrown on some clothes. I was still in my drawers. She hurdled the lake and went into the bathroom where Shmuppie was standing in her pajama top. Only her top. I started scooping up puke while JewelrySlut cleaned Shmuppie up and assessed the bathroom. It was not good. The child had somehow managed to puke her way from the hallway to the bathroom, hitting everything in sight EXCEPT the toilet or garbage can.

We sent Shmuppie back to her room to get new PJ’s as we tackled the mess. I was so happy that I had made those green beans with the nice bright orange sauce made from those cute little orange cherry tomatoes.

(To self)
“Well…this isn’t too bad. At least it doesn’t…”

(Out loud)
“Oh God…there’s the smell”

YAY! It’s 2:00AM and the upstairs now smells like industrial waste. We scooped up the chunks off the rug, cleaned the walls, doors, baseboards, ceiling, vanity, bathtub, car, etc. JewelrySlut went outside to throw away the puke rags. I put a towel over the mess and gathered stuff from the bathroom.

(Back story)
On December 31, Shmuppie was excited because I could no longer call her “Pee Pants”. I had told her in January of 2010 when she wet her bed that as long as she kept that up, I could call her “Pee Pants” for the rest of the year. December 31 meant that the statute of limitations was up…until she peed herself again.
(End story)

I gathered up the bathmats and her Pajamas from the bathtub (where JewelrySlut had tossed them).
(Entering Shmuppie’s room)
“You shit your pants, didn’t you?”
Yes…we are not candidates for Parent of the Year by any means.
“Yes”
“HA! I win!”
I got a weak smile from that comment…she knew what was coming as a result…another year of abuse from me.

JewelrySlut took the underpants outside and I started the laundry. There’s nothing as refreshing as starting the laundry at 2:00AM.

We all went back upstairs and back to bed. Needless to say, Shmuppie is home from school today.

We have a few issues here.
1: She’s on a strong antibiotic for strep throat
2: The ladies spent Sunday at my parents’ house, babysitting my mother who had pulled her ass…AND…had a stomach virus.
3: Shmuppie never seems to have a good ability to sense what’s coming. I can’t tell you how many near-accidents there are in this house because she forgets to go to the bathroom until the train is leaving the station. Last night was a perfect example. She waited too long and ended up missing the target…from either end.

I’m going to go upstairs now and fire up the carpet cleaner. Wish me luck.

Hi…miss me?

When I went upstairs, Moo was sitting at the table, happily munching on a pancake…in different pajamas?

“Yea…when I went upstairs to wake your daughter, I found her covered in vomit”

Oh shit…it’s gonna be like that, isn’t it?

And so it begins…

not with a bang but with a drunken episode of bad parenting and Percocet-induced sleep.

On the 23rd, I had decided that all the kids would go to lunch and then off to race go-karts. There’s nothing better than go-karting.

We all met up for lunch. D, the younger child, declared his food to be disgusting. Hooray for a happy holiday lunch.

JewelrySlut decided to head home after lunch, preferring to not risk having Moo lose her mind while watching us race around. She was wise. We arrived at Adventure Landing and bought our tickets. Shmuppie rode with Uncle Brother and the rest of us rode solo karts.

As luck would have it, my kart sucked ass. I was so slow. Not as slow, however, as SIL. For some reason, she just opted to put around at about 3MPH. After the race, she declared that she was going to sit in the car for the rest of the afternoon.

“I don’t like doing stuff like this. I don’t like go-karts and don’t like arcade games.”

Fine then…sit in the car and sulk. The rest of us bought a crapload of tokens and hit the skee-ball and pop-a-shot games. Much fun ensued. We did our 2nd race and, again, I had a crappy car. I was also forced off the track by some kid and hit a wrought-iron fence “Earnhardt Style”. I needed Advil when we got home because I was in a good deal of pain.

We’d been invited over for dinner. My mother was making Wedding Soup apparently. OK…not what we’d had in mind, but we all knew this was coming. What we didn’t know was just how horrid it would be.

We arrived, and immediately, everyone started yelling. It’s really the only way. SIL’s kids looked miserable. D was especially unhappy. He had a look on his face of “Why am I here? Who are these people? Why can’t I be at home?”

Shmuppie got sent to her room because she decided that she wasn’t getting enough attention and needed to start serving herself straight out of a bowl of tomato salad I’d been asked to make…by eating off the serving spoon. She was not happy that the universe wasn’t revolving around her.

All during this, a gaggle of complete strangers were standing in the foyer. I have no clue who they were but my mother had told these people that it was OK to come over right in time for dinner for a dress fitting. So, while the rest of us stood, confused (and in the case of my father, irate) in the kitchen while this gaggle of women squawked away out front.

I have no clue how I ended up in this family. I think I deserved better. I can’t imagine what my poor wife, who’d been sucked to the foyer, thinks at times like this.

Mind you, compared to what followed, this was normal.

We ate…well; anyone from my branch of the family ate. SIL and the kids opted to not eat their soup. OK.

To that point, I’d been good and hadn’t had anything to drink. I was unable to hold off the DT’s anymore and had some wine. So did SIL. Then she had some more. Then, a little more. Then…some more. Was I enabling her? You bet. Was she becoming drunk, and at one point slapped me, rather forcefully? Yup. Did she then clonk me on the head and rub my head, remarking how soft what remains of my hair was? Yup.

Dinner done, we noticed that my mother was gone. You see how much we all care about each other. A family member can literally vanish and it takes time to notice.

Her ass was sore due to a muscle pull she’d suffered some time ago but had refused all medical treatment for. A trip to the doctor that afternoon had apparently brought a bottle of Percocet to her stocking. She was doped up and asleep somewhere.

The rest of us huddled in the kitchen, seeking sanity. It, naturally, was at this point hat SIL decided to put on a parenting display. Sitting down with her sons (and a glass of vodka) she launched into some tirade about cell phones, jobs at Best Buy and class photos.

She’d seen her older son in July and her younger a year prior. Way to go Mom. You see the kids annually, roughly, and this is how you go about handling things.

It got worse.

At this point, I was sitting on a chair rocking. It soothed me.

My poor brother was going out to the garage every 10 minutes. I learned that his bourbon was out there in the freezer. He was downing a fist (a new unit of drink measurement) of bourbon every few minutes. He looked horrified but knew that there was nothing he could do to stop the horror that was taking place at the table. The drunken tirade went on, but now the 18 year old was fighting back, using a combination of logic, sobriety and sass on his mother. My father just shook his head and sipped his drink. There was nothing any of us could do.

I’m fairly certain Shmuppie was using this time to twirl around in circles in the living room. She was struggling to get any attention. Sorry, kid, the 547-car pileup happening at the table was too riveting not to watch.

At about 9:30, I’d had enough and went to get Moo out of her bed. I was time to go home. I got her and brought her downstairs. C, the older child, was sitting in the laundry room, his knees pulled to his chest in a look of utter surrender. D was somewhere, no doubt also beaten into submission. SIL and JewelrySlut were having some sort of heated conversation in the foyer. Well…conversation is not the right word. SIL was sloshing her drink and yelling while JewelrySlut looked on in horror.

JewelrySlut asked C if he wanted to come home with us and get away from the insanity.

He looked up at us with hope and regret in his eyes.

“Yes”
(Slurred) “No you can’t!”
“I’m 18″
(At this moment, I’d taken Moo and had moved into the garage. I had figured that if I got her out of the house and into the car, JewelrySlut and Shmuppie would notice our absence and follow.)
“You’re still in high school and under my control!” (Irony anyone?)
(I have the door to the driveway open and am crossing outside…I can hear them because I didn’t close the door from the garage to the house)
“I don’t even live with you!”
“For this weekend you do and…”

I shut the door to the house and the silence of a winter’s night overtook me. I looked at my groggy daughter and she waved “Bye Bye” to the house. I strapped her into the car and we waited. It took another 2 minutes but it seemed that everyone noticed that we were gone and JewelrySlut and Shmuppie made their way to the car,

We drove home in silence. JewelrySlut and I were in bed by 10:15. I was too tired to go on.

PS: On the way home, my phone chirped. My brother had texted to say that SIL had demanded more wine and he’d told her to maybe slow down. He observed that he was in a lot of trouble as a result.

PPS: My father texted this morning. They’re at the doctor getting my mother a MRI.

PPPS (Is that next??): We have to go over again this afternoon for the Christmas Eve festivities. It should be worse by a factor of at least 10.

I’d give just about anything to be anywhere but here right now. We’ve crossed from “They’re our family and we love them” to “Get me the hell out of here. Who are these people?”

More to come.

PPPPS: Right now, the baby is wearing a pair of JewelrySlut’s underwear on her head. She grabbed them out of the laundry basket.