This is why we can’t have nice things:

My father turned 60 last week. Several weeks ago, I asked my mother if we should do something for him…something more than a lame dinner in their kitchen. I suggested going somewhere. I suggested her friend’s lake house. It’s apparently a large house right on the lake that borders NC and VA. We’d be there in less than 2 hours and my brother could be there in a little over 3. It seemed logical.

Whoops.

This not being nearly insane enough of an idea, my mother took it to 11. She looked in her timeshare book and saw a place in Williamsburg VA. She booked us a weekend’s worth of condos. OK…to Williamsburg we go.

JewelrySlut and I were in charge of the main meals. We put the MD crew in charge of booze. My mother claimed to be handling snacks. So, after much shopping, many emails and a cloak of secrecy, the birthday arrived. My father was told of our plans (he says he’d suspected something all along) and the wheels were in motion.

They came by to pick up Shmuppie on Friday morning. For some reason, she was going to ride with them. They were supposed to leave here at 11. At 11:40 or so, they arrived. Apparently, nobody informed the MD crew of this time change. They had left and were timing their arrival based on an 11:00AM departure from Raleigh. There was chastising. We finally left at about 12:45. Because I was trying to leave, work woke up on Friday morning and left me running out of the house, loose ends trailing behind me.

But, leave we did. The car was stuffed to the gills. We had food, clothes, BSE (Baby Support Equipment), games, stuff, crap, things. The ride up, while boring, was rather uneventful.

I called when we were a mile from the resort offering to stop at a store to pick up perishable provisions. I could tell that times were tense. Something was going horribly wrong at Registration. I could not determine the nature of the problem, but, lo there was a problem. We parked in the registration lot, saw that everyone was glaring at one another, got the unit number, and sped off. I had no clue where we were going other than “not there”. Shockingly, we found the unit…and now had no keys.

The rest of the convoy arrived. Apparently, there was something wrong with the parking situation, Shmuppie had puked twice on the ride up, nobody was drunk yet and we were just getting started.

Side note: My brother and I discussed this on Saturday. My father, for reasons unknown to us, seems to decide at times that he needs to become irrational and fly off in a fit of rage. It’s almost like he has some sort of Rage-o-Meter that needs to be reset every 12 hours. He yells at someone, throws something, puts on his coat and wanders off. Then, things are OK.

This went on all weekend.

Side note 2: This group is IMPOSSIBLE to move. You cannot get them all moving in the same direction at once. There are too many loose ends to the family to ever be able to develop and execute a plan.
For example:
My mother has the attention span of a dim-witted sea cucumber. Whenever we’re about to leave to do something she invariably decides that she needs to do something inane. Usually, when at home, this includes a ladder or weed pulling. I can’t tell you how many times we were about to go home from a Sunday dinner when she squawks “Oh…I need you to go on the roof and clean that spot I can’t reach on the window that’s 30 feet up in the air and faces the backyard” This ALWAYS leads to a reset of the Rage-o-Meter. The bottom line is that she CANNOT focus enough to put on shoes and leave the house.

My father, as noted, becomes pissed off…irrationally so. He will often just stand in a doorway, in his coat, purposely giving himself heat stroke seemingly to prove a point that it WAS time to leave 4 hours ago and he was going to damn well prove it by standing in a coat and sweating.

My brother doesn’t want to do anything. His plan for any weekend is to sit on a couch, drink bourbon and eat roasted meat. The fact that he had been asked to move his weekend 130 miles to the south was bad enough. Never ask him for a suggestion about what we should do. If it’s not “sit right here and drink bourbon” you won’t get an answer.

SIL: She’s still new so we could forgive her. We won’t. She has 2 major flaws: Minutiae and a lack of immunity to my mother.
Minutiae: She needs details about everything. But, they’re never useful details. She gets bogged down in the details that not even I could care about. This causes a delay. She’s also always picking out things to wear based on where we’re going. In the end, it’s always the same outfit anyway: hooded sweatshirt.
Lack of immunity: Guess who’s the first one to grab that ladder or garden trowel? She permits herself to get involved in whatever inane task has been suggested.

JewelrySlut: All she wants to do is drink. She never cares what we do and usually just wants it to be over with so she can go hide in a wineglass. She’s saddled with 3 children and would be so much happier were they all in the care of a sitter.

Shmuppie: The child can go all day without eating or crapping, but tell her that we’re about to leave and, suddenly she’s famished and ready to burst. Trips are delayed because Grammy decided that what the child needs to eat is not an apple but a tray of homemade macaroni and cheese. “It only takes 35 minutes to bake”, comes the reply from the kitchen; the voice shrill enough to curl a parrot’s toes.

(Did I mention that my father is still in his coat and is sweating?)

Moo: She’s 16 months old. Therefore, she has a schedule of feeding and sleeping that should NOT be trifled with. But, this always happens and she ends up screaming.

And, lastly, me: I like to think of myself as the Expedition Leader. In reality, I’m a jackass in a pith helmet leading the family to certain doom. I always have plans…plans that are never carried out properly. For some reason, I still hold us all up to some familial ideal that we will never achieve. For this reason, I say things like “Let’s all go somewhere for the weekend” or “It’s not so bad, we can all manage to get there on time”. I’m a fool. I usually just end up leaving and going to the car. I sit there and mutter to myself that the rest of them are all jerks and don’t deserve the planning I do. Usually after an hour of this, I head back inside and find my father still in his coat, my brother on the couch, Shmuppie eating (while sitting on the toilet), my mother holding a paint roller, SIL holding up 2 nearly identical hooded sweatshirts because she can’t decide which one to wear, Moo hanging from a ceiling fan and JewelrySlut weeping.

I think this is where I’m supposed to turn to the camera and say “I know they all make me crazy, but they’re family and I love them all”.

Supposed to.

Conundrum

Of course, there are far worse things to be worried about. But, I am who I am, and certain things bother me.

Like next September. It bothers me already.

All along, we’ve told Shmuppie that we’d go to Disney World next September. We’ve done a good job holding her back for some time now. We got out of this year by playing the St John card. But, we said that we’d go when she was on fall break next year.

Then…SWOOP! In came my mother. She decided that she NEEDED to go to Disney this year and that she just NEEDED to take Shmuppie. So, the weekend before Christmas, they will be in FLA. The ladies and my father are flying to FLA for a long weekend. They hope to be just ahead of the holiday rush.

In less civilized times, this would have pissed me off to no end because, as always, my mother swooped in on our family activities. But, know what? JewelrySlut and I don’t think we care. Want to take her to Disney over a weekend, mere hours before the holiday insanity sets in? Have at it. We’ll stay home.

The issue of next Sept remains unresolved though. Did I fail to mention that as soon as my parents learned that we may go for a week, my mother invited herself? She more or less said that there was no way we were going to WDW ad not taking her along with us. (Sad horn noise). I responded (charming son that I am) by stating that if she insisted on showing up uninvited that she would foot the bill for the hotel/condo. As it is, they have eleventy billion timeshare points and, odds are good that unless you’re JewelrySlut, and you’re reading this, you’ve been offered to use some of them by now. Everyone we know has used these points…except us. We’ve been “given” them twice as Christmas presents, yet any time we inquired about using some, we were told no. So, if she wants to come along, I’m not paying for a damn hotel room. She can.

So, here we are; looking at a trip to WDW with what will be a 9-year old and a 2-year old…and my mother. Cost aside, this has the makings of at least 12 of my worst nightmares. Throw in a clown or marionette and I’ll be twitching on the floor.

(Did you know that marionettes are evil and they scare me? Wanna know why? They combine the following things: puppet-like appearance, more often than not, clown-esqueness, and the possibility of one day becoming sentinent. A wooden clown that has the ability to move on its own? Worst. Thing. Ever.)

I’m not sure I want to go to WDW under those circumstances. As I just told JewelrySlut, we’d be taking 3 children with us and I’d be a wreck. By about 7:45 the first morning, I’d be furious and ready to leave. By Day 4, I’d be a shell of a man; reduced to rubble. There would be NOTHING enjoyable about such a trip. Every aspect of it would be horrible. Shmuppie would behave horribly. My mother would contribute. JewelrySlut and I would fight because we’d end up turning on each other. Moo, who still isn’t sure how she feels about the big blonde screechy thing, would be pissy. It’ would be a great way to spend $3000 and a week’s vacation.

That said, I just informed JewelrySlut that I would not mind going to WDW; with her…only her. That would be fun. We’d strap on comfortable shoes and have at it.

So, last night at dinner, Shmuppie brought up next year’s trip.

“Are we going to Disney next year?”
“Well…maybe. But, you’re going next month and that might be enough for you. Maybe we could go somewhere else”
(Puzzled look)
“Like…we could go back to Emerald Isle…but it would still be warm so you could go in the ocean! Wouldn’t that be fun?” (Prays she agrees)
“Yea! That would be awesome!”

A flicker of light…the light of hope was spotted in the distance. Could we get out of this? Possibly. Is it the right thing to do? Probably not.

We’re already rationalizing that we’d go when Moo was about 4. That way, she would be able to do things and Shmuppie wouldn’t be too old.

In the end, we’re kidding ourselves. We’re doomed to spend a week with my mother at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Baby baby baby oh…

What a weekend. It started oddly and ended even more oddly.

The middle was good though.

Let’s do this in order:
Friday evening was the school dance. It was a horror show. Here are my comments:

at the school dance. expect this to resemble a twitter page tonight. question: should a woman my age know the words to any justin beiber song?

Not sure what my favorite Macarena memory is. Could be my father in law at the wedding. Could be when we got Ketan to do it that one time.
Both were improbably awesome

These kids know the words to these rap music songs. Yes, I said rap music songs

Thriller? It’s only 6:40 and they’re that far down the list? Songs I won’t hear include: in da butt and I wanna sex you up

The current song is either being sung by chipmunks or I just had a stroke. In either case, send an ambulance and 3 fingers of rum

You can feel it (it’s electric)

There is little dancing. Mostly its 100 screaming kids beating each other with balloons. Every parent is buried in their phone

I went to get myself a water. A bulging, rippling woman in a Tinkerbelle shirt (irony anyone) grabbed my hand and said “grownup?” I said “last I checked” I was given a larger bottle. It does not contain vodka I’m sad to say

20 minutes later we have not crowned a limbo winner

Fog machine + no ventilation = bad.
I got gloss on my lips. Man on my hip.

Know the “everybody clap your hands song?” It doesn’t work well when half the kids get the steps wrong because they can’t tell left from right (my child is in that half)

Some “best of both worlds” song just came on and, in unison, each kid hit the floor and writhed and screamed. What the hell was that?

These songs all have organized choreography. In my day (leans on cane) all we had was the electric slide
/shoos kids off my lawn

Large breasted mother’s shirt reads “I’m not short. My (obscured by the underside of said breasts) is”. And it is Macarena time again

The world better prepare for another billionaire…or in my case, another drunk 36 year old.

The gym has 2 city certificates. One says over 170 occupants is dangerous. The other says 540 people. What?

So, Shmuppie had a blast. There was no dancing. Just a lot of running around by a mass of children. Of course, the dance was for kids in Kindergarten through 5th grade so the mix of people was strange. Parents were also dancing, including one mother in way too small of a dress (she looked like an overstuffed sausage) gyrating suggestively.

I also saw a woman who bore a striking resemblance to the girl I dated in high school. Well…she would have if she’d decided to forgo trying anymore, buy a large purse and found it acceptable to go out in public in knee-high argyle socks and fuzzy slippers.

The parents all looked horrified and tried to avoid eye contact with each other. We could have banded together but all chose to go through our own personal hells on our own. Because, without booze, what was there to do?

I went home and drank too much wine.

Saturday: FAIR DAY!

Wisely, we set out to go to the far at about 9:30. We arrived and found the fairgrounds mostly empty. We were able to move through the front half and all of the animal exhibits in no time. Moo was having a really good time and was in a good mood. She enjoyed all the fried goodies we were giving her. The crowds picked up as we hit the main midway, but it still wasn’t bad. It turned out that they set the single-day attendance record on Saturday, but we were gone by 2:30 and missed most of the crowds.

By that time, I was done. Moo had been strapped to my chest all afternoon and I was sore in places I didn’t know could be sore. She had also gone from happy to exhausted to furious to asleep and was a rather dead weight hanging from me. Shmuppie, despite not admitting to any fatigue, fell asleep on the bus.

It goes without saying that Saturday’s dinner was a large salad. We needed vegetation to fight off the afternoon. For reasons unknown, Moo was in a great mood at dinner and ate a slice of pizza, 4-5 shrimp, some feta cheese and some salad. She’s an odd little duck.

All in all, we had a really good time and now have a plan for next year; arrive early, leave early.

Sunday:
We really didn’t have much planned, but isn’t that how it always goes. By the end of the day, I’d been skewered by a wire fence and been threatened by some white trash.

My father needed me to run up to their house in the morning to winterize their fish pond.

Remember their pond?

They have problems with a blue heron who likes to come by and spend the winter eating their fish. So, they spread this claptrap of wire mesh across the pond. My father’s got a bad knee, so I was drafted to assist. We uncoiled these evil spools of mesh, stabbing ourselves multiple times and more or less covered the pond. As I understand things, this isn’t a 100% foolproof method of pond covering. One winter, as I understand things, the heron came to visit and then got stuck under the mesh. My father had to scoop/fish an angry heron out of his pond. Oh, I wish I had been there that day.

We got the pond set and I went home. We went to the store and I limped my ass to the couch for some football. Shmuppie and I made a lovely dinner of chicken thighs in a light tomato sauce. It was served over spaghetti. All it really needed were some kalamata olives to put a really thorough Greek spin on it. But, it was good.

Oh look…the little red light on my blackberry is flashing. I have email. Could it be?

Yup.

Dingaling had gotten herself good and drunk and wrote back. Needless to say, I was called every name in the book, sworn at and told that if I ever emailed them again I’d be sorry.

Did an employee of the State of NC just threaten me in an email send from her State of NC email address? Could someone be so foolish?

Yup.

JewelrySlut and I had a look at it and shook our heads. Not smart…not smart at all. I could send this to her boss and she could find herself in some hot water.

Right before we sat down to eat, the little light started flashing again. Quasi was answering!

I was called a crybaby because I didn’t like that I was getting calls at work. I was told that I had made Dingaling angry because I had insulted her (I’ll wait while you go to Friday’s post to re-read the email) and that I shouldn’t make her mad (Hulk get mad. Hulk eat at Hardees!). I was also told that both JewelrySlut and I had insulted them and that we had made it known to them and their family how we felt about them. And that, more or less, I should fuck myself.

Did I also mention that he’s a state employee using his state email address?

Great. Now those 2 sacks of shit are all riled up and, for all I know, ready to come firebomb the house.

Monday:
I had yet another dentist appointment. In the waiting room, the little red light started flashing.

Dingaling had sobered up. She told e that they had spoken to their lawyer and that he advises that I could tell anyone who called that if they kept calling, my job could be in jeopardy.

Hmmm…interesting. Let’s parse that sentence, shall we?

“Their lawyer” They’re not the types to keep a genteel southern gentleman (I suspect he wears seersucker all year long and looks downright rakish in his bowtie and suspenders) on retainer. This means they have a need for a lawyer.

Calls at work putting a job in jeopardy: Happen to you guys much lately?

Hmmm…sounds like someone’s in a bit of trouble. I’d guess that now would be the wrong time to call them and see if we could buy their Wii off them. We’re getting one for Christmas, but if I can save a few bucks and help out a family member…I’m that kind of magnanimous.

So…they seem to have a mess on their hands. You know…you could have said that from the start and not acted nasty. We didn’t start out nasty…it only got there once I got involved.

We won’t see them or communicate with them again until JewelrySlut’s father dies. I just hope they have a phone so I can call them.

Pictures tomorrow.

No…she doesn’t live here…

About 6 weeks ago, I got a call on my office line. Someone from American Express was looking for Dingaling. Remember her? My now-fat brother-in-law’s wife???

“Um…what? This is her husband’s brother in law. You’re close, but not quite right? Who is this?”
“This is American Express.”
“Oh”

Well, I gave AmEx their home number and went about my life. I told JewelrySlut and she dent Dingaling a nice email along the lines of “I hope you’re doing OK, but AmEx called NoGoodDaddy on his work line. Can you call them back and give them your number?”

She wrote back to say that Quasi had missed a payment and they were now in phone call hell.

End of story…so we thought.

3 weeks later, the phone rings. It’s a number in Greensboro. I only answered because I have a client out that way and thought they might be calling me from a different number or something of the sort.

“Is Quasi there?”
“Umm…no. Who is this?”
“So and so Credit Union.”
“Um…nope…not him. This is his brother-in-law. Let me give you his work email address”

**background**
JewelrySlut has not spoken to her brother in over a year. We did something to piss them of and now they’ve more or less shut us out of their lives. Boo-fucking-hoo. Dingaling wrote to us a few months back, asking that we PLEASE not tell Quasi about the email, to say that we needed to get together and patch things up because the kids should not grow up not knowing their cousins. JewelrySlut agreed. We never heard back from them.

We think they’re mad at us because JewelrySlut and the rest of us have embraced her father’s wife as a member of the family. As I’ve stated, and will at length when I have time and learn to type, is a saint. She’s been married to him for barely 4 years and is now his 24/7 caretaker. The asshats are mad because she swooped in and tried to replace JewelrySlut’s mother. That could not be farther from the truth, but that’s irrelevant when you’re dealing with White Trash.

S, after the last call, JewelrySlut wrote to them again and says that she hopes they’re OK, but could they please call the credit union and get my number off of their records.

Quasi responds with a nasty email denying ever giving anyone our names as a contact and that he’d make sure nobody called us and bothered me.

That night they unfriended JewelrySlut on Facebook.

That’s nice.

2 hours ago the phone rang.

“Is Dingaling there?”
(Seething)”No…this is her husband’s brother-in-law. What is this regarding?”
“This is American Express. I’m so sorry to bother you. I’ll fix our records, but we need to reach them”
“Ok”

Then I wrote the following email:

Quasi,
I just received another call to my work line from American Express. Today, they were looking for Dingaling.

I’d really like for this to stop. Having people call me on my work line to hunt you down is disruptive and, quite frankly, wholly inappropriate. Obviously, at a time in the past when you felt it appropriate to do so, you listed JewelrySlut and me on some form as a contact. AmEx and others have used this information to find my work number in an attempt to track you guys down.

I don’t really care to hear back from you with an explanation or excuse. You guys made it quite clear to us how you felt after the last time JewelrySlut reached out to you regarding this issue. Please work with whomever you need to work with in order to ensure I will stop receiving these phone calls.

Too much? I don’t think so. I think I was nice. What I wanted to say is:

“Listen, you lowlife piece of shit, I don’t care if you lose your house, car, will to live or 100 lbs. Don’t have these people call me anymore. Got it, stupid?”

As we see it, we won’t speak to them until JewelrySlut’s father passes and won’t see them until the funeral. I won’t say I’m looking forward to the day when I make the call to them (we assume JewelrySlut will be in FLA already, but a part of me CANNOT wait to call them. I also can’t wait to see them in FLA and watch them get shut out of the family. They made their bed, go loll around in it like the livestock you’ve become.

Did I mention they’re both hella fat now?

Now, I have to go get dressed for an elementary school dance.

As the kids say… FML!

I used to write, didnt I?

Among the many things David Sedaris said last weekend at his little read and greet in Raleigh was that if you want to write, you need to write…every day.

Fuck me.

The world’s worst blogger is now going to make another half-assed attempt at keeping this thing up to date. I need to get over the fact that I don’t need to pound out 2000 words per day; it’s just impossible for me. It’s not for a lack of stories. It’s an appalling lack of typing skills.

In any event.

(Checks site…gets distracted and harvests little Facebook island)

Holy Crap. August 11? That’s the last time I wrote anything. I do suck. If anyone bothers to keep coming back here to check for posts, I applaud your tenacity while quietly wondering about your sanity.

So, it’s been 2+ months. What’s happened?

Shmuppie was off from school for a while last month and now she’s back at school. The track in/track out thing is still a little odd, but we’ll get used to it.

Moo (Name change) is almost walking. It took her a while to get mobile, but she seems to enjoy crawling. She also finally left the ranks of the toothless and grew her some front teeth. I suppose it was bound to happen one day, but we maybe liked her more with teeth. I guess it meant she was still a little baby. Instead, now we have a monster who motors around the house on her hands and knees, attempting to devour everything in her path. She’s also quite loud. It’s rather unnerving at times when she starts yelling. This happens a lot at meal time. She’ll sit in her chair and positively holler at you to do something; anything to ease her apparent suffering.

“How about more pasta?”
“MWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
“OK…some fruit?”
“MWAAAAAAAAAAAA”

A few weeks back, having grown very tired of the yelling, I flung a piece of a chicken thigh at her. I just threw it at her and hit her squarely in the face. She was stunned for a moment, but then picked it up, ate it and then yelled for more.

I’ve also threatened her with my carving knife. Nothing seems to work.

As for the adults, I’ve been busy with work. I think I’ll use that as my excuse for not writing. As for JewelrySlut, she admitted last night that I could forget all she’d said about “If I were younger, I’d want a third one”. Moo has worn her down. It’s funny…we never had the chance to “raise” Shmuppie. She was something we dropped into the care of others from 7:30 – 4:30 5 days a week. We never went through the “yelling at meal time” phase of the game. I think Shmuppie was just too tired by the time dinner rolled around to put up the fight that her sister does.

But, all in all, life is good. It could be worse. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll explain how.