Chaos Attraction

Strangely Changing Holidays

2005-11-27, 10:55 p.m.

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You know what was funny? Not an hour or so after I finished writing my last entry, Mom woke up and started screaming her head off at me for falling asleep Thursday night instead of staying up until 2 a.m. Which led into our usual song and dance of her saying I just don't care about her at all, and me screaming at her that no wonder I have low self-esteem if she's telling me all the time that I don't care about her and why did she have a kid anyway, etc., etc....

And yet amazingly, that screeching fight blew over with in an hour and didn't repeat for the rest of the weekend. Amazing. She ended up sleeping about 12 hours on Friday, so we didn't do much. But I think "sleeping it off" in the afternoon might have helped to chill her out as well.

Also sort of shocking was that this was the least shopping-est Black Weekend ever. Normally Mom gets 90% of the gifts out of the way this time, but this year she told me she couldn't bear to do it.

This is not to say that some shopping didn't go on, but mostly Mom just bought me stuff off of the Amazon list. Alas, in front of me, so it's no surprise.... but when it comes to Christmas shopping in the sick Dad era, that's how it goes.

I did end up buying some more craft supplies- stuff for a dollmaking workshop next weekend and some more yarn to make a sweater pattern in one of my books. I managed to find the right colors AND yarn for $2.50 a ball, nearly 200 yards apiece. I had to jump on it. Besides, I finished the World's Ugliest Hat project, and am nearly done with Mom's Christmas present- I need something to work on after that!

Besides that, we went to the movies with Mauricio on Saturday night and were out until like 2:30 a.m. (Haven't done that since Heather lived here. Weird.) Alas, I did not get to see Harry Potter in IMAX because the line was insane. Hell, that entire theater in Dublin is insane. So packed with people it made me homesick for the quiet little theaters I'm usually in. Just saw Walk the Line and Zorro again. Though it was helpful to have Mauricio along to translate the unsubtitled bits in Zorro.

And then there were the requisite depressing Dad visits, me getting ragged on for not making more of an effort around him, etc. It's not that I don't understand her point ("put yourself in his shoes!"), but frankly, it takes all of my strength to just make myself STAY in that room for two or three or four hours. I can't come up with more ability to fake that things are fine and I still see him as normal any more. Just looking at him... well, you know that drill. Mom says every time he looks at her he cries- well, I don't want to go there either.

What weirds me out is that Mom wants to do a tree this year. (If you don't recall from previous years, we've given up on putting up a tree because with Dad, it's just too fucking hard to put up any Christmas decorations.)

I love Christmas trees, but in the last few years, we've had to give up almost everything we really liked about the holiday because of Dad being sick. We stopped putting up the train, stopped decorating the rest of the house, stopped putting ornaments on the tree, stopped putting up the tree at all, only had house lights up because Uncle Bruce had the light business, and last year, we didn't even open presents until the 26th. Last year was practically God with a clue bat, like "Guess what? YOU can't fucking even celebrate the holiday any more! He's too sick for that!"

So... I gave up on the idea, you know? Yeah, it fucking hurt, but the sicker Dad got, the more it was rubbed in that we couldn't even fake being normal people any more. I had resigned myself this year to pretty much not doing Christmas at the old family home until after you-know-what finally occurs.

So to have her be all, "Hey, we can do a tree this year!"... throws me. (I got rather pissed off when in the car tonight, she was all, "Well, you didn't nag me to put up the tree, so I guess you don't want one." I was all, "Um, you were going on about having fifty OTHER things to do, you wanted me to pile that on you too?" She conceded.) She said that having Thanksgiving this year was hard without Dad there, but on the other hand...we felt like actual normal people again. So I guess the tree thing is part of that. Still weird, though.

And speaking of holidays... on Thanksgiving, Mom declared that she didn't want to go see the PITAS at Christmas either, and that she'd accepted Aunt Susie's invitation to go to Christmas with them. And that she was kind of willing to come up with something to tell the PITAS so that we didn't have to see them.

I was pleased, but knew better than to actually believe this. Let's face it, we would get nastily punished if we didn't show up at their house, and no excuse would be good enough, including visiting Dad and faking sick at the last minute. My cousin-in-law Laurie tried that a few years ago and got her ass reamed for it.

Amusingly enough, on Saturday we ran into Laurie and her daughter Amanda in the craft store and spent probably a good half hour in there bitching about what horrible crap Auntie D had been pulling on everyone lately.

Even worse, we found out from Laurie that Janelle is actually coming for Christmas this year. She hasn't done that since I was in elementary school. Clearly, she must feel like roadkill to agree to such a thing. Being a girl who isn't an idiot, she's flying in on the 24th and flying out on the 26th. So if Mom wants to see Janelle...and she does... then there's no skipping Auntie D and her whining.

I said I'd be willing to skip seeing Janelle if it meant that I could avoid seeing Auntie D, but... alas, Mom did not feel the same way. And she decided she couldn't come up with a good enough lie to fudge, and she didn't want to deal with the consequences of bailing on Auntie D either.

(Which I fucking knew would happen.)

She did, however, think up a compromise. Go to Aunt Susie's for Christmas Eve and morning, then go pay our dues with Auntie D and get bitched out for a few hours Christmas afternoon as per usual. And then (theoretically, anyway) ask Janelle to go with us to visit Dad and run out of there early. Apparently Mom REALLY wants out of Christmas Eve with them ("I hate eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve! Waaaah!" Yeah, I don't agree with that one) more than anything else.

I suppose it's better than nothing. Getting to see the people I do like, and only having to do about 6-12 hours with the PITAS asking when I'll be married and/or pregnant instead of the usual 48 hours of hell.

But still...I had some vague hopes for 48 hours that I could avoid them entirely, dammit! And then we have to come up with some way to avoid the PITAS for New Year's still...

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