27 December 2005

So Moving Right On.............

The In-Laws got married on Boxing Day.


This year is (was) their 50th Anniversary and although MIL started inviting people in June, she did that because so many of us have no personal transport and would need to catch trains. The sum total of her concern for others extended to getting the invites out early so that people could book a hotel in time.


My older two children, who were five and six when I married Husband and whose natural sperm donor walked out and never looked back have always been desperate to be part of this family. The world and his dog, every uncontacted relative since the year dot was invited to this 'do' - were they? Were they heck.

So there we were, supposed to catch a train to Essex on Christmas Eve, to put our two youngest through Christmas Day in a hotel, just to be at this big family reunion bash on Boxing Day. Not only that, but we were expected to leave the two older ones behind.

Sure, sure. Eventually, when enough people had said they couldn't afford, MIL made arrangements for those who needed, to spend Christmas sleeping on cot beds on the floor of the local Church Hall.

Husband felt like dirt. His brothers and sisters all live nearer - they all made it, but we just couldn't, or wouldn't, or both. He really wanted to go.

So, Christmas Day, apart from getting the beginnings of the cold the rest of us have put up with for ages (excepting of course for us it was a cold, for him it was like swallowing on glass, and yes its Christmas but could we all be quiet, turn it down, tone it down etc in a bloody open plan bungalow), he was also, very fairly, grumpy as hell at his mother for being so selfish and not having the celebration a couple of days later when the trains would be running on the day.

I started cooking the dinner but let him finish it. Finish it off, more like. What with me sloshy and him full of a stinking cold, between us we somehow mucked it right up. For the sake of a bipolar friend who worries that people will talk about her if she is less than sunny, I admit that following a night with no sleep (one of many with this cold in the house), a morning on the Baileys to keep the grin firmly glued and then faced with a completely inedible Christmas dinner, well, I lost the plot. I broke a few things. Specifically I took a kitchen cupboard door off its hinges, managed to smash my very chunky mop bucket, and damaged one or two smaller items completely accidentally when the uncooked and unwanted Christmas pudding ricocheted off the kitchen walls. Talk about that.

The worst of it was Son's eventual and reverent admission that he never knew I was that strong, that the cupboard door had come down like a piece of paper and I hadn't even blinked. Ooops. It's bad enough becoming the psycho bitch from hell without realising my son now reveres acts of violence towards inanimate objects.


Husband's brother then phoned to wish us Happy Christmas (not something he's ever done before) and mention that he had taken over the role of eldest son and toastmaster for the big event and had his speech all ready for Boxing Day. Nice one, not.

Yesterday, Boxing Day, Husband tried to phone his mother to wish them well, and they weren't there. Obviously the celebration had been rescheduled for somewhere larger than the family home, equally obviously as non attendees we hadn't been told. In the end she rang him back today, a brief call to tell him what a wonderful day it had been and how many aunties he hadn't seen since he was six had showed up for it. Oh, she did sulk that not a single member of her own husband's side of the family had deigned to attend. I wonder why. Poor FIL. Nothing, not a single cursory word to ask after the kids or how we were doing. Whichever scientist is currently postulating that Aspergers is passed down the male line; well, I'd like to introduce him to MIL. Blinkers so huge she'd get into Ascot without a hat.

Today, well otherwise today was good. Big Daughter, her partner and my darling granddaughter came over for lunch and stopped all day. Even with husband constantly passing me glowering looks about the volume and refusing to drink because he was on the Lemsips. Even with him relenting but pouring himself a glass of something he got for Christmas in preference to the drink our visitors had brought, then settling down to his computer the entire time they were here - we still had a good day. To be fair to him, he looks really sallow and ropey and at least he never just disappeared to bed. I phoned Big Son on the boat while his sister was here and he was cheerful as. I phoned him at 8 this evening and he was in wracking sobs, so extremely frustrated that he couldn't draw breath to make sense. He goes out to sea at 4.30am and gets home at 7pm if he's lucky. Apart from two days off for Christmas he is doing six and seven day weeks in all weathers to try and get some money behind him. I don't suppose a long shift like that after Christmas, then coming home to the little girl he is playing house with who sits there bored stupid from 5pm (providing she went to work at all) is actually condusive to keeping one's sanity. That's always assuming she sat there. I know one of his pet peeves is that he gets to cook dinner after a 14 hour shift of physical labour and then she whines at him if he doesn't wash up and put away at ten o'clock at night - six hours before he has to be up again.

I actually think she can be quite lovely, but now they are living together she only pays one single household bill, he coughs for all the rest and she had the nerve to send us a really, really expensive, individually purchased Christmas card with ribbon and dangly bits, and sign it as from herself alone. I know who's money made it possible for her to afford that, I hardly know her, and she can't even pretend to his mother that they are a couple even while she's living under his favour. Wake up, kiddy-winky princess, quickly.

So that's my Christmas. It hurts but I love it. I love that every single person in this world is quirky and awkward and confused and all that, that we're all faulty goods. I love that sparkly baubles and heartfelt wishes might raise hopes and expectations, but that expectation is tiring and that we all show our worst sides when tired. Christmas, like death and having a crap, is a real leveller.

Christmas is over, for me at least. There is residual booze in the house and that's nice, the decorations won't come down until the sixth, a day after the kids go back to school, but I have had my annual dose of family. Eight days left to make the most of my children.

Now I want some action. Like Bart, I'm awake, I know whats wrong with life (I have a long list) and now I am all revved up to do something about it. Like Bart says, the only question is what.



bart said...

sunshine, my thoughts go out to you at this moment... yep, we're all faulty and each is no better but also no worse than the other, three cheers for total disfunctionality (not)...

hang in there, it gets worse, it gets better eventually, things change...

(and you asked a while ago... i'm on paroxitine, a seroxat derivative)

keep well

Milt Bogs said...

I think the answer to all this is a Sad Light Box - and a trip to the Tulip & Tiara with Merl and co.

I'm sitting here feeling bad because there's only Mrs B. and I and Elderson. Jungersohn is elsewhere because he is in disgrace.
It's good to hear that other families struggle too.

Milt :-)

jane said...

Oh my goodness Cheryl, you had me in stitches with the escapades of things in your house. It reminded me of the old game Mouse Trap. Once things were set on course, there was no stopping the chain of events that were going to occur.
Just so you know, I'm not worried people will talk about me cuz I'm depressed. Sometimes I just get paranoid & think people are talking about me (even strangers). But fortunately, I don't hear voices or see them actually doing it, so I know It's just me being paranoid.
I think your MIL and son's g/f deserve a vacation somewhere torturous together. I couldn't tolerate either of them.
You always lift me up when I'm down & for that, I'm very grateful.

fineartist said...

Family, a pox on family!


“We are all getting together.

We expect you to be there.

What day? Well, pick the least convenient day that you can think of and that is THE day.

Now, all YOU have to do is climb the tower that houses the fair virgin maiden. Yes, find a virgin…then cut off her braids and wrap them around the dragon’s neck,

and BE THERE, or you will miss fun and merriment, and we WILL heap guilt on your head. Love you, um bye bye.”

We stayed home this year too. My family called from the party to basically tell us we were shit heads for not being there. They will get over it, I have.

Fam-damn-ily, just like life, sometimes the bees knees, and sometimes, not so much, no.

I like your friend Jane. I like that she can write about the messed up days and the primo days. I like that she made clear that she didn’t need a snap out of it talk, and that she wasn’t feeling sorry for herself, that sometimes “life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” I like that about her, and you Cheryl. Yah.

We all KNOW that living is the treasure, and we are grateful and thankful, but in reality, sometimes doing the living sucks. It’s the mixture of light and dark, sweet and bitter, and venting allows us to go on. I love the honesty in these pages, yours and hers.

And your humor, I’ve always said it, even when you are bummed out you are hell-a funny.

I am a little shocked that you KICKED YOUR KITCHEN’S ASS. Hahahahahah. As for your son witnessing it, better that he learn to take anger and frustration out on inanimate objects rather than people. Think on it this way, you are preparing him for life, or providing fodder for his therapist. On second thought, scratch that last part. Heh heh.

Sounds like FIL’s side of the family would have found another day of the year more accommodating too. Hey here is and idea, suppose your husband and his father plan their own little shin dig sometime when it is convenient for THEM, take a family pole, do the invites after the consensus and tell mother in law that she is to be left behind for the same reason your two older kids were to be. Oh that last part was just mean on my part. I so suck. Scratch that last part, two wrongs don’t make a right…..

Love and hugs and stuff across the ocean to ya, and if you’re still having trouble with that kitchen of yours, lemme know, I got your back. Heheh heh.

Cheryl said...

Bart - I am going to try St John's Wort - the hyperion content is supposed to compare favourably - I googled.

Milt - kids! Nobody ever mentions that you need to parent them for the rest of your life, eh.

Jane - if you laughed, my shame is worth it!

Fineartist - hugs. Yeah, I'm a little surprised too......

Thanks guys :-)

Rain said...

What a good thought. It is a great leveller. Time to show your true colors. Amazing. I'm always relieved when it's over.

Host of Spirits said...

Cyber Hugs are about all I can pass on at the moment.

I've had similar and worse christmas days/weeks and I'm sure so have all the other blog readers, so just take it in your stride (if you've calmed down yet) and scratch it up to experience.

Badaunt said...

I know your Christmas wasn't exactly PERFECT, but your blog post about it was. :-)

(I still haven't got over your throwing Christmas pudding at the kitchen wall, though. Couldn't you have thrown it a little further? Like, say... over here?)

Ally said...

Oh my goodness. Just got back home from Ma's and am doing a little sneaky surfing. I am so sorry you had such a stressy time, but your post did make me laugh - especially the bit about getting in to Ascot without a hat :).

Ours was quite enjoyable, if you don't count the hour I stood rocking too and fro in Ma's kitchen because I couldn't cope with the fact that the teapot and the cake were in separate rooms. It had been a long day. xx