Category Archives: Family

Life Goes On in 2016

The past year has been quite a roller coaster of emotions.

Last year we were informed that my sister-in-law had major surgery the week of Christmas. What was suppose to be a three hour surgery turned in to a marathon eight hour surgery.

The year before we were told my sister-in-law had cervical cancer. She was informed while she was pregnant and decided to go through with the pregnancy and had a beautiful baby girl. After the birth she began her radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

In January of 2016 we had a tumultuous New Year’s when our old car broke down on the freeway and we finally called in our family favor and got a new car thanks to my brother-in-law who works for a car dealership. It was his wife who was sick. We had hardly spoken to him or his wife about her illness. It wasn’t until we spoke with some of his colleagues that we were reassured that he had people who he could talk to about what he and their family were going through. We had always been concerned and attempted to talk to them both about what was going on with them but they were always very private and guarded.

I never blamed them for not wanting to talk to us about it. What did we know? How could we even begin to understand what they were going through? We don’t have children. They both have kids from previous relationships and new baby girl together. We lived in the city and they lived in the suburbs. We lived very different lives beyond those small things and it felt like this made the divide even wider. My sister-in-law and I were similar in some ways, but very different people and saw the world very differently. We were cordial to each other but not very close. My husband and his brothers were close, but the wives were a different story. We tried. We attempted. We just never seemed to find anything in common except for loving our husbands and our families.

My sister-in-law had always been a little vain. I remember the first time we met at a Mother’s Day brunch for my mother-in-law and she complained about the one grey hair she found and was trying to hide it. She was always well dressed for any occasion, whereas I had reused the same black dress for over a dozen family weddings. She always bought thoughtful gifts and we tried to figure who we could afford to get gifts for every Christmas. We may not have always gotten along but I respected her for always doing her best for her children and family and making my brother-in-law happy.

Then the news got worse. Multiple hospital visits. Emergency surgeries. Wheelchairs. Hair wraps and wigs. A colostomy bag.

She was in the hospital for almost a week when Mother’s Day came along. The entire family visited her in the hospital for the holiday. That was when I finally realized things were not going to get better. She could no longer walk on her own. She couldn’t hug or hold her daughter without assistance. I finally saw how much hair she had lost.

The day after she was released from the hospital we celebrated their daughter’s second birthday party at their home with immediate family. If things weren’t already heart breaking that was the day I wanted to scream. I don’t know how she did it but she walked. She stood in front of that birthday cake and had us sing “Happy Birthday” several times in a row. She must have been on a giant cocktail of drugs and had the iron will of a giant to push through all the pain she must have been experiencing and do everything she could for her daughter. We all realized this would be the last birthday party she would be able to attend for any or her children.

The rest of the summer we spent every spare minute visiting and bringing groceries for the family. Every weekend. Every summer holiday. We spent every moment with our family knowing that every moment counted. August was the hardest month. There were a few days when she wouldn’t wake up because she was in so much pain. The family gathered in vigil fearing the worst.

Then she suddenly had a burst of energy and was requesting her favorite foods. One day I came by after work bringing groceries that included artichokes. They were her favorite and she began to tell me how she made a dipping sauce for them. She asked if I could make them for her. I had never successfully made artichokes in my life. I did my best to not fuck it up. She called out to me while I was over and we talked about foods we both liked and how to cook them. It was the best conversation I’d ever had with her. When I got home I broke down in tears.

They had a hospice nurse helping them for a few weeks, but then the nurse said there was nothing else they could do to help and they stopped coming by. I was fearful of the kids being home alone should something happen. I started to go by the house everyday. Cleaning. Playing with the two year-old. Talking to the boys. Talking to her.

The day she passed away she was surrounded by family in her home. We got a phone call at  4 am that it happened. We rushed over to be with the family. We were all there when the coroners came to take her. We spent the next week together in mourning. Some preparing for the funeral. Others just coming to terms living in world without her.

After the funeral and after the reception we ended the night at their home with all of our family singing karaoke. That night my two year-old niece learned how to sing Prince’s “Purple Rain” all by herself. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and the most heart breaking moment realizing her mother didn’t get to witness it. Some people mourn in silence. That evening we mourned singing together at the top of our lungs following my niece’s lead.

Singing. Loving. Making new memories. Reliving old memories.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I haven’t thought about her. Remembered her. My niece is the living embodiment of her mother. Her memory lives on in her.


 

After the election these memories are even more important to me. Hearing how people are being treated and how words of hate are being used more and more against the people they are suppose to love makes it harder to stay silent.

Love each other. Cherish each other. This holiday season every memory counts.

 

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Newsflash: I didn’t change my name when I got married, and I probably never will.

Hola from marriedville! Don’t tell any one, but it’s just like regular life except people (mainly family, some friends) seemed to be freaked about me keeping my name.

I know it’s been almost a year since I updated anything on here. Besides my laptop sucking and trying to plan parties, packing all of my belongings, working a couple of jobs, and moving, its safe to say I’ve been preoccupied. 🙂

So what’s the big deal? We’ll, I’m not sure. I have however found 3 reasons to help people cope with my choice.

1) It’s my name. I’m keeping it.

I am not saying my family name is special, BUT it is how I see myself. I had always planned on keeping my name, it wasn’t a a secret. I’m not upset if people call me Mrs. Awesome. I just let it slide. I love that my husbands family calls me Mrs. because they want to see me as part of the family. Not having the same name does NOT make me not family. I LOVE my husbands family and they are always going to ask, “When do you think you’ll change your last name?” And I love them for it.

He is my lover and best friend and I will love him no matter what. Having the same name doesn’t mean I love him more, and having a different name doesn’t mean I love him less.

2) I am still married even if our names are different.

A lot of people think I want to go by Miss or Ms because I kept my name therefore am not allowed to be called Mrs. I. Don’t. Care. I’m not a grammar- nazi like some friends, but I did try to use proper name listings on our wedding invitations for other peoples sake. Even if I did spell one of my bridesmaids name wrong…don’t judge me.

3) IF/When we have kid(s) they will still know I’m their Mother..

THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

I’m sure they’ll be fine. My husband’s family have a tradition of adding the mothers maiden name as a middle name or a second middle name. I think it’s a great way to trace family heritage and keep a connection to your next of kin and it can be listed on their birth certificate. Kids and adults hate hyphenated names, and this way they can choose which names they want to use in the future. Choice sounds beautiful doesn’t it?

Plus, legally changing your name is a LOT of work. For our future possible progeny it will be easier to pick a last name kids want, like they sometimes do when they chose to go by their middle name instead of their legal first name, or when they sometimes go by nicknames.

I love thinking about the options my hypothetical progeny will have when we discuses this possibility! I know it makes some people squirm and uncomfortable with my choices. Guess what? Don’t. Give. One. Fuck. It’s our life, and our choice to live it that way.

Go live your own life people!

Now that I have that out of the way everyone can start asking me other silly married life questions. 🙂

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Epic Journey: Bridal Shower Debacle

Last weekend I setup a small meet and greet with one of my bridesmaids and my grandparents, who are hosting the Bridal Shower. My bridesmaid Edith is one of my long time friends and happens to speak fluent Spanish. I asked her to meet with my grandparents to help my grandmother feel comfortable hosting this party full of strangers at her home since she only speaks Spanish (she understands English, she just refuses to speak it). A fellow Spanish speaker will also help her feel like she has a voice and involvement in the process so we don’t inadvertently make demands she is not comfortable with. I usually depend on my Mom to ensure proper translation, but my Mom tends to…embellish certain things and always finds a way to make things worse. My Mother has her own issues she’s constantly working out with her Mom.

We arrive and begin the discussion about how many people are attending, the shower theme (comic books and Super Heroes!!), tables, chairs, centerpieces, and everything was going smoothly. Then my Mom arrived and shortly after my Grandmother started asking questions about the guest list. Who’s invited? How many people are coming? Is your cousin ___ invited? *awkward pause* Um, no. She’s not invited, as of this moment, because we didn’t have room for her on the guest list and it would be rude to invite someone to the Bridal Shower and not the Wedding. Sorry to disappoint. This kick-starts the drama.

Photo of me in desperate need of a Whiskey Sour.

Photo of me in desperate need of a Whiskey Sour.

My Grandmother then proceeds to say that she’s family, and her grandchild too, so if she asks if she can come by it would be rude of her to deny her the opportunity to come visit. Apparently this cousin ASKED my Grandmother, over Easter while I wasn’t present and at work, if she was invited to the wedding… WTF?! This particular cousin has only kept in communication with my grandparents, has never said happy birthday, let alone congratulations to us since we’ve been engaged (over a year!). She stalks me on Facebook, Instagram, and any other way she can to keep tabs on the family without ever really talking to any one but my grandparents. I felt immediately upset that she would put my grandparents in that position and try insert themselves in the festivities without ever trying to talk to me or my fiance every time we’ve seen them at my grandparents home.

Suffice to say, my grandmother was a little upset, and my Mom didn’t help to defuse the situation. Eventually, after trying to reassure my Grandmother that despite my Cousins rude behavior I have tried to become a part of their lives, but they want nothing to do with me, and if they show up I can’t really do anything, it’s not my home. My Mom insisted on interrupting me and yelling and complaining, “She doesn’t care! She has no idea how they really are! She thinks these cousins are more important than you any way.” I had to raise my hands and ask my Mom to just stop. Stop with the negativity. She immediately became offended by my body language and stormed off upset that no one was listening to her. *sigh*

Edith, myself, and Melody. My oldest friends and the only reason I am sane during the wedding planning process.

Edith, myself, and Melody. My oldest friends and the only reason I am sane during the wedding planning process.

Luckily, my lovely and patient bridesmaid was there to help pick up the pieces before the Bridal Shower got cancelled because of hurt feelings that are beyond our control. We started discussing what we needed to do to prepare for the Bridal Shower, and discussed contacting my Mom after she had a few days to cool off. We promised to come by the following weekend to help her clean up the house and prepare for our guests. :) Which is why I’m EVER SO GRATEFUL to my bridesmaid Edith for enduring this debacle, and know that I never could have survived this incident without her by my side.

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Epic Journey: RSVP & Complaints Edition

RSVP Insights

About 2 weeks ago we took the plunge and sent out the first wave of wedding invitations! It was an exciting and terrifying feeling. Since then I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for our guests to reply, and in that time a gem appeared that made me laugh, cry, and feel a little better about RSVP’s in general. Besides the invitations going out into the world we’ve also had to deal with friends and family asking if they can bring a +1, or confirming if they are still being invited. Awkward….

Pictures of me going through the many stages of feelings sending out the invites.

Pictures of me going through the many stages of feelings sending out the invites.

My fiance and I labored over the design of the invitations, and especially the RSVP. Should we write a number in for some people? Do we leave it blank? Will they understand the envelope is addressed to two people? How do we explain no children? It was exhausting. In the end we decided on a few key things to hopefully alleviate the stress for us, and our guests.

  • We listed “and family” if there were multiple people living in the same household.
  • We wrote in 1 for single guests, or for guests that were not allowed to bring a guest due to costs/venue limitations.
  • At the bottom of the invitation we wrote *An Adult Affair* in hopes parents would get the hint we, again, have cost/venue limitations.

I realize that wedding etiquette dictates we send an invitation for every relative that is 18+. Our budget didn’t allow us enough flexibility to afford an invitation for every guest invited. If people want to get hurt over (what I feel) is a small issue it’s okay. I feel there are bigger issues to deal with. Writing in the number 1 for guests who are single or not allowed to bring a guest was a consorted effort to not have my family show up with their “Babies Mamma” whom we’ve never met, and to ensure we had room for all the friends and family we wanted to invite. We’ve tried to communicate to everyone that out budget is tight AND that our parents are paying for this special event. Therefore we don’t get the luxury of inviting only the people we want. The note for the Adult Affair was something I saw on a family members invitation, and felt it wasn’t too weird to list on our invitation as well. We went the extra step and left the __ # blank for couples and large families who we knew had more than 2 people attending. Ironically, one of my fiance’s cousins immediately contacted me to give us warning that some family members might take advantage of this small loophole… and I politely let her know that if, and when, that happens my lovely and patient fiance would be the one to call his family members to inform them of our venue limitations. 🙂 {Insert pic of me dodging a bullet}

As of today 99% of all the invitations have been mailed out. We’ve received almost 40 replies out of 150 in 2 weeks. I won’t bother to do the math, but it seems like we’re off to a good start so far.

It’s a Matter of Opinion

I recently spent an afternoon with my lovely Mother to purchase a few odds and ends for the wedding. I ranted about some of the issues we’ve encountered over the last few weeks and she patiently listened and occasionally , and methodically, implanted a few “Uh huh” moments. Gotta love my Mom’s non-subtle reactions sometimes.

As we walked into one of three stationary stores we visited that day she stopped in her tracks as she encountered a shelf of floral printed post-its and stationary. She squealed like a little girl on Christmas morning and lurched at one of the pink colored sets. I told her to go ahead and grab them, since I knew she wanted to buy them any way. She grunted that she deserved to treat herself to some personal stationary that was obviously a necessity. I simply pointed out that I was not surprised she loved them since they are, in fact, covered in pink floral patterns. Which I am not a fan of. My Mother and I have never had the same taste.

“Flowers are your thing, not mine,” I commented.

“What does that mean?” she heatedly replied.

“I mean that I think flowers are over rated, which is why I’ve decided on doing paper flowers and not waste our money on something that’s going to wither and die within 24hrs.”

“What?! Do you hear yourself? Flowers are over rated? You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

No, Mother. I know exactly what I’m talking about, you simply don’t understand where I’m coming from because, as usual, we never agree on matters such as this. *sigh* My whole life I’ve lived with homemade floral patterned curtains, floral patterned couches, and floral patterned dinnerware. I have been over floral patterns since I was old enough to pick out my own clothes. My Mother once gave me some awesome clothes for my birthday when I was in high school and when I commented on how much I loved them she simply replied with, “I knew you’d like them because I thought they were ugly.” Gee, thanks. I love you too Mom.

Now, if I can only get my hands on a paper wedding dress…. *maniacal laugh*

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Epic Journey: Family Memories

I know I promised to write about our selection process for our wedding photographer this week, but I got a bit distracted browsing the Offbeat Bride Tribe section and thought I should write a small piece about someone who has inspired me and our wedding theme. Depending on how the week goes I’ll do my best to post the photographer piece later this week. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Early on I had decided I didn’t want to be walked down the aisle by my Biological father because I have a Step-Father who I was closer to, and I didn’t want to be caught up having to explain WHY I was making this decision. I put my foot down (gently) and only told a few close friends and family. Then last Fall, just after becoming unemployed, I accompanied my Mother and Grandparents to the doctor’s office for his final doctor’s visit where they gave the official diagnosis that he was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. It was heart breaking.

Over the last few months he’s gotten worse and my biggest fear is finding out he doesn’t remember me or our wedding. There’s a possibility that he may think I’m my Mother in the confusion. He loses his place in the middle of conversations, still tries to drive off and run errands (they revoked his driver’s license), and now refuses to go to the doctor for anything due to fear they’ll tell him something else is wrong with him.

Last month my Mother and I had a long conversation about some of the issues the family has been dealing with, trying to keep him safe, and how he is still in denial about the situation. She asked me, very politely, if I would consider having my Grandfather walk me down the aisle and I immediately accepted. I don’t know how it never occurred to me in the first place! It makes me extremely happy and sad to think that I could share this moment with my Grandfather, and at the same time that he may not remember it, or even live long enough to see us have children.

My grandparents had a huge library in their home (before it was remodeled) when I was growing up. My grandfather made all the shelving and cabinets himself. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling in books. My love of books and reading came from spending long summer afternoons pouring over my Grandfathers books, my mother reading me bed time stories, and my Uncle’s fascination with outer space and their collection of Astronomy books. Our wedding has a paper/book theme due to my Grandfather’s library and his love of books has rubbed off on me over the years. One Christmas I gave him a set of history books that he loved, and my Grandmother was a little annoyed and said, “Now he’s gonna be up all night reading and ignoring me!” She doesn’t like reading much. 🙂 My Aunts and uncles use to tell stories about me reading out loud to them from one of many books, even though I wasn’t old enough to read, or understand was the book was about.

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My Grandfather the Avid Reader

As hard as it is to write these words (I’ve had to stop several times to wipe away tears) I’m happy and hopeful for the love and inspiration my Grandfather has given me. I’m crossing my fingers that his health doesn’t deteriorate too quickly and I’m able to be walked down the aisle with one of my favorite people in the world, my Grandpa Campos. 🙂

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Continuation of Epic Journey: Procrastination Period

A lot of shit has gone down in the last few weeks and months. However, a few good things were accomplished. One of my bridesmaids and I put together a few paper rose bouquets. The most recent bouquet was made from a used Fables trade paper back comic. 

I found the a few different kinds instructions on Pintrest and we tested a few different patterns to see which one we liked the most. Man, that was exhausting! I will admit we had a few very stressful sessions of paper flower testing before we settled on this specific design. This is the one we decided looks the best with the most reasonable about of time. Reasonable is a subjective term. This particular tutorial takes about an hour to make one paper rose, by yourself! It was exhausting to try solo. However, once I had a few assistants the process became much easier to handle. Since I felt the outcome of the flower I liked the most was worth the time it will take us to make, even if it means settling on smaller bouquets for the centerpieces. We didn’t use the flower or paper tape for the bottom of the roses yet, since we are using several different types of paper to make the roses.

It’s best to have an assembly line of people helping you. I would kindly suggest after you to make 2-3 stencils (super important!) and ask 3-4 friends to help you make the paper roses. 1) Have one person trace the petals, 5 of each size, 2) a person to cut out the petals, 3) someone curl the petals with a toothpick or pen/pencil, 4) and the last person can hot glue the petals on to the stem. I currently have dual glue gun with a low and high setting, and we use the low setting for the paper roses since you may still ever so slightly burn your fingertips (CAUTION: someone finger tips are more sensitive than others!). If you wanna get super productive 8 people would be even better!! Make sure everyone understands that each step is an important part of the process, and that patience is key. It also helps to feed your gracious volunteers, since they will get frustrated and antsy over time. One friend and I were able to bust out 8 paper roses in about 2-3 hours, which isn’t too bad for two people. It helped that we were watching a marathon of Downton Abbey. 🙂

Paper Roses

One of the many small bouquets we have made so far.

We currently have small bouquets of paper roses from Sudoku paper, newspaper, glossy paper (play station manual), magazines (video games and cartoons!), Fables comic books, and one of my favorites is an old Ann Rice fiction encyclopedia. The photos are just a small sample of the ones we have made. Since I’ve recently had to replace my phone I forgot some of my other photos of the first few bouquets need to be retaken. 😦 First World Problems in the digital age. I also re-purposed old paper back books and other household items for the paper roses. Only the Fables comic was purchased, so everything else we have used was FREE! My favorite kind.  

It’s been nice to see the progress of the paper roses. One of my bridesmaids in particular has been very very helpful when she comes over to work on the roses. She has been the one to push me into productivity since I can easily crumble over the pressure of having to make these. Not because I don’t enjoy making them, but mostly because I’ll start to think about the wedding process in general and how much I despise having to spend any money on the entire thing. It’s like a domino effect of crazy! However, all of my bridesmaids, friends, and family are being exceptionally positive and encouraging. One of the few things that has made me happy and excited for our wedding are these flowers. I’ve always despised the expense of wedding flowers. Coming up with making the paper roses was really exciting and great way for me to personalize our wedding into something I could relate to and not something out of a crazy bridal magazine. 

All of the paper goods we need for the wedding are going to be created by my fiance and I, which means DIY. The invitations, reply cards, Save the Date, place cards, tags for the favors, place mats, menus, and the center pieces will be made and designed by us. It’s a bit ambitious, I know, but it makes me feel like it will be more our wedding by doing it that way. Of course, a few months ago I realized I had a lot of decorative stuff figured out ahead of time, but there were a few important details we still haven’t figured out. (i.e Photographer and DJ). 

It is officially under a year away and our Epic Journey has just begun. My fiance recently finished designing out Save the Date which will be sent out with our annual holiday card. I found that tip on one the practical wedding planning websites. The exact website escapes me, but it will still a great idea to snag.

I hope I have fewer break downs, and more laughs ahead. 

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Here It Comes…Wait For It…

Thanksgiving!

Every year it’s the same argument with my Mom and Grandmother “Who’s making Thanksgiving dinner? I’m busy/lazy and can’t do it, alone.” And every year I end up making all the side dishes, but not the turkey. This year I gave them no choice and told them we are having Thanksgiving dinner at my house! My Mom’s first reaction was, “You’ve never made the turkey before, can you handle it?” Gee, thanks for the support Mom.

Look at all the yummy food I've made before!

It’s bad enough I have to sit through my Mom and  Grandmother have the same argument year after year after year. I’m always caught in the middle and have to sit through my Grandmother pretend I don’t know how to cook anything, then she begins to tell me not to get married or have kids (which is weird because she use to say the opposite a few years ago). This year they’re gonna have to suck it up and deal with what I’m laying down dammit! I’ve taken over cooking Thanksgiving dinner, at my house, and there’s nothing they can do about it!! MAUAHAHAHA!

*cough*

Sorry for the outburst. Just needed a moment of crazy to level my head.

Moving forward, I’m attempting to make a test turkey the weekend before Thanksgiving to ensure I don’t fuck it up on the actual day. I’ll be making a smaller 12lb turkey in anticipation of the 20-24lb turkey I have to cook on the big day. I’ve mastered all the side dishes, and will make most of them the day before so I don’t panic when it’s time for the real deal. Even with I bake I make the same recipe three times to make sure I’ve got it down before serving it to friends and family. My boyfriend and roommates end up being my taste testers, lucky them.

My Mother is convinced I don’t know what I’m doing, and insists on emailing me the family recipe for the turkey (she’s also been convinced no one will eat the turkey unless it’s exactly the same!) so I can make it they way everyone likes it. Every time I talk to her she says she’s emailing me the recipe and never does. Every day I pretend I’m going to read this pretend email and abide by the recipe. 🙂 Gotta love family time.

Don't Jump!

What also makes this time of year especially hectic is my Mom and Uncle’s birthday always lands close the Thanksgiving. They were born on the same day, and every 3-4 years their birthday lands on Thanksgiving. YAY! And by “YAY” I mean stab me with a blunt fork. Which means I also have to worry about birthday presents for my Mom and Uncle, and probably planning on making a cake for them too. I almost always take upon myself to get the family together for their birthday before/after Thanksgiving so they don’t feel forgotten (They always complain about not being loved on their actual birthday. Passive-Aggressive behavior any one?). Did I mention I’m also the eldest grand-child out of seven (two live in Texas) and my Brother and I are the only ones who show up every year for the holidays. Yeah, fun times.

This year is especially hectic for myself because we have a show opening next weekend AND a wedding to attend. The week after another wedding AND work. Third week WE LEAVE FOR SPAIN! As soon as we get back I have to make my test turkey in preparation for my first Thanksgiving dinner at our home. CRAZY, right? I may be trying too hard, but I think it’s important for my family to realize I can handle it, and to prepare them for the realization that Thanksgiving dinner can be passed on to the next generation…and we won’t fuck it up. Hopefully.

Who knows, maybe I’m wrong and I’ll have a total meltdown on Thanksgiving. That’s normal, right? I have only myself to blame if it that does happen. Either way I’m taking control as best I can and (begrudgingly) pushing my family out of my way so I can give it a try.

I keep telling myself to cherish the time I have with my family while they’re still around. My Grandparents aren’t getting any younger, and they still look at my Brother and I like we’re kids who don’t know how to buy a car, or pay our bills on time (which we both do). They worry about us and try their best to be supportive (by throwing money at us, which we refuse) in their own small way, and it’s nice to know they care. I just hope my first turkey doesn’t disappoint.

Here’s to trying!

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The Fridge Story

A long long time ago…when we first got our house. There was an incident that will forever be known as The Fridge Story. I only decided to retell this story because I suddenly remembered it the other night and could not stop laughing, mostly because I still can’t even believe that it happened.

Part 1

In September of 2008 we moved into our new house, which was purchased by my boyfriends mother.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, while I was home alone and my boyfriend was at work a chaotic incident happened. I was waiting for the cable guys to come by and check out why we suddenly couldn’t get service at our new home. As many know, my DVR is one of my vices. I was already upset because they were suppose to have installed it over a week ago. Suddenly, I hear a knock at the door and am greeted by a guy with a moving truck. “We’re here to deliver a refrigerator. Where do you want it?”

Um…what?

When we first viewed the house with his mother the previous owner of the house had mentioned he would be leaving behind the refrigerator because his new home already had a nicer one. Awesome. Free fridge. When we moved in the fridge was missing. His mother called our Realtor and asked what had happened. Our Realtor mentioned that the other Realtor who worked with the owner had taken it. Caught in an awkward position, our Realtor called the other woman and made arrangements to have the fridge returned.

Keep in mind, the whole time this transaction is taking place my boyfriend and I are not involved in the conversation to return this elusive item. Until I get a knock on the door.

I’m thrown off by his direct question which I only slightly understand. I’m suddenly opening the driveway gate and asking them to bring the fridge through the laundry room door. They then explain to me the door is too narrow. Fuck me. My boyfriend suddenly calls me back and I explain to him what’s happening, and then ask, “Did you know about this?” He of course does not know anything about this abrupt delivery. I ask him to call his mother when he has a break and ask a few questions. As I get off the phone with him and I’m then greeted by the cable guys who begin to tell me they don’t know what or why they’re there, or what their suppose to be looking for. Meet with a sense of pure frustration I tell the nice cable guy and his buddy-in-crime that they need to get on the phone and ask someone else what they need to be looking for. I explain this to him as politely as I can, while trying not to strangle him with my Sith mind powers.

Then I’m suddenly greeted by our former Realtor, who is very excited we’re getting the fridge returned to us, as promised. Okay…aren’t I happy? Excited? How am I doing? I explain to her the movers have said the fridge won’t fit through the laundry room door. They can just leave it here in the driveway and my boyfriend will deal with it when he gets home later. Meanwhile the cable guys are on the phone with headquarters pacing back and forth in front of the house. Just as the movers and Realtor are about to leave the other Realtor has appeared and is hugging me very happy to see me and the fridge.

I suddenly have this sense of dread…again, and realize that I’m still in my stay-home-and-watch-TV-all-day-pajamas. Fuck me. I explain to everyone the fridge is great, please don’t worry about it. It will remain where it is while I wait for my boyfriend to return home.

And then…the previous owner is walking up our driveway…”How the hell is this happening?” I ask myself.

The cable guys turn to me and say they’ve talked to everyone they could and now someone else will be coming out in another week to install/fix the cable problem. I give them the look of ‘”Thanks for nothing you can go now,” and return to my driveway/fridge problem.

Then, the previous owner of the house has suddenly appeared with everyone else, the two Realtors and two moving guys. And the fridge. He congratulates me on our new home as I awkwardly say my thanks while standing there with strangers in my pajamas in the middle of the day after having smoked a bowl and never bothered to shower. Our Realtor exclaims how the movers could have helped the previous owner when he moved, what a fortuitous meeting. He had such a hard time moving out, a single father, moving all that furniture with no help. His movers decided to never show up. You know, the guys from Home Depot. I stand there and cringe, and want to suddenly stab something, or someone, with a sharp object.

Then, the previous owner suddenly gives the golden advice that the movers could not figure out for themselves, “Oh, you can take the door off the hinges to make the door wider and get the fridge in. That’s what I did.” Everyone’s jaw drops. Then the movers ask if I have a screw driver they can use. Sharp object….

In no time at all the fridge is in the laundry room. There are five strangers in my laundry room. Still chatting. To each other. No one seems to realize I’m still there. Our Realtor suddenly turns and says, “Oh my goodness! You’ve really made this place in to a beautiful home,” while looking in another direction and not actually talking or looking at me.

They all start to walk past me towards the master bedroom and living room and before any of them manage to open any other doors I yell, and I put my hands up in the air. “Excuse me everyone!” They all stare at me like deers caught in someone’s headlights. “The fridge is inside. Thank you for your help. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. So please exit through the driveway door. Your work here is done. Thank you.”

They begin to quietly shuffle outside and I lock the door behind me. The driveway gate and front door are still open and unlocked. As I usher them all down the driveway they continue to congratulate me and try to peer through the windows in the driveway. I close, and lock the gate behind me as they all walk away together, and then I walk back in to the house through the front door where it all began. I stand in the living room, alone again, and still shocked and confused as to how the hell this all happened.

I drag me feet and go look at the fridge. It has mold inside, and apparently hasn’t been cleaned sine it was emptied. And I wait for my boyfriend to get home. I begin to angrily wash the fridge.

Part 2

A week later, while I am home alone, again, I get a knock at the door. I think to myself, “We just moved here. I’m not expecting any one. Who could that be?” I look through the front door and see one of the movers from the previous week opening the gate to our driveway. I swing open the door and yell at him, “Excuse me! Can I help you?”

“Oh yeah, remember me? I helped bring your fridge here last week?”

“Yes, I know who you are. Why are you entering my driveway?”

“Oh, yeah…sorry. I was looking for our dolly. We left it here, last week, when we dropped off your fridge. Do you remember me? Is it here?”

“I remember the fridge, and you, but there is no dolly here. I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.”

“Oh really? I see how it is…after I do you and that guy a favor and bring this fridge here for free! I just wanna see if our dolly is here.”

“Look, there’s no dolly here. You need to leave, now. Or I’m gonna have to call the police because your trespassing, and you came here uninvited, and tried to get in to my driveway without permission. Please leave now.”

“After the favor I just did for you and that guy?! This is how it’s gonna be? I did that guy, your friend, a favor, and this is how I’m treated.”

“Look man, he’s not my friend. And I don’t know you. I just caught you trying to trespass on to my property uninvited. Now leave. I’m going to call the police any second if i don’t see you move. Please close my gate and get the I hell out of my house.’

He closes the gate, sliding his hand off the door handle and walked away grumbling to himself, in Spanish. I watch him from the patio window that looks out onto the street. He stands next to his car and calls someone on his cell phone. He talks to them in Spanish possibly thinking that I won’t understand him, and begins to complain to his friend on the phone and calls me a bitch and a liar. I yell out to him, “I told you to leave. I’m calling to cops as we speak. Get the hell out of here or I’ll have you arrested!” He peers up not realizing that I heard him, or understood what he was saying. Then he quickly gets in to his car and speeds off, afraid that the cops will show up any second.

I call my boyfriend, who is at work, and leave him a message telling him I caught this guy trying to break in to the house to look for his dolly. When he calls me back he is very upset to hear the mover tried to sneak past me because he thought no one was home. He says he’ll call me when he gets his break. We hang up.

Twenty minutes later, I get a second knock on the front door. This time it’s the previous owner’s Realtor. The nice woman who took the fridge and arranged for it’s delivery. I say hello, but never open or unlock the black gate-like front door (We have 2 front doors. One that leads in to the small brick patio that is black, and one that is wooden and leads to the to the living room at the front of the house.) She asks if I remember the movers who brought us our fridge, and that one of them called her upset, because he left his dolly at our house. I reply, “Yes, he was here earlier, and tried to break in to our home. So I’m going to tell you what I told him. You came here uninvited, asking about a dolly that I don’t have, if you don’t leave right now I’m going to call the police.”

Her jaw drops and she begins to yell at me. “Well, I never! How dare you speak to me like that! After all I’ve done for you and your family, this is how I’m treated?!”

I snap back, “I don’t know you! I never asked for this fridge back! You did none of us any favors, now please leave or I’ll call the police on you for trespassing. Never come back here uninvited!” I walk back to the living room upset and frustrated, but proud of myself for not letting her in to the house. I think to myself, “How the hell did all this happen?!”

I didn’t want the GOD DAMN FRIDGE! We were fine without it! We already had a fridge because the house didn’t have one when we moved in. Who the hell shows up uninvited, without so much as a friendly phone call, trying to trespass, in broad daylight to look for a dolly?!?! What. The. Fuck.

A few hours later, my boyfriend’s mother calls me. Concerned. She just got a phone call from our Realtor, who was upset. Apparently I yelled and cursed at her and wouldn’t let her look for this dolly the movers seemed to have left behind. Is this true? Did you really curse a this lady? What happened?

I politely tell her, “Yes, I’m sorry to inform you that I did, probably curse at someone. However, it wasn’t our Realtor. It was the previous owner’s Realtor. Who appeared after one of her mover friends tried to break in to our home and appeared uninvited to look for this dolly. So, I threatened to call the cops on him, he left upset, and then the other Realtor appeared asking for the dolly too. Uninvited, and wanted to come in to our home to look for it. I told her no, and said she was unwelcome in our home and should never come back. None of them would ever have showed up to your home, where you reside, and think they could waltz in to search for a dolly. I’m sorry, I couldn’t let them in.”

Luckily, my boyfriends mother was sympathetic to my anger. She was horrified someone would try to break in to look for a mere dolly, let alone, show up uninvited and practically demand entrance to look for the dolly. We talked for an hour and bonded over our horror and anger and then she politely excused herself and said she would never be talking to either of those women ever again.

Emotionally exhausted, I crashed on the couch and felt a small sense of relief. And smiled to myself.

All of those mother fuckers can go fuck themselves. That damn dolly is mine.

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Christmas Day 2010 with the Boyfriend’s Family

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Thanks for what?

Family gatherings. I don’t know whether or not to dread them or look forward to them.

It’s always a mix bag for myself. I spend every holiday season with my mother’s family, and split it with my boyfriend’s family. Running back and forth between the holidays can be exhausting, and I always dread the future me doing this with children (it hurts my brain just thinking about it!). I always make something for every dinner we attend, and hope that it gets eaten so I don’t have to eat it all by myself later on.

This year will be especially interesting since my long-lost cousins are possibly attending Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents home. Possibly. They have a tendency to flake because they haven’t been comfortable around the family since before their father passed away 3 years ago. My Tio (BTW: Tio is Spanish for Uncle) Joaquin, their father, died of a drug induced heart attack while making love to his girlfriend. It was a spectacular way to go out, and the preferred method of an old high school health teacher, minus the drugs of course. He had informed the family he was dying of brain cancer, and even after his death this was never confirmed. What was confirmed was that he was evading child support payments, doing some heavy drugs, and his possessions were in a state of chaos splitting his belongings between our grandparents home and his girlfriends apartment. Tio Joaquin wasn’t the best father, but he wasn’t a horrible person. His marriage was on the rocks for a long time which is why our families were never really close while my cousins were still growing up. Before he died his wife was filling for divorce and his children refused to see him.

His relationship with his children was so strained before his death they didn’t even attend his funeral or the wake with the family. This past Dia de los Muertos was the first time in almost 5 years I had seen my cousins, they’re now in their early twenties. My mother and her youngest brother had spoken to and seen my cousins for a short time during the funeral arrangements, and this was when they made their (none) feelings known to the family. They said they would attend the wake, but never showed.

This year my grandparents are inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner. We all realize it will be slightly awkward for everyone. During our last meet up over Halloween it was mostly my brother doing all the talking for us. My Tio Ace, my mom’s youngest brother, stayed home after we visited the cemetery because he couldn’t stand to be in the same room as my cousins due to his own personal grudge against them for not attending their father’s funeral. My Tio Ace spent a lot of time with Joaquin before he died, and they became even closer after bonding about their divorce. As we ate our late lunch/early dinner in Downtown LA my brother went on and on about his work at the Music Institute (MI) in Hollywood and all the work he does for them. My cousin N. (I’d prefer not to use their real names) thought my brother was a student and started asking if he knew any one who was attending MI. When my brother corrected him and said he was an employee of MI not a student my cousin became very embarrassed and shocked. My cousins were the ones who were suppose to grow up and be successful, not us. Growing up our grandparents always blamed my brother and I for anything that was broken or damaged. Regardless of the fact that neither one of us ever did anything destructive. My cousins were the saints who could do not wrong and we just had to grin and bear it. My brother and I don’t look successful, but we are in own small ways now as adults.

I was half excited half terrified when we had dinner the last time. They were very soft-spoken and didn’t ask any questions. Nor did they divulge much about their mother, whom none of us speak to. I managed to not tell them anything about myself, other than I live in Long Beach. Coincidentally my cousin N. lives in North Long Beach with his girlfriend. My cousin C. lives with their mother in Lakewood. They visit my grandparents fairly often, and sometimes they leave with money, whether or not they asked for it. During the dinner I had decided I would wait to mention anything about myself because I wanted to see if they would ask me anything. Half way through the meal I realized they didn’t care to learn anything about us. They were there for my grandparents.

So the same example will be followed during Thanksgiving dinner as well. See if anything is asked. Listen and wait for something to be said. Never divulge information that could be sensitive. Its kind of sad really. To have family, but not a relationship with that family. I’ve always been close to my mother’s family, so it’s hurts to see everyone going through the motions of trying to stay civil and composed when we’re all really just screaming on the inside.

All I hope for this Thanksgiving is to smoke out with my brother and uncle.

The End.

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November 23, 2010 · 5:56 pm