Tag Archives: Drama

Belated, Yearly Obligatory Family Drama

Time and time again I am plagued by my families stress inducing melodrama. No matter how hard I try to keep myself out of it, they manage to suck me back in.

This year, like every year, my Mother and Grandmother fought over who wasn’t going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom was supposed to be working all day, and my Grandma is too old to be cooking the entire dinner by herself, so this year I offered to make Thanksgiving dinner at our house. My first mistake. Before leaving for Spain I made plans to host a Test-Turkey Thanksgiving Potluck at our house. The Turkey came out perfect, everyone showed up and ate almost all the food, I got to see my friends and tell them all about Spain. It was tons of fun, which was great since the actual dinner went….not as planned.

The entire week before Thanksgiving my lovely Mother kept reminding me of how my grandparents might not show up because my Grandmother is a hermit and refused to go anywhere for the holidays, except the mall to shop. I had mentally prepared for my grandparents to not show up for dinner since they’re kinda kooky. No big deal. Then I got more reminders from my Mother about how to cook dinner and what to do. I took it all in and tried to stay positive, she’s only trying to be helpful. No big deal. Then I find out my Mother has decided she is going to come over to my house early to help me cook dinner. I didn’t ask for help, but I kept telling myself it’ll be fine. No big deal. Stay positive, my Mom will probably cook everything and I’ll just be watching her make everything. No big deal.

Morning of Thanksgiving my Mom calls me asks if my boyfriend and pick up her husband, then take him to pick up grandparents, then take them to my house for dinner…..why? Her husband broke his ankle and can’t drive to pick up my grandparents, and he’s the only one who can get my crazy grandparents to leave their house for dinner. Problem #1 was that my boyfriend had planned on visiting his family before our dinner, so he was unable to pick any one up. Problem #2 was my Mother then complaining about the situation. Her response to this predicament was, “Great! I knew we shouldn’t have had dinner at your place! You never think about logistics.” Gee, thanks. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Mom. I asked her to bring her husband with her to my house so he could watch the football game and then go pick up my grandparents once my boyfriend got back, she begrudgingly gave in.

I didn’t know how to deal with this lovely bombshell the morning of Thanksgiving dinner, so I did the girly emotional thing and cried to my boyfriend. How could my Mother say this to me the morning of Thanksgiving? Why couldn’t she just be supportive? Why is my Mother acting crazy? It turns out she and her husband had a fight over the logistics, again, of which I had no knowledge of.

My boyfriend and I clean the entire house, get everything ready, move the table, get more chairs, and waited for my Mom to arrive to “help.” My boyfriend and I just finished eating breakfast when she showed up in a tizzy. She had a cloud hanging over her head the moment she entered to door. Moments later she began barking orders and complaining about how she was thanked for coming over to help, to which I replied, “I never asked you to help. You offered, I didn’t say no, and now you’re acting weird and stressing me out. Please calm down and sit, I’ll get things started.” To which she yelled back, “You don’t even have the oven on! How are you going to help? You haven’t gotten up to do anything.” From there it just got worse. I explained to her she needed to chill out and that I felt she hadn’t been very supportive and I needed her to stop being so rude. She refused, I got more upset, and then I told her she had to leave if she couldn’t calm down and be nice. BOMBSHELL!  She accused me of cussing her out, which didn’t happen, stormed out, and never came back. I was astonished she left, that she acted so bizarre, and most of all that she didn’t think she did anything wrong the entire time. That it was okay for my Mother to miss my first Thanksgiving dinner at my home. I was devastated and worst of all, my boyfriend couldn’t go to see his family because he was too busy consoling me and making sure I didn’t stay on the couch crying the entire night.

After a few moments of self loathing my boyfriend encouraged me to get off the couch and start cooking to occupy my mind, which helped. I hadn’t put the turkey in the oven yet and I still had an entire dinner to make, by myself. Despite the horrible fight I was still excited to make Thanksgiving dinner. A few hours later my Mom decided to text me that my Uncle would be bringing the rest of the family to dinner and that she and her husband were staying home. She had a headache and his foot was bothering him. Awesome. And by awesome I mean WTF!? She apologized via text message and assured me I would still be getting my iPhone 4s for Christmas, because you know, that’s what’s important to me (insert sarcasm).

Que to the crying for another ten minutes, and then back to finishing dinner. Focus on dinner. Focus on cleaning the kitchen. Focus on how good the food will taste. Anything to distract me from being disappointed on Thanksgiving. Que a few hours later and my Uncle, Brother, and family are running late. No big deal, they’re always late. Plus, due to the awesome events of the evening the turkey was running late on being done, so they saved me the trouble of having to worry about it still cooking. The moments turn in to anxious minutes, then an hour, than another.

Finally they arrive!

“Where is grandma and grandpa? Did they come with our other cousin?”

“Yeah…they’re not coming. They decided a few hours ago not to come. Where’s your Mom?”

“Yeah…she’s not coming either.”

Awesome. Luckily for me my Uncle was sympathetic to the “Mom Situation” and proceeded to tell me how dinner would be better without them because they would just stress everyone out and complain the whole time. He said my turkey was the best he’d ever had and they happily ate a bunch of food and took some home with them. It was only the six of us (my boyfriend and I, my Uncle, his Wife, his Daughter and my Brother), but it was the least (at the end of the night) stressful dinner we’ve ever had. I felt better after we had all eaten and had a few drinks with dinner. Even though the day didn’t go as planned I have learned one very important lesson: never volunteer to cook a holiday dinner for my family again. For now.

Every year I tell myself holidays with the family will get better, but some how they just get more complicated. Never again. I’ll just cook a pie next time.

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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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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.

2 Comments

November 23, 2010 · 5:56 pm

Thanks for what?

Classic Chocolate Cake

Classic Chocolate Cake

I spent my afternoon with a marathon of Dexter Season 3 and baking this lovely chocolate delight. I just hope it’s not going to be the only thing I eat for dinner.

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September 20, 2009 · 6:47 pm