Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Christmas Crazy Flower is Blooming!!!

Well, it's almost Christmas, and let me tell you, I'm certainly experiencing my share of Holiday Oy!

I'm never quite sure what form the family crazy monster will take from year to year, so it's always an adventure. And for reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, it always seems to rear its ugly head around the holidays.

This year's theme seems to be, "Poor Cat... she must be broke and suffering." I've been feeling it coming on for a while now, and recent events seem to confirm my suspicion. 

First there was the door. The storm door on the side of my house got damaged in the summer hailstorm, and since the "real" door in that location was a total piece of crap (hollow core door with a big window that gets so cold in the winter it feels like you're covering the opening with a blanket)... anyhow, I decided that since I had to have the storm door replaced, I'd bite the bullet, upgrade to a security storm door and  have the real door replaced with an energy star door.

Quite an improvement, don't you think?

BUT... I made the terrible mistake of telling my dad & step-mom about my plans. And pretty soon my father is just totally going nuts about it. He somehow decides that this door must be replaced IMMEDIATELY,if not sooner, because it isn't safe. (Dude... I've lived here for 15 years now... and it's no less "safe" now than at any other moment of my residency here.) But he's obsessed. And pretty soon he's calling several times a week wanting to know if I've had it done yet, and offering to take charge of the project, and pay for it all, and AAAAARRRGGGHHH!!! Just what I need is my crazy parents in the middle of some remodeling project.

Anyhow, right about then I decided to get really "busy" and unavailable. I even went so far as to make up a fictitious new database client who was "monopolizing my time" and "paying me tons of money" to get them off my back. Seriously, it's really the only line of defense I have when the crazy flower starts to bloom.

And I thought it was working until...

My brother calls me up and asks if I want to go in with him on buying a "big screen" HD television as a gift for my Mother. I was totally delighted by the offer because it meant all I had to do was write a check and I was off the proverbial Christmas hook.

So I left it up to him to do the shopping, and told him to let me know how much I owed him. Well... I get an email the other day with the price tag... $50. OK... Seriously?!? I wrote him back asking if he left off a zero, but he insists he got a great deal. OK fine... if he wants to pay for the gift and give me credit, well, I suppose there are worse things... but I'm starting to sense a trend here... feels sort of like impending doom...

Then comes the check from my mother. She always sends a few hundred bucks at Christmas... guilt money I call it. But this year, she sends me $1500!?!?

And Friday I'm going to my Dad's for "Winter Solstice Dinner" - don't even get me started on that family tradition... move all the Christmas BS a few days earlier and call yourself a rebel! Anyhow, I'm really dreading it... because gawd knows what sort of crazy shit is brewing in their little heads.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I exactly mind being given money... it's just the whole dynamic that makes me crazy. It's sort of the role they like to put me in... I'm the pathetic failure who is in constant need of "help." I've tried to explain that I have enough money to live comfortably for 10-15 years without bringing in another cent... but all they see is a girl without a job.

And it's not like I don't know what's really going on here. It's just SOOOO much easier for them to play "what's wrong with Cat" than it is for them to deal with any of their own personal shit (which is voluminous, trust me.)

At least this time all they want (so far) is to give me money.

Because there was the time they decided that I must be depressed and in need of medication, so they had to stage an intervention... seriously, they were ready to haul me off to the state mental hospital...

Then there was the time they started calling all of my friends wanting to know what was wrong with me, and why I wasn't attending all of their family gatherings...

Or the time they decided I must have an eating disorder because I refused to eat things that I was allergic to (all the more amusing, because for many years of my youth when I actually DID have an eating disorder, nobody ever noticed a thing.)


OK... deep breath. I just have to keep telling myself that it will be over soon....

"It will be over soon..."

"It will be over soon..."

"It will be over soon..."

Gawd, how I hate Christmas... let me count the ways...

Or maybe this way...

Or this way...

Or, at the risk of offending the Christians, this way...

It sort of makes me feel like a total Grinch, but seriously, dudes? Am I the only person who just grits their teeth and just tries to survive this time of year? 

Does anybody else out there have a family who just doesn't "get it" about their lifestyle? Am I the only one who just counts the days until it's all over?

Just wondering...


  1. Hahaha! Especially love the "offensive" one.

    The upside to having no family holiday traditions is no family holiday weird. Win!

  2. I did laugh at the inappropriate one. And can you give your mother my P.O. Box and tell her that I'm a starving orphan? Unless such a condition would warrant an intervention

  3. Duck - My kingdom for a family with no wierd!

    Merry - Well, unless you can figure a way to make her think that she caused your starving orphan state, I sorta don't think it would stick... And in my family EVERYTHING warrants an intervention!

  4. You recently wrote something how you got to pick your own family that made you happy, I feel the same way. I hate my family, but have found a nice group of friends and acquaintances I consider to be family - who don't judge me, who aren't patronizing toward me. Also I've gotten to a point where I'm pretty happy just by myself and am fairly content that way.

    I don't do a single thing to celebrate anything just because a calendar tells me to. I don't celebrate any of the religious holidays, consumer holidays, romantic holidays, political holidays. I bake a cake when I feel like it, not when a calendar dictates it! So there.

    Sadly, I will be heading off to the land of snow and very cold weather for family purposes in a few weeks and I am not looking forward to it AT ALL! But it is a wedding, and considering we've avoided everyone for years...maybe I have built up strength to withstand their BS? I can only hope.

  5. Okay, I might have to give up my self-proclaimed "Green Grinch" title after reading this ;-)

    But, I hear where you're coming from, especially this year, when I have so little extra time and energy, and feel the pressure to do certain things for the holidays. There is a part of me that will definitely breathe a sigh of relief when we're back to "normal time."

    On the other hand, my family is relatively sane (knock on wood -- don't know if this will get better or worse over the coming years), and I do enjoy some of the traditions and less consumer-focused aspects of the season.

    As my therapist says (speaking of interventions), "This is not your life; it is just what you're dealing with right now." Good luck this weekend :)

  6. The "offensive" one made my day. THANK YOU.

  7. Sam - I admire your steadfastness on the holiday front. I've tried, but somewhere along the line I just decided that it was easier to go along with a few things rather than face more family interventions! And the land of snow and cold isn't all bad. I was just out shoveling (a foot so far with more falling) at least it's pretty! Good luck with the wedding.

    Melissa - Here's hoping your family maintains their sanity. The totally ironic part of all of this is that when my grandmother was alive, my father HATED all of the obligatory holiday stuff. After she died they announced loudly that they would no longer be celebrating any of it, because they were only tolerating it for her sake. That lasted about a year... then they started up with "Winter Solstice." It's just the hypocrisy that gets to me... obligatory family gatherings suck when you're on the receiving end, but apparently they're great when you're the one obliging everyone else to participate. Oy! I'm going to keep telling myself "this is just what I'm dealing with right now... this is just what I'm dealing with right now..."

    Steph - Ha! Glad you enjoyed it! :~)

  8. Dude, I am so sorry you have to put up with this craziness. But really, innit it all about their sense of failure and inadequacy? All that crazy really has nothing to do with you. It's just directed at you. (Or am I interpreting this incorrectly?) Wrong, of course, but doesn't it feel just a little fabulous to be the only sane one among such lunacy? You are living life on your own terms and watching that glory sends them into fits of madness. What the hell must be going on in their minds to take your freedom and twist it into some kind of misery? Um, WTF? Dude, you could BE them. Holy hell.

    As a hippie Christian, I must say, your "offensive" one did not offend me in the least. As usual, hi-larry-us.

    I have just the opposite kind of situation with my family. There were at least 2 years where they completely forgot about me over the holidays. I fully expected someone to pick me up one year to take me to xmas celebrations. No one showed. I finally called and asked WTF? They were in the middle of dinner post gift opening and didn't even realize that I wasn't there. Eventually, it morphed into a "we thought you wouldn't want to come" re: holidays, family vacations, etc. Yes, I'm serious. They are simply of the belief (well, not my mother anymore, thankfully) that since I didn't pop any kids out, I kinda don't count. When I was in my early 20s, it broke my heart. Now, it's a huge relief.

    Ok, ok. I'll switch families with you this year. Will that make it better?

  9. Aldra (CF) - You totally nailed it about the failure and inadequacy thing. I have learned over the years that to them I'm really just a big blank screen upon which they project whatever weirdness that they have brewing inside. CatMan can never figure out why I don't just turn the tables on them and blatantly point out all of their own inadequacies... guess I'm just too fucking nice!

    Anyhow, I totally can't believe that your family just forgot about you... and to do it TWICE?!? What kind of crazy shit is that? At least my family isn't hung up about kids, because neither my brother nor I has chosen to oblige in that department. I guess when your childhood is fucked up enough, it sort of quells the desire to repeat it all.

    But seriously, no matter what your relationship is with your family, it would be a major ouch to just be forgotten on Christmas... I am so, so sorry.

    I've probably mentioned this before, but there is some old fable about a bunch of guys walking around a tree. Each one takes off his troubles and hangs them on a branch, but nobody is allowed to leave without picking up one bundle of troubles. In the end everybody picks up their own and carries on.

    I think it's sort of the same with families. I mean I have spent LOADS of time bemoaning my crazy family, feeling sorry for myself and thinking how everybody else has it sooooo much better than I do. But the truth is that since we live in such a crazy fucked up society, there is just bound to be crazy within every family. I think I'm sort of fortunate that my family's variety of weird is pretty near the surface and easy to see. I think it's given me a lot of freedom that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to enjoy. Plus, guess I don't have to worry about transferring money from savings to pay for that new door!

    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas! :~)

  10. Thank you for the well wishes and the sympathy. :) Oddly enough, I don't feel achy about it anymore and bounced back fairly quickly over that one. They are just...well, themselves.

    I love your little fable and I totally agree with you on appreciating the lunacy you've got. I really dig the kind of human I became and no doubt they all played a role in that.

    Awww, did we just get all warm and fuzzy? :P

  11. I love the warm and fuzzies!

    Love you all! Well at least Al and Eco Cat Lady. I dunno the rest of you.

  12. Awwww... warm fuzzies all around. Love you guys too!

    And BTW - I survived the Winter Solstice dinner. Thanks to the snowstorm it was just me and my parents... which could have been dreadful, but ended up being great because they have been busy de-cluttering, and wanted to get rid of a pile of old family photos. So most of the evening was spent looking through my grandmother's pictures and picking my dad's brain about family history and stories... which was actually really fun, and WAY better than the let's-all-focus-on-what's-wrong-with-you-fest that I had feared.

    Stay tuned... fabulous old family photos are on the horizon!


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