With the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday nearly upon us and our little house on the Canadian prairie covered with snow, Christmas cannot be far off, and with the holidays comes massive doses of family dysfunction.
No sooner had the Facebook brouhaha with Rob’s younger brother Tyke settled into an awkward semi-silence than noises began emanating from Rob’s in-laws that could spell trouble for the holidays.
This comes on top of my mother-in-law’s future husband’s being targeted by a Canadian Border official with a bug up her butt.
But my family can be counted on to induce annoyance too.
As I was sitting at soccer practice Saturday morning , working on a short story when I suppose I should have been raptly worshipping the mini-me of my loins, Mom called.
In the old days of yore, whenever she called me at home and got the answering machine, she would immediately call my cell. Her use of my cell as a GPS was my chief reason for fighting my late husband’s insistence that I own a cell phone in the first place.
“You need this to be safe,” was his angle. Though truthfully, he just loved cell phones and loved the idea of us being just a transmitter tower away from each other when we weren’t physically together.
“My mother will use this to keep perpetual tabs on me,” I told him. “She will call just to chat, to vent and it won’t matter where I am or what I am doing.”
It wasn’t until the dang-it thing began interrupting us when we were out to dinner or shopping or just flitting about from here to there that he understood what I already knew about Mom. He considered it a small price for me to pay so that he could call me during our mutual break times during the day.
Now though, Mom rarely deploys her tracking option – unless something is up.
“Have you talked to your sister?” she asked.
I had not and being asked if I had set off internal alerts.
“I’ve decided not to give any gifts to anyone but the little grand-kids this year,” she said.
And by “little” she means Dee and her cousin N2. Not N1, the nearly 17-year-old for whom it’s been Christmas for quite some time in terms of his Grandmother’s largess.
“Did you send us a check last year?” I asked.
Long ago my parents dispensed with the hassle of actual presents and just gave us money. One hundred dollars to be precise.
“I think so,” she said. “Didn’t you get it?”
Although I couldn’t remember at all, I assured her that we did indeed get it because I didn’t need her panicking and prowling through her check stubs from a year ago.
“It’s okay, Mom,” I said. “We don’t need a gift.”
“I’m just going to be all about me this year,” she explained. “It’s been Christmas all year for some and I think I should spend my money on myself.”
Hallelujah! I can’t recall how long I have been at her to simply spend her money on herself. The less she leaves behind, the easier my life will be as I am currently named in her will as the executor of the trusts she’s set up for my youngest siblings. I am all in favor of there being nothing to care-take.
“Did they take it well?” I meant my siblings and nephew.
“I’ve only told you and DNOS,” she said.
But they shouldn’t be surprised because she’s already cut them off from the nickel and dime fountain. Which is why she was really calling me.
Baby’s live-in common-law (I guess) mate, LawnMowerMan, is not happy. Baby is used to calling up Mom and nagging the occasional $20 or $30 out of her from time to time.
The money is for cigarettes mainly but given LawnMowerMan’s heavy drinking, I imagine she buys him booze as well when his paycheck runs short.
Cut off from easy pocket change and living so far below the poverty line that it likely isn’t clearly visible from their little pocket of have-nothingness, LMM has resorted to calling up Mom and harassing her again.
Whenever he is tired of Baby, and this usually happens when Baby is broke, he uses the phone in attempt to intimidate my mother.
He’s a violent man. He’s a drunk. And he has such a low stake in life that he doesn’t hesitate to use whatever means necessary to improve his tenuous grip.
DNOS has officially declared both our younger siblings “dead to her”. When things come up with either then, who’s Mom gonna call?
But what can I do from 1500 miles away and in another country?
After speaking with her, I tracked DNOS down later in the day and asked her to help Mom put a block on Baby’s home number and to look into re-keying the locks and making sure that only she, our mother and our aunt have access to the house.
It’s all I can do.
Oh, I could call Baby and read her the riot act but she has no control over that piece of shit she lives with and I would probably put her at risk if he were around when I phoned.
I am not afraid of the guy though I am keenly aware that he is capable of hurting just about anyone physically if he is inclined. I am hoping this blows over but as Rob pointed out:
“Of course it won’t. As soon as we show up there in March, something will happen. We never visit that Baby isn’t at the center of some dysfunction or other.”
So, I may have simply postponed the shit splattering until I can take care of business in person.
Ah, can’t you just feel the holidays coming?
- Sibling Stress: Welcome to the Holidays (psychologytoday.com)