Well, would ya look at that...TWO blog entries in two weeks - a good start to my promise to do some more writing/mental uploading!
This entry can mostly be attributed to Oompa's prompt and not-a-moment-too-soon departure on Thursday morning - she and my stepfather were here for two nights. My father (to many: 'Lord Capulet') and his wife were ALSO in town, and since Monday, I've spend every day with one or both of my parents and their spouses - 'the steps.' Yesterday afternoon was the first time we were ALL together, and I sat at the kitchen table with my four parents, having a cup of coffee while everyone conversed about what restaurants were close by, who had a coupon for what, which establishments offered senior discounts...
As for me, I didn't care. I've BEEN trying to get back on the diet wagon - so I was slowly trying to get used to the fact that it would likely NOT happen tonight. Not with the restaurant names being thrown around. My brain would adjust to the idea of one restaurant, but then they'd yell out the name of a different one. Finally, I reclined, sipped my coffee, and let them figure it out for themselves.
"What about Olive Garden? I have a $5 off of $30!"
"Wait, wait! Texas Roadhouse? $4 off two adult entrees!!"
"Longhorns? Don't they have a fifty-five and up menu for seniors?"
"I don't have a coupon for (insert less-famous local eatery here), do we want to call them and see if they're offering any early-bird specials?"
I managed to get through an ENTIRE cup of coffee while they threw ideas at each other. And I'm not usually a quick coffee drinker, usually there's a small amount left in the mug when I finally dump it into the sink. My answer was the same whenever asked - 'Sure. Whatever you guys want.'
I'm not sure who suggested what, but they decided on Texas Roadhouse, so we clipped the coupon and my father's wife tucked it carefully into her purse - then the next 'discussion' began. Now, it was 'what time are we leaving????'
I had no idea what time we would be leaving but I knew it was, at the very least, time for a second cup of coffee.
I'm not sure if I even knew what time everyone agreed on leaving my house - at this point, I was no longer really paying attention. But somehow, I caught glimpses of what my mother was NOW talking about. She started talking about the invitation on the table for my nephew and niece's dual birthday party. My nephew will be five and my niece will be turning one. My sister, in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, planned a party for both kids on a Saturday in between their month-apart birthdays. She talked a little bit about how my youngest niece 'got the short end of the stick' because both my nephew and my OTHER sister's kid had both had 'big' parties for their first birthdays. So again, I stared into my coffee while once in a while looking up and pretending to be interested in their conversation. Only, next time I did 'check in,' she was in the middle of asking my father for a favor. I didn't get all of it, but I saw, '...pick him up...' and 'on your way home, if you could drop him off...'
Wait, what? I snapped back into reality.
I interrupted and asked her what she was talking about. I think she'd assumed by now that I was comfortably situated in la-la land and that she'd be able to discuss this without my input. She was wrong, though, and she kind of paused, took a deep breath, and said:
"Well, you know...your sister invited your uncles to the kids' birthday party in March." She might've seen the smoke beginning to shoot out of my ears, I'm sure of it, because she trailed off with, "...and she wants Uncle B to do the balloons for the kids and and they have no way of getting there...so, I thought your father could maybe give them a ride..."
"Are you fucking kidding me?" I cut her off. I didn't care that I was surrounded by the four people who raised me and although Oompa has heard me swear a number of times, Lord Capulet is not used to seeing me angry. Maybe it's because around him, I'm rarely angry. My father doesn't push nor test my limits like my mother does. Well - consider them currently pushed to the maximum, because I was LIVID now.
* Here is some background information, to clear up any confusion at this point - by 'my uncles,' I am referring to my mother's brother (Uncle L) and his very long time partner (Uncle B). Their relationship is as strange as it can be - they've not outwardly admitted to being gay, even after living together (in separate bedrooms) for over forty years. Uncle L is a 'priest;' (the air quotations are being used VERY loosely here) - however, he's ALWAYS been a phony and I've some VERY strong suspicions of his being guilty of a lot of wrongdoing during my childhood days. Uncle B, I believe, is his asexual domestic partner and for as long as I could remember, has had a talent for making balloon animals. Of the two, he's the more harmless, more likable, but unfortunately remains faithful to my uncle. It makes it VERY difficult to consider him family, but he is the one I will say a polite 'hello' to while I'd walk past and avoid the uncle whose blood I share like the plague.
I asked Oompa to tell me again, HOW this fucking idiot got invited to a kids' party. She repeated herself. Uncle B's been asked to make the animal balloons. Yep. Got that. Uncle L would come along with him. He IS after all, blood, and wanted to see the kids for their birthday. I rolled my eyes.
"He's just an old man, we'll put him on the opposite end of the room..." My mother, by now is trying to calm me down because I'm starting to lose my shit. Dad and the steps - both quiet.
I went off on her. "You mean to tell me (my sister) can't hire a fucking clown that can make balloon animals that already lives in New Jersey that has his own means of transportation, isn't over seventy years old and isn't required to lug along his pet piece-of-shit wherever he goes?"
"Stoppp..." my mother's WELL aware of how pissed off I am - I'm SURE she, by now was regretful of having brought this up in my company and was silently kicking herself. But I am realizing that it's even more fucked up that she would deny me this information and sooner allow me to walk into my nephew's and niece's birthday party to find THAT fucking douche-bag sitting there. Staring at me - because that's what he does, given the opportunity. His eyes are unsettling, piercing, and whenever I see him, he's looking. RIGHT at me.
"I'm not coming," I finally said, "I'll send a present for each of them, but if he's there, I won't be."
My father and his wife gave each other a look. My mother just sighed and asked if I'd really do that to my nephew and niece. My niece, at a year old, would be fine if Auntie Cap wasn't there, but I KNOW my nephew would be looking for me. Well, SHIT. No, I'd probably not disappoint him, if you're going to put it that way. My nephew is totes my little buddy - despite his parents, who are as fake as they come. NO, I would not do that to him, but I CANNOT be expected to be as I normally am, with HIM there.
"Wait..." My father's wife finally said breaking the silence that had come over the kitchen table, "What is going on, here?"
Ahhhh, that's right. I'd not told anyone about my suspicions. I'd given Oompa alternate reason for not liking Uncle L, reasons that seemingly don't fit a meltdown of this caliber. I've decided she's never going to get all of the reasons - I can't trust her. Just when I think I can TRY, she goes and pulls bullshit like this!
Obviously, my mother had never shared with my father my hatred for Uncle L, either. I felt...cornered. No, this wasn't a good thing - this wasn't a good TIME. No way in hell was I getting into something I wasn't prepared for.
INITIATE SHUT-DOWN SEQUENCE, I could hear my brain saying, in that robot voice. Over and over. Don't think. Don't scramble for words. Just get OUT of this! And so, I did. I was only able to say that I wanted nothing to do with him - he was a horrible person and I didn't want to be around him.
My Dad and stepmother were even more confused - when asked why, Oompa proceeded in telling the story I'd been giving her for the last decade and a half. It did help that there was actually credence to these things - and surely, they're reason to dislike him but I'm sure my mother KNOWS there is more beneath the surface - and she's likely playing me at my own game - only sharing what I've been willing to share with her. Perhaps she's hoping someone else knows more and she can get more details out of them. The only one to know the entire reason is J...and although Oompa HAS tried to question J a couple of times over the years, my lovely wifey has claimed she knows nothing and is faithfully guarding that information. I hold the control that way - and I know that my secrets are safer that way, too.
So, I sat back, fuming, while my father and stepmother listened, and my mother rattled off the reasons for my not liking my uncle.
Here's why I don't like my uncle and why the thought of seeing him sends me into a panic, a rage. According to Oompa, of course, and now, according to Lord Capulet and his wife:
He'd allowed my grandmother to live her final days in FILTH - she lived downstairs from him. There were cracks in her floors, roaches crawling up the walls, a nasty odor in the air. He'd originally fought my mother on letting her live her last days at home - he wanted to put her in a nursing home because 'he couldn't take care of her.' My mother did EVERYTHING she could to tend to my grandmother - at the time, she worked at a public school and she'd first go to my grandmother's house every day for a few hours before coming home. She arranged for an in-home aide to tend to, feed, assist my grandmother while my uncle did what he does best - nothing.
When she died - he wasted NO time in 'removing' her from the house, so that he (and Uncle B) could make renovations to the entire downstairs apartment she lived in - and transform it into a church. He had a chapel upstairs but had been making plans to redo her living room into a congregation room. This man HAS no congregation - he says mass daily, or so he claimed years ago - now that he's slowly becoming senile.
He (possibly with the help of his 'partner,') cheated my mother out of her inheritance. My grandmother was NOT the sharpest tool in the shed and was someone who was very easily manipulated. Somehow, Uncle B convinced my grandmother (when she first became ill) to sell HIM her half of the house - she owned half, and Uncle L already owned the other half. Uncle B bought the remaining half - for 20 grand, so now, the house was entirely theirs. A brick house in Brooklyn goes for WAY more than that - yes, the house was a DUMP - but it was still my mother's childhood home and she'd NOT been given the opportunity to purchase the house if she wanted to. They'd gone behind her back. A little work could have been put into it - some renovations, perhaps - and it would have put the value MUCH higher than what Uncle B paid. Regardless, my ailing grandmother took the money and put it away - she willed that 20K to be split among her three children upon her death - my mother, Uncle L and their sister, who predeceased them all. When she finally did pass, 'half' of THAT money now belonged to Uncle L - leaving my mother with a measly 10K - and her brother with the house and all of her earthly possessions that could be sold/distributed, etc. My mother used 'her inheritance' to pay for the funeral, leaving her with very little money and maybe a few trinkets, including my grandmother's wedding ring that she'd wanted my Mom to have, (that she'd had to fight my uncle for - there was a time he claimed he couldn't find it - she cleverly told him that since it was willed to her, she'd hold him responsible for the monetary value of the ring - he had a change of heart very shortly afterwards and told her that miraculously he 'found' it) - or he'd have pawned them for even more money to pad his own pockets.
(Admittedly, my father looked shocked at this point - BOTH he and his wife did.)
Sadly, this is only enough to label him as simply an unsavory, dishonest person - but sometimes I wonder if this is enough to explain why I'd say I don't want anything to do with him - I don't even mind his partner, Uncle B, too much. EVEN if he'd been dishonest with my grandmother and DID purposely cheat my mother out of what she was entitled to, I don't hate him. I just don't want Uncle L near me or my kids, I don't think he should be around my nephew and nieces - I might've said too that I didn't understand how the asshole had more lives than all five of my cats combined, death had evaded him more times than I could count. One doesn't wish death upon a miserly old man - especially one who is seemingly already paying the hefty price of his past greed - he relies on Uncle B entirely, needs 24/7 care, his knees are shot. He cannot walk, he doesn't go anywhere. He sits at home, day in and day out - and according to my mother, has forgotten names of some of his nieces and nephews - he's called my sister my name, or he's questioned my mother in reference to my sisters, "the one in the middle," or "the niece of mine who's in the medical field." My mother has said he's 'slowly' losing his mind, but if you ask me, he's never had full possession of his mind! I didn't know what pissed me off more - the whole invitation thing, or that she was asking my father to shuttle his disgusting ass to and from a party that I'm not looking forward to going to, anymore - or that she was making excuses for a piece of shit who doesn't deserve them!
And my stupid, fucking sister! We've HAD conversations about our uncle before. Granted, not THE conversation - but she is WELL aware of how I feel about him. Yet she invites him to a kiddie party!? Where Uncle B, when he's not playing with fucking balloons, is going to be running around with a goddamned camera and taking pictures so that Uncle L can have them. As if the creep doesn't stare enough! I remember when my sister (this same one) got married - seeing him was unavoidable - he was at the wedding - the church part - and he had to walk past me to walk out. Uncle B was behind him and as soon as he was next to me, he whips out the camera - "Let's take a picture!!!!" Not a good place to cause a scene - my sister's special day...so I put on the fakest smile I could manage and held my breath. My daughter was standing a few feet away and I might've made up an elaborate story about how I didn't want her to mistake the holy water for a drinking fountain and walked away as soon as he'd snapped a photo.
My father didn't confirm whether he would pick up Uncle B and the douche-pig and drop them back home on the day in question - but at least he's got some things to think about, now. Unfortunately, since I was in no position to fully explain my outburst, I feel that I have lost this battle and this, like my sister's wedding, will turn into another one of those 'can't be helped' situations - even though it COULD have been - if only my family had my back. It further proves that they do not, and that when it suits them, they'll not think twice about making me uncomfortable. I'll wonder if it is partially my fault, I've not exactly been straight-up with them about my suspicions - instead, I've allowed them to believe a different set of reasons for my hatred toward him. It's something I will regret having done - but at the same time, I can't imagine ever being ready to share the truth with any of them. How can I, though? I can't trust ANY of them!
Anyway...it's taken me two days to get all of this out. Normally, a blog entry takes about a day, with me getting up in between writing sessions, with interruptions being frequent, with having to constantly put my writing on hold because of things that come up in 'real life.'
However, reality has made itself known in ways that very few people know about right now - and I've been HIGHLY emotional. I will likely get to all of those details in a future entry, though - for it's taken me THIS long to finish THIS particular thought - THIS was put on hold by the 'other thing,' and now the other thing needs some further internalizing before I can discuss it fully and with some of my emotions still intact and without losing my mind. The short of it, though - we are losing one of our fur babies. It was a very unexpected development starting with the loss of function in both of his hind legs. He's been diagnosed with 'saddle thrombus.' Nothing can be done for him - and as he's seemingly not in pain, we have decided to let him live out his remaining days at home for as long as he's not struggling. The moment he does show that he is starting to suffer, though, we'll be taking the hours-long drive to the vet that is only 20 minutes away. As of right now, though, he cannot walk and has to be carried wherever he'd like to be, has to have his food and litter pan near him (within drag-distance) and has to be watched closely for any changes.
J and I are devastated, we have spent the last couple of days crying off and on - and all of this bullshit with my mother and my uncle - seems so, very unimportant right now. I second-guessed posting this entry, too - it seems SILLY to bit*h about a party guest who might not even remember my name - when there are far more important things to be concerned with - especially when it concerns a loved one who DESERVES more 'time' than he's been given.
More later. Want to release this entry before it becomes THREE days! I will be back with another update as soon as I can string together coherent thoughts on the rest of it without bursting into tears. The tear dam has already broken - it usually takes a LOT for me to be able to cry - and the last couple days have shown me that I, as much as I'd love to, cannot control the flow of tears.
Hoping all of you are well.