Posts filed under ‘family’
January 21, 2016 at 8:59 pm Enter your password to view comments.
This past weekend was Stormageddon aka Snowpocalypse 2013 aka Winter Storm Nemo. Yes, the weather was pretty epic. Everything was closed and pretty much all of Boston was housebound. I was stormed in at Doug’s house– we had a cozy weekend of “Twin Peaks” marathons and frozen pizza awaiting us.
Anyway, on one of the days I drank lots of coffee and water and juice and other things and had to “use the facilities” as my late grandmother would have said. However, Doug was in the shower. So, I waited for signs that his shower may be over (that was why, really. I am not normally in the habit of eavesdropping on peoples’ person hygiene routines). I heard the shower water stop. I stood up, ready to pounce as soon as the door opened… but then I heard the unmistakable sounds of peeing in the potty, followed by the toilet flushing. My first thought was “whoa, who gets out of the shower to drain the lizard?” But then my thoughts were quickly flooded with elation and joy.
When I was a youngster, my mother spent a lot of time razzing me for being uptight. I was square. I was dorky and un-cool. I was totally anal-retentive, which was amazing because I apparently also had a broomstick up my ass. Moth and her creepy boyfriend at the time (we’ll call him Bucephalus) picked on me because I wouldn’t walk around the house naked, for example. Obviously I was a stuffed shirt. Also, I wouldn’t let MOth into the bathroom to brush her teeth while I was on the can. This annoyed her to no end. You’ve probably heard this story already, but here it is again: I’m probably the only kid in the history of the universe who got yelled at for NOT swearing. I said “oh phooey” or words to that effect when I dropped something once. Moth’s creepy boyfriend at the time heard and was horrified. “WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” he demanded. “uh… phooey?” I said (I was about 10). “NO, WHEN YOU DROP SOMETHING, YOU SAY *FUCK*!!! NOBODY WILL EVER RESPECT YOU IF YOU SAY LITTLE MAMBY PAMBY PUSSY WORDS LIKE PHOOEY! LET ME HEAR YOU SAY FUUUUCCCKKK!!!!” I, of course, was annoyed at this and liked to piss people off, so I went on saying “ffffffffffff…ffff…iddlesticks!” and things. I finally had to say “fuck” just to make him shut up, but I didn’t like it. I was 10, OK? Being uptight was my only way of being rebellious! This is my mother, who took one look at the rock star on the record album cover I was lovingly gazing at (I think it was Green from Scritti Politti) and said “Oh, he’s totally gay. Look at him. He’s so gay. Do you know what gay means? It means he doesn’t like girls. He likes men. He’d rather have sex with men than women. Do you know how they do that? In the anus. One man puts his penis in the other man’s anus.” So ok, it’s one thing that Green would never love me (and who says he wouldn’t? I mean, this was the 80s. He was European. Everyone looked gay in 1985!), but quite another to the 10-year-old mind to picture (1) his penis at all (2) putting it in another man’s anus– this all kind of made my head explode. But truthfully, I didn’t care what he did with his penis. Shocking me was what my mother lived to do, and pretty much all I could do was play my role as the shockee, which wasn’t always just a role. Later on, I would go on to do really uptight dweebish things like drive the speed limit and slow down for yellow lights. Yes, I was doomed, and no amount of forcing me to listen to Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits would make me cool.
I recall one evening at dinner Mom and Bucephalus were bad-naturedly ridiculing someone or other they knew. “He’s the kind of guy who probably gets out of the bathtub to take a piss.” Bucephalus said, and Moth cackled appreciatively. I, however, truly was aghast. It truly wasn’t an act this time. I spent a lot of time in the bathtub since it was the only warm place in the house (we only turned the heat up as high as 65 for special occasions like birthdays), and the thought of stewing in my own excreta was particularly foul to me. I might have gasped. Moth and Bucephalus laughed. “YOU MEAN YOU get out of the bathtub to pee?!?!?” They demanded, laughing as if it was the most hilarious thing on earth. I sputtered. I tried to set up a logical rebuttal, explaining that languishing in urine was not my preferred hobby. As you probably guessed, using logic was not a way to win arguments in my household. For a few weeks after, every time I went into the bathroom, I was followed by comments like “careful not to get any bathwater in there!” or “here’s a jar, just take it with you into the tub; then you won’t have to get out HAHAHAHAHAH!”
So Ok, I’m uptight. But Doug gets out of the SHOWER to answer nature’s call. He removes himself from a place where water is constantly washing down a drain to do his business where it should be done. He’s dweebier than I am! AND IT’S FREAKING AWESOME!!! Not just because I’ve met someone who’s a bigger dork than I am, but I feel like we’re on the same wavelength… at least about the separation of waste elimination and bathing!
Here I am at my mother’s house. I’m trying to find some scissors. I look in the kitchen junk drawer, and I can’t see anything because there are playing cards stuck in every possible place. They are well-worn cards, each with a picture of some scenic thing from Greece on them. One of the jokers has the J and the picture scribbled out with Sharpie and “QUEEN OF CLUBS” written in in child’s writing. I count the cards to see if the deck is full. The 8 of diamonds is missing.
ME: I’m going to throw these cards away. The 8 of diamonds is missing.
MOTH: Don’t do that!
ME: there’s a card missing. You can’t play cards with one card missing.
MOTH: (derisively) yes you can. There are PLENTY of games you can play…
ME: NO THERE AREN’T.
MOTH: we might find the other card… you never know when it will turn up.
ME: when was the last time you played cards?
MOTH: what was the name of that refrigerator I was looking at? Whirlpool?
ME: don’t change the subject. I’m throwing them out,
MOTH: (getting more frantic) But Angela brought those back to me from Greece… like 11 years ago.
–background info– Angela is my sister’s friend, whom she doesn’t really keep in touch with anymore.
ME: I’m throwing them out.
MOTH: –pointed silence– (she is never silent unless she’s making a passive aggressive point)
And so it goes. Moth invites me to clean out her kitchen drawers, so I do, but she freaks out when I attempt to throw away one of her business cards that has an out of date email address printed on it, and has a circle cut out of the middle. Then I am admonished to save a small piece of sandpaper which has been used so many times you could probably use it for regular stationery at this point.
See? I’m not a compulsive hoarder, at least by comparison!
I never put much stock into the Myers-Briggs personality test. It always seemed like a convenient way for nerds to avoid having to have contact with people they don’t like (i.e., “I can’t talk about that to my boss, she’s clearly an ESTJ”). However, the older I get, the more it seems to make sense. Or, the older I get, the less patience I have and the less time I want to spend contemplating the subtle nuances of peoples’ individual miraculous snowflake-like personalities and the more I want to just lump them into categories. This is where Myers-Briggs comes in handy.
Today, like most of the time, I am here to talk about my mother. I’m not going to bring up past events; I’m just going to talk about aspects of her INFuriating Personality that are currently DRIVING ME BATSHIT CRAZY. I never use the term “batshit crazy” because I don’t exactly know what it means. How crazy is bat shit anyway? People spend a lot of money for it to put on their prize orchids or pot plants or whatever, so it can’t be that crazy, right? When I think of bat shit, I picture the scene from <i>Planet Earth</i> that BBC documentary series where the bat is flying around in his little cave full of 6 feet of bat poop and he falls into it and smothers to death. That’s what my mother’s crazy does. It will smother you to a smelly death.
We’re supposed to go to Thailand. OK, we’re going. MIkala was a little wishy-washy at first (see previous post), but she really wants us to come visit. So… I’m TRYING TO GET SOME FREAKING TICKETS! Now, I understand that Moth doesn’t have a lot of money and that she’s naturally thrifty. Of course I’d like to save money if I can; I’m by no stretch of the imagination wealthy either. However, this does not mean I want to travel in the hold of a hamster wheel-propelled cargo ship smuggling leaky nuclear waste barrels and underage Polish hookers to Uzbekistan in order to save $25 on the ticket price. She totally would.
I found some tickets out of Boston for about $1400. I know that’s not cheap, but I can afford it. I was fine with that. I found some good days to travel and I was ready to book tickets.
BUT WAIT! She says. She has to talk to “some guy.”
The guy she talked to organizes trips to Thailand for people who don’t have health insurance to get surgery. (“Do you need any procedures done? You should get them done while we’re here!” she said. “Hmmm. I’ve been thinking about that sex change,” I answered. “… … what sex would you become?” “Definitely a hermaphrodite.” I said. “You’re not supposed to say that anymore. I think it’s transsexxed or intrasexed or something?” –for the record, it’s “intersexed” but anyway…)
Moth sees This Dude as some kind of peoples’ hero– getting the Common Man his triple bypasses and Common Woman her mastectomies by sticking it to The Man. OK, I can see the point. There have been many decades in my life when I didn’t have health insurance, and a cheap operation would have been a good option had I had to have had one (is that even a real verb tense?). Anyway, apparently This Dude went off on how all the airlines listed on Expedia.com and Travelocity and those places are fascist tools of the patriarchy or whatever and that we should fly these other airlines. Truthfully, I had never heard of Cathay Pacific Airlines, but apparently they are the third largest airline on the planet. Qatar Airlines was the other one Moth remembered him mentioning. I don’t know anything about that one. What I do know is, while I don’t expect free martinis and a hot tub on my flight, since I’m going to be in the air for, like 29 hours, I would like to know that there will be a bathroom and snacks.
Moth can’t commit to a date. I had several dates picked out that were awesome. Unfortunately in this circumstance, Cathay Pacific airlines has a chart that they show you when you put in your travel times that shows what the fares are if you go on different days. Some of the days (like Saturdays, for example) are way more expensive to fly on. Other days differ by as little as $15. Moth has been trying to find the cheapest combination of days, and every time I find some days that work, she can’t commit to them because there may be a cheaper time somewhere.
I have a real job. I can’t just go flitting off at a moment’s notice for however long I want to. It’s not like I’m AN ARTIST or anything! She wants to go for longer than 2 weeks now. I really don’t want to be away that long. I already have used a couple of sick days when I had the Arisia Plague this year, and I only get 3(?) weeks to begin with. I tried the tactic of “The more time I spend in Thailand, that means the less time I get to spend with you on Christmas,” but Moth’s fruit-fly-esque attention span didn’t catch that remark.
She keeps demanding to know what days I can go. I CAN GO PRETTY MUCH ANY DAY, I JUST CAN’T TAKE OFF THE ENTIRE MONTH OF MARCH! She doesn’t understand this concept. I can take off any two weeks I want whenever. I just can’t take more than 2 weeks. In Moth’s mind, if I am free any time, why can’t I just so to Thailand for, like the next 3 months? Now I have an event. I finally gave her some kind of parameters (she was desperate for some since she has none herself)– Doug is going to see Swervedriver on the 29th of March and has another ticket. I am totally psyched to go. However, when I told Moth about the show, she was all like “oh, you have BOYFRIEND. Don’t let me stand in your WAY! Are you sure you even want to come to Thailand? I mean, if you’d rather just STAY HOME WITH HIM…” It was all dripping with sarcasm. Note: many things my mother says that would be said sarcastically by most of the populace are NOT said with sarcasm. This was.
WTF?!?! I can’t win. I just want to get some freaking tickets and get the hell off this continent for 2 weeks! If it were up to me I would have booked a flight weeks ago. ARRRRGGHHHHHH!!!!!
OK, I am calm now. I’m just frustrated beyond belief right now.
CALM BLUE OCEAN CALM BLUE OCEAN I am picturing myself lying peacefully on a beach… getting sand in my eyes and stepping on a portuguese Man o’war… argh. This isn’t working. Poop.
What does this have to do with Myers Briggs again? I don’t remember. All I know is I am one annoyed INTP (with INTJ tendencies apparently). Funny what a difference one little letter can make.
So I took the plunge. I switched to the hippie cell phone company (Credo Mobile, part of Working Assets, which Moth and most of Ithaca has had for decades). I could get a Smart Phone plan for pretty much what I was paying for a Dumb Phone plan on Sprint, plus I get a free phone that is much smarter than my current phone, and has a way better camera to boot. I read the reviews of all the free cameras and it turned out that the fanciest one was the best, even though it’s not that “current”– yuppies will look down their noses at me, but when does that ever NOT happen?
Thus I became a Smart Phone user.
It’s not that easy to become a SmartPhone user out of the blue, because “smart” is describing the phone, not necessarily the user. Since I’m a novice to this whole thing, I don’t even know what it’s supposed to do. My phone apparently does a zillion different things, and it didn’t come with a manual. It came with a barebones “getting started” booklet which included things like “answering your phone” and “making a call.” However, every time some random event in the universe happens, the phone makes one of 25 different noises that sound like Tinkerbell farting, and though I thought I turned them all off, it still twinkle-farts every now and then. Usually, my way to deal with new technology is to go through the manual and do all the different things in there one by one. However, I was able to figure out how to do all the stuff in the “getting started” booklet myself. I found an online manual, but it needed some new version of Adobe reader or something to decipher it, and when I tried to upgrade, it crashed or something, so half the pages don’t show up. Oh well, I’ll figure out something. It somehow added every single person I’ve ever emailed to my phone contact list (i.e., everyone who ever answered a Craig’s List ad when I was selling stuff, every potential date I’ve ever contacted etc.) I figured out how to get rid of all those people at least! To get rid of the Tinkerbell-esque sounds, I uploaded a new ringtone from my computer (there’s a site where you can do this for free) so it would play the word “wombat” in morse code every time the phone rings. However, it’s way too complicated a procedure and I have no idea if the ring tone actually saved or not, and if so where it stored it.
This morning the phone started making a more insistent shimmering sound. For a moment I thought I was having a flashback on a 1980s sitcom, but it turned out it was just Moth calling. She was actually telling me that Mikala wants me to go to Thailand, and I should get on that and also why haven’t I been playing Scrabble? “Are you OK? You sound weird,” she said.
“I wasn’t sure if my phone was actually ringing, or if it was just telling me the stock prices in Equatorial Guinea had just dropped 3/10 of a point,” I said.
I told her about my misadventures with the Smart Phone. Moth said “oh, now you can play Scrabble on your phone! … but I see you don’t want to play anymore. I guess I should just give up on our game(s).” These days Moth’s life revolves around online Scrabble. She actually called me once a few months ago to ask me if I was sick because it had been, like, 3 hours and I hadn’t made a Scrabble move.
I tried to appeal to her maternal desires to populate the world with more grandkids (or at least see me coupled up since in her mind it’s impossible for a female to be happy while single) and said “well I’ve been sorta like seeing this GUY… I haven’t had time to play a lot of Scrabble…” However, Moth knows me too well. She just said “well do you actually LIKE him, or is just another, you know… whatever?” I had to walk this line carefully. If I said, “meh, whatever” then it would be no excuse to not spend every waking moment playing online Scrabble and every sleeping moment dreaming about Scrabble moves, so even having mentioned it would just have been wasting time. If I said “I actually LIKE him,” then it would be assumed that armies of grandchildren would start marching out of my nether regions possibly beginning next week. “Um, he’s cool?” I began… luckily Moth has the attention span of a fruit fly and non-commital responses trigger her desire to rapidly move onto the next subject. Phew!
Back to the SmartPhone, though… I have a month to decide if being a SmartPhone operator is enough of a positive addition to my life to keep the phone or cancel. At this point (being a user for less than 24 hours), I really can’t see how it’s improving the quality of my life. Maybe that will change as I actually learn how to use the damn thing. Maybe in 29 days I will say “HOLY CRAP I AM ADDICTED, HOW DID I EVER LIVE WITHOUT THIS TINY HUNK OF METAL!?!?!?” we’ll see. I do get 4G network thingie, though I’m not entirely sure what that means. It’s fast? So if I need to download pr0n on the go, I can do it really fast? Apparently it uses up a lot of battery life to do that. It does take nice pictures, though!
Dear HTC Evo Shift 4G, maybe we can be friends sometime.
Friday the baby (I think he needs a name. We’ll call him Neville) wouldn’t take his nap. He wouldn’t eat, and he was starving, and he wouldn’t sleep. He was a miserable little dude and screamed and screamed… until Moth showed up to pick me up from work (she had to leave the house at 8:00 a.m. and get here 2 hours early; it’s just the way she is). One look at Moth and Neville started laughing. Seriously. He was laughing really hard and finding her hysterical. Then she picked him up and walked him around and he fell asleep. Holy crap! I had tried everything! She just has the touch, I guess.
We went back to my house, and Jarvis my anti-social cat whom nobody has ever seen because he hides under the bed whenever anyone comes over, jumped up on her lap and took a nap. Lard Ass also took a turn on her lap, Lard Ass who is totally gay and only likes dudes that is. Lard loves Robin, Pete, Saki, anything male. He could not care less about Athena, Patty, Laura, or anything female. Maybe he thinks Moth is a dude? She doesn’t even like cats that much!
The rest of the weekend was pretty fun– we cleaned the house (Moth’s idea), which was long overdue. She even split the cost of a new vaccuum cleaner with me because mine, well, didn’t suck. We walked around outside a lot because the weather was beautiful. We also played Boggle, Scrabble and lots of Bananagrams. Rock on!