Oh kiddies, looks like I've gone and become a blogging cliche this holiday season aka "where the heck have I been"? Seven posts in one month? Abhorrent. But such is the way of life when you're back home and drama is on full broil in the family kitchen! And with that, let's get to it:
Banished am I from my parents' home. Well, maybe not I, but J is. Drama went down in true telenovela fashion a day before Christmas Eve. It was like some sick mashup of Terms of Endearment meets American Beauty. It was raw, coarse and -- had it been a reality show on A&E after some show like Hoarders or Intervention, perhaps titled "Life in the 'Burbs" -- it would have had the possibility of winning awards, I tell you. Don't want to divulge all the private deets but in short J ended up losing it and yelling at my mom after she and I got into an argument, J and I leave -- me crying -- with our luggage in hand, a complicated ballet of words were exchanged between he and my mother, and now my whole family doesn't want to see or speak to my husband. Joy.
The best part? It takes me about, oh, 0.5 seconds to get over anything. I forgive too easily. For my family? Not so much. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes months, even years, for them to allow J back into the home. And this is after J saw the err of his ways and apologized on Christmas Day. Didn't matter; damage had been done. Sigh. I wish there was a way to go back and erase these kind of things.
First night spent in exile: J's brother's bachelor pad. And by bachelor pad I mean a shack of a two-bedroom nearly condemned house near the beach that gives new meaning to the word "squalor." The kind of pad a bachelor rents when he has no plans of ever finding a girl (which is funny since J's bro does have a great girlfriend ... who I don't think has ever seen the place).
I suppose it wouldn't be that bad if the unfinished hardwood floors didn't have cracks in some areas where you could see all the way to the dirt foundation beneath and there wasn't 1.5 inches of dog hair covering the few filthy throw rugs in the place. Oh and also if it didn't smell like a giant sweaty foot and have a jagged bathroom entryway that's been cut through the laundry room wall, allowing you semi-privacy as you pee behind the black silk sheet that's been tacked up to resemble some sort of door sans lock. (The bathroom also has a surfeit of dead and living daddy long legs on counter tops and shower corners, along with a rickety panel window of which one of the panels has been broken and mask-taped with a square of cardboard that has also, curiously, been punched open, allowing that chilly ocean air in late-night when the tinkle fairies call.)
Ah, and to round it all out a peculiar hobbit of a man named Chip is the one renting the other room. Chip has no job, spends all day watching television in his room with his roommate's dog, Gonzo, and didn't seem at all embarrassed by the state of things in his house -- even the light orange patina of dried urine around the base of the toilet on the floor. Think Spike from Notting Hill. But bald and with a convicted felon's goatee, minus the British charm.
Basically I couldn't help but laugh and cry that first night as a refugee. But it got better the second night when we realized my mother-in-law had a foldout couch in her living room. The thought of taking another shower in flip-flops and lying awake terrified all night that a cricket or wolf spider would crawl across my face was a bit too much to handle. My brother-in-law -- who was visiting Disneyland all Xmas weekend with his girlfriend -- meant well, but I just. Couldn't. Do it.
So here I am, currently staying with my mother-in-law who is a true salt-of-the-earth hippie. Crammed into every corner of her one-bedroom apartment are hundreds of bottles of different oils to bring inner peace and harmony, along with tambourines, painted stones and stacks of books on meditation and spiritual growth. Next to two sink spouts and a shower faucet "Love & Gratitude" has been written in small letters on the walls. To remind her (and anyone who reads them) to think positive thoughts and live with an "attitude of gratitude" every day of life. At first I didn't get it, chalking it up to another hippie way of life (a way I've always wanted to follow), but it's actually grown on me. Love & gratitude, anyone?
Sometimes I find myself half-expecting John, Paul, Ringo and George to walk through the front door for a Hare Krishna sitar session. But instead I sit here analyzing the state of things as I drink ginger tea with "joy" and "possibility" oils (compliments of mother-in-law) in the absence of cable. I may finally be unleashing my inner hippie but Real Housewives of OC, oh how I've missed you.
Maybe this happened for a reason, I've thought, living in this den of meditation. Everyone (including my brother who points it out on a regular basis) knows how short my fuse is, how little people have to do to make me impatient or irritated. Sometimes I feel like Melvin Udall in As Good As it Gets. I know I need to learn to tamp down my irritation/anger/impatience. Perhaps sitting here quietly with coconut shell musical instruments, flower petals and painted stones, eating only raw foods and occasionally playing my mother-in-law's bongo drums is the way to do it.
I've been visiting my family every day or two. It's weird now, because they're normal again around me -- almost as if nothing happened. But then I realize J isn't at our dinner table and none of them want to see him right now and it makes me sad and frustrated. "Why can't you all just move on from it??" I want to yell. I loathe that giant pink elephant in the room. But I understand why it's there, and I know that everyone deals with these things in their own time. I just hope it doesn't take too long. After all, he's a part of my life permanently, so they'll have to forgive him sooner or later.
Of course, all this had to happen just before our family trip up to Sacramento for New Year's. You know, the one J was supposed to come on. Well I want to see my relatives up north and New Year's is a special holiday for my family, so he and I will be apart this year. I'm glad he has family down here to spend that time with so he won't be alone, but it looks like I won't be getting a New Year's kiss ... except maybe from Lola (yuck, fish breath, nevermind). I guess it's not that big of deal since post-college the holiday has lost its luster. With every year that passes it just seems more depressing, like time slipping away. (And we all know there are other, more important holidays anyway, like my absolute favorite: Valentine's Day. Missing that with J would be an utter travesty.)
So that's that. I hope all of you have a frabjous New Year's and I'll see you on the other side!
Writer, wife, and mom to two baby girls. As of 2013 I'm no longer brunette (blond ambition!) nor on a budget. I love shoes, wine, Palm Springs, and Barry Gibb. As always, I'm still looking for my lost shaker of salt.
Email me at brunetteonabudget [at] gmail [dot] com.