Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Countdown to 2010

"My other vehicle is the Mahayana."

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!


Stephanie said...

This is hilarious writing. I was laughing out loud to the descriptions of your temporary quarters. Tambourine???? :)

Jenny said...

Oh my goodness!!! I thoroughly enjoyed this post...and I can't believe the conditions you had to endure! CRAZY! I am sorry you and J cannot spend New Year's Eve together, but I hope you have a great one anyhow :)

FB @ said...

Oh god what a horrible nightmare

I too am impulsive and hot tempered with a sharp tongue (working on it, working on it)... but even *I* get over things easily and forgive

It may take another month and some flowers??

paisley penguin said...

Sorry to hear your Christmas went not so good. Mine was kind of crappy too. Here is to 2010!

Sending you good juju and hugs from Seattle!

Revanche said...

Ach, I hope they find a way to forgive soon, it's a terrible thing when you have to separate just because a family's feelings are in the way.

Flowers might be a good idea. :)

Unknown said...

I'm sorry thathappened to you two. It's never good to have troubles with your family. Try and enjoy New Years Eve hun! And good luck with everything!

Chelsea said...

I, too, get over things and move on much quicker then the rest of my family and most of my friends. I haven't experienced this type of situation directly, but I've watched my cousins and my parents go through these kinds of things. It'll take time, but from what I've read before, you have a good family, and I'm sure that soon they'll forgive and move on.

Sending lots of good thoughts your way. Happy New Year, honey!

Andi said...

I am sorry to hear about your holiday family "madness" and hope it comes to an end soon!

Chloe (Naturally Frugal) said...

Oh dear, sounds like the typical American dysfunctional family around the holidays. I'm always worried that one day my SO will blow up at my parents.
Hopefully everyone will be able to get past this once their brain clears from all the eggnog and sugar.
Happy New Year to you Crystal, and keep your chin up - Valentine's day is only 2 months away!

Secret Asian Man said...

Okay, after reading this post and getting the gist of what happened, I've determined that we should have lunch or dinner in SC. Pick a night, any night.

Amanda said...

Aww I'm sorry this had to happen on your vacation! Hopefully you'll at least get some good mother-in-law bonding out of it! I really hope that you family will decide to forgive J. I kinda want to know more deets about the argument since I'm nosy!

PS sorry if this posted twice.

Lauren Jade said...

first, so funny. oh the family. this year i spent my xmas just with my boyfriend while we are visiting australia....quite different but saved us from all the family hublub.
and i just wanted to ask you what ur writing process is? I've always wanted to write a novel. I just always start and give up. Do u have any tips or tricks to getting through it?

me in millions said...

That totally sounds like a sitcom. Sorry things didn't work out exactly as you wanted!

MrsMis said...

Im laughing hysterically at your post, but im also sad about everything that happened... In hopes of cheering you up, I've nominated your for an award! Stop by to claim your prize :)

Tracy said...

Great writing again, but I'm sorry you had such a bad time with your family. There have been a few tiffs with my husband's family through the years, the latest one in August and things still aren't back to normal with certain members of the family. Sigh. It can be hard getting along with your in-laws at times, and I hope they forgive him quickly!

Fibbonna said...

Oh Testa! Sorry to hear about all of this. Things will improve, sometimes it just takes some time. On a side note, your mother-in-law sounds like Rozalin Focker (aka Barbra Streisand). Loves. Miss you!! When are you coming back?

Kim said...

Sorry you had to spend NYE apart. That stinks. The whole situation stinks.

The Depressed Yogi said...

Oh Crystal I'm SO sorry!!! What a nightmare indeed. That is such a tough situation, but I'm sending lots of um forgiving and kind thoughts to your family??

In better (?) news, I'm excited about our meetup in DC!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish I was your girlfriend so you could call me and tell me the entire story.
Loved your recounting of the whole episode.

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