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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The house of cards collapses.

I keep telling myself that things could be worse, and they sure as hell could. Have you even reached a point though, where a TON of small things pile up and up and up and up and suddenly one little thing just comes at the wrong time and you find yourself up in the middle of the night because your freaking BRAIN woke you up?

Haven't slept in about three nights now. I go to sleep for a couple hours and I wake up, mind racing and I can't seem to get it under control. How can I pay the bills? How can I buy groceries? How can I support all of these people on the lousy salary I make, why have I worked FIVE years to be told that, oh, sorry, too bad, now you have to work SIX years to get that extra week vacation, sorry, anything else I can help you with?

I sell Avon on the side, which no one buys because we're in the middle of a freaking DEPRESSION and, while it's cheaper (and better in many ways) than Lancome it's still an expense no one can afford. Hell, I'M out of foundation and can't afford to replace it.

Well, anyway, it started with my father-in-law who went in to have his gall bladder out and then died. This put me at the mercy of my remaining in-laws, most of whom have raised selfishness to an art form. The day after my FIL died I packed up the requisite food basket and hied myself to my MILs home. We all went and oh, how we were welcomed, how happy to see us, oh my, let's open a bottle and talk about "Papa". Yeah, well, SHE called him "Papa" and kept signing cards from "Papa", my kids called him "Grandpa" and the hubster called him "Dad" but yeah, whatever. It went well and I thought, okay, she finally got smacked upside the head for once in her petty, privileged life and her shit, as the say, is together.


Now, as I see it, when someone dies everything rises. Like cream. And, as Lew Harper observed, shit. My FIL, for all his good hale and hearty smiles and party atmosphere and jokes and sports and good company was, for all intents and purposes, a LOUSY father. This isn't something that has come to me in the last two weeks, I've always thought so. However, I kept it to myself. The hubster loved him (of COURSE, I would expect nothing else), liked him and blamed most of his failings on the second wife.

I had a pretty fair relationship with my MIL, one that got closer as she got sicker and I had other information regarding that, but again, I kept that to myself too. He was the hubsters FATHER for crissake and, well, hell, he's dead now, what's the point?

But I've stayed quiet these last few weeks, which really isn't like me. My FIL was friends with everyone and close to no one. He lapped up his simpering daughter's fawning and left everyone else in the dirt. Oh, my SIL knew how to get what she wanted. Always arms draped around "Daddy", always snuggling, always pushing everyone else out of her way and making sure "Daddy" was there for her and "her girls" and no one else.

"Daddy" had no problems with this. "Daddy" had a full social calendar at all times and, on the rare occasions the hubster (or any of the other boys) felt they needed the advice or time of their dad well, yeah, let's see when we can pencil that in, there were parties and trips and tee times that had to be honored.

I never ONCE saw that man drop anything for his son. He gave him NOTHING in life, not his time, his advice or anything else. You ever had to just stop what you were doing, or wanted to do, because your kids needed you? Not him. Not ever. I suppose I really do give my SIL props for demanding his time and affection, because, when it comes down to it. if she hadn't she wouldn't have been simpering about how was she going to survive without her daily dose of Daddy?

Anyway, we got to his funeral Mass...the one we were told about by E-Vite? On time. Right on time, traffic was abysmal but yeah, right on time. Three rows reserved for family up front. The hubster, always the optimist especially after the wonderful, warm welcome he was given right after his father's death, kept walking to the front. The hubster needs to get his eyes checked. I could see that the family section was full. He thought, no, or course there's room for us there. Ha. And may I say HA! There was SIL with "her girls". MIL, wearing off white and drawing all eyes in that see of black and navy blue, much like Bette Davis wearing the red dress to the cotillion in "Jezebel". And her brothers and her nieces and nephews and their kids and spouses and some neighbors and friends...

Did she allow room for the guys oldest SON? Not even hardly. I grabbed the hubster by the suit coat and got him into the first pew with room for 4 of us. There WERE 6 of us, but his stroll towards the front which, I admit, was justified if overly optimistic, sort of put us in a pickle as the service was now starting and we were going to have to turn around and go back which I frankly thought was just too embarrassing, even for me. We grabbed 4 on the end, my father and step mother right behind us and a cousin, the deceased's nephew in front...he had been TOLD about the reserved seating for family and told he was to sit there but he, too, was shut out. Have a mentioned my step MIL is a pretentious douche bag?

At least the witch TOLD him. Once we left the cheese ball at her home we never heard from her again. Never. An e-mail regarding the service was responded to with the answer "check the website". The website was password protected, btw, had to beg for that. Calls were not returned, by my step MIL OR my SIL, who, while her father lay dying, drunk dialed me in the middle of the night and I, fool that I was, spent 90 minutes on the phone buying into her damn "oh, I want to make sure you're in my life, oh, we're family, oh, we're doing a spa week-end, oh, I love you, Deb" BULLSHIT.

And I, sap that I am, momentarily bought into it. Because I'm a softie and I always buy into this crap.

We were sent an email telling us that the reception following the service was to begin, not at 2 as originally stated but at 2:30. That was, apparently, just for us. We got there at two to find that everyone else had been there for half an hour and we had to park a mile away and hike it, including my step mother with her cane. We RSVPd promptly as the RSVPs were, supposedly, to ensure there was room and seating for everyone. Not even hardly, my step-mother AND her cane, stood most of the time while the privileged class of the greater "we don't really live in Bel Air but we use the name in our community name so you poor folk will THINK we live in Bel Air" sat on their rich asses and watched her.

We finally found an abandoned table outside, in a corner, we pushed aside the uneaten food and half drunk beer glasses and got her seated. Every bee in Los Angeles attended. Open Mike night was being held inside the clubhouse but there was no room for us, nor did anyone ask about or even make room for the guy's SON to speak. There was a 20 minute slide show running, about 500 pictures of my FIL with my step-MILs relatives and my SIL and "her girls". There was exactly ONE picture with the hubster and my sons in it and a second picture taken at our wedding which did not include us.

MIL spoke not a word to us until we made it a point to say good bye. SIL acted in the same manner, said oh, so busy, sorry, like your hat. Come to Arizona an visit me, when I came here I'm way to busy to work you in so come to me. She actually said that.

Between that and the drunken cousin who came home with us the next day but didn't want to stay at our place and wouldn't LEAVE and I ended up driving him up to the Bel Air wannabe at 1:30 am, having been up since 5am, well, basically, I haven't slept. I can see why he was avoiding going back to MILs place, she woke him up on Sunday morning, told him to get dressed and drove him to the clubhouse where she hosted my FILs farewell reception and put a vacuum cleaner in his hand. Yep, she made him go over with her and CLEAN UP.

I assume this is why the little things have me ready to collapse. Not a joke, I'm actually kind of afraid of what's happening to me. Oddly enough though, this last debacle with these people (and I DO mean last) has angered me but not hurt me. I think I've spent too many years being hurt by these people, there two faced "promises" and their offers of family and friendship that are offered only because they want me to to something for them and they know that I'm suck a fucking SAP that I buy their bullshit every damn time. And then I feel bad and cry but what the hell do THEY care, they're on their way by now.

I feel bad because I DON'T feel all that bad. There's been stress and tiredness and frustration but, as it's all said and done now, I don't feel remorse, or even loss. They've taken advantage of me for the last time. I have no warm feelings for any of them. They publicly embarrassed my husband, shunned my kids and abused my tendencies to let bygones by bygones.

For all the friends and neighbors who could speak of little else except that he was fun at a party and hated USC, well, my MIL thought it was a wonderful tribute to a flawless man. But neither his sisters nor my brothers-in-law bothered to come to his funeral. I know why his sisters didn't come, there's no love lost there. The other sons? One said he didn't have the plane fare and the other one went to work. And we, basically, invited ourselves. I'm not sorry we did, it's the right thing to do. We dressed properly, my father and step mother were there with us. I spent most of Mass literally praying for the grace and dignity to act with a little class, I settled on just shutting up.

God, what a sad end. A lot of superficial friends filling up the spaces where one's family should have been but chose not to be. And the saps that DID show up were shut out, shoved to the back in favor of the more comely and overtly successful. I find myself wondering if she didn't hire dress extras to pad the crowd, which wasn't, btw, as big as I had been led to believe it would be.

We took our cousin to the airport yesterday morning and I realized that last night was the first night my step MIL had been without a house guest, the first night she had been alone in her home since her husbands death. I thought about calling her, seeing if she was okay because, in spite of everything, no one can ignore the fact that she really loved the guy. I thought about it and decided not to waste my time.

I've never really experienced schadenfreude until that moment.

I think I like it.


  1. We just might have the same inlaws. All we can do is do different, that's the thing that keeps me going.

    I have an big desire to hop on a plane and have Irish coffee with you.

  2. Both of you will make wonderful in laws. I have no doubt.

    Oh - and I am coming for coffee too! ;)