theicingonthecrazycake

When life hands you lemons, toss them in the trash and eat cake

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

Holidays on Eggshells – Recap

The Family that Wiis Together Stays Together

It’s taken me a few days to decompress after the holiday trip now that I’m back in Providence (where it is so NOT 83 degrees, like it was in FL on Christmas). I’ve felt a whole range of emotions while reflecting on the six days spent in the womb of my childhood, where I was treated like a child and probably acted like one at times, too.

Yes, there were fights and misunderstandings and clashes of liberal vs. conservative viewpoints and heaping helpings of guilt pie. My brother, who got in a knock-down drag-out fight with my sister at Thanksgiving about Glenn Beck, tried to pick the shit with me about Anthony Bourdain. Seriously? What’s not to love? But apparently my brother thinks he’s a liberal, arrogant, toe rag. And my spoiled nephew threw the gifts that he didn’t like at us (my mother got the book “The Story of Santa Claus” hurled at her head), and I still detect the chip on my SILs shoulder, albeit a smaller one.

All that aside, a Rockwellian scene unfolded at my parents’ house from the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 25. And do you know what the glue was that held us together? A Wii. Yep, nothing like a shiny object to serve as a welcome distraction and social lubricant. My parents have it at the house for my nephew, and one of his Christmas gifts was the London 2012 Olympics Wii game. I have never laughed so hard watching my brother try to do the rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming routines. (My mother, by the way, is very proficient at the sharpshooting game. Scarily so.) My father didn’t play; instead he videotaped the hoopla for prosperity’s sake, as we were ALL in the same room… and not choking one another. (I told him if it ended up on FB, America’s Funniest Home Videos or YouTube that there would be hell to pay). We”re just not a “videotaping” family. It was bizarre, but strangely nice.

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Holidays on Eggshells, Day 3

Vacationing with Monks

Day 3 (December 22) — 10:16 a.m.,  Sitting at the kitchen table alone

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That is what happens when one smashes their head against the keyboard. Repeatedly.

The honeymoon is over. Oh days 1 and 2, how I miss thee. Mavis and I had our first real throw-down. The conversation about Christmas Eve was just a warm-up to the main event. I’m thankful she’s gone off to work now so I can just be alone.

I woke up early this morning, with a slight I-imbibed-on-too-much-wine headache. After Mavis returned from morning Mass, we sat down at the kitchen table and had breakfast together. Spanish Inquisition #2:

Mavis: What are you going to do today? Do you need the car? Don’t you want to go out and take care of some things?

Anna: No, I’m good. I’m going to hang out here and wrap presents and burn some CDs for Elise and Vanessa.

Mavis: Are you sure? You can take my car of you want. You can just drop me off at work. Or I could stay home from work and keep you company.

Anna: Mom, I’m fine. Really. Go to work.

Mavis: You know, your dad is really worried about you. He thinks I should be here with you as much as possible.

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Holidays on Eggshells, Day 2

The Honeymoon Period?

Day 2 (December 21) — 11:29 p.m., Sort of tipsy

Four days until Christmas, and not a creature is stirring at this late hour, except for Mavis. I hung out with Elise and a couple of her friends tonight, and perhaps had a little bit too much wine.  I just got home 15  minutes ago, and Mavis was waiting for me at the door. I thought she was going to whip out the breathalyzer. Now she’s puttering around the house and lurking outside my bedroom door as I sit here writing. Just go to bed for the love of God, please.

Day 2 was pretty uneventful, but I have the sneaking suspicion that my parents don’t want to leave me alone. Do they think I’m going to spiral into some deep depression? (Oh, wait, been there done that already.) Find me in the bathtub clutching a razor blade? See me wandering the streets in my bathrobe while babbling incoherently and clutching a bottle of vodka? I wish they would jut let me be.

While my parents were both at their respective jobs, I spent the day reading, writing, napping and sitting outdoors on the terrace enjoying the weather and feeding peanuts to the squirrels. It was relaxing; for all the bitching I did about this trip, I’ve made the best of it. However, when Dick got home, it felt like the Spanish Inquisition:

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Holidays on Eggshells, Day 1 (cont’d.)

Day 1 (December 20) — 10:38 p.m., Sitting in my childhood bedroom

I am sitting on the bed in my childhood abode, staring at the crucifixes on the wall and giving the stink eye to the Sean Hannity book “Let Freedom” that’s mocking me from the bookshelf. My mother (Mavis) has thoughtfully laid out my old equestrian hat and other horsey items from my childhood as well as my tattered and dusty monogrammed Mickey Mouse hat. Why, oh why? I find this weird and I’m slightly suspicious as to her intentions. Oh yeah, I know: “Let’s make her feel right at home as the 12-year-old I’m about to revert her back to for the next six days.”

Mavis picked me up from the airport as expected. I made the sign of the cross as I always do (“Honey, it’s so good to see you praying. Are you saying grace before drinking that latte?”). I have not been the passenger in her car since November 2010, and her driving skills have gone steadily down a steep and treacherous hill since then. She can’t stay in the lanes, she can’t merge, she drives 45 mph in the fast lane with her blinker on, and when she does change lanes, she slams on the brakes and then switches lanes. One of these days, the keys will have to be taken away. I fear that day. She’s a tough broad, and my father (or whomever) may need to pry said keys from her cold lifeless hands.

On the way home, we talked a little bit about this, that and nothing, avoiding anything meaningful that would spark a disagreement or argument. And then….true to form, she mentioned that diabetes runs in the family and overweight people are more prone to developing it. (Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.) And that she and Dick (my father) are in excellent health; they don’t drink any alcohol and they exercise a lot. I guess excellent health doesn’t make one a good driver. Just saying.

Let’s pause here for a second. I don’t want to sound like an ingrate about my family. (There are so many people without family, and particularly at this time of year, it must be difficult.) I do love them despite their flaws, and I know I’m always welcome here. But sometimes, I just don’t like them. They drive me crazy, both literally and figuratively. I don’t blame them for my depression. I blame no one. But they certainly can exacerbate my illness. In fact, some of my family members could teach a class called “Depression Exacerbation 101,” followed by “Advanced Passive-Agression 402” and “Applying Guilt Effectively 404” (both graduation requirements).

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