Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dysentery Icky

I read Miss Manners all the time. She's sarcastic and funny and has absolutely no tolerance for people's tom foolery when it comes to etiquette, and I love her.

One of the things Miss Manners is always writing about is people in today's society's tendency to expect, expect, expect. People throw themselves birthday parties, housewarming parties, and engagement parties, expecting gifts at all of these things; they send graduation announcements to distant relatives and casual friends expecting money in the mail; they invite people to wedding ceremonies but say there's no room for them at the reception; they--and this one, to me, is the most shocking of them all--write on their wedding invitations that instead of gifts, they would like cash.

Almost every week, Miss Manners writes about contemporary society and our growing sense of entitlement.

It's my turn.

My sister has this friend. Let's call her Icky.

Icky is having a wedding. Now, please notice I said Icky is having a wedding and not Icky is getting married. That's because Icky is married and has been for a year and a half. Icky's actual wedding, though, doesn't seem to have been enough for her, so she's having another one; a "real" one. One with a maid of honor (my sister) and an entire bridal party.

I don't know all the details, but from what I understand, the wedding's going to be quite a big to-do. It's going to be somewhere fancy, and Icky--who has two kids already with two guys other than the guy she's been married to for the last year and a half--is going to wear the big white dress. The other two things I know, besides that my sister spent almost $200 on her maid of honor dress, are that I was talking to my sister yesterday, and she was out with Icky and Icky's fiancĂ©, scouting--get this--places to have their bachelor/bachelorette parties (their bachelor/bachelorette parties! Even though they'll have been married, by the time of their wedding, for almost two  years!) and that my sister and Icky's sister are dividing the cost for--God, it makes me so mad to even write it--Icky's bridal shower. Her fucking bridal shower! You know, even though she's been married for nearly two years. 

I cannot explain to you how much this whole scenario disturbs me. First of all, I feel infuriated on my sister's behalf. My sister, a single mother who's not exactly rolling in the dough, is the kind of person who does almost anything for her friends, whether they're the greatest of friends or just a step above friendly acquaintances, and Icky's wedding is no exception. My sister would never say no to any of these things--and please don't think she in any way wants to; she's not the indignant one; I am--and I find it maddening that she's participating in the ridiculousness that this wedding is.

But it's not just that. Forget my sister. What about Icky's friends? Why the fuck should Icky's friends be expected to go, not only to a wedding, but also to a bachelor/bachelorette party (my sister decided on a combo affair) and a bridal shower for a couple that's been married for nearly two years? So they could buy a bridal shower present (for a non-bride) buy a wedding present (for a non-marrying couple), and spend money at a bachelor/bachelorette party (to celebrate what's not the last big hurrah for a non-bachelor and a non-bachelorette)?

Please don't get me wrong. I have no problem with Icky having a "real" wedding. My wedding was a tiny little thing, and I've often thought it would be nice for me and Glenn to renew our vows in a somewhat more spectacular fashion with a real reception-type thing this time around. But if we did that, it would be just that. A celebration of us with friends and family and no gifts, and that would be the end of it. Certainly there would be no accompanying festivities like a bridal shower (which I never had) or bachelor/bachelorette party. And you know why? Because we're married! And those are clearly things for people who are not.


I know this post probably annoyed some people, people who are thinking that this has absolutely nothing to do with me, that I'm just a big malcontent, complaining just to complain and that my detailing Icky's wedding is just as bad, if not worse, than what Icky is doing herself.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stop Banging away on My Kaleidoscope

Last week I went out to dinner at a restaurant where people could write with chalk on the tables, and I posted this picture on Facebook. 

Not long after, a friend of mine commented, Y’all give me sooooo much hope, a comment which made me think of a message a different friend sent me about a year ago saying Glenn and my separating and managing to overcome things and get back together despite our problems was inspirational to her in her new marriage. I’m sure right now there are plenty of people in total disagreement with these two people, people rolling their eyes, people thinking, Give me a fucking break, those two people have no business being together. Some of those people, people who know me personally, may be thinking that I’m crazy to stay with Glenn after everything that happened when we were separated; other people may be thinking that Glenn’s crazy to stay with me after everything that happened in the years before; and still, other people may be thinking that we’re both insane, that we both deserve more, that this relationship isn’t good for either of us. Those people are, as always, more than welcome to their own opinions. Nevertheless, to those people, I figuratively shout a resounding, reverberating, Fuck you! at the top of my lungs.

Figuratively, can you hear it?

Now, by no means do I think my marriage is a model for what a marriage should be, and the idea that it’s been an inspiration and provided hope to people is pretty shocking, but when I think about it, I can see it. Most people give up at the drop of a hat nowadays. A friend with a divorced mother told me once that her mom told her that if her husband ever gave her any trouble, ¡divorcite! Just like that (Spanish and all). And that mentality is not at all uncommon. If it were, the number of divorces wouldn’t be so staggering. Say what you want about my marriage, about the two of us, but we’re nothing if not tenacious. To people who want to believe that despite the problems and crises two people sharing a life will face, staying together is possible, I can definitely understand the inspiration thing. We’re definitely not people to just throw up our hands and walk away.

Not only are we not hand throwers and walkers away, but we’re also not so different from anybody else. Throughout this whole ordeal, especially after it, I’ve realized that in a lot of ways, my relationship is typical of a lot more relationships than people think (read: admit). The only real difference is that with my relationship, the problems aren’t hidden behind smiles and a bunch of bull. In my relationship, when there’s a cataclysmic event, it’s a cataclysmic event for the whole world to read. Just because we’re not reading or hearing about the cataclysms in everybody’s household, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

(I don’t want to name names (that is so not true. I really want to name names--but I won’t), but I can’t tell you how many people I know who have lied to significant others; cheated on, or are currently cheating on, significant others; been cheated on by significant others; hidden money from significant others; have significant others with substance abuse issues; have significant others who are so controlling, they dictate what their partner eats and drinks; have significant others who won’t, or can’t, have sex—I could go on, but I think you get the idea.)

Still, as much as I believe my marriage is no different from anyone else's and that anybody with anything bad to say can stick my words where the sun don't shine, I have to admit there was one person I was afraid to tell about my reconciliation: North Star. North Star lives half the country away--more than half the country away--and the only thing she knows about me and Glenn is what I tell her. As you can imagine, as aligns with human nature--at least my human nature--she hears a lot of the bad and barely any of the good. As a result, I've been avoiding telling her the news. 

Yesterday, though, I told her.

I sent her a text about something unrelated, and she text me back, asking, Are you and Glenn back together?

With total apprehension, I told her that we were. I also told her I'd been afraid to tell her, not because of her, but because of all the horrible things I'd said. I told her I knew they depicted a relationship that couldn't--shouldn't--be saved. Because I know how much North Star cares about me and my well-being, I thought she'd think I'd made a horrible mistake. 

But North Star, being North Star, surprised me. (She really shouldn't have--it's partially because of things like this that I love her as much as I do.)

I always support love, Kelly, she wrote.

I guess I do, too. 

And I really can't imagine why anybody would not.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Griffin is graduating from eighth grade tomorrow. Based on the dread you probably know I have regarding his growing up (if necessary, you can catch up here), you probably think I'm a basket case. Surprisingly, I'm not. Surprisingly, I'm not upset about it at all. Yes, Griffin graduating from eighth grade means he'll be starting high school in two months, and Griffin starting high school in two months means he's one step closer to college, and Griffin being one step closer to college means he's one step closer to leaving home, and Griffin being one step closer to leaving home essentially means he's one step closer to leaving me, but that doesn't sadden me. At least not today.

What it does do, though, is force me to think about the passage of time. It forces me to think about the fact that my son is thirteen--thirteen!--and a mere two months away from fourteen. It then forces me, since his birthday is in the summer, to think about other summer birthdays, and when I think of other summer birthdays, the first one that comes to mind is my sister's; after all, ever since I've been on this earth, her birthday has been a part of my summer.

And you know what?

This summer's birthday is a big one.

This summer's birthday is a milestone.

This summer's birthday is  

Did you see that?

Did you comprehend it??

Do you understand???

My sister is turning 40.

My sister, who used to wear crazy leopard-skin-patterned spandex and concert shirts, is turning 40.

My sister, who used to try to smother me with a pillow when I snored too loudly, is turning 40.

who used to ride her bike to the mud track with me
who slept with a snake cube in the shape of a cross after seeing Salem's Lot
who used to dress up, alongside me, in her ice skating dress, and pretend she was in an evening gown
who used to sit with me, looking at catalogs from JC Penney and Spiegel and Burdines, planning every single detail of our house down to the place mats
who threw herself on the ground and tore up her Bon Jovi ticket because my dad wouldn't let us see them at the Sportatorium for Slippery When Wet
who lost her virginity while I was in the same room
who shared her first apartment with me
who had her heart broken by fuckface Bily Bowin
who went to Antonio's for pizza once and disappeared for over 8 hours
who used to come home from school and tell me about the cute boy named Paul who liked her Megadeth shirt
who used to go to the Edge with me almost every week and sometimes fall asleep
who once got so sunburned after slathering up with baby oil, she drenched her body in milk
who loved Scott Baio and Simon LeBon
who panicked and abandoned me at Hollywood beach after I passed out on the broadwalk
who danced with me on the bar at the Shuckums Christmas party
who sings Kiki Dee to my Elton John
who taught me the Chantilly Lace dance
is turning 40.

My sister, who's a mere 17 months and 3 days older than I, will be 40.

How, I ask--
how can this be? 

How can it be that in 77 days--that's less than 3 months, people--my sister, hallmark of my childhood, symbol of my youth, who will forever be an awkward preteen blow drying the curls out of her hair beyond repair, will turn 40?

And what does that mean for me?

(Shh--don't speak.)