Sunday, June 28, 2015

In which we meet my brother's girlfriend and she is FABULOUS and then, two months later, I find out that my brother might Not Be That Much Into Her

I thought I had told you guys about this, but I looked at the unpublished posts and realized that I had not.

My sister organized a party for my brother's 50th birthday party.

I haven't told you much about my brother.

He is 50 years old and never married. He brought home a few girls in college, but after that, nothing. I asked him why he never brought any girlfriends home and he said it was because they were not the kind of girls he wanted to introduce to our parents. I said he shouldn't be dating them and he said that they were fun.

He had a girlfriend about ten years ago who broke his heart. I don't know the whole story - I doubt there was an intentional heartbreaking, but just a lack of fit, which is always so sad. It's easy to break up with someone who is a jerk, but to break up with someone you really like but know would not be a good life partner, that is hard. It is hard to know that you will hurt someone you like. But you can't marry someone just to be nice.

So his heart was broken. Since then, he has not had a serious girlfriend.

My sister organized this party. Primo and I flew to Austin for the weekend. Went to Fiesta grocery before we even went to the hotel. Hung out with college friends. Hung out with Austin friends. Had not seen some of these friends in nine years, which is way too long not to see a friend. Ate Mexican food. Ate more Mexican food. And more. Saw yoga-teaching friend from Cedar Rapids who is now repatriated to Texas. Went to Central Market. Saw gay high school boyfriend who is now a pilot for Southwest. Ate at Threadgill's. Saw more college friends.

Missed Texas, missed Texas, missed Texas.

And we hung out at my brother's house and went to the party.

Back to my brother's house first.

My sister, my mom, my brother in law, and one of my brother's and sister's friends from junior high, when we lived in the Panama Canal Zone, were at my brother's house. (My brother has very loyal, long-term friends.)

My brother in law gave my mom an iPhone last year and put her on his plan.

Overall, this was a good thing, as my mom will drive two days to visit us and I don't like the idea of her being on the road without a cellphone.

I have nagged her about it for years and of course she laughed at my worry.

And of course, two years ago, I get a call from someone I don't know on my cellphone - my mom's car has broken down in New Mexico and she has left a message on my phone calling from someone else's cell phone. The message gives me elaborate instructions about how to contact her - "Call Sue's phone but tell her it's for me and if I'm not here I'll be at the pizza place next door" - but she gives me NO USEFUL INFORMATION.

No useful information such as, "I am fine. My car has broken down. It is being taken care of. I will be a day late getting to your place because of the delay, but that's only because they can't get the part until tomorrow."

Nope. All I know is I need to call my mom on someone else's phone.

It was stressful. And annoying.

(Everything was fine.)

So my brother in law gives her a phone, puts her on his plan (he is very generous), and now I do not have to worry so much.

The other thing that I learned from my brother in law is that he is a ratfink.

A few months ago, I had a bike accident. The ER wanted to do a CT scan, but I did not want one. I snapped a photo of my injury - my prescription sunglasses broke and cut my eyebrow - fortunately, my helmet was just fine - and sent it to my sister, asking if she thought I needed the scan. She is a nurse practitioner and I trust her judgment. That is the reason I called her - as a medical professional, not as my sister.

She told me not to be an idiot and to get the scan. "Remember Natasha Richardson?" she asked.

And that was that.

And then my mom calls. And my brother. And I am thinking, "What the heck? Why are they calling? We are not a phone-calling family!"

I was angry at my sister because I thought she had called my mom and brother to tell them about the bike accident. Honestly - it was none of their business and wasn't anything they needed to worry about.

Well, at my brother's house, my brother in law admitted that he was the one who had called my mom and brother to tell them about the accident.

My jaw dropped. I stared at him. "You did WHAT?" I asked.

He had called them, he admitted.

I didn't think my sister would appreciate my yelling at him, so I just narrowed my eyes and hissed, "Do not do that again." And I made a mental note to tell my sister, the next time I called her, that any information I share with her is covered under the sister contract, which precludes disclosure to spouse unless specifically allowed.

Honestly. Some people.

Where was I?

So we went to the party, which was great fun. I saw people I had not seen in over 20 years, including my brother's best friend since high school.

And I met my brother's girlfriend.

I had not met a girlfriend in 30 years.

I met his girlfriend and she was fabulous.

She is smart and interesting - she designs parks!  can you think of a cooler job? - and funny and grounded and nice and cute.

My sister, my brother in law, Primo, and I all loved her. We voted and decided she would be a great addition to our family. My mom likes her. We all like her.

So the other day, when I was messaging with my brother, two months after the party, I asked what was up with the girlfriend.

"Oh I don't know if I am that into her," he said.

WHAT! No! She is the one! She is the one we all want! He has to be into her!

And now I am sad.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

In which Primo tries to decide whether to participate in a Martin Luther King Jr Day event

Primo: Should I go to the social justice march for peace and justice tomorrow?

Me: I don't know.

Primo: Should I feel guilty for not going?

Me: Only if you goof off reading political stuff. If you throw junk away and work on cleaning out your office instead, then no, you should not feel guilty.

Primo: If I don't go, it means that I Don't Care.

Me: It must be hard to be on your side.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

In which Primo is stressed out about my friends maybe coming to our house on short notice

Me: Oh! Guess what! Sandrine is in town!

Primo: Who's that?

Me: Remember? She was in the Peace Corps with me. Her mom and dad live here. She and her husband and the kids are here for a few days. She wants to know if we want to go out to dinner.

Primo: Tonight?

Me: Yes. They are leaving tomorrow. She wrote that she is mortified that she didn't get in touch earlier.

Primo: I guess.

Me: They could come over here for a drink [remember the 300 bottles of wine in the basement?] and then we could go out.

Primo: Here? To OUR HOUSE?

Me: Yes. Here. To our house.

Primo: But I am in the middle of working on the computer and it's on the coffee table. And there is stuff on the table that we are taking on our trip next week.

Me: I don't care. I will just tell her that we are getting ready to go on a trip. The bathroom is clean. The living room is clean. Our house is not a museum. I don't mind if people come over.

Primo: It's always your friends who come here.

Me: Yep. Your friends never ask if we want to go out to dinner. Your friends invite us only to events where they want money.

Primo: Well.

Me: The only friends of your who ever invite us to do anything are your political friends and there is nothing they do where they have not asked for a donation.

Primo: I guess.

Me: At least my friends like us just for our company. They don't want money from us.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Art imitates life

In which Doris gets her knickers in a twist because Stephanie - not wisely, I will admit - called Doris an Indian Giver on facebook

1. "Indian giver" is not a nice thing to say, but as far as I can tell, it is not an insult to Native Americans. Isn't the giving referred to the giving that the US government did to the Native Americans that they later rescinded and rescinded? As in, "Oh sure you can have the Black Hills - but wait! No! You can't! That land is actually valuable! Have this crummy land instead. Oh - wait! Nope. We want that land, too." And so on.

2. Doris surely was not offended on principle for the use of the term or maybe she was, but considering the language I have heard her use about other people, I cannot think that she thinks it's so awful to call someone names.

What happened was is that Sly and Doris bought a (used, I expect) piano for Michael a few years ago because, I expect, he had expressed a wish in taking piano lessons.

When I expressed the same wish - although not to Sly and Doris, when I was in third grade, my mom said that she would rent a piano for me and pay for lessons as long as I practiced. Once I stopped practicing, she would not longer pay for anything and the piano would go back.

I lasted about ten months, long enough to learn to read music, which served me well in seventh grade when I joined the orchestra and taught myself how to play the violin and still serves me well kind of at church when I don't know the song but know enough to know that the next note is either a little bit higher or a lot higher or a little bit lower or a lot lower than the one we are singing now.

See the difference?

My mom made her commitment conditional on my commitment. I said I wanted it?


Prove it.

Sly and Doris, however, did not make their gift conditional.

Michael asked for a piano.

They bought one for him.

Not the smartest thing to do, especially considering they had already raised children and know what kids are like.

But they did. They bought a piano for Michael and gave it to him without any strings attached.

Michael went away to college.

He has not been playing the piano.

So Sly and Doris repossessed the piano. Had it repossessed.

I don't know the details of this - if they were able to sell it back to the store or what. I didn't think there was a big market for used pianos and it is pretty expensive to move a piano professionally. (It is cheap to have your friends put a piano in the back of a pickup.)(But I would not advise this.)

Stephanie was ticked off and took her frustrations to facebook, apparently forgetting that Doris is now on facebook. (Only she can't find me because I have her blocked.)

She made a comment about Sly and Doris being Indian givers.

Doris got ticked off and vowed there would be no more presents.

Which, if you know anything of Doris' present-giving history, could be seen as a blessing in disguise.

1. It was nice of Sly and Doris to buy a piano for Michael.
2. Teenagers change their minds about things. They also leave home to go to college.
3. Do you have a right to repossess a gift that the recipient is not longer using? If so, I want the Good Knives that Primo and I gave to his parents. They were determined not to actually use them because they had knives they'd had for over 40 years that had never been sharpened. Sharpening knives is for sissies.
4. Doris repossessed her mother's wedding ring from me.
5. Doris has a habit of repossessing gifts.
6. Sly and Doris might have done Stephanie a favor getting that piano out of her house. If nobody was playing it, Stephanie would have had to deal with it someday and, as I mentioned, moving a piano is not cheap.
7. Sly and Doris are tacky, but this is not the hill I would be dying on.

Monday, June 15, 2015

In which Primo dreams the impossible dream

Primo has discovered that the county mayor has asked two of our city council representatives to run for the county government.

He has also discovered that the son of the guy who is leaving an opening on the county government is running for the seat.

Primo really would not have a shot at that seat.

He says, "I don't know what I want to do with my life. Wait. I do know. And it's impossible. I want to get paid for fighting against corporations and interests that have money."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

In which Primo dishes about Sly and Doris after his visit there

Primo just got back from a week with Sly and Doris. Here are the snippets of gossip from our pillow talk last night.

1. Sly and Doris are still mad at Ted's wife from the last time she visited. Apparently, she ate all the pickled herring.

2. Ted's wife also left dinner early and returned to the home of the friend where she and Ted were staying. Ted and his wife are smart enough not to stay with Sly and Doris. Then TW never went back to Sly and Doris'. Can you see why she is so awful?

3. Sly told Primo that there were so many women who threw themselves at him but he turned them all down. There was even a man who offered to trade wives with him,  because the man's wife was so hot for Sly.

4. Sly and Doris are still mad at me for eating something I was not supposed to eat. It has been four years at least since my last trip there.

Me: What was the food I was not supposed to eat?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: I wonder what it could have been, since you and I have to take a lot of our own food with us.

Primo: Can't remember.

Me: Did I know I wasn't supposed to eat it?

Primo: I don't know, but if you didn't know, you should have known.

5. The cat has had fleas before. You know - the cat who does not go outside. The cat has had fleas before and has been treated before with the $140 treatment from the vet, but it did not occur to Sly and Doris that perhaps they should do something to prevent the cat from getting fleas again.

6. Sly and Doris still do not have a plan.

7. Primo asked if I wanted a relationship with Sly and I said no way. The only reason I would go to Sly's funeral would be to be sure he was dead. Primo and I agreed that Sly's funeral will not be well attended. About five of my dad's friends bought last-minute tickets to go to his funeral. My dad's funeral was packed, even though he had not lived in his hometown, which is where he is buried, for 45 years.

8. Sly told Primo that he was so glad that Primo and Ted and Jack had not had to be in the military the way Sly was. He continued that of course, the military would not have taken any of them - Ted and Jack have asthma and Primo has flat feet.

Me: You have flat feet?

Primo: No!

Me: But your dad says you do.

Primo: My dad thinks I have flat feet. He's wrong.

9. Primo was with Sly and Doris for a week. It is a month since the election. He has quit his job. It was not until Primo's last day with them that Sly asked Primo what he was going to do now with his life. The last day.

10. Sly: Primo, have you ever seen "Deep Throat?"

Primo: What?!

Sly: Your mother and I watched it.

Primo [TMI]

11. Primo brought home a bunch of huge ziplock bags, the gallon sized. We used to have one that we had saved from somewhere but then there was something appealing in it - maybe peaches? - and one of the cats ate the corner off it so it did not serve its primary function as a sealed food storage device any more. We missed that bag. Sure, we could have bought some,  but that seems like cheating.

Do you remember how Sly and Doris, the huge environmentalists - the ones who adopted a manatee, a Florida panther, and a sea turtle for Primo for Christmas a few years ago, were shocked that we use cloth napkins at our house and that we wash and re-use ziplock bags?

Oh don't you be shocked. We don't use them for raw meat. We put cheese and vegetables in them and they are very easy to wash and re-use and it is pure wasteful to throw them out after one use.

But Sly and Doris - who are soooo superior because They Care About the Environment - they use paper napkins and throw away their ziplocks after they have used them once. Primo diverted the gallon bags from the trash and brought them home. Ha.

12. Sly read Elizabeth Warren's book. He said that she might have had a bad childhood, but his was worse. Sly. The bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral.