Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ch 3 August We are going to a family reunion/fish fry where Primo will meet not only my mother but many of my 16 aunts and uncles and 26 first cousins but you know what? They will be nice to him and offer him food

My aunt Rita and uncle Larry throw a big fish fry every summer at their lake place in Wisconsin.

We’re going. Primo will be fine being thrown into the mosh pit of my family.

At least I know people will be polite to him. Although my grandmother does things like offer the lion’s share of the good treats to the men because they are men (my mom says, “Nope. They haven’t been baling hay all day. We can share this treat equally”), she is a generous, kind person who just wants the people around her to be happy and very well fed.


And at least there will be food. Good luck to Primo getting away with eating not very much, because in my family, food is how you show hospitality and love and may God have mercy on your soul if a guest is hungry in your domain. Saying there will be food at an event with my family – at any visit with my family – is like saying that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. It’s a big, “Duh of course.”

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ch 2 Primo wants creamed onions for his birthday, which I guess is OK, but I am trying to move beyond Campbell’s soup as an ingredient (except for in King Ranch casserole, where it is essential), not because I am a food snob but it has so much salt

Me: What should we have for your birthday?

Primo: Steak.

Me: What else?

Primo: I don't know. Creamed onions. We could have creamed onions.

Me: I don't want to be cooking all day.

Primo: All you do is throw the stuff in a pot and heat it!

Me: What?! No! You have to make a cream sauce, which means starting with a roux and then adding milk. It's some work. And then there is peeling all those onions.

Primo: But you just open a can of soup. That's all.

Me: Soup?

Primo: It's my mom's recipe. I want you to make my mom's recipe.

Me: Ummmmmm. Cooking does not strike me as your mom’s thing.

Primo: It's just Cream of Shrimp soup, some sherry, and the onions, which you buy frozen and peeled.

Me: So – alcohol is involved –

Primo: It is my parents.

Me: And – not much else.

Primo: I like it.


Me: Fine. It’s your birthday.

Ch 2 Doris sends Primo a present that she should know he would never want

Doris sends Primo a birthday present – a brown Hawaiian shirt from a store in Florida.

I have known Primo for less than two years. That is, I have known Primo for a lot less time than Sly and Doris have. (Not that Sly was involved in the gift selection. That is Women’s Work.)


In that time, I have learned

·        Primo does not wear brown.
·         He does not wear Hawaiian shirts.

“But I never wear anything like this!” he says. “Doesn’t she even look? Doesn’t she see what I wear when I visit? I have never in my life worn a shirt like this.”

Blue. He wears blue. The man has close to 100 blue shirts. I counted all the blue shirts in his closet. Blueblueblue. Blue is what he wears. No brown. Not one single brown shirt.

I was looking at a coffee-table travel book with Henry, our friends’ little boy. He saw a photo of a man wearing a blue shirt on a camel.

Me: Who’s that?

Henry: I think it’s Uncle Primo!

Me: No. I don’t think Primo has ever been on a camel.


Henry: But – he’s wearing a blue shirt!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ch 2 Sly tells Primo to spend over $100 on garden lights as a Mother’s Day present for Doris and it ticks me off even though really, it is none of my business

Am I the only person in the world who hates Mother’s Day and its evil twin, Valentine’s Day? I hate them. I hate stupid mandatory holidays. I love my mother every day, not just Mother’s Day. I get her a Mother’s Day card because it would hurt her feelings for the day to pass unnoticed and because I love her and I don’t want her feelings to be hurt, but it’s not my favorite thing to do.

I already told Primo that he does not have to do anything ever as long as we are together for Valentine’s Day.[1] Doing something nice for someone because Hallmark says so? No.

Although of course good chocolate is always welcome. But you don’t need a day for that.

So I am annoyed when Sly orders Primo to get Doris a Mother’s Day present – an expensive one.

My mom gets a card! A card! And that’s fine!

Although really, I do not have standing to be annoyed. Primo and I are not married. We do not share money or other resources. His doing for Doris does not take away from me.

But it’s still annoying.

Primo: My dad told me my mom wants these garden lights for Mother’s Day.

He leans back from his computer so I can see the product page.

Me: But those cost $100! And then there is shipping!

Primo: That’s what she wants.

Me: For Mother’s Day? That is an awful lot of money to spend on Mother’s Day. In my family, we do cards and that’s about it. Even if this were a Christmas present, it would be something my brother, sister, and I would go in together on. We are not in the habit of spending $100 on gifts.

Primo: Oh, they don’t spend that on me! I am supposed to spend that on them!




[1] See, “Primo takes the dead rat out of my basement.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ch 2 What Primo wishes for

Me: Until I met you, I never mixed leftovers in Tupperware containers.

Primo: Why not?

Me: I never thought of it. But it's a good idea.

Primo: The next things I'm going to hear you say are, "Until I met you, I wasn't a liberal and I didn't like having fingers stuck in my bellybutton."


Me: Yeah. Don't hold your breath on those.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ch 2 Primo freaks out about a broken TJMAxx vase that cost only $15, which is only three in beer units – it’s not like it was Ming or anything

A vase sitting on top of Primo’s fridge falls to the ground and shatters into pieces.

I start picking up the glass.

Primo freaks out. Total Drama.

Primo: Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!

Me: Relax! It's just a cheap vase from TJMaxx!

Primo: How did this happen? How? HOW?

Me: I don’t know. I suppose that each time the refrigerator door was opened, the vase moved a tiny bit. Let's just clean this up and get out of here.

Primo: But how did this happen? It has to be someone’s fault!

Me: No it doesn’t. Sometimes things are just accidents. 

Primo: But I have to understand! How did this happen? It shouldn’t have happened!

Me: It fell. That’s what happened. And now we clean it up. That’s all.

Primo: No! I have to understand.

Me: Why? Sometimes things happen and they are nobody’s fault.

Primo: No. It has to be someone’s fault.

Me: No it doesn’t. Just what was it like in your house when you were a kid? What happened if you spilled milk or something?

Primo: I got in trouble.

Me: No, no, no. I mean when you were little. It's one thing to get in trouble when you're seven and your dad has been warning you to stop goofing off. It's another when you are four. Four year olds have accidents. Big deal.

Primo: I told you, I got in trouble. My dad would scream at me.

Me: At a little kid? When you were little?

I get the little hand broom and the dustpan and start sweeping.

Primo: Yes.

Me: Really screaming. Not just a little bit of chastising?

Primo: Screaming.

Me: When you were little.

Primo: Yes.

Me: Little little?

Primo: Yes!

Me: Did that happen a lot?

Primo: Yes. He punched me when I was a teenager.

He plugs in the vacuum cleaner

Me: Punched?  Like – closed fist – punch?

Primo: I weighed about 90 pounds. Well – you’ve seen my dad. He’s big. And he was strong back then. He gave me a black eye.

Me: Wow. People call the cops for that kind of thing now.

Primo: Didn’t your dad hit you?

Me: He spanked us when I was little but stopped when I was five. That means my brother would have been four and my sister was three. He said he realized it was not a good idea to hit his own children.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Ch 2 Sly and Doris complain about Michael and Maria's lack of initiative and I am bitter thinking about all the times my grandparents complained about me BUT WAIT! THEY NEVER DID THAT!

Primo: Look at the email my mom and dad sent. They wonder why their grandchildren do not want to spend time with them.



We’ve tried to encourage Michael's love of basketball by steering him through two basketball camps and giving him advice on what he needed to work on to make the school basketball team. But he chose not to bulk up, tone himself, or increase his stamina. Obviously without the necessary hard work he wasn’t picked after team tryouts. For whatever reasons, he seems bound to diminish his innate talents by making unwise life-choices. He is counting on scholarships but has done little or no research about colleges that would be appropriate and/or affordable.