Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ch 8 Doris goes on Facebook and doesn’t like Primo’s profile and once again, uses quotation marks around random words – is she trying to be ironic?

Doris sets up a Facebook account and finds Primo’s profile. (She did not try to friend me, although LinkedIn, if you don’t quit spying on my emails and suggesting that I connect with my boyfriend’s parents, who have made their dislike of me very clear, I am going to – to – well, something bad.)

BlessHerHeart, Doris does not understand the concept of online privacy and things like identify theft. She writes to Primo,

We got to your FACEBOOK page because of your email on Elizabeth Warren. Your dad doesn't "do" anything "facebook" but he did read through some of your information.  Strange that you don't list your parents or half-brothers as family members.

Your bio should also mention that you were born in Michigan.  You also have January 1 listed as your birthday (?).[1]

[1] Not his birthday. Because you know - identity theft.

Ch 8 Sly and Doris sue the hospital over Doris’ broken wrist

Remember how Doris broke her wrist? Remember that she was in the hospital visiting Sly (honestly, I would have not let anyone or anything pry me out of that house while Sly was confined to a hospital bed – I would have been rejoicing at having some peace and quiet) and she fell and broke her wrist, which was awful for her because she is already so frail and has such a hard time with things and she sure didn’t need an injury?

Do you see all the peace and quiet and Alone in this photo? I do and it makes me smile.

She and Sly sued the hospital. They sued for Doris’ pain and suffering.

And they sued for loss of consortium.

Me: Just how much consortium does a man your dad’s age have? What's that loss worth - a dollar?

Primo: My dad wanted to tell me all about it.

Me: No boundaries. What is it with your dad? Honestly!

Primo: Oh, it’s not just him. Ted is just like that. And so is Jack.

Me: What do you mean?        

Primo: Jack told me that he has to get manscaped.

Me: What’s that?

Primo: You know – shaved. Sculpted. Like a Brazilian for a guy.

Me: But why?

Primo: Because he’s divorced now and has re-entered the dating world.

Me: Not why did he do it? Why did he tell you about it? Why do they tell you these things?

Primo: Don’t you talk about this kind of thing with your mom and your sister?

Me: No! No! I do not! Nobody in my family has ever asked me if I’ve seen Deep Throat. Nobody in my family has ever discussed the state of her pubic hair with me. Nobody in my family has ever discussed sexual practices with me.

Primo: That’s because you are from a repressive Catholic family.

Me: Nope. Not repressive. Just appropriate. My parents got those Time-Life books about the reproductive system and taught us about sex – in an age-appropriate way – when I was in second grade. I’ll bet your mom and dad didn’t do that. By the time we had sex ed in sixth grade – in my CATHOLIC school – I already knew all that stuff.

Primo: I don’t remember if my parents talked to me about sex – I mean, the sex education kind. But I’ll bet your mom and dad didn’t talk to you about the non-clinical aspects.

Me: Like what?

Primo: You know – about if pre-marital sex is OK, about birth control.

Me: You think my parents were prudes? My mom got pregnant on her honeymoon and got pregnant again a few months after I was born. They were getting busy.

Primo: You’re the one who didn’t want to share a bedroom with me at my mom and dad’s.

Me: Yeah! Because I didn’t even KNOW them! And because no boyfriend’s parents had ever suggested that before. Nobody I know does that. Nobody.

Primo: My parents think you’re a prude.

Me: Whatever. I don’t care what they think about me and I really don’t care to know what they think about my sex life. And as far as my parents being prudes – my dad and I were packing the car the night before he and my mom were going to drive me to Houston to start college. I was seventeen. My dad says, super casually, “By the way, if you’re going to get laid, use protection.”

Primo: What did you say?

Me: I was shocked! “Dad!” I said. “You know I don’t believe in pre-marital sex!”

Primo laughs.

Me: Well, I didn’t! I had been taught you wait for marriage. It is not that unusual for people who go to church to believe that kind of thing. I guess your mom and dad think that everyone should be having sex all the time, even if they are teenagers.

Primo: My dad for sure thinks he should be having sex all the time. He was really ticked at his loss of consortium.

Me: He probably has more consortium than you and I do.

Primo: Yeah, well it's easy to have time and energy for consortium when you are retired and your wife does all the housework and cooking and you don't do anything all day but sit on your butt and watch porn. But he wants more than he gets, probably.

Me: How much does your mom want?

Primo: Not as much as he does. Probably not any. The way my dad picks at her--

Me: I know. He is always criticizing her and then getting annoyed when she gets upset.

Primo: Yep. He says she is too thin-skinned.

Me: Your dad is a jerk. Yeah, your mom is a little sensitive, but your dad is mean to her. I don’t think she is over-reacting to get annoyed when he criticizes her.

Primo: He tells her she is not doing it right.

Me: She is not his project. Lord have mercy. It is not his job to fix her.

Primo: He criticizes everything she does – about supper being cold and things like that.

Me: Maybe he could cut her a little bit of slack. Nobody said, “Sly! You are not allowed to cook ever.”

Primo: He doesn’t think that’s his job. One time when I was there, I asked my dad to help me put away the laundry that I had done. My mom was taking a nap and I thought we could at least fold the clothes and put away the kitchen things while she was asleep. He didn’t know where anything went.

Me: How long have they been married?

Primo: Almost fifty years.

Me: And he doesn’t know where the kitchen towels go?

Primo: He said he didn’t know where my mom’s clothes go, either.

Me: And he didn’t even think this was a problem he could solve by say, opening the drawers and cupboards and looking for like items?

Primo: Nope. He thinks that’s my mom’s job.

Me: And yet he considers himself a good liberal.

Primo: Well, he’s liberal for himself. Not for other people.

Me: Your mom was probably thinking that the only good thing about her broken wrist was that it was getting her out of consortium.

Primo: You're probably right.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ch 8 Primo is shocked that I would polish his shoes and I remind him I am not doing it in a, “This is women’s work and I subjugate myself to you” way but am just seeking efficiencies from the setup for polishing shoes, which is the big hassle of it all

Primo: You'll really polish my shoes?

Me: Sure. Why not? I’m doing mine. Bring yours over. Once my hands are dirty with the polish, I might as well keep going.

Primo: In my house, that was always my dad's job.

Me: Funny. At my house, that was always my job.

Primo: But that's men's work.

Me: There was no such thing as men's work or women's work at our house.

Primo: Well, it was never specifically said, but it was just understood.

Me: Nope. The chores were rotated at our house. We took turns doing dishes, mowing the grass, taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom.

Primo: Not at our house.

Me: Isn't it funny that the intellectual, enlightened, superior liberals are the ones who had the men's and women's work and the backwards religious rigid military conservatives are the ones who had non-gendered work?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ch 8 But I send an email to Doris anyhow because you know – boyfriend’s mother, sugar vs vinegar, bridges rather than walls, material for the blog, etc., etc., etc.

Dear Doris and Sly,

Doris, Primo mentioned you were concerned[1] that I hadn’t eaten the night we made the (delicious!) onion rings. (Thanks again for teaching me – it does indeed seem to be all in the wrist!)[2]

It is so kind of you to worry about me. Did he explain that I was – ahem – helping myself as I was cooking? I don’t know if there is anything tastier than a hot, salty onion ring right out of the fryer! By the time I sat down at the table, I was quite satisfied. Believe me, I ate well that night.

How is the front garden doing? I hope none of those weeds returned. We sure spent enough time trying to kill them.

I was trying to think of some books that might keep you up all night reading and make you sad when you are through. Have you ever read “Lonesome Dove” (Larry McMurtry)? It is amazing.

Even Primo liked the story. We watched the miniseries. (I read the book years ago.) He said he didn’t want to watch “a stupid Western,” so I suggested we watch just one episode of the miniseries. We ended up staying in the entire weekend to watch the rest. I think you might like it.

Be well!


[1] Do I need the sarcasm flag for you guys for the “concerned?”
[2] And I worry, as always, that I might be using too many exclamation points and that Sly will return my note with red marks and a big fat “F” across the top.

Ch 8 But then I realize that I am completely wrong because Doris is upset that I didn't eat the onion rings and I am a bad onion ring eater and I realize there might not be any way to win this game

Primo: My mom was upset that you didn't eat her onion rings at supper.

Me: What? Why?

What he says is true. I didn’t eat the onion rings at supper. I ate them while I was cooking them. They’re only really good in the minute or two after they come out of the hot fat. Once they’re cold and the fat congeals, they are nasty. But hot and salty fat? Oh that’s good.

Me: She said something?

Primo: Yes.

Me: The onion rings she insisted on having and that I had to make because she was too tired to stand for half an hour and I couldn’t watch an old lady suffer like that?

Primo: Yes.

Me: She's been stressing about this since Christmas?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Why?

Primo: She thinks you didn't like them.

Me: So what? What if I didn’t? There is nothing in the contract that the girlfriend/someday wife to be of the son has to like everything the mother cooks.

Primo: She says she is reaching out to you and you keep rejecting her.

Me: I have been trying! I have been trying to be nice to her! What else am I supposed to do? She’s upset because I didn't eat her onion rings? Her onion rings are a form of reaching out? And I rejected her because I didn’t eat them?

Primo shrugs.

Me: Do you think maybe your mom is just a little bit self-centered?

Primo: I don’t know.

Poor Primo. He's the one who is actually related to them. I have the luxury of getting to be dramatic, loud and indignant.

I am the voice for the voiceless. I am the guide in the darkness, the tall figure holding the torch aloft, assuring those who would approach me that yes, what they are hearing is insane and outrageous and they are right to wonder if perhaps there is a different reality out there.

If you grow up with The Crazy, The Crazy becomes The Normal. You don’t know that Crazy <>Healthy/Functional because you see nothing else. It feels bizarre, but perhaps that’s how life is supposed to feel.

I am the beacon. I am the lighthouse, guiding the Victims of The Crazy into the Shore of the Place Where Parents Do Not Scream at Their Grandchildren for Eating the White Meat and Do Not Get Angry When the Son’s Girlfriend Does Not Eat Enough Onion Rings.

Poor Primo. He has the hard part. I get the Righteous Indignation. Is there anything better than valid, righteous indignation? Oh, to be wronged in a way that is so wrong but yet, really, so unaffecting? I mean, WHO CARES IF I ATE THE ONION RINGS? A delicious wrong that doesn’t really hurt but validates your opinion of the crazy people who are wronging you? A wrong that lets you rant and rave and nobody can say you are unjustified in feeling wronged? I love that feeling.

Me: Is it possible that one, I ate a whole bunch of onion rings while I was frying them, WHICH I TOLD HER AT SUPPER, or two, I just wasn't that hungry because I was taking migraine drugs that kill my appetite? Or three, maybe I don't like onion rings and if I don't SO WHAT? And guess what? None of these possibilities have anything to do with your mother! None of them! Why is she trying to make this about her? It's not always about her!

Yes, I am over-reacting.

But so is Doris.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ch 8 Doris thanks me for the knives and I think perhaps we are getting back on good footing

Dear Goldie,

Primo's assurances were correct.  Your email thank you was quite enough.  I still cling to the old-fashioned hand-written ideal but realize that most of the citizenry has "modernized." 

I want you to know that I "LOVED" the knives. You were quite perceptive to notice that our cutlery had passed its “sell by” date. I find cutting and chopping quite challenging these days. Sharp new knives are making meal preparation much easier. Many thanks!



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ch 8 Doris complains I didn't spend enough time with her and I am sad thinking there is no way this problem could have been resolved when Primo and I were actually at their house

Primo: My mom is upset that you did not talk to her about her gardening magazine.

Me: What is she talking about?

I am washing mustard greens for supper and am only halfway paying attention.

Primo: She says she had a gardening magazine right there on the coffee table and you should have seen it and asked her about it.

Me: Am I supposed to be a mind reader? I was supposed to know this?

Primo: I guess so.

Me: She couldn’t have brought it up? She couldn’t have said, “Goldie, you might be interested in these gardening magazines I have?”  

I put the greens on the cutting board and whack them with the butcher knife. I whack them hard.

Me: I mean, I am trying with your mom. I have written to her twice since we got back. I ask her about stuff. I do nasty chores when we are there. I didn’t know I was supposed to be able to read her mind. Is there anything that’s not my fault?

Primo: Not really.

He backs away from the counter and a possibly errant knife. He doesn’t need to worry. I haven’t lost anyone yet. I havent even lost any digits, although I occasionally have need for a Band-Aid and some superglue.

As I stir the greens into the melting bacon grease and salt them, I finish my rant and return to the actual issue. No matter how maddening Sly and Doris’ comments are, I get a perverse satisfaction from finding the lunacy in their accusations.

Me: So what else did she complain about? Did they tell you not to marry me again?

Primo: They did not bring it up.

Me: They are probably hoping you will come to your senses and ditch me.

Primo: Probably. They probably learned with (ex-wife) that telling me not to marry someone is not the right approach. Anyhow, she says you didn't spend enough time with her.

Me: I was with your mother every single waking hour we were there except for when I went to Stephanie's, when I went running, when we went to church, which doesn’t count because they were asleep anyhow, and the couple of hours we took the kids bowling. Other than that, I was with your mom. That wasn't enough for her?

Primo: She says she is trying to reach out to you and you're pushing her away.

Me: Fine. Fine. I will try harder. I just wish I knew what the rules were.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Ch 8 I thank Doris for the present I do not want and intend to donate to Goodwill

You want to know how one writes a thank-you note for a vase that one is about to donate to Goodwill?

Watch and learn, grasshopper.

Dear Doris and Sly,

Primo assures me that an emailed thank you note is just fine, even though I maintain that a handwritten note on paper and sent via the USPS is the proper way to thank somebody for a gift she has bothered to select. But he knows you better than I do and if says this is OK, I will surrender.

Thank you for vase. I usually end up sticking flowers I cut from my garden into water glasses. An actual vase is far more appropriate. I am sure I will be getting a lot of use from this one very soon!

By the way, the cat-obsessed son of yours placed the cast-iron cat on the floor in front of his fireplace. It looks very natural.

Thanks again,


It’s a little scary how easy it is for me to lie, although I guess I am not a good enough liar to make Doris and Sly think I approve of them. I have got to work on that.[1]

I am not good enough at lying, however, to express any degree of thanks on Primo’s behalf of the framed – with the option of one of two frames – photo of Sly and Doris looking very stern. If I were mean, I would have written, “The photo you gave Primo is stuck inside a drawer in his spare room. I will let you know if he ever puts it up. He does, by the way, have several photos of his stepdaughters, of his grandparents, of his sister, and of the two of us together in his living room, his office, and his bedroom. So it’s not that he isn’t interested in having photos around. He just doesn’t want photos of you."

But I am not that mean.

And it is not my job to write Primo’s thank-you notes.[2]

[1] Note to self: Really? Do I really need to work on making them think I approve of them? What would happen if they continued to think – if they knew that they are not my favorite people? As long as I am polite and cordial, do I need to do more? I really want to know the answer to this question. What is the proper way to approach this problem? What does morality demand of us?
[2] It is not even ever the job of the wife to write the husband’s thank-you notes. It is certainly not the job of the girlfriend.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ch 8 Doris emails Primo that she doesn’t know how to make me approve of them and I am all, “WHAT??” because seriously, people, my dislike and disapproval (do I disapprove of them? Maybe – I disapprove of screaming at dinner guests) of them is not the issue here. I have not failed to feed my houseguests and I have not asked my houseguests to do all the crap work at my house and I have never screamed at anyone for taking all the white meat or even for taking all the dark meat

She writes,

I know you resent coming here and doing our chores. Dad and I share the belief that you are saint-like in your concern and help to us. Tending the awful jobs of caulking our shower and dealing with the cat box area were especially appreciated. The fact that you took over almost all the kitchen/cooking chores still puts me in tears--I love you so much. I am happy that you are happy. I regret that I don't know how to woo Goldie into some approval of us.

·         I need to be a better actress. I thought I was concealing my feelings. I behave properly – I help out, I do not argue, I smile, I am agreeable. On the surface, I am nice to them. And I really do try to find common ground with Doris – gardening, cooking. I have failed.
·         At the gym, I overheard a woman complaining about her daughter in law keeping her son away from her. I wanted to tell her that maybe she is the one keeping the son away - that maybe if it was pleasant for the son and DIL to visit, they might want to come. “Don’t make them clean the cat poop off the walls,” I wanted to say, “and don’t expect them to do work you can hire someone to do. And most important – be nice to the DIL. That’s really all you have to do – be nice to her.”