Monday, March 8, 2010

In which Sly and Doris get upset (maybe) that Primo is going to Sam's dad's memorial service

March 2010 Primo's best friend and college roommate, who sort of introduced us or is at least responsible for our meeting so I blame him, is Sam. Last month, Sam's dad died suddenly. He was out shoveling snow. Came back inside. Died. Mr. Sam's Dad (Mr SD) had heart problems, but still. To drop dead after shoveling snow? So sad.

Primo had known Mr SD since college and we have seen Mr SD every time we have visited Sam and Nadine. Mr SD was a nice man. A little gruff, but nice. I would sit by Mr SD at Sam and Nadine's big party and listen to him talk about books. He was Sam's father and when your best friend's father dies and you can go to the memorial service, you do.

Sam and Nadine plan the service for mid-March. Turns out Primo is going to be around and that it will work for us to go. We get our tickets. I mention something right after Mr SD dies to my sister in law Stephanie, who lives 15 minutes from Sly and Doris, that we might go to the memorial service but we don't know yet.

We know now. We have our tickets. We leave in a few days.

Primo decides not to mention anything to his parents in his weekly status update phone call because he is worried that they might be upset that he protested against going to his uncle's funeral last summer but is now willingly going to Mr SD's service.

Some key differences between his uncle's funeral and Mr SD's service:

1. Primo actually knew Mr SD. He did not see him once at his other uncle's funeral two years ago and then 30 years ago on a family trip. Primo does not know his cousins or the rest of his family. He knew Mr SD and knows Sam and Sam's brother.

2. Sam and Nadine are picking us up at the airport. We are staying at their house. We do not have to rent a car. We do not have to stay in a hotel. This trip is costing us some frequent flier miles plus Primo's cheap ticket so he can get his status miles. It is not costing us $500 to attend this funeral. It is costing $150 plus we get to spend the weekend with friends.

3. Primo made the decision about Mr SD's service. Sly told his sister that Primo would be going to his uncle's service before he ever got a confirmation from Primo. Oh yes. Sly promised Primo would attend even though Primo did not know yet if he could because of work or if he even intended to spend the money.

Got the picture? We're going to a memorial service. Primo has not mentioned it to his parents.

I get an email from my sister in law Stephanie. She asks when we are going to the service. I tell her, then ask her not to mention it to Sly and Doris.


Too late.

She asked Doris about it the other day after Doris told her that she had talked to Primo. Just asked Doris when Primo and I were going to the service.


There will be Drama. Why does Stephanie know more about our plans than Sly and Doris do? Why didn't Primo tell them about our trip? What are we hiding? Why won't Primo tell them everything? ? Don’t they deserve to know all the details of Primo’s life? Doris wrote recently that she feels so “disconnected” from Primo. We are mean, mean, mean not to give them every single detail.

Can we wait this out and hope that Sly and Doris will let it slide? Or will they send an angry email about how betrayed they feel? Should Primo try to cut them off at the pass and somehow work the trip into a new conversation?

I suggest that he tell them to go to hell if they complain, but he says that that is not an option. Then I suggest that he lie. If they bring it up, he should just tell them that we were thinking of going but it didn't work out.

He tells me that won't work.

I don't know why. It's not like they can prove that we are lying on this (love those cellphones with local numbers) and frankly, a little lie to prevent a lot of drama seems like a good tradeoff to me. The lesser of two evils. If Sly and Doris were rational, it wouldn't be necessary, but when Primo's first reaction to the news that Stephanie mentioned something to Doris is to moan, "Oh no!" and get horribly stressed, maybe lying isn't so bad.

For now, we wait for the other shoe to drop.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In which my family listens to Primo sing

September 2008 The Sunday after our wedding. Primo's mom and dad are gone. His brother and his stepdaughters have left. It's just my mom, Dr J, her gentleman caller, and my brother and my sister. We have finished our big family meal with my dad's aunt and uncle and cousins. They have gone home. But the night? She is still young.

We need to go out and do something fun.

"Let's go to karaoke," someone - me? Primo? suggests.

We don't invite my mom because we're so sure she won't want to go. After all, Sly didn't want to hear Primo sing. He threw a big hissy fit and walked out of the bar while Primo was singing. I don't doubt my mom would want to hear Primo, but she is not a late-night bar kind of person. (Nor am I. But I am married to one.)

Mom is insulted. She wants to go! She wants to hear Primo. Well, great. But we're going to be out for a while. Is she sure?

Yes. She is sure. She wants to hear him sing one song, then leave. She and Dr J will go in his car, Primo, my brother, my sister and I will go in our car. Perfect.

We get to the bar and surprise - it is horribly smoky. Awful. One of the main reasons I don't like to go out with Primo. I hate cigarette smoke. At least, I hate stale cigarette smoke inside an unventilated building. I love fresh cigarette smoke in the fresh air and fully intend to start smoking when I am 70. My grandmother's life* was cruelly cut short by smoking when she was 96. Alas.

Mom and Dr J take one step inside the bar, smile bravely, and say that maybe they'll just wait in the car until it's Primo's turn to sing. That's OK. I understand. I tell them I will come get them.

The bar is not very busy and the guy who is running the karaoke starts to hit on my sister almost immediately. The story of my life. My sister came to get me at work once for us to go to lunch and my boss and a co-worker drooled. "Your sister oozes sensuality," my boss said. "Yeah, you guys are exact opposites," the co-worker told me. Thanks, guys. She got the accessorizing and makeup gene, the bosom and the hotness. I know. Thanks for reminding me again that I am the Smart One.**

Not being busy + a hot sister = Primo gets to sing right away. I summon my mom and Dr J.

Oh my he sings beautifully! my mom swoons. She swoons over everything Primo does. He can do no wrong. As far as she is concerned, he hung the moon and the stars. She is delighted that he is part of our family now.

I expect them to leave now that they've heard the one song they said they would listen to, but mom asks Primo if he'll sing something else. Dr J gets a round of beers. The tattooed Indian guys in the Harley hats playing pool next to us hit on my sister.

Primo sings again. My mom is drinking a beer. My mother! My sister sings. She's not bad.

My mom is now flipping through the songbook, taking notes. She has a list of songs for Primo to sing. Oh heck - she's decided she is going to sing herself. She pulls Dr J arm and takes him to the mike. They sing, "When I'm 64." That ship has sailed, but it's still sweet. She has Primo and my brother sing with them.

This is my mother. Who was going to stay for one song, then leave.

But she enjoys listening to Primo so much and is having so much fun that she and Dr J don't leave until 1:15 a.m.

She never does throw that hissy fit.

* This is the grandmother they tried to bury in pale pink lipstick. Please. She was always in dark red lipstick. Always. Fortunately, we rectified the situation. My friend I., who came to the funeral with me, had some red lipstick in her purse and she graciously applied it to my dead grandmother's lips. "Otherwise," my mom said, "Grampa A. won't recognize her when she gets to heaven." Yes, not theologically sound, but a mitvah nonetheless.

** Except my sister is also smart. Good thing she's nice or I would have to smother her.