Thursday, May 28, 2015

In which my brother has a GIRLFRIEND and we all LOVE HER

Primo and I went to Austin last weekend for my brother's 50th birthday. My sister organized the party from afar and it was wonderful. I saw friends I had not seen since high school. Yes, high school. My brother and sister found one of their junior high friends a few years ago and now they are all tight as thieves again, just as they were when we lived in the Panama Canal Zone. Adele flew to Austin from Seattle for the party.

My sister also invited other family friends from the Canal Zone who now live in Texas. I had become facebook friends with William, whom I used to babysit, but had not seen him or his parents for over 30 years.

Primo and I got to the party. Primo saw Adele and went to inspect the beer with her - they had met earlier that day - and I saw Mike, my brother's best friend from high school, who is my mom's son from another mother, which does not sound as good as my brother from another mother, but that's how the relationship was.

Then I introduced myself to a group of people standing in front of the food - I realized that being polite to them was the only way I was going to get anything to eat - and they laughed and said, "But Goldy! Don't you recognize us?"

It was William, who is now an adult,  not a cute little blonde kid in diapers, and his dad. Holy smoke. Thirty years can change a person. I guess it changed me, but they recognized me. William's dad no longer has hair, so that might be part of it, plus I was not expecting to see them there.

I saw Mike's ex-wife and his two daughters and met the ex-wife's new husband. I met some of my brother's Austin friends.

And then a new person arrived.

An attractive woman bearing what turned out to be a fabulous appetizer. (Try these - you will not regret it. I am making them on Wednesday when some friends are coming over for dinner.)

My brother introduced her to me. Nicole. "This is my girlfriend, Nicole," he beamed.

Holy smoke.

My brother has not introduced a girl to us since we were in college.

I know he has had girlfriends since, but Nicole is the first one ever to make it to a family event.

This was big.

My sister and I tried not to be too obvious as we checked her out. We were subtle. We just had normal, Oh hey how are you conversation. Raved about the appetizer. Asked her where she's from. Asked how she and our brother met.

We brought Primo and my brother in law into the conversation.

Talked about Nicole's dog, who died a few years ago. Where she was born. What she usually does for the holidays.

I deliberately didn't ask what she does for a living because that seems kind of rude and reductive, but then she mentioned that she is  - hmm, what is a good fake job that is as good as her real job? - in charge of restoring historical public buildings. Yes. Her real job is that cool. She is an architect by degree, I think, which is what my brother studied as well.

She is NICE. She likes my brother, even though she has seen his house. (He is a little bit cluttered, although not in the main living areas.) She likes my brother's dog. She was gracious and poised as her boyfriend's sisters, mother, and brothers in law descended on her.

We saw her again the next morning when we all met at my brother's house for breakfast.

She was still cool.

I know I should have ignored her. I should have met her and then figuratively turned my back, not asked her any questions about herself, not exhibited any interest in her at all. I should have started trash-talking my family in front of her. I should not have asked her about her family, about where she's from, about what she likes to do, about her work, about anything.

I should have been completely uninterested. After all, that's how Primo's family is. Isn't that the right way to be?

(Can you tell I am a bit cranky about Primo's family right now? His mom and dad are causing more drama and I don't know where it's going to end. Let's just say that I do not believe them that they will actually consider assisted living, even though they say they have found some places to visit. I know this is going to turn into drama that Primo will have to resolve and that will cost us money and it is making me cranky.)

I know how I should have treated her, according to the Sly and Doris School of Sibling/Children Significant Others.

But Sly and Doris are wrong and Nicole is LOVELY and my sister, Primo, and my brother in law and I voted and we told my brother MARRY HER. WE LOVE HER. We would be so happy to have Nicole in our family. Cross your fingers. I want this to work.

(They have only known each other two months, so it is way too early to decide about marriage - but it could work!)

Monday, May 25, 2015

In which Ted (not Primo's brother Ted but the jerk I was involved with in Springfield and no, I do not know why I gave the jerk and Primo's brother - ha, see what I did there? - the same name) sends Primo a facebook friends invitation

Do you guys remember Ted the clergyman whom I met through my alumni association? AKA Ted the Jerk, or, more accurately, Ted the First Jerk, as Primo's brother Ted is Ted the Second Jerk.

Neither of them is really named Ted, of course. I messed up with the character naming here and I didn't keep track. I am sorry about that - remember the two Cathys in Wuthering Heights? (There were two Cathys, right?) I had such a hard time with that. And maybe there were two Heathcliffs? I can't remember - it has been a long time since I read that book.

Anyhow, that wasn't fair of me to give two characters the same name. I hope the context of what I have written will help you keep it all straight.

Anyhow, Ted the First Jerk, or TFJ, is a guy I met years ago at an alumni event. I didn't know him in college. You may read all about it here, but be advised, I think the posts show up in reverse order.

Quick summary:

1. I meet Ted.
2. He starts to call me, almost daily.
3. He makes me a cake for my birthday and transports it to a restaurant where I was meeting my friends.
4. He tells me he is really attracted to me and that he thinks there is "potential" between us, but he CAN'T DATE ME RIGHT NOW.
5. He keeps calling.
6. We kiss and mess around but don't you know.
7. My landlady, who goes to the same church he does, tries to warn me about him but her words fall on deaf,  infatuated ears.
8. He keeps calling and flirting.
9. He takes me to meet his parents.
10. He continues to tell me how attracted he is to me, blah blah blah.
11. I go out of town for work and he still calls me at the hotel every night.
12. We finally sleep together - and I don't hear from him for two weeks, at which point he leaves me an angry phone message that I tricked him.
13. Nine months later, he calls to tell me that there is a house for sale across the street from where he lives (I had been in an apartment when we met). I blow him off, sort of, and don't engage.
14. A few years later, I organize an alumni event and get an email RSVP from him with the domain name "" or whatever. I look at the site - oh come on, like you wouldn't? - and realize he has married a woman he talked about to me all the time. In their cute little "how we met" story on the site, they say that they started dating at the same time that Ted was telling me we couldn't date, which, of course, was true, because he was seeing someone else.

Now we are here. Now we are years and years later and I dodged a huge bullet with him. He turned out to be a jerk and I ignored the signs to my detriment. But he is in the past and that's fine. He can stay there.

Remember that Primo and I went to the same college. So Ted, Primo, and I went to the same college. It's a small school and if you don't know someone directly, you probably are within one or two degrees of separation.

Primo knew sort of who Ted was. He knows more about him because I told him about Ted, but he and Ted were not friends in college.

However, they have many friends in common.

Last week, Ted sent Primo a friend request on facebook.

"What should I do?" Primo asked.

"Tell him to go f* himself," I said.

"No, really. I'll reject the request if you want."

I told Primo the whole story. He knew some of it, but I don't think I had ever given him all the details.

He got madder and madder.

"I should tell him not only no, but how dare he! He knows you are married to me! It's on my profile!"

I panicked. "No! Don't say anything!"

"But he was a jerk! I need to say something! I need to write him a nasty note."

I did appreciate the show of gallantry, but the last thing I needed was to resurrect the issue.

"This is done. It was over years ago. I don't care about him - I am just mad at myself for being so dumb. If you say something to him, he will think that I have spent this time thinking about him and I haven't."

Primo nodded. "OK. I will just reject the request and I won't say anything."

He paused. "But you say that he was mad because you guys slept together? And you tricked him into it?"

"I didn't trick him into it," I said. "But there may have been some silk scarves. Loosely tied. You know."

"Wait! You've never used scarves with me!"

"You didn't spend five months teasing me, either," I answered. "You were upfront from the very beginning that you liked me and you were interested in the long term. And you sure didn't feel guilty about sleeping together."

He laughed. "Nope. You said you weren't going to sleep with me until my divorce was final but I had it all planned out. That Gateway Nap was all part of the plan. And I wasn't mean to you after and I didn't disappear. I knew what I wanted and I wanted you."

Like I said. Dodged a bullet and came out ahead.