Primo helps Sly and Doris to bed. My mom, who is not drunk, is able to get to bed by herself. Primo and I use the guest bath to brush our teeth. I do not want to use our bathroom – the bathroom Sly and Doris have been using – until I can give it a good cleaning with bleach.
Is that irrational? I don’t think so.
Not to be too explicit, but it appears that Sly does not adopt the practice of sitting on the toilet when he is at someone else’s house. Older men, older men plumbing problems, older men dripping in places. Ick. I don’t want his cooties.
We pull out the sofa bed. Put the sheet of plywood under the thin mattress so there will be some back support. Smooth the old cotton sheets Primo has been using for years. The throw pillows are still in the window where we put them last night before so the sun wouldn’t wake us at the crack of dawn, but we discovered this morning that the sun is not the problem. Noisy Sly and Doris are the problem.
Primo: That was fun.
Me: I know.
Primo: Except for my mom and dad getting drunk.
Me: Getting drunk and then driving your car to the restaurant! Yeah, that was super smart. We should have seen that coming.
Primo: I know. I was so distracted by – you know – OUR WEDDING – that I wasn’t thinking.
Me: Me neither.
Primo: The sad thing is, I know my dad does that kind of thing all the time. I know he doesn’t forego his 4:00 drink when they go out to eat. I think he has gotten good at driving drunk.
Me: They are so lucky they have never hurt anyone.
Primo: Yeah, I know. I have been making sure I do the driving when I am with them for years.
Me: It would have been nice if they had stayed sober or at least not acted drunk for our wedding dinner.
Primo: You mean, “It would have been nice if they had thought about someone else instead of themselves?”
Me: Yeah! That!
Primo: That’s how they roll.
Me: Your mom was all weepy about you when you were a baby and wanted out of your crib. She tells me that story every time she sees me.
Primo: Any time she drinks, she gets like that.
Me: Which is – always.
Primo: Unfortunately, yes. She is not a happy person.
Me: But this was different. She gave me her mother’s wedding ring.
Me: I was shocked, too. The ring is a huge deal with her.
Primo: It is?
Me: Don’t you remember the first time I met your parents how she told me about it and she was all sad because she had wanted to give the ring to Nancy?
Primo: Oh yeah. I had forgotten about my grandmother’s rings. I don’t get sentimental about things like that.
Me: Your mom does.
Primo: She is attached to things.
Me: I get annoyed with her – she seemed to be all in on the boycott the wedding movement, but I also feel sorry for her, being stuck with your dad. That fight they had the last time we were there?
Primo: What are you talking about?
Me: When he was screaming at her! And she was crying!
Primo: I don’t remember.
Me: How can you not remember?
Primo: Because that kind of thing happens all the time with them. It’s their normal.
Me: That is really sad.
Primo: My dad is a jerk.
Me: You can say that again.
Primo: How about that toast?
Me: Lovely! I like the way he insulted his first wife. And the way he talked you up, you, the perfect child, in comparison to your brothers. Even though we know he is also probably very disappointed in you, too.
Me: What? You don’t like being the Perfect Child? Aren’t you proud?
Primo: I don’t want the burden of being responsible for them. I don’t want to be the only one they want. My life would be a lot easier if Ted and Jack helped out. Only my mom and dad don’t want them, they want me.
Me: Who cares what they want? Why do their wishes get to trump yours?
Primo: All they do is complain. They are horrible houseguests. You made things so nice – we gave them our bedroom! – and they still complain! They can’t even say one nice thing to you.
Me: Nope. Because I am the evil gold digger.
Primo: Although really, it’s my dad. My mom just goes along with him.
Me: Yes – she is a different person when she is not around him. I could not believe how she – she – sparkled! – when she and I went to the gardens.
Primo: My dad is a jerk. He is the one doing the main complaining. You didn’t offer oatmeal.
Primo: Didn’t I tell you? I thought I had.
Me: What are you talking about? You told me about the cabbage and the napkins and of course we know I am a Bad Bacon Eater, but oatmeal? There is something about oatmeal now?
Primo: My dad is annoyed that you did not offer him oatmeal.
Me: But I did! I showed him and your mom where everything was so they could make breakfast for themselves and not have to wait for us.
Primo: No. He was upset that you made oatmeal and did not offer any to him.
Primo: I think he first complained about this on Monday.
Me: Oh! Yes, I made oatmeal on Monday, but when I got to the kitchen, your dad was already eating cornflakes.
Primo: He was?
Me: Yes! He was almost done with his cereal when I started making oatmeal. I guess I could have asked if he wanted an oatmeal chaser to his cornflakes, but it didn’t occur to me that someone who had just finished a bowl of cold cereal would also want a bowl of hot cereal.
Primo: He has been complaining about that.
Me: Why didn’t he just ask me to make some for him?
Primo: Because he would rather have a reason not to like you.
Me: Of course. They’re not going to be visiting often, are they?
Primo: I doubt they will visit ever again. I have no intentions of ever inviting them again.
Me: Then that’s fine with me.
Me: Then that’s fine with me.
Primo: And you don’t need to go with me when I visit them. This boycott threat? That was ridiculous. I need to visit them because they are my parents and I feel sorry for my mom, but I don’t think you need to put any more effort into the relationship.
Me: Good. Because I am done with them.
Primo: They have been so awful. I feel so bad for my mom, but even though I feel bad for her, just a few days of them in our house has been horrible. They will never live with us. Ever.
Me: Is that your wedding present to me?
Primo: Yes, I suppose so!
Me: That? Is the best wedding present you could have given me.