Sunday, July 31, 2005

I continue to not get it.

A confusing day, all shot through with the wild colors of family drama...

If I haven't made it clear by now, my brother married a girl who turned out to be psychotic. They got married in May (and for your lack of reading enjoyment, here is a post from my old blog in which I spew vitriol about their honeymoon) and the day after they returned, she gave my parents a letter that told them how awful they were, how cheap they were (they only gave my brother and his wife $500, while her parents gave them $5,000), what terrible people they were for "making" her and my brother get married with people in attendance instead of letting them run away and elope like they wanted to, and how she never, ever wanted to see them again. She has not let my brother see any of us since they got married. He gave her some slack; he told her he'd put up with that until the end of July. It's the end of July, and so they had lunch with my parents yesterday.

During the lunch, she completely ignored both my parents and kept her head nuzzled into my brother the entire time. She did not speak when they spoke to her. She wouldn't even look at them. I talked to my mom after it and she almost started crying. Needless to say, my blood was absolutely boiling. NO ONE hurts my parents like this. I actually said the words "fucking bitch" in front of my mother, which I've never done before. My mother is purity incarnate. She doesn't drink, smoke, or cuss. And she's not at all holier-than-thou about it; she's one of those completely modest, genuinely *good* people (and there are far too few of her in the world). She's been dealing with this situation by trying to understand this girl more, and trying to feel compassion for her, whereas I've been dealing with it by being absolutely furious that someone would say such horrible things to my parents. I know my parents have their faults. The faults they have are not among the things this girl said to them. If she didn't want a wedding with people in attendance, why did she videotape it with two different video cameras? It was very nice of them to pick a place like Red River Gorge that required two miles of hiking over very hilly terrain when my dad is facing back surgery. Whatever. I'm not going to waste my time pointing out the multifarious holes in her logic.

What really blows so much about this whole situation is that even though I don't have a perfect family, and we argue, we have this undying loyalty to one another and to maintaining extreme closeness even when we piss each other off that was brought about when this same brother took a forty foot dive out of a pine tree in 1996 while trying to retrieve a Nerf football and broke his neck. University Hospital in Cincinnati managed to more or less bring him back from the dead and despite a broken neck (and back, and a kidney that "died" because the artery to it ruptured, and two collapsed lungs, broken ribs, a brain contusion, and multiple other injuries) he is still alive and their surgeries were amazing enough that he can do almost everything he could do before the accident. Having a family member go through that, well, it sort of pulls you together as a family. You sort of forget all the petty shit you were dealing with when you're staying overnight in the hospital with your sixteen-year-old brother who is being kept alive by tubes and is coughing up disgusting chunks of blood and is confused because of all the morphine and is in a neck brace and can't move. Everything else falls away. You become one. You promise God all sorts of things if only your brother will live. And when your brother lives, everything in your family is different. You spend a lot more time together. You love one another a lot harder.

And then some crazy bitch comes along and keeps him away from you because she hates you.

What are you supposed to do. I mean really.

Anyway, so I was completely thrown for a loop when he called me up out of the blue today and asked if M and I wanted go up to the farm (the same one M and I went to last night with my other brother and his wife) with he and his wife and their two dogs.

I was like,


I managed, after some stuttering (I haven't spoken to him at all since my mother and I picked he and his darling wife up in Lexington after their honeymoon), I told him we already had plans with my other brother in his wife to go up to Cesar's Creek and do some kayaking. He sounded really disappointed. I told him not to be a stranger and we hung up. I sat there holding the phone at a complete loss. I feel very weird about it. I still feel very weird about it.

When his wife wrote this letter to my parents, apparently she said that I was the only member of the family she liked because I am straightforward and I tell it like it is. Those two things are true. But I don't understand this. My whole family is like me; we have no patience for bullshit. Why did she single me out? Is she trying to forge some sort of bridge between herself and my parents by using me? Should I allow that to happen in order to alleviate some very hurt feelings? Despite all that's happened, my parents are still giving her the benefit of the doubt (or at least my mother is; my dad, I think, has nearly reached the end of his rope). They are better people than I am. I am, to put it mildly, extremely pissed at her. To the point where if I saw her, I don't know how willing or able I'd be to hold back the caustic pressure of the steaming rage that has built up within me. For my parents, I could do it. I could bite it and deal with it and maybe have a conversation with her about, say, dogs. But it would be hard. And that is putting it mildly. That is an understatement, to say that it would be hard.

At any rate. I see I've managed to write another damned novel. I keep telling myself to keep these posts shorter, but when the fingers start flying, my mind takes off and the words just come. And look at that, no picture today (gasp!).

In other news, M and I are both extremely sore from moving all that rock yesterday. We were filling in a giant mudpit that we have outside our back door. Our yard is high in the back and slopes down toward the house, which means that when it rains, all the water collects right outside the back door, and with three very active dogs, that spells disaster. I've been muttering curses about the raging mudpit of doom for months now, and yesterday we finally got our shit together enough to do something about it. And now we are feeling old and achy and like we just moved 2,500 lbs of rock. Oh wait, we did.

This morning was off to a fortuitous start when M pulled a tick out of Steve's ear and I pulled one out of my shin. GROSS. Bugs, I normally find interesting, and I like to take pictures of them, and look at them, and they are cool. Ticks fucking suck. Down with ticks.

I banged the holy tar out of my ankle on the wheelbarrow when I was doing some yardwork. I walked by it to open the gate and didn't see the metal around the tire and just whacked the hell out of the bony part. I have it iced.

M and I engaged in all-American mundanery tonight by watching Simpsons and Family Guy reruns while drinking beer and playing a SpongeBob card game.

And now, I ought to go to bed.

Sheesh. Families.


At July 31, 2005 11:10 PM, Blogger deputyswife said...

Wow, I can't even imagine keeping a person away from their parents. I have troubles with my MIL (a very demanding woman who thinks no woman is good enough for her son, including me.) BUT, I have NEVER kept my husband away from her or his family. I always make sure to be supportive and encourage him to go see her.

My brother lived with a woman that hated my sister and I. She constantly put us down to him. There was a period of time (about one year) when we never saw him. He said later, even after not talking to us, she still bitched about us. He figured it would never end and that blood is thicker than water. He left her. It was an ugly mess. My point is, maybe your brother will tire of it too. Hopefully he will realize that family is where the heart is.

At August 01, 2005 4:45 AM, Blogger Sorted Lives said...

Wow, I thought that shit only happened in my family. My cousin married this girl (no one know why) and she is the exact same way towards my aunt (and let me tell you, my aunt rocks) She wont't let him out of her sight -- to the point where he never has visited my grandmother in the hospital. We can only hope he tires of it too!!

I can tell you will always be there for your family -- make them proud!

At August 01, 2005 5:03 AM, Anonymous em said...

We also watched the Simpsons and Family Guy- man, were we ever sleepy- We don't have SpongeBob cards though

At August 01, 2005 5:33 AM, Anonymous e said...

I don't even know where to begin...I feel awful for your parents and you. I feel awful for your brother and curious about what it is in her that he finds lovable. I think I'd have the same need to let her have it...hey, she says she likes your "directness", so let her be the recipient of it...At least your brother is trying to begin reaching out again. It's a start towards repairing the damage.

Sorry about the ankle! What a day you had...

At August 01, 2005 10:27 AM, Blogger greg said...

family troubles j? my family is about as nutty as it gets...on both sides. i could tell you true stories that you wouldn't even buy as a plot for a movie of the week.
just be thankful that you can go home to your newly filled in mud pit. by the way, couldn't we have found a way to make a buck on the old mud pit...have you ever heard of mud wrestling...come on j. here you had a golden money-making operation right in your own backyard and you fill it in. i'm truly disappointed. you can get by the family problems, but throwing away a sure-fire money maker...we need to talk. hey, have a great monday...hmmm, how about rock wresting...

At August 01, 2005 11:07 AM, Anonymous Heather said...

I'm really sorry to hear about that nasty horrible situation. :( I can't believe someone could be so miserable towards someone's family that she married into. You have to wonder what on earth is going through someone's head to make them do something like that.

I hate wheelbarrows. I swear I manage to hurt myself on them at least once daily. If they weren't so stinking useful I'd say down with wheelbarrows as well as down with ticks.

By the way, if a comment similar to this is posted as well, I apologize... I think I just closed the window without hitting publish, and the comment isn't showing up, so I think that's what happened, but I'm not sure... aggh.

At August 01, 2005 12:06 PM, Blogger cmhl said...

my brother married someone that hates us all as well. makes holidays oh so pleasant.

At August 01, 2005 12:51 PM, Blogger Raehan said...

I'm so sorry. That really, really sucks. I hope your brother finds his way back.

At August 01, 2005 1:17 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Dayum! I'm curious as to why your brother is putting up with her crap? I'm sorry, but she reminds of Veruca Salt and should be pushed down a garbage chute.

from the othr greg, not the one who's already posted a comment

At August 01, 2005 3:52 PM, Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

Firstly, thank you for stopping by my blog :) that was really nice of you!
It sounds like your SIL has some serious problems. I think you should be straightforward with them both. Your brother is obviously trying to maintain a bond with someone in his family, and it sounds like he respects you. His wife says that she likes you, but I betcha she won't think that when you've said your peace to her. She sounds very self-centred and selfish.
I think you should suggest that she needs a therapist, that she has some serious personal issues to deal with.

Later on in your post I misread something: I thought you wrote that you pulled a STICK out of Steve's ear, and then one out of your shin!

At August 01, 2005 4:29 PM, Anonymous M said...

Good for you for being willing to suck it up for your parents. When I came back from this weekend, I felt emotionally steamrolled. Be sure to have a six pack of good, cold beer in the fridge. (Yes, I am a firm believer that beer solves all.)
And by the way, YOU rock. (you move rocks, at least)

At August 01, 2005 8:44 PM, Blogger Mr. Brightside said...

Well, obviously the situation is somewhat complex and I certainly do not pretend to understand, but maybe your brother needs to seriously re-evaluate his marriage. How old is his wife? That's the kind of behavior exhibited by 15 year olds.

At August 01, 2005 10:43 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I know you love your brother, but keep in mind that he is standing by while she treats your family badly. He is as much to blame as she is if he doesn't step in.

That being understood, I can completely understand your feelings. My brother married a psycho and it was a rough five years for everyone until they got divorced. She really did a number on him and created a lot of strife in our family.

Good luck with that whole situation. Thanks for visiting my blog :-)

At August 02, 2005 2:28 PM, Anonymous atpanda said...

Well, I for one mostly just feel really bad for your new sister-in-law. I mean how can she compete with a family capable of love for each other? Hateful girl. If I were a psychic (which of course I am ;-) ) I would bet that your brother is going to come around and kick her to the curb. That girl has some SERIOUS insecurity problems. If she's desperately trying to hold on to your brother despite her horrible self-esteem, she better figure out quickly that the easiest way to do that is by loving the family she married in to because her husband loves them. Hateful B*!

At August 02, 2005 5:00 PM, Blogger d.K. said...

I loved reading your instinctively protective reaction to someone harming your mother, and the kind things you said about your immediate family. I have parents who hung the moon, and I'm still baffled by how many people have lousy relationships with and feel ambivalent towards their folks.

I also have a crazy (really) sister-in-law. My kid brother has stuck with her because of their kids, I think, but I don't think he's happy and it's a shame. She doesn't like anyone on our side of the family, so we've pretty much lost him as well.

I enjoyed strolling through your blog - you're a great writer with some terrific stories to tell!

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