Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We Put the Fun in Funeral!

Considering how sleep deprived I am, I'm going to try to complete this post in 15 minutes.

Several recent events have kept me from updating for the past week or so. Let me be brief:

1. Job craziness

I bolted my way across town to the Olive Garden praying for a successful interview and new job. To my dismay, the interviewer was absent, so I have to reschedule. The hostess did put little stars next to my name for showing up though.

As far as the pizza joint is concerned, I've about had it. The latest problem involves the drawer. Well, its an old problem that has gotten worse. Everyone else can ring on my drawer, so when it was off by $9 last week, it was my fault. Four dollars came from my pocket, while one waitress made up some excuse about wrong change and added $5 from her tips. She swears that she didn't know where it came from... My friends who work in other food service industries have informed me that my suspicion that this way of balancing the drawer is illegal was correct. Nice tidbit of information, but I can't do a fucking thing about it. Besides, I'm trying to get another job.

I just finished reading The Devil Wears Prada and I have to say I'm grateful that my job isn't as bad as Andrea's.

2. Funeral craziness

My grandfather died last week. Not that it was completely unexpected, but I was under the impression that he'd hold out a little while longer. The phone call was received late Monday night (I was already in bed) and I left Tuesday evening. We thought that we would - at latest - be leaving Wednesday night for a Thursday viewing and Friday funeral in Maryland. Try Friday instead. So I got to call both jobs and explain that I would not return until a full week after I left. Oh, and I leave again for a wedding on Thursday night and don't return 'til July 5th. I was kinda hoping that the pizza joint would fire me, but unfortunately they have me on the schedule for tomorrow.

There was a viewing on both Saturday and Sunday for a total of 6 hours. Granted, this setup was far better than the 4 viewings that my grandmother desired and was reluctantly talked out-of. The funeral was Monday morning because although my grandfather had passed early the week before, the cemetery could not accommodate us until then. My father grumbled something about union workers not coming on the weekends. Ok, I'm all for workers' rights, but a cemetery that doesn't do funerals on the weekends??

Other than everyone I met that apparently knew me as a 3 year old telling me that I looked 16, the funeral events went smoothly. It was the family that fried my nerves. As my cousin told me in the limo heading toward the cemetery, "We put the FUN in Funeral!"

3. Generalized family craziness

Mom decided that with Amy's wedding just around the corner, that I apparently needed dating advice. I don't apply enough make-up or wear heels with my blue jeans or act prissy around the boys. Ummm.....What happened to finding someone who liked me for well, me?

Before the first viewing, my mother burst into the hotel Chris and I were sharing and declared that she would be applying my make-up for the evening. After a few minutes of arguing, I let her paint. But I wasn't quiet about it, especially when she put on so much mascara that it appeared more appropriate for the stage. She allowed me to clean it up a little and left. I attempted to wash it off, but the damn stuff had dried already. It took a good 10 minutes to get clean and re-apply MY way.

Since the hotel was directly across from a mile long mall, we did go shopping. In the process of buying shoes, I was asked if I normally wear sneakers with my jeans. I responded in the affirmative while specifying that special occasions warranted an exception. Apparently and according to my mother, this is what makes me appear young - not the fact that my mother's entire side is full of women who look 5 - 10 years younger than what they are. She asked me why I did this and I informed her of my need to move in ways that heels were usually a hindrance. I run, dance and generally goof-off. I've even been known to rough-house with the boys, but she didn't need to know that, so I omitted that. To this new revelation, she asked me if some of the other girls wore heels.

"Yes." Where is she going with this? I wondered.

"Do they play around like you do?"

"Occasionally. Some more than others. Some girls are just wussy," I teased.

"Well, do these other girls all have boyfriends?"

Yeesh. So that's what she was digging at. I managed to control my tongue and answer diplomatically. Several other similar instances involving my flirting techniques, future boyfriend, husband and/ or children crept up throughout the weekend. There's no need to repeat them here. Just understand that I was temporarily annoyed and then, let it go.

Chris managed to contract both an ear infection and a stomach virus about Sunday morning. The virus exposed itself outside the second viewing under a tree. Two days and a phone call to me later, the doctor has declared him contagious. No one else has showed symptoms, but all expect the immuno-suppressed sister to be the next fly to fall.

You've got to love the optimism in this family.

So far I feel fine, but I have a strong feeling that Chris is rundown from basketball camp, hours of car rides between 3 states and the funeral. A few days of good rest will fix him.

Ok, so brevity didn't happen tonight. Oh, well. Goodnight all!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sorry, I've Just Hallucinated. Could You Repeat That?

I'm happy to report that my brother's graduation went well. He even received an academic award. My grandfather got bored halfway through and decided to start commenting on everything happening around him. My mother eventually stepped in and shushed him. Joey and I struggled to maintain our composure.

There was a dinner afterward, but it was run a little differently this year. Usually, the 7th graders are drafted into serving the graduates and their families at a sit-down meal in the cafeteria. Bread, salad, entree, desert -the works. This year.....not so much. Yes, the 7th graders ran around with appetizer, but the meal was buffet-style. This created a long line and grouchy people. On top of that, the graduates lacked a table of their own and were forced to sit with their families. In other words, they were up and down the entire time trying to eat and talk to their friends. The most annoying factor was the lack of seating organization. Now, I'm not a huge fan of seating charts - I think they're silly unless you know a certain combination is combustible. Actually, I still have Erica's seating chart from the choir formal...... Regardless of my propensity to steal seating charts before everyone knows where to sit, there need to be enough chairs in existence for the total number of butts attending. This flaw was remedied eventually by either the shuffling of folding chairs or removal of excess population. I'm going for population considering that all in our family except Chris and Mom left way early - and we weren't the only ones.

As for my parents, I'm still a bit stunned. Early in the day, they told me that we would have a discussion that evening covering my finances and job status. After my intestines untied themselves, I simply resolved to go to bed early before both parents returned home and avoid the situation entirely. Well, Mom was home earlier than I thought, so plan B kicked into action. I made a huge cup (pint?) of tea. At least then I could sip and think without seeming at a stupid loss for words.

Well, the moment came. And was surprisingly brief. We started somewhere around 11pm and ended about a half hour later. There was no shouting, no name-calling although I was the implied idiot again, but hey, that's old ammunition. The turning point came when my father tried to drudge up some old nonsense - I can't even really remember what it was except that it sounded exaggerated - Then, my mother spoke up and reminded him how they decided that they "weren't going to go there." Sipping my tea thoughtfully, I relaxed a bit, but not too much since I hadn't left the house yet. But I knew that it wasn't going to be as bad as a feared. My parents usually believe in the United Front Discipline System. My mother's interjection showed me that they weren't really in agreement on how to handle this.

God must have liked me that night.

The biggest surprise came when my father handed me a check for my summer apartment expenses.

Yes. You read that right. Read it again if that helps you. After all that mess about me paying my own way, they handed me a check. I was fully prepared to take care of myself. I want to take care of myself. There have been so many nights filled with sobbing and yelling and God only knows what hell I put my immune system through....

But I'm not stupid. I took the check.

This fact will probably be used against me in future arguments. At least I know in advance. I'm not sure what inspired this generosity, but I'm grateful as I can now save some money for next year. I try not to question too much. I'm a big believer in the whole guardian angel/ God looks out for you stuff they crammed into my head in Catholic elementary school. Maybe my parents have started to accept my adulthood and my choices.

My mother told me as she shoved as small, boxed tea infuser mug set into my hands the next morning, "I found this at half-price. I was too pissed off to spend too much on you." Well, maybe acceptance isn't the right word......

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Edge Followed Me

I've been struggling to fight of bouts of sobbing all day. I called my mother this afternoon to get an update on my grandfather who has had yet another stroke. He's doing ok as of now, but its a "wait and see" kind of thing. My mother was supposed to call me last night, but failed to do so then and this morning. I called once and left a message with a brother who forgot to pass it on. So, I called again. After the update, my mother immediately bridged into Brother #3's middle school graduation tomorrow night. I am driving to my parents' house after I am done at the library and then to get my bridesmaid dress refitted. Some argument ensued because I could have sworn that someone would meet me at the dress shop with my shoes and the receipt. Apparently not. So, I called the library and had a friend fill in for my last hour. After the dress is taken care of, I am to change clothes and head on to the ceremony. I leave the next morning in order to arrive at the library in time for my 9am shift followed by my 4pm shift at Job #2.

Alas, this was not the end of the "discussion." Ironically, my parents would prefer that I take a day off instead of cramming my schedule. This is ironic because the next segment of parental wisdom advises me to work about 50 hours a week. Making things even more felicitous, there is a job available for me nearby my parents that will work me about those hours for $8 an hour. Did I mention that I have two jobs, piano students and a soon to be art income that I must simply drop in order to do this? Granted, I would be making more money than I do now, but I'd have to live with my parents - snowballs chance in hell. I would like to maintain my health and sanity this summer, thank you very much. But the money problem still remains.

So far, the jobs and piano students don't cover all my basic expenses - food, rent, utilities, etc. It comes close, but I will not be able to save anything for next year. So, here's where the art comes in. There's a few stores downtown that will sell not only my original artwork, but any other crafts I drop off as well. I understand this can be sketchy, but its worth a shot especially since I've just taken up making my own greeting cards. Nice, multilayered ones that most stores don't carry. This store doesn't and they'll also take my posters, etc from my online store. Might as well try.

As for trying, I've added Olive Garden to my list of applications. I have an interview, but its not until the 20th. My mother has a legitimate concern that no jobs will be available then. They did want to have me come tomorrow, but that's impossible as I'll be en route to another state. I will try to call them frequently to see if I can move my appointment up. I'm going to start spreading word that I'm willing to babysit too - a few of my professors have little ones and they know me well enough to trust me. I would have to figure out what to charge since I haven't done this sort of thing for money (family pays nothing) in years. Maybe I could Google that.....

This brings me to where the dirty fighting began today. I am driving myself crazy trying to support myself and my mother calls me an idiot. Flat out this time, not implied. I should pack up, come home, start my handpicked job and be grateful for such thoughtful parents. My mother went as far to say that they should have made me come home this summer. I make inept decisions and I will suffer for it next year - basically, I'm an idiot again. This went on for a while sticking to that same theme and was reviewed again after closing at Job #2. I should have ignored that call.

The worst part about this is that my brother's graduation is tomorrow. I can already sense how this is going to play out. Everyone will behave themselves until the festivities are done and then, I'll get corned in the kitchen or the den to "discuss" my job situation further. My father is already upset about my grandfather, so he'll fly off pretty quickly. Mom will follow shortly, since Dad put her in charge of dealing with me this summer. I'll be exhausted and jittery from all this today. Whether or not I can prevent a panic attack this time is what may be my downfall. Either way, I won't be able to "win" the argument.

I'm already frightened and for someone like me that's hard to acknowledge. This should be my brother's important day and it could be ruined basically by my presence. Yet, I have to go - I can't just skip his graduation. I would love to just drive back after the event, but its highly unlikely that this idea will be tolerated. I'm trapped.

On top of all this, I've become aware of a concept that I've refused to take seriously for a while. My parents don't like me. They haven't for a while now. They love me, but that's automatic. If I was their age and a friend of theirs, they probably wouldn't associate with me except when they needed help with something. I would probably be in that group that they talk about now.

Its getting harder and harder for me to brush off what they say to me. I've been chanting "I'm not an idiot" and "I deserve better than this" all day. It only makes the tears flow faster. What if they do try to force me back into their house? How to I refuse without telling them how I really feel? Its not like they'd sit back and listen, anyway. Hard work should pay off, but I just feel like I'm chasing my tail.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would be most appreciative. Words of encouragement are also welcomed. I need to sleep because its nearly 1am and work starts at 8am.