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 Um....sorry for like, completely disappearing off the face of the earth for the last two weeks. Was busy with the Christmas prep and then with the trauma of the actual event, then was lured in by the really good crack called *MY NEW NINTENDO WII*!!

Yes, my uncle, who is totally awesome and rocks beyond measure, gave me $200 worth of visa gift cards to be used toward the purchase of one when they actually became available. I was determined to check in daily at Wal-Mart starting on the 26th and was stunned to get the last one they had on the 28th. WOOHOO!! They got 18 in at 10:30am and I bought the last one at 5:00pm. So I had a marathon gaming session this last weekend on The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess. 

Did I mention my uncle is made of win? He really, really is. Especially when you consider that I only see him once a year, if that. Of course, he's an incredibly successful freelance computer programmer, so...it's not like $200 bucks was anything to him at all. Just from the cards I saw for the rest of the family, he spent $700 just on the extended relations that aren't part of his immediate family, which I'm sure he spent much, much more extravagantly for. 

Must be nice. 

Christmas itself, however, was a total nightmare. D (my uncle) came on Saturday and we ended up having his and his new wife K's, christmas then. We have Christmas every year at my aunt's house. She's single and is caring for my 80 year old grandfather in a 5 bedroom, 3000+sqft house, so she's the logical choice. Well, she and my mother are like oil and water. B (my aunt) has shelled out an astronomical amount of money on Mom who, to put it politely, has issues. 

Mom is an RN but hasn't held a steady job in over five years, after she lost her license. (long, LONG story, but I still think the penalty was too harsh, as she didn't hurt anyone at all.) In addition, when she was 48, she was diagnosed with Type II diabetes and she promptly decided she was disabled and was going on disability. Never mind that millions of people successfully live with this disease without it being debilitating. Well, in the interim, she lost her house and showed up on my doorstep, bag in hand. (let's not forget, I live in a *1br 1ba apartment*) My living room became her bedroom, I bought her a futon and she's still here a year and a half later, still jobless and still not getting disability while I pay for everything and have to beg money occassionally from B. 

I have my own long and varied reasons from a screwed up childhood to resent her, which I do...greatly. But B has just as much reason. After working tirelessly with Mom to get her license back, and paying fines and fees and for continuing ed classes, Mom just suddenly stops pursuing it and decides she's never going to work again. Needless to say B and I both have some major problems with this. 

But I digress. Just setting the background for a lovely family Christmas. It starts out pretty nice, actually, but Satuday afternoon, B pulls me aside and says without preamble, "Your mother stinks. She's got to wash those clothes, or I'm going to say something to her."

Good God. 

Mom hasn't caught on to the fact that a heavy smoker who wears a comfortable old sweater (that carries smells well) quite often is going to be....aromatic....to a houseful of non-smokers. B is just less tolerant of that in her own house and is made even more so because of the excess emotional baggae Mom brings when she comes for Christmas. 

Yeah. You can pretty well guess how it goes from here. I tell Mom as gently as possible. She has a hissy fit that no one wants her there. B tells her to grow up and stop acting like a 5 year old. Mom would storm out, but I drove us the 75 miles to get there, so instead demands to come back with me when I drive in for work on Christmas Eve and announces she won't be back for Christmas. 

B announces that if Mom doesn't come back, she gets no presents, her car payment (which B is making) stops and the car will be taken and sold, all the money stops, and Mom should never darken her doorstep again. 

I, as usual, am caught in the middle. And people wonder why I loathe the holidays.

Mom sulks, as usual, and goes back, as always the wounded and aggrieved party. Mom has spent her life being the wronged party. Nothing that ever happens to her is her own fault and she won't take responsibility for anything. Right now, I stay on a low level of anger and disgust with her that she would leech off her family like she's doing and not make any effort to work her own problems out. I've helped or supported her since she told me I had to start working at 15 years old and she's made it clear that she intends to live with me until she dies. When I was a teenager and graduated early, she refused to let me go to college and leave her and I loved her too much to cut ties with her completely, which is what it would have taken. So I'm now turning 29 in 10 days, still have no college, but at least have a really good job.

At least it's over for another year. God, I hate Christmas.

Moria-

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