Monday, November 15, 2010

Where is my Head?

I realized just now that I forgot to blog one of the most important details from the chic birthday party we attended last week.

As you may recall, Sally's friend Willa was turning 90, and her daughter decided to celebrate that fact in style. My mother had been keenly anticipating the celebration, and running me ragged for the preceding month, getting every little detail about gifts and clothing just poifect.

But I was a tad worried that Sally might haul off and slap one of the party guests.

This part is complicated: pay attention, if you haven't already read my account.

About 6-8 years ago, I went to a dinner party at the same house, the well-appointed home of Willa's daughter. One of the dinner guests discretely felt up my rear end, while his wife sat innocently at the other end of the room. I ignored him, and he got the message.

Then, about 5 years ago, I told Sally the story.

Just this past summer, Sally suddenly and with absolutely no prompting, announced that a man had grabbed her voluminous butt at the very same dinner party. Not the guy who grabbed me, mind you, but another guest from that evening, Jim, who is the husband of a very good friend of mine.

We'd all been eating dinner together that night, and I'm QUITE sure that Sally wasn't remembering anything that actually happened to her. Instead, she'd appropriated my memory for herself, and substituted gropers in the process.

Now, I knew my friend Babs and hubby Jim would be at the party. I was worried that Sal would spot him and try to set him straight. Thankfully, she seemed to have no idea who he was, didn't speak to him, and certainly didn't make a scene, other than by getting quite smashed.

The really funny part about this little story is that the guy who actually did fondle my posterior was at the party as well, as was his wife who remembered me and said hello. I hadn't seen either of them since that fateful dinner party 8 years ago.

I think he remembered me. I caught a bit of a nervous tick in the way his eyes came to rest on me. I can see the most amazing things from the very, very corner of my eyes :)

My son once said to me he was thoroughly convinced I could see him when my back was completely turned. And he's not far wrong.

Anyway, there we were. Mr. Gropey Hands, his wife, me (and my buttocks) and Anthony, who knew all about Mr. G-H, because I'd told him.

I snuggled right up beside Anthony while Mr. G-H did his nervous tick thing. I have to admit, I was rather tickled that in my estimation, my husband was quite the best-looking man there. Anthony slung his arm tightly around my waist and we chatted and smiled and laughed up a storm.

Sometimes, these little events turn out just right. Poifect, in fact.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm Insane, Correct?

Yep it's been a long time between posts lately. I know.

But my life is insane. Or maybe I am. I don't know.

Honestly, I truly get these moments where someone says something to me, and I sense pending craziness, but I reply reasonably, and then they say something totally nuts, and I get the "Oh like you didn't know this was coming feeling," and I attempt to remain reasonable, but by then it's all just GONE LONG GONE.

The conversation continues to escalate into kookoo-ville, and in the end, I go: "Take me now Lord."

So to update you, we went to the upscale cocktail party to celebrate my mother's friend's 90th birthday.

I should say at this point, just in case you haven't noticed by reading this blog, that my mother is a hypochondriacle (is that not a word?), martyred, Polish Princess. Caps deliberate.

And that's just her title. If you delve down into her psyche (God help you), you'll find a mess of stuff, the likes of which I can't quite describe, and I don't understand, but have wondered about mightily for many a year, you can believe.

I have no idea what made my mother the way she is. I only know she is a far thing from what I am, and that's been a deliberate process on my part.

We did the party. It was everything I expected. A lovely, spare-no-expense-fling in the hither-come regions of the best part of Kookytown; well you may imagine the feeling of entering the lushy home on the shores of the most well-appointed curb of one of the better streets in this burg, and having a hired photographer flashing her device in your face, because, EVERYTHING at this momentous event will be CHRONICLED.

Fine. They got the best-looking, youngest waiters to traipse around with the best tit-bits and wine, and the photog-flash kept going and going...and...Sally kept drinking...and drinking...and Sally's friend accosted Anthony about his job (which affects the public), but of course about a topic over which he has no control.

And Anthony was his charming best. He answered her tiresome 90-year-old accusations with wit and aplomb. She melted and told me she "approved" of my choice of husbands.

I am so pleased.

Anyway. I'm so tired of them all. My mother. Her friends. Anthony's mother. His brother. And you can add my ex-husband (the second one...no idea where the first one is) and his wifey to that list.

All these people who have never made their ways through life, but have coasted along on the skills and good-will of others, could they please just leave me alone? Please? Apparently not. They continue to manipulate, and abuse and use, and provoke and consternate us who plod along being responsible and selfless and more-or-less kind-of nice.

I'm just tired of them and don't want to interact with them anymore. But here I am and there they are and unless I move to the moon, how can I cut off all interaction with these people?

As we left the party, Sally and her dried-up old Sow of a friend (and I say that with the greatest of respect for the porcine members of my readership) agreed to meet for a visit again in the next few days, while Sow was still here in Kookytown. At Sow's daughter's well-appointed home.

Next day, it started. Sally, who was pissed like a first-year university student at the party, woke up the next day with no memory of the event. But rather than admit that fact, she started her usual scheming, which involves, inevitably, my fall into the abyss.

She awoke, descended from her boudoir into our realm, and announced grandly:

"I want to take (her friend and her friend's daughters and moi) to lunch. Delia, please arrange."

By announcing this, Sally meant that I was to do everything, except pay for the lunch. I would call everyone. Decide on a venue. Reserve said venue. Make sure everyone could get there. Provide transportation for everyone who could not get there on their own. Eat. Drive every one home.

I'd like to note at this point that Sally has never taken me out for lunch on my own. Or with my daughter. Or son or any other combination of my family at this moment in time. Or, a million years ago, with my sister, or brother, or father, or any of my friends, or any of her friends, or anyone, period. Ever.

She was only offering now, because she needed an organizer and a driver. Fuck.

I told her she'd agreed to meet her friend at her friend's daughter's home. "Oh, did I?" she countered in a mocking voice. "No, I'd like to take you all to lunch." Very final, cutting tone.

I figured I wouldn't mention that Sow's daughter would be at work during the week and the other daughter flew back to Calgary immediately after the big party. Imagine. No time to stick around and hang with Sal.)

She got on the phone with Sow and started lying.

Sally: "Yes, Sow, we just arose and Delia made a grand brunch (Anthony snorted his coffee through his nose at this lie, understandably, since I've never made brunch in my life and he makes it every second weekend for all of us.) But my mother thought it a Grand Illusion (due regards to Styx) to paint a picture of her daughter slaving in the kitchen over an imagined brunch.

Sow: "Murmle, murmle, murmle."

Sally: "And yes, we will all join again for lunch...Delia will call you."

I can't begin to describe what followed for the next 48 hours.

I told her I would not arrange the lunch. She said I would. I told her I had things to do and she hadn't consulted me. She said "So what?" I said "Well so what? So you don't get my indentured services." She kept looking away and repeating her commands. I would walk away and half an hour later, she'd start over. I tried patience and not answering, and straight-out yelling "NO!", and everything else I could think of (including burying myself under the blankets of the bed).

Then she'd forget she'd offered to do the lunch. There'd be no memory, and I mean NO MEMORY, of a lunch. But then her friend would call, and ask, "So, how about that lunch?" And it would start again.

I spoke to the friend. I told her it would be nice if they could visit, but I had no time to event-plan a lunch. We arranged that Sally would visit her at her daughter's home. Exactly as it had been planned when we left the party, but Sal had forgotten in her drunken stupor.

I told Sally, who pretended to be pleased, but the moment my back was turned she carried the phone into the basement, thinking I couldn't hear her down there. And she called her friend and cancelled their visit. Because if Sally couldn't host a lunch to rival her friend's birthday party, then there'd be no visit at all.

And on it went, for two days. Her friend called me. What's going on? she asked? How do I know, I countered? Phone calls, intrigue, lies, dates set up, dates cancelled, over and over. I thought I'd set foot onto an Alfred Hitchcock movie set. Who knew what the hell was going on, and who the hell cared anyway?

After I heard my mother whisper into the phone that she "couldn't possibly visit (her friend) because it was too much hassle for Delia," I realized just how pathetic my mother had become.

She would say anything, and blame anyone, including me, in an attempt to one-up her friend. At the age of 90, and in such a state that she can no longer manage any of her own affairs, Sally in her vanity and jealousy is still trying to out-do her friend. And because I wouldn't jump at her beck-and-call to support this illusion, well, then she'd take me down in her lies, to protect her image.

I am so tired of it all...because this has been my family and this has been my mother. For all these years.

I reflected on much of this with Anthony. But before I had told him all the details, he interjected.

"Your mother is jealous," he said. "I can see that now. She's jealous of her friend, jealous of you."

His assessment is as objective as it could be, I think.

Well, I suppose I'm not insane then. Just tired.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ok, next?

Made it through Halloween. The costumes were all great, but tons of work, not to mention cash. Consumers spend almost as much on the spooky Halloween rituals as they do at Christmas.

Speaking of, now we swing into full-blast Christmas planning. Not only do I buy gifts for all my loved ones (and a few others), but for the last decade, I've also been buying gifts on my mother's behalf. Double duty.

As a person not overly fond of shopping, it sucks big-time. Further, Sally's birthday is a few days before Christmas, right at the busiest time of the month, when I'm frantically trying to get all the loose ends together.

I do enjoy baking, however, so it will be fun planning the slices and cookies and bon-bons, which I'll need to make up ahead of time, so they can rest, and improve, and rest, and improve even more. Especially the rum-soaked ones. If there's any rum left for baking.

I've been going through the stuff at a pretty rapid rate these days. Stress-reliever, you know.

Once Christmas is done, a veritable flurry of events follow, in this household.

New Year's Eve.
January: Alex's birthday.
February: Valentine's Day, our wedding anniversary and my birthday.
March: The Ides! Beware!!! Spring break for the kids, too.
April: Anthony's birthday. Easter.
May: Kathleen's birthday, Mother's Day, Victoria Day weekend.
June: Father's Day. Oops, that doesn't count, because it's not something Anthony or I have to worry about any more. And of course, the many, many end-of-the-school-year parties, ceremonies, exams, etc., that will have us all thoroughly frazzled by the end of June. It never fails to amaze me how much celebrating and planning goes into all these events.

That's why we'll need July and August to recover. But the planning and logistical maneuvering required to get the summer vacation in tip-top order is exhausting, so I actually need September to recover.

But you know how September goes...busy, busy, busy with back-to-routine stuff.

I feel rather tired just looking at the list...