9:03 a.m. - 2004-12-27
So we finally make it to my mom's house, after she spends the whole car ride home bitching about my grandmother and stepfather's antics. To-wit: my grandmother just tends to get in the kitchen and shove my mom out of the way; she will ASK how my mom does things, but then do them her own way anyway; she insists upon saving every last dribble of food, because we might starve later if we don't eat three kernels of corn or one teaspoon of squash; she turns up the TV unbelievably loud; and she insists that the temperature in the house resemble that of a tropical island. My stepfather (who is disabled) has been: turning his TV up even louder to compensate for my grandmother's; ordering ramps for the car which are too heavy for my mother to lift (and she'd be the one in charge of that, because god forbid we actually admit we're disabled and need help to someone outside the family) and ARGUING with my mother about it; sleeping in the recliner chair in the middle of the living room and getting pissed off when people might want to sit in there and talk; and bitching about the salad at dinner.
Anyway, I get there and catch up with my gramma, shouting over the TV, of course. Don't get me wrong. My gramma and I have always gotten along very well. She's a completely liberal democrat, hates Bush, hates the war, hates the Social Security Administration, etc. However, she's very opinionated (well, we all knew I got it from somewhere, right?), and her opinion is always the correct one. Not her house? So? It is for the next three weeks. And she's not always so good at listening.
As dinner is being prepared, we realize we are missing a few key ingredients: some sort of spice, and liquor. Therefore, my sister-in-law and I decide to take a field trip. We stop by the grocery store and the liquor store (which was actually the MOST crowded spot…guess everyone needs a little help getting through the holidays). We get back, and then realize we are also out of butter. Back to the store, this time with my brother. He decides he needs a six-pack of Guinness, too. We proceed back home, and he of course pulls out the beer first…and left the butter in his truck. My mom almost flipped out.
After many "discussions" re: the preparation of Christmas dinner (and she even tried to boss around my sister-in-law, who was having none of this), we finally sit down to eat. My stepfather always says a blessing, and my brother and I are always kicking each other under the table and trying to make each other laugh. With the addition of my SIL and gramma, there were a few strategic coughs. (My gramma HATES my stepfather.) He finally shuts the hell up once the food is cold, and we start passing things around. (Me, being me, won't eat the food cold, so I ostentatiously get up and microwave my plate.)
However, the discussion at the table was lively and amusing…everyone was laughing about the fact that the gravy was not being passed in the correct order, so you either had food and no gravy or gravy and no food. Then, of course, my stepfather has to start bitching about the neighbor's wind chime. Grant you, I find noises like that annoying sometimes. But seriously, he can make a federal case about anything which disturbs the tomb-like silence of his environment. While the rest of us are just trying to ignore him, my brother said "well, if someone bitched about MY wind chime, I would just tell them to kiss my ass." At least the stepfather shut the hell up after that. (Later, we went out to smoke, and heard the wind chime. It was so not loud, and was actually kind of pretty.)
We open gifts, no real drama, eat dessert, and then decide it's time to leave to go over to my brother's house (I planned to spend the night there)….and….it's snowing. Hard. In HOUSTON.
That is the end of this installment…because the brother's house trip involves much difficulty, and I need to upload some pictures, and, well, they're on my computer at home. For the previous installment, click the "before" button, or the title of the last entry. I'm too lazy to be linking it this morning.