Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Thursday, January 04, 2007

    I Am Sooooo Fucked....

    I think I did a bad thing. But it felt good at the time...

    I'm impulsive by nature. But over time I've learned to control my impulses like a Vulcan controls his emotions. Because when I don't, I do some really stupid things.

    This is one of them.

    The boxes of gifts arrived two weeks before Christmas. My mom called the same day.

    “Did you get them?” she asked.

    “Yup. Both boxes.”

    “Oh good. Ok, now when you open them, you'll see a couple of baskets with Frango mint stuff. One's for O's parents and one's for J.”

    I gave her back a little silence.

    “So you make sure you get those to them, Ok?” she continued.


    Now, you need to understand two things.

    The first is that J. is my dreaded sister-in-law. She is a vituperative bitch. (See meno? I told you I was stealing that bonbon of a word). I haven't spoken to J. since last January, when she screamed my faults – both real and imagined – into the phone and then hung up. I could go into the nitty-gritty details about the ongoing fight, but it slows down the story, so, I've footnoted it.*

    The other thing is that my mother is a wonderful woman, but she has NEVER had my back in a fight. My mom's life ambition is to make sure every single person on the face of the earth likes her. A Catholic thing? A Midwest thing? I don't know. Anyway, not only does she make sure she's gotten a gift for J., but she wants me to deliver it.

    Now, that's fine. I can set it on the old family caravan; pass it on to O, who can pass it on to his mom who can pass it on to J. Worked just fine last year. But what started to eat at me were the daily calls:

    Ring ring

    Hey mom, how's it going?

    Fine. Have you gotten those Frangos to them yet?


    Well, you'd better do it!

    Ring ring


    Hi there. Heard you got some snow!

    Two and a half feet.

    Wow. Did you get those Frangos to J. yet?

    Uh. Not yet. Kinda buried right now.

    Ring ring


    More snow?




    And so on.


    Mom, you do realize she hates us, right? And that getting the Frangos to her is not my top priority?

    Well! I don't want her to hate me! Tee hee!

    (My was dad in the background saying, Well I hate her. Yay dad!)

    And then she added:

    Now, dear, if O wants to reconcile with J. You shouldn't stand in the way...

    After which I told my mother the two-word expletive O uses when speaking of his sister, and that I was standing in the way of nothing. Except Frangos and their rightful owners, I guess.

    I hung up, seething, so hot I could have melted the snow just by stepping outside. Which would have come in handy, and kept me out of this mess.

    Because about that time, a plow actually came through our neighborhood, with the effect of throwing a three-foot wall of snow across the entrance to everyone's driveway. O had taken the shovels to work with him, so I ran across the street to B.'s house to borrow hers.

    B. is the best neighbor anybody could hope to have. Widowed, about my mom's age, spunky, grew up on a farm; I adore this woman. She came to our house for Thanksgiving. 'Nuff said.

    She met me at the door.

    Oh! I was just coming over! I have a little something for the boys, she said, and handed me two little Christmas bags and a couple containers of cookies. And she had a shovel I could borrow, and offered to help me shovel, which I declined.

    Every year for Christmas I give her a box of Colorado-made toffee. Heavenly. This year, the blizzards prevented me from getting out and purchasing boxes of said toffee on time.

    I ran into the house to drop off the gifts. The boyos pounced on them immediately. B. had knitted slippers for them. Made them something. And there were a couple little toys in there too.

    You know what's coming, right?


    In a moment of sheer guilt for not having anything for B., in a moment of sheer anger toward my mom, in a moment of sheer wickedness, in a moment of sheer, uncontrolled impulse, I grabbed the Frangos that were destined for J., tore off the gift tag, and raced back out the door.

    My heart sang all the way back across the street.

    B! Merry Christmas!

    It felt so good. It felt so right! A gift for a woman who deserved it, who made something for my little boyos. Who was always nice to me.

    Yeah. It felt good. Until I got hit with overwhelming guilt. I went around and around, trying to justify what I did, and I kept coming back to, 'They weren't mine to give.' (Ok, but in my defense, O had also made a statement the night before to the effect of, “Fuck her. We'll eat them!” AND, my mom is coming out to watch my boyos while I'm recovering from surgery.

    Guilt guilt guilt guilt. Guilt guilt guilt guilt.

    So, I tried to make amends, while trying to cover my ass. Frangos are not widely available outside of Chicago. I got online and looked. There were no baskets that matched exactly, so I ordered something that probably cost twice as much, and had it shipped to the bookstore as a precaution.

    In 13 years, J.'s only sent my mom one thank you, she wouldn't DARE call my mom while she was out here (ok, she MIGHT), but chances were, my mom would never be the wiser.

    A Pretty Good Plan, don't you think?

    Well, the universe, which I've found is NOT governed necessarily by the laws of morality – good vs bad – but by whatever event will produce the best punchline, has decided to strand the replacement basket in a town in Illinois that bears my (real) last name.

    Adverse weather conditions, the tracking says. It's been sitting there for a week. It's STILL there. It aint budging.

    And my mom gets here Saturday.

    Now, remember that I had the foresight to send the Frangos to the bookstore? Well, knowing the universe as I do, it will arrive on Monday, when O is at the hospital with me, and his parents are watching the store.

    I have the WORST postal luck. And I am soooo fucked.

    Yup. The universe has a sense of humor as abstruse as the ocean. And I'm just Dory swimming through it and chanting, “Just keep laugh-ing, just keep laugh-ing...”

    *Can I just say that one of my real 'faults' was not picking up the phone every time J. called me? (Mainly to avoid incriminating myself with loaded statements like, “How's it going?”)

    The catalyst to the fight was a phone call several months previous to that, prefaced with a “Feel free to say no.” J. wanted me to watch her three boys twice a week for two to three hours at a time while she went to a kickboxing class. I apologized and told her I was overwhelmed with my boyos alone, and that I didn't think I'd do a good job of watching five boys under the age of seven. She told me she understood, and hung up real quick-like.

    By the next day, the story she was telling people was that I hated her children. So, yeah, I started avoiding her calls after that.

    Another of my sins was feeding my boyos organic food. And limiting their television. And having a clean house. And losing weight. These things threatened her self-esteem, apparently.

    My imagined fault was 'never doing anything for her.' She conveniently forgot the quilt I made from scratch and by hand for her second baby during the summer and fall when I was told I couldn't have children of my own. She overlooked the hundreds of dollars we spent on gifts from Ireland. No mention of the weeks' worth of food I bought and cooked for her family – preparing all her favorite dishes – when her second-born had RSV, nor that I did it second time while she had surgery. Listened to her on the phone gripe that she was pregnant a third time, while I was still mourning a miscarriage. Forget all the little things besides these.

    So. She's not exactly my favorite person these days.

    19 people left me a love letter:

    Blogger Dantares wrote in a love letter...

    Does the box need to be identical? Even if your mother does get a call to say thankyou and she says "yes, the box with orange bows is lovely" when they were blue - would your mother believe that there had been a change?
    There must be some leeway to pull a fast one.
    But what is a Frango anyway?

    1:08 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Nicci wrote in a love letter...

    Just remember, God is a bitter gay man.

    I would have done the same thing. Actually I probably would have ate them myself(not knowing what they are exactly, but I am sure they are good) and I would have told my mother to start sending J.'s gifts to her house not mine.

    6:23 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Popeye wrote in a love letter...

    I actually think your Mom would understand. Just tell her the axe murderer didn't think she should have any problem with it. No prpblem at all. muhAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!

    7:09 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Maggie wrote in a love letter...

    I can just imagine the feeling you had walking back across the street - it must have been delicious! Don't worry, these things will work themselves out. There I go again, proclaiming magic. Maybe you shouldn't listen to me, I couldn't pull a rabbit from a hat, but I did pull out a tag, does that count?

    7:32 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Stucco wrote in a love letter...

    Jesus, Pants. Grow or borrow a set of juevos! Here's a mantra for you- "Fuck the fucking fuckers!"

    Glad to hear B made out tho :)

    8:25 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Bud wrote in a love letter...

    I'm totally with O. That is Fuck J. Fuck her up the ass. Tell your Mom the truth and that you'll take care of it when you're well. Then give her J's address so she can mail her own gifts in the future. It's not guilt you're feeling, I don't think, it's fear of being caught. You were honest with Mom and she ran over you. Be true to yourself and you will be a happy person.

    8:28 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Schmoopie wrote in a love letter...

    To be free of it, tell your mom the truth. All of it. Even a warped person could see that you had a "Storm of the Century" and needed to be a good neighbor (tell mom you need B to like you :) Then you ordered a replacement for J. She should understand the logic without needing to understand your feelings behind the whole matter. You acted from your heart when giving the Frangos to B. It was not necessarily because you can't stand J. (God, who can?!) Bottom line: They are just mints that were given to a very kind person instead of the bitch they were intended!

    8:48 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger meno wrote in a love letter...

    I know it's not nice to laugh. But that was an awesome story. If you had let me know earlier, i would have sent some fucking frangos from here, the heart of frango country.
    If they show up at an inopportune time, tell mom the truth. She really wants you to like her.
    Nice use of vituperative too.

    9:02 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    Toxic. Call in the EPA.

    9:27 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Esereth wrote in a love letter...

    How does she find fault in a clean house in weight loss? How can she possibly manipulate that into a fault?

    11:11 AM, January 05, 2007  
    Anonymous patches wrote in a love letter...

    It doesn't matter if you come're still going to feel FREE! Maybe someone should sponsor a sister-in-law trade. It might give you an opportunity to trade up to a less selfish model. And if the new one sucks, just ignore her.

    12:44 PM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    A Frango, Dantares, is a dark-chocolate truffle infused with mint. They are rediculously expensive and rediculously good. I'm ok as long as my mom doesn't ask my MIL, "So, how'd everybody like the Frangos?"

    If God's a bitter gay man, Nicci, then he and I have something in common. I'm a very tall gay man who's bitter because he's trapped in a small woman's body. How do I steer this thing? And there are boobs...ewwwwww...

    LOL!!!! AND the ax murder knows where she lives... Popeye, I think you are the only person on the PLANET whom she didn't want to impress upon meeting. Her loss. :-)

    It WAS delicious, Maggie -- better than a Frango. And if you say you can do magic, I believe you. :-)

    Can I borrw YOURS, Stucco? ;-) Fuck the fucking fuckers....fuck the fucking fuckers...

    O's words exactly, Bud! (Though he's saying, "Well. I wish you hadn't done it..."). Fear of being caught...that could be it...perhaps fear of looking bad (wonder where THAT comes from...). I'm happiest when I'm true to myself, until someone doesn't like my truth. :-)

    Ah, but Schmoop, I much prefer hiding behind a good con. ;-) I like the idea of using my mom's logic against her. "I wanted B. to LIKE me!"
    Hey, is it ok if I borrow Stucco's balls for the weekend?

    Laugh, Meno, laugh! That's why I wrote this. I never realized Oregon was Frango Country. One more reason to move there (Do you hear me, O?) Damn. I would have had you send me some. :-)

    Amen, Amusing. But as long as I have _your_ mom's approval, that's all that matters. My mom's got your back...

    Hey Es! :-) It's not the clean house or weight loss per se, it's that she cannot accomplish these things herself, and so becomes angry that I do it to spite her. It's J.'s world, the rest of us just live in it as best we can.

    lol, Patches! Last year I decided it would be good to have a Weird Relative Exchange at the holidays. Another family's weird relative won't disrupt your holiday cheer, and might be fun to watch. In the meantime, your weird relative isn't there to bring up past grudges. They're off eating turkey at someone else's house and providing the entertainment there.

    5:33 PM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Irrelephant wrote in a love letter...

    Kee-ripes! Every time I think I have it strange, I just come here and read a little, and I realise that I've got a WALK IN THE PARK compared! *s* Sorry, couldn't help myself.

    Kinda glad I came in late on this one, as I now know what a Frango is, and where I can find their heartland. Important info. *carefully filing it away*

    And speaking of Catholic..with that sort of guilt you've got going on you could be a freaking Cardinal. You're already a gay man...

    6:09 PM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Schmoopie wrote in a love letter...

    I popped back over here to read your blog again too. Damn can you tell a story or what!? Too bad it's not fiction ;) LOL

    7:33 PM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    Um. One more observation. Are you saying she is fat? ANd hates herself for it? And yet your mom is sending her chocolate truffles for Xmas? And asking YOU to pass them on? Is there a passive aggressive thing going on here?

    7:54 PM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Scott from Oregon wrote in a love letter...

    Well, as th euniverse would have it, you'll be recuperating from surgery the whole time Mum is supposed to be mad at you. You really are lucky in your timing, do you hear me now?

    9:54 PM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Cheesy wrote in a love letter...

    "So. She's not exactly my favorite person these days." Ah the mistress of understatements?? lol... Be proud of what you did,,, you made a lovely woman happy...I say be honest with mom... if she asks again,,,, IF

    11:30 PM, January 05, 2007  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    Welcome to my world, Ir. :-) I'd rather be a goose than a Cardinal (or is that be goosed...).

    Thanks, Schmoop! I wish it WERE fiction. How's greenland? ;-)

    She's not fat, she's big-boned. ;-)

    That's an interesting thought. But, I don't think it's a passive-aggressive thing. She has other ways of doing that.

    lol...this is true, Scott. But my mom has a way of hording grudges and doling them out later when you least expect it -- kinda like the Spanish Inquisition.

    I'd rather be understated than overstated,Cheesy. ;-) And the Frangos did go to a lovely woman.

    9:26 AM, January 06, 2007  
    Blogger Nicci wrote in a love letter...

    are you saying you are god;)

    You will have to let us know how this turns out! I gotta know if you come clean to mom.

    6:00 AM, January 08, 2007  

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