Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Nightmare Recap

I so badly wanted to write something funny this week about poop or boobies (but not a combination of the two, yuck!) or bacon, but I have to give a recap about the Thanksgiving nightmare that went down this past weekend. I don't think I can get back to writing about anything else unless I get this out there first, so you'll have to just bear with me here. I have been debating about whether or not to even post this because: a) it makes my family sound horrible, and while they may be crazy they are mostly great; and b) because no matter how hard I try to explain what happened, I pretty much come off sounding like a dick.

Well, an even bigger dick than I normally do. Which is impressive.

I went to my sister’s house in Colorado for Thanksgiving and the whole dysfunctional family was there. I just wrote about it, so for the recap go here. I have to say, I think I jinxed myself this year by writing about the whole thing and by being so damn smug about how I was going to win the betting. This year backfired horribly.

Leaving Thursday morning was actually really easy. I expected to have to deal with major traffic and long lines at the airport so I left my apartment really early; like at 8am for a 10:30am flight. I am responsible like that and I plan ahead.

No I don't actually. But I am trying to grow up and this was how I could prove to myself that I am an adult.

There was absolutely no traffic and nobody at the airport (again, proving to myself how acting responsibly and/or like an adult is never a good thing). I was through security a full two hours before my flight – 30 minutes after leaving my house, which is also pretty impressive. I had to wait two hours for my flight, so I didn’t even bother going to my gate. I got some breakfast at the only “restaurant” at LaGuardia – a small buffet stand. I sat at the closest gate and slowly ate my oatmeal, drank some coffee and then got up and meandered to my gate. Just as I got there they were finishing the boarding for the 9:10am flight. I said, “I know the answer to this question is ‘no’ but is there any chance I can get on this flight standby right now? I am really early for my flight.”

So I got on a flight an hour and a half earlier than expected. Which was great. Thanks to all of you who sent the good travel vibes to me.

Unfortunately that was pretty much the highlight of the trip for me. Getting on an earlier flight.

Remember when I said that at my family’s Thanksgiving people are always getting into fights and/or crying? Well, apparently it was my turn this year.


Although, technically I didn’t cry or get involved in a fight (read: I wasn’t actually yelling at anyone) I was dragged into the most tense and awkward situation ever.

My old man picked me up from the airport in Denver with my soon-to-be-brother-in-law riding shotgun and on the ride back to my sister’s house my dad decided to bring up “the issue”.

Ugh…. The whole issue could be multiple posts by itself, but basically after finishing school and before I moved to New York, I was in Minneapolis for a few months doing a paid internship and subletting an apartment. My internship got extended for six weeks meaning more experience, and ultimately more money to move to NYC with. My sublet, however, did not get extended and my girlfriend and I had nowhere to live for six weeks (try finding an apartment for six weeks sometime, not a fun task). I asked my dad if we could stay at his gigantic house for the time being in one of the five (literally) empty bedrooms in his house. Being a family member and someone who cared about me and who understood my situation (poor and starting life post-college), he said no. So we were homeless, and he’s a dick.

That is such a brief summary of the whole deal it simply does not do it justice, but enough to help you understand that I was (in my opinion rightfully) pretty pissed and very hurt by the whole thing. Maybe someday I'll write about it, but honestly it just sucks and I'm trying to block it out.

But back to the original story. This was actually a short, civil and relatively uneventful conversation, but not the way I wanted to start my trip. He brought up the issue as soon as I got in the car and asked if I was “over it yet.” I said I was trying really hard to get over it, and I have been putting effort into rebuilding our relationship (which I really have), but I was bummed about it, and it wasn’t like flipping a switch for me; that I wasn’t pissed, but I hadn’t forgotten about it. He then told me the whole problem was that I was immature and I was the one responsible for ruining our (not even remotely ruined; damaged, but not ruined) relationship.

I reminded him that if he ever needed a place to stay, my house would always be open to him. And that, yes, I am immature; it probably has a lot to do with my upbringing.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch more or less. We had a nice dinner, tons of really good food, I spilled a bottle of wine on my Aunt's plate (they make those bottles so slippery nowadays), football, the whole shibang.

My sister, her fiancé, and I, of course, made bets this year. For Crying I took my brother; my sister bet on our sister in law; and my sister’s fiancé bet on my mom. For the Fight Bet I bet on my mom; my sister bet on my mom as well; and my sister’s fiancé bet on, well… ME.

Nobody cried on Thanksgiving, nobody got into a fight (I did slap my sister's fiancé in the face and he stabbed me in the chest with a fork, but it was all in good fun). It was a curiously mellow event. I think the decrease in alcohol consumption (myself not included) contributed to that. But the next day got a little hairy...

I have always been the one in my family that people turn to when there is a problem. I get called about this or that and generally need to offer advice, suggest a solution, course of action or a way for people to resolve it. Ever since the issue with my old man though I have taken a lesser role as peacemaker, since I was (am) the one with the issue. So in trying to smooth out an impending fight before it started on Friday evening, someone got mad at me. Which lead, somehow, to me getting labeled by my mom (the one trying to start said fight) as the one causing, “tension.” How I managed to upset anyone, I have no idea. I was very calm and simply suggested that maybe the two of them discuss "it" at another time, when they both wanted to talk about it. I literally was preemptively stopping a fight, calmly, which was dumb, because it would have lead to me winning the bet. But again I was trying to be an adult. And again I was reminded why I should never, ever act like one. It was also dumb because in trying to keep the peace, I pissed people (one person) off. I apparently have lost my role as the family mediator.

Great, stop calling me about every little problem.

A bit later I was schooling my sister's fiancé in Wii Bowling when my dad said we needed to leave immediately. As in now. Because a ten minute "hey-we're-in-the-same-ride" heads-up would just not have been appropriate. Then my dad left me at my sister’s house to go back to the hotel where all my stuff was.

(Thanks for continuing to not be a dick!)

When I got up on Saturday morning, in the basement of my sister’s house, I walked almost all the way up the stairs into the living room when I heard my mom and dad talking about how I was causing some sort of issue or tension that was so bad I maybe needed to leave. I honestly did nothing all weekend other than try to get people to mellow out, avoid getting heated about anything, watch football and slap my soon-to-be-brother-in-law in the face a few times. But apparently I was causing “tension” by not letting people fight with each other and expecting to get a ten minute heads up before I had to jump in the car and leave (I was winning a game, I mean come on). Like things weren’t tense enough.

Anyway, after hearing my parents talk about (basically) not wanting me there anymore, I got on the computer, changed my flight, and left for the airport.

I was pretty bummed. It was not a great feeling to feel like your folks (once again) don't even want you there, but things have been that way between us for a long time, even though we generally get along. My sister's fiancé and I talked about it on the way to the airport and he agreed it was pretty harsh for them to act like that. But, substantiation not withstanding, it was a long flight home.

The worst part about the whole thing? Yep, you know it. My soon-to-be-brother-in-law (sister’s fiancé, whatever) bet on me for the fight bet. This was his first year even competing! What a dick! So, while I didn’t yell, and I didn’t technically get in a “fight” or yell anything ultra-obscene, it was tense and awkward enough that I knew I had to pay up… I lost the fight bet - and I was the one who lost it for me.

Lame fucking Thanksgiving this year. Losing bets sucks.


  1. That's it! next year you are flying your ass down to Miami and spending Thanksgiving with me and my family eating all sorts of Cuban deliciousness to make up for this years. I will even convince my father to teach you the appropriate way of sporting a super beyond awesome mustache.

    I'm sorry it sucked so hard :-(

  2. heyyy... I've been reading your blog for awhile but decided to delurk today because I think I need to blogroll ya.

    So this entire post was highly entertaining but also very sad. Dads who don't know how to get along with their sons are just... mean and unnecessary. Anyways, I'm sorry you had a sad time and you had to fly home feeling shitty and also has to pay up for it.

    And if this is your Thanksgiving, what the hell do you do at CHRISTMAS??

  3. Seriously. My dad will have you over for a cranberry margarita ANYTIME while my mom psychoanalyzes you. This sounds awful. Not that it's any consolation, but I think you did a really tidy and subtle job of capturing the nature of family miscommunication.

  4. WOW.... I MEAN, WOW!
    I started reading the first few sentences of your entry and I knew I had to get comfortable because it was going to be QUITE a story... and that it was!
    Your post are always so interesting to read but I do believe that the Thanksgiving Nightmare takes the cake. I can't believe your Dad! Well, actually, I can... parents can be so weird sometimes. Perhaps if you ever have children you will catch yourself doing things that make you go....Hmmmm! But really, I can't believe that on a Thankful holiday that they would make you feel that way. I know its hard to let go of baggage and to forgive (even when you know DAMN SURE that you were right...) but believe me its better for everyone in the long run if you can let go of the past and try your best to move forward... even if your pops is in the wrong. God knows why he didn't want you to live in his HUGE AND EMPTY house when you were homeless (ouch) but regardless just tell yourself that its okay. He is who he is and unfortunately you can't change him. You are in control of your life and it seems like you are doing a good job no matter what anyone does or says (you aren't homeless anymore, right?).
    I'm such a pacifist! :)
    Write your pops a short not and tell him that you have let it go and that you all are going to move on. Its a new day. If you are willing to do that, I PROMISE you that you will start to see some crazy changes in your relationship, for the better.

    Okay, the P.V.S.P has given her daily dose of lifecoaching:)
    More lata Uncle!

  5. I'm sorry your Thanksgiving sucked. Thanksgiving is the worst holiday ever, and it makes people crazy.

  6. See? Spending the money that you don't have on a bet is always gratifying. Even if you lose. Because spending money is fun.

    Sorry about your folks!

  7. Jossie - Thanks! Miami, Moustaches and being welcomed somewhere sounds great! Sign me up.

    Bethis - I read a bit of your blog, it's awesome and I am honored to be listed there. Thank you. And I'm Jewish, so Christmas has never really been a big deal. Not since my relatives killed Jesus anyway.

    RB - I might really take you up on that, warm up the blender, yo. But the psychoanalyzation might be grounds for a book. Things get weird inside this head.

    PVSP - I'm really trying to let it go. Like I told him, I wish I could just do it. But it's not like flipping a switch.

    And, no I'm not homeless - even when that went down, some dear friends of mine made sure we had a place to stay. They moved their 4yo son (my Godson) out of his room and into their bedroom and we got his room for 5-6 weeks.

  8. BWP - It made me want to break shit. I thought about flying there to break shit with you. I shotgunned beers on the airplane home instead.

    KC - Spending money is always fun, you're right. I just don't like losing the actual bet, I am far too competitive

  9. What a horrible Thanksgiving. It's messed up your dad wouldn't let you live with him when you didn't have a place. I'd be pissed and totally hurt too. I rent a house on my parents land (and not a great deal for being their daughter either), and they're letting my sister build a house. I'm in a stable relationship, struggling with $$, she' single and only lives here 2 days a week. Just call me Bitter Betty! It's like because they're still our parents, they don't feel they need to justify their reasoning, no matter how hurtful it may be.

  10. Dude, that is really, really awful. There was a good while when I decided to have only superficial relationships with my parents because they would pull shit like that. And you know what- I was totally happy having them only peripherally in my life. Just because they are you parents, doesn't mean they are good people (oh, wait, I think that was me projecting). Anyway, I hope you're staying away for xmas.

  11. Families can be such assholes. Seriously. I won't go into all my bullshit and issues, but I can identify with a lot of what you seem to be feeling. Man, this stuff just really sucks.. I don't think there's much else to say about it without sounding trite (more trite than saying it sucks, of course).

    Oh the upside, more likely than not I can kick your ass at wii bowling. And I'm not even kidding.

  12. Zen - Totally. The whole mess of issues would be a million posts on here (and years of therapy), but it's pretty deep and convoluded shit.

    Punchline - Being a Jew has some perks other than just being perfect. No Christmas. Wait...

    Muse - Bring it. Name the time and place, I will school you. Truth.