Merry Christmas. Or happy Hanukkah. Or festive Kwanzaa. Or Cheery Celebration of Greatest Revenue Day For Chinese Food Restaurants in Jewish Areas. In my house, it’s Acknowledgment of The Grace of Mr. Coffee Day (Say it with me! “Praised Be!”). And with the multiple generations of estrogen-infused family upon us, it’s also Joyous Passive Aggression and Martyrdom Display Day (J.P.A.M.D.E.). This is preceded by Joyous Passive Aggression and Martyrdom Display Eve, which is preceded by a full J.P.A.M.D.E. (I say it “JayPamDee”) advent, known as the 30 Days of J.P.A.M.D.E. For Seinfeld fans, this is a lot like Festivus, complete with the airing of grievances, but without the weird pole thing, and because it’s led by women, it’s more like the airing of, “Reasons I Should Have Jewels Upon Jewels in My Crown in Heaven For All I Do For My Ungrateful Family – but not you, Dear, the other parts of the family, you know who I’m talking about.”
This year’s J.P.A.M.D.E. celebration began with the J.P.A.M.D.E. advent the day after Thanksgiving (this has a lot to do with volunteering to go shopping and then complaining about how sore your feet are even though half of what you bought was for yourself) and is still in progress at the moment, which is why I haven’t had time to blog about it for you guys (Sorry, web dwellers!). In our multi-age, multi-generation, fractured, extended, slightly crazy, often surprising, incredibly well-intentioned yet annoying as an eyelash in your eye while you’re driving, clique-ish as a Long Island all-girls’ high school, made-for-cable-tv family, there are some pretty interesting characters. You know how people say, “There’s one in every family,”? Well, there are four in mine. So, for your reading amusement, and my own catharsis, here’s a little reverse-peephole into my house this week.
Don’t worry, Mr. Northman was around via text for encouragement and tension relief.
So, like I said the other day, the blue-hairs did descend on us, and it was just nuts from the get-go. The real joy of J.P.A.M.D.E. had already started last month with the advent, which makes me super grateful I have unlimited emailing and texting on my cell for two reasons:
- The blue-hairs (and would-be blue-hairs if they didn’t have their salons on speed dial) have been constantly asking, via email and many, many texts, for lists of presents to give my minions (Yes, the blue-hairs text. Impressive and yet so annoying.), and I’ve been emailing and texting them all back with lists of favorite characters and suggestions for things they’ve been jonesing for every time we pass Target like diabetics in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I just have two requests: No religious stuff, and no weapons or weapon-y toys. Other than that, knock your suspendered knee socks off. Then, while they’re at the mall, they text me again to ask what color/flavor/size/character/scent, and then they text me again to ask if it’s a good price, and then they text me again to complain that the “oriental fellow” at customer service wouldn’t let them use the coupon from Target at Macy’s even though they have all the same crap, and then they text me again to ask if they can just send me a check and have me go out and buy what they’re currently holding themselves and wrap it even though they’re arriving in two weeks by car, and then they text me again to make sure I know who the text was from. Oh, and then they showed up last week and gave my kids some phaser guns, pirate swords, and books about how Elmo learns the Joy of Knowing God.
- If I couldn’t text my girlfriends and Mr. Northman about this crap (and check my site stats here!), I’d lose my fucking mind. And if I couldn’t receive texts back from Mr. Northman including creative suggestions for how he’d like to help me relax, I’d be even more wired than I already am, and that’s really saying something.
So, J.P.A.M.D.E. advent had already been fairly crazy before a single relative arrived. But arrive, they did. My mother showed up, which is usually enough to make me gain five pounds of guilt weight before she gets off the plane (yeah, you Catholic, Greek, and Jewish gals know what I’m talking about – and if any of you are Catholic, Greek, AND Jewish and not on significant amounts of medication, I will buy you a drink because you fucking deserve it.). So my mom arrived, walked into my kitchen, and said, “Wow, Cathy! This is certainly the cleanest I’ve ever seen your kitchen!” My mother: Queen of the Backhanded Compliment and #1 Source of Job Security For My Therapist. Then she proceeded to inform me that Kid #1 was much too thin and Kid #2 was much too not-thin, and spent the next 6 days commenting on what each kid ate or didn’t eat while making sure to save some energy for evaluating my vegetable intake, wine consumption, and disinfecting methods.
To be fair, if my only concept of a person’s average daily alcohol consumption were based on the amount of red wine I drink when my mother’s in town, I’d be considering an intervention, myself. But we don’t really do that namby-pamby shit in my family. We just pester the crap out of people about their drinking or overeating or occasional cigar or cigarette smoking and then guilt them into not drinking (when anyone’s looking), eating at all, or enjoying quarterly Cohibas.
This method has had a pretty good success rate in my family, as it usually just leads to smoking pot (but at least that’s done in private) or going to therapy. Of course, then the over-50 women in the family can complain about how their daughters waste their money telling all their private family business to strange therapists – who might be atheists for God’s sake! – when they’ve never done anything but just love their families and give up everylastthingever for their children and why does everyone blame the mother it’s just so unfair. Or, my favorite, we give up and join them so we’re a bunch of smelly, overeating drunks, but at least we’re together and reasonably happy (or so drunk, buzzed, or full that we can’t remember why we were annoyed). Unless you’re my mother, grandmother, or aunt, in which case you revert to this favorite method: making passive aggressive comments about how they have this girlfriend whose daughter is an alcoholic and now the grandmother (girlfriend) has to raise the grandkids while the daughter is in rehab and it’s such a shame on the family and such agita for the grandmother and what did that poor angel of a woman ever do to deserve such an ungrateful daughter who would burden her finally retired saint of a mother like that?
Yeah, so I went through about 6 bottles of merlot this week (oh, like you wouldn’t?) and partly I did it just to fuck with the blue-hairs and give them something to talk about, and no, I didn’t drink it all myself (just most of it). But it was all good, because it was only at night when the minions were in bed, and Mr. Northman loves it when I drunk text him (complete with typos because I have no patience for fixing typos on my stupid phone when I drink, so it reads like I’m really drunk when really I’ve only had two glasses of wine):
Me: Merry FestiKwanziChrissHanuSolstiCa! I dinimb bisy as hell. How r u?
Northman: You’re dinimb bisy? That’s great! Is that code for drunk as hell because ur mom’s there?
Me: Wine is good. You r so sexy. No it means I am BUSY. Old people r a lot of wirk.
Northman: LOL. What r u doing?
Me: Flinshined dinner. Family making fun of me for drinking but im the one getting our of dish detail because they think I’ll drop something. Oh yeah, suck it.
Northman: Awesome! Suck it, bitches! LOL!!
Me: Yeah suck it dish bitches! I get to watch football with the men and then I am going to bed and I wish youwere hereto tuckmein.
Northman: What r u wearing?
Me: That red dress from that pic. Remember? And so sorry you’re not here to enjoy my pretty red lipstick. I know you like it.
Northman: I do like your pretty red lipstick. It would look even better all (HOLY SHIT YOU KISS YOUR MOTHER WITH THAT MOUTH?!?!) and then I would (Sorry, web dwellers, you know the drill.) but your dress would probably (That’s all, folks!) my lap.
Me: Sweet Jesus in Birkenstocks. I need another glass of wine.
Whoooooo baby. What was I saying? Ummm…. ummmm…. Oh, yeah, this is why I need unlimited text: So the blue-hairs can drive me crazy and then Northman can give me sexy little presents like that one. Damn.
I hope all your holiday wishes came true, web dwellers. See you in the new year.
(P.S. Leave comments here ↓.)
P.P.S. How many of you noticed that J.P.A.M.D.E. should have been J.P.A.M.D.D.? Maybe I do need to lay off the merlot.