My sisters and I generally manage to get along quite well. When we do argue, it is either Sue and Lynne or Kat and I that tend to get on each others last nerve. Sue and Lynne solve their differences quickly but every few years, Kat and I have a blow out of epic proportions when one or the other really pushes an issue that the other has absolutely no tolerance for. And when it happens, it affects everyone. I tend to get mad slowly, vent quickly, feel horrible because I erupted and am over the whole problem within two days. As for Kat, let’s just say, I do not like to mess with her. Depending on the perceived injustice, once she is mad at you, it literally can take months for her to cool down. Even then, Kat NEVER, EVER, EVER forgets and your relationship is permanently altered.
Early last year, Kat asked me if she could leave an extra car in our driveway. I told her yes and when Mike found out, he had a fit. He knew that once she parked the car, it was destined to stay in our driveway until it rusted away and the wheels fell off. How did he know? Because this wasn’t his first rodeo, she had done it before. But I digress, this story is about the blue Impala. As Mike had predicted, the inspection on the Impala ran out in July and not so coincidentally, Kat stopped calling and stopped visiting. She just disappeared. Mike and I began to argue.
Mike: ”I want that car gone.”
Me: ”Don’t worry, Kat will take care of it.”
Mike: ”No, she won’t. She’s always over here and now she’s not. She’s avoiding us.”
Me: ”Actually, she’s avoiding you, not me.”
Mike: ”ARGHHH!! Don’t play with me! We have enough of your s**t in the driveway and her s**t in this house. Either you get that POS gone or I’ll park it on her front lawn!”
Oh-oh! Now he was thinking about my clutter.
Me: ”Give me a few days to track her down. In the meantime, just turn it around so the police don’t notice the inspection sticker…”
Mike: ”That’s NOT the solution, if you don’t fix this, I’ll….”
Me: ”I’ll fix it! Just give me a few days.”
Not a day went by that Mike didn’t curse the Impala. I cornered Kat in mid August. She was broke, her other cars had some unexpected mechanical difficulties.
Me: ”What do you think it needs to pass inspection?”
Kat: ”Two new tires.”
Me: ”That’s it? Two tires?”
Me: ”You’re positive? Nothing else?”
Kat: ”I haven’t owned it that long, what else could be wrong.”
In retrospect, a lot of things. Although the car was new to Kat, she had obtained it from her mother-in-law who bought a new car because she didn’t want to spend any money inspecting the old Impala. Even though, I wanted her words to be true, I knew better. Kat wills things to be the way she wants them to be and then is completely shocked (and I mean COMPLETELY) when they turn out differently. I knew something wasn’t right but wanted to believe also.
Me: ”How about, I buy the two tires, since we’ve been using the car and you pay for inspection. Would that work?”
Kat: ”But I don’t want you to pay for my car.”
Me: ”You can pay me back if you want and besides Mike will be easier to manage if the car is inspected.”
Kat: ”Ummmm…, Mike will be happy?”
Me: ”Happier than he is right now. Just two tires, you’re positive?”
Kat: ”Just two tires.”
Kat scheduled an appointment to have the car inspected on August 15th, conveniently on a day that she planned on being out-of-town, that again, in retrospect, meant that she knew that there could potentially be problems. Mike drove the Impala to my niece’s boyfriend Luke’s garage first thing in the morning. A few hours later, Luke called me.
Luke: ”Hey, I can’t find Kat and I need to talk to her about the car.”
Me: ”She’s away. It needs two tires, right?”
Luke: ”It needs four tires, an alignment and a few other things. It’s going to run her about $700.”
Me: ”WHAT?!? She told me two tires.”
Luke: ”I talked to her in July and told her what it needed. She knows all about it.”
Me: ”She said it needs two tires, that’s all, I talked to her a few days ago.”
Luke: ”Look, she’s wrong, it’s on the rack, the wheels are all off AND we need the bay. What do you want me to do?”
Me: ”I have to talk to Kat. She have a fit if I authorize anything other than what we agreed on.”
Luke: ”Find HER. There are few things that can wait but she needs the tires and I have to charge her for inspection if it passes or fails. Make it quick.”
I called Kat, again no answer. Mike started grumbling.
Mike: “Why the #$%*& would Kat go missing with her car in the shop?”
I stared at him.
Mike: ”She’s simple sometimes, you know that don’t you?”
I stared at him.
Mike: ”Just sayin’.”
I spent the rest of the morning looking for Kat and answering the phone as everyone was looking for her and checking in. Sue stopped in around 1pm.
Sue: ”Find her?”
Me: ”No. I think I’m going to have to make the call and tell Luke to fix the car. Kat’s going to be pissed.”
Sue: ”Too bad, she should answer her phone.”
I called Luke.
Me: ”Put the tires on and finish it.”
Luke (angrily): ”She just called and told me NOT to inspect it.”
Me: ”What the….why didn’t she call me? Did you take it down yet.”
Luke: ”NO. And she said she’ll pick it up and take it to her house tonight.”
Me: ”She doesn’t have room for it and does she know that she owes you for inspection?”
Luke: ”Look, I have work here and I can’t deal with this stupid s**t. What do you want to do?”
Me: ”Give me five minutes.”
I called Kat, no answer, obviously she did not want to talk to me. I talked to Sue and we agreed it was best to fix the car. We worked on the story that we would tell Kat. Our plan was to tell Kat that Sue paid for the balance because Kat would never be mad at her. I called Luke.
Me: ”Fix it. Sue’s covering the balance.”
Luke: ”#%@&, it will be done in an hour.”
When it was finished, it was only an additional $94 with coupons and rebates. We brought the car back to my house, newly inspected. We were satisfied with our cleverness and were eating pizza when Kat called in a rage around 8:30pm.
Kat: ”I’m at the garage. Where’s my car!?!”
Note: This question is very important for a few reasons. First, I’ve been calling her ALL DAY and she would not call me back. Now she wants to talk to me. Secondly, it wouldn’t be unusual for one of her sisters to pick up the car before the shop closed as a favor to her (because she was away and so Luke didn’t have to place it in the garage overnight). Thirdly, why wouldn’t she call Luke and ask him? He is the only person she called all day. And finally, she didn’t even know what happened yet, why was she screaming at me?
Me: ”At my house.”
Kat (sputtering and yelling): ”What!?! Why!?! What!?!”
Me: ”Calm down, Sue and I decided that…..”
Kat: ”YOU DECIDED!! YOU DECIDED!! THAT IS NOT YOUR CAR!! HOW DARE YOU! OOOOHHH, I AM SOOO ANGRY….”
And then she hung up on me.
Mike: ”What the Hell was that?”
Me: ”She’s mad, really mad.”
Sue: ”Did she hang up on you? What’s wrong with her?”
Me: ”She’s really, really, really upset.”
Sue: ”I’ll call her.”
Kat didn’t answer. Sue and Mike though Kat was being unreasonable. I knew Kat was going to be mad but I did not expect that she was would be livid. I felt terrible. I thought if I gave her some time to calm down, we could discuss it calmly.
Kat called the next morning unexpectedly. She was in a fighting mood. She yelled at me for 20 minutes straight and when Kat is seeing red there is nothing you can do but say you are sorry until her voice gives out. The conversation covered four main topics, over and over again.
Kat: ”YOU had no right to give the order to fix my car. NO means NO!
Me: ”I’m sorry.”
Kat: ”NO YOU’RE NOT!”
Me: ”I’m sorry.”
Next….she made sure I knew she knew that I had a big mouth.
Kat: ”Why did you have to tell Sue about the car, LUCY LIPS?”
Me: ”She was here, the phone rang, she overheard the conversation. I’m sorry.”
Kat: ”NO you’re NOT!”
Me: ”I’m sorry.”
Next….a reference to our youth…some more name calling
Kat: ”You’re not telling the truth, this was never Sue’s idea, it’s alllll you, I just know it.”
Me: ”Sue wanted to help…”
Kat: ”Don’t you dare play “SWEET PUPPY” with me, I know you did it, you know you did it!”
Me: ”I’m sorry.”
OK, so that might not sound bad but Kat doesn’t swear, she makes up names and it’s pretty funny because they are so silly. Usually, when she’s irritated with me she calls me “Alpha Dog” because I’m her “bossy, know-it-all older” sister. She was letting me know that although I’m portraying myself as an innocent or “sweet puppy”, she really means once an “Alpha Dog” always an “Alpha Dog” and I had ulterior motives.
Next and last…
Kat: ”You had no right to spend $500 of my money!!!!!!”
Me: ”But it wasn’t $500, it was only……”
Kat: ”IT COST $500.”
Me: ”NO, it didn’t, I have the receipt!”
Kat: ”YES IT WAS!”
This is the biggest problem of them all. Kat refuses to do the math. This might be hard to follow.
Total cost: $533
Less 2 tires (Me): $240
Less inspection pass or fail (Kat): $53
Less 2 tires (Sue): $240
Plus mail-in rebate: $94 (with purchase of 4 tires)
By my calculations, Kat only needed $147 to have her car inspected, inspection plus one tire, $53 + $94 = $147.
By Kat’s calculations, no matter how she looked at it, it was $500.
As family disagreements sometimes go, the yelling escalated as there was nothing I could say to Kat to calm her down and I’m sorry just wasn’t enough. Eventually, I had enough and started to cry.
Me: ”I can’t do this anymore! I’m hanging up! I’m sorry! I’m hanging up! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
And I hung up the phone which, by the way, is something that is never acceptable in my family and I’m sure in Kat’s eyes (in the heat of the moment) was just my way being superior.
That was the last I heard of Kat for a long time. In all fairness, she was right, I went against her wishes, I helped spend her money regardless of the amount and I was duplicitous when I said that I did not involve Sue in the affair. Oh, and lest I forget, I made Kat cry and nobody goes there. I was wrong.
It was not my intent to be malicious but I also knew that she does not like to be overruled. Kat had some personal issues that had been weighing heavily upon her and I think she had reached her breaking point and snapped with me. Kat and I have argued before but this was huge. It took a long time to patch up our differences. And if you are wondering why I chose to tell this story, I’ll give a hint, it involves more clutter. I’ll have to finish the story next post.