Posted by: navalanche | November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving x 2

Ever since I have been married, I have had to endure two of every holiday.  I am expected to celebrate with both Mike’s family and my own.  It’s only ½ bad, the half that involves my in-laws.  Before I start, I must mention that my family’s holidays are not without drama.  Over the years, there have been some real doozies.  Like the time my mother went missing on Christmas and turned up as a Jane Doe in the hospital (if she hadn’t needed medical attention, she would have been in jail).  Or the time my mother didn’t realize that her oven was broken and fed us raw turkey and “ghost buns” for Thanksgiving dinner.  Since my mother died 5 years ago, my family’s holidays have been downright sedate, in a good way.  But with or without my mother, the holidays were always an expectation free celebration.  Come one, come all, come as you are, there’s always room for one more.  It’s an exhilarating way to spend the holidays that I cherish.

Mike’s side of the family is different.  The holidays are rigid events that run on a strict timetable with a dress code.  Not suit and tie, unless you count all the years that we had to go to “the Club” for holiday buffet.  But NEVER EVER be late for dinner.  And with my mother-in-law, I am late even when I’m early.

Holidays with the in-laws are a dysfunctional mess and complicated as my mother in law Jess does not like me.  And I mean in the “I breathe thus I cause her pain” type of dislike.  She corrects everything I do.  And her criticisms of me have a bizarre duality:

“You would have been late if I didn’t change the time so you would be early.”

“You wouldn’t have to be so cheap if you weren’t so frivolous.”

“You are making Gabe do too much.  He needs to do more.”

It sounds like gibberish to me.  And after she lectures me, she gives me the stink eye.  I try to deal with it the best I can, mostly by limiting my interactions with her.  But all good families must gather for the holidays, whether they like each other or not.

This Thanksgiving, I managed to keep a safe distance from Jess with the help of friends and family.  It was great until at the last possible moment, my lens fell out of my broken eyeglasses.  My sister Sue tried to cover it up but Jess saw it.  “Karen!  I don’t know why you can’t get new glasses!”  I started laughing and with the lens in hand, I waved good night and never looked back.  All in all, a very good evening.

But Christmas is just around the corner.  I expect it to be brutal as this time the celebration is at my sister-in-law Karen’s.  And I have been boycotting Karen’s celebrations for last two years.  It’s a problem that will need to be addressed in the next two weeks.


  1. ho ho ho. it’s a norman rockwell ha ha hannukah at evil karen’s, he said from a very safe and secure location.

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