New game: Drunk or Senile?

This blog post is probably going to make me look like a really horrible person who is making fun of my poor grandmother who is losing her damn mind.  And yes I’ve done it before.  And certainly I have no qualms about making fun of the rest of my family.  But contrary to popular belief, I am actually a person that bends over backwards to be nice in real life and I’m sure that probably makes some people think I’m an even worse person since I make fun of people behind their backs…. but whatev YOU DON’T KNOW ME. THAT’S THE PROPER WAY TO DO THINGS. Making fun of people to their faces is just damn rude. But anyway, this post isn’t about how nice I am, I just wanted to get that out there because I feel guilty about writing this post. But it has to be done.

And recently I did tell my aunt (who retired at 50 because, as far as I can tell, she worked for the government for 30 years, qualified for retirement and decided she didn’t want to work anymore and could live off her pension for the rest of her life, although now she always complains that she doesn’t have any money, but she still won’t get a damn job. But I digress) after she huffily complained that I was late for dinner, that “unlike some people in the family, my husband and I, you know, WORK FOR A LIVING.”  I don’t think my extended family has any delusions that I harbor any great feelings of love for them. 

Also, my uncle (married to the other aunt, not the aunt referred to above, but her sister who coincidentally ALSO doesn’t work although the reason is completely unclear to me) got cancer a couple of years back and it was devastating to them, naturally.  The treatments, as everyone knows, are very expensive and he couldn’t work and because I believe family should help each other, even if they don’t like them very much, I gave them a few hundred dollars to try to help out with expenses.  I saw them a couple of weeks later and my aunt proudly showed off her brand new Kindle Fire.  Yeah.

Anyway, this was actually not meant to be about them, but about my grandmother, who clearly has some form of dementia and which my family is clearly actively burying their heads in the sand about it.  I’ve been slowly noticing little things for 3-4 years now, but in the past year it’s gotten really bad. 

 1. A couple of my family members and I once had an entire 10 minute conversation with my grandmother about a friend of my Dad’s, Ryan, who was coming over.  My grandmother was a full participant in the conversation.  We were talking about Ryan being a distant-past friend of Dad’s who was now getting in dad’s line of business and was coming over to get some advice.  Grandma had met Ryan once.  The conversation came to a natural conclusion and no more than 5 minutes passed before Ryan’s car pulled into the driveway.  Grandma saw the car pull up, looked at me and asked “Who is that?” Me: “Oh! That’s Ryan.” Grandma: “Who?” Me: “Ryan. Dad’s friend.”  Grandma: “Who’s Ryan???”

 2. She has gotten mean.  My grandmother has been a lot of things in the past — selfish, lazy, inconsiderate, but never outright mean.  But things have changed recently.  Last year my aunt was dating a really nice guy who had a bit of a beer gut. One night my grandmother looked at him and said, “My daughter will never marry you. You’re too fat.” 

3. In a similar vein, she once told the same aunt that nobody would ever marry her because she was too fat and ugly.

 4. My parents have one of those digital pictures frames. My picture came up.

There’s a reason that when I draw myself for this blog, I represent myself ghostly white with red hair, ok? In real like I joke about having a florescent light glow since that’s the only kind of light I ever see.

 Seriously, me.

Seriously, me.

So grandma sees a picture of me come up and exclaims “That’s Jodi Arias!”

(For those of you unfamiliar, Jodi Arias is a woman who is currently on trial for killing her boyfriend.

She looks like this:

jodyarias)

My mom, who was nearby and heard my grandma say this, exclaimed “Grandma! That’s Amanda!”

Grandma: “No! That’s Jodi Arias! Have you been watching that trial? I have. I think she did it.”

So my grandma has confused me, the whitest white girl that ever whited, with a Hispanic stranger she’s never met. That just happens to be accused of being a murderer.

5. For some ungodly reason my dad decided it would be a good idea to give my grandmother, who barely knows what an email is, an iPad for Christmas.  He hooked it up to charge that morning. Later that night, as everyone was leaving, my husband and I were helping to get grandma packed up, because if she’s left to her own devices she will leave something behind.  We saw an Apple charging cord (you know, before they decided to be total dicks and change the USB connection size on some of their devices, so this was a universal one) on the counter so we called to her that she had forgotten her iPad charger and gave it to her.  Literally a few minutes later, my dad noticed it was gone and asked where it was. We told him we gave it to grandma and he said that it was his. Oops. So we called grandma over and told her that we mistakenly gave her Dad’s charger. She refused to give it back, insisting it was hers. We argued with her for 10 minutes and she continued to refuse to change her mind. To this day she hasn’t given it back.

6. Grandma will sit and look like she’s listening to what everyone is saying, but then responds to conversations no one else in the room is having. For example, an actual conversation involving Grandma, Dad, and my Brother-in-law:

Dad: “My air conditioner has broken, the air conditioner repairman is here.”

Brother-in-law: “Is it bad?”

Dad: “Well, he was here until 11 o’clock last night and is back again today.”

Grandma: “Is he wound up?”

Brother-in-law and dad look at her blankly.

Brother-in-law: “Wound up?”

Grandma: “Your sons. Are they wound up tonight?”

7. Pronounces salmon as “sal-man.” Not a sign of dementia, I just think it’s funny.

And just because I aim to please, I searched my tweets for mentions of my grandma to remember some of these items, and I founds some real gems that I had totally forgotten about.  These don’t really have any back story, just funny things about my grandma to end the story:

 - Grandma, about the Lincoln movie: “It ended when he was shot.” Me: “Grandma! You just spoiled the movie! He dies?!” Grandma: *confused*

- My grandma just cut in front of me to pour a glass of wine.

- My grandma sure can take out a bottle or two of wine.

- I got to drive my drunk grandmother home last night. Raise of hands — who has gotten to do that?

- And now my mom is trying to explain Fifty Shades of Grey to my grandmother. I’m incredibly uncomfortable.

- My grandmother just told me a story, except it was only the end of the story. I have no idea what is going on.

- My Lord, we’re having a 10 minute conversation about what foods my grandmother finds to be aphrodisiacs. FML.

FML

- My grandma hands out too much with my 2 aunts who live at the beach and refuse to work. She called me yesterday at 1pm (a weekday) and asked if she had woken me up.

And on one particularly bad night for her, I made this:

drunkorsenile

Times you don’t want people talking to you

So, long time no blog.  You see, I hit a problem.  While I wanted the blog to be an immediate success, because I have a lot of funny things to say, yo, and people should appreciate me (APPRECIATE ME, DAMMIT) apparently I need to believe the reason I am not an immediate success is because people just haven’t seen my blog yet.

Me

Me

But then I wrote the post about the awesome couple who sat near me on the cruise, it got picked up by one of the most popular Disney websites on the internet, and I had about a bijillion and a half people look at my blog.  AND NONE OF THEM STAYED. None of them commented, none of them subscribed. It was all very disheartening. Could it be…. that I am the only one who finds myself funny?

Well, yeah. Probably. So I didn’t really see the sense in updating when I’m just sitting around amusing myself.  Most of my funny thoughts fit on Twitter so that’s where I do most of my stuff. So I essentially took my ball and went home. I’M NOT ASHAMED.

But then recently, something wonderful happened.  I got the most glorious massage.  Not because it was awesome – it was fine – but the massage therapist was something to behold.  She was a talker.

You know, there are just times when you don’t want a complete stranger talking to you. Lying mostly naked while a 300 pound woman is rubbing you down with oil is one of them. OK, maybe for some people that’s an ideal time, but not for me.  But apparently letting the client lay in embarrassed silence until you relax them enough to the point where they just don’t care wasn’t one of things this woman’s massage school taught her.

Instead, this woman took the opposite approach.  She kept a steady stream of talk going the entire 60 minutes. Here are just some of the highlights that I forced myself to remember so that I could share with you guys.  You’re welcome.

- “Look at your fancy drawers! I like those, where did you get them?”

- “Oh honey, when I wear a thong I look like an elephant wearing dental floss but my man still thinks it’s sexy.”

- “Does your man have big hands? You should look at him and tell him God made him just for you cuz his hands can handle all this woman.”

- “Girl, you need to go get you some of them hooka’ heels, highest you can find, and surprise your man one day in them.”

- “Do you have a nickname for your man? ‘Baby’ is alright, but you gotta call him Big Papa or Big Sexy. His eyes’ll light up!”

- “One time my man bit my backside! I asked what he thought he was doing. He said that now he wasn’t gonna have to pack a lunch because I was too much woman for him.”

Deep thoughts, ya’ll. I hope she gets a book deal someday.  She clearly has advice to share with the world.  I have another massage scheduled with her in a couple of weeks. Again, you’re welcome.

Dressing for Work 101

It is socially unacceptable to go out into public naked and therefore getting dressed is something we do everyday. You would think that with all the practice society would be better at it.

I guess back in the day there were a lot more rules about what was and wasn’t OK for people to wear. I read a lot of books set in the Regency era and geez those people changed clothes a LOT. Walking dresses, riding dresses, dinner dresses, ball dresses. Men had it just as bad. I bet they spent half their day picking out the appropriate outfit they would need for the next couple hours and then getting dressed.

Rules are often a lot more lax nowadays and with the freedom comes a lot more uncertainty about what to actually wear for different occasions. It is especially tough for women in the workplace because there’s always a tension between wanting to look nice and cute and not looking like you’ve gotten where you are because of your… ahem… extracurricular activities.

Due to this, I’ve noticed that women REALLY don’t know how to dress for work. Not that it’s entirely their fault; stores and fashion are lying to them as to what it is appropriate for work.  And when I say work, I mean a fairly conservative office-setting type work.

For example, Nordstrom is a great, upscale department store where you can get fairly well made clothes that are a bit better than your standard department stores but are much less than high fashion designer prices. When you work in the law, it’s a good go-to place because female lawyers and judges of either gender are hella judgmental.

And yet, Nordstrom tells me this is perfectly appropriate for work:

badnordstromoutfit

No, it’s not. It’s really not. Unless you’re a gardener or something, I cannot think of a single professional occupation where it’s acceptable to wear shorts.

So, with all this in mind, I have put together a little guide on what is not acceptable to wear in an office setting* based on what I have personally seen at my work.  Ladies, you’re welcome.

1. If you’re in your 60s, it’s probably best to wear a dress/skirt that at least comes to mid-thigh.  Really, knee is more office appropriate, but dear Lord, please at least get it to your mid-thigh. Wearing black hose underneath is not enough, because:

2.      Hose are not tights or leggings. Further:

3.      Tights and leggings are not pants. By extension, hose are not pants.

          a.       No, seriously. Leggings are not pants. I don’t care how much you and   the fashion world want them to be, they are not pants. I don’t need to see the dimples of your cellulite at the office.

4.      If you’re younger than 60s, it’s still probably best to wear a dress/skirt that comes to knee length.  If you look like you’re going clubbing after work, you’re not office appropriate.  I don’t care how cute you look, you probably don’t look professional.

outfitcomparison

5.      Knee high red pleather boots with a white racing stripe are not work appropriate. I’m not really sure what made you think they were. They are even less appropriate when paired with a mini skirt. Please see above.

redboots

6.      Ok, I see some of you are trying to follow some of the rules above, but it really doesn’t count if the knee-length skirt has a slit up the front 3/4s of the way up your thigh. I really don’t need to see your upper thigh at work.

7.      Strapless satin-y jumpsuits are not work appropriate. Even if you pair it with a cardigan.  Not only do you look like you’re going clubbing after work, you look like you’re going clubbing in the 70s. It’s even more offensive when you’re the one in charge of enforcing the dress code.

8.      This might be controversial, but if your office has casual Fridays and the dress code says it’s only OK to wear jeans on causal Fridays, a jean skirt on M-Th is not appropriate. I see what you’re trying to do there, but no.

9.      Speaking of casual Fridays, if you look like you just came in from gardening, you need to step up your game.  Anything that could be mistaken for a sweat-anything should not cross the threshold of the office.

10. As a corollary, you probably shouldn’t wear anything that has a word splashed across your ass. Your ass should not be speaking to me in the hallway.

No.

No.

So there, that should get you started. In the meantime, what’s the worse thing you’ve seen at your office?

* Ok, look. I know that different offices have different cultures. Sometimes the above would be perfectly fine in your office, so take the above with a grain of salt and all that. Something to keep in mind, the more professional you look, the more professional people will think you are.

Fancy Dinner Musings: The obnoxious couple we sat beside on vacation

I’ve been quiet but there’s a good reason for that.  Right after Christmas my parents, my sister’s family, and my husband and I had a cruise. Which was gorgeous. Behold:

P1000374

OH MY GOD I NEED TO BE THERE RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW.

*ahem*

Anyway, this cruise was on the Disney Cruise Line’s Dream. For those of you who are not lucky enough to be familiar with the Disney Cruise Line just go ahead and wipe your mind of all your pre-conceived notions of what a Disney cruise would be like. Ok, maybe not all of them because maybe some of your pre-conceived notions are true, but believe me when I say there are plenty of fun, adult things to do. Behold:

P1000349

(That’s the light up personal menu for the martini bar, Skyline. Skyline is one of 6 adults- only bars on the ship).

Anyway, one of the restaurants on the ship is adults-only and it’s called Remy. It is high falootin’ (that’s the technical term and wouldn’t at all embarrass them I’m sure). The chefs are from Michelin rated restaurants, it’s all super gourmet, jackets for men are required, etc, etc.

I love me some good food (I say in my country twang, y’all) so my husband and I treated ourselves when we found out they had a table for two available for our last night. The price of dinner is $75 a person for a five course meal plus “surprises” and the restuarant offers a wine pairing for each course for an additional $99 a person. I tell you that not to brag, but because it has some relevance to the story I tell below. Here are some pictures from our absolutely fabulous, to die for, dinner:

P1000463 P1000464 P1000465 P1000466 P1000468 P1000469 P1000471 P1000473 P1000476 P1000478 P1000482 P1000490

It was wonderful until The. Couple. got sat beside us.

The. Couple. came in with another couple and the four of them were at the table next to us. The. Couple. proceeded to talk loudly enough for everyone in this nice, quiet, romantic restaurant to know that they were WELL OFF AND FANCY PEOPLE.

Although I heard much about the background of The. Couple., I’m not sure the other couple they were with ever talked. I do know that they apparently own a restaurant and/or work/run a country club in the city in which I live because The. Couple. mentioned it a couple of times. The. Couple., on the other hand, live in San Francisco.  Due to these discrepancies I made up my own backstory in which The. Couple. met the other couple that day on the ship and invited them to join them. The other couple was then silenced by regret, intimidation, and the total realization that they were totally engulfed by some major douchbaggery going on.  At least I know they didn’t have to pay for it. How do I know? The very first thing the woman of the The. Couple. (now The Woman) said to the other couple was “Don’t worry about the cost. This is on us since we made you guys come. And, of course, we’ll have the wine pairing.”

I just happened to have some paper in my purse so I decided to be totally gauche and I wrote down some choice quotes from the night as they occurred. To give you a few background points: 1) before the meal starts, there’s an “Amuse Bouche” course which is basically just “a single, bite-sized hors d’oevure,…different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so for free and according to the chef’s selection alone” (thanks Wikipedia); 2) The restaurant has an actual sommelier who comes out and serves the wine and gives you background on it; 3) all of the wines are French.

I have to admit that once The. Couple. was seated my husband and I actually stopped talking to each other and just listened to them for the rest of the night. Ladies and Gentleman, my entertainment with my excellent meal:

“Without you, I’d be like that guy from American Psycho. Before he killed everybody.”

“You have Bojangles where you live, correct? God, Bojangles. Disgusting. Even the name sounds disgusting. Isn’t it a step down from McDonald’s?” (This only means something to people who are from or have spent any time in the South and believe me when I say THEM’S FIGHTING WORDS. Bojangles is heaven.)

“Hmm. This is not really an amuse bouche.”

“Now, where exactly in this region did this wine come from? My brother has a house in that region.”

(Upon being served one of the gourmet courses) “We have this at home all the time.”

(Upon the sommelier talking about the region of France a wine came from) “Oh, I love it there. They have beautiful chateaus.”

“We have all kinds of this wine in our own cellar.”

“People who like Notre Dame are going to be disappointed.  They’re going to undergo a scandal like Penn State.”

“Oh, Warren is applying to high school. Some of them cost $30,000.00 a year, but no matter. He’ll come out better than our daughter who is majoring in print journalism. Such a dying field.”

The Woman spent about 20 minutes telling the other couple how to run their restaurant and the events they should have.  She wrapped up that portion of the conversation with “You can even get lesbians to come!”

The sommelier is pouring them another glass of wine.  The Woman sniffs it and says rapturously to him: “It smells like manure and blueberries.”

I swear that every word in those quotes is an exact quote. My husband will vouch.

Simply having a … wonderful? … Christmas time. Part 3.

(Don’t miss the prior parts! It will make this make sense!)

The next morning was Christmas Day and as per usual, I woke up vaguely excited. But then I realized that every bone, and several tendons and ligaments, hurt. I began wishing I were in any other place. I was even wishing I were in school. I wanted to sleep in so there would be less of a day to go through. However, my body realized that it was a special day and was wide awake, ready to get going.  I woke up my parents and got my sister, who had finally come back from “work” and slept on the couch the night before.  Nobody wanted to go and wake up my grandparents personally so we decided to make extra noise until they woke up.  Finally, they emerged and we were ready to open presents. As my dad started handing presents to my sister and me, Mafia sat down and said, “What are you doing? We can’t open presents yet. Put them back down.”

My dad turned to him, “What are you talking about?”

“We can’t open presents until the rest of the family gets here.”

“What?! There are presents we’re giving our daughters, not presents to be opened in front of the rest of the family.”

“No, they are presents and we’ll open them when the family gets here.”

“No, the presents we open then are family presents. These are personal presents that we are opening now. You and Mom can sit and watch or not, but we’re opening these now.”

Mafia grumbled about us breaking tradition, even though opening intra-family gifts were never part of the tradition in the first place, all morning. We rushed through the ceremony just to get him to stop whining.  When we were done, we were all hungry and looked at my grandparents expectantly.   We were willing to help cook, but wanted to know what they had planned.

They looked back at us blankly.

We looked at them.

They looked at us.

“uh… breakfast?

Mafia looked at us askance and said, “We didn’t buy anything for breakfast. We can go to Denny’s.”

So, we got dressed, loaded into the car, and headed for the local Denny’s to eat our Christmas breakfast.  I discovered that nothing said “Christmas” quite like the greasy, overcooked food served by a surly waitress who was bitter that she was serving greasy, overcooked food to people on Christmas morning.

Around noon the aunts, uncles, and cousins arrived.  We went through the second present opening, no one observing order and Mafia shouting to make sure the youngest cousin, Blondie, his favorite grandchild, was not getting skipped over, even though, as per usual, her presents took up the entire expanse of one of the walls of the living.  It never failed that she easily had 5x the presents the rest of us did.  It ended as it always did, with Mafia and Blondie exchanging their special gifts they got just for each other. Afterward we had our traditional Christmas dinner – a deli tray.

Eventually they all left and I was relieved because I knew I too would soon be going home.  It was the first and last Christmas we spent like that, all future Christmases spent on our terms. I don’t really like to break to tradition. I learned a too hard lesson that when traditions are thrown out, misery takes over the reins… At the very least, you will end up with a bad back.

Simply having a … wonderful? … Christmas time, Part 2

(Don’t get lost! Read my Thanksgiving post to meet my family, and read Part 1 to get some context!)

So that night, as my parents and grandparents started to do that yawning and stretching thing, and all of the signs of impending bedtime, I started thinking…. Uhm, my grandparents may have had two extra bedrooms, but only one of them actually had a bed in it. The only other option was the floor of the second bedroom or the 1960s couch… I chose the second bedroom.  A pallet of blankets was made up.  As I laid down I realized… there was absolutely no padding between the very, very thin carpet (leave it to my grandparents to get builder’s basic) and the concrete foundation.  To this day I have a bad back and I’m pretty sure it came from sleeping on that floor.

The next day I woke up feeling like every bone in my body had settled at a right angle in the middle.  I got up slowly, cracking my back, and wandered into the living room to find out when my parents could take me to go see my friends.  I was informed by my mom that it was family time. In other words, “if I have to suffer, so do you.”  I was beginning to think I had vastly overestimated this vacation.  My only consolation was that my older sister, who lived and worked not far from where my grandparents lived, was being forced to spend the time with on too. I inwardly cackled with glee that she would have to suffer too.

My sister was more clever than I had counted on, however. That night, she slipped out after dinner, claiming that she had to “work.” I glumly went in to play my snake-eating-apples game.  When that finally got too boring, I walked slowly out to the living room – not wanting to, but having nothing else to do.  In the living room I found Mafia asleep in his Laz-E-Boy, and my parents sunk into the 30 year old sofa.  Jeopardy! was playing on TV.

“Hey, mom and dad,” I whispered. They turned to me. “Seinfeld should be on.”

Realizing I was right, my dad got up and turned the TV to the right channel (Mafia was clutching the remote control in his hands). Soon we were laughing and, of course, it woke up Mafia.

“You need to learn stuff,” he grumbled. With that, he punched buttons on the remote and turned it back to Jeopardy!  He promptly fell back asleep.

My parents and I looked at each other, dumbfounded.  Not quite sure what to do, my dad got out his laptop and took it into the breakfast room. Upon hearing the familiar “Welcome! You’ve got mail!” (Hey, it was 1997, that was normal) of his hooking up the Internet, I jumped up and said, “OH I know a fun game we can play! You have to download it though.” My dad quickly agreed. As I punched in the right URL, my mother joined us. The download window popped up. It estimated twelve minutes to download.

The game was the only thing going for us, so we watched the progress as it downloaded. 11 min 50 sec…. 11 min 45 sec… 11 min 39 sec… The seconds slowly ticked by…  11 min 32 sec… 11 min 28 sec… The three of us huddled around the laptop, staring at the screen like it was the last morsel of food on a desert we were all stranded on.  The final Jeopardy! Theme song played in the background. “Do do do do, do do do. Do do do do  Dop! Dodododo, do do do do, do do do. Dop, do do do, do do do.”

It reached five minutes! We were in the homestretch!

Wait, it still says five minutes.

Five minutes…

Still five minutes…

It’s stuck on five minutes…

“Goodbye!”

YOUR CONNECTION HAS BEEN LOST.

“NO!” We all shouted at the screen in silence. Our hope all lost, we stared at the screen in silence.

“I’m going to look at Christmas lights,” my dad announced, bolting out of his chair.

I’m coming too,” my mom and I followed. Grabbing our coats and quickly tossing them on, we hurried to the front door. Just as we were about to reach it, the dreaded creature jumped out in front of us, blocking our path.

“Where are you going?” Wino asked in her perpetually chipper voice.

Frozen, we looked at her in terror. My dad spoke first. “Uh… we’re going to look at Christmas lights.”

“Oh, give me a second, I’ll go with you.”

“NO! Uh, no, that’s ok, you don’t have to. We won’t be long anyway.”  With that, we slipped past her, out the door, into the cold December air, and practically dove into the care. As we drove to the other side of town, which unfortunately took about five minutes, we grumbled about what a miserable idea this vacation had been.  When we got back thirty minutes later, I headed straight to bed. At that point, the rock-hard floor was a welcome friend.