June 14, 2007

Maybe I Could Sue for the Cost of My Contacts

I recently got contacts. I guess all the years of editing small text obviously caught up to me. It's funny how we put off something as important as sight. Or maybe that's just me.

I was at Barnes and Noble the other day checking out the bestsellers. When I saw Oprah describing Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, I thought it sounded familiar. As it turns out, I worked on it last year. I remember complaining, cursing, and questioning how such a piece of crap could even get published.

"If THIS could get published, my book surely has a chance!" I scoffed.

My lack of knowledge about a future bestseller means one of two things: I have no sense of talent or it really is crap. At the time I quoted my grandmother who's usual (and ususally delusional) quote is "Whoever told them that they could _____?" You could fill in the blank with anything that requires talent: write, dance, sing, etc. The last "talentless" artist I heard that sentence about was Jordin Sparks. (Obviously the millions of people who voted for her don't count.)

My dislike of The Road is probably because I remember the poorly typed manuscript ("Who the hell even owns a typewriter anymore?" I recall saying), numerous (and probably unnecessary) space breaks, and lack of punctuation (Miss Gallagher from 8th grade would never have published it). I guess if you're an accomplished writer, you could get away with such things. Or maybe we should all just stop using apostrophes and quotes.

Dont even get me started, i said.

To top it all off, Dan reminded me at the end of my rant that, although I helped that book become a book, I will never make money from it. Maybe I could at least sue for the cost of my contacts.

June 07, 2007

Mourning the Loss of a $25 Gift Certificate

I'm back.

I've settled in at my dad's computer after watering his plants since he and my mom are away. It's funny how I feel so at home at their house, but I don't feel like it was ever my home. I guess you can't really ever go back.

So since Katie fell asleep because of the boredom of watching me water someone else's garden, I decided to hang out a bit and write some more. Try to contain your excitement.

I just did a search for "I hate my in-laws" and it appears I'm not the only one in the world with an in-law problem. (That's sarcasm. Don't comment and tell me that I should have known that...especially if you're a fifteen-year-old kid and not married.)

We visited Dan's grandmother on Monday since her birthday was Sunday, bringing a card, gift certificate, and some flowers. We were invited to a party on Saturday for her at his aunt's house, but since we're not speaking to his parents, Dan declined. Besides, I don't like to spend my weekends in pure uncomfortable situations.

So we visit "Grammy" on Monday and she seems tired. However, like one of those beetles who slows down to thwart their enemies, she was just preparing a grand assault. She started with a terse "Why weren't you there on Saturday?"

Let me state for the record that she knows why. She's well aware of the problem and it was a loaded question. She started yelling and Dan clammed up. I bit my tongue and thought that I'd have Dan argue a bit with her since it's basically his issue, but then she turned to me and looked me straight in the eye:

Grammy: "We didn't have ANY problems in the family before..."
Me: "Before...what? Are you saying I'M the whole problem?"
Grammy: [Dramatic pause] "No."
Me: "I can't believe you're saying that!"

For some reason, I don't like to be insulted, told what to do, or spoken to like I am a child being scolded. I stood up and said, "That's it! Let's go." Dan set a new world's record for getting a baby into a car seat: 10 seconds and we set a new Grammy's house visit: 2 minutes.

I mourned the loss of the $25 gift certificate.

She knew that it was a sore subject, but like most self-centered people, figured that since she didn't get her own way, that she could say whatever she wanted. So yesterday we received the card and the gift certificate in the mail with a letter.

I created a shopping list with the spiteful return of my beloved gift certificate.

I read the letter and was quite surprised by the anger, emotional blackmail, and pure spitefulness of it. Some of the highlights:

I'm sorry I don't deserve this
Who knows it could be my last birthday
Kiss Katelyn for me since I will never see her again
How much punishment does a parent deserve?
You will never hear from Aunt X again
Fix things before it is too late

That last one sounds like the tagline to a summer blockbuster, doesn't it? "Fix things" is the key to all of this. Dan's family truly believes that he has no right to be angry that his parents have been ignoring major relationship issues for years and that recent events have hurt him tremendously. We won't even bring up my issues (and I've got lots of them!).

So why am I mentioning this? Okay, besides my attempts at self-preservation by writing my feelings, I have decided to start a self-help blog dedicated to helping those who have pretentious in-laws.

Ask yourself these questions:

Do your in-laws hate you but won't admit it? Did they talk about you to your spouse when you were first married, saying you were too clean, only liked to sit around and talk, and had too good of a relationship with your own parents?

Did they send a heinous newborn picture of your three-month-old child (who they hadn't even seen in months) with their Christmas card as a birth announcement (without your permission, of course)?

Do they tell you that they are jealous of your family? Do they call your family up after you and your spouse fight with them to tell your parents how poorly they think of you?

Did they show up late for the birth of your child and blame you? And then did they go home before they got to see their first grandchild because they didn't want to wait another half-hour?

Do they criticize what and how you eat/stand/sit/look/whom you speak to when you are gracious enough to attend their party? For example: "I know Kelly eats baked beans, but she didn't even take any and she hardly ate! I watched her. She doesn't have any problems eating when HER family is around!"

Does your father-in-law tell you you've ruined his business (that's still operating) by inventing things you're writing about him on a website that does not exist?

Do your in-laws go to a counselor and admit to you that the counselor turned them away after one session because your in-laws told the counselor they've "done absolutely nothing wrong" in the situation?

Do they get mad because you suggest you drive your car and not ride in their minivan?

Does your mother-in-law cry at your baby shower because her husband and son were not invited to the all-female event or because you didn't invite her daughter, who you haven't talked to in years?

Does your sister-in-law ignore you every single time you see her but no one cares because they say, Shucks, "that's just the way she is!"

Do your in-laws seat you at a table of random aquaintances (and not anywhere near the family) at their daughter's wedding?

Did your in-laws tell you not to get married? (And somewhere in the back of your mind you're wondering why you didn't listen and kicking your ass for being so in love with their offspring...)

Do they react poorly to your engagement supposedly because you've only been dating for a year but seem thrilled at their daughter's engagement after three months of dating a man she met on the Internet?

And finally...

Do your in-laws say that you are going to kill members of the family by ruining their health because you are not doing what they want?

...then my blog is for you!! Of course, I could only help you make them hate you more while still requesting your presence at functions and pretending that nothing happened. I'm currently working out the kinks.

P.S.: Thanks for reading this far. You either are amused or just shocked.

Everyone Wants a Piece

I'm sure no one will be very excited to see a new post (except my good friend Jason), but I need to write today. I actually needed to write all week, but my computer named Clinton (since Bill was president when the stupid thing worked like it should) decided that it didn't know what a modem was. I didn't realize that computers could get Alzheimer's, but apparently they do. Either that or Clinton finally decided to mess with me just because he can.

Anyway, words have been flying in my brain. I could see them as clear as can be because they are words I want to write. I tivoed Cormac McCarthy on Oprah (an English major's dream) and he said something about his stories just appearing in his head. So I figured my lifelong dream of being a writer must be real since that happens to me. Unfortunately, I don't usually write the words and stories in my head. But my point is that I WANT to. I just need to buy a computer. Or a damn pen.

Words have been haunting my brain for days now. Whenever I feel stress because of my husband's family, I want to write.

The stories are long and the problems are many, but let's just say that things have recently erupted in a melodramatic get-me-out-of-here kind of way and we are now not talking to ANY member of his family. I don't mind that part. What I do mind is the fact that they are using threats, guilt, obligation, and fear to get what they want. And they are blaming me for somehow forcing Dan to be angry. The latest threat is that if Dan doesn't speak to his father soon, his father will need to be hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Yeah, no guilt there. It's like being stalked by a person who never really knew you. Dan and I are the Brad and Angelina of the in-law world: everyone wants a piece. And it sucks because I don't even have the full lips.

Unfortunately for me, as a writer, the thoughts that plagued my mind have wandered away.

But fortunately for me, as a wife and mother, the thoughts that plagued my mind have wandered away...