As far as family goes, this past weekend was one of the best I’ve had in awhile.
I’ve been in a rough place lately. Henry and Alisha can only hear me cry about it so much before it makes them feel frustrated and extremely annoyed I’m sure, and I started to wonder if my “new” sister would be able to help me by listening. A fresh pair of ears can usually do wonders, but I wasn’t sure if she would feel comfortable, since we only just met. I sent her a message on Facebook asking if we could meet up sometime so I could talk to her about something, and to my surprise she replied within moments, suggesting that upcoming Saturday. We arranged to meet at the Union Grill in Washington, PA, and I made Henry print me out thorough directions.
Too bad it didn’t say on the Union Grill’s website that they’re located across from the Pittsburgh Paint shop, on top of which Erin’s ex-boyfriend Psycho Mike once lived for a month in the summer of ’97. Then I would have been able to blindly navigate my way there, probably not without Vietnam-caliber flashbacks.
After Amy and I were seated, I wasted no time for pleasantries; I dove right in and found myself being more honest with her than I have ever been with anyone in my family. I held back nothing.
“Wow,” she said after a few minutes. “I totally wasn’t expecting all that.” And from there, she went on to be sympathetic and supportive and made me realize (along with Alisha, who I had spent the earlier part of the day with) that I wasn’t retarded. Sometimes having your feelings validated can do wonders in turning around your outlook, and I felt like Oprah’s ass had finally been crane-lifted from my chest. Cathartic.
Amy mentioned that my mom had recently called her to see if she had spoken to me recently. Amy said no, and my mom said, “Something seems to be bothering her.” I almost choked on my salad upon learning that. My mom, noticing something was amiss with me? And actually caring enough to ask someone about it? (I know what you’re thinking – “Why didn’t she just ask you?” But understand that the fact that my mom noticed at all is mind blowing to me.) I think that means my mom must really love me after all.
I drove home, amazed at how easily I can talk to someone who has the same mother as me. We’re hoping the next time we get together, that our mom will be there too. We want to get her drunk so she’ll tell us stories. I told her about that later, and she goes, “Who, me? I don’t have any stories. I lived a very clean life.” Indeed.
While I was gone, Chooch apparently stepped on the broken handle of a broom and gave his foot a mean slice. I had to stop and get bandaids and Neosporin on the way home, but had no idea how bad it really was until I walked through the door and saw the bloody paper towel strewn across the floor and watched as Henry dressed the wound. It’s a nasty one, and my legs still quake at the memory of it. Henry deemed it wasn’t bad enough for stitches (I disagree), and has it held together with like, an entire box of butterfly bandages, cotton pads, and tape. We’ve instructed Chooch not to walk on it for awhile, to keep it from splitting open again. (OMG I just puked up some vegan sausages at the thought.)
On Sunday, we went to my mom’s house before the Penguins game so Henry could get all Handy Manny around her house. Any opportunity he can drudge up his old electrician tools makes him happy, almost complete. I don’t know what he was doing, fucking around with a light fixture in the kitchen and poking and prodding around a nest of wires that were hanging out of the ceiling like color-coded entrails. My favorite past time is emasculating Henry, so when I walked through the kitchen and saw him about to climb a ladder, I snorted and said, “Real men don’t use ladders.”
“No, tall men don’t use ladders,” he retorted, and then looked around to see if anyone was laughing.
We weren’t, Henry.
Meanwhile, my mom was being super attentive with Chooch. She’s even been helping us find somewhere to live, since the company we rent from is in the process of selling all their property on this street and we might be squatting within the next few months here.
“If you move out this way, you’d be able to get a full time job again, because I could watch Chooch,” she mused. I almost sullied my pretty heart-patterned underwear.
My grandma lives two houses up from my mom, so Chooch and I popped by for a visit while Henry was playing with tools. I really expected my aunt Sharon to have the front door barricaded, blocked by a moat, and lined with rental thugs armed with switchblades. It was locked, but she actually opened it after we knocked. She didn’t seem harried and put out that we were there, like she oftentimes is. And my grandma, cocooned in a blue Snuggie, was coherent and seemed in good spirits. Her hearing has even improved since the last time I saw here. Which, sadly, was way back on Christmas.
Sharon is even suddenly interested in my art.
I left there with my mind blown. Someone must be putting happy sauce in their water supply, because everyone was almost acting normal.
And then, back at my mom’s house, she showed Chooch and me some YouTube videos and usually I ignore her when she’s like, “Oh my god you have to watch this it’s the funniest thing ever you’ll die!” because it’s never funny to me. But this time, it actually was and I even laughed out loud. I’m usually the last to watch all the popular YouTube shit, so I’m sure this is old news, but I’m obsessed with this guy now. Last night, I said to Henry, “I’m going to watch every one of his videos tomorrow.”
“Well, at least you have your day planned out,” he mumbled.
Meanwhile, I’m still carrying Chooch from the couch to the bathroom to the computer, ad nauseum. He’s getting too used to his new life as a cripple, I think.