Archives For Thanksgiving

dog at table

My ex sister-in-law hated me on sight.

It wasn’t because she felt no one was good enough for her brother. She just hates everyone. She’s an equal-opportunity hater.

The first time I met her, I was dating my Ex and was invited to spend Thanksgiving at her house.

Thanksgiving 1999. I walked in and Bang! CHAOS.

She was flapping around the tiny kitchen, which smelled like a skunk fucking a burning tire. She was wild-eyed; furiously puffing on a Marlboro Red and screeching at her husband and two-teenage daughters. Her two dogs were barking incessantly. Nothing was even close to ready. Pots and pans were bubbling and threatening to boil over on the stove.

I enjoy cooking and I’m the kind of guest who walks in, rolls up her sleeves, and pitches right in.

“Can I help you in here?” I offered.

“NO!” she barked at me in her gravely, man-sounding smoker’s voice. You know, like frog bones in a blender?

“You don’t just THROW a meal like this together,” she snapped at me, waving her arms in a grand sweeping gesture over her kitchen. It was jam-packed full of junk normal people throw out. Hoarders, The Thanksgiving Edition.

She then proceeded to whip potatoes like they stole something from her. She set the bowl of mashed potatoes on the table WHERE IT SAT FOR THE NEXT THREE HOURS UNTIL WE ATE. At that point, it had one of those nice “protective coatings” on top, and tasted like hobo urine.

My ex’s sister, aka Satan’s daughter is not only the Queen of Mean, she’s manipulative, jealous, castrating, hypochondriacal, and LOUD.

I haven’t heard her husband talk in over 15 years. Her crazy has muzzled him to where he communicates in hand gestures.

She’s obsessive about her dogs. She refers to them as her “non biological” children, and demands that they be treated as such. She expects Little Dude to refer to them as “his cousins.” YES, SHE DOES.

She has closets full of clothes for them. They go to temple wearing Yarmulkes. As soon as one yappy, bitter little dog dies, she replaces it with another. She has a seemingly endless supply of tiny mentally ill dogs who NEVER STOP BARKING NOT EVER NEVER.

She is obsessed with Elvis Presley and her latest non biological child is named “Miss Elvis Presley.” It’s a girl dog, dressed in little pinafores, that she carries around town and refers to as “Miss Elvis Presley.” She doesn’t like you to shorten the name, either. When you refer to the dog, you have to say, “excuse me, but Miss Elvis Presley just took a shit on my living room rug.”

She will not go anywhere without them.

Well, she doesn’t go anywhere. She is chronically ill with some mysterious ailment that prevents her from leaving the house ever, unless Macy’s is having a one day sale. She has missed every important family occasion, including (I SWEAR TO GOD) her own daughter’s wedding. An enigmatic bowel affliction leaves her unable to get off the toilet.

Two years ago, when I was still married, we had Thanksgiving at my house. I love to host holidays. and my Ex  sister-in-law’s turkey tastes like sanitary napkins. She’d pick at my food and pretend not to like a thing I cooked. Then she’d pack enough leftovers to save a starving Ubangi village and stuff her face with them the next day. According to her husband, who told me in sign language, she licks her fingers and murmurs to herself the entire time she’s eating them.

That particular year, her beloved dog was dying. He was gravely ill with only days to live. She lives about 20 minutes from us, but refused to come to my house unless she could bring the sick dog.

I understood. I wouldn’t want my dog to die alone, either.

However once at my house she insisted that he join us, and laid him on a pillow under the dining room table. His eyes were jaundiced; his breathing ragged and irregular. He bleated like  Chewbecca having an aneurism.

I prayed to God that he would live, at least through the meal. “Please God, I beg of you, do not let this dog die under my Thanksgiving table in front of my 10-year-old. He will never get over it.”

We did our best to enjoy the meal, but it’s hard to really dig in and celebrate heartily when you’re housing an outtake from Pet Semetary. Thankfully, her doggie lived through the meal and the next day, he went to the Great Kennel in the Sky.

The last time we all got together for a family occasion was about a year ago. My two nephews, (well, technically the Ex’s nephews) were now grown and able to drink legally. These are the other sister’s kids, and they have always known their aunt was kamikaze crazy.

But now, we were able to create a drinking game around it. Yippee! Every time my ex sister-in-law said something bizarre, offensive, ridiculous – we had to take a drink of wine.

We. Got. Schmammered.

And had to go back to the liquor store THREE TIMES to buy more alcohol.

This year, I may host an open house for Thanksgiving. You’re all invited, provided you leave any dying pets at home.

Do you have a crazy in law? What’s the weirdest Thanksgiving you ever had?
Will you bring lots of dessert to my house for the holidays?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Please follow me on Instagram! I sometimes take pictures in superhero underwear but only because I crave validation.

Thankful for the Suburbs???

November 28, 2013 — 10 Comments

Wha?? Did Samara just write that? She, the curmudegeonly anti-suburbia wench?

I did. Please stick around. It’s Thanksgiving, and I bake. Yet another side to my many personalities. Add “Betty Effing Crocker” to my resume.

Once upon time, Gentle Reader, there were great stretches of land which grew up in symbiotic relationship with urban settlements. Then, Satan took over.

Lives in the Suburbs

Hmm- I need a place to live…

Created the Land of Life-Numbing Stupor.  Made the suburbs, a place devoid of independent thought. A place that lacks the spirit, community, creativity, individuality, the FIRE (ironically, since he’s Satan and all)  that make up the urban settlements.

And I worry for the future of my child – that what I thought was a move to ensure the quality of his education is actually going to inundate him with conformity and boredom. Even worse, entitlement and wealth where I live breed a generation of teens who are not kept in check by the realities of daily life.

My oldest and dearest friend, my roommate from freshman year of college, has been stricken with “The Big C.”

Last month, she had to have a radical mastectomy. She lives alone, and I traveled to Boston to spend the week and care for post-surgery.

She has been my sister-of-the-heart for 27 years. We met freshman year. We were not originally roommates. But it was arranged by fate.

By the second day, we recognized that we were each other’s counterpart. It is still so, to this day. But 27 years ago, there were no other girls like us in the dormitory.

To start, we were both from New York City.

I grew up dirt poor, on Staten Island, in what was notorious for being one of the worst housing projects in the five boroughs.  A white girl in a black world. No father. Absentee mother who worked all the time.

She was a Puerto Rican girl from the South Bronx projects.  A housing project is a housing project is a housing project. Ghetto cinderblock is the same no matter what borough. Dirt poor. Product of a broken home.

And there we were, on full scholarships, to a prestigious college.

We offed our existing roommates and buried their bodies in the arts quad so we could room together. (But actually just pawned them off on each other. Did they like one another? We didn’t give a shit.)

One day, I will write our adventures in college, for they are truly OUTSTANDING. Not at all academically. But in the width and breadth of chances we took – the things we did because we were New York City bad ass chicks-

While taking care of her, we reminisced about these times. Were we really so crazy/trusting/stupid/stoned that we did such things?

Like standing on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx with thumbs outstretched, hitchhiking our way back to college in upstate New York after Thanksgiving break?

Get into cars with strangers? Yes, and blithely so! Especially if there were 2 or 3 cute guys in the car.  The more, the merrier. Our own naiveté functioned as well as Psalm 91: God’s Umbrella of Protection.   For we got into not just cars, but vans, with groups of young men, and hitchhiked our way upstate and downstate many times.

We merrily recalled how several times we were  chauffeured all they way to our college town, right to the front door of our off-campus apartment, and “come right in, thank you very much”.  Wipe your feet. continue the party. Crash on the couch. Pick it up the next morning.

At one point, my college BFF was telling a story about her childhood, She said, “and I leaned out the window, and all of sudden, there was a shot, So, I stuck my head in, really fast. Cause back then, there would be gunplay.  You know.”

And I did know. It’s how I grew up. It’s what drew us together, 27 years ago, this past September. We were the only two people in that dorm who would know what that felt like.

27 years later, we’re still the only 2 people in each other’s lives who would know what that felt like.

And so today I give Thanks. Because as much as I despise the suburban aesthetic, I am so very grateful that my child is not afraid when he steps out the door.

He never has to worry that he will be chased home from school and beaten up routinely. His sibling will not get mugged on a paper route.  He will not come home to find his apartment burgled, his brother tied up on the floor. He will not watch another brother beaten with bicycle chains, and scream hysterically for help that never comes. His mother will not be forced at gun point to leave her car in a supermarket parking lot in broad daylight.

He is not growing up the way I did. He feels safe. He is safe. Thank you, God.

Oh, the pie. Here you go:

Think this looks good? – you should taste my cupcakes

Happy Thanksgiving, to you and yours. I know you feel gratitude for all that you have. Please add feeling safe to the many gifts you have been afforded.

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