Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Blood Relatives Suck Blood (With Some Exceptions)

You know, my closest relative, P, has a very wise saying: no good deed goes unpunished. We found that out firsthand recently while planning a 90th birthday luncheon for her mother/my grandmother. (Yes, P is technically my aunt, but we're only seven years apart and closer than most sisters.) And before I go on with this post and break my rule about not writing negative things about people who might see them, let me just say that the dumb stumps that will be referenced here are too stupid to even know what a blog is, so no worries. Anyway, at this point I'm so pissed at them, that not only do I not care, I might even send them the link to this. Not that they'd be able to figure it out. But I digress.

We have often had our larger family gatherings at P's house. She has a good amount of entertaining space and actually enjoys entertaining...for appreciative guests. However, we decided to do this party at a restaurant because of a few things. The guest list for a 90th birthday celebration is, naturally, a bit smaller than for other ones. P and I are busy. The third person "hosting" the soiree just married off her daughter and lives in another state, so we knew that we couldn't count on her help. P and I are busy. P and I are tired. All we wanted to do was have a nice luncheon for a special lady who deserved a bit of a showcase. We basically didn't do much for her 85th because my grandfather had died earlier in the year, and then 9/11 (from which P's husband escaped) happened, scant weeks before my grandmother's birthday. No one was really into it, so we took my grandmother out for several nice lunches and dinners and kept it low key.

I took charge because...well, I could. After consulting the others on the pared-down guest list (about 18 total), I went to the restaurant, selected the menu, chose some colors and made the deposit. We had about a week before we had to give a total headcount and pay the balance due. P and M only had to notify a couple of people as to the date and time of the party, and I set out to make the remaining calls.

Naturally, the non-blood relatives were gracious, and pleased to be included. So was my second cousin, C, and her dad. Then I called my grandmother's sister. That was my first mistake, but how can you leave out one of two remaining siblings? We even chose the place and time of day to accommodate this family branch, who would be coming from the city. Bent over backwards. And then the bastards started fucking with the guest list.

"Oh, did you invite so-and-so?" "Uh, no, we're trying to keep it small." "Oh, he's always talking about family." Really? That's nice. Does he ever call said family? No. But, hey, a free meal's a free meal! "Well, we're having it at a nice restaurant, so we're trying to keep it small. Besides, he doesn't like to travel between states." "Oh. Well, he's always talking about family." Yeah, well, I'm always talking about James Bond, but that doesn't mean I'll be sipping from his martini glass anytime soon. Good for him. "We look forward to seeing you and Uncle G there." Click.

Fortunately for me, this rotten family branch does not have my phone number. Unfortunately for P, they have hers. The next day, she received a call from sister of so-and-so, who lives in Florida (and, therefore, was not on the guest list). Begging, pleading, cajoling P to include poor so-and-so on the guest list. P held her at bay. Called me. I said, "Fuck 'em all. Bastards." She called M. M was a little sentimental, which I whacked right out of her via email. However, considering how this branch of bastards was fully capable of ruining the birthday girl's surprise, P and M decided we should cave.

On her way to a family wedding that I did not attend, P called so-and-so to invite him and his wife to the birthday party. Afterwards, he called her cellphone, which went into voice mail as she was on a plane, and informed her that his 19 year old son (whom we haven't seen in more than ten years) would be coming. No, no, no. Not only was that not cool, but it placed us over the number of people allowed in the room we'd booked. P, being of sound and intelligent mind, called me to commisserate. I flew off the handle, screaming curses and oaths not heard outside places such as Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. So, it was decided that P would call so-and-so's wife and rationally explain to her that there was no fucking way her absentee son would be joining the party. Reason worked on the wife, who is a notch above the festering family branch she foolishly married into, and the kid will not be coming.

Now the guest list is firmly set at 20. I call the restaurant, put the balance on P's credit card, and waited for the other shoe to drop. I didn't have to wait long. Turns out the Florida branch accosted M at the family wedding, demanding to know why they were not invited. Well, okay, HUSBAND of Florida branch (which we once liked, somewhat), but still. You live in FLORIDA. OUT OF STATE. DOUBTED YOU'D COME. KEEPING LIST SMALL. Husband was pulled off M, who did not go near either one of them for the rest of the wedding.

As I write this, weather reports predict heavy rains starting Friday and extending into Saturday. The luncheon is at 2 on Saturday. My hairdresser has gone AWOL and I will have to try to make my coif look decent on a horribly rainy day. Naturally, we consider that the rotten, decrepit, classless family branch will cancel last minute and, simultaneously, ruin the surprise for my grandmother because that's the sort of lowlifes they are. (It will not surprise you that at the post-funeral lunch ten years ago for second cousin C's mother, these losers snuck out with half-drunk bottles of wine. Knowing that, it will not surprise you that we will not be having an open bar at THIS luncheon, but a limited amount of carafes of wine.) P has a couple of backups to fill their seats if necessary, but we've paid for 20 meals and would get somewhat screwed if the losers bail. Amazingly, we're all fine with that. For once, P, M and I agree that we'd rather pay for meals that get sent to my grandmother's freezer instead of seeing these leeches.

I'm sure I'll have quite an update for this blog after Saturday. I already have an in-home massage booked for that evening and a bottle of wine with my name on it.

It must be noted that the non-blood relatives who are graciously attending this soiree have spent more time with my grandmother than the bloodsucking leeches. And that is why I titled this "Why Blood Relatives Suck Blood (With Some Exceptions)." A wise person once said that your family is the circle of close friends and relatives that you select for yourself. Whomever that was, I'd like to buy them a bottle of wine, hug them hard, and wish them a hearty "A votre sante!"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rosie Rocks "The View"

Sometimes I only watch "Hot Topics," but I do enjoy "The View" with Rosie O'Donnell as one of the panelists. I notice Barbara Walters cringing more often than before, but the show is livlier and a bit more fun these days. Admittedly, it's hard for the others to get a word in edgewise with the verbose O'Donnell, who often outshouts the others, but, as a compromise, Rosie has suggested extending "Hot Topics" from two to three segments per show. I think that's a great idea, especially if they're discussing a truly hot topic. They are often more entertaining than the guests!

Having said that, I think they have all the panelists they need on the show, but if they must bring on a fifth member, my vote goes to Shon Gables, former local (NYC) newswoman and radio personality, who more than held her own with the ladies a few weeks ago. Gayle King's name has been mentioned, but I think she's busy with the O magazine, not to mention the satellite radio show, "Oprah and Friends."

I just hope Rosie will stop insisting on using a mug her kids made for her and conform with the other ladies after this month is over (they're all using special "View" mugs to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month). She has gotten her own way with changes such as daily audience gifts, confetti, and other things. Let's refrain from being different just because we can.

Rush Limbaugh, For Want of a Better Word, Sucks

It's been nearly a year since I've updated this blog, and I'm sorry I've neglected it. A few things have happened in these months that have almost drawn me back, but as they were mostly related to people (or events) that could be recognized easily by those concerned, I chose not to. However, that idiot Rush Limbaugh (shouldn't he be in jail for his prescription drug offenses?) and his comments about Michael J. Fox make me want to go on a Julia Sugarbaker rant (and if you don't recognize that reference, shame on you!).

Yes, I'm getting fired up. Fox, a Parkinson's Disease sufferer and stem cell research advocate, had the "nerve" to film some political commercials in support of candidates who also back stem cell research. If there is to be a cure in his lifetime -- or at all -- it will likely come from such research.

Limbaugh, the (former?) prescription painkiller popper, suggested that Fox was either off his meds or acting during the filming of these ads. It is painfully clear that Fox is shaking as he makes his pitch, which is one of the many horrible effects of Parkinson's.

Would Limbaugh have preferred that Fox's tremors were due to coming down off a Oxycodone or Percocet high? (Sorry, I don't recall which painkiller Limbaugh preferred.) I don't listen to this bombastic blowhard, but I do wonder if he takes it easier on people with substance abuse problems due to his own experiences and stints in rehab. Probably not Democrats.

I'd call him a pig, but that would be an insult to pigs.

Michael J. Fox is a family man, a beloved and talented actor, a man of conscience, and a man of bravery. Can the same be said of Limbaugh?

I feel a lot better now. This blog will no longer remain dormant!