Tanning Bed Blues

I’m frustrated.

I’m annoyed.

I am drained.

My frustrations with Steph can be summed up by one incident involving a tanning bed.  I cannot tell you how much I loathe tanning beds.  For the record, I have never been to one and there is no way that I would ever go.  But Steph goes.


And it makes me nuts.  She’s an RN for Heaven’s sake!  You would think she would already understand the dangers, and she probably does, but chooses to ignore them.  That’s the worst.  When intelligent people behave stupidly.  I’ve taken to calling it the “cancer bed” when I’m around her because I sound like a broken record every time I get on my soapbox about the dangers.

So, the incident…

There was a time when our friend, B, Steph and I would get together on Wednesday evenings to scrapbook and chat.  We would meet every week without fail.  Rain, cold, sleet, hail- whatever- we would get together.  Then we took a break because life got busy and we had gotten a little burned out on scrapbook, quite frankly.  Our break lasted about a year but lately B and I have started missing our weekly visits.  So, in January the three of us convened at B’s house just like old times.  It was great!

This week I decided that we needed another scrapbook session (at my house) since two months had gone by since our last meeting.  Steph immediately made the excuse that she would not be able to come because Big Red would probably work late.  I told her that I would ask him to come home to watch the kids so she could come over.  “Uh, ok…” was her response.  As if, my request to Big Red was completely absurd.  I agreed that it was a long shot but I figured why not ask and see what happens.

So, I texted Big Red and, much to my surprise, he agreed to come home.  When he arrived home he informed me that Steph was already in bed.  At 8:15 PM…

I sighed but figured that it was typical of her behavior these days.  She’s depressed and I totally understand that given the stress of the impending divorce.  So, I thought no big deal.  She had blown me off many other times when I’ve invited her to do something so this came as no surprise.

Not 10 minutes later, G texted again with the message that Steph was up and was heading to Starbucks for a latte then going to the tanning bed.


So, I asked her if she was coming over and, of course, the answer was no.  She was heading to Starbucks and the tanning bed.

I had specifically arranged for her husband to come home to watch the children (which is pretty much impossible these days) so she could have some free time with her friends.  Instead, she took advantage of the free time and blew me off.


Now, I know there are many, many ways to look at this incident.  The fun activities she used to engage in are less than appealing when her life is in turmoil.  Hanging out with two happily married friends is not her preference.  Scrapbooking happy times when everything in her world is torn apart is not something she can face.

I get it.  I do.  But B and I are the support system that she’s chosen for herself.  She’s involved us.  She has asked for us to be there for her. But when we try to do just that we’re pushed away.

When you deal with almost daily drama from someone, you watch them engage in self-destructive behavior, you are at their beck-and-call for babysitting without so much as a thank you,  and they ask for help but won’t take it, the situation gets extremely old.  Steph does not realize what an emotional roller coaster her divorce has been for me and B.  I care about Steph so much.  I want her to make the best decisions for herself and her children.  But she’s not.  She’s floundering.

She’s being rebellious and self-centered as well.  There are so many other examples I could give but I’m not here to spread her dirty laundry out for the world.  I’m just trying to express my feelings on a situation that is suffocating me.

I need a break from the circus.  I’m tired of trying to reach out to her only to be shot down.  I’m tired of just being the babysitter and dumping ground for drama.  My psyche can’t take much more.

Perhaps I need to revisit my resolution for 2010…

Sorry to unload all of this here but writing about it helps me deal.  *sigh*  I hope to get back to regularly scheduled fun posts soon.


Something to Celebrate Indeed

Mimi’s divorce was final yesterday!  Normally I would not celebrate the end of a marriage.  Coming from a broken home, I do not ever want to endure a divorce myself.  Thank goodness I married a great guy and I am in this for the long haul.

But not everybody is so lucky.  Sometimes women feel trapped.  They put on a front to hide the misery they feel.  They trudge on for almost thirty years “making it work”.  Putting their true selves on the back burner for their marriage.  For their kids.  This was my aunt.  But she’s not in that dark place any more. As of 1:30 yesterday afternoon, she is free.

I am proud of her for finally putting her foot down and saying NO MORE.  She is independent for the first time in her life and she has never looked or felt better.  It’s like the weight of the world has been lifted and anything is possible.

Anything is possible.

So, the women of our family (and one of Mimi’s co-workers, the guy in the photo above) went out to celebrate last night- dinner then dancing.  Mimi legally changed her name back to her maiden name.  I gave her a cute little charm bracelet with her new initials on it at dinner.  She is officially DLM now.

I am so, so happy for her.

Drama from My Momma…

Last night was surreal.  After leaving one of the most boring wedding receptions I have ever been to, the night went up several notches in excitement thanks to my mom. Don’t get me wrong.  The bride and groom are wonderful.  The groom is one of J’s best friends in the world.  J and Wildman were in the sweet ceremony on the beach.

Everything was lovely at the wedding but the reception was a real snoozefest.  There was no time line for the typical reception activities like the first dance, the toast, cutting the cake, etc.  As a result, the reception drug on for 5 hours.  It would not have been so bad had the music not been coma-inducing.  I’m referring to a play list that was comprised mainly of Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller and many slow ballads from previous generations.  No one really danced and there was no bar.

We soldiered through to the end though.  We witnessed the bouquet and garter tossing, collected our children and said our good-byes.  I was exhausted from sitting on my behind, making tons of small talk, eating a mediocre meal and corralling the boys.  I just wanted to go home and put my feet up.

Let me preface the next part of my story by saying that as I entered the hotel earlier that day I recalled my mom saying that her ex-husband, Friendly Jim, was going to his 40th high school reunion that night at the same hotel as the wedding we were attending.  Not only was Friendly Jim attending his reunion but he was also getting his old high school band back together to play.  It was supposed to be a big surprise for everyone and my mom said she wanted to crash the party.

My mom and Friendly Jim are still buds.  They have breakfast together every Sunday and frequently go out to movies.  In fact, their relationship is better now than it ever was when they were married.  He had been over at her house the night before the reunion practicing his set and knew that she wanted to see him play guitar with his band.  Yet, he never asked her to go with him…

Fast forward to the cocktail party after the wedding reception.

J and Wildman were busy taking photos with the bridal party outside on the beach.  Cutie Pie and I were hanging out with Steph and Big Red inside at the bar.  The air conditioning felt incredibly refreshing after the stifling heat from the outdoor ceremony.  As Steph and I made our way over to the coconut shrimp, I felt a tap-tap-tap on my shoulder.  I turned around and there was Friendly Jim, my ex-stepdad.  We hugged and chatted about his reunion but I could not keep my eyes from drifting over to the lady standing next to him.  I had never seen her before and they were obviously together since they retreated to the beach after Friendly Jim, Steph and I had finished chatting.  Friendly Jim never introduced us to his lady friend but all of a sudden it clicked why he had not asked my mom to join him at the reunion that evening.  He already had a date!  Oh, no…

Steph, with eyes wide, immediately said, “You cannot tell your mom!!!  You just cannot tell her!”

I told Steph that I knew I probably should not tell my mom but I was afraid that my mom was going to crash the reunion.  Then what?!  Upon further discussion, we decided that there was no way my mom was actually going to show up because she had just spent the entire day in Orlando with my aunt and uncle picking our ceramic tile.  My mom was probably too exhausted to even think about showing up at the hotel.  I decided not to rock my mom’s world and kept Friendly Jim’s date a secret.

Fast forward to the end of the most boring wedding reception evah…

As J, the kids and I were making our way toward the lobby of the Hilton on our way to the car, I heard my name being shouted from the bar.  The same bar where Friendly Jim greeted me earlier with his lady friend…  I looked over to see my mom frantically waving me down.  Upon further observation I noticed that my mom had her sister and my uncle in tow.  I immediately had a sinking feeling in my stomach.

We made our way over to my mom.  J went to sit at the bar with the boys and my uncle while my mom, in a tipsy stupor, declared that Friendly Jim HAD A DATE!  My aunt kindly stated the obvious when she mentioned that my mother was slightly drunk.  Fabulous.  Apparently, before I arrived on the scene Friendly Jim had found my mom and told her that he was at the party with a woman who had a social disorder and that he did not like her.  My mom went nuts.  They had a confrontation where Friendly Jim demanded to know why my mom divorced him and my mom demanded to know why he didn’t tell her about his date.   Blah, blah, blah.  Then my mom proceeded to march over to the bar and get hammered.  I’m not sure how my aunt and uncle got there but somehow they arrived as my mom’s back up.

I stood there taking all of this information in while J ordered the boys Sprites and virgin pina coladas.  My mom was proudly showing me the reunion name tag that she made for herself to wear.  It said, “I Divorced Stupid.”    Nice, Mom.  Real nice…  I was willing Steph to come downstairs to share in this family drama.  Finally, she showed up and stood there as dumbfounded as me.

All of a sudden, my mom grabbed my arm and declared, “We’re going in!”

I looked back over my shoulder at my aunt and Steph and motioned for them to come with us.  I did not want my mother creating some kind of scene in the middle of the reunion.  So, in we went.

The place was packed!  The band was up on stage playing Mustang Sally.  The music was pumping.  The 58-year-olds were shaking their groove things.  We, the reunion crashers, made our way around the edge of the crowd to the front of the dance floor.  We had a perfect view of Friendly Jim rocking out on his guitar.  We stood there for a while listening to the songs and dancing a bit.

Ride, Sally, ride!!!

Then all of these people started coming up to my mom.  Apparently she knew half of the people there…  You see, she was a year behind Friendly Jim in high school so they ran with the same crowd.  Anyway, my mom had her own mini-reunion over in our corner of the room.  Friendly Jim played on.  Oblivious.

Friendly Jim’s two brothers and son were also at the party.  Steph, my aunt and I chatted with them for a while.

We eventually spotted Friendly Jim’s date and proceeded to place ourselves between her and my mom.  It was so awkward.  I actually felt sorry for Friendly Jim’s date.  I’m sure she figured that he was a divorced man who was free to date whomever he wanted.  Then my mom showed up and made it all weird for everyone involved.

I just wanted to get out of there but I aside from physically removing my mother I could not flee the scene.  I left Steph in charge of babysitting my mom for a moment so I could sneak out to tell J to take the kids on home.  I was not sure when I’d be able to leave and I didn’t want the boys to be out any later than they already were.  My mother obviously needed me to drive her back to her house.  J understood and quickly herded the kids toward the exit.

The band played several more songs.  We made our way to the dance floor.  Friendly Jim ended up spotting us as we grooved along to hits from 1969.  You could see the uncomfortableness on his face.  Ugh.  It was really, really awkward.  My mom was dancing and chatting it up with old friends.  Friendly Jim’s date was giving us frosty looks from the bar.

I’m pretty sure Steph and I made it onto the class reunion video being filmed.  At one point we were down front cheering Friendly Jim on and the videographer came up to us and paused.  We said our WOOOOOOs and he moved on.

Geez.  What a night.

After the band wrapped up their set and posed for some photos, Friendly Jim came over to say hello.  He was actually very nice despite the strange predicament we put him in.  After we chatted with him for a bit I told my mom that it was time to go.  She sighed, wrote her phone number on some man’s arm and then came with me.  She had made her point.  There was no need to stay.

Luckily, she listened to me.  I did not want to have to break up some fight between my mom and Friendly Jim or his date.  Once I got her safely into her car she asked me why she cared so much about Friendly Jim’s date.  I told her that I didn’t know, that she would have to think on that when her head cleared up.

**sigh*  What am I going to do with her?  She obviously still has feelings for Friendly Jim…