Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daze of Wine and Roads

Cheyenne is asleep on the king size bed in a rather luxurious Red Roof Inn (as far as they go) in Hebron, Ohio a little less than three hours from my new home while I wait for the State of the Union to begin.   Outside my window is a snowy landscape with the temperature hovering around freezing, which is a heat wave compared to where they were a week ago.  Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas or Texas anymore.

I pulled off to watch the speech since I won't have cable until Monday, but also because I was nervous about driving up the windy, hilly roads into my neighborhood at night.  Probably without cause, but better safe than sorry I guess.  Of course, there is a piece of me, if I'm being honest with myself, that is putting off the final step because it's just that - the final step.  Not of getting in and settled of course.  There is a lot of chaos and work to be endured before that happens.  Groceries to buy, painting to be done, contractors to line up to handle the little and not-so-little things I want done that I'm not willing to subject the house to myself (thinking of resale value - this is our Get Me There House after all), possessions to unload, new furniture to be delivered, cable and Internet to install.  It'll be a whirlwind time, which hopefully will leave some moments to savor the atmosphere of the Steeler Nation savoring its eighth trip to a Super Bowl.  Yep.  Lots going on.  But, arriving at the house somehow symbolizes that finality of leaving a lot behind.  Friends, dogs, deer and most of all family.  Even if it's only a temporary separation, the reality of that word "separation" can no longer be ignored once Cheyenne and I find ourselves alone in a house 1,400 miles from where we began our week.

Of course, family is not limited to daughter and husband - and regarding those other family members of the in-law ilk, what a strange goodbye it was.  So, let me take you back a few days and tell the tale of this long journey from the beginning.

And I'll begin by stating that I cannot think of any real positive that has ever befallen anyone from becoming inebriated past a pleasant buzz.  I can say this from personal experience - several times over, sad to say - but also from years and years of observation of a lot of people who have given it a lot of practice.  Whatever drives us to drink until we're dizzy is never solved by our drunkenness.  To the contrary, it's always right there waiting on us to sober up and face it, now with a fuzzy head and cotton mouth to boot.  I do not say this as a means to lecture.  Nor to discount the addiction of alcohol.  I drink.  I am aware that I've drunk more since Kelsey died.  But, I'm just saying is all, and here's an illustration of my point...

Friday was my youngest niece's birthday.  She is the newly-arrived-back-to-Austin daughter of the sister-in-law I am estranged from.  They decided to throw her a family party and Greg insisted I go.  I didn't want to for several reasons.  The most pressing being the headache I had started the day with became a full blown migraine that had completely sidelined me.  Gone were my thoughts of stopping by the office one last time to say final goodbyes, gone was any chance of seeing the Most Amazing Hairdresser in the World one last time, totally gone was any thoughts of finally finishing packing the china.  All I could do was manage to drift off the Law and Order reruns.  But, secondly, I hadn't directly been invited.  I wasn't sure I was welcome.  And, lastly, I knew my presence there only days away from my leaving would detract from what should be on every one's mind, which is celebrating my niece turning 13.  But I went.  Marissa had to drive me, and we got there fashionably late.  My older niece met us at the door and warned us there was some drama going on:  my mother-in-law and the sister-in-law (SIL for ease) had been fighting and SIL had barred herself upstairs.  MIL was half way to blitzed when I got there and made it the rest of the way in short order.  No one was saying what the altercation was about, but I worried it might be over my presence, and I guessed the mostly empty bottle of red wine on the counter had some factor in it.

In the meantime, my brother-in-law (or BIL) arrived a bit later, morose over something or other, and poured himself some wine.  I won't recount the blow-by-blow of the evening, just suffice it to say, I curled up in the corner with the least light and tried to blend into the woodwork; SIL finally was drug downstairs, where she stayed uncomfortably in the kitchen, and we didn't pass a single word to one another.  And sure enough, as I finally made to leave, there was a big hubbub to say final goodbyes to me by the two individuals who were wine fueled.  The hosts just stared, I'm sure livid at this intrusion on their daughter's moment.  If that's the case, I'm right there with them.  This should not have been in any way shape or form about me, but it was almost inevitable just because of the timing.  By the way, BIL was accompanied by a dear friend of mine, who I'd like to shout out to for sitting with me most of the night and babysitting me.  It was long night, would have been far longer without you.

Anyway, curiosity always gets the best of this cat, so the next day I asked my daughter if she knew what the argument was about.  Sure enough, my name was involved, but not because I was coming per se, but because my MIL attributed a statement to me that set SIL off.  And with no surprise because it was a whopper!  I never said it, which wouldn't have been true had I done so (and therefore will not be repeated here).  I'll leave it at this:  if it had been true, it's a serious enough situation I would have immediately addressed it with my SIL, right after filing a police report.  So, to think I made such a serious accusation is pretty crushing, I am quite sure.  Under the circumstances, barring herself upstairs was probably about the most gracious thing SIL could have done, I'm sure she wanted me dead at the moment, but if not, she for sure didn't want me sitting downstairs in her living room.  I feel badly she thinks I accused her of something that she didn't do.  Someday maybe we can discuss the issues that in fact did wedge us apart, but this incident just furthered the divide, so I'm not really optimistic at this point.  I feel worse that any of that drama between all of us supposed adults interrupted my niece's birthday.  But, with my daughter's urging, I didn't try and reach out to them about it.  She counseled it would just fuel a fire - a fire already fueled pretty well by a bottle of red wine followed by a bottle of white.

In the meantime, my BIL, himself pretty lubed up by evening's end, apparently pouted that he didn't get to say goodbye to me for a while after I left.  Weird because he in fact did.  I don't know if he wanted to say something specific to me that MIL interrupted with her own goodbyes or what, but when Greg tried to get him to come over the next day, he was over whatever it was and didn't see me again.  Again, I put it down to Bacchus being uncorked and floating around the room that night, impacting everyone, even those who weren't drinking.  And again, I regret that my presence cast a shadow on the real occasion of the gathering.  But, that's how the extended family and I parted company.  Strange, messy and regrettable.

So, with that shadow cast, Cheyenne and I are on the road, wondering how my long term relationship with my in-laws will shake out across the miles.  But, I now travel toward my mother's family and hope I do a better job of relationship building with them, and I certainly hope I'm about the be embraced by the Steeler Nation in our shared hour of celebration.

More on the actual trip later, for now, I've got to get ready to make the final leg of the journey to the new home...

1 comment:

  1. well done, momy :) well written, rather.
    and shyeah you owe us all, but me in particular, pictures of da house