Tuesday, November 17, 2009

putting the fun in dysfunction

Magnum's sister invited us over for Thanksgiving.

We're not sure if it was just a token invitation or if she actually wants us to show up, but we're thinking token.

See, Magnum and the sister aren't all that close. In fact, we have pretty much attained Black Sheep status with most of the family - a position I actually hold in high regard. They're all quite crazy in their own technical psychological issues sense. I won't go into details, but nearly 20 years of marriage have educated me in just about all things "dysfunctional family".

So we got the invite. This despite the fact that the last time she and Magnum spoke, it was a while ago, and the conversation ended with a rather abrupt, drama-queenish slamming of the phone. Her phone.

The whole family is notorious for sweeping things under the rug and pretending that the big lumps they make are not really there. Bring up a lump and you'll likely have a phone slammed.

So we were out walking the other day.

Me: Your sister invited us over for Thanksgiving.
Mag: *silence*
Mag: *silence"
Mag: Over the phone? (probably remembering that last conversation...)
Me: No, e-mail.
Mag: I wonder why.
Me: She's probably hoping we say no.
Mag: So how should we say no? Just "No thanks"? "No thanks, we'd rather not"?
Me: I dunno, she's your (mental) sister. *parentheses used to illustrate word spoken in my mind only*
Me: We could say we have other plans. (We really don't yet, but it's not technically a lie is it?)
Mag: Yeah, we have plans not to spend it with them.
Me: See, so that works?

At times this bums me out. I sometimes wish I had married into a family I actually liked. And anyone who reads here regularly should know that I don't necessarily have a problem with "crazy" per se.... It's just this family's particular brand of crazy that doesn't mix well with me. Seriously, it's a wonder Magnum survived childhood.

In fact, this particular sister - I used to really like her. Then she got all weird and did a total flip-flop thing. It's like a whole 'nother person in a Mag's-sister suit.

But, it is what it is. And now I know what we're not doing for Thanksgiving.


  1. ***Gets it***

    I wish we even had the opportunity to decline invitations to family holiday get-togethers. The invitation always comes from neutral territory, so it's hard to decline. We have a particular relative who is a very, highly intelligent yet psychotic type of person. I can honestly say there is no one in this world that I truly hate... except that person. (Blech. That's harsh. I hate even putting it in writing.)

    The situation makes all the get-togethers uncomfortable and nerve-wracking. If either Mark or I had the guts, we would just give an excuse like yours and do our own thing. But it's hard to explain to the neutral parties why we might choose not to see them. Especially if those neutral parties might not be around too many more years.

    (I just realized how cryptic that was. See how paranoid that psychotic person makes me?)

  2. ***Gets it 2***

    Family gatherings can be such fun. where else can you invite a bunch of nitwits you've known for year over to your house (or you to theirs) to have all of your flaws and problems fixed in one afternoon. I'd much rather be out hunting or camping, but that is not the "family tradition". Sometimes you have to put up with the nuts to enjoy the fuitcake.

    But I'm with you guys (make plans not to spend it with them). No need to ruin your holidays. It's either that or start drinking early...

  3. I wonder if you could do a "swing by" on your way to your "thing you aren't doing with THEM" to show how nice you are, yet not stay for a big feast or something. Would that make anything any better?

    Just thinking out loud. I don't have outlaws really...oops I mean inlaws.

  4. This is sad. Too bad. I do hope you can patch things up with your hubby's family. But I don't know your story and I respect your decision. It's saddening to know that you can't have a good time with them. It's more agonizing if you force yourselves to spend the holidays with them. But anyway, maybe in time, you can have that fun loving family. For the meantime, you can just enjoy being with your hubby and your kids and still have a blast. :)

  5. Beej has a good idea. We have had more than our share of situations like this come up and it makes everybody feel fine when you just drop in on your way somewhere else and have set time you MUST leave. It's difficult.

  6. OK, so...I hate thanksgiving. I used to love it. When I was single and living inthe city, i would make a big feast and invite various friends (and friends-of-friends) over and we would have a great meal.

    Then, when I got hooked up with the hubby, I would cook and we would have his dad over, and sometimes his aunt. Again, everything was well-received and enjoyable.

    Then, one year his dad fell off the wagon, and even though I cooked a huge meal, he blew us off because he was so hung over from a binge. I cried and screamed at him over the phone.

    A year later, and he was dead. And we no longer had anyone to come over to celebrate with.

    My family wants me to cook again but its so depressing for me. So I just ordered a pre-done meal from a local supermarket. At $39.99 for everything, its a bargain of time, money, and emotional energy.

    Thanksgiving reminds me how isolated we are here, even though we live in a town of 70,000.