The Great Alaskan Debate

My sister is all about the forced family fun – a term I used to use with affection, but in reading old posts, I see how sadly my feelings toward my family have really shifted in the last year. She’s a planner and a bit of a demander and likes to tell people what to do and currently, she is telling the family that we all need to go on an Alaskan cruise next summer.

Not in a “hey, let’s come up with a cool vacay and convince the parents to pay” kind of way; we’re all adults, so it’s more about everyone making the decision to go and paying their own way. Sis and my new BIL decided they want to go and they want it to be a big family event with both sides attending. 

Coming off of hijacking Christmas last year and their wedding “year,” it’s no doubt they expect everyone to go along with whatever they say.  They will continue their reign until someone stands up to them.

So, the thing is…well, there are many things.

I held her off long enough by saying I might have to pay for some major home repairs I was recently dealing with, but fortunately the HOA covered it. So, I just got an email asking since they took care of it, am I going to go?

My next response is that I kind of want my 2012 vacation to be a friend vacation and she made it pretty clear that I was just her sister, not her friend. I don’t think it’s the right time to snarkily bring up the fact that I’m upset about her choice of MOH, and although it’s on my mind and I want to say it to her, it’d be nice to NOT alienate the WHOLE family before the holidays.  But, with everything that’s going on with my family (still annoyingly and hurtfully unresolved), why would I want to be trapped on a boat with them? 

I’ve never been on a cruise before and, honestly, another reason is that I want my first cruise to be what you think of when you think of a cruise…bikinis and fruity drinks and lots of sex with the hot boyfriend you’re with and what not.

Let’s see, what else…the money really is an issue and even though I don’t have to shell out thousands on my house, I’m not feeling financially cushy right now. She (plus the other bride) dictated my savings funds last year and I haven’t established any savings funds/goals for next year. A travel fund would probably be at the top of the list, but I’m thinking international (sorry, Canada, not like that) or a big city or my most recent brilliant idea is surf + yoga in South Carolina.

I also have on good authority that a friend is getting engaged this New Year’s…a friend who lives in another state again and who I most likely wouldn’t have in my party, but who talks constantly about me being in hers.  Joy.  I know in theory that it’s maybe okay to say no to being in someone’s wedding party, but I don’t know that I’d ever actually do that.

Also, I’m 27 and I don’t necesarily want to go on vacation with my family when I feel fifth-wheely.  It makes me feel lonely and currently, it reminds me that my sister’s wedding and my father’s behavior were catalysts for why I’m lonely right now. 

The original idea was for me to room with my 88-year-old grandmother, but she doesn’t want to go, so now I would get to room with the best man from their wedding, who probably won’t go if he has to pay double occupancy for just himself.  So, now I just feel like a means to get him to go. 

Anyway, I guess the only reason stopping me from being like, “hell no” is that I don’t want to miss out.  What if when they come back and talk all about their experiences, I feel sad that I wasn’t a part of them?

It would be a neat trip, but is it at the top of my list of things to do and see and experience?  No.  I’d never considered it until she brought it up.  Coincidentally, my parents had been thinking of going on an Alaskan cruise in Septemberish next year…of course Sis and BIL won that war of going in the early summer instead.

Does that outweigh all the other emotions I have about not wanting to go?  Do you still enjoy talking family vacations as an adult?  Have you been on an Alaskan cruise and think I should absolutely do it?  Or do you want to hang out with me in South Carolina and learn to surf next summer?!

Apology PSA

Call me a politician, call me a PR-spinner, but there are a few things I’ve learned to delicately say over the years.

You don’t tell a woman she looks beautiful (it implies that whatever she did on that particular night, like if she’s just dressed up for a special event, it’s temporary), you tell her she is beautiful.  Same goes for a handsome gentleman friend.

If you’re not sure if you’ve met someone before, you tell them it’s great to see them (not meet them, not see them again).

If you apologize, apologize, don’t apologize that someone feels a certain way.  They’re allowed to feel their feelings.  Apologize that you made them feel that way, apologize for your actions or words or whatever the case may be.

Even though “I’m sorry,” sounds like an apology, when it’s followed with “you feel that way,” it’s more like a slap in the face.

Backing up, my family is not confrontational.  We don’t talk about things, we wait for them to disappear.  My dad gets away with the worst behavior simply because the women in my family allow it.  This issue was important enough to me that I couldn’t sit on it. He needed to be called on his shit, so I went to dinner at their house on Tuesday with the last of my family that is still in town from the wedding (and I waited until after they went back to their hotel).

I had my whole spiel, I felt strong, but when the time came, my heart was racing and half a sentence in, I was crying, but I was getting the words out and the short spiel turned into everything else I wanted to tell him about how hurt I was.

His reaction was not surprise or anger or regret or anything really.  With no emotion, he apologized that I felt that way.

I didn’t tell him he won, I just said what I needed to say and then went outside to talk to my mom a bit before I left.  She kept trying to figure out how she could fix it.  She took on a bit of blame because she knows she’s let him get away with his misbehavior for too long. I’ve been telling her it’s not her charge to fix it ever since.

The next morning (Wednesday now), I got an email from my dad with a more legitimate apology, another lame excuse and a request that if there is anything he can do to let him know.

Honestly, I’m not sure why it’s my responsibility to teach a 61-year-old man how to behave when he’s wronged somebody.  He supposedly raised me and I learned it, but now I need to tell him?  It wouldn’t mean anything if it was prompted and as more and more days go by, it will mean less and less if he actually gets around to it.

Emotionally-fueled, word vomit posts kind of bug me and I usually click away, but  I needed to get it out so thank you if you’re still around.  And if you are, let me know what you would do please!  How does your family handle conflict?  Are there things you’ve learned to spin when you say them?

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?

Quick recap:  My sister is getting married next month.  In the year that she’s been engaged, she has become a self-consumed bridezilla.  My parents are also eating, sleeping and breathing the wedding.  I’ve been avoiding the fam because I’m over it.  I’m over it because she’s a self-consumed bridezilla, there are more important things in life and my feelings are hurt because she asked her best friend to be her maid of honor over me (I’m a bridesmaid).  Got it?  Good.  Moving on.

Yesterday, I got an email (an email?!) from my sister asking if I would be willing to/comfortable/okay with giving a toast at the blessed event. I sat on it for a while because, well, that’s a duty for the maid of honor.  She even mentioned in the email that the best man was giving the other toast. 

Finally, I responded that I had believed I was off the hook for the speech, but if the MOH had declined, I’d be fine to give one. 

She responded that the MOH would be okay to give one or not, but her preference was that I give the toast. Well…maybe she should have thought of that when she was selecting her attendants.

I said fine.  I’m not sure I meant it.  Obviously, she’s not my favorite person right now.  I’m concerned I won’t have anything heartfelt to say. 

I’m concerned the uncomfortable emotions I’ve been feeling toward her and my family and the event will be overwhelming on the big day.  I am already embarrassed that I’m standing up as a bridesmaid and I’m concerned I’m going to feel embarrassed getting up to speak for my sister who didn’t want me to be her MOH.

On the flip side, I’m concerned if I DON’T do it, I’ll regret missing the once-in-a-lifetime (?) opportunity to toast my sister on her wedding day.

She asked because the venue needed to know, so I feel like it’s a time-sensitive issue (because heaven forbid you ask the DJ to change the announcement with anything less than two weeks notice), but I can’t figure out the right answer.  If I change my mind, I imagine she’ll be more upset about the fact that I’m messing up the plans than concerned that I’m hurting.  Maybe that’s enough to decide right there.

What would you do?

Priorities

Lucky and I had a talk about priorities last night. It wasn’t a great talk, but it was an important talk. It was a “good for you, bad for us” talk. Basically I want more than he can give right now and he knows that and doesn’t want to disappoint me, so we’re…well, who knows what we’re doing? We’re going to make it up as we go I guess.

He’s entwined in my life in many different ways right now, so we’re definitely entering a learning phase of this relationship.

While his priorities are elsewhere, mine are too. For the next month or so, my priorities are:

  • Closing on my condo, moving and decorating.  Remember when I mentioned that Lucky is my realtor? Yeah, entwined.
  • Tanning. I got a good base at the beginning of the summer, but since then, Arizona broke some kind of heat record so going outside wasn’t really an option, let alone LAYING around outside. It’s cooling down (low 100s!) and with a few weekends left until my sister’s wedding – and my new, darker hair that’s giving me a Snow White complex – I would like to build that tan back up.
  • Getting skinny(er). Okay, so my goals for the wedding are to be skinnier and more tan than my sister. There, I said it.  One of us gets to be the married sister and one of us gets to be the hot sister.  Both goals are pretty much slam dunks at this point since she stayed in her I’m-in-a-happy-relationship-so-it-doesn’t-matter-what-I-look-like frame of mind and never achieved full bridezillaness with any crash diets or crazy workouts.  If anything, she might go fake-bake and we would have an orange situation on our hands, but that would just be funny.  
  • Avoiding wedding talk. T-minus 37 days.  Can it just be over already?  It really is at a critical level at this point and I have had about enough. My feelings were legitimately hurt when I went to brunch at my parents’ house this weekend and my future bro-in-law was the only one to actually ask me anything about what is going on in my life. He’s my new favorite. I usually feel guilt when I avoid FFF, but I feel worse when I have to listen to them talk about that shit for hours. Luckily, my move gives me a nice excuse to stay on my side of town (if they ever thought to ask anyway).
  • Reading. I need a good, distracting book to lose myself in. I just finished one and am going to the library today for my next few victims.
  • Catching up with my favorite TV shows when they return for the fall season and scope out some of the new stuff that is, thank goodness, not reality TV!
  • Avoiding exes. I think I successfully offended #2 when I congratulated him on achieving the lifestyle he always wanted to rub my face in (yes, he literally said that to me once), but letting him know I was still unimpressed without mentioning new boyfriend’s(?) lifestyle and all the cool things I’ve got going on (not that he asked either…good thing I’ve got my blog, I’d have no outlet to talk about myself incessantly otherwise). See ya!

I promise there’s some legit shit going on as well, my life is actually fulfilling with a small part devoted to this fluff, but I save that for my other blog.  For you?  I let it all hang out.  Gosh, you’re welcome 😉

I may be single, but at least I’m not a bitch.

At family lunch the other day, the topic of the boy came up. I play my cards close to the chest when I’m really in like with someone (obviously), but I was ready to start telling my fam a little more about him.

That is until my sister, who I haven’t seen in a few weeks, maybe a month, upon first hearing about this man blurted out, “Is he going to stick around?”

Now, my family’s got jokes.  We laugh all the time when we’re together and sometimes it’s at each other or ourselves. I tease her about plenty of things. Heck, I tease myself with self-deprecating humor about my dating life. But, that stung and as I’ve thought about it since, it stings more and more.

It wasn’t, “Is he nice? Does he treat you well? Do you like him?”  It was – to my ears anyway – “So, when are you going to run THIS one off?”

I get it sis, you’re lucky in love, you’re happily marrying your forever in three months and I’ll be standing behind your friend who you chose to be your MOH over me, and you assume I won’t have a date in crowd or if I do, it will be a pity date, but maybe you could try to be a little more supportive and encouraging.  It’s been a while, but you’ve been here too.  How quickly you forget.

And even though she didn’t ask, yes, he’s nice, yes, he treats me well and yes, I like him. I’m not psychic, but I hope he sticks around, which means I may wait on the family intro just in case “bitchy sister” is a deal-breaker for him.

When Tact is Not an Option

I’m getting better at standing in my financial truth and saying no when I don’t have money to spend or that I want to spend.  But what do you do when it’s your family?  And what it, even though your future brother-in-law just ended a stint of unemployment, you’re still the poor one? 

Sometimes I just want a man, not to be an emotional support, an activity partner and to give it to me on the reg, but simply to share the damn bills. 

We’re celebrating Father’s Day early (today) so my sis can celebrate the actual day with hubby’s family and after I suggested something active, three somethings active to be exact, she decided we’re indoor kart racing.  Apparently there are “head socks” involved and I have to wear closed toed shoes?  WTF?  It’s 100 degrees outside woman!

I get that my dad’s a boy and for one or two days a year, we do boy things to make him feel better about having been trapped in an otherwise all-female house for 20 years of his life, but this is not my thing.  It’s especially not my thing for $56 for essentially 30 minutes of play. 

But, that’s the activity and I don’t feel comfortable telling them that I would rather choose not to afford it.  But I guess that’s what you do for family. 

I even sucked it up and threw my hat in the ring to help plan my sister’s pre-wedding events, which will likely not be cheap either.  When she initially spilled that I wasn’t the maid of honor, I kind of took a giant leap back and, like a kid picked last for kickball, pretended I didn’t really want to play anyway.  New plans included NOT planning showers and parties and YES getting drunk at the wedding because I didn’t have to worry about giving a speech.

Her reason for not asking me to be her MOH was that she didn’t think her BFF and actual MOH would do anything, which A. makes no sense and B. is totally what’s happening. 

After a dress shopping trip a few months ago, the MOH said she wanted to talk about details for the shower because she had been planning it.  We all leaned in, ready to get down to it.  “I think we should have it at a winery.”  That was it.  Way to plan, MOH, way to plan.

For a while I thought I could sit back and be okay with that.  It’s not my job after all.  My sister even kind of brushed off the idea of a bachelorette party based on the pregnancy of the other bridesmaid, but who doesn’t want at least some occasion to celebrate? 

Even though I’m realizing I’m more hurt by her behavior in the past few years than I previously thought, I couldn’t let the wedding come and go without giving her the proper pomp and circumstance around the whole thing.  She’s my sister. 

So I jumped in and asked about plans and based on the fact that three days have passed without a peep in this constantly connected world, I feel like I might be taking it over.  But, I guess that’s what you do for family. 

And now that I’m in charge, I’m going to call it a hen night or maybe a stagette, because both are waaaay cuter.

UPDATE:  My wonderful mother paid for kart racing and I crashed under a wall three laps in.  Then I helped pay for dinner.

Wishing and Hoping

I thought I was tired at about 9:15 last night, so I went to bed and turned off the light, but my brain would not STFU. 

Within the first hour, I had to get up to check when my passport expired – July 2012, leaving it 50/50 as to whether I should renew now or later – and I decided to add a cute guy I met almost a month ago as a friend on Facebook, wrote him a cute message from my phone, then decided not to add him.

Mostly, it was my knack for trying to plot every second of my life that got the better of me.  It had me moving to Minnesota, deciding I hate the weather and taking it out on the Scandanavian-bred boyfriend there.  Then it had me knocked up by/in an open relationship with my fallback guy and realizing that it surprisingly worked.  Then it had me meeting and falling for a local boy and then resenting him because his close family ties keep us here.

Um, brain?  STFU!

This was all despite my aha moment I had yesterday.  It was the last day of my FFF vacation in Arizona’s beautiful White Mountains.  Before my sis, her fiance and I took off back to the desert, we went for a family walk.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you look around and think, “wow, this is my life” … good or bad?  Or one of those moments – again, good or bad – when you’re like, “how did I get here?”

Growing up in the Phoenix area and vacaying three hours northeast of there isn’t much of a stretch, but then I started thinking of it from my mom’s perspective. 

Did she plan for a holiday weekend with her hubby and daughters in Show Low?  When she was my age, my parents were married, but having trouble conceiving.  Did she imagine she’d be living in Arizona when she was a freshman in college in Ohio and had just met a guy from Pittsburgh? 

I’m guessing not, but my mom has a wonderful joie de vivre.  She loves where she ended up, but she didn’t plot and plan every second of her life to get there.  The way the story goes, the move to Arizona from the midwest was such a random, spur-of-the-moment decision.

So this is what people mean when they’re all, “live in the moment, man.”  I don’t think I can dream as big as my life is going to end up, so why am I worrying about the details of it?  How can I possibly try to control it and contain it?

This planning thing is not really working out for me.  So tell me WHY it’s keeping me up at night?!

I blame the five-, ten-, fifteen-year plans they made us do in school. Goals are good.  I love goals and think it’s important to teach kids that they have to pursue the goals instead of just thinking they’ll happen, but giving kids the idea that they can plot, plan and predict every moment of their life is just a little boring! 

I uploaded some of the FFF pics to Facebook last night and ended up going through some of my older ones.  I realized that a lot of the great periods of my life, the great memories, kind of happened unexpectedly.  They were things I jumped into without thinking about it too much.

The unexpected is unexpectedly worth it.  Dream big took on a whole new meaning for me yesterday. 

And in the end, I watched four episodes of The Office on Hulu before I could fall asleep.

248 Days of Awesome

This post from Amy at Just a Titch about her life by the numbers motivated me to make my own. 

And then it was depressing.

I made a list of 14 things I am excited about long-term.  Let’s go into those by the numbers:  six are friend things,  five are wedding things, four are races, three are family things, one is work-related and one is lurve-related.  These categories aren’t mutually exclusive obviously, some events hit multiple categories.

That’s a good disbursement.  So, why am I bummed?  Beyond the obvious that I hate that other people’s wedding have hijacked my year and bank account because even I’m sick of hearing myself complain about that. 

(But BTW, when it’s my turn to play dress up in a fluffy white gown, remind me to spend time with and show appreciation to my bridesmaids.  You know, the girls who mean so much to me that I want them up there with me on the biggest day of my life and who are doing me a huge favor.  Okay, bridesmaidzilla rant over.)

The issue is that the closest thing (lurve) is this weekend (because you can’t look too far down the road in such a new relationship-thing-not-a-relationship-we-are-totes-just-hanging-out-and-it’s-cool-ugh-labels-suck-and-trying-to-be-cool-when-I’ve-had-26-years-of-experience-being-not-cool-also-sucks).

AND, moving on, the last thing is a half-marathon in December, 248 days away.  Just 14 things in 248 days?  Not enough!  I am looking forward to a family trip over Memorial Day weekend and then my birthday in August.  They are 67 days apart! 

Um, excuse me, summer?  You’re supposed to be awesome!

There’s literally NOTHING in June and July.  Well, there is a baby shower in the works.  And who doesn’t love wrapping toilet paper around a hormonal [single] mommy-to-be? 

Now, I’m the first person who will tell you that if you’re bored then you’re boring, so it’s actually good that I looked ahead and realized my summer was veering into less-than-awesome territory. 

This is how I spent last summer:

That ain’t not happening again!

This might be a great time to dive into my 101 list.  Time to start planning!

BTW, it’s supposed to be 97 degrees on Friday…summer is here now.  Oh joy.

Clothes for the Funeral

What do you do when an old friend starts sneaking around with – and eventually outright dating – your ex?

Guy code says friend’s exes are completely off limits?  Are the rules so different for women? 

I’m so torn on this because one on hand, I don’t care.  I’ve been totally over this guy for years and we’re great friends now.  I’m not feeling territorial.  I’m not jealous and thinking I missed out on something great – yes, we dated for a long time, but he’s not the right one for me. 

I’m just offended by how this new relationship developed and was hidden from me and I hate how the way they both treat me (sadly, mostly her) changed.

I know her pretty well and I felt like I understood his and her thought processes for getting into the relationship in the first place and even for the way they acted afterward, but those excuses, whether they make them or I do it for them, don’t excuse shitty behavior. 

It got me thinking about the times I’ve avoided awkward situations.  Times I’ve pussy footed the truth or even lied outright and I don’t want to be that person. 

If you’re going to regret something, don’t do it. If you’re going to do something, don’t regret it.  Put on your big girl panties and own your actions.  Own your life.

So, now comes the funeral clothes part.

What do you do when the old (maybe former) friend/your ex’s new girlfriend’s mom dies? 

You send your condolences.  NOT via Facebook.  A lot of people were doing this, but it weirds me out.

You go home and hug your own mom.  And your dad.  And you call your sister and give her a phone hug.

You cancel your plans and attend the funeral.

You still don’t know how to act around this girl but you realize what’s important and what’s not.  It’s time to see if you’re ready to stand in your truth.

Making Friends for Dummies

Go back to elementary school.  Do not pass GO.  Do not collect $200.


{from}

I moved back to Arizona in 2009 to be close to family and friends and to be honest, both have kind of let me down.  My parents would love to see me daily, that’s not really the point.  My sis has gone bridezilla other things on her mind and we live on opposite sides of a very large metropolitan area.

My friends have coupled off and done the whole disappearing thing (which I have admittedly been guilty of at times myself) and/or are in very different places in their lives. Plus, a few months ago, I up and moved about 30 minutes away from everyone I know here. 

The sad truth is that, although “do six friend things” was one of my first Winter Wonderland Warriors goals I crossed off back at the beginning of February, I haven’t done much with friends since then.

So, what’s a girl to do to avoid ONLY hanging out with her parents or ALWAYS sitting at home watching SATC?

Well, obviously I’m dating, but men you date don’t easily become men you are friends with, even if you’ve only been out with them once or twice.  It’s just weird.  It’s nice to have male friends without the pressure of romantic overtones and more importantly, a girl needs girlfriends. 

I kind of imagined I’d start dating someone and meld into his group of friends, but no guy would want to date a girl who didn’t have friends of her own!

I finally called out my best friend on his disappearing act.  I know why he did it, but I let him know it still sucks and he’s been making more of an effort in the friendship again which is nice. 

As a bonus, his house is social central to a group of really fun people (via his brother, another close friend).  It’s a strange thing to work my way in and become friends v. being friends of friends, but I’m tired of feeling lonely, so I am forcing myself out of my comfort zone.

Also, I’m finally participating in some Meetups.  I found a great women’s group to hang out with.  I’ve done a happy hour and baseball game with them and have committed to another game as well as a St. Patrick’s Day event. 

The event organizer hit it right on the nose when she said it’s like girl-dating because you have to strike up a conversation, find things in common, awkwardly ask for their phone number and ask them to hang out outside of the group. 

The girls are really nice and hopefully a few months down the road we will laugh about how awkward it was to get to know each other considering how well we get along.  Yeah, it’s totally dating.

If I could go back to fantasy college and take any course, Making Friends 101 would be on the top of the list!