Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chocolate Frosting on Granny's First Dead Birthday

It's Granny the Ho's first Dead Birthday. She was alive on all her other birthdays, so today is her first dead one. In Granny's honor, my mom arranged for Granny's favorite cake, pineapple upside down cake, to be served today at the Senior Center out in Lake Tahoe where Granny enjoyed bingo for years and years before having to move down to Houston to die.

Talking to my Granny would be a comfort today because, being fairly manipulative herself, Granny could spot a plot a mile away.

Both my grandmothers put a lot of effort into mangling the relationships between their children. They didn't pit their kids against each other, but with subtle interference and bold face lies, they both were able to keep their kids from comparing notes. My Beaumont grandmother, the Pit Bull in Pink, was even more manipulative than Granny. The Pit Bull had to tell a bunch of lies to keep all those skeletons from falling out of the closet. I can't blame her - even though my life would certainly have had a few less traumas.

Her own father blew his head off with a shot gun at the start of the Depression and her mother remarried rapidly since they needed the money. Most likely Grandmother, or Ms. F as we all called her, was just as appalled as anyone else when Mr. F, the stepfather, began molesting her three daughters. The Pit Bull grew up thinking that's just the way life is. So when my own grandfather, her husband, turned out to be an alcoholic wretch, I suppose she thought the best thing to do was enable his bullshit as best she could and stash the money somewhere safe when he was too drunk to notice. It's not like the Pit Bull was a saint, of course. For recreation, she whipped our thighs with a switch she'd cut from a bush in the yard . I hated those people and am glad they're dead. I don't even know when their birthdays are.

From what I understand, however, my younger cousins had an entirely different experience with that grandmother than I did. I hear she was pretty wonderful to them which makes sense because by then, my grandfather was dead and The Pit Bull didn't have near the stress. Also my Uncle Jenifer had moved away to Houston, so she didn't have to cover up his bad behaviors either. When he was still a man, he occasionally beat his girl friends and molested their children. We can only hope things are different now that he's a woman.

Granny the Ho never had problems like these. I expect she lied to her kids just because she liked the drama of a family feud. And they weren't big old lies, either. Just little tales to make it seem like the child she was living with was a greedy brat so the other two would send more money. Fortunately, my mom and her brothers finally put two and together, and they all did their fair share when it came to taking care of their mother's financial needs with a minimum of resentment.

As fucked up as both sides of my delightfully Southern Gothic family are, no one has ever been passive aggressive. Down Right Hostile, Violent, Drunk and Perverted - but not a passive bone in any one's body. That's what has made dealing with Buzz Kill so difficult for me. It took me years to understand that I was being manipulated by a masterful passive aggressive so that he always looked like an innocent bystander when I lost my temper and started shouting.

I fell for it one more time day the instant I got back to New York City. I had left some paperwork on the table in my apartment for Velvet and Buzz Kill to deal with while I was away. It was for the NY State Tuition Assistance Program, TAP. Although Buzz Kill did look at said papers, he didn't touch them. He could have filled in all but two blanks and left a post-it note where I needed to provide information. Never mind that I'd left the Financial Aid folder on my desk, clearly marked, for their convenience - and he didn't need me at all. The point is that the papers were untouched for a week.

Buzz Kill decided, without calling to let me know, that he'd come over to work on these papers the minute I got back home. I appreciate that he doesn't like to talk to me, but considering he had my flight information, it would have been extremely simple to leave a voice mail on my phone while I was en route.

Buzz Kill said he never called me because he didn't want to disturb my vacation - as if me drinking coffee with my mother was infinitely more important than Velvet's financial aid. Thankfully, Velvet heard this excuse with his very own ears when Buzz Kill was trying to explain why he'd called Velvet to say he was on his way over and told Velvet to tell me.

I'm sorry to say I hit the roof like a cross between Sarah Bernhardt

and Yosemite Sam

It wasn't pretty.

Despite the fact that Buzz Kill tried to make it seem like I needed to be institutionalized for my emotional instability, in the end Velvet and I worked together and saw that Buzz Kill was trying to cause a rift between us where in I would run off back to Texas, Velvet would use Vagina Dentata's address as his permanent residence to secure in state status for college (since Buzz Kill lives with his mother to this day) and Buzz Kill would get out of paying child support for the next three years.

When Buzz Kill used Velvet on Thursday to deliver the news he was on his way over, it may have made me angrier than if he'd have told me himself, but the tactic showed Velvet exactly how his father operates. Velvet now thinks his father is a lying, whiny bitch which is a problem they'll have to resolve without my help. That's what happens when a man blatantly, shamelessly uses his son to agitate his ex-wife.

I suppose seeing your parents for the fools they are is all part of becoming an adult. Fortunately, Velvet has always been well aware of my faults. This particular episode was infinitely more intense than any we've experienced, though. We held hands and cried together a lot over the last couple of days, but we've reached a higher understanding. While I will continue to watch my language when talking about his father, at least I don't have to shield Velvet from certain realities.

Meanwhile, that little girl who thought it was so sexy that Velvet plays Dungeons & Dragons has captured Velvet's complete attention. He'd rather hang out with her than play D&D with the guys. I may never know exactly what transpired while I was in Texas, but she made him some outstanding chocolate cupcakes for his birthday which counts for a lot in my book.

When I first discovered six amazing chocolate cupcakes in my refrigerator, I didn't eat any because I wasn't sure how they wound up in my refrigerator. They could have had Buzz Kill's cooties on them. When Velvet told me who made them, I wasted no time. I'd been crying so hard from thinking I'd lost my son forever that my eyelids had turned inside out. No better cure for that than homemade chocolate cupcakes with snow caps on top.

Now that I think about it, Granny died with chocolate frosting on her lips from my own birthday cake. I love that story. And I loved the frosting on those yummy cup cakes my son's first girlfriend made for him. Velvet and I ate some of those cup cakes yesterday once the storm had passed. We piled up on the sofa together to watch two of our favorite movies - Star Trek IV and Stardust. I didn't mention granny's dead birthday to Velvet, but to me, it was like that chocolate frosting was a message from my Granny, saying everything was going to be just fine. Like chocolate frosting is the glue that binds us together as a family.


Blogger Kimberly M. Wetherell said...

Chocolate frosting is the BEST glue, in my book!

April 19, 2009 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Life As I Know It Now said...

Chocolate is a food group all on it's own!

April 19, 2009 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Gail said...

Hey there

Thank goodness for those chocolate cupcakes - and here's to "Mother's and Son's" like you and Velvet!!

And that image of your eye lids turned inside out from crying said it all! First place with you and Velvet crying and holding hands.

Love Gail

April 19, 2009 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

For the moment, all's right with the world.

April 19, 2009 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

When my ex and I split up, my friends all told me that eventually my kids would see him for what he is. You don't believe it at the time though, do you? I've kept my counsel and at some point think the kids will figure that me saying nothing actually says more than me saying something. But my daughter (who is now 12) has started saying things which lead me to believe that she is now starting to understand.

I hate that I can no longer shield my children from his behaviour, but like you say - they have to work it out between themselves.

Happy first dead Birthday to Granny the Ho.


April 21, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

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