Trash-Talking Your Ex

, , , , , | | Related | May 23, 2018

My parents recently divorced and my mom moved out as a consequence. Both of my parents were pretty down about it and relatively hostile towards each other, which put a lot of strain on me and my siblings.

One day my mom was visiting us children, eating a small snack with us at the table, while my dad was sitting on the sofa a few metres away. I went to the calendar hung on the wall to check for an appointment and realised that my dad had reassigned the row showing my mom’s appointments to instead show when each kind of trash was emptied by the city; however, the top row with her name was written in non-erasable pen.

That seemed like such a typical thing that a divorced couple would do out of spite that I broke down laughing hard, because my dad absolutely didn’t intend it to be malicious; he put it there simply because my mom used to take care of the trash and there was space. Of course my mom came to look at what was so funny and broke down laughing, too.

When my dad walked over, too, she joked about how insulted she was about being used as a trash reminder and he joked back that she deserved it. Consequently, my whole family spent a quarter hour laughing and wheezing on the floor. I think that moment saved our relationship as a family; that day was the first time they had talked with each other in person, not over text or asking us to relay messages. In the following days and weeks they started handling each other with a lot less tension and apologized for putting us between them. I’m very glad for that silly little coincidence.

Married To The Idea That They’re Already Married

, , , , , , , | Related | April 9, 2018

(My fiancé and I have been dating since we were in high school, ten years ago. My extended family is very close-knit, and in the past decade he’s come to at least two or three family events with me every year, including holidays, vacations, etc. We wait to get engaged until I am out of graduate school, and this is what happens when we announce it to my extended family.)

Me: “So… [Fiancé] and I have news. We’re getting married!”

(I expect a bit of a reaction, since my family usually goes all-out for events like weddings. Instead…)

Aunt: “You’re getting married?”

Me: “Uh, yes.”

Cousin #1: “But you guys are already married.”

Cousin #2: “Right, yeah, I was thinking that.”

Me: “No, I’m not.”

Uncle #1: “Yeah, you are, right? I remember sending a gift.”

Me: “You sent us a housewarming gift when we moved in together, but we didn’t get married. There was never a wedding.”

Uncle #2: “But you’ve been together for so long.”

Me: “We wanted to wait until I finished school before we made it official, though. You all really thought we were already married? Why wouldn’t I have invited you to the wedding?”

Cousin #1: “I thought you were just being a b**** about it or something.”

(Yeah, apparently my whole extended family, all of whom I see on a semi-regular basis, all thought that I was married. Silver lining, at least my fiancé and I are so compatible people just assume we’re going to be together forever.)

Kindness Comes In All Shapes And Apartment Sizes

, , , , , , , , , | Hopeless | March 12, 2018

On the last weekend before school started in 2017, my step-dad at the time kicked us out of the house, completely out of the blue. Even though it was illegal, he gave us only 24 hours to get our stuff.

So many people through that event have helped restore my faith in humanity.

First, about half an hour after it happened, I was boxing stuff up while making various phone calls to friends and family. All said that they were currently busy but would drop whatever they were doing to come help. My best friend, who I’ve known since I was five, offered to take the three-hour drive from Washington to come and help.

The first couple nights, our grandparents offered to let us stay with them, and even though it was a small two-bedroom house we all fit snugly. We stayed with them for about a month into the school year until we got an apartment that accepted dogs.

When we were moving into the apartment, which was on the third floor, it was only five of us with the fifth being my 64-year-old grandpa. Right as we pulled up, we met one of our neighbors, and she said that she had a cart that we could use to get stuff to the stairs, which was super helpful, but then she offered to help us it get up the stairs as well! This kind lady has since interacted with us and is one of our nicest neighbors, but before she knew why we were moving or how much it could’ve meant to us, she went above and beyond the neighborly thing to do.

Thank you to everyone who helped us during a difficult time.

Being Sour Grapes

, , , , , , | Romantic | March 2, 2018

(My wife and I are contemplating what to name our first child.)

Wife: “I’m not opposed to ‘Grace’ for a middle name.”

Me: “Neither am I. Better that than ‘Grapes.’”

Wife: “What? When was that on the table?”

Me: “Grapes are frequently on tables!”

(My wife says I’m not taking this process seriously. I don’t know what she’s talking about.)

Son Of A ‘Sen

, , , , , , , | Related | February 20, 2018

(My boyfriend and I have been dating for a few weeks, but things are getting serious, fast, so it’s time to have the “please tell me we aren’t related” discussion, before we move ahead. As we’re both clearly of northern European descent, it is a slight worry. Names have been changed, but the sentiment is the same.)

Me: “Do you have any Webers in your family?”

Boyfriend: “No.”

Me: “Any Kleins?”

Boyfriend: “Nope!”

Me: “Mayer?”

Boyfriend: “Nuh-uh.”

Me: “Lamberts?”

Boyfriend: “Nope, the only Germans I have are Fischers.”

Me: “Okay, well, that’s my dad’s family back to the great-great-grandparents, so I think we’re good there. How about Petersen?”

Boyfriend: “Uh… Yeah.”

Me: “Well, crap. Who’s a Petersen?”

Boyfriend: “My mom.”

Me: *disappointed, because this guy was really something special* “Dang it! My mom’s a Petersen, too.”

(We both kind of mope for a minute, before a thought strikes me.)

Me: “Wait, with an ‘en’ or an ‘on’?”

Boyfriend: “’On.’ I mean, it was ‘en’ before we came through Ellis Island, but that was like four generations back, at least. We’re Norwegian.”

Me: “Oh, thank heaven! We’re Danish! And that line came over three generations back.”

(Cue a round of relieved laughter before we continue, and ensure that we’re not related for at least four generations on all sides. We’re fine, and get married only five months later. So, of course, at the wedding reception, my new brother-in-law gets clever.)

Brother-In-Law: “Hey, Peterson!”

(A good portion of the crowd turned, some rising halfway before they realized what was going on. My uncle smacked him lightly upside the head.)

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