25 December 2012:
It's Christmas Day today and aside from the unpleasantness at Michael's house, it was a fairly good one. First, of course, was the Midnight Mass at St Patrick's and then heading to Toronto to be with the Pattersons. It always used to bother me that the idea of him coming here was seen as a defeat instead of good manners but then I overheard Elly Patterson make a waspish comment about 'family politics' or some such nonsense when my offer to help Michael and Deanna find a new house nearer to us and farther away from his parents' ranting about how much he and his siblings owe them came up. You'd think that I woke up every morning wondering how I could disrupt their lives and humiliate them to hear them talk. No. Better to go there than to make their paranoia worse.
As usual, we arrived and felt as if the ambient temperature inside Michael's house was chillier than the outdoors. Deanna, you see, was having a difficult time keeping up with Meredith and Robin and that vain idiot Elizabeth was having the devil's own time with her children. Also as usual, the Patterson (and Caine) men were little if any help. This, of course, translated into a general tendency to begrudge poor little April any sort of social life. I do not know where I went wrong with Deanna but I do know that she simply does not want to see the poor young thing as anything that isn't "Someone who was put on this Earth for the express purpose of raising my children for me" and that oblivious nitwit Liz takes her cue from someone who looks as if she knows what she's talking about.
Things would have simmered along as normal had it not been for Deanna's repeating the same mistake she's made the last four times she didn't realize that Hyacinth Bucket is a villain protagonist and exiled April to the kiddie table that 'everyone' is supposed to have. I've offered to take April's place each time but been rebuffed so that I might not 'wind the children up' or (worse) 'treat the children as if they're people instead of monsters who hate Mommy and love chaos'. It also always used to bother me that people who want to give the children neither rant about 'gifts, not time' every time I appear but then I remember their bleating about my family politics. We are not dealing with trusting, generous people.
The proof of that had to do with the two place settings that have been absent the last two years. As we all know, Elly's father and his second wife passed on within months of one another back in 2010. This would ordinarily have caused Wilf to make a nasty remark about two fewer people being upset that my saying grace meant that they'd have to actually eat their food at a proper temperature for once but decorum forbids. There we were listening to stupid, stupid Elizabeth defame her stoop-shouldered, whining idiot husband's first wife again when Meredith actually did what a Patterson expects children to do by touching off chaos. It started innocently enough, just a comment about how April was all sad but, well, given who the Pattersons are, suffice to say that it didn't end well.
This is because April looks at Christmas like most adults do; instead of focusing on what she's getting, she mourns the absence of those who aren't around to share in the festivities any longer. Not, of course, that she is allowed to do that in Patterson-land!! The reaction to her 'hogging all the mourning' (as whining idiot Elly put it) was interesting in that it reminded me of just who the awful people my daughter hangs out with are.
First, we had cement-head John harrumphing witlessly about how Christmas should be for family and fun and not 'pointless' drama. April's trying to tell the clod that Jim's loss wasn't pointless made things worse because he didn't want to be contradicted; he'd made his mind up that she was really mad at her friends and being told that he was off-base made him freak out. He was seconded in being an idiot delinquent non-parent by his jackass wife who witlessly compared missing a loved one to owning a sweater in that it can't be shared.
Next came Michael and his attempt to console her by saying that since Jim was allegedly a half-wit when he died, his passing didn't mean as much. Since Deanna thinks that she's winning her childhood by agreeing with every stupid thing her husband does and says, she simpered something along those lines and whined about the children she's too squishy inside to deal with. Hmmmph. No wonder she looks up to that horrible Elly. Both of them want the attention that comes from being parents but they don't want the hard work that comes with it.
The worst reaming, though, came from that imbecile Liz. It doesn't take a genius to realize that someone who can blithely say "Sure, I knew that while he was engaged to this awful career woman, Anthony was totally in love with me but why is she so irrationally jealous of me despite a campaign to remind her that she's just his first wife?" is not going to see the injustice of having everyone creep on someone for having a genuine emotion. MISSUS ELIZABETH FREAKING CAINE lived down to my expectations by ranting about her faking the whole thing just to make everyone feel bad. Unfortunately, this made me commit something of a faux-pas. It isn't really my business to tell those horrible people off because we're not close and have our own lives but something about being told that feeling empathy is selfish and mean just bothered me.
Oh, my. I know that I'm going to pay for this for years to come and should have held my peace for the sake of the children but it felt so right at the time to compare Elizabeth to someone who insists on shoving her hand into an open flame and whines about pulling back a burned hand because she didn't intend to get hurt. The gall of that naive idiot running her mouth about how she might have to feel bad for someone who isn't her for once just got to me. Well, that and my own flesh and blood simpering about how awful it was that the children she doesn't have time for might have been exposed to scary stimulation and want things of her.
As for Mike, I think he got off easy even if he doesn't think so; being told to unwedge his head from his derriere before he makes any grand statements was mild compared to what I had to say to his parents. Being told to hop off her damned cross and be a parent instead of a child is going to rankle Elly for the longest time and I don't much like my chances of being welcome after I told that bloated ass John to either get the Hell out of his workshop and find out who his child is or have himself bricked in there to [deleted] die if he isn't going to be any help.
Ah, well. At least I didn't tell that whining simp Liz that when she thought she was Deanna's maid of honor, she was probably attending one of those hokey, stupid, fake second weddings they have on television. That would have totally ruined my chances of being a part of my grandchildren's lives. The only 'victory' I could actually count on was when April admitted that yes, since she'd reached the age of majority, she did have the option of not being around people like her family if she didn't want to.
Well, that and the fact that Wilf's sole contribution to the conversation was "What she said. Double!!" Ah, well; at least I gave them a blow-up at a Christmas party just like on TV. That's something. Anyway, now that we're back in civilization, I'm going to be spending the next few weeks trying to figure out how to do damage control.