I have had a really horrible week. Really awful. Everyone around me seems to be acting like an ungrateful asshole. My spaghetti sauce in the crockpot yesterday got ruined because it was sitting by the sink cooling and someone – somehow – splashed rotten milk into it. And our city is burning to the ground in this massive California fire. So for this STFU Fridays, the letter of the day truly is F.
But is it the F you’re all expecting?
So we’ve been staying with my dad after his hip replacement, about 12 miles away from where our apartment is. Just about every day we run home to check on our guinea pig and fish; get the mail; make sure the neighbors have not vandalized our front patio. The usual. Yesterday we had to go out that way for the twice a year dentist visit. As we drove into the city, a huge plum of smoke was seen rising above the west end of town. Yet again, our city was on fire.
For those of you unfamiliar with California’s climate, it’s warm and dry. When the wind picks up, particularly the winds from the East (called the Santa Anas) it isn’t just warm – it’s fucking hot. Yesterday it was 98 degrees with wind gusts up to 60 mph. When those winds blow, all the crazy little fuckers with their pyromaniac tendencies come out with their Zippos and some area of California gets torched. Our community has a lot of small fires every year. This one was not small.
So far over 10,000 acres have burned. That’s getting close to about 15 square miles of forest, homes, a farm, and part of the highway that runs along the ocean. We’ve made national news – woopty doo – and there’s smoke fucking everywhere.
And as with all things, everywhere you turn someone is taking advantage of the situation. After the dentist’s appointment, and before my dad’s doctor’s appointment, we went to The Burger Barn for lunch. While there, person after person could be heard calling into work on their cellphones, claiming they couldn’t get back to work because of the fires. Bullshit. One guy got up and ordered another Animal Style burger, yelling “yeah, I don’t have to go back to work – I can eat all day!!!” Shut the fuck up, you fucking pig. Have some fucking self-respect, and stop being such a lazy shit.
Worse than that, right before we left, this group of guys from the local college came in. The school had been shut down earlier in the day and evacuated because of its proximity to the fire. They were meeting some other guys that were already there, and one of them shouted from across the restaurant to this skinny little shit, standing in a loose tank top and his disturbingly long mullet. He was being asked if he had finished his poli sci paper, or if the fire had given him an extra day. The kid yelled in response:
“Naw, man … I’m bummed because I finished it last night while I was doing a number two.”
Fucking gross!! Who says something like that?! Shut the fuck up, you mullet-headed punk. People are trying to eat and not get burned alive here.
And then I hosted a family meeting last night. I really have started to feel like everyone in our family is disrespecting each other (me), being ungrateful for what we (I) do for each other (I do for them), and causing problems that do not need to be caused (I don’t want to deal with). I even printed out an agenda for everyone, and for the most part it was well-received.
My agenda items were:
1. Mom’s purse (not rifling through it without asking, or digging everything out of it and leaving it all over the floor
2. Being grateful for what people do for us (and expressing that)
3. Listening to mom when she talks and not lying
4. Reiterating that homeschooling, not Barbie dolls, is the #1 priority
5. The new TV rule (no TV before 6 pm, even on weekends)
6. Technology free hour.
Lastly, I raised the complaint jar to 50 cents a complaint, and I added a dollar penalty for every time someone violates the family guidelines. We hung them on the fridge and my dad accrued a 50 cent fine, and my husband a dollar one, before the night was even over. But then after a week of no one getting anything put in the jar, the reward is the jar gets emptied and we use it together as a family – to go out for ice cream, mini golf, whatever.
All seemed reasonable, right? At the end of the family meeting, we went around and everyone got to share their thoughts. My dad expressed full support for me and my feelings. We all seemed pretty excited that this would facilitate more time as a family. My husband’s only comment, though, was “fine.”
When I went to sleep last night, and when I woke up this morning, the weight of that “fine” was hanging over my head. Fuck that. Shut the fuck up with that “fine” bullshit. When we talked about the technology free hour every night (from 8 to 9), Pookie piped up and said that it was really important to her. Lately she has been complaining that my husband spends next to zero time with her. He shows no interest in the things that are important to her. And he spends all the time with her just telling her to do chores or go to bed. God forbid Nick have to put his phone down for an hour, or actually make it home by 8:00 pm to spend time with his family. God forbid we actually have to make commitments to each other. I cannot remember the last time we spent time together as a family. Not running errands. Not dicking around on the phone or computer. But actually spent time together.
Our family has become like the fire in our city. It’s out of control. Everything is being threatened and destroyed because of the gross neglect that has been going on for some time now. It’s true that we’ve been trying to juggle from one tragedy to the next these last six months or so, but that is no excuse for our family to have fallen apart. When a person says that his hobbies are work, your family is in danger. When a family spends all its time apart and doing their own things, your family is at risk of destruction. When everyone’s treating each other like shit, lying to each other, ignoring everyone, and taking everything anyone does for each other for granted, your family is about as fucked as the trees in the path of the fire that continues to burn west of our home.
Well I, for one, am not going to tolerate it anymore. Like all those people at The Burger Barn, I’m taking advantage of the situation this fire has created. Maybe after having to pay for a shitty attitude enough times into the complaint jar, we will all be forced to do something like go to a movie together, or go out for pizza as a family (instead of what we currently do, which is all eat at separate times). Maybe then the fire will be quelled.
So the letter of the day is F. F is for fuck. As in shut the fuck up, motherfucker. F is also for fire, fire fighter, and fire eater. But most importantly, F is for family. That’s pretty much the only important F there is.