All The Possible Reasons Everyone’s So Ungrateful All Of A Sudden

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Does anyone remember when people used to do that super annoying Facebook status thing, where they’d post a daily thing they’re thankful for every day in the month of November, leading up to Thanksgiving?

If you aren’t from America, perhaps you’ve been spared this glad-handed way of humble-bragging that people used to do. You, dear international friends, were the real fortunate ones.

It went like this:

So and so person you are connected with on Facebook, whom you maybe passed once in the hallway while in high school over 15 years ago: “November 4th, Day 4…catching up as I missed days 2 and 3, but I am SO grateful for my wonderful family, my amazing husband, and my intelligence – without which I wouldn’t have all the career opportunities it has afforded me.”

I’m not kidding you people, so many of my Facebook “friends” would post some narcissistic nonsense about how smart they were or how talented God made them. I. Shit. You. Not. The rest of their days of gratitude were filled with all the other banal details of their lives, like their suburban homes, or their “married to my best friend” spouses. And, naturally, the month was capped off with a barrage of material possessions God has bestowed upon them.

Fucking gag, I know.

A few years ago, when it had reached a fever pitch – and anyone who’s anyone on Facebook was doing this – I wrote a blog post about it. And relentlessly made fun of people that did it on social media.

I also, for a while, posted daily things I was ungrateful for. Like famine and foreign wars, and Ebola and HIV. And homelessness in my own community, and the 33% of children in my own town that live in poverty. Naturally, they went over like a lead balloon.

As I sit here today, though, and realize that this little gratitude for one month of an entire year thing is over, I can only hope I played a part in the demise of this nationwide trend.

Failing my participation in taking down this atrocious behavior, I have a few other theories about why this November-exclusive-public-declaration-of-thankfulness came to a sudden and screeching halt. (And if you’re thinking that I have a lot of time on my hands to be coming up with these theories, you would be right.)

No one has any interest in feigning gratitude anymore.

Look. We all know that very few of us wake up in the morning, stretch, take a look around our surroundings, and then ponder all the wonderful things we have in life, and how thankful we are for having them.

Maybe you do it once in a while, but every day? Come on, you can’t play me for that much of a sucker.

There are a few reasons for this. One is that for most people there is no time to sit and ponder dick. Your alarm has been going off for going-on an hour, your kids are jumping on the bed, you have a meeting in 30 minutes, and your morning constitution is already making its way out the back door. No one (except obviously me) has time to sit around and think about anything anymore, which is a damn shame but it’s a product of the times we live in.

Another thing about this all is that as we grow older and the stressors of life start to wear us down, feigning gratitude for some bullshit like a big screen TV seems a little besides the point.

No one posts Facebook statuses that often anymore.

This is not to be confused with suggesting that no one uses Facebook anymore. I know it’s cool to hate social media, and to look down on people that use Facebook regularly; but let’s not beat around the dick here: a lot of people who claim to rarely be on Facebook can be seen as “online” or liking and commenting on shit from sun up to sun down.

That’s not the point anyway. People used to post status updates a lot. I still do, most of the time to make jokes about myself. But to even figure out how to describe a Facebook status update like I did above (So and so’s gratitude post from November 4th), I had to scroll through basically five day’s worth of Newfeed, for at least 15 minutes, and I still hadn’t even hit a status update yet – so said “fuck it” and winged it.

I don’t know about you guys, but my Newsfeed is all News, Blogs, baby photos ad nauseum, and cat and dog videos. Ain’t nobody got time to be posting the things they’re grateful for when there’s a mashup of Adelle’s Hello and someone’s cat leaning over a telephone.

People are grateful, but not for anything they’ll admit to.

Housing assistance. Food stamps. Therapists. Financial aid. Daycare because if you have to watch Calliou one more time you’re going to rip your ears off your head to avoid hearing that kid’s whiney fucking voice ever again.

Life’s rough, and the economy sucks. That doesn’t mean everyone wants to admit that their grateful for relief from it.

Like all Facebook trends, this one just died.

You know Facebook is all about the trends. For a while, during the holidays, it was this thankful daily post thing. Other trends have been: posting long statuses about how people with cancer never get a break from it and 98% of your friends won’t repost that message; sharing recipes and cute holiday crafts instead of recognizing the existence of Pinterest; and, those awareness games like changing your Facebook photo to a child cartoon character, or posting where you like to hang your purse vaguely – as if that will somehow raise awareness for your cause. I could go on, but I won’t…

The newest Facebook trend is to put a colored filter over your Facebook profile photo in support of whatever cause happens to be the thing of the month. When the United States Supreme Court legalized gay marriage through out the country, everyone’s picture had a rainbow over it. After the Paris attacks the other day, it was the French flag. Of course now cases against doing these types of things are starting to crop up, just as they did with the Facebook thankful posts…but you get the point.

Facebook is about the trends, and as all trends go they eventually die.

Don’t get me wrong guys: I’m glad to not see everyone’s daily posts glad-handing their wonderful lives filled with Starbucks coffee and nice cars. Everyone’s posts eventually derailed into that kind of bullshit, and it’s simply because at a point we run out of things to list being thankful for.

I’m not an advocate of being ungrateful for the things you have in your life. But what I am an advocate of is being realistic about the important and unimportant things out there. My husband has a job, and we have a roof over our heads. For those things, I am grateful. We have our health, and that’s wonderful too. Occasionally I’ll post something on social media making that gratitude clear, and I can do so without making a show of doing it every day for just one month of the year; and certainly without using the hashtag #blessed.

But now that no one is posting about what they are thankful for on social media anymore, I can’t help but wonder why.

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The Elf On the Shelf Returned For Easter At Our House, Because I Can’t Parent

i-would-throw-in-the-towel-but-then-id-have-more-laundry-to-do-a4a4aI’ll be the first to admit that when times get tough, I throw in the towel. I don’t mean literally. I don’t – like – leave and return a week later after a blur of booze, parties, and memories I pray were just nightmares.

I mean – like – I just give up. Mostly at being a parent.

It doesn’t usually last long. Typically an hour. Two, tops. Or it’ll last for an event.

Maybe the appropriate phrase is I give in.

Recently, my husband was working at a different company for a little over a month. Basically, his company hired him out for the duration of that period to do a particular project, in hopes it will bring the show he worked on to his facility later on down the line.

Blah blah more film industry jargon blah blah reality TV blah blah.

None of that meant a thing to me, beyond the bottom line: longer hours, longer commute, more overtime. Or, in short: Heather you’re a single mom for a while.

At first things went pretty smoothly. We worked through the upsettedness that Dad wouldn’t be home for bedtime some nights. He took a day off to compensate for the fact that he would be gone on Valentine’s Day.

And then, the hiccup. This is always what happens when he goes through a busy period at work: everything goes great until one thing goes wrong, and in an instant all hell has broken loose in our house. I become that mom that hides in the closet eating candy bars to calm herself before emerging back into the trenches. And, speaking of the house, it becomes such a disaster that people have to literally climb over piles of laundry (who knows whether they are clean or not?) to get to the bathroom.

From the time the hiccup happens, until my husband’s busy period at work is over, it isn’t pretty to be around any of us.

The hiccup this time happened about a week in; suddenly, and without warning, I threw in the towel without even realizing it.

“Can I have an entire sleeve of Thin Mints?”

Sure, why not.

“Can homeschooling today just be playing with Barbies?”

I’m sure that could be educational in some circles.

“Can we push bedtime back to oh say 2 am?”

By all means!

It isn’t that I depend on my husband, necessarily, to be the parent around here. I mean, really. He’s the most stereotypically aloof dad-figure out there; if we had $1 every time the phrase “go ask your mother” comes out of his mouth on a regular basis, we’d have the money to hire a nanny to do the parenting I don’t do every time I throw in the towel.

Nonetheless, he provides me with the back up I desperately need.

So upon coming to the realization that I had thrown in the towel so soon this time, I knew that something had to be done. Something drastic.

Something as drastic as Christmas.

Christmas is when kids are at their absolute best. Whether they believe in Santa Claus anymore or not, they know that good behavior around Christmas is rewarded with more presents under the tree.

It’s the law of the land, as far as childhood is concerned.

A few years ago, we started reinforcing the idea of the fat guy in the red suit putting you on the naughty or nice list with the Elf on the Shelf. It wasn’t that we necessarily agreed with doing the elf, and her subsequent elf friend – the reindeer; it’s that everyone else is doing it, why aren’t we?

And I will be the first to unashamedly admit that the elf has done even more than Santa Claus ever did for good behavior.

But as much as I can tend to be a Pinterest Mom (in between severe bouts of laziness), there was a cold chance in hell I’d be staging any kind of second Christmas around here. What would that even mean? How would I even justify that?

Then I realized that there already is a second Christmas, and it was already well on its way at that point.

Easter.

So in my genius, just a little over a week into my husband’s busy time at work, a lightbulb went off over my sugary, candy-coated, closet-hidden mush of a brain:

The Elf on the Motherflippin’ Shelf will come back as the Easter bunny’s helper.

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The Elf on the Shelf and her reindeer were sent by Santa to help the Easter bunny keep an eye on things, and to make sure kids are not only good and deserved of their Easter treats, but to make sure they understand the meaning of Easter. Brilliant, right? The lies have grown so deep in this house now, I don’t even know what’s true anymore. And I don’t care, because everything went back to normal as soon as Jem and her pet reindeer, The Hologram, returned. I also feel more as though we’ve gotten our money out of The Elf on the Shelf, and all it’s accompanying purchases. I mean, the tradition will only last so long before everyone decides to cut the bullshit on the whole thing. At least this way we’ve gotten more use out of it.

Anything to make myself feel less pathetic for needing a toy to provide discipline in my own house.

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On the positive of this entire endeavor, things have gotten better.

There have been no more requests to eat an entire sleeve of Thin Mints in one sitting.

No more suggestions that homeschooling consist of playing with Barbies all day.

Bedtime went back to its normal (already too late) time.

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So The Elf on the Shelf returned for Easter at our house, because I can’t parent. I’m sure worse things have happened; more egregious parenting faux pas have been committed. The end result is a happy, functional household; and a less-crazy mom. I make a terrible single mother. I’m OK with admitting that I need help restoring order around here.

Even if it’s from a stuffed Christmas toy that I glued bunny ears to.

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Countdown to Christmas… How To Wrap Gifts

I hate the holidays.

I mean, I think we’ve established that I hate pretty much everything. And everyone. And myself.

But I really fucking hate the holidays.

Some of you may or may not have been around here long enough to know all the fun details of my relationship with my mother. In a nutshell: it’s dysfunctional. It’s mom abandoned dad and I when I was only 10 to move across the country and have an elicit affair with a married man, which turned into 20+ years of bad relationships, childhood traumas, and other assorted maladies.

What is making this holiday season particularly horrid is that my mother is around. Her new husband lives in New Mexico, so I’m not sure why she is here. To compound things, I didn’t ask her to help plan my daughter’s birthday party, so she was a bitch to everyone there (for which I had to spend the entire following day making apologetic phone calls); then today she screamed at me about how this was the equivalent to me stabbing her in the back with a knife, and destroying her sense of place in the world. And by the way how dare you go shopping for Christmas gifts with your mother in law so she gets what you guys actually need, instead of shit that will just get wasted or donated. And my God you are such a bitch why aren’t you buying me more dinners and inviting me over for more free lunches, and what the fuck with your not coming to visit me two or three times a week to play puzzles and color with grandma.

Other. Assorted. Maladies.

This is making me really fucking hate the holidays even more so than usual. It’s adding another layer of shit to my plate that I don’t want to deal with, and quite frankly – after 20+ years of this shit – I’ve essentially had it.

It’s very complicated.

In any event, I am counting down to Christmas. In a big way, because (obviously) I just want the damn holiday to be over with.

This year Thanksgiving and Christmas were closer in days to each other than they have been in years. Decades maybe – what the fuck do I know on the length of time it’s been since the two holidays ran this closely together. I just know that’s the case because (a) my mother in law told me so, and (b) it seems like Thanksgiving was just over a week ago, because it was.

This compacted time, along with compounded stress, means even more fuck it all I hate my life God why are you doing this to me-feelings are rising to the surface.

Are any of you feeling the same way?

So this is how I wrap gifts.

(Sound insane, I know.)

First I take all the bullshit that my mother, and other assorted family or friends throw at me, and I crumple it up and shove it in a bag. A gift bag of anger and hostility, you might say. Then I cram as much of the stress and the strain and the holiday nonsense bullshit bake cookies decorate a tree clean for relatives fuck this I’m getting drunk and wrap it in paper with a pretty bow.

What I’m saying is that I take out my aggression on two, maybe three, nicely wrapped gifts. You can tell I’m extra stressed out if I do shit like make my own wrapping (which I did this year).

This looks so pretty because all my rage and hostility and crazy is being channeled into something – GASP – productive (versus my usual channeling, which involves alcohol, cupcakes, and Netflix).

After a couple of nicely wrapped gifts, I take a break to eat lunch. By that I mean emotionally eat.

Does anyone remember that scene in the beginning of The Bell Jar when she’s sort of losing it and she cracks an egg into a bowl of raw red meat and stirs it up and eats it? Because she’s suicidal, so why the fuck not?

When I took my break from this pristine wrapping today, I ate three turkey and cheese sandwiches. And I thought it would be just yummy to cover them in red pepper.

Not sure why. Made me think of that scene from The Bell Jar, minus the suicidal tendency.

At this point in the game, my channeling of anger has all been spent and I then turn to letting go of all life’s stressors through gift wrap. Because none of this really is in my control – holiday stress, family problems, psychotic and likely histrionic mother hellbent on giving me an ulcer… these are not things I can control.

So I let go. I let go of being so upset. I let go of being stressed out. I let go of feeling the expectations weighing down on me like an anchor attached to the very top of my skull.

(This isn’t entirely true, I don’t let go of anything I just symbolically do it through gift wrap.)

And I no longer give a fuck about the way the wrapping appears.

I mean I really really no longer give a fuck. Here are two gems from this evening.

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And then, by the time it’s all over and the last CVS bag has been adorned with bows (because fuck you, I ran out of paper and fancy bags)…I feel better.

I don’t really feel better. I do, however, have everything wrapped and ready to go under the tree.

Countdown to Christmas. There’s like a week or some shit left. Are you ready? Show me your worst wrapping job…it may be featured in the next step of this most horrific of countdowns.

I Like The Cold

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People always look at me like I’m a complete moron when I tell them that I like the cold. As in cold outside, you know: snow, sleet, wind chill.

I get jealous when I see that there are blizzards going on somewhere in the world.

I live in California. Particularly, Southern California. We have one dial on the weather-o-meter and that’s about it: 70s and sunny. Sometimes we get fog. Occasionally it rains for a few days. Once in a while the winds blow and it hits 90; or the ocean blows in some high 60s.

High 60s. Anything below that and the city in which we live shuts down.

By contrast, I grew up in Chicago. Those of you that have been hanging around the blog for a while know how much I love the city and its suburbs. In the winter, and sometimes in the fall and spring, it is exceedingly cold in Chicago. Like cold-cold.

And I love it.

I guess maybe you don’t realize what it’s like to live in a place that has virtually no weather variation at all until you have. I’ve lived in Southern California now for almost 14 years and I can say without a doubt that it is beyond boring, mainly because of the weather. Yeah, it’s nice to not have to worry about things like closed-toed shoes or scarves and hats. Sure you have the ocean with the EPA’s estimation that thousands of people take a dump in that water every day while out surfing or swimming (related note: I do not ever go in the Pacific Ocean). Okay, you have the beaches you can go to any time of the year ….unless, of course, they’re closed because of all the hypodermic needles sticking out of the sand.

But there is no changing of the leaves really, especially not as dramatically as in the Midwest. You never have the excitement of jumping in a pile of freshly raked leaves; or by contrast the thrill of knowing that spring is just around the corner.

There will never be a first snow of the year for Southern Californians.

No, there will be first snow in the mountains that people will get in their cars and drive to, only after the snowing has already happened. And only for a little while before getting back in their cars and driving home to the 70s and sunny before nightfall.

You cannot get much more monotonous than that.

What I’m saying is that there are no changes of the seasons, which means there is none of the living that comes along with it. I equate living with having these experiences that are unique and exciting and different. Not monotony. Shoveling. Snow balls. Raking leaves. Seeing fresh flowers bloom. Feeling snow in your hair. Ice skating. Sledding in your back yard. Bundling up in a hat, scarf, and gloves for a football game. Hot chocolate when it isn’t actually hot out.

In 70s and sunny every day, there is not much room for exciting and different experiences when it comes to the weather. I find this ironic because in California we pride ourselves on organic-living, which should extend well beyond just the foods we eat into the way we live. And yet there is nothing organic at all about making fake snow at Disneyland or having to drive four hours in traffic to see orange, brown, and red leaves.

I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my head. I must be biased because I love Chicago and dislike California. I’m sure there is an entire conglomerate of blog followers, family, friends, and people that just like to hate me waiting to tell me how I am making no sense. I have rocks in my brains for liking cold weather, or I’ve just forgotten what a foot of snow feels like.

The bottom line, though, is that I’m home again, in suburban Chicago for the holiday. And I felt more alive as I stood in the snow yesterday afternoon than at any point in the last 14 years that I’ve lived in Southern California. I was cold. My fingers felt numb. But I could feel it, and I knew I was there because of it. There was nothing monotonous about it at all, and that is living.

My Christmas Wish List This Year

I wonder if I just became as obnoxious as Home Depot putting out their fucking Christmas decorations in July; or Target playing Christmas music in October. You know that Black Friday actually begins for many stores at 7 pm on Thanksgiving DAY, now, too. Retailers are literally ramming Christmas up our asses.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should go ahead and admit that I do all of my Christmas shopping in the months of August and September. That means that as of this day – October 10th – I have actually been done with Christmas shopping. For 10 days. That’s everyone in our families, for the Pookies, my husband… everyone. It’s just so much more tolerable than standing in long lines, and fighting with people over bargains.

This means that while I was shopping, I officially scoped out all of the things I really really want for Christmas.

Before going into my wish list, though, let me tell you a little story about the Sodastream. A few years ago, my husband got me that for Christmas. It was well-intentioned, sure. I drink Diet Coke by the bucket-load, which means obviously getting me a machine that would let me make my own bucket-loads of my aspartame and caffeine-filled beverage of sheer delight would be a win, right?

Wrong. I can totally taste the difference. What I like about Diet Coke is actually the exact ingredients and exact composition and exact carbonation of the Coca-Cola brand Diet Coke. Maybe it’s all mental (it’s probably all mental); nonetheless, I never use the Sodastream.

Quickly after I opened the gift that year, though, it became vaguely reminiscent of that episode of The Simpsons when Homer buys Marge a bowling ball (with his name engraved on it), in spite of the fact that Marge had no idea how to get the ball down the lane. Within a day, my husband was experimenting with flavors on the Sodastream. He even drank directly out of the bottles. He still does.

Since that year, I have made it a point to make an explicit wish list for Christmas. Last year I really wanted a deer head for our bedroom. I made it explicitly clear; I got a deer head. This year, though, I’m going for quantity… I want to feel the excitement of opening lots of gifts on Christmas morning, like I did when I was a kid again.

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1. A Day of the Dead wine bottle opener/corkscrew from Paper Source. We were shopping a few weeks ago and saw them, and I fell in love. (Note to my husband: Day of the Dead is like two days into November. So…time is of the essence….)

2. Removable plastic sheets for my iPad!!!!! This is an infuriating request for me, because it’s super cheap and available online as well as at Sur La Table as well as at Bed Bath Beyond, and fuck it’s even around $10 for 100 at Target…and I asked for these for Mother’s Day – it’s all I wanted, I didn’t even mind cooking on Mother’s Day, as long as I could have those stupid plastic sheets so that I stop getting food all over my iPad when I cook. It was a REQUEST DENIED, though, so I’d really like some for Christmas.

3. Lots of good smelling stuff from Bath and Body Works, especially the winter scents (like Winter Candy Apple). I have an addiction to purchasing Bath and Body Works products, but lately haven’t gotten that many to try and pare down my stockpile. Around Christmas I will be totally out, though, so it would be totally awesome if someone in my family would replenish my stock – especially since I love the winter line all year long. I really love all their scents, though. Except that Japanese Blossom one, because that stuff smells like a cow’s ass.

4. A “People Mom Would Have An Affair With” personalized 2014 calendar. I would like the months to be as follows:

January: Wolf Blitzer. Duh, I have a huge s(he)hard-on for him.

February: Jay Cutler from the Chicago Bears, but he needs to be in the middle of one of those weird neck/shoulder twitch things he does before a play or during an interview.

March: Jim Cantore doing push ups while reporting from a hurricane.

April: Vladimir Putin. It would be totally rad if he were wearing some kind of a fur headpiece too…

May: Albert Camus. Yes, he is dead. Yes, I would totally cheat on my husband and jump his dead, old bones. Gross, but not sorry.

June: Hulk Hogan. Preferably in tight spandex, in the middle of administering a pile drive (the wrestling kind).

July: Bill Clinton. I would be in a binder of women delivered to his desk any day.

August: Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox (hopefully at this time in the year he will still be with and playing regularly for the White Sox… and hopefully the White Sox won’t have blown it at this point like they had in 2013… and every other year…………)

September: Any random guy with long hair pulled back in a pony tale, a nerdy “I play MAGIC the Gathering every Sunday” kind of look to him; but with no acne and definitely well-presented enough for it to be clear he doesn’t live in his mother’s basement… in the middle of a LARP. Don’t ask me why, but sometimes that Lord of the Rings shit gets me going.

October: As many members of the NBA that will fit onto one page. (Don’t ask.)

November: No photo, just my mantra in large lettering: “No car, no job, no service.”

December: Fuck it: Gandolf.

The way I see it, this is sort of like the people that do those sexy photos for their spouses, only instead of looking at photographs of my husband on a pillowy bed with feather boas all around him and shit, I’ll be looking at the meaty men that I salivate over regularly, in a totally creepy and mental-infidelity kind of way.

5.A gift card to The Cheesecake Factory. You guys may be thinking that I just threw this one in there because I had nothing else for a #5, but I’m totally serious. I never eat there unless I have a gift card. It isn’t the cost, it’s just the place never comes to mind when thinking of where to go. And if there is one thing I need more of in my life, it’s motherfuckin’ cheesecake.

I still think it’s awful that Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year; mainly because it gets old after a predetermined period of time, and it would be really awesome if that time weren’t before… oh, I don’t know… Christmas. Nonetheless, it was important to share my Christmas wish list early. You know, to give my husband enough time to make up some excuses why he got me another Sodastream instead.

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 7: I Hate You All

Here we go.

I woke up this morning at 5 o’clock. I had no reason to, other than that I was so angry even my dreams didn’t want to be near me.

It’s finally here: Heather’s Holiday Hostility.

This happens every year. For one, I hate the fucking holidays. They’re full of greed, gluttony, and bullshit obligations I shouldn’t feel I always have to keep. For two, my family is all the way across the country in the homeland – holidays just aren’t the same without them. A third, and glaring, part of Heather’s Holiday Hostility is simply:  California. It’s fucking 83 degrees outside and the middle of November. Sorry if it’s hard for me to get all into the season of snow and winter and egg nog when the goddamned air conditioning is on high and I’m trying to find tank tops that say Ho Ho Ho.

Those are just a few reasons though. Honestly I have a lot more than that, but as we get into the 7 day countdown to Thanksgiving, I have a much more pressing issue to discuss. I hate you all.

I Hate You All and Your Thankful Posts

I’ve pretty much beaten this dead horse enough at this point, but I want to say one more thing about these thankful posts.

I don’t hate you for doing them.

I don’t hate you for not being original.

Sure, I told you to shut the fuck up a few weeks ago in my STFU Friday post, but it was just an opinion that if you are going to be thankful you should (a) be thankful through out the entire year, not just one general time; and (b) find some important things to be thankful for besides your iPhone5.

Do you know why I hate you all and your thankful posts, though? Because you can’t allow anyone to descent from your stupid holiday Facebook game. You can’t allow anyone to have an opinion other than yours. And when I posted my STFU Friday post, which I thought I was quite nice in about my feelings on the whole Facebook thankful thing I might add, I got the following message and subsequent Facebook friend deletion from someone I have known for my entire life:

“Shut the fuck up with your STFU blog crap. Get a fucking life and fuck off. I hope I read about your funeral on my iPhone5 that I am thankful for.”

Right. Happy holidays to you too.

I Hate You All and Your “Something Better Came Up”

My biggest problem with the holiday season is it always feels like everyone is competing to do it better. To do it bigger. And I think this is much in part to the fact that so many people seem to be out looking for what is better than the next guy’s crap.

Last year on Christmas Day we went to my Aunt’s house. Her ungrateful children showed up with their ungrateful children for presents about four hours late. They came in, still in pajamas, and said “let’s get this show on the road.” Then the four of them (my cousin, his wife, and their two children) proceeded to just rip open gift after gift after gift, not paying attention to who they were from, not thanking anyone, and actually saying “great… what’s next” after a few of the gifts. Then when they were done, they said they had to go to the “better house” – my cousin’s dad’s place.

Flash forward to now, we are hosting an open house this Saturday for Thanksgiving. That same cousin and his bitch of a wife, and two uneducated and wild children, committed to come about a month ago. When I saw them a few weeks ago at my grandma’s birthday party, they again said they would definitely be there. This would be the first time, ever in history, that they showed up to one of our parties, which is particularly frustrating because we constantly go to their kid’s birthday parties and they have never – not once – come to ours.

So Tuesday night I had dinner with my mom and she broke the news to me that this entire faction of the family was not coming to our party Saturday after all. We aren’t talking about just this cousin, wife and kids, though. We are talking about 3/4 of the people who said they were coming and I’ve already prepared the food for. Why? I quote: “because something better came up.”

I Hate You All and Your Intentional Exclusions

So before I talk about how I wasn’t planning on going to anyone’s Thanksgiving dinners anyway, let me first say how much it hurts to be intentionally excluded.

For two years in a row now, my aunt has hosted Thanksgiving dinner at her palatial estate in the IE. That’s right, for those of you that aren’t familiar with California it’s the Inland Empire, and you can’t drive through her area without fearing death.

Still, the entire family descends on this place for most parties, which is quite a trek for the majority of us. We’ve gone to birthday parties for afore mentioned asshole kids there, we went to Christmas there last year, we’ve gone to BBQs and other miscellaneous parties there, and so on.

And yet for some reason, my husband and I are intentionally excluded from Thanksgiving there every year.

I’m not entirely sure why. I can’t – for the life of me – figure it out. It can’t be that they just dislike us, because they invite us to everything else there. It can’t be that there is certain company around that wouldn’t mesh, because it is the same company every goddamned time. So just what the fuck is it?

It’s starting to get pretty insulting too. My bitchy mother keeps mentioning it then retracting her statement and saying “never mind, you weren’t invited.” Well I hate you and your “never mind, you weren’t invited;” and I hate you all and your intentional exclusions too.

I Hate You All and Your Unreasonable Expectations

That’s the other thing, though. Yes, it hurts to be intentionally excluded from an event, especially a family one. It’s nice for people to offer invites, to extend a warm offering. But when in the fuck did an invitation turn into an obligation?

If I say I’m going to come, well then I have an obligation. But if you invite me and I say “I’ll have to check and get back to you,” or “sorry we have other plans” – now I’m some fucking asshole? What the fuck is wrong with you people?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong: we live in an all or nothing society now. You either do everything I say or you are out.

Beyond that are the expectations of those closest to us. First of all, my father and I have had a tradition since we moved here – we go out to eat on Thanksgiving. We miss our family in Chicago, and I hate to cook … so we’ve always done that. Year in. Year out. It never fails. Always.

But then I got married and sometime in the last few years my husband ordered some sort of a girlie, cosmopolitan-type drink, and my dad got embarrassed. Now my dad’s embarrassment was stupid; and my husband’s drink choice that day was stupid too. But who does it come down on? Me. Now my dad doesn’t want to go out to eat and my husband still wants a traditional meal; and I really really REALLY don’t want to spend the day driving from place to place putting on a fake smile and pretending I love all the people at my in-law’s, so guess what?

I hate you and the fact that now I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Tears are welling up in the back of my eyes at this very moment at the thought of all the cooking that lays out before me. I suggested hosting this party on Saturday so that I could relax on Thanksgiving; now I have an eight course meal to plan out.

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 7: I Hate You All. Next up on the docket? Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 6: Meal Planning for Ungrateful Assholes.

By the way … don’t be a turkey and BUY MY BOOK! And if you want it signed, just email me for details on how to get that done and shipped back to you for free! Click here, buy book, woohoo!