Posts Tagged ‘dysfunctional families’

I always tell my daughters, “You probably should be nicer to each other, one of these days you may wake up and discover that each other is all you have”. Of course, it goes on deaf ears. Just like I’m sure it did when I was younger and I was irritated with one of my 3 sisters. Raising two girls sure has made me appreciate my mother, who raised 4. Every time I tell my parents stories of the trials and tribulations of raising 2 girls, they just smile and I know they are thinking “Payback’s a bitch”!! Well, probably without the bitch part, since I definitely didn’t learn my cussing from my parents! LOL!

So, a while back, my mom gave the 4 of us girls this USB filled with pictures. She took and scanned in pictures of us growing up, categorized them by daughter and then saved them to a USB for each of us. Then, when realizing she had so much room on the USB, she saved each individual ones, to each others…so basically, we all have each others pictures. My mother is amazing and I don’t want to even get started on that, because this post is supposed to be about my sisters, and I could write about my amazing mother for days. So anyways…the recent family camping trip reminded me about my USB and so I looked through the pictures again last night. They make me laugh…they make me think, what the hell were we wearing…they make me cry, wishing I lived right next door to all of them…and they make me realize…hey, did I ever get new stuff? I mean, I know I’m the youngest…but did I only get hand me downs? LOL! I might file a formal complaint!

What I’ve learned as an adult, and which I try to tell my girls, even though they don’t listen, is that I do remember cat fights at my house. I do remember wishing I was an only child. I do remember wishing I had my own room or I didn’t have to wear hand me downs. But now, those things are just stories and pictures, that we laugh about. Now, I am so grateful to have my sisters in my life. We’ve had a few “girls trips” over the years and boy, the laughter that still comes from thinking about those nights…Paula blowing the power at the casita…Laura falling down the stairs…Kathy and I having a few too many tequila shots and losing the car and our credit cards! I can’t imagine my life without my sisters…and yet 30 years ago, I would have traded any of them for a puppy in a heart beat! LOL!

The Four of Us

My mother used to dress us alike. My dad used to say it’s because she made our clothes from the old curtains! LOL! But seriously, she did make all of our clothes. She and my aunts would get together and they would sew clothes for all of us kids. (Who does that? Do any mom’s do that anymore?) And unfortunately they were always matching!

It's like a freak show with all the matching! LOL!

We would have the same material, but they would be different patterns. That was great for Laura, the oldest, because she only had to wear it once…but me, yeah, hand me downs, so basically it looked like I wore the same thing for like 4 years…because I had to wear everyone else’s clothes! Haha, I have proof Mom, don’t think you’re getting away with this!

Notice the red and blue dresses!

And then…

Notice the red and blue dresses now!!

I talked about my family a little in my post about our family camping trip and I might have concentrated then on how crazy funny my family is. But I think when I look back through all these pictures of me and my sisters I can’t help but think about how amazing my parents were at raising us to actually “be sisters”. Yes, maybe they had to force us to spend time together then, and hell, they even force us to spend time together now (couple years ago they paid for us all to go on a cruise for their 50th anniversary and of course, there is the annual family camping trip) but they taught us how important it is to be a family…and I hope it’s something that I can show my girls as well. It’s hard for me, with a broken family. I worry about whether I can instill that in them as my parents did us…but a family doesn’t mean you have to be a dad, mom and 2.5 kids living in a big house with a white picket fence. A family means you have to love each other, tolerate each other and support each other. The tolerate thing I’m still trying to teach my girls. LOL! I guess that will come in time! Hmmm, I wonder if my sisters are still just tolerating me? ­čÖé

Vacationing in San Diego!


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Today I realized how bad I’ve been at blogging and tweeting over the past couple of weeks. I mean seriously, in my top 10 of things that I love and things that help keep me sane, is blogging & tweeting. Of course, number 1 is Belvedere Vodka, in any form…(with ice, with soda, with Dr Pepper, with jello shots…you know, any form). SOOOOOOO…why have I been such a slacker lately? Hell I don’t know. I guess it’s just because I’M A SLACKER!!!!!

So today I’m blessing you all with random thoughts in the head of the Most Functional Dysfunctional person you’ll ever meet. Enjoy…and soon you will all be wishing that I’d go back to slacking!!

* I wonder if the quantity of Dr Pepper I drink during the day, has any correlation to the very small number of hours I sleep at night?

* When I gave the hamster water last night…did I shut her cage?

* I wonder if the dogs would really eat the hamster?

* Was the youngest groogy enough last night that I could convince her that she left the hamster’s cage open, in the case that I did forget to shut her cage?

* How many Dr Peppers did I really have yesterday?

* I really hope that Conflicted Mean Girl can come over early on Saturday…I really need some girl time!

* I wonder if that salad dressing I just ate was bad?

* I need a Dr Pepper.

* Really…would my dogs eat a hamster?

* Better stock up on Belvedere and Crown, just in case Conflicted Mean Girl makes it!

* Oh my stomach hurts…it has to be the salad dressing.

* How many Dr Peppers have I had today?

* Shit…I hope I closed the hamster cage!

Haha! See, this is the crap that goes through my head every day. Honestly…it’s no wonder I’ve been slacking lately people…Can’t you see how frickin busy I’ve been?

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As the mother of two teenage girls there are times when I find myself thinking, “Where did I go wrong”? Haha, I kid…but really, there are definitely times when I say to myself, “Didn’t I teach them that”? Now, don’t get me wrong…my girls are amazing. And they are polite and they are respectful at school and to others. I have more than enough times been told by teachers or their friend’s parents how sweet and well mannered my girls are. They know not to talk to strangers and never get in a car with someone they don’t know. They know you don’t drink and you don’t do drugs and please, please, please don’t get pregnant! But what I’m talking about are the things that you don’t realize are important to teach your kids until they’re grown and you realize it’s now too late. Things like, this is a trash can…the place you put your trash! See, didn’t know you had to teach them that…did you?

So this is for all you new moms out there. These are the little things that you may not really know are taught skills and don’t just come naturally to these little buggers. Hell, if I can spare one mom from having to flush the toilet after sniffing her way through the house trying to figure out what that smell is, then I’ve done my job! So here it goes!

1. Like I’ve already mentioned, putting your own trash in the trash can is not an instinct…it is a learned skill. And believe me…it is one of the hardest skills to teach. Heck, algebraic equations are nothing compared to, “This is trash. This is a trash can. This is how you put your own trash in the trash can”. See, even sounds hard doesn’t it. I’ve often thought I needed a neon flashing light TRASH CAN sign with an arrow pointing down however, more than enough times I’ve seen them carry their trash into the kitchen. Only to later find it sitting on the counter, right above the trash can. I’m sure that last 6 inches would have killed them.

2. A closet. Nope they don’t automatically know what a closet is either. So repeat this many times in those first couple of years so that it sticks with them when they’re teens…”This is a closet. This is the kitchen floor. Closet…Kitchen Floor…Closet…Kitchen Floor…Closet…Kitchen Floor”. I’m sure you get the picture!

3. Flushing the toilet! If you think potty training is hard, just wait until you go flush the toilet one day because it hasn’t been flushed in, I don’t know, maybe 4 or 5 uses. And then when you flush it, the extreme load of toilet paper clogs it up and then you find yourself plunging the toilet as yucky toilet water splashes all over your feet. Yup…important thing to note…you will never, ever be able to teach them how to use the plunger…so make sure you introduce them to that little thing on the side of the toilet called the “flusher”!!

4. Rinsing a dish. Yep, a very easy task that we moms know to just do. Why do we know it? Because we do the dishes. And when we’ve been scrubbing hardened, melted cheese off a plate for 25 minutes, we realize we are the only ones that must know this. I always say to my girls, “If you had to do the dishes, you would remember to rinse your plate before you put it in the sink”. Wait, I have a thought…can you teach your kids to do the dishes? Haha, I dream!

Am I scaring you new moms yet? And you thought Please and Thank You were the hard ones!

5. The Hamper. Yep, the Hamper. I’m not sure my teenagers know what a Hamper is. I mean they know how to use cell phones and iPods and dvd players and record shows on the dvr (I’m exaggerating a little here because we don’t even have cable at home, much less a dvr, but not important). They can use computers and Google stuff that I wouldn’t even think about Googling, (Was googling even a word when I was a kid?). They know how to put outfits together that would make Tyra Banks proud and they know how to straighten (or curl) their hair like a pro. BUT THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A HAMPER IS!!!!! H.A.M.P.E.R, kids! It’s that thing in your room, in the hallway, in my room, and in the laundry room that holds dirty clothes. And yes, I said “dirty” clothes, so please stop throwing the clean ones in there just because you don’t know where the “closet” is yet!!!

6. Teaching them to walk. Yes, I know, you parents of one year olds right now are saying…I’m teaching that now…how can this be an issue when they’re 13 and 16. Oh it is. Believe me. When is it an issue? Here’s an example…We are all sitting in the living room enjoying a good episode of Glee or maybe American Idol, and one of the kids will say, “Can you get me a drink”? Uh, didn’t I teach you to walk when you were one? Did you forget? What’s that song, “Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking cross the floor”. Or more importantly, maybe I should sing them the next line, “Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door“! Yeah, you heard me!!

7. The definition of a parent. Yes, Webster’s says something simple like “a father or a mother”. But it leaves out important things like, “person who gets to make all the rules, what they say goes and is the final decision maker in everything”! Make sure your kids learn this part of the definition. Also important to note, that you should never let them believe the definition of parent is, the one who pays for everything, picks up everything, cooks everything and never gets a break!

8. There is no such thing as a Money Tree! Believe me…they believe in the money tree as strongly as they believe there is a fat man in a red suit that somehow gets into the house even when you don’t have a chimney! But as hard as I’ll defend that a frickin Bunny comes round once a year (seriously, a bunny, WTF, how did we ever believe this when we were kids, I mean man in the red suit I can sort of defend, but bunny, ugh, seriously) I will strongly defend that there is no money tree…for anything. Because believe me…teens…they figure if you don’t have money for rent, you might still be able to be able to raid “The Tree” to pay for quitar lessons from that guy who tried out to be the backup to the backup guitarist of some band that I’ve never heard of!! And hey, if any of you have some secret insight to this “Money Tree” thing that I’m not aware of…real friends share. That’s all I’m saying!

9. Adult Time Out. Okay, listen up…teach this early. That Adults get time out too! This is really, really an important lesson to teach them. I remember the first time I made my oldest mad and she told me I needed a time out. I was like, really? OMG, you are right. Mommy has been very bad. I better go to my room for a couple hours by myself and think about what I’ve done. And I better take this bottle of wine…and maybe this shrimp cocktail to help me think. Fish is good for your brain you know, so I’ll think better! So, right from the start make them aware of “Adult Time Out”…because it may be your only chance for a break some days. And you better quickly learn how to break the rules!!

10. Teach them that no matter how many times they forget to put their trash in the trash can…or however many times we find clean clothes with the dirty clothes on the floor instead of the HAMPER…or however many times we try to break the rules, but they still never put us in time out…that we love them anyways. Because a Mom’s love is unconditional. And that’s definitely not a lesson you can teach…but they will eventually learn. And hopefully they’ll learn it while they’re across the country going to college because you didn’t work this hard to pay for school close to home now did you!!!! ­čÖé

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Growing up my Dad had this “speech” he would give, over and over again. He would start it, “There are Givers and there are Takers”. And yep, that’s about all I remember. I’m sure right about then, I would zone his voice out and think about something else, anything else. I was a teenager…I didn’t care about Givers and Takers. Of course, in college, I still heard the speech. In fact, in my house, it was fun to see who you could get stuck listening to the Givers and Takers speech. Haha, when my cousin just started dating a new guy, we were walking through the house and I mentioned that she hadn’t heard the speech…and that did her in for an hour or so! Haha, ohhhhh miss those good times.

But now, as an adult. That speech. I think I suddenly realize that my Dad was right (of course, I will not ever let him hear me say that). There are Givers and Takers. You don’t have to know the rest of the lecture to understand it. The first line says it all…There are GIVERS and there are TAKERS. And I think ultimately what he was trying to say is that he raised us to be Givers…but watch out…because Givers attract TAKERS.

Man, I wish I had listened to the rest of that lecture when I was 16! Maybe I wouldn’t be so damn good at attracting the Takers. My parents really did raise all of us girls (I’m the youngest of 4) to be Givers. My Mom, she is the ULTIMATE GIVER. Geez, if Giver is in the dictionary, my Mom’s picture should be next to it. She has been giving all of her life, to my dad, to us girls, to her grandkids and now her great-grandkids. She is an Angel…and she knows how to Give, and only Give. I’m not sure she’s ever Taken in her life.

I’m proud to be like my Mom. I mean, in the whole scheme of things, I would rather be a Giver than a Taker any day of the week. But, I’ve always said that my biggest fault is this…I always take care of others, no matter what the cost to me. Sure, that makes me a great friend…but it doesn’t always make me happy. And it definitely brings the Takers to my door…sometimes more often then I’d like, unfortunately.

Of course, normally when I start a conversation about Givers and Takers, I tend to think it’s going to lead towards discussing what idiots I end up dating…and eventually not dating. But not today. Today, I’m dedicating this Givers and Takers post to the friends I’ve made. Not all of them…because luckily, through all of my dysfunction, I have managed to actually make a few good friends…Conflicted Mean Girl, for example (haha the fact that I use Conflicted Mean Girl as one of my smart friend choices makes me chuckle just a little, hahaha). And of course, any of my friends reading this…I hope you know exactly where you stand in the Givers and Takers speech.

So, lately I’ve been a little ticked off about the behavior of some of my friends. And I start to let it get to me. In fact, this past week, I’ve sort of been fuming over their behavior (or lack there of actually). I mean, when I look back at the things I’ve done for some of my friends, it practically brings tears to my eyes that they can’t give back even a quarter of what I’ve given them. I know. I know. Friendship isn’t about making everything even. Believe me, I know that. Just ask my friends. I give, without hesitation. I open my house to them for months, without a single request for money of any kind. I drive them to their cars after their drunken nights out, I give them money for gas and cat food. And I listen to them bitch about friends, boyfriends, jobs and whatever they want to bitch about. And I do all of this with the belief that with true friends, what comes around goes around. Right?

Wrong! Apparently, not everyone is like me. I always find myself disappointed when I figure this out, but yet I don’t ever seem to learn my lesson. But really, as a Giver…I attract Takers. And they just keep taking and taking and taking…until I literally feel like there is nothing left for me to give. That makes me so sad. Because I keep looking, waiting for them to start giving back to me now that I’m down in the dumps (of course, for those of you who have read my blog, my life is full of “down in the dumps” I just never lead on that it is), but this time, I am really down in the dumps…and its obvious…and my friends see it and they know it. And are they there to help, to comfort, to give advice, or to even just give me a hug? Nope…they are no where in sight.

Why? I think I know why actually. Because Takers may be Takers…but they are not dumb. And they know that when I’m down…I don’t have anything to give…SO…they just lost their use for me.

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I used to work for this local lifestyle magazine. I was the Publisher. I worked a lot. It wasn’t hard work, it was work like black tie charity events, grand openings of new restuarants, vodka tastings, parties at Gucci (yes, I’m wondering why I left too). But bottomline was I put in a lot of hours, so I had a full-time nanny. Now L (we’ll call her that to protect her identity…cause so many people read this I don’t want her stalked or anything, lol) was 19 when she started with us and the girls loved her. In fact, I remember clearly when she was gone for a week on Spring Break and about 3 days into her 7 days off, my youngest says…when is L coming back? I don’t think the kids have ever cared when I’m coming back from anywhere. Brats! I believe the second day I recall doing this: At 2:45 I tell my assistant to make sure I leave at 2:20 or I will be late to pick up the kids. Yep, see where I’m going with this. After about day 4, I sent her a text and said, “Who told you I could raise my own children? And how much would it take to make you come home now”? Haha, I was only slightly kidding! So, this brings me to remember all the times I’ve said or done something and thought to myself, “Whose idea was it that I could raise kids“? Here are some examples:

Oldest, when she was about 9, was panicking as I was dropping her off at school. She was crying and screaming that she had to get the Power Puff Girls bandaid off her leg or “J” (best friend’s older brother who she had a crush on) would make fun of her. My response…well when he makes fun of you, remind him that at least you’re not 12 and suck your thumb…like him, oh and make sure you say it in front of all of his friends. Yep, real grown up! Way to parent!

Or this…oldest was 3 years old and youngest was a newborn. We were shopping at Babies R Us and oldest is running around like a wild banshee, screaming and pulling things off the racks…so I grab her, plop her butt in the seat of the cart and say quietly but firmly in her ear…sit down and shut the hell up…at which point she replies loudly in her wild banshee voice…”I WILL NOT SIT DOWN AND SHUT THE HELL UP”! At which point I then hide my head in shame and quickly leave the Babies R Us while all the good mothers stared disapprovingly!

And this…when the oldest would come running down the hallway in tears with the youngest on her tail with fists wailing…and oldest would say, “Help me she’s going to hit me”…my response would commonly be, “Well, I’m sure you deserve it”! (In all fairness though, most of the time…she really did probably deserve it).

Or more recently, my oldest hollers at me from her bedroom, at which point I walk all the way down the hall, open the door and she says, “Can you go to Sonic and get me ice cream”? and I reply nicely, “No…but you can kiss my ass”! (Hey, I did say it very nicely).

And then of course there’s always things like this…I think Dr Pepper and a donut is the breakfast of champions…I believe I should be able to cuss but they can’t and they need to just understand that I’m an adult and I can do what ever I want, SO THERE (and I tell them that frequently)…While they are watching tv instead of doing homework; I’m sitting on the couch right next to them…And of course when they are crying at 10 pm that they are tired but still have homework, I tell them I guess they should have not watched tv; then I say good night because I’m tired and I don’t have any homework so I’ll see them in the morning!

Of course there are my favorite lines for when they ask me for something; I say, No, but thanks for asking (hey at least I’m polite)…or when they ask me to do something; I say, Let’s not and say we did. I think those are very legitimate responses to, can you get me a drink and let’s go for a walk.

I remember when I was pregnant with my youngest and my oldest was yelling at me or bossing me or something (if you haven’t noticed, the oldest was quite the handful…hell who am I kidding, she is still a handful) and I turned to my mom and said, “At what point did I lose my sanity and think I could handle a second one“?

And now, almost 13 years later, I’m still wondering that.

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It’s only Day 2 of my commitment to write on my blog every day and I’m already tired. I really have to work on this motivation thing. I almost considered just taking Princess Ginger up on her bloody mary offer but I figured that would really take my motivation away, so here I am, trying to find something to write about. Yep. Something to write about. What can I write about! Haha can you imagine how boring this is going to be in about 235 days? I’m not feeling good today. I’ve had a headache for about 30 some hours now and feeling a little sick to my stomach. I’m thinking it’s just stress but you never know. So last night, after about 10 Tylenols, I said out loud…maybe its a tumor…which then was followed by this conversation with my 13 year old.

Me: Maybe its a tumor.

Youngest: What’s a tumor?

Me: It’s a tumor…no, it’s not a tumor, its not (in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice)

Youngest: You’re a hypochondriac.

Me: No actually I was doing a line from Kindergarten Cop. You know, maybe its a tumor…its not a tumor, its not (again in my best Arnold voice).

Youngest: Nothing but a blank stare

Me: Its a movie…Arnold Schwarzenegger…you know, he’s a cop…teaching a kindergarten class…they think his headache is a tumor…anything?

Youngest: Okay. I’m going to go read.

Me: Ginger….get me a bloody mary!

Princess Ginger

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So, I usually like to be kind of funny and light when I blog (I use funny lightly because as Conflicted Mean Girl can attest, I seem to think I’m a lot funnier than other people think I am). But today is an anniversary of sorts for me. And I believe that sharing information like I’m going to share here today can help others in similar situations so I feel obligated to not only share my story in hopes that it may help someone but also to shed a little light on good ol’ dysfunctional me! Plus, they say talking about it can help you recover from it (I don’t know who “they” are, but I think it’s worth a shot), so here I go. So, 4 years ago on New Years Eve day, I left Mr. #5, (that seriously is the nicest thing I could ever call him, believe me). If not familiar with Mr. #5, refer back to Red Flags, you’ll probably like him as little as I do! So, I was dating Mr. #5 for almost 2 years, as well as, my daughters and I lived with him for the last 6 months we were together. Of course, Mr. #5 was an alcoholic. And a classic narcissist. I had no idea what a narcissist was until after I left him. Now I know first hand. That’s usually the case with most women, we never realize how bad a relationship is, until after we’ve left it. Why do we do that to ourselves? I mean, I can honestly tell you that one day I told my counselor that I knew Mr. #5 wasn’t really good for me, but I knew I loved him and for that reason I felt I had to try harder to make it work (hence having the counselor). Looking back, my relationship with Mr. #5 was never healthy. I’m pretty sure we broke up at least 8 times in 2 years. He was very self-centered and very, very cold hearted. How did I love him? I’m not sure, but I truly believed I was madly in love with him. That love definitely blinded me from seeing all the signs until years later…which is a trait a lot of women have, a trait I have perfected, and one of my reasons for sharing my story. So, have I babbled on and on long enough yet and lost everyone? So anyways, the short version is that December 9th, 4 years ago, this man that I thought I loved, pulled me out of the car in the middle of the night in a fit of rage and hurt me, and left me on the side of the road. Leaving out all of the detail (we can get to that in blog some day…maybe when I have more wine in me) I ended up in the emergency room with my girlfriend with my wrist broken in two places, sprained ankle, and gravel embedded in my head. But here’s the real lesson…ARE ALL OF YOU WOMEN LISTENING, when the doctor asked me what happened…I said I fell down the stairs. I will forever remember my friends face as she looked at me with that, WTF look. But like good friends do, she kept quiet. So, why, why did I not tell the truth? If I had, they would have called the cops and then he would been picked up and he would have gone to jail. He deserved that. He definitely deserved that. Hell, he deserved more really. But, in my head I thought, if I stay with him, I can’t tell anyone, because they wouldn’t accept me staying with him. So, I had to lie. Stupid. Yes I know. Why would I want to stay with him? Well, honestly, this is the lesson I hope other women can learn from me talking about this. I thought I loved him and therefore I would do anything (or tolerate anything) to be with him. Well, I won’t bore you all to death, I smartened up, I left him on December 31st. And I’ve never gone back. Its been 4 years. I still suffer from nightmares and panic attacks. And I still think about what I did wrong (yes, I said what I did wrong, STUPID). Listen up girls…no man is worth you ever, ever compromising yourself, physically or emotionally. No man, no matter how much you love him, is worth staying with if he can’t treat you like you are precious and important every single minute of every single day. I’m still single. I think I will be single for a long time. And I’m okay with that. I’ve learned, its better than being where I was. And the real lesson I want to share is that abused women and domestic violence is not just something that happens in the low income neighborhoods and not just in some wreck of a family you see on an episode of Cops. It happens every day, to women that you probably know. Real women, who have jobs and kids, and these women need to know that there is nothing wrong with them, it is not them, and they need to know that they can get out. If you are in a situation like this, or if you think it could come to this…BE STRONG…find your INNER STRENGTH…believe that YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT…and GET OUT. And get help! And take back your life. Here’s to a New Year girls!! Let’s go out there and get what we deserve!!

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