Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The W.A.S.P and the Albanians

I don’t have any family in town. Actually, I barely have any family at all. I have a mom, a brother and a tiny smattering of aunts/uncles/cousins who I speak to about twice a year. I’ve tried, a few times, to establish more of an actual relationship with these people but it’s pretty clear they are not really interested. None of them live in the same province as me anyway, and it appears I have cemented my position as black sheep when I was a teenager and now I’m just going to have to live with it. Not even facebook is thawing this bunch. Whatever, that’s fine. I often wish I had some family, but it is what it is.

What I do have are in-laws. LOTS of in-laws since my husband is one of six children. I have been with the same man since I was fifteen years old so I have grown up with my husband’s family and consider them actual family and not just an indiscriminate collection of people I inherited that I need to contend with during the holidays. I love them. They make me crazy because every single last one of them is certifiably insane, but it’s kind of part of their charm.

The large extended family option that came standard when I purchased the Hubby was part of the initial draw. The family I grew up with is considerably different than my in-laws. They are a small group who is quiet and conservative. They eat really nice expensive food, drink good wine and go on a lot of trips. I get the feeling they are somewhere between amused and horrified that I married a Ukrainian (he’s actually Romanian, but it took my family eight years to stop referring to him as Albanian so I take what I can get). They all have immaculately clean houses (like, freakish hospital-quality clean houses) and none of the women have careers. Well, I do have an aunt that is a nurse and a cousin that is almost a nurse, but the only reason they work at all is because they don’t have husbands. Female careers in my family are pretty much unheard of unless you have no one to ‘support’ you. They also have very nice manners and grammar and all family dinners are eaten properly at the beautiful dining room table using the matching china. Kids are trained not to speak or create any noise or generate any mess, and only a few certain people are invited to family occasions at a time. If you had more people than seats or plates, (a) there would be a tragic mismatched dinnerware situation, and (b) an increased risk of sound. There is NO NOISE EVER allowed around my family. They are a quiet bunch who like things proper and orderly and dignified. It's just how they roll.

The in-laws, on the other hand….are....umm..... different. They are loud (like, bag-pipe marching band loud), opinionated, invite whoever is hungry to whatever occasion is happening and all the kids get to talk or make noise whenever they want. Nobody has a clean house and all the women work. In fact, most of them make more money than their husbands. They burn every piece of meat to a scorching chunk of coal and buy whatever red wine is cheapest and then put it in the fridge. They eat food like perogies (SO good) and cabbage rolls (meh). They have random, quirky relatives whose average age is about 97 and when they come over for a family occasion my father-in-law assigns them a seat and proceeds to get them drunk. After a few stiff ones they start telling fart jokes in Romanian. Everyone eats dinner sitting in whatever free space they can find and if you can score a TV table it’s a major triumph. The brothers and sisters speak in these randomly bizarre pretend accents for no reason and play board games after dinner that include actions such as screaming ‘YODI YODI YODI YODI YODI’ as loud as possible while rubbing bums together and flailing arms whenever a team scores a point. There is nothing proper, orderly or dignified about this bunch. I fit in quite nicely.

Because my family doesn’t live near me and I have grown up with the in-laws, my house is a closer reflection of the environment created by my husband’s family than it is my original family. This works for us, but I don’t think it’s advancing my goal of some day fitting in with my original family. The world they live in has very specific rock-solid rules to live by and I don’t live by them. I work a lot, my house is always mess, my kids make noise and act like, well, kids, I earn more money than my husband and I have adopted the ‘more the merrier’ philosophy to hosting. I’ve tried to marry the two families together a few times for various occasions, and…..let’s just say it hasn’t really worked out all that well. That’s okay. I’m making peace with it. I’m grateful to have this ‘other’ family who makes me laugh and doesn’t take themselves all that seriously.

I’m never putting a bottle of red wine in the fucking refrigerator though. A girl has to draw the line somewhere.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fat Chick vs. Food - Week Seventeen

Week seventeen. Yeah……it’s coming off the rails, folks.

I should be down at least 35 pounds at this point and I’m not. I can hear my inner-skinny person yelling at me, but it’s pretty faint and muffled -

“Help me! I’ve fallen down and some giant Fat Chick is sitting on me and I can’t get up!” Heeeeelllllpppp Mmmmeeeeee…….”

My accomplishments so far have been respectable, but by no means awe inspiring. I’ve taken the edge off my fatness, but I’m still miles away from being fit and healthy. I feel and look better, but my progress has been non-existent for about the past month. I need to re-focus here. Fo sho.

Let’s have an Oprah moment, shall we? Why, exactly, is my commitment to kicking Fat Chick’s ass waning? Yes, I am very busy and my schedule is a definite cause of my lack of exercise and less than stellar diet choices lately. With three kids, a new job and various other commitments I can totally use lack of time as an actual reason why I have not been able to exercise and eat right everyday. But, that begs the question. How badly do I want to make this change? If some crazed lunatic broke into my house and kidnapped one of my kids and told me I would only get her* back if I ate a balanced diet and worked out everyday, I’m pretty sure I would magically find some time. It wouldn’t be easy, but I’d find it somewhere. Alas, I don’t have such a threat hanging over me and therefore when I finally get home and flop my fat ass on the couch it’s pretty easy to convince it to stay there. Who wants to go to the gym when Jack Bauer just found out that Tony Almeda betrayed him? Please! Gym shmym.

So, according to daytime talk show logic there is another reason I’m ‘choosing’ to stay fat. I have some deep seeded issues around body image, my parents, self-esteem or some long buried childhood trauma that is manifesting itself in shield of fat. Is there anyone else out there that thinks that line of thinking smacks a little of bullshit? I agree that for people who need to be cut out of their house and transported via semi-trailer there is probably some other issue at work there, but what about the rest of us regular fat people? Aren’t there any of us who are just plain straight up lazy? Do we ALL have some problem that reveals itself as fat? There are a lot of fat people in the world. I can’t believe that every last one of us would be raring to go the minute we fixed whatever emotional problem we have that is making us fat.

I like relaxing, and eating food that tastes good, and seeing my children for more than 30 minutes a day. I don’t like waking up at 5 a.m. to exercise, or tasteless food, or missing a night out with girls. But the thing is I really don’t like being fat, either. Not even a little. So…off I go. Week seventeen here I come. I am going to find some time this week to workout and my hidden emotional trauma and Jack Bauer are just going to have to suck it.

I gained 1.5 pounds last week. That means I still have 38 pounds to go.

* I’m assuming a crazed lunatic would take one the girls. The boy’s bedroom is at the back of the house and kind of hard to get to, and even if he manages to find him I’m pretty sure a crazed lunatic would trip on one of the 500 action figures spread all over the floor, waking everyone in the house with his swearing while he pulled out the transformer action figure piece that had became embedded in his knee cap.