Monday, November 26, 2012


Several weeks ago, I received a text message from my sister. "TJ and I are talking about meeting at your place for Thanksgiving. Sound ok?"

I wrote before about the online drama of Little Brother's divorce. It seems ironic that TJ's ex-wife has already remarried and now he's engaged, yet I still can't bring myself to open Facebook. It seems I'm the only one who hasn't moved on from the trauma of that ordeal.

And now he's bringing his "fiancé" to my house.

I first met Chardonnay at my sister's house last Christmas. She and TJ had just started dating and he couldn't have picked someone more completely different from his ex-wife. Even if he had shown up with a dude, it would have surprised me less.

A blonde clichĂ© with a Texas-sized personality, Chardonnay instantly assumed the role of "life of the party". Now Chardonnay isn't her real name, but it's close enough that JB started calling her that, and it stuck. I admit to being alarmed that my brother, also an engineer, would consider dating a professional (quote-unquote) "Energy Healer" and former "lingerie model". (Which probably says more about just how gay I am than anything else.) I found it difficult to suppress my disdain when she described aligning my brother's unbalanced chi with a bit of selective blood-letting.

She was totally inappropriate
with our pantry supplies.
My discomfort only escalated as my husband and Chardonnay bonded into true BFFs before my horrified eyes. I pulled JB aside and asked him to please stop touching my brother's girlfriend's boobs. The look he gave me made it clear he didn't feel my request was nearly as reasonable as it sounded to me. And I knew he had no intention of honoring it.

Over the course of that Christmas holiday, Chardonnay could sense I was the only member of the family that wasn't warming up to her. And she obviously took that as a challenge, focussing more and more of her attention toward me. She could tell her unsolicited back rubs weren't decreasing my tension one bit. Yet this only made her rub harder.

I finally realized the only way I was going to literally get her off my back was by pretending I liked her. While acting doesn't come naturally to an introverted engineer such as myself, the stakes were high.

And now, eleven months later, Chardonnay was about to bring her feng shui voodoo to my house for Thanksgiving weekend. And, like it or not, she's going to be part of my family. I decided it was time for me to accept this and let down my guard a little.

And I have to admit that I had a nice time this weekend. Yes, there were still a couple uncomfortably tense back rubs. And her constant use of the term "fuckballs!" grated on my nerves a bit. And the Saturday morning I awoke to discover Chardonnay sleeping in our bed, spooned in between JB and me, a little weird. And those couple of times she flashed her breasts in public. And as much as the futon spring squeaks emanating from my guest room creeped me out, I could have gone pretty much forever without hearing how my new shower head gave her a (quote-unquote) "Big O". (I'm praying I saved the Bed, Bath & Beyond receipt for that thing.)

But I could also tell she adores my brother. And that he's the happiest I've seen him since he was a kid.

Don't tell anyone this, but I think I'm starting to like Chardonnay too.

My last impression of Chardonnay.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Slack The Vote

I kicked myself for not taking advantage of early voting when the alarm went off this morning at 5:15am. And at 5:30 as I waited for the coffee to brew and listened to rain drops tapping against the window. And again as I walked to my polling place when the wind turned my umbrella inside out.

JB voted last week. It took him over two hours, but now he was curled up in our warm, dry bed. Where I would be, if only I could get my act together. I was reminded of a story about an ant and a cricket or a grasshopper or some other irresponsible bug.

I'd hate to give credit to the cold, driving rain, but the line outside waiting to vote was mercifully short. Short enough to pack completely beneath a sheltering carport by folding itself into an intricate queue with the organic efficiency of a fingerprint whorl.

Less than fifty minutes after leaving the house I'm back at my computer writing this post, sipping my still-hot coffee and listening to my pants and socks tumble in the dryer. Ants think they're so smart.