portland yesterday: we got up at some ungodly early hour and i drove to portland while moe did half of her homework. then we had breakfast at the cadillac café with moe’s friend holly, who, for one reason or another, we haven’t seen since the day we got married. after breakfast, we went to moe’s mother’s house, which is actually in milwaukie, whereupon, once the doggies were secure, i proceded to take a nap for a couple of hours – which probably made all the difference in my mood later on. i came to about the time people started arriving. apart from anne, nancy, moe’s mom, and bill, a friend of anne’s, who are there all the time, there were elena and ralph, old friends of moe’s mom, and their friend greg, who looked like he was about 15 (moe later told me that he’s probably in his early 20s), and “bert” (alberta? roberta?) and bill #2. i’m not exactly sure who they are, or were, friends of, but bill #2 was more than a little deaf, he was very opinionated to the point of racism, and he liked to tell everybody about his opinions whether they liked it or not, because he was deaf enough that he spoke very loudly and was able to be heard by the neighbours across the street. of course, because of the fact that it wasn’t my house and i wasn’t even completely sure who the guy was, i couldn’t say anything, and the primary residents of the house (anne, nancy and bill #1) were too “polite” (or too afraid) to say anything to him – he’s apparently a retired military “hero” or something like that – which meant that most of the time from then until we left was spent in avoiding conversations with him. moe later said that “bert”, his wife, apparently doesn’t even like him any longer. there was something odd about greg, too. i’m not quite able to put my finger on exactly what it was, but his behaviour in general seemed to be somewhat affected, like he wasn’t exactly sure of how to act. and, at one point, he said something along the lines of “god fucking damnit”and stormed out of the house, with no further explanation. when asked about it, ralph and elena both said that it was “probably nothing” and that apparently he did this sort of thing fairly frequently. there was a whole bunch of tobacco smoking going on, not the least of which was by anne, a retired nurse who has had at least one stroke already. it was all i could do not to say something rude about it. when i first encountered this dysfunctional family group, almost 12 years ago, i described them as a real-life situation comedy but now, 12 years later, i would describe them as barely tolerable, and that only because they are my wife’s family. if not for that, i would very likely have nothing to do with any of them, in much the same way that i currently have nothing to do with my parents… and for a lot of the same reasons.
and that’s not to mention the fact that two of our three doggies are traumatised by all of the fireworks going off everywhere. moe gave them a zanax and that quieted them down a little, and the bark collar (an ingenious little device that has an electronic sensor which senses a bark happening and sprays a little eucalyptus into the dog’s face every time they bark) helped a little as well, but yesterday was generally a stressful day for everyone. fortunately we decided to return home before dark, so that when the fireworks were the loudest at least the doggies would have a familiar bed to hide under.
the only good part about the holiday is that now it’s over there’s one fewer days until OCF. i leave on wednesday, and the only reason i can wait is because i don’t have any choice in the matter.