Till death (all of) us do part

Interrupting our series of amusing dysfunctional family survey incidents for this serious post by Beth Byrnes. She is a child psychologist, behavioral scientist, gardener, knitter, and baker among other things. I wish I could write half as well as she does, although I might be able to master her sugar cookies.

Beth Byrnes

This is what I would consider a ‘think piece’ and it is still a thinking-in-progress, really my mind working out loud, so please indulge me as I spin this.  

I have the rare opportunity to be forced out of my comfortable niche and into a foreign environment, little different from the one that Margaret Meade found when she chose to live among the Trobriand Islanders, not as one of them, not as a tourist, but as a scientist and silent observer, recorder of a culture so alien that every moment spent among them put her senses on high alert.  This is my little participant observer project in progress, while I am on a completely different mission as I explained last week.

kramer vs kramer 2When you hang around a courthouse you find out what is really going on in the world, out of public sight for the most part, rarely covered proportionally…

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Spoiled, Ungrateful Bratty-Brat

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The Buffer Zone Dysfunctional Family Survey results are in and the goal is to post one every day or so or three. The main question of our survey was: Without naming names, who is the relative in your family that causes all the drama? And what incident best illustrates their craziness, “personality” or friction they bring to your family?

“My little sister and her daughter had just spent the week with us in our little cabin in the woods. The same little mountain cabin that we had scrimped and saved for since our marriage began. In the seven days they were staying with us we visited a town festival, went river rafting, fished and hiked, and played board games, never once asking for their help with the cooking, laundry or expenses.

We invited several friends over on their last evening, and had just finished a sumptuous meal prepared by my husband, aka The Grill Master. My sister stands up, pushes her chair back dramatically, and proceeds to proclaim that she will never visit us again because we make everything all about us. We fail to take in to account her needs. Then she stomped off to the guest room, with her 26 year old daughter following her. Although I was tempted to tell her to walk to the airport the next morning, my husband and I drove her there, stopping to get her daily Starbucks fix on the way.”

Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out Respondent’s Little Sister. Hopefully, the city you sent her brattiness off to is a decent Buffer Zone distance away. Thank you for sharing I-sure-charming-cabin-owner-with-a-guest-room. I’ll just throw in that I’m free this summer and  fold a mean towel.

Evil Easter Dictator

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The Buffer Zone Dysfunctional Family Survey results are in and the goal is to post one every day or so or three. The main question of our survey was: Without naming names, who is the relative in your family that causes all the drama? And what incident best illustrates their craziness, “personality” or friction they bring to your family?

“It’s really hard to pick just one, since I have a lifetime of choices. The family incident that best describes my domineering sister is the Easter Egg hunt we attended at a church in our neighborhood when my children were small. This friendly congregation would invite the surrounding neighbors annually to celebrate Easter and get to know more about their religion. From the moment we arrived my sister complained about the heat, the crowd, the church volunteers’ knowledge of how to run a successful egg hunt, that they only had one free drink station, the fact that the Easter bunny had shoes instead of furry feet, etc.

They had areas roped off for toddlers, children aged 4-6, and children aged 7-9 on the lawn behind the church, with brightly colored plastic eggs just lying on the ground in plain sight. The children lined the roped off areas waiting for the the signal to go before they rushed in with their baskets. My sister maneuvered her 1 1/2 and 3 years old toddlers into the best strategic position and literally shoved them forward at the signal. She then proceeded to block and run interference between them and other tiny tots gathering eggs. The Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill should have such a line. She was yelling instructions to get the yellow one, then the blue one, and warning them to watch out for the little girl approaching to their right. The same little girl that was barely walking and had a pacifier hanging out of her mouth. Yeah, watch out for her.

When all of the eggs were collected, each child had several eggs in their baskets or buckets, some free cookies, and a  picture with the Easter Bunny. So what else was there to complain about? The fact that the church had used a Polaroid camera instead of hiring a professional photographer, and the eggs contained lowly Sweet Tarts.”

The person that submitted this gem wishes to remain anonymous, as do most of the people that responded to our survey, which we completely get. We have a very clear picture of this incident in our minds since we have seen more and more adults (I use that term loosely) behave like this. We can only imagine the injuries that would have transpired if there was a prize involved.

Don’t worry dominated respondent, your Buffer Zone will be vast since your sister is probably going some place even hotter.

 

Because It Is Hard

The Buffer Zone Dysfunctional Family Survey results are in and the goal is to post one every day or so or three. The main question of our survey was: Without naming names, who is the relative in your family that causes all the drama? And what incident best illustrates their craziness, “personality” or friction they bring to your family?

ec2011.01.16photo courtesy of http://www.gabeclogston.com

“My brother definitely causes friction between my parents and me. I am older by 6 years, have always had a part-time job, got a scholarship to university, and landed an entry-level job in my field after I graduated. I was rewarded with a few promotions after logging countless hours, including nights and weekends. My brother didn’t work during high school because it would have interfered with his garage band practice. He dropped out of university because “It’s hard.” He has quit, or was fired, from a string of dead end jobs that interfered with his goal to become a lead singer in a hard rock band because they “were hard.” He singing ability is marginal, so the chance that he will be discovered is pretty slim. Not to mention, it is pretty hard to be noticed by a talent agent when you are sitting in the basement of my parents’ house (where he now lives) playing video games all day. Applying for jobs, making resumes and knocking on doors “are hard.” If that is what makes him happy, I’d be all for it IF he wasn’t draining my parents retirement fund in the process. And here’s the real kicker-no one can mention my latest promotion, the small house I am in the process of purchasing or any other good thing that has happened in my entire life because “it will make him feel bad.” He turns 39 years old in a few weeks. The amusing incident will occur when I take a box cutter to his controller cords.”

Thank you for your response anonymous achiever. His upcoming birthday would be the perfect time to cut the game console umbilical cords. The Buffer Zone congratulates you on your much deserved success, and we don’t care if that made your brother feel bad.

Is She, Or Isn’t She?

The following Buffer Zone Dysfunctional Family Survey responder wishes to remain anonymous, bless her heart.

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Our main question was: Without naming names, who is the relative in your family that causes all the drama? And what incident best illustrates their craziness, “personality” or friction they bring to your family?

“That would be my niece. I have a rather large family, with only one grandparent still living. All holidays, birthdays, and family celebrations are held at my grandmother’s small, but charming frame house. Everyone is invited to every occasion, and the attendees vary as each family has it’s own activities and schedules. All family members make an effort to be there, except for my niece. She also doesn’t RSVP, leaving the family wondering if Jane is going to show up, therefore making each occasion about her is some respect. She doesn’t miss a Christmas gathering though, or the present my grandmother will have waiting under the tree. We all had quite a laugh last Christmas, when the family matriarch passed out cards containing cash, and honestly couldn’t remember my niece’s name.”

How sweet of you Jane, to make all the celebrations about your own self. I’m guessing you also make a late entrance when you do come so all heads will turn when you walk in the door. Honey, I guarantee you that your family spends exactly 15 seconds each gathering thinking about whether you are there or not. Get over yourself.

Starting Off The Buffer Zone Survey Posts!

Just as I was getting ready to publish The Buffer Zone Dysfunctional Family Survey responses, it hit me that I would not have a photograph to add to each post. Past posts have included mug shots, and while I’m sure there are some of those to be found of our survey subjects, if we are not naming names we probably shouldn’t be posting pictures. Most of our responders didn’t even want to link their blogs. Which is okay with us, this being The Buffer Zone and all. In the past, I probably would have made little dioramas, with hand painted backgrounds and Polymer clay accessories, but, alas, the upcoming posts will probably contain whatever I come up with in 15 minutes.

At the beginning, I thought it would be interesting to see if someone’s culture or family size affected the level of drama between relatives. Who was I kidding? Everyone really just wants to read the answer to the following question to see if their dysfunctional relative is more offensive than anyone else’s: Without naming names, who is the relative in your family that causes all the drama? And what incident best illustrates their craziness, “personality” or friction they bring to your family?

photo_1-11“The Johnson Girls Rule”

The lovely Luanna, http://www.sothislife.com, starts us off. “Drama award goes to my Aunt….gossipy bitch that she is, but it’s either made up or half true (I just talked to her today for an hour), and my Mom came in second. One of us most likely did all the other things or something quite close or worse, they used red spray paint but we thought they were funny, (I painted The Desiderata on my bedroom wall in oil paint, that got a lot of talk). No punching out except a family member or close friend. But my Daddy and Grandfather were ladies men. Come to think of it all the men are ladies men, and all the ladies flirt but no one got involved with a family members spouse (we have morals) besides we knew too much about them to want to do such a thing (gross). Just ask my Aunt or one of her 3 daughters (it’s inherited). My 3 nieces named themselves “Johnson Girls Rule” (whatever they want). We truly function quite well in our own dysfunctional way.”

Glad you are all functioning well Luanna!

Mother-Daughter Bonding

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It’s nice that moms and their daughters can be BFFs, except you aren’t supposed to be until your daughters are real adult type people.

Usually, teen parties involving alcohol or drugs happen when the parents are away. There are “fun” moms, some I have know personally, who feel that having a small party at their house keeps teenagers from driving under the influence.

Mariel Weinand, 18, threw a shindig in her Naples, Florida home, and when the cops showed up to squelch the party, guests ran inside and cut the lights. Two girls allegedly held Mariel up, as in Weekend At Mariel’s, while she gave her mom’s cell phone number to the police.

When reached by the authorities Carolyn Weinand, mugshot (ABC7) above, stated she had no idea there was a party goin’ on since she was out of town. She gave officers her blessing to break up the party. Police found people hiding in different rooms and closets, and SURPRISE!-Carolyn hiding in the bedroom, where she changed her tune to “safe party.”

According to newser.com, she denies buying the alcohol, but she’s charged with 26 counts of selling, giving, or serving alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21.

Since mom and daughter are both charged with one count of having an open house party, they might want to consider a nice trip to the mall next time instead.