A Not So Silent Night

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The plan to post the Buffer Zone Survey responses every day or three has turned into every month or three. What are you gonna do? Real life happens.

Anyway, Sherri Matthews, who blogs at www.sherrimatthewsblog.com, the loveliest blogger you could ever meet, leads our return. Not that I have actually met her in person, I just feel as if I have through her honest, yet heartwarming, inspiring posts. A View From My Summerhouse contains posts ranging from the knocks she has encountered in her life to delightful pictures of the English countryside.

The Buffer Zone Survey Question: 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?

Sherri’s response: “By the time I was married and given birth to my first child (31 years ago!) my dad’s drinking had rendered him homeless, living in and out of shelters and getting into trouble. Christmas was approaching and I found out out that he was going to be alone in a shelter not too far from us so we agreed as a family to have him over for Christmas Day at my mother’s house where we could all gather and keep an eye on him.
I was young and dumb enough to still believe that my Dad would ‘recover’ from his alcoholism and besides, he had convinced us that he was on a ‘special programme’ whereby he could drink, but just a couple of beers a day. Right!! Well, of course it went completely pear-shaped. Even though we hid all the booze he found a decanter of my mother’s sherry first thing in the morning while he pretended to help with the dishes and by noon he was plastered.
Nobody knew though because he hid it so well (alcoholics do this) but I knew. He got shirty with me about something and I answered him back and that was it. He ended up getting in a punch up with my brother and we had to call the police. Dad disappeared into the night refusing all help and that was that. Sad to say, we never invited my Dad for Christmas again but then we didn’t need to worry because prison took care of that. Families eh? (Dad is 81 now and has been in and out of prison ever since this Christmas episode).”

Families. What are you gonna do? Days like that either break us or endow us, like Sherri, with resilience, grace, and optimism that we can do better. Thank you for sharing a private and personal day, and reminding us, that real life, sometimes funny but often not, happens.

Mother’s Day Mayhem

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A much needed and fabulous week in Quebec has me playing catch up on blog posts. I’m going to jump back into blogosphere with the rest of our survey responses.

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?

“Recently engaged, my fiancé and I attended a church service on Mother’s Day with my soon-to-be mother-in-law and sister-in-law. After a sweet sermon on the importance of mothers in our lives, as well as women who mother us, and the hymns were sung, the pastor invited all mothers to take one of the small potted petunias displayed in the foyer. My husband’s sister was beaming as she proudly carried her petunia in front of her 2nd trimester belly.

As the mothers began to leave the sanctuary and collected their petunias, it was evident that the church had purchased too many plants. The pastor then invited ALL the ladies in attendance to take home a petunia, so I picked one up off the table and casually walked out the front door. My (now) sister-in-law stormed out the door after me, and slung her petunia down the front steps, shattering the pot on the sidewalk below. She actually stamped her foot like a toddler, and proceeded to rant about the unfairness of it all. How would anyone identify her and other mothers if just anyone got a petunia? What was the meaning of Mother’s Day if non-mother’s got a gift? She continued her hissy fit until my (now) mother-in-law shushed her. The other members of the congregation just glanced at her as they filed out. At the time, I thought they pretended not to see her tantrum in order to save my mother-in-law any embarrassment, but I know now that they were just used to her behavior. And, I’m sorry to say, I now am also.”

My goodness me, what a sterling example of Christian behavior! I hope someone pointed out to this anonymous respondent’s sister that she technically wasn’t a mother, and therefore not entitled to a seventy-nine cent petunia either. She was a mother-TO-BE, as well as self-centered, and a bunch of other words I won’t mention because this display of temperament happened at a church.

 

No Outlaws Allowed

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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?

“I was raised in a Southern Coastal town where manners were taught and expected from the moment of birth. We are a genteel clan that addresses everyone with “Ma’am”, “Sir”, or “Honey”. My sweet husband’s father imagines himself an outlaw. He roars up to joint family functions on his big motorcycle, dressed in the typical offensive saying t-shirt, black leather vest and red bandana. He loves nothing more than to shock whoever is in earshot with his racist and homophobic comments. He was finally banned from future gathering when he grabbed my aunt’s bottom and proclaimed he liked his women with meat on them.”

Thank you for submitting this anonymous follower. It is truly a shame when in-laws become outlaws. Sweet tea for all to celebrate his banishment.

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.

 

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!