Saturday, July 17, 2010
good trait or bad...
tol-er-ant adj. 1. showing the capacity for endurance; 2. showing respect for the rights or opinions or practices of others; 3. tolerant and forgiving under provocation; 4. showing or characterized by broad-mindedness.
Many times in my life I’ve been at a crossroads. I’ve had to make a decision. Once that decision has been made, I’ll stick by it and see it through. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t times that I wish I could go back and perhaps react differently, say something, stand up or run away…but different than what it is that I’ve actually done.
Growing up, in our home, we learned tolerance. We learned acceptance. We learned consideration. We took others thoughts and feelings and many times placed them above our own. Not that we didn’t stand behind our convictions, mind you, but just that if others had opposing thoughts or theories, we never criticized or disparaged their views. We listened. We might debate, but we still listened.
We got all the facts before jumping on any band wagon or cause. We didn’t rock the boat. I wonder if I had grown up in a family that automatically jumped and then apologized later if wrong, if I would have a different approach to life. And in turn, things in my life would have turned out differently?
Once when visiting my parents, a friend came along with me for the drive. Carol had a new kitten and although it would have been fine left alone for a few hours, Carol wanted to bring it with us on my pilgrimage home to Sylvania. Cats don’t like cars. They make horrible guttural sounds. The drive is 2 hours long. I was about to lose my mind.
At my parents’ house, the cat had free reign. We were at the dining room table and this cat, whom I’m decided is most definitely possessed, is laying track through the family room, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, the foyer and then back around all over again. And again. On one of its rotations it leapt up onto my brothers back, made a sharp 90 degree turn and grabbed onto my mother’s formal draperies directly behind him.
My brothers face was in pain. You could tell it hurt. His eyes were watering, his lips drawn tight, his shoulders now contorted into odd angles. But not a sound came from him. He didn’t cry out. He didn’t scream…although you could tell he most definitely wanted to. But that would be impolite. We were at the dinner table after all.
My mother spent weeks, months even picking out the right silk and having them made for their house. To see this kitten hanging with its claws halfway in the middle of these draperies…well, it didn’t please my mother. But this was a guests pet. She wouldn’t have said anything. That would be impolite.
Carol got up and removed her cat, as carefully as possible from the drapes, but even where I sat you could see the small tears that those little claws made. You could see the little drops of blood pooling on my brothers shirt where those little claws had been. But we just took it in stride and passed the brussel sprouts.
My mother would offer the devil himself lemonade if he appeared on her doorstep. She was tolerant.
Recently my tolerance was tested. A woman that my family has known through church for years has tested it. And my dad. My dad has been on a kick to ‘clean house’ since my mother died. She wasn’t like on the television shows, but she did have a tendency to be a mild hoarder. My dad would throw away mail or newspapers and my mother would retrieve them, put them in a brown Krogers bag and stick it in one of the spare rooms to ‘take a look at later’. Sometimes later never came. And by that time there were 3 more bags of the Blades newspaper Peach section for her to look at before it was deemed ‘ok’ to throw out. It’s the 2 steps forward 1 step back syndrome. This went on for years.
When my mother was ill and at home, she thought that people were taking her things. And in truth, they were. My father never disturbed her ‘bags of things’ when she was 100%. He wouldn’t dare, although you knew it had bothered bothered him for years. But with her not running at full capacity, he thought this the perfect time to do something about it.
He had the cleaning lady start removing the bags from the spare room. Pretty soon she went onto the other storage space. And the hallway closet. And the eaves.
After my mom died, I went through her belongings. Icleared our her closet space. Some of her dresses I wanted to keep. The purple silk Schrader Sport dress that she wore to school when teaching was one of my favorites. It just looks like her. I wanted to keep that one. Her dressing gown that still smells like her. I wanted to keep that too. I wanted to keep some of the beautiful costume jewelry, and all her fine jewlery items. And some of the dressy gowns that I knew would make fun dress up costumes for Boo in the future. I don’t necessarily have that much room in my own home, but I transferred the items of mention into the closet in my room at my parents house.
My dad and I had an agreement. Louise, the cleaning lady, can go anywhere she wants in the house and take anything out…but no one is to go in my room. I mean, you can go IN my room, just don’t go through anything in my room or remove stuff. There are items in my closet that belonged to my grandmother. Some stuff that belonged to Grandpa. My wedding dress was in there and my graduation dresses from high school and college. I used to collect vintage cashmere coats with ¾ sleeves. My collection of those and the antique hats were in there as well.
There were lots of really cool things in my closet.
They are no longer there.
At my mothers funeral, Gigi and her husband Bob attended. I personally don’t like Gigi OR Bob, but I’m tolerant. Gigi’s a busybody. Both she and her husband do not do anything without knowing that somewhere, someone will say, “Oh…that Gigi and Bob! What good people! What good Christians they are!!!!” I call bullshit. People shouldn’t do good deeds for the accolades they might and expect to receive. They should do it because it’s the right and good thing to do.
Gigi and Bob took aspirin and over the counter medications to South America on a mission trip. They like to tell people about it. To gain a listening ear, hear their voice congratulating themselves and get sympathy because of the hardship they endured while trying to ‘do good’. Whatever.
Gigi was a deacon at my parents church. She liked the recognition. Actually, she loved the recognition. It made her feel important. She busybodied herself into a place of importance when the church was between pastors. Once the new pastor arrived, he thanked Gigi for her service and her input, but she was no longer needed. She didn’t like that. So she left the church, in a huff. Gigi isn’t quiet about her thoughts of the new minister. It’s not good. And personally, I really like the new guy…the sermon he gave at my mother’s funeral was most amazing. It was moving. Most in attendance were in tears. It was a beautiful tribute to my mothers life.
Afterwards, Gigi and Bob were in the foyer. I stopped and thanked them for coming. I was raised tolerant. They wanted to talk…a lot. I tried to excuse myself.
“Gigi, Bob. Why don’t you join us for the luncheon? The ladies of the church have been busy; please join us in the fellowship hall.” I asked them, gesturing towards the other wing of the church.
“Oh no. I couldn’t. I can’t be in the same room with that man...”, Gigi responded with disdain in her voice. (She was talking about the minister.) “Because of him, we had to leave our church home.”
Now….this is bullshit as well. They didn’t have to leave. They chose to leave. They didn’t feel as if they were getting the right amount of attention for all their “good deeds”. Bah.
At this point, I’m mad. But I’m tolerant, so I don’t say anything. But DO NOT use my mother’s funeral as a platform to gain sympathy for yourself. Please. So these are my thoughts about Gigi and Bob.
I bet at this point you wonder, 'What does this have to do with her closet?'
Gigi’s daughter, who apparently is a self deemed expert at garage sales, resale shops and the likes, is in town from Tennessee. Somehow Gigi has filled my dad’s ear with her daughters skills and he invited them over to help sort through things for potential garage sale, resale shop or Goodwill. Where did they go? My closet.
This woman and her daughter went through all my things. Packed them all up and took them away.
All the stuff that I’ve saved over the years? It’s all gone. Why? Because of a woman whom I abhor.
My dad said that they told him there were some valuable items. No shit. And now they are gone.
I’m mad at my dad for reneging on a promise to not allow anyone into my room. In his overzealous efforts to 'clean house', there are items lost that cannot be replaced.
I’m mad at Gigi for thinking it was okay to the rest of the family members to take MY belongings and those of MY mother and MY grandmother out of the house. What possibly could she have been thinking? Why wouldn't she double check before running off with my wedding dress, and my mothers wedding dress?
I suppose they are just items. Stuff. Clutter.
But they were MY items. To be sorted through and given away at MY discretion. Not Gigi and Bob and her daughter. Not even my dad. Had I known what he was planning, I would have removed everything long ago…but I didn’t know that my room was no longer my room. I didn’t know that anything left at the house where I grew up and what belongings I left behind would become rummage sale items. I just didn’t know.
And now I’m pissed. And I’m mad.
And I’m still damn tolerant.
I SHOULD call and give her a piece of MY own Christian mind for imposing on my belongings. But I haven’t, because that would be impolite. So I am presently choking on my horse sized tolerant pill.
I’ve done it before and lived, so I assume I can live through this as well.
Did I ever mention way back when I was married, I awoke from a deep sleep to hear my Land Rovers engine idling in my driveway? After looking at the clock and seeing it was past midnight, I went down to see what was going on. My then husband was in my car. There was a woman in my car. He said he couldn’t find his wallet and thought he had left it in his car. He was giving this gal a ride home, or downtown or somewhere, I can't remember. The excuse seemed lame at the time. It's still lame today. I was in my nightshirt with no shoes, no makeup, and the baby sleeping upstairs. I asked who she was and what she was doing in my car. Her response was to my ex, "I told you not to drive up the driveway." What?
Turns out it was his mistress.
But I didn’t learn that until over a year later.
I should have insisted she get out of my car.
I should have insisted that my husband turn off the engine and go back in the f*ing house.
I should have screamed, or thrown a tantrum, or been a bitch.
I should have done something.
But I didn’t.
I was tolerant.
What a great attribute to have….
But this morning is a glorius morning! I'm leaving soon to go pick up Boo from camp. I feel enlightened. I feel good. Today...there are going to be some internal changes for Nancy. I can be tolerant, but I don't have to be silent.
And I have Gigi's phone number.
Yup. Today is going to be a glorius day...God help her.
Update: 5:45pm...I talked to my dad. He assured me that he will do everything that he can to see if he can get the items back. He apologized for not understand OUR understanding. He said that he didn't know there was anything in there that I would want, or wanted, or did want. I don't quite believe that. I think a little of it is lip service...but hey, I guess he's trying. He's never been good at admiting to wrong or apologizing.
Gigi and Bob? Or Gibob (as Julie named them!) They didn't answer the phone. I was very polite, yet firm, with the message I left. I let her know that I was displeased...VERY displeased that she and her daughter went through my personal belongings. I let her know that I was indeed incredibly disturbed by the fact that they would have the audacity to ASSUME that wedding dresses could/would not be of any significance...and take them away. I asked to have anything that they removed from the house returned.
I'm not sure if they will call me back or not. I'm going to assume they will call my dad and deal with him instead of me. Oh....but I did also call and vent about this to my brother. He does not like Gibob either, and now his view is even less of them. He is going to see what HE can do about this as well. There is a crawl space behind my closet that has many of HIS things in there. If they got to his stuff? In comparison, my verbal attack will be nothing....
Oh, and Boo is back, sunburnt and very, very tired. But had a wonderful week. She's like the Pet Detective in ALL the animals in the house are presently trying to see who can get closest to her.