Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wedding, sightseeing, and ruminations

We went to Illinois last weekend for my son's wedding. I was hesitant about going - thought I would run into my sister-in-law and her daughter there and really didn't want to spoil my son's day with having to ignore those two. Thankfully for me, they didn't show up, but them not showing up was a shitty thing to do to my son since he planned the whole wedding in Decatur, Illinois exactly so they could attend (because they bitched about his last wedding being in Minnesota and how they couldn't attend that one because it was too far for them to drive). He even changed the date so they could attend, and then none of them bothered to show up. My niece didn't even have the courtesy to answer my son's texts (she thinks he said something nasty about my mother at her memorial service three years ago, but doesn't have the balls to say anything to him about it, she's just ignoring him). My nephew didn't answer my son's texts either, he was too busy with a fishing tournament that he signed up for after he knew about the wedding and said he would attend. My sister-in-law had some excuse about some family reunion or something that was more important than her nephew's wedding that she bitched about wanting in Illinois so she could attend, but decided after all that it wasn't that important. And they wonder why I want nothing to do with them.
The reason I was going to have to ignore my sister-in-law is because on the Thursday before the wedding, she contacted me via Facebook to let me know she was un-friending me over a comment I made on a newspaper article here in Minnesota. It was on the marriage amendment that's on the ballot this fall and stated that a mother and a father were the ideal parents for children. My comment was to the effect that of course heterosexual parents never abuse their kids, that my mother had abused me for 40 years, until I cut her out of my life 19 years ago, and that I hadn't seen her in almost 15 years when she died. My SIL came unglued over that and said that I just couldn't drop it, could I? That it was about time I got over it and forgot about it. Then she had the nerve to castigate me for the fact that I didn't have any respect for my mother. Like I'm supposed to respect a woman who abused me for 40 years, who never told me she loved me, who never showed me any signs of affection whatsoever? Yeah, I don't think so. When I told her "Fuck you", she told me that was my answer for everything (it isn't, it's just my answer for matters dealing with my douchebucket family) and that I was a vile, hateful person. Right, I spent 15 years ignoring them, just like they ignored me - because when I left Illinois, none of them ever tried to contact me, even though I sent Christmas cards every year for the first 3 or 4 years. And when I didn't get any cards in return, I gave up. I figured they had written me off just like my mother had, and if that's the way they felt, it wasn't any great loss to me.
What I don't understand is why my SIL is so invested in taking me to task every time I talk about my mother. I mean really, why the hell does she care? Mom wasn't her mother, Mom was just her mother-in-law. My SIL didn't have to grow up in that house, she didn't grow up being abused by my mother, so she doesn't have clue one what it was like. So where in the hell does she get off telling me that I "need to get over it already, forget about it, put it behind me, and quit talking about it"? It seems to me that she's in major denial that I was abused and doesn't want to be reminded of that fact, just because my mother didn't abuse her or her kids. BFD. It happened to me, and I'm going to continue to talk about it whenever I feel the need - if nothing else, so that other people being abused will know that there is nothing inherently wrong with them, that they don't deserve to be abused, that they can walk away from their abusers, that they can cut their abusers out of their lives, that they can go on to make a decent life for themselves after the abuse, and that they are good people who have survived horrific treatment. It's not like it was a huge secret in the town I grew up in, after all. I mean, when I became an adult, and came back to that town after living out of state for a few years, I don't know how many people came up to me and told me what a shame it was about the way my mother treated me (yeah, it was a shame all right, but none of them had the balls to go to the authorities and report her or try to stop her). So it's not like I'm airing dirty laundry that no one knows about or hasn't witnessed first hand. I guess she thinks living in a state of denial is better, but that's not the way I'm going to live my life. If she can't deal with that, well, too bad so sad sucks to be her. She's going to have to find some way to deal with the fact that I'm an opinionated bitch and I'm not going to keep my mouth shut just because she doesn't want to deal with the fact that my mother abused me physically, mentally, and emotionally for 40 years of my life.
Then my SIL tries to guilt trip me because I didn't offer to go to Illinois and help her when my dad was in that accident and was in the hospital/nursing home. Well, she didn't ask for help, and she has two adult, married children who could have/should have been helping her. And I'm not going to volunteer help I can't give. My husband was working a job with 12-hour days at the time and would have had to find someone who could cover any days he took off from work (and we had just come back from a vacation). I couldn't go without him because he has type 2 diabetes and I'm the one who figures out how much short-acting insulin he needs at each meal and I'm the one who injects that insulin because he's too squeamish to give himself the shots. So, sorry, I'm not leaving my husband home alone with no one to give him his insulin. My husband's health and life are more important to me than the fact that she thinks I should have volunteered to drive the 10 hours to Illinois to help her with my dad (like she would have accepted my opinions or advice anyway). The fact that I'm disabled and wouldn't have been able to do much to help doesn't figure into her diatribe against me at all. I wouldn't have been able to help her pack up everything that was in Dad's house and move it - I can't lift/carry anything over 10 lbs, I can't walk for more than 10 or 20 feet without my walker, I can't stand for more than a couple of minutes, so really, WTF did she expect me to be able to do to help her?
The really funny thing about all of this is that now my aunt & cousin are suing my dad's estate over that damned accident a couple of years ago. They already sued the guy who pulled out in front of my dad (dad t-boned his truck, he pulled out from a stop sign on a side road and was crossing a highway that my dad was driving on). The guy in the truck was at fault, they've already sued him and gotten a big settlement, now they're trying to say my dad was also at fault and they want a settlement from his estate. I don't see how that's possible, but greed will make people do strange things. My aunt hasn't been speaking to me ever since the accident, when my niece had to open her big mouth and stir a turd over something I said on this blog (does anyone really wonder why I want nothing to do with those so-called relatives of mine?). The last time I saw my dad, he told me had a $10,000 life insurance policy and he wanted all my information so he could change the beneficiary (he wanted me to be the beneficiary on it). He said that my brother and his kids had gotten all kinds of help and money from him and Mom, and that I hadn't gotten much from them, so he thought I should have that. Evidently he didn't get around to having that done before the accident, because it looks like my brother and I are going to have to split it (if this lawsuit by my aunt/cousin ever gets settled, that is). I figure it'll be a cold day in hell before I see any of it.
So while I was upset for my son and his wife that his aunt/uncle and cousins didn't show up for the wedding that they wanted held in Illinois, I was glad for me that none of them showed up. I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding and reception and didn't have to worry about ignoring anyone or holding my tongue or being icily polite to a bunch of douchebuckets. Jennifer looked lovely in her gown, Jon looked handsome in his tux, the bridesmaids looked great in their dresses, the groomsmen were handsome in their tuxes, and the flower girls/ringbearer were so cute! And I thought this was an awesome way to leave the church after the wedding:

Jennifer ended up having to take off her veil before they finally left for a ride through town before they headed off to the reception - didn't want to get it caught in the spokes or under the wheels of the bike.
The wedding and reception were on Saturday, we got up Sunday morning, had breakfast and left for Springfield, Illinois to find Lincoln's Tomb and the Veterans Memorials that are located in the same cemetery - the WW II Veterans Memorial, the Korean Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We had to wait for Jon to bring Mykel to our motel - we were taking Mykel home with us since Jon didn't have enough room for him in the Suburban (not with all the wedding stuff, Jennifer's parents, her brother, and her 2 girls). Jon and Jennifer were riding the bike home. We had brought Mykel down with us so it wasn't any big deal to take him home too.
Mykel rubbing Lincoln's nose for good luck.
WW II Veterans Memorial (that white globe has steel pins with a letter/number that correspond to locations/battles of WW II that are engraved on the inside of each wing of the wall).
Korean Veterans Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial (at the center top of the 4 pillars, there's a flame that burns eternally to honor those who lost their lives in service to our country in Vietnam)

We spent the night in Springfield, then got up Monday morning and went to Petersburg, Illinois to see Lincoln's New Salem. I had been there on a school trip when I was a kid and wanted Mike and Mykel to see it. We took over 100 pictures there, so I won't post them all, but here are a couple of them:

These houses/buildings have been standing for 80 years, and none of them are nailed together. All of them are notched logs. The chinking is cement now, but back when the cabins would have been originally built and used by the settlers, they would have chinked them with a mixture of clay/straw/horsehair that would have had to be replaced 7 to 8 times a year (not something the caretakers of New Salem would have the time to do for all the buildings here, thus the use of cement for chinking now).
The trek through the village is about 3/4 of a mile (one way), so I was very glad I had my mobility scooter with me (there is no way I would have made it through the village using my walker). The scooter allowed me to keep up with Mike and Mykel and still take all the pictures that we wanted to get. The path through the village is paved with blacktop, so the scooter navigated it easily. I did have to get off the scooter to go into the houses that were open in order to take pictures inside, but that wasn't a problem for me, the steps into the houses weren't too high, so they were manageable for me.
There's a museum at the beginning of the village that has a short movie and lots of pictures/memorabilia. It was navigable by scooter too, even the part that was bi-level (it had a curved, railed ramp that my scooter navigated easily). We spent about 3 hours there, going from house to house, taking pictures and talking to the people who were there in period dress (they had a lot of information about the village, the people who lived there, what life was like then, etc) and even with going up and down some inclines, I still had almost a full battery charge on the scooter when we were ready to leave (and I used the scooter at the Veterans Memorials too, without charging it before New Salem). I'm very satisfied with my scooter and wish I'd bought it a couple of years ago.
We left New Salem about 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, and managed to get Mykel home to his mom's house about 11:30 p.m. We didn't make it home until 3 a.m., had to stop along the way and find an open gas station (do you have any idea how many gas stations don't stay open when you're in the Middle-of-Nowhere Minnesota at 2 a.m.?).
Came home to kittehs who missed us and wanted their kitteh treats right now! Poor babies had to do without them for 4 whole days (and they were waiting at the door when we unlocked it and tried to come in, had to step over them). So they got their treats and some petting/loving, then Mike and I collapsed into bed, and didn't get up until almost noon. All in all, it was a very good trip. We'll be going back one day to see the Lincoln Library with my friend, Linda, and her husband. And I want to take Mike to see Rockome Gardens (went there when I was a kid, want to see if they still have the little house built out of 7-Up bottles).