So Christmas with my family was about the same as it always is. Most of it was okay-to-boring, some of it annoyed the hell out of me, I still hate Terabil, and I got presents.
I totally had the "war on Christmas" argument with my mom, and I swear she lifted every single phrase she said directly from Fox News.
[+]"But it's CHRISTMAS!" Yes, along with plenty of other holidays, hence, Happy Holidays.
[+] "America was founded as a CHRISTIAN nation!" No it wasn't. And the Puritans banned Christmas, if that's what you want to invoke.
[+] "It's not right to remove Christ from Christmas!" He's not part of all the other holidays, in case you haven't noticed, and if you want to blame someone for removing Jesus, talk to the corporations flogging commercialism.
[+] "They're excluding Christians!" Um, Christmas is INCLUDED in the Holidays from whence the greeting comes. Unlike all of the other holidays being included in Christmas, which seems to be her bizarre point.
I gave up when she started just repeating herself.
I also had a harrowing experience visiting Ignatius' apartment on the way to visit relatives-- my dad, he and I went to set up his new game table while the others went separately to my grandmother's. His apartment was utterly foul-- I've seen cleaner homes inhabited by crazy cat ladies on animal rescue shows. I'm a clutterer myself, and my half of the room gets pretty messy around finals, but I don't leave weeks' worth of empty soda cans, unwashed dishes, pots encrusted with petrified, ramen noodles, moldy coffee mugs, stale food, dead/dying houseplants, mounds of dirty laundry, food wrappers, giant pickle jars half-full of brine (?), and assorted detritus covering every available surface and floor. I'd heard that his roommate's girlfriend had refused to enter the apartment, and I don't blame her-- this place was a certifiable health hazard.
While doing the dishes (because I am a selfless, loving sister, naturally) I discovered a new taxonomical kingdom in a travel mug after I pried off the lid and the Creature inside spewed mold spores at me. I called it "WHAT THE FUCK--?! IGNATIUS! YOU ARE DISGUSTING! EEEEWWWWW!!!"
In more interesting news, I found numerous Bud Lite bottlecaps on the ground whilst doing the initial trash sweep. I quietly pointed this out to Ignatius and was met with "Oh yeah--" as he reached into his closet, pulled out a half-empty bottle of what looked like cheap vodka, and stuffed it deep into the trash bag while making sure our dad wasn't looking. There was also an ashtray full of cigar butts on the porch. This wouldn't be an issue, obviously, if Ignatius weren't underage.
I thought about it later, trying to figure out what, if anything, to say to him about it, and realized that the only thing I hadn't seem was condom wrappers or boxes. While I hope that's because he's either not having sex (possible, but if he's drinking and smoking, both of which were fulminated against at least as much as premarital boinking...) or actually disposing of that trash (given the state of his apartment and the fact that he failed to throw away the incriminating evidence of alcohol and tobacco... not bloody likely), I'm not holding my breath on that account.
Ignatius has not, to my knowledge, been informed of Teh Gay, and frankly I'm not especially keen on telling either of my brothers given their propensity to describe things they don't like as "gay" or "homo." With that in mind I'm not entirely sure how to tell him that if he's been having sex sans protection I'm going to remove his gonads and keep them in a jar until he's proven he can use them responsibly without encountering questions of what (or who) I've been doing.
Speaking of which.
During one of the rare occasions in which our family is all in one place and talking civilly, we got onto the subject of parents setting up kids and how my mom likes to pick the blandest, most inoffensive potential partners for us on the grounds that they're "nice Christian boys/girls." I was stupid enough to actually stick around for this, so it was my own damn fault when my grandmother piped up with "So tell us about YOUR ideal type, Liadan! What do YOU like?"
I'm pretty sure the look on my face was priceless, in retrospect, since I spent about ten seconds trying to figure out how to extricate myself without revealing my propensity for geeky redheads with hourglass figures. I squeaked out something about "I don't think so... because.. you'll just ignore it and pick someone really boring and unappealing!" before I suavely made my escape to the kitchen.
It's sort of uncomfortable because there's a distinct pattern of my grandmother preferring me over Dymphna, and giving me proportionately more attention and affection than her. Essentially it's because I tended to be less confrontational and acquisitive growing up, and thus looked more like the Good Child by default. It's ironic given that Dymphna fits the definition of success by my family's standards for women far more than I do; she has a respectable, well-paying job, dates nice white boys, acts and dresses in a stereotypically feminine manner, and is largely conservative in her politics and social outlook. Basically the only thing that ruins it for her is that she's a materialistic snot.
Ah, family togetherness.