Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family...in another city
1) Mrs. G's mom recently told her that Mrs. G's late, great-uncle, Bubby, used to have a pet capuchin monkey named Judy. Mrs. G. can't remember if she's written about her Uncle Bubby before, but if she hasn't, you really should hold it against her. Bubby was Mrs. G's grandmother's only brother. Their mother abandoned them at a Memphis bus stop when they were quite young, so she could head off to California to marry a man named Roy and start a new family with him and his money. A good aunt (you know the kind) picked the two children up from the bus stop and raised them. As you can imagine Mrs. G's grandmother and her brother were tight, occasionally, and understandably, neurotically so.
Bubby is really worthy of many posts of his own but for tonight, Mrs. G's going to just cover a few basics pertinent to the story at hand. When he was younger, Bubby was handsome and charming and the life of the party, but as he moved into his fifties, his mental health deteriorated. He was paranoid (he spray-painted the inside and outside of his house with black, green and gray squiggles, a budget, slapdash attempt to camouflage himself from what or whom no one was really sure), obsessive (he liked African violets so much he had at least 200 of them) and, on occasion, delusional (he often spoke with the spiders he allowed to spin webs in his house, which wouldn't be that remarkable if he didn't insist they spoke back or encourage you to join the conversation). Bubby was weird, but Mrs. G. is not romanticizing or infantilizing him when she tells you he was a nice guy. You couldn't leave his house without him giving you some kind of gift, like 22 African violets or a litter of kittens. He was never officially diagnosed with anything beyond being an odd bird. He self-medicated with Kool cigarettes.
Mrs. G's affection for Bubby is stifling the real subject of this story: Judy, the capuchin monkey. Mrs. G's mom can't remember where Bubby got Judy, but she does remember that Bubby had a way of just getting things from the gettin' place, a store not open to the general public. He had sources and he wasn't likely to share them.
So Bubby treated Judy like a child, a delinquent child. He taught her to rifle visitors' pockets and outright encouraged lawless capuchin monkey behavior. Judy's favorite con was to lift the handkerchief out of a man's back pocket and then run like hell and hide it. It was her best trick and, ultimately, her worst trick.
This is not Judy but it is a capuchin monkey. Mrs. G's mom says Judy was hardcore, a monkey grifter.
One evening, Mrs. G's grandfather came over to visit Bubby and knowing Judy's handkerchief predilection, had his teasingly hanging just a smidge outside his back pocket. Excited, riled up because the white cotton was straight up in her face, Judy snatched Mrs. G's grandfather's handkerchief and bolted out of the living room window. Unfortunately, there was a window box fan in the living room window, whirring away. Mrs. G's mother reports Judy's death was quick but likely painful.
It was plainly a traumatic family event since no one ever mentioned Judy, the capuchin monkey, to Mrs. G. until this year, which is a real shame, because there is a time in one's life when having a family monkey story in your arsenal of cool could come in quite handy. At age 45, that time has passed.
Hey, Rocket Scientists, this right here is more complicated than, say, rocket science.
2) Mrs. G. spent the weekend mentally writing a script to the Lifetime movie: All I Did Was Say We Should Do More Things Together.
Currently in the relentless throws of peri-menopause, Mrs. G. was suffering from some marked PMS -- her breasts were sore, her one remaining ovary throbbed and she was on her 8th period of the month. In this vulnerable, compromised state, she walked into the family room and told Mr. G. that she thought they should do more things together.
"You mean like go to dinner and a play like we did last night?" he asked.
Mrs. G. nodded, did six kegels, and left the room to go throw herself on the bed and let the fact that he was right sink in. It took two hours and a half a bag of raspberry Milanos.
But exactly like Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook, Illinois, police sergeant who is suspected of killing at least two of his wives, Mr. G. couldn't leave well enough alone.
All weekend he would do things like:
~Come into the yard when Mrs. G. was trying to get puppy Gus to do his business, stand there and casually say, "I like when we spend more time together."
~Come into the living room and ask Mrs. G. if she would like to go to Home Depot with him to get a new toilet seat so they could, "spend more time together."
~Come into the bedroom three times while Mrs. G. was watching a movie, lie beside her for 90 seconds and then leave, saying, "I just wanted to spend more time together" as he left the room.
Mrs. G. took it all in stride, but she did manage to pick up a large book of Khalil Gibran poetry at Half-Price Books so she can recite parts of it to Mr. G. before bed to, you know, enrich the time they spend together.
Where are you, my beloved? Are you in that little
Paradise, watering the flowers who look upon you
As infants look upon the breast of their mothers?
Do you recollect our sitting in the shade of the
Branches, sheltering ourselves from Humanity, as the ribs
Protect the divine secret of the heart from injury?
She's sure he's going to love it. Love it.
3) When Mrs. G. was in Boston during her road trip, she learned her father had died a second time, but this time for real. Apparently, he had been suffering for some time with a strain of shingles that affects the brain and eyes, which perhaps might explain his resurrection and the odd email Mrs. G. witnessed only weeks ago. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in the fall. Mrs. G. will not be in attendance. Initially, she was angry her children (whom her father never bothered to meet) were included in his obituary, annoyed that he came off sounding like such a family man, but then after days of reflection, she realized many people screw up lives for several go rounds before they get it even close to right. Maybe he got it right for some people. Maybe he didn't. She finally decided to let everyone rest in peace, including herself.
4) Speaking of dysfunctional families, Mrs. G. is spending no end of time wondering what is going to happen to Walt and Skyler in this season of Breaking Bad. He's officially flying on the surface of the sun and she's Lady Macbeth with a shiv. Predictions?
Maybe they just need to spend more time together.