This Entry Brought to you by Heat Exaustion

zara's picture

It is damn hot in our apartment. The previous ones that I'd lived in were townhouses, so you could leave the bedroom windows upstairs open all day and get some cross breeze that made it bearable to sleep, but around here, it's just hot. There is a large room fan over the dining room section that we run constantly.

The fun part about living in this complex has been our neighbors directly to the sides of us. One is a woman in her 50's or so who came over to introduce herself after we'd been here a couple of weeks. She explained that she was a teacher, out most of the afternoons but did like to watch a few certain television shows at night.

"I'm hard of hearing," she explained, "so if the TV ever gets too loud for you, please just come pound on the door and tell me to turn it down. I'm still looking for affordable wireless headphones." She giggled after that, has taken to calling me Dareen (hard on the DAR, then eeeeeen), and pats Midget on the head every time we leave for work slash school in the morning at the same time.

The guy on our other side is a retired firefighter who according to Craig waits impatiently everyday for the mail to show up because he gets disability checks. He is a sweet man who means no harm, talks a lot but never seems to wait for you to answer. On Valentine's Day, he came over and knocked on the door and handed up two large lollipops and said, "For your baby," in reference to Midget. Yesterday he stopped by and gave her a small chocolate bunny in a brightly colored box.

However, there are a lot of older apartments with those papers taped to them. For those who understand what a folded piece of paper taped to the door means, it's usually your threat to pay or get out. There are five buildings in our complete complex and we live in the second, which is mostly vacant. People just can't afford to live in California. Our rent is what I consider both "standard" for the market and also far too high for what we get.

My sisters came over tonight and we played some Wii with them. I miss those nights terribly, when we would all get together (myself, Midget, Amanda and Nikki - my sisters listed in age order, Amanda is the sister with Asperger's, Nikki is the left hander who cut off the pads of one of her fingers in sewing class) and just... bond.

I am lucky. I have this great family. I know that this bond with them, even the skewed one with my mother, is what kept me living at home for far too long, acting too comfortably in an uncomfortable situation.

We spent the afternoon in "the valley" meaning Chatsworth, where my aunt and uncle live. (My mother had three younger brothers - Peter still lives in Santa Maria with my grandmother, he is the uncle with the disability who was classified as having slight cerebral palsy - Paul is my Chatsworth uncle, a high school teacher who is sharp, funny and lovably dim-witted all at the same time - and my uncle Kurt was the baby of the family who died from cancer a little more than ten years ago.) My mom had three girls, my uncle Peter had no children, my uncle Paul had three boys and my uncle Kurt balanced it out with one of each.

We are very, very close to my mother's side of the family, all of those siblings. Between my uncle Kurt's kidney disease as a child, my uncle Peter's disability and my grandfather being a self-medicating alcoholic who himself was mentally scarred by being a medic in World War II, everyone just clung to my grandmother.

"A son's a son, til he takes a wife. A daughter's a daughter for all of her life," my grandmother would start. "Except for around this house."

We're not religious, so we don't do church. And we don't dress up. I watched as the ManPerson put on "nice" clothes and laughed. 95 degrees hot in Chatsworth on a typical Easter Sunday in an older home with no central air conditioning. He heeded my advice of changing into a t-shirt with no wife-beater beneath.

We hide both dyed eggs and plastic, candy-filled eggs for the kids because they love it so. Midget and my cousin Paul's daughter are tight little demons. You couldn't resist their demands if you tried. (I'm looking in Zombie's direction, Mr Anti Egg Dying, Yada Yada.) My Midget is 2 1/2 years older than my cousin's Grrrl, but Grrrl is advanced for her age and talked like a sage adult. More than I can say for my Midget.

Paul also has a son who I have nicknamed "The Cube" to his dismay. (The adult, not the toddler.) In fact, Cubey-Doobie is closing in on 1 1/2 now and can chuck hard boiled eggs pretty hard and fast. Faster than my uncle can duck. If you can't praise having eggs to throw around randomly... well... you're me and my anger after finding my car egged with non-boiled ones a few weeks back.

But I'm supposed to be over that.

The newest cousin is a brilliant little number. Angelo, the angel, miracle baby of my cousin Dax and his indefinably awesome girlfriend Erika. He was born on February 5th of this year, so he's only a month and a half old, but he is a cutey.

He slept much, blinked quietly and with much curiosity other moments, and appears to look like a cross between two of the best people you will ever meet in your entire life.

I held him tightly as he gazed wordlessly up at me. I sniffed his sweet smelling little head, covered in chaotic black fuzz.

"Hey there," I spoke softly to him, "I bet you've figured this out by now, but you're a lucky little man. You have the world's most intense and luminescent mommy who didn't think she would ever be able to have you. So you will always be her prince. And your daddy might be quiet, but he is full of wisdom, compassion, love and depth. As you get older, you'll see how his silence lead people to underestimate him too much. Your daddy is a father, and he is a man. Remember to use him as your guide in life."

Erika asked me what we were talking about and patted her son's head and then started talking birth issues. Angelo, my little G-Lo-Lo, let me hold him in my arms until my aunt Lydia (his grandmother and my godmother) swept him up for a feeding. I swear that his sweet scent lingers on my fingertips to this very minute.

Hormones... fucking beasts that they are. After Midget, they died down for a very long time. They fluff up in bursts, like puffs of smoke, nowadays. The age thing, I know.

I told my Aunt Lydia that it had always been my plan that if I had two daughters, the second would bear her name as a middle name. (Midget has my mom's mom's as hers.) She seemed shocked at this but smiled and asked why.

All of the men in our family are named in the Italian manner, one right after the other, juniors and thirds and variations of the same names. The women are randomly named, usually with little familial importance. My name was something my mom saw as a boy's name in the bible and thought would be a cool girl's name.

For me, first names set off a child's personality, giving them something (supposedly) of an individuality that they can call their own.

Middle names are reserved as a source of honour, where the child is named in part after someone in the family who was of great importance to you. Midget has my grandmother's. Had I had a second midget, her middle name would be after Lydia, my aunt, my godmother and my guide. She is soft-spoken and greatly underestimated as well.

I love my family. We are not fodder for some sitcom, nor are we for a reality show. And a full length feature just wouldn't be long enough to encompass everything that everyone has gone through.

But I write about them today so that I can remember. Not that I could forget, but so that I can look back and read and remember.

I have a great family.

Comments

Budo7's picture

Large family's are great

I come from a fair sized family (6 kids),and both of my Parents all have (had) at least 5 brothers and sisters. Reading this reminded me of the good times I had growing up. Thanks! you took me back a lot of years.

sole's picture

I just spent five days with my family...

and although I was really looking forward to this trip, I honestly feel like it was five days too long. I love my family to death and for the past few years, the relationship between the sibs has been on a steady upswing. It didn't feel that way this week. I read your blog and I felt happy for you that there is harmony in your family. It's a beautiful thing and I miss it. My family had a lot of rough times growing up. We had some serious rough patches that we somehow managed to weather over time, but lately it feels like there is a lot of tension between everyone. I have an older sister (2 1/2 yrs. older than me), a younger sister (2 1/2 yrs. younger than me), and a 20 year old brother. My sisters criticize every little thing my mom does (behind her back and to her face); my mom passive-aggressively puts everyone down in a delusional, self-perceived idea of self defense; my dad complains about my mom behind her back until he's blue in the face; my brother has absolutely no interest in spending any time with family; and my older sister's overbearing, stubborn, selfish mothering is seriously straining her relationship with her 15 year old son. Everyone is completely dismissive of everyone else's feelings and it is depressing to me. My sisters talk to me about each other behind their back and I'm absolutely sure they talk about me behind my back. I'm so sick of it. On the bright side, Daniel's mom and sister are true gems. Two wonderful people who are also very underestimated in their lives. I'm glad I have them and that when I have kids, they will have a positive example of what a family should be.

*Sole*

lrk1977's picture

Thank you for that brief glimpse!

I love hearing about other people's families and how they function and dysfunction! :) I am becoming closer to my father and step-mom, but I have never had a close knit family like you have. I truly hope that is a legacy we can start with our children and their children, etc.

New baby smell is the best, is it not! Mmmmmm, nothing like it in the world! Makes me wish I had one to just borrow and snuggle! :) I bet you look good with a baby in your arms.

Lesley from Minnesota :)

kiki's picture

nameology

My middle name is shared by my grandma and great grandma. I love that I have that bit of them, even if my relationships with them isnt so great.

Oh, and I'd kill for a heat wave.
Check the temps for my area. 40 fucking degress. Yeah. As a HIGH.

giorgina's picture

I'll double it...

We've recently just come out of a horrible heat wave here in Adelaide. 13 days with the temperature over 38 degrees, fifteen days with the temperature over 35 and over twenty days with the temperature over 30.

It was horrible, truly horrible, so I know what you felt like. In my opinion coldness can be handled day after day but too long with hot heat and your body starts to dry out and you become bitter and disgruntled.

Glad it's over...

Giorgina Angela

Jem's picture

Coming from an icecube in Scotland

First of all;

"It is damn hot in our apartment". Soooo jealous: its snowing here.

Its great that you have such a close bond with your family, especially as you have two sisters. Most people I know who have sisters spend their lives arguing with each other.

"They fluff up in bursts, like puffs of smoke, nowadays"

Especially around cute little newborns, right? :)

SimplySam's picture

You're lucky...

"I have a great family" is something I've never felt. Until, of course, the little family I have created with my husband. Having no mother, father, aunts, uncles, brothers or sisters makes me feel considerably alone at times. I try to not to let it get to me, but it is an undeniable, empty hole inside me. You're lucky to have them and they are lucky you appreciate them... a lot of people take for granted the family that they have.

AnneGwish's picture

Family is ...

...so important. That is one of the main reasons that I need to get my shit together. My family is suffering.

Yours sounds great....and I gather that they are accepting the ManPerson with open arms, yes?

I really enjoy what you've said here about names. I agree completely. My first son's name is Tobias Shea. I love his first name and foolishly gave away the power of bestowing his middle name to his father, in the name of diplomacy and partnership or something. meh. My second son is Spencer Elliot. I would not budge on that one....Elliot was an incredible person and a sweet soul who took hjis own life when I was about 8 months pregnant. I wanted to honor him, and my Spencer does that every day, just by being alive.

Oh, and the name Lydia just plain rocks.

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