Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In which I meet family and do not lose my shit, but just barely

We spent the long weekend in New Jersey. Since we've had a sort of whirlwind romance, and he doesn't go home that much, I'd not met either of his sisters.

So we headed up to visit his younger sister and her husband. And their two over-enthusiastic, filthy, never been washed and love to roll around in the dirt Labs. And their yippy Jack Russell. And two cats.

The sister and her husband were nice, but for someone with allergies and asthma, their house is one definition of Hell.

They'd put the cats out and had cleaned the room we were staying in. Had scrubbed and scrubbed and washed the sheets twice, and put two air filters in. But all that hair and dander and whatever all those animals roll in and spread all over the house? Is still all over the house.

And the dogs are the kind that are all pet me! pet me! pet me! And want to rub as close to you as possible. If this entails knocking over the coffee table, so be it. In fact, if they could squeeze inside your clothing to be closer to you, they would.

And in the background is the barking and frenzied leaping of the Jack Russell. Who is eventually grabbed and put on a lap, which is precisely what she wants.

At first I was petting the Labs, partly because they were nice and I do like dogs, even though these were really greasy and stinky. But also partly because the Jack Russell was so incredibly irritating and in your face. And so I was all, ooh, nice puppies! to the Labs, and ignoring the annoying yippy one jumping around, trying to get attention.

But at some point you wash your hands and just don't want them to get all greasy and doggy and gross. And when you tell them that you're done petting them because your hands are clean and they are not, they don't really get it.

The bigger issue in all this chaos is that I just couldn't breathe, and we had to leave. We retreated to his parents' house, which isn't far.

If you've never had an asthma attack, it's very hard to understand how terrifying it is not to be able to breathe. I once read an article that said if you want to explain asthma to people, tell them to do jumping jacks or run fast for two minutes. And then have them pinch their nose and breathe through a drinking straw. It's like that.

The fact that I was nervous about meeting them, paired with animal hysteria and all the not breathing, plus the realization that this family? With all these issues that I can currently walk away from? Is soon going to be my family. And issues I'll have to contend with.

I, of all people, don't expect families to be issue-free. But you know, we all have our own, and you get how your own family works and how to deal. Plus it's your own family, so you can voice your thoughts and opinions. Taking on a whole new family? Is terrifying.

All of this together made the bulk of the weekend a little stressful. Or maybe somewhere between fairly and completely fucking stressful. Probably falling more towards the completely fucking end of the spectrum.

We stopped and saw Jane in Philly on the way home, and that was like coming in from a hail storm. And her house? Has a two year old. One can hardly call it calm.

I'm glad we went up, I'm glad I got to meet them, and it underlined for me that I adore the everloving crap out of Nick and am never voluntarily letting him go.

That said, I can't even tell you how happy I was to be home last night.


  1. I am laughing my ass off (big teethy grin), you must have been in Hell with all the animals around. I remember my 1 cat driving you nuts, I can only imagine what 3 dogs and 2 cats would do to you.

  2. Hi L,
    Oh my God!I'm so happy for you!Congrats!
    We haven't been in touch for a while and I'm so sorry.
    M. and I would love to see you and meet Nick, either in N.Y.C. or D.C.

  3. Gah. I'm only mildly allergic to cats and cannot stand being in a house with a cat for more than like 30 minutes. I can't even imagine how this felt for you (and don't think I'll be trying the drinking straw thing anytime soon...)

    I'm peculiar and *love* meeting the family of the person I'm dating. Probably because of all of the drama and the problems I have with my own family. I always wind up being closer to his family than my own. Weird, I know.

  4. you and I share the same aversion to dog saliva! and hair! and smell! But true love always wins out - even over pet ickiness. And of course the fact that he made sure you could breathe assures us he is mr. right :)

  5. omg your post practically gave me an asthma attack!!! and hives. ick! glad you survived!

  6. I guess I can take you off the list of potential dogsitters. Drat.

  7. Yes. I had an asthma attack this weekend as well at my friend Jessica's house. CAT HAIR EVERYWHERE. It makes life so unpleasant.

  8. The family meeting! Yay! It's over! Never move to New Jersey and live near them!

    Why am I shouting?!?! There's no Jack Russell Terrier here!!!!!

    (Deep breath)

    I remember my first trip to Chicago to meet MathMan's family. That was in 1988. I still remember it vividly for all kinds of reasons.

  9. DD'sD - Heh. I know exactly the big, clenched teeth grin you mean. HAHAHA!

    Marija - Thank you!!! Absolutely!

    Nicole - It was hard, very, very hard. I have had boyfriends with families I've been very, very close to. It's a nice feeling. Not weird - nice!

    MI - You are awesome! Yes, he was so incredibly nice about it and took great care of me.

    MrsMac - Sorry about that. Yeah, hives and asthma. Grim.

    Kerrie - Yeah, actually.

    SD - Yes, you're right. And unpleasant is an understatement. A huge understatement.

    DCup - Oh, no. We never, ever, evereverever will.


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