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February 19, 2024

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

By Tedi Trindle

While I'm well aware that this is our April Fool's issue and that I should be intent on telling you believable lies, I've decided to tell you unbelievable truths. Once you have read them, you will swear I've been lying to you, but I have not. I'm going to give you a glimpse into Tedi's world.

I am one of seven children, the daughter of a man who is the first of four children whose father was the first of seven. And to a man (and woman), every last one of them is nuts. I am the model of sanity compared with my family. And the scary thing is that there are LOTS of us.

Where to begin? Should I tell you about the time my brother got religion and fasted throughout Lent? Or the time my other brother ran naked across the bridge in Michigan in sub-zero temps with my mother chasing him with a blanket? Or my sister believing my evil cousin when he told her all the oil had drained out of her 50K truck after she'd had the oil changed and the truck wouldn't start?

Ok, by all accounts, I'm a normal yuppie matron. I have three grown children who manage their lives quite well. We live in a nice house in the burbs and are able to pay our bills. I have a nice retail job which affords us some amenities. At age almost forty-six, I'm thinking about retirement, 401k plans, insurance and social security. I've tried to retire a couple of times with no success.

My living arrangement at this moment is me, my beloved husband of almost four years, my 21-yr-old daughter who is about to go to a four-year college, my 18-yr-old son who just retired from college to make his first million, and my best friend's 18-yr-old daughter who will graduate high school in mid-June. Sounds almost normal.

I work in a bookstore which is a national chain, but not one of the big ones. They're one of the wannabes. We've had lots of corporate pressure and the attendant problems. I don't really want to work. I want to sit around the house and drink beer, surf the net, write occasionally and grow a few flowers and vegetables. Make a quilt now and then. My husband would be good with this and our finances would if I would actually be responsible enough to do that. But what I tend to do when I am set free is go wild. So, I work.

My mother is a 72-yr-old Ninja. One of her lifelong friends has a bananas son who is determined to steal his mother's fortune (not worth stealing, frankly). He has assaulted his sister, locked up his mother's computers with passcodes and evaded the law. My mother, never one to sit idly by, sneaked into her friend's house in the middle of the night, while her friend was in the hospital, and purloined all of her friend's computers, stashed them in her minivan, and ran for the border. Then called us.

Knowing my husband is a computer whiz, she called us to find out what she should do next. Plug the computers in so they would have power? Should she call the cops? Should she stake out the house and report if she sees the errant son?

Meanwhile, I found myself calling Alaska, of course. Where the assaulted sister lives. Because my mom was worried. And found myself talking to someone I knew when I was four and assuring her that we would look out for her mom, whom, I should mention, lives in Florida while I live in Virginia. My mom is poised and ready for further midnight raids.

My younger brother, a schizo-affective, showed up this weekend at my father's, the recently-widowed, Parkinson's afflicted, bankrupted, carpet salesman's, birthday party. With his paranoid-schizophrenic, uncontrolled wife. And his wife had an episode, thank god it wasn't a violent one. (bear in mind this is my peripheral life) My father was married to my nutty mother for 25 years and then married my nutty stepmother for an equal amount of years, who, sweetheart though she was, was a gambling addict and a shop-a-holic, and conveniently died before she would have to pay the piper, leaving my clueless father to figure out what she had done.

Enter my sister, the AA veteran married to a frequently off-the-wagon similar, with a seriously ADHD son, another brilliant son, and an ADHD and control problem of her own. Picture her diving into my father's finances and dragging me along with.

Ok, enough about my birth family. In the past few months, I've been to Vegas with my daughter right before Christmas when we didn't know if we'd have two nickles to rub together for the entire weekend. Had a great time, celebrated my daughter's 21st and spent at least part of it on her deceased father's stomping grounds, entirely by accident(an entire other story).

My 93-year-old grandmother died in early December, family matriarch of all those mentioned before, and I was integral in fomenting a family reunion of roughly two hundred people on three days notice in a state six hundred miles away. (prior to the Vegas trip) (Christmas got squeezed in there somewhere.)

After Christmas, my sister-in-law had a nervous breakdown, my best friend had a bi-polar episode, and I had a major conflict at work. Oh, and my husband entered a very rigorous Master's degree program. And his uncle died last weekend. Said sister-in-law is graduating from college in June, we celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary in May, we are throwing a huge party on May first, going on a real vacation at the end of July, and my husband, who just came back from Pennsylvania, is probably going to St. Louis. I've adopted my best friend's daughter until she graduates in June. She used to date my son.

Had enough? Surely not. My surrogate daughter is pregnant with the progeny of a one-night stand she had with an old boyfriend after the previous boyfriend tried to kill her. Another family friend was also nearly killed by a boyfriend, got pregnant, got an abortion. Another one has been diagnosed with a fatal lung disease. And I haven't even talked about my crazy brother.

I think I have a future in writing soap operas. I just need to keep a diary. All of this is true. Be grateful for April Fool's jokes. The person who said that truth was stranger than fiction knew what they were talking about. And after it all, I still find myself truly blessed.
Article © Tedi Trindle. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-03-27
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