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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor

April

The Architect

Clay

You’ve hurt my feelings three times today!

I have two sister-in-laws, but if you ask Clay, I only have one. Apparently, the woman that married Clay’s brother is not technically my sister-in-law, she is only Clay’s sister-in-law. Likewise, Clay insists that Rechelle’s husband is not his brother-in-law.

Have I ever mentioned that my husband loves to frustrate the heckle-jo-jeckle out of me? He does, it’s like a sport for him. A sport that sometimes leaves him bloody and bruised.

Clay’s sister or, my sister-in-law, is an actress or at least she’s been auditioning to be an actress for the last twenty or so years. She is very dramatic, so being an actress is the perfect vocation for her. She’s also the best story teller I know and whenever she’s around I laugh myself silly at the retelling of her crazy life. Being around her is like watching a musical comedy come to life and I get to be an extra on the stage. By the time she leaves I’m exhausted from all the curtain calls and back stage parties.

Before Clay’s grandmother passed away her house was home base for Clay’s siblings and father to meet for holidays. Mam-ma lived in a tiny two bedroom house with one bathroom. After we had Ellen we were upgraded from sleeping on the floor in the living room to the tiny back bedroom that had a little couch with a hideaway bed. The frame of that bed had a metal bar that hit across my shoulders and another one that went across my lower back. It was also not much bigger than a twin size bed. I have no idea how Clay, baby Ellen and I managed to fit on that bed. I do know that Clay and I were not the young happy new parents after a couple nights of rolling around on the metal pipes and attempting to sleep with a baby that insisted on putting her butt on my neck and her feet up her father’s nose.

Unfortunately, my sister-in-law with her glitter and sparkle, sing and dance, giggle and glee personality was the whipping post for Clay’s lack of sleep. I wish I could remember what he said to her but by the third day of being cooped up in that tiny house with each other, my husband was not tolerating his sister’s over exuberant personality and had heard enough about LA and The Business. He also didn’t want to learn anymore of the tips from her life coach or hear all the new methods that the west coast was boasting on rearing children. We had watched all of her audition tapes, witnessed the reenactment of her reaction to celebrity encounters and learned several new yoga moves. Clay was done playing. Like all little brother’s, he found his best coping mechanism was to make-fun of his sister. After several ribbings, his sister turned to him in front of all of us and said with great dramatic flair, “Clay! You’ve hurt my feelings three times today!”

Oh, that moment was priceless. There were apologies and hugs and tissues and tears. But, the best thing was getting to use that phrase over and over and over again for the next 14 years, “Clay! You’ve hurt my feelings THREE TIMES TODAY!!!” The mileage that little outburst has received in our house, you can’t grasp it. Every. Single. Time. One of us starts to make fun of the other that phrase comes out and we bust a gut. I’m telling you it was Oscar worthy.

A couple years ago we recounted the story to Clay’s sister. Like a good sport, she laughed and made fun of herself. That’s one of the best things about her, she can laugh at herself too. However, Clay is careful not to make fun of her more than two times.

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