So we’re back from our journey. Other than my back killing me, it was a relatively painless weekend.
Friday: We arrived at my parents’ house around 6 PM to chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and fresh fried chicken. Monkey Man inhaled two huge pieces of chicken and a bunch of other stuff immediately so he could go outside and check on Mom and Dad’s fruit trees and bushes. He was totally fascinated by their peach trees, which were loaded down with tiny little ripe peaches. Honestly I wonder if he even knew that peaches grew on trees and not in little hermetically sealed plastic cups….
While all of this was going on, my mother was on one of her rants about this guy Jerry that goes to her church – I’ve known the guy for years, he’s a fifty-something never-been-married guy who is just as nice as can be. He had sent Monkey Man a Sacagawea gold dollar so she wanted me to hand-deliver the aforementioned cookies to him right then and there. So I loaded up Dad in the Pimp Mobile and we stopped at Jerry’s and then at his mom’s house (across the street from his house) trying to unload all these stupid cookies. And you can imagine, no one was home – so I knew that despite my hopes that she’d forget all about it (or that I could send a Monkey Man-created drawing with her to church on Sunday for Jerry) I knew that Saturday would involve dragging the stupid cookies all over the county trying to find the guy.
We decided around 9:30 to settle in for the night and proceeded down to the basement. My parents have a walk-out basement that they’ve finished off into storage, a huge sewing/junk room for my mom, a laundry room, and a big family room. We usually stay down there because it’s cool and quiet plus it has a full bath so we can just get up and get ready without disturbing the rest of the house. We had set up the sofa bed and then had an aerobed for Monkey Man to sleep on – but you know by now that this just wasn’t going to happen. My mom has this old woodcut print of an old man hanging on the wall – frankly, he’s one freaky looking dude but she’s had him ever since I can remember, and Monkey Man was significantly freaked out by the picture. So I had the pleasure of sleeping with Mr. Kung Fu Fighting on the air mattress and receiving kidney jabs every 7.5 seconds for the next eight hours.
Saturday: We got up and had breakfast and after getting dressed we headed into town to go to our favorite audio/video store and then this huge discount store that used to provide most of my wardrobe. My mission was to find a new pair of running shoes and usually they have a fairly decent selection that may not be the current season but the prices can’t be beat. I ended up with a great pair of Nikes for a steal of a price so I am thrilled. Monkey Man scored some Spider Man aqua socks, and Joey was thrilled just to get out of there for under $50. Yeah me! Then we went over to the stereo place so Joey could check out the latest and greatest stuff. He’s bought a bunch of stuff from them over the years because they’re locally owned and will special order anything he wants without sticking us with a bunch of shipping charges or restocking if it’s not what we thought it would be. Thankfully, he didn’t even walk out with a brochure so we were 2 for 2 for the day.
My dad adores pizza, so we headed up to his favorite pizza place to pick up some pies for lunch. Joey ran inside to pay and ended up getting hit on by the waitress (“Hey, what kind of job do you have – it sure must pay goooood to drive a truck like that.”) much to my amusement. He was totally embarrassed – the Pimp Mobile is drawing all kinds of attention, and not necessarily anything he’s comfortable with. Anyhow, we brought the pizza back to my parents’ house and after we finished it I decided it was time to make the trip across the field.
I hadn’t spoken to my aunt since 1988 when she stopped speaking to my entire family. And in all honesty, no one in the family really knows what her beef was or why she did it. So as I walked across the field, my stomach was in knots because I didn’t even know what to say to her. What do you say to someone who treated you with such hatred? People, it was the weirdest freaking thing ever because she acted like I had just seen her yesterday. She gave me an enormous hug, invited me to have a bologna sandwich with her, and we talked about all kinds of stuff. She was rather taken with Monkey Man (who I think was significantly unsettled seeing this wizened little old lady) and was very kind to Joey. Really, it couldn’t have been much stranger. But I’m glad that I did it.
We headed off to my in-laws’ and arrived around 3 PM. When we arrived, my brother-in-law K and his new wife S were already there, sitting out on the front porch with Pa. Ma was in the house in a characteristic frenzy because despite knowing for weeks that they were having the family reunion yesterday, she had waited until the last freaking minute to do anything in preparation. Yet another reason why she drives me crazy.
Usually, we have stayed with Ma and Pa at their house but it is total agony for me. Not only because I can’t stand my in-laws, but because for some reason about two years ago they decided to start letting one of their cats come inside and sleep on the beds and I am deathly allergic to cats. Benedryl kind of helps but last time was so agonizing that I thought they were going to have to take me to the emergency room because I couldn’t breathe. Thankfully, the family that Ma works for had just finished building a little rental cottage and they offered it to us for $50 a night so we jumped on it. We ran over there to unload our stuff and it was just the cutest little place you’ve ever seen. The girl had really put a lot of effort into picking out paints and fabrics and it was just adorable…not very big, probably perfect for 4 people and you might could squeeze 5 or 6 in there but it would be tight.
That cottage was a lifesaver. Other than being at the reunion (and spending the whole time on the boats and in the lake which Ma and Pa have zero interest in) and a forced family breakfast this morning, we hung out at the cottage most of the time. After the reunion was over, we ran into Joey’s best friend since childhood and invited his family to come over for a few beers so the boys could play. He has a son that is a year younger than Monkey Man and the two of them are thick as thieves (much like their dads). I think we finally got Monkey Man to bed around 11 PM….
Oh, and the reunion was fine. Really non-eventful because half of the family didn’t come this year so it was more controlled rather than the usual chaotic mess that leaves my nerves plucked. Pa ended up parking his big fat ass on the tailgate of his pickup truck all afternoon while everyone else was down at the lake, so we didn’t have to deal with him at all.
Sunday: Pa had commanded that we all had to be at their house at 9 AM sharp for breakfast. We got there at 8:45 and in typical in-law fashion they were nowhere near having any form of breakfast ready. Know what time we finally got to eat?
Nine freaking forty-five. Imagine keeping a ravenous four-year-old from eating until 9:45 AM? Well, we didn’t, which totally raised Pa’s ire and he spent the rest of breakfast complaining about it. Joey and his brother were both visibly irritated with his parents for not having breakfast ready. This is one of my biggest beefs with visiting them – it doesn’t matter if you’re eating sandwiches or a 10-course meal, it takes Ma for freaking ever to get anything on the table because she’s so scatterbrained and too busy getting in everyone else’s business that she doesn’t do what she needs to be doing – COOKING. And no matter how many times I offer to help, she turns me down every time because I'm a "guest". I guess a hungry, emaciated guest doesn't count, huh?
We walked Monkey Man around Pa’s garden and then decided to hit the road. MM was so exhausted that he slept almost the whole way back while Joey and I took turns driving the Pimp Mobile so we could each catch a quick nap. My back is absolutely screaming today – not sure if it’s from the air mattress or the rental cottage bed, but I am one miserable bitch today so I was very happy to get home. Well, happy to get home but not happy about the 10 loads of laundry that are waiting for me.
My score for the weekend? Probably a good solid 7. If the in-laws hadn’t been involved, it would’ve been closer to a 9 but they pretty much screwed that up this morning with the whole breakfast fiasco. And we are sooo renting that cottage again, which guarantees minimal interaction with Ma and Pa and almost guarantees a minimum score of 6 for the weekend.