Going on a Trip

We all have that uncle nobody talks about, and nobody will claim as a member of the family. 

I am that uncle. 

I’m planning on going to visit my folks next week.  I am blessed to still have my mom and dad here to visit.  I enjoy going back to the house I grew up in from the time I was thirteen years old and spending time with my folks, drinking my mom’s coffee, and, of course, chowing down on the same kinds of foods I grew up (and grew out) eating. 

There is an element of apprehension to visiting my folks, however.  Both of my brothers live in my parent’s 1400 square foot house with both of my parents.  My youngest brother’s family (pregnant girlfriend and two children) also lives there along with a veritable menagerie of dogs and cats.  Needless to say, the house is a little on the chaotic side most of the time.  And my mom complains about it, but I think, deep inside, she loves it.  It reminds her of when I was growing up with my two brothers and my sister.  I know now how quiet an empty house can be, since I have three teenage boys living in the house, but who are rarely here at the same time and awake. 

I grew up with a father who worked hard, but has a few little problems dealing with people, especially his family.  (He’s the uncle nobody talks about, too.)  He’s not a bad guy, but he was raised in a time when you had kids to clean house for you.  Looking around my living room now, my kids aren’t being raised that way.  I’m lucky if they will pick up their own socks off the living room floor, much less my socks that I deposit on the floor when I sit down to watch the Braves play.  I can’t relate to my dad when my mom is around.  I have watched exchanges between them all my life, but now that I have a wife, I have no friggin’ idea how they stayed married for forty two years.  My dad pretends to be deaf when my mom is talking, but can hear fine when he’s hanging with his buddy down the street.  My mom pounds my dad mercilessly, mumbling under her breath about some percieved sleight, thinking the old man can’t hear. 

Yeah, this visit will be great. 

I hope that I can hold my tongue when my brother’s cross-eyed and ignorant girlfreind opens her pie hole.  I have considered offering to pay for her to have her tubes tied and for my brother to get a vasectomy.  Since they live with my parents, you know they can’t afford birth control devices.  I mean, what’s a pack of condoms cost?  No, really.  How much?  I haven’t had to buy any since I got myself neutered after my wife and I had all the kids we could afford. 

I have planned to stay from Saturday to Wednesday.  It’s just long enough to get in a good visit, but not long enough to lose my sanity from watching the dynamic of my family.  It’s been said before, but that group puts the fun in dysfunctional. 

I hope I can hold my opinions long enough to make to Wednesday.  Don’t want to be cut out of the will. 

Then, there is my older younger brother.  (I’m the oldest of the kids)  I know he’s intelligent.  But my mom has gone out of her way to make excuses for him his entire life.  He has been married three times, has two kids, one he never sees, and another who has no clue what a man is.  My mom tells me my nephew is a violin player.  That figures.  He doesn’t want to play sports.  In other words, he doesn’t like to exert himself.  Allergic to sweat, I guess.  Every kid should play some kind of sport, be able to understand what it is to work hard to get better at the little things that make an athlete better.  It’s a great metaphor for life.  My nephew’s idea of exertion is fingering a Stradivarius. 

My sister is probably the most together of the four of us.  She should be.   There is nothing she doesn’t know everthing about.  My mom dotes on my niece, a barrel shaped, loudmouthed eleven year old who could play linebacker on the pee-wee football team, if she could take directions. She also is a musician.  She plays clarinet in the orchestra at her school.  I still haven’t figured out how she can talk and play the clarinet at the same time.  Maybe a career in ventriloquism would be a good choice.  If Jeff Dunham can get rich with Jose the Jalepeno, maybe my niece could get famous with Glenda the Overweight Cat Lady. 

In case you haven’t figured it out, my sister won’t be there.  And neither will her husband.   I have my opinions of this guy.  He and my sister have been married a number of years, mainly because my sister can stand to have someone who is nuts around her.  I mean, she grew up with me.  No, this guy is a career manager.  That means he doesn’t actually know how to do anything, but he can tell others what to do.  I have worked with people like this my whole adult life.  Hell, I still work with people like this. 

Then, finally, there is my youngest brother.  And his girlfriend.  I like haning around with my bro.  He’s closer in age to my son than he is to me, so he’s young.  He’s a cool guy.  But he has a penchant for stretching the truth on occasion.  He has a high school diploma and now has to bust his butt for peanuts because he has no further education.  (He’s made a few poor choices in his life)  But he’s a nice guy. 

His girlfriend, well, if murder was legal…

Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  If you are having a discussion and she disagrees with the facts you have presented, her voice volume rises in short steps until only the dogs can hear what she is saying.  She can’t keep a job, even with the free child care my parents are providing.  My dad is seventy, and my mom is sixty-six.  They raised their kids.  Now they have to raise their grandkids.  And this… person… thinks I am so stupid that I can’t see the way she acts when I’m around.  Does she think she’s fooling me into thinking she can win a mother of the year award?  Sorry, chick.  Nobody, I mean nobody, is that brain dead.  Maybe if you’d get your ass out of bed early and take care of your kids, then go to job and make some sacrifices for your family, I’d nominate you.  But, there is no chance of that.

Yeah, my folks are great. 

I love my family.  I like visiting them, in short bursts.  And, because I ain’t staying too long, I think I can keep it together long enough to get along. 

Now, as you read this, you may think I don’t recognize my own short comings.  I do.  But I’ve got it where it counts.  I work.  My wife works.  We take care of our boys.  We talk to them.  Turns out they are a little short in the critical thinking department.  It’s early yet.  They’ll learn.  Or they’ll know how to work a cash register REALLY well.  I’m not anal about taking care of my house.  Keeping the grass cut is a huge ordeal.  My porch needs to be rebuilt, and I ain’t no carpenter.  I also won’t hire Mexicans to fix it.  So, when I get around to it, we’ll have the crookedest porch on the street.  But that’s okay.  We don’t have a neighborhood association, so, no harm, no foul. 

Maybe it’s not fair for me to pick on kids.  They way they behave is a reflection on how they are raised.  But, since nobody but my sister has a computer, and I haven’t told her about my blog, I should be safe.  Either that or Christmas dinner will be a hoot.  I should probably take my guns with me.  I am visiting a dangerous city, so I’ll definitely be packing. 

But, we only get one family, and we are stuck with them.  We learn what the words “unconditional love” mean from our families.  We also learn what the words “drunk,” “illegitimate child,” and “lazy ass bum” mean.  But we have to accept them for who they are.

We just don’t have to be around them. 

Unless we choose to.  And, even though it’s like being around a bunch of rookie wide receivers, I choose to.  I miss them.  Sometimes.


2 Responses to “Going on a Trip”

  1. Rhonda Says:

    This sounded a bit like a movie script….hmmmm! Families are great, each in their own way. Gotta take the good with the bad and there is always both in ANYONE’s family!! Enjoy your trip as much as you can and be careful!

  2. Wallace Says:

    I can semi relate to this blog. Fortunately my Dad’s side of family is together so visiting them in Boston I always look foward to and cherish years later. My mom and her side of the family, well that is another story. As much as my mom hated living here in Memphis during our gowing up years, she ought be thankful my sister and I did not have to put up with the drama of her side of the family’s soap opera in New York. She moved to New York back in 1998 hoping to be closer with them, but now to put it this way, only one of my Aunts and couple of my cousins have her home phone number; she cut everybodyelse off. Back in June we celebrated our Grandmother’s 100th birthday and the handling of that cause a few of my family members to boycotting it including my mom.

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