This is why we can’t have nice things:

My father turned 60 last week. Several weeks ago, I asked my mother if we should do something for him…something more than a lame dinner in their kitchen. I suggested going somewhere. I suggested her friend’s lake house. It’s apparently a large house right on the lake that borders NC and VA. We’d be there in less than 2 hours and my brother could be there in a little over 3. It seemed logical.


This not being nearly insane enough of an idea, my mother took it to 11. She looked in her timeshare book and saw a place in Williamsburg VA. She booked us a weekend’s worth of condos. OK…to Williamsburg we go.

JewelrySlut and I were in charge of the main meals. We put the MD crew in charge of booze. My mother claimed to be handling snacks. So, after much shopping, many emails and a cloak of secrecy, the birthday arrived. My father was told of our plans (he says he’d suspected something all along) and the wheels were in motion.

They came by to pick up Shmuppie on Friday morning. For some reason, she was going to ride with them. They were supposed to leave here at 11. At 11:40 or so, they arrived. Apparently, nobody informed the MD crew of this time change. They had left and were timing their arrival based on an 11:00AM departure from Raleigh. There was chastising. We finally left at about 12:45. Because I was trying to leave, work woke up on Friday morning and left me running out of the house, loose ends trailing behind me.

But, leave we did. The car was stuffed to the gills. We had food, clothes, BSE (Baby Support Equipment), games, stuff, crap, things. The ride up, while boring, was rather uneventful.

I called when we were a mile from the resort offering to stop at a store to pick up perishable provisions. I could tell that times were tense. Something was going horribly wrong at Registration. I could not determine the nature of the problem, but, lo there was a problem. We parked in the registration lot, saw that everyone was glaring at one another, got the unit number, and sped off. I had no clue where we were going other than “not there”. Shockingly, we found the unit…and now had no keys.

The rest of the convoy arrived. Apparently, there was something wrong with the parking situation, Shmuppie had puked twice on the ride up, nobody was drunk yet and we were just getting started.

Side note: My brother and I discussed this on Saturday. My father, for reasons unknown to us, seems to decide at times that he needs to become irrational and fly off in a fit of rage. It’s almost like he has some sort of Rage-o-Meter that needs to be reset every 12 hours. He yells at someone, throws something, puts on his coat and wanders off. Then, things are OK.

This went on all weekend.

Side note 2: This group is IMPOSSIBLE to move. You cannot get them all moving in the same direction at once. There are too many loose ends to the family to ever be able to develop and execute a plan.
For example:
My mother has the attention span of a dim-witted sea cucumber. Whenever we’re about to leave to do something she invariably decides that she needs to do something inane. Usually, when at home, this includes a ladder or weed pulling. I can’t tell you how many times we were about to go home from a Sunday dinner when she squawks “Oh…I need you to go on the roof and clean that spot I can’t reach on the window that’s 30 feet up in the air and faces the backyard” This ALWAYS leads to a reset of the Rage-o-Meter. The bottom line is that she CANNOT focus enough to put on shoes and leave the house.

My father, as noted, becomes pissed off…irrationally so. He will often just stand in a doorway, in his coat, purposely giving himself heat stroke seemingly to prove a point that it WAS time to leave 4 hours ago and he was going to damn well prove it by standing in a coat and sweating.

My brother doesn’t want to do anything. His plan for any weekend is to sit on a couch, drink bourbon and eat roasted meat. The fact that he had been asked to move his weekend 130 miles to the south was bad enough. Never ask him for a suggestion about what we should do. If it’s not “sit right here and drink bourbon” you won’t get an answer.

SIL: She’s still new so we could forgive her. We won’t. She has 2 major flaws: Minutiae and a lack of immunity to my mother.
Minutiae: She needs details about everything. But, they’re never useful details. She gets bogged down in the details that not even I could care about. This causes a delay. She’s also always picking out things to wear based on where we’re going. In the end, it’s always the same outfit anyway: hooded sweatshirt.
Lack of immunity: Guess who’s the first one to grab that ladder or garden trowel? She permits herself to get involved in whatever inane task has been suggested.

JewelrySlut: All she wants to do is drink. She never cares what we do and usually just wants it to be over with so she can go hide in a wineglass. She’s saddled with 3 children and would be so much happier were they all in the care of a sitter.

Shmuppie: The child can go all day without eating or crapping, but tell her that we’re about to leave and, suddenly she’s famished and ready to burst. Trips are delayed because Grammy decided that what the child needs to eat is not an apple but a tray of homemade macaroni and cheese. “It only takes 35 minutes to bake”, comes the reply from the kitchen; the voice shrill enough to curl a parrot’s toes.

(Did I mention that my father is still in his coat and is sweating?)

Moo: She’s 16 months old. Therefore, she has a schedule of feeding and sleeping that should NOT be trifled with. But, this always happens and she ends up screaming.

And, lastly, me: I like to think of myself as the Expedition Leader. In reality, I’m a jackass in a pith helmet leading the family to certain doom. I always have plans…plans that are never carried out properly. For some reason, I still hold us all up to some familial ideal that we will never achieve. For this reason, I say things like “Let’s all go somewhere for the weekend” or “It’s not so bad, we can all manage to get there on time”. I’m a fool. I usually just end up leaving and going to the car. I sit there and mutter to myself that the rest of them are all jerks and don’t deserve the planning I do. Usually after an hour of this, I head back inside and find my father still in his coat, my brother on the couch, Shmuppie eating (while sitting on the toilet), my mother holding a paint roller, SIL holding up 2 nearly identical hooded sweatshirts because she can’t decide which one to wear, Moo hanging from a ceiling fan and JewelrySlut weeping.

I think this is where I’m supposed to turn to the camera and say “I know they all make me crazy, but they’re family and I love them all”.

Supposed to.

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