Thursday, January 16, 2014

Things I Learned this Thanksgiving

Once again, technical issues have delayed my posting. However, I have conquered that (I think!) and am back in business. So, a little tardy, but here ya go...

Hi all! Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and at least two decent turkey sandwiches. I know I sure did. This year, as most years, we migrated three hours northward to spend some time with MDDaddy's parents, known to us as Grandma and Grandpa.

Every time I get to interact with my in-laws, I am reminded of just how blessed I really am. I know a lot of people (women, especially) who have the most wretched, horrific, Jerry-Springer-ish issues with the parents of their beloved. I have seen that crap destroy more than one marriage. It ain't pretty.

Thus, I KNOW how blessed and thankful I am to have the in-laws I do. They are kind to the core, lovingly supportive, and have wicked senses of humor. They raised two amazing men, and it's easy to see how their sons turned out the way they did.

This year, in particular, I learned how PATIENT my in-laws are. Folks, we invaded their home late on Wednesday nigh-- VERY late (stupid van had oil issues ON THE WAY OUT OF TOWN). We are not light packers and brought an estimated 12.9 metric tons of crap.

New this trip was our aquatic passenger, Donald (Monkey's betta fish). She got him for her birthday and we realized this living creature might not remain among the living if no one fed it for five days in a house where the heat has been turned down to just-above-pipe-freezing level. Having not dealt with the situation before, we failed to make a plan for his care in our absence.

I figured, hey- tank is the size of a lunchbox... Let's just bring him!

MDD did it in style. Rather than bring the whole lunchbox tank, he improvised a traveling tank from an old pickle jar. 

He left the label on it. So yeah, we hit the highway with a MacGyver'ed fish tank. I was afraid it would freeze in the car when we stopped for dinner, so I brought Pickle Fish in with us. He totally dug Wendy's and seemed to enjoy his highway adventures, even though I was afraid he might have a heart attack from all the sloshing and I almost dropped him trying to open the door. That would have ended badly.

We also bestowed upon Grandma & Grandpa's normally quiet existence our ENDLESSLY BICKERING children, who seemed to take this trip as a challenge to see who could piss off more people. I am not certain who won, but it most definitely was not Grandma and Grandpa.

Adding to the joy: MDD and I both were suffering through this stupid creeping crud of a cold that had been passed around our household about five times since mid-September. It has been termed the crud that will not die. Not sick enough to stay home (though that might have been more merciful for G & G), but just enough germ infestation to ensure we were both A) not going to sleep much, and B) going to have little to no fuse for dealing with the children, who CLEARLY smelled blood in the water and decided to have themselves a little frenzy at our expense.

All in all, it was a doozy. We put on no airs and are aware that as visitors, we're a handful even on our GOOD days. But this was certainly not us at our best, and just...yeah. Love and gratitude abounds when you know you are a raging hot mess, whirlwinding your way through a holiday....and are loved, all the same.

I mentioned it (for about the tenth time) at our send-off dinner, the last evening of the visit. MDD had the girls up at the buffet (as no holiday weekend is complete without a visit to a Chinese buffet), so I had a chance to talk to my in-laws in (relative) peace and quiet.

I thanked them for putting up with our insanity and apologized for being such a hot mess. They were gracious, as always.

Then my father-in-law cracked his trademark grin and added, "We just keep have to deal with this ALL THE TIME."

I laughed. I had to.

Because, yeah.

Here are some other things I learned this Thanksgiving:

  • No matter how late she goes to bed at Grandma and Grandpa's, Monkey will be up before 6:30 AM and READY TO ROLL.

  • A five-year-old's piano stylings at 6:43 AM are louder than you would think possible. Especially when she sings along.

  • Everything can be turned into a contest. Every. Flipping. Thing. Apparently, the best one is "Let's Whine and Complain and Whoever Makes MDM Have a Stroke, WINS!"

  • Betta fish dig Wendy's, but don't give them fries. It gets messy.

  • You actually CAN play horseshoes when it's 17 degrees out. You can... It is just REALLY COLD and makes for a very short game.

  • The neighbor's dogs don't want you to sing to them. Or look at them. Pretty much just stay away from the fence so Cujos I and II don't decide to eat you.

  • It is really hard to pull a combined weight of 150 pounds of two kids on a toboggan when there are a whopping seven snowflakes on the ground.

  • MDD knows how to fix toboggan strings. Good to know.

  • Monkey gets carsick.

  • A child's half-dose of Dramamine does NOTHING to stop that.

  • A child's regular dose? Knocks her happy ass right out. I spent the whole drive home checking her to make sure she was still breathing. Perhaps a 3/4 dose next time will give me fewer heart palpitations.

  • Those funky 80's school pics we all had? You know-- the double exposure, where one pic is the SERIOUS PROFILE and the other is superimposed? Yeah...REALLY hard to explain to a five year old. She asked me, "Why did they put those pictures in Daddy's brain?" And I had to leave the room. Awesomeness.

  • I am a much better bowler with the bumper rails. And yet I still lost. Twice. Yes, it is just as sad as it sounds.

  • It is really difficult to play Battleship with a child who keeps mixing up the words "hit" and "miss" and has to trace her fingers across the letter line and dowwwwn the number to figure out if your guess is a hit or a miss. And then tells you the wrong one anyway. Here's a tip, if you ever play Battleship with Monkey: don't put any ships in the A line. She will guess A 1, 2, 3,...all the way across that line, because it is the easiest to trace with her finger.

  • Grandpa's wooden train whistle is NOT lost. And it makes a very good alarm clock.

  • Do not let the small child hold the nozzle of the shower sprayer unless you are SURE the shower door is all the way closed. ALL. THE. WAY. CLOSED. Even then, plan to get sprayed. In the face. 

Most importantly: 

Family sees past the inconvenience and germs and crankiness (and that was just us grownups) and shows you unconditional love. 

But I am still betting they were happy to have their house return to its normal level of peace and quiet. 

With hopes of posting more often now that the Technology Gods have smiled upon my computer once again,

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