Monday, August 02, 2004

Back from vacation...and fatter than ever!

Well, I promised to return with great tales of familial dysfunction, and I am as good as my word.

On our way to the Outer Banks we stopped off in Williamsburg to have a short visit with my grandmother. We have a cute nickname for her which all the grandkids use, but after this trip I think I’ll have to come up with a more descriptive name to call her. (Not to her face, of course.) Within minutes of being in her presence, she looked discerningly at Eric and me and said, “Hmm, both of you have put on quite a bit of weight.” Now, after knowing her for 26 years I’ve come to expect her to be downright bitchy most of the time, but somehow it still shocks me when she says things like that. “Thanks for noticing,” was the best response I could come up with. A few minutes later when E and I had left the room my dad (who has been under a great deal of professional stress lately and is literally on the verge of a breakdown) took his mother aside and sternly told her she had been rude and demanded that she apologize to us. She refused, then asked my sister, “Were you raised to disrespect your elders?” A few minutes later we left, and our vacation was off to a joyful start.

The week at the beach was actually rather uneventful this year, which is a good thing. Because of my dad’s emotional state, my parents decided to rent their own house separate from the rest of the extended family. This turned out to be a great move; most of the drama usually involves one of my uncles saying something inflammatory and my dad freaking out about it. This year he could just go over to his own house when he started getting annoyed. Also, because everyone was aware he’s having a hard time, there was much less provocation than there has been in years past. My uncles like to stir the pot, and my dad isn't the best at letting things go once he's been stirred.

I think the best part was hanging out with my cousins. There are 12 of us, and we only see each other once or twice a year. I had a great time sitting in the hot tub late at night talking with Alyssa and Hannah, who are 16 and 17 and both getting ready to apply to college. Every time I see them I’m shocked at how much they’ve grown, and impressed with the wonderful people they’re becoming.

Another fun part was that my aunt Carrie brought her mother Gunga along (that's not her real name, just her grandma name.) It was nice to have a grandmotherly person there, especially since Gunga is the exact opposite of my own grandmother in every way and is one of the sweetest women in the country.

On Thursday night at dinner all of us remarked that the week had gone exceptionally well. The weather was perfect, the water was warm, we ate amazing food every day, and we were all getting along. In retrospect, we really should have seen it coming. On Friday morning my uncle and my dad had a run-in about what to do for dinner that night. I won't get into detail because frankly it's extremely silly and boring. Suffice it to say, words were exchanged. That evening we all went to see The Village (which I loved) and back at the house we all sat in the living room having a nice discussion about the film’s meaning. I wasn’t in the room when it happened, but apparently someone said something that provoked my dad in just the right way and a nasty, nasty argument promptly ensued. It ended with my parents back at their own house and my uncle fuming at ours until late at night when he seemed to calm down a bit after sitting out on the deck by himself and coming back with an oddly grassy smell.

On Saturday morning they apologized and everything was OK again. Just in time for Eric and me to head back home.

So to summarize, we had a good time, and we are now more tired, tan, and fat than we were when we left. Long live the family reunion.


  1. Oohh the joys of a family holiday !!! hehe
    Sounds like an episode from "malcom in the middle"

  2. Come to think of it, it does sound like something on Malcolm in the Middle. No wonder I love that show; I can relate to the madness! At least life is never boring with my family... Aren't all families insane to some extent?

  3. Man, stories about your grandma always crack me up.


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