Friday, May 24, 2013

Family Picture

Since I went anonymous, I can’t offer pictures of my family.  But I decided this week that what I could do is offer a description of the people who made me who I am today so you’ll know who to blame. 

It won’t be so much a physical description, because if I did that, you wouldn’t be sure if I was talking about a horse farm or people.  Instead, in the spirit of summer’s impending arrival, I’ll give a small collection of anecdotes (Little sis, that means “stories”) from some of our many summer gatherings at my dad’s house. 

And I think you’ll get the picture…

The Ice Cream Truck
Since Dad makes us all gather to pay homage to his favorite child—whom we have been instructed to call The Golden Child—when he’s in town on leave from his military duties by requiring us to spend at least one weekend per leave assignment basking in his glow, I decided to take advantage last year and take both of my kids so that Dad could babysit while I drank some beer with The Golden Child.

That afternoon as Mom, Dad, a couple of my nephews, and my kids and I were waiting for The Golden Child to rise (he was not to be bothered before the hour of 2:00 PM--no shit), we heard the distinctive tinkle of the ice cream truck's songs.

I shit you not, my mom heaved herself from her sitting position on the floor and hauled ass outside, knocking over a few kids in the mix. I yanked my infant's carseat out of the way just in time, but my nephew was not so lucky. I don’t know when his cracked tooth will fall out or if those eyes will cross back. I do know that my older sister’s kinda pissed.

When Mom came back inside with her prize, my dad shot her an annoyed glance.

"Seriously, Wanda," he complained. "Who the hell ever heard of an ice cream that costs $4.00 from a truck?"

"Is it a lobster cone?" I asked.

"No," Mom replied, licking the cone in a way that was almost embarrassing for everyone in the room to see. I covered my preschooler’s eyes. "This one's made of turtle."

Poor turtle. Glad it was dead or it would have lasting mental consequences from the abuse Mom was putting it through.

"You mean it's a turtle cone, with the caramel and stuff...Who bought it?" I asked.

Dad gave me his well-practiced withered look as he stuffed the change Mom had given him back into his wallet. "Who do you think?"

“At least I gave you the change this time,” Mom said without looking up from her cone.

"What, they didn't have any surf-and-turf cones, Mom? No butter sauce? Caviar sprinkles?  Diamond-encrusted salmon dips?" I asked. But she was too busy licking to answer.

"I hope she enjoys it now," Dad grumbled. "She keeps eating like this, my savings will be depleted. Hope she doesn't want a damned lobster cone when she's 85."

Yes, you do remember correctly.  They are divorced and have been for almost 22 years.  But they’ve known each other since they were neighbors at 11 and 14 years old, so I guess some things will never change…
 
Who's Your Daddy?
I’ve talked about our favorite question-and-answer game before here, but in our family it simply never gets old.


So every time we have a bit of wine, we get into an excited discussion about who our various real dads might be.  It’s like our own little game show.

It used to make Mom mad when we wanted to play, and she’d get all defensive (“I didn’t cheat THAT much!”), acting like a big spoilsport as she crossed her arms over her chest and refused to take part in the guessing.

But somewhere along the line, I guess she figured if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  Now when she hears those glorious words, “Who’s Your Daddy?” she sits straight up in her chair at full attention and flaps her arms in front of her body in excitement.  "Okay,” she’ll say.  "Which kid are we starting with?  Which year? Oh, there are so many options for that year…"  Then her eyes will glaze over just a bit as she relives happy cheating memories.

Usually while all this is happening, Dad is just shaking his head, probably lamenting the fact that regardless of what any DNA tests that we would all refuse to take anyway would say, he’s stuck with this huge group of mismatched dumbasses for the rest of his life.

Shit, Dad, what did you do in a former life to deserve the lot you were handed in this one??  ;)

“Who Gives a Shit?”
This saying, which quickly became a family favorite, originated from a combination of three factors during  a typical summer night’s gathering on my dad’s screened-in back porch last year:

1.)  Mom and Dad were 24-hour babysitting, so I took full advantage of my freedom and drank a few (too many) beers

2.)  One of my old college roommates was visiting, so I was showing off

3.)  The friends my sister-in-law brought by were total douchebags who walked in and immediately started complaining about the lack of their favorite beer on the back porch, even though they hadn’t even been invited—and my dad had splurged on several different kinds of glorious beers that were good enough for the rest of us

The complaints didn’t end there, though, and I’d had enough within the first five minutes of their arrival.  My dad is the kindest, most generous, most-tolerant-of-our-stupid-asses person there ever was, and I’ll be damned if some strangers were going to ruin it for the rest of us.

So when my sister-in-law finally introduced them to us by name, saying, “Everybody, this is Justin, Amanda, and Noel,” I responded, “Who gives a shit?” as I shook Justin’s hand.

I learned the next day that this is also a really great response in the comments section of ANY Facebook status update.  (Just be careful when you use it, because paybacks from your cyberbully friends are a BITCH.)

I was pretty proud of myself for the quick a-hole response, but at the same time, I felt kind of bad. I know he deserved it, but despite the snark you read in this blog, I’m actually very nice in person.  (Okay, and snarky—but in a sweet way, right?)

But I had to suck it up and put on an asshole face. Remember, I was showing off for my college roommate. I didn't want her to think that I'd--GASP--matured since our collegiate days of big Bud Lights and small standards. (And when I say "small standards," I'm talking about the guys we dated having small standards. Have you seen pictures of me from college?)

All showing off aside, I was extra nice to them for the rest of the night because I felt bad...even though they were total douchebags.  They got a little bit better as the night wore on…or else I just got a little bit drunker. Either way, they were palatable. 

Sort of.

But I must thank them for one of the best sayings ever…one now beloved by a family full of assholes.  It works for whatever the occasion:

“He finally proposed.  We’re getting married!”

“Who gives a shit?”

But seriously, we’re a big, loving family, and we all know what we truly mean when we say it.  We mean…well, we mean, Who gives a shit?
 
Joan Rivers
During one back porch night, my little brother insisted on calling his girlfriend Joan Rivers all night because of her most recent round of lip injections.

And although I couldn't help adding a little ribbing into the mix ("Dude, you live in the Midwest, not LA"), for the most part, I kept quiet. I didn't want to call attention to myself when someone else was getting made fun of. Because the more times everyone called her Joan Rivers, the less time they had to call me Pinocchio/Tori Spelling/Casper the Friendly Ghost/Skank.

But seriously, we only tease the ones we love, and although they have since broken up (Was it something we said?), we’ve stayed in touch with “Joan.”  She’s adorable and sweet and lovely, and she once told my sisters and me that one of the hardest parts of the breakup was knowing that she wouldn’t be marrying into our family. Love that girl.

Oh, and sorry for the gushing sentimentality.  I promise it won’t happen again.  As a consolation prize and to assure you that you’re reading the correct blog, I’ll add a bit old fat SUCK IT. 

There.  Better now?

Combover
One year, during a family barbeque, we took a series of pictures before all of us finally decided that we liked a certain one. The main holdout had been Dad, who kept grabbing the camera to take a look, then muttering, "My combover's not right."

Finally my older sister got sick of it. "When is a combover ever right?"

My Dad's Redheaded Stepchild
My brother’s best friend is really hard to make laugh.

No, I take that back. He laughs constantly, but it's usually either at his own jokes, at someone else's expense, or at one of his own jokes at someone else's expense.

So when The Golden Child made the smirky comment that he often hears his name yelled out during sex (ga-ROSS) and I said, "Yeah, because you're having it with yourself," and his best friend laughed, I could have exploded with pride right there on the spot.

And I pretty much did. "Redheaded Stepchild! You never laugh at my jokes! Did you hear that, everyone? He laughed at my joke!"

"It was just so quick," the redheaded stepchild (who truly does have bright, fiery orange hair) reveled, already mad at himself for letting the laughter loose. "You're normally not that good."

The Bronze Child
After one especially intense game of guessing the identity of our real fathers, my youngest brother threw his hands into the air. "What the hell does it matter? I'll always be The Bronze Child. How is that even possible when I only have one brother? There are only two of us...can I at least get an effing silver?"

We all just sighed and shook our heads in sadness for him.

“I think,” I mused aloud, “that you have to be one of Dad's biological children in order to medal.”

“He might be!” Dad—who, despite completely understanding what an idiot each one of us 5 children is, insists on claiming us all—shouted defensively.

Poor Bronze Child.

 
Don’t we sound lovely?  Now, who wants to join us for a back porch soiree?  :)

Just to clarify for any judgy readers I might have out there:  My siblings and I do not get soused while hanging out with our kids.  If we do drink at family gatherings, we first make a whole great day out of doing fun stuff with the kids and their cousins before putting them to bed and pulling out the coolers for some adult time, during which my parents do not drink because they are in charge of said sleeping children.  My sister hates it when I make these disclosures because it should all go without saying, but I have had some majorly literal readers in the past.  (Helloooo, mother-in-law!)

43 comments:

  1. Oh, I so need to do an anonymous blog so I can tell all about my family that I keep quiet about on my public blog! Trashay they are.

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    1. Every time I post stuff about my family, I get a teensy bit scared that people are going to be like, "WHAT?! I have never HEARD of a family this trashy!" But then I get so many comments like this and find a million kindred spirits. Thanks, Anita!!

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  2. I hate that you have to write that disclosure also. Some fucking people. Oh and my husband and his friends (who have kids of their own) have gotten drunk in front of all the kids. Who cares? They're kids, most of the time they don't even notice. They're too busy having fun. Plus the moms are around to take care of the kids. People are too judgmental.
    Anyway absolutely loved your post and your family. Crazy bunch but aren't those the best!

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    1. I KNOW! It's probably totally unnecessary, and it sounds stupid to put it down there, but I have had people take some of the stuff I write so literally, and I have seen others get burned by putting stuff out there that everyone else (besides the judgmental assholes) understands is in good fun. It seriously does annoy the hell out of my sister...which is probably another reason why I do it. :) You are awesome for always reading and being so supportive--I KNEW you would be cool with it!

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  3. I think I prefer this instead of pictures. It's like reading a novel- I have my own pictures now. Hopefully won't be ruined by a movie!

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    1. Hopefully it WILL! I need this asshole blog to start making me some money!! :)

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  4. Katie from St. LouisMay 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Who gives a shit?

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  5. I love this. It's like your from this family that "should" hate each other - but instead you're this warm loving hilarious group. It's proof that you can choose your family.

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    1. Vanessa--thank you so much for getting it perfectly right! That's exactly how it is. You put it so well!

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  6. Hahaha! Love it! I would love to hang out with your family, too bad now I know I'll be expected to be sober ALL day ;) I hate ppl w/no sense of humor. Honestly though, I do sometimes worry some one will think I'm actually drunk around my toddler all day and call CPS, luckily I'm not, so bring it on bitches!

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    1. Oh, my dear, you would definitely NOT be expected to be sober all day. :) I just have the same worries as you do when I tell my stories. There are some assholes who troll the internet trying to find dirt on someone who loves to write and tell stories--and they're either too stupid to get the sarcasm, humor, and fun--or they just ignore it all on purpose in order to try to make some point about you--some point that is the furthest thing from the truth. Trust me--one of them is the reason I had to go anon. But I'm still writing and still having fun with it!!

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  7. Do you know what the best part of my Friday night is? Pouring myself a SECOND glass of wine after the hubs goes to bed and reading your blog. :)

    At the beginning of this post, as you were talking about your mom using your dad's money to buy a ice scream, I was all, "aren't they divorced?" and then you clarified. Scared the crap out of me. I thought you were reading my mind!!!

    Thanks for the laugh!!!

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    1. Dani, have I told you lately how much I adore you? And I'm not even kidding--since you told me that you pour yourself a glass of wine on Friday nights and hop on over here, I think of you EVERY FRIDAY MORNING when I post. I'm not even joking! Thanks for always coming over here.

      And re: Mom and Dad...they haven't admitted to doing it since my older sister puked when they admitted to still doing it about 13 years ago (9 years after they had divorced). BUT I wouldn't be surprised. They annoy the hell out of each other, but I'm pretty sure they're stuck with each other. By choice. But not by marriage vows. :)

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  8. You are freaking hilarious, my sista skankster. Sadly, my family has no golden child - we are all crappy, wine-guzzling (well except my brother who went all AA on us after passing out in a snowbank like that's a big problem or something but you know, who gives a shit?). And I love that your dad still buys your mom her $4 ice cream. Please invite me to your next soiree. Please? I'll even bring beer and not complain about the lack of choices in the beer you provide. Really. I might puke on your lawn though.

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    1. KRISTI!! Every single effing time I read your comments, I laugh my ass off! YES, YES, and YES, please come to the next soiree! My dad will get anything you want--and he'll also probably try to make out with you, which will cause my mom to act like she doesn't care while secretly wanting to beat your ass. It'll be a freaking blast. Seriously, you had me rolling with your passing out in a snowbank thing--I mean, totally not funny, but it is, right? B/c that's how we deal with life and it beats the hell out of being depressed about things. And puking on my lawn--totally cool. Especially since it would be Dad's lawn...althuogh, on second thought, I'd rather you puke on mine. That way that grass might die and it'll be less for the hubs to act like he's going to mow. You're the best, skanksta from another manksta!! Did that make sense? In this case, I needed a rhyming word so maknsta=mother. But I'll bet you already knew that. :)

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  9. Oh my gosh I love you. Dude the bronze child, I am SO the bronze child and there are only two of us! Not only that but my sheer defensiveness that comes from admittedly not being the favorite led me to constantly torment my sister by telling her she was adopted. It didn't matter, apparently you don't have to be a biological child to medal in this family. Your the best skank ever, maybe your my neighbor. Wouldn't that be great? IF you are will you come over, I want to laugh all day every day.

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    1. If we were neighbors we'd be hanging out and making fun of each other, our families, and other people ALL DAY LONG. Sounds perfect, doesn't it?!

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  10. Well...I have been known to have a drink or two when my kid is around. Can you get judged in a comment? I'm sure someone will find a way...

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    1. I wouldn't even worry about it...don't follow my lead. I worry too much. :)

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  11. Can I come over to one of your back porch soirees? Promise I'll bring my own beer and lobster cones!!!

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    1. I would LOVE for you to come over! You don't have to bring your own stuff...my dad will take care of it! :)

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  12. If we hated you, we'd ignore you. Now YOUR'S is a FAMILY!!! :)

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    1. Exactly!! Thanks for stopping by, Diane!

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  13. It's nice to read what normal families get up to for a change. I wish we had it so simple :P

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    1. Haha...keep trying, although I'm not sure we're the model you want to follow. :)

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  14. I would soooo love to come over! Wearing panty liners, of course! And I CAN NOT wait to use the "Who gives a shit?" line. I'll let you know how it goes over. You never fail to crack me up!!!!

    PS - just so you know, I always read your blog on Fridays but don't always comment until later because it's a bitch using my phone. Just wanted you to know how loved you are!

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    1. Yes, let me know how it goes! But seriously, if you hang with like-minded a-holes like I do, be prepared for the influx of "Who gives a shit"s back on ALL of your Facebook status updates. :) And I know you read every week; you didn't have to specify, my cyberpeep!!

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  15. I'm the bronze child in my family too. Actually, more like scrap metal. lol

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    1. Scrap metal! I'll have to tell the Bronze Child you said that. I'm sure he'll want to start using it!

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    1. Thank you! *Insert proud bow* And thank you for coming by and reading! I'll head your way now!

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  17. See, I read your post and get a little jealous because when my family gets together on the back porch, there is mostly....silence. And definitely no beer. However, when my husband's family gets together, there is swearing, drinking, yelling, sweating, and junk punching. Three brothers. Whatevs. It is a conundrum for the ages. (I didn't really have a better closing. I'll come better prepared next week.)

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    1. I think junk punching was the perfect close. You did a great job!!

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  18. As if I didn't love Jen Kehl enough already...like she said, I am the bronze child out of only two kids, and I also told my sister she was adopted. I called my parents and me "the original family." (she's younger, of course). But I would be whatever child you want if I can hang out on the porch with your family! I'll bring the vodka; I prefer that over beer.

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    1. Jen is great, isn't she?? I love "the original family." Haha!! And yes--come on over and bring the vodka! After a few tough lessons learned, I stay away from that particular drink, but you can drink it while I have my beer and wine! I'm sure my brothers will drink it with you, though! :)

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    2. We convinced our youngest sister she was adopted. You know how with each child there are less and less pictures...

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  19. Loved: "this is also a really great response in the comments section of ANY Facebook status update." So true. So true. Your family get togethers sound like fun. Have you read the Glass Castle? You should. You have a lot of great material here.

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    1. It's the best response on Facebook EVER. People get so mad, but then they think it's so funny that they can't stay mad for too long. I think my little brother got me back once when, just after I'd started staying home with my first son, I posted it on his and then he goes, "Dude, get off of Facebook and GET A JOB." Damn. I never posted it again on his. Haha. He wasn't trying to be an a-hole to stay-home moms; he gets how hard it is. He was just trying to get me back and damn, he did! Haha. Thanks for the compliments. I thrive on them. Haha. I haven't read the Glass Castle, but I will write it down. I love book recs!!

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  20. I think it is both sad and great that you had to put in the drinking disclaimer. After all, it is the kids and parents that drive us to the wine.

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