Saturday, March 22, 2014
11:27 AM | Posted by Wide Lawns | | Edit Post
For some reason, which I cannot discern, Bill likes to get up at 4 in the morning whenever we go on a road trip. Drives me crazy. We were only going to my sister Peggy's house for the family reunion/ above ground pool party she's having for the Bicentennial. Peggy lives a total of three hours away. I tried to tell Bill that we didn't need to get to Peggy's house before breakfast being that the party didn't even start until the afternoon, but he insisted we needed to beat the weekend traffic, so he filled his thermos up with coffee from the percolator and loaded up the wood-paneled, Chevy station wagon.
We had to put all the luggage and lawn chairs, plus the red and white cooler in the backseat because the kids insist on going in the "way back" now whenever we go somewhere. Fine with me. It keeps them from crawling over and into the front seat where they might accidentally get burned by a cigarette.
Speaking of which, Kimberly woke up fussing about her skinned knee. She got it yesterday when I sent her down to the store to buy me a pack of cigarettes. I gave her a quarter to get herself and her siblings some candy and even though she came back with a mess of Sugar Babies, Lemonheads and Sixlets that still didn't seem to satisfy her. I put some Absorbine Jr. on her knee last night and she screamed her ass off that it hurt and I told her a tetanus shot would hurt worse so cut it out and when it hurts that just means that it's killing the germs. This morning, I decided to put some mercurochrome on it and said I didn't want to hear another word about it unless it had gangrene in it and not to pick it.
I fried some eggs in the bacon grease, put on my new jumpsuit (I just love polyester by the way, NO MORE IRONING!), threw the kids in the way back of the wagon and off we went. The sun hadn't even come up yet.
It took about 17 seconds before the children got on my nerves and I was trying to talk to Bill about how I was worried about my Watergate salad holding up before we got to the reunion. I was also concerned that my Impossible Pie was going to get soggy.
"I mean, Bill," I was saying, "There's no crust! You just pour it all into the pan and it makes its own crust! How does it do that?"
Bill just shrugged and drank more coffee while looking at the map he had spread out covering the whole dashboard.
First Jennifer started whining about how I gave her such a weird name.
"Why is my name Jennifer?" she complained.
I told her I named her after that girl who died of leukemia in Love Story and that it was a beautiful film and then I asked her what she'd rather her name be.
"Madison," she said.
Did you ever hear the like in your life? Who in the name of God would ever name their child, a GIRL no less, Madison? That's not even a name. That's a president. And a snack cake. Jennifer is much more original.
Matt had to be a smart ass.
"Too bad your favorite movie wasn't The Exorcist!" he said.
"I didn't like the name Regan," I told him, "Jennifer was much more original. I wanted an original name when I had her."
"Reminds me of Ronald," Bill said and then we had a laugh about that actor Ronald Reagan wanting to get into politics. Ridiculous. Who'd ever take him seriously? Only in California. Thank goodness they finally got rid of him, I told Bill. Now he'll just fade into obscurity. Maybe make an appearance on Merv Griffin and that'll be the end of it.
Then the baby started hollering back there and Kimberly didn't want to hold it anymore back there so as we were going down the highway she tried to climb over the backseat and into the front seat with the baby squawking in her arms. She could've at least let me finish my cigarette. It was a pain in the rear end to try to smoke and give the baby a bottle all at the same time while sliding all over the vinyl on the front seat of the car.
"You should wear your seat belt, Mom. That way you and the baby won't slide off the seat," Matt yelled.
Where do my kids get these crazy ideas? Who on earth wears seat belts? Probably people like the Whitneys down at the end of the cul de sac. They eat granola for breakfast and watch nothing but public television. I mentioned something about Donna Summer to Mrs. Whitney and she had no idea what I was talking about.
We wound up getting lost because Bill read the map wrong as usual so we were going to be later than expected. Took us forever to find a payphone so I could call Peggy and let her know.
"They should make phones in cars," Kimberly said.
"Impossible," Bill told her.
I just smacked my head. Phones in cars? Where would they put all the cords? And besides, I've got enough junk in the car already without having to worry about where to put the phone book, although I guess the baby could sit on it.
We finally made it to Peggy's house and since we'd left so early, we weren't really late. Bill was pretty smug about this, so when we got there I made him go into the garage with Peggy's husband Harry and look at Harry's new vice grip on his tool bench so Peggy and I could get the food ready. My sister-in-law Gladys was there too and she gets on my nerves something awful, I swear.
Gladys is worried that Sky Lab is going to fall on us during the family reunion. She's also convinced she's going to get Legionnaire's Disease. Actually, she thinks we're all going to get it and die and it's going to be worse than the Spanish Flu.
Peggy turned the radio on so we could listen to Wings while we made deviled eggs and shrimp dip with canned shrimp and soup mix but then the boys had their music in the garage turned up too loud.
"That damn Peter Frampton," Peggy said, "Harry loves him and they better not be smoking P.O.T., let me tell you. Harry got his 8 track out there in the garage and you'd think it was still the 60s with all that rock n roll mess he listens to."
Peggy always liked bad boys. She should've known what she was getting into with Harry. She did meet him at a Jefferson Airplane concert for God's sakes, but I didn't say anything and suggested we make Old Fashioneds instead. Gladys said we were going to end up like Betty Ford.
I asked her to go check on the kids in the pool and see how the baby was doing in its playpen.
Sue showed up about then. She's 9 months pregnant and we all tried to figure out what she was having by the way she's carrying. Then we asked what she was going to name it.
"Crystal if it's a girl and Chad if it's a boy," she said.
But then we got cut off because the kids were tearing through the house like a pack of wild dogs in wet bathing suits and I had to yell at the girls to take their suits off if they're not swimming because I don't want them getting crotch rot. They were begging for Kool-Aid but it wasn't ready yet so we told them to drink out of the hose if they were thirsty and to stay outside so the adults could talk.
"Did you hear about this new thing where you can hook it up to the TV and you put movies into it and you can watch them?" Sue asked.
What in the hell was she talking about? Must be the pregnancy.
"How can you put movies in a TV?" I asked.
"They're like records. Movies on records and it's like a record player for the TV," she said.
Peggy and I always knew Sue was crazy.
"Well, if such a thing exists it would have to cost an arm and a leg and it would never catch on anyway," Peggy said.
I looked out the kitchen window to see what the kids were doing. Peggy's boy Timmy was pretending to be The Fonz and the girls were arguing over the View Master while Matt messed with the Spirograph in the grass.
"Let's rub some iodine all over ourselves and go sit in the sun," I told everyone, "It's a beautiful day."
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