Sunshine and Mumbles left North (or is it South?) Carolina on Thursday morning, and were planning to drive all the way to our house in one straight shot. Toney said it would never happen, but I wasn’t so sure. They’re pretty cheap, after all, and a night in a motel would set them back at least $29. (They’re not very fancy, remember. The place where they stayed in Arizona last Christmas didn’t have a door knob, just a hole with a chain through it.)
It was my first day off in a long time, and the thought of them dragging in here with their lung-blower and portable Revco drug store made me almost sick to my stomach. I needed some decompression time, dammit. I was struggling, mightily, and needed one quiet day. Is that too much to ask? Just one quiet day?
Toney talked to Sunny during the late morning, and she didn’t know what state they were in, or what day of the week it was. But she knew one thing for certain: they were coming all the way. They would NOT be spending the night in a motel. My heart sank, and it felt like I might have a Tony Soprano panic attack.
I worked on cleaning the family room and the bunker, and Toney went to the grocery store. We had Chinese food for lunch, from the Frog and the Overshoe or whatever that place is called. Very good, as usual… I went with the cashew chicken, and thought this would be the last quiet and civilized meal for two weeks.
But we got a reprieve. Toney called her mother around dinnertime, and they had stopped for the night in Winchester, VA. I pumped my fist in the air, like Billy Idol. Hell yeah. And later, we got even more good news: Nancy and the gang picked up Toney’s brother in Atlanta, but they were tired and weren’t going to attempt to drive straight through, either. They’d just go back to Nancy’s place, and get some sleep. It was a Christmas miracle!
We had dinner and the four of us watched TV together: Modern Family and The Office. Toney and I enjoyed a few Sierra Nevada Celebration Ales, she dozed off, and I watched Top Gear with the boys.
They did a feature about a weird British car from the ‘70s, with two wheels in the back and one in the front. Every time the guy would make a semi-sharp turn, the vehicle would flip onto its roof, and it was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. How was such a thing ever allowed on the market? I had tears of laughter streaming down my face.
After the boys went to bed, I wanted to watch Black Christmas, via Netflix streaming. But it wouldn’t work for some reason. Every time I clicked on the Netflix logo, I was taken to an offer for a free trial. Free trial? I’ve had an account for years. Grrr… I was about to lose it, man. I was (and am) seriously at the end of my rope.
Finally, I called Netflix and a 12 year old girl answered. She was very friendly and California-chirpy. And before I’d even finished telling her my problem, she’d begun reciting the remedy. Hold down two specific buttons at the same time, she instructed, and enter your username and password at the prompt. I did as the sixth grader said, and it worked. I guess my issue isn’t unusual?
Unfortunately, the sound was horrible on Black Christmas (the only such problem I’ve ever encountered with the streaming service), and I ended up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead.
The next morning I finished cleaning the bunker, and it’s a thing of beauty. I must’ve tossed fifty pounds of paper from that tiny room. I don’t know how all that stuff gets in there. There was a shitload of newspaper, magazines (Wired and Esquire), random pieces of mail, a dozen books or more, and all sorts of other crap. I got rid of 90% of it, took the books upstairs, dusted, and vacuumed the carpet. Man, it’s pure luxury now. Relatively speaking…
Sunshine and Mumbles finally arrived around 2 pm, and the rest of the kooks got here thirty minutes later. Even though they’d come from the same house, and S&M had a 24 hour head-start.
Sunshine always had a giant Ann and Nancy Wilson perm, but is now wearing her hair straight. Not a good choice… Her gray skin and wispy hair makes her look like she should be sitting in a rocking chair at Norman Bates’ place. Yikes.
She was walking with a cane, and was all jittery and slow-moving – like Miss Jane Pittman. Mumbles looked exactly the same, and gave me a friendly four-fingered handshake. Somewhere along the line he lost his right pointer. Who the hell knows? It could’ve been a table saw, a snapper turtle, or a whorehouse in Singapore. None of those explanations would surprise me.
After she’d gingerly planted herself on the couch, Sunshine said, “You people aren’t drinking yet? I thought you’d be into the Lincoln Logs by now.” WTF?
As Nancy and the gang came busting through the door, I zeroed in on Toney’s brother. Holy mackerel! I hadn’t seen him in three years or more, and he was enormous. I mean, MASSIVE. He was holding a Big Gulp, and was wearing some sort of black leather trench coat. He looked like an Eastern European drug dealer who loves pie.
The translucents were a little taller than last time, but were pretty much the same. And Nancy and Nostrils haven’t changed, except Nossy is sporting his professorial goatee. It comes and goes…
Instantly, the place was plunged into chaos.
Everybody was talking, except for me and the Secrets, and the noise level was incredible. Those see-thrus never stop chattering: just a continuous, unchanging sound that reminds me of some sort of industrial machine. Wow! I wanted to scream, “Shut up! Or at least alter the inflections of your speech every once in a while!! Sweet Jesus.”
Nancy started doing her stretches in the living room, bending fully in half and making her ass the top of her. Nostrils made a beeline for the dining room, where Toney had loaded up the table with all manner of food and snacks. “Groovy!” he shouted, and commenced to snorkeling down M&M cookies.
Andy was barking, Mumbles was mumbling, Sunshine was railing against some religious or ethnic group, Toney’s brother was furiously sucking his empty Big Gulp, and the translucent children were making their chattering noise, all at the same time. I looked at my kids, and we shared an expression of high distress.
It continued, this cacophony, and Nostrils and two of the translucents started looking at the collection of wooden nutcrackers in the floor beside our Christmas tree. He was explaining each, going into great historical detail, and injecting a big dose o’ douche into the proceedings. At one point I heard him say, “And this big fellow is a Cossack,” and I nearly swallowed my tongue.
After Nancy and the gang left (they stayed at a motel, were undoubtedly sick of seeing Sunshine’s face, and didn’t stick around very long), the noise level dropped a bit, and Sunny hollered, “Gawd! Why is the TV off?? It makes me nervous to be in a room with no TV!!”
And I’ll pick up the story from there, next time. It might not be tomorrow, but I’ll try. One thing that helps: the Easy Note app on my phone. It turns my Droid into a notebook, so I’m always prepared.
Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays!