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Eninen’s just-purchased home in Canada is, in my opinion, the best place they’ve ever had. Needless to say, they don’t like it. They claim it lacks “charm,” and “character.” I don’t know about that, but it’s big, in good condition, and planted right in the middle of a solid neighborhood.

You know, boring stuff like that.

Their previous houses were charming old dilapidated semi-dumps. One of their North Carolina homes had rooms on different levels. You’d have to step up or down slightly whenever you passed through a door. And I’m almost certain it wasn’t designed that way. 

We stayed there once, and I was convinced somebody was watching us sleep all night from the closet. And somehow I knew he had a beard like Robert E. Lee. Sunshine claims she saw a ghost in that room one night, and refused to ever set foot in there again.

Don’t even get me started on their basement, which was literally a ladder down a dark hole in the ground. Ho-ly shitmittens.

They also had an old refrigerator from the ‘40s or ‘50s at that place. The door was so screwed-up, it opened from the side with the hinges. And that’s not a joke. Somebody (Toney?) opened it one day, and it fell to the floor. Nostrils reacted like, “Oh great, the fridge door is off again!” TF??

Anyway, this new place is pretty damn nice, so they’re unhappy with it. Whatever.

While they were showing us around I spotted Nossy’s fancy-ass stainless steel laptop computer. He bought it not too long ago, and it cost some enormous amount of money. Now it looks like somebody used it to wedge up underneath the back wheels of a Jeep stuck in the mud. Beat all to hell.

And on the coffee table in the living room was a book called Canada for Dummies, or somesuch.

Our sleeping quarters were in the basement, and it was a fine set-up. It appeared to have been recently renovated, and there was a full bathroom down there as well. Also, it seemed to be about 20 degrees cooler than the upper levels of the house. So, no complaints from me. I was pleasantly surprised.

I noticed a computer desk in the corner, with a PC, a printer, and all the bells and whistles. I didn’t know they had a second computer, and said something about it. Nancy
answered, “Oh, it doesn’t work anymore. It was left out in the rain.”

Of course it was.

After we dragged all our stuff down to the basement, and coaxed a traumatized Andy from the trunk of our car, somebody slammed a cold beer in my hand. And I found myself in the living room chatting with Nostrildamus, seated atop a terrifying spindly-legged antique chair. I just knew my fat ass was going to explode that thing, and I’d soon be rolling around amongst raw splinters and ancient fabric.

He asked me about Barry Bonds (or as he called him, “that Bonds fellow”), and didn’t seem to care for my negative opinion of the man. Criticizing a person of color, for any reason whatsoever, is evidence of deep-seated racism at the house of Nancy

And as we talked, I could tell that Nostrils was at least semi-drunk. Possibly drunk all the way. He was sipping some sort of cloudy mixed-drink from a short glass, and it had obviously been preceded by several others. But, really, who can blame him?

He continued down the baseball path, even though he knows nothing about it. I guess he was trying to stick to things that interest me? I’m not sure. But he asked for my opinion of a player he’d read about recently, a guy who was supposedly one of the most-liked Major Leaguers of all time. He believed his name was Carl Rappaport.

Wha’? I said I wasn’t familiar with him, and Nostrils got all animated.  “No, no, no,” he sputtered, “I might have the name wrong, because he’s very well-known.”

I asked him a few questions, and it didn’t take long to realize he was talking about Cal Ripken.

Carl Rappaport! Is that not excellent?

The next morning we went to a hippie farmer’s market, and Nancy
bought her kids some brownies that were as black as tar. They nibbled them half-heartedly, and played with the scary-looking things for a while. Then each replaced a partially-eaten brownie to the box.

Toney found a stand that was selling real chocolate chip cookies, made with real flour and eggs and sugar. She bought twelve, and one of the translucents asked if he could try one.

Man, I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head. Apparently it was his first exposure to real flavor, and it almost sent him over the edge. Nancy
tried to stop them, but those kids ripped through that dozen cookies so fast it sounded like a tree stump was being removed.

And the tar brownies with the corners nibbled off remained in the lonely biodegradable box. Until Nostrildamus got at ‘em anyway, and snorkled the things down like Mrs. Puff eating an apple...

Nancy was in a bitchy mood for most of the visit, because she’s resentful about being “forced” to leave her job in North Carolina, and become reliant on (gasp!) a man. Forced is the word she used, even though she’d caused everyone she knows to contemplate suicide by droning on for years and years, about how she HATES living in the South, and how it’s time for Nostrils to “shine.”

She’d encouraged him to look for jobs all over the world, for what seems like decades. And they’d agonized about every interview he’d gone on, to the point of absolute saturation.

They backed out of opportunities (once because they feared there were too many Republicans living in the county they’d be moving to), hemmed and hawed, and just generally made everyone crazy with their chronic indecisiveness. One time he even signed a contract with a university in California
, and never reported for work. How he wasn’t sued over that shit, I do not know.

So forced is a word that makes me laugh. In fact, I’m laughing all over again, just thinking about it. And it’s also fairly hilarious how the terrible Jesus-obsessed, racist South is now suddenly the place she longs to be. 

I’m serious, Nostrils has earned his status as a high-functioning alcoholic. I raise a cloudy short-glass in his honor.

We had several meals with Nancy and the clan, and most featured loud screaming by at least one translucent. The youngest needs a good old fashioned 360-degree Appalachian ass-whuppin’. That kid has a black belt in whining and throwing tantrums, and Eninen either ignore him (thus subjecting everyone else to his high-volume air raid siren wailing), or give in to his demands.

Kids are kids, I know, but this is something more. They run around restaurants, generate an incredible amount of noise, have “episodes,” and just generally shriek and scream. It’s horrible, and almost always because they’re “over-tired.” Wotta classic.

At a pub, some joint called the Arrow and the Loon, the oldest translucent was being allowed to build a Bionicle right at the table. Great idea! Something happened, I’m not sure if he lost a piece or what, and his face turned the color of fresh-spilled blood. He just sat there staring straight ahead, wearing that scary crimson mask. And it wasn’t long before the twitching and jerking commenced.

Then we all watched in horror as he pulled a big handful of his own hair out of his head!

I couldn’t believe what was happening before me. WTF?! Nossy got up and hustled the little freak (who was now hollering like Tarzan) out of the restaurant. And Nancy
acted like none of it had ever happened. She just calmly perused the beer list, called the waiter over, and ordered a pint of something with fruit floating in it.

Sweet sainted mother of the entire cast of 12 Monkeys!

Another time, at the mall food court, the translucents had pizza, and left several slices uneaten. Nancy
, of course, wanted to take it home, but didn’t want to use a special container to transport it. (NO STYRO! NO STYRO!!) Nostrils offered to find a cardboard box somewhere, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She preferred to reuse something they were planning to throw in the trash. You know, to help save mother Earth.

So she wedged two giant slices of cheese pizza into a size medium drink cup, folded over the parts sticking out the top, put a lid on it (thus creating a three-pound bunker-buster pizza-barrel), and buried it in her purse. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it’s still there.

At that same food court, on a different day, the youngest see-through was eating a French fry, and it burned his mouth. The piercing tone that went up probably had an adverse effect on migratory birds, and the spawning of salmon, in all of Eastern Canada. We’ll undoubtedly be reading about this “nature mystery” at the Drudge Report in a few weeks.

But it’s not just the kids who are irritating when they eat. Not by a long shot. Nostrils smacks his lips like he had no, not even a trace, of home-training. And Nancy
constantly clanks her fork on her plate/bowl, like she’s about to propose a toast at all times.

The cumulative effect is almost too much for a mere mortal to withstand.

When we were walking from our car to Parliament, for the Changing of the Guard, Banana Nostrils told us about how he used to be a full private in the Canadian Army. Or as he called it “the forces.” Apparently this was before he worked in the movie industry, was a surfer in Hawaii, or ran with the aborigines in Australia (or whatever). 

On the bus tour he stood up and asked the guide a question in French, putting on a big show for everyone. Of course there were lots of hand gestures and exaggerated facial expressions...   

Afterwards, one of the Secrets wanted to know what he’d asked her, and I told him my French is pretty rusty. But, from what I could tell, he’d said, “Excuse me, but am I the biggest dipshit on this bus?” And she’d answered, “Yes sir, I’d have to say you are.”

Nancy, while making it clear she hates it up there, is now embracing certain elements of Canadian culture. Apparently for the pretentiousness value. 

Suddenly she adds “eh?” to the end of many of her sentences, and calls a house a “hoase,” and eats maple-flavored ice cream… It’s all very embarrassing. Because she’s from Reno, and everybody knows this sudden-Canadiazation is as phony as phony gets. 

It’s almost as bad as a woman I used to know who moved from Atlanta
to Philadelphia, and within weeks started talking like Rocky Balboa. Wotta grand gang of douches.

I’ve got more in my notes, but I think I’m starting to ramble a bit...

I was going to tell you about how everything’s a lecture or a lesson with the translucents, and how there’s very little laughter at the house of Nancy
. Those kids are always being taught. Or experiencing “over-tiredness,” or both. They don’t even know how to joke around, and that’s kinda sad. 

While we were waiting to start our tour of the Parliament building, Nostrils was telling them something about the type of stone they used to construct it, and the significance of it all. Entertaining stuff like that. 

At the same time I was talking to my boys about how I’d like to break into the Prime Minister’s quarters, and take a leak in his private bathroom. I was performing several different characters in this imaginary urination tale, and the Secrets were cracking up. 

At one point I was standing with my hands on my hips, like Captain America
, whipping my torso from side to side, acting like I was spraying pee everywhere. And Nostrils was talking about fur-traders.

The Secrets might not make it on to Jeopardy!. But they’ll be able to laugh and tell a joke, and probably won’t ever climb to the top of a clock tower with a sniper rifle. Know what I’m sayin’?

And I was going to tell you about how we returned home one day and found Andy bleeding. Apparently he and the hammerhead dog had gotten into a fight while we were away, and suffered a cut above one of his eyes. I didn’t realize we were going to Michael Vick’s house… 

It wasn’t anything too bad, but I think Eninen’s dog has now caused every person in our family to bleed at least once; she officially closed out the category last weekend.

Needless to say, the hammerhead had nothing to do with any of it. According to Nancy
, Andy probably just hurt himself “on the fence.” Whatever that means.

And I was going to tell you about Nancy
’s convoluted justification for all the Canadian flags everywhere – on cars, houses, office buildings, clothing – while at the same time condemning the exact same thing in America.

And I was going to write about the olive oil-flavored ice cream, and the stank “salsa” with moldy bread, and the sawdust muffins, and how Nancy
got irritated with me and the Secrets because we didn’t eat A SINGLE THING at her house, the entire weekend.

But you’re probably getting the idea by now. And, frankly, I'm starting to feel a bit fatigued here...

As much as it pains me to admit it, I'll never be as good as him.

See ya next time, eh?

The West Virginia Surf Report!