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6:38 a.m. - 2001-12-31

HELLO MOM...MEET PAXIL

Miss me?

But of COURSE you did, mon cherie. I am but ze light in your life, ze cream in your coffee, ze entire reason that you choose to continue living.

OF COURSE YOU MISSED ME!

So anyway...the last couple of days...

FRIDAY

My goal was to get on the road for South Carolina by 8 a.m.

We were on the road at 7:55 a.m. Perfect.

However, Susie found it necessary to stop at Walmart before leaving town. We had bought my dad several bottles of barbecue sauce and dry rubs and all this grilling stuff for Christmas and Susie thought we should put it all in a basket to present it to him.

Hokay.

We get to Walmart and she hops out of the car.

"I'm just going to be a minute," as she closes the door.

I had a chill run up and down my spine. The only time my wife would spend no more than 60 seconds in a Walmart would be if it caught fire. And even THEN, she'd have to be rescued from the clothing department with several burning blouses in her arms.

Ten minutes passed.

Fifteen minutes passed.

Andrew's gas passed.

Finally, the stench was overwhelming and I was getting tired of waiting. So Andrew and I went into the store and headed straight for the basket aisle.

Not there.

That sound you thought you heard Friday morning?

That was my blood boiling.

Found her in the Christmas discount area where she was debating on stocking up on gift wrap for next year.

She was sheepish upon discovery. She knew she had been a bad, bad girl and punishment was inevitable.

...So I made her ride in the backseat with Andrew and his amazing farting powers.

We drive, drive, drive to South Carolina where my mother was actually halfway nice.

...Until we got to our restaurant of choice for dinner.

Ate at a little place called Zorba's. Has Greek and Italian food. Does neither particularly well, but that's where Mom wanted to go to have her pizza.

Mom and Dad ordered pizza. Susie ordered fettucine alfredo, I ordered souvlaki and Andrew had bread and water because anything else would make him pass gas that smelled incredibly like a trashcan full of burning roadkill carcasses.

Mom hated her pizza. HATED IT. Said it tasted funny. It's the same pizza she has every week, but it "tasted funny".

...oooooookay. Sorry Mom.

Went home, listened to Mom bitch about her dinner and all went to bed at 8 p.m. because my parents are old and need their rest.

SATURDAY

Got up and as is tradition in our family, we have to do "something". My family is not content to just sit at home and converse. We have to leave the house and do "something". Anything. It doesn't matter what, even though it usually revolves going to the mall and walking around, not stopping in any stores...just anything to get out of the house.

We went to Best Buy because I REALLY want a photo printer for our new digital camera. And I figured Best Buy would have...the best buy on the printer.

$179. Not bad. But I bet Sam's price was better.

So we go to Sam's. They don't even have the printer.

Since it would have sent my mother into a coniption fit that she wouldn't soon recover from, I decided to not ask to go BACK to Best Buy and that maybe we should just go home.

That's good, because Mom was getting hungry since she only had half a slice of pizza the night before.

(To reiterate...there was NOTHING wrong with her pizza. Dad ate most of it and said it didn't taste funny at all. Mom just needed something to bitch about because she's not happy unless she's miserable)

So we go home and Mom's ready for lunch.

Ribeye steaks, wild rice, baked beans and rolls.

A little much for me for lunch, but Dad had just bought this HUGE gas grill that was bigger than most Chrysler products and wanted to try it out for the first time.

My mom and her steaks....they have to be WELL WELL WELL DONE. If there is a bit of color other than gray inside her steak, she will puke. That's how she is with all her meat and that's why I have the worst time eating any type of beef to this day other than grilled beef that Dad cooked while growing up. When I was a kid, Dad cooked steaks to your liking. If you wanted it medium rare, that's how he'd cook it. I loved my Dad's cooking...hated my mom's. Mom cooked everything the way SHE wanted it which was dried out and crusty.

Anyway...long story short...Dad cooked Mom's steak a bit too long.

World War F'n III.

Now, in all my years I have NEVER EVER EVER seen my mother say a steak was "too well done" to her liking.

But she was all over Dad and this steak. She said Dad did it on purpose. He cooked her steak too long intentionally.

I sat there quietly as long as I could and then finally said "Mom, if Dad had taken that steak off the grill 30 seconds earlier, you would have said it was too rare. There is no pleasing you this weekend."

She took offense to this remark but not as much as I expected her to. She just took her plate to the kitchen, threw her food away and sat in the den, silently watching football which she hates.

Susie, Andrew and I went to Target because it sure beat sitting in that house.

We were gone for two hours. Came home, Mom was in a better mood. I suggested that they go to their little tavern which made Mom giddy. She couldn't WAIT to go to her tavern and see all her drunken bar friends and actually have FUN.

So they left and we enjoyed some silence in their home for a while. They came home a few hours later, both in GREAT moods because they had some beer in their bellies.

In bed by 8:30. It was Saturday night so we really partied hard. Mom was shocked she was still awake at 8:25, panicked and ran to her bedroom, shutting the door behind her.

SUNDAY

My Dad's 63rd birthday. Seeing as how we really didn't get him anything for his birthday, I suggested we take him out to breakfast before we hit the road.

Great idea.

So where you wanna go, Pops?

He thought about it and said "Lizard's"!

The thought of eating breakfast at a place called Lizard's kinda made me a bit queasy, but it was Dad's call and I'm sure it would be good.

On the way to Lizard's, Dad suddenly changed his mind and wanted to go to IHOP.

That's fine. I don't care. Let's stop and eat.

Mom orders a ham and cheese omelet "with onions, cheese and hashbrowns".

Her omelet comes out and she's pissed. They gave her grits instead of hashbrowns.

She's grumbling like a possessed bear about it so when the waitress comes back to the table, I say "She (pointing at my bitchy mother)was supposed to get hashbrowns with her meal".

The waitress was very sweet and said "Yes ma'am, the hashbrowns are inside your omelet."

Mom said (loudly), "Oh God!"

I thought she was going to puke right there.

"I can't eat hashbrowns inside there," she said.

"They're all going in the same place," Dad suggested.

"When have you ever known me to mix my foods?" she hissed at Dad. Literally. Hissed.

The waitress apologized and just as I was going to suggest the waitress bring my mother a side order of hashbrowns, Mom told the waitress "I'm never coming here again."

Christ on a stick.

That was totally uncalled for. Totally. This is how they make their food. If you don't like it, fine. But don't get nasty about it.

She picked at her omelet, eating about a quarter of it before saying she was finished.

I wanted to slap her. I have a feeling Dad woulda had a problem with that, so I didn't. But damn, damn, damn...my Dad's a saint for putting up with her. There wasn't a single meal all weekend that she enjoyed, in fact, she went to great lengths to make sure the rest of us were uncomfortable with the fact that she didn't like her food.

Sooooo...ever wondered why I bitch so much here and where I might have gotten it from??


We couldn't get out of South Carolina fast enough. Hugs in the parking lot and I burned mini-van rubber out of there.

Got home in five hours. I drove 370 miles in five hours with two stops. You do the math.

Oh!

We stopped at a McDonald's in Atlanta.

Some creepy crackhead guy wouldn't leave Andrew and Susie alone while I was in line for our food.

It didn't help that Susie was standing in the opposite corner of the restaurant away from me. I kept motioning for her to come up by me and she kept moving further away. It crossed my mind that she may be ready to bolt out the door and run away to freedom and some new husband whose mother didn't bitch about everything placed in front of her on a silver platter.

I saw the guy talking to them. He was holding a paper bag, dressed in fatigues and looked like he hadn't bathed in weeks.

He left them alone, walked over to me and kept making crazy eyes at me. I'd make eye contact with him and he motioned toward the door with his head. I looked away and he tapped my shoulder and motioned again toward the door with his head.

What the fuck???

I ignored him and motioned for Susie to get over near me as he walked away. Susie looked like she was playing cat and mouse with him, trying to walk past him but not get near him.

Apparently, he had asked Susie if Andrew was a boy or a girl. She told him and he made goofy faces at Andrew for about a minute. Andrew was scared shitless of the guy if the stench from his diaper was any indication.

So anyway...we finally get home...to the dreaded knee humpers.

I dreaded the last few hours of the drive, fully expecting my house to have been taken over by porn-surfing, Play Station-breaking knee humpers.

Nobody was here.

Those lucky, lucky bastards.

Everyone was at Grandma's getting ready for dinner. So we loaded up the Christmas presents for the family and went to Grandma's.

Nineteen people inside Grandma's house is an extremely tight squeeze. I literally walked in, sat on the floor right next to the front door and didn't move the rest of the night.

Grandma served a roast beef that made my Mom's steak look positively juicy. Luckily, I had the foresight to pretend I wasn't feeling well as we walked in and I declined to eat. Grandma apparently USED to be a good cook before she got senile. Now she burns everything and eats it anyway.

My knee was not humped by anyone.

My nephew, the new father, came and sat next to me on the floor. He tore the ACL in his knee last month and told me the story in very hushed tones for at least 30 minutes.

A) I'm partially deaf from the loud rock and roll.

B) There's 17 other screaming people around us.

C) This kid practically whispers when he talks.

So for 30 minutes, I pretended to hear what the kid was saying and would nod my head at what I thought were the right times. For all I know, I might have agreed to give him my house last night. I have no idea.

His parents are staying with us. And one of them just got up to use the bathroom and I think they're in the kitchen trying to find something to eat.

We conveniently ate all our food and did no grocery shopping before we left town so that her family would get the hint and come off some cash for groceries to feed all of them.

We'll see if that happens.

Anyway...there's not much I can complain about with her family. Spent three hours with them. Got three diabetic cookbooks and the DVD of Apocalypse Now Redux from the newest member of the family, the YOUNG YOUNG YOUNG mother of my nephew's child, Tara.

My God. She was sooooo young looking. She's just a baby herself. She played with a handheld electronic game while everyone held her baby. She didn't care that she didn't hold her baby all night...there were plenty of family members around to do that for her.

And she had some Hello Kitty makeup box that she had painted little balloons and her name and everything in acrylic paint on it. She carried her stuff around in that rather than a purse.

Kids out there....USE CONDOMS IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SEX!

Anyway...they're supposed to all converge on my house today. BUT...they're all staying at Grandma's for the week in an RV in the front yard.

Classy...yes, I know.

I have about 125 songs I need to start downloading off of the web for these kids, so I'd better get hopping on that.

Y'all be careful tonight and don't drink and drive or do anything stupid.

Happy new year!!!!

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