Thursday, January 14, 2010

Family fun and frolics

< br>The best way to start a morning is to laugh and I've been smiling and laughing all morning.

Carol, my sister who seldom emails or calls, emailed this morning. She's been reading Twilight. I warned her, but what do I know? Evidently I know quite a bit. Her email was short and to the point. "You're right. Bella is whiny and needy." Of course I'm right. I read the book. I saw the movie. Neither one had been doctored by someone with a talent for dialogue.

Maybe I should refer to Carol by a nickname, as I do with my other sister, Beanie. I could use Grandpa's nickname (Bessie the Bullfrog -- don't ask me why, he never explained) or Mom's nickname for her, Miss Priss, or I could use my nickname for her, Hoity-Toity. So as not to be too confusing I'll pick one and stick to it, probably my nickname. It's funnier, although Miss Priss does fit her as well.

Mom called last night, forcing me to get up from my cozy, comfortable pose on the couch watching "Space: Above and Beyond" and go to the back of the house where my office hides during off hours and get the phone. She wanted to thank me for "The Thorn Birds" DVD I sent her. While we talked, Mom got into a conversation with Carol that had nothing to do with me. Since I missed the call and had to call back, Hoity-Toity answered the phone and didn't know that Mom had called. They live in the same house, but Mom sees it as being split into "her house" and "Hoity-Toity's house", as evidenced by Mom telling me she was going to clean her house tomorrow. Anyway, between her conversation with Hoity-Toity and me, Mom finally broached the subject of my brother Jimmy. We'll call him Idiot, mostly because he is. Idiot has decided he wants to be married again, just not to his ex-wife Bobbie. (There is no good nickname for her that would be acceptable in polite conversation.) The problem is that he works two jobs and spends the rest of his time on the computer chatting up women in the Ukraine, Istanbul and other not American countries on Second Life instead of having a life of his own.

"You won't believe it. Idiot is letting his hair grow long."

"How long, Mom?"

"Past his collar."

"Like a mullet?"

"He always looked so good with his buzz cut and now..." Words failed Mom. "And he has a full beard." Just not for long.

"Has he decided to become a hermit?"

"He looks horrible, like a great big hairy bear." Maybe I should consider changing his nickname. "I wish you'd talk to him."

"Mom, he doesn't pay any attention to what I say. I've been urging him to get out of the house, but he says he doesn't have time. He has time if he'd get off the computer and stop fooling around with Second Life and get out and have an actual life."

"He does listen to you. He respects you."

"Can't tell it by me, but I'll try again. He could enroll in a college course for fun, a cooking class or go to a singles mixer at church. There are lots of options."

"Oh, that's a good idea."

"Which one?"

"All of them. I could get him to join Bruce's group." Bruce is my cousin Laura's second husband, Mom's brother's daughter. Confused yet?

"How many ounces is a pint?" Hoity-Toity got on the other phone. She was tired of listening in and not being part of the conversation.


"So what is 31 ounces?"

"One ounce shy of a quart."

"Then how many ounces in a gallon?

"Well, 64 ounces is a half gallon, so 128 ounces is a gallon."

"There's no way I can drink that much water."

"Well, actually you can, but just not all at once unless you want to vomit."

Then Mom started talking to "my baby", Cujo the pint-size chihuahua with the St. Bernard size attitude and the hydrophobic pit bull gleam in her eye, so I suddenly felt the urge to go to the bathroom and said goodbye before Mom got into full Dink love.

That's my family. To them I'm Dr. Cornwell, the Encyclopedia Jackie and Jackie-of-all-Trades who counsels idiots and water drinkers everywhere.

I should mention that none of the above, with the exception of Hoity-Toity agreeing with me that Bella is whiny and needy, not to mention irritating and repetitive as well, had nothing to do with my smiles and laughter this morning. That came from other sources.

That is all. Disperse.

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