Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Family Time

My sister-in-law and her daughter were in town this weekend.

"You guys need to stick around," I told our kids before our guests arrived.

"Why?" demanded the middle child.

"Because, for reasons I can't begin to understand, your aunt loves you and wants to spend time with you."

"I like her more than I like you," said the youngest.

"You should," I said. "She's much nicer than I am."

The Lovely Bride muttered something under her breath.

"What, sweetie?" I asked.

"Never mind," she said. "I'm trying to be a better person."

"You should try that," my oldest told me.

"Let me explain to you the concept of environmental causation," I said.

"Mom, if we have to stay here this weekend, can we make him go somewhere else?" asked the middle boy.

"With my sister coming, we'd better not," said the Lovely Bride. "It would start too many rumors."

Of course, when push came to shove, the boys didn't actually spend the whole weekend at our house. The oldest had tennis and work, the youngest went to a basketball game with a friend, and the middle one went off to play basketball.

"What's your dad doing?" one of his friends asked my son as I drove them to the gym.

"Why do you ask?" I interjected cheerily.

"We're going really slow," he said.

"Right," I replied even more cheerily. "I want to see how long it takes to drive a whole block without stepping on the gas. It's a great way to check your idle."

"Please die," my son recommended.

"Heidely ho, neighbor!" I shouted to a stranger working in his yard. He waved tentatively as we rolled past at three miles per hour. The kids slumped down in their seats.

Eventually we made it to the gym, and then home for dinner, and then Saturday night watching my middle kid play soccer, our opportunity to spend time together as an extended family.

"I bet I'll be the only black person in there," said my niece as we walked into the arena.

"I have the same problem," I said. "Lots of places I'm the only cool person."

My niece laughed.

"Really, die," said my middle son.

At home, after the game, eating ice cream, I asked my niece, "Where do you want to go to college?"

"I like astronomy," she said.

"New Mexico? California? Dubuque?"

"Hawaii's got a good telescope," the Lovely Bride added.

"Uncle Snag's oldest is looking at a school in Boston," said my sister-in-law.

My niece looked at her. "I'm supposed to go out east so I can do cousin stuff with him?"

"Don't be rude," said her mother.

"I'm being realistic," she said.

"She is," said my oldest.

"Fine," said my sister-in-law. "Do your laundry with strangers."

The next morning my mother stopped by.

"How lovely to see you again," she told my niece.

"It's nice to see you too," my niece replied.

"She's crazy," I whispered to my niece. "Humor her. She goes back to the home soon."

"Be quiet," said my mother.

"Careful, Grandma's prone to violence," I continued. "She shot me when I was a kid."

"How has your visit been?" my mother asked my niece.

"Interesting," said my niece.

"Yes," said my mother. "It's always interesting at your uncle's house."


Jennifer said...

Nice idle trick. They'll probably never want a ride again!