Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Need for Headphones and Painkillers

Ok, I live in a house with:

-a 59-year-old grump
-his 44-y-o bride, freshly imported from Russia
-her 14-y-o daughter
-the grump's 28-y-o daughter
-her 33-y-o hubby, straight outta Southampton, UK
-her 8-y-o daughter, 5-month-old son
-2 cats (one nice, one inbred and insane)
-1 retarded Chow dog that looks like an Ewok on all fours

So, there's a lot of family here. I'm struggling to find the starting point of today's nonsense. I guess chronological order will have to do:

1. Rachel (the 28-y-o), her dad, his new wife, and the 5-mo-old plan a trip to Memphis to visit her mom, uncle, aunt, and brother (there may be others; unlike Pokemon I couldn't catch it all)

2. Rachel's mom had a heart attack a few weeks ago, but after triple bypass surgery is on the mend.

3. Plane tickets are purchased, lodging is secured in Memphis.

4. Rachel's hubby starts planning for a weekend away from baby, which basically means lots of movies, games, and junk food.

5. One of the relatives in Memphis emails some nasty note about not wanting them to come, and how the recovering mom couldn't "handle" the excitement. Whatever.

6. The 8-y-o comes down with a 103.1F temperature (39.5C for you foreigners, and 312.65 Kelvin for the nerds out there).

7. People start thinking about not going to Memphis; Rachel's grumpy dad guilts her, saying "This may be the last chance you have to see her." Nevermind the fact that he was bringing his new wife to meet his ex-wife, which itself is dumb on levels I can't even grasp. I had an ex and a current gf in the same room for a few minutes once. It's not something I encourage you to attempt.

8. Grumpy says, "Now don't let anything I say change your mind" and then proceeds to say nothing BUT things designed to affect her decision. And he insists that she decide ON THE SPOT whether she wants to cancel this trip (in the works for months) or not.

So there's screaming and crying and "Why does it have to be like this!" flying thru the air. Why are families so fucking awful around the holidays? Mine's not (that I know of). I told them point blank that I couldn't make the trek back to Ohio from almost-Boston for lots of reasons (no time off work, cost of gas, a LONG fucking drive, etc.) and they were totally cool with it. But they also said, "Hey, if it turns out you CAN make it, feel free, and you can stay with any one of us!"

And did you ever notice that when you really need to unplug and get some positive interaction with a game, it never works out that way? Case in point, I jack in to throw down with some terrorist motherfuckers in Ghost Recon, thinking I can snipe at least half, and let Bravo and Charlie wipe the floor with the rest of them. "I regret to inform you that your sons were killed because they were stupid." I actually LOST an entire squad in one mission. Nine vs. thirty and Nine lost. Ouch. I haven't done that badly in a long time. So what do you do? You pick a map you know inside and out to ensure a high body count on the other end. And let your sniper do the talking with that lovely, deathly quiet SR-25SD. They call it The Widowmaker for a reason.

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