by Jennifer on April 19, 2008

My dad and his (fourth, and very nice) wife are here visiting, so my blogging is taking on the nature of clandestine spy work. Well, without all the nifty cars and gadgets. Or the travel to European cities. Or the crafty disguises (although getting into pajamas and pretending to head off to bed, when I really mean to read a bunch of blogs, might serve as a good ruse). Or the cool spy names. Or the company of Jason Bourne.

So really, it’s nothing like it at all. Damn.

Still, I don’t want to reveal the existence of my blog, so I’ll have to keep resorting to super-secret rendezvous with my keyboard.

The visit has already taken on a cadence of humor, with the running joke being how Grandma J pushed Papa in front of a car rental bus at the airport last night. He did fall in front of the bus, and the fall was quite spectacular, I’m told. Grandma J stopped short to talk to someone, and he tripped over her suitcase and sprawled out flat in the road. She had the self-control not to laugh at him right then, but she’s been laughing ever since (and so have I, since the moment I heard the story…I’m prone to inappropriate laughter.).

Almost any conversation last night and this morning can come back around to something like, “Just like when Grandma J pushed me in front of the bus,” or “you’d better hope J doesn’t push you in front of a bus for saying that.”

That’s how things are for the first couple of days of a visit. There’s a lot of laughter. A few of the old family stories are dusted off and given a fresh coat of paint.

It’s not until after the first few days that the old irritations surface, and I spend a good part of the rest of a visit using my keep-the-peace skills. It’s what I do. Usually. All the while, I grit my teeth or break out into the same little patch of hives right above my left collarbone. Or eat cookies, or drink an extra glass or two of wine.

I can only assume it’s this way in a lot of families. That old company and fish, three days, rule. It only makes sense that the rule would apply to spending time with one’s family, too.

But now, it seems, I have another option, beyond stress eating and the hives. But I’ll try to avoid availing myself of it.

Yep, I’ll try, really try, not to push anyone in front of a bus. I can’t guarantee I won’t throw myself in front of one.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn @ Juggling Life April 19, 2008 at 10:55 am

Near the end, before my sister died, I resorted to taking Xanax when I was around her. It worked beautifully. I’m not one to turn to drugs, but it enabled me to spend quality time with her in her final days.

Good luck. I have to keep giving my husband “the look” when we’re around his family. He thinks the blogging thing is pretty cool, so he’s always wanting to say something proud (which I love), but I want to retain my freedom to rant about my in-laws!

Daryl E April 19, 2008 at 11:34 am

NO! Do not throw yourself in front of anything larger than a wine bottle or a computer keyboard .. what would we, I, do without you…

I sort of revealed my blog to my sister today, I included her in a group I emailed to beg to vote for my photo .. so she replies:

You want me to vote for something that has Obama’s picture on it? That will
never happen.

I draw in a deep deep breath and reply No, my photo blah blah blah .. and hit send…

Honestly I was expecting her reply to be something more like ‘when did you start this and how come you never told me’

Well.. now I know why

Tina April 19, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Yup, Fish and company, all right. I have a peculiar bachelor uncle who turns into a trout every Thanksgiving week…but he’s our trout and we’re always glad to see him and always (very) glad to see him go.

Looking forward to your updates…hang in there! ~ Tina

Carolyn April 19, 2008 at 5:04 pm

You had me at Jason Bourne…

Brenda April 19, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Love Carolyn’s comment! Maybe we’ll watch one of those tonight!

As for you. Best wishes. I have no good advice. Nothing. Just paste on the “therapy smile” and get away when you can.

Oh. And if it gets really bad, don’t hesitate to turn into someone who tells it like it is. In person. But never reveal the blog! (Then you’re REALLY have to go undercover!)

suburbancorrespondent April 19, 2008 at 5:43 pm

I wish the good feelings would last 3 whole days – I’m lucky to make it through 24 hours…

Mrs. Chili April 19, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Snort! Don’t do anything drastic – you should be able to survive on clandestine blogging and a few more glasses of wine.

We have “the rule of 72” that we apply to everyone outside of our little foursome. While the four of us can be together 24/7, pretty much 365, we have a 72 hour contact rule for everyone else. It’s just safer that way.

Hatchet April 19, 2008 at 8:45 pm

I’m with you the three day rule with family. Less if my younger brother is involved. However, I don’t hold my tongue anymore.

When my mom was with me for 6 weeks for the birth of the twins, if she said something painful or outrageous, I jumped all over it. At the very least, it cleared the air on assorted topics. At its best, she won’t say those things again.

Either way, I win! Bwahahahaaaaa!

the mama bird diaries April 19, 2008 at 8:55 pm

I hope you can continue your secret mission to blog. Good luck with everything…

Nap Warden April 19, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Stay away from the buses! I know what you mean, I am the peace keeper in our family as well…It gets stressful, wine helps:)

Lisa April 20, 2008 at 8:17 am

The fish rule is a BIG rule in this house 🙂
I have to admit I giggled at the grandpa story too–I seem to really laugh at that kind of stuff 😉

Just Jamie April 20, 2008 at 9:37 am

If you figure a way to include Jason Bourne into your escapades, can I play a role in the adventure too? I’m really good at keeping the peace.

Crazycath April 20, 2008 at 10:27 am

Oh no! NO no no no! You cannot go in front of a bus! I’d miss you! Go to mine and see. ;0)

But if you manage to get Jason Bourne on board with the spy thing – gimme a shout. I sometimes have to revert to subterfuge to blog, I am on so much!

Madge April 20, 2008 at 1:07 pm

wow, you have some serious psychic powers to throw your dad in front of a bus when you are not even there. admit it. that’s what happened.

Tootsie Farklepants April 20, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Unless it’s my siblings, the 3 day rule is almost mandatory.

Nicole P April 20, 2008 at 3:30 pm

This is the exact reason why my guest bedroom was turned into a craft studio for me, well aside from the fact that “my junk” as my husband like to call it was overtaking our home. Shoot, darn, now we have no room for guests.

rima April 20, 2008 at 4:02 pm

The possibility of house guests is one of the things holding me back from moving out of our current tiny house and into something more ample. I hate playing hostess. Sounds like you are doing well, all things considered!

Lisa Milton April 20, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Stick to the wine; a lot less consequence…

(And try to breathe. I hear it works. I wouldn’t know because I’m usually too busy looking up bus routes.)

Dave April 20, 2008 at 6:31 pm

The only thing worse than having family around is when they’re gone! ; )

JCK April 20, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Please don’t throw yourself in front of a bus! Wine with some chocolate thrown in…much healthier. And less painful.

Yes, the 3 day rule and beyond happens in other families.

Milena April 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm

You make me laugh. I think you’d be horrified to know that my mother spends 2 to three months stretches with me here and I cry (so does my husband but in a more manly way) when she goes away. I have a great mom. Unobtrusive, helpful, non-meddling, funny, resourceful – my mom reads your blog by the way so I’m laying it on thick 😉

Anyway, your papa sure has the sheerest bad luck with the falling. I just read about the toilet mishap or shall I say fiasco.

And the hiding of the blogging proclivities – that made me smile.

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