After feeling dumb, discouraged, and depleted after spending several hours ‘repairing’ the walls throughout my house (and doing anything but), I really needed a good day. Fortunately, I got it. My husband and I were invited to a BBQ by my brother Clover, so once we’d had a ‘good’ night’s rest (followed by a satisfying breakfast), we loaded up our truck with an assortment of items (a huge succulent, the ‘stuff’ our daughter left after she moved out of our home several years ago, a bag filled with magazines, a bunch of frozen meat and butter, a housewarming gift for our nephew, overnight bags, etc.), and ‘hit the road’. Ordinarily, I assist with the driving duties but my husband ended up behind the wheel for the entire trip because 1) we had a huge piece of equipment in the bed of our truck which obstructed the rear view, and 2) I was so tired that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. If we were going to arrive at our destination alive, I thought it best that I opt out of driving duties for once. For me, driving a truck is already challenging, but driving a truck with an obstructed view (while sleep deprived) is a recipe for disaster in my book. I am happy to report that no disasters occurred during our road trip and that (surprisingly) we arrived at our destination in record time.
How that happened on a Sunday is beyond me. When I’ve traveled over to see my family on Sundays in the past, I usually wind up in terrible traffic and have spent upwards of 4.5 hours crawling along the interstate (while periodically cussing under my breath). Maybe the fact that it’s a holiday weekend has affected the traffic and shifted the natural flow, making it work to my (and my husband’s) advantage for once. How nice is that?! All I can say is, “I’ll take it!!” The road trip couldn’t have gone any better, there wasn’t a single accident or areas ‘under construction’ or unfavorable weather conditions to deal with. The road was dry and clear in every possible way, and we sailed along at an impressive speed. I don’t have a single complaint; the whole experience was flawless, much like how the remainder of the day went. At the BBQ, I enjoyed yummy food, good conversation, and even ‘live entertainment’. I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to food and my brother Clover had prepared cheeseburgers for the main dish, along with coleslaw, baked beans, and potato chips for sides. I’m a sucker for a good burger so I really appreciated the meal.
Along with the tasty food, I got an opportunity to enjoy some really good conversation. In addition to the four of us (myself, my husband, my brother, and my sister-in-law), several other family members showed up for the get-together/BBQ. My daughter came, as well as my nephew, my niece, my niece’s boyfriend, my brother Turtle, my brother Dapper Dan (Dan), Dan’s wife, and my mom. My mom actually knew who I was this time and seemed so much happier than she’s been in the past. I met one of her caregivers (when we went to pick her up) and the lady was very sweet and nurturing, fussing over my mom as she was preparing to leave. It’s truly wonderful to see her thriving in her new ‘home’; it was such a battle to get her there, but it seems like everything we went through to make it happen was worth it. And because she is no longer living at the assisted living facility, my brother and sister-in-law are much more relaxed and it appears that their fractured relationship is ‘on the mend’. The nursing staff at the adult family home have taken over most of their responsibilities, giving my brother and his wife a chance to finally ‘breathe’.
As far as the ‘live entertainment’, that was exclusively provided by my brother Turtle. No, he didn’t dance or sing or strum on his trusty guitar, he talked. He talked and talked and talked some more. He talked so much that I cannot believe his face didn’t turn blue. He rarely ‘came up for air’! While several of us sat inside and watched from a safe distance, it was hard not to find some humor observing the expressions on the faces of the people he ‘held hostage’ outside, as he went on and on about his lifetime of adventures (which we’ve all heard a hundred times). Turtle is one of those guys that has been ‘everywhere’ and experienced ‘everything’, and if you happen to ‘get a word in edgewise’ and mention a place you’ve been or something you’ve done during your lifetime, he’s already ‘been there, done that’. If you say you’ve climbed Mt. Fuji, he’ll tell you he’s already scaled it five times. If you tell him you rode your motorcycle 1,000 miles, he’ll tell you he’s ridden his at least 5,000. If you bring up serving in the military, even though he didn’t serve, he knows ‘all there is to know’ and is an expert on every military-related topic. Ack!
I am telling you, the man’s mouth never stops moving! My husband sat outside and put up with it for a while, and then he came inside and told our daughter that she needed to go out there and ‘take one for the team’. The incessant talking is bad enough, but in addition to that, my brother accompanies his ‘tall tales’ with photos off his phone. Every few minutes, I’d glance outside and it was hard not to laugh when I’d watch the tortured expression on the face of the latest person he’d taken hostage (as he held up his phone and explained each image in excruciating detail). So many unsuspecting people took a seat beside him and paid the price, but I knew better! I steered clear, refusing to budge from my seat at a separate table (until I decided to go inside). When I’m on the receiving end of my brother’s long-winded monologues, I don’t find the matter terribly amusing, but since I ‘steered clear’ and got to be the observer exclusively this time, it turned out to be a rather pleasant afternoon/evening (which is the opposite of what I experienced when he ambushed my husband, myself, and our kids in Hawaii).
It’s hard not to like my brother because he’s a likable guy, but he’d drive nearly anyone to drink. If he were to spend any time at a Buddhist temple, I can visualize all of the monks breaking their vows of silence in order to tell him to, “SHUT UP!” It wasn’t long after I went inside that my nephew offered to take me on a tour of his new home. I was thrilled with the idea because even though I was enjoying the ‘live entertainment’, I was ready to move on to something else. There is something called ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’ and I was right at the precipice. It makes me think of donuts and roller coasters. When I used to eat donuts, two fried circles of deliciousness (covered in chocolate) with a cup of tea was perfect, however, sometimes I’d end up eating 6. Not only would I wind up with a huge stomachache, I’d become consumed with self-hatred for letting myself get out of control. It’s much the same with roller coasters. One 5-minute ride is perfect, but anything beyond that changes the experience from sublime to seriously questioning one’s thought processes.
The accomplishments of my nephew are awe-inspiring. He’s accomplished so much and he’s only 25! His latest accomplishment involves purchasing a home, his first home and a ‘fixer upper’. He bought it less than a week ago and has already begun to ‘dig in’ and get his hands dirty, removing cupboards, repairing ceilings, and the like. He spent 16 straight hours working on it yesterday and I’m sure once he’s done doing all he intends to do, his home will be absolutely beautiful. The other thing about him that’s awe-inspiring is that he finally ‘came out’. It’s been a closely guarded secret for some time and I had always wondered because I’d never seen him with a female or with anyone (for that matter), but it’s not a secret any longer. He seems so much more relaxed and at peace, and that’s good to see. I guess he finally told his parents (my brother Clover and his wife) and the world didn’t end. My brother took the news well and I am proud of him for accepting his son and not turning his back on him because of his sexuality. That happens far too much with families and it’s a real tragedy.
Needless to say, it was an exceptionally lovely day today. So many positive things happened, even my brother Dan had good news to share. When the pandemic hit, he got the ‘royal’ screw. He had just quit his years-long job as a detailer for a car rental company and accepted a new position for a ‘dream job’ he’d interviewed for, and before he’d even worked there a month, he got laid off. Because he’d only been there for a short while, he didn’t qualify for unemployment. He has really struggled this past year and a half, so I was relieved when he told me he’ll be returning to the job he had (and loved) when Covid appeared (out of the blue) and turned everyone’s lives upside down. The other thing I should mention about today is that I finally got an opportunity to relax, something I haven’t had a chance to do in quite a while. My husband and I have been ‘go go go’ for weeks now, and we both needed a break so badly! Even though my husband’s back hurt because he tweaked it when he loaded that massive piece of equipment onto the bed of his truck, I could tell he was having a good time. Getting away was just what the doctor ordered, and I’m looking forward to another day of rest and relaxation before we return home and back to chaos.
Now that the day has concluded, I’m going to wrap this up and make my way towards the full-sized bed (in my brother’s guest room). I’m not a fan of the bed because it’s far too small for two large people, but it beats having to sleep in the trailer. Anyway, I hope you have a joyful, blessed day, and I thank you for stopping by. See you tomorrow!