Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Screamin' Baby Express

It's difficult to piece together a post about my experiences this past Memorial Day weekend visiting my parents in Florida in a cohesive kind of a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. In the first paragraph (which you are now reading, in case you didn't notice) I will start off by telling you that I love my parents very, very much, which will pretty much guarantee you that I will spend the rest of this blog post trashing them and the god forsaken place in which they have chosen to live out their golden years.

Mostly I will be trashing my mom as she is for some reason way more irritating than my dad.

To balance things out however, I'll go ahead and say some shitty things about my dad. His list is longer, but my mom is still more annoying.
1. He is a right wing, wing-nut who believes every right wing wing-nut email anyone sends him.
2. He calls Barack Obama, "Osama" or "That dirty Muslim".
3. He distrusts all Mexicans and thinks that all women who golf are lesbians.
4. He has driven his golf cart through the garage screen door 3 times.
5. He backed over my mom in the driveway with his SUV.
6. He is meticulous about the cleanliness of his garage and now the bird cage thingy that covers their back yard pool and mercilously smashes lizards and frogs who enter these domains with a broom handle. The frogs and lizards don't enter with a broom handle. He smashes them with a broom handle.

And now on with the functioning alcholic portion of my blog post.

Since they have moved away to Florida and I only see them once or twice a year, all my visits with my parents start off the same way, jubilant and full of loving hugs and kisses, which I enjoy very much. Then comes the small talk, peppered with expressions of so-glad-to-see-you-ness and pats on the arm or knee. Then the drinking starts. My dad or mom will pour themselves a scotch and offer one to MDH, who graciously accepts.

I hate scotch so my mom will list off other available beverages and point me in the direction of the fridge to fix it myself. I might have one drink and the drinks I make myself are typically pretty weak. I'm just not a big drinker and end up drinking sodas all night.

The rest of the evening and subsequent evenings which begin earlier and earlier each day, pan out pretty much the same. Scotch, scotch, scotch. Drunk, drunk, drunk. At first it's kind of fun, but then it begins to wear.

My parents have always had lots of friends, and have always been heavy drinkers. When my sister and I were little the party was always at our house. My sister and I would entertain the children of their friends in the playroom in our basement while upstairs the grown ups drank, smoked and played cards all night. They had a special fridge that was always stocked with beer in case people stopped over, and people always stopped over.

When my father called my mother in the evenings to see if she needed him to pick up anything on his way home from work, it was never milk or eggs that she needed. She'd tell him that we were almost out of beer and he'd bring home a 12-pack.

Now that I'm thinking of these things, I'm reminded that my little sister's first word was "beer". No kidding.

I don't know when they made the leap from beer to scotch. They still keep the party fridge stocked with beer, but they seem to have switched exclusively to scotch. In the four nights we spent with them I watched the two of them go through about half a liter every evening. It scared me. They got sloshy, sloppy drunk and I don't remember things ever being quite this bad. Maybe it's just more noticeable since I don't see them very often. Not to be a bummer or anything, but it was upsetting. So upsetting in fact that I'm trying to figure out how to or whether or not to say something to them about it. They are clearly out of control.

Also upsetting... going to the movies in The Villages. Although my folks opted out of going to the movies with us, and for those of you who read the previous post, they actually treated us like high-schoolers and not middle-schoolers and let us borrow their car and have an evening out alone. They may as well have come along because it was like they were with us anyway as everyone in The Villages is exactly alike; old and WASP'y. Even the Jews that live there are WASP'y and there are no brown people, other than those WASP'y persons who have acquired leathery tans. It's creepy. Like Stepford for fogies.

Anyhoo...Imagine a sold out movie theater, crowded with row after row of your annoying, elderly parents.

It's difficult to describe that particular kind of shrill squawking and slow moving pace, but I have never seen such a fuss over finding a seat at a movie theater (or theatre to satisfy those with a discerning vocabulary - I'm talking to you Step Right Up). Wake up white people! Sit down and shut the hell up before I grab that four-pronged cane and shove it up your flabby ass. Sit down already. Four pronger.

The lady who finally stopped squawking and sat next to me, looked exactly like my mother and every other Villager woman. Tanned with short salt and pepper frosted hair, khaki or white Bermuda length pleated shorts and a fluorescent hued t-shirt with a sparkly, tropical-themed appliqué. Shit brown Naturalizer sandals with over sized stitching. With or without socks.

This woman, who was not my mother, hummed all though the trailers and film, just like my mother. What's up with moms and all the goddamned humming? Does your mother hum? My mom does. It's irritating right? I wanted to shush this lady, but she reminded me too much of my mother and it didn't feel right. I usually say something asshole-ishly passive aggressive to my mother when she hums like, "Did you say something? I didn't hear you. I was trying to listen to this song."

The Memorial Day visit ended only scant moments before I lost my mind completely, although it was a close call when I got into a 15 minute argument with my mother during dinner on Monday night over the pronunciation of Bethesda. Yes. The city in Maryland. She kept calling it Bethesda-la. I do not know how the subject came up, but I said the same of the city and my mother corrected me.

Me: Something, something, Bethesda.

Mom: Bethesda-la.

Me: No Mom, it's Bethesda.

Mom: Bethesda-la.

Me: I'm pretty sure Mom. It's Bethesda.

Mom: No honey. (Louder) It's Beth-ES-Da-La.

Me: It doesn't matter how slow and loud you say it Mom. It's still Bethesda.

Mom: Bethesda-LA

Me: I got it. You're wrong.

And so on... I'm glad to be home, where everyone is sober, nobody hums and I am always right and don't have to feel guilty about it.

In order to get here we had to take a flight from Orlando. Any flight going anywhere from Orlando Florida is hereby referred to as The Screamin' Baby Express. Unfortunately no one is too short to ride this ride. It's filled to the brim with tired little monsters of all ages, shapes and sizes. They are cranky, dirty and disappointed little loud mouthed shits. The children suck too.

Seriously, who are you assholes that just let your kids scream and scream and scream on an airplane?


WendyB said...

I can't believe you didn't invite me to this family get-together!

Del-V said...

They have some very nice restaurants in Bethesdala.

Gwen said...

Oof. Sounds frustrating. Glad you're home and THAT'S over.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Good lord, there are some strong similarities bet. your family & mine! I'd also like to hear that story about your dad backing over your mom w/ the SUV!!!

r cubed said...

You're awesome at angry rants. Sorry to hear about your parents drinking though. Do you think saying something would help?

CDP said...

I live in Silver Spring, which is very close to Bethesdala, and I'm always correcting people who call it Silver SpringS...and they argue, despite the fact that I live there and might have an inside track on the town's name. Sounds like an excruciating trip, glad it's over.

Michelle said...

The argument with your mother is probably the best argument ever, just so damn funny! Glad you survived.

The Secretary said...

Sounds like my mom - we argue about what events I remember as a kid and she tells me I'm all wrong. But I'm not.

Step Right Up said...

It sounds like you had a lovely time! And yes, I am with you about people who just sit anywhere in public, besides maybe a park, that allow their children to scream or misbehave.

Churlita said...

I'm glad you're back at your sanctuary where you are always right. Where did you find your husband? I don't think I've even dated a guy who let me always be right, even though, inside, I know I am.

Renaissance Woman said...

Families are but only for a few minutes. :) Glad that you survived and that your mom did learn how to say the word correctly.

Leonesse said...

Wait. This can't be. You have completely described my parents. They never fought when we were growing up, now they drink to sloshed and argue about the most inane shit. Haven't seen them in about 4 years. Here's to about 40 more.

Some Guy said...

If it's any consolation, your suffering resulted in a hilarious post for the rest of us!

evil-e said...

I have been on that bus with the screaming kids....

Boy, sounds like a nice vacation.

Weeping Sore said...

My mother-in-law is the same as your Mom, only different. She has a similar urban mispronunciation disorder. She says Shula Vista instead of Chula Vista. And she prefers warm box wine to scotch. And uses a 4-tennis ball walker instead of a cane. Canes are for wussies.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

WendyB - sorry the golf cart only holds 2.

Del-V - I'm sure they do.

Gwen - oof indeed.

BSUWG - She says he only bumped her a little, but it knocked her down and she hit her head on the hatchback door. Exciting stuff.

R-cubed - mentioning their drunken sloppiness to them would probably make me feel better for about 10 seconds and then all hell would break loose.

CDP - you so understand me.

Michelle - We have similar arguments with similarly inane topics. I am always right and yet I never win.

Secret Sec - It's very frustrating, but every once in a while she'll throw me a bone and let me be right. I treasure those moments.

SRU - it was a weekend of extremes from the annoying very old to the annyoying very young. I was thankful throughout that I had my iPod with me to block them all out.

Churlita - I let him be right about many things as well - generally though we don't argue about my rightness - it is what it is.

Ren Woman - actually she never backed down from Bethesda-la, I graciously let it go and silently cursed her until I could vent about it on my blog. She probably has a blog and wrote about how her crazy daughter said Bethesda.

Leo - my parents are pleasant enough drunks - there's no arguing or ugliness, it's just hard to understand them and I worry about my mom falling and breaking her hip. Also they don't seem to see the scope of their drunkeness and continue to drive in this condition (hence the broken garage door screens).

Chris - thanks for stopping by - it warms my soul when my pain becomes a vehicle for laughter. Seriously, it's why I continue to write this crap.

Evil - when people at work asked me if I enjoyed my "vacation" it was very hard to say yes and let it drop. It didn't feel like a vacation although I went swimming a lot and came back with a bit of tan. It felt like work and much uptightness.

Weeping Sore - welcome to my blog and I've gotta say - great name. I imagine the tennis balls provide a very sporty look. There used to be an lady in my old apartment building who swathed her 4-pronger with a flowery candle ring. Klassy.

Utah Savage said...

This is the whole crux of the problem between parents or in laws and the "children" no matter how fucking old the "children" are. Once you have children of a certain grown up age, you seem to forget how you felt about your own parents and see yourself as "different" maybe "nicer" or "better" than your parents were, who you hated having to spend prolonged time with all your grown up life. Then it becomes perfectly OK for you to go spend ten days with your grown up kids, and you think they are so delighted every fucking second. Amnesia strikes elderly parents. And anyone with grandkids is an elderly parent no matter how hip and with it they are. Am I projecting? Maybe. I have the perspective of a woman who never was a mother and so I always identify with the daughter, no matter how much I might like the mother, who is after all a friend of mine. But would I want her to move in with me and park her ass in my place for ten days? Ten hours would tax my patience.

pistols at dawn said...

As a WASP from Bethesda currently living in said city, I'd like to hang out with your folks and talk about the only way I could hate Obama more is if he were a Mexican. Mexican Muslims would be the worst thing in the history of recorded time.

Circa scotch 5, that would go over like gangbusters.

dmarks said...

Pistols at Dawn: Yes. Lesbian golfing Mexican Muslims who refuse to drive SUV's and keep pet lizards in their houses.

Tara said...

Wow, where do I begin? Oh yeah, first off Welcome Back! We missed you!

I've looked all over Wal-Mart and JC Penney for sandals that are labeled "shit brown", but couldn't find any to that specification. ;)

If you are concerned about your parents drinking, you could try saying something. Test the waters.

Cayman said...

Amen Sister! I hate that flight. I want to smack the parents but I'm afraid the air marshal may get me.
It sounds like my world except the annoying 'rents are in Ft. Myers.
I'm just hoping that global warming will flood Florida so I don't have to visit anymore.

Purple Pigeon said...

jeez, sounds a fun trip all round!!

Parents, arguments, old people in cinemas and children on flights.... its like a specially crafted hell!

I know what you mean about old people in theatres. I went to see a musical recently, and the old woman sat next to me sang along to most os the songs (silly me for paying for a ticket to hear the professionals when i could have listened to her warble for free!) and say stuff like ''Oooh, its the phoenix!'' when they opened the curtains to reveal a giant egyptian sphinx. Good times.

Chris said...

Hmmm... My wife banned me from whiskey. Something about me turning into a drunken peckerhead every time the bottle was opened...

SkylersDad said...

This is blogging gold! Sorry you had to live through it just to entertain us tho...

And by the way, they switched from beer to scotch when their bladders got older and couldn't contain all the volume.

Alice said...

Absolutely fantastic post! I laughed. I cried. I have felt your pain. The only thing that saves me when I go home is escaping with my sister-in-law to Cold Stone Creamery where we shove waffle cones into our faces without the fear of 'comments'.

The Guv'ner said...

OK, i KNOW this whole entry in reality had to be like a slow torture, but honestly, Lady, it was worth it because I just laughed my entire ass off. There it goes now. My ass. Sans moi!

You poor, poor thing. And having visited older friends in Flori-duh I can concur, that is EXACTLY all they do down there - drive golf carts and drink themselves stupid!!

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Utah - in my case my parents practically beg us to come visit and mope about how much they miss me, but we really can only afford moneywise and timewie to squeeze it in once a year. Of course they are full of shit with their begging and moping because they have made the effort to come and vist us all of NEVER times.

Pistols - if you do it all slurry-like my dad would gladly include you in his morning foursome. Don't get too worked up there hee-haw - it's a golf thing.

Dmarks - That would totally freak my dad out.

Tara - you have to ask the clerk. Go ahead. Ask.
I probably will stick with my standard tactic of never saying anything to my parents about anything and continue to shove sunshine and rainbows up their asses and then vent about it later.

Cayman - hey - welcome to my blog! Ft Meyers is a hell pit. How ever do you endure it? It could be worse anyway - they could be coming to visit you at your place.

Pidge - Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. That old woman deserved a big old Shhhush!! My mother does her humming absent mindedly and I imagine other humming people are the same. Next time I'm going to do the Shhush and I think you should too ;)

Chris - She has your back man and you are wise to always take to heart the advice of your wife.

Skydad - I'm so glad that you were entertained! It wasn't all bad BTW. I mean I do love them even if they are annoying and I don't care how old you are there's nothing like a bear hug from your dad.

I hadn't considered bladder weakness as a reason for the switch. Interesting.

Alice - I laughed and cried too. I have my darling husband to share the moments of escape from the insanity. I don't know how I would survive these visits without him.

Guv! - Always happy to get you laughing - just returning the favor.

Linka72 said...

I went to utah once..with about 72 layovers..and every time I got on a different plane, I was seated next to a child..a screaming, piss smelling child.
I have a friend who gave birth to the female version of the devil and it seems that she just tunes the noise and misbehavior out..strange.
Good to see you back though!!

another good thing said...

Definitely sounds like a video worthy trip. Think of all the appreciation we may have gained for our own parents after that one.
Put those screamers on a plane to Bethesdala. I'll pay.

Leah said...

WOW! That so sounds like a visit with my parents! I don't get the humming thing either. My step-mom does it all the time and I am not quite sure what that comes from. It is rather annoying!

This was GREAT. Sorry to hear that your parents have not changed much on the drinking front. And WHAT was the deal with you dad running your mom over with his SUV! That can't be good.

SkippyMom said...

Okay...are mothers were seperated at birth...

The scotch? The parties? Um...been there....Hey! Did you ever have the enjoyable event of having to ride home on the floor in the back of the Buick when your parents dragged you out to THEIR friends house for a rare party?

I seriously don't know how I wasn't killed by FDUI {FatherDUI}...when I was young...

But the humming? What the hell is up with that? My mother hums when she is annoyed...and it is TUNELESS...completely TUNELESS....I gave up in her late 60's ...and just hum back.

She gets the hint.

So, cousin, when we getting together. I have scotch! [NOT!]

[Actually my parents went from Beer for Dad to Vodka for him...and Mom went from Wine to Rum for her....gah!]

SkippyMom said...

Oh, have to add...Mom has the pronunciation deficit....

Vanilla [as in Ice Cream] is pronounced Vaniller....I am not kidding.

Seems we have a lot of cousins on here...giggle...I thought I was the only one that put up with parents like this.

I think I may have to copy your post and mail it to my Mom as "Something funny I read" and see if she gets the freakin' hint.

You are brilliant! Hugs!

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Skippy - Hi! Thanks for visiting - I'm glad to give you a 2am giggle. We all need that sometimes.

It's not outside of the realm of possibility that you are my sister.

Is there any way you can give me the secret handshake so that I might check out your blog?