January 24, 2022

sees-TAS part 3: the one when Mini's promise makes me chortle

EDITING TO ADD:  I am cry-laughing. I shared with Mini that I spelled Alanis' name wrong in my last post. Then I explained why she was even mentioned. Mini didn't know at first who Alanis was. I began destroying singing:  IT'S LIKE RAINNNN ON MY WEDDING DAY. 


This is what it's like to have raised children who are bright. I promptly pointed at her and sang (again with the singing - not my strong suit) the name of one of the colleges that she was accepted to. Her college application process and such will follow the post about her issues, because I want you to get the full story. 


I told my sees-TAS that I'd take the pullout in the extra room of the hotel. They could each have a bed in the bedroom. They left the room for a minute in search of a bar. I was already in my jammies. They offered to bring me a drink, but I took a pass. When I crawled into the pullout, I called Mini. She was babysitting in my place in the morning. Fortunately it was exam week,  and she has high enough grades that exams were optional - HOORARY, automatic babysitting sub. I filled her in on how things were going, reminded her that she had to WAKE up in the morning *if you aren't sensing foreshadowing here, think twice.* When I told her how her aunts are worried that Nana is getting forgetful, she vowed to never fuss over whether or not I'm acting or getting old.


Needless to say, I almost died by chortle. 

Emily and Mamie Baldwin (elderly sisters from the TV show the Waltons who concocted bootleg and called it 'the Recipe') came back to the room, bummed because the bar was closed. Marie was upset, she'd meant to pack a bottle of wine. They're a barrel of laughs sober, I can only imagine the fun we'd have had if we'd all gotten tipsy. 

Once they shuffled past into the bedroom, I continued my chat with Mini. I told her about how I'd said something funny and both my travel buddies died laughing because they are so easily entertained. 



Remember when I said I went shopping a
few days after I got back and spent $600.
 Well, this is what $600 of groceries looks
 like. I had already taken the produce
from the top of the heap and put it on
 the conveyor belt - it was threatening
 to slide off the cart. 

Me:  YES.

She was blown away. She said she'd gotten up during the night and couldn't figure out why she heard water running. I told her Coach and I keep one plugged in every night. More astonishment. 

Well, it helps me drown out my kids pounding around late or waking up early to get to the golf course. My sleep habits were so curious to her. AND you bring it with you places?  Will the amusement never end? 

Hey, do you know how many college visits or dancing competitions or PT courses  I've attended and suffered from loud hotel neighbors? Don't knock it till you try it. 


Before the funeral, my elderly-wanna-be buddies were wondering about the fact that the church where the funeral was being held was a Lutheran Church instead of a Catholic Church. We know Joe was raised Catholic, since we grew up with him. As one would imagine, there was some twittering back and forth about this. I wonder why? I wonder when? 

Me (internally):  I WONDER WHY I DON'T CARE?


Just before we left the luncheon, Ann told Mike to tell the other brother, who stayed back in Colorado to care for Johnny (my best bud who suffered a TBI when we were kids), that we said hello. Mike said he would, but Pete doesn't talk to him. 

I told Cagney and Lacey that Joe had told me that at Warren's (their dad who died just shy of his 91st bday) funeral last year, not all of the brothers were talking. My how-are-we-related siblings were very upset by this. 

I realized later that I could've compared it to when Reg was born and Ann didn't speak to me for a solid year. She had a 9 year old named Reg who had a different last name. She was BEYOND mad that I used the same name. Nevermind that she also used our maiden name for her firstborn and then told me I couldn't use it as a name for one of my kids. Nevermind further that Reg had been one of my favorite names for decades and THIS WAS MY FOURTH SON. Someday over a glass of wine, I will share bore any of you who are interested the challenges I faced getting on the same page as Coach on baby names. But it just so happened that Reg was one of his favorite TOO. 

Yo, control freak of the universe - you can't claim all the names.  

She found it unfathomable that a few of the brothers weren't speaking. It is sad, especially now that Joe is dead. But hey there, Ann, can I get you a pot and a kettle? 


Marie was concerned that during our conversation at the luncheon Mike referred to his father as Warren. She 'reported' this back to our mother (insert image of me in the passenger seat listening to the Bluetooth call and EYE-ROLLING galore here . . . who care-za?). I let her know that Joe used to call their dad Warren when he was telling me a story about him too. Maybe that was just something they did when Warren got older. Who knows? Why are we reading into everything? There's a song Drizella and Anastasia need to listen to from the 80's, it's called RELAX. 


Ann was perplexed at how Mike could have married his wife, who he met in Japan. "BUT THEY DIDN'T EVEN SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE."



After the funeral, Ann said to us:  I DIDN'T KNOW JOE WAS SO GOOD. 

The 3 eulogies were filled with impressive stories of all that he did.

I didn't know all that he was involved in either, but I wasn't surprised. I knew he was an amazing human. To know him was to know that he was great and to sense that he was going the extra mile in everything that he did. He was brutally honest. Told people stuff even if it ticked them off. Was a chief in the Air Force. He'd retired recently after 37 years. A fellow Air Force man explained that some people thought Joe was crazy, but he considered him one step shy of crazy:  he was passionate. The pastor of the Lutheran (oh, ahh - Luth-er-an) church talked about how Joe and his wife had been so helpful whenever a need had arisen for a small group of refugees in the area. Eventually, Joe and his wife set up a $10,000 fund so that the pastor wouldn't feel like she had to keep asking for help. It was available to her as needed. 


On the long-ass, snowy drive home, where I observed Marie sit closer to the steering wheel than I thought was humanly possible, I read my book. How great that there was no music to distract me? It got dark fast and I turned on the light on my phone. I was careful to keep my light tucked into my book so that it wouldn't shine in Marie's face or distract her in any way. 

This is me, under my coat, backwards.
Demonstrating the way I sat in the car in
 order to read. I apologize for not posing
 for this photo in my car. I invite
 you to use your imagination. 
Eventually Marie snapped at me to turn my light off without warning. " ENOUGH." If they are going on 80, then apparently I'm going on 9. 

I really wanted to read my book because: 

A. I rarely have time to just sit and read.

B. This book is SO long that I wanted to read whenever possible. 

I lived up to my 9 year old station in life (in their eyes) and I flipped my coat around and put my hood over my face and turned on my light. CAN YOU SEE THE LIGHT NOW? IS THIS OK?

My coat-tent was approved and I almost suffocated during that close to 2 hour stretch, but I got a ton of reading done. 


In the age of genetic testing for this and that, I should probably test to see if we are indeed related. It occurs to me that we all started out so similar. We wore footie pajamas, watched the same Donny and Marie Osmond Variety Shows, ate the same non-adventurous diet, enjoyed coloring books, Irish danced, stayed out of trouble at school. Do you have siblings or kids? Do you find that you are SO different from your sibs? If so, what do you attribute it to? Do you think personality traits like outgoing or shy are learned or genetic? I'm curious. Don't leave me wondering. 

Next time:  back to my promised list of Mini's issues. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll wonder why. 


Beth Cotell said...

My brother and I are polar opposites even though we are only 11 months apart in age. I always say nature is stronger than nurture.

Nicole MacPherson said...

I have two brothers, and the three of us are so different that I kind of wonder how it even happened that we are related. I'm not sure you could get three more different people.

Sounds like it was quite the drive! I don't have a sound machine but I do sleep with ear plugs. Kids up at all hours, it's vital!

Ally Bean said...

I remember the sisters on the Waltons with "the recipe." That's a charming memory so thanks for tossing that into this post.

As for your question: I WONDER WHY I DON'T CARE? My guess is that you're emotionally more stable than they are so you see their behaviors from a more removed perspective. I feel that way sometimes, aware of but indifferent to how some people consistently behave around me.

No siblings. I think we're each born with a tendency to be extroverts or introverted, but after that it's all about your environment as to how much you lean one way or another. Both are good, but when siblings lean too far one way or the other, they don't seem to get along. Ever. An observation

ccr in MA said...

After reading about your sisters, I find myself (ironically) humming the Sisters song from White Christmas. "Sisters, sisters, never were there such devoted sisters..."

Pat Birnie said...

I’m one of 5 kids, we all get along well and are fairly similar- except one sister who has a lot of different ideas. We all accept her for who she is, and sometimes marvel at the differences and wonder who her parents were! Joe does sound amazing. Sad that he is gone so soon.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my. You had me giggling all through this post with your funny one-liners. There's a song Drizella and Anastasia need to listen to from the 80's, it's called RELAX. HA!!! GOLD!!

I really wish your sisters had found some wine; they would be even MORE enjoyable. They really are old before their time and that is just a pity.

I can't wait to hear about Mini's college choice! WOOT WOOT. Will you guys call me when we're both old so we can go clubbing together?

My brother was so young when he passed away and had been sick for several years, but I do belive we both have a wicked/sick sense of humor. He LIVED to make people laugh; he was a true clown, so yes, we are similar. Of course as kids, he tortured me, but as we were getting older he was appreciteing me more.

Laughing at you trying to read your book in the car. YOU are hilarious.

Joe indeed was an amazing human; our world needs more people like him.

Kara said...

I find myself believing more and more in how birth order effects personality. I am the oldest and was held to more responsibilities than the ones younger than me (even though they weren't that much younger). As a result, I'm more independent and not afraid to tell people what I think. My oldest kid is probably the same.

I can't read in a car, I'll get motion sickness. I prefer to drive, to be honest. I'm a terrible front seat driver. I'm constantly pushing the imaginary brakes when I'm not driving.

Anonymous said...

I was so excited for the seesta stories! And they do not disappoint! The coat tent had me laughing out loud. As someone who spent several days trying to read a book that I was really into, I’m glad you got to read, and that you didn’t suffocate so that you could continue to entertain us.

I have one brother who is very different from me, he’s lazy and has a victim complex. I am driven and outspoken. I tell my husband that if we were not siblings, he is not someone who I would ever choose to spend time with. And that probably sounds really mean, but his personality and life choices irritate me. I would say that some of it may be that we had very different teenage/early adult experiences, but my mom says he has always been helpless while I’ve always been independent, since we were toddlers. So it’s probably mostly inborn personality.

Jenny in WV said...

My sister and I are very different. She's tall and thin and I'm...umm.. not. Our personalities are also completely different. Like anonymous above, my sibling is not someone I would likely choose to hang out with.

Sometimes keep your head down and mouth shut is the best option. It seems like you are pretty good at that Ernie.

I'm LOLing at "Me (internally): I WONDER WHY I DON'T CARE?".

me said...

I'm one of 10, and my twin sister and I were the shy ones. Most of my siblings are outgoing and somewhat social. They'd claim that we were shy because we were the babies and were spoiled. ;)
Now I'm still awkward but I am bolder about some situations because I'm over 40 and just don't give a hoot about my appearance or the impression I make. But I think most of the personality thing is born - it takes work to overcome natural shyness.

Most of my kids are extroverted or at least a nice balance between quiet and outgoing. Only one got cursed with my shyness and my husband's social anxiety.

me said...

By any chance did you listen to "Let's Pretend" records when you were little? ...You'll wonder why until the very end...?

Ernie said...

Beth - Yes, my kids who took AP Psych used to use that lingo: nature vs nurture.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I guess I'm not alone. My kids know if they really want to get under my skin they will accuse me of behaving like Ann. Yowza.

When all the kids used to caddy there were always LOUD early morning disputes about caddy shirts and caddy towels. God help the people who wake me up. I have a sound machine in most of my bedrooms now because the babies then don't hear the other babies cry.

Ernie said...

Ally - Those two old women on the Waltons were so funny. Oh, how I loved that show. Fun fact, when my brother Pat and I were studying abroad, we staying in a flat in London with other students that we'd met while traveling. When we went to bed in their living room, they all called out good night, and I said GOOD NIGHT, JOHN BOY. It fell flat. Pat almost combusted from laughing at my overly comfortable attempt to joke with them. AWKWARD. I was like, WAIT, HOW DO PEOPLE OUR AGE NOT GET THAT REFERENCE?

I'd say there is a lot of leaning by siblings in my family - lots of the leaning also tends to be leaning ON my parents and in my estimation that has lead to some codependency . . . which to me means that, yes I'm more emotionally stable.

Ernie said...

ccr - I haven't seen White Christmas in years . . . I need to see that one again. I'm not familiar with that song, but my sisters are pretty devoted to each other.

Ernie said...

Pat - I'm the black sheep - like your one sister. Is she the middle like me? In my family (pardon me if this is repetitive) it is Ann, Marie, me, Pat, then Mike. Middle, and the last girl before the first born son in an Irish family. Double whammie. It's OK, I feel like my position in the family made me who I am. I think my sisters would say that I have 'ideas' too, like when I suggested we not continue to draw names for Christmas. Half the time it was just a gift card exchange. That seemed silly. Nice that you all make space for her, despite her differences.

Ernie said...

Pat - AND, yes, it is truly heart breaking that Joe is gone so soon. He and Gina and their girls were really incredibly close and just an amazing family. It hurts to see them without him. He was so central to everything and now a baby that will never know him. Joe and I had connected over the past 5 or 6 years (beyond the childhood memories) and I feel like we were just getting warmed up. So many conversations and shared times were up and coming, if that makes sense. We lived in different states, but we hoped to get together again soon. I never would've thought that we'd run out of time. I've got some ideas brewing about how to honor his memory. Keep you posted.

Ernie said...

Suz - I'm so glad you got some giggles out of my sisterly adventure. I really think a movie can be made with the two of them in the background twittering about this or that.

We WILL definitely call you to go clubbing with us. She was killing me on the phone that night. I went from crying about how sad the wake was to busting a gut. Then my sisters parading past my pull out bed out in search of wine was entertaining, not as entertaining as it would've been if they'd have come back tipsy and loosened up.

Delilah is older than Ann and she is like YOUR SISTERS ACT SO OLD. I think Marie acts older than either of them. Ann is more controlling than she is ancient. I've run into Marie's college roommate 'Mary' out at Creighton. Mary's daughter is there. She still acts hip and fun and I wonder if she pauses when she spends time with Marie and thinks SHEESH, WHAT HAPPENED SINCE COLLEGE? They don't see each other often because of long distance.

I can only imagine the looks the two of them gave each other when I decided to rebel and read under my coat-tent.

Ah, nothing like a shared sense of humor to form a great sibling bond. So very sorry that his time to continue that bond was so short. So sad.

Yes, how can we grow more people like Joe. From the responses on FB, he really did impact so many young people in his community who will undoubtedly pass on his charitable ways.

Ernie said...

Kara - I once listened to a lecture on birth order and it was SO interesting. I always complained about my place in the family because each sibling had a great buddy, and it wasn't me. Looking back, that situation helped shape me. All good.

Maybe you just haven't tried reading under a winter coat? I would sometimes get sick when I'd try to read in a car. Thank goodness I've gotten over that. By the way, you and Coach TWINNING. Lawdy, that man better not try to sit in the front seat when I drive.

Ernie said...

AM- Glad to have provided you with entertainment. I literally sat there, BORED TO TEARS and debated WILL I FLIP MY COAT AND DEAL WITH ANY COMPALINTS THAT FOLLOW? DANG IT, YES I WILL. I'm sure the two of them think I'm crazy . . . but I wasn't the one not playing the radio or badgering to take the next turn at driving from the back seat.

It is so incredibly interesting that two people can be so different. I look at Lad sometimes and wonder if we'd been at a different school or if we'd not been too hard on him, if he'd have had an easier time or been less self conscious. I still remember dropping him off for his first day of high school. JUST BE YOURSELF. YOU'LL MAKE FRIENDS. I just don't think he could, sadly.

Ernie said...

Jenny - That seems to be the consensus here - not all siblings are all that alike. So interesting.

I can keep my head down and my mouth shut, but that is not my factory setting. It take effort. I do think Ann was trying too. Otherwise she would've called my blog writing WEIRD.

Marie went into full on exasperated drama mode at the hotel because she checked her work email and was like THIS CLIENT, . . . WANTS PAPERS THAT HE SIGNED LAST TIME. . . BUT HE DIDN'T SIGN ANYHING - IT WAS JUST A CONSULT. I just looked at her and was like: THEN JUST TELL HIM THAT. She seems to enjoy getting fired up for an audience. I think Ann and my mom usually serve as her audience. I just can't buy in. I'm like HMM, DOESN'T SEEM WORTH GETTING UNDIES IN A BUNCH.

Ernie said...

me - You had me at 10 kids . . . TEN. Wow. That's a heck of a lot of siblings. I do think birth order plays a roll. And you had a twin. This just sounds so fun. I babysat for a family with 5 girls, but they had 4 girls for about 6 years before the 5th one came along. The 3rd and 4th girls were twins and they were so, so shy. I think being twins got them lots of unwanted attention.

I did not listen to the Let's Pretend records, as far as memory serves.