January 20, 2022

SEES-ters PART 2: the repetitive question edition, old age, & squid games visual

Joe's oldest brother is somewhat socially awkward. He lives in Corpus Christi, Texas with his dog and teaches taekwondo. Joe once told me that this brother is a minimalist and prefers to be on his own. He had a difficult young adult life and if this is his happy place, power to him. 

Having a conversation with him was like pulling teeth. I admit, we all got a chuckle at how awkward it was. It didn't help when Ann asked him if he remembered that our mother and his mother set them up on a date when Ann was like 12. The two of them went on a bike ride on a trail together and then he bought her fries. 

The horrors, both that our mother would do this and that Ann grilled a man about it despite the fact that he had few words and no memory of it. Afterwards when Ann was prattling on in the car about how odd he was (broken record mode -she COULDN'T LET IT GO), I finally piped up with I THINK CHATTING WITH PEOPLE IS JUST OUTSIDE HIS COMFORT ZONE. 


Marie chose a playlist that included Alana Morrissette. I like a lot of music and I am terrible at knowing the names of songs and artists, but I will tell you that I CANNOT stand Alana. At all. I texted Coach that if another of her songs came on, there would be bloodshed. Happy to report, no bloodshed, even though most of the playlist was equally grating - but because I have something akin to instant amnesia when it comes to music, I can't remember what else played. I'm taking another bow here at my attempt to be a good passenger.  


Marie drove the whole way to MN from Milwaukee. 5 hours. I offered to drive, but it was Marie's car, and she said she was going to drive. 

Ann offered to drive. Again, Marie said she was fine driving. Then Ann slipped into BRM. Ann asking if Marie wanted her to drive popped up at regular intervals on the way there, and then it became A NON-STOP QUESION FEST on the way home, probably because there was a lot of snow in Minnesota. Marie is NOT a relaxed driver on clear roads, so the snow added an element of stress. 

She didn't have the radio on for HOURS because of the snow, even when there was no more snow. Let's all pause and consider this please. 

Not sure which was worse, her playlist or silence. 

Even when the roads were clear, she spent a much longer time than necessary in the far right lane going around 39 MPH. At one point, she was upset because she hated driving behind a semi. She was right behind his rear left wheel, but a lane over. I wanted to scream:  THEN ACCELERATE AND PASS HIM. But, alas, I didn't.

I really don't want to complain because I cannot drive long distances without falling asleep. I had no where to be, so I was like WHATEV - glad she is fine driving (even thought I would've totally agreed to take a shift), but the roads were improving as we put MN behind us. At any rate, it is my experience that when someone insists that they want to drive and it is her car - the constant questioning should probably end. 

I swear that every 25 minutes Ann called from the backseat ARE YOU SURE YOU DON'T WANT ME TO DRIVE? (25 min later) ARE YOU OK DRVING? (25 min later) MARIE, WHY DON'T YOU PULL OVER AND LET ME DRIVE?  (insert image of me running my hand across the dashboard in search of the 'eject-rear-passenger' button).

Each time, Marie called back to her:  NO, I'M FINE. 

I'm sorry I didn't note exactly how many times Ann asked. That would've passed the time, and been an interesting bit of evidence. Trust me, EXCESSIVE. 

When we pulled into Marie's garage, I thanked her for driving. 

Ann:  WELLL, I TOLD YOU I'D DRIVE. (in a whiney tone)



Allow me to offer praise for the seating arrangement though, because Ann did offer to let me sit in the front seat and since I am a good head taller than her and extra leg room is key to my comfort, that was appreciated. 


Totally unrelated, but I have no photos
 to share here. So, speaking of TV . . .
Ed cannot wear this great jacket I
bought him a few years ago, because when
 he wears it everyone thinks it is
because he is a Squid Games fan. 

The instant we were in our room at Embassy Suites, Ann put on the TV. I guess a meal with pleasant conversation wasn't on the agenda. I guess we'd just been in the car together for HOURS. We were eating Chipotle for dinner at the little table inches from the TV. Ann chose Law and Order, Special Victims Unit. It was a disturbing episode about child molestation and Marie was like OH, THIS IS UPSETTING TO WATCH. 


Squid games image
compliments of
Now, that seemed odd. Ann went on to say that she loves ALL Dick Wolf shows and she and her nurse friends discuss the shows every day at work. 

Ann releases a grunt every 40 seconds or so. It's ALMOST  a throat clearing thing, but it's different. Her grunt was in prevalent during the TV watching. It took EVERYTHING in my power not to shout ask her kindly to STOP DOING THAT. 


My sisters decided to call our folks to fill them in on the wake. After the call, they both fussed over Mom. 


Ann:  I KNOW. 


Here they both tried to convince me that Mom is losing her marbles. She can't remember some of the grandkids' names. (well, there are a lot of them, and I can't remember my own kids' names at times). She didn't remember that a chunk of Pat's family went to the no-wake-lake house to quarantine because they had covid. (she was probably distracted and not fully attending to all that Pat had to say, I mean - there's a first for everything). 

Thing One and Thing Two did NOT like that I wasn't concerned about Mom's memory. I was like, hey, when she gets lost on the 2 minute drive home from the grocery store, we've got problems. 

On the drive home, they called her again. When we hung up, one said MOM AND DAD ARE JUST ACTING SO OLD LATELY. The other concurred. 


One more part to this series, I will post it on Monday. It includes a hilarious Mini remark. Get excited. Anyone experience an awkward conversation at a wake? Any Alana fans here? What music would make you want to jump from a moving car? Would you have hijacked the car and forced Marie out of the driver's seat? Do tell. 


Beth Cotell said...

I absolutely hate small talk! I'm the worst at it! The worst. I also hate driving on the interstate and would have also been in the right lane the entire time. HOWEVER, if someone consistently offered to drive I would be like YES! HERE ARE THE KEYS!

I want to commend you on your efforts with your sisters. It sounds like you were on your best behavior to keep things peaceful with your sees-ters. I think Joe would have appreciated that!

Pat Birnie said...

You are a hero for surviving this drive without inflicting personal injury. That throat clearing/grunt alone would have sent me over the edge. Also driving right behind the wheel of a semi. I would have screamed ‘just pass him!!’ for sure. I feel like I’m a good driver and not patient of over cautious drivers.

me said...

I have no Rod Stewart rule - any song comes of his comes on the radio - must switch the station. It sounds like you survived with grace on your trip!

Busy Bee Suz said...

The offering to drive every 25 minutes would make me go insane. How did you not fly off the handle and tell her to shut her pie hole?
I actually DO like Alana! Thanks for hurting my feelings.
Kidding. She's not for everyone.

The awkward guy who doesn't like to talk and then your sister WANTING to talk to him. READ THE ROOM. Goodness. Leave the guy alone, he's still traumatized from his date with you 100 years ago. LOL

You get a gold star for spending that much time with them.

Ernie said...

Beth - I felt like it was easy to bring up a few fun old memories if things were awkward at the wake. I told him that I'd visited our families' favorite pizza place when Lad was in school for one year in Davenport. That's where I got my Ernie nickname thanks to my dad's bad handwriting. He slipped a note to the waitress so they'd sing happy birthday to me. This brother remembered the pizza place and remembered everyone calling me Ernie, but he didn't remember the night when I got my nickname.

I was really surprised that we didn't share the driving duties. Maybe she or her husband didn't want anyone else driving their car.

Ernie said...

Pat - There was a lot of me biting my tongue, because they don't enjoy my input usually. I felt it was best if I take more of a spectator role in our time together. My kids were very entertained by my stories when I got home.

I would not have hesitated to pass that truck. Again, I just sat and stared.

The throat noises were not audible when we were in the car - thankfully. No idea what that is all about.

I do feel like overall it went well and there were no physical or verbal disputes. Victory.

Ernie said...

me - Ah, Rod Stewart, huh. I used to enjoy him when I was in high school or college. He isn't someone that I ask Alexa to play now, so I think that means we can road trip together one day without incident.

Thanks, I did lots of observing. They are fairly entertaining.

Ernie said...

Suz - Ann is nothing if not a pest. When I babysit, I have a canned response for kids who repeat the same thing over and over: I WANNA GO OUTSIDE (on repeat) for instance will lead me to say: HEY, TOO MANY TIMES. SAY IT ONCE. THEN WAIT. So when I told my kids about I CAN DRIVE, WANT ME TO DRIVE, etc. My kids asked me how I didn't holler at her: TOO MANY TIMES! My offspring use TOO MANY TIMES back at me when I remind them to do something. It's become a funny family joke.

Alana? OK. I find her sort of whiney, but that's just me.

My sister asking this guy if he remembers their preteen date made my eyebrows meet my hairline. Huh?

I do not spend a lot of time with them, so this was an adventure. They were making plans on the drive to go out east to see Marie's son and Ann's daughter because they are both near one another. A LONG time ago, I would've felt left out. I spent a lot of time trying to be accepted by them. I see things clearer now and that is no longer my goal.

Mostly it was fine. They asked about Harry and Larry and I filled them in on what I know. Then Ann made me want to punch her when she asked if the boys had been sexually abused. SHE'D ALREADY ASKED ME THAT WHEN WE SAID THEY WERE MOVING IN AND THEN AGAIN LATER. I said no each time. What on earth? The answer is still NO.

Kara said...

I do like Alanis. I think she has a great voice. I went to one of her shows on Valentine's Day, 1996. It was a smaller show, in a college gym. It was great!

Your sisters seem to act like they're in their 70's, not 50's.

Ernie said...

Kara - Look at me, I didn't even know her real name. I wish I remember the other songs on that playlist. She said it was the one that their youngest and she and her husband could agree on. This reminds me that I still have to share the details of a concert Coach and I attended on New Year's Eve. Shocking, A, that we had plans on NYE and B. that it was a concert. A small venue with a singer you enjoy - what's better?

This is exactly what Delilah and I were discussing the other night. They have aged so much. Honestly, Marie who is 53 is the one who seems SO OLD. Ann is more pesky than she is old, but since she gets kind of locked into her preconceived notions of things, it does age her. I guess. Like let go of all that 'should be.' She's a trip. Delilah also saw the photos of my sisters and Joe's family members. Ed was like, why do your sisters look 20 years older than you?

Busy Bee Suz said...

You should refer to Ann as TOO MANY TIMES from here on out.

Anonymous said...

For me, I would be happy if I never heard anything from Frozen ever again. My stepdaughter was the target age for Frozen when it first came out and I didn't mind it at first, but it got to be too much of a thing. I've been keeping my kid's exposure to Disney in general and Frozen in particular as low as possible, which is more work than you'd think in this day and age.

Also on the NO list is the "Somebody I Used to Know" song that was so overplayed when it came out. Because every time I hear it, I get so irritated at the guy for being a whiny stalker.

Kari said...

I am laughing so hard at you repeatedly misspelling Alanis' name.

After reading about your interactions with your sisters, my eye is twitching and I need a stiff drink.

They actually remind me of the two old men who sat up in the Muppet Show theater. I had to look up their names...Statler and Waldorf.

Only, the two old men are likely funnier.

Ernie said...

Suz- as nicknames go . . . sge could do a lot worse. Ha!

Ernie said...

Anonymous- I love my morning news program. The broadcasters are hilarious and they have great chemistry. I just emailed today and begged them to stop running the same commercials. There is one for Frozen. On ice? It plays CONSTANTLY. Regardless THAT song. It cuts through my nerves. They share favorite emails on the air so I wonder if mine will make the cut.

Ernie said...

Kari- par for the course me not knowing Alanis' real name. I wonder if there is a word for what is wrong with me . . . beyond clueless.

YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS . . . in my next post I refer to my sisters as well known duos. I was trying to think of a different duo to jazz it up and I kept coming back to the old men in the muppets' box. I did not use them because they are men AND they are funny. But how hilarious that we had the same thought.

I'm thinking they would be a perfect pair to use as a secondary conflict in a movie or book. Like Marie telling a waitress how she prefers to drink water that isn't cold. And Ann asking random people how many siblings they have. I might be on to something here. Can you say jackpot?

Ally Bean said...

I'm laughing here which may or may not be the appropriate response to this. You have the patience of Job-- and then some. I love your line: "Not sure which was worse, her playlist or silence." Have been in that exact situation. Disturbing to recall it. As for your Mother getting older... well, yes. Why do they want her to be worse off than she is? What's the angle?

Ernie said...

Ally - Yes, I think laughing at this is appropriate. I feel like if I don't laugh here, I lose my mind. Oh, the playlist. Again, if she was willing to drive then I didn't mind letting her control the tunes, or the lack thereof. Still, uncomfortable. I think my sisters still rely on my mother for so much, that they can't bear the thought of her aging and becoming forgetful. I like to think I'm more independent and therefore more willing to accept the inevitable.