Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Late Night Hijinks

…and other ways to annoy your offspring.

Our first couple of nights at the folks’ place were pretty quiet, despite my constant seething about Tam being profiled at the big W (see previous post). Once the folks toddled off to bed, Tam and I were on our own, sitting in our tent trailer, puttering around, talking about stuff we needed to do to get the place in shape. The sky was killer blue at twilight and if the bugs hadn’t been so obnoxious, we would have been out there, but they were, so we weren’t.

Then Spawn arrived and her first night was boring for us. She headed off to her spot in the air-conditioned-yet-bathroom-less basement way too early, claiming she was wiped from her busy weekend. Middle Minion also went to bed early, but we weren’t sure exactly where he had been offered space, so we couldn’t do much about that.

However, Spawn was a prime target. The night deepened and Tam and I were in, um, high spirits and decided to pay her a visit. Ok, first of all, I just want to say this was all Tam’s idea. She started it, I just went along with it. Because it sounded like fun.

My mother has these little LED solar powered lights all over the place. Most of them are in buckets; big bouquets of lights illuminating plastic 5-gallon buckets. Not romantic, but my mother insists it is practical. If she wants to move them around, all she needs to do is grab one from the bucket (or pick up the whole kit and caboodle) and take them to wherever she needs them. Personally, I think she should just stake them into the ground, because she can still pull them up and use them wherever she wants, but I am an THE idiot-child and cannot be heard.

That night, Tam and I each grabbed a light from a bucket and headed down the stairs to the windows near Spawn’s room. Ducking down, we waved the lights near the windows and made “oooooh” noises.

Because we’re that awesome!

However, we were not awesome enough to be heard over her computer’s music program, so I attempted to gain her attention by tossing small pebbles at the window. That did not work, because I throw like a girl. Actually, I throw like a blind girl. A blind girl with no hands or sense of direction. Ok, I missed. Every. Damn. Time.

Tam was giggling like a small child and I was being eaten by mosquitoes, so I figured, “Fuck this,” and I stepped onto the porch and rattled the door knob. While I was rattling around, Tam said, “Oh, no! Your light isn’t working!” Sure enough, it had gone out. Right about then, Spawn opened the door.
“Boo!” I said, “My light stopped working. Did we scare you?”
“What? No, not really. What are you doing?”
“Ooooh!” Tam said, standing up and waving her light, which flickered off and on. “Oh, look,” she said, “my light isn’t working either.”
“You two need to go to bed.”
“Yeah, I suppose. We were going to go scare your brother, but now that our lights aren’t working, what’s the point?” I had placed my light on my shoulder as I talked to her.
Tam piped up, “Hey! You’re light’s working now!”
I brought the light forward just in time to watch it blink out. Nuts. We bid Spawn good night and headed back to the trailer. As we passed another window, we realized the lights were working just fine again. Spawn had gone to the other door and was securing it (suspicious child that she is), so we waved our lights and made the spooky noises and wandered into night. It was while we were heading to the stairs that Tam grabbed my arm and started laughing like a deranged hyena.
“The lights!” she said with a gasp, “they’re working again.”
“Yes, I know, but I don’t find it nearly as amusing as you do.”
“It’s because they’re solar powered! We were standing under the porch light! They don’t need to work in the light.”

A few days later, we were going to head out early and Spawn had yet to make an appearance. I went down and began pounding on her door.
BAM! BAM! BAM! Pause. BAM! BAM! BAM! Pause. BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! Finally, she opened the door, her hair a wild mess, sleep still tugging at both eyes, and that strange grunting sleepy breathing sound she’s made all her life.
“Grunt,” she said.
“Oh, good, you’re up. I thought you might still be asleep. We’re going to town in a few minutes and wondered if you wanted to go.” I could hear sleepy laser vision powering up.
“Not really,” she muttered.
“We’ll get Dutch Brother’s coffee,” I said, dangling her favorite beverage in front of her.
“I don’t care. I’m going back to bed.”
“Ok. I’ll tell Grandma that you’re staying here. She’ll probably be down to check on you in a little while.”
“Fuuuuuuck,” said my dulcet darling daughter as I closed the door before I could hear her say, “youuuuu.”

But Spawn was not the only offspring to get grief from a parent. My parents did their best to remind me that I’m their daughter. My dad, of course, was particularly vocal in the car, but my mother liked to say things… the wrong things at the worst possible times…

Due to my physical size and the size of my budget, I do not own a lot of clothes, so I tend to take good care of the ones I have so they last me a long time. When we were sitting around the tall grass after dinner at the trailer, I stood up and a sharp piece of metal on my chair tore a large hole in the seat of my shorts. I had two pair of shorts with me, and the one pair that went with every shirt I brought were now unwearable.

I was annoyed, and stomped off to the trailer to change. As I was stomping, my mother attempted to stop me by saying, “Oh, stop. Don’t do that.”
Tam was shocked at what she heard and shot my mother a look, which I missed as I was in the trailer attempting to find something clean to wear and my mother missed because she was ignoring everyone.

When I was once again presentable, I went outside and removed the chair from where I’d been sitting. Mind you, I removed it into the tall grass. Way into the tall grass. At least I folded it first and didn’t hit anyone with it, not that I wasn’t tempted…My mother was appalled at my behavior and decided to leave the party. I was pretty much ok with that by then. It was late and I was down a pair of pants.

The next one was when we finally grew weary of being mosquito-food every evening, so Tam went out and bought some citronella candles. She placed them on plates and set them on the ground, then… THEN?!? SHE LIT THEM! ON FIRE! When my mother saw that, you would have thought Tam had just poured gasoline over the entire area and was standing there playing with matches. She fussed and fumed and carried on, but Tam was cool and calm. Then my mother said, “Don’t catch your clothes on fire.”
At that point, I couldn’t hold my tongue and said, “Hi, I’m five years old!”

That’s when my mother told me to shut up.

Next: A Serious Side of Vacation…


  1. I am obsessed with those solar glowy lights. My friends and husband actually had a quasi-intervention for me. For realz.

  2. Family fun with mozzies and solar lights. Sounds eerily familiar......
    Sorry about the ripped pants!


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