Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Turtle Walking, Professional Dogs, and Style Points.

I really wanted to turn this into a full blown narrative to show the reader just how entertaining and eccentric my home life is, but it's impossible. The interesting parts are too strange and disparate and do not lend themselves to fluidity. All you need to know is that the very day I moved back in with my parents, my family memebers exceeded all expectations in terms of peculiarity. Yes, even I was amazed.

Peculiarity #1: When I arrived at my parents house to unload the Uhaul, my mom was outside "walking" the turtle. Now, my mother is a collector of worn-out, unwanted, lost, and behaviorally challenged animals. They flock to her like emotionally disabled/psychologically damaged humans flock to me. This turtle arrived in the backyard gray, dehydrated, and dog-chewed. "Mr. Turtle", as he is known, has become my mothers latest animal project. She sprays him down, changes his moss, regulates his temperature, and buys him premium turtle food with "100% real ground crickets in every bite!" And she walks him. I witnessed this myself. When I asked my dad what she was doing, he stated "Walking the turtle." His nonchalance collided with my incredulity and created a vaccuum for a few seconds. Then he said, "I did it last weekend."

Peculiarity #2: As my mom was walking the turtle, my dad was brushing Moses. Technically, Moses is my dog, but he loves my dad and my dad loves him, and due to the dog's inability to climb and descend stairs my parents retained custody of him while I lived in my townhouse. Anyway, Moses is an extremely large red-furred beast with raging allergies that manifest in itchy skin. My father ritualistically brushes Moses to help give the poor creature some relief. This is not peculiar. This is good pet ownership. What is peculiar is how my dad talks to the dog. He say's things like "What a handsome guy!" and "Grandpa loves you." and "You are the King of Dogs! King Dog!" and "You're a professional've read all the books!"

Peculiarity #3: As my brother's and I were unloading the U-Haul, my little brother kept deducting "style points" from me. Apparently, there is a wrong way and a right way to unload and move boxes and furniture. In my mind, it is right to move them from Point A to Point B without damage. It is wrong to NOT move items from Point A to Point B, and/or damage them in the process. As it turns out, it is much more complicated than that. There is a style, a finesse, a je ne sais quoi that I just don't have. I lost style points for loading the end tables "backwards" on the dolly. I lost points for using the dolly when I should have carried the furniture. I lost points for carrying furniture when I should have loaded it onto the dolly. I also lost points for grip, strength (or lack thereof), endurance, clearance, and steering. Who knew?

I think I will be experiencing this type of thing more frequently. I realize that the Osbourne's really have nothing on my family...except perhaps wealth and profanity.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Morning Coffee

This is a typical weekday morning at home. I usually drink my coffee and attempt to read the sports page while my dad tries to engage me in esoteric conversation. Today, the topic of choice was a James Brown song. This is an actual transcription of our interaction.

(Dad singing)
"Get up offa that thang,
and dance 'til you feel bettah!
Get up offa that thang,
and try to release that pressha!"

"'Get up offa that thang' means get off your ass." My dad looked pointedly at me.

"I know that, Dad." I went back to reading my paper.

(Dad continues singing)
"Get up offa that thang
and shake 'til you feel bettah!
Get up offa that thang,
and try to release that pressha!"

"Notice how he doesn't say 'presSURE', but 'presSHA'.

I put the paper down. "Yeah, Dad. I did notice that."

"That's called ebonics," he declared.

"That's not ebonics Dad, that's just dialect."

"Oh. Do you think dancing really relieves pressure, or is he just making that up?"

"Dad, I think you're reading too much into it."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Can Go Home Again

The decision about where and when to move had been a point of contention in my former household for several weeks. Actually, contention is too strong a word. It was more like a watered down cocktail of resignation, apathy, and poor communication. We'd been living in a house of cards for the better part of the year, and despite the fact that it could come tumbling down at any moment, there was very little motivation to find safe harbor.

Now might be a good time to mention that I had no rental history. None whatsoever. I lived with my parents until I made enough money to buy my own place. I think I might have a visceral aversion to the concept of renting...especially from strangers. It's so strong that I even (for 2 minutes at most) considered buying a camper and living in my truck. Strong enough to fortify my ego against loosely drawn parallels between me and the principal character on the early 90's sitcom "Get A Life." Such deeply held convictions cannot be overcome in mere weeks.

Luckily, my bro got the ball rolling. Subsequent internet searches produced several reasonably priced, relatively decent rental options. The one at 7th Street and Bell caught my eye. It was a nice little patio home, with double master suites...perfect for myself and my brothers. It even had a little backyard area for the dogs, and a two car garage. It was seconds from the 101, which meant a shorter commute for me. Best of all, the rent would be half what my mortgage had been. I asked my brother to call on it.

I would have done it myself, but I'd relinquished all responsibilities months earlier, and could only be counted on to bathe and dress myself.

Anyway, my brother called, and it was available. We decided to look around some more...which really translates into "We procrastinated." For three weeks. Finally, at the end of February, I wanted the monkey off my back. I asked my brother to call and set up a showing of the property. This is a loose transcription of our conversation:

Adam: "Are you sure?"
Me: "Well, yeah. Aren't you?"


Adam: "I just think we should see what our options are."
Me: "Our options are 'move' and 'get evicted'. I don't want to wait for that! Let's do it now!"


Me: "Are you ditching me? Don't you dare ditch me!"
Adam: "No...we're not ditching you."


Me: "What's going on?"
Adam: "I'm thinking we should move in with Mom and Dad."
Me: "I am too old to move back home! That's embarassing! Is it OK with them?"
Adam: "They think you should. They thought you should've done it months ago."
Me: "Did they tell you that?"
Adam: "Yes."
Me: "Why wasn't I in on this conversation?"
Adam: "Everyone knows you don't listen. You're gonna do what you wanna do."


Me: "I don't listen?"

My sister later confimed that I don't listen, and that my parents did indeed approve of my moving back home.

So it was settled. I would be returning to the nest just a few months after my 31st birthday.


2009 was the Waterloo of my adult life.

However, instead of submitting to exile on a South Atlantic island, I took a more drastic approach to dealing with troubling domestic issues.

I moved back home.

Napoleon should have been so lucky.