Monday, May 31, 2010

Amityville Horror? No, just my regular residence.

Out of the twenty-two Mondays of 2010, this was hands down the shittiest. It started shitty, revved up to shittier, and if I don't quit reading my novel du jour, we might reach superlative levels of shittiness. Consider the following.

I awoke from a less than restful slumber at 7:30 a.m. to what sounded like a herd of buffalo running sprints on the rooftop. Roofers...already. I could have buried my slightly throbbing head under the pillow and eked out a few more hours of sleep...but then I heard my mother shrieking something unintelligible. I knew it was bad, because then all she could get out was "Oh my God,"and she had that tone she gets when she's trying not to cry, but the cry is winning.

At this point I was wide awake. My first thought was that Quito had eaten one of her cats. I did some quick mental calculations of the contents of my bank accounts to see if I had enough for deposit and first months rent, and therefore enough incentive to save his life. But just as I was about to leap out of bed and defend him from certain death, I smelled his unmistakeable stench and felt his fuzzy mullet tickling my foot. Sweet relief.

My second thought was that the roofers had destroyed her koi pond. That would suck.

Suddenly, I heard her shouting from the backyard. "Get your $@&%* off the roof! GET OFF THE ROOF RIGHT NOW!"

I groggily rolled off my bed and peeked out of my bedroom door. My mother was storming down the hallway.

"Come look at what your father did!" She was raging! Gingerly, I followed her to her bedroom. She led me to the doorway of the master bathroom...which seemed uncharacterstically sunny and warm...splintery and fiber glassy. There was a giant hole in the ceiling above the shower.

"Your father decided to put a skylight in the bathroom!"

The wee hours are not my finest cognitive moments, but I could tell from my mom's caustic tone and the unorthodox shape of the hole that this was not a planned renovation. He had fallen through the roof.

I quickly assessed the damage. No Dad on the floor. No blood on Mom's hands. He must still be alive. I walked out to the living room and found him sitting on the couch, looking very humble. His legs were scratched and his pants were torn, but I think his pride had taken the brunt of the fall.

"I told you to stay off the roof," I chastised.

He nodded. "I broke a coffee cup this morning. Maybe that was a bad omen. Maybe someone's trying to tell me something."

If only the string of misfortune had ended with a broken cup and a hole in the roof.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I get no respect.

This happens to be my fathers favorite line, but I'd like to borrow it for the evening. Like Rodney Dangerfield, I get no least from my siblings. Unlike Rodney Dangerfield (or perhaps like him...I don't really know), I typically get vindicated. And there's nothing I love more than a concession from my doubters...except maybe the opportunity to say "I told you so."

You see, my parents are in the midst of some home improvement projects. New roof, new patio, new exterior paint. The most debated project, of course, is the paint. Everyone wants to have a say in the new colors. Here's the thing: I know paint. I understand the nuance of color, and how to coordinate shades, and which accents will be too much, and which will be too little. I can gauge that perfect balance between too modern and too quaint (it's a 60s ranch style, after all). And I know which colors will possibly give my father an anxiety attack and so I keep those to myself.

And somehow, despite my Jedi master knowledge of color, my choices are ALWAYS controversial. So Adam put Brad in charge of C blocking me.

My mother, being the intelligent woman she is, gave me first dibs on color choices. The new shingles were called "terra cotta," and I was initially told that they were the same color as Spanish tile. So I picked a nice warm neutral or two...with a sage trim color. My dad mom agreed. Brad stared... squinted...contorted...balked...then agreed. Too easy, right? Right.

It just so happened that my mother couldn't find the shingle sample she'd gotten from the roofing company, so she looked on the Owens Corning website, and there it was. On a ranch style home no less...looking way less terra cotta than any Spanish tile I'd ever seen. It was more brick, actually, with some mahogany undertones. Way too cool for the warmer colors I'd picked out. I knew we'd have to use blue. So I said it. "We'll just have to pick a lighter neutral...and we could use a blue for the trim." My father looked absent-minded, my mother looked thoughtful, and my brothers looked like I'd just tried to force- feed them dog crap.

Brad snarked me immediately. "This isn't Ga-REECE!"

Adam's face contorted into a disgusted look. "You just lost more style points!"

"FAIL! You FAIL again, P!"

I shrugged, tossed my hair, and said "Fine. I quit." (I plan on saying this every time I get a points deduction.)

They seemed satisfied. I pretended to be satisfied. But the real satisfaction came later that evening, when my mother actually tried some paint colors on a virtual house. Her current favorite combination consists of a lighter neutral for the base color...and a blue shade for the trim.

And she saved the image under my name.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Self Esteem Issues? Here, let me help you out.

This past weekend the sum of my immediate family got together and rented a beach house on Mission Bay in honor of my sister's graduation from law school. I could spend several minutes describing the blue shag carpet that caused great distress to my older brother, or the laquered wood and bamboo construction, or the view, or the swan spigot in the master bathroom.
I could explain what it means to Steve (or Double Steve, if you're inclined) or I could tell you about my new signature cocktail called The Goldie, and how sugar adversely affects my niece.
I could tell you all about my sister's graduation, and her very public engagement, and how the Goldies and the Pedicones met for the first time.

But that's all pretty normal in the scope of family affairs, and that's not what this blog is about. This blog is about what makes my family special and unique, such debating the self esteem of certain family members right in front of though they weren't actually there.

Here's how it went down:

Me: blablahblahblahblahblahblah (I don't remember what I said, but it was "wrong.")
Brad: Oh P, I'm going to keep track of all your failures this weekend!
Me: (crickets)
Sister: That's awful! Why would you do that?
Me: my self esteem needs to take a hit right now.
Brad: P has great self esteem...I need to take it down a few notches.
Sister: No she doesn't. Peeps has terrible self esteem. She practically hates herself.
Me: No I don't!
Brad: Oh, really? Sorry P. You're good at hiding it. I won't point out your failures then.

I'm not sure which I found most appalling...the fact that Brad wanted to actually tally my "failures", or that my sister thinks I have terrible self esteem. Or that they actually had this discussion in front of me. Wouldn't it have been more polite to talk about me behind my back?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bacon Roasts and Crowbar Rage

This weekend marked the return of the semi-annual backyard bacon roast. For those of you who were unlucky enough to NOT have eastern European immigrant farmers as forefathers and mothers, a bacon roast is the quintessential family affair. (Although it should be noted that no one born after 1950 actually eats the bacon...we eat hot dogs.) Basically, family members sit around an open barbecue pit between 1 and 2 pm (no earlier or later) with squares of slab bacon on skewers. The bacon is scored and roasted, and the sizzling grease is dabbed on rye which has been spread with sliced radishes and green onion. This roasting and dabbing is repeated until the bacon is adequately cooked...then it's shaved off on to the bread and eaten. Slab is scored again, and the whole process continues until participants have had their fill of pork fat. Then, the younger generation is chastised for eating hot dogs and "not knowing what's good" and the elder's talk about the historical roots of the bacon roast. It is then customary to drink some liquor and pass out in lawn chairs.

In the long tradition of bacon roasts, this weekend was a success. I always do my part in presenting myself for chastisement, and then drinking and napping in the lawn chairs. However, this year I suggested I might even take part in the roast if I could roast strips of bacon, and not slabs. I found out that this is "not how it's done" and would be "an abomination of tradition." So no bacon for me.

On an unrelated note, I got to watch my brother and my dad destroy the back porch in preparation for the new porch construction set for next weekend. It was pretty entertaining. I watched the whole thing from behind the safety of the arcadia door, which was open just a crack to allow for eavesdropping. The highlight was definitely watching my little brother take out his frustrations on the aluminum roof. His job was to separate the aluminum sheets from the framework, and he did this by wedging a crowbar into the seam and popping the nails out. About halfway through, he got nuts and started working at meth-addict speed. When he finished, he waved the crowbar wildly in the air and screamed "WHO'S NEXT!!!!"

On a second unrelated note I lost more style points this morning by dropping a Carolina's tortilla on the floor. If you've ever had a Carolina's tortilla, you know that loosing style points is totally justified.