Thursday, October 23, 2008
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
OK, There are a lot of decisions to make regarding JM, driving, insurance and sanity.
I'll think about that tomorrow.
Tonight we had our family dinner get away. No, not just the 4 of us...but THE FAMILY. About every 4-6 weeks my dad, his wife Edna, Chatty Kelly and her family, ET and her family, My brother and his girlfriend (and sometimes his daughter), and my family all meet at a local pizza restaurant for dinner. Also, although not tonight, my son JM usually brings a friend because everyone is either much older or much younger than he is. That means there can easily end up being a total of 18 of us. 10 adults, 8 kids (ok, 6 kids and 2- 17 year olds).
Sounds Fun, right?.....
Stress- (Webster)-Mental or Physical Tension or Strain.
Stress- (Thesaurus)-affliction, agony, alarm, anxiety, apprehensiveness, dread, hardship, hassle, intensity, nervousness, nervous tension, overextension, strain, tautness, tenseness, tension, trauma, trepidation, trial, worry....just to name a few
We always go to the same shady little pizza parlor. By shady I don't mean to picture a beautiful apple tree with glorious shade to keep the sun off the back of your neck. Nope, by shady I mean, this pizza parlor is probably a front for well, who know what! We've suggested other places but my dad and Edna (his wife....who is a very sweet lady) always insist on this place.
They usually arrive about 30 minutes early. So even if we get there 15 minutes early, my dad will look up and say something like "We weren't sure you were coming". or "Well, finally" or something of that nature. If we get there on time exactly, he has probably already called out house to make sure we are still coming and if we are 5 minutes late....well, lets just say it isn't a good idea to be 5 minutes late. Stress.
My brother is usually there just a few minutes after my dad and Edna. He's probably started his 2nd pitcher of beer by now and through slurred words is exclaiming either his newest business venture or his political views....Stress.
At some point soon afterwards Chatty Kelly, ET, Myself and our families arrive. Chaos.
Before we have even sat down we will be told:
A. To ET or Me "You have lost too much weight or You better slow down because you're getting fat." STRESS
B. To Chatty Kelly "Are you ever going to finish typing up those papers for me?" STRESS
C. To all 3 of us if one of our husbands couldn't come due to work or another excuse they could come up with. "Why isn't (insert husband's name) here? Are ya'll having problems? Ya'll aren't getting along are you?, Are things bad at work?, Do you think they are going to keep their jobs (each has had the same job for anywhere between 10-30 years), Are you making any money? STRESS.
D. To all three of us again, "Have you talked to your mama lately?" (He knows we haven't talked to her in years.) Stress
E. I talked to your mama today or yesterday. She said (insert awful gossip or mean saying) about you. Why don't you call her and see how she is? S-T-R-E-S-S!!
F. When I die (this is my dad talking) Who's going to take care of her? Stress.
OK, we sit down.
Everyone is talking at once. No-one hears what everyone else is saying. Don't forget I have ADHD so when more than one conversation is coming my way, I'm completely lost......Did I mention my Dad doesn't believe in ADHD?
15-20 minutes later the waitress comes and gets our drink order. 10-15 more minutes we get our drinks.
Waitress runs off with a quick "be right back"
20 minutes later she takes our order. usually it is a few salads and 3-5 large pizzas.---Not to difficult for a pizza restaurant. There is always that quick spark of hope that dad will order 1,000 Island dressing instead of the I-talian (Pronouncing it as Eye-talian, over emphasize the long I sound) dressing.
3 hours later (OK, major exaggeration....but it feels like it) 30-45 minutes later (still longer than it should take) the pizza's arrive.
My dad to ET or Me "I Don't think you need to eat that second piece of pizza, you don't want to get fat...... OR........ You better eat some more, you're too skinny".
My dad to Chatty Kelly- "Your husband is doing pretty well at work, you should pay for everyones meal".
My brother to anyone within earshot...."Thish ish pretty gooood peetesha."
The checks finally arrive after we've finally flagged down the waitress (who always happens to be walking fast and looking the opposite way when she walks by. They add in a mandatory 18% tip to each person's bill in parties of 15 or more. She always slips it in but never mentions it...hoping we won't notice and double tip maybe?
FINALLY it is time to go. There are hugs, kisses and I love yous all around. Everyone is exhausted.
The last words out of my dad's mouth "Don't forget to check your calendars and see what day we can all do it next time." (he'll also call each of us 6-8 times to see if we have set a new date for the next one and then call each of us 6-8 times to confirm that we are going.) Stress
Don't get me wrong. I really do love my dad and Edna. I also know that he looks forward to these family dinners. As I tell JM (my 17 year old) when he doesn't want to go, it's just one of those things. You do it because you love the person. You do it because it makes them happy. It's a matter of respect.
Oh, and guess what else it is....STRESS!