Out of all the things I say on a very regular basis, this is perhaps in my personal Top Five:
"Oh my $%&*!-ng family."
Now, lest you think I am some kind of disrespectful brat, you should know that this is said completely out of love; because clearly I could only love this collective bunch SOOOO much that I would actually stick around and continue tolerating some of the most ridiculous and logic-defying antics known to man.
Today, more fodder.
An email arrives.
From my dad, Big Tony.
"Give you aunt a call, she wants to know when you're coming to visit her. "
Oh boy. You have NO IDEA the kind of holy hell that a short, polite-looking person like myself can raise when left in a room by herself with only her ire and a few loose items. Let me tell you, throwing a container of paperclips down to the floor felt cool at the time. (Cleaning up, not so much. )
Now, how could such innocent words inspire such ferocious anger, you ask?
Let's start with the fact that said aunt in question lives in Seattle.
Now add the part where I tell you about the SURPRISE trip to Seattle that I have been trying to SECRETLY coordinate for the last two months.
Is that giving you an idea?
So secret of a trip was this, that I actually shared this information with only three people. In fact, none of those three people was my own mother, mainly because she and her Sisters seem to have an open floodgate of information when they see fit. God forbid I accidentally air any of her dirty (or slightly soiled) laundry to her own sisters, but aside from her personal dirt, EVERYTHING ELSE is fair game.
E V E R Y T H I N G.
Y'know how they say women are a bunch of gossips?
Well y'know where they came up with that saying?
My mother and her Sisters.
(by the way, I capitalize the word "sisters" not because they are actually nuns or anything, but as an unofficially organized battalion of trouble, I consider them a formal entity.)
I called my dad somewhere in between $100K Payday and Artist of the Day and began the loud interrogation.
"HOW DOES SHE KNOW ABOUT THE TRIP?"
"I don't know, Toni."
"POP. ANSWER MY QUESTION. WHO TOLD HER?"
"Toni. I. Don't. Know."
"SHE DIDN'T SAY WHO MENTIONED IT?"
"Toni. Don't get me in the middle of this. I didn't say anything."
"POP. I KNOW YOU DIDN'T. I'M JUST ASKING YOU."
"Well, why are you yelling at me then?"
"I'M NOT YELLING AT YOU."
"Maybe ask your mother."
"OH JEEEZUS. THIS $%&*!-ng FAMILY!"
"Stop yelling at me."
Truth is, I'm not really even all that concerned with the how's and why's my elaborate plan got ruined. If anything, I EXPECTED IT. I totally knew not to dream of what a fun surprise it would be to just show up on her doorstep one morning. I just didn't expect the surprise to get blown so soon. And mainly because it wasn't a secret-secret. You know, the juicy kind that somehow you can never seem to keep corked.
This was a fun, happy, smiles, puppydogs, rainbows, waterfalls, and unicorns kind of secret.
I find that most people sometimes have an easier time keeping this kind of a secret because it's a good thing.
But no no no no no no no. Not my family!
I was sooo mistaken trying to give the Sisters an opportunity to delightfully not disappoint me this time. Oh, me being yet another woman in this very family, and I shoulda freakin' known better.
But in the back of my head, there was a little bit of an idea brewing: Obviously among any set of women who have a hard keeping secrets, there's also gonna be a tendency for one or more of them to have a bit of a anal-retentive control streak goin' on.
In my case, this would apply to all of them. And historically this means exactly what you'd expect from an anal-retentive control streak: the meddling, the nagging, and the pecking.
So, when it comes to just about anything involving any of the Spawn of the Sisters, it should come as no surprise that there is a common theme of "keeping things secret", "going behind backs" and "doing things on their own". I guess when you grow up with a meddling, nagging, pecking Sister as a mother, you get sorta used to laying as low as possible.
Which can only make a Sister meddle, nag, and peck even harder. Even the FBI could not uncover secrets with such speed and efficiency.
And all I wanted was to show up at my aunt's doorstep on a Friday, and spend the weekend hanging out at her house with her family. Chillin' on the couch. Maybe renting a movie. Running to the grocery with her. Washing dishes and popping popcorn. Talking over coffee. Being boring.
Exactly what I might do if I showed up at any of my other aunts' homes, who all live just up Route 1. But somehow, getting on a plane and getting to this aunt's house, versus just getting in my car and going up the highway, would warrant a trip to the Space Needle, standing next to a coffee shop, doing a Twilight tour, etc. All packed in one weekend. And I most certainly did not want that.
And I knew that the only way to accomplish my simple utopian dream of just "vegging" would be to NOT LET THE SISTERS FIND OUT.
So there it is. The Cat. So out of the Bag.
Yes, 37 for the Sisters. Because if keeping score were an actual game, they'd find a way to change the scoring in their favor.
So I'm thinking... should I try and revive my surprise plan by CANCELLING MY TRIP and NOT telling anyone?!
LOL. Let me know if you think that's a good idea.
But whatever you do, DON'T TELL THE SISTERS.