Monday, January 9, 2017

The Camper

Some of the Cousins

My mom comes from a really big family. She was one of seven and her mom was one of seven  of McPhillips. I can't ever keep them all straight.  My mom had a ton of cousins. Real bonafide first cousins. Not third cousins twice removed or anything like that. 35 First cousins.  They all grew up in the same town and have always been very close. Several years ago they started the tradition of the family reunion. When my grandmother and her siblings were alive these were huge multi-day events. There were even t-shirts. Each of the families would take turns hosting and planning these reunions.  One year would be my grandmother's families turn, the next would be one of the sisters turns, and so on.  One year the family in charge found a really nice campground with an indoor pool, a great pavilion and even a tractor for hayrides.  My mom asked my brother and I to please come to the reunion that year.  Liam was about 3 and she knew there were several things planned for the kids that he would enjoy.   She also wanted to have all of us together which had not happened in a while.  I think she was also losing her mind a little because instead of staying in a hotel she decided that we would rent a camper that the campsite had for rent. She kept saying how nice she heard they were and then she told us it was only $35 a night. Really.  What kind of place goes for $35 a night. Now Graham was kind of used to living in some questionable apartments. I think we found that at least 3 of his apartments where he lived in college got condemned after he moved out. Me on the other hand, not so much.  I knew it was bad when I walked in and mom was spraying Lysol everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  The mattresses, the seats, the bathroom, everywhere.  We may die from asphyxiation, but we would definitely not catch the rotavirus.  Mom and Dad were taking the "bedroom". The mattress was visibly sunken in the middle.  This brought on visions of mom and dad laying on top of each other and I really didn't want to go there.  Graham was going to take the couch bed in the front of the camper.  Probably the best spot. Of course. Right. Liam and I were to share the table bed.  The bed that is made by turning the table upside down and putting cushions on it.  I am sure when the cushions were new this would have been delightful, but 20 years and God knows how many families splurging for the $35 a night camper later the cushions had lost whatever fluff they once had.

My mother was surprisingly optimistic about everything.  I think it was probably because she wasn't going to give dad the opportunity to gloat and say I told you so, but she kept saying how it wasn't that bad was it.  We weren't planning on spending that much time there right.

The reunion was fun.  Liam had a blast. By the end of the day he was covered in mud, food, hay, and sweat.  He was exhausted .  We threw him in the summer's excuse for a bath, the pool, and planned for him to pass out from exhaustion.  Didn't happen.  Parent's Worst Nightmare- The OverTired Child.  We were all trying to go to sleep.  I imagine mom and dad on top of each other in the sunken bed.  Graham trying to sleep but mosquitoes hanging out buzzing in his ears, me on the table bed with a kid that won't quit crying.  Graham finally lost it.  Jumped out of bed and yelled "Oh my God, this sucks so bad.  It is like we are the F*****g Griswolds".

Things eventually calmed down and I wouldn't say it was restful, but we were able to get some sleep. The next morning when we were all pretty sure we had all the family togetherness that we could take I hear Graham screaming from the bathroom.  " Oh my God, oh my God, come quick, it happened again". I rushed to him thinking he might be getting attacked by a giant cockroach (as if I would help ) and he is standing in front of the mirror.  He turns and says to me- " I got better looking than I was yesterday".  Yes, he has always been like that.

Graham and I headed back to our homes that day.  Mom and Dad were supposed to stay a few more nights at the camper.  She has never really admitted it, but we know she checked into a hotel for the rest of the trip.  Even penny pinching dad was happy to pay for it.

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