My head is still spinning from the events of Saturday. I am not exactly sure there are words to describe what happened, but I feel the need to try. The day started out normal enough; we arrived for brunch at Andy’s dad’s house. His Step-mom had made yummy cinnamon rolls, eggs and enough bacon to overflow a dinner plate. As I sat next to my Step-Sister-in-Law, sipping my orange juice, I told her next year we would be able to have mimosas with our breakfast and we both were pretty excited about that. Then we all talked about what next year might be like. Lots of changes to come.
After brunch we relocated to the living room for present opening…..which was insane. Andy’s aunt got us one of those Coleman “camping” grills. I put “camping” in quotes because I would consider it more of a tailgating grill or a drive-to-a-camp-site-and-set-up-your-tent-four-feet-away kind of grill. Sure the legs fold down, but it is definitely not a mobile grill one might use for camping. Anyway, it was a pretty awesome gift. Kind of out of left field though. Andy and I were talking about it yesterday when he was putting it together and we were like ‘did we tell someone that we wanted one of these and then forget about it?’ Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome. We don’t have a gas grill, so it is kind of nice to be able to have one that we could take up to the mountains when we off-road and cook on the patio this summer, but still…..left field.
Andy’s parent’s got me a garage door opener! That has to be the most amazing present in the world…apparently they make it so you can just push this button from inside your car and then the door opens and you drive right in. Astounding! Of course, I have no idea how to install it, but his dad said Santa’s helpers would be doing that. Seems kind of mean to ask tiny elves to install something in the ceiling of my garage, but I am not going to argue.
Andy got all sentimental on me this year and gave me a ring with two aquamarines (for March) and a saphire (for September) in the middle. Then he was like ‘That bastard better not come early!’. That’s my Andy. Turns out our birthstones are quite dashing together. Dark blue and light blue. Like we meant that to happen. After presents we began a heated round of Pictionary: Girls v. Boys. Andy and Charlotte (SM) got quite into the shit-talking aspect of the game. Girls ended up winning in the end. Not that it should surprise you.
Then it was time for dinner. It felt like we basically had been eating all day, which I suppose is pretty typical of Christmas, or any American celebration really. After sitting around talking for a while, I decided we should make an appearance over at my Grandma’s house, so we loaded up and headed across town. Big Butter had said Dad and Shelly might be stopping by, so I figured they might be there, but I was not at all prepared for what transpired over the next hour and a half.
My grandma is pretty crazy. The woman barely eats, drinks way too much coffee and is on several medications to top it all off. It is hard to say which one of those has the greatest affect on her, but the combination is extreme. When we arrived everyone was sitting around the living room listening to a tape that Grandma had found. It was a recording of Nathan and I when we were little. That was fun for a few seconds, but we weren’t really saying anything discernable. So Nate switched the tapes. Next he put in the tape that comes with the Fisher Price tape recorder. Ironically the tape starts out by telling you how to use the recorder. Seems silly to have directions on how to play a tape on a tape, but maybe that is just me. This was the moment things started to spiral out of control. Shelly and Grandma both have this unspoken competition as to who can talk the most and monopolize the conversation, but what happens when they are in the same room is that they are each talking at the same time about different things. So Shelly would be asking dad something, then Grandma would be saying something to Nathan and/or me. Then Shelly would ask me something meanwhile I am trying to focus on Grandma blabbering on. It felt like I was watching a ping pong match. Then Nate decided to pull out the dulcimer and start playing, but the conversations are still happening and in the background is this random Fisher Price tape playing. Shelly starts cooing at Dad how she has always wanted to play the dulcimer but she really should focus more on her piano playing. Um is it just me or has the thought of playing a dulcimer never even crossed your mind? Nate hands the dulcimer off to Dad who starts playing it, then he turns the TV on and starts the Polar Express movie, on silent. Then he switches the tape over to another one of us when we were little. And yes, grandma and Shelly are still both talking. I have a cousin who as Autism, so I know a little about their issue of sensory overload and all of a sudden that is how I was feeling. I couldn’t keep up with everything going on. I was able to sneak over to the tape player and at least stop that from happening.
Grandma starts trying to feed us all pie and hot chocolate so she is yelling, “who wants pie?”. She takes that count and then is like “oh I also have cheesecake, so who wants pie and who wants cheesecake?”. This overloads her capacity because she can’t keep the two people who want pie and the no one who wants cheesecake straight in her head, so she asks several times. Then tells my dad “you know you are driving your mother crazy with that playing? you know that don’t you?”. I am just looking at Andy like “This is insane!”. I go to help Grandma in the kitchen with the hot chocolate. She had served four pieces of pie and a piece of cheesecake…yes she still couldn’t keep it straight with everything going on, not that I could really blame her. After I handed the hot chocolate out, grandma proceeds to have a conversation with me about four inches from my face. Here’s a visual for ya.
The evening continued on in this crazy manner. We opened the presents from my brother. He had made Shelly a flower out of tissue paper, which she proceeded to start talking about how it reminded her of Avatar and that she wanted to put it in a lump of clay so it would stand up on its own. Then Grandma comes out of the back room with a wood rocking horse that looks like someone dropped acid while picking out the paint colors and she is like “Natalie would you like me to get you one of these? I know the man who makes them and I can have one made for you”. I tell her that we need to check and make sure that Andy’s Dad doesn’t have a rocking horse for us already (trying to nicely get out of it). But Andy throws me under the freakin’ bus. He is like ‘no I am pretty sure he got rid of our rocking horse’. OMG I wanted to shoot him. I was already at my limit for whatever the heck was going on there that night. And now I am most likely getting my very own crack horse.
Finally after only an hour and a half…yes all that happened in an hour and a half (and I am pretty certain my brain forgot most of it to protect itself)…I decided it was time to go home. I got in the car, turned to Andy and said “what the fuck just happened?”. We laughed in a “holy shit that is my actual family” kind of way for a while and then I asked him if it was okay if we spent a few minutes in silence. I was really overloaded. I needed the silence to process what the heck had happened to my Christmas. It started out normal enough. How the heck did my family turn out to be so crazy? How was I going to handle our family reunion in a couple of weeks where not only will Grandma and Shelly be in the same location at once, but there will also be three little kids (which makes Grandma’s crazy levels shoot to all time highs).
Needless to say, when we woke up on Sunday and Andy asked me what we were doing that day, I told him “absolutely nothing, we are staying inside, watching movies, and trying to forget yesterday evening at my grandmas”. And that is just what we did….well minus the forgetting obviously. I definitely had no idea Christmas would end this way. And I feel bad because Andy’s family was just absolutely wonderful. We had a great time over there. My fatal flaw was definitely deciding to stop by my grandma’s house. But how was I to know? I just really hope no one else had this same experience….although I can pretty much bet that is impossible!