Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's All Relative

I want to thank you for all the prayers and burnt offerings sent up in my behalf this weekend.  As you know, I was forced to participate in yet another wretched family reunion, this time camping and boating at Yuba Lake in Madeupname, Utah.  It didn't help that we were with my own family this time, and to be honest, we can hardly stand each other.

See what I mean?  You can just feel the resentment blistering off these people.  And then of course we only had three gigantic trailers to watch videos and shower and be all air conditioned in, and three awesome boats with every tube, ski, and fillintheblank board to play with.  I was so embarrassed by my siblings' toys I spent much of the time hiding in my tent with my Dora the Explorer sleeping bag over my head.


Again, do you see what I had to put up with?  That's my brother Shane at the top of the picture, and his five sons, and our nephew, and our mother, all on Shane's lame old ski boat that only did Warp 6 and at one point had the boys flying so high on their tubes seagulls built nests in their hair.  And the trailers are framed in the background.


And this is my sister Jill, and her husband Kevin, on their wussy little canoe.  What?  We're supposed to be impressed that this boat had a fancier potty than our first apartment?  That it was so dang big whales were cavorting in the wake and it had to be docked in a space marked "Aircraft Carriers Only"?  Pfft.  Have I mentioned that I have a five foot deep swimming pool AND a volleyball net?  All right then.  Better luck next time, Jill.

And don't even get me started on her trailer.  It's that monster in the center of the pic with Shane's crew.  We could have a rig like that if we wanted.  Queen beds, full kitchen, more storage than King Tut's tomb.  In fact, if the economy doesn't improve, we may well soon be living in such a place.  Provided, of course, that someone has abandoned one on the side of the road.

Which, incidentally, is precisely where my nephews Brayden and Tanner found this couch.  I'm not even kidding. They loaded it onto the roof of their car and then, because they're brilliant, decided the best way to guarantee that it would get home safely was to have Brayden sit in the couch on top of the car while Tanner drove.  That's right.  Brayden, who weighs less than my right arm, was the ballast.

This is actually Jordan and Casey. 
Brayden and Tanner are in the trailer, reading "Furniture Moving for Dummies" in the hopes that their pictures are on the cover.

One thing I do have to hand to Jill, she packed everything you could ever want.  No lie.  It wouldn't matter what you needed - a kidney transplant, for example.  She'd just say, "Oh, I've got a spare kidney and a surgical team in my trailer.  Look in the cabinet marked 'Party Games'."

I was terribly disappointed with our mother on this trip.  Clearly, she has not read the brochure on "Behavior Appropriate For a Widder Woman", and she engaged in one questionable activity after another, beginning with riding the tubes with my kids behind Shane's boat...

...and ending with her attempting to cook spaghetti over an open fire.

OK, I'm lying about the spaghetti.  Although let this be a lesson to my sister:  If my husband asks, "Where do you suggest we dump these leftovers?" and you answer "The fire pit," you don't get to complain when he takes you very, very literally.

We ran into weather trouble, first with the wind blowing so hard a house landed on the witch in the next camp site, and then with it clouding up on Sunday morning, most likely because the Lord heard some of our family making plans to go out on the lake instead of sitting in the trailers repenting.

See how sad Cori is?  She wants to be on one of those boats.
Kim's is on the left, and Shane's is on the right.
Noah's is down the beach, hinting at what choice we should make. 

Fortunately, in what I believed to be a stroke of pure genius, I suggested we all contract 24-hour Judaism, thereby pushing the Sabbath ahead six days.  Sure enough, the sun came out, and we were on board and off the hook!  I'm telling you, of all the loopholes available in life, religious ones are my favorites. 

JK, Bishop!  Totally JayKay!

Naturally, I owned all the stunts that afternoon.  This is me doing a triple flip on a slalom ski:

And this is me doing a handstand on a wake board:

And here I am forming all three tiers of a human pyramid, standing on nothing but my bare feet and a six-inch square of tin foil.

Yeah, I'm pretty much an animal when it comes to water sports.  The others tried to compete, but compared to yours truly, they were just a bunch of sweet spirits.

Vanessa and her cousins, trying to outdo me on the three-man tube. 
 Pitiful.  Just pitiful.

I totally taught Amber how to do that, you know, thing she's doing back there.

My nephew, Brayden.  You can't hear him, but he's hollering,
"I hope I'm doing this right, Aunt DeNae!"

Vanessa, praying she might some day be as athletic as her mother.

Brayden's brother Logan, making a good effort, but still, I don't see that human pyramid happening, do you?

Speaking of Logan, that night we did reverse Karaoke (again, because we hate being together so much, and we hoped the terrible singing would give us an excuse to hide from each other) and Logan, who is exceptionally cute and has a smile supermodels would fork each other's eyes out over, sang a song with such naughty lyrics the earth actually opened up and swallowed him whole.  Boy, are we gonna miss him, but you have to be careful which John Denver tune you decide to entertain your family with, mister.

Sunday night we celebrated the Fourth of July by doing what our brave forefathers did, namely, assumed the rules were something that happened to other people, and lit a bunch of sparklers and one or two rockets, complete with red glare.


Finally, thankfully, it was time to pack up and head home.  The bickering and complete lack of cooperation nearly earned us the Jon & Kate Award for Family Harmony, but what are you going to do when you're as dysfunctional as we are?

This is Jason, with two of his children, Lincoln and Kennedy.  He's also got a dog named Nixon, a goldfish named Taft, and a pair of shoes named George Bush and The Other George Bush.

Ha!  I kid.  His oldest son is named Trae, but that didn't work for the joke.

Besides, that's not the point.  See how they're just at each other?  Snarl, fuss, screech.  Honestly, I was ready to smack 'em upside the head, especially when Kennedy refused to help sweep up the tarp. 

So a few more ornery pictures later, we all said "Bah-bye, you big goons who we don't love at all."

Mom and Tanner.  By the way, my mom, who will be 67 in September, is wearing her Machu Picchu hat, which she got on her South American adventure with my 75-year old aunt back in May. 
See what I mean?  The woman has no concept of how to sit around the house, brooding.

My daughters, Vanessa and Corinne, and me. 
My husband is decamping, my son Jake is hiding, and my son Dave is home barfing.

Most of the grandkids.  Dyllan is hiding in the potty, but his wife Sally, who is cuter anyway, is there representin'. 
And as has already been observed, David is not available for photo ops at this time.

Jill, Kim, and me.  They look like twins, huh? 
Well, their birthdays are both July 5th, but they're four years apart in age. 
And they're much, much older than I.  Wait.  I think I made up that last part.

Trae and Casey, who is wearing my hat.  His therapist says he's getting better every day, but I'm not so sure.

I took several pictures of Amber, who took exactly none of me.
Not to mention I'm pretty sure I gave her those groovy sunglasses.

Mom and me.  She's the younger-looking one.

All I can say is, I hope I'm never subjected to this kind of torture again.  I mean it.  Don't even call, you darn old relatives.

Unless, y'know, you're free next weekend. 


AS Amber said...

I am seriously the biggest jerk ever for not taking any pictures of you!!! Booooo!!! Pretty sure you punished me enough, though, with that picture of you with Kim and Jill and NOT ME.

How adorable is our mother? Oh my heck I got all choked up when I saw her on that tube! What a fun memory for those kids!

We seriously have the best, funnest, cutest, FUNNIEST family ever. I just can't get over how much I love us. It's the best feeling in the world knowing that my most favorite people in the world are my family.

What a great (I mean, crappy) weekend!!!

PS, your water skiing skillz are MAD!!!

AS Amber said...

Yay! I was first! Boo yah!

Kimberly said...

Looks perfectly horrid. The best sort of horrid there is.

gigi said...

I don't blame you one bit!! I wouldn't go camping with that bunch either!

Kristina P. said...

I was waiting to see if you included a picture a Amber, or you were going to shun her for not including pictures of you. I'm sorry to see you took the high road.

And I've spent the weekend with you both, and honestly, I immediately got myself on Prozac afterwards.

Cheeseboy said...

Not sure what "reverse Kareoke" is or even if I spelled it correctly, but I want in!

One Cluttered Brain said...

You crack me up!!
I love your water stunts..Could you teach me some?
You are SOOOO talented! I really wanna learn...

Looks like a fun time was had by all. Despite what I just read...:))

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I wanted to know about reverse karaoke too. Is that where you sing all the songs backwards so you can hear the subliminal messages?

My sister and I were both born on July 1, 6 years apart. So I guess that, um, almost makes you and me sisters and all.

I love vacation, but I wish I had your trailers instead of mine when we camped in a mosquito-infested crock pot last weekend.

DeNae said...

Shane introduced us to "Reverse Karaoke", which involves the performer pulling up a song on their iPod, putting on their headphones, and singing along. It's hysterical, because of course your audience can't hear anything but you. So if you forget the words, or go wildly out of tune, you don't know it but the listeners do.

Momza said...

You have a blessed life indeed, and if your "real life was backordered", well it must be something else!
wv:duabl: your life is very duabl.

Debbie said...

What a drag. I am so sorry you had to put up with that. Your family looks horrid. Hey wait - I know. I'll go in your place next year. Yes, I like you that much!

Jessica said...

How much fun is that!! I think your family is wonderful. I loved seeing all the pictures.

Out Of My Head said...

i just now read be sure to link back to your web site. I would but don't know how. I'm sure its simple and so am i but I just now learned how to put pictures on my blog. So i guess we will have to live with it. Besides I only wanted to tell you that you have a MIND. I know your mom must be proud. Funny funny Mormon. Funny, Wish I could think of some of those lines. Do you think maybe your style could be termed satirical? this is so much better than reading the newspaper which i have given up completely. sorry I said Mitt Romney (yawn) was boring. (I could learn to just think and not say.)

Wendy Ramer said...

So sorry your family reunion was such a failure. I felt your pain as I viewed your pics. Sometimes life is just so unfair, isn't it? BTW, any brothers/cousins in the family I can marry so I can join the next reunion? Oh wait, I'm already married. Doh!

InkMom said...

Thank you so much for explaining Reverse Karaoke. That was my only question.

(I think the only reason your family has more fun together than mine is because most of us (13 and counting out of 23) are 9 years old and under. Which is a problem that will get a little bit better every year!) (Ooh! Double parenthetical parentheses!)

Braden said...

It looks simply ghastly. Just ghastly. Also, thanks for writing that Brayden weighs less than your right arm. I know that you are talking about a different Brayden who cant' even spell his name correctly. However just like all the Twimoms pretend Edward is real and loves them, I am going to pretend that comment was about me.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

haa haa hahahah hee hee hee Amber does look way groovy in those glasses. And you look pretty groovy in that orange palm tree get up. hee hee What were you reading, (while wake boarding) that's what I want to know?

I lub the photos, especially the firey ones and the spaghetti one. But the best one was the couch on the beach. hahahah

I'm sorry your family is so hard to be around.

Missed you!

Kim Almond said...

I don't know how you do it, but you've sure got a gift for writing! I'm excited to hear about your new idea for your book!
You wrapped up the weekend perfectly!
I'm STILL cleaning up from it, but it's worth it!
<3 you! See you Saturday!

M-Cat said...

Can I be adopted into the fam? I promise to be sullen, crouchy and refuse to help with anything. I WON'T have any fun, I swear!

Kazzy said...

Love the couch on the beach. Love the tubes flying through the air (so fun)! Love all of your stunts. Love the photo with you and your daughters.

Will you stop having so much fun this summer. Sheesh. you make me hate my classes and no-vacay life even more.

Annette Lyon said...

Oh, the sheer misery! :D Great pics!

Anna said...

What torture! Glad you made it out alive. Wish I'd made it to my reunion :(. Reverse Karaoke sounds awesome!

Melanie J said...

Seriously, this is the first time in the history of ever that I have wanted more of someone's vacation pictures. Specifically, their captioned pictures. Well done and freaking hilarious.

Becca said...

So we're neck-deep in the pre-reunion, and ready to head into the Real Thing tomorrow. You inspire me to find the best in a rough situation :)
(and can I come into your family? you guys are pretty cute)

Garden of Egan said...

Wow DeNae, it looks and sounds like you had a totally horrid time. I hope with enough therapy you'll be able to recover! Seriously, I think someone should call Child Protective Services on that clan.

I think your mom is darling and I wanna be like her.

Jen said...

GIRL. Haha! Hi, my name is Jen. I found your blog by clicking "next blog" on blogger's header. I'm SO glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, and appreciate your humor immensely! OhEmGee.
Looks like you had loads of horrid fun, and I'm still laughing at your commentary. :)

Melissa@Suger Coat It said...

Hahaha. Got to love family. And really, it looks like they do. How fun is that!

HalfAsstic.com said...

Wow! You have a great family! If your real life shows up anytime soon, (you know... from backordered purgatory), I'll take yours!
Glad you had such a good time and I loved the pictures!

It's Time to Live said...

Hey, I did much the same thing only with about 200 on my wifes side 100 of which I swear were under the age of 10. We were near Beaver Creek Lodge in Logan canyon. Alas, no lake, no stream, no boats but lots of dirt and dust!

tammy said...

I seriously don't know how you stood it. The next thing you know, they'll be forcing you to buy a boat, too.

I think reverse karaoke sounds like the perfect party game.

annie valentine said...

Great post, only I wish you would have included a few more pictures.

wendy said...

That is what I find so inspiring about you.
No matter what your obstacle and burdens in life.......you muster through
with a smile and perhaps sunburn

Karen said...

You can just cut the tension with a knife in those photos!

I only wish my family hated each other as much as yours does!

See Mom Smile said...

Totally and completely awesome. Looks almost as fun as our family time at the Adventure dome. Almost. And, I want my couch back.

Miranda said...

You absolutely...totally...crack-me-up. Great writing skillz.

PS...what book were you reading??