Saturday, July 14, 2012

Things I learned from a week of having family around, some of them as houseguests

  • 12 people's disparate tastes take up a lot of space in the fridge, though they narrow the possibilities for dinner to salmon or Manhattan clam chowder. Heck, in my family, 12 people's disparate tastes in beer alone can fill up the fridge completely.
  • If you put an unsealed bag of coffee in the trunk of your car sideways, you'll get coffee all over the space heater and board games and lumber you're storing in your trunk.
  • If the best family characteristic of your family is a fantastic and shared sense of humor, and the worst is an inability to plan, then: overall win. 
  • Two 12-ounce bags of oyster crackers is too many. Like, way too many.
  • You need to listen to every old family story, even the ones you've heard a million times, because somewhere in there, at some point, someone will add a nuance or an offhand remark or a whole new story that will blow. your. mind. This will sound to members of my family like I am talking about one thing, but they will each be thinking of different things. That is how often my mind was blown this week.
  • Different people have different roles in an extended family. This is not all I do, but some of my strengths are: having many beds in my house; being willing to draw a family tree on any scrap of paper; keeping straight the differences between first cousins, second cousins, and first cousins once removed. Oh, and being ready to go. Usually.
  • There is never enough one-on-one time to get all your questions answered.
  • Some of the highlights of a week like this will be sunsets, and hikes, and experiences. A lot of them? Will be short snippets of conversations.
  • No matter how much you love your guests, no matter how much fun you have with them, if you otherwise live alone, you will be ready to take your pants off when they leave. And also, maybe then you'll spontaneously fall asleep mid-blog-post.
  • When your houseguests return to their lives, they will likely forget something. In this case, "something" means a big pink water bottle and a bottle of shampoo. So far.


Cousin Mouse said...

I LOVE this family!

bzzzzgrrrl said...


And a good thing, too, because we're stuck with us.

nyczoo said...

This sounds like a terrific week.

You know what would also be great? If I could ever understand the difference between second cousins and first cousins once removed. CMC, please enlighten me, as you so often do! :)

bzzzzgrrrl said...

I live to serve, though this would be easier if I could draw for you.
-Siblings have a common set of parents
-First cousins have a common set of grandparents
-Second cousins have a common set of great-grandparents

"X times removed" is the number of generations off you are.

So, my first cousin and I share grandparents. Her sons and I share common ancestors, but they're skewed by one generation (my grandparents are their great-grandparents). So we are first cousins once removed.

[Advanced, which you should skip if you're getting confused: Their (hypothetical) children will be my first cousins twice removed. But my (hypothetical) children will be second cousins to those first cousins once removed.]

Aw, heck. I'm doing a drawing.