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Monday, April 25, 2011

Holiday Weekend

The Suburban Man's priorities very often deal with managing time, and more importantly expectations.  Weekends and Holidays provide the greatest challenges.  Add to that already volatile mix...  the dreaded road trip.  You best be ready for any and all situations.  Plan ahead and accordingly.

15 years in or so I think I have it all pretty clear.

1)  Prepare to spend extra money.  You can never expect rising gas prices and every day items.  Figure, you were gonna fill your tank staying local so that isn't much a difference.  It's those things unexpected that you MUST expect.  You go to your in-laws, and there is divorce, and more than one grandmother, and everyone celebrates Easter...  there will be several trips to the Flower Tent.  End of story.  And after several years over-paying at the chic local Floral Workplace (or whatever quaint name they call it in your area) I finally won the battle and received authorization to purchase at the tent.  Let's be honest, the Easter flowers are nothing more than a gesture.    4 times we presented them to family members this weekend.  And 4 times I am fairly certain flowers were sent to their graves.  And I am ok with that; for $10 a shot.  Lunches for family members are cool too.  You do not see them that often so spread the joy and have fun.  Plus, you live near and work in New York City...  if you don't pick up the check you run the risk of starting the not making it/failures rumor.  Although that might be true you have still have a pretend reputation to protect.  Chicken sandwiches and mozzarella sticks will not kill you.  The money spent pouring beers, pizza and hot wings down your sad sack face each evening will make you forget about lunch anyway.  

2)  Like your car.  And I may be struggling with this one.  If even for these few weekends a year I should know better to have a smaller car than my previous one.  The VW had to go, for a myriad of reasons.  But the Mazda I find myself zoom zooming in is a bit smaller than it should be.  Saturday I found myself back and forth picking up kids, visiting 3 households, going 10 miles out of my way for Starbucks...  all through the hills of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  When I left NJ my trunk was empty.  Last night it was full and spilled over to the backseats.  That brings me to:

3)   Expect relatives that rarely see their niece, granddaughter, cousin, friend,  to over indulge in every  way imaginable.  Easter egg hunts lead to car loads of candy and cash.  There are meals that would feed some metropolitan soup kitchens.   Smothering attention creates a false and unhealthy view of love.  Not a biggie.  As parents we fall guilty of that from time to time.  Only normal for extended family members to throw "things" at loved ones.  Far easier to gain acceptance that way.   Do not begrudge it.    The intent is not harmful.  Love manifests itself in many ways.  Say thank you.  Accept it.  Move on.  Memories are built on the shared experience.  My hope is the endless search for eggs on a muddy Saturday afternoon will far surpass the 5 tons of candy I will be taking to work Tuesday.

We kid a bunch about families and their dysfunction.  The weekend trip to the in-laws does not hit me like my wife expects it to.  If anything it makes me more proud of her.  More astounded.  OK, your folks had you young.  They got divorced, re-married, etc...

Sounds like the norm to me.  Each stop we made was full of both love and doubt.  Sounds very much like Madison, NJ.  Or San Antonio, Texas.  Homes in Libya, Syria, Israel, wherever...  Men and women working things out, trying to understand their loved ones, their role at home, on Earth.

You process the information, maybe have a few laughs along the way, and try to find somewhere, anywhere, that you belong.

If people are willing to have you and bring some joy in return maybe you have found your Holiday.  And maybe the calendar does not have to remind you to celebrate it.


Post-script
And at the end of a long weekend please do NOT watch Yogi Bear.  This tedious, un-realistic, unfunny borefest had me questioning all that is good in the world.  His voice sounded nothing like the cartoon.  Tom Cavanaugh and Anna Faris were an embarrassing leading couple.  Three(3) writers provided the most juvenile, disgusting, and thoroughly un-inspired story ever written.  I mean (3) writers???  Really???

The animation was a joke.  Who thinks love action and animation works well together?  And why did I see an ad for another Scooby Do movie prior to this feature???  Now, since the Easter Bunny brought a popcorn machine (of course he did) we have agreed to a movie night once a week.  That is fine with me as I love film.  But I will be damned if I am going recline once a week and watch this horse%$#@.  At 8 it is high time Mr John Hughes is introduced.  And maybe some R rated flicks.  I was watching Faces of Death when I was 8 and look how well adjusted I turned out.

Ok, maybe not the best example.  But for the love of Zemeckis does anyone make good family films anymore.  And I am not talking kids films...  I mean family films.  Pixar crafts their product rather than pump up garbage once a year.  Disney can only do so many singing princesses.  I have no problem going to the vault and opening up a young girl to all the classics.  Just wish there were some instant classics at my multi-plex once in a while.

And apologies to all critics of Yogi Bear...  I read your reviews and knew it was gonna suck...  just had to take one for the team.


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