Cape Gazette
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Around Town

Different families have varied holiday traditions

By Nancy Katz | Nov 12, 2013

Most people are well aware that we have many holidays looming around the corner. Some of us will mark these events in the traditional holiday way, which is to buy a frozen pizza at the nearest 7-Eleven, microwave it and spend the night watching reruns of “Leave it to Beaver.”

Others not so fortunate will go a different route, enduring family, friends and relatives coming and going in droves. It’s not that you don’t enjoy the close personal relationships you’ve maintained by seeing them only once every 10 years, it’s just that, well, to put it nicely, some of them have issues.

Now I don’t care how much you redecorate your house, you know with those bathroom guest soaps with the butterflies, OK, and the duct tape around the open hole so you now call the room a solarium. And no matter how much you accommodate this group, especially with the addition of rabbit ears on all the televisions, and no matter how much planning you do, particularly including a night of charades with an empty room, some things when it comes to house guests seem to never change.

For one, I’ve never understood the arrival etiquette. For instance, my adult children will arrive, typically two hours late, with multiple duffel bags and luggage, most of which will never be opened. In fact, a great deal of their time will be spent asking if anyone has seen their sunglasses or keys. Apparently life cannot go on unless you have the particular brand of sunglasses they have picked out, I mean charged to your account. The keys go to no locks I’m aware of.

Anyway, without fail, they will always dump that pile of stuff on the hallway floor or on the steps going up into the living room. It will remain there in a mountainous sculpture, like a curbside check-in at a large municipal airport.

Don’t expect a skycap to suddenly appear and lug this grouping upstairs. You can cover it with a sheet and just tell unexpected guests you are redecorating.

If the adult child is home from college, he will be accompanied by a large black random dog that will be difficult to distinguish from the multitude of black trash bags containing dirty laundry. The laundry will not be worth washing, having disintegrated into molecules of dust; it’s been a couple of years, after all.

I don’t mind dogs, and this particular dog is housebroken, well behaved and apparently highly educated, since it’s lived at the university since its dedication. However, it has one unnerving trait, staring at you the entire time, like it knows the past secrets of the darkest part of your life. Creepy.

I don’t have the same experience when I visit my adult children. Well, first of all, even if you tell them when you are arriving, don’t expect them to be home. They have important stuff on their agenda, like spinning classes. Not to worry, they haven’t locked any of the doors since the contractor gave them the keys when the house was first built. If you ask them for a key, you will get a blank, vacuous look.

Two gigantic dogs who are so bored and lonely they will put down the deed to the house they are chewing on will greet you like the reincarnation of Caesar Millan. The golden retriever will throw herself on the ground whimpering, while the black lab will embrace you like he has found a partner to do a Western line dance.

Mostly, I just circle the driveway, throwing out luggage as a distraction, until I can make a break for it. Oh, there is a welcoming committee once you get inside the house.

The phone will ring continuously; the television will go off and on, and the microwave will beep as well as the washer and dryer.

While you are putting your things away, you may as well throw in a load of laundry, clean a few bathrooms, make a few beds, pay the trash man and eventually make a run to the grocery store, since the refrigerator contains one grape. One can only hope for that pizza.

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