Archive for the ‘the family’ Category

How much for the garage at the garage sale?

Monday, September 19th, 2011

By Tiber

Dad decided we could make some money by having a garage sale – not exactly a common event here on the estate.

Mom agreed to it but worried that the cars would rust. Someone finally thought to explain to her that a garage sale did not actually mean selling the garages.

Dad contributed his “Complete Book of Medieval Maces,” to sell, not because he didn’t want it but because “I’ve read it so many times, let’s let someone else enjoy it.”

Iris Nell donated her Kitty Xylophone. She’d decided as a child that animals needed to make music too and while you’re probably thinking that no cat ever actually played the Kitty Xylophone, it turned out that one cat loved leaping on it so much that Dad finally stomped on it and broke it.

Duncan and Honor decided to part with the old “candy dispenser.” When the triplets were little, Duncan made this thing that looks sort of like a three-lined fishing pole. You could tie candy bars to the lines and dangle them from a distance. This way, you could treat the kids without having to get too close to them and risk losing a finger.

The triplets are just as vicious now but since they’re older, you can just throw food at them and they can snag it in mid-air with their teeth.

Our sales were slow.

It was warm out and Erin’s skull-shaped snack holder kept oozing fruit roll-ups out of its mouth like a bloody, lacerated tongue.

The only thing we sold was one of Mom’s vermouth misters from an old martini set.

The girl who bought it spritzed it on her head, evidently thinking it was hairspray or something. I almost stopped her but, hey, she may get more dates this way and frankly, we needed the money.

Water, water everywhere

Monday, August 29th, 2011

By Tiber

We’ve had some flooding. Water can be so serene and beautiful but when it surges through like this, what a mess.

Nestor, the one remaining gardener, certainly can’t clean the whole estate by himself. So Dad has recruited all of us to help. And everybody’s okay with that since we want the place back to the way it was before.

We’ve had a little flooding in the past and the interesting thing to me is all of the unknown items that end up with you. (While some of your own possessions have floated away.)

Dad said we should make a real effort to return the items we find. But then we found a squash racquet. And nearby, there was an actual squash. There was a cantaloupe too so they probably came from a fruit stand or something but Dad thought someone might have actually been trying to play squash with a squash so he’s keeping the racquet “to keep his I.Q. from dropping any lower.”

We also ended up with somebody else’s lawn furniture. And our own was gone. Dad said in that case, why not just let everybody go with what they have? Mom likes ours a lot better, though, so I can already see us forced to be weird little Oliver Twists, roaming the neighborhood going,

“Please, sir, do you ‘ave our ‘litul’ French wrought-iron table?”

The one thing we thought we’d have no trouble returning was a large plastic tub filled with chopsticks. There’s s Chinese restaurant in the village so…but then we saw written on the side of the tub, “Property of Luigi.”

I knew right then, this is all going to be a lot harder than I’d thought.

Fame…What’s your name? What’s your name?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

By Tiber 

I’ve never wanted to be famous. Through my parents, I’ve met a lot of famous people and, for the most part, I’ve always felt it made their lives worse.

One good thing about fame, though, is that it can make other people actually forget reality because they so want to like you.

As you know, we just put on one of the most disliked performances of all time of one of Shakespeare’s worst plays. Because of this, we all were prepared for a lot of averted glances or even hostility when each of us had to go into town.

But it turns out the reverse has been true.

Evidently, given time to think about it, our entire audience has decided they loved the entire event!

I think the reason for this is that nobody wants to look like a total rube and say they hated it. After all, it was Shakespeare! And great people think Shakespeare is great. So “Titus Andronicus” is great! And our performance of it was great! Great, great, great!

Dad’s eyes sort of sparkled and he says we now have a guaranteed money-maker. We can keep on performing bad Shakespeare and everyone in town will feel obligated to attend.

It won’t last forever, of course, but it’ll at least take awhile before each and every audience member can fake his or her own death and have to be carried to the exit.

We have stage fright and so does the audience

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

By Tiber

Well, this weekend, we saw the fulfillment of another one of Dad’s money-making ideas. He decided months ago that our whole family and staff could perform some “Shakespeare on the Estate” and then we could charge admission.

The bonus would be that we’d be bringing some culture to the area as well.

I managed to get out of performing by saying, legitimately as it turned out, that someone would be needed for crowd control.

Mom’s only contribution was to tell Dad to pick one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays to give the audience something new.

Of course, when you have an extremely famous author and one of his works is rarely staged, there may be a reason for that.

Nevertheless, Mom’s advice was taken and Shakespeare’s seldom seen “Titus Andronicus” was chosen.

My younger sister, Erin, took one look at the character named the “Queen of the Goths” and was hooked. I should have explained to her that there’s a big difference between the real Goths and her own version of teenage Goth but it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

The evening had barely begun and already the “dramatic” acting was so bad that the audience decided they were seeing a comedy and settled in for a relaxing evening of family fun.

Unfortunately, before they knew it, this play then zooms off into betrayal, kidnapping, murder, adultery, rape.

Dismembered limbs were flying everywhere and a couple of the characters actually end up in pies.

I’ve heard of unhappy audiences hurrying for the exits but we had people begging me to shove them into Dad’s old Revolutionary War cannon so they could be shot off the property.

We had parents throwing their children over their heads in tag teams to get them to their cars faster.

It’s really bad when your attempts to bring culture to a community backfire so much, that stores soon report a drop even in the sale of yogurt.

I’ve misplaced the can opener. Can we just use your fangs?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

By Tiber

In common with a lot of other people today, my youngest sister, Erin, is obsessed with vampires.

In entertainment, vampires definitely are all over the place. With so much repetition, however, the line between the fictional and the real begins to blur. And now Erin is starting to speculate whether, with so many people living here, one of us might be a vampire too.

Since Erin works at Larry’s Discount Occult, she would love to be that vampire herself. If she promised not to “undead” the customers, it would really increase her sales figures.

She’s not the one, of course, so her eye keeps falling elsewhere.

Our brother, Duncan, is weird enough but not cool enough.

Our sister, Vanessa, is beautiful and pale but she’s also so disdainful that while many people would like to bite her, they’re generally too scared to do it.

I’d love it if it were Mom. The idea of someone politely stalking the Junior League to pounce on those pearl-clad necks is pretty funny.

But if I had to pick one person in the house as being our vampire, I guess I’d have to go with Brunty, the butler. He’s so absent-minded, he would think he had bitten people when he hadn’t – which would explain our low vamp count.

And thank God that for a long time, he’s been losing his sense of smell. I’m pretty sure that if you had to, you could keep him from craving your blood by just pacifying him with a warm Bloody Mary.

It’s hot, hot, hot. And you’re not, not, not.

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

By Tiber 

It is so hot, there has to be another word for it. I saw some iguanas outside and they were all wearing those little beer can hats with straws.

And, of course, with a melting heat wave, our entire air conditioning system has to give one last choking gasp and then go out.

Make no mistake. man’s greatest invention was not the wheel or the printing press but air conditioning.

Without it, you will die. Not only because you will get heat stroke but also because you and everyone around you will soon end up killing each other.

Dad was too enervated to do anything but Mom, who seldom seizes the lead in anything, instantly took charge.

This may be because out of everyone here, she’s the one, over the years, who has seen the largest number of us naked. Besides the whole family, she’s also seen Taffy, the maid, (the unfortunate cactus incident), Brunty, the butler, (the unfortunate hammock accident) and even Cook (the day the flan exploded).

Knowing that clothes were soon going to be coming off in the heat wave today, Mom floored it into town and somehow found a guy who would not only fix the air conditioning on a Saturday but also do it at a reasonable price.

So civilization has been restored!

Plus, I think we may have found Mom’s Achilles heel.

Anytime we want her to do something, it’s pretty clear that all we have to do is mention that it might be fun if we all gathered together and performed a completely naked conga line that would go bouncing throughout the entire house.

Gnome, gnome on the range

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

By Tiber

Since we‘re now all thinking that maybe we can make some extra money by doing something here on the estate, somebody came up with the idea of charging admission to a Garden Gnome Village.

You’ll recall that we discovered about a hundred of those gnomes up in one of the attic rooms since it turned out that Aunt April has been stealing them out of strangers’ yards for decades.

My mother’s shoulders fell. “Those gnomes don’t belong to us!”

“Yeah, but they’re just sitting up there!”

“And we should be calling the police about them!”

“Come on, Gwen,” my father said, “They’d never find all of the owners anyway. April’s clearly been stealing them for years!”

“The police don’t let people off just for persistence!”

She’s right, of course, but since nobody here is going to call the police, poor Mom stuck to what morals she could.

“Well, we shouldn’t make the gnomes an attraction. It wouldn’t be right to profit off of them.”

Erin suggested, “We can arrange them outside of the front gate! They can be what catches people’s attention and draws them in to see something else!”

Iris Nell looked concerned, “But somebody could steal them!”

Kru leaped in, “People can be such bastards!”

Mom soon did her patented drifting away to another room as if she’d inadvertently intruded on the wrong family.

There’s no doubt that she is our moral compass. It’s just that the rest of us are ferrous metal and we keep knocking her off-course.

“Whoooo are youuuu?” asked the Caterpillar

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

By Tiber 

When we were kids, my oldest brother, Duncan, loved to stick us with nicknames.

We tried to retaliate by calling him “Duncan Donuts” but not only was it lame, it never seemed to bother him.

We’re part Scottish and since Vanessa’s name was inspired by a trip to Loch Ness, Duncan’s tagging her “the monster” was inevitable. He also stuck her with “Mini-Van” until she grew to be as tall as he is and much tougher, so now he can never call her either one if she’s anywhere within reach.

With another sister’s food allergies, Duncan sensitively changed Iris Nell to “I retch well.”

And Erin he called “Merrin” in his best Linda Blair voice. She was too young to have even seen “The Exorcist” when he started but it terrified her anyway, since Duncan told her that once he’d called her “Merrin” 50 times, her head would start spinning around.

Our brother, Kru, ended up as “Special K.” 

Plus, Duncan also revealed to another bully at school that Kru’s middle name is Karl and the guy celebrated his small amount of knowledge by slamming Kru’s head into the ground and yelling, “Karl Marx the spot!”

I broke my arm once and Duncan immediately started calling me “Floppy.”

That’s been shortened to just “Flop” which, considering my current circumstances, may have been surprisingly prescient.

But most famously, when Duncan was about 12, he called Jack, our father, “Jack-in-the-Box.”

After that, Duncan disappeared for awhile. We began to wonder if we’d ever see him again.

We did, of course. But it was the one nickname he only used once.