Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

We all give thanks

Monday, November 28th, 2011

By Tiber

I hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving. Ours was okay.

Dad said he was going to save money by not buying turkeys. We were all terrified that it was going to be Spam in the shape of turkeys again but fortunately, it was just chicken.

Even on regular nights, Dad has always insisted that all of the family members who are at home eat together at the dining room table, which, actually, I sort of like.  But Dad also insists that everyone leave their phones in the butler’s pantry until the meal is over and for a meal as long as Thanksgiving, you start seeing a lot of itchy fingers.

We all talked about what we were grateful for this year and we all enjoyed the food but pretty much the second that was done, somebody leaped up and yelled,

“Now we should play hide and seek! For the kids!”

Before Dad could even get out the words that the kids were too old for hide and seek, he looked around and everybody had grabbed their phones and was gone. I don’t think there was much seeking either.

I’m sure Dad was ticked off for a second or two but then I’m just as sure that he realized we’d left a lot of the pie. I saw him heading off to his study with that and he had all of the dogs and cats following along so I think the rest of his Thanksgiving was just fine.

“Luke, I am your television.”

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

By Tiber

I’ve already talked about how I got my first name because my parents were visiting Rome. But I’ve never said how I got my middle names which are Luke and Philo.

Dad still claims that right before I was born, he was reading the Bible and he was especially struck by the wisdom in the gospel of Luke. Yeah, right. We all know he was becoming obsessed with “Star Wars” and just doesn’t want to admit it.

Later, when everybody started yammering the line, “Luke, I am your father,” well, that was a never-ending bonus for him.

My “Philo” middle name is in honor of Philo T. Farnsworth, who sounds like a cartoon character but is actually the real-life inventor of the television. He came out of nowhere and then he invented this extraordinary thing.

When I was little, Dad told me that my having that same name was going to inspire me to become someone who would also invent something fun, that would be in homes all over the world.

Evidently I responded, “You mean, like the man who invented the cat?”

I think Dad realized right then that not only would I not be inventing the next stage of television, I’d be lucky if I could even figure out how to turn it on.

Jack Frost Nipping At Your…well, farther down than your nose…

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

By Tiber

We lost our heat, right when the storm began to hit.

We had stocked up on extra everything – except for a spare furnace.

This huge house is never what I would call “toasty” but without the furnace going, it was becoming positively “iglooey.”

We have big fireplaces and, obviously, people used fireplaces for eons to get warm. How did they do this?

We sat right in front of ours, all bundled up and eating soup and ended up just being people who were sitting right in front of fireplaces, all bundled up, eating soup and freezing.

Expeditions kept being organized to go down to the basement to try to fix the furnace but except for somebody saying we could throw the instruction booklet into the fireplace and make more fuel, nobody knew what to do.

Then, of all people, Gabby, the maid, spoke up. She suddenly said something that sounded to me like, “Have you checked the huggelbort in the uvula?”

She went on to explain that on one of the 12,000 reality shows she watches, their furnace broke down too. This is the show entitled, “We Are The Stupidest Organisms on The Planet Since Bacteria Were Here Alone.” I’m pretty sure that’s it. Anyway, their repairman had started to tell them briefly how he’d fixed their furnace but two of the cast members instantly keeled over from boredom.

Gabby, though, for some reason, had remembered what he‘d said. And it worked! We got our heat back and Gabby’s going to get some kind of bonus.

She said she always knew that reality show celebrities were powerful enough to save people until it was pointed out that it was the repairman and not the reality show celebrities who had saved us.

“Yes, but they put him on their show, even if it was for only 13 seconds!”

I’m very grateful for fhat but still, I’d be a lot more inclined to watch this show if it was hosted by the furnace repairman and he promised to only have the reality show celebrities on for the same amount of time.

Going beddie bye-bye

Sunday, December 5th, 2010


By Tiber

My parents have some guests staying here this week. It’s a couple they really like, so Dad thought it would be nice to put them up in one of the most elaborate guest rooms. This one has a big antique bed in it that, once upon a time, belonged to a prince.

The bed is capped by a very large and heavy wooden canopy dome. I don’t know how long it’s been since anybody checked the canopy attachments. I guess  the answer now would be, “too long” – since the man and woman were lying in the bed when the whole canopy fell down on top of them.

Fortunately, the dome is so big, at least there was some air trapped under there. Unfortunately, the dome is so big, they couldn’t get out from under it.

Finally, when the two didn’t come down to dinner, a search party was sent up and they were retrieved.

Since Brunty, the butler, wanders all over the place, Dad later asked him if he hadn’t heard any commotion coming from that room.

“Yes, sir. I did hear two people yelling.”

“Yelling?!? Brunty! Why didn’t you do something?!?”

Brunty pulled himself up to his most dignified height and replied.

“Because, sir, while the gentleman was shouting out, ‘Hello! Hello!,’ his lady was then shouting, ‘In HERE! In HERE!!!’ I could only assume that, though the gentleman had clearly lost his way in his lovemaking, he certainly didn’t want me popping in there and giving him better directions.”

A Raisin in the Bun

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

By Tiber

Back in the 1800’s, when my father’s house was built, the governess had her own bedroom off  the schoolroom and both were located between the family wing and the staff wing. Other adults seldom went there.

With no governess now, my siblings and I long ago took over this space for our own indoor clubhouse. TV, music, games, old sofas. Great! We still use it.

I came in today and the light from the window was glinting off something stuck way behind one of the sofas. I finally wrenched out the item and it was my old lunch box from school!

I opened the box and in a moment even exceeding Proust and his cake, my little kid existence came rushing back at me from the smells that were still captured inside. Bologna sandwiches! Bananas! Chocolate cake! And…and…oh, dear God, no, RAISINS! The loathed and nausea-inducing raisins – all of them resting, so seemingly innocent, in their cute, perfect-for-kids size boxes. I hated them but Mom decided they were healthy and I got them constantly.

And I ate the little rabbit turds! There were trash cans everywhere at school but I never threw them out. I just kept eating them. Good kid? Or remarkably slow? You make the call!

Of course, now I’ve just read that they’ve discovered raisins are actually very good for you. So, evidently, Mom was right all along.

My brother, Duncan, showed up as I was writing this. As usual, we were fighting but I had a game on TV so he just sat down and watched it with me. Because that’s the rule in here. No bullying, no pulling rank, no battling of any kind and believe me, we used to leave chunks of hair and skin all over the rest of the house. But in here, you have to leave it all outside, the same way you’d take off your muddy boots. Maybe we sense the ghosts of governesses past, threatening to whack us.

Or maybe we just really hit on something. Everybody should have at least one space that’s neutral, where all of the crap is left outside the door.

Note to you raisin companies, however. Go with the good health angle, absolutely. But you could truly sell a whole lot more product if your new ads could also read, “Raisins! Inexpensive and good for your health! And now made without any actual raisin taste!”

Without the cape fear

Monday, June 21st, 2010

By Tiber

With a house this big, we often have a lot of overnight guests. And more than once, someone has set up, shall we say, a friendly nocturnal visit to a bedroom other than his or her own. The problem, though, with so much house, is that you can easily lose track of the exact bedroom you’re seeking.

This happened again last night, when a male guest burst into one of the other bedrooms naked, to surprise his lady friend. He leaped up onto the bed in the dark and yelled, “Even Zorro would envy this mighty sword!” This was news to my grandparents who, up until then, had been asleep in there.

Mortified, the male guest fled, but to his credit, he did show up for breakfast in the morning, trying to pretend that nothing had happened. He didn’t look anyone in the face, however, and because of this, he never noticed that, courtesy of my father, who thought it was hysterical, all of the men at the table, my grandfather included, were wearing small, black masks.

Brunty, Dad’s forever out-of-the-loop butler, did notice.  He leaned down to whisper to my father at the table and with his eyes still focused on the other men, neglected to realize that my father was wearing a black mask too.

“I think you should be on guard, sir.”  Brunty confided.  “It has come to my attention that some of the guests may be planning a heist.”

If ghosts can walk through walls, why do they go bump in the night?

Friday, March 26th, 2010

By Tiber 

I love anything to do with ghosts.  And though I’m aware of all the supernatural occurrences, witnessed either by me or others, here in my parents’ house, I still have yet to come upon a full-body apparition. And a full-body apparition is what I want to see. It would be the Holy Grail of the paranormal.

Of course, not everyone might feel the same way.

We had a guest staying here last night and she had her own ghost experience first-hand. She had been given a bedroom that hadn’t been used in awhile and, in the middle of the night, she woke up and saw it – a dim, white apparition, wavering in the shadows on the far side of her room.

After a moment, the shimmering thing started floating, right towards her bed. And, to the woman’s horror, she felt something clammy brush against her feet, turning them both ice cold.

The guest dived under the covers so she wouldn’t see any more.  But then she felt the mattress vibrate. as if the ghost had actually sat down, almost right up against her, in the dark.

Was the thing conscious of her presence or not? Was it angered by her being in this bed or in this room?

The woman became too paralyzed with fear to make a run for it. All she could do was continue to hide until she finally got up enough courage to just peek out. By the time she did, the specter had vanished.

Even then, our guest was too terrified to scream, she was too terrified to move and since we just found out that Brunty, the butler, has started sleep-walking, we’re all too terrified to tell her.

And we have lift off

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

By Tiber

With all of the cold weather, my brother’s 10 year-old triplets, Lauren, Shirley and Bo,  have been home far more than usual. And even though my parents’ house has three wings and five floors, it seems as if every time you turn around, here’s a triplet, there’s a triplet, everywhere a triplet, triplet.

It was driving Dad crazy and he told them if they went off and played by themselves, it would give them valuable life skills for the future. Well, that didn’t work so he was forced to sign an I.O.U. for the second he gets more cash.

Later, we all knew somebody was using the little iron-grilled elevator, next to the main stairs, because you could hear that humming sound as the elevator started up. This didn’t really catch anyone’s attention. The sudden metallic grinding and loud clunk that followed, however, did.

The yelling of the triplets was also noticed since they were the ones who had undoubtedly been messing with the elevator and who were now the ones stuck in the elevator.

Their mother wasn’t home at the time but my mother, their grandmother, was frantic to get them out. Dad seemed a little slower to the rescue. The kids were fine for the moment.

And Dad felt strongly that we should wait for an electrician to free them instead of having a family member fool around with the malfunctioning machinery and possibly make things worse.

That was probably true but my mother couldn’t help but catch that dreamy look in Dad’s eyes when he realized that for a short time, at least, he could legally keep the demon threesome locked up in a cage.

The rest of us entertained the triplets while they were stuck in there. Since they were hungry, Kru and I got some bananas from the kitchen and threw them to the kids through the gaps.

Again, my mother was horrified.

“You are so callous!” she railed at us but I knew that wasn’t it. The kids were enjoying the bananas, shrieking and climbing the bars. That’s what was bothering her. She knows better than anyone…our whole family is only one elevator ride away from devolving from our usual and constant nit-picking into literally picking nits.