Posts Tagged ‘the family’

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.

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.

Monkey shines, monkey rubs, monkey bartends

Monday, April 18th, 2011

By Tiber

Well, there’s a monkey loose in our house. There’s one of those sentences you never expect to say.

If you’ve read the previous post, you know that people from the nearby animal park came by here because they’d had a monkey escape and someone thought she’d seen it scaling our wall.

No one in the house knew anything about it.

But then Mom had a martini left out for her (minus the olive) which Dad hadn’t made and Dad got a shoulder rub in his office that Mom hadn’t given. And it seemed pretty clear that a monkey was in here after all.

Some people would freak out so the animal park people leaped in to be reassuring.

But Dad just said, hell, if the monkey could make martinis and give shoulder rubs, he wanted him to move in full-time.

It turned out that Dad had made the martini for Mom. He’d just forgotten he’d started it when he heard noises in his office and had gone there to investigate. The shoulder rub? That may have been the monkey.

Dad said, hey, even without the martini-making, the monkey could stay on as a masseur.  The animal park people said it would probably be best if the monkey came back with them.

So we’re all on high alert.

I know that one night I’ll start having a dream about wearing a warm and comfy fur hat – but then it will suddenly pee on me and then I’ll wake up to find there’s a monkey relaxing and lounging on my head.

Is that a monkey in your pocket or-no, seriously, is that a monkey in your pocket?

Friday, April 15th, 2011

By Tiber 

As I’ve said before, Dad’s butler, Brunty, often forgets who’s really at the door so he’ll just announce anybody.

“Orville Wright has just arrived for you, sir.”

Last night, we thought Brunty had lost it even more when he located Dad and told him that this time, “the monkey people” had shown up. Oddly enough, in this case, he was right.

There’s an animal park not too far from here and one of their monkeys has gone missing. Someone on the street thought she’d seen a monkey scaling one of our walls so we were asked if anyone in the family had found him.

No. No monkeys here.

The animal park people were very nice and Mom joked, “unless a monkey left that martini out on the table for me a few minutes ago. My husband usually doesn’t forget the olive!”

Dad laughed along with everyone else until he suddenly braked and looked sort of perturbed.

“I never made you a martini, Gwen. I’ve been in my office enjoying the shoulder rub you were giving me.”


You give me fever

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011


By Tiber 

Doesn’t it seem as if this winter has gone on for about 18 months?

Yesterday, Brunty, my parents’ butler, went outside, looked around, saw his shadow and came right back in.  A groundhog does that and it predicts six more weeks of winter.

Would our butler be similar to a groundhog?

Let’s see. Disappearing suddenly as if into a burrow? Hibernating? Not appearing to work at a job? Check, check and check.

And the rest of us, being cooped up for such a long winter, have all got cabin fever or, in this case, country-house fever.

Anyone can get it. I guess you could get houseboat fever or igloo fever too.

With us, though, a game of indoor hockey inevitably breaks out.

The dogs play their own excellent game of snout-hockey and Mom, of course, would like it if there was no hockey. But Dad’s usually leading the charge so there’s not much she can do.

And it wouldn’t be a successful game unless we broke something.

This time, we slammed the puck (actually one of those cans of Spam that Dad can’t get anyone to eat) right into the little elevator controls.

Now, it’s gone haywire and all night long, it kept coming up and going back down all by itself.

Actually, we’re praying that it’s all by itself. The only thing worse than living in a haunted house as we do, is if your ghosts suddenly send out invitations and  all of their friends start coming over.

It’s no day at the beach

Monday, September 13th, 2010

By Tiber 

I just read where scientists have been able to replicate that distinctive scent we all smell when we spend time by the ocean.

Kind of romantically, I think we all assumed it came from the foamy waves crashing onto the sands of time. Evidently, somewhat less romantically, it actually comes from bacteria munching and farting.

Okay, I’m simplifying a little but still, I say, let’s go to the lab and get ourselves some sea smell!

We could make good money by keeping summer going just a little while longer for guests who can’t afford to go to an actual ocean! They can have one more real-live fake day at the beach!

We’ll set them up in deck chairs, blast the sound of some waves, start spraying that seaside scent and tell people to imagine the ocean being right over that hill. Iris Nell can then release a few hungry seagulls who can dive bomb the guests for their food and then, as a bonus, we can way overcharge everybody for drinks.

And sand? We’ve got sand!  Kru, as you know, with his cat sand business has tons of the stuff. And nothing says a day at the beach like watching the kids spend hours building kitty litter castles which our own triplets then knock down in two seconds flat.

She Got A Cut-Rate Room At The Bates Motel

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010


By Tiber

We just celebrated Mother’s Day and Mom, mindful of everybody’s finances this year, said we should all skip the presents and just come up with some kind of entertainment for her. Anything at all.

My sister, Erin, hadn’t been born yet but Mom reminded the other five of us that we had once staged “The Nutcracker” for her when we were little and it had all been “so adorable.” So entertainment again it was going to be.

Iris Nell said it might be fun to just do “The Nutcracker” once more. Plus, that way, there wouldn’t be anything new to learn. The way I remember it, it was mostly just us throwing ourselves into the scenery so there wasn’t much to learn the first time around either. Even with that incentive, though, I said no way.

First of all, you never want to allow Duncan to play a role where he’s actually called “The Nutcracker.” If you don’t want him performing this as a kid, believe me, you don’t want him anywhere near you when you’re an adult.

The part I had was “The Mouse King,” another role I can now do without. Not only does the character lose and die but, come on, you’re also called the “Mouse King.” I might reconsider if I could up it to “The Rat King” which at least has Jimmy Cagney/Humphrey Bogart overtones. Iris Nell vetoed that, however, since she was Clara, the heroine, and could.

I informed her she was also going to lose another of the original actors before I even asked him. Vanessa, who took lots of dance lessons as a kid, had wanted to perform all of those Chinese and Russian and whatever they were“Nutcracker” dances which had left our brother, Kru, to be “The Sugar Plum Fairy.”  We’d managed to talk him into it then but I said there was no way we’d ever get him into a tiara now. 

So, with “The Nutcracker” a no-go, we had to come up with something else. We all agreed it would be fun to do scenes from a film and since it was Mother’s Day, it really should be something about loving your mother a lot.

We couldn’t agree on a movie, of course, or even a genre, but after arguing for hours, “Psycho” finally won the most votes. However, Iris Nell said she’d only participate in that if we at least wrote some songs to lighten the tone.

My compositions were “She Got A Cut-Rate Room At The Bates Motel,” “Do You Mind If I Use Your Bathroom?” and the grand finale, “You And Your Mother Look Exactly Like Sisters.”

At the curtain call, we all congratulated ourselves on a show well done, which we sort of had to do – since, by then, we’d realized that both Mom and Dad had left the room altogether a long time ago.