Posts Tagged ‘the family’

Have a heart, people

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

By Tiber

Nobody had any plans tonight so all of my brothers and sisters and I decided to go to the movies. My sister, Vanessa, who owns a limousine company, grabbed a car from her fleet that had just been returned and offered to drive the whole group. Vanessa knows, as I imagine all taxi and bus drivers know too, that practically anything can get left behind in vehicles. And I mean, anything.

We all got in the car and Iris Nell shrieked. She’d found something that, as usual, ended up saying more about us than about the item itself.

It was a box labeled “Medical Transport – Heart for Transplant.” A joke? Probably. But what if it wasn’t? Vanessa said not to open it until she’d called the number on the box. But instantly, the rest jumped in with their own takes.

Iris Nell, predictably, burst into tears, instantly empathetic that not only did somebody need a new heart but that on top of that, it had been lost. Erin wanted to take “art” pictures of the heart she could show her friends and Kru, ever the athlete, was evidently under the impression that the heart had just run a marathon since he kept yelling, “Get back!  Give it some air!!!”

But Duncan was the most excited of all. “Let’s keep it! We can make our own person!”

Erin said he’d then have to find a brain.  And for some reason, every eye in the limo whipped  in my direction. So until Vanessa finished with the call, I decided to wait outside.

Turned out it was all a joke, of course. The box was empty. I couldn’t help but notice, though, that relief and disappointment spread through the car in pretty much equal measure.

Pub flub

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

By Tiber


My family’s newest moneymaking idea is to open our own “Olde English” style pub, right here on the grounds.

We began with the search for our pub’s name. It went something like this:

“How about ‘The Fox and the Donkey?’”

“‘The Fox and the Ass!’”

“‘The Drunken Donkey.’”

“‘The Drunken Ass!’”

“Oh, please. Now you’re just insulting the customers!”

“How about ‘The Black Bat?’”

“‘The Black Sheep!’”

“No! You‘re doing it again!”

“Then make it more upscale. How about ‘The Duke and the Sheep?’”

Dad decided to really move along from there.

“‘The Something Arms.’”

“‘The Goose Arms.’”

“Geese don’t have arms!”

“That’s not what it means.”

“Then go for royalty. Like a Queen.”

“…‘The Victoria Arms!’”

“‘The Victoria’s Secret!’ She was bound to have had at least one.”

“Oh, for God’s sake, people!”

“I like ‘The Eagle and Lamb.’”

“No! It makes me worry that a big eagle might carry the lamb away!”

“Fine. Then make it harder. ‘The Eagle and Bull.’”

“‘The Bull and Rooster!’”

“‘The Bull and the Cock.’”

Mom jumped up excitedly and yelled out,

“‘The Queen and the Cock!’”

We all just gave up at that point.

Like a horse in stilettos, so much of the time, we can’t even get out of the starting gate.


We’re all floored

Monday, April 12th, 2010

By Tiber

Yesterday, Cook “dropped” a heavy metal soup pot on the floor. There’s a better chance that she threw it at someone but nobody’s talking.

Whatever happened, my parents’ maid, Soledad, was cleaning the kitchen floor today when suddenly, she fell to her knees. Cook thought she was breaking into some form of folk-dancing and told her to knock it off until she was through with the mopping.

But Soledad had seen a vision. There on the floor, at least to her, was the image of the Virgin Mary.

Everything stopped and kitchen utensil traffic cones had to be arranged around the site until the family could be called in to check it out.

Soledad, knowing that Dad’s running short of cash, was already running with the idea of money from the vision as soon as he arrived. She didn’t think it would be fair to charge to see the Virgin Mary herself but felt it would be all right to set up a gift shop and sell her likeness on merchandise.

The main trouble, though, was that no one else could agree on who the face on the floor really looked like.

Dad thought it looked more like Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas.” Of course, Dad has also seen Ann-Margret from “Viva Las Vegas” in cloud formations, in his dreams and in beer foam so I’m not sure how reliable that is.

Duncan thought the face looked like Cleopatra in a hockey mask. Could she have played? Who can really say?

Kru insisted it was a Viking in a Panama hat, which if we did sell it in the gift shop would first require a rewriting of history.

What did I see? I saw linoleum with a dent in it. Either I am a)  the most dull-witted person here b)  the least blessed or c)  right.

Cook just wanted to know whether, if she ended up having long lines of pilgrims standing in her kitchen, she could at least ask them to peel some potatoes.


Drop the chocolate and back away slowly

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

By Tiber

This year, the Big-Time Bunny Run was held for Duncan and Honor’s 10 year-old triplets. They say they believe in it all but who knows if they’re telling the truth? They’d also swear in a court of law that Great-Grandma Noni is a kangaroo and only wears that apron to cover her pouch.

At least the weather had finally cleared enough to have the hunt outside and my other siblings, Kru, Vanessa, Iris Nell and Erin and I watched it unfold from my third floor balcony.

As stated in my previous post, Dad, since he claims to know the Easter Bunny personally and is one of his top ambassadors, just refers to him as “E.B.” And every year, Dad makes sure to remind any and all kids of “E.B’s Rule #1,” which states that any candy not found by the children on Easter morning automatically goes to the Dad.

Dad, however, never bargained on the triplets. I know that at times we’ve all wanted to bargain something for them but that’s another story.

Anyway, if twins are creepily psychic, triplets are even more so. In our day, we found most of the candy but it was only accomplished with a lot of false starts and crashing into things.

With the triplets, the mental ability is honed and lethal. Today was like watching a grade-school production of “Top Gun.” The three of them could “lock on” to candy stashes in a flash and if they even sensed an adult in the vicinity, potentially slowing them down, they’d bark out, “Bogey on my left! Bogey on my left! Permission to fire! Permission to fire!”

Dad, who’s only allowed to eat candy on holidays, was in a panic. The triplets were finding all of it. The old desperate measures were needed so Dad suddenly yelled out, “What if E.B. threw some candy down the old coal chute?”

The triplets were off to check it out, which, of course, would divert them to the other side of the house.

I had no idea that Mom could move that fast. It was bad enough that Cook had once pushed an assistant down the chute but there was no way Mom was allowing her grandkids near there.

She headed them off and it was just in time for everyone to see Dad grab the last candy stash (that had been hidden in the greenhouse) and take off into the woods with it.

The triplets shrieked and flew off after him. I think we all kind of said our goodbyes to Dad at that point. This had clearly turned into a production of “Lord Of the Flies”…“Lord of the Flies” sponsored by the Hershey Corporation.

The Big-Time Bunny Run

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

By Tiber

Well, here we are again, approaching Easter and what’s known around here as the Big-Time Bunny Run. 

Dad really gets into this, partly because, though Mom can’t keep him away from Cook’s desserts the rest of the year, she has made him promise to limit his candy intake to holidays only. 

And the Big-Time Bunny Run is one candy event.

Dad always told us he knew the Easter Bunny (or “E. B.,” as he calls him) personally and was one of his top ambassadors. That was why he knew all of the “E.B. rules.” First and foremost was the one stating, “any candy not found by the children on Easter morning reverts to the Dad.”

With this kind of pressure on the five of us kids, our path would look something like that of a plague of locusts, if your own personal locusts averaged 50 lbs. each and could lift furniture.

So, of course, “E.B. ” came up with harder and harder to find hiding places for the candy.

Dad would often end up saying things like, “Oh, what a shame. You guys didn’t see the bunny’s stash up here on the chandelier. Well, as per the rules, I guess it’s mine now. Go get me the ladder, Duncan.”

I remember there was another stash we missed locating because it had been buried outside under the hedgerow. Dad didn’t get this one either, though. Some woodland creature had dug up and carried off the contents before we were even up.

Annoyed, Dad yelled out into the forest, “That’s just going to make you sick, you know!”

Mom responded that the only sound she heard was that of animals totally enjoying some candy that should have gone to the children in the first place but at least now, thank you very much, was not being enjoyed by Dad.

My sister, Erin, came along years after the rest of us, which is why we’ve always referred to her as “the surprise package.” Duncan’s always called her “The Unexpected,” making her sound like her own horror movie.

When it was her time for the Big-Time Bunny Run, even hunting alone, she was the most adept of all.

She’s a little psychic and maybe she can also just smell candy better at 20 paces but, in any event, E. B. had to become even more creative about finding effective hiding places for the chocolate.

Some of the candy no one has ever found.

In the distant future, someone will trip on a throw rug and end up finding what, in our day, was a chocolate rooster with a bow. By then, though, it will look as if one of us strangled some sort of one-eyed ghoul with a pink string and then hid the body under a floorboard.

Happy New Year – in our own special way

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

 photo: courtesy

By Tiber

As I said earlier, Dad decided that to save money, we would all stay home, get dressed up and have our New Year’s Eve party right here. No one else was happy about this but we all did dress formally and meet up in the big living room.

And then we all proceeded to just sit there, like a 4th grade dance, where nobody wants to touch anyone.

Someone finally suggested we play “Charades” but it became obvious that nobody was into it. When my brother, Kru, got his clue and held up four fingers, Duncan just yelled out, “Four words? How about “You…are…an …idiot.”

When the next person did the symbol for “sounds like-,” Dad groused, “It sounds like you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!”  The game collapsed completely when the other team wouldn’t even try to name what clearly was “The Sound of Music,” and instead insisted they had solved it with “The Hound of Cusack,” claiming it was a documentary the actor had made about his dog.

The evening went downhill from there and eventually, Kru, Duncan, my sister Vanessa, and I ended up playing poker up with the security guards on the third floor of the staff wing. We’re hardly ever invited over there but maybe they felt sorry for us.

My sister–in-law, Honor, put the triplets to bed, though in their case, it’s much more like day’s end at a zoo, where the animals are conned into being relocked into their sleep enclosures by the lobbing of extra food.

Mom and my sister, Iris Nell, ended up knitting with the housekeeper, Mrs. Brunty, in the staff parlor and even Cook, after putting up orange traffic cones to block people from the kitchen, came out, plopped down, ignored the others and stared straight ahead. Mom was thrilled that she was being so sociable.

The three maids were overheard happily discussing how they can get a reality show to shoot here without Dad knowing. And Brunty the butler‘s head kept looming out of the darkness, like the Wizard of Oz, as he kept roaming from group to group, evidently not finding any of them worth joining.

Mom even took a tin of holiday cookies up to the attic rooms, just in case that unknown old woman she found up there one day is still in residence. Dad even contributed one of his special beers.

Dad himself settled into his study with the same beer, pie, a book on military history, his dogs and his youngest daughter, my teenaged sister, Erin, for company, so he was happy indeed. Erin sat by the big fire and drew pictures of skulls, so I guess she was happy too.

A very cold wind kicked up outside as the new year came roaring in but even with our differences, a good time was finally had by all, here at Villa de Loon.

Deck the Halls with Cows of Wally

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009


By Tiber

It would take you days to go through all of the things in my parents’ endless attics. In  my older post, “Our Maze Eats Another One,”I wrote about my mother even finding an unknown old woman up there, reading. The old lady may still be up there but Dad didn’t mention it when he was rooting around this week.

He did find a box of real 19th century clothing and he thought maybe we could make some money as Dickensian Christmas carolers at the mall.

There weren’t enough of the 19th century outfits. though, so he borrowed from a box full of 1930’s clothes. My older sister, Vanessa, ended up looking more like a call girl in a speakeasy. I didn’t tell her because a) that would be rude b) that would be unkind and c) Vanessa scares me.

My brother, Kru, was stuck with an old, drab, 1930’s suit but when he complained, Dad said to knock it off and just tell everyone he was Scrooge’s accountant.

When Dad found a little wooden crutch, he slapped a cap on my sister, Iris Nell, and proclaimed her “Tiny Tim.” Duncan said that was “just wrong.” We thought, for a second, he was trying to be politically correct. But no. He just went on that, obviously, we’d have to call her “Medium-sized Tim.”

We got to the mall and began our audition, only to realize, belatedly, that no one knew all the lyrics to the carols. We got “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose“ right.  But the next line, “Yule-tide carols being sung by a fire,” we all got wrong as “Yuletide cards we will all be a mailin,” which left us no choice but to finish the verse with “Folks dressed up like Ms. Sarah Palin.” Of course, the real line is “Folks dressed up like Eskimos,” so I guess we were close.

Dad then quickly jumped into “Oh, Tannenbaum” but he was nervous and began to sing instead about one of his best friends. “Joe Tannenbaum…Joe Tannenbaum…” He gamely tried to keep this one going with “I met him first in college. Joe Tannenbaum, Joe Tannenbaum…he has a lot of knowledge…”  There was really nowhere to go from there, though.

Even “Jingle Bells” we messed up because instead of singing “Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh,” my sister, Erin, blurted out, “Oh, what fun it is to ride in a Porsche Cabriolet.” We couldn’t stop cold on another song, so this time, we just went on with the theme. The trouble is, it was no longer a tune about festive bells so much as really a song about German engineering.

We knew then we weren’t going to be hired. The mall manager was nice and told us we were very talented. It was just that the patrons listening to us didn’t seem to be singing along.

Mostly, they all just looked perplexed.

About face

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

By Tiber

On our new “let’s-all-come-up-with-a-new-job” quest, someone had the bright idea that I or some of my other siblings could hire out as celebrity look-alikes for parties. The question was, who could we be? Most of the evening was spent sitting around staring at each other.


Finally, my sister, Iris Nell, said she’d once been told she looked a little like Florence Nightingale.

“Oh, great. Who‘ll even know who that is?” Duncan sputtered, for once pretty much correct.

“A party of nurses!” my younger brother, Kru, blurted out, instantly regretting it as Duncan rolled his eyes.

“Can you keep your personal fantasies out of this?”

Mom quickly jumped in with, “Actually, I think Kru and Iris Nell look a little like Pierre and Marie Curie!”  Another surefire party hit.

“Maybe they could do a little reenactment about discovering radium!” she added brightly.

“Yeah, and then they can use the lab blowtorch to heat up some Hot Pockets.”    

 This last comment was from Dad, who now got a blowtorch look of his own from Mom.

”I’ve always thought Kru and Tiber look like serial killers,” Duncan offered helpfully.

“They do not!” (Thanks, Mom). 

Plus, as my youngest sister, Erin, said, “Who’s gonna want generic serial killers milling around at their event anyway? They’ll just look like the rest of the guests!”

Duncan’s gaze now focused on Erin. “Well, Erin sort of looks like a vampire. If she’d had her fangs filed down.”

“Why would I file them down?”

“Maybe every time you ate a jelly donut, the jam was squirting into your ears.”

Erin loves vampires and that really ticked her off.

“Well, you know what everyone’s always said about you, Duncan?  That you look a little like the Elephant Man!”

Duncan just laughed and got up and left. Usually, you can never phase him…which is why I was so happy to see him sneak a look in the big mirror as he walked out. We may not make money as other people but it’s always worth it to make Duncan question the person he already is.