I’m BACK!

I would ASK if you all missed me, but those butterscotch-sweet comments speak for themselves. You guys are the BEST! Thank you for making me feel like the belle of the ball. Unfortunately, in real life I am feeling a lot more like the Ty-D-Bol Man caught in a perpetual flush. This weekend was F-U-N with a capital F, but the 30 hour car ride has left me reeling. With my head on spin cycle, I am ever-so-slowly rejoining reality. It’s almost 8 PM. I am still in my PJs, I have not brushed my hair, but I did this morning brush my teeth. Things are looking up.

We left Thursday morning for the reunion, and drove straight through to Davenport, Iowa. The family had reserved a block of rooms at a local hotel, and upon arrival John & I discovered we’d been given the “Honeymoon Suite.” Sweeeeet. Well, it would have been, were we not also sharing it with our two children. Oh well. We joked about the mirrored ceiling the rest of the weekend, and instead of a seductive soak in our massive jacuzzi, the ladies and I took a pre-party bath together. As my younger daughter said, a little weird, but still fun.

We spent much of the weekend partying b/c THAT is what my family does best. Some families drink to escape, but us, we drink to further enhance our feelings of good will. We are one fun loving bunch. We played games, swam in the indoor pool and spent a boatload in the arcade. We ate. We are SCHOLFIELDS after all. We ordered pizza from 2 different Midwestern chains, with specialty pies called The Inferno, The BLT, and The Taco Joe. I had never seen a pizza covered in Doritos before, but now I have. Not quite as strange as seeing that pizza with a whole fried egg on top like I did in France, but. strange nonetheless.

The weather was cold and rainy for much of our stay, making Philly seem positively balmy by comparison. On Friday, a hotel employee came round to announce a *Tornado Warning* until 5 PM, saying we might have to evacuate to the basement. WOW. Getting my drunk on in a darkened basement might not have been my first choice, but I’m always game for something new. The wind shook the building, and the rain came down in buckets – actually leaking through the roof in places – but that was it. No evacuation. Perhaps next time.

Saturday was the formal luncheon at Deere Run, the John Deere golf club. It’s a lovely place and seemed a particularly fitting choice for the event, given that my grandfather worked for them most of his life. After eating, we took turns lining up for posed portraits, which although slightly tedious was still sort of fun and of course much appreciated by G-ma. It’s amazing how little everyone has changed in 10 years. My cousins, aunts & uncles all pretty much look the same. If it weren’t for the kids, we could still be back in 1998. I will keep telling myself that anyway.

Later in the evening, we met at the hotel-cum-retirement home where my grandmother lives. This rendezvous was for a very special event. The Wearing of the Scholfield Family Reunion T-Shirts. This tradition states that all family members as well as Guests (and yes, we do provide t-shirts for them as well) must don an Official Scholfield Family Reunion T-Shirt for a prescribed length of time, during which many photographs will be taken for posterity. This tradition seems to divide our family into one of two vocal groups: The Lovers of the T-Shirts and The Loathers of the T-Shirts. These white tees are emblazoned with emblems from all of our past reunions, and on the back is written your name and a catchy slogan. I will not tell you mine b/c it is a FAMILY SECRET, but this year there were some new winners. For instance, my cousin’s new husband from Down Under got, “Lawrence: Australian for Scholfield”. Yes, We ARE CLEVER. These t-shirts switch hands every so often, as a new person is elected to produce the new batch of emblems. At this reunion I requested that my Aunt send them to me next. This may or may not have something to do w/ the fact that my mail service is so PISS POOR I’ll likely never receive them. Oops. No need to confess where I stand on this most precious family tradition.

This weekend was a trip. It was a physical haul, driving straight through from Philly to Davenport, Iowa. BOTH WAYS, With only 2 DAYS of heavy drinking in between. I of course have vertigo. again. Which makes me almost as depressed as leaving my family. I have lived my whole life so far away from my relatives. And now my parents and my only sister also live 800 miles away. When we parted on Sunday, I was sobbing like a baby. But worse. I love my family. They are GREAT in every sense of the word. Fun. Full of life. Even my 95 year old grandmother. Now that I am home again, I miss them terribly. I know scores of people who long to escape from their relatives, but not me. I only wish we lived closer.

Today is my grandmother’s 95th birthday. It’s hard to believe. 95 years is a damn long time. 90 years longer than my younger daughter has lived. 60 years longer than I have been around. A whole lifetime of time. And although her body is failing, her mind is still strong. She dishes her guilt with almost surgical precision. She may have a brain tumor impinging on her thoughts at times and occasionally garbling her meaning, but she is still very much with it. So she’s confined to a wheelchair, she gets around. And even has a BOYFRIEND. My 95 year old grandma, as frail as she is, is one tough old bird. God bless her.

Home again home again jiggety jig

Returned from Atlanta last night, about 1 am. It was a LONG trip. 13-1/2 hrs there and another 13 back, and it rained both ways. I don’t mind driving, but 800 miles in a torrential downpour is a test of wills. I made a point of renting audio books from the library to pass the time. We listened to Charlie & the Chocolate Factory on the first leg and a Wrinkle in Time on the 2nd. I enjoyed both greatly, but Wrinkle seemed to terrify as much entertain my older daughter and had her asking questions a little too perplexing for a road trip. Is it possible to condense a rudimentary explanation of Evil into a 5-minute potty break at a rest stop?? Note to self: throbbing disembodied brains not for 7-year-olds.

Christmas itself was lovely. We got way too many presents, my mom & I cooked and we all feasted merrily.

The rest of the week was spent relaxing. We hit the wine cellar, did a little mindless shopping, ate out a few times. Explored my parents’ property. Watched TV (my parents have CABLE!!) and I especially loved the holiday Dirty Jobs marathon. We also watched a bunch of episodes of Arrested Development from my sister’s box set (*Annyong*) – that show is absolutely hysterical. I got a new board game called EAT IT! which is a lot like trivial pursuit for snack food junkies. My mom, the eternal gambler, staked a $5 Starbucks card for the winner, which turned out to be my sister, Queen of Cookies. We played quite a few games, which we haven’t done as a family in a long time, and it was really fun.

Today we did just what you want to do after spending a day and a half in the car. We drove to Bucks County & back, returning the rented minivan and picking up our beloved pets.

Don’t I look thrilled? I think I may have carbuncles. Fortunately, we do have a whole host of new CDs to listen to. I have to say the best of new order is awesome. I must be old.

Unfortunately, we spotted this poor creature by the side of the road:


You might be able to swing this into a joke about Santa’s sleigh or some such nonsense, but I will not. I took it simply as one more reason to get the hell out of the car.

For the rest of the photos, click HERE.