Posts Tagged 'family'

What Happens in Tennessee

I’ve been on vacation this week, visiting my folks in Tennessee. I love visiting my folks – I always come home with a southern accent, and using words like “folks.” I have terrific pictures I can’t wait to post – from our trip to Rock City, from a hike in the mountains, from Peter’s first birthday cake – but first I want you to meet my kid sister, Ashley, and my baby brother, John:

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This is Ashley, my gorgeous sister. She’s a graphic designer from Atlanta and she’s looking for a job – anyone want to hire her? She’s terrific!

And here’s my baby brother, John, who just finished his junior year of high school this week:

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John is 11 years younger than me. I used to change this kid’s diapers. I haven’t quite gotten him to change any of my kids’ diapers yet, although it seems like it would be only fair.

By the way, have you heard of a neti pot? You use it to pour saline into your nose. It flushes through your sinus and comes out the other nostril. For kicks, we tried out my dad’s neti pot. And, y’know, took pictures.

There’s not that much to do for fun around here. Well, okay, there is. But this seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Have you ever poured anything through your nostrils? It’s kind of a trip.

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I love a man who isn’t afraid to pour saline through his nasal passages.

And actually, the neti pot thing was rather nice, once you got over the part about pouring saltwater through your nose. In fact, my allergies, which had been bothering me ever since we crossed the Mason-Dixon line (things are actually growing down here, not like back home on the tundra), were much better once I flushed all the pollen out of my sinuses.

Just look how happy John is with his squeaky-clean nasal passages!

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We’ll be traveling for the next few days, but next week I hope to post some of the highlights of our trip, almost none of which will involve nostrils of any sort. It’s been a great week, y’all.

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Something old, nothing new

My adorably-pregnant sister-in-law teaches high school, and because she was to chaperone at prom this weekend we went to the mall to find her some shoes, which is how we found ourselves in the prom shoe aisle at Payless surrounded by a bunch of seventeen-year-old girls. It was an odd feeling, not unlike the time I had to climb into the McDonald’s playland to rescue a treed Noah and all the other preschoolers stared at me in wide-eyed awe and revulsion – “A grownup,” they all murmured. (In my head they’re all saying this in unison, like the squeaky-toy aliens from Toy Story.) “There’s a grownup in the playplace!” This same feeling translated seamlessly into prom-shoe-shopping – we were clearly out of place as Emily tried on Dyeables with her cutely pregnant belly and I watched from behind Peter’s stroller, and we left feeling acutely aware that we’re not seventeen anymore.

We struck out on shoes – heels that seemed to be a reasonable height for dancing when we were seventeen now loom threateningly when paired with a second-trimester bulge – so we wandered into Claire’s. If shoe-shopping amongst high-school students was awkward, accessories-shopping with preadolescents was surreal. “It’s like stepping back into 1988,” Emily breathed as she fingered a piano-keyboard-print belt.

“Are these earrings…Lisa Frank?” I asked, eying a display of butterfly jewelry.

The teenager behind the counter was chipper. “Yeah, isn’t this stuff, like, sooo cute?” she enthused. “It’s all so retro and stuff!”

“Retro,” I said. “The eighties aren’t retro, they’re tragic. They were woefully ill-advised the first time – bringing them back would just be foolish, and –”

“They have jelly shoes!” Emily called from the back of the store.

“The thing is,” I whispered to Emily as we examined rainbow hair clips and neon plastic bangles, “if all the twelve-year-olds are sincerely wearing leg warmers and side ponytails, that means we can’t wear them ironically anymore. Every time New Kids on the Block gets back together or they try to remake 90210, that’s one more thing we can’t be smug about having survived. If the teenyboppers have –”

“Hey, did you see we have slap bracelets?” called the teenybopper at the counter.

Emily’s and my heads swiveled toward her in unison. “You DO?”

“Those things used to be banned from my elementary school,” I reminisced.

“I used to buy them from the quarter machine at the grocery store,” reflected Emily.

“These are just $3.50!” gushed the teenybopper.

“Just think,” said Emily, “if I’d saved all those slap bracelets I bought when I was 8, I could be selling them now at a 1400% markup.”

“The past doesn’t belong to us; we simply market it to our children,” I said. Then we clutched our walkers and shuffled off to catch the early bird special at the Golden Corral.


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