Growing up, I lived in a house with a minimum of three to four animals at a time. My mom was always taking in animals, and at one point even had a room with over 100 bearded dragons. Seriously.
Having friends over was stressful and required hours of prep work; vacuuming up hair, lighting smelly candles, lint-rolling couches, moving furniture to hide chewed wall corners. It sounds so silly and frivolous, but as an insecure teenager, I was hyper-aware that I wasn't pretty, I didn't have any money, and my house smelled like a wet zoo.
Apologizing to friends who would wake up covered in cats, or replacing a pair of chewed-up glasses or missing underwear, was standard.
These days, the pee I'm scrubbing last minute belongs to a kid, the food scattered about is from lunch, and the clumps of hair everywhere are my own. It's semantics.
I had a old, old friend come to stay yesterday, and it was a hectic few days of prep work; running around cleaning up messes, putting out fires, and repeatedly asking Andy... does it smell like puke in here, or is it just my own sweaty smell like, bouncing off the air back into my face?
Before I had dinner on the table, Gi had her underwear off, Wyatt had told three jokes where the punchline was just a fart noise, and Jude replied to every statement with "I don't want to hear your crock story."
Perhaps my house needs a disclaimer -- a blanket apology to preempt the offenses that will befall you should you choose to be my friend and come over to my house for dinner or sleepovers.
There will be pee somewhere in my house and you will touch it, at some point, whether you know it or not. Gi is potty training, and we're not awesome at it. She thinks panties are stupid and I agree. You are free to like underwear here and even wear it, but if you step on a wet spot just shout "The roof is leaking!" which is code for, ugh, get the fucking carpet spray.
That hole in the wall? That's from a Tonka Truck. That one over there? A light saber. Yes, I could paint over it, or I could wait until they go to college and stop throwing shit at each other.
We don't get Wyatt's jokes either; his punchlines are either the logical answer to his question, or a body noise. However, his timing is impeccable, so laugh anyway.
Remember 1984 when Madonna performed "Like A Virgin" on stage, and humped the ground in a wedding dress? Yeah, Gi kinda does that. I have no idea where she learned it, probably from Andy, but she's off to pre-school at a Catholic school next year, so she'll either stop doing it entirely, or get really, really awesome at it.
I make way too much food. I also eat way too much food. It's fine if you don't, but I'll be getting seconds.
See above, and replace the word food with the word wine.
Outfit changes are standard. Gigi will change dresses no less than 30 times a day, and I will often follow suit, changing from my fancy-schmancy jeans to a pair of leggings and an off-the- shoulder '80s shirt. I'll act like I had no idea it was a flash dance shirt when I bought it, but I totally knew.
What the Beals?! Just kidding. I have this in three colors.
I am equal parts passionate about the Middle East and "So You Think You Can Dance" -- bring your A game.
You will probably find something in the couch cushions. It could be food, it could be a dollar, it
could be a diaper; it's like a giant Cracker Jack box where almost all the prizes suck. I would say
maybe keep your hands on your lap.
Andy and I will both bicker and grab ass in front of you. It's completely inappropriate.
Jude is crazy smart and asks questions that he knows you don't know the answer to, or that will purposefully make you crazy uncomfortable. Like, what's the scientific composition of the dwarf planet Pluto? Or, how do tampons work? He's either going to be a brilliant scientist or an obnoxious reporter like that British guy who interviewed Michael Jackson after he almost dropped his baby off the balcony.
Lastly, we use Charades as a coping mechanism for awkward silence. It's not that we don't care, it's that we're all collectively bad with feeeeelings.
How's your dad? Oh, you buried him last week after a long battle against blood cancer?
Three words. A movie. "On Golden Pond"? "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"? "DIRTY DANCING 2"!
Within three hours of their arrival, Andy had fallen over himself apologizing to our guests at least 800 times, and I just stood at the counter with a glass of wine in my hand and laughed. Which is probably exactly what my mother did all those years ago.
These crazy, naked, offensive people are my tribe, and I love the hell out of our weirdness.