Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I recently saw a poster with the word STUPIDITY at the top. And below it was written:
“Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit, But Those Who Never Win And Never Quit Are IDIOTS!”

I begin this blog with those words of wisdom, because we just arrived home after taking our whole family…the entire Dirty Dozen…to Colorado for a final vacation before the start of school. Now don’t get me wrong…it was probably one of the best trips we have ever had…notably successful because we did not find it necessary to strike our names from our children’s birth certificates, and the sons-in-law did not cry “unnecessary roughness” as we all collected for the fifth time around the old gruel pot.

Family vacations are nature’s ultimate reality endurance contest…to test if these bonds can survive a week in close proximity at an altitude of 12,003 feet without the hope of a full pardon. As you know, at those dizzying heights, oxygen is thin, and the brain becomes deprived of cognition before it has sufficient time to acclimate.

Funny, woeful things happen on the first day of the absence of thought processes on a family outing. And although “height doesn’t make bright,” I learned so much about the “nature of things,” most notably the bodily functions of my six adorable and gifted grandchildren.

Here are my personal observations:

Grandkids’ bowels are equipped with sensor systems specifically programmed to detect when we have reached the furthest point from the last comfort stop, inducing the all-too-familiar sphincter-compromised strut, with the kid walking like an exaggerated apostrophe. They rock and walk like a loose tooth. This is the ultimate body language. Any mother can decode the clues with ease. One cannot over-“awfulize” this particular circumstance.
Grandchildren are created particularly adorable to compensate for their fallacious idea that it is their sworn duty to ensure that Grandma does not potty without an audience and sparkling conversation. The Mother of all rationale-defying thinking: Chanting in unison “Are You Done Yet?” like an incantation from behind closed doors will expedite any order of business being conducted.
Dizzy and confused is not always a condition of altitude. Utter lack of privacy is a contributing factor.
Grandkids are under the delusion that there are absolutely no age or physical limitations to grandparents’ capabilities. Consequently, you accomplish everything they think you can.
While riding in the car one day, I asked Abram what one thing he would change about himself if he could. He considered for a moment, and then replied, “Nothing. I like me just the way I am.”
If you scare the “bejeebers” out of the grandkids, they are reluctant to engage in extreme cage fighting on long rides in the car.

I am including Brodi’s account of our visit to the Stanley Hotel, where “The Shining” was filmed, to justify my inclusion of Observation #6.


Creepy Hotel Status:

Yesterday, we went to the Stanley Hotel, the site where Stephen King was inspired to write “The Shining.” He stayed in room 217, and thought up one of the creepiest stories of our time.

You should’ve heard my Mom telling the grandkids about the story.

Mom: “There was once a man who stayed in this hotel, and went crazy and killed his entire family. So their ghosts haunt the hotel. Then, there’s this writer, who takes his wife and son up to the same hotel to stay during the winter.

Well, he goes crazy, typing stupid sentences over and over on a typewriter, confessing to a bartender, who is really a ghost, and stuff. He kills a guy with an axe, and then he tries to kill his wife and son, before he is frozen in the maze. Any questions?”

Grandkid: “What the heck is a typewriter?”

In spite of it all, we were ultimately a family, seeking amusement among ourselves, away from a world of technology and a glut of intrusive, impoverished, suffocating media sensation we are exposed to on a daily basis with woeful fatigue, and we often endure with passive neutrality. But it has a way of making us disappear into identity debasement. This can ultimately diminish one’s discernment.

We returned exhausted, but strangely refreshed and vitalized by such family excursions. And we celebrate all our flaws and imperfections. What an enormously fun and dysfunctional clan we are.

Today was the first day of school, and the annual ritual of taking pictures and the rite of passage to new classrooms with shiny blackboards were observed once more. Dennis and I were there with cameras, embraces, and tender hearts as second-generational participants. No question, we are crazy for our little clot, but there is a certain splendid idiocy in being grandparents. No enticement could induce us to surrender our “bragging license.”

Love to all,

The Clot