Thursday 7 July 2011


We have invaded my father’s house for the month. And I mean invaded like a swarm of relentless termites. My sisters and I that live in Europe have come to stay with our children and as much as we prepared my father beforehand, I’m not sure he quite understood the gravity of what was about to happen to his once peaceful life.

Let me paint the picture for you. There are ten of us and this group consists of toddlers, a pre-teen, two teenagers, husbands, wives, boyfriends, two dogs (that reside here, we did not bring them, although I wouldn't have put it past us), a lizard and one snail that one of the kids brought into the house just recently. We're a very motley crew. 

To make matters worse, the first week is purely devoted to jetlag, not by our choosing of course (I think the snail and lizard are okay on this front). We fall asleep by 7 p.m., wake in the middle of the night, the King is of course the loudest, bump into each other in the hallway like zombies, and then rise at five a.m. and start our day like it’s just an ordinary Monday. The problem being, despite our best efforts, the house echoes and I’m pretty sure we can all be heard down the block, especially when the King insists on stealing one of his cousin’s hot wheels and a battle ensues. Not to mention, my father has a set of drums in the garage that the kids insist on playing at 7am, and we figure we’ve been up for two hours already, it’s high time to get the neighborhood up.

My father usually stumbles into the kitchen shortly thereafter (not usually an early riser) wondering what on earth has taken over his house and how can he make the madness stop. By ten a.m. of course we are all ready for lunch, and we’re wondering why on earth the day is crawling at a snail’s pace. On the positive side of things, we cook, we clean incessantly, we stock the fridge, clean out any area that looks disheveled or disorganized and give our father our wise womanly opinions at every turn. I’m sure he loves this part. The cons are that collectively we make a heck of a lot of noise and seem to create a mess of biblical proportions. In the King's defense, he is at the stage where food is much more fun to crush, throw and smear, than imbibe. And of course my ten-year-old nephew and his cousin leave detritus in their wake consisting of clothing, empty cups, shoes, pieces of toys and electronic equipment. Then there is my thirteen-year-old niece who changes outfits every time she switches rooms, and me and my sisters who are running after the lot of them in our jetlag stupors.

At any given time the phone is ringing, the doorbell chiming and someone is shouting across the house ‘whose is this? what’s are we eating for lunch; who ate my --? Where is my child?? Is the dishwasher clean or dirty; someone stole my--; and who has the car keys!’ Then of course we all pile into two cars (we’re a big group) and caravan somewhere like a wandering tribe of eager consumers. The Euro sisters – as I call them - get very excited by chain American stores (with good service) and grocery stores with a wide variety of food citing the fact that where they live such things don't exist. I literally had to drag them out of Whole Foods the other day before they bankrupted themselves and made a scene in the cracker aisle.

At the moment, my father keeps asking what is for dinner (lunch/breakfast) as we all seem to pick and snack like 85 year olds who are keen to get to bed before eight and no one seems to make a complete meal. Currently, he is also bench-pressing a watermelon as my sisters laugh at him as the kids crawl all over the sofa like wild monkeys. It’s not pretty, but it’s certainly an amusing way to spend the summer.
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