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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Nuthouse

Blogs are very exposing. I am finding that everything I want to write about concerns other people, and I can't very well point out your flaws and complain about annoying types of people if those people end up reading this. I pride myself on being a great diplomat, working well with all different personalities, striking compromises, reaching common ground, making peace, yada yada. But if all of you find out that I'm really just suppressing my grievances under my smile, it's not going to work out for us. So again. I'm having a hard time finding topics that aren't going to ruffle feathers.

I suppose it's safe to start close to home when one is pointing out flaws. Some of you lovely friends of mine are new friends, or long distance friends, or just really smart friends, and you've never been to my house. Let me paint a picture for you, of all that you're missing.
Those closest to me know I live in a very, how shall I say this--eccentric house.  Currently there are only 10 family members living here, and this is the lowest number in years, I think since 1994. We have two bathrooms for us all to share. You can see the back of the house from the frontdoor, as the years went by the patriarchs added one room at a time to accommodate everyone. At the end of the long hallway you'll see the kitchen. In total we have 6 "bedrooms" now.   I could describe only one room of this place and those unfamiliar would make sure to never ask to come over. The great mystery lies in the fact that those who do know the unkempt mess of this house continue to come over, and some in fact try to make it their second home.
For years no one owned a key to the front door, because it was never, ever locked. I grew up with it always open, and it pretty much remains that way today. You should see the panic on someone's face when they come up to the house and the door is closed. They think they missed a mandatory hurricane evacuation.  The familiar faces of family and friends (and the unfamiliar faces of strangers) can always find the front door open, and they just sort of waltz right in the house, as if it were their own.  Maybe they're coming to get a reality check--to remind themselves that their place in life really isn't as bad as they make it out to be. Maybe they come to get a good laugh. Maybe they come because there are NO judgements made here, and they could come in bathrobe and fit right in. But I believe the truth of it is this place is a circus, with crazy characters and performances 24/7.  They come to be entertained. This place is like Peewee's playhouse, a junkyard, your tacky grandmother's house, Luna Lovegood's home, and a dormitory/hostel/orphanage rolled up into one. Do you need an afro wig or a costume for your school play? Come on down. How about a Mother Mary wall clock to finish off that Roman Catholic room in your home? Please come take ours...please. If you misplaced your record player, take your pick. We have two.  And don't mind the 15 baby bouncers, excersaucers, strollers, and jumperoos on your way in. I have twins remember. And please watch your step coming through the front door, we have a big demented brown dog that pretends to be invisible when someone needs to pass by her. Please get your tetanus shots up to date before arriving. Also, if you have small children, we do not take responsibility for their wellbeing while they are here. Luke and Juliette and cousins already know they cannot touch the exposed electrical outlets in the kitchen, but your children may not know that. And I would keep your shoes on the entire duration of your visit, for your own safety.
On the up side, the people that hang around here are pretty fantastic, and the food here is delicious. There will always be a big pot of something on the stove for you to dig into, and what's ours is yours (in all truth, it probably was yours at some point).  The kitchen is the hotspot in the house. Literally, it's super hot, (Grandpa Dave is working on fixing that central ac we were teased with last year) and we often find ourselves shouting above a big industrial fan that is blowing directly into the kitchen from the sidedoor. But it's also the hotspot because that's where everyone hangs out. There aren't enough chairs around the table to fit even the tenants of the house, but we seem to cram people in. Some sit on upturned coolers. Others are lucky enough to grab a real chair, but others get smart and bring in the computer chair from the living room. The unlucky finds themselves on the shower bench from the bathroom.
We don't have ac, the place is a disaster, you may fear the noises of the family of rats in the ceiling, you can't hear yourself over the fans and loud volume that most Cuban descendants use to speak, you may lose your children in the backyard, you may see a scorpion scuttle across the bathroom as you tend to your personal business, you may have to sit on laundry baskets for dinner, but you'll love every minute of it.
And you'll be back.