Monday, January 28, 2013

It's a Long Way Down the Holiday Road

I gotta tell you I'm a guy who likes routine and I like my things a certain way.  I like to work out at a certain time and watch Chris Mattews on the TV while I'm doing the eliptical.  I like to eat at a certain time and I like to watch my college football and basketball at a certain time each night (NASCAR or the Nats in summer).

All that is thrown out the window when you are on vacation.  Now when you are traveling to Aspen to ski or going to Boca to the beach you take those deviations in stride because you are doing something different that is fun.  But when you are just going to visit the family in their vanilla town well then all those little changes to routine are just a pain in the ass.

I happen to have great in-laws.  Shannon and I have joked that if we ever get a divorce we don't want to lose our in-laws.  That being said I like them, I don't want to live with them.  My wife's sister and her husband are DINKS (double income no kids).  DINKS live in a foreign world with no stress and no mess.  When we invade I know it's tough on them because their no fuss world is thrown into tatters by our "young-un's."  But it's tough on me because they are DINKS and lead a DINK lifestyle which means existing in their world becomes almost like an episode of Bear Grylls for Ryan.

Can someone find me a damn Cheeto!
I will outline the predicament in my bullet-pointed rant below.  Let's call it Ryan the Average Married Dad's Survivor-Man Experience in DINK-land:

*  My brother in law has a wide range of beverage choices at his home much like I do.  Except that while I have the family version of variety (milk, OJ, Fruit Punch, and maybe some Sprite and the occasional Rolling Rock) the brother in law has a wide assortment including Crown Royal, Johnny Walker (red), Stolis, Heineken, Blue Moon, and the local Pale Ale.  Oh and he has tap water as well.  This of course is fine because he has no kids which is really just a half step away from bachelorhood.  Really it is a bachelor without haveing to go through the exhaustive efforts of finding a woman to sleep with every night.  For Ryan this starts off fun.  I don't drink a lot but I do enjoy a good beer now and again.  But by day 2 my head is pounding from alcoholic consumption and dehydration and I just want the Libby's Cherry Punch my kids drink and I count on for re-hydration on a typical evening.

It's bad if you'd kill for fruit punch

*  Meals are interesting at the in-laws.  My wife's sister will get up and fix a hearty breakfast of 4 eggs, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, 2 slices of toast, and a squirt of OJ (I forgot they did go out and buy a 20 oz bottle of OJ from 7-11 for our visit).  Now let me clarify.  That menu is not per person that is TOTAL!  This may feed them fine.  They are DINKS, they still give a shit about how they look.  But we have hungry kids and kids go through breakfast food like a locust plague leaving Ryan with a bite of cold egg and the dry toast crust my kids turned away.  I try to dash away at some point late morning, faining a need to fill the car up with gas and steal off to 7-11 or Dunkin' Donuts for needed sustenance.

*  Next comes TV.  The DINKS have no kids which means no fighting over TV rights.  That means they have 1 (count it 1 TV).  That means we have to deal with kids complaining over missing Shake it Up Chicago or deal with actually watching the show.  Guess who wins.  Actually my girls are now kind of addicted to their IPads so this isn't as much of a problem as it used to be.  But then the problem is that my brother-in-law (who doesn't have kids) has actual REAL hobbies like playing golf 5 times a week.  When he doesn't play golf he watches golf.  In fact right now the European Tour is playing in Liechtenstein.  Oh wait, I barely give a shit when they are playing at the Master so I certainly don't care when they are playing at a small European Duchy!  Bottom line, no ACC basketball for Ryan!

*  Anyone who has kids knows that the average American child has to have sustenance (snacks) every hour or they pass out.  I implied that Shannon and I don't care how we look but actually we are pretty health conscious.  Our girls are very healthy and fit as well.  We keep our pantry and fridge stocked with a wide variety of fruit snacks, cheese, yogurt, etc.  The kids stay healthy and these are the type of things Ryan lives off of late at night whilst watching the Duke-UNC game on TV.  The DINKS, who both happen to be very Metrosexual apparently live off of beer, wine, and about 300 calories a day.  What that means is NO 'effin snacks.  So while Ryan is missing the ACC basketball game at night, is dehydrated from only consuming alcoholic beverages throughout the day (did I mention happy hour for the brother in law starts at noon), going on about 1 hour of quality sleep (will speak to that below), and is on an all Dunkin' Donut/convenience store nacho diet (from lack of normal meals), he also is devoid of his late night cheese and cracker snacking routine.

*  At the end of the day poor Ryan is very tired.  The bed in the DINKS extra bedroom is technically a double if you are a couple from Munchkinland in the land of Oz.  Otherwise no two standard adults would fit, certainly not Shannon (who is very fussy) and I.  So that means the little one sleeps with mommy.  The older one is now 12 so too old to sleep with daddy on the pull-out futon-like thing in the living room - so she gets that.  That leaves Ryan banished like Quasimodo to the air mattress in the brother in law's office in the back of the house.  The air mattress provides a wafer thin boarder of air between my body and the cold hard wood floor.  That means I awake on the hour to a sore shoulder and adjust to the other side.  Upon one of these awakenings I think to myself "my God, I'm drooling icicles!  No it's because it's 'effing freezing in here!  Apparently there are too many heat vents in the other bedrooms and if they keep the thermostat above freezing all the other rooms are at the boiling point.  Thusly, the DINKS keep the thermostat at Minneapolis level.  They stay warm and by morning there is a Ryan-cicle in the back room!  Bottom line - no good sleep for Ryan.

Anyway by the afternoon of day 2 all the girls had left to go shopping and it was just the brother in law and me at home.  Actually we were watching the Falcons-49'ers game but I was just too damn tired of sitting on my ass so I decided to go on a walk around the neighborhood.  Their neighborhood is very nice with a lot of families.  I enjoy being there in the summer because of the plethora of hot young mommies sprinkled throughout.  On this particular day there were a lot of mommies out walking but unfortunately poor Ryan was looking quite haggard and disheveled from the malnutrition and sleep deprivation.  Consequently, as I passed all those cute mommies I got those proverbial "please don't rape me/I've got a can of mace buddy don't make me use it," stares!  The final insult was when some guy (I guess assuming I was a transient liquored up bum) offered me the puke green couch he was dragging to his curb to dispose of.  I thanked him but told him someone in Greenville would probably like to have that on their porch instead.

Oh well, life's a bitch and then you die - but someone has to do it!  :)


Max said...

Ah yes, the joys of staying with the in-laws.... Fun post, thanks! :-)

Unknown said...

I can completely relate! I have a brother who is not married but almost 50 and has lived alone forever.

Different situations but essentially the same stuff.

I can spot non-kid couples a mile away! lol