I am a Saint, and This is my Cross

I’ve been wracking my brains for three days, trying to come up with a topic for a blog post.  I am overdue.  I was hesitant to write the blog that is in my head, as it may very well get me in trouble.  The saving grace, and impetus, is that none of the people that may have hurt feelings over my topic du jour ever reads my blog (that I know of), none of them are subscribed and this one will not appear on facebook.  Plus I’m going to try to be nice.

Intrigued?  You betch’a.

The only thing on my mind all week, or longer I suppose, is the upcoming 4th of July holiday.  I have come to almost dread the 4th of July.  Not the 4th in particular, and not Freedom.  I certainly do not dread the concept of a big party with a bbq and fireworks.  I am a very proud American.

Every year, for the past ten years (at least), Joe and I head east of the mountains to Loon Lake.  It’s about 35 miles north of Spokane, for those of you wondering.  For years now, Joe and I, River and Destiny, and a couple of their friends (boyfriend, girlfriend, companion, whomever), all pile into a truck or two, and haul the camper and the boat, or a trailer full of quads and motorcycles, over to Loon Lake.  We bring all the requisite camping gear and food, and fun.  It takes a little prep work.  One year we stayed out there for a week.  Over time, we’ve shortened our stay and River has dropped out (although we always hope he joins us again).

On the way, we usually stop in Vantage and climb up to the wild horses, to take a family photo.  The one below is a few years old, but you get my drift.


We go to Gary’s (Joe’s Dad) cabin, where we meet up with Gary, Chris and Dane, who fly in from Salt Lake City.  Once upon a time Chris and Dane’s mom was there too, but they have since divorced.   We get to see Jim and Debbie, friends of Joe’s dad that have since become our friends too.  Then on the actual 4th of July, there’s a BBQ at the lake, sponsored by the HOA, with a boat parade and live music.  Around 10 pm there’s a sponsored fireworks show.

Sounds like a fun time huh?  Generally it is.

Then comes the craziness.

It has become a tradition, since Gary and Brighton divorced, that we bring Gary and the boys back to our house for 5 or 6 days, to hang out here in Spanaway (woo!), and do some town stuff with us.  They fly out of SeaTac and back to Salt Lake City from here.

Here comes the crazy.  Gary really loves the Spanaway part of the trip.  He gets to ride the Marshmallow (white police Harley Road King for those of you not in the know), and he is an honorary Gerbil.  He LOVES to go to the Oaktree and get generally all out of control.  He loves to hang out here at our house with the Gerbils.  He loves to be at Terry’s.  He doesn’t do it any other time of the year just at our house.  (OK, also at Sturgis).  He loves Terry and Dale.  He especially loves Natalie.

I don’t fault the guy.  He spent 30 years in the Navy, being straight laced and completely under somebody’s thumb all the time.  After retiring he had two more kids (not so little anymore, they are 13 and 15).  Now he’s a hippy biker.  It could happen to anybody.  Anyway, I’m not picking on him, I love him.  He’s a great father-in-law.  He’s a great father and those boys are so very smart.  They are very athletic, and nerdy to the point that you just want to hug their cute little selves.  Gary is open, honest, opinionated and I love to have conversations with him.  This year I look forward to having some very intense political discussions.

But Gary.  He breaks stuff.  Every year he breaks stuff.  Usually it’s my garden sprinkler, and I can’t think for the life of me why he would even be touching it in the first place.  It’s not like he’s watering the garden.  He breaks other things too.  Last year it was the KC lights on the jeep, the sprinkler and the on/off knob on the dryer.

Gary, and his bike. He just rides a harley when he visits. Otherwise, this is his beast. Big Dog.

I digress.  For the past several years, having the boys here has been hard.  You see, they don’t care to hang around the biker set.  The care to play video games.  About 20 hours per day of video games.  They will stop just long enough to eat all the ice cream in the house, or get potato chip crumbs everywhere.  You can’t blame them.  Well, you can…… now that they are old enough to clean up after themselves.  They are old enough to be respectful and have some discipline.

Last year, while I was cooking dinner one night, Gary and Joe were in the back yard, doing the usual back yard nonsense, with about six gerbils.  The boys were playing video games in the living room.

I walked through to use the bathroom, or something else unimportant, I was forced to stop in my tracks because I saw that our big giant grandpa recliner was completely upside down, foot rest extended, and still sitting in it’s normal place.  COMPLETELY UPSIDE DOWN.

So, I try to maintain a level head.  I ask Chris and Dane, “Hey, what’s with the chair?”

Without looking up from the game, Dane says, “Oh, I was looking for my phone, I lost it.”
Remaining calm I asked, “Did you find it?”  Hanging on to my nice voice.

“No”, Dane replied.

“Why is the chair still upside down?”  Nice enough, I thought.  Still Angry as “F”.  Also, I’m not picking it up not matter what.  They needed to do it.

There was no response.

“Hey, you guys need to put the chair back right side up.  This is unacceptable.”  I was starting to lose my cool at this point.

The boys completely ignored me.  I wanted to choke them.  I head to the bathroom.  I figured they would push pause on the game and right the chair.

No such luck.

“Boys, fix the chair right now.  You need to respect our home.”  No response.

By now, I am fuming.  I don’t really want to strangle them.  I am not an actual relative.  I was so angry.  I was about 4 days in at this point.

I headed outside to talk to Gary (their dad) about the whole situation.  Gary, who was telling Terry some story, could not be bothered to hear me.  I went to Joe, who certainly listened and headed straight into the house to talk to the boys.

“Boys”, Joe said, “what the hell is going on in here with this chair.”

No response, but for the blink, blip, stare at the video game.  He grabbed one of them by the shirt and repeated, “what the hell is going on with this chair?”

“Don’t grab me!  Why are you so mean?”  No response regarding the recliner, blissfully on it’s head.

“Pick up the chair right now!!!!!”  There was a vein bulging dangerously from his forehead.

“Don’t GRAB ME!”

I went outside.  However it ended, the chair was righted.  They boys didn’t speak to either of us for the rest of the night, and Gary, I believe, is still blissfully unaware of the incident.


I know they get bored.  Last year’s saving grace was Destiny.  I totally applaud and thank her for taking the boys on last year and for her plans to spend lots of time with them this year.  She took them to the movies and the lake, she took them to McDonald’s and the park.  She took them to her apartment.  Destiny saved me from bursting into flames.  She probably saved the boys from bursting into flames too.  Or at least saved us all from them setting the house on fire out of boredom and general unhappy early teenager-ness.

Today and for the next few weeks, I will be ever more proud and thankful for Destiny.

Destiny and her boyfriend Devin. Aren’t they cute?

Destiny wants to spend time with grandpa and her uncles too, but believe it or not, she’s not all into the gerbil biker scene either.

The problem for me is the chaos.  The problem is the invasion.  You know how when you have a party at your house, and you can’t really have any fun because you are constantly cooking, cleaning up, helping people find the bathroom, the spoons, the garbage, the liquor, a sweatshirt, some sunblock, popsicles, hackey sacks, and listening to how they don’t like tacos, or anything else that you could possibly make?  It’s like that the whole time.  Days on end.  Thank god for work.

Whoops.  Went a little overboard, my crazy is starting to leak through.  Anticipated crazy anyway.

And since you got a story about the boys, here’s a Gary story.

The very next day after the chair incident…..

I just got home from work, and I really had to use the bathroom (why am I always using the bathroom in these stories).  Joe was not home.  As I come through the back door, Gary meets me in the kitchen.

“Joy, how was your day?  I need to talk with you about something.  Oh, and I’m making a grocery list, I’m going to WalMart and want to know what things you need.”  Nice of him.      (Just today I spent $300 at Safeway to get things started.  It should last through camping at Loon Lake and maybe the first 4-5 days here).

I politely explain, “My day was pretty good Gary, but I need to use the bathroom, can you hang on just a minute?”  I was actually pretty happy that he wanted to go to WalMart, as groceries and life necessities costs get way out of hand when you are caring for triple the amount of people in the household.

“Sure, absolutely”, he says while continuing to follow me.  I walk through the living room.  Boys playing video games.  Whatever.  He follows me down the hallway and into our room.

“Hey, so I’m making a list.”

“Ok, just a minute.”  I say this as I walk into the bathroom.  You would think that since I already announced I need a minute that he would back off.  He continued to follow me into the bathroom.

“Oh, and I have to show you something.”

Out of Gary’s fist comes the on/off knob to the dryer.  It had broken off.  It broke one of the support structures that keeps it in place.  He had been doing laundry.

*Big Sigh*.   That’s from me.  I still have to pee though.  “Gary, I really need to pee and change my clothes, then I will be right with you.”

Then from the hallway I hear, “Joy, hey Joy….. Joy, where are you, Joy?”  In through the bathroom door rushes Dane, holding my phone, “Your phone was ringing.  I was trying to get it to you in time.”

“Thank you so much Dane, now everybody out, I really have to pee.”  I was alone for a blissful 5 minutes……..

Anyway, this year they are staying at our house for two weeks instead of 6 days.  I am so afraid.  I’m probably exaggerating.  Why would this bunch of guys be a problem for a strong, smart, sophisticated woman like me?


If you happen to stop by or come over for a BBQ, or a ride or whatever in the next two weeks, please bring me some whiskey, or some advil, or some Xanax.  It would be much appreciated.

Maybe it will be better this year.  It’s always a little better every year.  I’m super nervous about the two weeks though.  Last year even Joe was at the end of his rope, which actually made it just a little better than usual.  The boys are older now.  Destiny is going to take them on for the most part.  A fact that I am and forever will be eternally grateful for, if it works out.  Don’t be a negative nancy Joy.

Oh, also, Gary always is looking for a lady to hang out with and ride with him.  Any takers, let me know.  I’m looking at you Aunt Anna.

Thanks for listening.  Happy 4th of July.  Happy Freedom.  Happy “America, Fuck Yeah”.

12 Replies to “I am a Saint, and This is my Cross”

  1. Never forget. You control the power. If they won’t listen turn it off at the power board…and be like, hmm, I don’t know maybe its broken, also If its not in the house: they cant eat it, leak it, drop it, lick it or break it. It may be time to toddler proof the house. keeping you in my thoughts and prayers

  2. I think you’ve made a wonderful tradition for yourselves. I wish I had one with my sons. All the things you remember will make you smile or laugh when you are older, maybe even make you wonder why you stressed out in the first place. Have a GREAT Fourth of July celebration! Awesome blog!

  3. Love reading your blogs Joy!
    Two weeks 😳 You’ll get through the two weeks just like you have gotten through all the other times they have been there. Because you’re awesome!

  4. Joy you are an amazing woman they should feel privileged that you didn’t harm them.(it’s ok if you did in your head.. I do it all the time) if you need to vent call me .. I will private message you my number is love our chats Miss Joy ..keep on keeping on and blessed be

  5. I enjoyed your blog Joy! I believe Chris’ advice was spot on. They are older now so maybe they have gained some respect along with
    growing older. A Lot can happen in a year. I have a nephew whom was such a brat in his adolescent years. He was rude,and disrespectful. Now that he is 22yrs old, actually when he became a teenager, he changed into a very nice kid. Must be a phase some boys go through.
    Just in case though, you might want to take Chris’s advice:)
    I hope you have a great 4th and summer as always:)

  6. This one actually put tears in my eyes. I love you and I would be there in a heartbeat to bring you anything you need. Or just a hug. I’m always available luv…..and you know I would be there in 5. LOVE YOUR FACE!!!!

  7. Wow, Joy, I feel like a piker leaving town for Denver and Al’s 2 littlest granddaughters! Endless tea parties and little girl squeals doesn’t trump (or is that Trump?) endless, mind numbing, video game watching teens (no matter how much you might like them)! You have my sympathy. Maybe Destiny should consider a career in teaching or cruise ship activities coordinator, she sounds like a natural people person!

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