Saturday, July 31, 2004

Visiting Sister-in-law #2 

Sister-in-law #2, A, recently had surgery to place titanium rods in her back. She has been instructed to "take it easy" for a while. A, like Wife, possesses an unusually hard head, as well as a propensity for tripping over almost anything handy (a shadow will do in a pinch). A has fallen at least three times since having the surgery. One of the falls resulted in a rod becoming bent, which I understand is quite painful, but due to the nature of the surgery, it will be at least 18 months before the rods can be removed. A has been a bitch of late, and in an effort to preserve her marriage to H (not to mention H's sanity), Wife and I make the 100-mile drive to A's house every other weekend or so.

In addition to having several rental properties scattered about the place, A and H are "farmers". In other words, they have a gang of cows who keep the grass down in the fields surrounding the house (as well as provide the next-best income tax deduction after a gang of kids). Between the cows, the kids (who belong to the various renters), the upkeep and repair of the rental property, and Wife and A themselves, I rarely have a dull moment when we visit (of course, it also takes me a week or so to recover from each visit!).

I am sitting on the front porch, smoking. A bunch of kids, having recently abandoned the idea of drowning each other with the garden hose, are wandering by. The eldest, a thirteen-year-old (somewhat scrawny) girl, is in the process of stuffing two soccer balls underneath her wet T-shirt. Task accomplished, she spins around, to the following reactions:

Her nine-year-old brother: Shakes head in disgust.

Twelve-year-old boy from down the street: Face turns red, hangs head due to embarrassment.

Four-year-old boy (who talks like Marvin the Martian in the Bugs Bunny cartoons): Boobies!!! You got Boobies!!!

The state highway department recently completed the construction of a four-lane highway near A's house. There is an access ramp about three miles away, and the new highway terminates in the parking lot of the Super Wal-mart twenty miles distant (a trip which takes Wife and A only ten minutes (?) to negotiate!). Since A is supposed to be "taking it easy", according to her doctor (up and about for no more than two hours at a time), their invasions of the Super Wal-mart (which range from four to nine hours per intrusion) have resulted in several disagreements when Wife and I have visited. When discussing the situation, Wife's purpose for being there (supposedly) is to offer support to A (and so Wife fails to see the problem); H wimps out gives up too easily, in the interest of preserving his marriage to A. I, on the other hand, have known A since Moby Dick was a minnow; I give her hell when she finally returns home and then complains about her back hurting. Wife, after their most recent excursion, advises that A has actually timed their visit to the Super Wal-mart, and they were only there for two hours. I point out that they left home at 9:30 a.m. and returned at 3:00 p.m., which computes to 5 1/2 hours. I likewise suggest that Super Wal-marts may, in fact, exist in a different space-time continuum than the rest of the planet, and ask if I should email Stephen Hawking for confirmation of my theory. They both get pissed!

A and H have a new arrival. The white cow, a month or so ago, gave birth to a cute little red calf with a white face. I am on the porch, smoking, when J (the twelve-year-old son of the folks who rent the place down the street) comes sliding up to the porch sideways in H's golf cart. J excitedly explains that the new calf has somehow escaped the confines of H's fences, and is currently milling about the (much larger) herd of cows belonging to H's uncle (the only thing separating H's pasture from that of his uncle is a grassy road in between the electric fences). J is concerned that one of H's uncle's bulls may attempt to harm the calf, and he is soliciting my assistance to mount a rescue operation for the calf. H is still at work (he has a day job), and Wife and A are not available (see previous paragraph), so I board the golf cart with J (who apparently has not had his Ritalin today). J manages, somehow, not to wreck the golf cart (or throw me off of it), and we eventually find ourselves between the respective electric fences of H and H's uncle. Sure enough, standing amongst H's uncle's herd, there is a cute little red calf with a white face. I notice that the two large bulls standing nearby don't seem to be at all concerned about the calf, but they are eyeballing me like I'm wearing a cowboy hat and have a number on my back. J is explaining to me his plan to rescue the calf, which basically involves me using my walking cane to bash the bulls betwixt the eyes while tucking the calf under my arm and leaping across the (electrified!) fence, where J will be waiting to whisk the calf and me away in the golf cart (as if a golf cart could outrun a pissed-off bull, never mind a Momma cow!). As I am trying to decide whether or not to bash J betwixt the eyes with my cane, H arrives in his pickup. I explain the crisis to H, who begins laughing hysterically. Eventually, H, despite the tears streaming down his cheeks, explains that his calf is in his pasture; J has almost convinced me to rustle one of H's uncle's calves. I turn my head to glare at J, who has vacated the golf cart and is now galloping lickety-split down the road toward his home.

The "utensil" drawer in A's kitchen cabinet is performing somewhat sluggishly. A has decided that she must install a new "runner" beneath the drawer, so that it will slide more freely. Wife has decided to assist A. Upon discovering this project, I have taken a seat at the dining room table, where I have a clear view of the impending disaster in the kitchen.

Wife and A are on their knees, chattering away like a couple of chipmunks, and occasionally leaning forward to peer into the cabinet with a flashlight. Almost immediately, Wife and A discover that a Phillips head screwdriver will be required. A dispatches Wife outside to "the shop" in search of said screwdriver. While anxiously awaiting Wife's return, A likewise discovers that her arms are a few inches shorter than the distance from the front of the cabinet to the rear wall where the runner is anchored. Since the cabinet has double doors, it likewise has a center board against which the doors rest when closed. Despite this fact, A determines that the best way to access the screws which will anchor the runner to the rear wall will be to insert her upper torso into the cabinet itself.

(Brief digression, necessary for any readers who do not know Wife or A. Both Wife and A are, shall we say, well-endowed. Wife has a Rack; A has a RACK! A has, somehow, managed to insert herself, from the waist up, into the cabinet by the time Wife returns with the screwdriver. End digression.)

After uninstalling the faulty runner, A determines that she must exit the cabinet in order to read the installation instructions (a man would never resort to this!). Unfortunately, while A had only a minor problem getting her boobs into the cabinet, she is having some major difficulty extracting them. She eventually reaches around the center board with one hand and underneath her chest with the other, and using a two-handed grip, she exits the cabinet one boob at a time. (For some reason, I found myself wondering where Marvin the Martian was this morning.)

Anyway, the entertainment was not yet at an end. As Wife astutely pointed out to A, Wife is somewhat less blessed than A (although not by any stretch of the imagination lacking). Wife, therefore, had (mis)calculated that she could readily both ingress and egress the problem cabinet without further entertainment incident.

Wife was mistaken.

Wife, of her own free will, ignoring warnings from both A and me, inserts herself into the cabinet and becomes trapped. Of course, due to her own recent experience, A is aware of the proper extraction technique, so she reaches inside the cabinet and grabs one of Wife's boobs, which she then hands off (like a quarterback) to Wife, whose hands are outside the cabinet, resulting in yet another successful escape from The Evil Boob-Capturing Cabinet In A's Kitchen!

I'm not sure if my assistance was not requested because Wife and A wanted to prove that they could complete this project on their own (which they eventually did, by the way), or if it was because I was laughing hysterically most of the time and asking A if she had Marvin the Martian's phone number and hollering "He's gotta see this!".