When I came upstairs, I heard the familiar morning sounds: cartoons on the television, children and grandparents chattering about everything that’s happened over the vacation, the microwave cooking breakfast. But there was one unfamiliar voice, and nobody seemed to be paying attention to it.
It sounded like a deranged miniature poodle had learned to talk, but then gotten extremely drunk. “Mama,” it said. “I’m sick. Need medicine. BEEELCH! Feel better.”
When I came into the kitchen, I saw to my horror that each child was seated next to a Furby.
“Look what Grandma gave us, daddy!” said the boy.
“You can teach them to talk!” said the girl.
“Waa! Waa!” said the Furby. “I’m hungry!”
“Oh joy, rapture.” I said over their wailing. “I missed having an inconsolable whiny creature around the house.”
All that psychic energy invested in a vasectomy, down the drain because of four double A batteries and an overgenerous grandmother.
“Where did you get these?” I asked.
“I found them down at the secondhand store,” grandma said. “Aren’t they great?”
“They’re awesome!” said the boy.
I just shook my head.
“You know what’s the best part?” Before I could answer, he told me. “Mine doesn’t have an off button!”
In my opinion, whoever designs a noisy toy with no off button should be beaten with a sack of nickels. I think this should be federally mandated. Any candidate who advocates this would immediately earn my vote, regardless of their positions on any other subject.
Once we’d eaten and cleaned up, we headed over to my brother’s house to visit him and his family. He had a day off from his busy schedule as a bikini inspector, and his kids are near the age of my kids, so we’d planned to get together and “do something” so the kids could be reacquainted.
We had no fixed plan because that sort of thing just dampens family fun. We were going to play it by ear.
Four years ago when my parents retired, they moved from Washington state back to Tennessee to the town where I grew up. They bought a house with an in-law suite, then told my brother and I that it was so that either of us could come visit at any time and stay with them for as long as we wanted.
His house is a forty-minute drive away, as it is in the next town over. So essentially, it is my duty to come visit the grandparents and stay with my children.
At any rate, we grabbed what we needed (swimsuits, a toy for each child, and sunglasses) and headed over to his house. It’s a nice house, located downtown in a real, live, city. Oh, sure, you sometimes get to see prostitutes walking the streets near their neighborhood, but that gives the area local flavor.
Only it’s not the kind of local flavor that you want to lick without a tongue condom.
The children had a wonderful time playing. I showed my brother the priceless artifacts I’d bought at auction, and he pretended to be impressed, which is really all I could ask for. It’s hard to get too excited over rusted chunks of metal.
In the afternoon we went over to a park in the city that features incredibly overheated playground equipment and a small water park. When I say water park, what I mean is spraying fountains and some water cannons that the children can shoot at one another.
Thankfully, the cannons cut off if you point them at the benches where the grownups sit. I wish the guy that had worked on them had designed the Furbies.
While there, I heard a woman with tattoos down her arms and a nose ring complain that her in-laws don’t give her respect and treat her like she’s a bad mother. Actual quote:
Sympathetic friend: “Where’s your son?”
Tattoo Annie: “I’m not sure where he’s got off to. He was here a minute ago. BILLY! BILLY!” Shrugs. “I’m sure he’ll show up.”
I signed up for her online parenting courses right on the spot. I’m wondering what the thousand dollar lab fee was for, though.
Did you know that if you point a camera at a child, you can manipulate them into standing on the water jets and getting them to shoot up the leg of their swim shorts while pretending to take their picture?
Did you also know that their mothers think this is cruel? So you need to only do this to your own children. It’s hilarious family fun, though.
Well, it was fun for me, anyway.
After that, my brother offered to take all the children away with him to their church’s VBS program. Since this offered a chance for Wifey and I to be alone for the first time in weeks, we not only took him up on it but pre-emptively ditched my sister in law so that we could be alone.
I would say she deserves it, but she really doesn’t. But we ditched her anyways, with extreme prejudice and with no guilt whatsoever. Then we had the difficult problem of deciding what restaurant to go to. I wanted to go to The Melting Pot, but we didn’t really have time.
But I wanted to mention in writing that I love the Melting Pot. Everyone should go there, even though you have to take out a second mortgage to afford it.
So we settled on Outback Steak House. Say what you will about OSH, but since it’s got those blooming onions with spicy crack on them, Wifey loves it. She’ll eat just about anything if it involves onion.
(Get your minds out of the gutter. I’ve never tried that. Well, once, but it felt like somebody was feeding my dick into a meat grinder when some got on my pee slit and I spent four hours in the emergency room because “dick discomfort” isn’t considered “critical.”
Damn female nurses and their gunshot wound fetishes.)
As we drove towards Outback, I started to give her the old razzle-dazzle to see if I could get her pilot light started. It never hurts to try, right?
“So,” I said to her. “Seen any good westerns lately?”
She looked at me, pursed her lips, and prepared to say something terribly sexy. Only I don’t know what it was, because just then a Furby farted in the back seat.
“Scuse me!” it said. “Hahahaha.”
“Did he bring that damned Furby?” she asked.
“Sure sounds like it,” I said.
“I’m sick,” it said. “Whaa! Feed me!”
It kept this up for the entire drive to the restaurant. This is not conducive to intimacy, but it is conducive to thoughts of suicide.
Or, even better, Furbicide.
We sat down inside and the waiter asked us our drink orders.
“I’ll take a Sam Adams,” I said. I needed something to dull the ache in my head from listening to Furby chatter for fifteen minutes. Plus, I’d never had a Sam Adams, so I thought I’d try one.
“Can I see your ID?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said. “If your X-Ray vision will run twenty miles.”
“You don’t have ID?” he and Wifey asked at the exact same time.
“Nope!” I said.
“Then you can’t have a beer,” he said.
Damn ‘ID Everyone’ laws. I’ll pass for 18 the day that Pamela Anderson passes for a good actress. We ate a good meal (and drank soda pop like wholesome American teens) and then headed back over to my brother’s place.
The whole way there the Furby farted, burped, and cried. It was like having a deranged five year-old in the back seat. The damn thing didn’t go ten seconds without saying something.
When the children returned, thrilled with their evening out, we headed back to grandma and grandpa’s house. It’s about forty minutes.
The whole way the Furby farted, burped, and cried for food, medicine, and mama. The boy tried to gently sooth it, spoke softly to it, threatened it, and generally did everything a good parent should do to calm an unruly child.
“Let me try,” said Wifey. He handed it up to her. “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!” she shouted while shaking it like a Polaroid picture.
“Just hand it to me,” I said rolling down the window. “I’ll fix it up real good!”
“No, let me try,” she said.
She then spent the next ten minutes cradling it next to her breast and trying to calm it, but it ignored her and continued to whine and moan. We couldn’t take the batteries out because we didn’t have a screwdriver.
We couldn’t toss it out of the window because of vague ethical considerations, but I eventually convinced the boy to give it a shot.
By the time we got back, the family had two new rules:
1) Furbies are so special that they need to stay at grandma’s house
2) Furbies may never ride in the car ever again under any circumstance
We got in and put the children to bed, then turned in ourselves.
The first thing I did was start farting, burping, and whining to get Wifey to comfort me by clutching me to her breast, too.
Didn’t work, though. She just made me sleep on the couch.
Tomorrow: Discovering New Methods of Pain