Posted By on December 14, 2006

“‘Home’ For the Holidays”

.: Not too long ago I used to have the pleasant fortune of deciding from among three different houses where to stay the night. Two of the houses were located slightly north of Houston and the third residence lay precisely in the center of New Braunfels. One of the houses in Houston was almost always vacant and was, by happy consequence, my preferred choice.

.: Inevitably, the vacant house was sold after being on the market for only a good quarter of my lifetime. (There is more to this part of the story, but it’s outside the scope of this post.) Shortly afterwards, the other nearby option was sold — quite surprisingly — and I was left houseless in the greater Houston area. There remained of course the home in New Braunfels, but this was a rather unsavory choice to me for the simple facts that it’s A) three hours away from Houston and B) in New Braunfels. Not exactly the best place to crash at three in the morning after leaving a Denny’s 150 miles away.

.: Fortunately I, like many people, have grandparents. They happen to live on the far side of Houston, which is relatively close to my old houses. Following a tradition that I’ve convinced myself will last another fifty years, I’m spending Christmas with the grandparents.

.: My brother has stayed with them for the past couple of years and understands them far more than I do. When my grandfather approached me with a sealed bag of cookies and muffins and asked, “See anything in there you’d like?” I learned that “No” was not the answer. It completely misses the point, my brother informed me, because Granddaddy was really asking, “I want to eat what’s inside of this bag, but I want you to open it first,” which really isn’t much of a question at all.

.: When it comes time to sleep at the grandparent’s, a conundrum of numbers arises. The particular numbers are two and four, which represent the number of beds and the number of people, respectively. The grandparents both sleep in one bed, and my brother has claim to the other. I have the choice of two couches and a sleeping bag. One of the couches is a broken futon that, if not positioned properly, devours all who dare sleep upon it. The other couch is slightly larger and more comfortable, but it’s located in the middle of the living room, which recent data suggests is the number one early-morning destination for septuagenarians. I usually opt for the man-eating futon, but there have been times when I’ve elected to sleep in the bathroom for the sole reason that it happens to be the quietest room in the house.

.: Like most old people, my grandparents are hard of hearing. Come nighttime, they’re fast asleep unaware of the nightmarish cacophony of ticking clocks, traffic noises, spurious alarms, and their own irregular snoring. I, with my youthful stereocilia, hear everything, including the sound of my own discomfort as I toss and turn to escape the auditory terror — which can sometimes create a positive feedback loop of truly ironic proportions.

.: And when I eventually do fall asleep, I’m always woken several hours too early by my brother who insists on using the computer in the loudest possible manner at the earliest possible time. Convincing him to wait a few hours before entering the computer room where the futon is located is an exercise in futility. I’ll wager that even tomorrow, what with his 8:00 a.m. final exams, he won’t bother skipping his early morning computer routine and will instead enter, log on, make a lot of noise, wake me up, and leave without accomplishing anything that couldn’t be accomplished later in the day.

.: Still, even with all these discomforts, staying with the grandparent’s beats staying at New Braunfels.

Update: Yep, he came in and woke me up again. His excuse? “I had to study.”

“Well just use the computers at the university!”

“They might be closed. I can’t be sure.”

“So tell me about it beforehand. I would’ve left my laptop outside for you.”

“Nope, the WebCT servers are down, I already have files on this computer.”

“And what stopped you from telling me that last night?”

What a jerk.

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3 Responses to “Grandparents”

  1. Christina says:

    I’m pretty sure you need to work “septuagenarians” into every post you make from now on.

  2. kaia says:

    We closed the sale on the house less than 3 weeks after it was on the market.

  3. Gordon says:

    I miss Houston not one bit. Had you not lived in New Braunfels you would not know Geoff, and therefore CC would not know Mat. Your other Grandfather has a vacant house in Houston, talk to him, perhaps he will sell it to you.

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