My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Sisterly Love- the joys and frustrations of sibling togetherness

At our best

At our best

It happens every time now. My sister and I get together and there is just not enough space to accommodate our respective kingdoms of power. We both get used to doing things our way, to having our subjects jump to do our bidding, and, most importantly, to have our own sacred space in which to conduct state business. I undoubtedly expected some conflict this Christmas, but I did not expect it to happen as soon as it did- the second we stepped through the door of my parents’ house. I was dirty from traveling 16 hours and, per habit, wanted to take a shower before going to bed. She was dead tired and equally grumpy that I would dare to shower before going to bed in the room that we must share. I wanted to turn on a fan for some ambient noise to camouflage my creeping-to-bed footsteps. She was freezing cold.

I think we both cried ourselves to sleep with the frustration of it all. Evidently, my dear sister did not sleep well because the next morning she was still furious with me, and as it’s not the sort of treatment I’m accustomed to upon waking, I ended up in tears again. This time I was only glad that my guy was there for comfort. He’s really good at drying my tears. Thus began our vacation.

My sibling and I could no doubt work out our differences if we: a) had more sympathy for the other’s point of view, b) could talk about it without the situation escalating, or c) had similar ideas about manners and modes of behavior. Since neither a nor b nor c seemed to be true this Christmas, our fights went virtually unresolved for days. I admit to tiptoeing around her the majority of the time, fearing her wrath and the horrible sense of personal failure that accompanied it. I’m sure she has her own story as well.

There were basically two sister bonding instances during those weeks. The first was the day before leaving for Missouri. We spent at least an hour conferencing on the best way to get rid of a strange sore on my leg. She spent the better part of an hour poking around on my hairy skin with a sterilized needle. I’ll spare you all the gory details of blood and such, but I’m pretty sure it counted as sisterly love. Things were good between us for at least 24 subsequent hours.

The second bonding instance occurred in Missouri. It was a late-night conversation after we had both had naps too late in the day to be sleepy at the right time. Snug in the rather small bed that we had to share, we covered all sorts of topics- from childhood trauma to life as we know it. I learned things about her that I’m pretty sure I had never known before. Both of us happy the next day, I imagine that the honeymoon could have lasted at least 48 hours if I hadn’t committed the unpardonable sin against my sister by almost falling asleep in church…..

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Misery or Missouri?

Sardines are lucky. I was jealous of sardines. Sardines were packed in liquid so that, unlike me, they could slip around a bit. Five people. In one car. For 14 hours. Our annual trip to Missouri is never what I would call a pleasant experience, lengthy car rides not being my favorite mode of travel, but this one took the cake. Add one more person to our party and BAM! I was sitting in the middle in the back, with one foot on either side of that inevitable hump between the seats (As an aside, does anyone actually know why that hump is there? Is there a valid purpose for it, or is it put there just to make the middle-seat rider especially uncomfortable and serve as a constant reminder that they are, in fact, sitting in a middle seat?) We not only had ourselves packed into the front and back seats but, because the trunk was crammed with suitcases and bags and packages and who-knows-what, we had computer bags and backpacks and pillows and food bags packed around our heads and feet. If we had a wreck, only the driver would have moved. The rest of us would have melded into the luggage and metal and whatever tree we hit to become a sort of instant spectacle: travelers in amber.

My dad’s feet were cold. The entire trip. Constant calls from him to “turn up the heat!” left the rest of us feeling as if we were stuffed into a pressure cooker. I’m giving that man some wool socks.

My grandma, aunt and uncle, great aunt and uncle, and at least four cousins live in Missouri, making it a traditional gathering place for Christmas celebrations. Before my grandpa died, he and Grandma lived in a huge old house that had been standing in its spot for more than a hundred years. It had seen World War II soldiers bunking under its eaves as well as it had seen babies bouncing down its curving staircase. For years I had strange and fantastical dreams about that house, with its mysterious attic rooms and shaky narrow walk areas by the second-story windows. I actually put my foot through the upstairs floor once, and it lent an aura of danger to the entire experience. After that it was understood that some areas just weren’t safe to walk on. I would dream that behind the shady doors were more and more flights of stairs that led up and up in never-ending levels to curving passageways and hidden treasures.

Post-Grandpa, Grandma sold their antique business and moved from the big old house into a tiny apartment. Now when we visit Missouri we stay with my dad’s brother and his family in the house they built out in the middle of nowhere by a small lake. It just isn’t the same. Still, it’s great to spend time with family, especially if the other cousins show up. And then there’s always Grandma’s pumpkin pie, to which no other pie can compare.

This year, however, I knew that the cousins who lived in non-Missouri places would not be there. Even worse, Grandma was in a nursing home and would not be making any pumpkin pie. It would have been helpful to have pumpkin pie to look forward to during 14 hours in a middle seat. To make up for the pie, and to appropriately dull my senses, I took a nausea pill supplied by my sister (who should really look into drug dealing as a career) and promptly zonked out for pretty much the entire trip. Much to my annoyance, we took frequent bathroom breaks and food stops. I just wanted to sleep undisturbed for 14 hours. The drug kept me asleep enough to avoid becoming as completely tired of the drive as my travel companions, who were battling the rain that slowed us down considerably. Toward the very end of the trip, I woke up and began to watch Pride and Prejudice. “Why have I never seen this incredible movie before?!” I thought. And then, finally, we were there.

December 23, 2008 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coming Soon….

Next month I’m doing some more traveling! 😀  Nothing too exotic- just a family trip to Texas and Missouri over Christmas…. with my ex-boyfriend!!! And after that- Disneyland! With…. the aforementioned ex……

I’ll keep you posted!

November 21, 2008 Posted by | United States | , , , , , | 2 Comments


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