My parents and my brother were without electricity after Hurricane Sandy hit, and I was amazingly with electricity and without any uprooted big maple trees, so they came over to my house for the day.
I didn't want my brother sleeping over, and my parents refused to sleep over (my housekeeping? I don't know!) so after they left I called up some powerless friends to see if they wanted the guest room. They did.
I have a very hard time being around my brother for longer than an hour. He's more manic depressive than I am, with even more assorted problems. As we sat down to eat lunch in my warm electrified home, I laid down the house rules:
- Close the door when you go to the bathroom! (yes, I had to tell a 40-something man that)
- No smoking in the house.
- Wash your hands.
The brother listened attentively and then obeyed. I think he just needs structure.
I still can't stand him.
Still, I was told to be more sensitive toward him. "Be more understanding, he has a hard time processing these big weather events."
Like, doesn't everyone? Especially this time around? No - "Especially him."
My dad was watching this reporter on CNN.
"She has the most captivating eyes. Look at them! They're bedazzling! I mean, the makeup job is good, but her eyes....I'm riveted!"
My mother had to watch the same footage of the rollercoaster in the ocean at Seaside Heights, NJ, over and over again and we sat around remembering all the day trips or weeklong stays down the shore and how it would never be the same again. Yep, the roller coaster hasn't moved since the last time the camera showed it. Still there. Some say its destruction is demonstration of God's wrath for the show Jersey Shore.
The family's routines had been disrupted. Dad couldn't go to his Walgreens, he wasn't comfortable in his cold house and he missed his own TV. I tried to put things in perspective and talk about how lucky we were. We've been inconvenienced and forced to spend time together.
It didn't help smooth out all the edginess in the room.
My mom and dad argued about salad mix and whether or not to stop at the only grocery store that had the best salad mix. Dad sighed and said, "Your mother really wants to stop for salad mix, so we'll be doing that on our way home. It's the best salad mix. I mean, you have your Chevrolet salad mix, your Buick, and your Cadillac. She likes the Cadillac of lettuces so we have to get that specific kind."
Then Mom walked into the room and yelled his first name as she often does. "I do not need to stop for salad mix! I never said I wanted salad mix! Stop saying we're going to stop for salad mix!"
I don't know if they stopped for the salad mix.
I haven't a clue how we would have fared if we were in Staten Island or someplace like that because this stopping-for-salad-mix thing seemed to be a pretty big deal.