Note: This column appears in the 6/10 issue of The Glendale Star and the 6/11 issue of the Peoria Times
We have family in town for the next couple of weeks. This is not new –- our family visits us quite frequently -- so normally, this occasion would not be column-worthy. But this time is a bit different, for several reasons.
One factor that sets this visit apart is the amount of family that is here. Now that my in-laws have a house here, there is virtually no limit on the amount of people that will accompany them to Arizona. The word from back east is that every person that my father-in-law has informed about his new digs has also been cordially invited to stay there anytime. On this occasion, many have taken him up on the offer.
That includes my wife’s aunt and uncle, and their twin daughters. Now, for the men visiting, this trip is less about seeing us and more about their annual golf outing, so their excitement about being here is already through the roof. My wife’s uncle in particular – who works in the public school system in New York City and is literally counting the days until his retirement so he can move to Arizona, even (or: especially?) if he has to leave his own family behind –- can barely contain himself. Also here visiting is my father-in-law’s accountant, because, well, he’s Italian and he was invited. And obviously it’s not really a party until your CPA arrives.
(My wife’s cousins are staying with us. They are 20-years old, from Staten Island, and manage their tans year-round. Each of them has more friends on Facebook than people I have met in my entire life. It should be interesting to watch them adjust to our nightly routine of watching HGTV and being in bed by 9:30.)
The other mitigating factor that sets this trip apart is that they’re all here during the summer. In the past, if we so much as informed my mother-in-law over the phone of the temperature outside she would let out an audible gasp, nearly pass out, and remind us, again, that she’d never be here in the summer. And last week my wife’s uncle told us to “not even mention the heat” to his wife. So much of this visit will be spent pretending it’s not hot out, all while my wife’s cousins bake and sizzle on beach towels in the background.
Of course, the major attraction –- and the only person I know capable of motivating my mother-in-law to brave the desert summer –- is our hopefully-soon-to-be-daughter. My in-laws have been chomping at the bit to be with her again, and everyone else just met her for the first time. Everything she does is met with rousing applause and the popping of the cork of the nearest bottle of wine.
The next two weeks will include two houses full of loud Italians, euphoric from vacation, golf, a new family member, and the possibilities of the future -- not to mention the beginning of Italy’s defense of its World Cup title -– all among the 114-degree elephant in the room. It will be difficult to assess the damage, but that is why they brought an accountant.