And asked if I would be available to pick up my cousin Wendy at Eppley Airport and drive her to North Platte through the night. It seems that she had run into money trouble while her husband Richard was visiting the people in Nebraska, and her ex boyfriend kindly offered to drive her from Lake Havasu City Az. to her parents in Las Vegas. He ended up sort of kidnapping her instead. Putting her and her children on a plane from Havasu to Reno and leaving her to escape at the Reno airport by telling him that she and the kids were going to the bathroom. She got a hold of her in-laws, my Aunt Sue and Uncle Tim, and managed to secure airfare from Reno to Omaha via, oddly, Tucson. My mom called at about one o'clock on Friday and asked if I would be able to pick her up at 9:55 and drive her to her husband in North Platte. Of course I would be. So there's that.
I drove to Omaha at about seven P.M. and had a dinner of boiled beef and sourkraut at the Bohemian Cafe with a meatball soup appetizer. The entree had too much dill in it and the gigantic portions left me stuffed for five hours. But overall it was nice. The waitress was great, and at any rate the presence of a Bohemian cafe in Nebraska's chief market is fraught with significance. It the only way it would be better is if the place were on Center Street, the road into Omaha from the Polish/Bohemian/whatever Alps. But on second thought nah fuck that street.
I bought coffee from a place on thirteenth and wondered along the riverfront for a short while before arriving at the airport at round 9:30. In the lounges by the gates middle-aged men were watching the Olympic opening ceremonies as if it were a funeral. I made a crack about knowing that the nation of Comoros existed now and was completely ignored.
The plane was on time from Tucson, but the jet-way was busted, so Wendy and her brood emerged from the plane half an hour behind schedule. Said brood consists of Jade, age six, and the twins Jeremiah and Jacob, eighteen months. In addition to her very small and very loud children Wendy had brought eight bags of luggage and toys, along with a crib and stroller for two. I drive a 95 Buick Grand Prix, and I had brought my own laundry with me out of pure reflex.
She made arrangements to leave the stroller in the care of an attendant on the oddball Arizona-Nebraska route. Several bags of clothes were ripped open for the sake of fitting in the trunk along with the crib, which fell out of it's cover and onto my foot in the process of figuring out how to fit everything in. While Wendy was in the airport making the deal with an attendant, a airport cop stepped out and asked us how much longer we would be. We had been parked by the terminal doors for fifteen minutes or so at that point. I told him he would have to ask the redhead inside at the Jet Express desk. This he proceeded to do after making small talk with the kids and expressing sympathy at the distance we would have to drive.
We eventually got everything into the trunk save for Wendy's suitcase, which she would sit on unbelted. The trunk closed with a small, disconcerting click and I knew that I would do well to avoid a rear-end crash of any magnitude.
The drive was pleasant enough. Wendy spoke of her ordeal and her days as a Vegas stripper and pointed out that she was worried about the cop I had directed towards her because of the high-grade marijuana she had towed across four different airport security checkpoints in a single day. This was good to know. The children fell asleep almost as soon as we started driving. She passed out in Lincoln. If Metallica's "One" hadn't come onto the radio around York I would have gone mad and/or killed everyone in the car.
A stop at Grand Island for more coffee, arrived at my parents house just after four.
My parents are having their bedroom and bathroom renovated. My old room upstairs is being taken by my cousins and their kids. I slept on an air mattress in the computer room five feet from where my father snored in his recliner.
The next day I was high on the high-grade pot and walking the dogs for relaxation when my Dad casually had Jade follow me since she wanted to walk the dogs too. And this was too much. She's a sweetheart most of the time but she's still six. The casual assumption that I would help in watching the kids after all I had done was... my God but that house was loud, and I need my twelve hours of solitude a day just like any reasonable man. So I called my mom at work and informed her that I would be coming back to Lincoln that night.
And now I feel guilty about it. My mom always cooks a big breakfast after church on Sundays for her parents and any extended family that wants to show up, and I know she was looking forward to feeding me. We were only together for a couple of hours out of the whole event. But my God, I cannot sleep five feet away from my parents while infants squeal at random points in the night. I'm just weak that way. I felt like some dipshit tourist taken in by a local peasant family while hiking Ecuador. And I'll be back on Labor Day when surely there will be some space carved out for me somewhere in the house, surely it will get back to resembling my house, our house.
Oh but Fuck it all, I suppose I'll have to tolerate my own infants someday, but damned if I'll tolerate anyone else's.