This story is true.

December 18 – A Surprise Plastic Bed
I had no idea what time it was when I woke up because Aunt Minnie had pulled the plug on the clock so the house wouldn’t blow up while we were gone and she must have pulled that plug at 5:30 and at 6 she made me get out of bed and at 6:02 I was ready. Aunt Minnie packed the lox and the white fish and the frozen ice-pack in 2 plastic bags and at 6:30 we sat down to watch “The Jetsons”. At 6:31 Aunt Minnie started to worry about the taxi and at 6:32 she called the company to remind them about our 7 o’clock pick-up and they said lady don’t worry but Aunt Minnie worried until we heard the beep. The taxi was a broken old Buick with a bullet hole in the wind-shield and the driver was a friendly old guy who took us to get the Sunday Times and Minnie needed cigarettes even though she swore she had smoked the last one the night before. That driver asked us to pay him before we entered the airport explaining that he didn’t have his registration sticker on his wind-shield and would pay a fine if he got caught and I said oh that’s because you don’t have a wind-shield but I was thinking that’s because he doesn’t have a registration sticker. I said that we would act as if he was our uncle ha ha and he said his name was Frank so we paid Frank 15 and got out of the taxi ha ha and I shouted good-bye uncle Frank see you soon ha ha. It was so early that the red-cap didn’t have the Orlando check-in tickets in his pocket so while he went to get them we went through those automatic doors that you find everywhere especially in airports and often in skyscrapers and we went to look for coffee because here it was 8:20 and the flight wasn’t until 10:30 and Aunt Minnie lives across the street from the airport so I don’t know why she made me get out of bed at 6. We did word puzzles that Aunt Minnie said were good for the vocabulary and I took 30 mgs of valium that I said were good for everything else.
The plane was big and empty plus nice and we had excellent seats thanks to Aunt Minnie’s initiative of reserving them 8 weeks in advance. Aunt Minnie packed the lox and the white fish and the ice pack in the over-head compartment and said oh I hope we don’t crash because imagine what they’ll think when they find floating lox in my bloomers. It was an uneventful flight and we didn’t crash thank God. My mother and father met us at the airport with the bagels and we drove home.
My father mentioned that he had a surprise for me and I couldn’t imagine what sort of surprise it could be. But when we got home he took me by the hand and made me close my eyes and led me to the back of the house where he opened the door which was chained closed with a coat hanger and a goat bell and he said look! so I looked! and there was a brand new patio closed in with screens and totally lovely. I said well this is a surprise but then he took me over to this thing that looked like a giant plastic bed and I said oh a surprise plastic bed but he lifted the cover and there inside was a surprise Jacuzi hot tub and I couldn’t believe they had done something so modern. We went back into the house and ate bagels and lox and white fish and were careful not to eat the ice pack.
After lunch everyone started talking at once and I plunged into that surprise Jacuzi hot tub and patio set. The next door neighbour came over holding a glass and he poured anti-foam stuff into the tub because it was full of foam from we don’t know where. This next door neighbour is called Jerry and Jerry and his wife Ally are important Christmas characters who are here every Christmas though personally I have no idea who they are.

December 19 – J.C. Penny
When I woke up at 6 in the morning I got out of bed like I always do only to find I was facing a wall and I said Jackie don’t panic because in a few seconds you will know where you are and in a few seconds I knew where I was though I didn’t know why it was 6.
At 6:30 I called my sister in Chicago to say hello but she didn’t want to say hello at 6:30 especially since it was 5:30 in her time zone. So she hung up on me but called back to say she would arrive at 4:18:27 o’clock on Friday because my mother keeps asking her if she’s going to be here for dinner absolutely wanting to know the exact time of her arrival which is impossible to say because she’s coming by car and this is only Tuesday so how can anyone know when she’s arriving which is why she estimated 4:18:27.
I watched “Dennis The Menace” and “Lassie” and “Hazel”. Then we went to the mall. Aunt Minnie started to buy things from the minute she entered J.C. Penny. She started at the front door of J.C. Penny impressed at how cheap everything was and when something caught her eye and if the price was right she snatched it up without looking further and if the price was wrong she pushed it away without even a sigh. I thought to myself oh what an admirable quality. This mall is a small mall and not at all a scary mall and we continued getting this and that and getting it gift-wrapped for 3. I found a black silk panty and explained to my mother why I had to have it and she is used to all my shopping tricks so she bought it for me. And it really is a gorgeous black silk panty.
We went to see Tom at Video Review and he’s another important Christmas character although today he was in a bad mood even though I haven’t seen him since last Christmas which you would think would make his mood better but didn’t. We rented 3 films and when he typed my mother’s name on the screen it said Anita’s daughter is in town HELP! We watched 2 films but took a Jacuzi after the shopping and before the first and then after the first but before the second we went out to eat. We ate in a strange restaurant in what seemed like a cafeteria only with waitresses and a fixed menu and I didn’t understand because it’s called Cafeteria something or something Cafeteria so why were there waitresses?
At night I got into that nice yellow bed and it felt a little like a hotel except you’re allowed to eat out the refrigerator.

December 20 – Jesus Christ
My mother and Aunt Minnie were talking in the kitchen and they talk loud because their brother was partly deaf which my father says is only an excuse for yelling. I asked them to stop shouting in the kitchen and wondered why sleeping was becoming so unusual. I moved to the master bedroom where the master was sleeping and I tried to sleep too but my mother had put on the heating when the man on t.v. said that it was colder than last year. So my father yelled Jesus Christ it’s hot as hell in here and he got out of bed and then I was totally up. But my mother had gone to work so all my father could do was turn off the heating.
After lox and coffee for lunch Aunt Minnie and I took him to work so that I could have his nice Honda car and I had instructions for a certain route and God help us if we changed our minds because I wouldn’t know where I would be. Aunt Minnie and I went back to the same shops as yesterday only in reverse order since that was how the instructions were written and I had a map in the side pocket of that nice car so we could have changed our minds if we wanted to, in fact, but that map was ripped exactly over the part that connects us with home so we stayed with the reverse order and ended up in J.C. Penny.
I had a head-ache and supposed it was from the yelling or the heating or the driving or the map or the mall. We decided to go to the drug store after Aunt Minnie’s hemorrhoid started acting up and after she mentioned at the lunch counter in the heath-food shop that she felt she was being ripped open in her ass. Aunt Minnie is very frank ha ha. She bought X-Lax quickly because Aunt Minnie is a quick shopper as we have seen in J.C. Penny. And I chose 2 kinds of headache pills avoiding that brand that once killed everyone.
They bought Ben a scooter for Christmas. And my father and I decided to put it together so that it would look like a scooter when he opened it. Soon my father said wait I have a chest pain. I got scared and asked if he wanted his nitro-glycerine and he said yes and I ran to get it and he said oh don’t run. I came back and he sprayed that thing in and I said fuck the scooter and he said no let’s finish it but this scooter is a Harley Davidson scooter and how can you build up a Harley when the main mechanic has a chest pain? When we couldn’t adjust the back brake and when I was ready to throw the fucking scooter into the lake I leaned over like James Dean and said hey look Gil I don’t want to be responsible if the kid brakes his face on it so let his own fucking father do it, alright. So we put the scooter in the garage because it didn’t fit in the present pile and because it still had no wrapping paper on it.
I told my mother the scooter story and she got upset, nervous, and angry which she often does when he has a chest pain and I made her swear not to say anything because I didn’t want her giving him another heart attack about his health so instead of that she got tough on his dinner rules and made salad dressing without oil.
Then we went shopping again and we bought ice-cream on the way home because I was driving and when I turned the car into our garage I drove too far in and smashed the 7 florescent kitchen lights that were in stock. I went to the kitchen where everyone was unpacking and asked umm how expensive are 7 fluorescent kitchen lights? and they said oh not very why so I said umm oh because I just ran them all over and it’s just a good thing I didn’t break the laundry rack but I think I broke something behind the laundry rack because after I drove into it I heard a lot of little cracking noises. My mother said oh don’t worry but I think my father snarled.
We took out our instant Christmas tree and lights and ornaments plus the apples with everyone’s names on them. This tree is not as instant presto as you think with all that stuff to attach and those apples and those names. In the middle of doing it my father had a fight with my mother but he came back and I looked at my mother and we lifted our eyebrows and that meant that it was too bad we needed those men for the electric parts. And so we put this absolutely cute Christmas tree in its place on one of my father’s speakers and then we covered it with that Christmas tree skirt you get so you can’t tell they are speakers. We put all the presents around it and said oh what a present pile except for the scooter which as we know was hidden in the garage and luckily not behind the laundry rack. Then I took out the notebook presents. And Aunt Minnie was worrying because we were running out of lox.

December 21 – Floating Boobs
Aunt Minnie was pitter-pattering about so I got up and had breakfast with her and we watched “Win Lose or Draw”. We straightened up the house but there was nothing to straighten following all of her pitter-pattering. When “Sale of the Century” was over we sat on the patio and did the puzzles in the paper (as you know Aunt Minnie is a good puzzle player) but the Jacuzi was right there so in we went with our boobs floating and she said wouldn’t it be funny if your mother came in now with our boobs floating and no sooner did she say it than my mother came in and said oh floating boobs. Only my mother was sick and that’s what she was doing home in the middle of the day and it’s just a good thing we didn’t have our boyfriends there. We had to take her to the doctor at 2:45 so at 1:30 she made us get ready and I said but we have time but she said no we don’t and it seems this conception of time runs in the family which is probably why my grandmother died at 103 because she had so much time left.
While my mother was being examined, my Aunt Minnie and I crossed the highway (by foot) and went to buy those Christmas tree ornament hooks but of course they were sold out (as we can understand). So instead of the hooks Aunt Minnie chose 2 boxes of leg medicine because it was a much better bargain here than in New York and she said oh I could just murder those New York sons of bitches. We crossed back over the highway to pick up my mother and on the way home we stopped off to buy 2 yellow scarf presents for the girls who answer my father’s telephone and I thought a better present would be dinner-for-2-coupons at McDonald’s but my mother said forget it!
We were supposed to eat out with those next-door neighbours and while we were waiting for them to come home my father had 1 martini, or maybe 2, or 3. When they didn’t come home we decided to leave without them so off we drove to downtown Orlando without my mother who as you know was sick in bed. My father was high though I wouldn’t say drunk and chatting it up about downtown Orlando and how he loves this downtown and this Orange Street and oh isn’t it the cutest? We got to a restaurant called Olive something or something Olive and we had a French waiter who didn’t know what club soda was or what Beefeater was and since Beefeater is another important Christmas character my father explained to that French waiter what it was and exactly how you use it.
During the salad Ally and Jerry arrived but they were too drunk to eat so instead of eating they started shouting and complaining and I looked at my aunt and my aunt looked at me and we wrinkled our eyebrows and that meant what the fuck! That French waiter came and asked if they wanted to order so Jerry said he wanted a hamburger but this was an Italian restaurant and there weren’t any hamburgers so the waiter waited and Jerry didn’t know what he wanted or if he wanted anything at all. Then Jerry said that that makes him angry. He explained that this was his country and that he didn’t understand a word that waiter said and this was his country and he doesn’t like all these god-damned people in his country. When they left my father explained that Jerry was really okay because he only got drunk after work and on week-ends. I had already decided not to be nice to Jerry any more and when we got home I called Andy to tell her.
But Andy wasn’t home and since she wasn’t home all day I figured that she wasn’t in Chicago anymore and that she was on route to us so I told my mother who got all nervous and excited again and she said oh where will we hide the scooter and oh we have to get up early to clean the house and I said oh give me a break. And then she couldn’t sleep because she was too excited or because she was still so sick so we wrapped presents all night and wrapped the scooter and the present pile is getting rather big and you can’t enter the room from that side any more but there’s another so it’s okay.

December 22 – Nothing to Die Over
The first thing we had to do was exchange the black poodle for the grey one and when my mother saw the grey one she couldn’t remember if their poodle was grey or black but she exchanged it anyway and when we got home she asked Ally if her poodle was always grey and Ally said it was black when they moved in but now it’s old so it’s grey. So my mother wanted to re-exchange the grey for the black but this time I said forget it! and I thought this has got to be because of her sickness. We went to see Tom at Video Review but he was absent and Ralph was there so I returned 3 films and rented 3 films and got a Christmas present from Ralph who by the way is a lot nicer than Tom so I don’t know why I have a crush on Tom.
We watched “Jeopardy” and my mother made a meatloaf and everyone said oh it will be delicious tomorrow in sandwiches with ketchup and that meant that the meatloaf was nothing to die over. After dinner she went to the bank because we used up all her money and, in the meantime, we found more unwrapped presents and we are all getting pissed off having to wrap so many presents without a scotch tape dispenser and I’m sure my mother could have afforded one.
Tomorrow my sister Andy arrives with Tom but not Tom of Video Review but Tom the husband.

December 23 – Smiling Eyes
Aunt Minnie was putting the finishing touches on the shopping list and when I got up they went out.
I was talking to my favourite cousin Doris and we were really chatting it up when my mother came home and she said well! if you can’t live without your favourite cousin Doris than go back to New York! and she said well! now I have to pay the phone bill! and well! I didn’t say a word but went straight to my room and soon she came in and I said well it’s good to have a favourite cousin Doris to talk to and she said well! and then she said did you eat breakfast? and I said well no and she said oh come! and I’ll make it for you so we went to the kitchen and she made me a meatloaf sandwich with ketchup and it was delicious even if it was only 10:30 in the morning.
We cleaned the house though there was hardly anything left to clean and then we went outside to sweep the leaves that fell from the trees on the driveway so my mother brought the grey poodle present next door to the drunks and borrowed 2 brooms because we were 3 sweepers. We swept the leaves and made nice little piles all over the driveway and as soon as it was finished a wind came and blew them out of little piles and back all over the place and I said oh no! but my mother said oh shit!
In the middle of resweeping my sister and her family arrived very tired and I said wow I have a surprise for you and she said what what? and I said close your eyes and she said I don’t want to close my eyes so I brought her to the Jacuzi and she screamed oh a hot tub wow and she jumped in. Tom the husband came out with a beer and took off his clothes and jumped in too so Andy and I made the list of who can go naked into the tub with whom and already my mother was getting nervous again. Aunt Minnie gave lunch to Kate and Ben and Kate and Ben are very essential Christmas characters because if they weren’t here we wouldn’t have that instant Christmas tree. Kate is 6 and Ben is 5 but at the time of this writing Kate is 9 and Ben is 8 which certainly says something about this author. I told Andy and Tom how we’re not going to be nice to the neighbours anymore and Andy said okay but the husband just shrugged.
Andy needed a film and I absolutely needed the matching top to the gorgeous black silk panty so we went out in the Honda even though my mother didn’t have smiling eyes when we left. And when we came back everyone was talking about credit cards and how they have American Express but Aunt Minnie has Visa and my father said he put my mother’s Visa card in the shredder and Aunt Minnie said I’m gonna put my living room set in the shredder. I asked for an American Express card for my birthday but my father said yeah well first you need a salary and I said yeah well I’m self-employed and then I said yeah well you could get me one if you really wanted to.
You can imagine making dinner if you can imagine all that cutting and all those people and all that noise but finally it was done and we sat down to eat but Kate wanted to sit next to me and Ben wanted to sit next to my mother so Tom sat with me and Andy and Kate at the children’s table and Ben sat with the grown-ups and everything was fine including the food. Then my mother started reminding us – in front of my father – that she doesn’t want us to go out because there are drunks on the road coming home from Christmas parties but Andy and I didn’t see one drunk the entire trip and we were very careful not to drive too close to one if we did. Actually my mother just didn’t want us to go out and tell jokes about her so she made a rule that we have to tell her wherever we’re going during the Christmas holiday and my father agreed and Andy and I thought they were both nuts and Aunt Minnie agreed and Tom abstained.
After dinner everyone did the dishes except the husbands who say they can’t stand all that clattering and I thought what a good thing it was that we bought the super-size box of dish-washer soap even though I argued at the time that maybe we didn’t really need such a size but from all these dishes it certainly looks like this is an Irish family which as you know it isn’t.

December 24 – The Men in the Helicopters
My mother and my aunt woke up to go shopping to buy still more missing food and still more missing presents. They took Kate and Ben with them so Andy and I had the day off so we went for a drive to our favourite shopping center and of course we were careful and looking out for drunks coming home from Christmas parties. Andy and I had divided our spare time between the shopping center, the Jacuzi, and Video Review so after the shopping center which includes Video Review we jumped into the Jacuzi. My father and Tom the husband were playing golf and when they came home my father got angry because we had jumped into the Jacuzi naked and so he couldn’t come outside to his new patio because he’s not allowed to see us naked but that rule is on his list. Then he said that no one can go naked anymore because the neighbours can see in and because of the men in the helicopters.
We ate dinner at a restaurant called Sayonara something or something Sayonara and everyone got drunk and I’m beginning to think that maybe we are part Irish no offence. When it was over Andy said all women and children in the Ford and all drunk fathers and brother-in-laws can drive home alone in the Honda and then we were really careful of the drunks coming home from Christmas parties – especially ours.
We hugged our excellent children and tucked them into their couches and filled their stockings with candy and left Santa Clause 4 cookies and a dry martini. Then my father put a pre-fabricated log in the fire and turned on the air-conditioner and we listened to Christmas carols on the radio.

December 25 – My Mother’s Garbage Bags
We couldn’t open the presents because Ben decided to sleep late but everyone made noises and finally he got up and we could do it. All the Christmas wrapping paper got unwrapped and Christmas wrapping paper was everywhere in a bunch and my mother had prepared garbage bags but no one used them because it’s not fun to unwrap neat and my mother would simply have to understand. Anyway, she had her own bunch of garbage. I wasn’t surprised when I opened the earrings because I had picked them out but I was surprised when I opened the shiny shoes because I didn’t expect shiny shoes and Ben didn’t expect a fucking scooter though I certainly did. Kate expected the Barbie doll but my mother didn’t expect the bag from my father and Aunt Minnie didn’t expect the bag from my mother. Andy didn’t expect or need the mixer from Tom and nobody needed the notebooks. My father didn’t need anything but got it all anyway. Soon there was an enormous pile of everything and finally we used my mother’s garbage bags and we had garbage bags of presents and garbage bags of garbage and Aunt Minnie said wouldn’t it be terrible if we threw the wrong bags away.
While Andy vacuumed up the little garbage my mother taught Kate how to stuff the turkey and while the turkey was roasting my father discovered that the Jacuzi water was green so Tom emptied it out and threw it into the lake and this lake is already green and you’d think it was a Jacuzi dump depot with lilies.
Aunt Minnie, wearing a red suit and looking quite attractive, served the chopped liver on the patio. Christmas dinner was delicious and I wondered if anybody ever made a bad Christmas dinner by mistake. After the food (but before desert) we decided who gets what in the will and Andy and I will split the china but Aunt Minnie gets the crystal and I get the gold and the emerald but Andy gets the diamonds and the Jacuzi because it’s on 110 and I don’t know if I’ll be living in 110 or 220. During dessert Kate dropped her pumpkin pie whipped cream side down and Ben got the chicken pox.

December 26 – Cinnamon Rolls
I woke up naked unable to find my pink night thing but I found it and it’s just a good thing that my father and the men in the helicopters weren’t around. During breakfast we all helped make the newest shopping list calling out Bridge Mix, beer, mallo-mars, Haagen Daz, Mr. Goodbars, Lucky Charms, pickled herring.
My mother said that this party is costing us a fortune and she grabbed her bag and my Aunt Minnie and went to the bank again. And before you could say half a pound of sweet muenster they were back with the food and I swear there must have been 10 of those double brown bags coming through the garage doors and we couldn’t tell the kids from the brown bags and we easily could have done a commercial on any number of products. In one bag I found 8 enormous cinnamon rolls and Andy screamed at my mother because they’re bad for the children but she had to take a bite out of one and even eat the whole thing and my mother looked at me and made that face that meant she knows her customers.
That’s all we did today.

December 27 – Ooops
Today we went sight-seeing but first we had to buy a motion-detector against burglars because my mother was kvetching about the coat hanger and the goat bell and she asked what will people say when they see that coat hanger and hear that goat bell? But she had to go to work so she left it up to Aunt Minnie to choose the best detector. But Aunt Minnie doesn’t know one motion-detector from another and personally speaking neither do I so my father chose the best one and he also bought the piece to make the hole and it was as expensive as the detector and he said Jesus Christ it’s as expensive as the detector.
We had lunch in a theme hotel but the tuna fish salad was exactly like everywhere else which was fine by me because thematic tuna fish is usually disgusting. I could tell my father was getting tired and you can detect when he wants a cigarette and then you know the party’s over. I’m glad most children don’t like living with their parents except my cousin Linda who got divorced from her exterminator husband so she could stay home with her mother my Aunt Rosie.
When we got home my father installed the motion-detector with Tom the husband and me and Andy went to visit Tom the Video Review.
The main course was a stuffed cabbage buffet so everyone was walking back and forth all night from the table to the stuffed cabbage and back again and Tom the husband couldn’t understand why we were fighting about the bones and that’s because he just isn’t like us and we tried to explain that it’s the same thing with spare-ribs and drumsticks but he just repeated oh it’s so greasy! how can you? and we all just looked at each other and thought oh he’ll never understand but Aunt Minnie said oh I guess he doesn’t like sucking. And then she said ooops.
At night we had a party in the Jacuzi with candles and kids and Twizzlers and not only are Twizzlers important Christmas characters but they are important characters all year round! Soon enough my mother came out and reminded us that my father was in the house and that was just another way of asking us why are you naked? but my father was sleeping in his bed so we didn’t know what her problem was.

December 28 – Bad Day
Nobody wanted to talk to us today so all day Andy and I walked back and forth testing the motion-detector. Then we made dinner.

December 29 – Love Boat
Aunt Minnie and I went to get the potatoes for the big potato-pancake jamboree which is a great event in this household except you have scraped knuckles the next day because no matter what kind of machine you have hand-grating is the only thing that works. On the way home we picked up 2 more films and I asked Tom Video Review if he wanted to come over for potato pancakes and now I’m sure there’s something wrong with him because he said no thanks. We peeled 13 pounds of potatoes which is a lot for potatoes but not for potato pancakes or for a jamboree. We watched “Love Boat” and then everyone took a nap.
After the naps we all went shopping to get the missing ingredients because this meal was too important for missing ingredients but all of a sudden and it really was all of a sudden and no one knows how it started my father started shouting and yelling about me and Andy and candles and Twizzlers. So everyone started crying and we all threatened to leave and Andy called TWA and I called Pan Am and nobody knew where his suitcase was or where his Christmas presents were. And then we had to fry the potato pancakes so through teary eyes the women fried the pancakes and the men went somewhere else especially the one who was shouting. Everybody ate and suddenly everybody smiled including my father and I would like to point out the importance of potato pancakes because if it would have been the meatloaf God knows where we would be today. Then everybody went to sleep.

December 30 – Hmph
Today, we did absolutely nothing but shuffle our feet and go hmph.

December 31 – No Crotch
Tom and Gil went to play golf and my mother and Aunt Minnie went shopping again. I woke Andy up and she smiled and said oh I think I need a girdle.
The drunks from next door were coming over for New Years Eve and my mother said I absolutely have to stop calling them drunks because even if they are drunks they are her neighbours and she has to live next door to them until they can sell the house when my father retires. So my mother and Aunt Minnie made us help them clean the house and when it was done I said that it didn’t look any different but my mother said of course it looks different, what’s wrong with you?
Me and Aunt Minnie and my mother went out shopping again and we drove 10 miles to the nearest Bagel King and Aunt Minnie said she could make a fortune if she moved down and opened a few more Bagel Kings. We bought more lox because it’s a party and we stopped by V.R. to return 3 and to get 3 more. On the way we bought Andy her girdle but we had to rush because the lox was melting and Aunt Minnie was worrying and she even quoted the name of some lox disease. We came home and went out shopping AGAIN because we still needed things and I remembered that I needed more notebooks because when you write a book like this one do you know how many notebooks you use? and finally we came home.
I decided to wear my black silk panty and matching top outfit but Andy said absolutely not because it had no crotch (which is only partly true).

January 1 – That Yellow Moo-Moo
At 9:30 Tom was driving back to Chicago without good-bye kisses except some from Andy and at 9:31 I was in Tom’s place. Then my mother came in wearing a bright yellow moo-moo and said we had to get up because the twins are coming at 10 and I said oh I want to wear that bright yellow moo-moo and Andy said absolutely not! So I put on that black silk panty outfit and Andy said absolutely not again and I don’t know what her problem is with that outfit. My mother said that the yellow moo-moo was dirty so in the end I didn’t have a thing to wear for those twins. And they are such weird twins those twins but I was polite and wearing a black outfit with a crotch so it was okay.
Aunt Minnie made lox and eggs and onions for our (late) breakfast (no thanks to those twins we were all starving) and I said oh Aunt Minnie I’ll cut the onions and she said you don’t have to bubby and I said I like to bubby! Then everyone had a fight because no one likes anyone else. My mother said that everyone has to change and I said that everyone can’t change. And Andy said she’s never coming to Florida again but Aunt Minnie said she was coming because the weather is good and all families fight. My father told us all to shut up and can he please have his lox and eggs and onions.
After that football game, my mother made my father grill the hot-dogs and we ate outside but that Jerry neighbour came over holding a glass and I said we could make a fortune if we invented a tray attachment for his belt and Aunt Minnie said boy you said it! So me and Andy and Aunt Minnie ignored Jerry because we had chores or we pretended to have chores so we got very busy helping my mother make my father grill those hot-dogs. Then we went to the movies. My mother was worrying about milk so on the way home we stopped for milk because we didn’t stop for extra hot-dogs this afternoon when she was worrying about extra hot-dogs so we didn’t want to upset her about the milk and we do need milk but we didn’t need extra hot-dogs so it worked out fine.
That night my mother said that she was afraid that when our Aunt Minnie gets home she will say all kinds of terrible things about us because she’s that type of person and this news made Andy and I completely suspicious of this lady who has been one of the team for 3 and one half weeks and who has seen us all doing everything so now we are acting suspicious and this house is like a Hitchcock film.

January 3 – Daughters of Members
We took down all the little ornaments and folded the little Christmas tree and put it back in the box for next time. Aunt Minnie was worrying about the chickens that needed roasting and we were worrying about Aunt Minnie. She might report back that I had slept with Tom (which I did but only for sleeping) or that my father drinks (which he does but only for drinking). We wondered why my mother had put that terrible idea into our heads. Would Aunt Minnie ruin Christmas? Andy and I looked at each other reflecting. I said well maybe it’s just sibling rivalry and she said well maybe nobody will believe her. And I said well I hope mommy is wrong and that Aunt Minnie doesn’t turn out to be a mother-fucker.
Tonight Andy and I did the Secret-Sushi-Dinner-Plan and the reason it was secret is because sushi is too expensive and we’re not supposed to have any money left but we do. My favourite sushi of the month is quail eggs and we rolled our eyes and hummed as we swallowed because we liked it so much. Afterwards we stopped off at Video Review but of all strange things they were closed. We tried another shop only to discover that our parents were members and that the films are cheaper and that the store is closer and it’s just a pity that Tom doesn’t work there. The lady had to call our parents to make sure that we were in fact daughters of members and it took a long time and she said that my father was asking my mother if we were truly his daughters but that it was okay to take the films.
To keep the story straight we told my mother that we ate Milky Ways and rice-crackers for dinner and she felt so sorry for us that she offered to make us dinner and I felt bad that she was so nice after we had pigged out on shushi.

January 4 – Club House Dressing
Two electricians came to fix the kitchen lights because they weren’t working and after they examined them they said oh your bulbs are blown and those 2 electricians were surprised because you usually don’t call the electric company when your bulbs are just blown. My mother went to work and my father went to buy more bulbs because as you know I ran over the 7 they used to have.
We went to the club for dinner and ate that club roast beef and tossed salad with that club house dressing. My mother was watching my father drink the Beefeater and we all knew that she was thinking hmph hmph hmph and at one point she even said it. Then the waiter dropped an entire tray of main courses but luckily we were at dessert so it wasn’t ours.

January 5 – That Luggage Couch
Because it was the last day everyone was acting completely strange including Jerry who came over at 8:30 to say good-bye so of course I had to say good-bye back. I had coffee with my father and we said good-bye like we always do, wondering if this is the last time. Then he went to work and my mother wanted to have one of her special talks where she repeats everything she has already said only this time it’s formal and that took about 10 minutes including tears. I put all my things on my bed and said oh dear what a lot of things and Aunt Minnie said the same exact thing. We squeezed and squeezed all the things into the suitcases and Andy started to worry about her own squeezing and I said oh don’t worry you’re not leaving for another week and she said yeah but then I’ll have even more things. I said hmph. I kissed my mother good-bye and she cried. Andy drove Aunt Minnie and me to the airport. Ben said oh I’m going to miss you so much and Kate said oh well me too hmph. All of a sudden everyone started hugging and laughing and crying and we sat down on the luggage because it looked like a couch. Andy and I decided that Aunt Minnie was okay and we all took a vow on that luggage couch that we would be back in 11 months and 3 days. We didn’t know what else to do so Aunt Minnie and I got on the plane and Andy got in the car and Andy drove away and the plane took off. I hope you like my story. If anybody has any questions please write to me and I will answer. Other than that this is THE END.

Jackie Lubeck
April 1992
(based on occurrences that took place Christmas 1989)