No place like home

By Mir
October 22, 2007

This weekend my dad and stepmom arrived for their first visit to our place here in Georgia. It’s been a long time since we last saw them, because we used to live within driving distance and now one has to be organized enough to make plane reservations, plus they recently spent the better part of a month in Australia because they love wallabies and echidnas more than me.

Not that I’m bitter.

Anyway, they showed up on Saturday afternoon and we were all very excited to see them, and also to give them the grand tour of our new digs. “Chickadee, why don’t you show Grandma and Grandpa your room since that’s where they’ll be sleeping,” I suggested. We all trooped upstairs to Chickadee’s room, whereupon Monkey had a fit because WE ALWAYS GO IN HER ROOM FIRST.

Yes, we always go in her room first. All of the times when my folks have been here to visit! Every single time!

I tried to explain that we were simply going into Chickadee’s room first so that Grandma and Grandpa could put their bags down, but he stormed downstairs in a snit. We finished showing off Chickadee’s room and walked across to Monkey’s room, whereupon he screamed from downstairs that we had BETTER NOT BE IN HIS ROOM WITHOUT HIM.

We gave up and came back downstairs.

Then the long-suffering grandparents had to go back upstairs with Monkey to see his room, and pretend they’d never been in there before.

In addition to this protracted house tour, we took them down to admire the pond (where we made scintillating conversation about the drought and wondered exactly how disgusting that water would be for drinking) and behold The Deck That Ate Atlanta (with Otto’s standard quip about how the deck is larger than his last house). My dad declared the gazebo “the finest casino he’d ever seen” and Chickadee said “Hey! I call it the casino!” before looking at him with great suspicion, because HOW DID HE KNOW THAT?

Saturday night we celebrated their presence with an embarrassing feast including steaks I got on sale at Publix, which Otto expertly prepared with a spicy rub, which caused us all to sit around the table with our eyes rolling back in our heads with paroxysms of carnivorous delight. Even Monkey ate an impressive hunk of steak, sawing away at it with the great concentration befitting being a small boy with a very large steak knife. (I suppose that would’ve worried me more if I wasn’t so steak-drunk, myself. As it was, I was all “Dude, don’t stab yourself. Okay. Who needs more wine?”)

After the kids were in bed we played a game of Scrabble which I totally would’ve won if we had a decent dictionary. I mean, WELTY is TOO a word, even if OUR stupid dictionary doesn’t have it in there. Hmph.

Yesterday we had plans to go to a soccer game, but after a hard morning of being allowed to skip church and stay home with Grandma and Grandpa to watch cartoons, play, and generally be spoiled rotten, Monkey had a huge meltdown and was deemed unfit for public consumption. (“You look like you need a rest,” my father commented after I’d done all the damage control I could and left Monkey in his room for some quiet time. “No, I need an exorcist,” I said.) So instead of a soccer game we hung around here, went for a brief walk while Chickadee rode her bike up ahead of us, and in general spent a lot of time out on the deck remarking on how it can’t possibly almost be November already.

For dinner we ordered gigantic amounts of Chinese food, as this is really the only way I can know for sure that my parents are visiting, when I either slip into an MSG coma or survive the gorging only to open my fridge the next day and behold it stuffed to the gills with leftovers.

A second round of group Scrabble left me even more embarrassed than the first, although this time it REALLY wasn’t my fault, as I spent most of the game with 4 As on my rack. My request to make words in Wookie legal was rudely denied, but under the circumstances I did the best I could.

So far we haven’t managed to take them anywhere interesting or do any sort of sightseeing, and the children have been sort of rotten, and now the kids are in school and Otto and I have to work. I’m not sure this is really all that exciting for my folks, but maybe I’ll take them down to the Piggly Wiggly later and that will count as a cultural experience for them.


  1. tori

    Is your Piggly Wiggly totally overpriced and understocked like ours is? My kids all went there for a field trip at preschool years ago, so I guess it does count as fun even though it isn’t so exciting to me.

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend!

  2. Jen

    I checked an online dictionary and it’s only a proper noun. Too bad. You should totally get Bananagrams. It’s lots more fun than scrabble.

  3. Megan

    I ran into the table yesterday and now I’m all welty.

    I admit I’m a leeetle curious about whether bacon salt played a role in that there spice rub…

  4. Jenny

    And you could have spelled “bananagrams” with those 4 a’s. That’s a real word, right? :)

    OOH! Take them to Stone Mountain!

  5. Leandra

    Sounds like your steak experience was better than mine. Dang it!

  6. Tracey

    You got stuck with 4 A’s too? I always get stuck with four A’s. And the Q and the U. I usually spell QUA…it’s some sort of fish I think. At least that gets rid of the Q U A and only 3 A’s are left!

  7. Otto

    No bacon salt involved … and do you have any idea how frstrating it is to have “javelin” sitting there in your tray and NO WHERE TO PUT IT?

    But, hey, GO SOX!! (I forgot to tell Chickadee that this moring, as she claims to be a Yankees fan. )

  8. LuAnn

    Isn’t it great when grandparents visit? I feel for you on the lack of water in the pond. Papaw’s “crick” (aka “creek”) has completely dried up. :/

  9. Saucygrrl

    Fastforward 20 years when you’re visiting Monkey & Chickadee, would you be bored if they weren’t entertaining you every minute? Chances are you’d just be happy visiting with them regardless and I think chances are good that your parents are equally happy to just be visiting with you.

  10. Kimmie

    Piggly Wiggly is TOTALLY a cultural experience!!!!! As is the Winn-Dixie. A trip isn’t a real trip without entering a crazy named grocery store. You can’t get that here in Kroger/Walmart-land.

  11. Leandra

    All this talk about grocery stores has reminded me of a news story I just heard. Did you hear that Dolly Parton has bought three grocery store chains – Big Star, Piggly Wiggly, and Harris Teeter. She’s going to change the names though. To Big Wiggly Teeters.

    Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. That’s my favorite joke. And yes, there is an 11 year old boy living inside my head.

  12. MomCat

    Did you miss your opportunity to use “candycorn” , “cloudnine” or “jumpingjack”, all of which you could prove by showing them Monkey’s spelling list?

  13. Denise

    The piggly wiggly is definitely a cultural experience. You must take them there.

  14. jennielynn

    You have a Piggly Wiggly??? I am SOOOO jealous. We do not have Piggly Wigglys in California. It is a cultural wasteland. I may have to come visit, just to see an actual Piggly Wiggly. I promise not to bring my kids.

  15. Heidi

    Oh Leandra…

  16. lotus07

    Homecoming in the Fall…..sounds almost angelic.

  17. Sara

    Leandra, you made me laugh. I guess I also have an 11 year old boy living inside my head. Who knew?
    Also, I think a game of Wookie Scrabble would be fabulous, if for nothing else than just being able to say to people who inquire about my evening plans:”What’ve I got going tonight? Oh, not much just a hot game of Wookie Scrabble.”

  18. design mom

    Is it weird if this post made me hungry? (In addition to making me laugh.)

  19. Heather

    I always want to play trilingual scrabble, because most of the words I see are French and Spanish anyway ;-) And Spanish is definitely handy for getting rid of those extra vowels!

  20. Kim

    When I was a kid (living in Miami) I watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and there’s a part where they are disguising the government trucks with other signs to make them less government-y. One of them was a Piggly Wiggly sign, which I thought was hilarious. A number of years later I moved to South Carolina and found out that Piggly Wiggly IS A REAL STORE! I laughed so hard that day I think I peed my pants.

  21. Deborah P

    I can’t verify the accuracy of this story, but I was told it 20 years ago as true: Piggly Wiggly got its name because it originally was set up so that customers were required to go down every aisle (apparently there was some sort of siderail system that once you entered you could not exit without running the maze of aisles). This was an innovative concept (would be today too!) and was based on a method of shunting pigs from one place to another without allowing them to back up or turn around, thus a name referring to pigs was chosen as the name of the supermarket. As I said, I can’t swear this is true, but it works for me!

  22. Kristen

    you took the grandparents to Chickadee’s room first because you love her more.

    Of course. You think the kids would figure it out by now. LOL

  23. Sandee

    It IS difficult to play Scrabble with 4 As “on your rack.” What letters did you have in your tray? :)

  24. Aimee

    I feel your pain on the Scrabble. Last weekend, at two separate times during the same game, I had SEVEN STINKING VOWELS. And once I had seven consonants. FUN! I wish I’d thought of Wookie-words. I bet I could’ve convinced my husband.

    As for the drought, I hope your city doesn’t catch on fire. Mine did, over the weekend, and we’re prepping to evacuate. MORE BIG FUN!

    but on the bright side, mmmmm…. MSG coma.

  25. Carolyn

    Yes, Piggly Wiggly is a cultural experience. My husband used to work there when he was in high school back in the dark ages.
    You should take your parents to Madison and Social Circle to the to look at the pretty houses and Blue Willow Inn to eat.


    I haven’t been to a Piggly Wiggly in SOOO long!!

    And bananagram is a word :) Right??

  27. Barb Cooper

    It’s something about relatives. Once, my younger daughter (the Hurricane) stalked into the house ahead of my MIL, slammed AND LOCKED the door and went upstairs to her room.

    My MIL stood outside, furious, and called us on her cell phone to come let her in.

    I didn’t know what to say. “She really just doesn’t LIKE you” seemed insensitive.

  28. Belinda

    Welty is just Eudora’s name, as far as I know. But you should absolutely read some Eudora Welty, seeing as you’re a Southerner now.

  29. johanna

    My mother and I used to have marathon Scrabble weekends that involved flannel nightgowns and food deliveries. One of my great regrets is that we never made good on our plan to play phonetic Scrabble. You know, if it sounds right it is right. All those A’s would go well with a southern accent.

  30. Amanda


    Wel·ty (wÄ›l’tÄ“)

    American writer known for her tales of rural Southern life. Her works include collections of stories, such as The Golden Apples (1949), and novels, notably The Ponder Heart (1954).

    Does that count for scrabble??

    Amanda :)

  31. Lisa

    OH, see, I totally would have said that welty is a word! That’s what you look like when you’ve got hives! “I ate some avacadoes, but I’m allergic, and now I’m all welty” or “I got stung by a pack of bees and now I’m all welty”. See? It fits perfectly!
    (I refuse to play Scrabble with people who don’t let me use the words I make up in my head!)

  32. nan

    “welty, adj. Covered in welts” see pocket nan dictionary.

  33. alala

    “Aa” is a word. It’s a kind of lava. See, I knew that college geology course wasn’t a total waste of time.

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