I am over at my parents' house fairly regularly. Whenever I'm going over there, Mr. Zoom knows a story will be returning with me. That, and a few or more bags of ... stuff ... my FAM has decided to donate to me.
My parents shop at Costco. Only they don't just shop there, they practice XTREME shopping all in the name of getting a bargain on things they use anyway. Which is fine, great, wonderful. Unless they change brands/can't use it/forgot they already had 47 of them at home. Because when there's a shift in the shopping list of the parents of Zoom, there is a Mr. Zoom trying to figure out "What are we supposed/going to do with 10 bottles of soap? And 5 synthetic loofas?"
See for yourself:
I do not know what caused the soapy falling out of favor at the parents of Zoom household. I was too busy trying to figure out the contents of the other bag:
Yes, that's a lot of microwave popcorn, a box with a pair of shoes in it - and a bag of Trader Joes Sesamie Crackers. And a bundle of Avon lipsticks.
And you just don't say things like "Aw gee, that's neat and all, but we can't possibly use that. Do you have someone else you could give it to?" Because while it was intended to be a polite decline, it will be regarded as complete and utter thanklessness. The retribution will be hearing the story of how Zoom didn't want to take the 4 boxes of instant jello pudding, 5 bags of dried snow peas and a loaf of bread home with her. And by the way, the bread looked more like a bunch of pine nuts, gravel and some branches held together by nothing more than the sheer ridiculousness of the combination - God's laughter is a fantastic fusing agent. They will tell this story until it morphs into 3 or more stories. And so on, and so on.
But all of that is simply a side note to the events that prompted this post.
I walked into their house on this last visit and barely recognized my own Dad. Sitting in his chair reading a book was a very tan human. Who kinda looked like the Dad I remember from last week. My dad is currently so tan, that when the skin on his arms and hands gathers in creases, he looks just like the burned parts on burnt toast. Burnt toast made of white bread, mind you.
This man was so white that I think tooth whitening companies used his image as an example of "white" that could be reached by using their product. "After 3 weeks of using our product, your teeth will be *this* white - or your money back."
After asking a few times (he's hard of hearing - or hard of nagging - jury's still out on which), I discovered that he's taken up bike riding. Which was a relief. Because if I had to put down money before I asked - it would have been on him finding out about spray on tanning. Thankfully, that was not the case.
"How did you get so tan?"
"Oh, riding my bike. It doesn't bother my back and do you know that today I did 12 miles on it?"
"You know it's hot out there, right?"
"Yes, but only when you stop."
"Stopped is what I'd be most, if not ALL of the time. And I'd be hotter than when I just went about my day without biking. So biking seems rather silly to me. But you go ahead and tell me more. Are you using ANY sunscreen?"
"No, but I am wearing a hat!"
But I already knew that. His head is pre-bike riding white, and he's only got about a Homer Simpson head of hair left. It's pretty obvious that something is on his head when he's riding. He showed me the hat he has been wearing. And it wasn't a ball cap or a biking hat, but a newsie hat. How he gets that to stay on his head, I didn't ask.
After that, Dad did shift the subject from tan/bike/hat to his new grandfather clock. He wanted to show me how it should be shut off - say, if a pallate were to crush the two of them at Costco and someone needed to wind down the household for them.
Playing along, I dutifully followed Dad into the living room while he explained everything ever said or written in regards to grandfather clocks. He sprinted to the hall closet and came out with a brass key. A brass key with a gold rope dongle on it! You know those curtain decor thingies that hung on the tie backs? All I could think was "ELTON JOHN! ELTON JOHN!".
Dad was working on getting the key to work in the clock, which is apparently quite a feat. By this time my FAM had come into see what we were up to.
"NEVER EVER touch the brass workings inside. The oil from your hands will smear up the pieces."
"Doesn't appear to be a problem since the key doesn't even open the almighty door giving one access to the brass workings - unless you are about to pull some magic out of that curtain decoration you've hitched onto the key?"
While Dad struggled with the key, we all got the giggles. This is not uncommon for us. What is uncommon is that at that moment, my FAM killed one of the loudest, WHOOSHIEST clowns I've ever heard! Serious clown murder, and by my own mother. She instantly squealed "OH MY! WHOOPS!" as she fanned away the clown corpse. My Dad, having endured many years of her chastising him whenever he audibly killed a clown - whether it was just them or anyone else in the room - immediately began to give her a bit of good natured grief. She bantered with him for a while - but I knew better than to join in the teasing.
You think declining a parental household donation is bad...just try teasing my mother about killing a clown.
With that I was forced to withhold the laughter that was clawing it's way through my body - and resume trying to open a grandfather clock. And all I could think of was "DEBACLE! DEBACLE!"
I really hope they aren't teaching me about that clock because they plan on sending it home with me some week. But if they do, at least they'll never have to worry about me touching the inner workings of it. I'll never be able to get that key in the hole - I'll be laughing way too hard.