Guest Posting! Unpacking Florida Birds

So this could not have come at a better moment! My very first guest post by none other than my girl HotMess. I am currently in the downward spiral into sickness, I can feel it trying to take over my body and my good mood. Thankfully, HM needed a place to throw up some hilarious stories about her fam-jam, and I more than happily offered her my little slice of heaven. One today, one tomorrow, and then I’m either better or have died so let’s see what Friday holds for us shall we? 

Every year my in-laws go to Florida for 2.5 months. They are retired and living like drunken rock stars the entire time. They leave for Florida about a week after Christmas and return mid-March. So earlier this week I receive an e-mail asking if we could come over for a few hours to pack up Christmas and unpack Florida. Conveniently, my husband had an all day coaching class so it was just my 2 sons and myself. My sister-in-law would be joining us too.

Apparently, before leaving for Florida, they failed to put away Christmas decorations. The fact that they were even discussing putting away Christmas decorations was a step in the right direction considering normal protocol called for keeping 2 Christmas trees up all year around.

As I said above, we would also be helping them put away items from Florida despite being home for an entire week. Why this wasn’t done already was another question I would have for them. It’s not like they chartered a luxury motor coach to travel to Florida. They drove down and back in a Camry.

My question of “why hasn’t this been taken care of?” was quickly answered upon arrival at their home. I walk into the living room to find my father-in-law enjoying an adult beverage at 1 p.m. with his feet up on the lazy boy while my mother-in-law (or as I refer to her, the Notorious MIL) read the newspaper. Jimmy Buffett was playing in the background and obviously, they were struggling with the transition back to normal land. “Ok, what should we start with?” I asked, knowing if I didn’t start something, happy hour would continue.

MIL walks out of the living room and walks back in with 2 totes. One was empty and one had plastic grocery bags. “Everything Christmas in the living room goes in these totes. If it’s fragile, wrap it in the plastic bags.” This wrapping worked until I came across a glass baby Jesus, the size of a marshmallow. There was no way in hell I was going to wrap this little nugget of a baby Jesus in a Kroger bag and be responsible for it breaking. “Hey, do you have a small box for this nativity scene?” I asked.

Just then my mother-in-law lunges at me as if I had said I wanted to wrap a real infant. “I said not the nativity scene!” She bellowed. My sister-in-law and I lock eyes, like calm down! Apparently, the nativity scene would be staying up all year around. 

Then the phone rings. 

The Notorious MIL’s next move is to take the call, despite my sons, sister-in-law and myself driving no less than 25 miles to help unpack what should have already been unpacked. Yes, she is taking a social call and it continues for a strong 10 minutes. After packing 8 miniature Christmas trees, 2 angels, 4 snowmen, 20 some plates and some sort of half-ass Advent wreath with sewing pins still hanging off of it, we were all packed up.

“I want to put up the basketball hoop!” P, my oldest persisted.

My in-laws had bought my sons a basketball hoop for Christmas and they have been foaming from the mouth ever since to put the damn thing up. The problem was that it required an SUV to transport and my father-in-law was exhausted from today’s activities.

As a surprise to my sons, my in-laws told me I could leave my car at their house and drive my sons and the hoop home in their SUV. We could exchange cars tomorrow. The plan was to put down one seat to allow the basketball hoop to be upright and my youngest son to sit next to it in the still upright seat. Once we realized we would have to put down both seats, I went into full blown anxiety mode. My 8 year old would have to illegally lay on top of the box, not strapped in. I had visions of hitting a deer, being hit by another car or being pulled over by the cops and arrested for child endangerment.

Of course, my in-laws saw nothing wrong with this set up as they adhere to the automobile laws of 1975. Mixing a cocktail and taking it for the ride to the restaurant while on vacation is not uncommon. Seat belts are only a suggestion and if your grand child wants to drive the car, they are always welcomed to sit on their lap and take the wheel.

To really round out the afternoon, about 5 minutes into the drive I look down to see my gas tank completely empty. Apparently, they used all the gas of their SUV before leaving for Florida. So not only did I now have to stop but I would have to attempt to turn the car back on. I say attempt because I drive a 15-year-old car where you still need a key. Their SUV is a push button and I looked at my father-in-law as if he had just told me I’d be flying a spaceship home when he was showing me how to use this foreign technology.

I’m pleased to say and probably thanks to the glass baby Jesus we made it home. No crashes, deer or psycho drivers. The basketball hoop is 80% done and I should have taken my in-laws up on that to go cocktail to drink while I type this out. Cheers!

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