DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,

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It's Not the Day, It's the Miles.

I may just have done my last Easter dinner with my family. It has nothing to do with my family, and everything to do with the fact that I don't get Easter Monday off, which means I'm always stuck having to drive 200+ miles after dinner through traffic that seems to get worse every time I make the trip.

It'd been a couple of years since I last went down to NJ for Easter. Last year I didn't go because it was two days after my accident, and I still was in a lot of pain. This year, though, the day dawned bright and sunny, and I was healthy. I just went down for the day, and the ride down was fine. Traffic was light, and I made excellent time. Dinner was at Sis #2's house, and the parentals and five of the seven sibs were there. Got to play with assorted nieces and nephews, including newest!niece, who gave her mom one heck of a puzzled look when she was handed her over to a virtual stranger (me) to hold. Sis made prime rib with roasted potatoes and green beans, and it was all delicious. A good bit of the conversation was about some of my late aunt's idiosyncrasies, and how Sis #1 (who is the executor) keeps finding unclaimed accounts and such of hers.
Sis #1: It's frustrating. There were a bunch of uncashed paychecks.

Me: Well, yeah. She's been dead.

I also got to regale my nieces and nephews with fun uses for siblings who are too young to understand what's going on. When I was seven or so, my dad gave me a little Heathkit electronics experimenter kit. It was basically a board that allowed you to connect various electronic components with short lengths of wire to make simple electronic devices. The only experiment I remember being at all useful was the configuration that turned it into a little crystal radio set. The kit came with 50' of antenna wire which I dutifully ran around the walls of our living room and connected to my kit. Sure enough, I was able to pick up a signal. But it was very weak. I figured it would be better if I had more wire, but where to get it? Then I had a flash of inspiration. There was all sorts of wiring in the walls. Surely, if I plugged the other end of my little antenna into an electrical outlet, I'd wind up with an enormous antenna. Who knows, maybe I'd even pick up signals from outer space.

So I plugged the antenna into the outlet, and, of course, the fuse blew. My father went down to the basement to replace the fuse, not knowing what the cause was. The power came back on, and I, apparently not quite grasping that the spark I'd seen, and the fuse blowing were somehow connected, decided to try it again. Now my dad was starting to get angry. He went storming back down to the basement in search of another replacement fuse. Meanwhile, I finally made the cause and effect connection. Figuring that when he came back upstairs this time he'd not only be angry, but would also be actively seeking the source of the problem, I desperately looked for a way to save myself. Then I had an inspiration. I handed the end of the wire to my then 18 month-old Sis #1, went into my room, and started reading something, trying to look very studious. And it worked! I got completely overlooked, and Sis came out alright, too, because my father wasn't going to yell at a toddler for not having the good sense to stick a piece of wire in an outlet. Twice. It was the perfect crime.

The trip home was a pain. It was bad enough that traffic headed to the Tappan Zee was backed up to the Garden State Parkway. I half expected that. It was the jam from Old Lyme all the way to Mystic, a stretch of road that's usually deserted after 10 p.m. that really made it nasty. Feh. I wonder if Heath ever made a teleporter kit?
Tags: family, reminiscence

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