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Okay, so here’s the thing: the episode The Mom has told is not an isolated event. It really isn’t. This level of crazy is standard for our lot. It’s maybe a bit more ridiculous than usual, but only say a Wednesday’s worth of nutty – this would never make the weekend cut.

This is what I love about my family, and why I love going to visit them twice a year. It’s really so much safer to have an ocean between us. Because I’d never get any work done if I lived back home. It’s far too easy to pick up the phone and relate such tales in a blow-by-blow fashion, which is The Mom’s preferred means of communication. Being an expensive international phone call away and five hours ahead gives me a distinct advantage: it forces her to either wait until we Skype or relate the tale over email. Though, the blow-by-blow emails can really liven up a dreary day at the office.

Time was, when both L’il Sis and Crazy D were back living with The Mom that I’d see their posts on Facebook and know that something was afoot but having not been filled in on the details, feel slightly left out. L’il Sis would post something random that felt like I was interrupting an adventure already in progress and I’d have to wait overnight to hear the conclusion. And her posts can be particularly cryptic. Crazy D is no stranger to cryptic posts either, but he does it in a way that is intentionally meant to drive me nuts. It’s how we annoy one another over the Atlantic. Once, he posted a picture of an abandoned baked potato on top of the stove. I watched this post all day, as the rest of my family took turns explaining to me (and, in fairness, themselves) what was going on.

I believe he captioned the photo with something like, “Who left this here?”

The best part about that is that I believe he would taken anyone confessing as the God’s honest truth. If someone who lived in Toronto piped up and said they’d popped round, found everyone out, but was also a bit peckish and decided to bake a potato, I feel confident that everyone in my family would’ve shrugged, and just accepted that as fact. We would be the worst suspects in any crime: motivation? Obviously it’s perfectly reasonable for someone not living at a house to come in and bake a potato and then leave without having eaten it. In fact, the not having eaten it would be the thing that drives us nuts.

I digress. Eventually, L’il Sis piped up and said, “Oh, that’s mine. I thought I wanted to eat it, but got hungry before it was done.”

The Mom replied (and this is all on Facebook, mind): “Why didn’t you just put it in the microwave?”

L’il Sis would say: I have self-respect.

At that point, I’m able to chime in: Tin Hats!! (Which is a reference to some old landlords of hers who were none too keen on wifi).

This goes on and on, right there on the internet for all to see, which is also what I love about my family. We don’t think any of this is in any way unreasonable behaviour.

Anyhow, that’s the thing. That’s how nutty they are when I’m over here. It’s when I get into town that things take a real turn. Because, of course, we want to cram a year’s worth of adventure into my holiday. My holiday that I desperately need to use to actually rest. We all know that’s not going to happen. I might get a nap…. But then, that’s sort of mandatory at The Mom’s.

The thing about this particular summer holiday is that we are awash in a series of events that Cannot End Badly/Too Hilariously: L’il Sis is getting married, and I’m doing two book launches back to back. That is a lot of time spent with people I haven’t seen in a while. And The Mom keeps banging on about the chairs for the wedding and what if it rains. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, once I arrive at hers, possibly ten minutes after I get through the door, that she’ll announce we’re holding an impromptu chair arranging session, just so we can test out several different options. She wants everything to go smoothly – who doesn’t? – but I fear that this level of preparation may end up thwarting us. We may only have one good chair arrangement in us, and there will be dogs, and following all dogs is always chaos.

I wouldn’t miss L’il Sis’s wedding for the world, nor would I miss my summer vacation, but… I’m approaching Canada with not a little bit of trepidation this time round.