IT’S ALL RELATIVE

Family Reunion Summary – Gulf Shores, AL and surrounding area: Arrived Saturday evening and was picked up at the airport by my husband. We stopped at what was referred to as a “liquor store,” but was in fact more of a dust store that happened to have some bottles of booze in it. We bought the few names we recognized and headed next door to what was termed a “grocery store,” but was really more of a “cluster *.” It looked like an episode of Hoarders had exploded. While it did have a better selection of wines than the liquor store, every time I touched a package of food (cereal, chips, crackers, lunch meat) I had an irresistible urge to 1 – check the expiration date to see if it read 1989, and 2 – take a shower. I did pick up a great pair of flip-flops for the beach while there. (“Great” being defined as “they sort of fit and would keep me from burning my feet on hot sand/pavement.”) They were the first reunion casualty after just one day. Not a great loss to fashion history, but sad nonetheless.

The weird thing about arriving at a vacation destination after dark was that aside from the resort itself, which looked like this…

…I had no idea what to expect view-wise until morning, when I saw this:

Very nice. Beachy. Chairs, umbrellas, the potential for vacation drinks… all good. Then I saw the painting in our room for the first time. As usual, Max had the perfect description: “It’s a monkey in Chinese drag!”

We found him to be a bit unnerving, though festive.

The advent and adoption of many of Hubby’s relatives to Facebook meant for the first time, there was a GROUP where we could all communicate and share photos.

This new development startled me a bit as I received a couple of friend requests from under 16-year-old “first cousins once removed.” I hesitantly accepted said requests, both honored and alarmed. My first thought was, “Well, I can’t work blue on FB anymore. Twitter is all that’s left.” However, I realized I don’t work blue on either. I just like to think I do. Apparently my inner voice and outer voice remain separate.

The usual family traditions remained, including the annual Guys Visit to Hooters. As each young man approaches 16, he is invited to join the Hooters patrol. This is apparently a great honor, as I suppose men don’t see as much cleavage in Alabama and Tennessee as one does in Dallas, where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some newly purchased “water floatation devices” on display at restaurants, basketball games, PTA meetings and church bazaars. My husband actually DECLINED the invitation saying it was a long way to drive (20 minutes) for not much reward. Yes, Hubby is a Hooters snob. I, for one, am certain this lovely young lady is saving her money for law school and reads to the blind on weekends.

So, aside from a couple of jellyfish incidents, and an attack of some sort of seaweed forest on the last couple of days at the beach, all went well. We even took another of our famous Gerber Family Reunion photos. These require more coordination and anguish by some than can possibly be justified. However, it does prove the sayings that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and birds of a feather DO flock together…

Cheers to another successful family reunion. Raise your “Wine Woozie” in celebration.

These are my kind of people.

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36 PEOPLE WALK INTO A BAR…

Growing up, my family had a reunion maybe every 5 years. We’d meet at some convenient location for the day, and go away again for another 5 years. We stopped the whole thing when I was still pretty young, so I’m not sure what out-of-towners did after those exhilarating few hours. Maybe that explains why we quit having them. That, or all the polyester in one room was a fire hazard and we could no longer secure a venue.

Now, my in-laws have a reunion every year. EVERY YEAR. It’s either in the “home town” or some beachy location. It typically lasts 5 days and this year involves a head count of 36.

That’s 36 for Happy Hour before dinner. 36 to transport to dinner. 36 for dinner. 36 for beaching (chairs and umbrellas, etc.) 36… well, you get the idea.

Needless to say, a lot of prep goes into this each year, as evidenced by the…oh, about 1000 email I’ve been copied on since planning began. The last 3 days saw a flurry of “Reply Alls” regarding laundry detergent and its exact room number, the disastrous potential of NOT using low suds detergent, (who’s doing laundry on vacation??) what is considered appropriate dinner attire, (well, it IS a beach…) and an unapologetic calling out of the purveyors of the $3 Family Happy Hour wine and insinuation that it will no longer be tolerated. Surprisingly, the complainant WAS NOT ME.

These little missives have kept my co-workers and me entertained for days. They hear me say, “Oh, for the love…” and spring up like prairie dogs to peek over the cubicle and hear the latest news flash.

I would copy all the email trail(s) into the blog directly and leave it at that, but I do have to spend 5 days with these people, and I bet if they wanted, an “accident” COULD be arranged. “Accidents” happen at the ocean all the time. And anyone who can coordinate this group can arrange ANYTHING.

Stay tuned. The fun is about to begin. My hubby (who arrived yesterday) has already texted me the term “bat $#&!”

Meanwhile…

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Meet my Flat Marketing team. They so enjoyed hearing about this trip, they decided to join in “paper” form. You can follow their adventures at the family reunion if you Like the Flat Marketing FB page.