It's an old rule in our family, "Fish, Family and Friends are only good for three days before they spoil." My own house is more relaxed, perhaps because I don't like fish all that much so I give friends more time. Or perhaps it's because I'm still in the honeymoon phase of actually living near my friends, and in some odd sense am stuck in this perpetual con loop... I keep expecting the weekend to be over. But there are no more planes. I moved. I did. Eventually, that will sink in, take root, and I'll say it without a look of shock and feeling of incomprehension. But I digress... This trip I was in Wisconsin for over a week---rather than dropping off one weekend and picking up the next with far too much driving in between---well past the three day marker. And it was ok. I was gone from home for too long, but I wasn't at my mom and dad's for too long. I don't get to see them much anymore, and it was the holidays, and there were family and friends and it wasn't just me sitting on their couch like a lump. Though, truth be told, I brought work with me and did spend quite a bit of time sitting on the couch like a lump, but I was working and getting paid to be a lump. Technically, I went bad sometime on Tuesday with the fish. But I was quick frozen, rejuvenated, whatever, by the injection of friends at that point. My new expiration date became Thursday, but my brothers were there by then and I was pardoned again to spend time with them. But the point is, I didn't spoil. Maybe it's because I'm lucky---and know it, appreciate it---and have a family that gets along. My siblings and I don't fight and argue whenever we're together. We're nothing like the families shown on television. We're a sitcom, but not because of the infighting, more because of the insanity. We giggle and laugh well into the night. We have midnight margaritas. We catch up and then toss real life aside in the name of silliness. We have serious conversations and intelligent debates, and then we do a feeb count! My family is mental, and I wouldn't have them any other way. And as I sit like a lump on mom's couch one last morning, and wish the clock would fast forward to drive time---because even though it's 19 hours of hell on the road, the other side of the rainbow equals home---I'm thinking over the last eight days. I'm asking the family questions and remembering what made this vacation, this Thanksgiving, worth remembering...and am damn glad I'm not a fish.
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