Despite my best efforts, we survived

Neighbors of Casa de Rush are now breathing a sigh of relief. The dancing girls have been shushed away. The beer cans, whiskey bottles and cigar butts have been picked from the front yard. The local rock band that started their tour in our garage have moved on to other engagements. The lawn was cut and the toilet scrubbed cleaned.
Jen returned home from two weeks abroad last Thursday. While she, her mother (Ma C) and stepdad Bob traversed the Polish countryside, Shamus 9, Sean, 7 and myself survived our two weeks of bachelorhood. This despite 14 days of eating hotdogs and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also surviving Jen’s absence were two dogs, two cats, two rabbits, a bird and guinea pig.
Less fortunate were two hanging plants on the front porch and Edgar. Edgar, an ancient guinea pig, also perished. I am positive with Jen’s tender loving care, all three would still be alive today.
While Jen was there . . .
. . . We were able to keep in touch with her on a daily basis. Not like the old days when Jen’s mother and grandmother (Babcia) visited 20 years ago. There were no cell phones, nor a world wide web and internet connections. When her mom was on holiday in Poland, Jen, her sisters and father were only able to talk with Ma C sporadically at best, if at all.
The boys and I would call Jen every day when we got home from work. This meant when we talked to her it was nearing midnight in Poland time, which is six hours ahead of Michigan time. I am saving now for the phone bill.
Technology also let us send silly pictures to Jen via her e-mail.
. . . The temperatures reached the mid 90s, a heat spell of big proportions in Poland. In some places, she reported, the Poles threw sand on the asphalt, because it was melting in the heat. For a few days Jen stayed at a hotel (well sort of) that was above a place called The Dark Pub. The Dark Pub, er the hotel above The Dark Pub, had no air conditioning — nor, as Jen said, did they have screens on the windows. Jen went to find a cheap little, plastic fan to keep her cool, but, much to her chagrin, an $8 fan here, cost about $30 there in Gorlice.
She saved her money and cursed the heat.
While Jen was gone . . .
. . . The boys wrapped up their respective baseball and teeball seasons. Each ended with a trip to the local ice cream parlor.
When Coach Saddler proclaimed, ‘Get whatever you want, boys,? I saw our boy Shamus? eyes grow in size and start to twinkle. I literally heard the nano-processors within his head start to click and hum. I think he even devilishly rubbed his hands together in anticipation of some grand ice cream prize.
I knew exactly what was going on. I knew his thoughts, having actually lived his dream.
During Shamus? brief moment of wishfulness, I thought back to my childhood. When I was a lad in the 1970s, I played with Coach Lamphere and the boys of Statewide Construction. When we were ‘widgets? we won the championship. (My contribution was turning doubles into singles by tripping over first base. I was that good.)
After the game we piled into the back of some dad’s pickup truck and tooled on down to the Dairy Queen in Clarkston. (I think L. Brooks Patterson still owned it then). When we hopped out we were told the sponsor would pay for whatever we ordered. Kids got large twist cones, dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts. Some even got banana splits. When it was my turn in line, I ordered a gallon of vanilla, topped with chocolate and nuts.
While I was the big hero amongst the kids, my parents slunk away to hide in shame — they only showed their faces in town on the day I graduated from high school, six years later. They were less than impressed.
So, with catlike reflexes that only parents possess, I jumped to action. ‘Shamus — don’t over do it. Remember your manners.? He did, and brought no shame to his parents.
Yes, while Jen was gone . . .
. . . The boys helped their dear old dad. They worked together well, kept the house from getting too cluttered and only got on each other’s nerves a few times.
While Jen was gone, we missed her. We missed her not because of what she does for us around the home. We missed her laughter and her brown eyes. We missed her sarcasm. We missed her softness and in our sea of testosterone, missed her femininity.
We’re glad she’s home, because we love her.

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