Amy Roberts: A cast of characters
June 30, 2015
This weekend I spent some time warning my friends and neighbors of a pending hurricane about to slam into Park City. My family is coming to visit for a week, and Hurricane Roberts will likely be a Category 5 storm.
Most of my friends have met the members of my immediate family, but a few have missed them when they’ve been in town. And as I described each member of my family to my friends who haven’t yet met them, one person said to me, "It sounds like you’re pitching a script for a new comedy series, and these are the characters."
Which sounds about right.
First, there’s my dad, Jon. If it were up to him nothing would have changed since the early ’80s. We’d all still have a 13-inch black and white TV with three channels and use payphones. If he needs to call a business when he’s here, he will ask me for the phonebook. Which, I will have to explain (again), people don’t use those anymore, they Google it. He’ll then tell me to "Call the Google and get me the number." For a long time my dad resisted getting a cell phone, but he eventually had to because my mom is so accident-prone (see next paragraph). So he has a flip phone, which he wears on his hip and rarely answers. The other day I was shocked to see a call come in from my dad on his cell. I answered and he told me, "I can’t find my cell phone. Can you call Google and get me the number to Verizon so I tell them it’s lost?"
Then there’s my mom. A visit from her means we will likely end up in the hospital at some point this week. My mom is built like a bird with the coordination of a one-legged giraffe. This is the same woman who managed to shatter her hip while throwing away expired popsicles. She broke her wrist falling out of a model house she was touring. And she fractured her ankle when she fell off a sidewalk. There is simply no end, or logic, to her injuries. I half expect her to dislocate her shoulder while making coffee. I’ve called the ER docs and orthopedic surgeons and told them to have her file ready.
My older sister, Michele, is a new mom and bringing my 9-month old niece, Addison, on her first trip. One she has likely been planning since before Addison was conceived. Michele is the type of person that needs to have a minute-by-minute schedule five years out to feel comfortable. She is also a worrier by nature. If there’s a rulebook on parenting, Michele had it committed to memory before she turned 10. I mentioned taking Addison to the pool sometime this week and was promptly given a short list of acceptable sunscreens for a baby, most of which had to be ordered from Europe and cost over $100. Michele has also shipped a special laundry detergent to me for Addison’s wash. She is not a helicopter parent, she’s a drone parent.
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Finally, there’s my little sister, Heather. Despite having brain cancer, she’s the least work of any member of my family. Heather was recently able to stop her chemo treatments, meaning she can drink alcohol again for the first time in a year. And she seems to be on a mission to make up for lost time. I asked my family to send me a list of items I needed to buy before they arrive. Heather’s went something like this:
- Two bottles of vodka
- A handle of tequila
- One lime
When I told her this list was a little alarming, she’s only visiting for five days, she told me, "Listen. It’s like I’ve been in rehab the last 12 months. This week, my idea of a balanced diet is a margarita in each hand."
With this group coming for the 4th, I am guaranteed fireworks of some sort. What can I say? My family puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.