Kent’s mother, brother and sister are all in town with their kids which makes us a party of 18. In the past three days I have learned a number of things about a party this size.
1. A party of 18 moves 18 times slower than a party of one. If a party of 18 intends to leave the house by 10am, the party will not get going before 11:40. There are at least 30 reasons for one of the party to rush back into the house for a minute while others are buckling in. Consequently, a party of 18 cannot accomplish two outings in one day unless one counts swimming in the house pool as a second outing.
2. A party of 18 cannot walk from the Lincoln Memorial to the Jefferson Memorial in the heat of June without half of them crapping out and turning back at the WWII memorial.
3. A party of 18 cannot eat at the same restaurant. Even if they ostensibly eat at the same restaurant, that meal will need to be supplemented by tons of kiddie food at some point.
4. If the party of 18 decides to order individual entrees instead of family style from some place, some segment of the party will have ordered their food, driven to Famous Dave’s to get it and back, and started eating their food before other segments of the party have even finished hashing out their orders or placed the call.
5. A party of 18 will need approximately six televisions lest a World Cup fan be forced to watch Wimbledon or vice versa.
6. A party of 18 will drink at least 12 gallons of milk per week of various potencies and varietals including whole milk, 1%, 2%, almond milk, and coconut milk.
7. A party of 18 will need more toilet paper than you bought at Costco that first day of the family reunion week.
8. A party of 18 is too large to make democratic governance practicable and should elect a Reunion Dictator for the week as their very first order of business. The Reunion Dictator should rule with ruthless efficiency, never offer options, and never utter any sentence in the form of a question. For instance, the Reunion Dictator should never say, “Do you guys want to go to the Jefferson Memorial/eat/swim/play a game next/tonight/tomorrow morning?” which only brings on a pointless 20-minute bout of mutual deference and indecision. Instead, the Reunion Dictator should proclaim emphatically “We are going to the National Museum of Natural History at 10:30am.” (We have yet to elect a Reunion Dictator. By now, nearly everyone in the nebulous governing body wants to resign their post.)
9. With very little gender-bending, a party of 18 can produce an entire unstaged production of Phantom of the Opera.
10. When someone asks, “What is the Korean War anyway?” a party of 18 will be able to cobble together a response pulling from such sources as someone’s Cold War history course in college, Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea, a couple of scenes from Mad Men and the entire series of M*A*S*H. However, the party of 18 really should just whip out the smartphones and get the real story.
11. If the party of 18 includes a corporate lawyer, a math teacher, a family counselor, a doctor, an optics engineer, and a singer, the doctor will always have the best/grossest stories.
I’m having a great time. Though we have always lived thousands of miles apart, I feel like I know Kent’s brother and his sons pretty well from when we used to play World of Warcraft with them, and it’s great to hang out in person. Moreover, now there are three
babysitters teenagers in the group which makes things infinitely easier than when the big people were far outnumbered by the little people.