It begins in Penn Station New York...
I'm delayed for two hours because Amtrak has to change a car
that may or may not have gone on fire.
I find this out through the game telephone.
A woman in a red suit comes over.
She speaks to three perspective passengers about the situation,
and then they tell a friend, and then they tell a stranger in line,
and somehow we are hearded over to gate ten being told to go back to gate 14
and wait two minutes or two hours.
I arrive in Richmond Virgina, three and a half hours late.
In Richmond though, waiting for me, is my very own brother in law,
standing there in a floppy fishing cap with McDonalds for me.
We drive to lovely Lake Monticello.
Is holding her newly-born daughter who is nodding off in her tired mother's arms.
My nephew is sleeping soundly.
He wakes me up the next morning jumping on my deflating air matress.
my five year old nephew:
Aunt Sue! Aunt Sue! Hey Aunt Sue! It's almost Christmas. You should wake up. Grandma is up. Why are ya still sleepin Aunt Sue? Aunt Sue get up. Can you please come down and play trains with me?
Did you know that Santa's coming?
Spending Christmas with a five year old is magical.
My sister and I find ourselves unable to sleep we're so excited(and hopped up on sugar from baked goods we seem to constantly produce together) .
There were tons of presents, lots of fun stories from my sister's in-laws,
and amazing food.
I'm beyond content.
Then I'm back to Amtrak.
This time the train runs on schedule and I'm back at Penn in only 7 hours.
I get off the train lugging a 45 lbs. suitcase, a tote bag full of presents, and my purse literally bursting with things I'd tried to squeeze in.
And I'm lugging it all to the LIRR platforms to get on another train.
I take the train to Jamaica
(ahh, I briefly am back in Queens)
then I take the train to Wantagh.
At my mom's place my brother, Mike, is there with his wife and two kids.
Everyone's in this suspended happy sleepy state.
We eat pizza, talk, open some more presents.
I then show them my power point presentation of my new apartment.
(I was on a train for hours people, I needed something to do)
In my power point presentation I have a picture of my new Buddah statue.
My Born Again Christian Mother:
Me, deer in head-lights:
"...um Melissa, and Tom, and um, well, me."
..and she flicks me. Straight up brief stricking finger flick.
My brother, Mike, isn't focused on Buddah, he's fixated on Tom.
"YOU'RE LIVING WITH A GUY?!?!"
My mother is surprisingly calm and completely ok with this:
"It's like Three's Company."
"He's got a girlfriend."
Mike, clearly still shocked and a tad perterbed about me being allowed to live with a guy:
"He's not gay, he's not even pretending to be gay like they did on that show. It's different."
My mommy who has my back:
"Oh get over it."
Mike and I got some tv watching time in. This is how Mike and I communicate, through programming we mutually like and board games.
I thoroughly enjoy my relationship with my brother.
I flip TV channels like it's porn because I haven't had cable for a month now
House, M.D. flips up.
We love this show!
It's about a married couple that ends up being brother and sister. Ew.
My brother asks for the basket ball score*
He then he goes up to wake up his wife who fell asleep with the kids and bring her to bed.
The next day is clearance in the Romano** garage.
We work together to pull out tons of furniture and load up my brother's mini van,
which, as Mike says:
Is like a freakin' clown car, we can get this all in.
And we did, in under an hour and with minimal snapping.
See, Funke's are highly productive people, but don't get in the way of the production plan.
So, on December 27th I was dropped back at my apartment
without having to step back onto a train
and with nice furniture
thanks to the help of the Funke/Romano family.
And then I caught up with my roomates.
That realized that when I spend a lot of time with children under the age of ten
I act a lot like them.
"Hey, Hey Tom, hey Melissa, guess what we did. Guess, guess, just guess...I'll tell you."
*I know nothing of this match because I haven't seen Sports Center or PTI or regular games in weeks.
**My mother is remarried, this is my step father's last name.