The Brother Who Can’t

Dear Grace,

Your past several posts have just made me cry. I am going to miss your shaggy dog, and I wish I was there so we could bake cookies to make ourselves feel better. Because that is how we handle emotions around here.

In the absence of me and cookies, maybe this brief anecdote will make you feel slightly better.

A couple of weeks ago, Jake and Cara asked to come stay at Dutchman House for a night as they passed through on their way to wherever they were actually trying to get to. Abe and I were so excited for them to come, even if for a night.

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned how difficult Dutchman House is to locate. One can go one of two ways: First route: through a nonsensical maze that twists and turns about the subdivision to the very last street that borders the desert. It takes five full minutes to get from our house to the main road. And yes, I have timed it. Second route: through the desert on the world’s least maintained dirt road that Google claims is the fastest way to find our house. Although the dirt road is faster (distance-wise), it is much less comfortable as one must dodge abandoned furniture and giant dips and ditches in the “road”.

As Abe and I sat calmly awaiting their arrival (i.e. scurrying about the house trying to clean), I got a call from Jake. Good news: They were mere minutes away. Bad news: They were stuck in a giant mud puddle mere minutes away on the abandoned dirt road. Abe and I had recently sold Abe’s clunker Jeep, so we only had our Chevy Cruz to attempt to get their car out of the mud. I put on my muddy times outfit: knee-length leggings and mid-calf cowboy boots which is quite the ensemble. Surprisingly, our Chevy was not at all helpful in getting the car out of the mud, so we all waited together in the desert chill for a tow-truck while three-year-old Chloe serenaded us with songs from Moana. It was quite the evening, and I think we will be making fun of Jake forever in his persistence that he could in fact drive through the puddle.

Turns out “can’t” runs in the family.

Love Always,


The Family Prude does Las Vegas

Dear Grace,

Our Christmas and New Year’s have ultimately been spent battling a plague of germs. Abe’s sister and her five darlings showed up on Christmas Eve each with a fever and a hacking cough. I flinched each time coughs barked out of their chests as I imagined bacteria-infested amoebae flying through the air landing on every surface possible. The moment they left on Christmas Day, Abe, his mother, and myself went about the house disinfecting every surface and tossing everything we possibly could into the washing machine. Unfortunately, our obsessive cleaning did nothing to protect Abe (the most tenacious Lysol-wielder) from succumbing to The Yuck.

However, Yuck or no Yuck, Abe and I were set on traveling to Las Vegas to be with his uncle and aunt. Uncle Don and Aunt Shawna had invited the two of us to join them and their posse in Vegas to watch a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows. I was thrilled as I had never been to Vegas and had only heard the greatest of reviews regarding Cirque du Soleil shows.

Our first night in Vegas, we watched Cirque’s “Beatles Love” show and it was simply amazing. I can’t even explain how lovely it all was. Let’s just go and see it together, okay? Abe had to physically drag me from the gift shop before I bought everything in sight.

Our second night, Abe and I were the chaperones for the two girls under 18 and we went to see “Mystere” while the rest of the family (including Abe’s grandmother) went to “Zumanity” (which I don’t recommend Googling). We heard all about Zumanity the next day over breakfast, and I don’t remember ever being so shocked. 

When Abe showed me the “trailer” for the show, I thought it was a show that was meant to be sexual but not explicit. Apparently I didn’t know Vegas. I elected to go to the other show if only to avoid having Abe’s family watch my reactions the entire show. I have a reputation in the family for being prudish above and beyond the rest. Honestly, I think the family’s descriptions of the show were merely to get a reaction out of me.

How can I help but be a prude with how we were raised by Mumsie and Pops? But really and truly I am much happier being a prude if it saves me from having to sit through an hour of nude acrobatics.

Hoping your New Year is much less full of unwarranted adult nudity,