Monday, November 8, 2010

So About My Family [Briefly]....

I spent the weekend before last in my hometown of New Jersey, for quality time with the aforementioned fam. It was dad's surprise 50th, so there was an immediacy to this visit (don't want you to think I'm going all soft.)

Well really, I just needed a haircut, but the family was there, so I figured, what the hey - might as well kill two birds with one stone.

Like most family functions, my father's thirteen Stromberg siblings and boyhood pals decided twas best to use this celebration to roast all 50 years of his wonderful memories. I was also chosen to write  a roast speech. When my Uncle Robby, the organizer of these shenanigans, first proposed this, it was September. By the time I arrived in October, I still had nothing written.

Frantically nearing the hour of truth, after driving around crazily like a Jersey housewife on steroids, dragging my victims (er, guests) for the night, Josh and Cara, through confusing U-turns and overpriced Halloween stores with costumes like "Money Ho," "the Blow-Me Breathalizer" and "Testey Tea Bags" (we're really not trying to overcome stereotypes in Jersey, it seems), I finally came to a realization:

I needed to write this freakin' speech.
(Even if my audience would be mostly intoxicated by then.)

So I did what any normal twenty-something would do in this situation - I winged it improvised. Using a previous blog entry, and sketches drawn by my sister, I put together what I thought was a lovely summary of dad's life.........of pain.

Surprisingly, for such little preparation it drew quite a bit of laughs (story of my life.) And coming from the Strombergs and one Joshua Goolsby ("sarcasm extraordinaire"), this is saying a lot.

After a lovely experience of living at home again for two days amongst the Strombergians, I've realized that I haven't described my incredibly unique family members to all of the folks out there who probably don't give a damn. Why goodness, in order to understand the Strombergs, you must take a close look at the dynamics! We are a highly complex system, that has a massive weekly intake of 2% milk. And the best way to observe this rare species of American family at its peak of dysfunctionality is in their natural habitat.

*DISCLAIMER: Since I know they're reading this right now, jaws agape at the sheer audacity of the use of "dysfunction" to describe them, please realize: there are no families that exist without dysfunction, at the risk of being incredibly boring.

Aside from inspiring my love of books, you may remember her from previous flashback entries concerning shitty cars. She was my first impromptu guest blogger....albeit without consent.

Alas, you've had your days in the spotlight already. As well as here.

Nick, brother
For his last birthday, I devoted a blog entry to my little brother, praising his eccentricity. That's enough, right?

Ceri, sister
Her psychologically-fused drawings of sarcasm have shown up in this entry, as well as my previous one highlighting our quirks of humor.

[NOTE: I realize that this has turned into a "Greatest Hits" list rather than a for reals blog entry.........I got lazy.]

Lili, sister, &; Lexy, dog
There's a reason I've lumped these two together; obviously they're not equal on the totem pole of family hierarchy (one crawls on the floor for godsakes; although I guess you could argue that they both did at one time.)

When Lili was born, I was 14 years old and Lexy was closing in on middle age. I acted as mommy and Lexy, well, acted like a dog, as expected, as well as her counterpart. She was there to guard against ghosts in the dark and provide entertainment for the new baby. (Their trust was tested when Lexy decided to leave a nervous trail of poop all over her room; there were a few months of uncertainty, but eventually the deed was forgotten, once the smell wore off.)

Lili also provided her own entertainment, as she was the first to be caught on the family's new video camera. Even though she's grown to 10 years old now, I can still remember the cartoon-ish adventures of the two of them, which eventually inspired me to capture their sweet yet short adventure in baby/puppy-dom....

Lexy, with her two quirky ears: one Collie, one Doberman.
Lili, with her beloved stuffed pal, Fishy - a somewhat preschool Calvin and Hobbes, if you will.  

(Fishy once braved an 8 floor plummet through an elevator shaft in my old NYU dorm. Somehow he fit perfectly lengthwise through when dropped; poor Lili proceeded to scream uncontrollably. Those in the elevator with us were quite unsure of what to do. Luckily, NYU was able to retrieve Fishy, showing how persistent a stuffed fish - and an NYU janitor for that matter - could be.)

No matter how old they get - Lexy, with her arthritis and deaf ears; and Lili, with her Justin Bieber and Bratz dolls - I'll always choose to remember them this way.

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