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Home for the Holidays: Day 2

Within hours of my arrival, the asthma attacks started. Not just any asthma attacks, either. The monstrous, "Am I going to die like this?", terrifying, gasping, wheezing, asthma attacks. What the hell could be in my parents' house that could send me in to anaphalactic shock? I mean, besides my parents?

I finally narrowed it down. It's the Christmas tree.

For years, when I was a kid, we had to get firs instead of pines because I was horribly allergic to pines. My allergies seem to have expanded to now include firs. And I can guarantee no one's going to go for an artificial tree - my mother's already told me it's a no-go.

A couple of rounds with my emergency inhaler, and I was at least alive enough to go eat mediocre restaurant food. And I found an old hot steam vaporizer that I ran next to my head all night, which helped somewhat. But I can tell you I won't be basking in the glow of the Christmas tree much this year.

Unfortunately, there are speakers throughout the house, not just in the living room, so I will be listening to the Amy Grant's A Christmas Album - again and again and again . . . Is Christmas over yet?

1:48 P.M.: My sister-in-law's family has dropped in on their way to Ohio to spend Christmas with one of her sisters. Lunch today was a massive affair - my family, plus her parents, one of her sisters, and her niece. Once again, nowhere to run, no place to hide.

Hilarious moment of the afternoon: they exchanged gifts between themselves and my sister-in-law gave her sister a book.

"Have you read it?"
"No, but it looks good."
"Oh, it's great, you'll love it."
"What's it about?"
"It's about this girl who finds out when she's thirteen that she's a hermaphrodite."
Here my sister-in-law's mom chirps "What's a hermaphrodite?" Dead silence.
Finally, one of her daughters says "It's someone who is of both genders."
"Oh, how nice."
Good Lord.

5:52 P.M.: So I decided to take a nice, relaxing bath. It's early, before dinner, but I figured this evening there'll be some game or movie or something, and then the older kids, Rebecca and Robert, would need baths, and my mom would want one, and the hot water tank is about the size of a teapot, so I would end up with an ice bath.

My parents recently redid their master bathroom - the only one in the house with a tub - after more than twenty years in this house (and it was outdated back then).

So I'm quietly relaxing, reading a magazine, immersed in bubbles, when the door pops open and my father's voice bursts in.

"So, enjoying the new bathroom?"
For God's sake, man, I'm thirty-one.
"Er, yes, I was, please leave now."
And that was that.

Claudia Hunter is the Beachwood's pseudononymous holiday affairs correspondent. She went home to Central Pennsylvania for the holidays this year under duress. Previously:

* Home for the Holidays: The Preamble
* Home for the Holidays: Day One


Posted on December 22, 2006

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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