From the start, you can tell who's in control in our little family. My dad wanted to name me Jennifer or Kimberly, but my mom hid my birth certificate in her hospital drawer until my dad left for coffee and scribbled in "Kelly" instead. She's always been my buddy. Mom stayed home with me growing up, and I credit her for my turning out okay. Whatever we did in those early years must have been intellectually stimulating, because my first sentence was the astute observation, "My daddy eats ham." Genius.
We used to have a cat, Muffin (Muffy) Vandersluis, who while she was loved dearly, met an untimely and unintentional death. Muffy was known for being a trouble maker, as she couldn't resist knocking down Christmas trees and otherwise wreaking havoc on the house. One Christmas was apparently the last straw with Muffy. She not only knocked down the Christmas tree again, but she decided that the tinsel looked particularly tasty. My parents learned an important science lesson later that day: tinsel does not break down in a cat's stomach. Poor Muffy ended up running around the house in a panic with a few inches of tinsel hanging out of her rear. Something had to be done; and when something has to be done, you call in my dad. He pinned Muffy down, braced himself, and yanked the tinsel out of her. That caused a horrifyingly unnatural cat noise, "MRRRRRAAAAAAAAOOOOOW!" but she felt better moments later. My parents, however, did not feel better. They decided that it was time for her to find a new home with another family's tinsel to eat. They took her to Happy Meadows Catland where they promised to care for her and to find her a new home. Not long after doing so, the Washington Post reported that Happy Meadows Catland had gone bankrupt and gassed the kitties. Rest in peace, Muffy.
If you have witnessed my parking abilities, you will not be surprised that problems with depth and height perception run in my family. As a toddler, my dad had me on his shoulders, joyously gallivanting around our house. It was naptime, so he took me up to my room and did not account for the fact that: (HeightDaddy - Head) + HeightKelly > HeightDoor. He smacked my head on the door, and I'm sure that all hell broke loose after that. Physics seemed to be a problem too, as one day my dad took me out in my stroller and swung me around in it (whee!) and I flew out. Objects in motion stay in motion. Important lesson. You'll be disturbed to know that my dad has advanced degrees in science.
I was a pretty durable kid, which comes as a surprise since I stopped drinking milk at 5 when my dad told me it was cow pee. I used to let it sit untouched all through dinner, trying to out-stubborn my parents. They'd finally get up, and I'd pour it down the drain. I wasn't too smart then, so I didn't rinse out the sink after doing so and they found out. I was finally relieved of my milk-drinking responsibilities when we stopped at Denny's on a trip, and my milk came out chunky and yellowed. I have not had a glass of milk in 18 years, and I'm still in one piece. I reject the theory that milk does a body good.
My family is so wholesome that it would really make you gag. We're Southern Baptist and can Bible verse you at will if you begin to get out of line. Growing up, I was never allowed to say "sucks" or "fart" (excuse me) but for some reason "crap" has always been acceptable. Must be in the Bible somewhere. But let me tell you, if I were to transgress and say any forbidden word, you better believe that my mom would hear it from 2 floors away with her bionic mom ears and yell, "Kelly Susanne!!!" We never believed in intercoms. We had an intercom system for a short period of time, but it crossed with our neighbors' that we never actually liked, and since that would have meant some form of talking to them, we got rid of the intercom. The common belief seems to be that God gave all three of us ample lungs and voices, so instead of using technology to communicate, or walking to find the person, we bellow, or holler even. Sometimes full conversations were held at top volume from 1 and 2 levels apart.
My parents were always fun when I lived with them, but I think they saved their best stuff for when I left for school and moved out. Just in the last year their antics have moved from quirky to just plain ridiculous. 4th year, my mom and I were talking on the phone and she said, "Oh, geez, that's like the time your father drove the car off the cliff and nearly killed us." What? Apparently they were looking at new homes and went to check out one that was still under construction. Dad overshot the driveway and ended up hanging off the edge of a steep drop-off. They stayed in the car not moving until a tow truck came to save them. They were unscathed, but learned not to be so adventurous.
The same year, my dad called me laughing, and said, "Haha...your mom...hahaha, oh, man...she put her foot through the wall." Again, what? He can't stop laughing and in the background I hear, "PAAAAAAAT!" Well, mom was on the treadmill and something happened, so she shot off the back and punched her foot through the wall. She got stuck there with the treadmill still on scraping her knees. I think my dad was kind enough to turn off the treadmill before calling me. There was a hole in the wall for a while, and it might still be there behind the new dresser they put in the same place. Who knows.
I realize everyday that I've grown more and more like my parents. Crazy mom-isms like, "Quick like a bunny" and "Well, that doesn't amount to a hill of beans" sneak out every so often, and I actually uttered the phrase, "Doesn't that seem a little revealing, honey?" about something I would have worn less than a year ago. I eat Cheerios straight out of the box (no milk), and I'm on a first name basis with the cleaning lady at work, just like my dad. I figure, if I'm going to become something, a hybrid of my parents isn't too shabby.