I just got back from a 10-day trip to Washington, Pennsylvania.  I like to call it WAPA , similar to how folks south of Houston St in Manhattan live in SOHO.  The nice thing about trips home is that my husband is from Canonsburg, PA just north of WAPA so we can see everyone.  Thus there are no issues with us dividing our family loyalties during the holidays or random visits. We never diss one family completely while embracing the other.  We see everyone.

Thus the trip becomes a series of time sensitive visits with friends and family. Suitcases, kids and sometimes a labradoodle are shuffled between WAPA and Canonsburg. Duffel bags are packed, unpacked then repacked. Cars are borrowed and itineraries must be arranged.

It goes down like this.  I talk to the matriarch of one clan and find out their planned vacation days, pick destinations to visit and work out dates and times. Then armed with this information I speak with the other clan’s matriarch to find out her expectations. Any conflicts that arise are renegotiated and a basic battle plan is set into motion.  Once I get all of this figured out and have everything evenly divided between both clans so as not to rob anyone of their grandparental rights, my husband chimes in and adds his 2 cents.  Usually this last minute wrench thrown into the plan can be fixed by honoring the matriarchs, ignoring my husband and letting him fend for himself. I can smooth things over with my husband via sexual favors – but piss off the mommas of each clan and I’m fucked.

So I arrive armed with a basic template to work from. Extended family visits can be added to the basic grandparent time table thus I kill the proverbial 2 birds with one stone. For example, taking grandma with me to the visit with great-grandma keeps me in both wills.

The next hurdle is the friend hurdle. I have lots of ladies that I love and admire in WAPA and The Burgh (Pittsburgh, that is).  I look forward to seeing them instead of only hearing their voice and reading their typed emails to me. It’s great to catch up, have a drink and shoot the breeze. If I couldn’t see certain people when I came home, I’d be pissed. Of course there are George Costanza like issues when trying to see all of my old friends at the same time. There are highschool friends, softball friends, old co-worker friends, college friends and we met through our kids friends. Again, being able to see everyone in one fell swoop is swell, but when world’s collide, it gets weird. The softball friends don’t know about my life as a mom. The mom friends don’t know the inside jokes that the high school friends are throwing in my face. The co-worker friends are a little appalled when they hear the shit my college friends are saying about me. So I tend to compartmentalize my friends and try to see different people at different times. This get’s dicey. Remember I have wills to consider.

Then there are the friends that never call and suck at email yet want me to meet them for a drink. I like these people, really, I do. I want to spend time with them, but I’m only one woman so I tend to make time for the friends that actually make time for me on a regular basis. If you can’t call me once in 365 days, I’m not meeting you for lunch so your kids can play with my kids and risk pissing off the grandparents. Have I mentioned the will?

Lastly there are the brothers. My brother-in-law is the busiest guy I know, so running into him is tough. My brother finally works days and has weekends off so seeing him is easier. But he and his finance have a dog, Duchess, that is a sweetheart to adults but a menace to other animals and small children. Seriously. My kids have never met his dog and probably never will as long as Paige continues to, without warning, juggle any 3 objects she’s holding at any one time and Jarin continues to break out into dance moves any time music is playing in the background. The Duchess doesn’t like quick movements from small people. The Duchess is a muscular, pit bull that is treated better by her parents than my kids. Duchess wins.

So yes, we survived another trip to WAPA. I learned a lot about life during my last visit that I will share in future posts. To my knowledge I am still in all wills and welcome to return in the future.  We go back up in a few weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes.


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