Thursday, August 5, 2010

Family Ties

I apparently don't talk about my family enough, because at the recent nestie dinner I went to a couple of people who read my blog did not know that I had a brother. Family is a fitting topic for today anyways as my mom just underwent a total knee arthroplasty (replacement) a few days ago and is home recooperating quickly.

The knee surgery has been coming for a LONG time. She wrecked her knee cross-country skiing when she was pregnant with my older sister LEKT some 28 yrs ago and has been dealing with it ever since. While surgery is never fun, my mom sort of has an advantage over some other patients- she is an orthopaedic nurse at the hospital where she is having the surgery. This means that she stayed on the floor she works on, and as far as I can tell, they gave her the royal treatment, starting with giving her one of the nice rooms with a lake view. (I love Duluth, you can get a hospital room with a lake view!). All reports indicate the surgery went well and now she just faces some boredom while she is stuck waiting for it to heal, and then some hard rehab. I really hope everything goes smoothly. I am in the awkward position where 95% of what I know about joint replacement surgeries comes from cases that went wrong. Hopefully my mom can teach me about what it is like when the surgery goes right, which it does in most cases.

With that as a prompt, a bit about my family:

My parents are both from Ohio, they met at Kent State University, got married, and moved to Northern Minnesota for my Dad's job. My dad is a professor of Sports Physiology. He is 6'4". He loves basketball. When I was growing up he ran Grandma's Marathon in Duluth every year. I like that he is tall because it maintains the same physical father-daughter relationship that I have had my whole life with him. He will always be literally the "large" figure in my life, completely different from giving DH a hug. He likes Garrison Keilor, what I call "old time" country music (ala Willie Nelson etc, which he has pointed out was not old when he started listening to it!!), and makes fun of pop music. His midlife crisis consisted of having my brother install a really loud exhaust system in his Mazda 626. He spends a lot of time mowing the lawn and fixing fences, which he claims to hate, but I think that if he tried to live somewhere he had less of it to do he would miss it immensly, just like the way he claimed to not care about the cats until we had gone without one for a year or so, and then he wanted another. (Unfortunately there are no cats anymore because they are up to 400 lbs of dog in the house, 75 lbs of which enjoys chasing cats up trees and has even been seen climbing the trees after the cat!).

My mom is an RN. I have her skin - I don't burn, I tan, which is nice. She has been riding horses since she was a kid in Cleveland and bought two horses this year that she claims are her last, but I don't believe it. She likes big dogs because you don't have to bend over to pet them. She likes John Denver, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mandy Patinkin and Jason Mraz. She shielded us as children from pretty much anything that involved swearing or sex, and still seems to despise shows and movies that have these as prominent themes (which is a lot of them by the way). She imparted such philosophies to me as: "if you swear all the time, then when you are really angry you will have no way to express it" and "don't use the word hate unless you want that thing or person to die/be removed from earth". I think these are both good lessons and even used one with my younger cousin last week when he told us he hated us because we played a Draw 2 Cards on him in Uno.

My older sister, LEKT, is a Veterinarian specializing in large animal. She just moved back to Minnesota. I don't think I need to provide too many details because I wrote a pretty in-depth post about her not to long ago. We are very much alike in many regards, and very different in others.

My brother MAK is three years younger than me, exactly. We share a birthday. I always used to joke he was the worse birthday present I ever got, this was mainly backlash to people telling me he was the best present I ever got. That is not what a 5 yr old wants to hear when she now has to share her birthday. Now that we are both adult types, sharing a birthday is kind of fun, makes for some good jokes. For example, this year he claims to have gotten us the Chrysler for my birthday, where as I claim to have bought him one of his jalopies. Speaking of his jalopies, my brother is a car-buying addict. He is mechanically inclined and is net +6 cars on the year. He buys them because they are cheap and he thinks he can fix them up, or use them for parts to fix other things up. As far as I can tell, sometimes this happens, most of the time it doesn't. MAK is the family comedian, and I have listed him as the funniest person I know on multiple surveys. His humor is totally random and wonderful. He lives with a great girlfriend and two dogs on a rural lot outside of Duluth.

My little sister, MMK, is 16. I was almost ten years old when she was born. When she was little I played the role of the live-in babysitter by choice. I took care of her SO often, and I loved it. I liked the responsability and I liked taking care of a baby. She is not so much a baby anymore, though she is still the baby of the family. Both my parents and she openly admit that she is spoiled because she is the youngest. She seems to be turning out well despite this... I mean just the fact she realizes how spoiled she is shows she is pretty bright and reasonable. She is a soccer fiend, still rides horses (unlike myself who dropped this sport around 8th grade). She likes to drive a lot. She is much more aware of fashion and makeup than I ever was. Her brain works a bit different than mine - more spacial I think. She is better at geometry than I was (my worst class in high school), and she is better at learning directions by driving places (whereas I prefer maps).

That is my entire nuclear human family. We won't even get into their 8? horses and 6? dogs, numbers which are relatively current and therefore do not count the vast number of pets I have had in my lifetime. (now there would be an interesting number to try and calculate....)

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