Nobody needs to see this, but you’re gonna look anyway, I know it

My newly retired in-laws arrived during December—four days earlier than planned! yipee!—for their first winter as “snow birds.” They’re staying until March 1st, though not with us, thank God. That, more than any climate change or falling dead birds, would signify End Times, fo sho. After two-and-a-gulp!-half months here, they’ll leave us and head back to the land of squeaky cheese curds and commentary that often includes some version of oh-yah-hey-dere, howzit-by-youuu?

This new arrangement has not been without it’s bumps for me, but I’m trying to focus on all the good stuff, most specifically the free babysitting and the reality that everything my husband’s folks do comes from a place of love. Still. I haven’t lived in the same city as a parent in almost 20 years and I dig it that way. I talk to my mother once every few weeks. I love her but I don’t need a whole lot more than that and neither does she.

Things are a wee bit different on the Belfer side of the family, however, and the obligation this new arrangement lends is…uncomfortable for me. I’m trying to be grown-up about it but I short circuit a lot; if you see me twitching, that is why. And they love me despite these seizures, which says so, so much about them. Truly. In fact, I think it says, Oh, honey! We’re just a coupla gluttons for punishment, yah-hay-dere.

There’s my mother-in-law. Isn’t she cute??? Just hanging out in my backyard, browsing the overpriced sweaters in the Boden catalogue…WAIT!…What is?…What is that in the foreground, you wonder? Is it a wombat? Is it another Brett Favre body part?

Why, no. As we are all well aware by now, Number 4′s parts aren’t that—ahem—massive. That, my friends, would be my father-in-law’s shoulder. His very furry shoulder. Here’s the very furry rest of him:

Yup. There he is. That is my father-in-law sitting on the table on our back patio like it was a toilet, reading my New Yorker and getting a little sunlight on his body. Well. As much sunlight as can possibly reach the forest floor, anyway. Fortunately for you, I’m not posting the pictures of his hairy “nibbles,” photos Ruby begged me to take, photos that have no business existing. You can thank me in the comments after you gather your composure.

Upon being forced to look at what could very well be Sam’s and therefore my reality someday, I asked my father-in-law: “So, did you get all this extra body hair as you got older or…have you always been…like…this?”

He nodded his head and said quietly, “I’ve always been like this.”

“Whew!” I let there be no mystery as to the scope of my relief.

Then he looked up at me from behind his glasses, and gave me the Holy Fuck You Are So On My Last Nerve intimidation glare he used to give his high school students when they got out of line. He claims it always stopped them in their tracks.

But if he really wanted to scare the shit out of them, he should have just taken off his shirt.


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