My grandpa died a little over a year ago. My grandma has since moved out of the house they lived in for .. um.. about 17 bajillion years. Ok, fine.
I think my mom was 7 when they moved in, and she was 58 when they moved out, so - 51, actually. Which is like 17 bajillion.
51, 17 bajillion years in one house, and now it's on the market. That's an entirely different story that's sad and funny in turns, but clearing the house out brought several of my mom's eleven brothers and sisters to town. (Yes, there were 12 of them.) Tonight, two brothers and one brother's wife came by my mom's house for a visit.
I stopped by after school to say hi, and regaled them with not particularly interesting tales of my life as a graduate student. I used big words because they're all highly educated types and I don't see them very often.
My older uncle countered with a story of his oldest daughter, the PhD who could be making 17 bajillion dollars (I know, I can't stop, I'm sorry) if she were practicing actuarial science instead of teaching it. My mom tried to remind them of my time in corporate America, but he changed the subject to his younger daughter, who teaches underprivileged lobster catching middle schoolers (or something). (Yes, these women are my cousins. I have a lot of cousins. I have no idea what 9/10th of them are up to at any given time.)
My younger uncle, not to be outdone, brought up his time as a programmer and some of the challenges he'd faced.
So that you have an accurate picture of what's happening, you have to remember that these adults are three of 12 kids. They're used to fighting to make themselves heard. If you were thinking that this discussion was happening in an orderly, intelligible fashion? You were thinking wrong.
This was more political debate with interrupting allowed than it was family catch up time.
My mom countered the stories of how hard programming was in the old days when they had to use punch cards or some shit (seriously? I kind of thought that was a myth, by the way) with an out of left field comment about how pretty I've grown up to be.
My aunt, the only one in the room that didn't have Palmer blood, got tired of all the one-uppmanship and did the only thing guaranteed to shut everyone up.
She brought up my cousin April.
April got her undergrad and her masters at Stanford. She's on her way to her PhD, and then post-doc work. Her topic? Level 4 virus-ology. (Or, you know, whatever you call that.) She was recruited by the CDC, she went to the south pole to study bird viruses, she .. ok, I don't actually know everything, but she's pretty fucking impressive.
Since there's nowhere to go from there, everyone left.
Family is awesome.