Monday, January 09, 2006

trip update 4: funny Uncle R

Thursday was uneventful and quiet. With A and J gone, the task of entertaining the lads fell to us, so we went to Barnes & Noble and then came back to the house for lunch. The kids wanted to play poker afterwards, and I decided to give them some alone time with their beloved uncle, so I went to our room and alternated between reading and dozing.

In the late afternoon, Padre picked up A and J from the train station and they had a quintessential NYC moment to share. J bumped into someone and the guy pulled a knife! Fortunately, the guy's girlfriend was there and she grabbed his arm and said, "Come on, it's not worth it!"

Yeah, glad I missed out on that part of the trip; I would have been running down the street, screaming and leaving a trail of urine in my wake.

I can’t remember what we had for dinner, but afterwards Madre said, “I have a surprise!” She had found a package of Serendipity’s frozen hot chocolate mix from the last time they went, so she whipped up a batch for dessert. It was definitely good, but not so good that I feel I missed out on something major.

On Friday, we went to the Philadelphia Zoo. It was freezing, but they had a fantastic selection of primates, including G’s beloved lemurs and plenty of tamarins and gorillas for me. Afterwards, we went to Aunt E’s (Padre’s sister) and Uncle R’s for dinner, and on the drive there, G said, “If no one else is going to warn you about Uncle R, then I better. He loves reading more than anything else, and he loves to offer to lend books to people, but no matter what, don’t take him up on it.”


“Because he gets pissed if you don’t return them within a day. Seriously. Also, he’s really…uh, shall we say, blunt. He may ask you embarrassing questions, but Aunt E is pretty quick to stop him if he goes too far. Just so you know.”

Great! I had conquered Mount Madre, and now I had to worry about an uncle?

But he wasn’t that bad. He did ignore my proffered hand in favor of a hug and a disturbingly sloppy kiss on the cheek, but he didn’t ask me any truly personal questions or offer to lend me a book from one of the thousands (literally) lined up on the shelves in every single room.

He did make dinner rather interesting though.

We had mouthwateringly tender filet mignon, potatoes, and dinner rolls, along with lots and lots of red wine. Uncle R took a sip and said, “After classes about wine, you usually get to taste it. What would you do after a class about genitalia, I wonder?" Aunt E gave him a swift kick under the table---I could actually hear her foot connect with his shin---and said, “[Uncle R's full name], there are CHILDREN PRESENT.”

“That’s true, plus a pretty young lady who’s never been here before. I’m sorry, my dear,” he said contritely, favoring me with a wink.

“Uh, no problem,” I said weakly, trying to overcome the mental image of Uncle R doing some spelunkin’.

After a delicious dessert of chocolate chip cupcakes, vanilla ice cream, and cinnamon apple cake, we made small talk for about an hour and then returned home.