She minces no words.

Dont Mince Words

Six days of unpaid vacation, 10 days of wondering if I was adopted Comments Off on Six days of unpaid vacation, 10 days of wondering if I was adopted

Posted on January 31, 2006 by Marna

I was in the middle of planning my 40th birthday trip to Hawaii when my brother called and suggested an alternative destination. His annual U.S. visit coincided with my birthday week and he was going to be in Florida.

Hawaii or Florida…hum. This would be my only opportunity to see my nephews and work on their vocabulary.

For two months, my trip was shrouded in secrecy. I bribed Sam, my six-year old nephew, to be my spy. The best information he could come up with was, “bring a bathing suit” and my cake would be chocolate with sprinkles. My brother cashed in his business miles and purchased my plane ticket. So now I knew I was flying into Tampa.

The rest would be revealed when I arrived.

I didn’t sleep on my red eye and was greeted in Tampa by my brother. His brother-in-law picked us up in the arrivals area in an F-something pickup with four doors. I sat up front while my brother slept in the back. I tried to sleep, but the country music was keeping me up, in between watching the brother-in-law deposit his Skoal drippings in a water bottle.

This was not a good sign.

Nearly two hours later, we were at the brother-in-law’s ranch: cows, horses, dogs, 4-wheelers and farm hands. I was deliriously tired at this point and too exhausted to appreciate the richness of this ranch. I needed a bed.

Instead, my birthday surprise was exposed – an Ultra Limited Edition 31-foot RV complete with a sign that read, “Cool Aunt Marna’s tour of the Deep South.”

I was fucked. I did not take six days of unpaid time off to tool around in the Sunshine State in an RV. I used to say roughing it was no cable, but with satellites, I’ve upgraded my mantra. Roughing it is no room service. My brother must of seen the horror on my face. “Don’t worry, you only have to sleep in it two nights,” he said. I wanted to turn around and go to TPA and reverse this bad decision fast.

After lunch, where I enjoyed gator fritters, we headed south. I could detail the destinations we went to, but it isn’t important. The nights I didn’t cry myself to sleep, I’d wake up and say “focus on your nephews, not the horror Marna.” I did a lot of sitting: sitting in cars, trucks and RVs. I got little sleep. I never felt clean. I wore my bathing suit one time. My back was killing me.

My birthday? Well, there were a few minor celebrations organized, but the most notable was a screening a photo montage video which included intro titling with my named spelled wrong. This was on Day 7, my patience zapped, so I blurted out, “Robert, you douche bag. You don’t even know how to spell my name?” The second part of the video google-earthed all the different places I lived. I felt like the butt of a week-long joke.

On Day 9, after a large bbq and activities familiar to the indigenous redneck population, the brother-in-law ordered a car for me. After sharing a 40th birthday chocolate cake with my nephews, I was wisked away back to civilization at the DoubleTree next to the Tampa airport. I had a bath. I slept in a real bed. I was finally relaxed.

On the flight home, I began reading “A heartbreaking work of staggering genius,” by Dave Eggers. I became envious of the relationship the two brothers had. They understood each other’s needs and knew how to have fun.

Maybe one day my brother will have the time to get to know and understand me. In the meantime, I’m another year older, and much wiser.

Hawaii here I come.

My 40th Birthday – A moving violation Comments Off on My 40th Birthday – A moving violation

Posted on January 25, 2006 by Marna

My brother and sister-in-law left the kids with a relative and the three of us went to Key West for my birthday in the 31-foot Ultra.

We did what you would expect in the limited amount of time we were there. We drank and we shopped. By 10:30 p.m. I was tired and somewhat bored since I really don’t drink much any more.

The cab ride back to the RV park was fast and we retired quickly. The couple slept in the front over-the-cab area and I got to try out the back full size bed. I was prepared to get my first good night’s sleep in more than six days.

I was tossed awake – rolled from side to side in bed, like a sailboat hitting a wake. I sat up in bed and realized my brother was having sex 30 feet away from me. While the heat generator drowned out the audibles, the RV obviously did not have fully independent suspension. I was getting residually fucked on my own birthday.

I felt like I was in college. You know when your roommate thinks she can be quiet having sex. You want to say something, but you know it will be over soon. You are happy for her. This experience was something different. I was a part of this act. It was yucky. It was my brother.

When the generator shut off, the movement subsided. I imagine the fuckers up front were restratigizing their actions. About a minute later, it started again. I debated about what to do, then I figured it would be over soon. You know, they are married, they have to do things fast, in between soccer practice and Dora the Explorer.

It eventually ended without an audio track, except the one in my head saying, “Happy fucking birthday.”

  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 377 Posts, 132 Comments

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