For the first time in several years the entire Family Painefull has converged upon the parental home for Christmas. That’s 5 couples, 7 children and me (failing to bring in fresh blood by either love or reproduction, I continue to let the team down).
The festive season is a time of year packed with traditions, and my family is no different. Some, such as dancing on tables, public waxing and streaking may have gone by the wayside, but new ones have sprung up in their place. With that in mind, before driving out to the Dor I put together a list of things that I predicted must occur for it to be a proper Painefull Christmas family gathering. I am happy to report I had 100% accuracy. The Family Painefull is made up of two different but equally important branches, the people who had a mattress to sleep on this Christmas and those that slept on the floor, these are their stories (*ding ding* [Law & Order noise]).
1. Whatever I am wearing will be wrong, but in the spirit of Christmas several people will try not to mention this fact until they can’t contain it anymore.Correct: It took Mrs Woog quite a while to ask me if I was wearing a pair of old school pants (I wasn’t).
2. The kids will receive 5 million gifts. Responses may vary from those who are teenagers and thus too cool, those who get excited every time someone hands them something to unwrap and those who aren’t interested in anything that isn’t covered in glitter. Correct: There were the usual double-ups (like the time Harry received 4 microscopes, this year’s microscope was the water pistol… and apparently water pistols now require batteries) and Jack looked ready to cry. Meanwhile the youngest nephew relished every gift as if it was his first.
3. There will be a remarkable amount of conversation about how everything would be better if the parentals owned a pool. There will then be a lot of conversation about whether we should turn the air conditioning on already. After it’s been turned on, someone will keep mysteriously turning it off. This person will be Father Painefull. The air conditioning will have little to no effect anyway because everyone else will leave all the doors open.Correct: The Australian summer made its first real cameo of the season. As a result a great deal of the afternoon was spent trialling different detergents on a slip-and-slide and the Brothers Grimm (aka the brothers-in-law) ‘testing’ the water pistols on everybody.
4. Elspeth will make delicious salads, I will wash up like a mo-fo (I’m a washing up specialist – it’s important to play to your strengths).Correct: While we joined Mother Painefull in the kitchen the rest of the family was busy with equally challenging tasks. Mrs Woog was responsible for ‘the look of the table’, the older kids were in charge of ‘child management’ and several people took turns making sure the couches didn’t get up and walk away.
5. Mother Painefull will put on the ULTIMATE feast – many species will be featured.Correct: Beef, pork, chicken, salmon and the Beloved Leg of Ham. The Vegetarian (aka Mrs Ryan, the only vegetarian to own a meat business) was also sorted, thanks to the 4 different types of salad.
6. The children will do a concert (as their parents did before them, for example the traditional sisterly rendition of Miss Otis Regrets followed by No More Tears/Enough Is Enough).Correct: There was a highly competitive dance-off between the nephews and niece. Highly. Competitive. I expect them to draw blood next year. Twas followed by trumpet and guitar solos.
7. Mrs Woog and Mrs Ryan will end the night by entering a smoking, drinking, dancing spiral that culminates with me crying from laughing too hard.Correct: Death Sticks + white wine = my 2 oldest siblings re-enacting their favoured seduction techniques (in such a way that probably should have ended in injury, but didn’t).
There were a couple of other features I failed to predict, but really should have. These included a therapy inducing task for one nephew who had to apply fake tan to his mother, the presence of an Ark full of pets, and the Brothers Grimm disappearing on an ‘errand’ and inexplicably take beer with them (returning 2 hours later).
As usual the operation was a big success. Seeing as this Christmas fad doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon, we’ve decided to do it all again in 364 days. By then we all swear someone will definitely have a pool.