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Al Martinez ... On Everything Else: Family Life in the New Martinez Commune
January 24, 2013 -
Welcome to the Martinez Family Commune.
If you can maneuver around the large boxes of clothing, kitchen utensils, baby toys, tools and other household items you might be able to locate a chair upon which to rest your weary bones, unless it is already occupied by one of the three dogs, four cats or seven humans who are already resting their weary bones.
Just be sure not to sit on the dog Buttons, a very small, fluffy, white French poodle who looks very much like a pillow your mother-in-law might have given you for Christmas in 1984.
I sat on him once and he bit me on the ass. It is the first time in all my 83 years, drunk or sober, that I have been bitten on the ass by a pillow. Whats this all about, Martinez, I hear you cry? Its about another family moving into our house, expanding its population from two humans, one dog, two cats, a turtle and two goldfish to seven humans, three dogs, four cats, one turtle two goldfish and a noisy white dove.
They are living with us while my son Marty works on a new career and acquires new housing. With Mart are his wife Lisa, sons Jeff and Josh, and a daughter Gracie who is two and loves to empty drawers. Their dogs are the aforementioned pillow named Buttons and a mutt of unknown pedigree called Kita. Their cats are Senor and Danger, and the dove is Pearl. For the record, our dog is Sophie and our cats Colfax and Ernie the assassin. The turtle is just Turt and goldfish do not require names.
Did I mention that our daughter Linda is here too? Cinelli had hip replacement surgery and Lin, an LVN, is helping in her recovery and my peace of mind. We are still in the process of organizing, which is why there are boxes filled with personal items throughout the house, with narrow aisles between them providing access from bedrooms to bathrooms and so forth. Our one concern is that Gracie, who is not very tall and loves to wander, might get lost scooting around in the boxy jungle, so we take turns keeping her in view. Ground radar would be nice but the Air Force says no deal. So far the two sets of animals are maintaining a wary peace, but, like the wary peace between Jews and Arabs, it could evaporate at any moment. I feel comfortable, at least, in knowing that Ernie does not possess nuclear capabilities. We are trying to coordinate our grocery needs by comparing shopping lists just before we head to Vons, thereby not ending up with 42 loaves of bread and no milk. Neither Marty nor anyone in his family drinks alcohol; if we somehow acquire 99 bottles of beer on the wall we know they are all for me. This is not a hippie commune of old. We do not shower together, for instance, and do not exist on fruits, nuts and a little weed. But it is a happy commune, with Gracies toys and laughter comprising a new chapter in our lives as we watch her reach for the world but settle for a hug. I am content with that, but I do wish that damned dove would stop cooing when Im watching 60 Minutes.