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Month: January 2009

The Family That Rocks Together…

There’s anticipant silence as the guitarist plugs in. The whine and screech of feedback. The crisp rapping of two drumsticks as a voice barks, “One! Two! Three! Four! …”

And the rocking, ladies and gentlemen, has begun.

Only it’s not a concert stage or even a smoky nightclub; it’s a garage. And it’s not a leather-clad band of groupie-dogged rock gods; it’s a dude and his dad. Or his cardigan-sporting, axe-shredding mom.

It happens secretly in homes across America — not in silence, mind you, but in seclusion. From the outside, these folks look like normal families, earnestly attempting to fill the age-appropriate roles expected of them: goof-off kid, incommunicative teen, sedate and sober parent.

But inside — perhaps during the unscheduled hour between homework and dinner or on an unscheduled Sunday afternoon — they’re gathering around pianos and bongos, picking up harmonicas and tambourines, pulling out the weathered old Stratocaster, and making music.

Sometimes it’s a symphony. Sometimes a cacophony. But the sound, I’m told, is the least important product of the Family Jam.

Sitters: The Last Stand

It was disappointing news. Crushing, even.

Our first great babysitter in years — the kind who’s like family, only smarter — announced she was moving across the country, thereby annihilating our beloved Date Night.

While grim, the news wasn’t really surprising. I have lousy luck with sitters.

There was Poor Judgment Girl, who decided to “rescue” our “lonely” dog from our backyard one day while we were gone and bring him to a 100-decibel kegger at her apartment. When we went to fetch him, she was too drunk to come to the door.

Then there was Blatant Liar Guy. We said he and the kids could build Legos, make sundaes, play Star Wars Monopoly — anything as long as the TV stayed off. We left; he plopped the boys in front of the tube and told them not to rat him out. They did.

Let’s not forget Hormonally Tormented Gal, who said she was taking my toddler to the zoo. Turns out they were at her boyfriend’s house, where my son watched Bob the Builder while the couple, um, coupled in the next room. Ick! Aack!

And I never did forgive poor Multi-Tasking Lady, who did her laundry at our house and left her lacy thong underwear in our dryer. When I found it, plagued by postpartum paranoia, I accused my husband of having an affair with the sitter. “Yeah,” he said, laughing louder than I appreciated, “we had wild sex and then … oh, baby … we did laundry!”