#16 – Holy Mary, Full of Grace, Among Other Things

I’m pretty sure the apocalypse is near. How do I know? Because, yesterday, my in-laws moved into their new home – down the street from ours – contravening my well-publicized vow that “I’ll live in the same neighborhood with my wife’s parents the day hell freezes over!” No good can come of this close proximity either. Ever since the disastrous initial meeting with the Gambino clan, my relationship with most of Sophia’s family has been a mite tenuous.

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#19 – Forget You? No, F**k You, Most Definitely!

I like the Cee Lo Green song, “Forget You.” I positively love its unsanitized version, “F**k You.” That’s the one I downloaded and burned a few weeks ago, along with some other current tunes I fancy. After popping the shiny new CD into my car’s player, I listened to it nonstop for a solid week. Then, in typical fashion, I forgot about it. Yesterday, the CD’s existence and contents were recalled to my attention by Sophia’s sister-in-law, Gina.

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#23 – Happy Birthday to You, or Not

Since the unfortunate events involving my dog and the Virgin Mary, and my niece and Cee Lo Green, I haven’t dared show my face at the residence now occupied by Sophia’s parents, her brother (Giuseppe), and his wife and kids. But with Giuseppe’s birthday falling yesterday, I saw my chance to make amends, by placing an online order with one of Atlanta’s best bakeries, for a decadent, seven-layer, chocolate birthday cake.

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#25 – One for the Crapper

Yesterday, when Sophia’s sister-in-law and mother both came down with some sort of violent bug, my wife graciously volunteered “our” services to host her niece and nephew for the evening. I could tell Gina and Maria must’ve been sick as dogs, since neither of them said “boo” at the idea of leaving the tykes in my questionable company.

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#28 – The Funniest Man in the HOA

Tuesday night, Sophia showed me a Homeowners’ Association letter to her parents, advising that their statue of the Virgin Mary (on the front porch) requires approval from the Architectural Design Committee. I didn’t much appreciate her tone, when she doled out my marching orders: “Take care of this, Richard! If you can fix things for my mother, maybe my family will let you through their front door again.”

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#34 – Anything but the Truth

Since I’m not presently welcome at the in-laws’ residence, I told Sophia’s visiting nephew, Nunzio, he could stop by our house today and throw a ball around. In the midst of playing catch, the 15-year-old caught me off guard with a bunch of questions about drugs. No kid had ever posed those inquiries to me before; nor did I have a clue as to the experts’ recommendations under such circumstances. Not seeing any better alternative, I decided to give him the unvarnished truth. Here’s the meat of our conversation.

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#47 – There’s No Such Thing as a Unicorn! — Part 1

In order to understand the unicorn debacle, you first have to understand Gina. My sister-in-law thinks of herself as firmly grounded in reality. As I see it, her monthly credit card debt (at times greater than her husband’s take home pay) proves that the last thing she’s actually grounded in is reality. Nonetheless, in this instance, it’s the thought that counts.

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#48 – There’s No Such Thing as a Unicorn! — Part 2

Though Gina prayed Franco’s unicorn fantasy would magically vanish after the library fiasco, she felt no surprise when her son revisited the subject the very next day. She was in the kitchen, doing some last minute straightening, when she heard a painful yelp echoing from the foyer. Responding immediately, she found her boy on his knees, crying, and bemoaning the fact that “My unicorn hurt me!”

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