Come Back To Me, Summer of 2020

A few weeks ago, we all gathered at my Parents’ Lakehouse to close things up for the Summer. We all couldn’t believe how fast the Summer flew! Despite COVID, our family still had an eventful summer. Here are the top five things that happened to the Kelly Family during the Summer of 2020:

  1. Mike and Mo got a new Honda Mini Van

When my parents first told me they were getting rid of our 2012 Honda Mini Van, I was DEVASTATED. 16 cupholders, automatic sliding doors, captain chairs, enough seating and legroom to comfortably seat eight. WHY WOULD THEY GET RID OF SUCH A FINE AUTOMOBILE?!
“You’re getting rid of Mama Mini?!” I yelled back as my parents broke the news to me. (Mama Mini was what we affectionately called her.) “You can’t! Why are you replacing her? Oh my gosh am I going to have to open my own door now?!” I had really grown accustom to the automatic sliding doors.

My sadness was quickly replaced with joy when my parents told me they were getting a 2020 Honda Mini Van. I then went back to sadness though when they told me this Mini Van only had 15 cupholders instead of 16. Mike and Mo really took me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions that day. When my Dad told me the new Mini Van had butt warmers, I asked if we were rich. Turns out we’re not, they just come standard now on all Honda Mini Vans.

Everyone takes pictures with their car before trading it in, right?

While we love our new Honda Mini Van, it’s definitely been an adjustment for our family. And by “Our Family” I really only mean Mike and Mo because they are terrible with technology and cannot figure out how to use “all the new bells and whistles” as they like to say. My Dad claims you “Practically need an engineering degree in order to operate the damn thing.” (Direct quote from Mike Sr.)

Please see below photo of Mike and Mo trying to work the radio on their new car. Take special note of the reading glasses Mike Sr. has on as he tries to work the touch screen. Like the wonderful daughter I am, instead of helping them, I took photos and laughed.

They ended up going with the silver Mini Van, since according to Mike and Mo, the world is overpopulated with Grey Honda Mini Vans. Gotta switch it up.

2. We Finally Put up the Gazebo

For Christmas 2019, the five of us thought it was a good idea to get our parents a screened-in gazebo for their Lakehouse. Well, we quickly added this to our list of “gifts for Mom and Dad that backfire on us” (the “smart tv” we bought for them is still at the top of that list). If you are ever thinking about buying a Gazebo that requires assembly, may I suggest that you instead go work in some hot factory with no air conditioning for a day because that sounds fun compared to our experience putting up our Gazebo. Naturally, assisting my Dad in putting it up fell on the three old maids-Bridget, Jane and myself. Because if we aren’t going to provide them with grandchildren, the least we can do is provide them with manual labor, right? I sustained not one but TWO injuries during the Gazebo assembly. After my second injury I thought that would be my ticket out, but my Dad said I needed to continue helping because he needed my small hands to fit the pieces together. I told him I was going to file a workers’ comp lawsuit against him, but he ignored me.

My normal height is 5’3 but after stretching so much to reach things during the gazebo assembly, I think I grew a few inches. Apparently my Dad is the only one allowed on a ladder. Totally sexist. After a lot of blood, sweat, tears, watching YouTube videos on how to put gazebos together, and enduring way too many dumb jokes from my Dad, we finally got the gazebo up.

My Dad was a little disappointed the Gazebo blocked the view of his pride and joy, the shed.

3. Our Summer Spider Decided to Become a Fall Spider

Every summer for the past couple of years we’ve has a giant spider take up residency on our front porch, making a web in front of our door every single night so one of us would walk into it EVERY SINGLE morning and then feel itchy the rest of the day. While it’s annoying, we all admired the spider for his hard work and dedication, always remaking his web after one of us ruined it. When Memorial Day rolled around, we anxiously awaited the Spider’s return. But as the weeks ticked on, no one saw him. I kept asking my family members if they had seen him, but no one had. Finally in August I texted my sister Jane to share my concerns:

To my relief, a few weeks into September, my Mom informed me that she spotted the spider, confirming her suspision that the Summer Spider had turned into a Fall Spider. I’m not sure why he changed his visiting season, if maybe he found a new love of pumpkin spiced lattes or something, but I was just glad the spider was ok.

4. Our Microwave broke

Now we don’t want to point fingers about who broke the microwave, but it was definitely my Mom. And she broke it twice. My parents’ microwave is situated about the stove which is not a problem for most average height people. But my mom, being a little shorty, has a bit of difficulty reaching it at a good level, so she pulls down on the handle when she opens the door instead of opening it straight on. Well after years of my mom opening that door to reheat her days old coffee to her ideal scalding/boiling point level 50 times a day, the door finally broke.

The microwave breaking was very upsetting for my parents, and it led to an entire dinner of my parents reminiscing about their old microwave that they bought in the 80’s that they kept for about 20 years.

Dad: I tell you, they don’t make microwaves like they used to.
Mom: You’re right Mike. That first microwave we bought lasted about 20 years! The ones now are junk. That was a good microwave.
Dad: Yea, that was. We sure got our money’s worth out of that one, Mo!
Me: Excuse me, sorry to interrupt the trip you two are taking down microwave memory lane, but are you guys talking about the microwave we had with the faux wood on the side? The same one Michael exploded a mercury thermometer in and yet you guys STILL thought it was a good idea to keep using?
Mom: Well, we FOUND the ball of mercury, didn’t we?! Don’t you remember? I had all you kids crawling around on the kitchen floor searching for the ball of mercury? Actually Kathleen, I think you’re the one that found it!
Me: No I remember, I just think MAYBE when a mercury thermometer explodes in your microwave, that may be a sign you need to replace the microwave.
Mom: That was a good mercury thermometer too. I bet those mercury thermometers are way more accurate than the digital ones now!

Knowing that when it comes to replacing appliances my parents really drag their feet (I still have PTSD from when the rinse cycle on the washing machine broke and we had to continue using it for over a year before it was replaced) and having some time to spare since I am an insomniac and don’t sleep, I looked up some YouTube videos and figured out how to replace the broken lever in the microwave and fixed it. Only to have my Mom break it again.

Yup, just call me your modern day renaissance woman! My dad even let me borrow his tool purse. Although he made me promise to stop calling it a tool “purse” because it was in fact a tool “bag.” (see it pictured above of tool purse and you be the judge.)

So after the microwave breaking twice, my Mom bought a temporary “mini microwave” to place on the counter until she “Found time to research permanent microwaves.” After only a few months of using the mini microwave, Mike and Mo finally got their permanent one. Another adjustment for them, but they are working through it.

5. No one murdered any wildlife

I think this is the first summer on record that someone in our family didn’t accidentally kill a beautiful exotic bird (Dad) slaughter a frog/toad (Mom) or crush a turtle to death (Jane). All those were accidents of course (I think). I am especially proud of my Mom on this. I was very worried that she was going to purchase a BB gun and try and kill one of the squirrels that was going after her bird seed. It was a very stressful summer for me trying to protect the squirrel population. In the end though, all local wildlife coexisted safely with our family and made it into the fall season. I am proud, and I think Saint Francis of Assisi would be too.

So that just amount sums up the summer of 2020! It was a good one for our family filled with lots of laughs and lots of time at the lake! Can’t wait to see what the Fall has in store for us!

My Mom got “Captain Mike” koozies made so I anxiously await my “Captain Kathleen” koozie.

Our Trip to Dayton, as Told by a Selfie Stick

February is the most awful month of the entire year. This is just a known fact. I’m sorry if your birthday is in February, you can blame your parents for that. I just thank the Lord it is a short month. The one bright spot February had this year was that I was able to visit a magical place, this place is called the University of Dayton, and it is where I went to college back in the day.

 I took this weekend vacation with my four siblings, numerous cousins, and some friends. We embarked on our journey around 1pm on a Friday. I was already ecstatic because I only had to work a half day, and as I have mentioned before, not working is my absolute favorite thing to do. My mom was generous enough to let us borrow Mama Mini-her stylish Honda mini van with 16 cup holders, ipod hookup, ample legroom, and plenty of cargo space. So yea, we were riding pretty comfortably for the five hours it took us to get from Chicago to Dayton.

5 beautiful ladies riding in a min van-keep your eyes on the road boyz.

5 beautiful ladies riding in a min van-try to keep your eyes on the road boyz, am I right?!

Since none of us had eaten lunch, we needed to make a group decision on where to stop to eat, the last thing we needed was a van full of hangry white betches rolling onto Dayton’s campus and ruining the magical atmosphere. Our lunch decision was a tough one but after much thought and discussion, we decided on Wendy’s. I must admit I started to panic a little bit when we pulled into the Wendy’s parking lot. This is because the Wendy’s was connected to a gas station and I have trust issues with fast food places that are connected to gas stations (Please don’t ask why, the memories are still too painful). There are 3 things I fear when picking a fast food place to eat at while on the road:
1. The fast food restaurant will be connect to a gas station-fear met head on for this trip.
2. The ketchup pump will be out of ketchup-then I have to awkwardly go up to the counter and ask for packets and they never give enough, I really like ketchup.
3. The fountain pop machine is behind the counter so you cannot fill your own fountain pop cup-I’m a do-it-yourself gal when it comes to my fountain pop.
(note: these fears are in no particular order)
It’s just so hard to judge a fast food place based off a sign on the highway. But to my delight the Wendy’s was wonderful-it was clean and the food was delicious-I think it may have been a newly remodeled Wendy’s location. Great work Dave!

I look angry because I could not fit everyone into the picture. It had nothing to do with our favorite red head Wendy.

I look angry because I could not fit everyone into the picture. It had nothing to do with our favorite red head, Wendy. The lunch she served us was amazing.

After a quick lunch we were back on the road, jammin’ out to some tunes and sippin’ on our Wendy’s Fountain Diet Cokes (which thanks to the 16 cup holders, everyone had a place to put their pop). We arrived at Dayton just in time for the Friday night festivities to begin. We ordered some pizzas and had ourselves a few cocktails. Then it was time to head to a house party.
Now, a few weeks ago, I made possibly the best purchase I will make in my entire life-a selfie stick. I knew I had to bring it to UD to document what an amazing trip it was sure to be. My first documentation was at the house party Friday night. Let me just warn everyone out there, if you want to know who your TRUE friends are, go ahead and buy a selfie stick. I would liken being in possession of a selfie stick to that of a lottery winner. You just used to be this average person and then all of a sudden you have this fortune (in my case a selfie stick, but pretty much same thing) and everyone wants a piece of you. People at this house party were coming out of the woodwork just to get in a picture with me taken with my selfie stick. Like excuse me sir, do I know you? Get out of my selfie stick picture. No I am not going to tag you on Instagram. Leave me alone to pose by myself. I mean was I basking in all the attention I was getting? Yea a little bit but I knew deep down these people were not my friends.


Captured this beautiful embrace with my selfie stick.


The peace sign never goes out of style.


Using a selfie stick is quite the arm work-out, especially if you still have the iphone 4S like I do…so embarrassing.


I only know one person in this picture.

The Kelly Family. As you can see Jane was maliciously trying to shove my head out of the picture with her head.

The Kelly Family. As you can see Jane was maliciously trying to shove my head out of the picture with her head.

Unfortunately tragedy struck on our walk home from the party in the early hours of Saturday morning when a piece of my selfie stick fell off and was lost forever. I think I went through every stage of grief-denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. We went back to look for it but it had disappeared into the night. It’s probably for the best that I could not take any more selfies with my selfie stick that weekend. I wouldn’t want to have been taken advantage of any more than I already was Friday night. (Editors note: Upon returning home I immediately contacted the company and received a replacement selfie stick, thank God)
Saturday I woke up on my partially deflated air mattress (still working off that holiday weight) with the attitude that this day was going to be better, a fresh start. And it was. It was also the windiest day in America so it sealed the deal that my selfie stick was gone forever. As many of you know one of my pet peeves is the wind but I got past this and had a great day even still. We had some lunch, watched the Dayton basketball game and danced to some amazing songs. Not the crap these kids listen to today but good quality songs from the Backstreet Boys, Nsync and Aaron Carter. We went to a few more house parties, saw my sister’s dorm, and had a fancy dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. Here there was yet another obstacle for me to overcome when the waitress forgot to take my order. Again the stages of grief set in. Is it so much to ask for a few chicken wings and some fries? I didn’t think so. But again I didn’t let it bother me. After that we went to a bar and then called it a night. There were a few fights between the Kelly siblings, but nothing serious. And might I add that I was the innocent victim in both fights. My one sister accused me of calling her a fat ass hoe which was completely ridiculous. If I called her a fat ass hoe I would have admitted it. Then my other sister said she didn’t love me because I was going to bed and not back out to the bars. Boo hoo like I need your love, I have a selfie stick now and people who own selfie sticks do not need love.
Other than a few minor hiccups the trip was a blast. It’s always fun going back to my Alma Mater, the University of Dayton, my home away from home. I cannot wait for our trip next year!

The Crew

The Crew… and the pole of the selfie stick.