So the hordes--I mean relatives--have been here for a few days, and with the exception of a few minor fiascos (and one huge one), things have been going *bad pun alert* relatively smoothly. There have been more meals than fights, more laughing than cursing, more good luck than bad, and unbelievably, NO RAIN. The horrifying discovery (two hours from home, enroute to fetch my sister and her kids at the airport) that my van's registration and insurance had expired (possible $700 fine + tow charges and impound fees, yikes!) only delayed us three hours, thanks to an admirably peace-oriented peace officer, the random kindnesses of several strangers, and that rarest of treasures to find on a Sunday afternoon, the helpful, friendly bureaucrat.
My parents have been here since the 10th, my sister V and her kids since Sunday, and my sister M and hers since Monday. I have been having a blast. Yesterday we all went out to a long nature trail that leads to a beach on the west coast of the island. Nothing between us and Japan but water. We roasted hot dogs on sticks and climbed rocks and walked on some seriously weird spongey sand that sinks six inches when you step on it. The kids weathered the death march back to the car with the aplomb of seasoned campaigners--which is to say, they dragged their asses and grumbled, but kept moving until the bitter end. No bears or cougars showed up to spoil our day--although we got to see a teenage black bear and three tiny cubs with their mama by the highway on the way home. Then we all ate a mess of barbequed ribs and wedge potatoes and drank gallons of cheap U-brew wine.
Today fourteen of them turned up for lunch at the restaurant where I work, and made my day exciting for about an hour. Everyone was very well-behaved (even my kids, which is pretty damn unusual, hehe), and I have to say my brother-in-law, even accounting for some pretty blatant nepotism, is one blammo tipper. After I got home, we made homemade pizzas, pigged out, and then went out to the rented cottages to walk along the beach.
My littlest niece, who is two years old and teeny-tiny, has a rare dietary disorder and cannot eat foods containing complex carbohydrates or refined sugars. As a result, she eats lots of fruits and vegetables, and (non sugar-cured) meat. My dog now has a purpose in life: To follow this child everywhere she goes and scavenge the bits of ham, bacon, chicken, beef and pork she leaves in her wake.
So really, everyone seems to be having a wonderful time. Even the dog.