* There is something I'm not telling you about this trip that is keeping me from saying much about anything past Saturday night. Sorry about that. We're in DEFCON-5 mode here and I'll tell you about it when it's resolved (probably no later than tomorrow afternoon). Everyone hold a good thought that we can make the best decisions, and I'll tell y'all about the trip itself.
* Loud and Crazy (my brother-in-law, not to be confused with Big and Scary, my STEP-brother-in-law, who is Out Of The Herd) was his usual bipolar self, but for the first time got attitudinal with ME and I didn't relish it. Hotter wasn't there at the time, but wasn't surprised when I told him what went down (in short, Hotter's mom's household consisting of her and Loud and Crazy, the Big and Scary family, Hotter's son and his vapid girlfriend, and the MFA contingent were all venturing from Arctic Tundra State to motherfucking New Jersey for the funeral and there were logistics involving everyone BUT the MFA contingent wanting very much to not drive their own vehicles there, because I was the only one who naively feared for the age of my vehicle and the sanity/fitness of its driver less than I was petrified of MOTHERFUCKING NEW JERSEY TRAFFIC and Hotter and I had discussed it beforehand and agreed that we would take no passengers) (this was less to do with us both being antisocial curmudgeons and more to do with the fact that MFA Puppy's crate took up the entire cabin behind the front seats, leaving zero legroom in front of the rear bench seat--other parties involved wanted to take the crate out and pile either themselves or their least desirable loved one in with us but we weren't willing to leave MFA Puppy in Arctic Tundra State, period, end of story so she needed a safe place to chill in the MFA Minivan unattended for brief stretches) (which she really didn't because I mostly stayed with her anyway--she was my excuse for boycotting the funeral itself because I was led to believe it would be a church service and I can tolerate that but not a funeral home because I KNOW WHAT GOES ON THERE). Loud and Crazy was trying to avoid transporting the Big and Scary household in HIS vehicle, and wanted to have The Wrath drive her car with him riding shotgun so that he could remain unsober, and so was telling Loud and Crazy over the phone that everyone could ride with me and Hotter without so much as asking. I corrected that immediately and he was all "YOU ARE TAKING X, X, and X IN YOUR VAN, MAWWWWM TELL HER" and trying to get The Wrath in my face about the whole thing and I pretty much said "not happening, believe me now or believe me later when it doesn't happen, up to you." Hotter's entire family tiptoes around Loud and Crazy but between my family of origin and the ten years I spent with the XY it takes true shit-throwing psychosis to faze me anymore. *shrug*
* Hotter's son (yes, if you're shocked that he has a son that might be valid, because I don't much discuss young Lefty on here, but Hotter has an adult son who lives in Arctic Tundra State) looked great. Really, really great, and I'm not going into the whole story because it isn't mine to tell but there was Reason For Concern there and seeing him cleancut, well-dressed, and minus all of the extreme piercings in his face was like a breath of fresh air. It was Very Encouraging, and I haven't felt optimistic on my step-son's behalf in a long time (and neither, I think, had Hotter) so that was good.
* This was my first time spending any great length of time driving in New Jersey, so you'll have to pardon my observations on the state, especially if it's where you live and you're somehow NOT an asshole, but OH MY GOD. The drivers.
Now, I am quite the road warrior and always have been--I made my first multi-state road trip alone within a few weeks of getting my driver's license, commuted from MFAville to my graduate alma mater a hundred-ish miles away for four years, married an effing NEW YORKER when I was young and stupid, and after rectifying that error proceeded to commute from MFA State in The South to Arctic Tundra State visiting Hotter every other weekend for over a year because love makes you stupid.
All that to say that I thought people drove like assholes around our nation's capitol but no, they're just in a hurry. The motherfuckers in New Jersey (which borders Arctic Tundra state and is where The Grandwrath lived and died) all have ISSUES and apparently think they're immortal, and while I'm offending everyone from New Jersey I'll also throw in that OH HAI, YOUR STATE SMELLS LIKE THE ROOM WHERE MICHAEL JACKSON GIVES SATAN HIS DAILY RUSSIAN PROSTATE MASSAGE, LORD, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?
* I may not have totally explained to y'all just how bad my phobias of the elderly and of dead bodies and of night-time driving and being lost all are, but being LOST, in NEW JERSEY, at NIGHT on the way to the open-casket funeral of a nonagenarian? DEAR LAWD. I was keeping an eye out for a giant hairy spider and/or a hidden camera after the fifth stop for directions, when I got out of the car and walked briskly up and down a block before I could speak to Hotter (who had accused me of not Having Respect in that I was ready to quit effing wandering New Jersey whether we found the goddamn funeral or not) (don't worry, I set him straight on how we wouldn't have been there in the FIRST place if that's what my issue was and he either realized I was right or saw that I was ready to cut a bitch and dropped it).
* It's brutally cold already in Arctic Tundra State, and ALSO in motherfucking New Jersey.
* For all of my feckless meanderings across the map of our country, I never had done more than scratch the surface of West Virginia before this trip (why no, West Virginia is not even remotely in between MFA State and Arctic Tundra State, but we like to multitask here and had business to attend to there and so we went between The Funeral Debacle and home). West Virginia was very pleasant (scenic, not terribly populated, speed limits of 70) and then it provided us with the best and most needed laugh EVER when, in driving between two mountains, the radio of the MFA Minivan simulcast at least two stations at once (one of which was playing some Collective Soul and the other of which was playing Jimmy Buffet) and created an impromptu mashup of "Shine" and "Margaritaville" that...well..."Ohhhh-oh-oh-oh, it's my own damn fault!" West Virginia wins.
* I am really fucking sick now. I can't imagine that had anything to do with the five hours of sleep in seventy-two or anything.
* In summary, crazy people suck, I hate New Jersey, Hotter eventually Paid His Respects, I am now MISERABLY ILL, and I Have A Secret. Also, if The Wrath dies tomorrow I no longer have enough respect for the sanctity of my marriage or the memory of any hypothetically-dearly-departeds to take my little household to the GOT DAMN funeral, so she had better take her vitamins and get her flu shot. SRSLY.