Friday, October 9, 2009

A Family Kerfuffle

Michelle D Evans

‘I can’t believe she’d do that!’
‘What?’ Josie’s mother asked.

‘She’s gone and purposefully not invited me to her 30th!’
‘Really? Why would she do that?’ asked her mother.
‘I don’t know. She’s probably got some underlying reason that she’s too scared to talk about.’ Josie stormed out of the room to attend to her children fighting in the rumpus room.
‘Would you like Dad and me to talk to them?’ Mother asked.

Josie didn’t reply or hear, she was yelling at her children.
‘Don’t you worry about it love, I’ll get Dad to give them a call.’ Mother picked up the phone.
‘Hi Hun, Josie’s getting herself into a flap, her sister’s gone and left her off the invite list for this Saturday.’
‘What, Diane’s 30th? Can’t this wait ‘til I’m home? I’m kind of in the middle of something here at work,’ said Dad.

‘No! We need to fix this now, before it gets out of hand.’ Mother said abruptly. ‘Look, can you ring and see if you can get through to them?’
‘OH! All right then!’ Dad hung up and rang Diane’s number in his phone.
‘No, it’s Brad. How are you Mr P,’
‘Oh, Brad, look what are you and Diane thinking leaving Josie off the birthday party list? Her mother’s angry and Josie’s upset! What’s your problem with her? There must be a reason for you doing this?’ Dad rushed.
‘No, no reason, I heard Diane invite Josie herself last week’.
‘What?! No reason? Come on there must be some reason behind this mess.’
‘Mr P, what mess? And she is invited,’ stated Brad.
‘Look, you and Diane and better do some serious talking to sort this out. We expect more of you. Oh, a client has just walked in, get Diane to ring her mother,’ clunk.

Hi honey,’ Brad rang Diane.
‘Brad, I just got a text message from mum – something about Josie not coming to my 30th.’
‘Your dad just rang and gave me an earful. She thinks you didn’t invite here, don’t want her there and that we have a problem with her,’ said Brad.

That doesn’t make sense, we invited her last week,’ Diane was now feeling anxious, fears of turning 30 had been haunting her all week and now stupid family issues blowing up.
‘Honey, I know, I was there, why don’t you just ring Josie? I’ll have to get back to work. I love you.’
‘Ok, I will. I love you too,’ Diane hung up the phone to see her 3 year old over flowing a cup and cordial spilling over the bench and floor.

‘Charlie! Susie, grab the mop, John can you get the cloth from the sink. Charlie, stop pouring. Leah, can you help Susie with mopping up the mess I can hear Anita waking for a feed.’ Diane sat feeding her baby wondering how on earth Josie would think she wasn’t invited. I’ll ring her when I’m finished here.
‘Mum, Nanna’s on the phone,’ John handed his mum the phone.
‘Hi, Mum.’
‘How could you do this?’ Mother asked irately.
‘Mum, are you with Josie?’ Diane asked.
‘No, I’ve just left. You’ve made her so upset it’s ridiculous!’
‘Mum, I’m feeding Anita, I’ll call back.’

How has this happened? Diane stared out the window.

‘Mum!’ called Susie. ‘John just put the Wii remote through the TV!’
‘Jonathon!’ Diane forgot to ring her sister and found herself deal with one thing after another until Brad finished work.

When Brad arrived they decided pile the 5 kids in the car and visit Josie. As they pulled into the driveway they noticed their father’s car there as well.

Inside they faced a firing line, ‘Why?’ ‘How could you?’ ‘What’s your problem?’

Diane couldn’t talk for the tears streaming down her face and the golf ball in her throat.

‘You are all terribly mistaken,’ Brad’s neck was red but he spoke calmly.
‘Diane invited you to her birthday last week, perhaps you were distracted with all of the children running around. Then I rang to see if you were coming and left a message…’ Brad saw Josie side stepping towards the answering machine, so he dived ahead of her and pressed the play button. ‘Yes, and there it is. So now I’m wondering who in this family really has the problem?’
Brad gathered his family and left.

When Diane had stopped crying she managed to get out, ‘Honey, you might want to have a world with Johnnie about the TV when we get home.’ And they drove home in silence.


  1. THIS is exactly why I moved three states away from my family! So realistic I may just have nightmares...or flashbacks. :-) Nice one!

  2. Great job of capturing the 'frantic family' vibe. Half way through, I wanted to lock the lot of them in a barn and be done with them.

  3. I'm exhausted after reading that...and I have Shannon beat. I moved cross country! You do frantic well. :)

  4. Ah family! And their dramas!

    My family is already talking back and forth and back and forth and....well...talking about who will host Thanksgiving dinner. Help.

    Well done!

  5. GREAT STORY! Shows how touchy family can be sometimes. . . kind of scary how real this one was for me!

  6. Haha, Shannon and Laura: I moved countries!

    My friends are at an age where most of them have got young kids - your story was a very good impression of the franticness that I witness when I visit them!

  7. I was reading this wondering if you wrote it about my husband's family. You really nailed it. :)

  8. Wow.So realistic it's scary. Quite the frightening tale for Halloween. I may have nightmares.

  9. The frantic style of the writing matches the frantic lifestyle of the characters to a T. Nicely done. I think this crew needs some group therapy. ;)

  10. My sister and I have a running joke about all of "these damn kids" and "whose idea was it to have them again?"

    Craziness, but I can totally relate.
    Great piece.

  11. The best possible reason for birth control ;^)

    I can SO relate to the he said/she said. Great portrayal of the family 'dynamic'. Peace, Linda

  12. Ahhh, the chaos of family. I love it because you evoke memories of my childhood and six siblings clamoring around the dinner table.

    Nice tension. Daniel.

  13. What a ride. You kept the tempo up and never backed off. Just like real family drama. Great job.


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