Screw The Camcorder

Damn CamcorderMy father in law stood by the front door. “You need to start loading up,” Lee said, tapping his watch. “It’s nearly noon.”

My God, is this really happening? The living room bustled with nerve-racking energy. Donna’s mother Shari bolted out from her den waving five boarding passes she’d just printed. Scared shitless, I balanced on my shaking knees beside my backpack. My hand clutched my shiny new camcorder. Buying it brought me such joy only days earlier. Now I’d just as soon chuck it across the room than take it along. My knuckles were sore after tucking its charger and batteries into the last available square inches of my backpack. “Are we really going to need this?”

Donna held up a finger. “Don’t start, Jeffery.” She stood behind our pre-teen son Chris, fighting his pack zipper. She pivoted her head toward our oldest son Alex. “Do you have room for Dad’s camcorder?” The fifteen-year-old remained perched against the wall, arms crossed, jaws chewing, gazing steadily at the floor.


His eyeballs darted up under scowling eyebrows. He removed his headphones and kicked at the bulging mass of nylon at his feet. “Remember?” Moments earlier his sister tried to hit him up for spare room for her soccer ball.

Jill returned from the garage. With arms raised in victory, she held an old schoolbook pack in one hand and a ball pump in the other. She plopped down crossed legged next to a small pile of formerly vetoed travel gear which included her now-deflated ball and began stuffing.

Donna’s sister, Lori sat on the couch holding a bottle in the mouth of her newborn baby – the unexpected and beloved little Gracie. Next to her sat Glenn, Lori’s long-time friend and freshly vowed husband. He sat motionless, observing the scurrying and hurrying going on before him. I’m certain his poker face was hiding a scowl. His newfound status of both husband and father was coincidental with the planning of this trip and I’m certain he didn’t appreciate the timing. For an instant I felt guilty about leaving him and Lori to raise a newborn baby without our help. The feeling of guilt was replaced by envy. I wished my ass on that couch.

Jill stood up, strapped on the smaller pack. “Dad, help me with my other one.” I set the camcorder on the coffee table and grabbed her backpack from the floor – which felt like wrestling a giant sack of playground sand. After we negotiated the straps of both packs around her, I stepped back and observe my 14-year-old daughter. Really?

She unzipped her front pack. “Hand me your camera, Dad.”


“Dad, I’ve got room.”

“Honey, you’re not wearing two packs through Europe. You look like a god dam pack mule.”

Perhaps it was my tone of voice, or the use of profanity amidst my children, but my words turned a few heads.

“We don’t need to bring the camcorder.”  I added, “Or the soccer ball. We are packing way too much.”

“Jeffery, you spent nearly a mortgage payment on that camcorder.”

“Yeah Dad, remember it has the three-color chip?” Chris added.

I barely heard them. My head was pounding harder than my ear drums were. Who does this type of thing? This room was filled with the most influential people in our world. Surely one of them could stop this madness. Glenn needed to stand up and declare his true thoughts – how romping around Castles for five months in socialist countries was a waste of money, and how people should stay home their families, especially with new family members – ones that poop every ten minutes and cry for a bottle every five. My sweet, and more importantly – practical Mother-in-Law could have stopped this. Shari initially expressed mixed emotions about Donna choice how to spend the family inheritance. She had thought Donna was absolutely NUTS! Where was that element of the mixture now? C’mon Shari, block the door! My firstborn Alex could be my savior. Now would be a good time for one of his signature tantrums to remind Donna how crazy and difficult being with him 24/7 was going to be. (C’mon people!)

Just as I was about to go completely ape shit in front of my loved ones, Donna gently took the camcorder from my hand and fitted it into Jill’s pack.

“She’ll be fine Honey.” She rubbed my arm. “And so will you.”

NEXT: Get Us To The Airport Alive




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