Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

My brother, his wife and their two snotty kids are coming to stay with us for the weekend and maybe longer – refugees from their home in lower Manhattan.

They never miss an opportunity to tell us how wonderful and cosmopolitan it is to live in the heart of one of the world’s biggest cities, about all the restaurants they have down there, the transit, the music, the pulse and the pace and the privileges of having everything close at hand.

Wherever we like to go, they’ve been someplace nicer. Whatever we prefer to eat, they’re used to something better. However we decide to entertain ourselves, they’ve seen, heard or done something more interesting.

But now they and at least 369,999 others have been ordered to evacuate from low-lying areas of New York City. The transit system will shut down, and they’re coming to live with us in New Jersey.

Oh, and by the way, the storm is coming here too.

They say the system is so massive and full of moisture that the greatest danger will be from flooding. And it is possible that the wind will push over trees that can’t stand upright in the sodden ground, taking down power lines and causing widespread blackouts.

What’s worse, all the major league games have been cancelled.

Great. My brother’s family in the house, and we can’t even ignore each other by watching sports on TV. I’ll have to sit there and see their ugly mugs in high-def AND 3-D!

Dr. Babooner, I know I don’t have a choice because they’re family and they’ve been forced out of their home, but how can I survive the triple stresses of these obnoxious visitors, a hurricane AND a blackout?

Storm Victim

First off, Dr. Babooner doesn’t appreciate “ugly mug” references. Take a good look at Dr. Babooner herself! I’ve made my portrait unusually large today to mirror the size and intensity of Hurricane Irene. I believe you can grow to love any face, given time and a positive attitude. And a positive attitude is certainly lacking in this scenario. Storm Victim, you should try to look on the bright side of all the disruption, damage and despair that is about to descend on your extended family. Fallen trees and power outages are permanent memory-makers! Our typical day-to-day dealings quickly fade into the background and are eventually forgotten. Even people who are accustomed to a higher-than-usual lifestyle come to find the luxurious details of their lives rather dreary. By contrast, the weekend you are about to spend, staring at your brother and his family in the dim candlelight as an 80-mile per hour wind tries to tear the roof off your house, is one that you’ll never forget. Enhance the memories by creating keepsakes. Plan an art project everyone can work on – something that involves torn chunks of asphalt shingles, ceiling insulation and wax drippings!

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

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34 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

  1. Good morning to all,

    Storm victim, I think you know what to do. You have been through this plenty of times. There is no winning in this situation. Just try to make it as bearable as possible.Try to avoid doing anything that you know will make things more difficult. Don’t talk about fun things you have done that they will top. In fact, don’t talk too much at all, or find topics that work without leading down a bad path. Stock up on things that can help you survive the situation such as a good supply of liquor and some suduko puzzel books. Is there anything that your brother’s family likes that will keep them occuppied so they will leave you alone such as computer games? Maybe you better be sure to get an electric generator to maintain a power supply for those computer games or anything else that might keep them occupied.

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  2. Good potential here Doc! Lets run with this theme and expand the concept to a full blown (pun intended :) diarama display just like when WE were kids!! Now we’re talking real life 3D, not the phony baloney synthetic version those lower Manhattanites no doubt experience on their xBox 360′s, Wii’s, and World of Warcraft X computer games! You could even assign roles for special effects so that as the project nears completion, you begin to bring it to life with sounds of the impending storm. And if those snotty kids don’t want to “cooperate” in making the requisite sounds, you can just order them outside with finished product and have them stand in the midst of the actual sound effects from the storm! You can explain that this activity is actually tres chic as a real life extension of all the reality TV they probably have in their daily diet of media consumption. I’m convinced that this approach will earn you the thoughtful admiration of your urban dwelling family members when it inevitably dawns on them, while they ride out the last moments of their lives with you in this huge storm, that you indeed are ahead of the trends!! And it is they, the aforementioned cosmopolitans, who are really the laggards in style and true cultural development. You see, there is always a moment of reconciliation before Judgement Day ;-)

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  3. RIse and Shine Baboons!

    Dear SV

    This sounds like a great time for all of your communications systems to fail you, except for whatever you need to make a hotel reservation for the beloved family members. Another option is to consider your own evacuation plan to escape Hurricane Brother and Family. The weather here in Cornucopia Wisconsin is excellent. Catch the first flight out! Run for your life!

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    1. Forgot to let you know I’ll book you a room with my sister-in-law the Cheerleader Coach. They will never, ever out do her “I’m better than you are tales.” The stories about cheerleading will forever etch themselves in your brother’s psyche.

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      1. Try a professor b-i-l.We can only talk about his topis, such as his endless dull tales of his Swedish ancestry. Interrupts all the time. Gets things wrong but he is the authority on everything. His true mastery is to act as if he is asking about someone else, and three words into your answer he interrupts with what he wanted to say all along.

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  4. A summary of the Cabin Baboon evening and Feast Menu are listed at the end of yesterday’s post. Also, Darcy Juhl, did you work at Scott County sometime in your career? If so, we know each other.

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    1. You are too cruel-describing in detail all the fun you are having without we who remain behind to toil? I guess I had better go check it out, so no matter how lovely today is, I’ll know it really isn’t as wonderful as what other people are doing……..

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  5. I think Jacque has the right idea. Leave the house to them – is there anyone YOU can call and go stay with them for the duration? (esp. if you can’t afford a motel, or the motels are full of others fleeing their relatives)

    If that’s not possible, go out and buy lots of cheap flashlights and plenty of decks of cards for a massive game of what we call “Nuts” (that pseudo solitare where everyone uses all the aces in the middle and can play on each others strings of cards). Actually, half the people will have to hold the flashlights, so you can take turns. And to keep your sister-in-law Off Topic, start a sing-along of old songs like “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” and “You Are My Sunshine”. It would help if you have some rhythm instruments too, tambourines, etc. (There are always spoons in the kitchen).

    Food is going to be a challenge. I’ll think about this and come back later.

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  6. Storm victim, you should consider yourself lucky that you will only have family with you for a short time. Some people out here have had family with them for more than three months while the Missouri and Souris rivers flood. How would you like to put up with that for that for that long? Besides, if you lived out here and took in family, small town newspapers would write stories about you and a everyone would think you were a selfless saint. Contact a local paper out there and see what kind of human interest story they would be willing to write. Maybe you could get a reality show going and make a few bucks out of the hurricane.

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  7. Dale, I’ll just have to add that it is… shall we say sobering to see Dr. Babooner close up.

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    1. Now that I have seen her up close, I am not messing with her. Storm victim, just show that picture to your relatives and tell them that you know her. That will probably keep them quiet for a while.

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    2. I think she looks soft and fuzzy…though the hairdo makes me wonder a bit…(do you still rock the old school Aqua Net, Dr. B? Or have you moved on to a different product?)

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  8. SV – I think we have the seeds of some excellent ideas. With luck, you can manage a weekend that will keep your brother’s family out of your hair for a long long time. Tell your brother that since it’s likely you will be without power at least some of your time together, you are planning an old-fashioned camp experience like you had when you were kids: sing-alongs, crafty art projects (see Dr. Babooner’s idea, or make up your own from the spare parts and things in your basement…or strewn across your front lawn – dictate that whatever you make can only be put together will bubble gum and duct tape), marshmallows roasted over the fire (make sure you have left them out for a bit ahead of time so they are good and stale before you roast them), lots and lots of card games, short sheet their beds, demand that everyone be up bright and early, no matter the weather, so you can have cold oatmeal and runny eggs cooked over an open fire. Have everyone write a letter home. Only allow extra treats only if they have money for the canteen (yum! melted tootsie rolls and sticky rock candy!). Bonus points for morning calisthenics (touch your toes! now reach up high! touch your toes! now some burpees!). Extra bonus points if you can release a swarm of mosquitos into your house ahead of your brother’s family arriving. Leeches in the bathtub are optional.

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  9. SV – the good Lord gives us no more than we can handle. Therefore you will survive. But if you decide survival is too high a standard, get drunk and tell your brother you slept with his wife in college.

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  10. Hey Baboons:

    I’m home from Wisconsin now, so I took some time to look on the State Fair website. A while back I asked if anyone was interested in PHC at the State Fair. Had a few yeses.

    There are still seats, Friday, 9 2 11 7:45pm at the Grandstand. Seats are $29 and $24 (without service charge). Any one else want to go. Lou and will be going but need to purchase tickets.

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    1. im out. i am working with a cornucopia shortened state fair that i wouldn’t have any other way but friday night will be munchkin night i am pretty sure.

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  11. OK, for food you’re going to want two kinds of things – stuff that doesn’t require electricity, and who knows how long the lines will be down, so you don’t want to open the fridge unless you absolutely have to. So cereal with powdered milk will be fine, lots of peanut butter and jam sandwiches… hopefully you have some apples and oranges that can be brought out ahead of time. If you have a gas stove, you can use matches to override the now defunct but clicking ignitor, and can bake some potatoes. Hard salami should do it for protein.

    If the electricity DOESN’T go out, you just want to make stuff such that they won’t want to come back anytime soon – liver and onions come to mind…

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    1. How about having a selection of unusual foods that might seem rude to serve to guests that you don’t mind too much? This will work if you like trying new things and your brother and his family doesn’t. How about canned octopus or soybean butter. Maybe some unusual health food drinks, spinach juice or something like that.

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  12. Dear SV,
    They are your relatives – put them to work. Did you need new paint somewhere? Or, do you have a plumbing project that’s been dripping for months? You’ve been waiting for some help moving that heavy furniture around? OR – use them to find that tiny spot where bats have been coming in. Send your brother-in-law up into the attic to plug the hole. If you can find enough little projects like these maybe the storm will be downgraded and they will have plenty of things to do at home…. :)

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    1. Yes, I wonder if the smell in my upstairs hallway is coming from the attic, but that attic is hard to get to. Certainly a brother who wants me to shelter him and his family would be willing to climb into that attic and check it out..

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  13. I think Irene lightened up to avoid further family mistreatment by the nasty folks here on the trail :)

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  14. i think tis is the perfect chance to help them bite the big one.
    tell them this is so great that you are going to plan a get together just like this ever month and since new yourk city is sooooo much better than your place… it should always be at their place. what a wonderful discovery all brought about because they were good enough to show you the light by coming to stay at your house with two days notice. now would they prefer two days notice every month or should we just set an ongoing appointed date say the first weekend of every month for the first year or two and just see if that works or if there need to be some revision after the ball gets rolling and you are all comfortable with it. oh it will just be great because manhatten does have the best food and the best shows and it is all right there by your house. how wonderful ……………………………………………………………………….

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