Living with the Magoons

You know I always write about my past and this time I thought you might be interested in what has become of my life these days in present time. You may recall me writing about raising my daughter, Charmalee, begotten by my second wife Angie. Angie departed from my life to places unknown leaving me to raise our daughter alone, alone… alone. And so I did. And that daughter grew up, as children are apt to do, and married one Thomas Magoon.

They proceeded to be gettin to me one granddaughter of the name Alyssa. And well the story then proceeds into the realm of politics at this point because all would have all gone well if we hadn’t had the unfortunate mix of presidents, of both parties, who were hell bent on destroying the middle class dream. The dream that included your children actually moving out and having a life of their own, and you having a life of your own, in their own place, not in the place where you live, not under your roof, yes, birds should leave the nest. Yes, that is the truth and that is why the Magoons ended up living with me.

You see, because of an unfortunate situation with my landlord of fifteen years, who himself ended up in a divorce, decided to move back into my house and studio in Burbank. Thus causing me to find new quarters. So it was that I made the mistake of panicking when I realized rents had doubled since moving in that place and invited my daughter, her husband, grand daughter Alyssa, and the yet unnamed one in the oven to move into my new house.

Now that was fine and that was doable. A nice three-bedroom home with an actual fireplace was nice and cozy, and a much larger studio space to make art in. And just after that first Christmas, Christopher arrived, first born son. Everything was fine for a few years, that is till a sparkle occurred in Thomas’s eye or more accurately Charmalee’s eye and soon there was another loaf of bread in the oven. Now, who was to know that that loaf of bread would divide and become two? So it was on my birthday, July 22nd in 2004, no gifts please, (well if you want to what the heck), showed up one Nicholas Magoon and one Joshua Magoon. Peas in a pod I tell you, not identical twins thank God because they can be a little scary, but pods just the same.

So with all this necessity, Charmalee to my surprise has become a great Mother, housekeeper and somehow learned to cook a fine meal. Although I attempted to teach her my moms recipes, she some how made it on her own. Although, being a soccer mom of some sort finds her in line at the fast food establishments a little too often for my taste. But her handling four kids at Ralph’s, pretty good grocery, is something to behold.

Now, living with Thomas is also interesting as he reminds me a lot of my father as he loves to have parties and entertain people and of course, like my father, at Christmas, we are always the most decorated house on the block. Thomas is the type of person who’s into sports of any kind. This has always been a wonder to me why people watch other people doing something they themselves could be doing although Thomas does plenty of doing too, being on a baseball team and umpiring other sports for the city nearly every night, for a little extra cash. And then coaching the boys and girl to the sports teams they are all involved in from T-ball to cheerleading. But on a Saturday or Sunday you will find all 5 TV sets tuned to a different sport and the computers tuned to sports scores from all around the country.

So it is no surprise that the kids would all be interested in sports as well. Christopher, the oldest son leading the way, well, we almost have a baseball team. Joshua at age 2 would plant his feet like Babe Ruth and hit baseballs as long as you’re willing to pitch them. And hit them he does southpaw and all. Nicholas was also a strong hitter at that age also but had a lot less staying power. He’s more interested in putting on the catcher’s uniform. It can take him a half hour just to get suited up. And at five Christopher was hitting the ball out of the yard. I’ve lost count of how many windows I’ve had to replace.

Now there are things that you have to watch out for living in a three-bedroom home with one bath with three boys. Like you do not just sit down on the toilet seat, no, that would be careless, you must always look first, as boys are not naturally trained or have the provocation to pick up the seat before peeing. When living under such conditions it does not take long to learn this. And learn it I did in relativity short order.

There are things that some of you might take for granted, like what to expect to come out of the icemaker, it is not always ice. Navigating the living room and back yard is something that keeps me in shape; it is akin to football players doing that exercise where they run through a series of tires lying on the ground. If something can be left on the floor it will always be left in the middle of the floor. And if someone spills something I am always the one who finds it, usually while wearing a new pair of socks and it’ll be sticky. If there is something sharp I will also find that as well and just going to the kitchen and back I usually find stickers of all sorts stuck to my feet. Finding the remote is always a challenge; sometimes it ends up in the icemaker. The bathtub is always full of toy trucks, boats and rubber duckies but I can’t complain too much about that since half of them are mine. I have also become the turn off the lights Czar as no one turns off a light once it is lit.

The dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer never stop and trying to find the washer free is not easy. To handle this I bought enough clothes to go three weeks between washes, something easy to do when your wardrobe consist mainly of tank tops and shorts, thanks again to the “Presidents.”

Sleeping can be a problem with all the noise in the house and it is nearly every morning that I am woken up by someone yelling just outside my door. Usually it’s my daughter or Thomas yelling at the kids to be quiet so grandpa can sleep.

The kids all have their favorite foods, with Christopher it’s popcorn, Joshua loves to share an orange with me nearly every night, Nicholas loves it when I bring home peanuts in the shell and Alyssa is nuts for spaghetti and meat-a-balls.

But what the kids all really love, to my surprise, is a big green salad. They love to help me make it with several types of lettuce, purple cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, whole black olives and avocados, always dressed with oil and vinegar, they are all just so Italian. Yes, I have seen them leave their McDonald's on the table and go for the salad instead. It is also hard to keep vinegar in the house because they all love to drink it right out of the bottle.

You can imagine how expensive this can be and so this is why, this and the past “Presidents,” I am still driving the 69 Ford Econoline Van I bought in 1972. That van has brought me through two wives, one daughter, one dog, a bird and now four grandkids. It has been hard to give up because it just keeps running although it is interesting to see what happens to a vehicle when it approaches four hundred thousand miles. Things like the body itself begin to crack, come unglued and some times I think the only thing holding it together is the 12 coats of paint I used to paint it over the years, paint I applied with a roller. Other parts are held on with bailing wire and some parts I have had to make myself from scratch.

But all in all, some people might say my glass is half full, and others might say it’s half empty, but when you really get down to it it’s, what’s “in” the glass that really counts.
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