For the past six-ish years, my youngest cousin has spent his summers living at the lake. What originally began with my aunt driving here from Indiana and dropping him off to essentially lounge around with both of my grandparents has morphed into his driving solo across the country (from college in Lake Tahoe), getting a job at the local marina, being the go-to guy for taking my grandma on errands, to appointments and the grocery store, and doing all kinds of odd jobs around the house.
In addition to the grunt work, he’s around to see our extended family members as they visit the lake all summer long. Plus, there’s wake surfing and frequent bonfires. And lunch-hour swims. And relaxing with his buddies every night. And, you know, spending three months – an entire season! – living on the lake. So, yeah, he’s pretty indispensable and I’m truly not sure how we’d manage without him here… but also? Living on the lake. For three months.
Not such a bad gig.
One of the best parts of having Andrew here is that we get to see him so often. Ella and Annie pretty much think he’s a rock star, and love that he pays them so much attention.
The other best part of having Andrew here is that we get to give him hell for three straight months. The Taylor family prides itself on pretty much constant (good-natured) ribbing, and as the youngest grandchild by quite a large margin (he’s seventeen years my junior), Andrew has taken the brunt of our teasing.
In fact, even when he’s not at the lake, we make it our mission to bother him. When he went off to college two years ago, he made the grave mistake of posting his school address on Facebook with the command, “Use it.” Nick took those instructions to heart, and a couple of months later, Andrew found himself the newest subscriber to Cat Fancy magazine. Nothing makes a freshman guy more attractive than arriving to his dorm with a glossy photo of a silky Persian tucked under his arm.
Andrew’s generally a good sport about this (even when we’re calling out “Good night! Love you, man!” to him from the porch while he’s down on the beach chilling with his buddies), giving back as good as he gets. A lot of the ribbing he’s received this summer has revolved around his apparently never-ending social engagements, especially those where potentially date-able girls are involved.
Hence, when we went out to a restaurant the other night, we spent a good portion of the meal giving Andrew a hard time about the friends he’d be seeing later that night. As we were in the restaurant parking lot, the following conversation ensued:
(Warning: Aunt Lisa, EARMUFFS [double warning: the earmuffs link is NSFW])
Nick: So, going somewhere with your little buddies tonight?
Andrew: Enough with the ‘little buddies,’ dude.
Nick: Any ladies gonna be there?
Andrew: I don’t know. Probably.
Nick: Better go get yourself some rubbers.
Andrew: SERIOUSLY, man.
Me: Really? Is that what we’re calling them now?
Nick: Yup. Big old box of Magnums.
Ella: Ohhhhh, I love Magnums!
Andrew: Uhhh… you do?
Ella: Yes! They’re delicious!
Ella: Do you prefer the ones with the caramel or the chocolate inside?
Me: I cannot believe this is happening.
Ella: The caramel are my favorites.
Nick: I’m officially a terrible father.
Andrew: Pretty much.
(In case you’re unfamiliar with them, Ella was talking about Magnum Bars, the decadent ice cream on a stick, not condoms. At least, I really hope not.)
Andrew leaves the lake tomorrow, after having been here since mid-May, and the place won’t be the same without him. I’m not sure what I’m going to miss more: getting to hang out with him, or getting to give him crap about absolutely everything.
Upon further consideration, it’s definitely the former. It’s going to suck without him here.
Plus, we can always annoy him from afar. In fact, I believe that the first issue of It’s A Rat’s World is already on its way to his mailbox.