House Guests

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SEAN DIETRICH

By SEAN DIETRICH

My sister’s family is visiting from Florida this week. It’s difficult to get any serious writing work done becausspiwjg[qi31 0409UJ15M\2

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Sorry. That was my 3-year-old niece, Lucy, banging away on my laptop keyboard while I’m working.

Lucy is obsessed with the things in my office. She marches in here all the time just to look around, climb on the bookshelves, go through my tax returns or to use crayons to add some color to my walls.

But she’s particularly fascinated with my computer. Sometimes I’m afraid she’s going to bump my laptop off my desk and knock it on thFi340YYY(&#$%2 ti9u2-39tu 1203902hsb IUHW)*i23ub. &#)OOPWow 4-2t-h024h)#$)T*)UUW 283h2039))239#.

My nieces have enough energy to power an average suburban electrical grid. They arrived in our driveway last night after spending upwards of six hours in the car. By the time they got here, they were not unlike compressed atomic matter contained in a jar, just waiting to explode.

When my sister’s SUV pulled in, the doors of the vehicle were flung open and little voices screamed, “UNCLE SEAN!”

Immediately, a duo of two-foot-tall humans leaped out of the automobile. These were towheaded girls, barefoot, wearing multi-colored tutus, their lips and tongues stained with blue dye from eating either Kool-Aid, candy or—and we cannot rule this out—BIC pens.

They moved so quickly they looked like a giant blur. I could hardly see them. They were blond-colored streaks, wholly invisible to the naked eye. Their location could only be determined by the distant sounds of their spontaneous singing of songs from the Disney movie “Frozen.”

“AUNT JAY JAY!” they said, throwing their arms around my wife.

They call my wife Aunt Jay Jay because at one time they could not pronounce the name Jamie. Used to, my niece Lucy couldn’t pronounce the name Sean, either. So whenever she said my name she just called me “UNCLE SSSHHH!” which sounded exactly like she was using a particular word often used by commercial truck drivers.

So anyway, as soon as the two children entered our home last night, it was a non-stop hurricane party. Their footsteps were loud, gaily booming throughout the house as they wandered from room to room, under their own recognizance, shouting things like, “WHICH ONE IS MY BED?” “I LIKE BUTTER!” and “WHERE DO YOU GO PEE IN THIS HOUSE?”

My older niece was carrying a toy megaphone so that it sounded like she was a police hostage negotiator as she meandered through the home.

“THIS IS A PRETTY NICE HOUSE!” she’d say.

“UH-OH! THERE IS A NEW HOLE IN YOUR COUCH, BUT IT WASN’T ME.”

“HELP! I’M OUT OF TOILET PAPER AND THIS BATH TOWEL ISN’T WORKING!”

So we’re having a large time over here. My wife and I don’t have kids. In my life, there have been many times when I’ve found myself wondering what it would be like to have children. I suppose now I know the answer. Exhausting. It would be exhausting.

You should have seen these girls get ready for bed last night. When their mother told them to get dressed in their nightgowns, the kids staged a full-scale mutiny. At one point there was a naked child, running through the living room with a megaphone and saying, “I WILL NEVER GO TO SLEEP!”

Dinner was also fun. Dinner was loud. Dinner was a full-contact sport.

There was a moment before we ate supper when we were all sitting down and someone asked me to say grace. We all agreed that one of the nieces should say grace instead.

So we folded our hands. We bowed our heads.

My 5-year-old niece closed her eyes tightly and said, “God, you’re a really nice guy. Thanks for being nice. Also, I love my Aunt Jay Jay and Uncle Sean so much. Thank you for making them.”

I tell you, it was enough to absolutely melt your H(&#$ %2 ti 9u2-39tu 12039W02 hsb$$ IUHW)*i23ub

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