Once I realized my parents’ impending visit was definitely going to happen, I flew into action. First thing on the list: purchase a new vacuum cleaner. There are already two in my apartment. The first one projectile vomits the contents of its bowels back onto the floor and into my face. The second does nothing. Thus, with those two sorry excuses for machinery setting the bar abysmally low, I figured I could pick up a dust sucker that met my very basic standards relatively easily. I made the mistake of going to a SuperTarget on my lunch hour the day before my parents’ arrival. 50 minutes later, I’m still lifting vacuums, reading boxes, and comparing prices. I thought I didn’t care about what vacuum I purchased—boy, it’s amazing how quickly a good marketing job can tell you you’re wrong. That night after work I eagerly put my cheerful yellow vacuum to work. I am now addicted to vacuum cleaning. How much dirt am I going to pick up? How about now? I can feel my eyes widen with the power of it all every time I flip on that little black switch. I could have vacuumed all night, I think. Instead, I reluctantly went on to straightening up the rest of my living quarters.

My parents burst through my door on Saturday, my mother making a beeline for Mia, my father happily brandishing a couple pouches of chocolates for Brooke and me. He is very proud of his thoughtfulness.

“I got you solid chocolates. Ma says you don’t like fillings.”
“Pa wanted to get you chocolates with fillings.” Mom says while burying her face into Mia’s neck. “I said, ‘Don’t get Josie anything with fillings. She doesn’t like surprises. I have memories! Little bites through boxes of chocolates. Like a little mouse mysteriously nibbled her way through.'”

I almost mention that I do like caramel fillings, but I’m so amused imagining them bicker in the store about what kind of chocolate to buy me that I thank them for the solid chocolates and display them prominently in the kitchen.

We go out to eat and lunch passes without event. I expect the usual quizzes from my father about men in my life, my advancing age (I am, after all, a very nearly decrepit 23), and his desire to have grandchildren, but all of these topics were suspiciously absent from the conversation. Mom must have talked to him. Dad pays the bill and we collect our things to leave. As we stand, Pasco points out the window to the store across the street.

“Look, Jo,” my father says loudly, “Victoria’s Secret! You need anything from Victoria’s Secret?”

My parents look down on Victoria’s Secret. They believe it is a sex shop that sells sin. Direct quote. So clearly, this comment is the height of wit. Only Pasco is the only one laughing at the moment. Oh wait, that’s not true—I notice residents of surrounding tables twittering and smiling at me sympathetically.  Swell. As we walk out, still chuckling, he says, “What about some black undawares?” The valets turn to look at us. My mother punches my father in the arm a few times while I distance myself entirely because I can see the setup from a mile away. “What?” he protests laughingly, “I love black undawares!” As everyone turns around to look I want to shout out, “It’s a line from a movie!” We’re movie quoters, us Cappys. Instead I just make sure to stay ten steps ahead. My mother pinches Pasco for good measure. I suddenly miss Dad’s requesting the updates on the lives of every boy he’s ever heard me mention since junior high. Seriously, if you’re male and you’ve met him, he still asks about you. That seems so simple now. At least we could contain the conversation to the privacy of our table.

I actually really enjoyed my weekend with my parents. True, my father turned my riding lesson into a photo shoot and my mother threatened to “stuff Mia in her purse and take her home to live with Grandma.” Still, it was fun to show my parents where I live, eat, and spend my spare time. We talked about a lot of things, laughed a lot, and ate some good food. It was really nice. Just the same, when my parents finally walked out my door, I locked it behind them, sighed, and went directly to bed. Cappys can be exhausting like that.