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Around Home (or, Where's the Food?)

The only thing thatís worse than having no food in the house is not having a house.

This is exactly (well, maybe not exactly) the position Iíve been put in for a whole week, and two other days to boot, all in the last two weeks.

As my parents pack excitedly for an exquisite vacation in Ireland, where they will sit on golden thrones and be fed grapes by natives who fan my parents with tropical bird feathers, I pack, furiously throwing any clothes the eye can see to go to . . . Augusta? What? There must be some mistake. Iím packing clothes that will stock me for a month to stay in Augusta? Oh jeez... (The rest of the dialogue has been censored.)

At least we had great host families to put up with the Adams kids for a week. The Cummings, the Szelas and the Doaks were each to have one kid for seven whole days. (Putting all the kids in one household could be unmanageable. All of us survived in one way or another.

I had plenty of food to inhale at the Cummings, while my sister had another rodent to play with, in addition to the two she already has. My brother, however, had the full use of a vehicle and used his host house as a bed-and-breakfast, staying during some of the day at our familyís house, which is a quarter-mile down the road.

A little problem occurred, in the midst of all this food and splendor. I had only brought enough clothes for oh, letís say half of a day. My clothes were worn over and over until I could get another stash from my house and deposit ones used for eight trillion years in a row. I sort of felt like my dad.

So after that week, which was great after all, my clothes were all faded and for the most part unwashed, so I was ready to head home again and give them to my mother to put in the washing machine. But low and behold, again right after one wardrobe was just washed, my parents again abandoned me -- this time to the warm clutches of the Nyadas -- while they went off to a reunion in Philadelphia.

This family was just as fun to crash at as the Cummings. But again, I must have absolutely no brain for packing because this time I packed for about an 80-day trek across the Antarctic wilderness. I had more clothes than you can shake a stick at. My suitcase burst with such force when I opened it that clothes were raining down in Canada last time I checked.

Even funnier is the fact that I ran out of clothes of my own to wear home. I wore too-short sweatpants and a pair of socks that I borrowed from my host family. Then I had to pick up the extra shirts I left in the laundry of the previous weekís family.

I demanded that my parents stay home this weekend.

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© By Paul Adams