Foster Family Takes Miami (or just goes there)

We were off to Miami for the holidays.  “I’m in Miami Bitch” “Welcome to Miami” and all other songs that contain “Miami” should now be playing in the background.

The last time I ventured to “party in the city where the heat is on” was during a very poorly planned spring break vacation my sophomore year of college. We stayed at a Howard Johnson that was 50’s themed, smelled of pukes (plural: several pukes), and miles away from the beach. We ate our meals in a booth that was shaped like an old pink Chevy and there was this giant bobbled headed old woman on roller skates that just hovered and stared at you while you dined   (I don’t think she even worked there).

On top of the extra shitty accommodations, none of us five girls on the trip (girls vacay! woohoo! eff’ boys) realized that you cant do anything or go anywhere in Miami unless you’re 21. We were 19 and 20 with crappy fake id’s. We ended up buying booze from a sketchy liquor store and just drinking in the hotel room the whole time. We probably could have saved a lot of money if we had just done that locally.

The one time we went to the beach I got severely sun burned and had heat stroke. The tide also brought in an abnormal amount of horse shoe crabs which washed ashore and died on the sand, creating a carcass beach of helmet animals that smelled, and smelled bad. After exhausting the shitty smelly beach, we decided to try our luck at shopping. At the first shop I was instantly “pretty woman-ened” (it’s a new verb) out of the store after the sales clerk looked me up and down wearing my cut of jean skirt and ill fitting slant-off-one-shoulder jersey/tank. He said that there wasn’t anything in the store for me and that I should leave in a hurried manner. I thought, well, fuck that guy. I would be leaving at whatever pace I choose and a side step in extreme slow motion while gingerly touching merchandise on the way out would be the way to go.  He rolled his eyes as I exited  the store at the pace of a slug stuck in a glob of molasses. I mouthed “ffuuuuucccckkkk yoooouuuuuu” also in slow motion.

I would love to go back and do the whole “you work on commission right?” except I would probably only be flinging around a CVS bag with tons of Wet n’ Wild cosmetics in his face which would completely defeat any purpose of doing any “you work on commission revenge tactics.” Apart from that asshole, there are other assholes in Miami – a place for the over indulgent and over worked male biceps. The only way to participate in anything remotely cool is if you’re Pit Bull himself. At least there is one person having fun. You go Pitbull. You go.


Back to my most recent trip to Miami:

I flew down with my parents out of DC. I made special arrangements so I would be able to take my luggage as a carry on (by special arrangements I mean put some of my liquid belongings into plastic baggies). For some reason, liquid-baggie-packing always seems like this giant fucking inconvenience when really it’s just like packing your lunch except with toiletries. Actually, that blows too.  I packed and repacked for hours knowing that I’m the worst packer ever and tried desperately to make sure that I didn’t pack any bed linens instead of actual clothing, no pillowcases instead of a white shirts for this lady.

We taxied to the airport and my mom was thrilled to find out that she had TSA pre-approval without her knowledge – which seemed to me like a major loop hole. I waited in the long ass “must-take-everything-off-you-are-now-naked-this-is-weird” line for 40 minutes with all the other plebes. I always have to go into the full body scanner and I always forget to wear socks. I also use 45 to 78 plastic bins. Individually stacking and separating out any belts, shoes, socks, jewelry, electronics, coats, hoodies, 6 ml liquid bottles and anything else I could be arrested and shackled for.

I’m sure everyone feels this way but what is it about airports that instantly makes you feel like you are unknowingly a Colombian drug mule? I would never take anything illegal on the plane nor traffic drugs but the paranoia that I’ve swallowed 20 grams of her-oine and am also carrying a stash  in between my butt cheeks whilst armed with a loaded gun is how I act – which is suspicious as shit. Sweaty, rambling, beady eyed with severe nausea.

After all of this the flight attendant made me check my bag anyways because it didn’t pass the weakass metal box test. GREAT. Now to look for my aisle while everyone stares are my feet to make sure I’m not wearing 8 inch platforms. I’m not – these are my legs.  

I’m by far the most hapless person ever and in classic my no luck style my mom, dad, and I were sat in three different seats sprinkled amongst a family with five kids, their parents, and one twin uncle named Herb. None of the children had flown before and they were all between the ages of 2 and 7 (’ve got to be kidding me). The mother had to continuously reassure them that we were not going to all die inside a fiery ball of hell. Which in turn kicked my fear of flying up a notch to the point where I also wanted to ask her bunch of questions to calm my nerves:

Will we die when we take off?

Will we die when there is turbulence?

Can the drink cart be used as a weapon?

Why don’t they serve peanuts?

Can I use the barf bag to store things other than barf?

Statement: I only ever order ginger ale or tomato juice on airplanes. Question: Why?

Do the emergency exit people really know what the fuck they’re doing?

The kids covered most of these questions anyways and also felt the need to ask really dumb questions that only children would like: “Hey mom. When we get into the car can we have the windows rolled down?” (What kind of lame ass question is that?) Another was, “Will the people here like us?” in which the mother responded, “Honey, they don’t know us.” I wanted to raise my hand. Oh, actually, excuse me children….. I can answer this one….the answer is no, no they will not.


what’s the big issue with just not being an asshole?

In addition to the 476 questions, 57 screeching screams from hell, and 19 karate kicks to the back of my seat, all five children were asking the mother rapid fire questions about their cat; Meatball.

“What is Meatball doing?”

“Do you think Meatball would like this plane?”

“Meatball peed on the Christmas tree before we left.”

“What is Meatballs?”

After the plane landed and we de-boarded I wanted to dance on river mountains, twirl around in an open field with a basket of wild lilies, and just breathe in the fresh air that was the Miami airport terminal. That’s how good it felt – to be out.

Sun with sunglasses. Is there anything else anyone can draw in paint?

I made this in Paint.

We were staying at a super flash hotel with loads of people that inconvenienced you by being too helpful. There were also tons of perks and free things to take on daily basis. My mom took a liking to hoarding the free delicious apples that were placed  in a giant bowl at the front desk every morning. We would eat them on the beach as a mid-afternoon snack. She felt the strong need to dispose of her apple core by feeding it to the starving seagulls. Everyone gets pissed when you feed seagulls on the beach because they go ape-shit. To do so anyways, my Mom would go on top secret missions to inconspicuously deliver the apple cores to the seagulls in a sort of feeding ritual. To me, this was the most hilarious thing ever. Not only did she look incredibly suspicious as she walked towards the ocean everyday with snack to dispose of in hand – but the quick escape after the seagull mayhem is the best thing since sliced bread. Thank little baby Jesus I recorded it. Please find below for the largest video on earth that I couldn’t figure out how to shrink:

In addition to feeding the seagulls apple cores, she was also really good at recording my brother and only my brother while he was swimming in the ocean. His wife had asked us to take videos of the family vacationing and send them to her – a request which mom took in all seriousness. Day in and day out she would take the same videos of my brother doing close to nothing – just floating in the waves. He would announce that he was going to take a dip and then 3 to 5 minutes later she would follow him down to the beach with her iphone and begin recording. I think the secretiveness came because A) he doesn’t like being filmed and B) the whole thing was creepy as hell. I loved it. With the amount of footage taken we could produce a feature film of my brother swimming back and forth and sometimes just floating in the ocean. I would call it “Finding Nothing,” an epic story of no adventure at all to find something that was never lost.

This is the trailer:

I don’t want to give you a warped impression – my dad is just as hilarious with his antics. He typically decides to abruptly start walking in incredibly abnormal ways. The walks are either the lunge forward hunching with slow leg lifts or fulfilling the dream of being a human duck and waddling. Either one, the family will usually join in and walk through public spaces in a conga line of village idiots. I love every second of it. He will also ask ridiculously difficult, confusing, and mind probing questions to strangers and wait staff in particular. Dining interactions would go something like the following:

Waiter: “Hello, my name is Justin and I will be your server this evening.”

Dad: “Hello Justin. Some have claimed that no true democracies ever go to war with each other. In fact, does history bear that claim out? If so, try to explain how democracy exerts such an effect.”

Waiter: “Well, how about I tell you about our specials?”

Dad: “You are special. Pop Quiz: you are also the CEO of a consumer products company. How would you determine the portion of your budget to devote to advertising?”

Waiter: “Not sure but we do have a lovely entree dish with roasted chicken breast and rosemary potatoes.”

Dad: “Hmmm I’m an admirer of rosemary potatoes. In fact, many admirers of Ronald Reagan credit him and his policies with the fall of Communism. Is that claim justified?

Waiter: “I’m actually here just to take your drink order…”

Dad: “Right. I’m thinking of my drink order. I’ll tell you what beer I would like either telepathically or in pantomime. Go.”

Waiter: “In pantomime?”

Dad: <Acts out a Stella Artois in a can.>

One night when we were out to dinner, my dad noticed a group of people sitting at the lounge table behind us. He had come up with the theory that the one guy in the “goggles” as my mom called them (they were clear thick framed glasses) was being protected by the three larger gentleman and if anyone made any swift movements they would be walloped. The man in the goggles was in his 70’s and was ordering champagne every 5 minutes. He was surround by gorgeous eastern European women who never spoke to him directly. Whoever he was, there was no deceiving the Foster family. We knew those were his bodyguards, we knew he ordered a lot of champagne, we knew he wears goggles even at nighttime…. Billy likes..SODA. Ms Lippy’s car is…GREEN. We could all leave in peace.

The vacation carried on as a series of laughable moments and was a huge success. Not a success in that we got to spend time in a lavish hotel or plop on a sunny beach for 4 hours each day but in that quality family time is the best time you can spend. And there is never enough of it. I could not be more blessed to have a family that is such hilariously good company and are the people that understand me the most. I am definitely my parents daughter. Mom & Dad I hope you know I’m laughing with you – at least sixty percent of the time.



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