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Simon’s parents are flying us to Oklahoma tomorrow to visit.

I’ve never met them, and to say that I’m nervous would be the understatement of the decade, right after “gas isn’t cheap” and “Derek Jeter is an okay player.”

Even if I’m tasting bile from the butterflies that are cutting my stomach to ribbons, I have to admit that I’m excited. They’re likely to be just as witty and incredible as he is, and hopefully they’ll be more tolerant of my relentless inability to make a decision, lack of fashion sense, and embarrassingly bad jokes.

I’m planning on updating Jerk Ethic while in the fair city of Norman. Possible topics include working away from home, writing as Southwest jumps your ass to three different cities excluding your actual destination, and bisexual girls aren’t meet the parents material.

Just as hypochondriacs instantly flock to WebMD at the sudden twinge of ache, I went to the ever-true Internet for information to take on my quest. I wanted to know if there’s a different set of protocol to follow when working out of the home office. It turns out that a quarter of employees who vacation in the summer plan on bringing their work on the road. It’s known that in America we eschew vacation days for overtime, so it’s not surprising that we have what are oddly referred to as “business vacations.” To me those two words being put together are about as frightening as the term “elective surgery.”

But so long as I’m able to carve out a few hours a day I trust that I’ll be able to keep the freelance train rumbling along. Last time I checked, successfully looking for work when completely distracted by trying to make a good impression on strangers is usually referred to as “networking” or “pressing the flesh.” It’s something I’ve never really been good at.

That said, work distracts me from real life. And this need for distraction increases exponentially when real life includes two plane rides transporting this dykey city girl to the state boasting not only the Cowboy Hall of Fame but the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World. (Dare you to look up “cow chip.”)

So we’ll work on trying to bring in new clients, and on the pieces of fiction we’re constructing, and hope that more work pours in as we pour ourselves more sweet tea. The desperation and fear that accompany our daily lives in Portland will hopefully be quelled by Garth Brooks while we’re on vacation. I just wrote hopefully and Garth Brooks in the same sentence. Petrifying. Already I’m off to a good start.

Additionally, I have to say, I’m no tourist bureau expert or anything, but Oklahoma should work on its image. I’ve never encountered such unsolicited sympathy as when I’ve told people about the upcoming trip.

The perceived expectations of employers is what causes most of us to work while away, but the perceived expectations of Simon’s parents will be what keeps me tethered to my laptop with a look of timidity and panic. I decided to make sure that years of living on my own hadn’t completely eroded my ability to socialize among the civilized. Once again, I turned to my friend the Internetz. Although it isn’t a holiday, other than Simon’s mother’s birthday (thanks for telling me yesterday) I found these gems from Emily Post’s etiquette site. Yup, she’s got a website. How modern.

Emily Post’s Five Tips for Holiday Visits

  • All hosts—including your mother and aunts—love a surprise gift.

Okay. I’ve got this one covered. His mother gets a beach read about girls in Miami getting murdered. His dad gets The Flying Spaghetti Monster Gospel. If I don’t win them over with these sort of foolproof tomes at least I’ll distract them. And books make great coasters.

  • At family get-togethers, don’t let nosy questions upset you. Deflect rudeness by changing the topic: “You’re right, Uncle Jim, I was thinner last year. How ‘bout those Steelers?”

They’ve never met me, but knowing Simon’s “tell first, that way there are no questions later” policy, his parents are sure to ask about how many women I slept with, the drugs I took in college, and for the truth regarding the skateboard incident. Unfortunately I don’t know if they follow sports.

  • Visiting friends or family?  Observe this rule of thumb: Three nights is usually plenty.

Fantastic. We’re there for a week. One. Whole. Week.

Needless to say, on top of the somewhat expected stress that comes with meeting your significant other’s family, and not having any new clients with rent fast approaching, I also developed a lovely UTI/bladder infection over the weekend. Fever, bloody urine, body aches like I’d been used as an air hockey puck to the gods. Tons of fun. Let’s hope that a side effect of the antibiotics is patience.

Write me email: AinsleyDrew at gmail



Source for work stats.



  1. A vegan in Oklahoma….
    Oh please keep notes.

  2. stay strong, AoA! however it goes, it’s sure to be “inspirational”.

  3. Ah, to be a fly on the wall…

    This is, you know, a book in itself. Can. Not. Wait.

  4. If it helps, it will probably be better than the time that I visited my ex’s parents in Florida. Her mom tried to kill me with a golf club because I won at Scrabble.

  5. Well, as a bisexual girl who has pleased many a s.o.’s parent (including my ex-girlfriend’s crazy conservative Catholic parents who were in denial of our relationship even though it was staring them in the face), I think you’ll be fine. Also, I want to say that you’re brilliant, and while I am poor and cannot make a paypal donation, I would like to donate a massage to you.

  6. Did I ever tell you about the one ex whose mom cooked cow brains and threw shit at me?

    Or the other, whose father insisted on showing me his collection of fake Rolexes demanding that I pick out the “real” one?

    Or maybe the father who hit me up for twenty bucks because he “hadn’t eaten in a few days” – on our first meeting?

    I’d take a week with some intellectuals in a flyover state any day.

    Have fun!

  7. Well, if you’re not up on your Nortwest Sports trivia, you might ask them how they feel about the Sonics impending move to their state…

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