Sunday, April 3, 2016

Is Adele Real?

Remember how Adam came and tore out my entire concrete pond while I was out of town and then I nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize (decision pending) and had 30 stars named after him?

Well there has been a large pile of jagged and probably-asbestos concrete in my yard for past couple of weeks. I decided to hire someone to haul it away because I already did manual labor this year and this face wasn't made for work.

So I started calling people and everyone was like, "sure, I'll come do that for you. It will cost you 12 billion dollars." And then I would yell back into the phone, "well I've never!" like a classy broad in 1940.

Apparently everyone in the whole world hates hauling concrete and so nobody is willing to do it unless they are paid 12 billion dollars for it.

That is, everyone except for my brother-in-law Jeff, who I think might actually be a perfect human being.

Jeff somehow seems to know how to do everything, and so when he married my sister 14 years ago, he immediately became family MVP. This was hard for Cathie, who had won the award without the slightest hint of competition for 26 consecutive years, but she's learned to cope and put her energy into new things, like disapproving of every decision I make regarding my house, yard, and life, and not necessarily in that order.

Over the years Jeff has fixed everything that has ever broken in any of our houses. And usually without even being asked. So it wasn't a surprise when he called and said

Jeff: You are not paying someone to haul away your concrete.

Eli: So, threaten them instead?

Jeff: No. We are going to do it ourselves.

Eli: Great! Wait. What exactly do you mean when you say "we?"

Jeff showed up on Friday afternoon and we offloaded 1.2 tons of concrete into his truck. That's an actual and real number. I'm not exaggerating here (NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT EXAGGERATION IS NOR DO WE EVER DO IT, CATHIE).

I know how much there was because the place that took it from us weighed it. And it was 1.2 tons.

You guys. I have now done manual labor TWICE this year. This isn't right. Bob and Cathie did not claw their way into this country, hands and feet bloodied from the journey, so I would have to do work. I'm not even sure if this is America right now. I feel like you should all have to pay more taxes because of what is happening here. ALL OF YOU.

We drove out to the concrete dumping place separately so Jeff wouldn't have to drive all the way back to my house when we were done. My nieces Kamree and Kate, ages 11 and 7, rode with me, as they were tagging along with their dad for this little adventure.

Let me just take a moment and inform you that nieces are the world's most wonderful thing. I cannot be talked out of this. Nephews are great, too, but nieces are 1,000 times better than nephews. I literally could not have enough of them. If all three of my sisters became sister wives to a very fundamentalist man with a beard who commanded them to birth as many babies as possible over the next decade, I would immediately start sending them fertility supplements and wishing them luck.

And THAT is the new weirdest sentence I've ever written on Stranger. Which is saying something, as you know if you've ever read anything here before.

Anyway, so I was in the car with 11-year-old Kamree and 7-year-old Kate, when (and I swear to you this conversation is nearly verbatim)

Kamree: Did you know I have a boyfriend?

Eli: WHAT?! No I did not know that! Is it serious?!

Kamree: [Giggling] yes.

Eli: Is he in your class?

Kamree: No. He's in third grade and I'm in fifth grade.

Eli: You little cougar!

Kamree: What's a cougar?

Eli: Oh . . . well it's an older woman who dates younger men.

Kate: Eli, I'm a cougar too. My boyfriend is 5.

Kamree: Do cougars get married or do they just always date?

Eli: Well I don't know. I think they are usually just interested in the physical aspects of the relationship. I doubt most cougars are looking for anything long-term. Mostly they just want the man for his body.

Kate: I'm never getting married!

Eli: Yikes. I have no idea whether this conversation is appropriate for you. Don't tell your mom we talked about this, ok?

Kamree: Why can't we tell our mom?

Eli: I just . . . just don't tell her. Ok? Pinkie promise everyone? Are kids still doing that?

Kate: We'll just say something happened in the car and you said it's a secret and we can't tell our mom.

Eli: No. Don't do that either. Just be cool here.

Kamree: We'll say nothing happened in the car then.

Eli: Gosh. Ok. Let's just forget this whole conversation and pretend it never happened. How about if I put on some music?

Kate: Can we listen to "Hello?"

[Starts playing Adele's "Hello." All three of us sing/scream it at the top of our lungs]

Kate: Uncle Eli, is Adele real?

Eli: Oh yes, honey child. Adele is real.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I feel like anyone else would have been concerned about elementary school kids having boyfriends, but Eli just wants to make sure his nieces understand what being a cougar means.

  2. I have 8 nieces and 8 nephews and while I love them all equally but differently, the girls are (don't tell the boys) a lot more fun to hang out with.

  3. It is so nice when they ask "is such and such real" and the answer is yes.

    My son asked me the other day what genies looked like in real life, as opposed to cartoon genies. I felt sad telling him that genies aren't actually real.

    I felt happy a few days later when his very worried face asked me if dinosaurs were real. I could say yes, but they're all dead . . .

  4. 1. I feel extremely hurt that you have a snapchat and didn't tell us B. I feel lied to because a snapchat would indicate that you in fact do know how to interweb and Quatro. I laughed extremely hard at that conversation

    1. What!? People can see the pictures that I take through that little yellow thing on my phone?!

      I guess everyone better add me. Eliwmccann

    2. I know, social media is shockingly confusing isn't it.

      Also yes and you had probably better add me back as well

    3. Golly. Wishes do come true. I was literally just thinking "I wish I could be snapchat friends with Eli McCann HIMSELF. That would be a dream." Then I read this comment and three angels got their wings.

  5. Is your car backwards or is your niece driving?

    1. You do know that I live in England, right?

    2. What. Nobody ever told me that Utah is in England. Is it true that every single person there wears a monocle and carries an umbrella around as a cane every day?

  6. "Honey child" I'm so glad I'm not the only one who uses this phrase although to be fair mine is usually "honey boo boo child"

  7. I have to say, I'm kind of jealous. I only have one niece and SIX nephews. She is waaay outnumbered in our family.

  8. That video gave me a super mega crush on you. #justsaying You perfect human with perfect hair.

  9. Speaking from experience, I have to say that while nieces and nephews are awesomesauce, they PALE in comparison with grandchildren.

    Amiright, Cathie? Hells, yes, I am. Of course, at the rate Eli's going, you're NEVER going to see a single grandchild from him. Can I get a ay-friggin'-men, Cathie? Hells, yes....I feel ya sister.

    1. This ^ is my only reason to regret being childless... GRANDchildless! I'm a Great Auntie (both for reals and by virtue of being both Great and an Auntie), and I must admit to loving the nieces more than the nephews. Why is that, doyathink? I mean, yeah, I'm probably a little ashamed, but it is Very Real that Nieces are waaaaaaaaaay better than Nephews.

  10. I have no nieces, so I have no idea, but nephews are seriously rad, too.

    And I have had more than one conversation with my nephew that I wished I could undo because I knew what it would end up sounding like later when he told his parents. Kids these days!

  11. You actually have a phenomenal car belting singing voice. And I wish I had Snapchat just for that video. But I would use every replay possible just to keep watching it, so I guess ultimately I'm glad you posted it here.