the jack russell family

at least that’s what doug calls them…

and the “them” that i’m referring to is a family that’s becoming increasingly needier for our friendship as time goes by.

the problem is that their son and chaeli are classmates and have been pretty good friends since they met each other in pre-school. so it’s not exactly fair for us to cut off our ties completely with them because it’s simply not fair to chaeli. plus, i suppose this is the reality of parenthood – we don’t always like the parents of our children’s friends but need to grin and bear through play dates.

having said that… play date etiquette is suppose to be around two hours (at least at this age group) since the kids tend to get overly wired after a couple of hours. of course, there are exceptions to the rules. when i get together with cathy’s household, it’s a bit different. we love nothing more then to spend a few hours with them. usually, we get together on a saturday evening where we have dinner and then just hang out until pretty late at night. my friendship with both greg and cathy have been since childhood. it’s a different level of friendship that has been cultivated through time. this can be said with my other friends with children, as well.

with the jack russells, they seem to want at least several hours with us which doug and i just find too much. i have to admit that after a couple of hours, i get bored.

the best way i can put it is that i just want to… well, move on to something new/different for the day.

are they horrible people? not at all.

are they nice? very.

do i know them very well? hardly.

and there lies a huge problem. we just don’t know them well enough to be spending that much time with them. and to add to that, we don’t possess an equal chemistry.

there are some people, in those rare instances, in which we meet and become very comfortable with each other in a very short period of time. this doesn’t happen often but when it does, we know that the chemistry is right for a friendship. even then, it’s still important to take things slowly and let nature take its course. pacing ourselves will minimize “friendship burn-out” as i like to describe it.

anyway… back to the jack russells.

the frustration actually took part on new year’s morning. before the holidays approached, they had asked a few times whether or not we were free anytime during the holiday. i’m not one to be flimsy with my answer if i’m very sure of what it is… and what it happened to be was, “no… we’re booked solid through out the holiday.” this was true – as it is true every year. i explained to them that my birthday falls between christmas and new year’s and my mother’s birthday isn’t too far from that time period either. not to mention that doug does work on some of the days and i take any extra time i have to catch up on home projects.

on new year’s eve, like most people who follow the traditions of new year’s eve, we stayed up fairly late with plans to sleep in the next day. we know that with chaeli being completely zonked beyond her capacity, she will sleep in. sometimes, she will sleep in past 10am which is fine by us.

it’s our day off before going back to work so why the hell not.

at 9am, the phone rings (i do, however, blame myself for not turning off all the ringers or unplugging the phones throughout the house).

it’s them. the jack russell’s.

and the mother of the household was all like, “oh? did i wake you? i’m sorry but i figured with chaeli, you guys would be up by now. our kids didn’t stay up late so we’ve been up since 7am! so do you guys want to get together for lunch?”

my response, in my dead-tired, annoyed-voice was, “no… we stayed up late, including chaeli. and no, we have a late lunch meet-up with my aunt/uncle.”

“well what are you doing afterwards?”

afterwards? what the hell? were we suppose to just rush through our family obligations just so we could see them?

and where the hell do they come off thinking that they know us that well? we had gotten together with them only twice before, with some casual emails inbetween, but there was no way we knew each other that well for them to assume what our sleep schedule would be like around holidays.

and you know what the cincher was? THE PHONE WOKE UP CHAELI! chaeli would have slept in for sure if the phone didn’t wake her up. i know because when she wakes up to come upstairs, she is usually pretty awake. that morning, she was groggy as hell. but, she was up. and everyone who’s a parents knows that once a child is up in the morning, it is very hard to get them back to sleep when the sun is out and they realize they are hungry, need to go pee, etc.

i didn’t even respond to her. i think i mumbled something about going back to work so needing to get chaeli to bed early to restart her schedule again.

and then i said bye and hung-up. if she wanted to talk more, i wouldn’t know. i was not happy at all.

weeks went by and i was relIeved that they were leaving us alone. i said to doug that perhaps they got the hint to back off.

but it started again. the week before chaeli’s birthday, they invited us out for dim sum. we accepted feeling the obligation to get the kids together outside of school. and besides – it was dim sum. we had to eat anyway. what’s a little over an hour with them? we would be out of there before 11am and off to have the rest of our sunday to ourselves before the week starts again.

how wrong i was. it was the longest dim sum ever. i was full after an hour but they kept on ordering and ordering. and i could have sworn that they said they were getting full too. it was almost as if they were purposely dragging things out.

then they wanted to go to the mall (this big chinese mall known as pacific mall) across the place afterwards for a couple of more hours. great. a crowded, noisy chinese mall with them letting their kids run around everywhere. but we actually had an excuse, using our leaky roof, which we had to keep an eye on (true story, too).

they had a look of disappointment and then offered to take chaeli home with them. this is another issue i have with them. they are constantly offering to babysit chaeli and i am constantly turning them down. i just don’t know them well enough. and if we ever needed babysitting (i mean, we can handle having chaeli around with a leaky roof) we have at least a dozen or more people on our list of babysitters to go to before ever going to them. and even still, i would look into hiring a professional babysitter before using the jack russell’s as my last resort.

the week later, which is this current weekend, we saw them at chaeli’s birthday party. i spent the majority of the two hours trying to avoid them. especially the mother. she came up to me at the end and said, “so we’re going to the zoo tomorrow…”

luckily, i was in the middle of doing something which made it easy for me to pretend like i didn’t hear her. but in my mind i was thinking, “shit.”

doug and i had planned on going to the zoo the next day as well. and while it’s a big zoo, the kid’s section is not big at all. and i didn’t want to go worrying about bumping into them. so believe it or not, we’re going to go tomorrow instead. it actually works out better for us but the idea of having to avoid them in a public place is making this all so ridiculous.

still… it’s like doug says to our friends who know of our little problem here… if the jack russell’s had their way, they would get to see us at least every other weekend. at the end of each gathering we’ve had they try to make plans with us for “the next time” which they hope to be very soon. and even if we do make plans with them a few weeks down the road, i will get emails inbetween asking to get together with us before our planned outing.

now… to end this very long rant (and for those that endured through it, i thank you very much), i will now explain why we coined them ‘the jack russell family’.

it’s because they have a jack russell. and before they had this jack russell, they had another which passed away. for anyone out there who understand about different breeds of dogs, you will know that jack russells have a higher level of on-going energy like no other breed. until they are very old and starting to lose their mobility, they wake up and pretty much are non-stop until they go to sleep.

dog breeders will tell you not to buy a jack russell unless you can match their personality.

this family… this entire family… matches the energy of a jack russell.

if it’s not her trying to make plans with us every week for a whole day at a time where we go here and then go there and then maybe go somewhere else… it’s him talking on and on about his tidbit of knowledge… it’s all just blah, blah, blah to me after awhile where i am bored to tears because they don’t seem to be interested in what we say but require an audience for them.

hence, the jack russell’s.

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11 thoughts on “the jack russell family

  1. LOL! I love this post. It reads like an episode out of some family comedy. =) I can't wait until I have a family and have this type of drama. Sorry, Shy. The Jack Russells do sound like a nightmare, though. I wonder if they go through families like yours every year. Exhaust them until the family can't take it anymore and the JRs have to move onto the next family.

  2. My daughter with friends with a little girl with parents like this. I fully sympathize, Eventually these parents got sick of asking me to join them – my excuse for not doing things was that I liked to "rest" in my downtime. My kids started telling them on the phone that mum was "resting and couldn't come to the phone" LOL – my daughter is 19 now and it still makes me laugh thinking about this family.

  3. i'm learning that a lot of parents are in the same boat as we are in regards to our jack russell situation. 🙂 it's at least comforting to know that we are not alone. i am trying the 'resting during downtime' approach as well. i tried to explain it to the jack russell mom in email but it still hasn't come across to them. perhaps in time they will get it or as you said, just get sick of trying.

  4. i know. the thing is, there is a small part of me that truly feels sorry for them. maybe they are social misfits but with good hearts. i don't know. but that's the problem – i don't know them well enough to have that established trust in where i can really say that they have good intentions. they probably do – but i have no way of really knowing. and at the end of the day, it's too much trouble to find out.

  5. I love the name. Sounds very apt. What a tough situation! I love now that my kids are old enough that we don't really have to socialise with the parents of their friends (unless we want to). The opposite problem can be when you like the other parents and your kids can't stand one another.

  6. **laughs** I'm sorry you're in this situation, but it does make for interesting storytelling. Hopefully, they'll eventually get the hint, and that this won't affect Chaeli's friendship with their child.I can't exactly relate because I don't yet have children, but I am reminded of my father's high-strung ex-girlfriend (also my ex-boss) from last year. She epitomized the Jack Russell character, with bipolar disorder mixed in for flavor.

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