We survived Christmas with family. It was safer because some relatives no-showed at Dad's and we made an exit for the middle of nowhere to visit my husband's former stepmother and her sons. She's my Father-In-Law's former 2nd wife. At the time I sprung forth the first spawn from my high school loins they were married. Then I moved in with Devildog's family the last few months of school. And little did they know, but I had the second spawn on board. My dad hated that his brother's grandchild didn't use Grandpa, but something involving the last name. My parents had to be Grandma and Grandpa. Since we lived with FIL and stepMIL, and my oldest was gaining a talking momentum, I needed a grandparental designation that was simple for him. So, they were dubbed Nana & Papa. The kids still call her Nana, even though FIL and Nana parted ways many years ago. Nana was a large part of Devildog's life as a child and young man. Her sons have always been brothers to Devildog and his sister (but it's hard to say where anyone stands with his sister without absolute clarification from the source herself). FIL and Nana (who also has a few nicknames - OY the confusion!) were together well over 10 years, and at this point Nana's been part of Devildog's life for about 20 years. You don't just walk away from that, without good reason.
Anyway, she wanted to see the kids, and her son has a daughter a few months younger than Beast. Plus they live next to a state forest so there's lots of country life kind of fun to be had. There is a huge pond stocked with fish, and some boats. The kids stayed on the dock and fished for over an hour. Nana's ex-husband (#3 I think), who lives around the corner (at least he isn't NEXT DOOR) cooked enough food for 2 armies (yankee from Maine doesn't do so badly either). We came home with ample leftovers, and yes, I'll shamelessly admit to taking advantage of the hospitality. It was nice to hang out with them, and the boys have mellowed considerably in their 40s. They've got very colorful histories. I felt guilty about jumping ship on my Dad, the brother & his spawn, and the oldest sister. But I also can only tolerate my family in small doses. Devildog's tolerance is even smaller. Which is how we all ended the day with apendages and relatives intact. We didn't overdose on them.
Now if you're still confused, don't worry. It has been 16 years and sometimes I still shake my head vigorously in hopes of something getting a synapse to fire in just the right way to allow me to comprehend some of this stuff. Then again, MY family has its own synaptic challenges too. I still haven't come to any conclusion on why family is so complicated. I'm just happy to understand my dosage limits and adhere to them.