Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...



Monday, July 25, 2011

The Rules of Monopoly and Other Commandments

It's 9:20pm.  We've been playing Monopoly since 10 this morning.  And it's getting personal.

We took a brake for lunch and even went for a walk.  But for the better part of the day, we've been locked in a battle of mortgages, construction and aggressive rent collection.

We take Monopoly very seriously.

Scott insisted we play by the rules.  That's why we don't really like playing with Scott.  We don't like to play by the rules.  We have our own little "family" rules - our little Monopoly "traditions" and if you don't like 'em - you shouldn't play with us.  For example, if you land on Go you get $500, and we always keep $500 in the middle for Free Parking.  Scott said money NEVER goes into the middle of the board - it ALWAYS goes into the bank.  But he's wrong.  Because that's not how I play.

The race to get the best properties and negotiate trades for monopolies was fierce.  With each turn around the board, everybody watched each other...waiting...ready to yell "RENT!" if anybody landed on their property.

We like to yell ""RENT!"  It's loud, it's obnoxious, and it makes the other person feel worse for landing on your property.

In fact, we like "RENT!"so much that if you DON'T yell "RENT!"you don't get you're rent.  Yeah, it grates on you eventually, but watching it grate on other people is worth suffering through it when it happens to you.  That's how we roll in our family.

After a few hours we knocked Scott out of the game (that's what he gets for pushing his stupid "rules"). He continued to play as Ben's "consultant."

It was all going my way until my daughter got Boardwalk.  It was fine at first, but then she started getting cocky about it.  And putting money into it.  And making money on it.  Then she started waving Boardwalk in front of me and pointing to MY massive complex of houses on my Orange Properties saying stuff like:

"Mommy, you know...you can mortgage your houses.  Then you'll have enough to pay me when you land on Boardwalk."

"What if I don't land on Boardwalk."

"Oh....you'll land on Boardwalk.  Everybody does."  Then she nodded confidently and reorganized her money. Taking time to tap and neaten her $100s.  Livi loves to irritate people.  I found myself paying rent in small bills just to annoy her.

Meanwhile, Ben built up Kentucky Avenue and Illinois Ave - you know - just in case his mother, who was being sweet enough to visit was looking for a comfortable place to stay.

Then I landed on Illinois.

"REENNNNT!"

"What?!"

"$240 please!"

"Excuse me?"

"$240 smackarolas!" (nothing is more irritating then somebody about to take your money gives it a cutesy name)

I looked at my pile of money.  It didn't look too healthy.

"You're going to charge your mother rent?  The woman who gave you life?"

"Yes.  $240 please."

"Fine."  I flung my money at him.  It was easy to see where Livi gets her attitude.  I called him a Shmuck.  He giggled.

Then Ben landed on Tennessee - one of my beautifully built-up Orange properties.  I yelled "REEEENNNNNT!" Served him right.   It's a good life lesson any way.  After all, he can't live at home for free forever.

Then Ben landed on Park Place, Livi's Park Place - which she hadn't built up quite as much Boardwalk, but it posed a financial threat nonetheless.  Livi didn't notice.  She was occupied counting her money.

Scott said "OOoooooohhhhhh...!"

Livi looked up .  "REEEENNNNNT!"

Ben scowled at Scott.  "SCOTT!  YOU TOLD HER!"

"She would have noticed anyway!  Do you think she wouldn't have noticed you landed on Park Place?"

Inimitable Livi...She shrugged and said lightly "I probably wouldn't have noticed."  Happy to sink Scott in Ben's eyes.

Ben was pissed and glared at Scott.  Scott shrugged.  Ben handed over nearly all of his money to Livi.

- Livi landed on Tennessee where I had just put up hotels.  She handed me $950.
- I landed on Park Place which now had 4 houses.  I handed $1,300 over to Livi.
- Ben landed on Community chest and paid $40 in hospital fees.  He had $20 left.

Then, for the first time in 6 turns around the board, Livi rolled and landed on something of Ben's.   His hotel on Indiana.  He was jubiliant.
"REEEENNNNNT!"

For the first time the whole game Livi was all frowns.

- Ben rebounded, BIG.  Money pouring in from his hotels on Red.

Then I landed on Boardwalk.

"REEENNT!  See?  I told you you'd land on Boardwalk."

She cleaned me out.  I started rooting for my other child.

- Livi held out for a while - rich with early cash infusions and enjoying the financial rewards reaped from me landing on her hotel on Boardwalk. 

And now, FINALLY, 11 HOURS LATER, it's down to the two of them.  My son and my daughter.  Battling it out for Financial Dominance.

Sure, one of them will win the game.  It' will probably be Livi.  And she'll dance around.  Taunting us.  Laughing.  Fanning herself with her money.

But that's okay.  Because one day, she'll come home to me after college graduation - spend a little time trying to find herself and get her sea legs.  We'll be so proud of what she's achieved and excited by all of the possibilities that lay before her.  I'll hold my hands out and she'll come in for a hug. 

And I'll say...

"REEENNT!"


Tags: Monopoly, Game of Life, Hasbro, Family Game Night

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