Meet the Schroeders!

I am very close with my family and as such, they have influenced my life and writings greatly. You’re going to see them come up a lot – So, here’s a brief definition of who each of these weirdos are.

I’ve heard “It’s the Schroeder way” used 3 times by reliable and very close outside sources.

Once to describe working multiple jobs for the majority of the day.

The second was to describe talking for hours through issues and problems.

And the third was with reference to, what some might deem as, excessive frugality.

…..The accuracy is unnerving.

Sharina
Sharina“Sha-Sha” “Sha-RiRi”

/ˈSHä-Rēna/

A translucent-skinned female healer who uses her spiritual access to influence energy, optimize feminine health, spread positivity, and occasionally, make a bag of Kettle Chips disappear.  

See: good witch; reiki; triple Virgo; cat mother; all-organic everything, always; “Don’t touch that it’s dirty”

No, unfortunately this is not her real, birth certificate name. The biggest faux pas my parents have ever had was to name my sister Marina. Though I guess I can’t fault them too much because they had no way of knowing that their little tow-headed daughter would become a real sci-fi character later on in life. I exclusively refer to my sister as Sharina (Or if she’s being particularly sassy, Sha-Sha or Sha-ri-ri). Reason being, over the past few years, Sharina has undergone a major existential transformation including studying under a Shaman, hence the name. She went from being predictable and conventionally western to “what in the sage burning, crystal healing, tarot card reading, moon circle leading, yoga practicing, reiki giving, female empowering, yoni steaming, wizardry are you up to now?” Despite my lack of understanding with most of what she does, what I do understand is that she’s an interesting, thoughtful, passionate, caring, secure, and highly developed human with a lot of really elevated advice and love to give. She is not only a sister by blood, but a best friend. I love that witchy woman-she’s got the moon in her eyes…and probably Palo Santo in her hand.  

Marlaina
Marlaina Mar Mar

/Mar-lāna/

A 5’3 bundle of dictatorial firey passion with a dream akin to MLK, a heart like a lion, and nails that look like they came from 54th and Crenshaw.

See: The little general; Leo; “I will help you”, workaholic; everything pink and fuzzy, always; “I know EVERYTHING!”

Extra, Extra, read all about it! My older sister Marlaina is the definition of ‘doing the most’, always in all ways. As I understand it, she started running shit the second she Jete’d out of my mother’s womb. I’m pretty sure she cut and sewed her own umbilical cord, ordered lunch for the staff including gluten free/veg options and no olives for the intern, all while outlining a new delivery protocol for the hospital. That girl runs on sole will power and is driven to make an impact. She started working a million different jobs before she was even legally allowed to work, made sure to carve out time to secure her middle school yearbook title of biggest flirt, was captain and president of everything in high school, volunteered at numerous shelters and now she organizes teaching programs backed by the state capital, runs multiple companies, and still arranges every family event, ever. I used to be confused about why my sister would work so hard or get so upset over the minutiae all of the time. Every once in awhile, we would get into explosive arguments (RIP hallway drywall) and I’d end by saying “who cares?” To which she’d shout “I DO!”

And she certainly did. Still does. She cares too much if that’s possible. That’s what drives her and sets her apart from the rest. She has lead a life dedicated to the greater good and not being great at what she commits herself to, is not an option.

She is absolutely a freak of nature.

As a teen, she used to kick holes through our hallway drywall in episodes of misplaced adolescent passion. Now, she figuratively kicks holes through any barricades that stand in her righteous path. She’s an older sister by blood and a best friend by choice. I love that little fireball.  

Marisa
Marisa

/märisa/

“risa” 

A perpetually late and deeply empathetic night owl with a proclivity for frequent collecting of toiletries, love of horses, and skin thicker than a rhino’s. 

See: Unusual animal facts; new phone number every 2 weeks; Capricorn; “I’m in my car heading over right now (Still in the bathroom)”

My oldest sister Marisa is one of those insanely intelligent yet nonsensical individuals. Her brain just works in a different way. Like most engineers. She can simply glance at a rather abstract real world geometrical problem and solve it without blinking an eye and then continue on to tell you every single thing about one hyper specific topic that generally no one cares about… like the reproductive organs of spiders, or what the distinctive markings on Beta Fish may indicate. At the same time, she has difficulty with rather basic concepts like not spending 90% of her paycheck on lip glosses (she will most likely never even open), addressing the car oil leak problem before the car becomes undriveable, and discerning shitty people from unshitty people. This is why, out of all of my sisters, we’ve had a history of butting heads – we operate in totally different ways. I’ve actually seriously considered submitting her name into the Guinness Book of World Records for two things:  1. “Person who can spend the most uninterrupted time in the bathroom” and 2. “Person who has the largest toiletry collection.” I’m convinced that if we set a small fridge and cot in the bathroom, she’d only come out to tell us all facts about the 22 types of earwigs there are living under the sink, and then immediately retreat to organize her collection of 72 deodorants. All of that aside, she’s one of the most caring and giving people around – her heart is in the right place. Despite my inability to understand the way she leads her life and despite my frequent unwillingness to show it – I enjoy her company. I love that peculiar, brilliant, always late, informative night owl.

Rose
Rose

/Rōz/

An eccentric Japanese/Italian dancing fairy who flits along, avoiding life’s deep probing unanswerable questions and problems while overindulging in smiles, laughter, coffee, dance, manic theatrical storytelling, and anything with an absurdly high sugar content.    

See: Dancing Queen; Libra; wrath of Rose; “Fine! You can have whatever you want”

When asked about what my mother was like when she was younger, my dad, with an ever-present grin and glow in his eyes recounted, “She was the most eccentric woman I had ever met… still is. She was genuinely sweet. Wouldn’t even harm a flea. A soft lilting voice.

Both of my parents are crazy little orbs of happy and positive energy. The main difference is that my mother is subject to bouts of heightened emotions because she wears her bleeding heart on her sleeve. If senses injustice, her Scorpio-cusp tail comes out to sting. At the previous firm she worked at, she found out a client had a history of abusing children, and punished him in the only way her menial role would allow: by ignoring him in the waiting room for 20 minutes. You go girl! As a former professional dancer (and wonderfully eccentric weirdo), she never seems to miss an opportunity to dance. And by “miss an opportunity” I mean, there is no opportunity and the situation absolutely does not call for dancing..but she’s gonna do that shit anyways! Down the pasta aisle at Sprouts? You better grab your processed durum wheat and get to steppin because here comes a gliding and twirling Rose bud. Every single time I (or one of my sisters) get into my car to drive away? Yep you guessed it, a tiny Asian fairy comes leaping out to perform a manic jazz routine in the 20 second period before my car disappears. Down the hallway after eating ½ a block of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar? Tombe pas du bourree, glissade, jete – every time.  Also, no one can tell a story better. She’ll hunch her back like an angry cat and run sideways, then weap (genuine tears) recounting an emotional moment, then promptly fly around in circles laughing hysterically like a dazed insect…and continue on in a maniacal Robin Williams-esk display of a one woman show. Lastly, she’s wonderfully removed from the conundrums of life. She doesn’t get bogged down with questions about human existence or nihility. She focuses on eating lemon bars, watching the bachelor, and periodically asking me to rescue “really creepy” bugs she finds inside, which always end up being strips of my used fake eyelashes. My mother has the spirit of a fairy, the talent of a broadway performer, and a heart of gold. I love that little fairy.

Stephen
Stephen

/Stēvən/

A Fedorable and perpetually interested, wise old turtle fart who can fix any tangible or intangible thing with a smile, joke, lesson, support, encouragement, and whatever old/used electronic contraption he found on the side of the road. 

See: Capricorn; Omniscient; Reach for the cup with Love; “If you know something about anything, you know something about everything”

He needs a congregation of people to lead. Your father was just as deep when I met him, he was kinda like an old fart. He was also the funniest person I had ever met. Still is.” -Rose

My father takes elevation and positivity to the degree of ∞. He has spent a lifetime studying, experimenting with, and advocating for the power of the mind. He would have bro’d out with Socrates back in the day. I am fairly confident he would have out-questioned him too. My father is simply stoked on life and actually appreciates the good and what most of us would call “the bad.” He slaved away (my word choice, not his) renovating a section of our house recently. Yet, every time I called and asked him about his day, he would say, “I am going to play around in the garage today” or “I’m going to have some fun on the roof.” Which brings me to my next point: He can fix anything and he is interested in legitimately everything. And not in a “oh cool wonder what that thing on the road was that I just passed” kind of way. More so a “Marchesa! I brought home a broken drill that I found on the side of the highway today and fixed it using an old battery and slice of Pepper Jack cheese. And did you know that the Core Drill was developed in Ancient Egypt 5,016 years ago. Oh also, I discovered an address inscription on the side panel and drove 20 miles to return it to it’s rightful owner!” He also never misses an opportunity to pull a prank or tell a joke. He actually crafted a table with the center cut out and glued some type of bowl to the center, where you can poke your head out and scare people. He’s literally been using it for over 20 years. He is patient, compassionate, loving, and also, my closest friend. I would absolutely be a lost soul without him. I love that fedorable turtle fart.

Penelopea
Penelopea

“Pooka” “P”

The slightly cock-eyed, feline ball of lint and love of my life.

See: Love bites; heated blanket; “I can hear you I’m just ignoring you” and “It’s 4am? Well I better wake everyone the f*ck up by meowing as loudly as possible”

The “a” is silent guys, she’s that bourgie. Penelopea has been a ride or die since the day I snuck her home in my backpack in 6th grade. I understand some people have casual human/animal relationships with their pets. However, that is not the case here. Penelopea has absolutely been an integral family member since the moment I brought her home. She even has her own chair at the dinner table (that I diplomatically fought for years to maintain). We’ve always been two little peas in a pod. If I’m laying outside in the sun, she will come and join me. If I walk even slightly in the direction of the kitchen, or, Buddha forbid, open a can of something, she stampedes me meowing maniacally. And if I’m crying, she genuinely comes to comfort me. With disheveled hair, a rebellious streak, a disdain for authoritative rule, and a proclivity for eating, she’s just a chip off the ol’ block. I have spent more of my human experience with Penelopea than without her. 17 years strong. I love that little ball of fur.