Friday, January 15, 2010

In which the Curmudgeon has a phone call at home

Long Suffering Spouse continues to decline into the depths of a viral illness, an illness waaaaay too similar to the one from which I am now more or less recovered -- an illness so similar, in fact, that my bride is sending accusatory glares in my direction. These glares hold the promise of swift and terrible revenge when she recovers sufficient strength. She continues to teach, of course. The weaker sex? Pshaw!

So there we were last evening in the Curmudgeon manse: Long Suffering Spouse in her chair, wrapped in a blanket, and gazing vacantly at the television, signaling (because her voice is almost entirely gone) to find something she could watch on television. This is the miracle of cable television: There are literally hundreds of channels now from which to choose and, still, there's nothing on. Eventually, scrolling through the menu loses its charm and I decided to put on a DVD instead.

"It's too late for a movie," Long Suffering Spouse managed to croak.

No movie, I said, pulling out one of the Jeeves and Wooster episodes that we got for Christmas.

LSS can tolerate these -- and I love them. Even Youngest Son, who wandered into the room during the course of these events, approved of the selection.

I pushed all the requisite buttons and went to warm some cider for LSS.

The phone rang.

The thing you should know about my house is that, when the phone rings, it is never for me. It might be a sales call. We have a primary election in Illinois in less than three weeks now and the political phone calls are coming thick and fast. My wife's mother might call. Youngest Son's school might make a "robo-call" about some upcoming meeting or event. But that's about it. Personal calls for my wife or son go to their respective cell phones. Nobody wants to talk to me.

As with all hard and fast rules, however, there is an exception: If I put on a program that I would like to watch, I will receive a phone call.

And, thus, when Youngest Son answered the phone last night, he promptly announced, "It's Oldest Son, Dad, and he wants to talk to you."

(My kids don't necessarily call my cell phone because I turn it off at every opportunity.)

Resigned, I picked up the kitchen phone.

"No, we haven't seen the priest yet," I began, hoping to shortcut the proceedings. "I've been sick, you know, and now your mother is."

For some reason, I am the person in our house to whom Oldest Son has decided all wedding-related information must be directed. Long Suffering Spouse is truly interested and therefore asks all sorts of questions. I don't ask any questions. I suppose that's why the kid wants to talk to me. He doesn't have any answers: He takes direction from his fiance and compiles a list and executes said list. Take him off the script and he's lost.

Anyway, we chatted for awhile about the pre-Cana arrangements. Because the wedding will be in Texas but the bride and groom are here, the pre-Cana can be done here, too. Because we are Catholic there are forms to be completed at every stage of the process. I know I've said this before, but the requirement of forms and paperwork on all occasions is further proof, if proof were really required, that Holy Mother Church inherited the bureaucratic mindset of the temporal Roman Empire. Did you know that Julius Caesar was Pontifex Maximus in his time? This is a title used to refer to Popes (although, Wikipedia says, while the title has been used in various "inscriptions referring to the Popes, it has never been included in the official list of papal titles published in the Annuario Pontificio, which instead includes 'Supreme Pontiff of the whole Church' [in Latin, Summus Pontifex Ecclesiae Universalis] as the fourth official title, the first being 'Bishop of Rome.'")

But I seem to be digressing.

Anyway, the status of the hotel and rehearsal dinner were also on Oldest Son's list. He hasn't picked a hotel yet. He had some helpful advice about buying airline tickets. And, he said, the place where he and his fiance hoped to have the rehearsal dinner would not be available. The rehearsal at the church would end too late, he told me, to make the last available time for use of that restaurant's banquet room.

He was explaining all this to me because, as father of the groom, I am expected to front the cost of that meal. Never having been to San Antonio I have to rely on my son to pick out a reasonable place. Still, I was willing to venture a couple of suggestions: "I suppose White Castle is out of the question?"

"Yes," he said, without even finding the need to refer that suggestion back to his fiance.

"Golden Corral might be nice."

"No." Oldest Son laughed. "Don't worry, Dad, we'll be reasonable."

By the time we covered all the items on his list, I'd missed the first half of my show. Thus, every hard and fast rule has its exception... and its price to be paid.


Chris said...

I can still remember the days of only 3 channels in the UK, and I'm sure there was more to watch than today when we too have several hundred....

Dave said...

Shouldn't you have been reading the book when you were composing this text?

Dave said...

Post, not text.