Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day weekend with the Curmudgeon clan -- Part I

Long Suffering Spouse and I made it to 7:00 a.m. Mass as usual yesterday.

As usual, we weren't there until 7:10.

What was unusual is that we were joined by Younger Daughter, Olaf and the Baby to Be Named Later. They made it by 7:15 or so, comfortably ahead of the drop-dead deadline the nuns used to tell us about. If you didn't make it to Mass before the beginning of the Offertory, the nuns told us, you had not fulfilled your Sunday obligation. It was only later that I made the connection between the passing of the basket and the deadline. But I wasn't always this cynical.

I'm sure Younger Daughter wanted to go to Mass to make her mother happy. And, this year, she and her mother could both step up at the end of Mass for a special blessing -- and they did. But I knew the real reason why they were there: The baby's gums had her awake before 6:00 a.m.

Youngest Son wasn't at Mass. I'd picked him up the day before. I was at his South Janesville College (that's what I call it) frat house only an hour or two later than I'd hoped. With all that extra time, much of Youngest Son's packing actually was done. In the time honored tradition of college students everywhere, he planned on coming home and going to sleep for about a week. There was a detour, however, which I'll explain in a future installment.

Long Suffering Spouse usually comes with me when we pick up the boy from school. On Saturday, she did not.

Older Daughter decided to visit Friday and Saturday. She and Hank and Cork the dog all arrived in time for dinner Friday evening.

I had tried to talk Older Daughter out of bringing the dog.

"But Mom loves the dog," Older Daughter protested. "Oh, yes, she does," I agreed -- remembering Long Suffering Spouse's exact words... Oh no, she's going to bring the dog, isn't she? He'll get hair everywhere, and we have to pick up everything. And he'll slobber all over the baby stuff. Oh, I like the dog, but can't they leave that it somewhere just this once?

As it turned out, they couldn't leave the dog with their in-laws as they've had to do on occasions when they've visited someone other than us: It seems that the last time Cork was at the in-laws' house, he destroyed their swimming pool cover skittering across it. The new pool cover was being delivered Saturday. The in-laws wanted it to remain intact for more than a day.

I should have been in better shape for this weekend's ordeal. After all, I took Friday off to babysit. Older Daughter had to see a GI-doc for a problem and she went to the same doctor who removed the better part of my colon six years hence. When she recounted the family history of colon cancer in our family (in which cancer does not just run, it fairly gallops), the doctor insisted she have a colonoscopy. That was Friday's entertainment.

Long Suffering Spouse was not happy about the test, either. "She's too young," she said. I wasn't much older than that when I had my first problem, I reminded her.

As it turned out, Younger Daughter did have one small polyp -- in an area of the colon where I eventually grew them by the bushel -- and if you thought Long Suffering Spouse was unhappy before the test, you should have seen her after. "I went through this with you," she told me, "but I never thought I'd have to go through this with my own children."

I wouldn't have guessed Younger Daughter would have a problem. If I had to make a guess, Oldest Son would be my most likely candidate. He drinks coffee by the gallon, just like I used to do; he works in a sedentary job, like I've done my whole life (he's a computer consultant, but it still involves sitting); and he eats junk food at odd hours, just like I used to before I got married. He's married now nearly three years, but Abby works long hours, too. Neither of them cook. Of course, he steadfastly refuses to be tested -- but I made a pitch to Abby this weekend. He may be in for a surprise. I hope so.

And Long Suffering Spouse had a miserable week at work, too.

No, it was good that Long Suffering Spouse did not make the road trip with me to South Janesville College. She wound up at the store instead with her daughters -- Younger Daughter was still pretty rocky from her test, but she did the best she could.

Hank and Older Daughter had to be back in Indianapolis for Sunday services -- Hank sings, you'll remember; that's his side job -- and if Long Suffering Spouse had come with me she'd have spent virtually no time at all with Older Daughter.

"Does that mean they'll be gone when I get back?" Youngest Son asked me as we started the homeward journey early Saturday afternoon. There was a hopeful note in his voice, which should not be taken as any sort of dislike of his sister. It's just that she had noted pictures of Youngest Son and a girl on Facebook in various poses at each other's respective spring formals (fraternities and sororities do these things, I'm told) and, in prior conversations, she had vowed to wheedle out of him information sufficient for her to decide whether this was a serious relationship.

Who wants to come home to an inquisition?

Hank and Older Daughter finally left Saturday night. Long Suffering Spouse and I weren't there. That's one of the tales I'll spin out of this vortex of activity this week. The other involves Cork, the dog.

But, for now, we'll conclude in the vestibule of the church after Mass. One of the ladies of the parish, an acquaintance of Abuela's, was among the many selling carnations to support the Parish Pro-Life Committee. Long Suffering Spouse directed me to buy a bouquet that she promptly gave to Younger Daughter. "So," said the lady to my wife, "what is your family doing for you this Mother's Day?"

"They're all coming to visit," said Long Suffering Spouse, muttering "I think" under her breath, just loud enough for me to hear. (At this point, we'd heard nothing from either Oldest Son or Middle Son about any possible visits.)

"And they'll want you to feed them, of course," said the lady. It was not a question.

"As usual," agreed Long Suffering Spouse.

Mother's Day always falls on a Sunday, of course, and whoever is coming over, whenever they come, the laundry still must be done, the grass cut, and week's groceries procured. Long Suffering Spouse headed out to the store while I started the washer and the lawnmower. While I was finishing up the lawn, Long Suffering Spouse was unpacking the groceries and trying to pack Younger Daughter for a trip to her in-laws. When I came in, Long Suffering Spouse was wrapping a present for Younger Daughter's mother-in-law. "I must be doing something wrong," she said. "I had to go with her to the store to get this; now I have to wrap it, too." I looked at the mountain of stuff that had been prepared for the journey to the land of the in-laws (it was a family party with all the great-aunts and uncles in attendance) and I went outside to see how Olaf was doing packing the U-Haul trailer. "What U-Haul trailer?" he asked. "We have to fit this in the car somehow." And, somehow, they did....

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

ahhh, holidays.

smiles, bee