Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day at the Curmudgeon Manse

There are certain things that must be done every Sunday: Time must be found for Mass (lately, we've found that 7:00a.m. works best for us... even if we don't always get there much before 7:15) and the laundry. I started in on the laundry after church, and while Long Suffering Spouse and Younger Daughter went to the grocery, I resumed work on the appellate brief that I've been working on more or less constantly now for the last six weeks. (I just sent off a publishable draft -- but several sets of eyes must yet review and sign off on the document before it is filed. I anticipate there will be some additional changes requested but I'm hoping there will be no major rewriting required.)

I wasn't quite done with what I needed to do to the brief yesterday when Long Suffering Spouse got back. It wasn't because of interruptions, mind you, it's because polishing takes time. I stopped to hang out the laundry as each load finished, but the mental wheels continued to turn while I was out in the backyard. I had two phone calls -- Abuela called to wish me and Olaf both a Happy Father's Day. (Olaf was out, too, shopping for a card for his dad. I had the baby monitor. The baby-to-be-named-later was cooperating beautifully by taking an extended nap. In the family, everyone must do their bit.) Older Daughter also called to wish me a Happy Father's Day -- and to ask if I'd seen the email she'd sent. I had. She'd sent a picture from last summer, from Younger Daughter's rehearsal dinner. It was a picture of just the two of us, but I was thoroughly photographed out by that point in the evening, so I contorted my face as gruesomely as I could. "You're lucky I didn't post that to Facebook," Older Daughter said. "Oh, I agree," I said, and the pleasantries soon thereafter concluded and I went back to work.

I had reason to believe Oldest Son and Abby might come over, and Middle Son and Margaret, too. I'd been told that Younger Daughter had invited them for a barbecue, but I hadn't been informed when the festivities were scheduled to commence. I was guessing they have been planning to start a little later since I knew Younger Daughter and Olaf were going to the nursing home with Olaf's parents and his aunts and uncles to visit Olaf's grandparents. One of them knows they are there. The other? Well, this was presumably his last Father's Day here... only he hasn't been here for some time.

I'm not one of those who measures how much time a young couple spends with his family vs. her family. I remember how difficult it was for Long Suffering Spouse and me, back in the day. And I sure can't complain when Olaf and Younger Daughter visit his family -- after all, they're still under my roof. It does bother me some how hard it is to get Olaf and the baby and Younger Daughter out of the house -- but it was hard for us when we had only one child as well. When you have a small army of kids to move you just herd them to the car and go. When you have only a baby, however, there's luggage. Lots of luggage. And checklists that would do NASA proud. Checklists about luggage.

As Long Suffering Spouse put away the last of the groceries and we both tried to shoo Younger Daughter and her family out of the house, Older Daughter called again, this time to wish Olaf and me a Happy Father's Day. "We did this," I protested, as I filled up the cooler with the ice Long Suffering Spouse had bought at the store. (My mistake. I was supposed to put the beer in first.) But Older Daughter's call didn't delay her sister's departure by that much (and, after Long Suffering Spouse chewed me out, Olaf put the beer in).

So far, so good. I didn't look at the clock, but I'm certain that Younger Daughter et al. began the half hour drive to the nursing home easily five and maybe even 10 minutes before their scheduled 1:00 arrival. Just before their departure, though, I finally got the answer to my question about when Younger Daughter's older brothers might be expected. They were supposed to arrive at 2:00. You need no particular computational skills to figure out, from this, that, not only had Younger Daughter invited people over to my house without telling me about it (except as an afterthought), she had planned for them to be present at a time when she would be absent.

I was genuinely confused about this -- and so was Middle Son when he showed up with Margaret just before 2:30. His first question was "where's my sister?" By this point, Youngest Son had already fired up the grill out in the front driveway. The week's laundry was still fluttering in the breeze in the backyard. In general, there is a fragrance from line-dried clothes that's just cleaner and fresher-smelling than anything you get from stinky paper sheets placed in the dryer. But there is an exception to this general rule: Clothes hung out on the line when people are barbecuing nearby tend to smell like smoke. People come up to you on the street and sniff and ask if you've been in a fire.

I hauled down the clothes in a hurry. They were very nearly dry, anyway.

Oldest Son and Abby showed up not too long after with their dog Rodent. Oldest Son brought brats to grill; Abby brought some hard cider that she planned to share with Younger Daughter. But Younger Daughter wasn't there to share.

Long Suffering Spouse busied herself in the kitchen readying chickens and hamburgers (two kinds) and hot dogs and shish kebabs and sweet corn and a couple of different salads.... Later I asked her if maybe half as many dishes might have been adequate. "Well," she said, "not everybody likes everything."

But it all worked out well. Middle Son kept refilling my glass. I kept emptying it. Older Daughter called -- again -- to wish me a Happy Father's Day. I made a snappish response. Hank, in the background, told me to stop whining and have a Happy Father's Day. I muttered something, and so did he, and neither one would repeat what we'd said. It was just as well. "Who are we showing off for?" Older Daughter wanted to know. "No one," I said, "no one's here at all," whereupon Long Suffering Spouse, who was swooping by putting something down or taking something away contradicted me, loud enough for Older Daughter to hear: "Your brothers are here and Abby and Margaret and your father is being difficult as usual" -- and there was general agreement on this last point.

And the party kept going. Abuela came over (Middle Son invited her) and promptly informed us of her views about the U.S. Open and the pending NBA Finals game. (She'd been "rooting for Mickelson." She'd been taping the program at home, but she stayed with us to watch poor Mr. Mickelson fall short once again. Abby is a San Antonio native and she and Abuela were in wholehearted accord about who should win the NBA crown.) Long Suffering Spouse eventually accepted both a chair and a margarita. Younger Daughter texted me and said they were on their way back. Middle Son said, thanks for the warning. I texted this back to Younger Daughter (who responded "ha!"), then I got up to fill his glass this time (and my own).

The party went on for a while after Olaf and the baby and Younger Daughter finally arrived. But the baby was running out of steam -- she'd seen a lot of faces in one day -- and Oldest Son and Middle Son were both tired when they arrived. (Some of their wounds were self-inflicted, but both have been working hard of late.) Abuela went home first, then Oldest Son and Abby (Abby wanted to watch the NBA Finals game at home). Middle Son and Margaret held out a little while longer, but they had to go, too.

I put on a movie I thought appropriate to the occasion (Life With Father) and, although I had to do a tour of duty in the kitchen, I got to watch most of it. Olaf couldn't quite make it to the end; he fell asleep. The baby was too wired to sleep. It was after 9:00 and she looked like she was exhausted but she wasn't about to fall asleep no matter how her mother rocked her. Long Suffering Spouse and I suggested that Younger Daughter try putting the baby in her own crib. She'd go under, we told her. She tried (and it worked). She came back to drag Olaf to bed.

The phone rang.

You guessed it: It was Older Daughter, wanting to find out if I'd had a Happy Father's Day. Long Suffering Spouse talked to her for awhile (mostly reminding her that it was after 10:00 in Indianapolis -- important because Older Daughter has to be at work at 5:30 a.m. these days). I put on the news and fell instantly asleep.

1 comment:

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

it appears your day was much more exciting than mine. happy belated fd curmy...

smiles, bee