No, I don’t mean here, on my sofa, in my living room, but here.. this point of my life. The here, now and what was I thinking? I’m forty- three, perhaps the last time I’ll admit to age. I’m a part time college student, full time wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt. Temporarily laid off from my job of thirteen years and now working part time at the university I am attending. My mother and father in law live in my home. For the most part, it’s nice. Everyone should keep a few old people around , treat them well and take full advantage of the opportunity to point to your own teen and say “See, mother is so kind, caring and patient with the seniors.” Hoping that as you age, your child will remember to be kind to you.
Damn it, did I give her that twenty dollars she asked for? I can see her now, when I’m ninety years old and in need of a diaper change, she’ll stand over me , all knowing and say “ Yep, I remember needing something once, remember, Mother? I asked for twenty dollars but you made me wait for two days. I wonder if now would be a good time to let you know what it’s like to wait.” All the while, swearing under your breathe as you wipe today’s coffee stains from the front of the new, WHITE kitchen cabinets that your father in law has, like clockwork, spilled and not noticed. I fully believe he does this on purpose then laughs , thinking “ Ha! I waited all of my life to reach this stage.” Like the family dog who can fart and not care, the father in law will spill coffee, leave a coffee and crumb trail to wherever he has gone. Sometimes I leave it so that my husband, his son, can enjoy it too. Why not, he should enjoy it too, right? Only he is not patient like me. It’s kind of funny because he is often caught talking to inanimate objects throughout the house.
This, in turn, provides my daughter and I much entertainment. Yes, we sit in the other room, listening to him rant on , talking to himself and we laugh, out loud. I guess , in reality, my father in law can be in charge of entertainment. He needs a job, a title because right now, he does nothing. He watches the neighbors, he can tell you who’s doing what, with whom and when. Oh , really, it’s quite amusing to watch him go from room to room, peering as if he can’t be seen, peaking out a window here, a door there, then reporting back. I humor him, asking sarcastically if there are any affairs going on and if he would let me know of any good prospects for me. Funny, that blank stare he gives me, you would think he would get me by now.
Mother on the other hand is hysterical. How else can one describe a woman who was raised strict, Irish Catholic , raised five daughters and is still often clueless about things in life. There are so many things we have had to undo over the years and still, she reverts back to her conditioning. It is kind of funny though when she gets her dander up (does anyone even say that anymore?) She is nonconfrontational but watch out when she is on her soap box. She will tell you what she would do if given the opportunity, making damn sure she never gets that opportunity. I have been told that I am an excellent cook. I look at it as survival. I had to learn, otherwise I would have starved. Mother was not the best of cooks. She prepared things that resembled food yet tasted so not like food. Don’t get me wrong, I love this woman and I realize she did the best she could. She had to put meals on the table for a family of seven. I just wonder why she couldn’t get a little creative. Meat and potatoes , seven nights a week, fifty two weeks a year. To this day, I can’t look at a mashed potato. Really, I had enough to last several lifetimes.Have you ever tried to choke down chicken that has been cooked an hour longer than it should have? It’s not pleasant, really. She was of the reasoning “ chicken and pork must be cooked very good or you will get food poisoning.”
For years I thought chicken was supposed to taste like sawdust. Sure, she served cranberry sauce with it. She had to, otherwise we all would have died, not from food poisoning though, we would have been unable to clear it from our throats.I got wise though. I used to hide her recipes for the dishes that I would rather die than eat. Yes, she used recipes, not that you could really mess up her meals, it’s not as if we would notice anyway. We’ll share more of her , later.