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Monday, August 04, 2008

Follow my lead or maybe hers?

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t annoy me, but other people’s habits are just as ingrained as my own.

I don’t know how you get along with your mother in law but there are some fairly standard stereotypes associated with this relationship. Personally, I am greatly in favour of RDI. Not the RDI of autism but rather the RDI of Relative:Divorce Index, for those of us in the know. It’s just another one of those challenges that we have to tackle.

Part of my weekly routine is to dead head the roses on a Sunday morning, before it’s too hot and before we go ‘out.’ What with “one" thing and "another," my routine is off and petals brown on the bushes. It happens annually around this time of year, when the house is "full" and we slip into "holiday time."

During holiday time, it is Nonna’s routine to wander the garden in the early morning dew, during the breakfast mayhem indoors. As she walks, she snaps off the dead heads with her bare hands and drops them on the ground.

Inside we tackle each tortuous stage of our morning routine but out of the corner of my eye, I see those thorny dead heads amass, all ready to snare the unwary. The garden and "outside" generally, is already, and always has been, a challenge for the boys. The de-sensitization campaign is “ongoing." Currently his list of deadly weapons includes not only all things that could be termed ‘sharp’ but also a very wide range of rough textures. I know that later I shall have to test my own visual acuity to hunt down each and every one of those prickly spars, if I ever hope to have dinner outside.

I have no time to hunt as every minute of the day is already accounted for.


Once breakfast is over, I combine clear up with supper preparation. I know that consumption of stuffed tomatoes is overly optimistic, but the food campaign is relentless. I leave them on the counter to come up to room temperature, ready to top, de-seed and assemble. Whatever happened to 'life is too short to peel a grape' or is it 'stuff an olive'?

In the heat of the season this doesn’t take long and all cooking must be completed prior to my own "meltdown."

The loose summer routine of summer days ticks forward. In between whiles I zip into the garden to scatter slug pellets with one hand and gather thorny twigs with the other. The plan is to zip for a few minutes in every one hour. 10 hours, ten handfuls and lots of "hand washing" until dinner.

We spend a considerable amount of time in the pool to decompress, cool off, therapize and fun. Lucky, lucky us.

As usual, I find that all of them are infinitely more coherent thereafter, calm, happy and on full beam.

“Hey Mom!”
“Yes dear,” I reply, not looking as I rub down his big brother with a huge sun crisped towel.
“Hey Mom!” he persists good naturedly. I look up. He stands next to the arbor in an ‘I’m a little tea pot’ pose. At the end of his spout is a perfect pincer grip, poised mid air. Across his face is a perfect cherubic grin. He reaches in towards the branch as I watch captivated, takes careful hold and snaps off a huge, woody thorn. I cannot read my own facial expression but it’s enough to send him scampering towards me with one outstretched rigid arm. He brakes in front of me as I’m kneeling. He lifts it to my nose for closer examination. I see his eye balls cross in concentration with his hot breath wafting over my face, a thorn between two buds. “You my son are the very bravest one!” I beam and break the spell.

He skips off with his prize as I hobble inside with his brother and his jelly legs wrapped up burrito style. I park him on the hardwood floor, vertical, feet end down as he wobbles to gain his balance. I lean on the kitchen counter and wait. His gyro kicks in and the towel is kicked off as he escapes. As I look down I notice a tomatoe is missing. I look across to the table, to Nonna enjoying a diabetic snack, “they’re very good these, did you know?”

I pout.

I think.

Maybe, if I am very lucky I will be granted the chance to visit my own married son, in the future. Perhaps in a foreign land. I might have brief glimpses of him during his very busy life. I will remain at home all day, every day with my daughter in law for two months solid.

I hope she's not a pouty little Madam? That would be so annoying.

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