I've felt less like a sandwich this past week. My kids are in British Columbia with their father, his wife and their little half-sister Ray. Lulu the dog stayed in Kookytown.
They are having a great time, at Whistler for some Olympic event viewing, and skiing at Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains.
So, with the younger generation gone, we're a little less busy, but just as kooky, I'd say.
My mother: "I need to talk to you about how rude Kathleen's been to me." (said as I walk in the door after work. Why always right after I come home from work?)
She: "Well of course, she's rude because she follows your lead. She heard you insulting me last week, and now she thinks she can get away with it."
She: "Don't pretend to be surprised. You told me I was vain and that I always get so mad and stay mad for a long time. She heard you. Then she told me in the coldest voice to get out of her room and shut the door."
She: "Oh ho! (sly smile, nodding head). So you don't like to be reminded of your behavior, eh?"
Sally was quite pleased with herself at that last jab, I could tell.
Me: "Mom, stop it. You know none of this happened. I never said those things to you. Kathleen is always nice to you. She never said anything like that to you."
Sally: "Oh ho! Well, you can't deny it. Anthony and Alex were right there. They heard everything. Ask them."
Me: "I don't have to ask them. You may have dreamed this, mom. But believe me it didn't actually occur."
That made her mad.
Sally: "Well, we'll just ask Anthony when he gets home. And we'll ask Alexander."
Me: (feeling dreadfully tired at this point) "Alex is at the Olympics, you can't ask him. The kids have been gone all week, remember? And don't you dare bother Anthony with this when he gets home. Don't say a word to him."
Of course, you know what happened.
Anthony walked in the door at 6pm and there were two crazy women staring at him. My mother'd been nattering at me for the whole preceding hour, poking me with her bony fingers, insisting that Kathleen needed to be "punished," and generally making it impossible for me to cook dinner.
By the time Anthony got home, I was as demented as she is.
She: "Anthony! Do you remember last week when Delia got all mad at me and said I was vain? and I turned to you, you were right beside me, and I asked you, 'What set that off?'"
She: "Tell Delia. And remember Kathleen and Alex were playing their guitars and singing and then Kathleen told me to get out and shut the door?"
She: "And her voice was cold like ice?"
Anthony's eyes were as round as ping-pong balls by now.
Me: "She's been going on like this since I came home. This is insane."
He: "Er, heh, heh, (giggle), so, like, what's for dinner?"
She: "You tell her Anthony!"
Me: "Will you please tell her this never happened?"
Big, long pause.
Anthony: "Mrglmphh, er, um, er. HAHAHAHA!!!!"
Anthony: "Well, um, er Sally, Kathleen likes you."
Her: "You tell her! Tell Delia she called me vain!"
Me: "This is insane."
Anthony: "Well, um, er, hehehehe. I...I..........."
Anthony: "Erggghh. Giggle. I DON'T REMEMBER."
With that, he fled. Can you blame him?
He didn't get far though. Our house isn't so big that you can really hide, not very well anyway.
The argument dragged on all evening, interminably long and becoming furiouser and furiouser. I was enraged that my mother was making stupid, false accusations. Kathleen is so kind and patient with Sally, it would make you cry to see it. And here was my mother, getting her (immense) knickers in a knot, thinking hateful thoughts about my daughter. And about me.
Anthony tucked himself into bed by 9:30, anything to get away from the wrangling and arguing.
Half-an-hour later, she actually demanded I get him up, insisting that he'd witnessed the whole sordid affair, and that he needed to tell me I'd said those things, that Kathleen had said those things, that he was sitting just so when it was all said, and that she was standing at this particular spot when the terrible words were uttered, and blah, blah, blah-de-blah.
He came stumbling down the stairs, house-coat wrapped crookedly around his tired frame.
He: "Sally. Here's the thing. Even if Kathleen said those things, and I don't think she did, SO WHAT?"
Sally: (eyes bugging out) "So what? SO WHAT?! Well, my feelings are hurt! She needs to be told..."
He: "Sally! Kathleen is so nice to you! She's a little girl! Even if she had said anything like you think she did, well, maybe you should just ignore it! Because she's a little girl, and kids are kids, and WHO CARES?"
She: "Well. I don't know."
My mother was confused. Anthony's refusal to back her up unequivocably was unsettling to her. She wasn't perturbed that I, her daughter, had disagreed with her all evening. After all, I am an evil female, a liar, the selfish daughter who'd bad-mouthed her in front of her grand-daughter.
But Anthony holds different status. He's a man. And if a man tells you something, it's worth considering. Perhaps it was a dream? Maybe it didn't happen after all?
A couple of days have passed since that night. My mother's been relatively quiet and I've avoided her at all costs. But I'm worried.
Because Alexander also holds different status.
So I'm very worried that in a few days, when my children get back from their Olympic adventure, all full of the spirit of sport, and youth, and good times and fun, that she'll start up again. I'm afraid she'll button-hole Alex (as she's done in the past on other issues, which is why he now hides in his bedroom much of the time, to avoid her) and drag out the whole sorry tale, and insist that Alex tell everyone JUST HOW RUDE KATHLEEN IS. And JUST HOW RUDE I AM.
What should I do? She's becoming less and less stable.
And she lives with us. Here with my kids. I hope she leaves them alone.