Monday, November 28, 2011

The Ability to Keep a Straight Face...

...is essential, around this household.

Well, I'll make this short and sweet acerbic.

After a couple of nights back in her good, old bed, Sally emerged from her bedroom and announced that her back was killing her.

This, accompanied by much twisting of facial muscles and pursing of lips. You know, to show me just how much that old back was hurting.

I kept the aforementioned straight face, looked puzzled, and told her that was impossible.

"Your back was sore, Mom, because you were 'suffering' on the single bed. You told us that countless times."

She looked dumbfounded.

"So, now that you have your old bed back, your back must be great, right?"

I have to give it to her. She is shameless and unabashed, even when caught in the most bald-faced of lies.

She: "Oh no." This said cool as a cucumber.

"My back get sore because I have a deteriorating disc. It has nothing to do with the bed."

And with that, off she flounced.

Unbelievable.

We're just waiting now. Waiting for the inevitable request to get that big honking bed the hell out of her room.

Once again.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The. Bed. AGAIN.

You know it.

She, Sally, got on me about the bed again. It's freaky.

Anyway, she's getting what she wants. We are moving her old bed back into her room. It will be too big, and she won't like it, again. But it ain't coming out. Not this time, baby.

We told her that. She (just like the last time) insisted she will want to keep the bed in there.

But she won't. I know she won't. It's too big. And I'm basing my expectation of her reaction on experience here, as you know. She'll change her mind, just like the last time, and the time before, and God only knows how many times before that, and crook her finger and want us to move it back out. Again.

Not happening. Tomorrow, I will go out and buy my daughter a new bed, so my mother can have her old one back. So Sal has to keep the bed. Once Kathleen's new bed arrives, there'll be nowhere for my mother's old bed to go, if she doesn't want to keep it in her room. Except maybe out in the trash...

This is going to get interesting.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remembering Major Martin

I tried to post on Remembrance Day but other stuff intervened. But no matter. I'll say it now.

This is a picture of my father, Alexander Martin. It was taken somewhere in England, between 1940-5. He fought with the Calgary Highlanders through Europe during World War II.

As is chronicled in Battalion of Heroes, by historian David Bercuson, my father saw a lot of heavy action with the Highlanders:

"As Ellis's men poked out of the woods about 300 metres south of the Hoogerheide crossroads, the 12th Platoon, leading the company, came under heavy fire from a strong German machine gun position located atop a slight rise in the middle of a field. The entire company was forced to halt as platoon leader Lieutenant Alexander Keller worked out a plan with the tank troop commander to have the tanks shoot his men on to the position. The tanks deployed, then opened fire, forcing the German machine gunners to take cover. Keller then stood up, said a terse, "follow me," and began to walk straight towards the German guns. After "a short and startled pause," his platoon followed. As they approached the position, the tanks ceased firing. The Highlanders scrambled atop the mound taking sixteen prisoners and capturing eight MG42 machine guns and a number of submachine guns and rifles. Keller was awarded a Military Cross for this act to add to a Military Medal he had already received for bravery at Dieppe." (p. 161-2)

Other parts of the book describe my father in such frightening situations, I have trouble reading them. The story of what he and his platoon went through fighting on the front, taking the town of Wyler, in Germany, makes me feel ill with fear. Just words on a page can do that. Imagine actually being there?

Anyway, my father ended the war as a Major. He died in 1978, when I was 17. He never, ever talked to me (or anyone, as far as I know) about what happened to him during the war. It does seem a long time ago, now. I can't remember what his voice sounded like.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Carrots in the Cupboard, and Other Silliness

I found a bag of carrots tucked into a kitchen cupboard today.

The cupboard in question is not one I often open, so I'm darn glad I found that bag before it started turning into a science experiment gone bad.

I know what happened. Yesterday, my mother peeled a couple of carrots for our dinner. Then she put the bag into the cupboard, instead of returning it to the fridge. Why that particular cupboard, or any cupboard at all, we'll never know.

It reminds me of an episode with Anthony's mother (now safely abiding in the "retirement" residence, thank God) that occurred a couple of years ago.

Anthony had dropped in on Doris, and detected an almighty unpleasant odour in her house. After some searching, he detected the source of the stench.

Doris had deposited a cod in the cupboard. Naturally, a cod in the cupboard will start to smell, and smell BAD, in just about no time. Yet she hadn't noticed anything amiss.

Neither, for that matter, had dear brother John, who was freeloading off her at that time.

So, Carrots and Cod, all in the Cupboards. Sounds like a good ol' Maritime song, if you ask me.

Or maybe it's just the sign of neurons backfiring, way off in the depths of certain brains..........

Friday, November 4, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

Here are two fun things:

(1) Girl With a Flask, over at Martinis for Breakfast (Isn't that the best blog name ever? Not to mention a perfect lifestyle?) has vowed to blog every day during November. I wish I could make the same promise, but wisely, won't. Still, it will be fun reading her recipes and witty observations about life and drinking, every day this month :)

(2) We have a dog! She's a black standard poodle and her name is Pepper. At about 13 weeks of age, she can outrun all of us except for Alex, who keeps her going in circles in the backyard when he's playing with her. And that's a good thing...13-week-old puppies sure have lots of energy! I promise to write all about the adventures of Pepper, whenever I'm not writing complaints about my mother ;) Here she is:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Not Again!!!???

My mother suddenly and with no warning announced she wants her bed back.

She did this two evenings ago, as I was preparing dinner. Her tone was not very nice.

She: "Delia, I have to have my bed back. I've been suffering horribly ever since you took it away."

My internal response was to shrivel up and writhe in pain. Externally, I tried very hard to show nothing.

Every few months we go through this. The last time she brought it up, she was jealous I'd bought a nice bed frame for my daughter. At that time, I told her I'd happily buy her  a new single mattress of her choice, but that she couldn't have her old mattress back because it doesn't fit in her room.

She agreed, but then the next day, told me she didn't need a new bed. This is the way the conversation goes, every single time she brings it up, which has been dozens of times in the last three years.

The time before that, she did the same thing. She has fits about needing her bed back. The bed that I "took away from her." The bed that is "my life," as she creepily put it, once.

Then, when I tell her her old bed won't fit into her room, but that we can buy her the best new mattress in the whole darn world, she backs off and refuses the new mattress option.

I have no idea what is going on in her itsy, bitsy, deranged, angry brain, but it's driving me to distraction.

So what did I do this time? I offered exactly the same option. I told her she'd been here for almost three years now. That her bed is fine, but that every once in awhile, her back aches because the lower discs are degenerating. This is what her doctor has told us. I added that  we would be pleased to buy a new mattress for her.

She denied she's lived here for three years.

And then she snarled at me. Literally. Her lip curled and a demonic sound came out of her mouth. Of course, no one else was around to witness this. She is WAY too smart to act like that in front of Anthony.

I avoided her the entire next day. This was the only thing I could do to get her off my back. Besides, she is scaring me with this nonsense.

But I'm stuck. I know it will come up again. And again. And again.

Here's the thing:  when she moved here three years ago, we squeezed her bed into her room. That was at her demand, even though it was obviously too large for the room.

Two days later, she insisted Anthony haul it out and replace it with a single bed. He did. "My bed is too big for this room," she pronounced. Really? Just like we told you?

Three days later, she demanded we put her bigger bed back into the room. That's when she made the "my bed is my life" comment. Shudder.

And he did. Poor long-suffering Anthony. Of course,you know what happened then. Two days later, she gave Anthony a simpering smile, admitting that we were correct in that the bed was too big for the room.

"I can't even open my dresser, Anthony!" she mooed. Oh, really.

And she asked him to switch everything around again. Which he obligingly did, albeit with gritted teeth.

So we're not doing it again.  If we move her bed back into her room, it will still be too large. She will still not be able to open her dresser, or fit around the bed to get at her bedside table. And then, she will ask us to switch it back again.

So what's the problem, you ask? Just refuse to switch it back, right?

Ah my poor, innocent readers. How little you understand Sally's abilities to drive one insane with her persistent, simpering, demanding whining.

So we are stuck in a mobius strip of dilemma. Over and over, the bed issue will arise. Any attempts to deal with it will fail.

I am scared. Very, very scared.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

We've Gone to the Dogs

Clearly, I am frazzled. You can tell by the fact that I never post anything anymore.

Here's my top ten of what's happened in the last two months, just to update you really, really quickly:

(1) my mother returned to live with us after our summer holidays.
(2) August ended, kids got back to school, we all got used to living together again. Not a particularly pretty process, but we did it, and no one died.
(3) one day, Anthony's uncle called to say that he'd discovered Doris, Anthony's mother,  had invited a homeless man to live in her house. Said guy, no longer homeless, was sleeping in her bed, while poor, demented Doris was snoozing on the couch. Uncle took pix of the two of them taking tea from the Royal Doulton china set.
(4) Uncle took Doris off to The Labrador for what was undoubtedly her last family reunion there. While visiting, he had to lock her in her room at night to keep her from wandering out the door and into the sea.
(5) Creepy brother John kept calling Anthony to ask how to get homeless guy out of the house.
(6) After John failed to evict homeless guy, Anthony and I had to attend. We tried asking him nicely to leave, and when that failed, we then called the police to help us remove the squatter. The guy was not happy. Anthony and I spent all weekend cleaning the remains from the the house and yard trashing that had occurred due to homeless man's indelicate habits. I was not happy.
(7) Upon return from The Labrador, Uncle and Anthony deposited Doris safely in a locked Alzheimer's ward at a private facility, where she will finally be safe and well-fed. Turned out the family reunion was the only way they were able to shoe-horn Doris out of her ramshackle house, so there is a silver lining, I guess.
(8) While all this went on, we decided to buy a puppy.
(9) What the hell was I thinking?
(10) the kids' schedules are insane: drama classes, Ultimate (frisbee, I call it) practices, piano and voice lessons, and endless piles of homework. On top of it all, a peeing, yowling, frisky, chewy, nippy, barky, high-energy puppy has now taken over the house.

What the hell was I thinking?