23 May, 2018

THE wedding - and opinions by some Brits

23 May 2018
908

R. Linda:

Okay I wasn't going to write about the Prince Harry, Meghan Markle wedding, but after being forced to watch most of it by the ladies of the house, I couldn't just stay silent.

To get the clothing choices out of the way first. The dress was largely discussed through the whole of the viewing by the women of me house. I was probably the only person in the world who wasn't surprised by THE dress. I thought like Kate's dress, the one Ms. Markle wore was a reflection on her tastes and I expected it would be the boat-necked sheath she wore, so chalk one up for me! And I thought she looked fabulous in it and of course the expensive bracelet, tiara and earrings not to mention the ring, all set the look off fabulously. I do not know what me wife, mother and mother-in-law expected, maybe a Cinderella special, I dunno.

Speaking of Cinderella, Ms. Markle's be close to that, after all she has a brother and sister who make great wicked stepsisters and I don't know what her father be about, but to do what he did when it was probably the biggest day of her life, I thought just awful. If he really be sick I feel sorry he wasn't able to make her day but the picture taking . . . why wasn't he thinking?

Courtesy Getty Images - Town and Country Magazine
This morning at a British breakfast we ex-pats have every month there was much discussion on the wedding. I must say the Americans I know were thrilled to the back teeth with the whole day. I can't say that about the British.

A few of me friends from Cornwall, had this to say:

"You know most Americans don't know how the British monarchy works. It is filled with institutional and traditional rules that have lasted and been practised for centuries. To me the wedding was more American than British and I did wonder if Ms. Markle was cognisant of the traditions of a royal wedding and decided rubbish with that, or just ignorant how her twist could make Harry look a fool in front of his Granny. I be sure the Queen knew of all this and approved it but I think as everyone has said already, she did it for Harry's sake because she loves him, and he went along with it because he be in love with Meghan and wanted her to have her day."

"True, but the Queen might have seen it all on paper without truly knowing what it would be like live.  What you see planned out when put into motion can be not what one thought it would be.  Just the look on every Brits face was like they were taken aback by it all. I say."

A woman from the Cotswold's said:

"Well, that's all fine and good, but to see Americans wearing hats and fascinators, just had me laughing. They looked ridiculous to me who is used to seeing royals dressed to match the hats. There were all kinds of mismatched outfits with the hats the Americans had popped on their heads. I will say Amal Clooney fit the mood, everyone else . . . not so much."

Her friend interjected: "Her hat should have been worn on the other side."

I did not know there was hat etiquette.

Another woman from London said:

"I was fascinated with Oprah Winfrey wandering from seat to seat. I wondered if she had crashed the wedding and no, she was invited but she had no clue what to do. Poor woman, she's one of the most in control women in the world and there she was banging about wondering where to sit! We had several "Where's Oprah now?" shout outs as the camera panned to other guests and then back to Oprah looking rather lost. Don't get me wrong, I like Oprah, it was just bad luck she wasn't escorted right off."

A gent from Salisbury said:

"I was bloody fascinated with the Episcopal bishop who I was surprised to see acting like a Baptist minister giving a rousing and energetic sermon. I thought he started off very well and suddenly he was hopping around throwing out "y'alls" and I was watching Kate's face looking like she wanted to be anywhere than where she was. Camilla looked stunned, the Queen looked disturbed, Princesses Eugenia and Beatrice were smirking, and Zara Tindall looked absolutely shocked."

Another from Newcastle said:

"Oh wasn't the young pageboy from Canada a charmer with those missing teeth? The American commentators were all saying how excited he was by his expression, but he was YAWNING!

"I thought too, that the songs Stand By Me and That Little Light Of Mine, would have been best played at the reception, certainly not in that beautiful church. That ruined it for me. Too modern, not enough in keeping with the venue."

You may say these people are sticks in the mud, but I do understand what they were seeing from a non-American perspective.

As for me, the wedding took me mind and focus off all the school shootings, bombastic tweets, scandalous behaviour, finger pointing, and the stock marking acting like a roller coaster.

One more thing, one of the online Irish social media resources has gone a bit bonkers. There is a person who be very upset that Harry and Meghan were gifted the honorary titles of the Baron and Baroness of Kilkeel by Queen Elizabeth. The titles are just titles, it isn't like Harry be going to demand tithes and grab land from those who live in Kilkeel. It's a title in name only, completely ceremonial. So why this person thinks to incite trouble where there be none, I have notta clue. I talked to friends and family back home and none know of any trouble, or descention on this subject, which seems a non-subject. As an Irish Catholic who lived in nearby Newry, located in Northern Ireland the last time I looked, which still be a part of the United Kingdom, I have no reason to be angry about a ceremonial title that means nothing in all reality. It won't change anything and this stirring up trouble where there be none be sad. And, that trouble is being stirred by Americans claiming to be Irish when most are not nor have they ever been to Ireland and fully understand what nationalists and unionists are and what they both stand for. This whole situation be minor politics if it is even that. Wanted me opinion known on this because it be a foolish thing to make trouble where it doesn't take much to fall back to the old ways.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

20 May, 2018

Walking like an Egyptian

20 May 2018
907

R. Linda:

Last Friday, at Guido's school was Museum Day. This is where for a month, the class has selected certain famous people who they have to dress up as, act as, and write about. It takes a month of preparation before there is a presentation of sorts in the all purpose room, of dressed up students who are as still as statues, and you, the parent or other, walk up press a button and the statue comes to life long enough to tell you who they are, what their achievements were, and any other bit of info they feel you should know. Of all the famous people in the world Guido decided on King Tut. I had notta clue as to why Tutankhamen but on serious reflection I realised the boy king did not live very long, had few achievements and wouldn't require a whole lot of research and brain power to write up. Yup leave it the middle child to figure out a shortcut.

For the costume me grey haired, apple cheeked little Mam was enlisted. She came up with a costume and even made the famous crook and flail (see below) and he was all set to go. Except Dragon had to get in on the show and she had an Egyptian collar from Egypt she had Big Tony send up for the occasion (see below).

Crook & Flail
Egyptian Collar

Friday was the day. I went in late to work so I could go since Guido made a big deal about how important it was for him to have his "people" there. We loaded up in the car and off to the school we went for the 9:30 Museum walk. We had the normal school chitchat with other parents as we waited for the doors to open. I could see through the window that everyone was taking their places and I recognised a few of the "statues" and thought all costumes were really very well done. Upon entrance, there on the floor, on a golden pillow lay the boy Tut. That was rather a shock at first to see him laid out like that, I was thinking he'd be sitting in a throne chair, not made to look like he was really dead. Anyway, that didn't faze anyone else, so in we went.

Since there were people in front of us, I took off to see the exhibits that were not being visited and up I walked to this munchkin I thought was a wizard until I saw the Mona Lisa painting.

"And who might you be?" I asked pushing the button.

The wizard told me he was Leonard DiVinci, and he was a mathematical genius probably smarter than meself, and he could paint million dollar portraits (he gestured to the Mona Lisa) and I probably have trouble painting a house, so he was by far me superiour. As a matter of fact far superiour still to many modern day smart guys.

Well, I guess so! I wanted to say thank you for making me feel dumb and inadequate, but I didn't. I moved on to Marco Polo. I had no clue he was Marco Polo, so I pushed the button and he came to life and informed me he was a traveler who opened up the Chinese trade routes, that he journeyed for 24 years on the Silk Road. He was a friend to the Kublai Khan and he was Marco Polo, who bought back not only silk, ivory, jade, porcelain -- but don't forget the spaghetti! The Italians liked it so much they made it theirs. But for my information, I could buy a good Lo Mein at the Chinese Restaurant if I wanted to experience spaghetti Chinese style.

"Okay I'll remember that," I said acting dumb since DiVinci had me in that mode already, "Marco."

"Polo." He quipped. I moved on.

The next one was a young girl who I thought was Edith Piaf, but turned out to be Jackie Kennedy! I dunno, the Eiffel Tower prop, the black dress, the fur loop hat, well I missed the white gloves, and the clutch which would indicate not Edith, but someone else. I associate Kennedy with the pillbox hat, the mega sunglasses, riding hat, boots, more than I do the Eiffel tower and well the fur loop hats were popular when me granny was alive. Damn DiVinci because when I pushed the button and didn't get Piaf, I was stunned at how dumb I was getting with each exhibit. However, the guy standing next to me thought she was French too, and Bouvier wasn't on his brain either. Had to be the hat threw him too.

The girl gave us a run down on Jackie Kennedy's life and seemed bored with the process. We moved on, me and the other guy not saying a word.

Sean found me and pulled me toward a colonial general standing in a boat holding a Besty Ross flag. He pressed the button and the general informed us he was George Washington, born and raised in the great state of Virginia, and because his military prowess was better than the British, he became the first president of the United States when he could have proclaimed himself king but didn't, and then he sighed, and said, "All by crossing the Delaware and beating Ben Franklin to Philadelphia." Okay what? I said, but the teacher came by and told me I couldn't ask questions there were too many people in line for President Washington. BUT, I wanted to say, only I didn't and I moved on looking over me shoulder at George smirking at me.

I found myself in front of Madame Curie, and I knew it was Madame because she was holding glowing slime standing in for radioactive material. When Sean pressed the button, she came to life by holding the container up to the light and we saw it glow. Then she started to tell us about herself and how she made huge discoveries in the area of physics, but how her husband got the credit and she a side note to history and how it was a man's world but she fixed that. "I put two elements together, radium into polonium to achieve radioactivity. I won a Noble Prize twice, what prize have you won?"

Okay time to leave. We went to King Tut who looked like he was enjoying a well deserved nap. I pushed the button and he sat up and said, "I ruled ancient Egypt for only ten years because I broke my leg and it got infected, but some say it was from many infections of malaria, and some say sickle cell disease, but the jury is still out but only I know for sure and I ain't sayin'. I wasn't famous because I didn't reign long enough to accomplish much, but my tomb made me an instant sensation because of all the gold that was found and I was undisturbed until two Brits came in and decided ta rob me."

OK then. We got no more from Guido because Neil Armstrong (who had been standing on a table high above us to simulate he was space walking), started to wobble because he was overheated in his hot looking space suit. He was taken gently down as he began to fade out of consciousness and his parents started unzipping him out of the suit. He was carried away and that pretty much ended the museum tour. Uh huh.

We said our goodbyes to the boy king and a few of his more recognisable friends. I will say Neil Armstrong recovered with a few sips of bottled water and being completely out of the space suit. It all went well for the most part, not all the "statues" were smartyarses, but as always it didn't end there. On the way out Sean was walking like an Egyptian. I don't think he realised the other parents were right behind us on the way out. He did that walk humming the song Walk Like An Egyptian all the way to the motor. Yes, he did and we said nothing to him so he made a complete fool of himself with everyone laughing. You think that stopped him? Nah ha as Weasil would say, no, he put on a show wending his way between the cars in the parking lot singing that stupid song and doing the walk. We acted like we did not know him and fell back letting the other parents go ahead so we hoped we would not be seen with him I tell ya, ya can't take him anywhere, he's the biggest kid in me house!

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

07 May, 2018

Hotel O'Sullivan

07 May 2018
906

R. Linda:

In the course of running a hotel with resident guests which include me cousin and dragon-in-law, the wife decided she needed a raise. I was of a mind this wasn't a good time to ask for one, because with education funding in the state, it isn't like there be extra money for raises. But she was determined to at least try so we can keep the hotel running efficiently.

In the interim she went to the hairdressers for a new "do" because she was tired of the straight look and so came home with an interesting look called the peek-a-boo. She had red ends dyed into the underside of her hair and I was rather astonished she'd go for that. She's rather a soccer mom type so to step outside the box be unusual.

"You think Matt (the school super) will notice?" She said fingering the red tips.

"Well . . . I sure do, but then I . . . " I didn't know what to say, maybe I should have said, for sure he'd notice why did you do that NOW? But instead I let me voice trail off with a shrug.

"Ok well, I just hope he doesn't mind non-conformists like me." And off she went with a flip of the red tips.

"I'm sure he won't," I muttered shaking me head thinking the opposite.

I think Tonya be somewhat frazzled with all the relatives in the house. She had just got used to me Mam moving in, then her mother who drives her up a pole comes for too frequent long stays, and now me cousin Sean, who doesn't do much to help out, moves in. His usual answer when asked to help be, "I need to be stepping off now, I be." I counter with, "Sean, I think it be time to join Uber, I do." I will say the Dragon does help, and me Mam be a household workaholic, but when it comes to Sean, well, you'd think he was the squire of the estate you would.

I think too, Tonya hasn't got the attention she is used to from the kiddos. They take the battle for their affections between their grandmother's very seriously and play the two of them off against each other, leaving their mother in a lurch so to speak. Add to this, the novelty of cousin Sean, and well, the poor woman has definitely taken a backseat.

Then there be me, the constant peacekeeper (or at least I try to be) who spends his time breaking up the grandmother wars and trying to convince me cousin to get a job AND a place of his own. I must tell you this, Sean lives in his camper out back. That unfortunately, frees up a room for Dragon when she over stays, but still there are camp grounds and trailer parks, so why not go there instead of being the eyesore I see first thing I get up from me bedroom window. I tell ya!

"Ooh ye whorie too mooch aboot Sean, one day you'll see he'll do da Irish goodbye an' you won't notice for a month he picked up an' left, ya won't dare Gabriel." Me Mam assures me this will happen. Let's see it's been how many months going on a year that has not happened? I won't be holding me breath.

Last weekend Sean was regaling me over me morning breakfast the advantages of going with E Harmony to find a girlfriend.

"'E Harmony -- making New Years resolutions? Well, E Harmony can help with one." He read.

"Wait a minutes, it isn't New Years." I pointed out.

"I noo dis be an old advert, but it says here, 'Now through Tuesday on eharmony.com you can check out our matches and message them for free. That's right you can message your matches for free.'"

I looked at him and shook me head, but that didn't stop him.

"This bloke says, 'Before E Harmony I was meeting girls through friends and I just didn't meet the quality in girls that I was looking for. I am so thankful for E Harmony, the calibre was a lot higher.'"

"Sounds like an advert for expensive call girls the way he puts that." I grunted.

"Wots wrong wit dat? Da President dates porn stars."

"Ye got a point dare Sean, ya do." It be stuff like this drives me up a pole.

Just this morn he said he was "stepping out" after I came in and asked what help he would be to me Mam this day, and of course she was no help calling after him to "Don't spend up Sean." AS IF! "Bob on there Sean!" I yelled after him annoyed.

"Eee's still tryin' ta find emself, I be sure dare be sumthin' out dare." Me Mam quipped.

Meanwhile, the Dragon was complaining New Hampshire weather had curtailed her visits up here. "Snow, snow and more snow! Does it never stop?" She had complained. Tonya did inform her that "Spring in New Hampshire is a relative term." Oh yes it is. Add to this me Mam comes in and informs us the boyos have built a really nice "fart" outside. Well, I knew what she meant but Dragon was looking at her over her half glasses like she didn't hear her right. "Fort, snow fort." I pronounced for her and relief spread over her face with a silent thank you.

Last Friday Tonya met with her boss who couldn't stop looking at her shoulders. She couldn't fathom why but I knew, yes I did, those red tips where resting there and he probably wondered what was wrong with her, she'd do that to herself. To be honest a few of the other elementary teachers are sporting that same peek-a-boo thing with purple or blue tips. I don't get it. Needless to say, things didn't go well and she wonders why.

I be going into work and I be subject (as I get me gear together ), to the newspaper headline reading courtesy of Dragon, "Oh look here it says Princess Kate gave birth to a boot! What? Are the Brit's losing it?" I looked over her shoulder and read, Princess Kate gave birth to a boy! Geez Louise! Then me Mam be telling Dragon she be taking the "cartons" down to wash for spring cleaning and would Dragon get the ones in the kitchen down for her.

"Cartons? I don't see any cartons? Why would she want to wash cartons?" Dragon said to me all full of confused consternation.

"CURTAINS, the things on the windows, she be from Ireland she has an accent." I said pointing to the window CURTAINS.

The snow has finally stopped, but the rain and wind have taken over. We have one or two days of partly sunny weather before it gets gloomy. At least there be no fog, so Dragon was able to catch her flight out and I be Dragon free for a short time. But Sean be here still, he's complaining Game of Thrones wasn't on this April and hasn't stopped yammering about it a month later. I told him a new game of thrones was set for 19 May if he cared to get up very early to view it. I told him it was a whole day event and he's all excited. I didn't tell him it's the Harry Megan wedding, but ask me if I care.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

25 April, 2018

Once Upon A Time

25 April 2018
905

R. Linda:

Me Mam likes to watch the public broadcast and BBC stations. Anything that the accents aren't American. She complains she can't understand Americans because they twang their speech. So she watches tours of Britain's palaces, detective series, histories of the English kings and queens, etc. Dragon, me visiting monster-in-law, has been subject to all me Mam's Brit shows. She's at the opposite spectrum, she can't understand the British accents because they all talk "funny."

Now add this hearing impairment of Dragon's to her being nearly blind and you have a woman who gets conversations and what she sees, WRONG. The other night me Mam was watching a Brit program with a very animated host take a walk through an ancient English manor house. He had quite a tale to tell on his own, but this tale got more embellished by the Dragon, when she related it to our resident moocher, me cousin Sean.

I had seen bits and pieces of the programme as I was working at home, and really wasn't paying that much attention, but I got the gist of it, something Dragon did not. The next morning, I walked into Dragon telling Sean about two of me friends who had castles in the English countryside. One was Wolfie and the other Weasil. Now to be fair Weasil does have a castle in the family only its in Scotland, not England and Wolfie, as far as I know does not own a castle though he has friends that do. AND he is not related to Weasil in any shape or form. I walked into the middle of the story which went like this:

"The castle was very large, the biggest in the UK and bigger than Buckingham Palace. It might have been designed by Christopher Wren, or an associate, but no one knows for sure. The castle is very old and it had gorgeous gardens in the back of it. When you see it you are astounded by its massiveness."

I had no clue what she was talking about, but as I listened and poured me coffee, I realised it was the show she and Mam watched the night before.

"It turns out that the owner of the castle had no heirs of his own so he decided to give the castle to his favorite nephew, and not to the true next in line."

"Oh begorrah!" Sean threw up his hands as if this was personally bad news. "I'd tink da one shoulda got da place wuz very upset he was."

"Oh yes Sean, he was, and he wasn't going to let things slide. When the old owner died, the castle was passed on to the favorite who you might know around here as Wolfie."

I almost spit me coffee out, as I had sat down to hear this because I was curious who these wealthy friends of mine were. Knowing this was fabrication on Dragon's part, I decided to not correct her to see where she was going with this.

"Noo, I dunt noo dis Wolfie, but goo on." Sean said thinking hard if he did know this person or not. Not be the correct answer.

"Well . . . this castle was made of a golden stone with beautiful embellishments. It is over 100,000 square feet with 300 plus rooms!" To this Sean made admiring sounds and this encouraged Dragon to continue the farce.

"In a short time, this Wolfie (I guess that's short for Wolfgang) . . . " She paused thinking about that as I shook me head no it was not. "Found that his uncle did not leave him near enough money to support the huge place."

"What to do." I threw out sarcastically.

"What to do indeed," Dragon nodded, "So his remedy was to quietly sell off part of the 600 acres the castle sat upon. Equally quietly, Wolfie's cousin C W Weasil was quietly buying the acreage. I guess he was hellbent on acquiring some of his late uncle's estate."

C W Weasil? What did the W stand for I wondered, wicked maybe?

"He bought up to 600 yards of the back of the castle!" This she said with a flourish of her arm like she was waving a magic wand. "One morning, very early Wolfgang wakes up to the sound of heavy construction in his backyard. It seemed the Weasil was breaking ground and building another manor house right behind the castle! Can you imagine?"

"I can't." I volunteered to Sean's agreeing with me, but not sharing my sarcasm, he was displaying amazement. The lad was hooked on this silly story, hook, line, and sinker, and there I was amused at the name Wolfgang and what Wolf's reaction would be if he knew Dragon thought that was his name.

"Wolfgang, couldn't believe his eyes and there was nothing he could do, it was all legal. He must have watched in dismay as his cousin erected a brick monstrosity that blotted out his view of the beautiful gardens. The new manor house looked nothing like the old one, and well I am sure THAT little detail devalued the big castle's property . . . what was left of it." She said as an afterthought.

"Wow." Sean said completely under her spell. I wanted to kick him, but I refrained and sipped me cup of joe.

"But the story doesn't end there," she continued, "Wolfgang had his revenge. The property on either side of the new brick manor house still belonged to him. Do you know what he did?"

"Noo, wot?" Sean asked leaning towards Dragon all interested.

"He built horse stables on either side of the Weasil's new home. Yes, he did, both sides, high enough to blot out the rolling countryside, so the only view Weasil had was the gardens and there wasn't much left with those horse mews built down the sides. Can you imagine Weasil's waking each morning to the sound of neighing hungry horses and horse manure wafting through his windows?"

Okay I had enough but I left the gullible Sean believing all this and did absolutely nothing to correct the Dragon on her alternate reality story.

I can hardly wait for Weasil to show up and get hit with this. Even better for Wolfie to read this and discover he's German not Irish! I do wonder if composes music in his spare time while looking out his castle window laughing at Weasil's view of horse manure being carted off to the garden. Ah that Dragon, she's a piece of work and then some.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

19 April, 2018

ARE WE DONE YET?

19 April 2018
904

R. Linda:

WHO DID THIS?


Yup this be what I be seeing from me window. Cannot believe it.

It be mid April for heaven's sake! Winter phase 4 has arrived. I feel like a deep depression be taking yours truly over. I just put the shovels away, I had everything cleared and now I have to go get the shovels out and start all over again. I wasn't aware I had moved to Alaska!

I know you will get a laugh out of all this. I have been too focused on me own weather to know what it be doing in Denver, probably 90 degrees and sunny.

It be pretty awful when its 78 in London with sunshine and 30 degrees and snowing in New England and it be mid April. I suspect this be all your fault and you are doing the snow dance. Please stop, I be snow-blind and disoriented from so much white.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

14 April, 2018

What do you do when ...

14 April 2018
903

R. Linda:

I have been busy at work, more than ever before it seems, or it's because I have three kiddos with school activities that require me attendance. Running back and forth to Boston and then to some after school function (I be always late for), I be run ragged. And lets not forget the weather, that be a big subject of moaning and groaning, and in some New Englanders a shrug like what do you expect you live in New England for crying out loud! We are in phase three of winter. We had the winter we usually do, with plenty of snow and ice, and then it was spring on the calendar, but it really wasn't. So then we had winter number two with more snow and ice and electric being knocked out, more shovelling so everyones upper arm muscles looked like Arnie Schwarenznegger's and that includes the women! We (the transplants and doesn't matter if you moved here from New Jersey or Florida, but even those who moved here from Ireland, England and Scotland), we were all set for spring only we got winter phase 3, I tell ya!

Just this morning I came down for me cuppa joe and thought I heard a man's voice speaking to me Mam in the kitchen. It was no man, it was me wife! She has worked out so much on snow removal, not only are her shoulders three times bigger than they should be, but her voice be deepening as well! What is this world coming to I ask ya.

With all the shovelling and chipping of ice on the walkway, neither Tonya nor I have had a whole lot of time for those extras, that become necessary when you look at your eldest son and see his hair is down to his knees and you mistook him for a girl until you realise you don't have a girl and it's your own boyo. What be the remedy to that? Well, he took matters into his own hands and cut his hair, and just this morning I was coming around the corner when I see him with a Mr. Spock haircut, boots to go out and help shovel, and an Adidas long sleeved shirt that looked like the Star Trek logo (almost) and sweat pants tucked into his boots, well just for an instant I thought what I did. I thought for all intents and purposes I was looking at Leonard Nimoy (the shorter version)! All the kiddo needed were the Spock ears (which we have somewhere around the house).

If that wasn't bad enough, the middle one, Guido (our tough guy), decided for the entire week to show just how tough he was by waiting for the school bus in shorts and a short sleeved sports shirt. Yeah he looked like he was going to play summer footy on a wintry, snow falling, wind gusts to 50mph day. We (Tonya and I) did not know this because before he left for the bus stop he'd fly by in a blur yelling he was off and we never got to look at what he was wearing, or in this case, lack of what he wasn't wearing. We heard about this from the next door neighbour, who being concerned, had knocked on the door with a jacket her son had outgrown in the hopes we might like it for Guido. Guido, has a North Face jacket that Tonya's dragon-mother bought him, so really? The woman was very nervous Tonya said and that made her suspicious, so she invited her in and finally got this out of her, "I drive by the bus stop every morning and I see poor little Guido out here shaking and shivering without a coat or long pants and boots so I thought . . . "

Yup -- embarrassing as all hell.

Tonya had to show the neighbour Guido's wardrobe, complete with two snowsuits, (one a hand me down from his Mr. Spock brother, and the other one me Mam had picked up because it had snowmen on it and of course he won't wear that unless David Beckham was on it). She saw the closet full of clothing he won't wear because it isn't "sporty enough" and the shoes galore including the spiked footy shoes he insists wearing in the house. Tonya all the time this is going on is thinking Child Protective Services, oh boy. Luckily Guido just happened to come home from school while the neighbour was still there and he had no idea his mother was near the back door where he sneaks in. Yup caught! He explained that he was told if one went out in the cold and snow in very little clothing, your muscles tightened up and he needed that to get ready for spring soccer.

"WHO told you that?" His mother demanded.

"Grandma." Was the flat answer.

"Which one?" Was the next question.

"The one lives here." Was the answer.

I am sure that knocked about in Tonya's head a wee bit. She said that Mrs. Neighbour was concerned enough to come by and offer clothing assistance because she was concerned he'd end up with pneumonia, not tight muscles. Guido, knowing the errors of his ways and knowing he should not have done what he did, apologised nicely I am told, and went in and changed into decent winter clothing to appease not only his mam, but the concerned and kindly neighbour.

After the neighbour left, Guido was summoned to the  kitchen where the kindly old grandmother was sitting obliviously sipping her tea when suddenly the lady of the house went into attack mode. Yes, it must have been startling to the old bird that she was guilty of sending (unknowingly and unwittingly) an 8 year old out to freeze in bad weather to possible perish. This was all news to me apple cheeked, gray haired old mam who put her scone down quietly, pushed the clotted cream away and stood up, all 5 feet of her, and with purpose walked right up to her 5' 8" daughter-in-law, with hands on hips and said to her face, "Dats not rioght, he misunderstood a storee I tole em' sum tyme back he did."

That's when I walked into this very strange confrontation and had caught me Mam's words. I did interrupt with a "wot be goin' on?" and was treated to Tonya's side of the story, followed by Guido's version and then me Mam's.

Seems the story was that me father had a friend who was coach of a footy team in Ireland, and he told me Da that one of his players was from Norway, and the man would go out in freezing weather, with snow the better, dressed in his footy practice gear and run around the pitch to tighten up his muscles. This was something he did since childhood and being from cold Norway he was used to that sort of weather and swore it worked for him.

"It wuz a storee I tole em'," me Mam said, "I certainly did not recommend he doo da same."

Well, yes that was true Guido said, she never told him to do it he just thought if a pro athlete thought it a good practise, it must be worth it.

"Explains the coughing and sneezing not to mention the permanent chill." I said messing Guido's hair.

It was a tense evening after that, and it took a few days to dissipate the chill between the two women. The misdirection would never have happened if Tonya was in the kitchen for story time (which she usually is she enjoys the old sod tales) but she was busy chipping ice so she missed all this and was not there for a disclaimer.

"Could be worse, he could do wot yer friend Weasil duz and go about each morn before breakfast for a run in the nude round his garden." This from our resident neer'do well Sean, who sits on his keister and be no help whatsoever.

"What?" Tonya voiced.

"I did not noo dis." I said getting Irish which be an indication I did know. The whippersnapper had said he takes a turn around his garden which be planted in a wide circle. He does it no matter the weather, first thing he gets up he (he sleeps in the nude -- I know, too much information and you'll have just as hard a time shaking the image as I do), and takes a sprint around the garden and then straight to the shower and breakfast comes after. This was said not in front of Guido, but I did see Guido passing by on his way upstairs to bed that night. But we all know Guido the eavesdropper, spy extraordinaire with a fabulous sense of hearing lets nothing past him. I am proud to say, so far anyway, that Guid has not done this and hopefully never will. Besides that garden of Weasil's be inside a castle wall where no one can see him but the staff (I suppose). AND, we know the Weasil doesn't care.

Tonya did emphasise that Weasil's daily ritual was not allowed in the O'Sullivan abode or premises, and Guido nodded he understood. Lets hope the young and impressionable take that warning to heart. Gees Louise what next?

And here it be ice and snow, winter continues in NH
Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

31 March, 2018

Watch out for the falling eggs!

31 March 2018
902

R. Linda:

For weeks I have been passing a sign that says this:

Sounds like fun, huh?
So this got me attention big time because I'd never heard of such a thing. I could see it in me mind's eye, coloured Easter eggs falling to the green earth and scattering in a hundred different directions, wee ones sprinting across the lawn to gather them up. Yup pretty modern I thought and well, why not sign the kiddos up and start a new and thoroughly modern Easter tradition?

Today was the day, 10:30 a.m. in an open field about two acres of not green grass but brown grass since the snow has just melted. No daffodils, or crocus, just winter burn grass. But hey that's ok it shouldn't be hard to find coloured plastic eggs, right?

Right about the designated time we hear the chop, chop, chop of helicopter blades whirling towards the field. We all were told to stand at the edge and wait for the drop. There everyone was at the ready, empty Easter baskets in hand, kiddos in race position ready to sprint.

Here they come!
Only that's not what happened, the chopper was a little too low, or they didn't take into account that there was no vibrant grass, just dead stuff filled with dirt that let fly like small grains of sand. Me eyes were the first to feel the sting and because it was in the high 50s today, I was wearing a t-shirt and me arms and what exposed skin I was sporting took the second sting of flying debris. The kiddos were screaming and some crying, as parents did their best to find them being pretty blind from the flying dirt.

Pummelling the ground I tell ya!
The chopper seeing it was stirring up a mess went higher and then suddenly it started to drop the eggs like Easter bombs they fell, but not in the field, the chopper going higher miscalculated the bounce the plastic eggs would take when they hit the hard earth below and well R. Linda I was pelted with hard plastic eggs. Some of the contents burst open like small missiles and I (and others around me) were hit with hard jelly beans, small foil wrapped hard chocolate candy eggs, and hard shelled marshmallow somethings that were rather giant size and I got a few of those in the head.

The noise from the chopper and everyone on the ground running and screaming was intense, I can tell ya that much. We all ran to our cars half blind from the dirt in our eyes, and I had welts, yes welts, on me forearms and a rather large size egg on me forehead where I was a direct hit from one of those hard marshmallow things.

We have decided (all of us) that we are not going to this event next year if there be one UNLESS we have hard hats and flack jackets or as me youngest suggested suits of armor.

I think we will stick with our kinder, gentler, old fashioned Easter of kiddos hunting eggs in the morning, having Mam's Irish breakfast, then to church and home for a lovely dinner. No more modern ideas. Nope, nope, nopers as the Weasil would say. WHICH this helicopter egg drop was probably right up his alley. Like Tonya said to me as we drove home from the Easter bombing, "You sure your friend Weasil wasn't flying that thing? Seems like something he'd do."

HUM.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

25 March, 2018

The Chunky's Experience

25 March 2018
901

R. Linda:

In her best Irish me Mam said to me (as I walked into the kitchen for me first cup of joe of the day), "I be waried I cont find me passpit."

"Why, are ye goin' somewhere?" I asked hunting for a clean coffee cup.

"Noo, jus wanna noe where I left it. Bethor ta noe den not."

Silently I poured me a cup and took a sip savouring the caffeine warming me insides and turning on me brain.

"I be sure it will turn oop."

"I cont tink where I left it." She said in consternation.

"Are ye tryin' ta scare me tinken' again?" I japed.

"Stoop dat!"

Well, I did pretty quickly almost spitting out me coffee because I hadn't seen the newspaper floating in the air until from behind it, an all too familiar voice read out, "Oh tsk, it says here Melania Trump struggles to shout in curve hugging skirt. Why I never. Was her husband trying hold her hand or something she was shouting for help?"

I walked behind her squinting me eyes and it read, 'Melania Trump steals show in curve hugging skirt.' Oh boy here we go again, Dragon and her bad eyesight.

"Oh my would you lookie here, it says, 'Woman discovers hidden camera inside can of tuna!"

"No, no no. It says, 'Woman discovers hidden creature inside can of tuna.'"

"Well, that's worse!"

Me Mam whispered to me as she left the room, "Dis be all yer fault fur tetchin' her to read."

I  turned me attention to the Dragon who was looking over her half glasses (yes, she wears reading glasses but obviously for effect and not much else).

"Here, that's not even today's paper." I handed the morning paper to her and she took a look at the headlines.

"Oh my goodness, it says "US comforts Putin over spy gate."

I took a look.

"No, it says US CONFRONTS Putin over spy gate."

I stood looking at her and shaking me head.

"You need to see your eye doctor, obviously the cataract operation didn't work."

"I brought you a cake but he ate it in the taxi." She said to me because usually she always brings some gushy goodie when she visits and wanted to change the subject.

"Who ate the cake?" There was no one in the kitchen but us.

"Him." She said pointing to a strange man sitting in me living room.

"WHO BE DAT?" I shouted almost jumping out of me skin, coffee sloshing everywhere. I hadn't seen the man sitting in me living room, such be me foggy self before a cup of joe.

"The cab driver. I was short cash (can you believe it?) so I gave him the cake while he waited outside but then you didn't get up so I invited him in until you did get up from your beauty sleep. Pay him $20 if you would Gabriel. I was short that."

Yes, I could believe it. I stood there incredulous, and I don't know why I was, because this sort of thing happens when the Dragon lady visits.

I went into the living room and paid the man $20 from the cookie jar and he said nothing, put a finger to his cap and left.

"Sooo," I said returning to the kitchen, "how much did the cake cost? Just wonderin'."

"Ohhh," she said squinting her eyes like the brain power was just not kicking in quick enough, "it was twenty."

"So I just gave him the price of the cake you gave him, and he ate, so he's made not only $20 off me, but he enjoyed a $20 cake that I won't."

"Hum, yes, I suppose he did."

"Do you not see sumthin' wrong wit dat picture?" I asked.

"No."

THIS was too much at the break of dawn to be face to newspaper with the Dragon lady. I had no idea she was coming to visit. I know she flies in on her broomstick to surprise the hell out of me (and never in a pleasant way), but usually I have some clue she be about to descend upon me abode to wreak havoc. THIS would not do. I had to do something to get out of the house. I had no work it was Saturday, the kiddos had wanted to go to the movies and Tonya had promised they would so why not today?

I silently slipped out of the kitchen as Dragon went on talking to me like I was there to find Tonya. I said to her that I may not get another Saturday off in a while so if we wanted to take the kiddos to a matinee this was the day to do it. She of course informed me her mother was visiting (I didn't let on I had just encountered the Dragon) and I made a display of being disappointed we couldn't make the kiddos dreams come true in regard to a family outing to a movie. Tonya suspected what me fakery was about and said, "Ok we can go today, let me tell my mother and she can come with us. By the way who is she talking to out there?"

I shrugged feigning innocence when it hit me what she just said.

NOOO!!! That wasn't me plan, me plan was to leave her mother with my mother. That's always an interesting time for both of them, and the plan was NOT to tell me Mam she was the official hostess of the Dragon Lady party of one. So quickly, knowing full well I couldn't get rid of the Dragon that easily (but a dark movie theatre might work out) I went to me Mam and asked her if she'd like to go with us because then SHE could sit with the Dragon and I wouldn't have to. And as usual she said no thanks, she was going to an art gallery showing with Ben. That gave me pause, she and especially Ben are not art gallery types, so really? I realised she was ahead of me, knowing quite well I was about to pull a fast on her, so she made plans and those plans might be something she could care less about, but at least she wouldn't be near the Dragon.

So it was we set off for the movies. Now a note here, I have not been to a movie theatre in maybe 7 or more years. I mean why should I? I have Vudu, Hulu, Netflix, etc., so for me to physically go sit in a cramped theatre inhaling popcorn well, I can do that in me own home in me own comfy chair. It is Tonya who takes the kiddos to the cartoon movies, so this time I asked if it could be a movie with real people in it and the kiddos were all about seeing Black Panther (all except the littlest one who was all about Coco). Well, it was an animated argy between all three kiddos but Panther it was.

"We are going to Chunky's." Tonya said patting me arm. "That should make it a better experience for you."

"Chunky's? Or Chuck E Cheese? What?" I was confused.

"Chunky's, its a movie theatre that has reclining car seats, and they serve food throughout the movie. We'll get lunch there and have ice cream sundaes for dessert."

I stood there in amazement. Such a thing exists? And I didn't know about this? Food, lunch, ice cream sundaes? Really? Count me in! I figured with her mouth full the Dragon would be mostly silent and I'd actually enjoy the show for a change.

Off we went to a mostly empty parking lot outside the theatre. Tonya had called ahead for tickets so we were through that part of the experience quicker than usual. We were told to go to Theatre 2 and sit wherever we liked. The theatre was semi-dark there was something on the big screen but I was not paying attention, I was floored by the large tables and comfy chairs. There weren't too many people there so that was a plus. We sat to the left side of the screen and right away wait staff was there to take our orders. The menu was huge, I was totally thinking it was going to be a muffin-top afternoon. I ordered the nachos, chicken fingers, onion rings, soft pretzels, and a stout. Yuppers I was all set. The theatre darkened and the movie began.

I reclined me Lincoln Continental car seat and wished for a footrest, but the movie was so interesting I soon forgot about that. Food arrived soon after and the feasting began. The food was descent and that surprised me, because it was a movie theatre after all, but really? It was dark trying to find the nacho filling but I managed. The stout was the best I ever tasted and was a Chunky's brand of all things. I was enjoying it all when Dragon pipes up with this gem:

"These people are all black except for the Hobbit."

Uh yup. The woman must live under a rock to not know what the Black Panther craze is about. And she being black, you would think she'd be all about the flick. But no, she was confused by the women in the movie being forceful and heard. She was saying she couldn't tell the men actors apart because they all looked the same. Gees Louise! What be wrong with her?

I swallowed a portion of soft pretzel and whispered, "Tone it down, I will explain all this after the movie is ended."

She did for the most part, but for the exception of the "token white man, why do they need a white dude? This picture has merit on its own without that white guy and all I see is a serious hobbit."

Oi!!!

The fact that I have not been to a movie theatre in years be telling as it is. I be one of those lazy Irishmen who would rather sit back in his own comfy chair watching whatever I wanted with pause button in hand if I wanted to go fix meself something to eat or get a drink. The times have changed that's for sure, someone was smart enough to know that people like me don't go to the movies for that reason, so they made it now so I can go to a movie and have just about everything (but the pause button) where I don't have to prepare me own food, I can be served and sit back to enjoy the theatre experience. I be spoiled now.

As for Dragon, who tells us SHE be the token black woman in the family (her words not mine), she was more inclined to want to know where that black empowered movie came from. It said Marvel Comics all over the place, but she won't believe it originated from a comic. How insulting she said. It must have something to do with Malcolm X! WHAT?

She has not stopped talking about the movie since she saw it. I have explained from the best of me knowledge what I know about the film and that it be the top grosser and everyone loves it. She has taken it a step further about how it's about people from a country within a country and did I think it was Uganda or Rwanda that Wakanda. I was saved by the middle child, Guido, who be up on everything comic book.

I left them with his little voice piping up about the Me Too movement, women empowerment, black equality, etc., and off I went to disappear in the hopes me 8 year old could tell his grandmother what she was missing or just not getting.

I mercifully got called into work (the graveyard shift) and as I was gathering me things for the trek to Boston, in comes Dragon with a broom (you don't know how hard it was for me not to take a picture!) and she pounds it on the floor and says, "Wakanda forever!"

Behind her was Guido with a mop handle, he too pounded the handle on the floor and said "Wankanda forever!"

I couldn't get away from them fast enough. They followed me around as I gathered up me things spouting "Wakanda forever!" and banging the handles on the floor. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do, so I conjured a line that stuck with me, "If you weren't so stubborn you would make a great queen," I said to Dragon, who said back, "I'd make a great queen because I am so stubborn." Wow, she DID retain what that movie was about or maybe that was Guido's doing, I simply don't know which.  I was out the door with Wakanda forever bouncing off me brain cells and thankfully forgot about it all until the next morning. I had got up early to get me cup of joe dragon and Wakanda free, and thought meself pretty smart until this:

Tonya had been Panthered to near death after I left,  this be how she greeted me with a cup of Panther joe and a "Wakanda forever!"
Yup at least one of us has a sense of humour.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

21 March, 2018

St. Paddy's Day - The leprechauns did it all I tell ya!

21 March 2018
900

R. Linda:

St. Paddy's Day I was quite alone in the house. Everyone had gone early to a science fair being held at the middle school a few towns over. Not being a science buff, I preferred to sleep in and me excuse was because it was St. Patricks Day, and I being Irish, I should be allowed the luxury of an Irish holiday. Of course me little gray haired, apple cheeked Mam piped up that she was as Irish as Irish could be and she didn't need to sleep in. Well, I said I worked all week, and as I know me work can't compare to house cleaning, laundry washing, cooking and the myriad of chores she does to keep this house in running order, I wanted the morning off because, well . . . just because. None of the wee ones had any exhibits at the fair so I was not being a deadbeat Da. I got me way as it turned out.

As I was saying, it was just me, the dog and the cats. I saw the coffee was on the burner so I poured me a cup and was quite content to stand by the window, basking in the sunlight, looking out at the field and woods in the back. Me dog, being an Irish Red and White Setter was sitting by the fridge looking at me like she was waiting for a treat because she too, is of Irish decent and a St. Paddys Day treat was in order. I got her one and went back to me stance by the window to the sound of her crunching a hard treat. I thought it was too quiet, so I asked the Kitchen Alexa to play me St. Patricks Day music. I was thinking a pub song or two, and maybe a few jigs and the like, but that be not what I got.

"Playing St. Patricks Day music from Amazon Music." The kitchen Alexa announced.

I poured me another coffee thinking a little Jamesons would go good with it and maybe a touch of whipped cream. But I didn't get to do that because next thing I hear is:

"I'm a sailor peg
And I've lost my leg
Climbing up the top sails
I've lost my leg!

I'm shipping up to Boston, whoa 
I'm shipping up to Boston, whoa
I'm shipping up to Boston, whoa
I'm shipping off to find my wooden leg."

"Alexa! Next!" I shouted. The Dropkick Murphys stopped and then this started:

"Well I stumbled in at two a.m all drunk and full of smoke
My wife said I have had enough that's it, I'm sick get out
so I stumbled down to Kelly's Pub, across the edge of town
An I told the boys me story and we had another round."

"Alexa, next!" I was getting frustrated, the Boston Irish band of the Dropkicks was not my idea of St. Patrick's Day songs.

"In the town of Milton
One Brian Flnnigaun battered away till his money was spent 
Then he hit a big one and felt like a man again
Bought a three decker with two floors for rent."

"Alexa STOP I SAY! That be quite enough." Annoyed I left the munching dog and went to me office. I sat down with me coffee completely forgetting that I was going to doctor it, when the silence began to get to me. I looked with squinted eyes at the office Alexa. Well, I'd give it one more try and if I got Dropkicks again, I'd unplug both the kitchen and office Alexas.

"Alexa, play me St. Patricks Day music."

"Playing St. Patricks Day music from Amazon Music." It said, much to me dismay as that was the same thing the kitchen Alexa had said.

"Oh, as I went home on a Monday night
As drunk as drunk could be
I saw a horse outside the door
Where my old horse should be
Well, I called me wife and I said to her
"Will you kindly tell to me
Who owns that horse outside the door
Where my old horse should be?"

Ay, you're drunk, you're drunk you silly old fool
Still you cannot see
That's a lovely sow that my mother sent to me
Well, it's many a day I've traveled, a hundred miles or more
But a saddle on a sow, sure, I never saw before."

Well, THAT was more like it. I listened to tunes by the Dubliners, Celtic Thunder, The Chieftains, The Clancy Brothers, and the Irish Rovers to name a few. I felt like I was back home, well not exactly back home. Northern Ireland isn't the place to celebrate St. Paddy's Day, but the times I had been to Dublin on the day and had a wonderful time on pub crawls throughout the day and night. In me younger years to be sure, but still.

I don't know why one Alexa will play one thing, and the other when asked the same plays another. There have been times I'd ask the kitchen Alexa about American measurements from Brit ones and get told she doesn't know. Or, I'd ask her to play a type of music and she'd play something entirely different. When I ask her things she be snarky or ignores me altogether, but the one in the office be an entirely different sort she be. She answers me with the right information, or she plays what I request and its like night and day. I don't understand how one can be so different from the other. Of course me  cousin Sean says its because the kitchen Alexa be a leprechaun and that's the trouble. OK Sean!

Anyway, later when everyone was home and the day had worn on, me Mam was preparing (under protest) corned beef and cabbage for the Irish Americans in the house. It was the dish expected, not the traditional Irish stew Mam made with potato soup, soda bread, baked beans (those from Boston I'll give the beans that), and she did not make her Bailey's chocolate cake. No instead we had the poor man's dish of beef and cabbage with brown bread (the only authentic Irish thing on the menu) and cupcakes with green icing shamrocks for dessert. I tell ya! I didn't enjoy any of that. I wished for the real Irish fare, and made a secret pact with me Mam that next year, even if I had to cook it all I'd make what we usually ate on St. Paddys.

The whole idea of the corned beef and cabbage was started by me eldest, O'Hare O'Sullivan (now there's an Irish name if ever there was  one). Yes, he be 11 years old and already we are experiencing teen angst. The temper matches his red hair, his skill at complaining about everything be reaching epic Irish heights, he be not interested in sports this year, it be the drums so we are all pretty deaf as a result and he has to have designer clothing or he'd rather wear the same thing over and over again (unwashed) of designer duds he does own. Well, Christmas everyone saved their pennies to buy him his Lucky Brand dark jeans besides other things, but the Lucky Brand was what he wanted most. I was rather taken aback by the request for clothes instead of toys, but realised he be growing up he is. So Lucky Brand he got and our purses were quite empty as a result. Now when I saw the jeans, I was thinking they weren't worth the price. They be all ripped at the knee and faded here and there, but he was happy.

"Did ye get those jeans second hand?" I asked Tonya,

"Hells no! Why do you ask?"

"Look at the knees all ripped up." I pointed at the knees.

"That's the style."

"Ok, if you say so." I said.

Now me Mam was thinking the same as I about those jeans, but she wasn't there when Tonya explained 'style', no she was oblivious that these are the trend AGAIN. I thought all that went out twenty years ago, but we can thank Kim Kardashian for the comeback I be told. To make a long story short (I know nice attempt), me Mam was not happy changing her menu for St. Pats. No she wasn't at all. Needing something to do to relieve the stress she spied these on O'Hare's bed.

O'Hare's fav pair of Lucky Brand jeans - no more
Thinking he had torn his jeans she took them up and well . . . she mended them! Yes, she did and when she returned them to put them away, she found four other pairs in the same condition. She spent the evening sewing, yes she did. Imagine me son's reaction the next morning to discovering his coveted and favourite jeans, all his Lucky Brands, had been sewn up! It wasn't pretty, the red of his face matched his hair it did. He was most incoherent and foaming at the mouth trying to get his words out, and ended up holding a pair up and pointing at the neatly sewn knees. Jayus, Mary and Joseph and a whole lorry load of bejaysuses came from the lips of me Mam thinking he had lost his mind. She was clueless, the poor old bird. Or so she acted. I noticed her face working and Tonya whispered to me, that me Mam was near tears over O'Hare's reaction, but I noticed she'd turn her head and her shoulders would shake and I knew she wasn't near tears she was near full out hysterical laughter. I got to her before she burst into giggles and got her out of earshot which wasn't hard, O'Hare was ranting by that time, finally the dam of words had burst through his angry lips as I shoved her in the laundry room and closed the door.

Tonya and I listened patiently as he exploded and anything American about him went out the window and there he was his red hair about on fire from his anger shouting at us like a true Irishman, only he wasn't drunk!

I patted Tonya on the shoulder and indicated he was all hers to deal with. I opened the laundry door and slipped inside.

"Mam," I said, "you did a nice turn but unfortunately that's the style, the ripped knees."

"Tell em' the leprechauns did it because he requested an American dinner for an Irish saints day."

I stopped in me boots I did. Well, OK I could see she and Sean were certainly related to come up with the same universal excuse. I did tell the freaking out O'Hare that. I said we had no idea how the jeans got sewn together and must be the leprechauns done it. I said this as I came out of the laundry, me Mam peeking out the cracked door. He stopped his ranting and looked at me like I was crazy. The silence gave me Mam courage to come out of the laundry.

"They play wit yer head dey doo." Me Mam added before she quickly went back in the laundry because the laughter was bubbling up and she'd give herself away.

One thing, the boyo suspects it was his grandmothers doing the sewing of the favourite jeans, but he can't prove it and he can't fathom why she'd do that. His mother got thread rippers and ripped the neat stitches out so his jeans are back to Lucky Brand normal and he's back to the American lad he's supposed to be. The Irish is quelled for now, but I be sure when he sees that Irish stew simmering on the cooker next St. Pat's Day that fit of Irishness will be back. The boyo does like his baked beans and corned beef and cabbage. Yup he does.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

24 February, 2018

No wi-fi for Valentine's Day? What? What? What?

24 February 2018
899

R. Linda:

Living in a house with me three sons can at times be exasperating. On Valentines Day eve, me wife had gone out and bought Valentine cards so the kiddos could give them out at school. For me, it was an eyeopener as these were not the usual Valentine cards with the little red hearts with the Will You Be Mine? on them, no no, they were this:

Charming
I cannot imagine, me as a small kiddo, giving little Molly McGuire a Star Wars Valentine. No there be much wrong with the whole idea of it. BUT this is what they do now. The boyos were saying "ick" when me Mam asked each one if they were giving Valentines to girls in their class.

"No ugly girls, boys!" Guido said after several icks issued forth from his 8 year old lips.

O'Hare looked at her like she was ready for THE HOME, and shook his head in disbelief.

The youngest was much more vocal and shouted at the top of his lungs, "I DON'T LIKE GIRLS, THEY ARE SMELLY, SILLIES!"

"Smelly you say?" Me Mam ventured into uncharted waters of a 4 year old BOY.

"YEAH DEY SMELL LIKE FLOWERS AN' I DUNT LIKE FLOWERS!"

"Well then, ok." She said giving Tonya a shocked smile at which he was told not to shout at his grandmother of which he shouted back, "OK!"

I personally, think they all three of them have hearing problems. When I ask them to do something like empty the trash bin, they seem not to hear me. Me Mam says it be selective hearing because when she tells them she's made chocolate caramel turtles, they are right there. Whatever. They just talk very loud to suit me to thinking there not be a hearing problem.

They did all three of them chip in on their allowances and bought their mother this:

Boyos Valentine Candy For Tonya
I had tried to slip them money for the candy heart but they wanted to do it on their own. They are independent and that's a good thing, it's the hearing that worries me.

A few day later I came home to find we had no wi-fi. We live in a rural area of horse and historical buffs who don't like modern conveniences. Personally, I am surprised we are allowed cars and not horse and buggies. I told you the cable company offered to put cable in free and even bury the lines, but the town said no. The town over from us has all that and if you are on the town line, you can sometimes get the service. But it's sporadic at best, so we put up with the lovely look of the place in exchange for less services that other folks have.

The wi-fi is down occasionally, but this time it went down for four days, or what the boyos said seemed like ten years. I had to drive to the neighbouring town to a little eatery that has wi-fi to get and send mail. The boyos of course, have all those Play Station's that you need wi-fi for and wow the complaining. You'd think I was solely responsible for the interruption in service.

After telling them they have to live with it and go watch the TV or even better go outside and PLAY (the last being an alien concept to all three), they informed me they'd just sit in their rooms and stare at the walls. "WHAT IS THAT?" I shouted so the hearing impaired could hear me. No answer and they left me for O'Hare's room with one sitting on the bed staring at the wall, one on the floor staring at the floor and the smallest one with a piece of Lego examining it like he'd never seen it before and had no earthly idea what to do with it. That was day one.

Day two of no wi-fi bought pretty much the same thing but they started to beat on each other. Between the three adults in the house we must have broken up 6 fights an hour. Finally, on day four of no wi-fi, I was off from work, when O'Hare comes waltzing in from school to stand in the doorway of me office and say, "There is STILL no wi-fi," which he repeated at least ten times while I sat there looking at him in astonishment.

"I have no hearing problem, I heard you the first time, and no, there be no wi-fi."

He left me in a huff for his room to stare at the wall I guess, while I went back to proofreading an article I was working on.

Soon after Guido comes home, stands in the doorway and announces, "I see da Innernet isn't werkin',"

"That's right." I said, and he disappeared probably to the floor in his brother's room.

Tonya came home with the wee one and asked me if the Internet was working to which I shook me head and off they went to the kitchen.

I could hear the sounds of the other two drawn to the kitchen complaining of the fact they lived in a backwards boondock and wanted to move because you know why, and who's bright idea was it to move here in the first place and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

It wasn't 15 minutes later Tonya comes sweeping into my office locking the door behind her, armed with her candy box. She opened it up and shoved it in me direction.

"Been that kind of day has it?" I asked all sweetness and light.

She frowned as she chewed on a caramel the one candy she does not like. She took it out of her mouth and handed it to me.

"Here, you like caramel." She reached in the box for another chocolate and got a coconut which she also doesn't like. That she gave me as well, as she told me she was sick and tired of boyos complaining about wi-fi. I commiserated with her, yes I did, and by the time she was calmed down she had consumed more than half that box of chocolates to the few she forced on me and the one buttercream she complained I got that she wanted. An exchange of saliva drenched chocolate took place a few times. It is a rare thing Tonya shares a box of chocolates, as she is a fiend for Valentine candy in heart boxes, especially Russell Stovers. So I knew she was done, done, done. To keep her from eating the rest of the box and paying for it later, or worse her forcing the rejects on me, I went to me computer and lo and behold the wi-fi was back up!

I got up to go tell the boyos but she stood in front of the locked door.

"Ok, so I guess I won't. I said sitting back down."

(I blame this all on Dragon, who a few Christmases ago gifted each of the boys with Play Stations and has upgraded them every year (you should see me electric bill!). If it was up to me they'd not have but one and then allotted time each, but me threat that if grades failed they'd get no game time, backfired because all of them especially O'Hare are honour roll students. Defeated on that score, I have tried to make it two hours a day, but somehow I get busy and forget. I leave me Mam in charge most of the time, but we know how that goes, it doesn't.)

"Lets tell them at dinner, give them four hours to sit around doing nothing but looking like the world has ended. Then we'll tell them it's been back up."

Oh Tonya is a vengeful one isn't she? Unfortunately for her, Guido tried the Internet on occasion and found for himself it worked. In his room he turned his system on and was busy at it when his brother heard familiar Internet sounds and came wandering in to see what Guido was doing. He hit his brother upside the head when he found that Guido neglected to let him know SYSTEMS BACK UP. This brought the wee one in to complain he was tired of Peppa Pig and wanted to play a game on the game box.

Tonya left to set him up, and the sounds of people talking (that I don't know), strange cartoon sounds, explosions, gunfire, and crazy laughter filled the house. We are back up to that bizarre normal that invades a home. And the reason I know we are all back up isn't because I turned on me computer, but the game boxes are turned up to LOUD.

"And you wonder why dey don't hear ya," Mam said to me when I came in complaining I couldn't think for the noise, "all of em' haf da earplugs in and the volume turned up, so dats why. In Ire'lynd dey don't due dat sort a ting."

"Oh hold on," and I took her to O'Hare's room. O'Hare has this Irish gamer he spars with and the guy has his own Internet show where he explains his strategies of gamesmanship. He has pink hair one day, green the next, but the Irish accent be as thick as me Mam's. I showed her the young laddie who was on screen, platinum and blue hair this time, yammering away in his Irish accent about the latest in glitch modding which was lost on the two of us but not O'Hare who speaks back at the bloke in a feigned Irish accent of his own. I tell ya! It was so loud in there I had to close the door. I felt like I was at Temple Bar in Dublin with everyone shouting at each other over the pub noise.

I sighed, she left me for the quiet of her room at the back of the house where it be quite peaceful being away from the other bedrooms. I envy her.

As for Tonya, she's finished the boyo's candy Valentine they gave her and be working on mine. She told me she will be weighing in at a hefty 250 pounds soon.

"That's nice," I said, stealing a piece of candy. "I will have deaf sons, a reclusive mother and a pleasantly plumb wife. What more could I want except peace and quiet for a few hours."

"Give it up," she said, "you aren't getting that until they all leave the nest." She shoved the box at me and we sat there eating candy for the next hour. She won't be the only hefty weight in the house, I will be right there with her, only muffin top be me curse as you well know from a fudge episode YOU were responsible for.

Happy belated Valentine's Day Muse!

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

04 February, 2018

Dragon gifts me Mam, who horrified, gifts me!

04 February 2018
898

R. Linda:

To add to me frustration of trying to get anything around here done, me dragon lady mother-in-law landed off her broomstick at me front door. You don't know the pleasure I get at seeing her sneering face asking me snidely how I be doing. And each time I'd like to answer I was doing well until she appeared, but the wife be at me side, so I had to be nice speaking through me teeth how wonderful it was to see her. I could choke on me own bile when forced to be nice to the one woman in all the world who has made me her lifetime target for worse son-in-law on the planet.

After the trials and tribulations of putting up with me own Mam's antics I somehow found that the Irish do get lucky (on rare occasions) and was able to pawn me apple cheeked, grey-haired Mam off on the Dragon. This was Friday this happened. I needed to go into Boston for a meeting, and Tonya was at work, the kiddos all in school so that left you know who. As I slid me skinny self out the front door I wished them both a prosperous day. Me Mam caught on suddenly that I was leaving her alone with the Dragon. She asked me where I THOUGHT I was going. I told her the truth and shut the door. I chuckled to meself knowing she was none to happy, but hey after the coat incident (I know I be much too anal about that), it was her just desserts to spend the day with the wearisome dragon.

I laughed to meself all the way to Boston about how clever I was by not saying a word. I made me Mam think I had the whole day when in reality I had only the morning off. When I returned around 6:30 that evening, it was to a dragon lady very happy with herself and a Mam who looked rather too smug, which made me very nervous. What the two of them could have got them into such a self-satisfied mode of humour I had no clue. After dinner which was this:

YUM
I took me Mam aside and causally asked after her day.

"Well dere Gabriel, I haf sumtin' I wanna shoo ye." And almost covertly she lead me to me office. She flipped on the lights and waited. I didn't see anything different but then I did. On me book shelf was a face, a stone face. I looked at her in wonder and she explained that she and Dragon had tea and "crumpets" and afterwards decided (at least Dragon did) that they were bored, so Dragon suggested they go out. Mam tried her hardest to get Dragon out while she stayed home and prepared a game pie. That fell on deaf ears as Dragon offered to help when they came back. With no corner to run to me Mam sighed, got on her coat and off they went.

Now a side note here, me Mam likes moons, not the kind me sons whip out pulling down their pants at her, but any kind of statue or rendering of the moon she be all appreciative. We have moon art throughout the house like this:




Me Mam wanted to get home and not spend the day traipsing about small towns with Dragon. Dragon wanted to visit an antique shop and promised it would be their one and only stop since Mam seemed focused on making that game pie. Seems Mam embellished this story how the kiddos and me in particular, where hounding her for her Boxing Day Game Pie (in truth we weren't but it be a fav), and she must have been very convincing to get the Dragon to agree to one stop and one stop only.

She must have gone on and on about how put out she was, and how hard she works to help around the house and how she looks after the kiddos while the wife and I are at work, and how she does the laundry, tidies up the abode, cooks dinners and goodies, etc., none of which we have asked her to do. But she piled it on and somewhere in that black heart of Dragon's she actually felt sorry for me grey-haired apple cheeked little Mam. I tell ya the woman can be a real piece of work when she sets her mind to it, which by the by be all the time her mind is on THAT.

So in the antique shop (which be a rather large one), me Mam made well away for the 20 questions on everything in the shop that Dragon often subjects her to. Mam made off, or more like, sneaked off to another part of the shop. Dragon, feeling (as I said sorry for the little Mam) saw a moon face she thought to buy her to lift her spirits. So covertly she made her way to the counter, paid for the face, had it wrapped nicely and then took off after me wandering mother.

Once in the auto, Dragon lifts the heavy object from her shopping bag and not being able to hold it up  for long (because of the weight) gets it on me Mam's lap with a drop that almost crushed me Mam's thighs.

"Ock! Wot be dis?" Mam said trying to lift it off her pinned thighs.

"Open it!" Dragon demands all delighted.

"Well, ok but wot be it?"

"You'll see." Dragon said all happy with herself.

Mam ripped through the wrappings and when she saw the object d' art she went stone still. She couldn't find the words, for there in her lap was this heavy stone faced and I might add grim expression ancient colonial man. Yes, the head was in a moon shape but the rest of it was eerily familiar and if me Mam could have screamed "Get this thing off me NOW!" she would have. But knowing the Dragon was oblivious to what she had gifted her with, me polite Mam summoned the courage to say thank ye.

"I sense a hesitation Mrs. O. Is there a problem with my gift?"

"Uh noo, not exactly but wot do ye tink it be?" Me Mam was curious.

"Why a moon stone! Look it's the man in the moon." Dragon near shouted in glee. "I know you like moons so to boost your spirits I couldn't resist."

Well, me Mam could resist but she couldn't resist informing Dragon that what in reality she had bought her was a grave marker. Yup Dragon had bought a headstone! And Dragon was none too happy to know that. She suggested they go back inside and take it back and she'd tell the proprietor a thing or two for not telling her what she was purchasing.

Me Mam was of another mind entirely, no, she said, she wanted it because she thought it would make a wonderful addition to MY office! Dragon, appeased by that idea and all for it (of course she'd be) said all right and on the way home they Googled the piece since his name was on it. Yup, it was! Neither of them thought to go back in and ask WHY a grave marker was for sale in an antique shop. Neither thought it might be nice to return it to it's rightful dead owner, no it was better I should have it! I tell ya!

So when I saw it and knew instantly what it was me first question was WHY then it was where did she get it from and why was it on me office book shelf then I saw what book was placed next to it, Edgar Allan Poe's works! Getting no concrete answers to anything, eventually I got the story out of Dragon who told me she'd be offended if I got rid of it.

"Look at this way Gabe, it looks enough like you when you pass on to the great beyond we can use it to mark your ashes out in the backyard." She said this with a huge smile, yes she did, like this was no big deal, and wow Tonya would save a buck on a grave marker because now I had one! It could sit on the shelf watching over me until the day. Oh yeah, very nice sentiment. This has taught me NEVER to leave them both alone together. Here I was so smug with meself and now, hey I have a me grave marker which I never thought I'd see sitting on me book shelf while I be living!

Tonya, thinks its a hoot she does. She told me she looked it up (after minor concern we had a stolen headstone) and found it is a facsimile and thus ART. She be no better than the other two. AND the kiddos think it's great. It be me dog that comes into me office with sad eyes convinced I be departing this earth soon. It actually whines at me feet. So now I be creeped out. Here take a look-see.

Nice huh?
Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

03 February, 2018

The Button-Down Shirt Caper

03 February 2018
897

R. Linda:

While we are on the subject of me mother, here be a blast from the past story-wise that be.

On discussing the "borrowing" of me new coat over tea yesterday afternoon (me day off), and with Tonya at work, we openly and at times, loudly expounded on the coat living for three days at Ben's house (Ben being me Mam's non-boyfriend).

"I noticed when he came to pick you up and before me coat figured in the equation," I began but she cut me off.

"Ock! Ar' ye goona start oop on dat agin?" She asked getting very Irish in her speech.

"Why yes I am." I replied holding a finger up for silence.

"I noticed," I got that far before she cut me off again.

"Ye goo on and on like yer beatin' on a dead cow ye ar'."

"Would you stop for just a minute? I be trying to tell you an observation on Ben I have."

She sat quietly not trusting I wouldn't go back to the coat fiasco.

"I noticed, that Ben wore a button-down shirt and it was buttoned." I sat smugly looking at her biting her lip.

"Wot ye gittin' at Gabriel spit it out would ya."

"Just that he knew his buttons on his collar needed to be buttoned and they were, unlike someone who went nearly two years oblivious to the fact one side of his collar was buttoned and the other was not."

"I see where yer gooin' wit dis."

"Yup, YOU were the culprit that for what two years was it? That YOU would button one side of Da's shirt and not the other, and HE not an observant man went off to work everyday with the one side buttoned look."

"Well, I wuz tryin' ta taach him a lesson, cor it took long enuff!"

"Yes, it did. I can still remember the day he finally discovered the truth. He came home red in the face that his boss's secretary had taken him aside and pointed out the discrepancy of his attire."

"Ooh he wuz nun too happy he wuzn't."

"Nope he wasn't. She had asked him how he managed to thread his tie though his collar, buttoning the one side and forgetting the other. Was it a fashion statement she wondered." I laughed at the memory and she looked very smug with herself.

"If I dint button his collar he'd a have both sides unfastened." She stated as if on a witness stand defending her bad self.

"Makes me wonder what else you are capable of that you do and we are not aware of the private japes going on in that steel trap mind of yours."

She narrowed her eyes at me which was a sure fire indication she was up to no good.

"Ah see there!" I said pointing at her.

"Wot?" She was acting all innocent like she had no clue what I was going on about.

"So what are you up to? Mixing cat food in with the hamburger meat? Making Bailey's whiskey cake when we are all at work and eating it yourself? " I threw those out just to get her attention. Then I hit her with the real magic acts going on. "Washing me socks with the towels so static cling makes for a fashion statement of me own, going to work with the bottoms of me trousers stuck to me ankles? Switching the two pictures in the hallway weekly, so we all think we are losing our minds? All that be you I suspect." I said watching her shoulders shake with laughter. Yes, she thinks all that gaslight treatment be funny. "You aren't careful I'll have you committed."

"Luck dey'd believe YOU when ye tell dem all dat an' dey loook at me all sweet and elderly." She quipped.

"Um hum."

"It wuz a new shirt obviously, so it was buttoned before he poot it on." She threw at me getting up ending the conversation.

She had brought the talk back to Ben and left me sitting there wondering what's next on her gaslight agenda. I tell ya the socks thing has me going. Every morning for a week the static cling they produce clamps me trousers to them like I be in a wind storm. For the life of me I can't release the trousers from the socks so I look like God knows what. All because SHE thinks it is funny.

Add to that we have two photographs of Ireland, hung as you come down the staircase. She made a big deal that the Cliffs of Moher should be at the upper part of the wall, and Kilkenny Castle on the lower. But just this morning the pictures are reversed. Yesterday, they were like they originally were hung, but weekly they switch. I'm not doing that, and Tonya isn't doing that and the kiddos could care less. I don't buy me Mam's suggestion the dog did it. Just giving you a little slice of what life with Mam be like.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved