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

02 February, 2018

The nerve I tell ya!

02 February 2018
896

R. Linda:

Me Mam has a man friend who lives down the road. She sees him at the general store and over time they have become friends. He'd like to be more than that, but after me Da, me Mam be shy of another relationship -- ever. The old fella respects this and so they have coffee once a week down at the store and he has been to the house to fix anything she needs repaired (because we know I be the furthest thing from Mr. Fixit).

Recently, she got an invitation to a dinner with a plus one which she didn't know what that was. I informed her she could bring a guest along if she wanted.

"Luck an' escort?" She asked.

"Yes, like that, it can be a woman friend as well." I said.

She thought about it and then reasoned her logic out loud more to see what me reaction might be methinks.

"Well . . . I could ask Ben, ya know Ben dat lives down da rood who fixed da dryer vent fer me."

"Oh yes, he's very nice." I said.

"Well . . . I could ask em' but I doont want em' ta git da wrong idea."

"What idea be that?"

"Well . . . dat I be interested in em' ya knoo." She was squirming a little.

"I think if you tell him you are invited to a dinner and you think he might like to come, because you have an extra invitation, and for fixing the dryer vent, and God knows what else will break and you'll have him down to fix it, so without saying how much you enjoy his company, so you don't give him THAT impression," she cut me off.

"Ay, ay," she hissed, "sum tymes ye doo goo on ya doo."

The dinner wasn't a formal one which was why I encouraged her to invite Ben. Ben be the furthest thing from an executive type. I doubt he owns a suit and tie, and if he did, I'd be very surprised. He's a good old boy as they refer to the casual, good hearted lumberjack types up here. I thought he'd be a perfect non-date since she enjoys his company and he enjoys hers. So she did ask him and he said yes.

The night he came to pick her up for the dinner, he was dressed in a new shirt (the creases from the wrapper where obvious bless his heart), and he had on a clean pair of dockers, not exactly what me Mam hoped for (she calls them old men pants) and the leather on his lumberjack-like boots was spit and polished. He looked fine except for the goose down vest. Yup the vest was his underpinning. There he was, hair combed, beard trimmed, bright and shinny, in clean clothes and there was that vest. It was the vest he wore everyday, it had tree sap stains on it and God knows what else. And it was a rusty orange colour from the dirt. It must have been one of those bright orange hunting vests when it was new, which might  have been forty years ago.

Mam was horrified but only I could tell knowing her so well. I was trying telepathically to tell her not to say anything, but that didn't work.

"Benjamin doont ye have a better coot?"

Ben looked down at his vest and was stunned that he didn't look as good as he thought. He stammered and sputtered and then said, why no this was it, but no one was going to see him in his vest so . .  .

I thought he had a point and foolishly said so, to which a dirty look was thrown me way by the little woman herself. She was not having it and because I made the mistake of voicing me opinion when it wasn't asked for, she went to the hall closet and got one of me coats for Ben to wear.

I was too much in shock to protest but she came trotting over and made him take his vest off and shrug into me rather nice cashmere half coat that Tonya had got me for Christmas. Stunned to silence I stood there watching her button him up and he was red in the face but complying. What be wrong with us men when a woman does the unthinkable, or in this case unthinkably surprising and we can't seem to utter a fecking word?

She began ushering him out the door and whispered to me that I had plenty of coats.

"But that be me Christmas coat," I whispered back at her, "why did it have to be THAT coat?"

"Oh hush now Gabriel, it be on loan fer one night what could happen ta it?"

What indeed?

I didn't tell the wife what happened to the Christmas present she was so proud of giving me. No, I kept that to meself and stayed up to await the two oldsters return so I'd get the coat in the closet before Tonya was wise to what had transpired.

Luckily Tonya went to bed so she didn't witness the fact that Ben dropped Mam off and gone on home. He knew he wasn't coming in for a night cap so he went on home instead WEARING ME COAT! Me new Christmas present coat that if Tonya found out, she'd never buy me anything again and worse she'd probably skin me alive to boot.

You're probably saying, "Gabe, just tell Tonya what happened." Problem be, me Mam would deny it was HER idea to lend Ben the coat. She'd convince Tonya it was MINE! I know the little woman she's cagey and can lie like a rug when it suits her purpose of self preservation.

I skirted around for three days without me coveted Christmas coat. Tonya noticed on day three it wasn't around to which I said it was in the cleaners.

"What already? What did you spill on it coffee?" She asked annoyed.

"Uh yeah." I said quickly moving off to make like I was busy.

As I passed by me Mam who heard that exchange I whispered for her to go get that coat today, not a moment later.

"Yer such a nancy about dat coot." She snipped at me.

"You'd be if Tonya was the one that gave it to you, and you know how much it cost I be sure. Probably got tobacco and sap stains all over it by now. He doesn't have another coat you heard him, so what's he been wearing these past few days, huh?"

Well, she did go fetch it, and thank goodness its back and it be no worse for the borrowed wear. I was not looking forward to going to work in that rusty used to be orange vest, I can tell ya that much I can. So I be breathing a sigh of relief on many counts you can be sure.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

01 February, 2018

Who's That Crazy Lady?

01 February 2018
895

R. Linda:

We have new neighbours on down the road from us. They moved in recently and are settled enough to take in their surroundings. I be including me Mam as  one of those 'surroundings' because unknown to me Mam, she became the object of scrutiny and intense discussions with the newbies. Yes, she did and she did this all quite unaware of the entire situation.

We had one weekend that the temperatures listed towards the high side, enough warmth one could venture outside in a light jacket. That weekend me Mam decided it was spring-like and she got it into her head that she should begin to exercise the winter 'fat' (as she calls it) off by roller-blading down the road. Yes, for a woman who just turned 70 this be a wee bit of a shock to most people she'd get her ancient self on roller blades in the first place. I know the images of an oldster with a cane tooling down the road on roller blades be extremely hard to imagine, but well . . . she be a stubborn old bird and when she sets her mind (what's left of it) to doing something, there be no way to talk any sense into her not to do it.

Like ice skating if you don't clear the snow and ice chips off the pond you are want to skate into a bad patch and go flying on your keister. Well, same applies to asphalt if there be dirt or sand on it and you skate into that bad patch, more than a sore butt will result.

So she got out her skates (yes, she has a pair) and her helmet (yes, she's wise enough to protect the noggin) and off she set for the road. When she got there there was an inordinate amount of road sand (no road salt here) and that she could not have if she wanted to zoom down the road. She went back inside and got our big industrial broom and off she headed to the road to sweep. She swept the ENTIRE road from one end to the other.  Thankfully the road isn't that long otherwise she'd probably still be out there.

The only reason I know what she was doing is because Tonya had been outside walking the dog.

"Your mother is sweeping the road. Just so you know." She had smiled knowingly at me.

"What for?" I asked rather stunned.

"You should go ask her." Was the flippant reply.

"Maybe she got a part time job with the road department." I said brushing it off and going about me business.

Meanwhile, the new neighbours were coming home from their first shopping trip to the grocery store 45 minutes away. As they pulled into out street there was me Mam busily sweeping the sand to the sides of the road. Oh yeah they thought she was crazy, and couldn't understand why anyone in their right mind would go sweep a public thoroughfare.

About noon time she had it swept and ready and after a bite of lunch, and a bit of a rest, she donned helmet and blades and out she went. To say she looked like she was ready for Roller Derby would be an understatement. Elbow and shin guards, helmet . . . luckily she didn't have a cigarette dangling out of her mouth, and off she zoomed for a good 45 minutes up and down the swept road like she was in a race.

Meanwhile, the new neighbours were setting out again, this time to the local Home Depot over an hour away when they had to brake hard to keep from hitting her as she zoomed by their driveway entrance.

"Wasn't that the old woman who was sweeping the street?" The husband asked the wife.

"Sure was. What on earth is she doing now? She has to be a hundred if she's a day!"

Good thing me Mam didn't hear that.

"Well, she sure is fit I guess to be doing THAT." The husband said slowly pulling out as they both rubbernecked to see her reach the end of the road and with remarkable ease for a one hundred year old, I mean a 70 year old, make a turn on her heels basically and start back up the street at breakneck speed. They pulled over to let her pass and then slowly proceeded down the road as she made the other end and turned zooming by them with a wave. Tentatively they waved back and headed out.

It wasn't until this week I ran into the husband at the General Store. I introduced meself and welcomed him to our small 'hood' and after a while he felt at ease enough to ask me about the 'older woman' who lives with me.

"Oh, that be me Mam," I said, "when did you meet her?"

"We didn't, we saw her sweeping the road and then roller blading. She is quite good on those skates."

"Oh for sure she be, she is a crazy lady on blades," I said laughing and shaking me head.

"Eccentric." He smiled.

"You are being kind. When you saw her sweeping the road you had to wonder if you were living next door to a mental patient."

He grinned, "yeah kind of."

I told me Mam she was creating quite the reputation, she thinks its funny. The neighbours are probably peeking out their windows to see what she does next. I did tell her it was a good thing she was speedy on those blades, she'd out distance the man with the butterfly net had they called the men in the white coats.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

28 January, 2018

You don't have to smoke it to get high - Case in point

28 February 2018
894

R. Linda:

The other night, me Mam, Tonya and meself were enjoying hot buttered whiskey after the  kiddos were put to bed. I had made a lovely fire and I had me green throw you made me covering Ton and meself. So we were very comfy. I was out of Jameson and the night was in the negatives, so I wasn't about to venture out to buy some. I made do with Bushmills not telling either that I switched out the whiskey. But me Mam knew and was teasing me about it, because for some reason Bushmills makes her giddy where Jameson does not. I made her two whiskey drinks that night and by the second she was off and running with the jests all directed at yours truly. So much for a cozy night in front of the fire!

"Remember da tyme ye went ta yer grandda's farm an he tole ye to git da sheep in an not only did ye git his sheep in, ya got da neighbours in too?" Mam said laughing thinking the whole episode was funny. "I kin still see da luck on yer grandda's face when he counted tirty sheep when he only had tweny-five." And more laughter.

This sort of thing went on for an hour and I was not enjoying the walk down memory lane because all her stories were of things I screwed up on. I was determined to get her back.

Amid the laughter from both women I said to me Mam, "Oh I remember when you had a memory loss that lasted two days."

"Wot?" She asked sitting up straight.

"Yee-ah, the time ye were dating me Da and he took ya on yer first date. He was being the big man and taking you to yer first concert in Belfast. It was some flower power group ye remember that? Oh wait a minute, you probably don't."

"What's this?" Tonya asked amused.

"SHE," I pointed at me Mam who looked a little uncomfortable for a change, "SHE went to a 1970s  concert not knowing who the band was she was going to see. The band was a free love and everything be just fine if yer smoking' pot kind of group, and if HER Mam and Da had known, she'd would have been grounded because they were considered a bunch of free luv druggies and some thought to throw in demonic. Any straight-laced Catholic wouldn't be seen at one of those venues. BUT, being young and naive and all struck with me Da she went! To be fair, she didn't know him that well so she had no idea his judgement was clouded. And it was in a dark theatre where she told me they could hardly see the band but for the black lights, and the music was so loud she lost her hearing for a week! Not the only thing she lost."

Tonya hooted at that thinking virginity and not what I was about to tell her.

"Anyway, she noticed everyone in the audience was smoking . . . and not cigarettes either. The roach clips were being passed back and forth and HER being a good Catholic girl abstained but me Da didn't. The concert became a blur because while she was not smoking, she was inhaling it."

Tonya and I laughed, Mam giggled, but I could see it was like she was hearing this story for the first time. And why? Because she couldn't remember most of it!

"So after the concert they get out in the street, and some fella comes up to them and says hi to me Mam, and she didn't know him, me Da didn't know him, and suddenly the guy realises wrong girl. So to save face he throws out his hand to me Mam, and says, "Hi I be sorry I taught ye were a girl I knoo, name Fiona. I'm Cillian." And me Mam (not because she be awestruck) said, "Hallo I be . . ." And she couldn't remember. And me future Da was no better he couldn't remember her name, nor his! The cannabis had wasted them both and they were clueless.

"To make matters worse, neither could remember what train they needed to take to Newry. As me Da told it he couldn't remember Newry! And me Mam (he said) was a bit better in that she knew they lived south of the city. Trains came and trains went and neither knew if they needed a train that went southwest or southeast. After about an hour of this, they went to a local tea shop to sober up neither truly knowing they weren't sober.

"They had several cuppas to no avail in the sobriety department and decided they'd both be in trouble as the hour was already late and they had better head somewhere at least. So the first train that came along was travelling southwest and lucky for them both that was the right train. Now it should be said the one train was one thing, but they needed a second one to get to Newry, at the time there was some work on the system so to get to Newry you needed to change trains. You see the problem? So when they got to the end of that train route, they were told to disembark it was the end of that line. Me Mam was getting a wee bit panicked, but they got off and looked at the list of towns on the board. Newly was right there, third from the top, but they didn't recognise it, I tell ya!

"After sitting on the waiting bench for 30 minutes, me Mam says, "I remember me name!" Me Da not satisfied with that said to her, "Ay, but what be mine?" This made her forget her own name again and she sat there in a near stupor and sadly said to him, "I dunt knoo."

"They had a wee bit of a heated discussion as to why they couldn't remember vital information when a constable of the law (making his rounds) came upon them. Well, they both had the idea they were high on "something," what exactly they were high on and how exactly they got high, they were not sure on that either. So when they saw the constable, they were suddenly mum for fear they'd be arrested for not knowing who they were and where they needed to go.

"Well, the constable saw they were sitting quietly so he went on his way. Now ya'd think if they at least had a town name they could ask the constable directions since the train station wasn't open. Only a schedule of trains and times was displayed on a board outside the place and a fat lot of good that does if ye don't know where yer going to.

"Three trains had come and gone and finally when the fourth one came, the two decided to get on as it was the last train south. On they went even though the sign said DUBLIN in big letters across the face when it pulled in, and off they tooled SOUTH. Even me sister Sheila who be topnotch in the cunning department and short on the smart department would have known Dublin was too far SOUTH and it was in the REPUBLIC! Bye d' bye UK of Northern Ireland.

"As they tooled on down the tracks they started to see things that looked familiar but could not agree that what one saw looked like "something" the other did not recognise, and vice-versa until it was too late, Newry faded off into the background and dark fields came into view which if you know the route from Belfast to Newry there aren't too much of those in the foreground, BUT if you travel from Newry south, oh yes there be lots of fields. It wasn't until they were seeing water (a great deal of it) they knew enough they were not in Newry but someplace else. Big city lights a few bridges over a river and much too much population to be anyplace but . . . say it with me kiddies . . . DUBLIN!

"It turned out to be quite an expensive trip and luckily if you are a resident of NI you don't need a passport to enter the Republic. So there they were. 2 a.m in the morning, nothing open, no one about the place, but by then they remembered their names AND where they lived. It was put by me Mam to me future Da she had to call her parents and tell them what had happened. His problem was he was responsible for taking her to a concert the parents didn't approve of, and that she was high on inhaling cannabis even though she did not smoke it. How to you put that into words without a consequence once uttered?

"Well, he called HIS parents instead as they be used to his wayward ways and THEY (brave souls they were) called HER parents and apologised profusely for their son's lack of brain use and told them that his Da was on his way to Dublin (the two being out of money) to carry them home. This was all done, and the truth of the consequence was me Da got off scot free because well, he's a guy and me Mam well she found herself looking at brochures for a nunnery!"

"Oh my," Tonya smiled amused, "but you didn't go to one quite obviously you're here."

"I did note. I wuz very profishinal, I stated da facts such as I could remember dem an ended up married ta Gabriel's Da . . . da troublemaker me own Mam called em' til' da day she oop an died." She was silent a moment and added, "An she wuz roight he wuz an still be."

"Ok Mam let's not get into THAT we know he's a bad man." I said laughing.

"Ye laugh now but ye wait until yer tree boyos get ta da "age" an' ye tell me how funny it be."

"Already it isn't funny," Tonya said, "just this morning I lectured Guido on not sassing his elders after he told me he wasn't going to take the trash out and he kicked at his brother's chair to emphasise his words nearly knocking him to the ground. I said as an after thought, "and be good to your brothers, so honour your father and mother and before I could finish my sentence he said, "yeah, yeah, yeah I shall not kill my brothers." I didn't find that funny.

"He be a smarty arse he be quoting scripture," Mam said laughing because she did find it funny.

If I could ground Mam for telling stories out of school and Guido for being a smartarse, I would. Wait a minute I can ground Guido! Geez you'd think I was inhaling weed.

Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

17 January, 2018

Boy O Boy O Boy!

17 January 2018
893

R. Linda:

It snowed last night, and it snowed all day today and it's still snowing. That should make your day I be sure. Because it snowed the kiddos and Tonya had the day off but not so for meself, I had to trek on down to Boston. While I was gone, things were not uneventful as one might hope, and with three boyos things are always eventful.

Tonya had an ear ache so she was wanting to sleep but she couldn't for the housebound kiddos who were running through the place like it was an obstacle course. Me Mam finally got them in hand and told them to go out and do some sledding off the hill that goes towards the pond. Yes, she did say that forgetting there be a pond at the bottom, but luckily it be frozen so if they slid on out, they'd be okay, unless they started jumping up and down then well . . . Mam would be out there in a wetsuit fetching them from the freezing water.

Tonya and she were sitting in the front room sipping tea where they could keep an eye out on the rambunctious lot.

"Do ye have tree sleds fer da boyos now?" Me Mam asked Tonya.

"There are two, the two younger ones share. Guido puts his brother in front of him and guides the sled . . . usually." Tonya said thinking about that.

"Well, it lucks ta me lyck they haf' tree sleds it duz." Me Mam observed watching them.

And indeed they did! Tonya craned her neck to look, teacup in midair puzzled look on her face.

"Hum, that looks like . . . no cannot be but it does look like . . ." Tony's voiced trailed off in mid-sentence.

"Lyck wot?" Me Mam asked.

"Like . . . like . . . like the old cap to the septic tank." Tonya said. "Yes, that's what they have."

Well, as you can imagine what she said dawned on them both at the same time and putting teacups down with a clatter they both got up to go shout out the front door at the wee one who was having a splendid time sledding in the septic top. Last time I saw that thing, the septic guy had come and told us we needed a more heavy duty lid for the tank. This he brought and screwed on and the flimsy plastic lid he left nearby. I know it be all me fault that I was supposed to go out and remove the old lid, but I forgot. So it's been out there and well, I could see where it looked like a garbage bin lid and well . . . to a wee brain it was a great sled because the wee body fit perfectly in it. I can also remember the lid was none to clean. I'll leave it at that.

When they came in the wee one was taken by me Mam directly to the tub and that be that. I got a phone call from the wife of what occurred with orders that when I got home I was to remove the offending lid.

But that's not all that happened. The good news was I got out of work early so I got home around 4:40. While I had been driving home, the kiddos, refreshed from hot chocolate and home made hot cross buns (and a bath for one of them) got unruly again and were sent outside this time to make a snowman.

As I pulled into me garage, the three boyos greeted me from the backyard pleading with me to come see their snowman. They were quite proud of it, they had a carrot for the nose which they didn't need because the youngest crowned Mr. Snowman with his big bear hat and Mam had given them an old blue scarf to dress Mr. S up. So I walked up to him and admired him as a piece of great snow art. Then I noticed something amiss.

"Uh what's that?" I asked pointing to the bottom of the snowman. "Someone drop a couple of carrots?"

"Oh that," Guido pointed, "that's his wiener."

Ok then. This was the first snowman I'd ever seen with a wiener. Uh huh.

"Who's idea was that?" I asked looking at their cheery and proud faces.

"MINE!" The wee one piped up.

"No it wasn't, it was mine too." Guido said.

"And you O'Hare?" I asked the eldest.

"Biologically it is accurate." Says he.

Oh boy. While we were standing there me Mam came out to see what the fuss was about and to tell us Tonya was napping.

I sent the boyos inside, chiding them to keep the noise down, and saw Mam squinting her eyes at the snowman . . . snowbear.

"Nice job wouldn't you say?" I queried.

"Oh ay, very goud job." She said as I turned to leave, "But dey dropped tree carrots."

I turned back and saw her pointing at the wiener.

"No, the carrot is up there under the hat."

She looked at the carrot under the hat and then at the ones below and it sort of dawned on her, but she couldn't imagine what she was thinking was right.

"Yup they did." I said and took her stunned into silence self inside.

She's still sitting with brows knit sipping her tea as if she's not sure she's in the real world.

"Welcome to the world of boys," I said to her as I joined her.

"Ay, and I haf' one of me own an' he hasn't got rid of dat septic cap."

I looked at her and shook me head. I kept sipping me tea and well as time has gone by and she be mellow from her many cuppas, I still have not removed that lid and have no intentions of doing so until next spring. Anyway, I put the photo of the snowman below so you can marvel at the anatomically correct Mr. Snowbear.

I think thats one of Dragon's brooms he's holding
Gabe
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved