Monday, 12 July 2010

Three Rings To Come and Get Us

The children have gone to stay at my parents. This, for most of you out there would be a cause for grand celebration, glorious freedom, a night out with lashings of wine and a spot of sex without locking the bedroom door, I know! Heady times. But over here in Millennium Housewife Country (population: 4, sane residents: 1) it's a tiny bit tense; the time is spent not in the pursuit of lost, youthful hedonism but instead sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring three times. Because that's the signal you see. In case of emergency Isla will surreptitiously pick up the phone at my parent's house, dial our number, let it ring three times and whoosh, we swoop to rescue.
Obviously this is nothing against My Mother, or dad for that matter, it's just she's not a natural Grandmother. When I took a newborn Isla for her first ever visit to Granny, My Mother made us enter the house via the backdoor "In case the neighbours see and think I'm old enough to be a grandma" She hissed, patting her shampoo and set and adjusting her pearls. We were swept into the house at great speed, I was at least heartened by the fact she didn't insist on covering our heads with a tartan blanket in much the same manner as a murderer. Every cloud.
Once in, My Mother ushered us into The Front Room. The Front Room! That deserves a line all of its own don't you think?
The Front Room
If you knew, if you knew of the sancity of the front room you would have given it its own line too. You may even have stood up to salute and applaud and sing the national anthem lustily and with vigour. You see, I've never been in the front room, we weren't allowed; the front room is for best, for guests, it has sofas with the plastic still covering them, a little slippery perhaps but staying put until the pope visits. It has lush, plush carpet untouched by shoes, a chandalier reminiscent of Marks and Spencer's take on Dynasty. Little occasional tables litter the room, nestling under each other like fake mahogany Russian Dolls, doilies adorn every surface, the ubiquitous Portrait of my parents, naked except for mask and snorkels, framed in the finest gilt and lit overhead by a special portrait illuminating light. It was the holy grail of my childhood, glimpsed only on special occasions between legs of grown up aunties and uncles before being ushered upstairs to play with the other abandoned children. If I'd know all it took to get in there was producing a grandchild I'd have done it years ago, which is probably why they didn't tell me.
So, you can see what an occasion it was, it may have taken me nigh on thirty(ish) years to get in, but Isla had managed it in six weeks, just by existing. Life was looking up.
My Mother opened the door formally and invited us in with a slight bow of her head, and then, well, we stood around really. My Mother stood in the centre looking slightly puzzled, resplendent in her smart suit, freshly laundered hair and much loved prostitute boots that she bought from the local transvestite shop (you can't actually buy a transvestite there, just the clothes). She looked at Isla quizzically and quietly offered her a small dish of peanuts and enquired after her health.
"She can't talk you know mother"
"Oh yes, yes of course" she said in an accusing kind of way, and sat down under the portrait and sighed wistfully, "I'm sure you were doing more at this age" she added and mournfully ate a peanut.
"She's six weeks old" I protested, hugging Isla tightly and refusing a gin and tonic
"Still," She said, "I think we had you walking" and at this she attempted to take Isla and demostrate a walking motion.
So that is why we're spending the next few hours sitting next to the phone. Granted Isla and Jack are now walking and talking tolerably well, but I think it's about this age that my parents think a child should be cleaning the guttering out or at least using a power drill to effect. Isla has a list of things they are not to do. And our phone number tattooed on her arm.

20 comments:

NanU said...

Great story; makes my own folks seem quite normal. LOL!
I'm sure you could buy a transvestite at the shop if you asked in just the right way. At least temporarily. g'wan, go try it.

5thsister said...

A naked parent snorkeling portrait? oh my. very odd indeed. I do hope Isla and Jack are faring well.

Potty Mummy said...

The reference to the Portrait... I love the way that was just dropped in there...

London City Mum said...

So when they are 'done' at your parents, any chance you can send them this way? Need some help with the DIY and figure they should be a dab hand by then...

Oh, and no phone btw. We still have carrier pidgeons here.

LCM x

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Are you sure you don't have the same mum as Bridget Jones? And as for the naked snorkelling portrait...eeeeugh!

Expat mum said...

Surely they have to ASK before they use the phone though? And isn't it in the hall where everyone will see?

Eva Gallant said...

You are incredibly brave to let them go. I'm so sorry they don't have a loving grandma. Fortunately, you have the ability to love them enough for both of you!

Nota Bene said...

Oh oh oh...and yet you survived into adulthood!

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

stopping by from sits and funny about phone number on body

citymouse said...

You, my dear, are hilarious! I am stopping by from SITS and am thrilled to have found you (and follow you!).

No advice on the mother front. I never thought mine was a stellar grandmother but now that she's gone I'd take her mediocre grandmothering any day. Life's funny that way.

Thanks for a chuckle to start my day.

Elsie Button said...

brilliant! v v funny! loved the front room descriptions, and the transvestite shop. did you get a call?!

Sara said...

Hope you sneaked some nookie in anyway. :) Your mom sounds interesting.

elsy said...

hysterical....grew up in similar enviroment but even at my age cant yet joke about it ha ha

nmaha said...

Was ROFL, when I suddenly realized you might be serious. No fun at all?

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Loved this, especially your description of seeing the
portrait/room thru the legs of aunties and uncles. Elsie Button recommended your blog to me and I've just noticed we are fellow Powder Room writers...

Cheers

Pig x

Carrie said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I'm liking your fancy blog and that you have a dog named Twizzle. Love your humor, new follower for shizzle.

Carrie
the5thgirl.com

Eliza said...

OMG that was so funny. They can come and do my guttering when they've finished there. Were you an only child :)

sstaas said...

Love this! I grew up with the infamous Front Room! Nobody was allowed in it. Only guests. LOL. BTW, we're fellow writers at Powder Room Graffiti.

More than Just a Mother said...

Genius post - love it!

Vicki said...

My mum has one of these notorious Front Rooms. These days, however, she's banned from mine.

Great blog, thanks!