Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A whole new evolution

Whilst the children play with Pokemon games for 30 minutes of electronics time, I busy myself with supper preparations. With their attention absorbed in this adventure they have no time for Nonna.

In turn, I find that my own attention havers. I discover that I am unable to provide a running commentary on my 'doings' at sufficient volume and achieve anything constructive at the same time. It is an entirely new course of mental torture, monitor the children for squabbles and cook and answer questions. Strangely I find I am completely incapable of all three simultaneously.

“When is he coming?”
“Who? Oh, not for a while yet I’m afraid.”
“He won’t be home for supper……again.”
“No…….I’m sorry.”

I try to explain the concept of a Start-up, the hours, the American work ethic. She is not impressed. It is the same discussion we have every year, impossible to translate, unrelated to senility and everything to do with insanity.

I have a brilliant idea, Suzanne's really, “I could do with some Basil from the garden if you’re not busy?” I yell. She blinks momentarily, “oh…….right…….I’ll go and get you some then.” She steps unsteadily towards the door and yanks on it’s unco-operative handle a few times. I step over to open it for her and hover, door ajar as she negotiates the step. Her hand reaches out to the pillar for support before gingerly taking the plunge. Why did I say that? What an idiot I am? I hear the rice boil over on the stove behind me and make a dash for it.

She returns a few minutes later, “ do you know?”
“Know?”
“It is quite chilly out there now.”
“Is it?”
“Yes……I came back in to for my cardi.”
“Right, good idea.” She walks around the kitchen patting surfaces.
“Do you know where it is?”
I put down the wooden spoon and cloth on the over spilled rice and head off to her bedroom. “There, that should sort you out.”
“Now…….what was I doing outside……oh Basil!” she strides forth, “no leave it really, I don’t need any, I’ll used the jarred stuff,” I yell in what I hope is an appealing tone. She looks at me as if I am half mad, “no, no, no, not the jar when we have fresh.” I hover behind her as we challenge the port cullis of a door. Behind me I detect the gentle waft of cinders.

I begin to seriously doubt my capabilities, the responsibilities. It seems only too recently that I was moaning about a lack of child and Respite care, now I have an odd sensation of whelming over.

I dump the burned rice in a bag at the sink. I glance up, out of the window to see my 84 year old Mother in Law teetering on the seat of the rocking chair, hanging onto the top of fence to peer over into the next garden. I drop my hands and leg it outside as fast as possible. I reach her in a state of gasp as I scream at her derriere, directly in my line of sight, “what on earth are you doing!” She glances back over her shoulder, “eh?”
“I said…….....can I help you down?”
“No I am just looking.” I take a few breaths and attempt composure.
“Do you know……?" she asks and pauses, "dey still haven’t started building yet?”
“Yes I know. Now howsabout I help you down from there?”

I attempt help but I’m sure it’s closer to manhandle.

A few moments later she is back with a few leaves of Basil in her hand. I look at the contents of her hand and smile, “thank you.”
“What can do now then?”
“Um……..I know…….perhaps you could peel the potatoes?”
“I thought we were having rice?”
“We were but now we’re having potatoes.”
“Pesto won’t go with potatoes!”
“Yes it will………it’s on old Ita……..er……..French recipe, delicious, I make it all the time.” She looks at me dimly, “it must be a very old recipe indeed cause I ave never eard of it.”
“Delicious, really.”
“Where it is then?”
“Where is…….?”
“The peeler?”
“In the knife drawer.”
“Oh right.”
I peer in the fridge hoping for inspiration.
“So…….where they are then?”
“Where are…..?”
“The potatoes.”
“Right there, next to the sink, in a bowl.”

I decide to chat, to dispel the tension, my own. I yell.
“Did you see that he wrote your name in the dust?”
“Eh?”
“He wrote ‘Nonna’ in the dust in the display cabinet.”
“Oh….” she giggles, “that wasn’t him…….that was me!”
I pout and pause, close to tears.

I really don’t think I can do this.

My numb is brain.

“You" are very naughty Nonna!”

7 comments:

Osh said...

oh Maddy, I love your posts...you write so beautifully, so vivid, I feel as though I am right there in your house...

and my grandfather used to write his name in the dust, and that is when my grandmother hired a maid.

Trixie said...

Child to adult to child again.

What we've all got to look forward to!

Bonnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bonnie said...

I love that she wrote her name in the dust! Very subtle but still quite embaressing! Give her a swiffer!

Aliki2006 said...

Pesto potatoes sound wonderful!

This post made me both sad and happy...beautiful.

Awesome Mom said...

Hang in there! It is always frustrating to have people visiting in your house. My mother in law loves to put strange things in the fridge. We are always finding the sugar and similar things moved to a colder environment after she is gone.

When we moved to a bigger house when we were living in California she helped unpack the kitchen. It took me months to find everything.

Almost American said...

I remember my grandfather writing "Tom was here" in the dust at our house. I think it was shortly afterwards that the dusting became a job that my siblings and I were required to do!