Today, my kitchen ceiling is yellow. Last week, it wasn’t. Thankfully, it’s only in one spot – just around the lights. The rest of it is white, like any regular kitchen ceiling usually is.
What happened, and how did it get this way? Well, simply put, crazy stuff happens around this house. In this particular instance, someone was doing something a little abnormal using curry powder, a few cleaning supplies, some water in a big pot, and a pretty large pumpkin, all of which – combined together rambunctiously – resulted in a giant splash, yellow liquid flying WAY up in the air, hitting the overhead drywall, and turning the ceiling this “tea-stained/smoker’s teeth” kind of colour. It’s still that way now despite furious attempts by the offending individual to rub it off with a washcloth while yelling, “This stuff actually DOES stain.” No shit.
This is the non-rhyming, progressively dissimilar, adult child version of the classic Christmas poem.
As the title implies…
‘Twas the night before the night before the night before Christmas,
(Meaning it was Sunday night, like last night – Christmas is on Wednesday, you figure it out).
When all through the house, not a creature was stirring
Except for the odd pair of cats tear-assing down the hall
Which is typically what they do when everything is quiet.
The stockings were somewhere laying around,
And nobody really cared about Santa
Because they’d learned long ago that he doesn’t exist.
My husband was nestled all snug in his bed,
Visions of cars and computer gadgetry and what unnecessary item he was going to buy at Future Shop’s boxing day sale
Dancing around in his brain.
The kids were out celebrating the holidays
As young adults are sometimes want to do,
And I was expecting a few extra party-goers to end up on my couch downstairs.
It’s fine with me as long as no one barfs multiple times on the Berber.
As if I need that.
The cats do it enough already.
So I was at home, but I couldn’t sleep.
I blame that on peri-menopause, and the fact that I’m a worrier.
God knows what kind of trouble three young people can get into downtown.
One “Hey, watch where you’re going,”
Can turn into a stabbing (or worse, a shootout) these days.
And yeah, I know I exaggerate, but you can’t tell me it’s never happened.
Anyway, as I said, the house was relatively quiet,
When all of a sudden – from somewhere outside, perhaps near the garage – I heard a loud clatter.
Was it one of my kids home earlier than two? Not bloody likely.
Or was it a burglar entering my house at his leisure because
One of my kids has given our garage code to the wrong friend,
And now Johnny the deviant is coming for a visit?
Tightening my housecoat because – according to my husband – nobody wants to see my ugly old gramma nightie,
I went and peaked out the front window.
I knew in a moment that it was just the neighbour hauling in something from his car.
No excitement there, though I did hear him shout
(And remember, it was like midnight),
“Jesus Vera, why is it always me doing all the goddamn work?”
To which Vera answered, “Stuff a sock in it, Hank.”
Once that charming encounter was over,
I went back to the kitchen and sat down at my computer again. Might as well creep some people on Facebook for a while, I figured.
It was too late to read a book.
My brain was beyond functioning at the “I have to put out effort and try to comprehend things” level,
I just needed to vegetate and let the world come at me in as an annoying and unimportant way as possible.
Two seconds later, the cats were at it again, running around and accidentally knocking over a lamp,
Waking up my husband in the process who hollered from the distant cave of our bedroom,
“I have to fucking work tomorrow.”
Yes, sometimes cats DO sound like reindeer taking off.
If my husband could put them on top of the porch and tell them to “dash away”, he probably would.
“Quiet up there!” I yelled back. Nobody likes a complainer.
As expected, the kids arrived home around 2:30 a.m.
Surprisingly, everyone was in good spirits.
Nobody was completely obliterated – and by that I mean really super-duper drunk.
My car was in tact,
Which is important, because I have to go to the grocery store one more time before the “big day”,
To stock up on milk, and eggs, and all the other stuff that people inhale within seconds around here.
That’s how it is at our house, especially before Christmas.
Now get me some Mistletoe and a Scandinavian hunk in a pair of red and green boxers.
I could use a jump start.
Also, I made up that part about my neighbours.
They would never talk to each other that way.
That’s mainly our family.
Their names aren’t Hank and Vera either.
Funny how sometimes, one thing can lead to something completely different. Yesterday at our house, it went from carving large birds to killer dolls.
You see, Thanksgiving is coming, and like so many others, we are having a bunch of people over for dinner tomorrow, which means we’ve started cooking.
Potatoes, corn, asparagus, turnip, carrots, pumpkin pie, stuffing, and of course, turkey. We cooked one last night, and we’ll make another one tomorrow just so we have enough. People eat like horses around here. At least Charles does.
Anyway, we were preparing the bird, when the talk of big knives began…
“I wouldn’t want to be stabbed with a big knife.” It was my husband, stating what is probably a sentiment most people would agree with. I mean, I don’t think anyone likes getting stabbed.
“No, me neither,” I replied.
“Especially not by a little person,” he went on.
“Little person? How likely is that?” What was he talking about? My husband is strange sometimes. “Well, at least they probably couldn’t jab you very hard,” I answered. “Nor could they likely reach beyond your waist – like they couldn’t stab you in the heart – unless of course, they were standing on a chair, but then that would take time to organize. You could run away by then.”
“Chucky. I just don’t like Chucky.” His eyes were big. He looked afraid.
“That doll from the horror movie in the 80’s?” Ah, so now I understood. It was like he was reliving his childhood again, except when the movie came out, he was nineteen. I needed to help him out.
“Chucky is from New Jersey. How’s a toddler supposed to get to where we live?” Logic. I hit ’em with it every time, and it usually makes things better. Lucky for me, at that moment, it did, and we could get on with the holiday.
“Yeah, you’re right.” He let out a big sigh of relief, and went back to cooking.
When my kids were little, they were kind of wild. They pretty much popped out of the womb that way. Come to think of it, they haven’t changed much.
I blame this propensity for barbarousness on my ADHD husband – he was on Ritalin when he was younger. It doesn’t matter that I should classify myself under the same heading.
Because of him (and marginally because of me), my kids were the ones climbing to the top of the swing set, forget the swinging. They were the ones running and squealing through the mall, and I don’t mean after we’d been there for an hour. I mean right from the get-go. They were the ones jumping out of the stroller or the wagon because “sitting” was not part of their vocabulary. They were the ones making snow forts in the dead of winter – didn’t matter how cold it was – because I (their mother, who was always outside with them, BTW) couldn’t take being cooped up in the house for an entire day with three such rabble-rousers. They were the ones that the checkout ladies at the library dubbed “the loudest human beings on the face of the planet” and then proceeded to ban us from coming in there – for at least a week until they forgot and then the whole sequence started all over again. That was the way it went for many years. “You can’t come in.” We went in. “You can’t come in.” We went in. Why the library had to put the children’s section right next to the senior’s quiet reading corner, I’ll never know.
I have so many examples of my kids’ crazy behaviour, the stories seem endless. Why, we were just reminiscing about one particular incident yesterday. This is a good one.
It was the day of my cousin’s wedding. The kids were pretty little still – four, three and one maybe. They were used to running around (outside mostly) like wild animals, because that is just how we lived. “Footloose, fancy-free, and often without pants” is probably a good description.
Now, the trouble with weddings is twofold – one, you are usually expected to dress up, and two, you are also expected to sit quietly in a church for an extended period of time, neither of which my family was very good at. They still aren’t.
We started with the clothes. You think kids, they’ll wear whatever you put on them. Not mine. And it’s not like I had them in miniature suits and dresses or anything. For the boys, it was a pair of pants and some clean t-shirts, if I recall correctly.
We managed to get to the church on time, which was also very difficult for us. Three little ones and a Jamaican husband – seriously, that’s a recipe for lateness. So there we were, sitting in the back, the boys fidgeting almost immediately, my daughter zooming back and forth across the pew. She was walking by nine months. By one, she could run.
And it was a Catholic wedding. You know how those go – long. I think we lasted about fifteen minutes (which was a miracle in and of itself) when my oldest starting karate chopping his brother, and Tess started hissing like a rabid fox for no apparent reason. “Shhhh, you guys. Watch up at the front. See cousin Karen in her pretty dress.” As if.
I’d also brought games and food and little toys. I’m a smart mother. Unfortunately for me, my children are about running and jumping, not playing checkers or colouring. You can imagine that car rides were a nightmare. They still are. If we travel, it’s usually at night, like bandits.
Anyway, long story short, at the wedding, we ended up on the lawn outside, the boys climbing the trees, my daughter jumping off a big rock. Basically, we were waiting for the ceremony to be over so we could go to the reception and wait outside again until it was time to go home.
With the kids playing, my husband and I tried to watch in the church door, to catch a glimpse of what was going on – so we could at least say we were there – which is why we didn’t quite see that our oldest son had taken off all his clothes and thrown them in the bushes. He was a fast little devil.
And just as he was sprinting across the grass, naked as the day he was born – his “nice” clothes shoved behind some forsythia – the people started coming out. “Oh my God. Get him,” I yelled to my husband. Too late. The guests had spied my little streaker.
Luckily, we managed to wrestle him down before the newlyweds emerged. Most everyone else saw him though. And of course, my cousin heard about it.
That’s pretty much it. People laughed, which was good. And now I have something that will make a really great mother-of-the-groom speech for when my son gets married himself.
You see how things work? What goes around eventually comes back to embarrass the hell out of you another day.
Today, my oldest son Zach – mister rock star himself – turns twenty-two. In honour of this special occasion, I would like to list twenty-two reasons why I think he’s awesome. I could come up with so many more, but these are just the first ones I can list off the top of my head…
First and foremost, he looks like a lion. And I love cats, so there you go. I meant to do that when I gave birth to him.
He has great hair, kind of like if Bob Marley and Lenny Kravitz had a baby.
He can do an impressive Australian accent.
And a Jamaican accent.
And a not-bad, but possibly not completely convincing, English accent.
He owns a pair of “these look like they belong to the Devil” boots, and he wears them well.
He also owns a pair of army-coloured, tiger-striped jeans, if you can imagine what THAT looks like. They actually fit his personality perfectly.
He wants to make the world a better place. This is where I – as a parent – take partial credit.
He is a very fast runner. And he can jump like a large rabbit.
He loves animals, but then, how could he not with me as his mother?
He is a great cook. OK, I didn’t teach him that. It must’ve been my father – his grandpa – who passed along that skill, thank goodness. Now I don’t have to make supper all the time. I will say though, he’s not so great at cleaning up. Oh well, a person can’t be good at everything.
He can break kitchen chairs just by sitting in them. It’s a real skill to lean back and balance on the back legs for an extended period of time before then crashing to the ground.
He is genuine and caring; he is focused and determined; and he is very passionate about living life to the fullest. All these attributes were contributed by his father when I asked him to list three special things about his son. And yes, they are all true, but slightly predictable and somewhat boring. I was hoping for something a little more interesting, more revealing, so then my husband gave me this…
He can “Ninja Turtle” kick his brother in the head while eating a chocolate popsicle, which is also quite accurate. We have the video from 1996 to prove it, too bad it’s on a VHS tape. Someday, I’ll have to convert it to a Youtube video, and eventually post it – for all the world to see – on my son’s Facebook page.
He talks a lot during movies. He talks a lot in general. Sometimes, you just want him to shut the hell up. When he was in high school, he was banned from going on certain field trips, like to the National Arts Centre and such, where people are supposed to be quiet. He has trouble with that, and trouble sitting still as well. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon of the Tasmanian Devil, he whirls kind of the same, only in a happier way.
Because of this “Tasmanian Devil” type behaviour, he has ripped more clothing than you can possibly imagine, which isn’t always easy on the pocket book, but will surely keep him in style because he is constantly requiring new things.
He looks great in leather, but then, who doesn’t?
He can actually get himself to school on the bus. You laugh (because, yeah he’s an adult), but my other son – his brother who is a year and a half younger – isn’t always capable of doing that. (Charles has lots of his own redeeming qualities. Taking the bus just isn’t one of them.)
He can do a one-armed handstand. This is hard as hell. It also ruins my walls.
He is a free spirit. For example, he doesn’t mind streaking naked in front of a whole wedding party. He did that when he was four.
He has a six pack, which in and of itself is nice – I mean, the girls like it – but more importantly, it goes to show how hard he works at the things he cares about, his health being one of them. Also, the neighbours would like him to stop singing so much, or at least shut his bedroom window while he’s doing it.
He wants to be the next Freddie Mercury/Robert Plant/Bob Marley. That kind of dream is cool as shit. The neighbours will say, “I knew him when…he drove us nuts every single day, for four summers straight, until he moved out.”
He can eat a whole bag of Maltesers all by himself. Probably the most impressive of all the things I’ve said here today, which is why I saved it for last.
So there you have it, twenty-two reasons why my son is awesome. I wish him the very best on this wonderful day.
Now, if he could only learn to shut cupboard doors once he’s opened them, and if he could try to get his used dental floss actually INTO the garbage instead of on the floor of my car, that would be great.