Thursday, September 15, 2005

You can't raise your parents...

I've had a bit of a break from from Mom and Swifty, in that I've only had small doses of them over the week. Monday I didn't see them at all as they drove up to St. Andrews together for the day, which allowed a day of peace and rest to clear away the mess from Sunday and spend some time with the baby. Sassy had a play date and got to have dinner over her friend's house; lucky her.

I've tried to give our spare mobile phone (nokia 3330) to Mom to use in the caravan but the annoying thing refuses to charge. It wouldn't work in any of the room of the house or on any of the spare Nokia chargers we have. It was very particular and insisted it have it's own, original charger that it was born with in its box, which was at the Hubs's office. But after much fumbling and cussing, we got it charged up and ready. I had to give extensive lessons on how to use it. It's a normal, and quite possibly the easiest phone to understand, but I know she'll take one look at it and have no clue what to do with it, even though her phone is all bells and whistles in comparison. I think she blocks out simple stuff on purpose.

Tuesday I didn't know if they were going to come over or not, as they didn't have the phone yet, but they did pull into the drive around one o'clock. They brought three loads of laundry with them, which is fine, I offered the machine up to them anytime. Three loads means three hours. I made a pot of coffee but noticed anything I offered up to Swifty he refused. No drinks, no food. I was a bit put off, but figured, hey, one less dish or cup to clean. But then I noticed that if Mom ate something, he'd take it if she offered it. What a devoted wee dog he is, no? He was asking me about future renovation on our house and plans to extend. He thinks it's wrong that the only bathroom is upstairs, there should be one downstairs. "What if you were in a wheelchair?" he asked. I said "Then I wouldn't have bought this house." he continued with "But what if you end up in a wheelchair?" I ended this conversation with "I would be shit out of luck then I guess, or I could just move. I don't plan my life around the possibly of being wheelchair bound." Is this the difference between thirty years of life experience? I really find pessimists dull...

Yesterday they drove in at about Noon and we had a small lunch of toast and pate with coffee but again, Swifty wouldn't take anything I offered, but when mom gave him a plate he ate it. He also won't drink here, and I finally found out why. He doesn't like climbing the stairs to use the toilet. Mom drives him up the grocery store so he can use their toilet instead. *shrug* I'm not giving him a pot to use so, I'm glad he has a alternative. But I am starting to feel like typhoid Mary. I'm going to test him today If today he refuses my hospitality, but takes it from Mom, I'm calling him on it.

After much tooing and froing about what to do with the day I finally convinced them to go into Edinburgh for the day. Sassy had another play date and I had the evening free. Hubs was coming home early and would be there if Sassy needed him, but he was happy to have a few hours of the house alone to himself. So on the train we go. Swifty's impressed, saying he's not been on a train like this before, maybe one to Atlanta and they discuss it while I keep the baby from climbing under tables. Swifty made a comment about how surprised he was to see how rich Scotland was. He was expecting things to be older, perhaps shabbier than they are. He's amazed that there are so many new cars around, he's struggled to find an older model anything, He's a life long foreign car mechanic and cars are his passion. When we arrive in Edinburgh, he becomes quiet, and it's a reaction I understand. The city is beautiful.

We walk around a wee bit and then decide to take one of the open top double-decker bus tours around the city. I've lived here for 10 years, and have never done this so it was an adventure for all of us. The tour was about an hour long, and you can jump off the bus, see the sites and then hop on and continue the tour, it's great! They both really loved it, saying it was the best bus tour they've ever been on; and they travel a lot so I finally thought, hooray he likes something. We went out for Chinese food which was all right, one of those all you can eat buffets for 7.99, I figured it would appeal to his conservative wallet and I was right. They were both unsure of all the curry type meals, and annoyed at having no hot Chinese mustard. I had to explain that it's something they do in America, and it's not Chinese mustard at all, it's usually English mustard they use...you know that yellow mustard that blows your head off and clears your sinuses...yup, it's English yellow mustard. They don't have duck sauce here either, or fortune cookies. I even feel deprived when there's no fortune cookie at the end.

I was beginning to think I'd been too over cautious. I've been waiting for him to screw up so I could point and go "AHHhhhhh...you screwed up! Ha!!" but he'd been alright recently. Then, as we were walking back to the train station to go home, a Black couple were walking towards us, obviously tourists themselves. Swifty says "Now, there's something I've not seen yet while I was here" and I looked around, thinking he had seen an old car or something else, but he was looking back behind him, watching the couple gaze up at the Scott Monument. Good ole' Swifty.

We had a half hour wait for the next train, and Swifty was tired so he had a seat, and Mom went with me to the shop to buy a bottle of wine. I asked her how she can put up with Swifty's racism. She made excuses for him, he's a man of his day, he knows the South before desegregation, he can't be changed...blah blah blah. I said she lived through desegregation too. "But not in the South it was different there." I reminded her that Boston had some pretty disgusting riots about integrating schools, and I saw the newsreels, she can't fool me New England wasn't a racist hub. I added that, she would never have tolerated any of her kids saying what Swifty says, and I can't see how an intellegent woman can let that behavior slide. Then I dropped it. I bought some wine.

Actually...it was really cool buying wine. I was in a Marks and Spencer Food shop, and selected two bottles. When I got to the counter, the man behind the till was looking at the bottle, looking at the monitor, looking at me, looking at the monitor, looking at the bottle, then at me again. I asked if everything was all right and said it should be 6.49. He smiled and agreed the price was correct. But, "Are you over 18?" I was the stunned bunny in the headlights. "Uhm, yeah." he follows, "Can I see some ID?" now wouldn't you know, the one time I haven't bothered to bring my license with me this happens...I mean this NEVER happens! I said I didn't have ID, but my mom and daughter were right over there if he wanted to ask. He gave me a weak smile, blushed and rang up the other bottle. I paid with my bank card (Which I said "Oh, look, I have switch, you have to be over 18 to have a switch card. Ha!" and he smiled, blushed and apologised.) I told him not to apologise: he'd made my day; and he did too! (Until I told another friend who said I was making up stories...jerk: you know who you are *grin*)

I'm still pretty sure, Swifty will somehow turn Mom so she won't visit me anymore either. It's my biggest fear, but if she can't even make an effort to correct his rude behavior, what hope is there that she'll defend herself for her family. I'm just going to have to let her make her own decisions, love her, and let her go. She'll always be welcome, and I'll have to be sure to make that message as blaring and bright as possible. I only hope she has enough fight in her to defend me, and the rest of us, the way she does for him.

BTW, I've not had time to give this post a proper edit so apologies for bad grammar and the like. No red pens on the punctuation please.

** on re-read, I sound dead posh buying wine and eating pate for lunch. But honestly, I'm not...

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