Monday, April 03, 2006
Spring Forward, Fall Back
I do not handle this time change well. I know it is only one hour, and really, what difference is one hour? But it takes me all year to recover from it, I swear. I get so tired, my whole body gets sore. You would think I was physically ripped from one space and time and jetted to another. Hey, that is just what it feels like! Jet lag. I need a sign that says "Do not disturb. Suffering from Spring Jet Lag". Sunday I made chicken and dumplings for dinner. Slider style dumplings, that are actually noodles (not those biscuity things). Noodles in gravy is what it amounts to. I made them with mashed potatoes (lumpy ROFL), and corn. This was the only meal my mother ever made where she allowed more than one starch. THREE starches at one meal? Practially sacriledge! But with all that lovely gravy one needed mashed potatoes. And what are mashed potatoes and gravy without some corn to mix in? The recipe I make is about a quarter of a batch (if we were making it for one meal only and for just us. More meals, more mouths, more noodles). Dh and DD slurp them up like they are starving. Growing up it was my favourite meal, often requested for my birthday. They spent the day with MIL, raking leaves and general clean up in her yard. I spent that time reading the paper, rolling out noodles, and peeling potatoes while watching a bedraggled robin bathe himself in our gargoyle fountain. This is the same robin, I am sure, that has been tormenting Ruby for three years running. He is missing the claw part of his toe on one of his feet, is how we know it is him. He thinks he owns our yard, and Ruby thinks SHE owns the yard, so they stand off several times a day. He swoops at the poor pug, and she barks at him mercilessly - ROO ROO ROO! If he dares land on our patio, and Ruby sees it, she goes ballistic. AB ABA AB AB AB! She'll even start barking with food in her mouth (which is now on the floor) or while drinking water (sputter sputter!). This robin perches himself on one of his various spots and sings out his territory. Then waits for a bit for all to be properly impressed, before flitting to the next spot and singing his territory again. From time to time he flies down to the lawn, listens intently with his little head cocked sideways, then wrestles a worm out of the ground. Guarding your yard is hungry work. Dinner was ready and waiting when they came home, and of course, MIL was in tow. At least I sort of expected it this time, even though I think DH deliberately failed to mention she was coming along. And they brought her dog, as well. This dog is a red doberman that weighs roughly 120 pounds. She is not a BIG doberman. She is a FAT doberman. Although, I have to admit she is not as ROUND as their last one was. Their last one looked like a dog shaped balloon, and only needed a string to complete the effect. Now, for seemingly loving dogs, that family has NO idea about dog behaviour. The first thing she does when she comes in, is plunk dobies dinner dish on the ground. Half cup of kibble and about three cups of assorted people food crap (lunch meat she buys just for the dog, a piece or two of chicken pulled from the bones, a two inch chunk of polish sausage cut up, a scrambled egg, and some liver pate). Ruby is a good dog. When it comes to dog food, you can put your hand in her dish. Other animals can eat out of her bowl. But when it comes to MEAT like smoked deli stuff, look out! She will snarl and snap if you try to take it. We know this is because she is HUNGRY, since we have to measure her food. But she is already portly, we aren't sure what to do at this point. So we created the rule, NO PEOPLE FOOD. She can have what drops to the ground, but we don't GIVE her food from our plates, nor do we put leftovers in her dish. Life is better that way around here. And if she does get something accidentally, we let her have it. So here she is, unexpected visitor, and a strange dog. This is all very exciting. Then down plops the dish. If two dogs are going to fight, it will be over food or territory (toys count as territory). Ruby immediately went for the lunch meat. Dobie said "goodie! This doggie wants to share!" and tried to join the meal. Bad move! Pugbutt snarled, and jumped up to BITE. Never mind dobie is far too tall for Ruby to bite even with the jumping. Dobie thought "oooh, the little round doggie wants to PLAY!" and pounded her with a big whomping paw. So now you have one dog snapping trying to guard a dish that is not hers, and another trying to stomp the little dog to death. All withing five minutes of arriving. Sigh. So I took the food away, to the protests of MIL. "She has to eat her dinner!". Fine. Bring the dish to the bathroom, put red dog in the bathroom with the food, shut bathroom door. Wait a few minutes, open door, food is gone and dobie is sitting waiting patiently in a pile of shredded TP, holding my ten pound make-up bag in her mouth. This is going to be a long evening. The dogs took turns going outside while we ate dinner. Finally I handed MIL and DD sweaters and left the sliding door open to save my own sanity. The "no people food" rule was ignored, as is MIL's habit when she visits. Never mind the dog is going to yak on my head in the middle of the night, how can she ignore those pleading eyes?!?! "look, she loves me!". Of course she loves you. She is a pug and you smell like sausage. For those that are wondering, she did not throw up on my head. But she had noisy gas all night and kept moving from pillow to foot, pillow to foot, with every loud toot all night long. Feeeeew! DD and DH ate their weight in chicken and dumplings. MIL just picked. She is not used to food like this, she says. Spicy food. My eye twitches even thinking about it. But it is a free meal after all, so I decide to not be offended and just let her eat or not eat. I've sat at her kitchen table and watched them scarf down wall paper paste flavoured food for years, so I guess it is her turn now. After dinner was done and the table cleared, DH asked what was for dessert. Sunday is the only day I plan a dessert. And that is only because I know these two like it. I said "Another baking triumph!" as I took a box from the freezer with great fanfare LOL. It was a cake thing with mousse and whipped topping, and according to the box it "tastes like ice cream and cake!". I chose to take their word for it and abstain, but they all had two pieces. I was quite amused to hear the comments about the tea. MIL only drinks green tea (which is my fault, but that is blog fodder for another day). We always have several kinds of tea in the house, and I made green tea to have for dinner in honour of her. Once, ONCE I made Earl Grey tea, which was my personal favourite at the time and many people in my family drink it. She took a gulp, then spit it back in her cup. "It tastes like perfume!". For two days she insisted it was "coming up on her, that awful tea" and she would give me this look, like I was responsible for creating such a hideous product. At the moment I am hooked on irish breakfast tea, a strong black variety. But having learnt my lesson, it was green tea that went into the pot. She sniffed it. She sipped a bit. She sniffed it again. Then she rejected it. "I don't like that kind. I only drink green tea". DH jumped in here. "Ma, it IS green tea. The same brand you buy". She insisted it was "something strange". So he said "Fine, don't drink it. Have some water". But she doesn't like water from the Brita filter. "I don't trust that filter. Who knows what they put in it? The lady at the mall says it causes cancer". Now, this woman does not believe that the years of three packs a day smoking, diet with a complete lack of fiber and vitamins, and alcoholism had anything to do with FIL's pancreatic and subsequent cancers. But she has stopped wearing deoderant and won't drink filtered water. Deliver me. "The lady at the mall" is a woman that stands in front of the health food store and hands out pamphlets and flyers. Things like "Why fluoride (sp - too lazy to check LOL) is killing our kids" and "Hot dogs linked to leukemia". She has told MIL such gems as 'our cats are going to steal DD's breath while she is sleeping', and that garlic pills will cure everything from piles to the bird flu. Which MIL immediately buys into as fact. After all, standing in a mall are the best credentials one could have, right? But just so you know, buying the garlic pills and keeping the box in your cupboard is apprently enough to protect you. Because they are "too big to swallow, but I feel better since buying them". At the mention of the crazy mall lady, DH lost it. I am not even sure what he said, I was so shocked at the time. I sat there, frozen, my tea cup half raised to my lips. DD's eyes got big as saucers. It was a catharsis for him, about far more than tea and water filters. I finally shook out of it enough to put my cup down and hustle DD downstairs into her toy room. Closed the door behind us and played barbies for a while (with two dogs constantly stealing things or walking through our "set ups" and scattering tiny furniture everywhere). After about fifteen minutes, there was a quiet knock at the door. Dh peeked in and said we could come upstairs now, and apoligized to DD for scaring her. She said she hadn't been scared, just startled. When we got into the kitchen, MIL was sitting with a cup of tea, and made a point of taking a big drink and saying "See, I'm drinking it. It's good". She apologized for making comments. "I didn't mean to be rude". Things were a bit tense and quiet after that. I had to break that tension some how. That is how "it" happened. It wasn't my fault! I swear it! Circumstances were beyond my control, I tell you!