Saturday, October 20, 2007

Creamed Corn + Pie = Love

I mentioned in an earlier post that I screen all calls from my mom. Well, that was only partially true. I screen all calls - period. MDH is much friendlier and nicer than me and eagerly makes every effort to pick up on the first ring without ever looking at the caller id. I don't know how he can do that. I haven't got the strength.

As much as I enjoy caller id I certainly don't need it. Before there was caller id I had just an answering machine and I let the machine pick up every call. Before I had an answering machine I would simply let the phone ring and ring and ring because frankly I didn't give a shit who was calling. Back in the day, when I had room mates my bad attitude about answering the phone caused quite a lot of ugly rows as I'm sure you can imagine.

When I lived alone I often kept the phone unplugged for glorious days at a stretch. Now that I am married compromises must be made so if MDH wants the phone answered he must answer it. If MDH answers the phone and it is for me and don't feel like talking to that person then he must tolerate a seething, tight-lipped glare from me as I take the unwanted call. Compromise.

The truth is, even if I like you, with very few exceptions I probably don't want to talk to you on the phone. My close friends know this about me and don't seem offended, but that's probably because they are the few people that I actually ever want to talk to. They know who they are. (As if that's hard to figure out. If you call me and I answer the phone you're in.)

If I am related to you then I don't want to talk to you on the phone ever for any reason. This is especially true if I am related to you and you are over the age of 70. It's not because I don't love you. I love you guys, I really do, but I can't talk to you on the phone because you are all hard of hearing and bugass crazy.

One morning last week when the phone rang to my surprise I saw my Uncle Dan's name on the caller id with a Michigan area code. He is my dads brother and in his early 80's. His call was surprising for two reasons. #1 Because the last I'd heard he'd been living in Pompano Beach, wedged between my crazy aunts in a Villages wannabe condo complex. (My 2 crazy aunts live one house away from each other and Dan was silly enough to buy the house in between them) And #2 because not only had I not seen my Uncle Dan and his wife Aunt P for a couple of years but he had never once in my entire life called me. It was just plain weird so I let the machine pick up for fear that someone had died.

When I finally listened to the message it was sweet and lovely, albeit slightly tedious and certainly making me feel all guilty for not picking up the phone. Damn you sweet old people. His message said that he and Aunt P had moved back to Michigan last spring but he didn't call until now because he had fallen down the basement steps of their new condo and broken a couple of ribs and hurt his knee, then he developed pneumonia (from the broken rib) and had his pancreas removed (yeah, more spooky, I found this out after I wrote a post called Potato Chip Pancreas, I'm haunted that way) and was calling me now because he is finally feeling better and wanted to say hello and see when we can come visit them.

I called him back right away and MDH and I made plans to visit them today. And so we did. We got up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning and drove 2 hours to Southern Michigan on a gorgeous fall day.

I had forgotten how good it can feel to be fussed over. My own parents don't really make a fuss over me. Even when I haven't seen them for over a year my mom is still very likely to point to the fridge and tell me to make myself a sandwich when I get hungry. This is probably why I don't particularly like being fussed over. I'm just not used to it and it makes me feel weird.

Aunt P fixed a huge supper for us. We ate at 3:30pm because she and Uncle Dan go to bed at like 5.

Aunt P made under-seasoned salisbury steak with runny brown gravy from a little paper packet, instant mashed potatoes the consistency of kindergarten paste and canned creamed corn.

I have not eaten these things since I was in elementary school and was given 50 cents each day to dine in the school cafeteria. These things tasted terrible but at the same time it was all so marvelous and I felt so loved. She made peanut butter pie from a box mix for dessert. I cried a little on the drive home. I was overwhelmed.

Are they bugass crazy? Yes. Aunt P spent the entire day looking for a pink, flip-flop shaped flyswatter that was never more than 2 feet from her hand. She would swat and kill yellow jackets that kept getting into the house every time she opened the back door to flip a dead yellow jacket out the door on the tip of her flyswatter. I happened to notice this pattern and when I brought to their attention the giant yellow jacket nest next to the screen door my Uncle Dan hauled out a container of poison the size of an RV and proceeded to engulf the entire tri-state area with plumes of Raid.

Are they hard of hearing? Yes. My throat is sore from our visit today. It could also be from inhaling poison, but they do have really bad hearing.

However, I'm not going to let the machine pick up for Uncle Dan & Aunt P anymore. They called me to visit and made me pie. They're in.

At the top of the page is a picture of Uncle Dan, one of the crazy aunts, me and my parents looking all glamorous on the sofa behind us. I think everyone is hammered except for me and Uncle Dan.


Tara said...

"even if I like you, with very few exceptions I probably don't want to talk to you on the phone"...Ah, thank you, I thought I was the only one who does that. I don't do it all the time, but I do have my moods. The only exception is my mom, I won't ignore a call from her, even if I'm in a foul mood.

Anonymous said...

This post says so much about you and I loved it. You wrote it so well!

I feel like I know your Aunt and Uncle (or old relies just like them)
but I totally understand about not asnwering the phone.
Luckily, I have three kids who think it is still a novelty to answer each ring, even my cell phone, so I have 'secretaries'.
I'm just not a talking on the phone kind of person and the older I get the more I detest it.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Tara - I've always been this way, I think because my mom is too. Yeah, she screens me too. Mom and I don't answer the door either unless we're expecting someone.

Betty - Thanks! Glad you liked it. My younger sister was always the eager little phone answerer in our house. She had Down's Syndrome and as a result very bad speech problems and was very hard to understand on the phone (except to us). If a telemarketer called my mother would hand the phone to my sister, say "it's for you sweetie" and let her talk her head off until the poor confused telemarketer would finally hang up.

Anonymous said...

I didn't take a call from my friend Aggressive Hugger last night because I knew it was going to be bad news. I just didn't want to deal with it then. So when she called me this morning at work I was ready to take it even though being at work seems like an inopportune time to listen to bad news.

I'm glad you had a good time with family this weekend. Family for me is about 7 hours away so I miss the good times.

Churlita said...

I'm right there with you on the phone thing.thank god for ringtones on cell phones. If anyone in my family calls, I hear Ozzy's Crazy Train, and I know not to answer it.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Step - you sound a bit guilty about this - rightfully so if your friends handle is Aggressive Hugger. I hate to get bad news, especially at work. I hope it wasn't too bad.

Churlita - Crazy Train is THE bloody perfect ringtone for antique family members! You're a genius.