Thursday, April 27, 2006

Shit, allow me to introduce you to Mrs Fan.

We were at the rented house. My mother was was lurking by the window, hyperventilating and claiming she had 'heart palpitations'. I was telling her to calm down and filling a vase of lillies with water. I carried the flowers through to the sitting room and was considering whether or not to take a look through her handbag for some kind of pill-either for me or her- when my sister's car pulled into the drive.
'THEY"RE HERE!!!' My mother screamed, frightening me so much I almost almost dropped the vase.
'Jesus, will you oooowowwww -'
She slid across to grab my upper arm in a pinching painful grip.
'Is that her?' She said, as a small dark skinned woman in a red fleece stepped out of the passenger side.
'Well let me see, the tall man is your son and the woman driving the car is your daughter, so I'm thinking, yep, that's probably her.'
'Oh shut up.' she hissed, flew across the room and flung open the door.
'Huuuloooo there!' She cooed falsetto.
'Hey there Mam.' My brother, or rather the man inhabiting my brother's form, all lanky and longish hair, looking strangly blonder than I remember it, dropped his bag, bent down and gave her a hug.
Ma burst out crying. My elder sister rolled her eyes at me.
'Cat this is Grace.' My sister introduced me to my brother's wife.
'Hello.' I said, wiping my damp hands on my skirt.
'Hello.' she said and grabbed me for a double kiss.
'oohh.' I said. 'oh, yes ha ha.'
It was awkward, we both went in the same direction, behind her ma's tears were reaching the heavens, but I recognised the false ring... she was stalling.
I could see my brother trying to wriggle free.
'Come here you!' I said, forcing her to release him.
'And this is my mother.' I said as my brother finally broke free and gave me a hug.
She tried the double kiss on Ma, Ma stiffly stuck out her hand. I think it jabbed Grace in the chest.
Grace dropped her arms and shook her hand. 'Hello.'
'So you're the lady who married my son.'
My sister mumbled something about getting bags out of the car and bolted back out the door.
'Nice to finally meet you.' My mother said making 'meet' sound like 'murder'.
Eeeekk, I can see my mother look her up and down, her mouth tight with disapproval.
If Grace is offended by my mother's behind the gate growling she doesn't let on. My brother has probably briefed her well.
She is tini-tiny, she has long beautiful dark glossy hair and dark brown eyes. She is curvy. She looks about twelve-even though we know she is twenty-two. She also has a set to her jaw that I recognise, this one is no push over.
We go in. I show the bride and groom around the house. They declare themselves delighted, and they are also clearly exhausted. I promise them we won't stay long. My brother ruffles my hair. I'm beam at him like a moron. Eeeeeeeeeeee, it's good to have him back.
Back downstairs Etheline and her fiancé arrive, with Poppy. More hugs. Etheline gives Grace the once over and I see her lip do the exact same thing my mother's did. Poor Grace, the odd are stacking up against her.
We stay for a while, not too long. My mother ask my brother about a million questions which he answers gamely. He is very pointed though, he says 'We're thinking about this,' and 'we're thinking about that.'
My mother refers to him as 'my son' at every opportunity. She interrogates Grace, abetted my Etheline, where did she meet 'my son', what did her parents think of her moving to Ireland with 'my son', what made her and 'my son' get fucking married so quickly (she doesn't say fucking but you can hear it in the pause)?
I am amused to watch her grow more and more irritable as Grace-who, much to Etheline's annoyance, has Poppy on her lap - answers most questions and seem oblivious to her snips.
We prepare to leave, Etheline snatches her dog back, we make plans for dinner on Friday. My mother is at a loss. This Grace person is nice, seems kind, my brother clearly loves her and she doesn't seem to get rattled easily. Even Poppy likes her.
What is an angry middle-aged mother to do?
But Grace solves it all for us, by declaring she is dying for a cigarette.
'Don't tell me you smoke Grace?' My mother says, her eyes glistening. 'Oh now, all mine gave that filthy habit up years ago.'
Grace admits her efforts to quit.
My mother nods sagely. ' Oh yes, I believe it can be very difficult, such a disgusting habit, I really can't imagine how anyone in this day and age does it.' She sniffs. 'It is against the law in this country to smoke in bars and restaurants you know.'
'Mam, come on.' My eldet sister says glancing at her watch. 'I've got to get home and these two look like they're dead on their feet.'
We arrange dinner for tonight and after another round of kissing and shaking we make out way out. My mother has the light of a zealot burning in her eyes.
A smoker. The chink in the armour.
God help Grace.

Hollywood update- Charlie Sheen has been hit with another lawsuit: a woman claims he basically stole her life for a character on his sit-com, bad Charlie, bad boy.
Josh Holloway worries about his weight and claims he likes beer- oh Josh, Josh, Joshie poo. I would sooooooo not throw you out of bed for eating crisps.


Anonymous MacDara said...

Taking a Irish Son away from his mother with such little notice is a risky business. You all seem to have managed a pontential ackward moment very well.

But please tell me some one said congratulations to the new couple before the 1000.s questions ?

11:08 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

We didn't I am ashamed to say. Not one of us thought to say it.

11:12 a.m.  
Anonymous MacDara said...

Well here is the conversation that happened straight after all left.

Grace : They all hate me

Brother: No they don’t they just want to get to know you.
Grace: No they hate me and they are annoyed at you .

Brother : No look they are really happy for us but they are just surprised.

Grace: Well if they are happy why didn’t they say congratulations to us then.
Brother: They did, they must have , Didn’t they.
Grace : No they Didn’t.
Brother : Oh. That’s bad. Sorry about that. Now I’m really hurt.
Grace: I don’t want to go to dinner tomorrow now lets leave it until next week.
Brother: Yea that’s a good idea, I ring and cancel and make up some excuse.

11:48 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

He might, but I doubt it. It's not really 100% our fault either. If he had maybe once mentioned to us he was getting married and not sprung it on us a few weeks ago long after the fact, our reactions might be better(I would have gone to the wedding and issued many a congratulations, but I wasn't asked)
Under the circumstances I think our reactions were pretty restrained.

11:54 a.m.  
Blogger finn said...

are there plans for the two families to meet? confronted with a room of Graces, yer mum might go completely apoplectic and suffer a stroke. and of course you wouldn't want that.

nope, bad idea.

12:09 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

There is only Grace's dad apparently, and she doesn't really get along with him-imagine not getting along with a parent. He lives in California with his new wife and their considerably younger family.
I should point out Grace didn't say she didn't get along with him, my brother did over the phone a few weeks ago, Grace never mentioned it.

12:20 p.m.  
Anonymous Macdara said...

I guess under the circumstances it is understandable. Enjoy your meal and your long weekend

1:12 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Will do, you too, have fun and don't drink too- ah who am I kidding, I hope you have a ball.

1:27 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Fmc, can your mother look in mirrors without turning to stone? Does Etheline know the thing she dos with her lip is so like her mam's? I live in fear of doing that thing with my lip that my mother does. OhpleaseGodpraypraypleaseplease. What is it with that lip thing and mother's? Is it a new muscle you develop when you're pushing in the delivery-room. The lip thing can chill the marrow of a child's bones and turn souls to stone.
This evening, try looking at your plate and non-lippy faily members only. We get 40% of our information visually so you might avoid 40% of soul-chill-factor if you keep your eyes down, down and on your knife and fork. God speed, girl.

I hope the dinner goes better.

3:34 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

EEEEK is right!

A behavioral psychologist's dream, right there.

5:57 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Evenin' all, I am having a drink while I contemplate my delightful night's entertainment.
My oldest cat has an ear infection and I feel desperately sorry for her, She is fifteen, and has had problem ears for at least five years. I have just cleaned them out and put in an antibiotic and now, poor old darling, she's lying out in the hall, flat eared and miserable.
God I'm fed up.

6:57 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

the poor thing! I had a cat a few years ago whose ears were always filthy, waxy messes. The vets always said "well, it's not mites, they're just waxy." Until one vet finally said, "It's a yeast infection." Two days on some drops and he was cured. It even cured his trots! He died a year later of cancer, a week after 9/11. And a few days before I started working for that bastard I talked about in a post a few months ago. That was about the worst time in my life.

Whoah. A little heavy there, let's not go there. I am heading home to put my new elliptical machine together, and drink sangria. Have a fantastic weekend, m'dear!

7:40 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

That's okay sweetie, I'm on my way out now. Enjoy the new machine, I'd say you're dying to get stuck into a real workout again.
Have a lovely weekend Sam, Miss thorpe Finn, yarra the rest of y'all, you know who y'all are.

8:38 p.m.  
Blogger lauranen said...

Only read this now but had to leave a comment, this sounds so much like my worst nightmare. Didn't think the news of our out-of-wedlock baby was going to be a fart in a spacesuit, but thank God I was wrong and this scenario never materialised in our case.

On the other hand, being foreign might help in the long run. There's no
"Where's she think she's from?"
"Yeah I know, what's with the D4 accent?"
"She sure didn't learn that in Toomevara."

It's also much more difficult to your family to judge her little mistakes - after all, it just might be the way they do it over there. I hope your mother melts once other people start complementing her for her son's beautiful wife.

9:00 a.m.  
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