Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cat And Mouse

The OC was in England this week. Which means, in spite of work, and meetings, he visited with Son, little grandson and the lovely Natalie! All without me. And the world didn't end....But my turn will come!

Meanwhile, back on the Redneck Riviera, we have a situation.....At least The Prince thinks we do.

Possible gadding about by a woman of a certain age, with no husband on hand to supervise her; fears that she will lose the run of herself entirely, thereby disgracing herself and all the members of her family. No worries though. The Prince is working the case and he is skilled in espionage. With the stealth of a cat, he is conducting a surveillance operation....

Since the OC has been operating mainly in the Frozen North, my father-in-law has taken it upon himself to keep an eye on me. He likes to know what I am doing, where I am going, when I am going there, who I am going there with and when I'll be back...In a general sort of a way. Last week though, with the OC further away than ever, The Prince upped the surveillance.

He thinks I need watching. My erratic comings and goings are causing him concern. I am not here every time he calls. Where on earth could I be? What mischief could I be getting into? If I am not at work, or visiting him, or at the grocery store, I should be home, cooking chicken soup, baking, washing windows, doing laundry, pulling weeds, sweeping, or raking leaves, lest, God forbid, a few accumulate in the corners and lend an air of unkemptitude [poetic license!] I should be ironing sheets---who irons sheets? Or vacuuming the garage.....yes, he vacuums his garage! The spiders in my garage would have a collective heart attack if I revved up the vacuum cleaner in there. We have an understanding, the spiders and I. They're welcome in the garage as long as they stay out of the house.

The Prince is eighty nine years old. An old school, dyed-in-the-wool, card carrying male chauvinist.

He considers women inferior to men. We do not know our place. We should hang on his every word and bow to his expertise. Instead we argue with him, disagree with him and don't take his advice...Women in cars are a menace, and he doesn't think we should be trusted to handle money, the shopping gene being so strong in us. And women in politics? They should be at home taking care of their husbands and children!.

He likes things done on a schedule....
dinner at four; pills at six; bed by eight.....

Whereas I am, willy-nilly, all over the map.

It irks him that I am not more regimented......

Sometimes I go grocery shopping in the evening.......Imagine!  I'll sometimes use this as my get-away card when visiting him late in the afternoon. His lip curls and I get a withering look. Obviously I was not brought up right! He keeps his counsel though. As unsatisfactory as I am, he wants me to come visit. He needs someone to listen, anyone, even me, not only to The Threadbare Tales, but to his more recent adventures in medicine.....He is researching the possibility of living forever. Since my long-suffering sister-in-law has scarpered back north.......Tag! I'm it!

I have heard more than I ever wanted to know about the prostate, in general, and his in particular. If I took such a variety of pills and changed my prescription as often as he does, I'd have died of mental confusion, or an overdose, long ago. And if I never hear his opinions of Mr. Obama again it'll be too soon.....though he'll probably regale me with them this afternoon.

He always wants to know exactly when I'll be over.

I don't tell him because I don't know myself, exactly.

And I won't tell him because, if I do, and I'm not there on the dot, he will fuss and fret and work himself into a lather of indignation.

He'll call the house to find out if I've left. If he gets no answer he'll call my cell phone. If that gets him no satisfaction he'll call the Bean, to ask him where his mother is, to tell him he can't find me. Exactly what he expects the Bean to do, sitting in a lecture hall, fifty miles away, is a mystery to all concerned, even, I suspect, to The Prince himself. Like a dog chasing a cat......What will he do if he catches it, faced with all those claws?

He calls on the flimsiest of pretexts. Did I see such and such on television? Do I know how many inches of rain we got last night? He calls to tell me which doctor he's going to harass today. And which doctor he gave a piece of his mind to yesterday! And which lucky medical professional he's going to see next week. If there were anything seriously wrong with him he wouldn't have the energy to be bothering them.

Earlier this week I took the car for some routine maintenance. I wasn't on the road five minutes when my phone rang. It was The Prince. He's sending his lawn guy over to give me an estimate.....

"But I'm not there!"

"When will you be back?"

"I don't know....I'm getting the car worked on.....Can it wait?"

Do we have a date? Is the house on fire??

He doesn't listen. Did I think he would? Silly me!

He tells me I shouldn't be alarmed if I see a strange man wandering around in my garden. It's only Chris, his lawn guy.

"And who asked you to send him over?" I think......but I do not say.......because I'm a good old girl......at least to all outward appearances.

"Well, I'm driving! Gotta go!"

When the work on the car was finished I went to visit a friend. We decided to go out to eat. It had been a few months, she'd lost her job and we had catching up to do. We stretched it out over dessert and coffee, looking out over the water, yakking away.

It was getting dark as I drove home when my phone rang again. It was The Prince. I didn't answer. I didn't want to be rude, and this harassment was making me feel decidedly rude!

I stopped to pick up the mail. While I was out of the car I heard my phone ringing. Yup. It was him again.

I got to the house and sorted out my bits and bobs; put the mail away, fed the cat and checked the house phone......

Six missed calls! All from the same person......can you guess? I shook my head, put the kettle on, went to the loo. The phone rang again.

And again, five minutes later. This time I answered.

"_____, Is your house on fire?" I get away with this because he's busy talking and he keeps his hearing aid in a lovely little velvet box......for safekeeping.

"I was worried about you."


"You might have crashed."


Pardon my skepticism. He's not worried. He's annoyed that I'm out, possibly enjoying myself! He just doesn't like that I have friends he's not acquainted with and freedom he never allowed his wife. He doesn't like that I'm gallivanting....It's not seemly.

It was dark already.

Where had I been?

"Visiting a friend."

Hmmm...." His turn to be skeptical! He doesn't trust me. He can't understand why the OC doesn't keep me on a tighter leash........

I'm really not such a witch! I do go to see him. I do listen, though I'm somewhat lacking when it comes to heeding. He is so much into controlling everyone and everything, the evil twin in my head enjoys keeping him off balance.

As long as I can come here and vent, with some degree of anonymity, all will be well.

I'm off to drop in on him now, unannounced. I hope he has room on his dance card!

Later: Because I had my little rant here, I was civil and attentive. I even got him talking about interesting stuff: his war-time adventures long ago. And then I went home and settled in for a quiet evening just me and the cat. The spiders kept to our bargain and stayed in the garage.

At a quarter to eight he called again! Allegedly to ask when the Bean would be home. But I know it's all part of his surveillance operation! He had to make sure I had actually gone home after my visit with him! Now he can sleep easy, gathering strength to resume his covert operation tomorrow.

If, in your travels, you see a woman gallivanting, behaving erratically, grocery shopping in the dark, walking laps at the park unaccompanied by a male relative, living an upside down life, please call The Prince's hot line. All leads will be conscientiously investigated. He is committed to solving this case.


Relatively Retiring said...

Just remember how very, very beneficial you are. You give him so much mental stimulation. Without you it would be just him and his prostate.
This is a wonderful saga (sorry for you, but it really is!) and it reinforces my refusal to be trapped by a mobile phone.

Remember I'm here when you get your turn to visit England.

Isabelle said...

You're making my mother seem like an angel... thank you!

Mind you, I'd be flattered if anyone thought I was likely to be ... off doing naughty stuff...

Meggie said...

Loved this humourous rant, but know the underlying irritation, and frustration!
Keep him guessing, and on his toes!

Pauline said...

Ah, Molly, some day the prince will be gone and then who will keep you in line? I have a friend (term used EVER so lightly), an older person, who does the same to me. I come home to messages of, "Where are you? Call me. In case you've forgotten, my number is... I'm sure you have it. Call me as soon as you get this message."

I never do. You're nicer than I am.

Molly said...

RR, Isabelle, Meggie and Pauline---You all deserve a medal for slogging all the way through this to the comment box!

RR---He has a cell phone but strictly for his own convenience! When he's not making a call he turns it off, so we might as well whistle down the wind as think we can get in touch with him that way!

Isabelle---I would be really interested to know what kind of mischief he thinks I might be getting up!

Meggie--It makes me wonder what kind of an old bat I'll turn into. I know he's lonely, and never expected it would get down to just him and me!

Pauline---I'm not nicer. The difference is he's family. If he needed help, fell maybe, and I ignored the call, I'd feel really bad....As would you, in the same situation.

Thimbleanna said...

You're too funny Molly! And you know....there's always the evening AFTER the 8 o'clock call. Hmmmm, whatever could you get up to????

Calvin said...

Haha. Molly you are truly a spirited Irish lass. And quite incorrigible.

dianne said...

my mother and The Prince must be related, Molly ... although, in all fairness, she can no longer dial a phone and would refuse to talk (or listen) even if she could ... but she USED to do the same thing and i cannot say that i am at all missing the surveillance...

Stomper Girl said...

I think it's lucky you have a sense of humour! He doesn't sound like he has much else to interest himself with.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You poor, poor dear. He is a total pill, and holds the same kinds of opinions of women as my late father. I deeply admire your forbearance and my own evil twin would so like you to let him believe you are having a torrid affair in your husband's absence. It would serve him right, the old coot. Molly, you are a very strong woman!!!

Peg said...

Aww bless you darlin' you have your work cut out there. I think if it were me I'd tell myself it's because he cares and worries about me, it would drive me crazy but that's what I'd do :0). I'm not into womens lib , I still love it when a man opens a door for me, however, the days when women were chained to the kitchen sink are gone. Perhaps the next time you visit jump in and tell him all about your medical inconveniences. The don't need to be true but listening to someone else especially when it's the dreaded female lurgy will make him think twice.
Turn the tables ring him several times a day to check up on what he's doing, the point will soon be taken lol. Just don't let him find out you dance naked around the trees after midnight, it will blow his mind ;0).

Kacey said...

If he were my f-i-l, I would be hard put not to tell him to "bugger off" and allow me to do my womanly things in private. Perhaps, when he starts in on his prostate, you could either blush like crazy or offer up a tale of your hysterectomy. Really, his interference in your marriage in inappropriate in this country. Poor man is very pompous without his deceased wife to overbear.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, momma, I laughed as I read this....been too long since I checked in on you to see what you're up to....maybe I should call our Prince! JK! Honestly, when I first started reading I thought you were talking about that silly cat of yours....but I quickly figured it out. Hang in there, and you know you're always welcome out in my neck of the woods if you ever feel so inclined....


SmitoniusAndSonata said...

When I'm eighty-nine , I intend to be exactly like this , only worse !
I'd better start picking out my victim ... someone kind and far too decent to tell me to B----r Off!, I think . It seems to work for the Prince , anyway .

Julie said...

Love it love it love it.
Know exactly what you mean although my mother was never quite that bad.
You are a wonderful tolerant woman and we are all here for you to vent to when it becomes too much.
Covertly keeping tabs on you must be the highlight of his day!
Keep writing - makes me laugh.

aubirdwoman said...

aww come on Molly you know you like it .... running and ducking for cover.
But think about it, you are The Centre of the Universe to Him. And if you weren't there he would wither.
Guess I am jealous because you have someone checking on you. All my Ancient Ones are Late.

persiflage said...

What a noble soul you are. I hope he has some redeeming features - well, his bloodline can't be all bad, can it?

Bonnie said...

Oh Molly, I have been getting caught up on your blog. I am still laughing, in good fun of course. Can I just say, "YOU ARE A SAINT". It must be hard for the Prince to get old and how very rebellious of you not to fall into line;)