A Special Kind of Crazy (Journal Entries from the Life of Jake)
The End: 9:35 pm
The evening ended with quiet contemplation by the four sitting around the table. Not much was said, nor did the evening require the cacophony of talk. In the end it was a bucket of KFC original recipe with mash potatoes and gravy, biscuits and corn. It seemed so innocent considering how the dinner began.
Silence was broken.
Jake comes into the room and greets his sister-in-law Cathy, “How are you feeling?”
“Much better, thanks” she replies.
The Beginning: 5:30 pm
Reservations were made but the family was still awaiting a sibling. Driving from a distance of 96 kilometers, delaying dinner for an hour or so didn’t seem like an unreasonable request; especially since it was Jake’s mother-in-law’s birthday dinner.
The usual restaurant was reserved for six adults and three children. Jake’s father-in-law, Gerry, made the reservation in his usual cavalier way. He knows the owner, and bears no bones about name dropping to leverage special treatment. The call began with a gruff “Hello”, followed by a 6:30 pm reservation “request”.
Gabriela has not yet arrived, and 6:30 pm comes and goes. Another call was placed by Gerry. This time a more subdued and apologetic tone was used. He stated that the entire party hadn’t arrived yet and politely asked for a 7:30 pm reservation. The request was granted. Gerry retreated to his man-cave to recharge before dinner.
After about a half hour of waiting, Gabriela arrives. A quick drop off of the dogs in the backyard, and the family is ready to make the 7:30 pm reservation.
Cathy abruptly and with indignation says to her sister Gabriela, “You’re driving.” The discussion continues and the communication that she has a migraine and cannot operate heavy machinery is revealed like a magician turning a handkerchief into a dove.
With their children secured in their car, Jake and his wife Margo are ready to leave for the restaurant. Cathy is headed to the Volvo, while her parents are headed to the BMW. Gabriela stands in a confused manner. Carrying her nephew, Kip she asks, “Which car am I driving?” Another, albeit, escalated discussion ensues, and what comes clear is:
- Four adults and a child will uncomfortably fit in a BMW or Volvo
- The Volvo needs a toddler car seat
- Cathy’s car, the BMW, has the toddler car seat for her child but they need to stop along the way to get gas
- There is an older model minivan but they usually don’t use it because it’s not safe for children
In typical illogical fashion, Cathy makes the choice to take the minivan (Jake would learn later the BMW is what they drive after much struggle trying to get the car seat safely secure). Maybe the restaurant host will find humor in what has become the usual Cathy soap opera.
Jake and family arrive at the restaurant and check in with the host. Like most restaurants they are not seated because the entire party has not arrived. They have missed their reservation and must wait until a table becomes available.
The disorganization of Cathy becomes the topic of conversation between Jake and Margo.
“Instead of waiting to discuss the driving arrangement as we were leaving, maybe it would have made sense to do it while waiting for Gabriela to arrive” Margo says bluntly.
Jake can only respond with, “Are you surprised by the backwards logic of your sister?” There is no response.
Jake’s family waits for the others to arrive at the restaurant.
The rest of the family arrives, sans Cathy and her son Kip. More so out of curiosity than concern, Jake inquires of their whereabouts. They are both in the car sleeping.
On the way to the restaurant, Cathy states that Gabriela and their mother, Kelli, will need to take care of Kip because she needs to rest. She uses the same indignant tone she did before leaving. Gabriela, being the level headed sister, politely reminds Cathy that this is their mother’s birthday and Cathy, not them, will need to watch her own son.
Today is not about Cathy. At least it shouldn’t be.
We all agree that Cathy should have stayed at home with her child since she was ill, and spared us the joy of our own migraines.
The family is still waiting to be seated at the restaurant, but now Jake has two fussy children who are hungry. Appetizers are ordered for the kids and the wait continue outside where the kids are in better spirits. Suddenly, aggravation raises it’s ugly head.
Cathy approaches Margo with her son in her arms. “I have a fever. I need to go home.” Fed up with the continual downward spiral that is now known as dinner, Margo cancels dinner and everyone returns home.
Hungry. Angry. Annoyed.
Preface: 8:15 am
Jake woke up in the morning to find Cathy stricken with a migraine. Her appetite surprisingly non-existent due to the nausea it was causing her. Her one year old child, Kip, meanwhile showed no such sign of a migraine and proceeded to enjoy the Saturday as any one-year old would. Playing, screaming, crying and soiling the diaper attached to his bottom. Unsurprisingly, Cathy is inattentive to his needs, trying to remedy the migraine by either sleeping or watching TV on the couch.
Margo reminds Jake that she is not feeling well. Jake, however replies unsympathetically by pointing out that sleeping, watching TV and letting someone else attend to her child are Cathy’s usual Saturday activities.
“You’re sister’s illnesses are sixty percent psychosomatic. She’ll feel better when it’s about her,” Jake says to Margo with a wry smile.
An inside joke. They both know that with kids; it is never about you, nor will it be ever again.
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