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The Mom’s house is the house in our neighbourhood that everybody knows about. People come by just to have a look. There is always something interesting going on. Sometimes it’s a massive flock of fat ducks lined up on the roof, or feeding in the snow, other times it’s a loud conversation we’re having after a few drinks, and sometimes it’s when inspiration strikes her and she buys a New Thing for the lawn.

You can normally tell when she starts fixing to do some random lawn ornament shopping. She’ll be spending a bit more time than usual, wandering about the front and back yard, critiquing her landscaping to anyone who will listen.

“It’s just not right. Maybe I should get another tree, and put it there,” shell say as we go over to the pool.

“I’ve been thinking about lilacs.”

“I’ve had that terracotta chicken planter since our Berkeley days.”

This is all fine and well and there is no need to send an emergency text message to alert the others that she’s about to go shopping. This sort of thinking out loud can literally go on for weeks.

The problem arises when she says something like, “I’m just going to nip out and do a few errands.” It’s not what she says that’s the cause for worry, it’s how she’s dressed. Normaly grocery shopping, pet food buying, average errands merit jeans and possibly a nice coat if she’s going to the mall. But if she’s done her hair and she’s got a matching purse and shoes, the only place she’s going is St Jacobs.

It’s at this point that the other kids must be alerted. There is nothing we can do to stop this, her returning home with something ridiculous is an eventuality, what we need to do is prepare ourselves to be as enthusiastic as possible about it, ever since the tiny picket fence incident of some years ago, which dampened her spirits significantly.

Some time in high school, I do believe, or possibly later in university, she decided that the backyard needed more definition. It’s a corner lot so this made sense. She went out and got these, and I can only describe them as miniature white picket fences. Honestly, even the rabits that live in the yard thought they were a bit small. The Mom, however, thought they were just fine.

She put them out. She stepped back to assess the situation, deemed it just fine, and came inside and announced that she’d finally come up with a way to stop people crashing into her lilac bush. We were summoned to take a look.

At this point, I don’t really remember what happened, but the tiny white picket fences were subject to such ridicule that she took them down almost immediately. The Mom was crushed and even after we put them back out again, she wasn’t having it.

Thus, we are much more enthusiastic about her garden accessorising than before.

When The Mom comes chirping home from a productive trip to St Jacobs, which is actually a lot like Santa’s Workshop in that it seems everybody there is working away at some kind of carpentry project, it’s easy to tell. There’s usually something large hanging out of the window.

I wasn’t around when she brought Mr Heron home, but Lord how she loved that thing. I  have another picture, it was a birthday of mine, a recent one, where my friends, The Mom, L’il Sis and Crazy D, are all gathered around Mr Heron, feeding him beer, pinching his bum, and generally interacting with him. The Mom thought it was great. She likes to see these additions to the outdoor pets family get a lot of use. And for her, use isn’t so much the purpose the thing was designed for (which, I believe, was holding flowers), but rather laughs.

When she told me the sad news, I suggested she put the head of the heron in the plants in the living room. Which sets a strange precendent: I wonder if any of the other things we keep outside will one day be allowed in? I’ve always thought we could use an indoor mallard duck.

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