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After a month roaming the world, Crazy D has returned.  Yet another cryptic email appeared yesterday: “Arriving in Toronto today. Will find my way home tomorrow.”

Great, I thought, we can have a family dinner, all three of us eating together –something we haven’t done in a long time. But, no, dear readers, it’s never that simple. “Sorry, Mom,” said L’il Sis. “I work until 7 tomorrow and then I’m going to a show at the local club. Maybe the night after?”

“No can do. Crazy D will be here for that one night, then he’s off with friends on a canoe trip somewhere. He’ll be back sometime on the weekend.”

“Oh. Well, maybe Sunday?”

For someone who is so vague about his plans, it amazes me that, from somewhereville  in the world, Crazy D has managed to plan a canoe trip, find fellow adventurers, arrange for equipment, a meeting place and a destination…and yet he doesn’t know how or when he will be arriving from Toronto.

It only matters because: I need to know if I have to meet him at a train or bus station (thus planning my day around that), or if he’ll be driven by his friend– in which case I should plan to invite the friend to dinner. Not wanting to appear like a slouch, that would entail something more than throwing a sad piece of meat on the barbecue (our usual fare) and the baking of a fresh rhubarb pie. ..which would involve a trip to the grocery store…and the LCBO. It will also mean having to re-schedule my Skype chat with Gill, my walking plans, The Pig’s lunch time, Mrs. Beeton’s deck time, and my 40-minute swim. I know Crazy D doesn’t think I do much in a day, but it’s complicated. Oh, and there’s the grass that, thanks to the weekend deluge of rain, needs to be cut…again. This totally ignores the fact that Crazy D is supposed to be the one doing these outdoor chores. I could leave the lawn for him to do on the weekend, but by then my poor little battery-operated mower would run out of juice after the first row of grass/weeds/crop circles. My life, although one might think otherwise, requires detailed planning.

He called from somewhere on the highway between here and Toronto. “I’m close to home,” he told me. “See you soon.” It was 11:30. My Skype chat with Gill was scheduled for noon.

Gill and I chatted until almost 1:30. Crazy D waltzed in around 1:15. “I know traffic can be a nightmare between here and Toronto, but how did it take you THAT long to get here?”

My guess is that  we have a semantics issue. To me, “see you soon” means 15 minutes or less. To Crazy D, it means ‘today’. His ‘we’re on the road’ means they just got into the car, have to rearrange all the stuff they have jammed into the car so there’s room for the driver, must stop at Starbuck’s for fuel…all this before getting anywhere near the freeway entrance.

Crazy D had lunch and we chatted briefly; then he was off to do errands. Then it was nap time. As soon as he got up, he was bustling around, packing knapsacks, unloading huge plastic bins of stuff in the front hall, all with every light on and door open, to ensure immediate access for the chipmunks and equally quick egress into the garage for The Pig to resume her hunting of those same chipmunks..

I had anticipated a quiet, leisurely evening of chat and catching up. Nope.

“What time do you want to have dinner?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. About the usual — 6 or 6:30. What would you like? I thought I might pop down to the store and get a couple of steaks.”

“Uh, maybe something a bit lighter. My diet has been awful on the trip and I’d prefer something easier to digest. Maybe chicken and lots of veggies? I’ll cook!”

“Sounds fine.”

Crazy D and I sat down at 6:30…which, in and of itself, was suspicious. I’ve never known him to be that precise about time. Gill, on the other hand, always used to insist on dinner precisely at 6. No ifs, ands or buts.

We tucked into our dinner. He commented:”Oh, what a luxury. A real meal on a plate. At a table. With a knife and fork!” Things on The Amazing Race gig must have been rugged. But that’s all the information that would be forthcoming. The crew has a strict gag order on them until after the show has aired. So the only tidbit I got was that plates were scarce and he ate a lot of melted Snickers bars.

L’il Sis came in from work and chatted with her brother briefly. The Pig, who had greeted her long lost Alpha with a sneer and a suspicious glance, was anxious to walk. They left. Crazy D finished his dinner and excused himself. “You seem to be in a bit of a rush,” I noted.

“Well, I’m trying to leave here by 8.”

“Leave? But you just got here. I thought the canoe trip started tomorrow.You mean I washed and ironed your sheets and remade your bed and you’re not even sleeping here?”

“Sorry, Mom. But I do appreciate the gesture! I’m driving back to Toronto tonight so we can leave from there at the crack of dawn.”

“Oh. I misunderstood. I thought you lived here…”

I left the room to find The Pig standing in the front hall, sniffing all of his opened knapsacks and bins, trolling for food. She looked up at me as if to say, “He’s leaving…again? He woke me out of a sound sleep this afternoon only to clutter up my space and then hightail it out of here? DO something…he’s YOUR kid! Does nobody in this family ever stay put?”

“Sorry, Pig. We don’t call him Crazy D for nothing.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her about his next potential job…in the powder keg that is the Middle East.

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