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I have often wondered how it is that my family (mostly Crazy D and Gill) have managed to get this far in life without grasping certain key things. With Crazy D, it’s the days of the week and the idea that one must open one’s mail, pay one’s library fines and parking tickets. For Gill, it’s how far a mile is with respect to one’s stamina and the attendant stress on one’s somewhat already crippled body while walking said distance.

Proving my point yet again, Crazy D breezed into the house yesterday to collect a few crucial items for a camping/hiking trip. He has been working non-stop out of town for a month and his mail has been piling up on the kitchen table. In fact, Mrs. Beeton’s (the pink parakeet) massive cage has begun teetering on the pile when I put her down — a halfway station before transferring her to the deck to ‘take the airs’. This situation is particularly exaggerated right now since I am having work done on my kitchen and what would normally be IN the cupboards is on the table,floor, and every place other than the cupboards. So it’s not just my tendency to let things pile up that is to blame for her tilt.

I pointed out to Crazy D that he should inspect his mail and deal with it accordingly. He did : he shuffled through the envelopes, made a couple of bad faces, and put the pile back on the table. “I’ll take these with me when I go,” he promised. Right. And  I have the face of a thirty-year-old.

He extricated two large plastic buckets of his belongings from the basement and put them in his car. It was hours later that I discovered the mail (including an ETR bill) was still on the table. Actually, Mrs. Beeton was giving the pile the stink eye which led me to follow her gaze. I then emailed Crazy D to get instructions. Should I pay the ETR bill and have him reimburse me later or should I wait for the next time he does a drive-by? His life is so unpredictable and harried, Christmas could arrive before he does.

Then Gill hit me with the news that she and her friend are planning a walking trip to the Cotswolds…about one hundred miles from Gill’s place.

“Excuse me? You’re going to walk HOW far?”

“Well, we thought it would be a pretty walk…” she said tentatively.

“That it would — if you have any feet left when you get there. Or your crippling arthritis doesn’t render you immobile in a ditch somewhere. I swear! What is it with you and Crazy D? Do you WANT to kill yourselves?  Oh, I get it. You made it to your 40th birthday without succumbing to the Crohn’s or arthritis or any of your other maladies so you figure you have a ‘get out of jail free’ card for the rest of your life!”

“Why, Ma? What’s the big deal? Is that a long way? I never did get the hang of your American system of miles and inches. How far is 100 miles?”

“Oh, think from here to Toronto and then keep going until past Oshawa…”

“Really? I had no idea! Perhaps we’ll rethink the idea.”

I told Crazy D about her plan. After he stopped his hysterical laughter, he commented: “She’s out of her mind! What she really wants is a pleasant afternoon stroll with a stop for afternoon tea and then later dinner at a pub. It would take them at least a week to do that walk — assuming she could still stand after mile twenty.”

“Strange you should mention that. That’s exactly what her recent walk to Bath was like…the full tea and pub stop plus spa were the highlights of the walk. For someone who always yells at me to slow down when we’re in the mall, I should think she’d be more realistic. Perhaps when she’s home I’ll give her a crash course in non-metric measurements. I mean, I’m grateful that she’s getting out and doing ‘stupid things’ but I draw the line at things that could adversely affect her health (or the little she has.)

But even after all my griping about my kids’ fixation with physical adventures, I’m secretly glad that they do such things…and not just for the funny stories and FB pictures they post while falling off cliffs, lying in ditches nursing sore limbs or fighting off bears in the north (Crazy D’s current outing). It seems that all the ‘forced marches’ when they were small (“You’ve got legs…use them!”) made an impression. It makes a mother proud.