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It is a foolish woman who thinks that her return home for a holiday break will not be filled with a long list of chores to do.

Though I am frequently foolish, I knew what I was in for. Thankfully, The Mom had the good grace – and let’s face it, common sense – to at least let me and my hideous head cold languish in bed for a few days. Though, it was perhaps not all her doing – the snow was slow to come this year, and enough of it didn’t arrive until a few days after christmas.

But when it did show up, it didn’t appear to merit rallying the local youths to tackle it. Hence, I was sent out. I was, as The Mom rightly points out, as usual dressed in such a way that no one would’ve mistaken me for someone about to shovel the driveway. I had the bird feeder boots on (old ones of L’il Sis’ that I take as my own since I don’t own anything like a pair of sensible Canadian winter boots now, or, in fact, have ever done), as well as one of my favourite frocks. Topped with the shabby navy coat I’d turned up in, my favourite pink and orange toque, and two mittens I’d found somewhere in the mud room.

Lest you think I’m completely bonkers, let me also say that it wasn’t actually cold out. and what was resting on the ground was barely snow, it was more like wet snow: heavy, crunchy, and hard bleeding work. But I triumphed! I shovelled the driveway, the sidewalk, the side path (so The Mom could get in and out on foot), and the crunchy stuff at the foot of the drive left by the snowplough.

When I appeared a few hours later, looking rather pleased with myself, and with tissues emanating from all pockets, I announced with pride that I felt I had yet again earned the moniker of Proud Canadian.

The Mom cocked an eyebrow and left it at that. She poured me a bowl of soup, and as I sat down to eat it, I noted her face do that thing it does when she wants to ask me to do something, but knows I’m unlikely to want to do any of it.

Her little nose starts to twitch, and she puts on this very silly smile that’s closer to a smirk.

“So, what have you got planned for the afternoon?” she asked.

“Blow my nose about a thousand times, drink at least four cups of tea, settle on the couch with the new Bill Bryson book you got me for my Christmas.”

“Lovely!” she exclaimed. “So you’re not busy and you’ll be around!”

I swear, I would not have been shocked to see her clap her little hands.

In passive aggressive retaliation, one of my specialities, I began to inspect the tiny bits of chicken floating in my soup with surgical precision, pointing out, silently, but by plonking them on my plate, all the veins, and the other squidgy bits that were offending me on my meat.

“Because Crazy D has tried to install my new printer, well, this was three weeks ago now, with little to no success. Something about an Apple ID and a password.”

“And did you look in the password drawer, where we have all agreed that your passwords and usernames are to be kept?”

“Yes! Yes we did look!”

“Congratulations. What did you find?”

Her face crumpled. “Not the password.”

I looked at her over my large glasses. “We have talked about this. Do you recall those conversations? They’re the ones that often have one of not all of your children shouting at you to put the passwords somewhere safe, somewhere we have all agreed is safe.”

The Mom did nothing but look cowed and sheepish.

Now, let me say that I do not enjoy having to put her through this but it is for her own good. If she cannot operate her own machinery, then it behooves her to at least make it possible for the rest of us to do so.

“I swear I put it there, but we couldn’t find it!”

“Hmmm,” I said. “I doubt that, highly.”

“But!” The Mom sputtered until I held up my hand.

“Stop!” I said. “I will fix this, but later, we are going to have A Serious Talk about this flagrant violation of one of the very few rules we have set out for you.”

Suitably chastised, The Mom retreated behind her trashy novel and lunch resumed. Later, I sorted the printer out (Top Tip: You don’t need the ID if you don’t register the damned thing). But it was a funny moment, wherein I was reminded of the many similar chats we’d had when I was a child. Now I see where I got my petulance from.

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