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When The Mom informed me, on our weekly Skype date, that she’d done gone and cut down L’il Sis’s money plant, I was aghast. Never mind the fact that this will surely bring about a terrible change in everyone’s fortunes – it is a money plant after all, and as such, is a symbol for good fortune and if placed correctly (which I doubt very much it was chez The Mom) can bring much in the way of good financial luck – I knew for a fact that L’il Sis would be upset.

The Mom looks at our belongings as hindrances, and I can see her point: if they’re so valuable to us, why on earth would we leave them in her charge? She is wont to be taken by the spirit of cleaning up and out every so often, and this frequently has disastrous consequences for our things. I have been on the receiving end of such extreme measures myself, having had my collection of pots and pans dispersed to the four corners of –if not the country then at least the Tri-City Area and possible parts of Toronto. My nice grey sofa, that I had picked out specifically because of its incredibly soft texture was given away years ago. Whenever I’m home I now insist upon taking a full inventory of my things – well, mostly my books. Everyone knows that, should they go missing. I will go ballistic. This does not keep them from considering it though.

But the thing is, also, that L’il Sis and I live in constrained circumstances– she in her tiny apartment in Toronto, and I in my tiny flat in the UK. There is, I suppose, a case to be made for L’il Sis taking more of her things to hers, as it’s within a drivable distance, but then of course there’s the space issue: she might be able to cram all her belongings into the apartment, but if she did there would be no room for her, her fiancée, the dog, or the birds. Oh, no, wait, the birds are at The Mom’s. More on that in a minute. For me, well, it’s not as though I can just ship my furniture over to the UK. Well, I mean, it’s technically possible, but I move frequently here and stay in furnished flats. And small in the UK is a damn sight smaller than small by Canadian standards.

The Mom does, however, have a great track record for taking care of the living things we have to temporarily re-home. Take for instance, my pet parakeet Newton. When I left to study in the UK, I couldn’t bring him with me (he’d have had to spend two months in quarantine and would have died of a broken heart – he was essentially like a five-year- old child). So The Mom took him in. Not reluctantly, to be sure, but she wasn’t quite certain how the pair of them would get on. Turns out, it was like a house on fire. They became fast friends and when I returned for the summer, The Mom was quite put-out when I wanted to spend time with Newton. So we had to share, which I suppose is fair. He spent evenings watching TV with her, and slept in her room. In the morning he would be produced and he and I would retire to my room for the better part of the day. The hand-over took place at dinner.

The Mom is now also looking after L’il Sis’s birds, though as they are also quite entertaining, I should think they’ll manage okay.

But anyhow, back to the poor money tree. The fact of the matter is, I know not how this particular tree could be found so offensive and so wanting– as The Mom herself proclaims a green thumb is not on her list of skills. This plant did not look out of place in her living room, as it was right next to the ferns that look like they’re either dead and nobody has noticed, or that they’re doing their best to get dead, in the hopes that somebody will notice. And frankly a ridiculously tall tree with a bit of a burst at the top seems rather in keeping with our level of weird.

I shan’t be leaving – or bringing – any plants to The Mom’s in the future.