Monday, August 18, 2008

A tale of two bats

OK, internet. I usually keep it light, but we have had some serious dramz in these parts.

First there was last night's bat. I ended up sleeping in my daughter's room, and I actually slept very well. I didn't wake her up going in or out, so as far as my panicked reaction to the discovery of a flying rodent in the house, nobody was the wiser. I did a pretty decent impression of a mature adult, instead of a screeching little girl.

Well, hold that thought. Because it didn't last.

After a day where I avoiding thinking about bats (and everything I had learned about them by obsessively Googling the subject--like did you know that a mother bat has her litter of pups and sometimes a baby bat gets lost and that's how you end up with one in your house--but there's also the possibility that the bat I saw was a member of a MASSIVE BAT COLONY that has set up housekeeping in the attic or under the eaves, ew) by spending embarrassing amounts of time fooling around on FaceBook, (and you should see my lil Green Patch. It's a virtual landscaping work of art!) and then I called my sister to remind her that I had volunteered to host dinner tonight.

This was to be my sister and brother-in-law's anniversary celebration. So first I freaked out because I'm used to having my husband around to help. And then I did my best to spoil the evening by arguing with my mother. That ended pretty badly, I think.

I mean, when I told her she could leave, I really didn't expect her to get up and leave. After all, she doesn't do that when she's in Chicago and I tell her to leave.

I suppose 900 miles is a long way to travel, even if your daughter is being a total bitch.

Well, anyway, she left. And there I was, still somewhat shaken by the encounter, and responsible for cooking corn on the cob as well as the stuff my children wanted to eat instead of lobster. And worried that I had ruined everyone's night.

Well, the weird thing is that even allowing me some time for self-recrimination, we ended up having a good time. We drank champagne, ate lobster and cole slaw and corn on the cob, had ice cream for dessert, played Rock Band, and generally had a nice time.

I don't want anyone to think I'm not filled with a certain degree of remorse for snapping at my mother. After all, she's 85 years old and I should be more patient with her.

But you know what got the whole thing going? I was talking about the public school funding in our town and said "referendums." She objected because "referendum" is a Latin word, and the plural is "referenda." I told her I regarded it as one of many Latin words that had become sufficiently English to have an "s" added to indicate the plural, and cited "circus" as an example.

This, my friends, did not go over well. So here's a little lesson for you: when someone's being all pedantic, it is best to let him or her wallow in their omniscience and feelings of smug superiority--and this I did not do. No, rather than sucking it up, I made the point that we talk about "circuses," not "circi." Well, how dared I, right?

OK, can everyone please start feeling sorry for me that I get into an argument with my mother over crap like that? Thanks.

So what do I do now? Well, for one thing, I won't feel guilty. My husband forbids it. When you get right down to it, I forbid it, at least, when I'm not thinking recriminating thoughts. ("Eighty-five! She's 85 years old--just let it go!")

This is what I'll do: tomorrow morning, I'll write a letter of apology, walk to the post office, and mail it right away. (It's always best to take the high road in situations like this. This leaves you with the sense that you've done everything you should have done, and--because you did it first--it gives you the moral advantage.)

Then I'll forget all about it. Because the ball will be in her court.

And thus ends Poppy's fable of the baby bat and the old bat.


  1. Yep.
    That's how I'd handle it.
    My mother and I always argue over latin words. If they're in the crossword puzzle.

  2. Oh boy, what an evening.

    You plan sounds mature -- far better than I have managed with my own family relations.

  3. So the 900 miles? Did she fly? *being a bat and all.


  4. You are not going to get off that easy, dreamer girl.


  5. so the downside of your mother being mad is that she leaves? I'm not quite getting why this is a bad thing.


  6. bb: I'm glad to hear that someone else can actually start an argument over Latin words.

    Jen, Ree, and FA: Here's a little irony for you: the person who taught me the most I've ever learned about etiquette happens to be the rudest woman I know. ;)

    FDD: Good point! And my sister and her family and mine really enjoyed ourselves after Ma Crotchet left. ;)

  7. Wow, she really left. I'm kind of stunned! I've NEVER been that lucky when telling off the relatives. No, we go for no one leaving and long awkward pauses while we stand around being mad.

  8. Stephe Fry agrees with you on the "referendums" v. "referenda" issue.

    This is the problem with such words, that they are incorporated into English without being Anglicized, so you end up with family feuds along these lines.

    Moral of the story? Start things off by plying everyone with Champagne and then, no matter what anyone says, you just laugh your head off.


  9. If I used this argument at a family function, only my husband would have any freaking clue what I was talking about. My siblings would look at me like I had lobsters crawling all over me.

  10. Honey, your mother is 85, she won't be around much longer, cut her some slack. You will be glad you did.

  11. Hmm - perhaps we are born of the same uterus? (note the uterus/i tie-in).

    I would never have such a fight with MY mother.

    We only have this exact fight when we are playing Scrabble.

    And THAT'S when she leaves the house.

  12. Ahhhh, some day WE'LL be the crazy mothers. How much fun will that be?!


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.