For dinner, I cooked buckwheat noodles to pair with spinach and broth. Chupa found the noodles in the sink and began eating them out of the colander.
“Mmmm,” he said.
“Do you like them?”
“Mmmm, warm rubber bands,” he replied.
“Want to play a game?” Mom would ask.
The game turned out to be us pinching and pulling the skin on the tops of our hands in a perpetual dog pile of claw hands. She’d pull/pinch the skin on the top of my right hand with her right hand. While she held the pinch, I put my left hand over her right hand to pinch her skin and hold it while she put her left hand over my left hand and pinched hard. I’d take my right hand from the bottom, and put it over her left hand to pinch, and so on. This game never lasted long, as Mom, smiling, would speed up the process until we ended with a big collapsed hand pile.
This game was painful and not fun, but Mom enjoyed it. She probably had some nostalgic attachment to it.
Chupa loves Bartlett pears, and buys several during each trip to Trader Joe’s. They all ripen within the same ten minutes, and rot thirty-two hours later.
“My friend said, ‘I have one word for you: Bluebirds.’”
That was how Tom and Petra found their occasional night nanny, who cost $420 a night ($35 x 12 minimum hours per shift) - pricey, but somewhat necessary when running on three hours of sleep each night. Bluebirds is the agency.
The nanny was an unruffled blonde matron with a billion (i.e., I can't remember) years of experience. As she chatted with me the first night I met her, she held the twins tucked under her arms like footballs. They seemed cozy, and slept like contented rocks.
"What are you doing?" Mom asked.
"Invading your space."
"Oh gee," she said. "I don't mind."
Mom loves beverages. For fun, she adds orange juice to oolong tea, along with leftover coffee (from Marshalls) and week-old wine. Part of me thinks she makes this drink because it disturbs me.
Mom opened my door and threw several socks at my head.
"I found some orphan. Nobody want," she announced.
She closed the door on her way out.
For Christmas, I gave Mom several presents, including a set of artisan felted wool coasters. The set consisted of two yellow coasters and two blue coasters, with an artsy silkscreened design on the top of each coaster.
After a few months, I noticed that Mom consistently used the blue coasters on the correct side and the yellow coasters turned over to wrong side.
"You don’t like the yellow coasters?" I asked her one day.
"Then why do you turn it over to this side?"
"What’s the difference?"
I flipped the coaster over. "This side is the design side."
"Either one. No difference."
"There’s a difference: This is the design side . . . this is not the design side."
"It’s you who buys it, not me."
"That’s true, but I intended for you to use the design side."
"And I intend to use the non-design side as the design side," she said.