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Sunday, May 8, 2016


I violated my own code of conduct this week, as I used the word, 'Dude'; not only in context, but without sarcasm!  My husband uses the word quite often when someone cuts in front of him whilst driving, and the word is reiterated, somewhat more emphatically, when Samantha and I are on the road.  "Do'oo'd", we say in harmony, as a driver spots a space that would be considered too small in which to park the vehicle, but large enough to fit into when hurtling along the highway!   I cannot remember the exact sentence in which I used this southern unit of language, but I do remember that it was both apt and horrific!  

My weekend had been most pleasant.  The temperature had dropped quite considerably, and although not cold, my original plan to finish my weekly post, and then see if the water was warm enough to swim, was definitely not going to happen.  Dana and I had enjoyed breakfast on Sunday, and then went for a walk later in the afternoon, stopping for tea (a cup of, rather than the traditional English 'afternoon' or 'high') and then home again to partake of our traditional Sunday evening junk food intake!  The now almost universal language of 'hold the honey', or 'hold the ketchup', when ordering my tea and burger (not together) did not cause quite the distress that the 'd' word was about to inflict!  

Monday saw the cold front continue and my boots gave a rare May appearance.  In fact, by lunchtime, it was quite chilly, and I as thankful that I had left a sweatshirt at the office.  The wind howled and although the rain did not fall, it threatened all day.  Samantha left the office at the end of the day, and refused my offer of temporary accommodation.  I had asked if she wanted to return to her old bedroom for a couple of days while Edward was out of town on a very rare business trip.  She reminded me that she was an adult with a home of her own, and capable of looking after herself for a couple of days.  I reminded her that I was her mother, and in that capacity, I had no option but to suggest she move back home! 

Arriving at my house on Tuesday morning, my daughter appeared to be a little agitated. She had spoken to Edward the previous evening, and he had told her that he was attempting to conserve the battery life on his phone, and turn it off for a while.  This was acceptable, as she thought she knew the name of the hotel where he was staying, and knew that in an emergency, she could call a land line.  There was no emergency, per se.  However, the phrase, "He could sleep through an earthquake", could have been specifically quoted in honour of my son-in-law.  Samantha had called his phone to make sure he was up and ready for the day ahead, but the call had gone straight to 'voicemail', which apparently indicated that it was still switched off.  I suggested that he had perhaps asked for an early morning alarm call, or had set another alarm to make sure he was not going to be late, and had inferred that he was a 'grown man, and could take care of himself'.  The reply, "In your capacity as a mother, you had no option but to suggest I move back home", was indicative that in her capacity as a wife, she had no option but to assume he had not taken precautions!

Although still in Texas, El Paso is an hour behind the rest of the State and my daughter decided to wait until jut before eight o'clock central time to call the hotel.  More to the point, she decided to wait until just before eight o'clock central time, for me to call the hotel!  "They will not understand me", she said, "And I am driving", she continued, finding the number of the hotel and then connecting the phone to the speaker in the car, as we drove out of my complex! The "Good morning" speech, which included the name of the person answering, the name of the hotel, the offer of help on this glorious morning, etc., took so much time that we were almost at the office by the time it was my turn to speak!  I offered my own felicitations, and then asked to be put through to Edward.  "Can you spell the last name?" gave me opportunity to use what I considered to be 'international'code.  Phonetic alphabets do not always follow the 'military' or 'NATO' version, but the latter is generally understood.  "S for sugar",  came the response to my first attempt at merely pronouncing the letter.  "No, F for foxtrot", I replied.  There was silence.  "F for sugar?" came the response.  "No, F for foxtrot" I repeated.  There was silence.  "F for Freddy?" came the response. An 'Mmmm' for  'mike, mike, mike, mike', was all that emitted from my mouth, and we continued.  "U for uniform", was not not accepted, and the couple of seconds silence was broken with "U for ........." (mike mike mike mike) "University!"   (Mike mike mike mike)  "That'll work", I said, using another southern term!  "R, romeo", I continued.  "R.....R.....R".  It was all too much and I am afraid to say, I raised my voice slightly, in order to romeo alpha mike the point home!  The voice came over the speaker in the car. "R for Ramirez?"  Perhaps "R for ridiculous" may have been more apt, but I was not about to be rude, as Samantha was now becoming more agitated that Edward would not be woken in time to make his first meeting.  After what seemed like a very long pause, I was informed that there was no one in the hotel with the last name starting with "Freddy, University, Ramirez".  I thanked the operator for his time, at the same time Samantha responded, "It is the Radisson, not the R______" (A blank is left to protect the "I, India" innocent!  It was also not the Hotel Ramirez!)

I had no need for phonetics when calling the correct hotel.  I was transferred to Edward's room immediately.  However, he did not answer the phone.  "Perhaps he is in the shower", was not a clever decoy.  "This is Edward!  He is asleep", came the frantic tones from my unyielding daughter.  After the third attempt, I left a message on the hotel room answerphone.  "Edward, this is your mother-in-law. Call your wife immediately to let her know that you are awake, that you are a grown man and can arrange your own alarm call.  She is driving me mad!"  (Mad was used instead of the traditional 'crazy' in this case, just to Romeo Alpha Mike the point home!)  

It was shortly after this turn of events, that I used the 'd' word.  It must have been the frustration level that caused the chink in my armour, the armour I use to protect my heritage!  The shock and horror abated slightly, when Samantha announced that Edward had called her.  He had received the message, and called (upon his mother-in-laws explicit instruction) immediately!  He had switched his phone on to 'Airplane mode', in order to conserve the battery but allow the alarm function to work.  Upon relaying that he was a grown man, and able to take care of himself, Samantha reiterated, "In your capacity as a mother, you had no option but to suggest I move back home! This is Edward we are talking about!" When in her darkest hour, I had proposed that she call his colleague to call or knock on his door, but she thought this was an 'r for ridiculous' idea, as it would make him look incapable of looking after himself!  (Mike mike mike mike!)

I received a message from my daughter on Tuesday evening to say that she had been quite unwell.  She explained, in graphic details, the nature of her symptoms, and I asked if she would like me to drive to her home.  This, apparently, was unnecessary as there was nothing I could do, practically, and she knew that she could call at any time during the night, as my phone would be switched on, and the volume set to cataclysmic!  The following morning I received the not too surprising message that she would not be into work until later, if at all, as she was still experiencing (in her words, but not verbatim) the emitting of internal organs by throwing skyward!  I continued working, and went for my walk, alone.  Later that day, I heard that her friends, Hannah and Sandra, had liaised, and supplied her with 'electrolites', and other things that would comfort and replenish an invalid.  In the capacity of being her mother, I had fulfilled the duty of worrying, but not of doing anything practical! She did not hold it against me!

Later that evening, the language problem hit again, although this time it was more electronic than localised.  I had asked when Edward was expected home, and she had indicated that he had called from the airport and was on his way!  My message was supposed to read, "Oh good", but I must have misspelled something to cause the auto-correct feature to write, "Pub food".  Of course, in my daughter's delicate condition of losing her guts through various ports, this was not something she wished to consider!  After a short phone call, and confirmation that she was feeling much better, despite not wanting to eat, she messaged me to let me know that her husband was now in the house, and all was well.  "Pub food", I replied, on purpose!

I was on my best behaviour, language wise, for the rest of the week, and weekend.  However, it is impossible not to acquiesce to the language of my adoptive land today.  It is Mother's Day in the USA, (as well as Australasia and perhaps other regions,) and I have to wish all the 'moms', a very happy day.  It was quite the effort to substitute 'uniform' for 'oscar' and write in my mother-in-law's card, "Mom", but she is my husband's 'mom', just as is my mother, 'mum'!  

All that remains to be said today is "Happy Mother's Day" to all that celebrate, and I ask that you all keep me in mind when using language that is alien!  I am sure there will be occasion in the week ahead where I find that nothing can compete with a simple, 'mike mike mike mike', but that is nothing new!   I shall finish, as always, with the succession of Delta Oscar Tangoes, and the promise to bring forth ........ another story!

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