Tuesday, 12 July 2016

New Brunswick Weekend Part One: The Chandelier and the Deer

Canada Day weekend this year featured a close friend’s wedding. Kiddo stayed with Grammie and Grampie while the parents took off for two days. It was his first night away from his parents. I’m not sure he noticed.

The wedding was in New Brunswick, as are pretty much all of my relatives. We took the opportunity to squeeze in as mush family time as we could. Our to-date-overly-sheltered child met two cousins and three second cousins ranging in age from 9 months to 7 years, survived his first and second plane rides (less than two hours each, phew), and came up close and personal with a dog for the first time (we’re cat people). He took it all like a champ.

Back to the weekend in a moment. First, a little background:

It would seem I make mistakes in twos. In all the years I’ve driven a car, I’ve squished the front fender/bumper twice. Once was while navigating an underground parking garage for the first time. The victim was a concrete pillar; it fared much better than my fender.

The second incident occurred as I was backing out of a parking space after getting a belt replaced at the dealer (yes, I went to the dealer). Whoever had parked my car after it was serviced parked it with about two inches to spare on either side. Being the novice driver I was, it didn't occur to me to ask for a ground guide out of this tight space though I really could have used one. I kissed bumpers, rather aggressively, with the car parked next to mine. It turned out to be the dealership manager’s car.

He was very nice about it. Luckily, plastic bumpers are very flexible on a hot summer day.

I’ve also gone off the road twice. The first time I blame wet snow and ice (and me for trying to drive on the wet snow and ice). The second time was due to the hubris that comes just when one starts to become pretty good at driving. I have no one and nothing to blame but myself for that one. No injuries and, miraculously, no other cars involved. So, a valuable lesson at not too high a price. Two lessons, actually. One: Don’t changed lanes on a corner; Two: Time really does slow down when you think you’re about to die.

Then there were the teapots. My mother has this very nice set of Denby dishes that I recall fondly from Christmas dinners and other special occasions throughout my childhood. She’s missing the teapot. Because I put it on the stove and it exploded. Did you know you can’t put ceramic dishes on direct heat?

Some years later, Mom found another teapot in the discontinued pattern to replace the one I destroyed. There was much rejoicing. Then…

…I was home for a visit. I, for what reason I can’t remember, needed something from the top shelf in the cupboard. I should mention, I’m too short to see much of the top shelf. I reached up, felt around until I found what I was looking for, and started to pull it out of the cupboard—unaware of the large bag of sugar in my path.

The sugar fell from the top shelf to the counter. The replacement teapot attempted to brake its fall. Neither survived.

Mom now has a stainless steel teapot.

Next we have the chandelier. I was about twelve, I think. My sister and I were playing a board game. Quite amicably as I recall, but in the heat of a joking conflict (and yes it really was a joke—this time) I lifted the game board over my head as though I was going to hit her with it. There was a smash. Glass showered down around me. I’d hit one of the lamps on the dining-room chandelier. Turned out they didn’t make replacements anymore. Oops.

This brings us back to the New Brunswick weekend, more than two decades later (see where this is going?). Prior to the wedding ceremony, the other bridesmaids and I were with the bride at her parents’/brother’s house getting ready. No he isn’t one of those 30-somthings living in his parents’ basement. He’s got a job and everything. From what I understand, the parents live in an add-on apartment when they’re not travelling the continent in their RV.

Anyhow, the clothes I’d changed out of were hanging in a garment bag in the kitchen. On my way to grab them, I realized I’d forgotten my bridesmaid gift in the parents’ living room. By this time, everyone else was on their way out to the father-of-the-bride’s truck to head to the church. Not wanting to be the one to hold things up, I went into hurry-up mode with a corresponding little shot of adrenaline.

Garment bag in hand, I rushed into the living room. I bent over to grab my gift bag while simultaneously trying to keep the garment bag off the floor. Not sure why I cared to do that. My subconscious must have thought there was still a dress in there that needed protection from wrinkles. As adrenaline goes up, situational awareness goes down. Particularly, awareness of the chandelier hanging from the already low ceiling. This time, I got a shower of glass stones as the hanger in my hand made contact.

Adrenaline really spiking now, I picked up as many stones as I could see. They appeared undamaged. A few options ran through my mind. The fix-it part of me said ‘you can probably put them back on the chandelier’—wedding in twenty minutes, no time for that. The ten year old in me said ‘hide the stones, by the time they notice you’ll be long gone’—cue image of these nice people discovering their damaged property later that night and wondering what asshole would do such a thing. Dammit.

I put the stones on the coffee table and made my way out to the truck. Before I could talk myself out of it, I fessed up to the father of the bride. Of course, he was very nice about it. Off to the church we went.

One the bright side, it seems two is the magic number for a lesson stick in my brain. My big car mistakes all occurred within the first year I owned my first car. No car repairs have been the result of my incompetence since (did I just jinx myself?). I’ve owned the same two teapots for going on ten years now, and haven’t broken anyone else’s. All signs point to future chandeliers being safe in my company. But I might steer clear of them just in case.

In the truck, on the way to the church, the bride turned to her dad and said: “Did they get the dead deer out of the ditch?”

Doesn’t every bride ask her dad that on the way to her wedding? Or is that only in New Brunswick? At least, it put the chandelier’s demise in perspective.

1 comment: