Whisper To A Scream
My brain's pooped. Daria called at 9:30 this morning, not just because she's the busy mommy of three children under seven but because she's bossy.
Daria: What are you making for Christmas Eve?
Tata: WWWHA BHEPGHHLLLFHL stuffed mushrooms, maybe?
An ability to converse in our sleep distinguishes my family members from other crazy people. When our maternal grandmother visited from Cape Cod, Daria discovered our terrible secret. Daria waved me into her room where Gramma was napping on the bottom bunk and mewing like a basket of kittens.
Daria: Where's the gin?
Gramma: Bottom shelf in the refri- refri- next to the olives.
Daria: Can I have a pack of your cigarettes?
Gramma: Aren't you a little old to start smoking? Take a carton. Catch up.
Daria: Can I have ten dollars?
You can't have everything.
Daria: Auntie InExcelsisDeo's on NutraSystem and looks great. Did I wake you up?
Tata: It's fine. Can we cook for that? How do we cook for that?
Daria: Beats me. Daddy's bringing mmmppmmmhhpphh and pppphhhhrrbbbb.
Daria frequently forgets to eat in the course of her frenetic day. The sound of my voice triggers the recognition she hasn't eaten since Tuesday. She is stuffing something vaguely nutritious into her mouth before she forgets again. Because conversation with her is regularly unintelligible, I don't ask her to repeat. Daddy's bringing stuff and roasting it. What else do I need to know? Later, I have an idea and call Mom.
Tata: I am proposing a project in which I do all the work. Stop laughing!
Mom: I can't breathe! What project?
Tata: I'd like to transcribe Edith's recipes so everyone can have them.
Mom: My recipe box is filled with -
Mom has her own sense of time, order and sentence structure. I'm paraphrasing because if I didn't condense you'd stab yourself in the eardrums and threaten grammarians. I can't be responsible for that, however hilarious it might be to watch Mom make someone else suicidal. Or study interjections. In any case -
Mom: My recipe box is filled with recipes in my mother's, my grandmother's and your grandmother's handwritings. I wrote down a lot of other things over the years. I plan to give this box to Miss Sasha.
Tata: That's really nice, Mom, but there can only be one of those and the rest of us would like to have our grandmoms' recipes.
Mom: The recipe box is like a scrapbook...
Tata: Do you realize that some insecure women give their blood relatives family recipes and leave out a key ingredient?
Mom: ...filled with important memories...
Tata: And Miss Sasha's blood relatives will carve her up like a spiral ham if the Edith's manicotti recipe is bland.
Mom: You've got a laptop, right?
I'm also pooped because after yesterday's excursion to Home Depot, I had a pile of DIY art supplies and towels to wash. Everything is educational if you let it teach you stuff. Yesterday, I learned the full wash cycle wrings clothing to within an inch of its life and sixty minutes in the dryer barely smooths the creases. Today, I learned that running towels through the delicate cycle produces as wet as towels can be. My apartment became very humid after that and for hours to follow. I see clearly I'd better take some vinegar to my windows. At one point, Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, was sitting on my lap when he stood up and growled like an angry dog at...nothing...in my hallway. This went on for a number of unnerving minutes.
Larry: I'm creeped out!
Tata: You're preaching to the choir, brother.
In between, I drilled holes in the hallway wall and hung a shelf, which I lined with delicate glass bottles. I drilled holes in my closet and hung tap lights so I can pick clothing that might match. I drilled holes in the kitchen ceiling and screwed in hooks left by the previous tenant. From these hooks, I hung the four remaining green-blue Christmas balls that belonged to my father's parents and the glass Christmas ball my mother's mother had made when I was born. Yes, I'm tired, but tired and overjoyed.