Life in a foreign country is both an adventure and a learning experience. I find that even though I have lived in California for 14 years there is no end to list of things that I do not know, just on that one topic, California, or even on an even smaller topic like San Jose, or even on an even teenier topic such as what occurs between my own four walls.
With only a few days to go before the wedding I nip out to the garage to restock with a six pack of paper towels and dump the recycling but as I hear yelling from within, drop them all and dash back inside. Inside I find my sons squabbling, loudly. I listen carefully on a fact finding mission prior to dispensing justice, assuming that they are unable to resolve their differences alone, “but I have being injured my toe, I am need of my sock for protectiveness dumbass!”
“Dat was years ago, it’s o.k. now, take off dah sock I wanna make another puppet.” I am about to open my mouth to speak when both boys coo, “oooooo!” as their gaze follows something moving in the garden. The thing that is moving in the garden is Thatcher, the dog, leaping and bounding through the air with abandon as he kills toilet rolls, merciless. As paper falls like confetti through the air the sprinklers start up. A papier mache garden was not on my ‘Wedding to do’ list. As I watch, my daughter approaches to add her oooos to the chorus.
“Geez mom, the whole garden looks like it’s been teepeed!” I turn to look at her face of glee. My face is not in the least bit gleeful as I have discovered something else that I don’t know how to do. “In what language are you speaking?”
“Teepeed, dontcha knowit?”
“Indeed, I most certainly do, but my knowledge is limited, and in this instance it is limited to Native Americans, a structure of poles covered with animal hides for protection and shelter.” A take a deep breath of rarified air with a hint of damp dog.
“No mom, dontcha know nothin?”
“So it would appear.”
“How come you don’t know this stuff when you’re so old….er…. I mean mature….um…..”
“Adultish!” offers her brother.
“Verily.” I am without functional brain cells. I wait for my daughter to put me wise.
“Teepeed is like, you know….‘toilet papered.’”
So I have two more unanswered questions:-
Why is the smell of soggy dog so all pervasive and how do you remove six shredded toilet rolls from a lawn after it has baked to perfection in the Californian sun?
I may have no choice but to return to the convent from whence I came.