people who do lunch

A 93 year old, an 88 year old, a sister-in-law, a carer, Mr FD and I. There was more life at the last supper.

 We arrived at the sports club to celebrate FIL’s 93 birthday and SIL started instantly on again about joining the sports club. I was going to drop to the motley carpet and sink my teeth into SIL’s  knee cap, but Mr FD folded and joined. It was now obvious that he had adopted the moral high ground and had taken the decision to go with the flow, plastering an agreeable expression on his face and waiting for the day to end. Some might say he went over to the dark side, I understood that it was a survival mechanism. However, he should have forewarned me, given me time for a battle plan  of my own. I thought we were fighting this together, but obviously it was every Flamingo Dancer for themselves.

 Each to their own then. Obviously flesh ripping was off the list so I adopted the Prince Phillip stance instead – walking three paces behind everyone else and looking as though I was engrossed in the wall paper, anything but the spectacle before me.

 We seated the old people and went to look at the menu. Mr FD and I quickly chose something from a very limited menu, but SIL and the carer, who is just as controlling as SIL, had  vouchers for discounts and major discussions about heavens knows what continued between them until the line was six deep behind us. I gave up and wandered over to the bar to order drinks and lord, I so wanted a glass of something to settle my nerves. Hell, I would have drunk enough to settle the nerves of everyone in the room and the car park. Sadly, Mr FD and I had plans to donate blood after lunch and so alcohol was not on the list. We settled for orange juice. Life is so unfair. One just suffers and suffers.

 SIL would only allow the oldies one fish basket between them, so when it arrived the carer jumps to her feet and started dividing it up for the old people. No one had asked them whether they wanted a fish basket, but once I received my steak sandwich which was only one notch away from leather hide, I thought it might have been a wise choice as at least the oldies could gum the battered fish.

 A clerk from the office arrives at the table and asks me if I am Flamingo Dancer. Obviously they don’t get many strangers in them there parts as she tracked me down very easily. It may have also been the company I kept.

 Apparently I didn’t fill in my birth date on the membership form. Heavens the world was going to cease revolving no doubt. No I said, I don’t like giving my birthday details (as that is a great way to have your identity stolen). “Oh but you won’t get a birthday card from us!” Honey I can live without it, is my answer, but SIL rises to the occasion.  “You have to fill in your birthday; they send you vouchers for all sorts of discounts for your birthday!” It now occurs to me that only an idiot would try to steal my identity and have any connection to this family and so I fill in the date. I know Scottie is never going to beam me up, even he got shot far, far away a long time ago.

 Minutes later Mr FD and I hear our names being called over the public address system. Mr FD hobbles up to the admin desk. Apparently our official membership cards were ready. Oh happy day!  He comes back with the plastic cards and a couple of discount vouchers. He offers both vouchers to SIL who plays the “oh no you keep them” game until I can’t bear the pain anymore and between clenched teeth I hiss “SIL, we only come here once a year with you, you take the damn vouchers.”

 SIL then includes the carer in the game and they play “you have one, no you have one”. In the end it is decided that they will take them, but keep them at the oldies house for either to use. There is much discussion whether to keep them on the fridge, under MIL’s chair (?) or in a drawer. I am about to offer them a place where the sun don’t shine when carer is distracted by a raffle draw. No doubt the conversation will resume at some stage.

 The highlight of lunch was when SIL takes a piece of  gravy covered roast beef form her plate and wraps it in a paper serviette. She then places the parcel next to her plate. My head was spinning at this stage and with the noise around me I couldn’t quite make out the comment that passed between SIL and the carer but I did hear the carer say “you won’t need dinner tonight. You can just have scratch.” Now SIL is far, far from the poverty line, so she has no need for “take away” food of such a nature. She does not have a pet. Her daughter has pets, but they live on the other side of the city and I don’t think she was heading that way. We will just muse awhile on that won’t we?

 SIL then disappears across the room as she has spied the ex-wife of  the plumber, who “comes here every Tuesday”. Carer disappears to the poker machines. Mr FD goes off to the men’s room. I am alone with the oldies. I shout a few remarks to them across the table. The waitress arrives to collect the plates and asks if she may clear the table. I practically fall upon the poor woman, gushing “oh please do!” in the hope the meal with come to an end.

 Waitress picks up SIL’s piece of meat. She does a double take when she realises she has a hunk of gravy covered meat in her hand but continues around the table. She checks her hand out a second time, them a third. No doubt making sure it wasn’t a turd though if it was anything like my steak sandwich it might well have been. MIL mumbles something and the waitress thinks she has said something to her. “Did you want this piece of meat dear” asks the waitress, “ for your dog dear?”

 MIL’s carpet peeing dog was put down a couple of years ago, but MIL nodded yes in her vague old lady way as she does to everything and so the waitress continues “It is illegal to take food away,” she says, “but I’ll do you a favour.” She then takes the meat and wraps it in more paper serviettes and hands it to MIL. “It’s illegal to do this, so don’t let them see you – put it in your bag right now.” MIL puts the gravy covered meat wrapped in serviettes in her handbag.

 Mr FD returns to the table just as I am contemplating taking both the walking sticks from beneath the table and beating the brains out of his entire family. He recklessly jokes about the wild behaviour at the table during his absence. Little does he know the truth, but I know he will as soon as we reach our car, and all the way home in fact.

  He thinks that he is funny as both his parents are like walking cadavers and only here because neither wants to die before the other merely because they want to dance on each other’s grave. I tell him it is time we went to the blood bank while I still have blood left to give, as seconds before I was seriously considering impaling myself on the nearest knife and fork.

 Mr FD knows when it is best to make a retreat and so we say goodbye, but SIL insists that we say goodbye to the carer and so leads Mr FD off through the poker machines in search of the carer. At first she can’t be seen and so we are forced to do a double circuit of the room until she is spied in a corner. She is vey excited because she has worked a dollar up to $3.40 and says she can’t leave it now!  I had the feeling that Mr FD thought she was going to kiss him goodbye as I saw him put distance between them more agilely than any movement I have seen him make in weeks.

 We escape and as we drive off, Mr FD announces that his knees are hurting so much that he can’t face up to the blood bank and just wants to go directly home.

 I could have drunk myself into incoherence. I suffered through painful sobriety for nothing. Someone is going to pay for this. Hell, everyone is going to pay for this!

29 thoughts on “people who do lunch

  1. I am going to offend a vast majority of Australians by saying this… but bugger it.

    What IS it about “the club” that draws people? Seriously?! I can get a sub-par chicken schnitzel and a plastic bowl for salad with the dregs of someone else’s salad still stuck to the bottom at home with ease. AND without enduring the pain of the meat raffle. (OK, so I don’t mind the meat raffle.)

    To me, doing lunch or going out for a meal should be something that makes you think “yay” not “I am a gutter dwelling pleb with insufficient imagination than to go to the club for their seven fitty schnitty super special tuesday.”

    I just don’t get it. Well done on surviving it. All that without a beer at genuine 80’s prices!

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    • Oh you are after my own heart. I sooooo agree. I mean the man has got to be 93 doesn’t he deserve a nice meal? Also why eat sub standard food to save money and then go and waste twenty dollars gambling? SIL has even been known to make her now estranged husband share a cup of coffee with her because she only had a voucher for one!

      I agree, a meal out to me should be at a level I don’t get at home. I like to try new things – not processed pretend ham! I will march with you!

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  2. Oh dear god, that sounds horrific. In-laws, I feel your pain, I’ve sat through some horrors with mine, so much so that I haven’t gone a yard near them in over a year. It’s bad enough having to sit through this sort of crap for your own family, without having someone else’s inflicted on you. At least it’s over for another year, you can console yourself with that….

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    • I keep telling myself that at 93 and 88 they must wind down soon! I have got to the stage where I allow Mr FD to visit them solo and he only stays long enough to have a cup of tea and make sure they are breathing. Daughter1 and The Boy visited a week ago and were accused of not inviting them to the wedding. The wedding invitation was on the front of the fridge for all to see. They declined to attend as “not feeling well”. Not missed.

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  3. Okay, so what have we learned?
    1. Don’t make blood donation appts on the same day as forced outings with the in laws.
    2. If one has made any reckless appts, damn ’em to hell and just go ahead and drink. Appts can be rescheduled. Sanity can not.

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  4. There is method to the madness…accrue enough vouchers (by having all of you join) and the “wakes” would become quite economical – as long as you’re all prepared to share drinks and nibbles of course.

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    • Food safety. Too many oldies were doing it and getting ill afterwards, naturally. Then they try and blame the food server when it has all been out of their control.

      My blood pressure goes sky high every time SIL so much as phones.

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    • I think it is something in that generation of women. SIL is 59. My sister is 60 and she is a little the same. They start too many sentences with the phrase “You should…” The carer is the same and she is hired to do the damn job! I think she oversteps the mark but I guess when you are bathing naked oldies it does break down barriers! Daughter1 has reported that The Boy’s mother (65) also uses the phrase all the time. The phrase is like a red flag to Mr FD and I – say “you should” to us when we don’t want to hear it and we will run in the opposite direction and dig ourselves in. I make a point of not using the phrase unless in the circumstances where it is invited.

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  5. ROFL!!! You made my day with such a hilarious post. What is a carer??

    Oh, I was in stitches, laughing so hard. What a lunch. I cannot believe you had to endure it sober for no good reason. Life is so unfair. Please tell me you only have to endure this once a year. Oh my. All fine and good that we can laugh now but I know you were not feeling jolly during the lunch!

    What type of place is this, that you have to join? In the USA, there are things called “Clubs,” and they are very expensive. Some are golf clubs, some are clubs that have pools and such, but they all include a massive dining room and a smaller, less fancy, place to eat. Many people have their wedding receptions there.

    I grew up in a family that belonged to the “club.” I road my bike over the the pool every day in the summer and swam with my friends. Our parets bought us coupon books so we could get snacks. What a life!!!

    Little did I know how different things would be for me when I was a grown up. I have been to a few receptions at the clubs up here on the mountain. Some of the kids’ friends belong to the club with the pool. We could not join in a million years. But we are quite happy to swim at friends houses where we have been invited to come. We are usually the only ones in the pool.

    I found it very surreal, when my parents still lived in their home and belonged to the club. When they took us to eat at the Club, my children would be astonished at all of the food laid out. I remember (lol) my daughters coming back to the table with what was supposed to be the garnish at an Easter buffet. It was hard boiled eggs made into a bunnies. The poor chef must have had to make extra bunnies that day as my kids thought it was OK to bring them to our table and eat them.

    Another time, there was shrimp available and one of my girls adores shrimp. I will never quite forget the look of horror on my mother’s face when my daughter came back with a plate piled high with shrimp and tomatoes (another favorite). It was very funny ( to me). It was all eaten. I think my mother had second thoughts about having brought us there in the first place. I often felt like I should jump up and help the servers because I felt so ridiculous being there at all.

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    • A carer is someone who cares for an incapicated person. In this case, their carer is a paid employee of a aged care organiastion who ocmes in for several hours each day and baths them, and sees to their personal needs. Other people come into their home and clean, mow the lawn etc. It is provided at a subsidised cost supported by the government so that old people can stay in their homes longer (in this case too long). Their carer has been with them for about 10 years which is also too long – they are suppose to be rotated so that they don’t get too attached, but she hasn’t. They view her as almost a family member and invite her to everything. I thnk she oversteps her position but then she does have to put up with them more than me, so I am not going to make waves!

      The club in this instance is very far removed from the “country” club type places that you speak of. This club is affiliated with a football club and is very lower middle class. The football field is sited there and the club is for supporters. They offer meals, and gambling such as poker/slot machines. The food is usually pretty ordinary – roast of the day; fish and chips, sad salads. They also sell alcoholic drinks. A few clubs are quite big and have various musical artists at various times. This one is not on that level…

      We only go for FIL and MIL’s birthdays as that is all SIL will allow. Once or twice we got to go to Sizzler and that was a big occasion! She even had her daughter’s wedding reception at a football club! A slightly better one but ….

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  6. Wow, sorry for the overly long comment. I should have just done a post on my wall.

    Very thoughtful of you to have the font in the comment box so large that we can read it without our reading glasses. But then it becomes so very small once it posts on your wall. I wonder why?

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  7. Entertaining read for me, if not such a wonderful day for you.
    Sometimes I rejoice in the fact that my nearest living relative or in-law is 2000 kilometres away.

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    • What is they say, you can choose your friends but not your family? I just don’t see why they think they have the right to impose their opinions on you. I don’t do that. I mean her life is a mess, she continues to share a house with her estranged husband and refuses to build a life for herself. I suspect poking her nose into everyone else’s life means that she doesn’t have to look at her own.

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  8. I can’t stop laughing..I am picturing you hitting people over the head and everyone running to stop you 🙂

    Your SIL is just a crack up, I would get in trouble from laughing at her..

    I hope you had a few when you got home.

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    • I would like to use the stick until they are pulped, but apparently that level of sticking is against the law, though I suspect that no jury would convict me when they hear the litany of years of such suffering!

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  9. You know, it is a good thing that you did not donate blood that day. Your blood would have been all curdled.
    I laughed really hard. You make awful things sound so darn funny.

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