The parents are renovating their house. I know this not because The Incubator decided to ring me up and say, "Hello Dear, just thought you may be interested to know, but we're doing alterations to the kitchen area." No, indeed, that would be far too much of a friendly conversation for us to have. Our conversations follow a pattern of something similar to this:
The Incubator: Hi Pant.
The Pant: Hi Mom, how are you?
TI: Been so busy. I worked all the way until 9 o'clock this morning and then I had to do some shopping. How's The Daughter?
TP: She's fine thanks.
TI: Anyway, listen darl, I've got The Beautician here for a glass of wine. Can't chat. Bye.
She hasn't yet started ending conversations with "byeeeee", but now with their house renovations under way, I think that particular salutation is undoubtedly in the post.
The reason I know about said renovations, of course, is because I succumbed to the incessant pleas to, "Please bring The Daughter to visit her darling Cranpa," and, "Just come for the night - The Beautician is away and I need someone to have a glass of wine with."
And so after having been pushed and prodded and punched over size 4 girls' dresses and tights and long sleeve shirts at The Naartjie sale, I packed The Daughter in faithful Wanda, and made the hour's trek to the homestead.
Had I known, of course, that The Homestead was now a construction site with a temperature not dissimilar to the one in Alaska, I would have stayed snug in our abode with Darling Cat and even more Darling Daughter. Also, if I'd used my head and remembered that the route of The Comrade's Marathon is almost the exact route between the house of self and the homestead, I would have poured myself an extra large glass of port and settled on the couch in front of television.
When we arrived, there was no rush to the outdoors to greet us. In fact, the greeting we received was so icy, that I wondered whether it was worth my while even getting out the car.
The Pant: (laden down with bags and half sleeping child): Don't worry! I'm fine!!! Don't need any help!
The Incubator: (calling from the "kitchen"): Oh good.
TP: Good? Good what? Good that I'm here? Good that I don't need any help? Good that you don't need to have the mundane "how are you" conversation?
The Daughter: I need the toilet.
TP (evil smirk): Tell Granny you want her to take you.
TD: But I want you, Mommy.
TP: Right. (under breath) Bugger.
The Daughter entered the kitchen first. Greeted the grandmother. And turned around to witness the lack of walls and cupboards and other items that one generally associates with the inside of a house.
The Daughter: What the...
The Incubator: You are your mother's daughter.
The self then entered and assessed that lack of homeliness.
The Pant: What the....
The Incubator: You are your daughter's mother.
TP: How observant of you.
TI: Air kiss, air kiss.
TP: Thanks for the affection.
TI: Lovely to see you.
TI: What do you think?
TP: I think you invited The Daughter and I to spend a night in the middle of a construction site with the heating of a deep freeze.