Continues from here.
Although I don’t have a problem with making, or taking, the odd personal call at work I waited until Bill left for a 10am appointment before I called my parents to invite Jack and myself for dinner over the weekend. I wasn’t actually nervous about going to dinner with Jack but that didn’t mean I wasn’t nervous ringing to invite us. It also didn’t mean I would be somewhat on edge for the rest of the week in the lead up to the dinner. Actually maybe there was a few nerves hidden there somewhere.
“Hi Mom, hows things?” I didn’t need to introduce myself to my mother even on the phone.
“Hello Dianne. Things are good here. How are things with you? Why are you ring during work hours? Are you off work sick?”
Even on the phone my mother could make an entire conversation by herself.
“Things are good Mom, I’m not sick, Bill’s gone out and I thought I’d just take a few minutes to call and say hello.”
“You shouldn’t be using the work phone just because Bill is out.”
My Mom could not just make the conversation herself she was able to see the wrong and right in every conversation too. “Relax Mom, Bill doesn’t care how often I ring you as long as the work is done.”
“Still Dianne, you shouldn’t take advantage of his generosity.”
While I knew Mon would happily keep chatting to me despite her thoughts about me ringing on work time I also knew the topic was one she wouldn’t change her mind about so I changed the topic instead.
“He’s good, he’s down at the hardware store at the moment. Would you like to talk to him too? I can get him to ring you back tonight.”
Mom was brilliant at adding bulk to a quick chat.
“No Mom, it’s ok I don’t need to talk to him. What’s Dad doing down the hardware store today? New project or fixing something else?”
“Oh you know what your father is like, he’s always fixing something or making something. I’ve given up asking these days I figure he’ll tell me when he’s ready!”
“Ahhh,” I thought, “the joys of a happy marriage where neither have to worry about what the other is doing every minute of the day and could do things independently of each other.” Mom was right though, I too only asked Dad what he was building, making, repairing as polite conversation because every time I saw him he was doing something different and I really couldn’t keep up.
I decided to take Mom’s advice and not waste work time on the phone (that’s my excuse) and get to the point of the phone call. “What are you and Dad doing this weekend Mom?”
“We are going down to Aunt Beryl’s,” Beryl was Mom’s younger sister, “she’s having a bit of hard time of it since Uncle John’s heart attack. She says he’s driving her mad at home all day. You know she’s been at home all these years by herself and now he’s home from work poor old Beryl doesn’t know what to do with herself, neither does John.”
From Aunt Beryl we moved on to my cousins, then to Mom’s cousin, then to Mom and Dad’s neighbors, then to a story about when Mom was growing up. For someone who didn’t want me ringing on work time she was doing ok filling in my work day.
“Oh look, your father is home, he’s just pulled in the driveway. Would you like me to get him so you can talk to him?”
“No Mom, I didn’t ring to specifically to talk to Dad I rang too see what you are doing this weekend.”
“Well we’re going to Aunt Beryl’s.”
I didn’t need to hear that conversation again so I quickly interrupted my mother.
“That’s a pity.”
“Oh I was thinking you might like me to introduce Jack to you this weekend.”
“Jack who?” Mum asked before catching herself and actually realizing there was a conversation she hadn’t touched on since we started the call. “Oh! You want to introduce your boy friend to us?” Dad must have walked into the house at the same time because Mom’s voice changed slightly and became lower in volume indicating she’d moved her mouth away from the phone receiver. “Nick, Dianne finally wants to introduce us to Jack.”
“Oh great, when? Say hi for me.” The voice was low and in the background but I heard it.
“Dad says hi.” to me, “She wants to do it this weekend but we wont be home.”, to Dad obviously.
“Hi Dad.” I said not knowing if Mom was listening enough to pass the message on.
“She says hi Nick.” Guess she heard it. Mom’s voice came back to the phone although I could tell she was kind of talking to both Dad and I. “It’s a pity we can’t change the weekend. How about next weekend Dianne? We could do it next weekend. Is next weekend ok for you Nick? Of course it is. How about next weekend Dianne?”
Mom took a breath and let me get a few words in. “I’m not sure what we are doing next weekend, but Jack’s keen to meet you so I’m sure any plans we have could have can be changed.”
I must have let Mom take to many breaths and think for too long as I finally got more than a few words into the conversation because as soon as I finished speaking Mom jumped back in.
“If Jack’s so keen to meet us then lets do it tonight. We are home, I can put a roast in the oven. What kind of meat does he like? I can go down to the butchers and get anything he likes. What vegetables does he eat? How about some apple pie for dessert?”
“Mom!” I interrupted, seems I did a lot of that while talking to Mom on the phone. “I’d have to ask Jack about tonight. We went out with Katie last night Jack might not want two nights out in a row.”
“Surely he wont mind.” Mom said, obviously not ready to give up on the idea of dinner.
“How about I ring Jack and ask him, then I’ll ring you back?” I asked figuring that getting the first introduction dinner out of the way so quickly was a good idea.
“Ok, hurry up though, I want to get down to the butchers and get a good piece of meat.”
Mom again had forgotten her policy about personal calls on work time because she had good reason to forget it and I rang off promising I’d get back to her as soon as possible. Despite not getting a positive answer I knew that before the phone was back in it’s cradle at Mom and Dad’s Mom would have been preparing to go down to the butchers.
I looked at the clock on the computer, I’d been on the phone to Mom for nearly an hour and despite getting a few little jobs done while Mom spoke about the family I hadn’t done that much. I decided it was to late to worry about what work I hadn’t done and I rang Jack to ask him if he wanted to go to dinner with my parents.
“You bet I do!” was Jack’s reply when I asked him.
I told Jack I’d meet him at his place and drive him to dinner. He of course offered to drive the Mustang, or the bike, but I told him that it wasn’t a good idea to give Mom a heart attack as we pulled in the driveway. He laughed and agreed. We quickly organised a time and I hung up the phone to ring Mom and confirm. Just as I picked up the phone Bill drove past the office window.
I decided I would wait for Bill to come into the office before making the call. I obviously wouldn’t tell him I’d been on the phone since he left but I would tell him I was ringing Mom to confirm a dinner date so they could meet Jack. Of course Bill didn’t care, he was actually elated I was finally doing it.
“They will be so happy to meet him. They will get along great and they will be happy for you too. Say hello to them for me!”
When I rang my parents number for a second time that day Dad answered, of course Mom had already left to stock up on food for dinner. It was lucky Jack ate just about everything because Mom had already decided what we were eating that night and she didn’t even need a confirmation of our arrival to set it all in motion. I spoke to Dad for a few minutes about dinner and Jack and then told him what time I expected we would arrive. Conversations with Dad were so much easier that with Mom, especially on the phone.
By lunch time I was ready to get back to work! (and I didn’t feel like I’d put in a substandard day at the office)