April's Real Blog

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Almost as bad as getting married?!

Whee, Ger an' I have our special d8 @ Très Chère 2nite!

L8 last nite, Mike posted sum stuff abt a recent convo he had w/Dad an' Dee:

Formerly little sis. You may recollect from my monthly letter for this month, I said I trusted the logic that passes between my wife and my father at the dinner table when it comes to purchasing a house and taking on a mortgage. Well, it did finally occur to my wife and my father, that perhaps some of that logic should be passed to me. I think the moment occurred when my wife and father said I would need to be present for signing papers for home mortgages and home purchases, and I responded, “Why? I trust you!”

Shortly thereafter, I was invited to the dinner table with my lovely wife Deanna and my father wearing a sweater and a shirt with rolled up sleeves. I thought, “Both a sweater and a shirt rolled up. I wonder why he didn’t just take the sweater off, if he was so hot.” This of course, was not the message. My father showed me a bunch of papers and he pointed at the numbers on them. Deanna also had a lovely presentation where she took a shorter piece of paper to emphasize and conceal the points she was making. I think I would have felt better about it, had Deanna’s presentation not had little pithy statements like “House = Good”, “Apartment = Bad”, “Living With Mom = Bad”, “Wife Needs Own House to be Happy” and things along those lines. I really thought it was overdone. I used to have to manage a budget at Portrait Magazine after all. So, I positioned my chin in my hand, and lodged my elbow on the table to hold up my chin and head in order to keep from passing out from boredom.

Finally dad seemed to be finishing up when he summarized, “So, with what you have in the bank, plus the money Dee’s parents have offered you—the advance on your book, and some help from us…--I think you could easily afford to buy a house in this neighborhood.” I was following him until he said the States spelling of neighbourhood. Then I got confused. Sharon Park Lane is not in the United States. Not only that but the Stibbs’ house for sale in this neighbourhood is too small for us. And since when has dad been calling Deanna, “Dee”? And why won’t dad ever tell us how much he and mom are contributing instead of always saying “some help”? My lovely Deanna mistook my confusion for worry. She said, “Don’t look so worried! We’ve done the math!” Frankly after the presentation I sat through, they had not only done the math, but wined and dined it and raised a family with it as well.

Then Deanna gave me that same old excuse she has been using for the last 4 months about why we can’t get a new apartment. She said, “Besides, the cost of renting an apartment, even THIS close to Toronto, would…” I cut her off with an “I know, I know.” because I didn’t want to hear this tired excuse again. The truth of the matter is that we could have gotten a new apartment, but not one which Deanna wanted. Even though we lived with 2 bedrooms in Lovey Saltzman’s apartment building, Deanna wanted 4 bedrooms; which essentially doubled the price of the apartment rent we were used to paying. Not only that, but she insisted we could not move to an apartment of any smaller size than that. I didn’t think getting a separate sewing room was that important, but once you have had your children sleeping in someone else’s sewing room, it opens your eyes to things…like sewing.

I tried to tell my lovely Deanna and my father why I was concerned. I said, “It’s just that buying a house is such a huge decision. It’s a life-changing commitment….” Then my mind wandered, trying to think of all the big decisions I had made in my life. There was my job offer for my Portrait Magazine job. Did I take it or did I go into debt? That was not really much of a choice. Then I thought about the last time we chose a place to live. But Lovey Saltzman’s apartments were pointed out to us by Josef Weeder, and the deal for living there was very good. So that was not really much of a choice either. Then I thought back to 2001, my marriage year. I saw my lovely bride-to-be, as she insisted we live together, but not in sin, so we had to have a marriage performed before she moved in with me. Then after having done that, we had the large showy wedding, only for the purpose of allowing Deanna’s mom to fulfill her dream of having a daughter get married with a showy wedding. My decision to go along with 2 weddings. Now that was a really huge decision and a life-changing commitment. Most guys only have to do 1 wedding when they get married, but I had 2, and I have to lie through my teeth every time I talked to the Sobinskis about my wedding. After my mind had wandered, I had found the perfect example to compare to home purchase, and I said, “it’s…almost as bad as getting married!!”

Of course the minute I said it, I knew it didn’t come out right, mainly because I included the word “bad” in the same sentence as “getting married.” Deanna was pretty upset with me, and dad simply put his head down and cowered. I tried to explain I meant the two weddings thing, but it didn’t help. After a long period of hissing, Deanna did finally calm down. Dad took me aside and said to me, “Son. You can expect to hear that phrase repeated over and over to you until the day you die.” He was very encouraging.

So, if you were wondering why Deanna was in that mood, it was because we are going to be homeowners. Some day. If a house in this neighbourhood ever opens up for sale.

Michael Patterson
Ouch, Mike! Bad, bad choice of words. BTW, since U bring up the st8's spelling of "neighbourhood," how come U wrote "check" insteada "cheque" in yr monthly letter, while still writing "neighbourhood"? I thot that was kinda strange. Oh, and I just saw Dad wearing a shirt, jacket, AND down jacket w/the sleeves all rolled up and, like, fanning himself. Do men get hot flashes an' menopause?


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  • At 10:23 AM, Anonymous lonlyanthdad2fran said…


    You make a good point and I don't see why everyone is making such a big deal about it.

    When you get married you end up living with a woman, which is very different from dating a sweetheart from school. They get up in the morning looking awful, then they spend a lot of time in the bathroom and emerge looking not much better, quite honestly. Then they go off to work for an entire day where they're not around to straighten up your room or do your laundry or make sandwiches, and when they get home they're too tired to cook most of the time. And they look even worse than when they left in the morning, evidently having spent no part of the day trying to improve their appearance!

    To me, Mike's got it about right, and I can see why he doesn't want to move. Life is a lot more pleasant when you've got someone like your mother to straighten up your room and make sandwiches, then if you don't feel like hanging out with your friends at night you can go out on a date with your sweetheart and she actually makes an effort with her clothes and hair.

    The ideal marriage would be one where you still live at home with your mom, your wife lives Someplace Else, and you date and have fun when you feel like it.


  • At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Iris Richards said…

    April dear,

    Your brother sees marriage and commitment as a bad thing? Why did he get married in the first place? Deanna is a lovely woman - intelligent, caring, an excellent mother, a well-paid professional. She may forget important things occasionally, such as her pharmacy training on the use of birth control pills, but in general she's a very responsible person. She more than makes up for your brother's irresponsibility, such as quitting his job on a whim and endangering his life for a laptop computer.

    It worries me to see your brother and sister regressing so. Your sister should have moved out long ago, and Michael and his family... I hope their childish behavior sets an example for you of what NOT to be when you are their age.

    Will we see you this weekend? We just got a delivery from "Foodies" grocery service that includes their wonderful Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Plus, it seems that the "clothing-fund fairy" left an envelope for you last night! I didn't peek, but it seems thicker than usual this time!

    Much Love,
    Iris Richards

  • At 1:33 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    You should certainly not judge all marriages like the one you had with that awful Quebecois woman, with her hideous French features no amount of makeup could improve. Certainly your opinion about the altered appearance of a woman throughout the day is quite true. However, my Deanna is a sterling example of the kind of woman who does not fit that mold. Her hair and her face look perfectly made up when she gets up in the morning to when she goes to bed at night. Even when our apartment was burning, she managed to maintain her appearance. Even when our children woke us up in the middle of the night with illnesses or nursing, somehow my wife kept up her looks. She is beautiful 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without stopping.

    During my dating years, I was anxious to find a woman who was more attractive than my sisters, because I remember watching my mother transform from a very pretty young mother into the large-nosed, frumpily-dressed woman she is today. One of the few moments of coherent fathering I remember from my father was when he said, "Find a woman prettier than your mother, Mike." I spent quite a bit of time in high school dating Rhetta Blum, but her resemblance to my sisters at times, could be disconcerting.

    Then I met Deanna again after her car accident. I went into her hospital room and thought to myself, "Here is a woman, who despite being bruised and bandaged up, is still bringing the pretty." My heart leapt for joy. I knew I had found the woman for me, and I haven't looked back since.

    Of course, this prior dialogue probably fills you with fear with respect to the future appearance of my sister, Elizabeth. Worry not, Anthony, old fellow. The repeated exposure to my lovely wife, has actually transformed both of my sisters into visions of loveliness. Their lips are plump and full. Their cheekbones are raised. Even when they try their best to dress in their usual frumpy, imitating the style of our mother, it cannot destroy the changes made to their lips and cheeks. Sister April's transformation occurred fairly recently, and there are times when I look at her, I could swear I am seeing my wife Deanna with a wig. Fortunately, I have managed to discern the difference in time to prevent an unwanted physical transgression; but if April ever decided to change her hair colour to blonde, I might have to find some way to label her.

    Point is, Anthony, old thing. Thanks to my Deanna, Elizabeth is quite a catch now as far as her appearance goes. If she stays around Deanna long enough, she may actually pick up those desired skills of straightening up rooms, doing laundry, or making sandwiches.

    However, you are quite right about how nice it is to have mom in the house. It used to be whenever I suggested to Deanna we might go out on a weekend, she would say, "I'm too tired, Mike." But now, with mom in the house, when I suggest going out, Deanna says, "I can't wait to get out of this house, even if it's with you." We have a more active social life than my sister April, which is not saying much, actually. However, you should remember there is an alternative to having your mom in your house, and that's to have your mom live down the road from you, in walking distance. There may be some nighttime activities to which you would prefer your mother not to be privy, if you know what I mean.

    Take heart, Anthony. If it is fear of the future with Elizabeth which has been holding you back, fear no longer. And make sure you get a house for your mom near to where yours is.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 1:35 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. The use of the word "check" in my monthly letter was to indicate appropriate geographical placement. My publisher, Reiner and Browne (although a good Canadian company), uses a bank from the United States for their checks. This was a subtle indication to the more careful reader of my mysterious monthly missives. Very clever of you to spot that, formerly little sis.

    As for male menopause, I believe it does exist. I have referenced a helpful article, which says the symptoms include hot flashes. Perhaps poor pop is suffering from said affliction. You are a very sharp observer today, formerly little sis.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    hey, peeps! i am writing this fr. gramps an' iris's place. we just had sum delish deep-dish pizza 4 lunch, and in a lil while i m going 2 use the $$ that the "clothing fund fairy" left 4 me 2 get sum pretty d8 clothes 4 my dinner d8 w/ger 2nite!

    we r having a really cube visit. i'm playing my guitars an' gramps is using the new drums i got 4 my b-day.


  • At 1:54 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    I realize you are old and therefore not in complete control of your mental faculties. However, you should try to remember that the last time you got married, you simply eloped and took a nice trip to England, where you spent most of your evenings in the English bars of Grandpa Jim's youth. My marital process was quite a bit more involved. There were two weddings, the battling of my mother and mother-in-law over my wife's attentions, and a honeymoon trip which I cannot think about today without remembering the birth control pills (or lack thereof) and the tremendous bill for women's clothes we received after we got back. I don't think marriage and commitment are a bad things. It is the decision to do it, the process of it which leave a bad taste in my mouth, and unfortunately in my language to my wife and dad.

    I know it is difficult for you, living with the daily obscenities of Grandpa Jim to think clearly, but try to imagine this if you will. You have been saving money for 5 years in order to buy a house, without having to depend on anyone to do it. Then you get a lovely advance for your first book, and your dream seems like it will be a reality. Then your wife and your dad decide that instead of getting a nice starter home, you have to buy a house in their neighbourhood in Milborough in the range of $400,000, which is well outside the house you could have afforded with your savings and your advance. Now, you are looking at taking money from your in-laws who won't let you forget it, and your parents who will not only not let you forget it, but will charge interest for it. Think about those things the next time you see fit to call me irresponsible.

    I think you're just mad because I forgot to give you chocolate over Valentine's Day.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Iris Richards said…


    Try to imagine this, if you will: You meet and fall in love with a wonderful man, but he is going off to war very soon. You have a lovely wedding, but it is bittersweet – he is leaving soon to be a brave man and fight for the world's freedom. Although you have a few weeks together, before long you are watching him pack his things, and then watching as his train pulls away from the station. You don't know if you will ever see him again.

    You get letters from him, and worry every day. The newspapers are filled with stories of hundreds of good Canadian men losing their lives for the good of humankind, and you attend too many funerals to count. So many young men lost; some of them are strangers, some of them are friends. Some of your girlfriends lose their brothers. Some of them lose their husbands. You try to make the best of things, keep busy, but you live in fear that someday you will look out the window and see the mailman coming with a telegram; or worse, two men dressed in uniform approaching the front door.

    A year passes, and then two. Then three. Finally, in the fourth year, the war ends. You are overjoyed, knowing that the love of your life will soon come home. And when he does, you realize that four years is long time and that the war has changed him. He's seen things you don't want to imagine. But he is your husband, your love, your life, and you never lose faith in him. It isn't easy, but you work at it.

    In the end, you have a wonderful life together. Three children, a lovely house in the suburbs (paid for without help from any relatives), all the things he fought for and you sacrificed for. All the things you yourself have today, Michael, because men like my George and your grandfather Jim, and many other Canadians who were brave enough to give their very LIVES to ensure that the generations that came after them would live in and enjoy freedom.

    Think about those things next time you are calling me trite.

    Iris Richards

    P.S. The Valentine's chocolate you gave your grandfather was moldy.

  • At 7:01 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    I know old age makes it difficult for you to read the small letters on the computer screen. The word I used was TRIP, not trite and I was referring to your honeymoon and not you personally. As you should be aware (unless Grandpa Jim’s ceaseless obscenities are making it difficult for you to concentrate), the word “trite” means “lacking in freshness or effectiveness because of constant use or excessive repetition; hackneyed; stale.” Anyone who has sampled your marvelous cooking would never characterize it as “lacking in freshness” or “stale.”

    Seeing your misuse of words makes me believe that perhaps I was too rash in criticizing you. Maybe when you mentioned my irresponsibility, my regressing, and my childish behaviour; you meant other words which are similarly spelled that your eyes were not able to see clearly like: responsiveness, aggressiveness, and championing behaviour.

    Your story about the women waiting for the men was not too bad, although the words didn’t have enough syllables for a true novel. I might use it with a little rewriting for my 3rd novel Stone Season II: The Endless Waiting, assuming my publisher has a desire for a sequel, which I am sure they will. I will put you in the dedication of course.

    As for the Valentine’s Day chocolates, I must apologize, but I cannot take credit for the mold. However that Frenchwoman at La Petite Boutique, is going to get an earful from me in my next weekly column. Imagine sending moldy chocolate to a WWII vet. Shameful.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Beauchamp W. Higginbottom said…

    Mr. Patterson,

    My name is Beauchamp W. Higginbottom of the law firm Higginbottom & Crump. It is my duty to inform you that making any reference to Mrs. Iris Richards' life experiences in your future novel writing can be considered a breach of copyright, as Mrs. Richards has compiled several volumes of autobiographical writings that are currently in contract with a large publishing house (the details of which cannot be disclosed at this time). Be assured I will be contacting your publisher for the rights to view any future submissions by you before they are published. Your previous post has been copied and placed into your file as evidence.

    In the matter of the moldy chocolates, I am considering legal action against you and La Petite Boutique. Mr. Richards' health was greatly compromised by his stroke, and eating moldy chocolates may have resulted in severe illness up to and including death. It has been postulated that you may have intentionally given Mr. Richards the moldy chocolates to hasten his death, subsequently resulting in a large payout of inheritance that you could have used towards a down payment on a home. We are still analyzing this theory and will forward the results to Sgt. Royalson of the OPP.

    Thank you for your cooperation,
    Beauchamp W. Higginbottom
    Higginbottom & Crump

  • At 12:06 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…

    Mr. Beauchamp W. Higginbottom of the law firm Higginbottom & Crump,

    Is this really you, Weed? You had me fooled for a little bit, until I remembered moldy chocolates wouldn't be worse than the dog food which was a regular part of Grandpa Jim's diet prior to his stroke and I also remembered, I didn't give Grandpa Jim chocolates for Valentines' Day. The real giveaway was mentioning inheritance for a house downpayment. Everyone in my family knows my mom inherits everything Grandpa Jim didn't spend on booze, cigarettes and hook...um...other things...after Grandma Marian died.

    Very funny, Weed. You had me going for a little while.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 3:07 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. When it comes to Easter, there is nothing like having an elder family member give wisdom to a young child. This Easter, I was looking forward to our traditional Easter Egg hunt and chocolate bunny-eating celebration, and seeing how “hopped up” my children would get from the consumption of sugar, when my wife Deanna said these ominous words, “Now that we are planning to be homeowners in this community, Michael, I think it is time for us to take our children to church. It would help become more a part of the community.” My mouth dropped, and the rest of the family, which I will note included you, suddenly disappeared. Deanna then said in a loud voice, “But we can go shopping for Easter dresses.” This managed to lure my mother out of hiding, because she claimed she wanted to get a new scarf to de-frumpify her dress. Whether she was successful or not, I will leave that judgment to others.

    Easter came and in order to beat the crowds, we opted to go to a very early service (early enough so I can write this to you) and it still be on Easter. Deanna was in her pink Easter dress, and my daughter was in her purple one and a white sweater. I was wearing a green jacket and striped green tie, which Deanna had picked out for me when she went shopping. I felt like a golfer, but I restrained myself from mentioning it to Deanna, who was still a little mad from what I said to her yesterday. Our son went into hiding, and then, as you know, mom said, “It’s time to go, April.” Then you said, “I’ll go find Robin by offering him some cake.” Then you disappeared and it got to be so late waiting for you and my son, we decided to leave without you (which I suspect was your plan all along).

    The four of us (me, Deanna, mom, my daughter) went to the service, and as predicted, it was early enough so that the place was respectably full but not excessively so. I sat in my seat, very nervous because (to be honest), it had been so long since I had been in a church, I had forgotten what it was about. None of the women with me seemed to be bothered, and my daughter kicked her feet back and forth casually waiting for the service to start.

    Once the service started, my daughter ‘s attention was initially rivetted, as she leaned forward with her elbow on her kneee. Then we saw a man and woman in robes speaking and gesticulating to the audience. It was at this point I thought I saw the man who assaulted Elizabeth, Howard Bunt, sitting directly in front of us with 2 burly women sitting next to him. I tried not to attract his attention, but drew my daughter closer to me in case he decided to turn around and pull my shirt or grab my daughter’s sweater.

    Then we had to stand and look at this book kept in a rack in front of us. My daughter stood with us, but she was too little to be able to read the book. Then we sat down again, and I was so nervous, I had to take my right hand and hold on to Deanna for moral support.

    Then my daughter leaned down in the pew with her little legs spread apart. Mom leaned over to her and said, “Meredith. Stop leaning down like you’re going to go roadside. It’s bad enough you look like Becky McGuire. You don’t have to act like her.” Then Deanna shushed mom and told her not to use that term with a 4-year-old in church. Mom seemed appropriately embarrassed and didn’t say any more.

    Then my daughter turned to me. I was afraid she was going to ask me what “roadside” meant, but instead she asked me, “Daddy?” Fortunately, that was a question I could easily answer. I said, “Yes, Meredith!” But much to my surprise, Meredith had a followup question. She asked, “When do they get to the part where Jesus meets the Easter bunny?” My mind was racing. I thought back through It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, but I couldn’t remember any part which talked about Jesus meeting the Easter Bunny, or even the Easter Beagle. Listening carefully to the robed people in front, they seemed to be convinced Jesus had something to do with Easter, so it was possible a meeting took place.

    I looked at Deanna, and she appeared to be just as confused as I was. Then mom spoke up and said, “Jesus died, an’ in free days, he came alive again! An’ ev’ybody was so happy they made hats! Den, the Easter Bunny liked the hats, so he gived ev’ybody some eggs an’ some chocolate.” I said, “Where did you learn that mom?” Mom said, “April went to Sunday School once a long time ago, and that’s what she told me. My daughter said, “Thanks for telling me, Grandme Elly.” And Grandma Elly beamed.

    That’s what happened.

    Michael Patterson


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