April's Real Blog

Monday, February 25, 2008

All Mike, Almost all the time

In case U mite have had NE doubt that Mike has taken over as the focus of Milborough, here's his l8ist slice of domestic life:

Formerly little sis. There are times when a man realizes that no matter how long he has been married there is something new he learns about his wife. It’s a part of the mystery I think that has kept my marriage so strong over the years, is that half the time, I have no idea where my wife is or what she is doing.

For example, just the other day, I was walking through a room I thought I knew and there was this little door on the side of the wall and it was opened. I looked through it expecting perhaps to see elves or leprechauns or some other kind of little person; but instead there was my wife, Deanna. I said to her “Deanna? What are you doing in the crawl space?” I called it a crawl space, because she was crawling in it. It seemed like a catchy phrase to me.

She replied, “I found a bunch of stuff in here!” For a moment there I thought she might have uncovered the thing that we hid in the house that you remember we found back when you were about 6 years old and we swore never to tell anyone about. Fortunately it wasn’t that. Deanna shoved out two boxes, one taped shut and the other opened and said, “This box hasn’t been opened in 20 years!...There’s baby clothes and Christmas cards…” I know you are probably wondering how my wife knew the box hadn’t been opened in 20 years. Possibly she had the box carbon-dated, or she counted the number of rings in the dust; but the truth of the matter is that our mother has the habit of putting dates on everything to the point of excess. So, the label actually had the date when the box had been sealed.

However, looking at the baby clothes and Christmas cards in the other box, I was struck by this sudden realization. I said, “But, my folks had a yard sale!” Then I remembered that mom had said she planned to have a yard sale with all her old stuff in it, and if she had included 20-year-old baby clothes and her old Christmas cards, then no one would buy those, even if they were Christmas cards sent to Pattersons. Naturally, Christmas cards sent from Pattersons are the ones which carry value. I also noticed a distinct lack of dust on these items. If a box had not been opened in 20 years, you would think there would be 20 years of dust on it, and yet both boxes and my lovely wife, were completely unperturbed by any appearance of dust. Could it be that my mother was such a neatnik that she dusted boxes she had in crawl spaces, or could it be that my mother couldn’t sell these items in a yard sale, and so she decided to store them in our crawl space, or could it be that my wife has a natural force about her which repels dust? Any of those answers are plausible.

My wife was not putting these things together and went enthusiastically back into the crawl space saying, “I guess nobody looked beyond this rock.” I think she was saying something related to the phrase “leave no stone unturned”, but who knows? She was too busy pulling out one box after another to ask. Eventually we had quite a pile of cardboard boxes, and some sealed food containers, which I fear is food with which my mother held some sentiment (last pastry made by Grandma Marian and things like that), an old coffee pot, and some books. I suddenly began to realize that there was enough room in that crawl space for another office or another bedroom, and my mind immediately raced to that possibility.

Whenever I see a big, messy pile of things; my natural tendency as a Patterson is throw out some words of condemnation. It’s just a reflex action, eh? I said, “Man, how come people collect so much JUNK!!” I realize, of course, that these words of condemnation were aimed at my parents and you; so they were foolishly uttered. The only thing I could do to compensate was to put my hand in my right pocket and thrust my hip out, in a sort of pseudo girlish repentance.

My wife put things in perspective for me. She said, “That’s not junk, Michael…That’s OURS!” As she said this a mysterious bag of things appeared in front of the junk. I decided to switch pocket hands and gave the cameraman a look which was intended to say, “My mom has scammed me by hiding all this stuff in the house, so now I have to get rid of the junk she couldn’t sell in that yard sale.” That’s the conclusion I came to anyway. When Deanna was initially drawing a comparison between the words, “Junk” and “Ours”, I had thought there was some kind of pun in there. I immediately thought of words similar in meaning to “Junk” in the hopes that one of them would sound like the word, “Ours”. My mind raced through: clutter, collateral, debris, filth, hogwash*, litter, miscellany, offal, refuse, rubbish, rubble, rummage, salvage, scrap, trash, waste, bits, crap*, detritus, dregs, dross, fragments, garbage, offal, pieces, refuse, remains, rubbish, rubble, ruins, shit, trash, waste, wreck, wreckage. I couldn’t think of a single one that would work; so I was forced to accept the fact that my wife Deanna had not actually made a pun, but made it look like she was making a pun.

And there you have it, formerly little sis, the new thing I learned about my wife: She fakes puns. It’s sad but true.

Michael Patterson
Mike, "fakes puns"? Can't it B the much simpler conclusion, that she wasn't trying 2 pun @ all? Really, there R ppl who go thru their daily lives WITHOUT looking 4 a punnertunity in everything they're abt 2 say. U shd try it!

Liz, if U R so angry abt the fact that I xxist, U shd really take that out on Dad. One time, when U were a baby and Mike was in kindergarten, Mom was feeling bored and restless, and Anne Nichols suggested she cd always have another baby. Mom raised this possibility 2 Dad, and he was all absolutely-positively-NOT abt it. Then Mom suggested he take the permanent, surgical solution (get a vasectomy so he cdn't get Mom preggers again 4 sure) and he was like "I'm not THAT positive!" So there U have it, blame Dad.


Labels: , , ,


  • At 9:08 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. I am well aware that there are people who go through their daily lives without looking for a punnertunity in everything they're about to say. They are sad, sad people. They go through life with no joy in their hearts, no skip in their step, no carrots in their dinner. Their very aspect is that of doom and gloom. Instead of looking at the glass as half-full, they look at the glass as completely empty. It is precisely because of these wretched, downcast, miserable, beastly, depraved folk; that we Pattersons have to put on the brave face and pun at every opportunity, along with the accompanying sticky-out tongue laughter.

    I know it is a tough job. Some people may not get the joke. Some people may complain about the flying spittle. But there is always that one person, whose heart is touched by this simple example of humour, that it lifts their day and makes them realize one of the greatest hopes that a person can hope for…to be a Patterson. Yes, April, they wish to have the punning ability that comes to us Pattersons as naturally as dew falling off the grass, or rain coming in the Spring, or mom’s prodigious nose. We have a sacred task, April, and someday, somewhere, you will meet that someone who needs a pun like they need life-giving water or greasy food, someone who thinks they have cameras installed in their houses, someone who thinks that their every meaningless act is reflected in something that you have done in your life; and then you will understand our Patterson quest with every fibre of your being.

    We must bring humour to the lives of these otherwise completely, humourless people. Someday, formerly little is, you will know of the true power and purpose of the Patterson pun. Until then, you’re just going through your teenaged Martian phase, annoying all the rest of us.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 12:17 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, i am kinda surprised ur bro is tellin’ this rilly borin’ story ‘bout his crawlspace on ur blog aftah we had that adventure in the othah crawlspace, which i gotta say is gonna be a whole lot more innerestin’ than listenin’ 2 ur bro talk ‘bout old baby clothes & xmas cards. i thot u wud be tellin’ ur story nstead. i guess i’ll start & the othah peeps who were there can fill in.

    ok. it started wen u decided 2 nvite every1 2 ur jivamukti yoga class 4 its open house 2 get new students i guess. aftah the class wuz ovah & every1 u nvited wuz moanin’ in pain (@ least i wuz), we were sittin’ in the yoga studio, wen luis guzmán’s gf rosario went ovah 2 the side of the room 2 pick up her little megafone. then she spotted that crawlspace in the wall & she sed, “luis. have we evah done it in a crawlspace?” & luis sed, “no chica. as a refugee i have done it in many of the small caves which r in the black hills between mexico & our new land of canada; but nevah in the crawl space of a yoga studio. “

    so then rosario started pullin’ off the crawlspace door & luis wuz headed ovah there, like they rilly were gonna do it there & u started yellin’ ‘bout how u wud get kicked outa class. it didn’t last 2 long cuz rosario sed, “hey. there’s a lotta junk in this crawlspace.” & luis sed, “thass not junk. thass ours. it’s the refugee’s right of claimin’ things hidden in small tunnels.” then luis got in an argument w/eva abuya ‘bout who hadda worse life growin’ up & duncan anderson’s silhouette jumped in w/his usual biz ‘bout the rights 4 silhouettes.

    neway, az they were yakkin’, i looked @the stuff in the wall, & it wuz a kinda map w/a few items like a big cinnamon bun, a plastic hand w/a pointin’ fingah, a model train, & a broken coffee cup. ok sum1 else hazta take ovah.

  • At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Luis Guzmán said…


    I will go next, , porque you got a lot of things incorrectos. Primero de todos, I have done it in a crawl space. I am a muy macho Latino, after all. Rosario wanted to know if I had done it with her in a crawl space, not if I have done it with someone otro. Rosario has that pequeño megafone. You do not want to be in a pequeño space with her and that pequeño megafone. En segundo lugar de todos, a Mexican refugee has had a mucho peor life than someone who has lost their home like Eva or who is a silueta like Duncan,

    After we got the treasure map, we took it back to your place to try to find if any places on the map matched to places we knew. There were some places like the Milborough town hall and el edificio de la Iglesia Anglican, but nothing else was the same. Then Eva said she would take the map to la biblioteca to see if she could find anything.

    I guess Eva needs to tell the story next to say what she found in la biblioteca.

    Luis Guzmán

  • At 2:40 PM, Anonymous liz patterson said…


    I got a weird call from the Johnston Institute today, all kind of panicky-like, asking me if I knew what was hidden in the crawlspace in Mom and Dad's old house, I was like, "I dunno, Mom's emergency pastry stash, I know she had one," but it wasn't a guessing game, they really wanted to know, like they were scared it could be something bad, the woman on the phone kept saying stuff like, "Damn that nosy bowl-cut haired priss!" and some other words I send kids to the principal's office for saying, it was strange, but then this other woman got on the line and it was the lady from the loudspeaker yesterday, and she told me, "Remember, if you talk to your sister-in-law, finding the baby clothes is A Sign," and I was like "A sign of what?" and she said, "Destiny," and I said, "Isn't that a diaper cream?" and the woman said, "Whatever. You're hopeless. No wonder I don't care about you," and hung up, I cried for hours, I thought everyone cared about Pattersons?

  • At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Eva Abuya said…

    Hey, April. I'm still sore from that yoga class yesterday, but it was totally worth it. Plus the yoga instructor was cute!

    So I took that map to the library and went into the "Local Milborough History" room. I went to the archivist in there and told her where the map had come from.

    When I told her, she was like, "The Milborough Yoga Centre, eh? I don't suppose you what that used to be, in the eighties?" And I told her I didn't. She said, "That used to be the Community Theatre. Elly Patterson saved the place from the wrecking ball, by holding a fundraising costume party and inviting local government officials. It was actually young Michael Patterson's idea!" I said, "I know the Pattersons. Well, mostly April." The archive chick was like, "Oh, yes. April Marian Patterson. Born April 1, 1991. Or March 31, according to some Sundayists."

    I was like, "What?" And she said, "Never mind. Let me see if I can help you with this map. Hm. I recognize that pointing finger. It once belonged to John Patterson, in his university days. He named it 'the fickle finger of fate.' He held onto it over the years, and when Michael Patterson left home for college, John passed that on to him. When he shared a room in residence and later an apartment with Josef Weeder, the 'fickle finger of fate.' hung from their ceiling." Its current whereabouts are unknown."

    She took another look at the map. "Broken coffee mug. Elly was infamous for throwing coffee cups at her husband John's head whenever he did or said something stupid or insensitive. Which was nearly daily. Cinnamon buns. Elly Patterson is known to love baked goods, but maybe that's too broad a category. Anthony Caine takes credit for coming up with the idea of selling cinnamon buns at Gordon Mayes's Country Kitchen.

    "Model trains. John Patterson is famously obsessed with those. Though Keith Enjo was an enthusiast before Mr. Patterson was. And Duncan Anderson's father was a train hobbyist for a while, but in recent years became disenchanted with them and sold them.

    "Hm. I expect this map is somehow Patterson-related. Though it's puzzling. Some of the items on this map, I'm not sure about, but I have a hunch this book of Patterson iconography might be the key to deciphering them." She handed me a small book with a dark blue, Paperback cover, with Patterson Iconography in gold, Times New Roman typeface. The author was listed as "Unknown."

    I didn't think I'd be able to check the book out, but I was allowed to borrow it for a one-week loan period.

    As I was leaving the library, I saw Duncan's Silhouette. He was like, "Did you just come out of that library?" And I said, "Obviously!" And he said, "Don't you know that they discriminate against the illumination-challenged?" And I said I'd never heard that. He burst into tears and said, "You never listen to me!"

    So I brought the book and the map over to Jeremy's house, and he's been studying them ever since.


  • At 7:57 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    wow, liz, so the johnston institute doesn't care abt u either, eh? i thot it was just me.

    jeremy, it was cube of u, eva, luis, rosario, and duncan's silhouette all 2 go 2 jivamukti yoga w/me! that map was pretty freaky. i'm sorry i didn't get much of a chance 2 compare that book 2 the map. i cdn't believe my mom called and insisted i hadta come rite home. i thot she'd totally 4gotten abt me. again.


  • At 2:33 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. There comes a time in a man's life when you simply have to agree with your wife’s intuition about things, even though you know full well she is probably wrong. Such is the case with my Deanna and her tendency to “know” things which happened, that she could not possibly know happened.

    After finding the stuff in the crawl space I told you about yesterday, my lovely wife, Deanna started going through the things in the crawl space and coming into the room where I was doing research for my next novel Breaking the Windjammer to show them to me. Did you know that encyclopedias, even the really cheap ones which come in 3-ring binders, are a veritable fount of information? I have learned so much about real windjammers with our set of 3-ring binder encyclopedias. What they do not explain though, is why my wife was so fascinated with declaring how each item she found was some kind of valuable item.

    You see, April, you may find that after you are married; you may want to keep your dress so that your children and grandchildren can wear it too. In fact, you may invest in one of those vacuum-sealing dress boxes, which will keep the dress like new for decades. Or, you could store your wedding dress in a shoebox and put it in a crawl space and not let anyone know about it. I am sure you can tell the relative difference in attention to proper dress storage between the two methods, as I did when became an expert in the matter from my research on it for one of my weekly columns entitled, “So You Only Thought Your Mom Was Fat When She Got Married.”

    When Deanna came up to me with this dress in a shoe box, and said, “Remember that old stuff of your mom’s that I pulled out of the crawl space?...Check this out! I think it’s your Grandma Marian’s wedding dress,” it was all I could do to restrain myself from exclaiming about proper dress storage. In fact, when Deanna pulled the dress out and put it up to her body as if to try it on for size, it was even more difficult to restrain myself from pointing out how Deanna couldn’t fit into that dress and Grandma Marian was even less likely, because she was not a particularly small woman. Instead of pointing out to Dee the errors in her assumptions I said, “You’re right! --I’ve seen it in pictures. I didn’t even know my mom had it!”

    Deanna held the dress wistfully up to her eyes to see it better and made yet another statement she could not possibly know. She said, “I think Grandpa Jim brought it with him when he moved here from Vancouver.” My thought was, “No. More likely mom brought it with her when she cleaned out Grandma Marian’s stuff in Vancouver”. When Deanna is in one of her “make up the things that happened” moods, it is best not to get in her way. The way Deanna was looking at it, started to creep me out, so I said to her, “What should we do with it?”

    At this question, Deanna clutched the dress to her breast, and exclaimed, “Michael, this is an heirloom!!!” I wanted to say that people don’t put heirlooms in shoeboxes and throw them into nasty crawlspaces, but once I again I restrained myself. Instead, I decided to build on the logic Deanna had already used. If it was an heirloom and it had been stored in a crawlspace, I said, “Oh. Then…I guess it goes back into the crawl space.” After all, isn’t that where the shoeboxed heirlooms go?

    Needless to say, Deanna did not agree with that sentiment. In fact, she had another completely different sentiment for the dress involving my sister Elizabeth and her wedding day. I could tell from the way the gears were churning in her head, Deanna was beginning to think that Elizabeth should be wearing Grandma Marian’s wedding dress. This is, of course, a ridiculous idea. For one thing, it is white. For another thing, Elizabeth would never be able to fit into the dress. It was too small for Deanna, holding it next to her body; so you know Elizabeth is way too big for it.

    Well, this was an exciting story about Deanna finding a wedding dress in the junk. Tomorrow, I think I will have some more to tell about this fascinating story.

    Michael Patterson


Post a Comment

<< Home