April's Real Blog

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dad shares strategies w/Mike

Yep, more stories from the Patterpast coming yr way, via Mike. Here goes the l8est:

Formerly little sis. There was a moment when Elizabeth was modeling Grandma Marian’s old wedding dress in front of Dad where he was looking at it carefully and saying, “I’ve seen this dress before. It’s…” and then both mom and Deanna gave Dad such a glare it could have peeled paint off the walls. Actually it did a little, so I need to buy some touch up paint. Dad followed up with “It’s absolutely and definitely Grandma Marian’s dress. There is no doubt in my mind it is Grandma Marian’s. Yessir. Grandma Marian’s.”

After the ladies left, I said to Dad, “That was a close one Dad. You almost revealed where the dress really came from.” Dad said, “Michael. That was not close. That was an easy one. When your wife gives you a look like that, you know you are headed in the wrong direction. The most difficult ones are the ones where your wife doesn’t give any direction.” I said, “Like what?”

Dad said, “For example, back in 1979, your mom would lie in bed at night and say, ‘Considering I’m over 30, John, I’ve decided to be very objective about my looks.’” I laughed when he said that. I said, “Mom? When has she ever been objective about her looks?” Dad said, “Exactly. So she would continue on and say, ‘So---on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say I’m 7…What do you think?...or am I 6?...(There are odd days I’m 8)….)’” I interrupted saying, “Then you must have said, ‘Oh, I think you act older than all those ages.’?” Dad said, “No, Michael. When a woman is talking about her appearance, a husband must never make jokes, at least not jokes that make any sense. You can say something like, ‘I’ll always be able to read between them (lines)…’ which makes no sense at all; but never tell a joke. The best thing to do when you are lying in bed and your wife starts talking about her appearance is to close your eyes and pretend to be asleep.” I said, “Does that work?” Dad said, “Not very often, but it is worth it when it does.”

I said, “What do you do when it doesn’t work?” Dad said, “Well. When she insists on getting an answer, which she usually does with a single word question like, "WELL?", then what I do is say, ‘If you think I’m falling into that trap, you’re crazy!’” I said, “Does that work?” Dad said, “Boy does it ever. Instead of talking about her looks, which is a very dangerous topic, you are instead talking about her sanity, which is much safer. She will almost always say, ‘Well, if I’m crazy, it’s you and the kids who drove me there.’ Then, if you are lucky, she will be in a huff, roll over and go to sleep after muttering to herself for an hour. If you are not lucky, she may go back to her original subject.” I said, “What happens then?” Dad said, “If you have to give her a number, 7 is a pretty safe number. It’s higher than average, but low enough so she will believe you are giving her an honest answer.”

It was another valuable lesson from Dad. He is wise in the ways of the womenfolk.

Michael Patterson
Hm, it seems sad that Mom was trippin' over being "over 30." No1 seems 2 consider "over 30" 2 B "ZOMG teh old" these days, eh?

Howard, that was an interesting theory U had abt Mom's nose being surgically altered to gather up skin that wd otherwise wrinkle, but if it has been, I don't know NEthing abt it. MayB Mike wd know.


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  • At 10:20 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. "No one seems to consider 'over 30' to be 'ZOMG teh old' these days, eh?" Excuse me, April, but have you met my wife and your sister? As for discussion about mom and her nose and surgery, you already know those topics are off-limits to anyone but Connie Poirier, and that's only because she is uglier than mom. If you grow to be uglier than mom, then maybe you can talk about it; but until then, no.

    Deanna tells me that Elizabeth is not over 30. Sorry. When we go over these stories from 1979, where Elizabeth about 1 year old, I get confused about how old Elizabeth is. Elizabeth just considers "over 25" and not yet married to be a problem. Fortunately, we are close to eliminating that particular complaint, and we will have a few years respite until Elizabeth turns 30.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 11:54 AM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    ok, mike, pt taken. NORMAL ppl do not seem 2 consider "over 30" 2 B "zomg teh old."


  • At 2:02 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, innerestin’ convo w/luis guzmán 2day. he asked me a weird question. he’s been accepted @a couple of diff universities 4 the fall, but he duzn’t know which one 2 chose. he sed handed me brochures frum university of toronto, university of windsor, or york university. he sed, “so---on a scale of 1 to 10, i’d say the girls frum u of toronto r 7…what do you think?...or r they a 6?...(there are odd days wen i think the university of windsor girls r a 8).” i sed, “u wanna pick which university 2 go 2 based on how pretty the girls r there?” luis sed, “si. iz there anothah way?” i sed, “mebbe by how good the skool is?” luis sed, “wen u have lived the life of a refugee, crossin’ the wasteland 2 get frum mexico 2 canada, thinkin’ this cud b the last day u will live & u have nevah been w/a canadian girl &…” i sed, “whoa! wut duz b-ing a mexican refugee hafta do w/chosin’ a university?” luis sed, “be-ing a refugee makes u appreci8 the tyme u have. u don’t wanta hafta hunt 4 a pretty girl, like i did wen i wuz a refugee. there shud b plenty 4 every1.” i sed, “wut ‘bout ur gf rosario?” luis sed, “mboro tradition iz u go 2 a diff skool than ur gf or ne of ur friends frum high school.” have u heard ‘bout that tradition?

  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Luis Guzmán said…


    Chica. Gerald Delaney-Forsythe has convinced me I should not choose a university from how hermosa the chicas are, but by how promiscuo the chicas are. He said you knew all about that so you would be able to help me. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the chicas from the University of Toronto, the University of Windsor, or York University? Duncan Anderson’s silhouette told me that Zenia Parkinson, the famous Picton Peeler, who used to attend Mackenzie Bowell University just outside of town, now goes to Trinity College in the University of Toronto; so the University of Toronto is probably somewhere close to a 10 now.

    Luis Guzmán

  • At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Shannon Lake said…


    I thought I would let you know that the annual “nicest girl in Milborough” judges came to ask me for the fourth year in a row who I would rate as the “nicest girl in Milborough”. I had to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 some girls in Milborough.

    There was Lorraine Shoobie. She saved that homeless man from starving to death and now he works for Gordon Mayes. I gave her a 7.

    There was Cindilu Sera Tonin. She uncovered that a certain Milborough product would cause everyone in Milborough to die a horrible and painful death, before anyone actually used it except for her pet budgie. I gave her a 6.

    There was Betty Narnia. She rescued those children and their dog from the flood in the ravine. I gave her an 8.

    There was Ragnar Faffnesbanes, daughter of Sigurd Faffnesbanes. After her father was murdered, she traveled with her aunt’s husband, king Heimer in Hlymdalarna, who was disguised as a harp player and she travelled through the world by hiding in his harp. I gave her a 5.

    Then there was you. You broke up with your boyfriend you have had since 2003, broke up your band to play only for the fun of it, you visited your grandfather after his second stroke and played the guitar for him, and your mother is Elly Patterson. I gave you a 10, even though I haven’t really seen you or talked to you since the telethon last summer.

    I think you are going to win again.

    Shannon Lake

  • At 4:26 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    luis, i think ger is messing w/u. i have no idea how slutty the female students @ various uni's r & i don't wanna know.

    shannon, wow. thanx!


  • At 8:34 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, it must b my day 4 weird convos. aftah u left 2 go sit 4 ur niece, nephew & future niece; i wuz @home helpin’ mom out w/those repairs wen you’ll nevah guess who wuz knockin’ on my door? ok, u’ll nevah guess, so i’ll tell u. it was rebeccah mcguire. mom wuz like immedi8ly on the alert, cuz u know, becky haz in the past made a play 4 me wen she came 2 visit & i wuz d8in’ sum1 else.

    becky told her 2 relax. she wunted my opinion on sumthin’. mcgill university & university of toronto both wunt 2 offer her honorary doctorates in music & she wunted me 2 r8 them on a scale of 1 to 10 so she cud tell which 1 she shud take. ‘course i sed, “honorary doctorate? ru old enuff 4 that?” becky sed, “sum universities give honorary doctorates 2 hack cartoonists who can’t evn draw sum1’s hand. aftah that givin’ an honorary phd 2 a teenaged pop singer iz nothin’.” i sed, “well if i gotta r8, mcgill iz known 2b the best music skool in canada. so thass gotta be a 10 & mebbe u of t is a 9.”

    i hadda ask her how thingz have goin’ this year, since we barely see or hear frum her ne more. she sed she had changed since last summer, wen she played the telethon @the mall & learned the value of friendship w/peeps she hardly sees nemore. i sed i had heard that the gym jam in october last year went a lot bettah than the year b4, altho i wuzn’t there cuz of bad feelingz frum the last tyme (& also cuz u didn’t wanna hafta deal with gerald cryin’ ‘bout how 4evah&eva wuzn’t playin’ @this 1). she sed it went rilly well & it went a long way 2 gettin’ back on the good side of the peeps in mboro. she gave the credit 2 doin’ a sound check a long tyme b4 the set started & not hirin’ drug addicts 4 her backup band & hirin’ a stage manager 2 run thingz insteada her havin’ 2 do it. i sed that made a lot more sense than wut happed @the gym jam back in 2006.

    i told her congrats on the honorary doctorates. she sed she thot dr. becky mcguire wud have a nice ring 2 it.

  • At 9:24 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    thanx 4 the upd8 on becks, jeremy. i haven't c'n her in 4evs.


  • At 12:58 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. As the Patterson ladies have been spending more and more time over at your house, the old George Stibbs’ place, to do their planning for Elizabeth’s wedding; Dad has been spending more and more time over at my house on Sharon Park Drive. I knew it had gone pretty far when I was busy writing my second novel Breaking the Windjammer and saw Dad walking through the house completely naked. This was naturally, a horrifying sight. Aside from not wanting to see Dad naked ever, there is that tattoo he has you can only see when he is. It has been one of my sincerest and fondest wishes to never see it again.

    I said, “Dad! Put some clothes on!” He replied to me, “It’s all right, Michael. The girls and the kids are all over at my house. Besides I like taking showers over here. Nothing is ever missing from the washroom, like it is at my house.” As you might expect, this statement brought forth a flood of unbidden memories from 1979.

    I remembered one of my first occasions to see Dad naked. Dad had been in the shower and he pulled back the curtain with a mighty “MMF GRUMBLE”. Shower curtains are not that difficult to pull back, but Dad has very poor upper body strength. Then he stuck his head out of the washroom door and said, “OK, who the heck took the *@* soap?” As I think back on it now, I realize that it was an unusual combination of words, with both “heck” and “*@*” taking the place of stronger language. Usually Dad would use one or the other method of covering up his obscenities, but this time he used both. This was not something he repeated very often in the years that I have known him since; but on this occasion he did. While I was standing there, marveling at his choice of words and being horrified by his tattoo, Dad gave me a glare that reminded me very much of our friend Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy when he is being a vulture.

    Even to my young brain, it was clear that Dad was looking for someone to accuse of taking the soap. When I think back on it, there were really only two choices. I certainly wouldn’t take soap and Lizzie was too little to take soap. So either Mom took the soap, or Dad did and forgot about it. I suppose there was the possibility that we had a soap thief in our house; but the occurrence of those is so rare, it seems unlikely.

    It was also on this occasion I learned that the use of catch phrases to answer questions can sometimes work against you. For example, I was very fond of the catchphrase, “Don’t ask me—I never use the stuff.” I believe I picked it up from the comedian W.C. Fields who said something like, “Don’t ask me about water –I never drink the stuff.” This phrase worked wonderfully well on many occasions. If anything was ever broken in the house, I could say, “Don’t ask me about the broken lamp, I never use the stuff.” So, I used the phrase with Dad, and although it kept him from continuing to accuse me of being a soap thief; once the soap was finally acquired, I found myself on the business end of a bar of soap with Mom checking me after every bath.

    After my brain returned from telling my story from 29 years ago, Dad said, “OK, Michael. You don’t need to be mean about it. I’ll put on some clothes. Just don’t tell me anymore stories from 1979.” So, one positive aspect of this perpetual reminiscing is I don’t have to look at my Dad naked and I don’t have to see that frightening tattoo.

    Michael Patterson


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