Sunday, December 28, 2014

Chapter 21 - Upheavals

Note to self:  Do not, repeat NOT, tempt fate with chronicle chapter titles!  I knew that my mom was like two hundred years old and thought that Grim Reaper was procrastinating out of dread. After all, she did put him to work in the garden the last time he was here.  He did, however, come for her.  Her last words were "Wish I had time for one more bowl of chili".

Grim returned for Alain the next day.  

Hana remains inconsolable despite my best efforts to comfort her.

She's also terribly overworked.

Eve does her bit in the garden and is learning to cook as well.  She is, however, quite pregnant, so frequent breaks are necessary, or at least advisable.

I'm lending a hand in the garden and doing the household repairs.  I don't know how my mom and Hana managed to make it all look so easy. Thus far, I haven't dared to step into the kitchen. The thought crosses my mind that we may need to let go of the garden.  This would be a last resort; I grew up on tales of how our ancestor built our family fortune by planting that garden while she scrounged sandwiches and slept on park benches.  Nonetheless, it's leaving the three of us with very little time for anything else. 

Eve and Pierre have twin boys! Meet Marcel and Phillippe Desjardins! Eve wants a large family; I'm not sure she was ready for it to grow this large in one fell swoop.

Grim Reaper returned for Hana.  I understand that she never got over losing Alain and try not to be selfish, but what on earth will we do without her?

I need to have a talk with my lazy brother; he's perfectly content to mix drinks, dance and chill in the game mat while the rest of us work ourselves into exhaustion. 

Grim Reaper is still lurking about the premises; it's unsettling, given that he's already reaped all of the elders in our household.

Pierre is mending his ways, whether or not it had anything to do with our chat.  Who knew that he had it in him to change a diaper, much less tend the garden or clean the kitchen?

With great trepidation, I'm learning my way around the kitchen.  Scrambled eggs can't be too difficult, right? How about garden salad?

Now that we've established a modus operandi, getting things done, however awkwardly, Eve has some big news.  Let's just hope that the boys are out of diapers before this one arrives!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chapter 20 - No One Born No One Died

Since I want to be a writer when I grow up, Michel tells me I should start by taking over the family chronicle.  I don't know what to say but here goes nothing.  I can't believe my mom made me do homework after Monique's wedding.  I mean, it's not every day that your aunt gets married, is it? I didn't say much, though, since I was still on her list about that Sea Spray.

Pierre and Eve got married, and, you guessed it, once again my mom made me do homework. I'm bringing home A's; you'd think she could relax.

Pierre's violin playing is superb; he can bring anyone to tears with it.  So can Alain's guitar playing but for an entirely different reason.  It's probably beyond help but, with Pierre's help, he's getting better with the violin.

Alain and Hana have both gotten old.  Three guesses what I got to do after their birthday parties.

It's finally my turn! No more pencils, no more books (unless I'm writing them), no more teachers' dirty looks!  I'm joining the writer career as soon as we've finished this party!

I probably should have paid more attention to my mother's lectures about time management.  I was late to work my first week and the fact that I'd been absorbed in writing a book didn't cut it as an excuse.  

We were all completely floored when Michel and Nicola moved away.  No one's gone away mad, of course, and they visit nearly every day, as do Monique and Dante, but it's odd not to have them here.  I miss Nicola, she's a good friend.  I have nothing against Eve but we haven't had a chance to get close yet. 

Hana is stepping up and learning to cook; I see the day coming when I'll need to as well.  We'd been awfully spoiled when every meal was celebrity chef caliber.

We were no less floored when my mom went to work for the Space Patrol.  She's doing a fine job but I'd always thought they had an age limit.  I don't know just how old my mother is; she claims to have stopped keeping track when her odometer rolled over. It is, however, a well-known family story that she and my father were already pretty old when they got married because my father was too stubborn to propose until he got his commission.

It's also a well-known family story that Alain and Hana waited so long that they had to elope to escape the inevitable ribbing they'd have had from the family.  They're making up for it now; you'd think they were newlyweds.  Unfortunately, one mustn't say "Get a room, you two!" to one's elders.

Speaking of TMI, Eve has beeen mopey lately.  She and Pierre have been trying, unsuccessfully for a baby.  I'm pretty sure that she's pregnant now though there's been no official announcement yet.  I guess it's still a touchy subject.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chapter 19 - Two Funerals and a Wedding

Things have been busy Chez Desjardins.  We celebrated Estelle's birthday; isn't she a lovely teen?

The morning after the party, Etienne collapsed at the breakfast table and couldn't be revived. I suppose we should have been prepared for it but one never really is.

It was a shock to see Lizbeth so undone about it, but once again, she's proved her resiliency. She's taken up flying missions of her own and didn't even let a nasty encounter with space pirates daunt her.  And yes, she's still the arbiter of homework.

A family outing in the park took a tragic turn when Grim Reaper came for Edouard.  Alain is devastated by losing both of his brothers; I can't say that it's done me any good either.

Dante is sufficiently dense that Monique's hints for a proposal go right over his head.  When she came to me for advice, I suggested that she stop waiting and hinting and propose to him herself. It seems to have been effective.
As I mixed drinks for the wedding, Estelle took the opportunity to swipe a Sea Spray.  I didn't have the heart to scold her; her mother was another story.
As we used to sing as children, "Where is the groom? He's in the other room.  What is he doing in the other room?" 

 "Do we really have to do this? I mean, I love you, but couldn't we just elope? I'm having a stranger danger moment".

"It's just my family; suck it up."
"Maybe no one will show up.  Oh well, t'were best done quickly".

"We've done it; can we go upstairs and hide now?"

"Not until I've had some cake"

"OK, you've had your cake.  Can we please go upstairs now?"

Shannon doesn't look happy.  She may have been mourning her father but there have been rumours that she wanted Dante for herself. Hana tried to get the scoop out of her but all she got for her trouble was a "Toujours gai".


Monday, December 8, 2014

Chapter 18 - Love is in the Air

It was Etienne's birthday party and I was mixing drinks when the most beautiful woman ever appeared at the bar.
She seemed to be quite taken with my cooking. As we chatted, it was evident that her sense of humour was as twisted as mine.  Ah Nicola, I am smitten.
I look for her every place I go.  When I'm at home I ring her up with invites.
I'm not the only one in love.  Monique seems quite taken with Dante Cutler, the boy next door.
Alain has gone into Uber-Big-Brother mode. Monique had to explain to him that she's an adult and he's not the boss of her.  Personally, I think he's a good kid.  Quiet and solitary enough that I wonder how he'll cope with this family.
Pierre has grown up and gotten serious about his music.  He puppy-dogs Eve Thompson all over town.  She doesn't seem to mind too much.
Old age hasn't slowed Etienne down,  Not that I make a habit of spying on them but when the door is open I cannot unsee. It gives me hope for my future with Nicola.
Estelle is still too young for all, of that but she makes a most effective chaperone.
We really do find time for other things.  Etienne still flies a mission nearly every day and plays his violin far into the night.
Old age has caught up with Lizbeth; I don't expect that she'll be any less formidable.
In between paintings, Alain found a rose crystal to complete the museum's collection.
 Monique keeps us well supplied with the makings for herb-crusted salmon and Trout Meuniere.
 There is no place else for me to go as a chef; I'm trying to unpigeonhole myself into mixology.
 I see Nicola as often as I can and it isn't often enough for me.  The time has come to make my move.
Baiting my trap with Baked Alaska seems to have been effective.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chapter 17 - Surprises

Things are somber Chez Desjardins since we lost Roman.  My birthday passed quietly, as did Monique's.
I was boning up on mixology and minding my own business when Jenny showed up at the back door.  She was here to see Lizbeth but she was so gorgeous that I intercepted her on the spot.
Fortunately, before I was too smitten, I discovered that she was both mean and evil.  I'd love to find the right woman but life's too short for the wrong one.It was also fortunate that the family never knew about my flinglet or I'd have no peace.  Everyone had been riding Alain nonstop about marrying Hana sometime before he becomes an elder; they've been engaged forever.  It's no wonder that the two of them eloped and presented us with a fait accompli.
Alain wasn't the only one with surprises up his sleeve.  Etienne managed to surprise everyone as well.  It was almost a foregone conclusion that he'd make Space Ranger; the surprise was when he retired early from the patrol immediately upon doing so.  He's always been a music lover and never had time to pursue it; now he wants to make time for it before he's old and grey.
He still flies the occasional mission when it suits him.  Lizbeth joined him for one.  Three days later, along came Estelle.
While the rest of the family was occupied in the nursery, admiring the new arrival, the Reaper came for Yvette.  He made the mistake of stopping by the garden on his way out.  "Hey Grimmy, while you have that scythe in your hand,why not make yourself useful with these weeds?"
Lizbeth is not one to trifle with; I'm thankful that she's my friend.  Not only is she the terror of the garden but the gym as well.  When she caught Pierre playing video games when he was supposed to be studying, she banished him to the game mat with strict instructions not to come out until she said so.   Hours later, he emerged hungry and exhausted, with his bladder nearly bursting.  I don't think he's touched a Blicbloc since.
In spite of that ordeal, he's grown into a teen with a penchant for music.  Homework is still a struggle.
While he and Estelle keep their parents busy, I make sure to make time for Monique.  It's tough for her to have lost her parents so young.  As good as Roman and Yvette were to me, I had my moments of feeling like the odd kid out; I hope to spare Monique that.
Now she has grown into a lovely young woman. I made her first legal Ridgeport, as well as her birthday cake, of course.  Hana took her clubbing, and, I think, was a bit disappointed that she spent the evening chatting with her brother.