Chapter Seven—The Meeting of the Parents
Palucid’s parents had been curious about their son’s life in Manitoba. They had trouble envisioning him living happily in the absence of mountains. While they liked me very much, they still had curiosity and concern about the life Palucid was making for himself. Once we announced our engagement, they realized the time was nigh: they needed to make the trip to see for themselves exactly what life was like for their boy.
They were set to arrive approximately two weeks after our return home from our road trip. Palucid seemed a little panicked, suddenly he was quite concerned about ensuring his parents had all the comforts and luxuries we could manage. Sadly neither our budget in funds nor time would allow for a downstairs bathroom renno, but we could afford to rearrange a few things in the basement to ensure they would have all kinds of space for their luggage and clothing.
As for me, I was a little more concerned about how my family would react—specifically my cat. He didn’t exactly have the firmest of grasps on cat-human etiquette as it applies to house guests. He was not above biting and swiping to communicate his frustration with sharing his living space with humans other than his mom and dad. I tried to prepare him: I told him he would soon be meeting his other grandparents. I tried to make this sound like Christmas wrapped in tuna, soaked in farm cream. While he listened, I was not entirely convinced I had his full cooperation.
As for my human family, my mom was very excited to meet Palucid’s parents. She was already planning which garden veggies she would be able to pack up for them to take back to BC. My dad, on the other hand, was more concerned with how the garden looked. He set his sights on ensuring the garden and yard looked like a grand park. My sister really wanted Palucid’s parents to have an opportunity to meet her boyfriend. Her boyfriend travelled a lot for work, and often missed out on opportunities to visit with friends and family visiting from out of town.
Palucid made plans—he figured his dad would really enjoy going to work with him, and his mom would really enjoy visiting with me—at home. I too made plans—to get them out and about like proper vacationing people. I ensured Palucid’s parents would have opportunity to meet all interested members of my family. I also started to look into the more touristy activities Palucid’s parents would enjoy.
Of all my ideas, Palucid filed all but one under “wait and see”. This idea was something called, The Hermetic Code Tour of the Manitoba Legislature. We had taken my parents on that tour a couple of years ago, and they enjoyed it so much that they often talked of going on that tour again someday. I suggested to Palucid that we take both sets of parents on that tour. Palucid agreed that the tour was a truly unique Manitoba experience both his parents were likely to find interesting. I suggested it would be nice opportunity for our parents to spend some time together without the pressure of “entertaining”. Palucid agreed to go along with my idea if both my parents were on board with it.
When I asked my parents if they’d be game to join us, I barely finished my sentence before they accepted our invitation. They were so excited about going on that tour again. They loved the tour creator/director Dr. Albo, and they never tired of the grand, and cryptic mystique of our legislature. The thought of sharing this Manitoba gem with prospective in-laws seemed to make their hearts sing.
I shamelessly exploited my position as prospective hostess/bride-elect and chagrined Palucid with further planning. During their stay, at some point in time, Palucid’s parents were also scheduled to enjoy a Sunday brunch with my sister and her boyfriend, after dinner meet and greet with my maid of honour, shopping at the Forks Market, and a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint. Perhaps my prospective itinerary out-classed Palucid’s plans a little because I saw a sulk coming on. At the time, I dismissed it as his nervousness over our parents’ meeting each other.
We needn’t have worried. Our parents greeted each other as if they were long-time friends. Our moms launched almost instantly into a conversation about gardening. Palucid and I had both told his mom all about my mom’s garden. She had trouble picturing a personal garden the size and scope of my mom’s garden. Her interest was piqued, and it did not take long before she had secured a personal guided tour. Our dad’s launched into a conversation that seemed to have started before they met. Their common interests in electronics, and mutual joy over our upcoming nuptials seemed to inspire an instant friendship between them.
Palucid’s parents were a hit with all who met them. My sister very nearly wept with joy at the realization I would have such beautiful and loving in-laws. I could only smile—it wasn’t like I was just realizing this after all!
Our little black and furry child offered a polite and yet aloof company for our house-guests. Palucid’s parents are no strangers to cats. They are self-proclaimed cat-people and are the proud subjects of a high, and holy calico aptly named after the H-bomb. With their feline monarch, they have been trained to whistle for her attention. Our cat, on the other hand, feels quite strongly that whistling is for dogs: the lower species. When Palucid’s dad whistled, our cat offered him a withering glance punctuated by a lofty flip of his tale. At rare moments, our cat would soften his stance on house-guests long enough to allow some public displays of affection: with me. In those times he would look at them from the safety/lofty perch of my arms as if to say: “Can you do this? That’s right—I’m the cat!” One evening, I decided to let a moth indoors for our cat to “hunt”. I figured our little feline child would enjoy showcasing his hunting prowess to his future grandparents—or at the very least offer him some distraction from them.
Our home has vaulted ceilings, so often when I bring in a moth, we take him downstairs so that our boy has a better chance of containing his prey. We love our boy, and we are proud of him, but not necessarily because he is a “mighty hunter”. Shortly after our cat set loose on his moth, we heard a “grrrmmmrrrr Ow mrrrp—HMMMPH!” Palucid’s dad inquired with some surprise—“What was that?!” I watched the moth soar effortlessly to the highest peak in our vaulted ceiling and then shared my theory. I told Palucid’s dad that I suspected it was the “f-bomb”—in cat.