Monday, February 22, 2010

Papa and Nana come for cake

On Saturday, Ethan and Zayd made a cake for Papa's birthday. I asked my parents to come over later and my dad told me, "Your mom has invited me out to eat. We will come after."

Which means, mom is using "her money" to pay for "his meal." My parents have a very strict relationship when it comes to money. It's pretty easy to follow: There is "his money" and "her money." And you will frequently, if not always, hear whose money paid for what. Such as:

Nana: Ethan! Nana bought you this game! Don't you love it? Now, Nana bought it for you. Not Papa. Nana's money.


Papa: Mayla? Did you give me back my five dollars?

Which he says regularly -- not because my mom owes him five dollars, but because it makes her crazy and because she ALWAYS takes it seriously. After 40 years of marriage, she still takes the bait.

To which my mother will respond:

Nana: Just! You! Get out of my face! I don't owe you five dollars! Gaaaad! You are going senile!

My dad usually starts chuckling to himself.

When my dad laughs, my brother, sister and I usually ask him if "it hurts." His eyes get all squished up and his laugh doesn't come out -- he just starts vibrating... and then the tears run down his face.

Okay. So. They come over, and after kisses, hugs, hellos and such, we all sit down in the sunroom and enjoy cake. Now, put on your seatbelt - if you feel like this conversation jumps around without notice or transitions... it isn't you.

Papa: Your mom invited me to Dolittles

Nana: Yah. I (emphasis on I) invited him. (She beams with pride).

Papa: Yah. Because your mom loves me so much.

He totally said that to egg her on...

Which of course she does...

Nana: Oh yah? Gaaad... No. You don't take me out for my birthday. See how nice I am to you?

He continues to bait her...

Papa: What do you mean I don't take you for your birthday? I do so many things for you!

Nana: Oh. Oh! Yah! No! YOU do so many nice things for me? You are awful! Gaaad. How did I marry you. Only I can live with you.

Now... this may sound like a heartless conversation... but in reality... this is their "love" talk. They go back and forth and back and forth like this regularly.

Despite having grown up listening to this, I think I turned out okay.

My dad beings to start his squishy-eye, vibrating laugh...

Nana: Oh! Now laugh at me! Very good. Very good.

Paul: So I heard you guys went to Minneapolis yesterday?

Papa: Yah. She wanted to go and buy her stuff so I took her to a few places...

My mother has a very successful eBay business selling antique linens. She is an encyclopedia of antique linen information. She has her favorite spots she goes to in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota for her "goods." She manages to find the stuff... then she turns around and sells it on eBay for a bundle. I am always amazed at what  sells. By the way, if you ever tell her you have linens, brace yourself for a new best friend...

Nana: Yah and he is watching me with his beady eyes. Gad. He knows exactly how much I spend. I can't BELIEVE it. He sits and calculates in his head and he knows to the penny how much I spend.

Me: Well, he is WITH you. Why wouldn't he know.

Nana: Oh yah... right. He is calculating.

My dad looks as me and waves his hand like "what am I going to do with her?"

Me: So did you get a lot of stuff?

Nana: Oh yah. I got three... no four... no three quilts...


Nana: Wait a minute. Three? Hassan? How many quilts?

Papa: Three quilts.

Nana: But why was it only $161?

Papa: You got three quilts and then you got the napkins and the other bag of things.

Nana: Something is wrong. Wait. I got four quilts.

Papa: Nothing is wrong.

Nana: Something is wrong.

Papa: How can something be wrong?

Nana: I got three quilts. No. Four. And she gave me 20 percent off the expensive quilt...

Papa: You got THREE quilts...

Nana: No! I got four Hassan. The blue one..

Papa: Yah, the blue one... and the 20 percent off one...

Nana: Wait.

Papa: And the other one...

Nana: Wait. Wait.

Papa: You got three quilts.

Nana: Hassan. NO. I got FOUR. The blue one.

Papa: Okay. (He starts counting them for her with his fingers)

Nana: Then the expensive one...

Papa: Okay that's two.

Nana: Then the shiny one..

A shiny quilt?

Papa: That is three.

Nana: Then the 20 percent off one.

Papa: That is four.


Papa: No. You did not get four. The expensive one is the 20 percent off one.

Nana: Oh... is it?

My dad stops and looks up at the ceiling with his "I'm calculating in my head look."

Papa: Now... hang on.

Nana: See! Something is wrong.

Papa: Hang on. Hang on.


All I know so far is that she bought a blue quilt, an expensive quilt, a 20 percent off quilt and a shiny quilt, she spent $161, and apparently something is wrong with all that.

Nana: But it was only $161. It should have been more.

Oooo... this is going to be good. Not only is there a mystery involving money... but it seems as though it is going to end up in their favor.

Papa: Hang on. The first quilt was $70.

Nana: The blue one?

Papa: No, the expensive one was $70.


Nana: No. No. No. The expensive one was $84, Hassan.

Papa: $84? I didn't know you spent $84 on the expensive one.

Nana: Hassan!

Papa: Okay. So then the blue quilt was how much?

Nana: The blue quilt was $70. But the expensive quilt she gave me 20 percent off.

Papa: Oh... okay so...

Nana: And the shiny quilt was $65.

Papa: Okay...

And you know what? They spent the next 20 minutes going over this. Zach, Paul and I listened... amused. The other boys got bored and went to watch television. I almost pulled out my camera to capture on videotape - because it was classic Nana and Papa. Classic.

What they found out was that the lady had forgotten to charge my mother for one quilt.

Nana: Oh my Gad. What are we going to do?

Papa: Well...

Me: Why don't you call her in the morning?

Nana: I'm not going to call her.

Me: Why not?

Nana: Hassan? What are we going to do?

Papa: We'll call her.

Nana: We'll call her?

Papa: Yah. We'll call her and send her the money.

Nana: Okay. We'll call her...


Nana: How could she forget?

Then they went into how this possibly could have happened which they talked about for another 10 minutes. They decided that it happened because the antique store lady gave my dad a bag she thought she had already rung up. She hadn't.

Mystery solved.

Keep in mind - I have only given you a snippet of the total conversation...

Nana: Okay Chino. We're tired.

Papa: Yah. We are going to bed.

And they got up, more kisses, hugs, and such... put on their coats and left.

Holy crap. I was exhausted and I was just listening.


  1. But... Wait... A shiny quilt? What's up with that?

  2. Very sweet. How do you remember all the turns of the conversation? Do you take notes, or does it all just start to come back to you once you start writing?

  3. Paul - A few things. For me, these conversations sound like a play in my head -- one line makes me remember the next line. That's how I memorize them as they are happening. Also, I write my blog entry shortly after the conversation takes place. This one was tough tho - It took SO MANY turns, was so long and so funny! I could only remember a couple of chunks - I only posted what I could remember and I had to do it right after they left. I WISH I had recorded it.

    I may start carrying one whenever my parents are around.

  4. Imagine how long it took to explain when they called the woman at the store!