Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grammatical Errors -In-Law

Let's start with a lesson in grammar.
According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a pronoun is "a word used instead of a noun to indicate someone or something already mentioned or known". A personal pronoun is "each of the pronouns in English (I, you, he, she, it, we,they, me , him, her, us and them) comprising a set that shows contrasts of gender".
So, in, for example, the sentences:

"I will put those clothes out for you",
"Let me do the vacuuming"
"I will do the washing up"
"I am happy to mow the lawn"

the personal pronouns are "I" and "me".

In my house recently, for 19 days, there existed a strange phenomenon: another personal pronoun had joined those already in existence. This pronoun had the name "Bob".

"Bob" is a comparatively harmless pronoun. He likes to sit and read, and is particularly fond of mystery novels. He makes a nice cup of tea, and enjoys relaxing in the sun. For his age he is fairly active, and he has been known to walk several miles in one day. He is not as young as he used to be, and is therefore prone to napping, usually in the afternoon. If left to his own devices, he would probably nap for several hours in one stretch.

But Bob is seldom given leave to do as he wishes. His days are made up of a continuous stream of demands and requests. No sooner has he settled into a comfortable chair, opened his book to the relevant chapter, than a voice can be heard calling "Bob?"

As many of you know, I found my In-Laws visit just a tad stressful. I can cope with them for short periods of time, and when one first sees Edna, close to 85 years of age, stoop shouldered, wizened faced, one is tempted to think "ahhh, what a sweet little old lady!" But do not be fooled.
After 24 hours, I was already grinding my teeth and taking deep breaths in an attempt to refrain from telling her where to go (the airport, Afghanistan, Mars).
If she would just behave like an old person everything would be fine (and I know ... that is incredibly ageist of me ... I mean ... how should old people behave? Are we talking drooling, loose dentures and comatose in front of the TV?) Anyway ... I guess what I am trying to say is, she is not an easy person to get along with.
From The continuous demand to be given things to do ... and then when I found a task (often unnecessary) Bob would immediately be instructed to do it.
To her annoying habit of "moving" my furniture and ornaments. If I have my chairs placed in a certain way, I want them to stay like that. Why does she have to move them? And photo frames, vases, candles, ... she repositions them ... sometimes inches, sometimes to completely different locations ... GRRRRR!!
And the vastly irritating need to "own" what she has done. If she cleans the floor, suddenly we are not allowed to walk on it ... "Take your shoes off if you want to walk on my nice clean kitchen floor ..." Well excuse me, but if I want to bring a herd of filthy, mud splattered baby elephants into MY house to walk all over MY kitchen floor then it is MY prerogative!!" I remember when Andy and I bought our first house in England, and I was grateful for Edna's help in the garden. Until I started getting the phone calls asking how her garden was doing? Were we remembering to water her flowers?
So, all in all, I was greatly relieved to say farewell, after 2 weeks and 4 days. My kitchen, my deck, my furniture, my ornaments are my own again. Bob is no longer hanging out my washing, hoovering the stairs or emptying the dishwasher. Well, he probably is, but not in my house. And what they get up to in their own house is nothing to do with me!

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About Me

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I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.