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Friday, 4 November 2011

“Marriage” The Prequel

I guess every wedding has its drama and excitement.  As the bridezilla and author of The Prequel, I have elected to believe that my wedding has more than most.  So there.
Remember the part during the rehearsal where Father Don suggests I have the worse case of ADD he’s ever known?  Well, he may be right but then again, maybe it was just a case of the jitters.  Or having spent the six weeks leading up to my return to Florida sleeping in a different bed almost every night.  Who knows?
Anyway, I digress (again).
Everyone’s accepted, except those who declined. 
My siblings have all decided to come and rent a beautiful villa in Celebration for the celebration.  How clever.
“It’s got seven bedrooms!”
“No it’s not.  It’s got six bedrooms.”
“Six, I saw the pictures.”
“Seven, I made the booking.”
“Girls, girls, don’t argue, it doesn’t matter anyway,” says my brother (the only male in this pack of effervescent women,) “I’m sleeping on the sofa however many bedrooms there are.”
Then again, maybe we could get Mum to sleep on the sofa, or not.  Nah, bad idea.
I’ve brought Mum back from England with me three weeks before the date.  Except that in the middle I have a Writing Convention, which I booked months ago.  Carlos, God bless him, has volunteered to stand in for the three days I’m away.  I’m sure that’s the LAST time he’s doing that.  Now I did notice a lot of the duct tape has gone missing … Hmmm.

Thank goodness for my daughter who's agreed to help organize the wedding.  She's doing the lion's share of the work!  Anyone want to hire a FANTASTIC wedding/party planner?  Send me an email cathrathbone@gmail.com.  Even my son is roped in to help.  Mum’s “helping” too.  So we go out and shop for a dress and shoes for her.  We go walking round the lake.  We go out to the park, we go out to lunch, we go to the beach, we go ... slower and slower while I get more and more frantic realizing that I’m running out of time.  
Never mind.  I’m only making 100 Canelones.  You know how that goes, right?
Cook 100 pancakes.
Cook meat filling for 100.
Cook spinach and onion filling for 100.
All the while fielding the constant barrage of looping questions.
“What are the Canelones for?”
“The wedding.”
“When is the wedding?”
"October 29th"
“Who’s coming to the wedding?”
And there’s NO MORE ROOM in the freezer.
Never mind.  Carlos (and Mum) have volunteered to fill and roll the Canelones while I’m away.  Hip Hip Hooray.  So I stuff all the extra contents of our tiny freezer into the door shelf, then wedge the spinach into the ice-maker and hope for the best.  Shut it all with a bungee cord and hope Mum doesn’t decide she wants some ice in her drink tomorrow.
I’m back from my (fabulous) Convention, the Canelones are rolled and stuffed and looking amazing.  Carlos to the rescue again.  Until ...
"Who's there?"
Enter Bell.  
What’s that I hear you say?  I’ll tell you:
Carlos and I sit down for a quiet cuppa, before Mum wakes up, and he's telling me something when all of a sudden I see the right side of his lip stop moving.  I'm staring.  It droops and then his right eye goes saggy as well and he sees me staring.
"Que pasa?" he says as a rivulet of tea dribbles down his chin.
I'm thinking ... stroke?
Take Mum?  
Leave Mum?
I call the doctor who says “drop everything and come.”
So we go. I leave Mum sleeping, with a note and a prayer that everything'll be fine.
Pretty lady doctor walks in and almost right away diagnoses Carlos with Bell's Palsy, not a stroke.  Phew.  While it’s not a walk in the park, BP is a temporary condition, which paralyzes one side of the face and can last from ten days to six months.  Not fun, not pretty, but not life-threatening.  
Get back and Mum’s standing in the drive.  How long?  We’ll never know.  There’s a chain of notes from her inside – I feel terrible, will this awful guilt ever go away?
I’m getting cancellations.  Hungry friends we’ve counted on are pulling out.
A cousin gets the flu at the same time that her husband slips in the pool while on a cruise. Injury is made worse by dropping a stapler on the throbbing limb – the heavy old fashioned type (stapler that is) – then husband limps off to the pharmacy to get a flu shot while riddled with wife’s germs.
A lovely single friend who's 6'4" and thrilled about Canelones, has had too many parties over too many weekends and can't come.
My younger sister and brother arrive.  Sister’s luggage is lost somewhere between the Canary Islands and Florida.  Luckily the booze is in the hand luggage and she loves shopping.  You know where they go.  
“But your fascinator is in the suitcase,” she cries.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure the bags will appear.”
They do.  Two days later they arrive in Fort Lauderdale (we’re in Orlando, though) and by a fascinating twist of macabre events, the airline returns the next day to take the suitcases away!  No one can trace them.  The number my sister’s been given is only for calling the airline whilst in Spain (fat lot of good that is to someone who’s abroad.)  So she calls her lovely muchacho in Spain, who calls the number.  Guess what?  I finally understand why they make up so many jokes about Gallegos.  The phone number doesn’t work from Spain either.
You think I’m making it up?  Nope.
Arriving in Celebration, we confirm the house does have seven bedrooms, but the “luxury” part seems lost in translation.  Mattresses that have midnight conversations, doors so warped they don’t close, and not a salt cellar or sponge in sight!  Toilet paper?  You’ve got to be kidding me, not even the cardboard cylinder left.  All makes for a great laugh and hilarious storytelling.
And this is only the beginning of the prequel…

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Unless otherwise noted, all articles are written by Cath Rathbone. (Copyright Catherine (Cath) Rathbone and Noony Brown)