Sunday, 4 August 2013

BBQ Police

Okaasan was on patrol to stop any bad behaviour yesterday.
Our bad behaviour!!!

At 7 pm she was telling off her 53 year old son for bring the house into disrepute and causing hatred among the neighbors.
He stood before her - wearing a black lingerie joke apron and a grin - rolling his eyes heavenwards and saying "Haiiiiiiii (Yeeeeeeessss)" helplessly.

Oh yes. BBQ day at our house. Whole bundle of fun.

At 11 am Okaasan left abruptly. Luckily this time we hadn't got a lunch delivery coming, but I was cooking up a delicious salmon and potato soup (a BBQ guest had sent us a whole salmon in advance).
Lunch? Salmon soup? No, don't want that. I'm going out, Amanda hasn't invited me, she doesn't want me here. I am going out. 

You get the picture. Dear Son tried to coax her back into the house. They stood in the street talking. I hid in the garden.

But no. Okaasan had decided to leave.

So, we enjoyed our BBQ with luckily a much smaller group of friends this time. Only 10 people. More relaxing for us, I actually had time to chat to people instead of running around with plates and drink requests.


At 4.15 pm we saw Okaasan coming home.
Being BROUGHT home hand in hand by a middle aged woman!

It was the woman who owns the Korean restaurant by the subway station. Bringing Okaasan home. And checking on the bad family who had forced this poor old lady out into the streets on a hot day to eat alone, while they ate and drank with their friends at a BBQ party that didn't include the aforementioned poor old lady.....

Pretty sure THAT was the impression the woman had, from what Okaasan had been telling her!

Apparently Okaasan had gone there for lunch - at 11.30? and stayed and stayed and stayed...chatting and chatting...I can't go home yet, there are people there, can I stay longer, chatting and chatting....over 4 hours!!!
Finally the woman (who maybe wanted to close up the restaurant and have a rest before the evening work ), offered to bring Okaasan home. Only 10 mins walk. But still. Even in amazingly over-kind Japan, this is service beyond service to a customer.

Dear Son (wearing the black lingerie sexy apron) apologised a lot.
I took Okaasan inside and get her settled down with the TV and a drink and some chat.
We shook our heads in disbelief.


At 6.30 pm I was making my rounds in the garden saying "bye, I have to go cook dinner now" to friends.
Okaasan appears on the doorstep and starts telling Mother of Cutest Baby in the World and another guest: I have to be strong and tell Yujiro that this is too late for guests (YOU!) to be here, it is getting dark and this noise is disturbing the neighbors, and my husband always had people to the house and I had to be patient, but eventually I had to tell him - I have to tell Dear Son too. It is TOO LATE! You should all go HOME!

6.30 pm. Saturday. Summer holidays. BBQ-crazed Hokkaido.

8 people!

I aplogised to the guests, got Okaasan inside with lots of reassurances that now it was her dinner time, and everyone was leaving soon, etc etc The neighbors are ok. It isn't that late. Nobody is worried about 6.30 pm on a saturday evening in summer.
This isn't the Fuji Rock Festival. It's 8 people standing at the side of the house in the garden.
etc etc etc

Okaasan went on and on about it. Get stroppy with me in the kitchen.
I got stroppy too. Broke all of those dementia care rules.....
"You've said this 20 times now in 30 minutes, enough already, it IS ok. In Hokkaido this is ok. Maybe 50 years ago in Saitama this was rude to the neighbors. Here in 2013 in Hokkaido, it is only 6.45 pm in school summer holidays on a Saturday. It IS OK! The guests are going soon, don't worry".

Okaasan very stony face at me.
Yujiro came into the kitchen with dirty plates - wearing the apron with lingerie design - and got a dressing down by his mother...

I heated up the soup, made other food, rice and salad and sat her down. Sat down with her to pretend eat stuff opposite her. Chatted on and on sweetly about all sorts of positive stuff - the salmon present - the cute design on a candy box - the flowers - the salmon - the weather - on and on...finally Okaasan was less tense and actually talked normally.

I sat with her a bit and then left her with the TV and a cup of tea. Pulled her curtains closed so she couldn't see the furtive BBQ guests huddled in the twilight round the BBQ coals...


And that was our day.

* We have to go today and take a thankyou gift to the Korean restaurant woman. Apologise and convince her we aren't bad people to this old lady. That it is HER choice to out and stay out, etc.

And I feel sad that my name is being used by Okaasan as the bad person who isn't inviting her to the BBQ. She is putting the bad feeling on me, not Dear Son.

And really - telling our guests that it is time they went home - that was a bit of a shock. Telling us is one thing, but going out and telling guests off, even in a nice way, for still being at a party at 6.30 pm. I'm amazed she did that. Of course our friends know what's up here, and don't mind...but imagine if it was someone we didn't know so well.

I guess the whole focus is on self and self feeling. Appropriate behaviour goes out the window.

;-) Tomorrow is Okaasan's birthday. We are taking her out for sushi tonight, and I have made an appointment for her to have 40 mins of foot care/massage at a place nearby. We'll tell her it is a birthday gift, but I've asked the staff to check Okaasan's feet and see if there are any problems. starts tomorrow. That will be nice a restful.

1 comment:

  1. You are a good Omoyesan to look after her the way you do Hopefully she will forget this day and be back to her old self. I don't know how you do it, but you must be a very patient person!