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Families, Felines and Fritos

October 13, 2011

The last time I saw you, I was frantically trying to get a hold of some chips and snacks.  Oddly enough, the very next day I was called to go house-sit for Tweet’s Aunt Mary for a couple of days.  This is what I found in the kitchen pantry.

Snack Heaven

Is that a can of Pringles on the bottom shelf, you ask?  Oh yeah, it is.  Jackpot!

The main reason why Aunt Mary required a house-sitter became abundantly clear as soon as we entered the adorable bungalow in a village called Dilton Marsh, just a few minutes from Tweet’s parents’ house.  This is Mary’s new housemate.

Tweet holding the baby boy

As we were dropped off, we were told that his name is Arima.  Could we remember that name five minutes later?  Of course not.  Over the course of the next two days, we called him Athos, Amorous, Aramus, Army, ‘Arry Potter, and Jack Black.  We finally settled on “Ari,” and left it at that.

In all seriousness, I have to confess that I was really nervous about this.   I was just getting used to how different British homes are from American ones; how on earth was I going to cope with another one?  Also, I was taking a BIG step in volunteering to take on a role that is specifically designed for a family member.  Would I be accepted in this role?  Would everyone feel comfortable having me do this?

Fortunately, Tweet was able to accompany me.  (She’s been in the process of interviewing for jobs, so I wasn’t sure she’d be able to at first.)  Needless to say, I was delighted when her schedule cleared so that she could come along.  For the first two days, it was just the two of us in the house.

On the third day, Tweet’s grandparents brought Mary home.  She hadn’t been feeling well and had been taken to the hospital for some tests.  Fortunately, she was just fine, but I still ended up staring into Nana’s eyes as she asked us to stay with Mary for another couple of days ‘just to make sure,’  and I found myself unable to say no.  Nana is an intelligent, powerful and somewhat intimidating Scottish woman and I kinda got the feeling that no one said no to her.  My Irish Nana was exactly the same way; the resemblance was eerie.

So we spent another two and half days with Mary and Ari, watching movies, cooking, chatting away and giggling.  We had a wonderful time.  I’ve spent so much time over the last several weeks learning about the many differences between British and American culture, but the most startling thing I’ve learned while at Mary’s house is that families are the same, no matter where they live.

Do aunts/uncles/grandparents like to tell embarrassing stories about the younger folk?  Absolutely.  Did pictures of said embarrassing stories get produced as evidence, including three-year-old Tweet naked in a bathtub with stuffed animals?  You bet.  Are there odd family dynamics (these cousins don’t get along with those cousins, this uncle streaked at a family Christmas party, and that uncle isn’t allowed to drink whisky or he gets ornery)?  Of course.

Most importantly was the fact that by the time Nana and Papa came to pick us up and bring us home yesterday, I no longer felt like an outsider to the family.  I had slipped several times and said ‘Auntie Mary,’ instead of  ‘Ms Mary,’ and she hadn’t minded at all.  Instead, I felt that I’d gained a quirky-cool young aunt – the kind who takes you out to lunch sometimes and talks about crystals, spirits and angels.

I have no idea what kind of angels are watching over me these days, but I feel much more confident about becoming a true member of this family now. I really love them all.  And the next time I feel the need to play with a kitten or get my salt-snack fix?  I’m heading to Aunty Mary’s.

It's a good thing cameras come with built-in cat toys

10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2011 9:30 pm

    I thought you had died! A whole week without my UKate fix! That kitten is awesome, my new one… uh… I forget it’s name I just call it “Little One”, she just asks for food and trashes my room when I’m at work. But she’s cute all the same! Kittens are the best, it’s when they grow older they become pointless, much like my other two!

    Love how Aureola sticks out his tongue 🙂

    That pantry is a heart attacks dream, no wonder Mary wasn’t feeling well if that’s all she eats 😀

    • October 13, 2011 9:31 pm

      Midnight! That’s the cats name! A crap one if you ask me, I’ll stick to Little One.

      • October 14, 2011 10:14 am

        *giggles* Yeah…I think I’m with you on that one. The best I ever did with a black cat’s name when I was little was ‘Licorice.’ Kinda lame. I’ve already decided, though, that as soon as Tweet and I are able to get our own place, we will get a kitten of our own. I shall name it Pygmalion and call it ‘Pyggie’ for short. I’m pretty sure that Tweet won’t mind; I just haven’t told her yet.

    • October 14, 2011 10:11 am

      LOL I know, I’m *so* sorry that I disappeared like that. It came up very suddenly that we had to go to Mary’s and we just dropped everything and ran. I’m really glad that we were able to help out, but I certainly missed you guys. 🙂

      I totally agree – kittens rock! We had to leave our two beloved boys behind when we came here, and it just about broke our hearts to do it. You can imagine how grateful we were to be able to spend a few days with a new one. He was also *hugely* loving and cuddly, which helped a ton. I hope that becoming pointless isn’t in his future, although I’ve always solved that problem by simply getting another kitten. 😉

      Aureola! *chokes on coffee* I should have learned by now to leave the hot drinks in the kitchen when coming in here to read your comments. You would THINK that I woulda learned that by now…

      The panty was my Snack Mecca, an Erstwhile Energy Emporium, a Dias of Delicious Dessert at which I prayed daily. So, so awesome. 😉

      • October 14, 2011 5:15 pm

        “The panty was my Snack Mecca” Well that’s me spitting coke all over MY keyboard!! 😛 I thought you could bring cats over? I remember my auntie and uncle having cats when they lived in Cyprus and they were able to bring them to the UK. I did have another kitten called Gizmo, she hated me though, ran away everytime I entered the area. Now that was a pointless cat.

        It went out one day and never came back, I didn’t notice for six weeks that’s how rarely I saw her. Good riddance because I like this new one even if it is a bit mental!

      • October 15, 2011 9:40 am

        DOH! I meant ‘pantry!’ The PANTRY was the Snack Mecca! *dies of embarrassment*

        And it definitely sounds like your Little One kitty is a vast improvement over Gizmo (although that’s a really cute name). And yeah, you can bring cats over, but it would have been massively expensive and we just didn’t have the funds at the time. Fortunately, a good friend of ours was able to take them, so we made the best out of a bad situation. And this way, as soon as we get our own place, we can get a WHOLE NEW KITTEN. Mwahahahaha.

        I need to start covering my keyboard with plastic, I think. You’re a dangerous man.

  2. October 14, 2011 10:33 pm

    That is quite an amazing snap you managed to get of the cat there.

    Did you try the Mini Cheddars crisps by the way? They are fantastic.

    • October 15, 2011 9:42 am

      I *did!* They were amazing! I actually thought they were better than those Hot & Spicy Pringles. I need to start opening my mind when it comes to British snacks – perhaps there is more here than meets the eye.

      And thanks! He was absolutely adorable, but it’s a bit difficult to light a pure-black cat well. My solution: take about 150 pics and hope that one or two come out. Clearly, I am far from being a professional photographer.

  3. October 15, 2011 8:09 pm

    Aww so cute! : )

  4. October 27, 2011 5:19 pm

    very nice!

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