The Afghan rug is ready to hang on the wall the next time mom comes to town. (Heather Hacking/Contributed)
Mom came to town.
April is a logical time for family visits. The weather is mild and it was my birthday month.
I won’t pretend that I cleaned the house for mom’s visit but I made a big pile of stuff to take to the thrift store.
Maybe the reason they call it “spring cleaning,” is because people visit each other in spring and that’s when you clean the house.
Normally, I would take the trek north when my mom and I get together. She has a very comfortable house. We can eat, talk, sleep and do it all again the next day. If I get restless, I can pop over to see my sister or my niece at their houses nearby.
It’s also an unwritten rule in my family that if you want to see me, you can visit any time. If you want to see my house, you should make an appointment.
This time mom wanted to travel to my town. She and her beau recently made repairs to the RV and wanted to take a test drive before road-trip season. They are retired and have every reason to go anywhere they want. In the summer they park their big rig at the coast or in the mountains to escape the heat.
I can understand how it’s easy for the younger generation to scold the older generation for contributing to global warming. If you move something the size of my little cottage at 60 mph, you’re guzzling dozens of gallons of gas before you pull into the next casino RV lot. But I can’t judge. When my folks travel, they drive for a few hours and park until they’re ready to return home. When I travel I want to fly across the globe. If you calculate the amount of energy my folks burn to move their RV, it may be less energy than is used to cool down the house.
I like the RV. When I visit mom’s house, the RV becomes my “hotel room.” I have the whole place to myself and high-speed WiFi. When she visits Chico, they stay in their RV and I’m not expected to clean my house.
During their recent visit to Chico their one request was dinner from Tong Fong Low. I introduced them to the restaurant years ago, and there is now great love for the green beans with garlic sauce. If they are in town for two nights we’ll order take-out two nights in a row. You can imagine the wails of woe when the restaurant by the Chico mall closed during the pandemic.
Naturally, we now drive my car to the Tong Fong Low in Oroville.
Mom’s beau usually gives us space for girl-talk and there were many girlish giggles on the 40 minute drive along Highway 99. We gawked at the low-hanging clouds. The crisp, clear air made the snow on the mountains pop. Steve was back at the big rig, content with a basketball game on a big screen TV.
After the green beans were devoured, I made my move.
“How about we ditch Steve, and we can continue talking while I work in my garden?”
I assured mom she could sit at the picnic table while I worked. Yet, we both get the garden itch.
Nothing beats getting dirty with your mom on what might be one of the last glorious days of spring. She recently bought us matching books, which took at least 20 minutes to discuss in length. We tore out plants that died in the frost and transferred potting soil to oversized barrels. We swapped stories from childhood, which made me reconsider my version of life. My house was presentable and she helped decide where I should hang the Afghan rug. Without mom, those plants I bought from Costco last week might still be sitting on my picnic table.
Next time, we should spend more time indoors. I’ll assure her she can “sit on the couch” while I clean my house.