another leisurely Sunday afternoon

We went to visit the grandparents this past weekend, and since my mother-in-law is Italian, Sunday afternoon means

1) sauce
2) “ronis”
3) extended family gathering to eat 1) and 2)

As cited above, “ronis” are not the San Francisco treat: they are several varieties of pasta. (The word “pasta” is never uttered in this milieu.) “Sauce” is what starts bubbling on the stove by 8 a.m.  It’s a nice tradition, and quite relaxing for all, except my mother-in-law.

And me, since all of my mother-in-law’s furniture is white, and all of my children (even the seven-year-old) like to eat their ronis with their hands and then, without warning, get down from the table and run screeching into the “great room” where no one is usually allowed to even sit down, let alone mark the pristine couches with red handprints evoking the cover of a James Patterson novel.

Throughout all of this my husband is sitting on the couch in the den, watching football with the other patriarchs, all observing the Postprandial Unbuttoning of the Pants. I poke my head into the den:

ME: What time do you want to leave to drive back? 4:00?
DAVID: Sounds good.
ME: OK. Next ad, can you please run upstairs and make sure everything you want is packed?

David looks at his watch.

DAVID: It’s 3:30.

He tells me this as if I am not well aware of that fact. To my husband, our leaving in a half hour means he has 28 minutes of football watching left. At 3:58, he can stand up, yawn and stretch, do a cursory check of the rooms I have already packed up and cleaned, and be in the car by 4:00. As is his tendency, my husband tends to forget about our three children, who in the next 28 minutes will have to be told to do each of the following things:

-go to the bathroom
-wash their hands
-put their shoes on
-say goodbye to Aunt Carol
-put their coats on
-get in the car

on a continuous loop, since my children do not listen to anything their mother says until they have heard it five or six times.  While David hears “we’re leaving in half an hour” and imagines 30 minutes of incredible leisure, I hear “we’re leaving in a half hour” and know it’s never going to happen.

We left at 4:15. I was in a full sweat. But David paid me back: he drove us home.