It is Tradie Brother's birthday this week coming. He has moved back into the family house in Langwarrin after Sis in Law moved out to her new house in Tooradin with her new beau. Dreaded nephew alternates between both places and his room in Carlton. Oldest niece stays with her boyfriend in Tradie Brother's bungalow at Langwarrin and Chainsaw niece is with her mother at Tooradin, but there is a lot of mixing and matching. Oldest niece has bought her own house, but is waiting for the tenants to move out.
As I have said before, Sis in Law has been a wonderful mother to her children. She brought them up with love in the house. They adore her and she adores them. She nursed her parents until they both died within the last couple of years. But, all the love that she spread around meant there was little time for household cleaning, tidying and home maintenance.
Now Tradie Brother is back in possession of the family home he is making a huge effort. While the weather was fine, he concentrated on the outside, which meant he cut every plant back to ground level. Now the weather has turned, he is focusing more on the inside. I can't say the place was spotless, but by golly it was pretty good. For the first time since they bought the place some twenty years ago, I was unafraid to go to the toilet. It was clean. Apart from a few things at the end of the long kitchen bench top, it was clear. There weren't piles of dishes lying around, nor mounds of clothes. The place was simply organised and tidy and I have never seen it like that.
For his birthday bash he invited Step Mother, who came down by train from the north of Victoria, and her daughter and son in law from Gippsland. ABI Brother was supposed to come and stay over the night, but he was unwell with a cold. Mother invited herself and then declined.
I had to work on the Sunday morning so I suggested to R we attend for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men.
We arrived at 6. Step Mother was there, already well started on the cider. Dreaded Nephew was there, already well started on his father's beer supply. Tradie Brother was there, well started on his own supply. Less than an hour later Step Sister turned up with her husband. The neighbour from across the road turned up. We had a drink and a barbecue meal. 'Let's play cards', proclaimed Step Mother right in the middle of a nice chat I was having with step sister's husband about when he caught a huge eel at Rawson and the neighbour telling us how he and a mate managed to kill six stray cats with one round of a shotgun. Seriously though, they were both nice to talk to. Did you know the number on your boat license is the same as your driving license number? If you lose your boat license, you lose your car license. Step Mother killed the conversation with her game of euchre, or was it 500. I didn't play. Like my father and Tradie Brother, we hate cards. R played.
At about 8.30 I asked R if he wanted to stay. He indicated he did. 9.30 Chainsaw Niece appeared to change her clothing to go to a party. I kind of hovered. Chatted to Tradie Brother. Examined things inside the house. Saw the separate part of the house where Tradie Brother's inlaws used to inhabit. Put some potatoes in foil for their supper and threw them into the embers of the fire that was burning in the backyard. We also had a gas fired patio heater to keep us warm. After ten I was getting mega bored. I indicated to R that we should go, but he was partnered in cards and was reluctant to leave. Dreaded Nephew was playing too. He asked if he could get a lift back to town with us. Of course.
At some point a neighbour called out something. I thought it was to tell everyone to keep the noise down. "What's that Joycey?" She repeated, ring the bell, ring the bell and a suspended water meter cover was struck several times to celebrate Richmond's football win.
R was enjoying himself with the game of cards but as the time reached 10.30, I asked him if we could leave. Just one more hand please. Bah, it was eleven before we left and I looked bad because I was insisting we left. Then we had to drop Dreaded Nephew at the Lucky Coq in Windsor, so we were not home until midnight and can you believe I was stone cold sober at midnight on a Saturday night. Bed by one and a Sunday rise at 6.45.