Cha and I took her Mom to Szechuan House in Lutherville because it's her favorite joint and we eat there with her family about 8 times a year. Leesha and Big Red came down from NYC and Dadong tagged along. Someone has offered a quarter of a million dollars to Ma for her rural Parkton lot and there's a lot of anticipation in the family because everyone knows Dadong will steal the money and run to the Phillipines with it if she sells, but she can't move out of their crappy and crumbly house unless she does. What will he do with the cash? Cockfight gambling. When we were in Manilla last year I was sorely disappointed because I saw a billboard for huge, hot cockfights and we went and it was just chickens.
My folks came down around 5:30 and we took them to Ixia where dinner for four--including a bottle of wine, cocktails, and dessert--costs about the equivalent of a mortgage payment. I felt I had to spoil Mommie a bit given I hadn't seen her since Xmas, and of course that was the first thing out of her mouth when I saw her. But once the requisite guilt trip was out of the way we actually had a very pleasant evening, with no harsh criticisms of anyone, no destructive comments, no contempt. There was passive-aggressive baby guilt, of course, of the sort where she corners Cha and lectures her about how sympathetic she is about "your decision" and how she would "never dream" of guilting us about giving her grandchildren but we'd better seriously consider our decision given we're in our mid thirties now, etc. Bah!
During the afternoon we got to doggiesit Chalupa while Big Red and Leesha visited his mom, and it was insanely fun to have a dog in the house (Cha's dander allergies typically forbid it, though Chalupa is a Yorkie/Chihuaua mix and has hair instead of fur; the last twelve years I've had no dog in my life, and it's a miserable state indeed. As a youth I always had three or four dogs, plus all the other dogs in the neighborhood, and I miss that.). I got to play sock tug-of-war, throw the ball fetch, and find the leg-thumping scratchy tickle nerve with someone other than Cha!