Sunday, June 2, 2013

You Say Tomato

We're in Pittsford NY right now, visiting LK's family. We are staying at Peg's place, but Chez Mom seems quite empty since Peg is in a skilled nursing facility undergoing rehab. She had come home in January after breaking her leg, but had to go back in a few weeks ago when they discovered a staph infection was surviving on the metal plate they had put in her leg. Now it's back to eight weeks where she cannot put any weight on her leg while they hope the bone mends once the infection clears up.

She's doing well, all things considered, but it must be frustrating to be otherwise OK and have this happen. Nonetheless, she is chatting, joking, playing games and watching Judge Judy - which, come to think of it, is not all that different from what she was like when we visited in the past.

We actually hit the trifecta with mothers. My Mom ended up in the hospital for several days as they fought an infection and swelling in her lower legs. The good news is she went back home several days ago and is sounding sronger and better when we talk. We will be there Tuesday, and the visit couldn't come at a better time.

I mentioned the trifecta, and that's because we stopped off at Walt and Terry's in New Jersey for a couple of nights on our drive north. Walt's Mom was in a rehab center, as well, having had a mild stroke. Fortunately, it seems to have done no serious damage and, Anna being Anna, we have heard she is driving the staff there crazy because they aren't taking her to rehab often enough. You have to love that hardy Teutonic stock.

On the non-Mother front, we are finding ourselves more and more Aussie-fied on our trips back here. LK, in particular, uses Australian vocabulary with her American accent. This has the effect of totally confusing people - or at least those who are actually listening, which is not a given here.

Some times it's just the use of a word that means one thing here and another in Oz.  Jumper, for example. In Oz, it's a sweater. In the US it's a woman's dress-like garment without sleeves and usually worn with a shirt or such. A lot of Catholic schools prefer them for uniforms - or at least did in the Dark Ages when I was attending.

So my bride will say, "Donald, it's a little chilly. Do you want to wear a jumper?"  And our American friends will arch their eyebrows, picturing me doing my best drag queen impression.

Most of them understand going to the loo, but they do start to get lost if LK talks about a wee in the loo. Which isn't the same as pissed, which means drunk in Oz and annoyed in America.

Probably the best example happened the other day. We went to a local sub shop for Italian subs. (Fortunately, thanks to Subway being all over Australia most of the dinky-di's know what that means.)

Here, it wasn't so much that LK faced a vocabulary issue as a pronunciation challenge. When asked what she wanted on her sub, she chose to-mah-toes. Since most Americans know the song that goes, "You say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to," that one was understood even if it did make her seem a bit like Fraser and his definitely-not-gay brother Niles.

It was when she asked the sub guy what herbs were included, that she encountered that "What planet are you from?" look. For, of course, LK pronounced the H. Americans don't. Which is a little odd when you consider that the Yanks have, in this one instance alone, opted to do their best Liza Doolittle impression.

I quietly said "erbs" to the sub guy, and he nodded, obviously grateful that she had brought along a translator. He proceeded to tell her which (h)erbs were in the sandwich. 

LK then asked him, "What about oregano?"  Only, she now calls it or-e-GONE-oh. I could see the sub guy was wondering why she was asking about a state in the western US, so I said to him oh-REG-a-no. 

"Ah!" I could see him thinking.

LK appeared to be thinking "Oi!"

With my lazy posting habits, I've managed to miss my mother's birthday and Jason and Lora's anniversary. So belated good wishes to them. More fun with Sandy, Dave and Jordan tonight then some deadly serious packing on Monday before we head out


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Davy said...

Happy birthday Mr Kennedy - gave u a call but figured you'd be doing your wandering the world without a care thing. Jealous? Me?