Friday, March 16, 2018

The Difficult Duchess / La Duquesa Difícil

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

MY MOTHER THE Dowager Duchess could be very hard to please. In 1977, I bought her a dozen roses for Mother's Day. When I arrived home, she said, "I can't believe you wasted your money on flowers that are just going to die in a few days."

A year later, after I had moved out on my own, I had a box of a dozen pears delivered by the company Harry & David (creators of the Fruit of the Month Club).

"You're ridiculous! What am I going to do with all these pears?!?" she wailed.

"Sorry! I thought you and Dad could manage to eat 12 pears. If you can't, then share them with the neighbors," I said.

"Now I have to bother with the neighbors? Thank you very much!"

Years later, a similar story appeared on the TV sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond." The Duchess wasn't the only difficult mother in New York.

In 2015, I noticed my mother's vegetable peeler, which would have been about 65 years old at that point, was covered with rust and corroded beyond use. When I showed her, she was shocked and said, "Well, I probably shouldn't use that anymore." I bought her a new, high-quality peeler. Months later, she complained that she hated the new peeler and didn't know why I had to replace the old one.

After the Duchess died, when San Geraldo and I were emptying her apartment, I found the peeler still in it's original blue plastic covering. "She never even used it!" I snapped. So, I placed the new, high-quality peeler in a box and shipped it home for our use.

San Geraldo recently noticed it and used it to peel carrots. "Did you like it?" I asked.

"I did," he said. "But it's odd. The peelings get stuck and jam up the blades."

I inspected the peeler and realized my mother might have actually tried it after all.

And what would San Geraldo do without me?

MI MADRE LA Duquesa Viuda podría ser muy difícil de complacer. En 1977, le compré una docena de rosas para el Día de la Madre. Cuando llegué a casa, me dijo: "No puedo creer que hayas desperdiciado tu dinero en flores que van a morir en unos días".

Un año más tarde, después de mudarme por mi cuenta, tuve una caja de una docena de peras entregadas por la compañía Harry & David (creadores del Club Fruta del Mes).


"¡Eres ridículo! ¿Qué puedo a hacer con toda esta fruta?!" ella gimió. 

"¡Lo siento! Pensé que tu y papá podreis comer 12 peras. Si no podreis, compártelos con los vecinos", dije. 

"Ahora tengo que molestarme con los vecinos? ¡Muchas gracias!"

Años después, una historia similar apareció en la serie de televisión "Everybody Loves Raymond". La Duquesa no era la única madre difícil en Nueva York.

En 2015, noté que el pelador de verduras de mi madre, que tendría aproximadamente 65 años en ese momento, estaba cubierto de óxido y corroído más allá de su uso. Cuando le mostré, ella se sorprendió y dijo: "Bueno, probablemente ya no debería usar eso". Le compré un pelador nuevo y de alta calidad. Meses después, se quejó de que odiaba al nuevo pelador y no sabía por qué tuve que reemplazar el viejo.

Después de que la Duquesa murió, cuando San Geraldo y yo estábamos vaciando su apartamento, encontré el pelador todavía en su cubierta protectora de plástico original. "¡Ella nunca lo usó!" Entonces, coloqué el nuevo pelador de alta calidad en una caja y lo enviamos a casa para nuestro uso.

San Geraldo lo notó recientemente y lo usó para pelar zanahorias. "¿Te gustó?" yo pregunté.

"Sí", dijo. "Pero es extraño. Las peladuras se atascan y atascan las cuchillas".

Yo inspeccioné el pelador y me di cuenta de que mi madre podría haberlo intentado después de todo.

¿Y qué haría San Geraldo sin mi?

THE BLUE PLASTIC IS TO PROTECT THE PEELER UNTIL IT'S USED FOR THE FIRST TIME.
EL PLÁSTICO AZUL ES PARA PROTEGER EL PELADOR HASTA QUE SE USA PARA LA PRIMERA VEZ. 

THE DUCHESS, PROSPECT PARK, BROOKLYN, 1948. SHE'S SMILING, BUT DON'T MESS WITH HER.
LA DUQUESA, PROSPECT PARK, BROOKLYN, 1948. SONRIE, PERO NO TE METAS CON ELLA.

25 comments:

  1. What a fantastic shot of DD with the snowball. I have a small collection of vegetable peelers for various duties. They make perfect cheese shreds/slivers for salads. They definitely work best with the protective blue plastic removed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilma:
      I love that photo, too. Yeah, removing the blue plastic. Imagine that.

      Delete
  2. This is classic! Is SG somehow related to Bob Slatten's Carlos? Growing up, we always called those potato peelers. I hated them. It was so much faster using a paring knife.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deedles:
      Bob and I are convinced Jerry and Carlos are related. I initially wrote potato peeler but thought I'd get comments about it being used to peel carrots. I'm too literal.

      Delete
  3. You're mother looks like a movie star.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kirk:
      We heard that a lot. She was beautiful, and very glamorous when I was a kid. She'd come to Open School Day and all the kids in the class would sit and stare at her.

      Delete
  4. Your mother sounds....exhausting! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's hilarious...note to self, if buying new peeler take off all packaging before putting it in the drawer

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    Replies
    1. Cheapchick:
      I kick myself now that I didn't do that when I bought it for my mother! (Of course, there would have been some other reason she didn't like it.)

      Delete
  6. Any particular individual in your family that your mother may have learned all this 'hard-to-please' behavior?
    We usually learn all the wrong things from family and eventually find better ways to deal.
    I was taught to always use a 'potato peeler'. Took me while to discover that a paring knife does a better job and the peelings DON'T get stuck on it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      Oh, don't get me started on the family! Don't put a paring knife in MY hands; a potato peeler is dangerous enough.

      Delete
  7. I love the DD and she looks fabulous in that photo.
    We have that same peeler and it does jam up.

    @Deedles Mitchell and i have long thought Carlos and San Geraldo were related.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob:
      Yours jams up, too. Tell Carlos to remove the blue plastic. Ditto Deedles!

      Delete
  8. Anytime my other half walks past a florist you can hear him quietly say "murderers" under his breath. He will never buy me cut flowers because he thinks it is murder. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Snoskred:
      My mother loved plants and had many (and a green thumb). I didn't know until I "wasted all that money" that she hated the idea of cut flowers.

      Delete
  9. From the way that you feel when SG starts to peel, well, it's almost like being in love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Ha! Even I didn't think of that one.

      Delete
  10. My cousin's wife complained three years in a row about the rather expensive Christmas gifts he gave her, a fur coat, a checking account with $10,000 in it, the third year he served her with divorce papers - she didn't like those either.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My mother constantly gets stuff she never uses. I got a huge bag of paint supplies like brushes and tape to use for my house, cause she wasn't going to actually paint anything at her house...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adam:
      Not a bad hand-me-down. My mother tried to pawn off to us her 50-year-old Tupperware!

      Delete
  12. Don't knock mothers too much - without them I would be out of a job.

    ReplyDelete

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