Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Lesson in Vietnamese

The stars aligned in my favor, yesterday. After spending fifteen minutes cleaning out a diaper bag, filled to the brim with color sheets, baggies of crushed cheerios, and old receipts from Target, I finally found my way to the bottom of the black hole and pulled out what I thought was another crumpled receipt... Just before tossing it towards the trash can, I realized it was no receipt, but three whole dollars. Woo-hoo! Even if it was only $3, money that has been long forgotten is always a fun find in this house. While doing my victory dance, which looks much like "The Carlton" (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) I stuck my hand in one of the many pockets, to score for the second time... Out came a folded envelope; Its contents: $25 gift certificate to my favorite nail salon for a pedicure. I jumped up and down, giggling and clapping as if I were on "The Price is Right" and had just won the round by bidding only $1 over my component to the left.

A few moments later, a dear friend called to remind me that she wanted to keep my boys and give me the morning off-- to run errands alone, take a nap, get some cleaning done, whatever. I'm sure I sounded like a mad scientist cackling in the phone, "Oh, I KNOW what I'm going to do!!!" I immediately got The Storm dressed and fed. Then, stuffed them into their car seats as quickly as possible.

It took major self-control to keep from speeding all the way to the nail salon. My lead foot couldn't get me there fast enough. The thought of sitting in the over-sized leather massage chair, in total silence, flipping through a magazine, while the sweet Vietnamese lady scrubbed away the stress was almost more than I could handle. I literally skipped, as I made my way across the parking lot.

I love this particular salon. Many fun times have been spent there. Being a frequent customer, I've become familiar with the staff. My buddy, Wan, has given me and other girlfriends lots of advice over the years they've been open. Wan is the brother of the salon's owner. I enjoy his stories and anecdotes, but since the sun was shining extra yesterday morning, all I really wanted was for Anh, the owner's wife, or his daughter to be the one working on my little piggies. Wan is a little more talkative than I was in the mood for. Anh and her girls are super sweet, and mostly just smile in between their quiet chatter amongst themselves.

Sure enough my luck continued. As I waltzed in, arms wide open, like Maria when she's singing to the mountain tops in "The Sound of Music" Anh was who motioned towards the plethora of polishes on the wall and said with a smile, "Pick you colo."

Could this day get any better??

I was the only customer there, since they had just opened, so I got extra attention. Anh pointed towards my now ginormous belly and said, "When de baby come?" and then went on to ask the usual questions: gender, number, am I insane for having so many, etc... When she heard this would be the fourth boy, her eyes popped open wide as she said, "I have two chi-ren. Only one boy though. Only ONE is HARD! You have hard time... too many boys! Massage for foot is good for that." I agreed, wholeheartedly. Resting my head and closing my eyes, I nearly passed out as she worked her magic.

Moments later, I heard the door ding, and opened my eyes to see who was coming in. Anh's two "chi-ren" who are probably in their upper teenage years, came in together. Her daughter plopped down in the massage chair next to me and began chattering away. Anh would occasionally chime in, but never quit with her work. Her son, who had sat down at a nail station across the room began to taunt his sister. Though I don't speak Vietnamese, I could tell exactly what was happening...

He would speak for a moment, then all the other workers would laugh, until his sister would fire back at him. They would all laugh again, and look back at the brother for his next cut down. After several moments of this, the sister got perturbed, crossed her arms and poked out her lip. Being a typical brother, he couldn't stop there. He made one last comment, which must have been over the line. Anh turned her head and flapped a towel that had been in her lap towards his direction.

The sister, perking up a little saw this as her opportunity to lash back... sitting up straight in the chair, with a sly grin on her face, she then spouted back just a few words, causing Anh's eyes to bug out of her head. She turned, very slowly, without ever ceasing my massage, and said, what must have been, "Is that true?" Suddenly, my massage turned into the equivalent of when I was little and my Mom was brushing my hair while she was angry at my Dad. For just a moment, she took out her stress on my foot, but quickly regained her composure as her husband, the owner of the salon, made an appearance from the back room.

He's an older gentlemen, who I've never heard speak much at all. He had what looked to be a large check book underneath one arm, a pencil tucked behind his ear, and bifocals on the tip of his nose. He grimaced towards his two teenage children, then made one, low grunt towards the son, who hopped up immediately and headed towards the back room. The Father then nodded my direction, showing a half-smile and returned to the back, to finish balancing his checkbook or whatever he'd been interrupted from doing.

Anh looked up at me, rolled her eyes, then said, "See what you has to look fo-wad to?" After her son disappeared, her daughter and a couple of other girl cousins began laughing and chanting towards to back room door. I'm sure they were taunting the brother for getting into trouble. It was very interesting to witness, since usually the salon is full and the most talking you hear is just between the two who are sitting side by side. I enjoyed watching the brother/sister brawl, even with the language barrier, and was reminded that no matter what nationality, there will always be sibling rivalry.

It was then I caught a glimpse into my future.... Bert and I working hard at his office. (Bert's a CPA with his own practice, and yes, as crazy as it sounds, I do help him out occasionally.) All five kids sitting around, waiting to hear their next assignments, since their mean old Daddy forces them to work for him part time, to help earn their keep. Thunder and Lightning begin taunting their sister for her latest dud of a boyfriend. "I mean, seriously Mom! He's a loser! Why does she chose to only date dorks?" Her Highness firing back with snide remarks about their choices of girls to date. Back and forth they all go until Her Highness pulls out the big guns...
"Well, Momma! Guess which one of the boys has a new tattoo??!!" None of the four fess up immediately, leaving me to grill them all at once. Hail decides to be loyal to his band of brothers, choosing that very moment to inform me of Her Highness' new naval piercing. Finally, Bert comes from his office in the back, barks at the boys to get out front and trim the hedges, then points at the faxes that need to be sent, which Her Highness has been neglecting all morning. All the kids sulk, while complaining to one another about how underpaid they are, promising next summer they will all get lifeguard jobs at the local water park.
Bert and I shoot each other reassuring glances across the room, that say it all, without saying a word "We'll be empty-nesters before we know it."


Allison said...

My sweet cousin, as I read your most recent blog, I found myself falling into the memories of my past... three boys constantly touching, wrestling, getting in trouble for laughing at the wrong moment (in church, mostly), linking arms together--daring anyone to mess with the other! Now they're Men. Fine Men who love the Lord with all of their hearts, as do the loves of their lives! This is what I wrote to my boys in 1994--Drew was thirteen, Will, ten; Nick eight--"May you always need God and may He bless you by continuing to meet your needs. God bless you with the wife of His choosing. May she be a balm to your soul and a great source of His strength in times of trouble and in times of joy!" Every single day gets better with children! You and Bert are blessed of God and highly favored! I am, too, for having known Him and you! May your delivery be so smooth, you decide to call this little guy "Solace!"

Kiera said...

Oh the fun that will be had at your house in a very short while!! Love your stories! Praying for baby to get here soon and be good to his mommy!! Love you girl!

Supabloggasuprememama said...

hilarious. the carlton painted a nice pic. As did Ahn. LOVE trying to figureout what those people are saying!How are you feeling? Ive been the worst friend! praying for you!