Mr Tabubil's mother is wonderful. When our lease on our rental apartment ran out with our new apartment still a gutted shell, she smiled as we took over her apartment with our boxes and bags, and she fired up the BBQ and baked apple pies to keep us both in fighting trim. She came apartment hunting, she came tile shopping, paint shopping, appliance shopping - willing to drop everything and anything to lend me her opinion or a firm supportive arm. She stood behind me when I needed moral support, quietly acting as my second guess and sanity check. Was I legitimately upset? Was this really happening? Should I be mad or had I lost all perspective - and possibly my mind?
Always she was there there, with a firm nod of "Yes. Stand your ground. Kitchen plumbing is not optional - nor are front doors - and walls are meant to stand up straight. I promise you they are."
About a week after the new flooring was installed, there was a day where I couldn’t be on site. Mr Tabubil took over my agenda - he had a couple of sub-contractors to pay, and a delivery time to nail down with the people who’d sold us our stove. Easy as pie.
That evening I was in the kitchen making sandwiches with my mother-in-law. The front door slammed and Mr Tabubil came crashing in – banging doors and thumping his feet and generally throwing an absolute tantrum.
The stove people had been intolerable, he shouted. He waved his hands a lot and stamped his feet -
Firstly, they'd told him that the store manager had cancelled the delivery because we hadn't paid on time.
"What delivery?!” He’d said. “And what do you mean we haven't paid on time? There was no time! I'm here to schedule a delivery. I’ve got the receipt for payment right here - I’m here to make a time!”
At that, apparently, the stove people had gotten personal. Rather in the same vein as the man from the flooring company. And Mr Tabubil was infuriated. Because this was ridiculous! Who behaves like that?! All he’d wanted to do was schedule a damned delivery!
It was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. The poor man was stamping up and down the kitchen, waving his arms at the light fixtures and literally vibrating with rage, and instead of sympathizing, I found myself shaking with laughter. I looked over at my mother-in-law. Her eyes were bright and she was making little fizzing noises - and squeaking through her nose, whenever he turned his back.
Mr Tabubil roared and stamped away into the living room. My mother-in-law and I grabbed each other by the shoulders and we rocked back and forth, crying with laughter. It was tremendous.
Mr Tabubil thumped his way back into the kitchen, looked at us in disbelief and opened his mouth- and my mother-in-law shouted "Yes! That's right! One more, Mr Tabubil! A big one! All together now- AGGRRRRGGGGHHHHH!"
And Mr Tabubil gaped at her and said "This is serious!"
"Yes!" She cried. "I know! I've been there when it's all happening! I've seen Tabubilgirl come home every day! This is exactly what it's like!"
She and I looked at each other and we were off again, laughing like loons. It was massively liberating, seeing things from the other side of the mirror.. But mostly I just laughed and laughed. It was too terribly funny.
And then I made the poor man a sandwich. His blood sugar was low.