Hastily preparing for the arrival of « la belle-mère. »

Carole's mother catches her flight from Timmins to Whitehorse today. Unfortunately, she'll have to wait in the Vancouver airport overnight before boarding the plane for that last leg. They also make you claim your checked luggage for evening layovers, but at least YVR has some pleasant waiting areas -- including benches that don't have armrests all the way along so that you can actually stretch out -- and lots of West Coast First Nations' art to admire.

If colouring books actually contained drawings of mothers-in-law, I'm sure they would look something like this, but perhaps even more spangly.

Once she arrives, she'll have a chance to rest and recover in the room we formerly called "the office," but should be properly named "the how-high-can-we-stack-unnecessary-possessions room." This week's task is to convert those two things into simply "the guest bedroom, filled with bright blue bins that are, yes, stacked to the ceiling."

Then comes the awkward decision of what to call my mother-in-law: Mom? Lorraine? La belle-mère? That lady trapped under the fallen bright blue bins?

I think I'll skip the French option, as the various forms of address for types of mothers is confusing to the English speaker with only high-school-level bilingual credits:

FrenchWhat it should mean to any reasonable personWhat it actually means to those darned Frenchies
la mèreThe motherMom
ma mèreMy motherGrandma (pronounced "mémère")
la belle-mèreThe beautiful motherMother-in-law
la belle merThe beautiful sea"Tapioca upset the picnicers' balance," for all I know.

I believe I'll stick with trusty old "Lorraine." Bienvenue au Yukon.

Archived Comments

  1. Murray on 20100303.Wednesday:
    What term to use for the in-laws is always a challenge, it seems. I just use first names since they're not much younger than me - and I think they look older than me :) The days when I would sleep on an airport bench disappeared decades ago. I can get a comfortable bed near YVR for $93 - for any more than about a 4-hour stop, that's no contest!
  2. Dave on 20100303.Wednesday:
    I think this is a 5-hour layover, so it's just on the should-I-get-a-room borderline. Also, with it being inter-Olympics week in Vancouver, I'm not sure how easy it would be to get a room, especially for under $100. I could see how younger in-laws (other than sister/brother) would be a naming challenge.