I began explaining to my parents that I will be involved in a "Corporate Road Show" at work over the next few weeks where myself and a number of other staff will be going to our office locations in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa to roll out the 2009 corporate agenda and business objectives.
"I'll be leaving next Sunday morning on my business trip, so you won't have me coming over for the next few weeks for dinner." I advised my parents.
"Hmmph" Dad grunted jokingly. "Whatever shall we do with all the extra food each week if you're not here every Sunday? The way you were 'putting it away' tonight had me thinking your poor mother may have to go out and get a job just to keep food on the table!"
I just stared at him as he continued on with his poor humour.
"Although, with all the extra money we save on food while you're gone, your mother and I can take a nice trip down to the Bahamas. Isn't that right dear? HAHA!"
"You shouldn't talk like that Simon" Mom responded sharply, looking over at Dad. "If anyone overheard your foolish remarks they might not know you were joking. Whatever would they think?"
"Just having a laugh is all." Dad responded, still cackling at his own jokes.
"Well you know I really hate business travel, especially for this length of time." I replied. "It's a real inconvenience in my life and my daily routine. A complete pain."
"Yeah, you're really hard done by." Dad exclaimed. "A 5-star hotel room, round the clock room service and you will probably have one of those mini bars in the room - not exactly 'roughing it' on these trips of yours."
Before I could respond to my Dads' mockery of our corporate business travel standards, my sister interrupted the conversation.
"I was reading an article in one of the magazines." Sis began. "It stated 1 out of every 10 single men seek out female companionship while on a business trip."
She then looked over at me with a nasty look and spat "I can just imagine you half drunk each night phoning up one of those disgusting call girls to come over to your room."
I was just about to respond to this by telling her to "Shut the Hell up" when my 8-year-old nephew Mikey appeared from behind the sofa where apparently he had been playing the entire time we were talking. None of us had seen him there and did not know he was listening to us.
"What's a call girl, Mommy?" Mikey suddenly asked my sister.
Sis looked completely flustered and surprised at this question as she had no idea that Mikey was present and had overheard her stupid comments.
I thought I would have some fun this evening and make things somewhat more stressful for her so I turned to Sis and sarcastically asked "Yes Mommy, what is a call girl? I too am not familiar with this expression?"
Immediately as I spoke these words I regretted it as, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the look of anger in my own Mothers face. She was definitely not pleased by our jokes.
Sis finally stammered out a weak response to her sons' question.
"Well Mikey, a call girl is someone you would call up and she would come over and keep you company for awhile when you are bored."
Mikey was silent for a moment, clearly thinking about her response. He then replied.
"I don't think Uncle will be bored at all." He stated, matter-of-factly. "He will be able to go to hockey games in each city or a basketball game in Toronto. It will be so much fun for him, he will not need to phone up a stupid call girl for company at all."
There was a very uneasy silence in the room after Mikey had spoken. Probably it was the sound of relief for not having to explain the details of what a call girl actually was. Then my mother finally broke the silence.
"Mikey" she asked softly. "Why don't you take your old grand dad down to the corner store and buy us all some ice cream. It is my treat."
Dad, noticing the expression on my mothers face, quickly added "Yes Mikey, let's get out of here & get something really good for dessert down there, you can even pick it out."
Mom then handed him the money and without any hesitation or delay whatsoever, both my father and Mikey quickly disappeared out the front door on their errand.
Once they were gone, Mom turned to both Sis and me. Her face was like a thundercloud.
"I am totally shocked at the two of you." Mom advised angrily. "Talking and carrying on in such a manner in front of a young child. It is not right and both of you know it."
I thought it best to remain silent while Mom was chastising both of us however Sis, who is clearly not too intelligent at the best of times, attempted to put up a rather feeble defence.
"But Mom!" Sis protested. "Neither of us knew Mikey was playing behind the couch or I would never have mentioned 'call girls' out loud. It was just an innocent mistake is all."
"It was mistake all right!" Mom continued on. "The mistake is you should know better at your age. You are a mother yourself with two young children and you must realize that kids hear and pick up on everything. You need to be more careful and mature when the kids are around. And that goes for the both of you."
Just as Moms' rant was about to continue on, the telephone in the kitchen rang and she got up and left the room to answer it, giving both Sis and myself a reprieve from the undoubtedly long speech that was in store for us on the subjects of child rearing and maturity.
"Idiot" I called over at Sis as she began mindlessly flipping through the channels on the television. "You really should know better. You're a parent, I'm not. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it."
Sis did not respond to me as obviously the words our mother had spoken just now were sinking in to her simple mind and she knew Mom was right.
Sis had always been that way, even as a kid. Whenever she was caught doing something wrong and she knew it was wrong, she became quiet and pouty. Much like a scalded dog, she would usually slink away in silence.
I decided I would not let her pout away as per usual and thought I might also just 'stir the pot' a little bit more. I mean after all I was going out of town for a couple of weeks so I need to get my 'shots in' while I can.
"So Sis." I began. "This big road trip I am going on at work next week, there will also be 9 other employees from work going along with me."
"So what" Sis responded, still sounding quite angry. "Who cares?"
"Well" I responded slowly. "that makes 10 people in total that are going. I guess it will be up to me to ensure that statistic of 10% that you just told us about is kept up. I would hate to make you look wrong or the article look bad! HAHA!"
"You're a Pig" Sis replied, slowly breaking into a smile and laughing.
And with that she hurled a pillow at my head, barely missing me.