PLANS for things like Mother's Day need a lot to go right to make the dream come true. Plans for anything really.
In the Mother's Day scenario, it's ideal that people are talking to their mothers, and fathers, if those people are working in tandem to create magic on that second Sunday of May.
But that's not always easy in the robust emotional world we live in. Left-field things happen that can impact on seemingly simple jobs like getting ingredients ready for a special brekkie and lunch nosh up, topped off with a few prezzies to express just how much we appreciate mumsy.
And so it was with some alarm that I arrived home the Friday night before this Mother's Day to the distinct sense of, I won't call it tension . . . OK, it was tension. And that wasn't part of the plan.
Turns out the internet wasn't working.
Not a life-threatening situation, but Mother's Day breakfast was soon in jeopardy when the junior member of the family alleged, rather recklessly I thought, that mum was to blame with her vacuuming.
I held back on chiding the junior member for her recklessness at that stage because in classic deadbeat dad fashion, I was banking on her doing the card and pancakes for breakfast on the Sunday.
I couldn't afford to alienate her because cards and pancakes would make both of us look good. As they say in soccer circles, if you look good, even when you lose, you'll still look good. And based on past experience, there was a chance we might lose with the Mother's Day gifts.
Before we proceed, I'll explain why, of all days, mum had been vacuuming the Friday before Mother's Day?
Mother's Day is a pyramid scheme in that mothers have mothers. This year we again recklessly decided to not only cater to our own in-house matriarch with breakfast, but also invite her mum over for lunch. The old double mammy whammy.
Consequently the "clean house" bar had been raised to a level that in-house mum would never leave to slackers like her family. Hence the vacuuming had had a priority way above anything as pointless as the internet, and to suggest that the vacuuming was now somehow guilty of such a meaningless crime as crippling the modem, well we were at flashpoint.
Which I didn't really notice when I stumbled in with a trademark opening gambit: "Who the hell let the cat out?"
After having my head snapped off (apparently I let the cat out by opening the garage), I had a better idea what the problem was. And it wasn't just the fact I was home. Or that puss was outside tearing apart a unicorn. Or even that the internet wasn't working. It was about respect.
After determining that the internet was down, I had taken witness statements. According to one person, the internet had been working before mum started vacuuming, but stopped midway through. Ergo, mum was to blame.
Blaming mum is a poor conclusion at the best of times, particularly when it's not clear why she's not guilty.
First rule of parent club - never break ranks in a showdown (unless you have the numbers); to do so breaches every instinct one should have about knowing who's your daddy - or mummy/wife in this instance.
I quickly realised what a disastrous course I was on and threw the vehicle into reverse, blaming the junior member, who immediately began displaying body language suggesting she may not play ball with the Mother's Day card and ricotta pancakes. Crisis.
Exactly not what I had been anticipating driving home from work via the supermarket to pick up the ingredients for the special brekky.
For peace in our time, or at least in time for Sunday, that freaking red light on the modem would have to go green so that the love could be restored and people would be prepared to cook, preferably with love. That's when the real panic set in.
Last time the internet had gone bung, it had taken a weekend to sort out.
Furniture had had to be moved. Extensive phone liaison with the subcontinent had been involved. And eventually I had had to cut wires in tense scenes reminiscent of The Hurt Locker.
Interpersonal relations had been regrettable the entire weekend, which didn't auger well for a soft and fuzzy landing on Mother's Day Sunday.
Sociologically, the situation was real man, and it got the conversation going.
But to be frank, reality like this sucks and going cross-eyed whilst hissing doesn't constitute a conversation.
Unless you're the cat. Who, for the time being, remained outside. Not a bad place to be except that it left it vulnerable to being made the scapegoat for why the internet isn't working.
Anyhow, the junior member eventually sorted things out after an hour or more on hold with Rahul (truly the greatest Mother's Day gift ever, after the card and pancakes). Turns out a friction event, most likely unrelated to the vacuuming, had blown the modem. Rahul wouldn't be drawn on whether or not interpersonal friction can affect Wi-Fi.
But as he reached into our household cyber soul from his cloud over New Delhi, the light on the modem went green and so did the Mother's Day plan.