Saturday, December 11, 2004

Clean up the eggshells...

we don't need them anymore.

I just survived another visit with my parents. And, by some supernatural divine intervention miracle of the universe, it all went well. Not one single cross word exchanged by anyone. I'm paranoid that this is a good-rehersal, bad performance situation, and Christmas will go down in infamy with bloodshed and wills sacrificed to flames. Oh the theater we can perform. But hopefully not.

My family has had an exorbitant amount of crap storms in the last few years. And most recently, we've been affected by too many deaths to believe, a divorce, putting a family dog to sleep, and cancer. We don't handle these situations well as a pack. Independently we deal, but get us in the same room when emotions are high with verbal sparks flying, and it's akin to a bunch of wet cats stuffed into a single cage. Avoiding these quagmires takes a fair amount of self-restraint. And alcohol. Lines will get crossed and irrecovable words will be spilled. It's fucked, but I suppose normal.

However, after a very hard (bad, awful, heart-wrenching, soul-draining) visit I made to their place in Montana last September, I was naturally concerned of a repeat. But this time it was O.K. Blessedly, O.K. My parents traveled last weekend to Southern Cal to bury my fathers best friend of 60 years. My dad didn't speak much. This worries me to no end, but there's not much anyone can do. Can't force an old man to chat. And I know he was glad to be with family.

They decided to come down a few days early and help me with some chores around the house. This killed two birds with one stone since I work 4 million hours a week and spend 2 million more stuck in fuckass traffic. Damn but I need a wife. Anyway, I came up with some jobs and this time they asked very specific questions and followed my directions to a "T". Yay Mom & Dad! They tend to get creative and this makes it hard to be appreciative, especially when you didn't really ask them to THROW AWAY all of your dishes even if they were ugly! Oops. And, ARGGG!!

Needless to say, I'm thrilled at this outcome and despite being the bitter, spazzoid, worry-wort, freak that I am all day every day, I'm very happy we had an excellent sojourn. Both 'rents were thankfully distracted and pleased with all of the progess made. Mom and I even went on a short shopping trip at Target and I only tried to hit her with the cart once! Yay me! After deciding to write a short entry about it, I was reminded of another time when things went pretty damn good and I wrote about it. So, for your reading pleasure, I present to you...


The phone call came, the arrangements were made, the schedule was set. My mom was coming for a visit, all by herself, just me and mom, alone, together, just the two of us, in my house… for 7...whole…days. Mamapalooza 2003. Maybe this trip would go better than the last. Maybe we could get past the first 20 minutes in each others presence without lip-pursing and eye-rolling, eventually ending in the type of family drama and dysfunction seen only on Lifetime, television for Prozac. Maybe.

It was requested that a series of projects were available for mom, since I would be working full time and mom alone in my house with idle hands and a head full of “great” ideas was as dangerous as a child playing with razor sharp knives. For example, the aforementioned first visit, known as Mamagate 2002, had a very unfortunate pruning episode of my prized ficus tree. I say tree because the one plant that I’ve managed not to kill had not only flourished, but also had taken its plant initiative and busted through the bottom of its wooden pot and rooted. I really appreciated this plant. Not only for having the fortitude to go out on its own but relieving me of several responsibilities, watering, the 3 seconds of uncomfortable guilt I’d feel after killing it, and the incredible pain in the ass of trying to get rid of a dead 6 foot fucking ficus.

Mamagate 2002 was given the project of cleaning up the patio. This was to consist of sweeping, pulling some dead leaves, disposing of the dead plants and general tidiness. This was not to be the case. I came home from work to find pruning shears sitting on the kitchen counter. My first thought, oh…fuck.

I quickly dashed onto the patio, did a cursory scan, my eyes eventually trying to focus on the carnage in the corner. My big old beautiful boy had been butchered. Now, mind you, I had not told her to specifically stay away from that plant, but after reviewing what she’d done it was all I could do to keep my eyes from falling out of my head. She had decided it was time for a little “trim” for my beloved bush, but mom apparently didn’t put in the effort to tilt her head back and realize it had grown rather tall. This actualization was made AFTER cutting had commenced, and continued, until Mr. Ficus looked distinctly like a very skinny man with a very large afro. Needless to say, I was rather upset at this foolish looking foliage, promptly hid the sheers and banned mom from any pruning duties until said plant prohibition was lifted. And yes, it’s still active.

Moving on to Mamapalooza 2003. I arrived home from work last Monday to mom finishing up this year’s patio cleanup. Everything looked good. Whew. No need for bloodshed yet. I had brought some dinner home, made sure there was wine in the house, and the night went well. “Holy crap” I thought, this might go ok. Only 6 more days to go.

Project number 2 was super simple. I had cleaned out my closet the previous weekend and ended up with about 5 bags of clothes and shoes. (Part of the curse of being a shopoholic). This was a slam-dunk. Pick up the bags, throw them in the car, dump them at shelter. Or so I thought. I get home Tuesday night, all bags are gone. Yay! Then I look in my laundry room. Hmm. Something is different. Oh, I thought, the towels were organized. All nice and neat. How nice. Wait. Hmm. There’s an awful lot of shelf room here. Hmm.

“Oh mother?” “What happened to my towels?”

“I took some of them with the clothes”

“Which ones did you take”

“I don’t remember”

“You don’t remember which towels you took just a few hours ago?”

“No, I don’t remember”

“Were they the pink ones?”

“I don’t remember.”

“You don’t remember?”

“No, I don’t remember”

“Were they the tan ones?”

“Maybe, they weren’t very nice.”

“The pink ones were ok, and they were the only ones that had those big bath sheets”

“I don’t remember.”

“You don’t remember?”

“No, I don’t remember.”



“Sigh, no, that’s ok, thanks for taking the stuff.”

Wednesday’s conversation…

"Were they the pink ones?”

“I don’t remember.”


“What other projects can I do?”

“I’m sorry, your project privileges have been revoked. You went beyond the appointed task. Thank you, but I don’t have anything else.”

“How about some painting?”

-big cheesy smile- mouth silently forms the word "no".

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, all pass by without a hitch. Slap my ass, I think we’re gonna make it. And I choose to completely ignore the fact that every time I go to work, she rearranges the furniture in my living room. Every day, she moves the ottoman against the wall, and every night I move it back. It was kinda like a little game. A little game that I chose to ignore. A little game that would have turned into a fight if SHE FRIGGEN MOVED THAT OTTOMAN ONE MORE FRIGGEN TIME. But it’s cool, I didn’t say anything about that. I’m cool.

-big cheesy smile-

Sunday arrives. Mamapalooza 2003 is coming to a close. The last act will be on stage shortly. We decide to go brunch. Mom chooses the restaurant, despite my warnings. I told her the food sucked, but no, she wouldn’t listen. Guess what? It sucked. But things were still going well. I was on the countdown now. Feeling the tension. If we could just make it through the next few hours, it would be the most successful visit in a long-ass time.

We decide to run one last errand. My mom insisted on driving. Now, let me explain a few things about my moms driving. First off, she drives a brand-new, gigantic Yukon. Why on earth she needs to be driving that kind of acreage on wheels I have no idea, but she does. Now, secondly, she drives like shit. And it’s not just the fact that she doesn’t pay a lot of attention to her surroundings, but she does that thing. You know that thing where people drive .06758 miles per hour everywhere??

We’re slowly pulling out of the parking lot on our way to Home Depot, and she’s covering ground slower than a slug on sedatives. And given the fact that I had just been reminded of how bad my breakfast looked for the last half hour (silently saying I told you so), and the nicotine fit I was having was beginning to physically hurt, I felt my chest start to tighten while that inner voice in my head started screaming “THE FUCKING GAS PEDAL IS ON THE RIGHT!!” “FOR GODSSAKE, HIT THE GODDAMN GAS!!” But I gathered some type of strength from somewhere, gritted my teeth, and continued to somehow breath without saying a word.

Things almost went south in the store. I definitely felt the verbal bullets start to whiz by my head. But somehow it wasn’t escalating into anything worthy of one of our famous fights. I seriously don’t know how we escaped it. I thought for sure buying paint would be the catalyst to a brawl. Since I’m a Dove girl and mom is strictly vanilla, so to speak, my paint choices were getting “the face”. Daughters might be more familiar with "the face" then sons, but imagine someone just passed a big old turd right under Mama's nose. But she managed to hold her tongue.

We drove home, crawled rather, and once again I felt my shoulders lifting up over my ears with tension, watching the speedometer bounce around the 5. How does she get the car to go that slow? Jesus. Anyway, we made it home. Only a few hours till her departure. Could we make it?

I didn’t want to get too cocky, but I was feeling pretty confident. I decided to join mom on the patio for one last chat. Uh oh. THE subject came up. Oh shit. I don’t remember who said it first. The one subject that gets us both on guard. Opposing teams. Fist-a-cuffs at the ready. My brother. Yikes, I can see her eyes getting red. She’s not in the mood. I’m not agreeing. We’re almost arguing. Oh jeez! I knew it! I knew something would happen.

Then, all of a sudden, as soon as it started it was over. No fight. No claws. No blood. We made it! I almost broke into song. I was feeling rather giddy, actually. Or I was high from the 12 purple peeps I ate that day, whatever. We loaded her car, hugged, said I love you, and I watched her slowly drive away.

I walked back to my condo and went outside to my sweet little patio. Lit a much-needed cigarette, stared at my unscathed ficus and took a deep, deep breath. Yea, I love my mom.

-big cheesy smile-


Becka said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you.

So I'm not the only one who enjoys the leaving of "mother" much more enthusiastically then the welcoming of "mother."


Anonymous said...

I finally got my own Mother story uploaded after a terrible misunderstanding of Notepad. Sleep-deprived carelessness. Argh.

But, yeah, mothers. I love mine, too! (Note: I don't keep plants around to incite her. My exasperation with her has more to do with explaining... computer technology! Usually, over the phone. It's exhausting.)


Anonymous said...

That is why we always keep my grandmothers supervised in the house. And my grandfathers OUT of the garage!

Stories, you're good at them. And life. Lucky cow.


No_Newz said...

No matter how much they drive us crazy, moms rock! I am really glad you didn't have another Mamagate. Poor ficus, probably didn't know what hit him.;)
Lois Lane

magz said...

i love readin you kiddo... and yes, i had a mom myself.. and now i IS one. jeez
mostly tho, what prompted me this time was the purple peeps.. i dunno if ya noticed, but in my links i have an entire peep website, featuring, yup... purple peeps.
(I dedicate this rendition of the haunakha song to you)