Today I’m going on a steamboat down the Cumberland River with the Mom thanks to a generous friend. I’m excited. I like boats and I like pretending that I’m leaving town on one, sailing off on an adventure, never to return.
Then I remembered the last time Mom and I were on a boat together was in Australia. We – the Mom, the Brother and I – were out there visiting Uncle and Aunt and decided to take a day cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef and swim among the fishes. Joining us for the ride on our cruise were one million Japanese newlyweds visiting Australia on their honeymoons and a very violent afternoon squall. One million Japanese newlyweds who were not comfortable at all with the squall’s resulting rocking waves, which bounced the boat and turned all the Japanese newlyweds green. Nothing says ‘Happily ever after’ like wearing a life vest, holding onto the side of a boat and puking tidily into a paper bag.
And I remembered that Mom refused to go on the cruise that Brother gave me years ago as thank you gift for taking care of her during/post transplant. Because, having grown up with a father in Navy, Mom had had her fill of boats and ships and the like. Brother was totally put out that I then used the cruise for my honeymoon until we explained Mom’s unwillingness to go and the obvious fact that he was now off the hook for a wedding gift.
I also remembered that Mom has had a tendency to fall over invisible things while walking. And that when we walk together, I parent her in a totally insulting and patronizing way. And that when I parent her in a totally insulting and patronizing way, she gets really pissed off and walks away from me faster and then trips over invisible things and falls. Like yesterday, when we went for a walk around Radnor Lake and there were several sections of trail that were falling into the lake. Sections that they’d tried to shore up with layers of pavement that kept leaping out at Mom like a hungry leopard. And Mom kept pretending she wasn’t almost falling on her face as I tried to keep 80-pound Tigger the Dog from helping her. The same 80-pound dog that pulled her over last time, gave her a concussion, trigger finger and resulted in her answering questions like when Brother asked, “What’s my girlfriend’s name?” And she responded, “I don’t know. You’ve had so many.”
Suddenly this boat thing isn’t sounding like a good idea. Look for us on the evening news…
When my friend requested I build a UPS truck for her UPS obsessed twins Halloween costume, I was thrilled. I LOVELOVELOVE making stuff out of stuff that looks like other stuff. I got the crap craft ‘talent’ from my mother who once made set of lampshades out of Styrofoam cups. Very stylish lampshades, might I add, that then became the key element of the most fabulous ball game Brother and I would play. A simple game where one had to throw a rubber band ball into one of the cups of her pretty lampshade - without breaking any pieces off or getting caught by Mom, and, when the cups were invariably broken, lie, lie, lie.
So, making things out of things that look like other things is in my blood. And, a Halloween UPS truck sounded like the perfect project to tackle while Mom was in town.
Except I forgot, that I married my mother. And that I have become my mother.
See, like Mom, Husband knows everything. Like he knows every little thing about every little thing. And like me, Mom asks questions, lots and lots of questions about every little thing. Which means I hate to make things out things that look like other things with Mom or with Husband around because they have advice – loads of advice – which I don’t want and loads of questions that I don't care to answer.
It also means, if I am stupid enough to ask either one of them a specific question about how to solve a problem in my project, they will give me advice on all the other possible scenarios that might work if I did that thing to this or this thing to that or scrapped the project all together and tried something else.
Not helpful at all.
And yet, despite all her not at all helpful help, Mom was instrumental in figuring out how to attach the UPS truck to the red flyer so that it would be removable if needed or, if my math was off (very likely) and it wouldn’t fit in my friend's car. Mom is awesome.
And, look, my – our – UPS truck is awesome! Yay for teamwork!
Now, if we can make it through the rest of the visit without any more projects, we should be fine.
Yesterday, while gardening with Mom, I was bit on my knuckle by a back widow. Or a Brown Recluse. Or a Copperhead Snake. My hand has swelled, gotten hot and red and angry and I've got intense pain radiating up my arm.
Sure, it's possible that the rose bushes I was evicting got pissed off and stabbed me with their curvy swords of pain but the snake scenario is obviously more likely.
Mom and Husband were equally sarcastic when I mentioned my wounds. It’s like they know me. Neither one of them made any effort to check WebMD for verification of my fatal injury. Sure, Mom has no clue how to do that despite being a programmer for most of her life but Husband? Epic fail dude, on your attempt to earn empathy point from me.
And both Mom and Husband were useless in the 'humor ej' category. Even when I mentioned the likelihood of chicken gut infection that might have gotten into my snake bite from the chicken I made for our Thanksgiving/Christmas/Mom’s Eleventh Year Post Transplant/Husband’s Fourteenth Year in America Anniversary, I got nothing but a snort from Mom and the glow of the iPhone screen on Husband's non-attentive face.
When I mentioned my funeral arrangements and the large party I'd like thrown instead, Husband left the room to 'work' in his studio, meaning hide from mom and me and our scintillating conversation. When I told Mom which friends should get my stuff and that she'd have to write my final blog post, she just laughed. I got no “so sad you’re dying only daughter of mine” hugs. I got no compassionate wound examination complete with sympathetic tongue clucking. All I was offered was the standard medical advice she has always given me, “Just wash it off and put Neosporin on it. You’ll be fine.”
How’s that for love? I am obviously not fine!
I told her that Neosporin would only make my dying arm greasy. That as the poison spread through my system and reached my heart, she'd feel bad for giving me such trite advice. Still no pity and understanding, no coddling and gentle compassionate nursing. Nothing. And, her advice given, she just went back to her murder mystery as I lay dying on the couch.
Of course it's tomorrow and my arm is still attached and there is no blue-black streak of doom spreading up my arm. Perhaps they were right not to drop everything and drive me to the hospital for emergency snake venom or black widow arm removal but whatever. My hand is still swollen and angry despite my heavy application of Neosporin and a Band-Aid. I better get some intense sympathy today or I quit this family.
My mom is here! My mom is here!
I'm currently working on regressing to my teen years while parenting her in a totally patronizing way. And it's only been half a day. Nothing can make me more bipolar than my mom visiting. Husband is in for a ride!
I looked at my posts from last year and realized that - even though I just picked her up at 5:30pm yesterday - I'm doing the same dang things I did last time. On the other hand, I can cheat and just repost last years post ... so I will. Now if only we'd have the owls visiting the yard at the same time...
Pretty sure my mouth is gonna be washed out with soap...
My mother is in town for a few weeks. I have currently managed NOT to revert to an angry teenage girl but it’s been close a few times. But it is only day three.
So far, I’ve only sneered at her choice of foot wear – socks and Birkenstocks - and laughed outright at her gardening pants worn as regular pants with the socks and Birkenstocks. I didn’t forbid her to leave the house “dressed like that” like I would have when I was a teen. I even I let her wear her silly bushwhacker sun hat and my old dress shirt with the said gardening pants that she’s hemmed herself.
I didn’t scream “MOM! How could you?” when she talked to the person at the pet store like they were friends and like the person cared if she was visiting me from California. Or when she made conversation with the checkout lady. Or when she answered the helpful but never sincere “Finding everything you need?” question posed to us by the Target lady.
I have only smiled when she presented a tiny purse filled with dimes and pennies and nickels and said she intended to use them. I was quick on the draw and paid with my card instead. And I pointed out the large glob of white sunscreen on her face and suggested gently she rub it in instead of taking a paper towel to her face like she used to do to me
I’m doing well.
I have, however, spoken to her like she was a child and not my mother and was told off. “Don’t speak to me like I’m two years old. I can follow directions. I’m not a toddler.”
I have made fun of her attempts to get down Husband’s new basement stairs without the benefit of a handrail, creeping down the steps, holding onto the walls so she doesn’t fall. I’ve only laughed a little bit. And taken a picture or two. But I didn’t post them on any social media so, points to me.
I’ve not limited my cussing at all. In fact, I think I’ve increased my use of the F word and have started peppering every other word with it. She’s only winced a few times. I figure I’ve got another day in me and then I’ll get shut down when Mom uses her scary mom voice with my full name used, every syllable sharp and biting.
And I have tried to feed her on numerous occasions – not literarily feed her but tried to make sure she would eat, like she was totally incapable to do so on her own, like she hadn’t been eating when she was hungry her whole life. And I’ve told her how to operate the gas stove. And the shower. And the sink... I’ve pretty much talked to her like she’s stupid more times than should have. I know better. She knows I know better.
A few more days of this and she’ll show me that she’s the parent, set me right and send me to my room. A few more days of this and I’ll be thirteen again, slamming my door and screaming, “ I hate you! You’re the worst mom ever!” To which she’ll reply “Good. I’m trying.”
I’m so happy she’s here!
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me