Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taking Stock of the Things I Can't Do

My mother has been on vacation since last Monday (yes, my father has too), and her absence, though certainly not debilitating, has caused me to take a cold hard look at the things I'll miss, not most, but most unusually, when one day, far in the future, she takes the Great Vacation. My mom and I have a very close relationship. Aside from approximately years 13-14 where unladylike words were hurled, my mom and I have always had a very close relationship. Mostly cause my mom doesn't suck. While the if-it-makes-you-happy philosophy of parenting may have contributed to the fact that neither I nor my brother is a neurosurgeon, it did keep family strife down to a minimum even when, say, said progeny was caught: smoking and drinking at bar mitzvahs, improperly using school computers, failing out of college, etc. Again, though, no neurosurgeons.

But what I lack in medical acumen has more than been made up for in actually liking my mother and liking to spend time with her. Witness our trips to the USQ greenmarket most weeks and you'll see we're not like the mother/daughter paradigm so oft portrayed on television. I think it stems from an utter and complete lack of competition between us. Possibly helped by the fact that my mother is a tall slender Italian-speaking bikram yoga practitioner, and I am a busty scuba diving bibliophile couch potato.

And my mom's pretty nice too. I mean, when I think of the things I would have asked her to do for me in just this past week....well, those things are both embarrassing and worthy of sharing.

I don't iron.


I don't know if we even own an iron.

Once or twice I've seen devoted partner iron over the years. Not a pretty picture.

Ironing seems to take a very very very long time especially considering how little one needs to pay SOMEONE ELSE to iron. Also, I own a lot of things that don't wrinkle. Those that do generally go to the dry cleaner's or are worn wrinkled. However, with this whole knitting thing, sometimes things need to be ironed so that I can determine if they fit/look right. On these occasions (and only these - I don't stop by my parents' apartment with an armful of shirts needing ironing), I ask my mom to do it for me. Am I really going to have to learn to iron before she dies?

Also, my mother is an expert at what I call not-letting-the-man-screw-you-out-of-15-cents-worth-of-toothpaste. This is a woman who can get the last gram of any substance out of whatever container it was once in. She cuts open plastic containers like it's a holy mission and, using a complicated collection of scoops, paddles, and sticks, gets out the last bit of whatever it was thereby depriving Big Plastic Packaging of its wasteful delight. Ordinarily I find this behavior odd at best, and other things besides. But I recently started experimenting with some hair crap I saw on TV and this stuff is not cheap (likely, it is not expensive either, more that if I ordinarily pay 15-18 bucks for shampoo and conditioner and now I pay 30 bucks for this fancy stuff, I consider that expensive). It also comes in a pump bottle, the least efficient of plastic dispensers. Naturally, there's about 1.5 inches of the glop in the bottom of the bottle that won't come out with the pump and is also kind of persnickety about coming out when I upend the bottle and whack it against my open palm. So now I kind of want mom to come home so I can bring her my bottle and have her mine for the last (literally) shower's worth. After all - that might be worth 60 cents.

Of course, there is a price to pay for this: my mother isn't exactly what you'd call computer proficient. Guess which child she calls to ask about her "why won't it click" problems?

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