(Mother-In-Law Visit, Conclusion)
So after a night spent “comfortably numb” thanks to my old pal Jacques Danielle’s, I awaken to a stiff neck, a mouth full of cat fur due to the fact that one of the cats spent the whole night sharing my pillow with my head, and a “BA”, or Bad Attitude.
I stumble down the stairs after a visit to Le Pissoir, with my one “functioning eye” aimed towards the coffee machine. Now you’ll remember from a previous entry that “it’s all about MY morning coffee”; to wit:
Peggy has it down to a FINE SCIENCE — MY mug — the same one that *I* and I ALONE have been using EXCLUSIVELY and EVERY SINGLE day since 1986, when my secretary at the time “souvenired it” to me at my request.
We were living back East, and she had gotten a large (12 ounce) stoneware mug with “California” and a bucolic “California Scene” on it from SOMEWHERE — I fell in LOVE with that mug! It holds JUST the right amount of coffee, the handle is shaped EXACTLY right so as to be eminently comfortable to MY hand, and being left-handed, the graphics faced ME, so I could look at the those palm trees, sunshine, and mountain and “California Dream” each & every AM.
She HAPPILY gave it to me, but advised me that there were two cracks in the side (from Earthquakes, I surmised…) and it could break apart at ANY minute.
Well, here it is, 28 years later, and it’s still intact after DAILY use — by and large because I take CARE of my stuff, and because NO ONE ELSE is even allowed to LOOK at MY coffee mug! I treat it with absolute care every day, and when I’m done for the day, I carefully HAND wash it, dry it, and put it right back under my Keurig, ready for Peggy to add my Whey Low sweetener, so I can stumble DIRECTLY to the machine, pull the handle down, and make MY cup of coffee, on accounta the “pod” is already loaded in place. That’s how we ROLL around here, and with no kids, it works; or at least it DID — until Mom’s most recent visit…
Have I made it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that MY California mug is MY mug, one of my ABSOLUTE “prized possessions”, one of the half-dozen “things” in my pitiful little existence that DEFINES me & my place here on Earth? Are we CLEAR on that? Good — back to the stumbling.
I stumble down the stairs, around the corner, try to focus on “my destination” — the Keurig coffee machine with MY California mug waiting under the spout, pre-loaded with MY Whey Low (Peggy uses sugar, and Peggy uses a completely different coffee machine for HER coffee, and Peggy uses different water, and Peggy uses different coffee), with MY spoon already in my California mug, waiting for MY hand to stir it after *I* pull the handle down, puncture the pod that Peggy loaded for me the night before, and commence another day of my couch-locked, middle-aged, slacker life — a life that I have absolutely ZERO reservations about, nor any false pretenses about my own self-worth, or lack thereof.
So there’s me, rounding the corner — Holy What The Fuck! There’s Mom, in front of MY Keurig, with MY California mug in HER hand under the spout, filling it with hot water, a tea bag string draped out over the side, perfectly bisecting the word “California”. INCONCEIVABLE! This is Fresh Hell! I’m speechless — reduced to Ralph Kramden stammering — “Hamina hamina hamina”.
This is SUCH a non-sequitor that my brain can NOT process this bombardment of “down the rabbit hole” mis-information! This CAN not STAND! Before my mouth can begin forming a sentence of protest, Mom finishes filling up MY California mug, turns around, and begins the L-O-N-G walk to the dining room table.
Now — picture this: Mom is in her 80’s, she normally uses a walker, she’s got on some ghetto slippers that I would be frightened to try and take ONE “proper step” in, it’s still fairly dark in the house, this is THE first time she’s visited this house, she hasn’t had HER caffeine fix yet — and the cherry on this sundae is that she’s got a pretty good case of Parkinson’s.
So I’m watching her try to make her way from the kitchen to the dining room, and my now BOTH eyes WIDE OPEN become TRANSFIXED on MY California mug — one of my half dozen PRIZED POSSESSIONS that I consider IRREPLACEABLE (I’ve been checking eBay since there WAS an eBay for a “backup” with no luck), which is in the hand(s) of someone who is shaking like a willow in a hurricane; she’s one-handing MY California mug, as the hot water sloshes back and forth.
My adrenaline is COURSING through my veins; I’m thinking — she’s gonna drop that mug; she’s gonna slosh some of that boiling water on her own hand and drop that thing like a bad habit; she’s gonna catch an edge on one a’ them ghetto slippers and take a header; she’s gonna slip on a fuckin’ wayward cat toy and do a Greg Louganis onto the hardwoods, taking MY California mug down with her…Life as *I* know it is OVER!
Oh – I almost forgot to mention: She’s got a cold sore on her bottom lip the size of a Kennedy half…
Well, fair readers – happy ending; at least to THIS saga! Mom made it to the table with MY California mug intact. I let her drink her tea like a Good Son; hell, I even sat with her and talked about “things” while she had her cup o’ tea – then the SECOND that she had finished it, I grabbed MY California mug up off of the table and offered to get her a “refill”. Needless to say, the “refill” was in a DIFFERENT mug, while MY California mug was carefully and scrupulously washed, then put in its “new home” for two weeks – the VERY top shelf of one of the kitchen cabinets!
Phew – that was a CLOSE ONE!