Thursday, August 25, 2005

Chapter Six -- Saturday: In which Food is No Comfort, and We Find Ourselves Only One Chapter Away from the Pants.

We had one of our best sleeps ever in all our travels with Glennie. We're not the 'family bed' type, so all four of us in a room has never gone well. Two of us are light sleepers, and the others are as loud and restless as two toms in a cardboard box. One kid wants the bathroom light on, one kid can't sleep unless it's totally dark. Two are too hot; two, too cold. Many a hotel night over the past 12 years has found one or two or three of us awake at three a.m., watching a soundless movie or roaming the halls looking for a microwave for the teaser bag of popcorn they leave in the coffee basket. But this year, we all slept through the night like big boys and girls. And the best thing about going to Michigan is the three hour time change, because Wheezygirl sleeps until 8 a.m. local time instead of 5 a.m. We wake up mostly refreshed and agreeable. We shower (we're not the 'family shower' type either, by the way), and head to the Fabulous Continental Breakfast around 9:30. Which closes at 10:00.

Let me just say that continental breakfasts at hotels are just nasty and I hate them. Especially when they run out of milk. The thick 2% or homogenized milk that I never buy at home is the best part. But they ran out, said the young greenshirt, looking from her wristwatch and back to me in a condescending, 'early-bird-gets-the-worm' sort of way. So we half-heartedly greeted the scatter-picked display of pale foods: stale pastries and donuts, corn flakes, plain bagels, yogurt. It was hard to tell which looked least appetizing. And then I saw the brothers and their families at a table, finishing up their breakfast. Strewn elitely about the table were nine very empty-looking cartons of milk.

Anyway. By ten o'clock, I had forced down a dry bagel, the kids scarfed powdered-sugar donuts and some sort of dry Corny Snaps sugar cereal, and Mr. Wheeze ate...well, I have no idea what he ate, I'm not responsible for him. On the way out, our stomachs gurgling for various reasons, we met Glennie our cruise director, who had a schedule change. She informed us that we were to check out of our room immediately, then meet on 'our' front lawn (of the hotel, yes) in 30 minutes. For the traditional gift-giving ceremony. And lunch.

Lunch was...how do I say it? Too early, perhaps. Plentiful. Homemade. Yes, Glennie had packed lunch for seventeen and brought it with her the day before. It was make-your-own sandwich time, and we're not talking peanut butter and jelly. Apparently, for the past thirty minutes, Dad had been hauling paper grocery sacks, ice chests and lawn chairs from their truck in the the parking lot, through the hotel lobby and out the other side, down a flight of 30 steps, to the lawn near the water. Inside the ice chests: a heaping platter of shaved turkey and ham, bread (five loaves), cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, condiments, and fruit salad (two fish, anyone?). In the paper grocery sacks: One Thousand Fabulously Patriotic Red, White and Blue Quilted Paper Napkins, five hundred paper plates, two bags of chips, and the entire contents of Glennie's kitchen utensil drawer, including the silverware tray.

We all stood silently 'round the display, our starch-filled stomachs bloated like Sally Struthers' children, our eyes glazed in collective carbohydrate stupor. The time was 10:30 a.m. Sharp.

"Now EAT!" barked Glennie. Just then the wind caught the edge of a stack of napkins and they flew, one by one, from the table, and tumbled across the lawn like little patriots in an Independence Day parade.

"Oh, to be free like the napkins," thought I, with longing; but dared not say it aloud.

###


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Chapter Five -- The T-Boz Sacrifice

In case you didn't know, my little sister, a.k.a. T-boz for the purposes of this blog, is one of my most favorite people of all. The reason for that is simple: She bounced me from my crib when I was only 71 months old.

I was told my mother was pregnant when I was 5, and I spent most of my bedtime prayer-time begging God for a sister. I remember this clearly. Aunt Rosie (best known for her role as the drive-by Bread Lady, she is) thought it was precious, and reminds me of this to this day. Mom and Dad tried to prepare me for a brother, just in case. See, they thought I wanted a sister so I'd have reinforcements when my brothers beat up on me. But I knew in my heart of hearts that if there was a God, he would never approve of my sleeping in a crib until it was time to leave for college. So I just knew the new baby would be a girl. And a month before my sixth birthday, my prayers were answered. Of course, I realize NOW that even if it had been a boy (and his name would have been David, as T-boz knows so well), I would have been ousted from the crib as well. But in my 5-year-old head, this crib I lived in? Was a girl crib.

I don't recall how my room was decorated before my mother's lavender passion reared it's hideous head. But once my dear sister was born, a once-in-a-lifetime splurge was about to occur, and my mother was going to get the bedroom she never had. For her daughters.

Wallpaper. Three walls were papered in purple flowers. The fourth wall, as Glennie tells me was a trend back then, was purple stripes. I'd like to question the sanity of that trend-setter, but unfortunately, after extensive, exhaustive Internet research, I am unable to locate the whereabouts of this person.

And then there was The New Bed. A full size mattress and box springs with lavender bedspread and bedskirt. Sheets, striped to match the one wall. And a matching lavender, frilly canopy, held up proudly by four white plastic posts, whose tips resembled the toasted meringue topping of a perfect Baked Alaska.

Since I was a tomboy who tended to run around the neighborhood shirtless with a gang of boys (including my best friend Timmy VandenBrink), I hated this fluff immediately. But finally I had a big girl bed. Which I wouldn't have to share for nearly six years, right? Sadly, no. My life was robbed by this annoying, slobbering baby I had prayed so desperately for, who suddenly shared MY bed with me when she was only two or three or something.

This sister thing was just not working out like I had planned. She was the baby, and she knew it. She chased me around with one of those push-along, loudly annoying corn-popper toys, bashing me on the head. Which was my fault, because she was The Baby. She delighted in kicking me in the back when we went to bed (at 7pm, I should add. Because all 10 year old children should go to bed at 7pm. Sharp. Every day, even in the summer when it's pretty much still bright sunlight at that hour in Michigan. Just because their rotten baby sisters can't sleep without them). So I would get so mad as to holler at her, or hit her, which would bring Mother and her flat stomping feet to the room (this was pre-shoe inserts, mind you), threatening to send Dad. I could take a lot of kicks quietly, but now I blame my back problems on her. When Dad showed up, he'd stand outside the door and we could feel his presence. I'd whisper hateful things to the baby, but even if she was the first to make noise, I received the spanking, because I was older, and I should have known better. And This Baby knew it. Oooooh, how I hated that little piece of trash sister. She was evil.

But she has redeemed herself since then.

T-boz, the voice of reason in bizarro-world. T-boz, oftentimes a conduit between the Freakish Dictator and me. T-boz, the younger sister who turned out cool.

***

At the hotel with Glennie, I'd had enough chit chat to last me several years, and, checking my watch (for the 80th time), suggested it was time to Order The Pizza. Which, you'll recall, is not remotely as simple as it sounds. Miraculously, T appeared and, in her soothing, 3rd grade teacher voice, she convinced Glennie that she would be able to handle such a tall order successfully. And I offered my help, which I'm SURE she needed.

Off we went to find a phone. T ordered SIX pizzas, some of which had multiple toppings. The bill would be $88, she was told, and we both had a minor heart attack--had Mom and Dad ever paid $88 for a meal before? T was seriously dead meat, we thought. So we had to go to the restaurant next door for a drink. We sat on the deck overlooking the lake, within plain sight of Glennie, who shook her finger at us several times. Which we ignored.

And then? T got yelled at. "One drink can make you drunk!" Glennie hollered.

But Glennie must have figured I was a lost cause, because I never heard a thing from her on that.

For this? I have forgiven T-boz of all her childhood sins against me.

###

Friday, August 12, 2005

Chapter Four -- Shades of Chapter One

As you know, timing and itineraries are of utmost importance to Glennie. And I have ruined the family trip three times so far, and counting. Because the family trip is supposed to be taken in early October, on or around Glennie's birthday--though the original purpose of the October trip was not for her birthday, it was for mom and dad's anniversary. Which is in March. (Of course that makes sense--do you dare question it? March is tax season, so October is the half-anniversary. To this day we don't know if we are celebrating the past or the future, but I'm quite sure we did the 40th two years in a row, because that's a big one.)

Around the first of April, 1993, Mr. Wheeze and I stopped at Glennie's to share with them a wonderful secret. We sat down with them, smiling.

"We have some exciting news," I said.

Glennie immediately got a wild, freaked-out look in her eyes. "You're NOT moving away!" She said.

"Um, nooo..."

"Well what is it?! Are you going to tell me or am I going to sit here all day wondering what horrible thing you are doing??"

"We're not doing...uh, well...no. Yes." I stuttered, deciding that, against everything I'd been raised to believe, sex was not horrible.

"What is it?! I can't stand this," shrieks Glennie.

"Sheesh, ma! Relax already. We just wanted to tell you that we're going to have a baby. Gosh." This was not how I had pictured the scene.

*silence*

"A baby! Well, when are you due?"

"Ahhh...end of October."

"Oh great!" she laughs, all giddy and furious. "So you're ruining our family trip."

"Uhhh...what?"

"We'll have to rearrange everything...oh. Congratulations."

"Yeah, thanks." Whatever.

***

Three years later, we ruined it again with the next baby. But then, for seven long years, we behaved properly according to the rules of Glennie. Until this year when we ruined every possible event for years to come by moving away. As for the family trip, we would not be able to make it to Michigan in October--kids are in school. Feel free to enjoy it without us, I said. At least I gave her a one year warning, which is usually when she begins the planning and research phase of the family trip planning.

But no. Glennie would sacrifice the entire family's schedule so that we could all do this together. In January, she hounded me daily to find out what week in July we could commit to. "We won't be able to get rooms! It's only 6 months away. I need to know!"

In April began the phone calls and emails about this upcoming Christmas time. Would we be coming? After a few weeks of this, I said, "I don't know. Do not ask me again."

"But I need to know how much food to get, and which day to plan the party."

"If you need to know that now, just figure we will NOT be there, okay?"

"But if you did come, which days would it be?"

"We're not coming."

"If you change your mind, would you be here on Christmas Day?"

"Mom, Mr Wheeze has worked every Christmas Day for fourteen years. It's one of the two most religious holidays celebrated by Christians. We have this conversation every year. You are aware that Mr Wheeze is a pastor. And we? Will never, ever see you on Christmas Day, no, never again. Ever. Is that clear?"

"So the 26th then."

"We're not coming."

***

Fast forward to the hotel on Gun Lake. Uncle and Aunt had just left. (Uncle having slipped me a glass of something he'd had on the boat just before he left. "You may need this," he said. It tasted like peach schnapps.) And Glennie and I had had the discussion about blood pressure pills out there on the hotel lawn. When I asked Glennie if her prescription bottle read "Take Fifteen-and-a-half-Sixteenths of a pill each night before bed to just barely prevent heart attacks", she changed the subject.

"So isn't this a great place? We would have had better rooms but I booked them so late..." There it was, the guilt trip I had been waiting for.

"It's a nice place."

"So you like it? You'd come here again?"

"Well, I've only spent five minutes in the room so far, but it seems nice. It's hard to say at this point."

"If I booked rooms today for this same weekend next year, will you be here?"

*sigh*

"Mom..."

"I know, you can't guarantee it, but are you thinking about coming back every year in July? Because we could get better rooms if we booked it right now."

"Mom."

"I guess we could always cancel your room if you don't make it, but you'll have to let me know--"

"Mom!"

"What!"

"Don't."

"But I'm just--"

"Mom!"

"WHAT?!"

I practice breathing for a moment. "Hear me. Are you listening? And take that ridiculous toilet paper out of your ears so I can take you seriously, will you?"

And Glennie cracks up at herself and her toilet paper ears, which I must say is one of her more endearing qualities.

"Of course. You're my daughter. I always listen to you." Right.

"It's up to you if you want to book rooms for next year. But I cannot, and I will not, tell you right now if we will be here next summer. I don't know. I.don't.know. Do not ask me again."

"Fine."

Weeping willow branches rhythmically swish in the wind, painting the dock as they whisper, "here it comes...comes...comes..."

"But if you did come, do you like this place enough to stay here or not?"

###

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Chapter Three -- In Which Fifteen-and-a-half Sixteenths is Defined, and Buggy Gets a Cookie

After Glennie ran off (you'll remember that she ran after the green-shirted photographer), we collapsed for a ten minute recess in our respective rooms or had a much needed undercover smokie-snack. Yes it's true--my mother does not know that I smoke, and if you know what's good for you, she never will. And at this point I think you'll understand and, if you cannot empathize, I hope you will at least be able to sympathize regarding why that is the case, so I will not explain that further.

Once we loosed ourselves of the shakes, we made our way to the pool, where a few teenagers gathered. After a while, I realized they belonged to the greater family of us. I just didn't recognize them in their skimpy swimsuits--wow, 8 months away is like 5 years when looking at a 14-year-old. Nice to know my nieces are growing up to be...er...employable.

Eventually, Glennie appeared, dressed to kill in her black swimsuit and purple cardigan sweater, toilet paper bits stuffed in her ears 'to keep the wind out'. It has something to do with her allergies. Or not. For those of you who know of 'The Bonnet', I'm happy to report that It did not make an appearance on this trip.

Within minutes, though, ALMOST AS IF IT HAD BEEN PLANNED, my mother's brother and his wife, aka my aunt and uncle, drove the pontoon boat up to the hotel docks on the lake and disembarked. You see, they own a cottage on this lake, and were apparently invited to stop by. Which was cool, because I like them.

So we sat on the lawn; a sunny day with temps in the low 80s...it was really pleasant. And mother shot the breeze. Alone, because no one else could get a word in edgewise. For two hours, Glennie shared stories about her shoe inserts and how she led Mickey Gilley to come to Jesus. Stories about how unafraid she is to die, and how Uncle wouldn't know anything about it even though he nearly did a year or two ago. And the real reason why she carries a 2-liter former soda bottle around with her, now filled with tap water. When Aunt or Uncle attempted to sneak in a question to me about Arizona, Glennie answered it. And when Uncle challenged her to be quiet, she pulled the 'middle child syndrome'.

"I've been quiet for the past forty-six years, and you got all the attention," she said to him.

Now...the thing that puzzles me most about that statement is how the hell she came up with forty-six years. Oh, I know, you might think that I'd be snorting about the 'I've been quiet' part. But no, she's too far gone on that point to bother with quibbling. If she believes it, it is so. But 'forty-six years' is a new one to me. I've yet to figure out the math on that.

A lot happened in this conversation that I'm going to leave out, just because it was so horrifying and offensive that I cannot stand to relive it, nor can I unabashedly trash my mother in this way to those of you who are strangers--it's just not right. Maybe when she keels over of heart disease I'll tell you the rest of that conversation, and there's a good joke buried in there about the Sinner's Prayer, but seriously, it'll have to wait. Suffice it to say that after about 2 hours, Uncle and Aunt set sail again and we were left with only each other.

Whereby I immediately questioned Glennie about her blood pressure pill (I know, you don't believe she has high blood pressure, do you.)

"Did you take your pill today? When I talked to you Wednesday, you said you would take your pill."

"YES," she said. "I took it."

Now this is where she gets sneaky. Because we have to be very specific in the questioning.

"Did you take a WHOLE pill?"

"I took more than normal."

*boggle*

"More than fifteen sixteenths?" I asked. Because in March, when mother and her 7 pillows came to visit Arizona, THAT was how much of her pill she was taking.

"It was fifteen-and-a-half sixteenths."



So many questions I have. And I've asked them. Like, "How do you cut off 1/32 of a pill?" "How do you know you've done it right?" "What do you do with all those miniscule leftover pieces--take them all on the fifteenth day?"

But most of all, WHY. In the name of God Almighty, The Alpha and the Omega, Yaweh, Allah, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, WHY?????

"If I take the whole pill, I get bad side-effects," she said.

"So what do you call your behavior so far today? I mean, maybe you should just take the extra granule and see if it really makes a difference."

"No way. Besides, I think I know what my problem is."

A humidity, or maybe it was doom, settled on our shoulders out there by the lake.

With a resigned sigh, I looked around for help, and seeing no one, I said, "What."

"I felt pneumonia coming on so I took 1/8 of a Bioxin yesterday."

"And that made you a little bit crazy today."

"Yep."

"I see." I can't argue with logic like that.

###

(and then we gave buggy a cookie)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Chapter Two -- In Which We Arrive at the Hotel

I ended chapter one saying that Glennie did a fine job of ruining the vacation her ownself, but that's not exactly true. It wasn't ruined. In fact, looking back on the ten days, I'd have to say that the time I spent with my two brothers and sister, just the four of us, is one of my favorite memories from the trip. Since we do a family overnight trip every year, this brother/sister meeting has become a tradition.

And without Glennie, my life would be boring.

Our hotel was situated on Gun Lake, and after an hour or so of driving (so that puts us at approximately 2:04, right? Remember, timing is veryvery important) we found ourselves in the hotel lobby, where mom got her first burst of freak mojo on. Mom had the green-shirted youngsters behind the desk all confused, because, you see, Mom knows which rooms each of our families should be in better than the hotel staff. Glennie took out her pages of notes and began reciting room numbers, confirmation numbers, numbers of family members and various irrelevant numbers that could have been combination locks, shoe sizes or phone numbers, we're not really sure. Within minutes, four young ladies in the green shirts were standing two-by-two, some of them nodding, others gaping, trying to understand why the hell checking in four rooms just became more complicated than fixing defective foam on the space shuttle. When one green shirt asked for the names of the people for each room, in case phone calls came in for them, I knew the worst was yet to come. Poor things. They couldn't predict the mayhem that would result from trying to organize this, when CLEARLY the woman with the boufant standing before them is the one who makes the demands. When mother couldn't remember my last name (Mr. Wheeze and I have only been married 14 years, so it hasn't quite sunk in yet that I'm no longer 'one of hers') and the innocent green-shirted young woman put one brother's wife's name with the other brother, causing Glennie to have 'the horrors' over the thought of her children having in-law affairs with each other; the seventeen of us all looming in the small lobby; the children, restless; the shriek level accelerating rapidly, I stepped in.

"I could fill out the form for you, and then you'd be rid of us." I suggested to green shirt.

"No, uh, that's okay..." she said. Damn that rule-follower. I handed her my Family Itinerary which has all our names (first, middle and last), confirmation numbers assigned, and room numbers on it. (What, your family doesn't have a four page itinerary when you travel together? How do you stay organized?)

"You realize this doesn't end here, right?" I shouted above the din. "Next comes the family photo."

With all the rooms and names sorted at last, Glennie assigned a green shirt to follow us outside immediately to take our picture. The family gathered up our luggage, knowing that even suggesting we all dump our shit in our rooms first was out of the question. Glennie and her seven pillows (yes, seven) bounced people out of her way so she could be in front, our fearless leader. Once outside, she places us in front of some very pretty flowers which will not show up in the photo, adjusted our hands to rest in various positions that supposedly looked casual and loving, and pulled the green shirt (holding her by the wrist) to the top of a grassy hill, where she stood, uncertainly, in such a way that her camera angle would make us all appear to be little people standing on a dirty sidewalk. But we know better than to speak. Mother, hollering "SMILE!!!" with a plastered smile on her own face, began to count to three on behalf of the quaking green shirt, because obviously she wouldn't know to do that herself when SHE feels we are ready. Then mother says to the green shirt, through her clenched smile, "And don't shake the camera! Last year the girl shook the camera and we all came out fuzzy."

"So we had her killed," I said.

A few clicks later, and the Hopelessly Stupid Green Shirted Imbecile says, "Would you like to try another pose now?"

The crowd roared its objections at this horrendous offense, and Mom punched Dad, at the same time refusing to take the camera from the Imbecile who is holding it out to her, as a means to keep her from bolting, obviously waiting for Dad to get his wallet out and give the green shirt a dollar.

Every time, they do this. The punch, the dollar tip. And every time, the desk employee refuses politely as his or her mother has taught him to do. Or as the hotel manager instructed. And every time, my dear mother thinks this is a great game, the object of which is to argue loudly, then chase after the deskie, over hill, through parking lot and down the hallway, trying to find the most unique orifice or clothing gap in which to shove the dollar. It makes me wonder about her secret life in strip clubs, she's just that good at forcing dollar bills (and newspaper clippings, and things she's ripped out of magazines at the dentist's office, and crumbly windmill cookies, and church bulletins, and ... ah, but I digress) on people.

"Please," we beg. "Please, just take the dollar. Please. There is no other option." You idiot. Do you not see? Have you not heard? The Glennie has come. Accept her. Do her bidding. And you shall live.

###

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Birth Order -- Chapter 1 of the Glennie Chronicles

(please be sure to read the prologue as well)

My family is notoriously on time or early for everything. When we were kids, Mom couldn't get us to church, to holiday parties, to school, to work, fast enough. She can't stand being late, and once she gets to the destination, there is to be no lollygagging. Our purpose was to arrive, get through the event as quickly as possible, and get the hell out of there.

We used to eat supper every day at 3:30pm, when Dad came home from the factory. Everyone's presence was required, hungry or not, and we four kids were to be seated at the table when Dad got home. Sometimes he wouldn't even take his coat off, he'd just sit down, pray, and we'd snarf the meal in 10 minutes or less. Then Dad would read the Bible, and one of us kids would pray to close the meal. By 3:45, we were usually done with supper. I remember not wanting to have friends come home with me after school because I was embarrassed about the time of day at which we ate a meal. But timing, in my family, was everything.

Last Friday morning we drove into my old home town, knowing that our presence would be required in Mom's driveway, in our cars and ready to travel in birth order to our overnight destination. We were told the caravan would leave at 1:04pm. (say it with me: SHARP.)

And even though it's not my story, I'm feeling a need to share a little tidbit, offered by my dear brother, which chronologically fits right about here, though he shared it later that evening when just the four of us bloods found ourselves together. It seems my brother has, you know, a job most Fridays, and would normally be working at the hour of 1:04. And though he was quite sure he'd be in the caravan at the right time, he thought it might be good to get directions to the hotel where we would be staying overnight, since he is a vendor of sorts and travels to a nearby city calling on clients most days. His conversation went something like this:

Brother: Hey ma, can I have directions to the hotel in case I run late?

Mom: What?! Are you ruining my vacation?!

Brother: Noooo...I fully plan to be here on time, but I don't want to hold you all up if something goes wrong at work that I don't have control over.

Mom: Well, how late will you be?

Brother: I don't plan to be late at all, but I'd like the directions in case.

Mom: But how late would you be if you were going to be late?

Brother: I don't know. Like I said...

Mom: But do you think you'll be late?

Brother: Forget it.

Mom: Well how late would you be?

Brother: I. DON'T. KNOW. I said I don't think it will even happen, but I'd like to *#@% know how to get to the @#$& place. Can you give me directions or NOT?!

*pause*

Mom: I don't have them written out yet.

Brother: Fine. Seriously, just forget about it. Bye.

*click*

So the next day, Mom calls Brother to tell him she has a map drawn out for him, and it's lying on "the chair" (which is where she leaves everything that must be picked up).

Brother: Okay, thanks.

Mom: So...do you think you'll be late, though?

Now as it turned out, Brother was not late, and he did not ruin Mother's vacation. No indeed, Mother did a fine job of that herself.

Water shortage, according to Glennie

A Necessary Prologue to the Glennie Chronicles

A few days before we set out on our Michigan adventure -- and I was expecting this -- I got an email from my mother that went something like this:

Dear Lisa, Are all systems go with your trip. We are sure you are
terribly busy trying to pack for 4 people and getting everything in
order so you can leave clearminded. Can you buy some extra water now so
when you return you have some stocked in case of power outages or have
you had that already? We worry about all of you.


Are all systems go? Fair question. And then I read the part about the water, and thought, well, here we go. She must have something to be anxious about and she always does this when I am stressed out with packing and preparing to go away. And I admit, I cannot let this crap slide like my lovely, easygoing sister, who is, by the way, the favorite child. (hi T!)

So I assured mother in my reply email that we would have no problems finding water in case of a power outage upon our return to Arizona. That, in the unlikely event that a power outage would affect the municipal water supply, Mr. Wheeze is a pastor and we have many friends here who adore him and would share their water with us and we'd be fine. (I used the pastor line, in case you didn't know, because ever since I was in third grade, my mother insisted I would marry a pastor and she never lets me forget that I did what she predicted. Even though my dear husband was not a pastor when I married him. But as you can see, I was willing to be a giver in hopes that this conversation would end.) End of story? Not nearly:

In the event of a power outage [Mr. Wheeze's] loving people won't have water either, so
please stock up.
Mom


Now, I admit I am stubborn. My brother would suggest at this point that I just say, 'Mom, we stocked up on water and all is good.' But that wouldn't have ended it, you see. She would then ask 'how many bottles, and what size are they', and then she'd write that down on a little yellow sticky note and put it on her calendar or something. Perhaps you'd agree that I'm stubborn, but I'm also not keen on lying to her, because with her, just saying 'we have enough water' is not effective and the pestering phone calls begin.

Something you must understand is that all my adult life, my mother has been unable to trust that Mr. Wheeze and I can care for our family adequately (though she would deny this vehemently). If I had given in and stocked up on water at her suggestion, in her mind that is the equivilent of saying she saved us yet again from certain death from thirst, and it opens up the door for her to run all areas of my life instead of just one at a time. So I replied:

Dear Mother,
A power outage would not affect our water supply.
And even if it did, power outages are rare, and we wouldn't go more than a few days without power. That's not to say we'd go a few days without water, as the grocery stores here tend to sell it bottled, just like they do in Michigan. And even if all the grocery stores in Arizona closed down due to a statewide power outage, and every last one of our friends is unwilling to share, I have faith in my governor to declare a state of emergency in order to keep the entire state from thirsting to death. And even if my governor doesn't care enough to keep us alive, we can drive to California in about 3 hours to buy water. You must trust me that if we go far enough, we will find water. Coincidentally, you are sounding a bit like you did before Y2K. In fact, I bet you still have plenty of 2 liter bottles of water in your basement (with a drop of bleach inside) along with several canisters of gas for the grill, a supply of canned goods and a CAN OPENER of course, yes, I do remember how you insisted we have extra can openers back then, and that we keep them in the basement, which, I'm willing now to admit we didn't do because you were a little bit crazy. Remember that? Anyway, I dare say you care about us enough to overnight us some of your water if we need it, don't you?

However, as I said, our municipal water does not run on electricity. Does not. But thank you for your concern.
Love, Lisa


At this point, it's the morning that we are flying to Michigan. I get this response:


Dear Lisa
I promise to chill out on the y2k stuff - just discussing it and
learning a lot I might add. I guess where I'm coming from is that I
heard over the radio a while back that there was a shortage of water in
AZ so I was just thinking that a supply of water wouldn't hurt before
they run out in the grocery store. On T.V. they said there was only a
two day supply left for those in shelters but like you said the governor
would ask for water from the Congress - anyway enough on this subject -
I'm not worried.


Right.

Which is why she called an hour later to ask if we usually keep some bottled water normally, and if so, how many bottles do we have right now.

I did not tell her the answer. What I did tell her was that if she metioned water again, I would not be visiting her after all.

And guess what--we arrived home yesterday to a house with both power and water. Believe it or not.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Weekend at Glennie's

Is anybody interested in reading stories about my weekend with mother, or not really? I mean, my family doesn't hold a candle to Pam's fantastically disfunctional mess, but keywords to pique your interest include:

Contusion
pants
fifteen-and-a-half sixteenths
"I think I know what my problem is..."
4 full moons on the lake
Forty-six years

So tell me if I should bother with it.