November 15, 2007

The Fun Never Stops.

Another installment from The Codependency Chronicles:

When I left my mother's house yesterday I'd hauled most of the recycleables out to the bin, but left a small pile of them there. With the mom urging me to take off and avoid the rush-hour traffic (it was too late anyway, it turns out), I extracted a promise that she'd do it herself, pronto.

After all, the last thing either of us wanted was to have Mandy tear all the plastic, cardboard and whatnot into itty-bitty pieces and strew them all over the place—necessitating yet one more round of picking up the debris by hand, and then running the vacuum.

And yet, that's exactly what had happened when I got there this afternoon. The dog had also opened an entire bag of potting soil onto the living room carpet, and spread it around. Furthermore, it was a hot day: the place smelled like mouse piss.

(A couple of months ago my mother informed me that there was a mouse in her house. Though was a biology major, and had studied genetics at the graduate level at UCLA, she apparently failed to anticipate what happens when there is a little rodent around, and it manages to find even one friend. And, no: when I showed up with traps a few months ago, she wouldn't allow me to set one of them for her, and come back later for the little mousie corpse. She was going to do it herself. So now I'm doing it, but I need to set many. Unless Cougar Boy takes care of it tomorrow, and gets to rediscover that when mom gets tense, 90% of what one does is wrong. And not just a little bit wrong. Desperately, irrevocably, irretrievably wrong!)

I wasn't particularly happy to see my accomplishments of the previous two days undone, but I got to work cleaning, dusting, straightening, and hauling things around. A few times I asked my mother to get me a beer—which didn't seem unreasonable, in all that heat. (No, I didn't want to turn on the AC. I was trying to air the place out. Did I specify that I'm crazy and codependent?)

But of course the trick with clutterers is that one cannot either (1) touch their things, or (2) ask them to make a decision about the disposition of any of their possessions.

At one point she saw me picking up the second half of a broken chair and taking it toward the garage. "What in the name of God are you doing?" she shrieked.

Ah, my mother. The woman I grew up with, in those bracing pre-Prozac days. How nice to have her back. Really: just like being a teenager again. Without the acne.

"Well," I responded, "due to the fact that it's broken, I was going to take it to the garage. But I won't do that if you want it here in your breakfast nook."

"I want it here," she told me.

"Sure thing. Do you just want this part, or do you want the broken-off seat?"

"I want both parts of it here."

Personally, I think she was confusing me with the dog again, and had just read somewhere about the importance of establishing that one is the "alpha."

A few minutes later I cornered her in the kitchen. "You know," I explained, "I understand that I'm not allowed to throw things away without permission. But not being able to put broken things in the garage without permission is quite a handicap."

"Listen," she replied. "I don't want to discuss this kind of thing with you unless you can get to a better mental place."

I"m working on that right now, eight hours later. The better mental place thing. I took double the normal dosage of Ambien, because the mental place I want to be is unconsciousness. With any luck I'll soon slip away to a happy land in which everyone can be an orphan, with a little hard work and determination . . .

Posted by Attila Girl at November 15, 2007 10:51 PM | TrackBack

Let me make sure I'm getting this right-- in your view, the smell of mouse piss is a _bad_ thing? Hell no. It smells like...victory.

Posted by: Prof. Purkinje at November 16, 2007 04:40 AM

Frazzled, I'd say.

But all thses things, put together, do allow offspring to feel superior, no? Another gift from Mom.

Posted by: Darrell at November 16, 2007 10:03 AM

Prof, I doubt you've ever had it amplified by the sunlight in your lab. Of course, your point is well-taken: some of us get less exposure to mouse piss than others, and I'll have to take my hat off to you in that regard.

Though once we found that little dead mouse I hoped that had been part of the smell problem--alas, it was in a different room.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 16, 2007 11:15 AM

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