Finding Pawsitivity

, , , , , | Related | May 24, 2020

My mom has two dogs who are both spoiled absolutely rotten and too smart for their own good sometimes. They both particularly love Frosty Paws, a dog ice cream which seems to alternate between being very easy to find at local supermarkets and notoriously exclusive to certain big box stores, instead.

Usually, my mother is willing to try different shops to find the elusive treats, but with the current outbreak and family health concerns, it’s been near impossible. We can’t even mention the name in front of the dogs unless we want to deal with several minutes of dramatic doggie whining and begging.

Being a grocer and thus essential, it becomes my mission to find said ice cream. I am lucky enough to discover one box at a store near my work. The delivery, however, goes down like a covert operation as I place the treats in a lunch box so the dogs don’t see the packaging.

Stepdad: “What are you doing here?”

I hold up the lunch box while trying to keep it as far as possible from the dogs, who are very excited to see me.

Me: “I got them.”

Sister: “Them?”

I look between the dogs and the bag.

Me: “THEM.”

Stepdad: *Lightbulb moment* “You got FPs?”

Me: “It took three stores, but I got one box.”

Stepdad: “Oh, you are a f****** hero.”

We make our way into the kitchen where my mother joins in asking why I’ve shown up. The dogs, meanwhile, have mostly calmed down but are circling.

Stepdad: “She found FPs.”

Mom: “Seriously?! Oh, we’re gonna have happy puppies.”

She takes the lunchbox and attempts to stealthily unload the contents into the freezer as it took me some time to get to the house and they must refreeze.

Sister: “Wait, did you get the PB flavor?”

Me: “Beggars can’t be choosers, but yeah.”

Sister: “Oh, very happy puppies.”

Of course, then the dogs started losing their minds all over again because they caught sight of what Mom was unloading, and they proceeded to park their butts in front of the freezer and start up their Frosty Paws crying.

Happy ending: they were over the moon when they finally received their icy treats.

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A Chip Off The Old Potato

, , , , , , , | Related | May 23, 2020

My four-year-old grandson is lying on the couch, popcorn at hand, eyes glued to his favorite Disney movie.

I walk in, see him, and say, “You’re the original couch potato.”

He replies, “Nuh-uh.”

“You’re not the original couch potato?”

“No.”

“Then who is?”

He points to his grandfather on the other couch and says, “Papa is.”

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Mary, Mary, Contrary AF

, , , , , | Related | May 22, 2020

A few years ago, my mother, younger brother, and I lived with my great-grandmother while we were between houses. We would sit with her in the living room and read or watch television so that she wasn’t lonely. Her son who had lived with her had died, and she needed someone to “take care of.” We would cook her meals and clean the house.

Her daughter, Mary, lived next door. This woman was the passive-aggressive mother from sitcoms. She would come over and make snippy comments about lint on the floor or crumbs on the tablecloths.

One day, she started cursing me out because the blanket on the back of the couch was crooked. She would vacuum and sweep every time she came over and loudly boast about all the polishing, waxing, laundry, and mopping she had done at her house that day.

My brother and I are half-siblings — same mother, different fathers — so she would tell stories about meeting someone at church like, “She’s one of those kinds of women, you know? Where her kids have different last names than her.”

Once, her three-year-old grandson called me the N-word, only to be shushed by his father, and she would complain about “Messicans” that lived up the road. I put up with it because I loved my Granny and knew that she wasn’t going to be around much longer, as she was in her mid-nineties at the time.

My grandfather, one of Granny’s sons and Mary’s brother, handled her money. He left on a trip and went grocery shopping before he left. Four or five days after he left, Mary came over at nine in the morning and started b****ing and banging things around. “This table looks like there’s been a kindergarten class here!” Then, she opened the fridge. “You don’t have no milk at all? [My Grandfather] had a hunnerd dollars of grocery money but he didn’t get you no d*** groceries!”

Remember: my grandfather had gone shopping almost a week before this, and, with four people in the house, the jug was understandably near-empty.

Fed up, I stormed into the kitchen. “It’s. Just. Milk. You don’t have to scream at the top of your lungs! I’m done putting up with you!” I left the room with her telling me, “Your a** can go to h***!”

My mother called my grandfather and basically told him that his sister had lost her d*** mind and that he needed to come home. While we were packing, she found Mary in the kitchen and told her that we were taking care of her mother, when she lived thirty steps away, and that she had no right to insult me the way she had for the past year.

Mary started banging a broom handle on the kitchen table, beginning to brag about times she had bought Granny apple juice or chicken dinners, “at my expense! at my expense!” in an effort to change the subject.

Mary, if you or anyone in your family ever reads this, f*** you. F*** your racist, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted child and grandchildren. I am so much more than any of you will ever be.

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Anyone Else’s Teeth Hurt?

, , , , , | Related | May 21, 2020

Dad: “What are these?”

Me: “Pistachios without the shell.”

Dad: “The shell is the best part!”

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So Much For No Child Left Behind

, , , , , | Related | May 19, 2020

In the late 1990s, my dad and step-mom decide to take a vacation to Mexico and take me. I am about seven or eight at the time and I am excited. I have barely ever been out of the state, and many kids at my school have gone overseas or to fancy destinations. I don’t have a passport, so my single mom takes the time to get one and update me on vaccinations, and also to give me my own spending money.

Fast-forward to the night she drops me off. My step-sister, who is ten years older than me, her boyfriend, and her best friend are also coming. They are not at the house, which I think is weird. My step-mom has to work until eleven, so I knew she wouldn’t be there.

Dad: “Okay, let’s get your stuff in the car.”

He starts loading everything.

Me: “Is everyone else’s stuff already in the car?”

Dad: “Sure is. Let’s go. We have to go by your grandma’s to drop something off.”

We drive about twenty minutes to his mother’s house. When we get there, he starts unloading my stuff. This upsets me a bit because I didn’t know the “something” we were dropping off was me!

Dad: “Okay, here is all of her stuff. We will be back in ten days. Her mom is out of town, too. She told me that I couldn’t take her, but she didn’t tell me until we had paid for everything. I appreciate this. I know it’s a hassle.”

I should make it clear that I am the oldest grandchild, but between her and my other grandmother, they constantly argue over who will have me. This is never a hassle for her. In fact, my grandma is acting like she hit the lottery. I seldom stay with her because she still works full-time and my grandfather isn’t a great babysitter because he has no rules.

I spend ten days at her house, in an area with no other children and with the same toys that have always been at her house. I’m bored, so I decide to take out my disposable camera and take pictures outside because we are in a rural area.

Me: “Grandma, I can’t find my camera. Have you seen it?”

Grandma: “Sweetie, why would you need a camera to come to stay with me?”  

Me: “Uh, it was for the beach?”

Grandma: “Sweetie, your dad said he told you weeks ago you couldn’t go. Maybe your mom decided not to pack it.”

Me: “No, she definitely did. I didn’t know I wasn’t going until I go here.”

Grandma: “Maybe you just forgot. Well, we can call your mom and ask— Oh, wait, didn’t she go out of town?”

Me: “Yeah, she went with her sister somewhere.”

Cue my grandma calling my mom’s house, getting no answer, and then calling my aunt’s, where she also gets no answer. I never do find my camera, and strangely, when we go to the store, I notice my tiny wallet is empty of my seventy dollars worth of spending money. My ten days are boring and bleak.

Right on schedule, my dad retrieves me and takes me back to his house. I notice that the little girl my step-sister babysits and takes nearly everywhere is at his house and is sunburned. I find out they took her.

Dad: “Okay, your mom will be here tomorrow after dinner. I just talked to her. There’s some serious traffic in North Carolina. She will get back too late to pick you up tonight.”

I pout in my room, wondering what I did to be left out. When my mom picks me up the next day, I have a bad attitude and won’t tell anyone goodbye. My step-mom is confused, and my step-sister and her boyfriend seem somewhat concerned. My dad decides to lie to my mom on the spot.

Dad: “She’s mad because I won’t let her prance around here in her new swimsuit all day long and do whatever she wants.”

My mom accepts this, but I am not giving in. I won’t talk to her, thinking she is in on it. When we get home and unpack, I find that my camera film has been developed and is in an album. Most of the pictures are of the water and beach, not of anyone on the trip. I also find a hideous green bathing suit with tags attached that is not mine. None of my money is anywhere. I go running to my mom.

Me: “I didn’t take these. Daddy took them! And my money is missing!”

Mom: “Well, did you lose it? And you know he likes cameras. Maybe he was just trying to help.”

I am fed up. I am tired of being punished for no reason.

Me: “Mom, I didn’t go on the trip! He took me to Grandma’s as soon as you were out of sight! I’m not sunburned. I always sunburn no matter what. He took [Little Girl my step-sister babysits], not me!”

My mom calls and my dad is adamant that I went and I am lying. Curious, she calls my grandma, who says my dad told her that my mom refused to let me go that far. My dad then changes the story to say I was so sick he was afraid to take me.

My mom doesn’t buy it and calls my step-mom, who tells her that my dad fed her the same line about me not being allowed to go.

When the dust settles, my dad admits he was mad at me for not agreeing to come live with him so he wouldn’t have to pay child support anymore.

Mom: “I should have known that he would do this. If he had told the truth, you could have come with me. I went to Six Flags with your aunt and cousins because I thought you were going to have fun!”

Surprisingly, she still made me visit with him. After that, things were better, and I was never left behind again.

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