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Like Searching For Your Glasses When You’re Not Wearing Them

, , , , , | Related | September 10, 2021

My mother is the type that claims she needs a cup of coffee a day to function; however, she also has a mildly annoying habit of putting her cup down somewhere around the house and completely forgetting about it. Sometimes, she’ll remember it again hours later and go hunt it down. Other times, either I or my dad will stumble upon it and ask her about it. This particular event involves the latter. It is late afternoon on a weekend.

Mom: “[My Name], have you seen my coffee today?”

Me: “No? Not since you made it this morning, at least.”

Mom: “D***, I swear I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find it.”

There’s a pause as we look at each other.

Me: “Fine, I’ll help you look for it.”

Mom: “Thank you!”

We both spend a good chunk of time roaming around the house looking for her mug. My dad even joins in for a bit, but we have no luck finding it at all and my mom is completely bummed out.

Mom: “Well, this sucks! That mug was a gift from [Best Friend]. I really liked it.”

Dad: “At least we know it’s in the house somewhere.

Fast forward about an hour. I decide to warm up some leftovers for dinner. I open up the microwave, and I think you can guess what I find.

Me: *Yelling* “Mom! I found your stupid mug!”

Mom: “What? Where?!”

Me: “You left it in the microwave.”

Mom: “Oh.”

Turned out, she had already forgotten and remembered it once that morning. She’d gone to rewarm it but got sidetracked before she could even turn the microwave on. She, of course, promptly forgot about it again along with exactly where she had left it, leading us on a wild goose chase around the house for it. Every time I see her poking around the house for coffee now, I can’t help but tell her, “Don’t forget the microwave!”

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There Goes Mom Again, Setting Impossible Standards

, , , , , | Related | September 9, 2021

My mom has a short temper and is really easily irritated by anything she sees as incompetence. I’ve pretty much stopped volunteering to help with chores, because the more I do, the higher the chance is that something won’t go perfectly and I’ll get yelled at.

One day, I go to the store to do some shopping of my own. Because I don’t learn well from experience and I sometimes speak without thinking, I also ask my mom if there’s anything she needs. She tells me she needs ink for her printer, so I write down the printer’s details and head out. 

At the store, I find a box of ink that says it’s suitable for Mom’s printer, but I’m wary of bringing back the wrong thing and getting in trouble for it. I take a picture of the box and text it to my stepdad — Mom still only has a flip phone — asking him to show it to Mom and confirm that it’s the right ink. He texts back that she said yes, so I buy the ink and head home. I put away my own shopping and give Mom the ink. She heads back to the spare room where the printer is and comes back out a few minutes later.

Mom: “This is knockoff ink! It’s the wrong brand! How could you not realize that?!”

I didn’t know the brand mattered, as long as it worked with the printer, so I hadn’t even checked the brand. More importantly, I KNEW that I might not recognize the ink Mom wanted, which is WHY I ASKED FOR CONFIRMATION.

Me: “There must have been a miscommunication somewhere. I wasn’t sure whether that was the right ink, so I sent [Stepdad] a picture and asked him to show it to you. He said you said it was right. You didn’t?”

Mom: “Yeah, but I was busy! I didn’t look at it! I just said yes, and now we’ve got this stuff that probably won’t even work in my printer!”

Yes, “probably”. She hasn’t even tried it yet. She stomps back to the printer, puts in the cartridge, prints a test page, and then stomps back out.

Mom: “See?! It didn’t print right! How could you think this was the right ink? I noticed it was wrong as soon as I looked at it!”

If that were true, none of this would have happened! But she’s right that the page didn’t print right. I still don’t believe that this is entirely my fault, but I accept that the ink is wrong and I’m scrambling to make things right, offering to go back and get the right ink, to pay for both, whatever she wants. Then, my stepdad goes to look at the printer. I’m upset enough by this point not to remember the details, but he points out that the ink cartridge was, in fact, not installed correctly. He fixes it and prints another test page, which comes out perfect. Mom goes back to the spare room again to print out whatever she needed the ink for.

Me: “So, summing up: I bought ink that will work with the printer. Mom didn’t tell me she wanted a specific brand, confirmed it was right without looking at it, and put it in wrong.”

Stepdad: “Yep.”

Me: “Ten bucks says somehow this is still my fault.”

Stepdad: “No bet.”

A few minutes later, Mom comes back out into the living room to chastise me some more, even though at this point it’s clear that a) there is absolutely nothing wrong and b) we only THOUGHT there was something wrong because she couldn’t be bothered to look at the picture I texted her or at the ink cartridge’s instructions. How does her lecture start?

Mom: “[My Name], you’ve got to pay more attention!”

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When Veggies Are Involved, You Do What You Gotta Do

, , , , , , | Related | September 9, 2021

My aunt used to run an in-home daycare. One day, my two youngest brothers, both under the age of seven, were refusing to finish their lunches. One didn’t want to eat his vegetables and the other didn’t want to eat the rest of his sandwich. My aunt told them that they couldn’t leave the table and go back to playing with the other kids until their food was gone and went back into the kitchen to clean up.

While she was starting on the dishes, my brothers swapped plates and ate each other’s leftovers. My aunt figured it wasn’t worth preparing more food and fighting them on it, so she let them go. To this day, I admire their problem-solving.

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One Person’s Trash Is Another Person’s Trick

, , , | Friendly | CREDIT: Internal_Use8954 | September 9, 2021

I moved to this neighborhood about a year and a half ago. I am too cheap to buy new for the most part, so I upcycle and refinish most of my furniture. I do this mostly in my garage, but any spraying I do in the front yard on the mulch.

Most of the neighbors have stopped at some point to welcome me or talk about my projects. A few asked if I take orders. I told them I do, and at a pretty low cost because I don’t do professional quality, but it would have to wait a little bit as I wanted to finish my personal projects first. [Neighbor] across the street asked at one point, and when I gave her my answer, she sort of sniffed and said, “Fine.” That was about a year ago.

A few months ago was the yearly large trash pickup where you can put almost anything on the curb and the city will take it to the dump for you. It’s a great time to pick up new pieces. [Neighbor] had a pile of actually trashed items out. But as I was working in the garage, I saw her lug a console/entry table to the curb. It looked beat up but not broken, and it was one of the pieces I was actually looking for.

I headed over to check it out. It was pretty beat up as I suspected, the finish was scratched to h***, and a pet had chewed one of the legs, but it was a solid piece

Me: “Can I have this?”

Neighbor: “Of course!”

I got my dolly and stashed it in my garage.

It sat in the garage for a few months, but last weekend, I stripped and sanded the piece down and fixed the damage.

Today, I got it out and painted it in the front yard. I’m pretty happy with how it’s going to turn out. Just as I was finishing putting away all the tools and paint, [Neighbor] came marching across the street. I thought she would just admire it, as people like seeing their old trash transformed.

Neighbor: “I’ve decided that I don’t want to give you this table, so I’m going to come get it when it’s done drying.”

Me: “No, you gave it to me, it’s mine, and I’ve put in a fair amount of time and money to refinish it.”

Neighbor: “But it’s miiinnnne! You stole it from me! And I want it back.”

Me:No. It’s now mine. If you want it back, it will be $150.”

Neighbor: “But it’s trash now; you ruined it. I thought you were going to refinish it.”

Me: “Then why do you want it back? And I like it like this; any other refinishing would have taken too long and cost too much.”

Neighbor: “Fine, if you want to keep it, I’ll take $200 for it so I can buy a new one.”

Me: “No, you said I could take it from your trash pile. I even asked you before taking it; it’s mine now.”

Neighbor: “I’ll just come take it while you sleep!”

I usually leave pieces in the yard overnight to dry.

Me: “Fine. I guess I’ll just take it inside now.”

I then grabbed the leg of the table and proceeded to drag it into the garage. [Neighbor] reached out to stop me but recoiled once she realized it was still wet. I pulled it in and waved at her with my now paint-covered hand as the door closed.

It was a bit petty, and my hand is covered in paint — spray paint so it doesn’t come off easily — and I’ll have to redo the leg, but it was worth the look on her face.

Thinking back, I think this might have been her plan all along: get me to take it refinish it and demand it back.

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Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s Already Forty!

, , , , , , | Related | September 8, 2021

My parents got divorced when I was ten and both remarried soon after. My mom married a man several years younger than her. By coincidence, the wedding was two weeks shy of her fortieth birthday, and he joked that he’d scheduled it for that date because “I wasn’t gonna marry a forty-year-old!”

Several years after that, Mom got really into genealogy. She was adopted as a baby and was never particularly interested in finding her birth parents, but as she was researching her family, she did find records related to her adoption.

In particular, she found out that in our state, at the time she was adopted, kids got a whole new birth certificate when they were adopted. She’d been given a new name, new parents, and a new birthday — the day on which her adoption was formalized. With a little more digging, she found her original birth certificate, which showed that she was roughly three weeks old when she was adopted and, therefore, was roughly three weeks older than she’d thought she was. She’d turned forty the week before her wedding.

We still tease my stepdad sometimes about how he married a forty-year-old after all. Since he’s now in his fifties and happily married to a sixty-year-old, it doesn’t seem to bother him much.

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