My mother. What a piece of work. Every two weeks, Her Royal Roundness squeezes herself behind the wheel of her trusty 4-door steed and tools off to get her acrylic fingernails re-applied. I have never understood her obsession, her willingness to drop $40 odd bucks a month on what looks like cheap guitar picks pasted onto her wrinkled Vienna sausages.

I’m starting to think it has less to do with fingernails, and more to do with having another person rub her hands and fuss over her for a half hour (or however long it takes). I’m starting to think this whole fake nail thing is the equivalent of a Catholic massage. Anything involving nakedness and scented oils, well, that would be positively Protestant.

Woman, you could put that money in your grandchildrens’ college funds. You could donate it to charity. You could buy a lifetime’s supply of chili, sauerkraut and Beano and let the battle rage inside your lower GI. But no. You have chosen to spend your money on something far less meaningful (and entertaining). You best start praying to the patron saint of acetone, for I sense that karma is whipping up a wicked-ass nail fungus with your name on it.


My hubby, if he knows anything, it’s how to put down the Diet Coke. To the tune of 24 stomach-eating cans a week. As a result, it’s not uncommon for him to tear the house off its moors with one of his primevil burps. It happens so often, in fact, that our 2 year-old son has taken to acknowledging these sonic acts of gastrointestinal anarchy by simply saying, “Nice.”

I’m not sure whether to laugh (it is funny, no?) or to be appalled that Little Lord Fauntleroy isn’t summoning the proper answer, as so clearly spelled out in the lift-the-flap book on manners I so responsibly bought for him at T.J. Maxx. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Why not teach your brute of a HUSBAND some manners?” Well, folks, that train has left the station. At this point in my life, I only take on the battles I know I can win.

All strategy aside, I see that I am losing ground as I write. It’s becoming clear that my son has inheirited this debilitating crudeness gene. The other night, the little guy farted. Respectable mother that I am, I said, “Now what do you say?” He replied, “Ta-daaaaa!” Ta-da, indeed.

Brown-eyed girl.

My mother has got me thinking about bungholes. She is in her mid 60’s, and let’s just say her unholy hole has seen better days.

She ties her shoes and she farts. Phhht. She sneezes and she farts. Phhht. She walks across the room and farts. Phhht phhht phhht phhht phhht. And she doesn’t even bother to call it. Even if she didn’t hear it, I would think that she certainly she felt it. Or smelt it.

I may be mortified, but I am not surprised. It makes sense that by this age, one’s sphincter would experience some slippage. I mean, imagine the waistband on your oldest pair of underwear. I suspect that’s what happens to one’s blowhole after pushing out 21,600 poops over the course of 60 odd years.

My husband and I made the mistake of sharing a hotel room with her when we attended my cousin’s wedding. While sleeping, she farted about every 30 seconds – no exaggeration. At first, my husband and I laughed. The kind of silent, lip-biting laugh in which your body just shakes. But as the stench descended upon us like a heavy, toxic fog, it became less amusing. When she woke up the next morning, she asked, “Did I snore?” My husband replied under his breath, “Yes. Out of your ASS.”

Don’t get me wrong. I got no hateration for those cursed with being loose of ass. I laugh out of fear, for there’s always the possibility that on my 60th birthday, I will wake up to discover that I have inheirited not two brown eyes, but three, from Rumbles herself.

Oscar calling.

“My voice… sounds… faaaaaaat.”

My sausage of a mother, after listening to the answering machine message that she had just recorded (which amounted to a sloppy recitation of, “Hi. I’m busy. Leave a message.”). And I’ll be damned if she wasn’t right.

This is the last in my mother trilogy. The demon has been exorcised. This house is clean.

The gift that keeps on giving.

My mother came to my house last weekend. Each of her visits bring a rush of mixed emotions. For I know that while she loves me, she loves herself more. And that is something no child should ever know. As I get older, it has become harder to love her. When I look back at my childhood, she played such a big part in so much of my sadness. And ironically, her selfishness was never more rampant than it was during the season of giving.

Growing up, our Christmases were filled with gifts of socks and underwear and maybe a pair of Sears Toughskins, each concealed in a haphazard mass of wrapping paper and Scotch tape, and individually placed underneath the tree. The things other kids got in their stockings or throughout the schoolyear were the things we got from Santa Claus. My mother would sit me and my brother down each December and assault us with her guilt-absolving monologue. “Christmas is going to be tight this year. Your father isn’t working. Just so you know.” Of course we knew. Kids always know. Once again, our Christmas would be filled with the reality of unemployement checks, money arguments broadcast through vents, and bricks of government cheese that always seemed to be on the top shelf of the fridge when a friend asked for a glass of milk.

My mom saw to it that we knew our minimalist holidays were a result of my dad being laid off each winter. The hardest part wasn’t in knowing my friends were unwrapping Cabbage Patch Dolls, Merlins, and Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shops while I was opening things that should’ve been placed in my drawers or hung in my closet on a Tuesday night after dinner. The toughest part was 9 o’clock at night. That was when all the TV Christmas specials ended. I’d lay on the floor by our artificial tree, its tarnished star bending obediently to the ceiling as multicolored lights flickered magical patterns onto the nicotine-stained walls. Through claymation and the hypnotizing drum beats of the CBS Special opening sequence, I was transported to a holiday wonderland where the other reindeer eventually quit teasing Rudolph and Santa was able to fulfill even the poorest child’s desire. On these nights, for an hour or two, I believed.

Surprisingly, I was wearing a bra before I admitted there was no Santa Claus. I thought if I gave him up, there’d no presents at all. As I got older, I learned that my grandparents (on my dad’s side) gave my parents $500 each Christmas to buy us presents. I’m not sure where the money went. It never ended up under the tree. Now that I’m an adult, I can look back and see how even through the winters, my mother never went without. She still went shopping every Monday, stashing her kill in the trunk of her car so no one would see it. Knowing that I have eaten egg salad sandwiches every lunch for an entire week so I could afford to buy my son organic milk, her selfishness overwhelms me. I spend too much time wishing she wasn’t like she is, and hoping I won’t ever become her. I look at her today, and I see her as she was, and is. As she furiously tries to make up for what the world has not given her, the things that it has are slowly slipping away.