Posts Tagged ‘mom


Things I thought I’d never have to say, Vol. 1

They came, and they went. (Pun intended.)

“No mom, I’m not in a kinky sex cult.”

And yet, here I was saying it to my mom, whose friends had told her horror stories about the Furries, and she was … well, concerned.

The Furries say "Hello."

Let’s back this up a bit. As every Pittsburgher knows, the Furries hold their annual gathering here. Seeing people walking around with anything from a tail to tail and ears to full-blown get-ups that include heads with blinking eyes and animatronic mouths that open and close and noses that wrinkle is fairly common. So, Furry Watching has become a new event for a lot of us. Go Downtown, take pictures of them or with them, and generally watch them do their thing and be amused.

This year was my first year going down, and I was with my buddy Chris, who is a veteran Furry watcher. And honestly, we had a great time. The Furries folks are generally very friendly, always willing to pose for a camera shot and, in general, seem to be having a great time. Chris and I managed to sneak in to watch the Furries parade, and also walked around to see the convention center — it was a blast. It was kind of eye-opening, too. I mean, there were like 1,000 Furries with full-bore costumes going on, and over 30,000 there in attendance. Never could believe that there would be so many people there, and that I would be down watching them. I guess they were the second largest convention this year, only trailing the NRA. (And truth be told, I’d rather have the Furries back than those NRA assholes who kept gridlocking traffic downtown.)

Flash forward a few weeks later, and it’s my nephew’s birthday party. I’m talking to my brother-in-law about the whole thing. We laugh as we always do. I think nothing of it.

About a week later is when I got the call. Mom explains that she overheard me saying that I went to see The Furries. I say yes. She then says, “I have a question to ask you,” and then goes on with the usual claptrap that surrounds the group. “My friend says that they’re nothing but a kinky sex cult, and there’s Furries porn, and that some defecate into litter boxes and have the hotel staff empty them” …. That’s when I started laughing. I explained to her that there is a sex side to it, but for the most part, it’s just people who like dressing up as animals. It goes a bit deeper for some, but just like any group, you have your casual folks and your hardcore obsessives. I also told her that while there is, indeed, Furries porn, there is also porn for just about everything else, including the Smurfs, Cinderella, and just about anything else one can imagine. She seemed satisfied and to understand what I was saying.

“But I still have to ask you something ….”

“No mom, I’m not in a kinky sex cult. I mean, if I were, I think I would be a little more discreet than to talk about it at my nephew’s birthday party.”

She laughed, and that was that.

I still have no idea of what kind of man my mom thinks she raised.


Same planet, different worlds

Mom called me the other day with another death update. She’s infamous for it. Anyone that she thinks I may have even remotely known, she calls me to inform me that they are now dead.

Mom: “Do you remember Mr. Pangrazi? She was grandma’s friend. You probably met her a couple of times.”
Me: “No mom, I don’t.”
Mom: “Oh. Well, she died.”
Me: “Wait a minute … what the hell time is it? Jesus mom, it’s 6am!”
Mom: “Well, I thought you’d like to know.”

So, it came as no surprise to me when I picked up the phone the other day and saw I had a voicemail. It was from mom. At like 7am (Bear in mind, I don’t get home from work until midnight, and I usually don’t get to bed until 3am). Apparently, one of my childhood friend’s grandfather had died, and there was a huge-ass obit in the paper about it because he was Mr. Uber Musician Extreme, playing multiple instruments and for all kinds of symphonies and various groups in the big band era.

I had to call her to discuss some other stuff, but invariably, she slid back to the obit. Did I know him? Was my friend musically inclined? Did he play any instruments? The interrogation ran for about 10 minutes. Mentally, I checked out after the first 10 seconds.

But after I hung up, I flashed back to a time when I was over at his house. And this had to be when I was in 6th grade. At any rate, something was going on — I think they were making homemade pizza for dinner — and  I think we were talking about ancestry. And I believe his mom proudly mentioned that they were related to Bach.

I told them I had no idea of who Bach was.

They all stopped, obviously stunned by my complete cluelessness.

“You don’t know who Bach is?” his mom said in disbelief.

“No. But I know who Bossk is, though.”


The meeting

I had every reason to fear Easter this year.

Cali was coming over for Easter dinner to meet the fam for the first time.

Mom had already flashed signs that she would do something incredibly embarassing. For example, in one of the pre-Easter interrogations,  I mentioned that Cali has Mexican ancestry. Mom’s first question? “Is she dark?”  Upon clutching my brow to that question, mom said something like:

“Part Mexican? How does that happen?”
“She’s from LA, mom.”
“You said she was from California.”
“Cause there are no Mexicans elsewhere in California?”
“Well, I don’t know!”

Yeah, I think I had reason to be a little afraid.

So the fateful day came, and  Cali came over. This was her first time at my house, and she was a bit disappointed that I didn’t actually live in a forest. (I kept telling her I didn’t, but she didn’t believe me.)  We then drove out to mom’s. On the way out, I showed her the sights that marked my childhood — the house we lived in when we first moved up from Florida, the pool we used to frequent in our youth, the various towns and places where relatives lived. Since she’s rarely crossed a bridge, this was a side of Western PA she hasn’t seen, so she kinda soaked it all in.

But as soon as we got there, we went to pet the dogs. Right then, my sister and her family showed up, and things went from 0 to 60 in 1.2 seconds.

And what followed was actually … pleasant.

Like my and Cali’s first date, I was expecting some bomb to drop. I figured mom would just blurt out “Mexican” at random intervals, or one of the younger nephews would do something that would result in migraine-inducing wailing.

But nope, nothing happened.

The fam dug Cali. Her reaction to the fam was “They’re normal. So where did YOU come from?”

She didn’t even flinch when my sister and I began talking about our childhood (I didn’t think Cali really believed me that my dad had a pig that he had slaughtered and fed to us until my sister and I tried to remember his name — Harry the Hog).

Nope. Everything went well. She enjoyed the patches. (Which I’ll post pictures of and the recipe for soon, for all you foodies.) We went for a short walk in Roaring Run afterward, since it was so nice out.

And, as you would expect, mom called me the next day to inform me that she “approved” of Cali, and that she was welcome over any time.

Of course, we all know what this will lead to next:

“So, when are you two going to get married?”


Chicken Lady uncaged

My mother is a marvelous woman. Truly. When I sit back and look at what she’s done — going from a housewife to a nurse to having more degree initials after her last name than in her last name (and there’s 6 letters there, folks) — that’s impressive. But on top of that, she was a single mom raising 2 kids while she did it. And my sister and I were both honor roll, non-troublemaking kids.

But while mom may be the embodiment of Superwoman, she does have a kryptonite — and it shows when I bring a woman home to meet her. Or actually, even if I just mention a woman that I’m dating. When I do that, she falls from confident grace and knowledge and suddenly develops the voice of the Chicken Lady from “Kids in the Hall.”

(If you’ve never seen it, here’s a clip.)

Now, see, the truth of the matter is my mom has been trying to marry me off since I was 18. If I mention a female name within earshot of her (and it’s not my sister’s name), it’s rapidly a Chicken Lady “oooOOOOOOhh! Is that someone I need to kNOOOOw about?”

For that reason, bringing a woman home is a move that I can’t consider lightly. And truth be told, I’ve only brought 2 women home to meet mom.

The first person is my good friend Purplecar, back in the early 1990s. She didn’t have a schwanky online handle then, but did have ongoing problems with her fiance and problems at school and just needed to get away from it all. Break was coming up, so I asked mom if she could come out to the house (which was in the sticks). “Oooooooh! Sure ThiIIIINg.” I was doomed.

So, at dinner, they were chatting, and Purple said jokingly, “Well, yeah, if things fall through, I’ll just marry [Three].” Mom replied, “That’d be fine. You’d make a great daughter in law.” Purple had no idea of what hell she had just unleashed upon me. For the next few months, anytime that I spoke to mom, it was “So how’s [Purple]? Is there anything happening between you two?” “No mom, she was just kidding with you.” “OoooooooH!”

The next was Coroner Girl, who I dated for about a year in the 2001-02 era. There was no real mom drama that time around, but grandma, on the other hand, remarked on her job (forensic photographer) by saying, “Your job is easy. The people don’t move.” Thanks Grams. Oh, and the Nephew No. 2 jammed his hands in her pockets, for whatever reason. Smooove.

So here we are, in 2009. Cali and I have been getting along swimmingly. It feels very natural between us. The other day, she remarked that she was going to have to go to a surgery on Easter night (she’s in med school, and has to watch these things when she can). My family eats Easter Dinner around noon, so I asked her if she wanted to come along. We are going to have a family meal called “Patches,” which is basically Shanty Irish depression-era food. (Ham, potatoes, and dough rolled flat, boiled and cut into square “patches” — served almost like a stew. I’ll take pics and post later.)

But I gave Cali the warning before she answered: “Mom will think of you as her daughter-in-law as soon as you step foot on the property. And she will turn into the Chicken Lady when she talks to you.”

I think this piqued Cali’s curiousity — surely he’s joking. Surely, it won’t be as bad as he’s describing. Surely, he’s just overexaggerating.

No, I’m not.

In fact, I told Cali that I wasn’t even going to tell mom about her existence until about 2 weeks before Easter, because otherwise, anytime I spoke to mom until Easter, I would receive the Spanish Inquisition.

But mom called today, and brought up Easter plans. I was tired. I wasn’t thinking.

I told her that I was bringing a guest.

Here’s how that went down.

Mom: OooooooH! Is this someone I need to kNOOOOOOW about?
Me: She’s a girl I’m dating. Don’t get all worked up.
Mom: OooooooH! I wONNNNNn’t. So tell me about hEEEER.
Me: She’s younger than me. In med school. From California.
Mom: OooooooH! Have you really METTTT her?
Me: What? Uh, yeah. She’s going to med school HERE, mom.
Mom: OooooooH! That’s nIIIIICe.
Mom: Does she know I used to be a nUUUUURse?
Me: Yes mother, she knows.
Mom: Well, this is exCIIIIIIIITing! I can’t wait to tell your sIIIIIIISter.
Me: Jesus, mom, it’s just dinner. Don’t freak.
Mom: OooooooH! I’m gonna have to really clean the hOOOOOOUSe now that [Cali] is coming oVVVEr.
(and for the record, mom’s house on a bad day destroys 90-percent of America’s houses on a good day. She cleans from top to bottom daily.)
Me: Mom, don’t worry about it. She’s very laid back. She won’t care.
Mom: Got aLOOOOT of work to do. Yes. Yes. A lot of wOOOOORRRRk to do!
Me: Well, on that note, I’ll talk to you later.

*hangs up phone*
*Pause to reflect on what just happened*

Me to self: What the fuck did I just do?


The road to hell …

We all know that saying — “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Today, I am living it.

I decided for mom’s Christmas and birthday gift to basically build her a new computer and have her join the modern age. And wow, the experience has been epitome of “fiasco.”

Mom’s rig was my old computer, which was pretty cool back in like, oh, maybe 1996. We’re talking a 366 celeron processor, maybe like a whopping 128 megs of RAM and like a 16g hard drive. OK, I’m a nerd and I tee-hee’d while typing that all out — but you old timers, I’m sure, remember those e-Machines from Circuit City. Whel-hel-hel-hell, that sucker is still kickin’. And it’s still running Windows 98. And it’s all original parts — except for the RAM upgrade. I think it originally came with 64 megs. Tee-hee!

Im afraid I cant let you do that, Three.

I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Three.

Now, I’m not a tech, but I’m generally pretty handy with computers and can generally get to where I want to be without a major struggle. I mean, I built my rig from the ground up — 3.6g x2 Athlon, ASUS motherboard, 500g HD (cause my old 60g crapped out on me), 3g of RAM, rockin’ videocard — all in a sleek black HAL case (for all you “2001 Odyssey” fans). It’s stable, it’s fun, it’s everything I need with chips and salsa on the side. Mmm. Chips and salsa. Man I wish Iguana Grill would open back up. I miss that place.

So, the original plan was to basically rebuild my old Compaq and give her that. Except, for whatever reason, the motherboard completely died on me. I had already ordered an 80g HD for it, so, no biggie … I figured I’d just get a new motherboard, throw that into a new case and we’re good to go.

But instead of listening to my instincts — I opted to cheap out and get her some lesser quality parts (cause, you know, it’s not like she’s playing Warcraft all day into the wee hours of the morning — she’s typing e-mails and stories, and watching the occasional wacky video or e-card). What’s the result so far? Motherboard — DOA. $15 Power Supply — alive, surprisingly. Sleek white cheapy case has blue ground effects. Why? I don’t know. But I’m sure mom will be rockin’ with it.

I have yet to send the motherboard back to NewEgg (don’t worry, I still love you NewEgg) — so in the meantime, I bascially threw her old rig into the new case and decided to install XP on the new HD since I know she doesn’t have anything backed up.


If I ever do that again with such a painfully slow machine, someone shoot me in the face. Really.

Just catching XP up-to-date with the Service Packs and various security fixes took ALL FREAKIN’ DAY. And by ALL FREAKIN DAY, I do, infact, mean ALL FREAKIN’ DAY.

Of course, as I type this, I have about 5 different options clanging around in my head. “Oh, I should just take everything out of the case, put it back into the old case, and then when the new motherboard comes in, reinstall everything at my leisure and present it to her.”

That would make sense. Why didn’t I do that 8 hours earlier?

Christ on a pony. Someone get me a beer. I’m going back in …

And she better freakin’ like it when all’s said and done — that’s all I’m sayin’.

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