Monday, June 3, 2013

Eggs and Exes

Humidity sinks down the back of my neck and presses my shirt to damp skin but some things are more important than air conditioning, like making nice with my mother-in-law.

Which is a trial.

So I take a shallow breath of fetid air, toss two pair of navy blue polyester pull-on pants into the red texas clay at the side of the clapboard house, and grind my heel into the fabric.

"Ya got the laundry?" Asks Bubba shuffling onto the porch and scratching his belly. "Mom's making dinner."

Oh Joy. I remember the last time Anne cooked. Canned chili, which is fine, but I watched her add eggs and lard to the pot and my tolerance for new and interesting food shot to an all-time low. I wonder if I should pack an orange.

"Hey," Bubba watches me lift the pants and shake the excess dirt into the drive. "You don't like Mom's gift?"

I study the sturdy elastic waist and shake my head. "Not exactly."

He snickers and I laugh. For six months we've gone to Anne's house for Sunday dinner and for six months I've tried to wear out the knees of these pants but polyester is impervious to damage. Annoyed, I toss them into the laundry and load the basket into the back seat of the pickup. "I'll drive."

"I don't think so," Bubba grips the keys and climbs into the cab, "you'll ruin the tires running over curbs."

I set my chin and ignore him, which is easy, because blue bonnets, poppies and buffalo grass undulate along the side of the road. Sun blazing across my cheeks I prop bare feet on the dash and drift asleep.

Before Bubba can set the break, Anne lowers the tail gate and hauls out the laundry. "Like the pants?"

"They're perfect for work." I say, but instead of calling me on a lie she grins and jerks her chin toward the house. "We've been paintin. Think you can climb up there and finish that bit below the eaves?"

I peer at the house. An eight by four is suspended across a pair of ten penny nails. "Not exactly." I say.

"Well, maybe after dinner. We're having chili." She plants her hands on ample hips and studies me out of the corner of her eye. "Hungry?"

Well shit. I study my options and decide death is preferable to dinner. "Tell you what," I say, "You save me an extra yeast roll and some of the beef steak tomatoes from the garden and I'll finish painting."

"Well that's nice." She says but when she turns to Bubba, and gives him a broad wink, I know I've been played.

Damned Texans.

32 comments:

  1. It's great to see you back here! I was wondering where you were. Dandy piece of writing- I think polyester has an even longer half life than the plastic bottles water comes in.

    We Texans are hard to figure out!

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  2. Thanks Shelly. I lived all over the state and love Texans, chicken fried steak, light as air yeast rolls and deep welcoming laughter but I never got over that doctored can of chili.

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  3. Well at least they weren't the only ones doing the playing! Man, I hate polyester pants .. and mother-in-laws. My ex mil was downright evil.

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    1. Yep, I've got almost as much material from that marriage as I have from this one. It is such a pleasure to see your smiling face. Hang on, I'm gonna pop on over.

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  4. She sounds like an interesting MIL, and quite opposite from mine. Of course, anything one writes on the internet leaves electronic footprints, so I'll simply shut up now.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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    1. You have an ear for music and a politicians gift for family affairs. Enjoy the day Joyce.

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  5. ewww wanted to puke with that visual of the lard in the chilli...eeeeeeewwwwww Crisco??? :) those Texans ARE tricky! (love that picture)

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    1. From the woman with the frog. Seriously that photo of your granddaughter and Mr. Toad is a scream. You have a way with the lens!

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  6. Golly sakes ma'am, I've sure missed the piss outta you!
    Love this story and imagine it is the gospel. Them there Texans are real good at gittin' what they're aneedin'...

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    1. Thanks Jo, I've tried to be good by keeping my computer time down to an hour a day but dang if I didn't get bored.

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  7. what! That story cracks me up. SOunds like it's right out of a novel from a century ago:)

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    1. Hi Kerry, love that blog of yours and why do our damned men like to kiss fish?

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  8. Polyester might survive the apocalypse so good luck with wearing out the knees! And EW to adding lard to canned chili! I'd have painted the house instead too. Such a funny story - I love it!

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    1. Ye-ah, polyester and lard doctored chili are right up there with naugahyde and MD 20-20. Thanks for the visit Kristi.

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  9. This is so well written and the visuals are really good--maybe too good when it comes to the chili...eggs AND lard thrown in? Oh gawd I would have instantly become the Picasso of house painting at this point!

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    1. I'm living inside myself and I can't get out. Great line M&M, I'm still laughing.

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  10. That was a great story! I could see and hear it all happening.
    Nice job!

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    1. Thanks Pat. I enjoyed the cool pics of the fish bowl near Kingman Az.

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  11. So Good! It's part of a book right? So I can buy it and read it some day-because I would, and I'm a big time reader but very picky.

    I'm so very glad you're back! I missed your stories : )

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  12. Nah, but someday I'm going to mine my dysfunctional exes weird and wild family history and then I'm going straight to Hell on the Greyhound Bus. I missed you too.

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  13. Thanks for visiting my blog. This is "real writing" I don't see much of that, anymore.

    Manzanita
    Wanna buy a duck

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    1. Thanks Manzanita, I'm the worst judge of my own writing so I appreciate the boost.
      I have a few wild mallards nesting in the back yard or I would wanna buy a duck. Nice blog you have there.

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  14. Very good, keep at it, your writing improves more every time.

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  15. Okay was this really your MIL or just in your head? if it was for real you need to hurt Bubba. Bad. Real bad.

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    1. Yep Bubba was a bad decision I kept for a decade. But oh the stories :)

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  16. oh, Yeah! You're back! With another awesome story

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    1. Maybe this time I wont be so computer addicted :)

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  17. still funny, kelly..... great writing, as usual... :)

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    1. Thanks Daphne, that means a lot coming from you.

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  18. Kelly dear. You put a smile on my face every time I read your post. Living in Houston from time to time gives me a small look at the glories of Texans. Got to love them (or they may shoot you).

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    1. Texas provides a lot of entertainment but Bubba won't sit in front of plate glass windows cause he's afraid someone will shoot him. I always wondered why.

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