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October 16th, 2009

I’m assuming that my Mom doesn’t get in here to read the blog, since I have neglected to mention my URL, my blogging alias, and come to think of it, the names of several of my books.

I am sure, if my parents find out that their little girl has just written “Seducing a Stranger”

(on sale at eharlequin and Kindle November 1st!)

Thanksgiving will be even longer and more awkward than it usually is.

And I doubt that, even with the computer turned on access to Google, and someone else doing the typing, she would be able to find me. So I’m counting on you all to keep your mouths shut, should you run into a little old lady who looks kind of like a grey haired question mark wearing a straw hat, and who wants to talk to you about her daughter the author.

Pretend you don’t know me. Please. I beg you.

But it is my Mom’s tendency to ‘look for things’ (other than me, of course) that is causing a problem right now. She thinks she is sorting through her possessions and “Cleaning the house”. But mostly, she is moving the contents of the house from room to room, splitting up things that belong together and bringing things to the surface that should have stayed buried, in the hopes of donating them to a church rummage sale because

“They are still good, yet.” She is convinced, like many children of the depression, that any piece of clothing with two threads hanging together can be used for rags, for quilting, or perhaps as a donation to poor people in Russia.

Mom, the cold war has been over for a long time now. The Russians are our friends. And as far as I know, they are not all legally blind. What did they ever do to you, that you want to give them my olive and purple houndstooth coat from 1967. It’s time has passed. Throw it out.

My mother recently announced that a nice man who got their address off a radio swap and shop program (mom was selling some canning jars) had come into the house, bought all my father’s vintage fishing tackle for $40 and had offered her $10 for Grandma’s pickle crock.

She didn’t take it, thank God. But I am worried. I am an only child, and was under the impression that, if anyone was going to loot the estate, it would be me.

Since the estate consists mostly of stockpiled Ivory soap, store brand cream of mushroom soup and fine dinnerware rewashed and saved after visits to the McDonald’s drive thru, the pickin’s are slim. And when you add to this, the fact that the house is about one step from a Discovery channel special on hoarding, retrieving those slim pickin’s is not a job for the faint of heart.

There is a chance that, sometime, they will have to move out of that house, for health or safety reasons. The easiest way to clean it would be with a bulldozer, or a match. Although first impulse is always to grab everything and cart it away, this is not the easiest way to get around someone who, let us be honest, has been more than half a bubble off true for at least 35 years. If I were to grab the garbage bags and the rubber gloves, and haul 80% of her possessions to the curb (where, trust me, they belong) it would likely send her into full blown psychosis.

So I am making irregular visits to the house, announcing that I would like:

the 2 percolators with no cords, the rusty plant stand with the loose wheels, the pile of papers in the envelope labeled “Mostly junk” (like it is ever a good idea to store paperwork in the “Mostly junk” file)
The bottle sterilizer from 1961…

No. Don’t sell that, Mom. No one sterilizes bottles anymore. They just don’t. Seriously mom. It’s 47 years old. People who love their children would never… NO!

I’ll put it on Ebay for you. OK?
Or Craigslist.
FROM HELL.
Along with your pressure cooker. Dear God in heaven, do not try to sell a pressure cooker. In theory, if the gaskets are all right, they are not dangerous. But coming out of your house, I know it is older than the bottle sterilizer, and I am not so sure.

I could not manage, on the last visit, to talk her out of the deep fat fryer. She insisted she might ‘use it again’.

The image of my mother, hunched over a kettle of hot oil is something that I cannot contemplate until I find that bottle of tranquilizers I was clutching after my last visit home.