It’s been almost 12 years, and I still have trouble being frank with Chuck’s mom. Joyce has a habit of announcing her plans instead of asking if they’re ok, and when she calls I feel like I’m under some kind of sissy mindmeld. Maybe it’s because she only calls once every three months; I need more practice. Or maybe I need the book “Standing Up for Yourself When You’re Trying to Talk Your Mother-in-law Out of Visiting for Dummies.”
It sure would have come in handy last night.
Chuck started running a fever, and while I was pouring Tylenol down his throat I made the unfortunate mistake of picking up the phone. It was you know who.
When Joyce heard how frazzled I was she cried, “I’m coming right up!”
The thought of Chuck’s mom visiting at 10 p.m. turned me into a crazed chicken. You should have seen me whirling around the kitchen: Balk balk baaaaaaaalk! Balk balk balk bagaaaaaaaalk! She’d get Junior out of bed to play and she’d make me leave the house so she could have him all to herself. I’d be walking the streets of Mulletville all so she could bogart Junior. I’d probably get Mullet-jumped and end up lying in some alleyway.
I tried everything from “no thank you” to “that’s really not necessary” to “how nice, but maybe another time.” Nothing. I pulled out the big guns: “I have a contagious case of flesh-eating bacteria.”
The woman would not take no for an answer. So I chucked the phone at Chuck, who winced and slurred out a pain-bloated “nooooooooooooooo” (in response to her visiting, not me beating him again).
Did I mention Joyce is a nurse? (She actually had one of my relatives as a patient—on her psych ward—but that’s another post.) She prides herself in her medical know-how. She is Florence Nightingale.
When she realized she wasn’t, um, needed, she got all nursy on me.
“Chuck could have a fever from gangreneassitus. He could lose his sphincter if you don’t soak his left gluteus maximus in a prep bath of iodine and ¾ Crystal Light. Or if the fever is from peridontusbuttpox, you really should be monitoring the tubal ligation of his rear bowel. Sigh. If I were there…”
Chuck, drugged and writhing in pain: “Noooooooooooooooo.”
Turns out Chuck has the flu. The fucking flu. The sad part is, I’ve been licking his cups and using his toothbrush so I can get it. There’s a Project Runway marathon I’ve been dying to watch—even if I have to view it through the foggy haze of fever and vomiting.