Coffee: To make instant coffee, I put a mug of water in the microwave. [Break for Tangent A]
[Tangent A] Turning into my mother, Lindy: [Break for Tangent B]
[Tangent B] Turning into my mother is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve know her for very long time–I mean it seems like my whole life–and I have never met a person that disliked her. Most people love my mother because she is so amazing that if I told you how amazing she really is, you shouldn’t believe me. Therefore, I will only tell you about some of her semi-amazing qualities so that you don’t think I have had a schizophrenic break with reality. Hmm, I haven’t had much coffee and this is stream-of consciousness, so the organization will suck. Deal with it.
First, she is strong, and I believe our strengths are our weaknesses, so sometimes she is too strong for her own good. In no particular order: as a single mom of two kids, she made it a priority to be home when we were home from school so that she knew us and we knew her. She succeeded. Her personal philosophy includes,
I always learn the rules, and if I don’t like them, then I make up my own rules. And she does. She is the only person in the world known to have gotten an infection in the ventricle in her skull (it keeps the brain wet, but it is not part of the brain) and to survive.
Our strengths are our weakness though, so when she got sick, she refused to go to the hospital for a month. My sister finally forced her to go, and if my mom were not so sick, she would have been kicking and screaming. When the doctors treated her, they said it would take like six million years for my mom to recover, but she heard that rule and made up her own rule: she practically went home 18 minutes after the surgery. She made a full recovery and her case is famous to neurosurgeons.
She has the “entrepreneurial spirit”, which is a combination of qualities that most people admire individually and especially admire when one person has all of them. In the last 39 years, she has worked for someone else for a total of nine months. And she was home for us when we were kids and available whenever we wanted or needed her. With one exception. For my 12th birthday, one of my “presents” was that she taught me how to do my own laundry. Seriously, it was ON my birthday when she taught me how to use the machines.
She is insanely creative and artistic. Think of the most beautiful house you have ever been in. If my mom is having an off day, and her client only has a $14 budget, then her decorating will still look better than whatever you saw. She is so good at decorating (among many other creative talents) that she thinks anyone can do her job and she refuses to charge what she is worth.
She is brilliant. Unfortunately, she grew up at the wrong time as the wrong gender. As a baby boomer, girls were not yet considered smart, and her intelligence is what we now call “gifted”, but gifted programs didn’t exist until my generation. If she grew up in my generation, then her teachers would have been ecstatic to have her in their classes. But she was a girl before gifted programs, and she always came up with the right answer, but she found the answer the “wrong way”, so she was consistently berated. To this day, she says that she
thinks backwards or that she has
Lindy Logic. No matter how much evidence I show her, she refuses to believe me that she has an incredibly brilliant, sharp, rational mind. She thinks she is “right brained”, which is her code word for intuitive but not rational. But it’s crap: yes, she is creative and artistic, but she is also rational–under different circumstances, she could have been an electrical engineer or theoretical physicist or pretty much anything.
And our strengths are our weaknesses: she is so good at everything so she does everything–at the same time. If she wants some tea, she will put a mug of water in the microwave (remember the microwave?). But 100 seconds is a LOOOOOOOOONG time in my mother’s world. I mean, she could design an entire garden complete with statues and 14 fruit trees in that time. (Yes, she is a professional garden designer, too, and yes, she imports statutes, and yes, she has 38 plants that produce fruits and vegetables–in the 300 square foot porch area of her townhouse. It’s true, but too crazy to believe, so it’s ok if you don’t believe me.) So while the water is taking an eternity to warm up in the microwave, she will find some small task to do while she is waiting. And then another task. And then another. And then she will be thirsty and decide she wants some tea, so she will fill a mug with water, open the microwave to put the mug in there, and discover the first mug of water that has been there so long that it is now cold. She starts the microwave again, and repeats the process. My mom likes tea, but she doesn’t get to drink it very often because she is too good at getting distracted.
[End Tangent B]
Turning into my mother (cont.): After I put the mug of water in the microwave, I got the instant coffee, the sugar, the creamer, and a spoon, but the water was still heating, so I did a “mom”: I looked around and found something else to do while I waited. The microwave beeped before I finished the third task I was working on, but unlike my mother, I hear the microwave beep (she hates the noise, so she blocks it out), and when I am done with the task, I go back to the microwave to finish making my coffee.
[End Tangent A]
Coffee (cont.): At this point, I’ve only been awake for a short time, and I haven’t had any coffee, so my brain is not at 100%. But, damn, I’ve got it together this morning! I’ve got hot water in a mug, the coffee, the sugar, the creamer, and a spoon. I always scoop the sugar first because it is ok to get sugar in the instant coffee, but not cool to get instant coffee in the sugar. I get a spoon full of sugar and go to dump it into the mug–but I’ve lost the mug. I’m staring at the empty space on the counter; there should be a diamond of four objects: sugar, creamer, coffee, and mug. But I only see a triangle of sugar, creamer, and coffee. I’m holding a spoon full of sugar and staring at the counter as if the mug is camouflaged or as if I stare hard enough it will appear like the food-making machine in Star Trek. I almost said, “Water, hot, in a mug,” thinking it might appear.
I’m not sure how long I stood there wondering why I couldn’t dump the sugar into the mug, but it was much longer than I should have stood there. The mug was still in the microwave, but because I hadn’t drank any coffee yet, my brain forgot that I never took it out of the microwave. I finally remembered, and now I have coffee.
Final story, I do learn from my mistakes: I have ruined 619 computer keyboards and 74,299 pages of paper by spilling drinks. My current setup is a terrible place to try to work and have something to drink near me. But I recognized the danger, so I moved the nightstand close to the bed and facing the bed. It is so close to the bed, that I can only open the drawer just enough to place a mug of coffee in the drawer. I NEVER put a drink on top of the nightstand. If I were to do that, I should just save a step and pour the drink all over myself, my computer, the bed, the floor, and anything else nearby.
Today, after I finally solved the case of the missing mug of hot water, I put the coffee in the my coffee drawer and sat down. I slipped and hit the night stand very hard. The coffee sloshed all over but it didn’t spill! Success. Now I just need to figure out how to carry this nightstand in my backpack so I have it at my next destination.
I originally posted this on Facebook.