Unedited Excerpt of Pulled in Again, sequel to Big Trouble!
HOUSTON! Had I just heard my mother correctly? She had just informed us that we not only had to go to a funeral in Houston but me and Jackie had to stay down there afterwards and get our second cousin once removed or some such nonsense house cleared up and ready for sell.
“Mama, what did you just say?” I asked my mother in disbelief. This is what I get for having Sunday dinner with my family at my parents’ home; I should have stayed at home and had my own dinner in my own house.
“Well you know your cousin Roberta’s husband just died and we need to go down there for the funeral and she’s too old to do the work herself so I told her you and Jackie would stay down there and help her.” My mother stated as if what she had just signed us up for without first asking was how you treated your adult daughters.
The entire dining room had gone quiet waiting to see how this would play out and there was a huge audience since all my brothers and sisters were all there with their corresponding spouses and adding mama and daddy that made sixteen counting myself. Everyone’s eyes were going back and forth between me who sat at one end to the left of my daddy who sat at the head of the table, Jackie who was somewhere in the middle on my side and to my mama who sat all the way at the other end opposite of daddy.
“Why didn’t you ask us first?” Jackie asked quietly but I could tell she was upset.
“I don’t see what the big deal is; we’re family and family helps when another family member is in need.” Mama replied in the most innocent of tones.
“Then why didn’t’ you volunteer yourself?” Jackie challenged
My mother looked at Jackie as if she had just sprouted another head. “ Me? My mother asked indignantly. It’s too hot down there for me! I’m going to the funeral then getting right back on the plane and coming back!” She said then took another drink of lemonade from her glass.
I glanced over at Jackie and I could practically see the steam rising from her ears. I would love to say I couldn’t believe what my mother just said but in fact I could. This was my mother, Patricia Isaacs the queen of entitlement.
“We barely know these people and you expect us to not only go to the funeral but to clean up their house too!” Jackie’s voice was starting to sound shrill; if this went on much longer she would be crying and screaming at the same time. And my mother would ignore her and pass it off as a “Jackie moment”. I had to step in and say something since not one of my loving family members would come to our rescue and that included Tony, my husband, Michael, Jackie’s husband or Daddy. The wimps!
“Uh Mama; doesn’t Roberta have children or even grandchildren that can help her? And why does she need her house cleared up anyway?” I asked trying to interject calmness back into the situation though I was just as ticked off as Jackie, I just wasn’t as emotional.
“Yes she does have two daughters but they have to work and I didn’t ask about her grandchildren, she mentioned she didn’t know how she was going to get it done and I thought of you two.”
“But mama we have busy lives as well and I have my own business to run!” My mother knew this but I suppose she needed reminding.” And you could have just as easily volunteered Ava, Adele or Gwen.” I added.
Adele who sat directly across from me kicked me under the table for offering up her name to my mother to be put on the chopping block with us.
“Oh poo, mama said waiving her hand in a dismissive gesture at my offer. Jackie doesn’t’ work and your office doesn’t need you; the girls can handle things just fine while you are away.” The girls she was referring to were my daughter Alicia and my daughter n law Mia who worked for me. They could in fact run the office just perfectly in my absence but it was the principle of the matter. And Jackie didn’t have a job but she worked all the time. She volunteered and chaired all sorts of charity events and sat on boards of one organization or another. My mother actually sat on some of the same boards but obviously none of that mattered right now because what she wanted trumped all.
“And besides, mama continued. Your sisters are attorneys; they can’t just miss court, that’s too important.”
I had to fight off the urge of the vision in my head of taking the roll off my plate and sending it hurtling down the table to whack my mother in the head with it.
Now this I couldn’t believe, my mother was still holding it against me and Jackie because we didn’t go to law school like everyone else! How many attorneys did one family need!
“Mama, everyone here can take off from work! You know why? Because we all work for ourselves, yes Ava, Gwen and Adele are lawyers but there are other associates who can take their cases if need be.” I said getting a bit huffed myself by this time.
“Once you and Jackie get acclimated with things down there I’m sure you and Jackie will be just fine.” Mama stated then going back to her plate of food. Apparently I was having an “Evelyn moment” to her since she obviously and easily dismissed what I had just said as well.
“Can’t we just hire movers for her?” Jackie said, a little calmer now.
“Nooooo,” my mother replied as if talking to a petulant child drawing out her words. “We cannot; Roberta has been in that house for more than twenty years maybe even thirty and all of that stuff needs to be gone through first and then either thrown away or packed up. You can’t leave that job up to some movers that wouldn’t care about her mementos! You can have movers pack everything once you’ve gone through it with her but only after that.”
I didn’t care about them either I thought but did not say. “And why are we clearing and packing and whatever else anyway? You never said.” I asked her.
“Oh, we’re moving her here; I thought I had mentioned that. I’ve already found a great apartment for seniors. I’ll have it all decorated and furnished for when she gets here so no need to keep any furniture unless she has a favorite chair or something like that she wants to keep. The funeral is this Saturday so be sure you let everyone know you’ll both be gone for a couple of weeks.” My mother was apparently finished discussing this with me and Jackie and I had resigned myself to the fact that I was on my way to Houston, Texas.